Monday, November 30, 2015

Social Media Tips for the Holidays

I want to interrupt this blog post for a minute. I'm trying to continue to take this blog to next level and that means finding ways to get noticed. Today, on Write To Done (a prestigious blogging site), they're accepting nominations for your favorite writing blog. Even if you don't nominate this site, please take time to nominate your favorite blog. You must nominate a specific post in the comments section and mention why you think the blog is valuable.

Social Media Tips for the Holidays
by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Let’s face it, the holidays are fun, but they’re also hectic.

It's important to not abandon our social media profiles and blogs during the holidays, but we also need to work smarter, not harder.

By planning out some holiday social media updates in advance you save your sanity and keep the momentum going. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Living Life Unfiltered

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

I’m an amateur photographer and love all the creative things I can do online with the images I share. When I first began experimenting with my photos, I got a little wild with all the different effects. By adding different filters, I could completely change the look of a picture.

Where once an image was sunny and bright, I could bring it down to look dark and gloomy. I could also do the opposite. I added frames, embedded graphics, even melded two images into one. The options were endless.

But once the new wore off, I found that my favorite images were the ones that looked most like real life—with little or no effects applied. The ones that captured that moment, without embellishment, brought me the most joy. Those unadorned pictures were also the ones that garnered the most attention online. They seemed to bring out the best conversations.

And not too long ago, God whispered a parallel truth to me about my own life. So often, when I share things about me, my tendency is to apply a filter. It doesn’t matter if it’s something positive or negative, I can’t seem to just lay it out there. I play around with what I share, how I share it, and even the spin I put on it when I share it.

I try to frame it and embellish it with explanations and logic. I apologize for the good things, downplay the negative things, and generally try to neaten life up.

But the times when I’m most honest about what I’m experiencing, are the times when I connect deepest with those around me. Those moments of transparency and realism are when God can come in and touch others. It’s when I’m most vulnerable, that I’m most valuable to the kingdom.

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Ephesians 4:15 (ESV)

"It's when I'm most vulnerable, that I'm most valuable in God's kingdom." @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Saturday, November 28, 2015

And the Winners of the 3 Amazon Gift Cards Are...

Thank you all for sharing the joy of my special day as I celebrated post number 1500! I'm excited to announce the three winners:

Jann Martin

Lori Hatcher

Karen 'Girl' Friday

Please email me at ediegmelson (at) gmail (dot) com and I'll send you your gift!

Thanks & Blessings,

Friday, November 27, 2015

Why Should I Attend a Writing Conference

by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

“Tell me why I should go to a writers conference,” my friend Melissa said. “I’m swamped at work, discouraged about my writing, and behind on my W.I.P. (Work In Progress). I’m not sure I can afford the time away.”

Melissa and I have commiserated on the ups and downs of the writing life for years. She’s a seasoned writer who could probably teach most of the conference workshops. She doesn’t need another class on self-editing or how to write dialogue. Yet I still encouraged her to attend.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Plot Problems Solved in 3 Questions

Before you get into the post from Henry McLaughlin today, all of us at The Write Conversation want to wish you a Happy & Blessed Thanksgiving!

Plot Problems solved in 3 Questions
by Henry McLaughlin @RiverBendSagas

Here is a tool that may prove helpful. Best-selling author Steven James presented this material at an intensive novel writing retreat I attended.

Whether you’re an outliner or an organic author, these simple, yet intriguing questions, will get your creative juices flowing.

The questions open doors into areas of our story we may not have explored before and will lead us to more compelling stories.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

It’s Time to Celebrate . . . YOU!

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Today is a milestone in the life of The Write Conversation, and in my own blogging life. This post is number 1500.

I read that and I just need to take a minute and let that sink in.

When I shared this information with my husband, his comment was, “Wow that’s over 4 years of posting. I thought you’d been at this longer than that.”

Well he’s right, and he’s wrong.

If I’d been posting 7 days a week from the very beginning of this blog, it would only be 4 years a few months. But I didn’t start out sharing a post a day. I started slow—giving myself a chance to succeed—posting only once a week.

The first post on this site went live on December 11, 2009.

Those early posts were rough. And many of you may think I’ve long since taken them down. But the truth is, as bad as they were, I’m proud of those first posts. To me, they represent my public claim as a writer.

I knew I had a long way to go.

But I also knew that I’d never get there if I didn’t get started. If I’d waited until I was polished and perfect . . . well . . . I’d still be waiting.

Funny thing is, that’s what the first post is all about. I wrote about Mastering Your Dream. As much of a beginner as I was, I still knew that getting where I want to go takes work. 

Enough about me.

The title of this post says what I want to focus on—celebrating YOU.

Each of you is taking time right now, investing in your dream. You’re making the effort to learn and grow as a writer. You’re reaching out and encouraging one another as we come together to follow the path set before us.

I wish I could give each of you a gift. It would only be fitting because this blog would be nothing without you.

What I’m doing instead is offering the chance to win one of 3 $15 Amazon gift cards. You don’t have to do anything to enter the drawing—no tweeting or sharing or liking required. All you have to do is leave a short comment. Then check back on Thanksgiving to see if you won.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!

Oh, in case you’re curious, here are some links to the earliest posts, along with the stats (and you should notice I didn't even know enough to use images to illustrate my posts). They're untouched. I've left them just as they were when I first put them up.

Monday, December 11, 2009
Page views before today: 40

Monday, December 21, 2009
Page views before today: 21

Monday, January 25, 2010
Page views before today: 12

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Writing Like You Know What You’re Talking About

Eva Marie Everson
Edie here. Today I'm super excited to welcome our newest member of The Write Conversation blogging contributors. In addition to being a good friend, she's been my mentor and one of my biggest encouragers. Her contribution to the Christian publishing industry stretches from east to west. I know you'll be as elated as I am to welcome author, editor and writing mentor Eva Marie Everson!

Writing Like You Know What You're Talking About
by Eva Marie Everson @EvaMarieEverson

Have you ever set a scene, a section of a book, or an entire novel somewhere you’ve never been? I have. Plenty of times.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

We're Not Meant to do this Writing Thing Alone

by Brenda McGraw @BrendaMMcGraw

Alone again, me and my words.

When was the last time you felt like you were on your own with no one by your side or encouraging you?

Writing is sometimes a lonely calling. 

We touch the keyboard and are supposed to type words and make them jump off the page and touch the hearts and lives of others.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Writing Life

Edie here. Today, marks the beginning of something new here on the blog. Two to three times a month, in place of the usual Social Media Image Saturday, I'll be introducing you to some of my author friends. So without further ado, I'm happy to introduce you my first guest author, Gail Kittleson. I was fortunate to be invited to appear on her blog, Dare to Bloom, back in May and I'm so excited to have her on The Write Conversation. Be sure to give her your usual warm welcome!

The Writing Life
by Gail Kittleson @GailGKittleson

Writing takes confidence. What a comforting thought as I look back over those unproductive years, my “wasted years.” Without believing that our words and unique perspective matter, who finds the courage to write? Yet Virgil wrote, “Fortune favors the brave.”

But if nobody else can create the precise stories that come to us, begging to be penned, then we have a mission. Unless we tell this tale, who will? And if this story remains unwritten, if we hide it under a bushel, who will miss embracing its truth?

Writing means facilitating feelings in our reader. We want them to feel what we’ve felt, what we sense deep within. We avoid words like elated, sad, disappointed, miserable, and hesitant, because we want to evoke emotion in the reader, not tell them how to feel.
Memoir writing taught me that even in nonfiction, the goal is the reader’s emotion. The Glass Castle’s startling image of the author’s mother digging in a dumpster stays with me. So does the young heroine's utter terror in To Kill a Mockingbird, and a thousand other emotional responses various authors worked hard to stir up in me.

That’s what it’s about—the connection between writer and reader, the power flow from spirit to spirit, soul to soul. It’s why we speak of “beloved authors.” They’ve moved us in one way or another—to grief, to longing, to ecstasy, to puzzlement or distress. It's why I want to meet Isaiah in heaven—his words have made all the difference in my journey.

As writers, we must believe in ourselves, in our intrinsic value. This was where I got lost on the way to authorship. For shame-based would-be writers, the trek to confidence, fraught with speculation and introspection, seems to take forever.
But little by little, step-by-step, I heard my voice—found my voice, as they say. The writing life involved waiting for things to shift into place inside me before confidence gradually slipped in. Oh, I kept busy, but I was merely dabbling in my passion.

Instructing college expository writing helped tremendously. I love cheerleading students who believe they can’t write. They can, of course, and what fun to join in their colossal discovery. The involved process of helping them find their theme, cut unnecessary verbiage, and choose strong verbs to hone their truth honed mine: I needed to write again.

As Mark Twain quipped, “The two more important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.” I would add the day you develop the confidence to answer that call. Now, after years of learning fiction skills, my debut novel has released. No, none of the big names picked it up, but the small company that did assigned it to their Vintage line and classifies it SUPER SWEET. That means the entire book contains nary a reason to blush.

Yet Dottie, the heroine, shares her story with clarity and purpose. After all, she thinks, there must be a purpose—she survived losing her only son to World War II. On top of that, her daughter Cora moved to California straight out of high school to work for the war effort, married a sailor and settled down in the Golden State—another loss.

Dottie contributes to her everyday post-war world in down-to-earth ways—cooking and cleaning, volunteering at her church, and tending her garden. But when troubles arise in Cora’s third pregnancy, old fears inhibit Dottie from traveling across the country to help her and meet those precious grandbabies. And as that elusive, intangible quality of confidence grows in Dottie, so does the interest of the widower next door.

This story links with every woman who’s ever traveled the road from anxiety to confidence. Dottie’s become very real to me—I hope readers will embrace her and cheer her on, while I continue writing and believing.

Thoughts on the #Writing Life - via @GailGKittleson on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Blurb: It’s 1946. Dottie Kyle, an everyday Midwestern woman who lost her only son in the war and her husband soon after, takes a cooking/cleaning job at a local boarding house. But when a new employee is hired, complications arise, and when they niggle Dottie’s “justice meter”, she must decide whether to speak up or not. 

At the same time, her daughter's pregnancy goes awry and the little California grandchildren she's never met need her desperately. But an old fear blocks her way. When the widower next door shows Dottie unexpected attention, she has no idea he might hold the clue to unlocking her long-held anxieties.

Gail Kittleson:Our stories are our best gifts, and blooming late has its advantages—the novel fodder never ends. Gail writes from northern Iowa, where she and her husband enjoy gardening and grandchildren. WhiteFire Publishing released Gail’s memoir, Catching Up With Daylight in 2013, and her debut women’s historical fiction, In This Together (Wild Rose Press/Vintage Line) greets the world on November 18, 2015. Please feel free to contact her—meeting new reading friends is the frosting on her cake!