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.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Moving Forward by Looking Back - One Word 2019

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

The writer’s path is a journey of a lifetime—one fraught with discovery and discouragement. We can avoid some of its pitfalls if we define that path early on. Today, I want to share some insights into my writing journey and the markers I look for to help me stay at least in the vicinity of the path.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Get Your Blog Ready for 2019


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

2019 is just around the corner—along with its focus on resolutions—and it pulls me into a period of introspection. Actually, it’s a good thing. It gives me a chance to look back over the past year and decide what worked and what didn’t. It also gives me a push toward trying something different.

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.

Monday, December 24, 2018

How Writing Ruined My Wife - Gift-giving Basics for the Non-Writing Spouse


by Kirk Melson

Because it's Christmas Eve, I thought I'd share one of my challenges as the spouse of a writer.I don’t know about the rest of you, but I tend to be a little on the dense side when it comes to buying presents. I have great intentions, but I could never remember what my wife wanted when it came time to buy her a gift. Think I’m lying? I blogged about one of my most spectacular boo-boos here in My Life…In Print

All kidding aside, I love giving my wife the things she loves. What man doesn’t? And I have to admit that her choice of career has made life much simpler in that department—just don’t tell her I said that!

Since I’m talking to other writing spouses, I’ll let you in on the list I’ve developed.

Gifts to Give My Writing Spouse
  • First, I’ve discovered that like all writers, the list of books she needs (wants) is literally pages long. I can never go wrong with a gift card to her favorite bookstore or website.
  • Next, there are magazine subscriptions for writing magazines—online or in print. And I’ve recently found out there are even subscriptions available to books. She’s always got to have a current copy of the CMOS (for those out there who don’t know, that’s the Chicago Manual of Style and is something book writers need). Anyway come to find out, this book is on its millionth (or something) edition and is constantly being updated. Now instead of buying her book after book after book, I can get her a subscription to the Chicago Manual of Style. Who knew? Other books you can do that with are The Writer’s Market Guide, and the AP Style Book
  • And speaking of book after book after book, all writers love e-readers. I know your special writer probably started off talking about how he or she loved the feel of real books, etc. But trust me when I say, “ALL WRITERS LOVE E-READERS.”
  • Then there are those shiny little baubles we all love to give our wives. No not diamonds, I’m talking about all the newest tech gadgets, like iPads, or iPhones, or whatever the coolest gizmo of the month is. I will say they do have something in common with diamonds—they’re mighty small for the price tags they can carry!
  • Finally, beyond all the gadgets and gizmos, there are the writing retreats, conferences, and classes. These events are great for you both, and here’s why. She gets to spend uninterrupted time with others of her kind (writers). This special breed of people loves to get together and jabber at each other in a foreign language. They can go on and on about plot and character, noun and verb, past perfect and future tenses. Not certain about the foreign language part? Just attend one of these events, I have, and I didn’t understand half what was said. 

What’s in it for you? I’ve discovered that when she comes back home, she’s happy to converse with me about normal subjects…at least for a few days.

Now I’d like to get a few pointers from you. If you were going to add to my list, what would you suggest? After all, we writing spouses have to stick together!

TWEETABLES
How Writing Ruined My Wife - Life From the Perspective of a Non-writing Spouse - Kirk Melson on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

When I discovered my writing wife loved gadgets more than jewelry - Kirk Melson on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Sunday, December 23, 2018

The Christmas Gift of Jesus' Sacrifice


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson


I’ve always celebrated Christmas as the time of Jesus’ birth. It’s a joyful time—after all, when is the birth of a baby not a reason to celebrate? It’s marked with angel choruses, gifts of the magi, and celebration to end all celebrations.

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. 

Oof.

Ug.

Sigh.

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.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

When a Writing Assignment Changed the World


by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

As the end of the year draws to a close, perhaps you are thinking about your writing life. Specifically, what you didn’t write this year. That lead or request you never pursued. That idea you failed to give attention and care, so it just sort of fizzled…

Friend, this year is done. It’s time to move on. We are given a fresh start in 2019. The question is, what will we do with these blank pages of days?

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.