Monday, December 31, 2018

Does It Really Matter If I'm a Digital Immigrant or a Digital Native?

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

We live in an interesting time, to say the very least. Changes are happening faster than the most diligent among us can record, much less keep up with. 

Our digital world seems to be the catalyst for the majority of those changes. Because I am a part of the the older generation (ouch, that hurts) I hear a lot of derogatory comments about technology and the fact that our generation is not a digital native. We are classified as digital immigrants.

Friday, December 28, 2018

A Primer on Parallelism for Writers

by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

As a magazine editor, many of the changes I make to articles are straightforward and obvious. Fix a misplaced comma here or a missing word there. Some edits, however, are more subtle. Today I’d like to talk about one that’s common, yet harder to spot: parallelism.

Parallelism in grammar is defined as two or more phrases or clauses in a sentence or paragraph that have the same grammatical structure. Writers use this technique to help make an idea or argument clear and easy to remember. They also use it to show that each repeated structure is of equal importance. 

Thursday, December 27, 2018

The Blessings of Being a Writer

by Henry McLaughlin @RiverBendSagas

Yes, Virginia, there are blessings to being a writer. And it goes beyond multi-book deals, beyond making the bestseller list, beyond movie deals. Few writers attain these lofty heights.

But all writers can experience the blessings of being a writer.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Tips for Branding Your Writing Career

by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

A writer’s brand is a red carpet of introduction to readers and the publishing industry. It’s an identity that shows genre and demonstrates what others can expect from writing projects, social media posts, and anything attributed to the writer’s name.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Gift-ology for Authors—Considering the Gifts We Can Offer Our Readers

by Cathy Fyock @CathyFyock

When my friend Jeff recommends a book, I usually run right out and buy it. So when he mentioned Gift-ology, I placed my Amazon order.

Gift-ology, by John Ruhlin is about the art and science of using gifts to cut through the noise, increase referrals, and strengthen retention. 

It made me think about what we as authors need to do to thank and reward our readers, and luckily, Ruhlin models this throughout his book.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Answers to Some of the Questions Authors Ask—But Everyone Else is Cheating, Why Can’t I?

by Traci Tyne Hilton @TraciTyneHilton

#3 in a series where I answer questions I suspect you are asking
Indie Author: But it’s the name of the game, isn’t it? Aren’t we supposed to pad our books with extra paragraph spaces and big fonts and extra unrelated or repeat content to make them longer? Aren’t we supposed to add a link in the front that leads directly to the back to get easy page reads? Aren’t we supposed to buy reviews and use forbidden keywords? We’re supposed to be good stewards? This is just getting the most from our books, right? Besides everyone else is doing it. 




Please, don’t cheat. Please don’t game the system. Please don’t make a hundred little sacrifices of your integrity for the sake of an extra sale and tell yourself that everyone is doing it, your book’s message is doing more good than the rules are doing, or you need the money.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Christian Writers Need Spiritual Nourishment

by Susan U. Neal RN, MBA, MHS @SusanNealYoga

During the holiday season, Christians are told to focus on the reason for the season—the birth of Jesus Christ. When we focus on Jesus we nourish our spirit. As a writer, it is essential to nurture our soul, so we do not burn out. Therefore, we should focus on our spiritual nature, not just our physical. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

5 Tips for Collecting New Readers and Connections

by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

A tiny enchanted forest greets me each morning. My mini winter wonderland doesn’t exist in my backyard, but on my great-grandmother’s antique pine dresser. Three white trees sit, not on snow, but on a sage green doily, and send out silver glints of light that catch my eye. The cheval mirror reflects other treasures on my dresser—ivory dogwoods, red velvet flowers lined with glitter, and a “Cinderella sleigh” as I call it, pulled by two silver-tipped reindeer that anxiously wait to take a princess to a ball.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Marketing Poetry

by Karen Whiting @KarenHWhiting

Poetry often evokes emotions and that’s what grabs people, so make sure your marketing connects emotionally.

Create saleable materials to accompany your book such as greeting cards, pass it on message cards, and wall hangings. Use lines from your books or your reader’s favorite poem. Sell them at your book table. These are particularly popular if you write poetry on grief or encouragement and offer words for people who don’t know what to say to loved ones struggling emotionally.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Writers, Use Your Words Well

by Tammy Karasek @TickledPinkTam

As writers, we have the opportunity to share a message for any who would come across the words we’ve tapped out on the keys. Whether a blog post or a book, our written words can be read by somebody, somewhere over and over and at any time. With this opportunity also comes the responsibility of what words we share. 

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Playing It Safe Can Sabotage Your Mission as a Writer

by Emme Gannon @GannonEmme

When I first started writing, I played it safe. Made sure my words didn’t offend. One size fits all. Everyone goes away happy. Emotions unstirred. Beliefs unchallenged. My readers unchanged. The desire to be liked and accepted spread mediocrity over my writing, stripping it of its power to change the hearts of my readers.  

Friday, December 14, 2018

Writer's Corner - Those D Words: Disclaimers and Defamation

by Marcia Moston @MarciaMoston

A disclaimer: Growing up, I wanted to be an archeologist, astronomer and missionary doctor. The latter ambition lasted through two years of pre-med until a meltdown in a chemistry exam ended it. Among other pursuits, I’ve couriered architectural blueprints from one city office to another, hung telephone directories on doorknobs, filled vending machines, written a book, and taught. But never once did I consider being lawyer. So don’t construe the following as legal advice. It is simply intended to raise points of consideration, because whether we write fiction or nonfiction, facts or fabrications, we write about people. And some may not like what we have to say.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Hard Choices ALL Writers Must Make

By Edie Melson  @EdieMelson

True confession time.

Writing is both the thing I love best and the thing I hate most.

When the words flow, it’s heaven on earth. When they stutter to a halt, the opposite is true. And the truth is, both of these circumstances are a regular part of the writer’s life.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

When an Author Should Seek Permission for Quotes

by Linda Gilden @LindaGilden

One of the backbones of nonfiction writing is research. For some of us that is the most fun part. For others, the additional record keeping and notations are a nuisance and often done poorly or not at all. For all of us, good notes are a necessity to properly get permissions, cite sources, and stay within the confines of the literary law.  

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Birth of a Bookstore, A Christmas Story

by Cindy Sproles @CindyDevoted

In those days, Amazon issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire book world. This was the first census that took place while Barnes and Noble still hung on by a thread.) And everyone looked around their own towns to see what stores remained.

Monday, December 10, 2018

How a Writer Can Put Power into A Point: Part 1

Edie here, I'm so pleased to introduce you to our newest columnist, Yvonne Ortega. Yvonne is a dear friend of mine and an incredible speaker. She's going to add so much to The Write Conversation so be sure and give her a warm welcome!
How a Writer Can Put Power into A Point: Part 1
by Yvonne Ortega @YvonneOrtega1

Are you an author who never signed up to be a speaker? Do you feel more comfortable behind your laptop in a corner at Starbucks, a study room at the public library, or in a quiet room at home? Do you prefer talking with an intimate group of people?

Even if you answered any of those questions in the affirmative, you may still find yourself speaking at large gatherings, book signings, and writers conferences.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Reflecting on Blessings

By Sarah Van Diest

“True beauty must be able to engage the dark desolations of pain; perhaps it is on this frontier that its finest light appears?” John O’Donohue, Beauty: The Invisible Embrace

There was so much I could write that day. I could write on being home after a trip to visit our son in Italy. I could write about Christmas just around the corner. I could write about one of our five sons who turns 18 in a few days, entering adulthood. I could write about freedom and life juxtaposed with law and death as depicted in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Seriously. There is so much I could write about. Friendship and love. Hope in sorrow. God’s faithfulness. Thankfulness. Wisdom. Passion. Forgiveness. Grace.

How do we choose, dear ones, what to write on when our hearts are full? How can we select one blessing over another and proclaim it to be superior simply by the act of choosing it? How do we not, when our hearts run over, spend our entire day with our eyes heavenward praising our Father? Or maybe we do just that.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

The Benefit of Disappointments

by Beth Vogt @BethVogt

Disappointments are unavoidable in life. The question is, what will we get out of our disappointments? How, as Thoreau puts it, shall we be compensated by the discouragements that come our way?

Friday, December 7, 2018

Three Creative Ways to Use Your Gift of Writing this Christmas

by Cathy Baker @CathySBaker

Anyone can purchase a Lowes gift card for Christmas. Or perhaps, a handcrafted petal-soft infinity scarf the color of sea glass. I’m sorry, was that too specific? 

But you, my fellow writer, can create one-of-a-kind gifts with the swipe of your hand or a tap on the keys. 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

5 Writing Life Lessons Learned by Choosing an Orthodontist

by Lynn Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

I’m a firm believer that you can learn lessons about your writing life anywhere—as long as you’re paying attention.Case in point? I got the idea for this blog post from taking my oldest to three different orthodontists. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Subtext for Writers, Part 1 - What Lies Beneath

by Sarah Sally Hamer @SarahSallyHamer

Subtext? What the heck is subtext? You use some innuendos and a few mixed signals and you're good, right? 

Well, not so much.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Monday, December 3, 2018

Stay off the Social Media Naughty List with this Fun Quiz

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

I know, nothing like a pop quiz to get us all in the holiday spirit. But don't click away too soon. This quiz is designed to help you evaluate where you are with building an online platform. 

I hope you enjoy my impromptu quiz. To stay on Santa’s nice list, no cheating allowed. 

Take the quiz first, then look at the answers below.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

A Battered Briefcase of Words

by Audrey Frank @AudreyCFrank

It was days before Christmas, but you would never know it to look around the village. Mud huts formed a semi-circle around a huge baobab tree, our little house shyly standing off to the edge. There was no electricity in this remote area of the East African bush to brighten strings of holiday lights, no Christmas trees dotting the landscape. There were barely any trees at all other than the ancient, knobby sentinel in the center of the compound. 

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Does it Matter Whether You’re a Pantser or a Plotter When You Write?

by Tim Suddeth @TimSuddeth

I am beginning to plan my next book. My fifth.

By this time, you would think I’d have a process down and could just start the writing machine, right?

Except, for me, there is no one process. Each of my books has come together in a different way. Some of those ways I don’t want to go through again.

Friday, November 30, 2018

What's the Value in a Critique Group or Writing Partner?

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

I field a lot of questions about the value of having a critique group and/or partner. There are as many answers as there are writers. But there are very few who are able to produce publishable writing in a vacuum.

For me personally, I wouldn’t be where I am today as a writer if wasn’t for the groups who have nurtured me along the way.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Does Social Media Sell Books?

by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Whenever I speak about the value of social media, writers groan, frown, and complain. Too many writers are not willing to get past the learning curve needed to develop their brand. My response is always a focus on a writer’s life requiring flexibility to learn craft, marketing, publishing, and branding. If a new technique in the writing world emerged, we’d find a way to master it. So an open mind and a great attitude will help us acquire the skills needed to develop our online presence.

I think we’re asking the wrong question.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Dipping the Quill Deeper: Profile of the Lukewarm Writer

by Eva Marie Everson @EvaMarieEverson

I love hot baths, especially when a thick layer of soapy, sweet-scented bubbles are added to the mix. During said bath, if the water begins to turn tepid, I reach my toe up, kick the hot water on, wait for it … wait for it … and when the water is perfect again, I turn the water off. 

Lukewarm baths are for fever reductions, not for relaxing with a good book, I say.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Literary Theft – The Value of Reinventing for Writers

by Ane Mulligan @AneMulligan

I read an article on literary theft, and in it, the author said, “Don’t steal ... reinvent.” Then on Friday, Nov 8th, Marcia Moston posted “Steal Like an Artist.” Marcia’s post was focused on learning from others. This post is from a different perspective. 

Since all of us get inspired by stories, characters, and the worlds they live in, let’s tap into those gems – make them ours. The value in literary theft is knowing what to steal and then how to do it. 

Sunday, November 25, 2018

God Is in Control Even When Life Feels Sketchy—Or Etch-a-Sketchy

by Rhonda Rhea @RhondaRhea

I was working on a book in a wild fury. My fingers had been flying across the keyboard for the better part of an afternoon. I was in the zone, man. The. Zone. Which was great since the deadline was inching nearer. I say inching. More like barreling. Like a locomotive.

If we’ve met, you know that procrastination is how I roll. Or inch. Or loco…mote? Heavy on the loco. I lean into that panic-driven rush of adrenaline. I’m pretty sure I do my best writing when I’m just this side of hyperventilation.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Better Connection with the Reader by Writing Around the White Space

by Cathy Fyock @CathyFyock

White space is negative space. The part left blank. The space between the elements.

In the graphic arts, white space is an integral component of the design. In music, the rests between the notes creates space and clarity. In speaking, the use of the pause allows the listener to grasp the punchline or the moral of the story.

Friday, November 23, 2018

A Writer’s Unlikely Thanksgiving List

By Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

Lord, James 1:17 reminds me, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights . . .”, so it’s fitting to thank you during this season set aside for thanksgiving.

Some gifts are easy to recognize, because it’s obvious they come from you. “Good and perfect” make them pretty easy to spot.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at The Write Conversation!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The Hidden Connection Between Writer and Reader

by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

Squeals erupted in the backyard. Lucy Shepherd took another sip of hot chocolate, and swiveled her computer chair to look out the window of her study.

“I should be out there with them,” she mumbled, “not stuck in here in front of this computer screen.”

Falling leaves encircled her two redheaded girls as they ran through a pile of leaves they had created. Pure joy. No worries. No deadlines. No blog posts. Lucy began her pity party chant.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

What I Learned When My Dreams Were Shattered…

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

Imagine my surprise when, at age fourteen, I actually got to meet my idol – Hayley Mills! 

We were both aboard the final voyage of that great ocean liner, Queen Elizabeth I. It was a heady moment, I assure you. And, of course I have an old-fashioned “selfie” to commemorate it.

Monday, November 19, 2018

7 Ways to Use Bookmarks for Marketing Your Book

by Karen Whiting @KarenHWhiting

Bookmarks are inexpensive and make great marketing tools. Each one is a blank canvas that you design to showcase you, your books, and your brand or services. Plan the content carefully to get the best mileage out of it. That can vary depending on how you will use the bookmarks.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

A Writer, Even in the Silence

Edie here. Today I'm thrilled to introduce you to another regular contributor. In addition to be a good friend, Tammy Karasek is an experienced editor and writer. Her insight and humor are a huge blessing in my life and I know she will bless you as well!

A Writer, Even in the Silence
by Tammy Karasek @tickledpinktam 

There are times as a writer that we can feel at a total loss for words. Have you experienced this? As a lover of words, this can make us wonder or doubt if we are in the correct field. We want to write, but we sit in silence.    

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Time Out for Thanksgiving

by Emme Gannon @GannonEmme

In the south, we always have meat and two vegetables for supper, one green and one yellow. Potatoes don’t count. Of course, no meal would be complete without something sour. Pickled beets, peaches, or watermelon rind will do nicely. On Thanksgiving, however, our repertoire expands like our bellies. On that grand day diets are ignored along with my brother’s corny jokes and Uncle Ferd’s unpopular political views.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Answers to Some of the Questions Authors Ask—Aren’t All Indie Books Bad?

by Traci Tyne Hilton @TraciTyneHilton

#2 in a series where I answer questions I suspect you are asking. Below is a link to the rest of the posts in this series:

Indie Author: If I indie publish people will know I couldn’t get a book deal, and if they know that, they will think my book is bad, plus, there are a mcBillion terrible indie books out right now---way more than there are good ones, so everyone will think my book is terrible. And it probably is. I’m going to burn my computer now, forget I said anything at all. 

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Tips to Stay Physically Active When Writing

by Susan U. Neal RN, MBA, MHS 

Physical activity is one of the best things you can do for your health. However, how can you exercise when you are sitting on your behind writing? This post provides tips about how to add movement into a writer’s daily routine.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

When is Permission to Quote Necessary for Writers?

by Linda Gilden @LindaGilden

Who doesn’t love a good quote? After all, why should we try to put into words something that someone else has eloquently said? As writers, we are always looking for and finding good quotes to strengthen our books and articles. Using someone else’s words brings credibility to our work. But when is it necessary to ask permission to use a sentence or two from someone else in our writing?

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

It’s Time to Stop Preaching—and Writing—to the Choir

by Cindy Sproles @CindyDevoted

We’re preaching to the choir and it’s time to look past that and venture into the world. Why? It’s easy. The world needs us. People outside the church, need to be reminded of who Christ is.

It’s time Christian authors begin to focus on the general market non-Christian reader and start to gently teach a Christian World View. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Walking Through the Writing Door

Edie here. Today,
I'm excited to introduce you to an amazing young woman. Paige Snedeker is an author, illustrator and speaker. She does all of this in spite of the fact that she suffers from a rare neuromuscular disorder called Riboflavin Transporter Deficiency (RTD) Type 2, which has caused her to be deaf, legally blind, confined to a wheelchair and dependent on breathing assistance. 

I've known Paige for several years and I'm proud to call her my friend. This month her foundation is raising money and awareness for RTD. When I found out, I insisted she come on as a guest. I know you'll be blessed by her post and hope you'll give her a warm TWC welcome. Be sure to visit her website and find out how you can help cure RTD.

Walking Through the Writing Door
by Paige Snedeker @paige_project 

“...for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.”
1 Corinthians 16:9 ESV

Sunday, November 11, 2018

God Created You to Be You

by Sarah Van Diest @SarahVanDiest

As my thoughts meandered around this past month, they took an odd turn. It’s not that this kind of thing doesn’t go on in my mind all the time, because frankly it does, but it usually doesn’t make its way to paper. The level of “spiritual insight” may be lacking, at least in the up-front reading of it, and I’m not going to force any great pearls of wisdom to be born from this non-oyster. The only thing I will say is that God has implanted in each of us a creative and unique spirit. The beauty, splendor and majesty of our Father is revealed when we allow our individuality to show; when His workmanship stands in the sun and reflects Him to those who would see.  

As a writer and editor, my mind needs to be “on,” but sometimes I can’t seem to find that button. Perhaps you can relate. This is what flumped out of me one day this month as I fumbled around trying to find the ON button.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

The Best Advice

by Beth Vogt @BethVogt

I think the encouragement to keep reading is good advice for anyone, don’t you? I certainly never lack for books to read … and while sometimes I just read for pleasure, there are certain books that have influenced me greatly, changing my thoughts about life and about myself.

There are any number of quotes about advice:

Friday, November 9, 2018

Steal Like An Artist and Learn from the Best

by Marcia Moston @MarciaMoston

I teach a class called Steal Like An Artist, a title I promptly stole after reading Austin Kleon’s book with the same name. We study examples of good writing, some to model, some to simply admire in hopes there’s such a thing as learning by literary osmosis. Although I know there’s a lot to learn from reading bad writing, I seldom use it as an example. It’s a philosophy I adopted a long time ago after reading a response Mark Twain gave to a question about his river piloting days.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Tips for Writing Powerful Scenes

by Sarah Sally Hamer @SarahSallyHamer

Isn’t that what we all strive for? We all want the ability to write a scene that engulfs our reader with cathartic emotion, one that makes them laugh or cry, and hopefully, read the next one, right? A scene that is so powerful that we want to run to the top of Rocky’s steps and hold our arms up in jubilation?

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

A Diet for Writing Dynamic Dialogue

by PeggySue Wells @PeggySueWells

Like delicious desserts, dialogue is often a reader’s favorite part of a story. We quote great dialogue for generations.

“Off with her head!” – Lewis Carroll.

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill.

“There’s so much scope for imagination.” Lucy Maud Montgomery.

“It’s me again, Hank the Cowdog.” John Erickson.

“Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” – Jesus Christ.

Dialogue is what characters say. Powerful stories are dialog driven through carefully chosen word selections. When Scrooge responds to Christmas cheer with “Bah, humbug,” Charles Dickens has masterfully portrayed the old man’s attitude and character in two words. 

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Unfolded Words

by Audrey Frank @AudreyCFrank

The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.
Psalm 119:130, NIV

She withdrew the folded piece of paper from her pocket with reverence. Handing it to my husband, the young mother swelled with hope, her face broadening with expectation. The edges of the paper were fuzzied and the well-worn surface felt like soft cloth. Unfolding it, careful not to tear the fragile creases, he read the words inside aloud.