Tuesday, May 31, 2016

30 Days of Idea Starters for Writers - Calendar Days - June's Crazy Holidays & Special Occasions

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

It’s time again for Calendar Days. These are just fun to read. They’re also a great way to jumpstart our creativity when looking for ideas for articles and blog posts. They’re also a fun writing prompt idea. 

In addition, calendar days are great conversation starters for social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, especially when two contrasting holidays fall on the same date. Here are some that tickled my funny bone this month:

Saturday, May 28, 2016

A Recap of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Through Memes

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

As most of you know, I've spent the past week as Director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. It was an amazing week—full of inspiration and encouragement. Some of the highlights came from our keynote speakers. These are memes I created during their keynotes. It thought it would give you a glimpse of what we experienced.

"Celebrate your place in the story." ~Steven James

"Embrace the changes in publishing and put into practice the things that are working." ~DiAnn Mills

"The odds are always in God's favor." ~James Watkins

"If we're not growing as writers, we're dead." ~Eva Marie Everson

The pearl starts as the irritant. What irritates you to write? ~Jane Jenkins Herlong

"Creativity begins with the creator." ~Alton Gansky

Friday, May 27, 2016

Prayers for the Writer’s Soul

by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

I read something today that made me cry.

Not because it was sad, but because it was beautiful. One of my favorite authors and theologians, John Piper, in two paragraphs, described God. He used a simple word picture and everyday language. No Greek. No Hebrew. No plumbing the depths of his vast theological training. Just a simple example connected to a profound spiritual truth.*

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Traits of a Successful Writing Critique Group

by Henry McLaughlin @RiverBendSagas

Traits of a Writing Critique Group
I’m sure we’ve all participated in or heard stories about horrible experiences with critique groups. I’ve had a few myself. Unfortunately, I may have contributed to some of them. To any writers I did this to, I apologize.

I’ve been writing seriously for over ten years. During this time, I’ve participated in many critique groups, both on line and in person. I’m honored and humbled to serve as a writing coach or mentor over numerous groups over the years.

Besides this, I belong to a small weekly in-person group who keep me anchored and encouraged. Society of Solitary Scribes, you know who you are. And thank you.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that successful groups have character traits that distinguish them from the unsuccessful. In no particular order they are:

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Stories Have Souls That Breathe Immortality

by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

An unforgettable story steps beyond “Once upon a time” to a kingdom that captures the heart of a reader forever. Not every story has that golden world, and not every reader experiences the same soul-grabbing story. What lingers as a memorable novel for me may not give you an exceptional read. But what we will agree upon is the story touched us, spoke to us, and we were passionately involved in the lives of the characters and their quest.
The magic kingdom is filled with rare, distinct, haunting, and extraordinary characters who accompany us to our sweet spot of remembrance. Readers and writers dream the character is real and imagine themselves joining the journey. Some readers become the hero or heroine, much like children don super-hero costumes and develop mannerisms of their favorite character.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

5 Ways to Write Using the Five Senses—Sight

by Cyle Young @CyleYoung

For the average writer, sight, is typically the easiest of the five senses to describe. Our world is filled with a menagerie of colors, people, plants, animals, buildings, and things. Each of those objects are finite and can be described visually, making sight easy to relate on paper.

But describing the sense of sight doesn’t have to be bland. Take for instance, the picture below.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Defeating a Writer's Self Doubt

by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

Defeating writer's self doubt.
I don’t know how many times I’ve thought, I can’t do this.

Writing books. Editing books. Finishing blog posts on time. Thinking up ideas to write about. Talking to people about my writing. Encouraging others to write. I wondered if I could do it.

Self-doubt likes to whisper joy-stealing, fear-fueled lies into our lives.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Where Does a Writer Find Encouragement?

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

“Cindy, God has given you a gift of writing, and it is your duty to write for Him!” 

Imagine being only 26-years-old and personally hearing those words from Elisabeth Elliot—respected mentor, international speaker and author of more than thirty books.
I had already felt a nudging from God on this path of writing, but her words helped confirm and encourage me further. Needless to say, I was a bit daunted, but also energized to pursue more training and opportunity (this happened when I was heading off to Wheaton Graduate School of Communication after graduating from Gordon-Conwell Seminary.)

Believe me, no one is more amazed than I that so many years later, I can look back at my published work, by God’s grace: 12 books authored, 25+ books as contributing author and articles published in more than 50 magazines.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Facebook Branded Content Policy for Pages & How it Affects the Little Guys

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Lately I’ve been contacted by quite a few panicked Facebook users confused over the the New Branded Content Policy for Professional Pages. I promised to do the research and share what I’ve learned. Today I’m making good on that promise. (And at the end of the post, I’ll share some posts from other professionals about this policy.)

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Walk Worthy

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Everywhere we turn fitness is all the rage. And the newest twist on the trend—keeping track of our personal fitness.
We’re wearing jewelry that tracks our steps, our heart rate, and even how many stairs we climb. Beyond that, it reminds us when we need to exercise or at least get up and move.

Thinking about all this accountability has turned my mind to spiritual accountability. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we had something to track our spiritual walk?

Can you imagine how helpful it would be if, when we slacked off on spiritual fitness and discipline, there was something that would tell us it was time to get back on track?

Truthfully we do—the Holy Spirit.

He’s always with us—to teach us, interpret Scripture and circumstances, and remind us when we get off track. But He’s the ultimate gentleman. He doesn’t force us back on the path, and if we ignore Him often enough, He’ll just be quiet.

Beyond that important personal of the Trinity who lives inside us, are those fellow believers that surround us. Scripture encourages us to be accountable to one another. But we so often ignore that admonition. It’s scary to be honest enough with someone else to enter into an accountability relationship.

Here is the way I manage accountability in my life:
1. Personally, I have an accountability partner. She’s a dear friend who loves me in spite of my faults. I don’t feel judged by her—even when she reminds me that it’s time to get back on track. It’s a precious relationship and one that I guard and take care to nurture.

2. I also have an accountability group. We began as a few women from my Sunday school class, but it’s grown beyond that. We meet every Friday morning at a local coffee shop. We share cares, concerns, and prayers. Those in the group encourage one another, pray for one another, and go after members of the group who have slacked off. We don’t hound each other, but we remind our fellow sisters that we are loved, we are blessed, and we have a responsibility to stay strong in our walk.

3. Finally, as a Christian who writes, I have an accountability group of fellow writers. These women are my lifeline. The help me remember the gift of words that God has given me, and that along with that gift, comes the responsibility to grow and practice that gift.

Accountability is good thing to stay physically healthy. It’s even more important to have the same sort of accountability to stay in shape spiritually.

So that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God. Colossians 1:10 (HCSB)

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Learning How to Fall

by Beth Vogt @BethVogt

I took karate a number of years ago — okay, a lot of years ago. It’s how I met my husband. He swept me off my feet in a karate studio. To be completely honest, he knocked me down.

Yeah, so romantic.

But here’s the point: In karate, you’re taught how to fall. You practice falling down and getting back up, falling down and getting back up — over and over again. And yes, there is a technique, a bit of skill, to falling well.

I’m wondering, setting aside what I learned in that karate studio, what kind of “When you fall, here’s how you get back up” insights would I share with someone else today?

Something like:

  1. Falls are gonna happen — and they’re gonna hurt. It’s okay to say “ouch” and even cry a bit.
  2. Falls — even when you think you’re prepared for them — can cause an unexpected injury. Adjust to it, don’t deny it.
  3. Falls mean you need to get back up. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. But before you get up, see if there’s anything you learned from your on-the-ground-looking-up perspective.

In Your Words: How would you tell someone to fall? Any “When you fall, here’s how you get back up” insights? 


Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” 

A nonfiction writer and editor who said she’d never write fiction, Beth is now a novelist with Howard Books. She enjoys writing inspirational contemporary romance because she believes there’s more to happily-ever-after than the fairy tales tell us. Connect with Beth on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or check out her blog on quotes, In Others’ Words.