Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Improve Your Writing When You Mine Your Life Experiences

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson 

We all want what we write to matter—to touch hearts, change lives, challenge the status quo. 

To that end we search high and low for the words that connect us to our readers.

But what if the gems we’re searching for aren’t hidden in distant places, but instead are buried deep within our own experiences?

Today I’m going to give you the clues to finding those precious nuggets hidden in plain sight. If you’ll bear with me, I’d like to follow this mining metaphor to its ultimate end and show you how to mine your own experiences to make your writing richer.

Monday, April 29, 2019

7 Ways to Encourage Conversation on Your Blog

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Blogging is a great way to build relationships with your audience. 

But a lot of people forget that, just like building relationship in person, we have to work at building bridges. It’s never a good idea to talk so much that others don’t have a chance to share their thoughts, and that holds true in blogging. 

There are things we can do to make sure our posts encourage conversation. And there are things we can do that discourage interaction.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Awash in Grace

by Rhonda Rhea @RhondaRhea

You can tell a lot about people by the way they do their laundry. I have friends who have certain days they designate as “laundry days.” I confess, I’m probably much more impressed by that than any grown woman should be. My laundry days? They usually happen on whatever days I realize I have to make a choice:  I have to wash a load, or I have to be one of those people who goes to Walmart in pajama pants.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

When and How to Give Away Books

by Cathy Fyock @CathyFyock

If you believe that the only way to make money on your books is to sell them, let me share a story about Jeff Nally, author of Rethinking Human Resources and Humans@Work. Jeff participated in two of Cathy’s anthology projects (where 15 authors come together to each write a chapter and become authors with a book with all their names on the cover). Jeff decided early on that his strategy would not be to sell his books, but rather, to gift them! 

Friday, April 26, 2019

I’ve Found My Writing Critique Partner – Now What?

by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

More elusive than the mythological unicorn, a good critique partner can bring sparkle and shine to your writing journey. In February’s post, “Four Reasons Why You Need a Critique Partner,” I encouraged you to consider taking the next step in your writing journey by finding a writing buddy. In March’s post, “Four Qualities to Look for in a Critique Partner,” I shared similarities you should consider when choosing a writing compatriot. Now that (hopefully) you’ve found your buddy and can’t wait to get started, I’d like to suggest some questions you’ll want to ask as you set up your partnership. 

1. Will you meet in person or online?
Because of the beauty of online communication, your critique partner doesn’t have to live in your city, although an in-person relationship is ideal. If this isn’t possible, or even if it is, you may find yourselves communicating primarily by exchanging critique using the Track Changes feature in Microsoft Word. Not sure what this is? Check out Bob Hostetler’s helpful post, “Learning to Use Track Changes.” You can edit your partner’s document, leave comments and questions in the margins, and accept or reject every change. 

My critique partner and I live four miles away and meet occasionally for critique. Most of the time, however, we exchange our work via email, reserving the right to call if anything needs greater explanation than the comments allow.

We also occasionally schedule a marathon writing day. If we need extra motivation and help to move past a stuck spot or energy to jumpstart a new project, a marathon writing day often greases the skillet. 

When we break for lunch (which we’ve both contributed to), we critique each other’s work, making notes on double-spaced copies Word Weavers style. We briefly clarify anything that needs more than a scribbled note, and begin writing again. 

When the clock shows 45 minutes left to our writing marathon, we stop, print copies of what we’ve written that afternoon, and critique again. Every time my partner and I do this, we make great progress on our W.I.P.s, exchange valuable insights that always make our work better, and inspire each other simply by writing in the same room.

2. How often will you critique? 
Weekly? By-weekly? Monthly? How many words? When is the material due? When is it due back? Agreeing to a regular word count and time to exchange material sets clear parameters that helps you manage your time. If I know I’ll receive up to 2,000 words from my partner no later than Tuesday, I schedule the critique into my week’s work calendar, knowing I’ve promised to return it no later than the following Sunday. She does the same for me. 

Some weeks one of us misses our Tuesday deadline, but sends our work on anyway with the note, I didn’t make the deadline. No worries if you don’t have time to critique it this week.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. If not, we move the edit to the top of the list for the new critique week.

3. What will you do if it just isn’t working? 
I recommend you start your partnership with a trial basis, say 90-days. Depending on how frequently you critique, you should know by then if you and your partner are a good fit for each other. Going into the relationship knowing it’s not a forever commitment allows each partner to decide if it’s right for them. If for some reason it isn’t, agree to have no hard feelings. Prayerfully seek another partner and begin the process again, applying some of the lessons you learned the first time around.

Know also that it’s okay, during busy seasons, life seasons, and sickness seasons, to meet less frequently or temporarily suspend your critique commitment. When life or health calms down, pick up where you left off.  

I’m a member of Toastmasters International, where we often say, “One of the most valuable benefits of Toastmasters is the ability to receive regular, informed feedback.” I say the same about my relationship with my critique partner. Meeting together to polish and sharpen our projects has helped us both take our writing to a whole new level. If you’re ready to do the same, prayerfully seek out a critique partner. You’ll be glad you did.

Now it’s your turn. Do you have a critique partner? What pros and cons have you experienced? Leave a comment and share the conversation.


Don't Miss the Rest of this Series

This series comes from Lori Hatcher’s newest writing workshop, “Yes, You Need a Critique Partner – The Who, What, When, Were, and How’s of Writing in Partnership.” Lori is the editor of Reach Out, Columbia magazine and the author of several devotional books. Hungry for God … Starving for Time, Five-Minute Devotions for Busy Women won the 2016 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year award. Her most recent book, Refresh Your Faith – Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible is due out in the spring of 2020.A blogger, writing instructor, and inspirational speaker, her goal is to help women connect with God in the craziness of life You’ll find her pondering the marvelous and the mundane on her blog, Hungry for God. . . Starving for Time. Connect with her on FacebookTwitter (@LoriHatcher2), or Pinterest (Hungry for God).

Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Art of Self-Editing, Part 2

by Henry McLaughlin @RiverBendSagas

Last month, we began exploring the process of self-editing, of getting our writing in the best shape we can before sending it out to a professional editor.

Notice, I didn’t say before submitting it to an agent, a publishing house, or self-publishing it. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Easiest and Hardest Part of a Writer’s Life

by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Many writers love the title of writer, but they hate the writing process. That’s because the writer’s life is an art form, a means of creating beauty and meaning from words. We can entertain, instruct, inspire, laugh, cry, and encourage others through an incredible gift. It’s also solitary and challenging. Rewrites can be grueling, rejections damage our confidence, and sometimes sales fail to meet our expectations. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Dipping the Quill Deeper: Not Getting What You Want

by Eva Marie Everson @EvaMarieEverson

According to the Gospel of John, on the third day when Jesus came to Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, John the Baptist pointed to Him and declared, “Look! The Lamb of God!” (John 1: 36) Apparently, the Lord continued on from there because two of the disciples who had been following the baptizer then followed after Jesus. One of them was Andrew. The other, most probably, was John (the author of the gospel).

Jesus turned and, seeing them, asked, “What do you want?”

Monday, April 22, 2019

Brainstorming & FaceTime for Writers

by Any Mulligan @AneMulligan

First and foremost, I love to brainstorm. It’s my favorite part of writing, where you take a skeleton of an idea and flesh it out. I love how one suggestion or minor comment leads to another that leads to another, and so on until you arrive at the perfect scenario. It doesn’t matter the genre, I can brainstorm with the best. 

Sunday, April 21, 2019

At the Cross

by Tammy Karasek @TickledPinkTam

An important day in history happened at a wooden cross. The cross that held the Son of God. 

Christmas is also a special day because believers in Christ celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. But, without a cross, it’s just the birth of Joseph and Mary’s son. 

The event at the cross happened on a day we call Good Friday, the beginning of what was completed three days later.  

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Hearing Yet Not Knowing. Until

by Emme Gannon @GannonEmme

It had been the worst of days and the darkest of nights. 

Peter paced back and forth in the poorly-lit room, hiding from real and imaginary sounds. His racing heart and constant trembling had robbed him of sleep. His world had fallen away, drained of all meaning.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Marketing Strategies to Improve Book Sales

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

Today’s article will finish the topic from the Southern Writers article, “How to Sell One Thousand Books in Three Months.” Last month The Write Conversation posted the blog “How to Use Pre-Publication Planning to Sell More Books” Today, we will review the after publication marketing plan. Publishers expect an author to market their book. The marketing section of a book proposal is a selling component of any pitch.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Platform Building for Writers: Focusing on Content More than Numbers

by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

“Just post something.” Once platform-building began to take more time than writing, this subtle mantra echoed in my subconscious. Of course, I wanted to post something worthwhile on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, LinkedIn, and more. But who has time to keep up with all of that when you’re writing a book and blogging every week? I was overwhelmed and desperate. I just wanted to post something.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Writer, What’s Your Side Hustle?

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

Let’s face it, most writers simply cannot financially support ourselves on writing alone. If you are one of those best-selling authors who does, you have permission to totally stop reading now.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Marketing Strategy: Make Followers Feel Special

by Karen Whiting @KarenHWhiting

I recently posted a cover reveal as a FB live. I have not posted the cover anywhere else yet, I wanted my FB followers to feel special and be the first to hear the news from me (it is on amazon if one knows the title of searches for my books). This is part of engage marketing where you interact with your readers and make them feel special. They should become special to you too as you interact. Growing a tribe focuses on growing friendships and making them feel you care about them. 

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Write What You Know x 2

by Beth Vogt @BethVogt

“It's better to write about things you feel than about things you know about.”
- L. P. Hartley (1895-1972), British novelist

Humorist Mark Twain said, “Write what you know.” 

And other writers have been debating his advice ever since. 

Does “write what you know” mean to base our stories on our practical life experience – education, occupation, travels? Or does “write what you know” mean to tune into our emotions and write from the overflow of our heart?

Friday, April 12, 2019

What is Flash Fiction?

Edie here. Today I'm so glad to introduce you to a friend of mine. Lindsey Brackett is a wonderful writer and her first novel, Still Waters, has garnered a lot of critical acclaim. Beyond that she's a talented editor and writes wonderful flash fiction. I invited her to share about Flash Fiction today and she's also provided a place for us to submit our own stories. Please give her a warm TWC welcome!

What is Flash Fiction?
by Lindsey P. Brackett @LindsBrac

When I first started teaching at writers’ conferences, I represented a company entirely devoted to the art of flash fiction. But before I began attending conferences, I didn’t even know flash fiction existed. Once I discovered it, though, working in this form of short fiction changed my writing—for the better.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Soul Care for Writers

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson 

Those who write have opened themselves to specific stresses. We pull from what’s inside us to create a gift. Our individual goals and dreams are as varied at the words we use. No matter why we write, I believe we each fight this battle to bring forth words to make the world a better place. We are hope givers, joy bringers, and light shiners. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Publishing as a Second Language – Defining Editing

by Linda Gilden @LindaGilden

It may surprise you to see “editing” listed as a term we need to know to understand publishing. After all, doesn’t everyone know that editing is simply the process of correcting, condensing, and polishing a manuscript in preparation for publication or other distribution?

The truth is there is nothing simple about the process of editing and that is why we need to take a closer look into exactly what that means.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Don't let Fear Paralyze Your Writing

by Cindy Sproles @CindyDevoted

I have a confession. It’s not the kind that involves a lie or something terrible, instead, it’s something frightening and it’s affecting my ability to write.

You might ask, what is so terrible that a writer can’t write? What’s so frightening that she can’t manage to enter her office? 

Monday, April 8, 2019

How To Craft An Introduction for Your Speaking Engagement, Part 1

by Yvonne Ortega @YvonneOrtega1

“I can’t speak for you this weekend, ma’am. I don’t have anything to say, and no one wants to hear me anyway.”

“Yvonne, you do have something to say, and we do want to hear you. I’ll see you tomorrow—on stage.” And she hung up.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Writing from the Desert

by Audrey Frank @AudreyCFrank

O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water (Psalm 63:1, When David was in the Desert of Judah).

Bump, roll…thump! Bump, roll…thump!


Saturday, April 6, 2019

What Would You Do If Writing Let You Onto The Big Stage

by Tim Suddeth @TimSuddeth

I’ve just finished Tim LaHaye’s Jesus. It’s a look back through history at why the world is still fascinated by the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. In the last chapter, he writes that while following Christ is a choice with eternal consequences, often the journey will be unpopular here on earth.

It got me thinking. (Don’t you hate that.)

Friday, April 5, 2019

Becoming a Middle of the Pack Writer

Edie here. I'm so thrilled to introduce you to my friend, Starr Ayers. Not only is she an excellent writer, she has a wonderful blog and is an amazing photographer. I know you're going to love her, so give her a warm TWC welcome!

Becoming a Middle of the Pack Writer
by Starr Ayers @StarrAyers2 

My memories of grade school are sketchy, but I do recall a first-grade writing assignment.  Our teacher passed out ruled sheets of handwriting paper and told us to print our names on the first line. How hard could it be, right? With a pencil as thick as my thumb and my tongue thrust between my teeth at just the right angle, I scrawled my name with broad, deliberate strokes on the top line of my paper. As my teacher ambled through the rows of students, she gave nods of approval―until she came to me. With a scowl, she eyed my name written on the first line of the top margin, instead of within the first two lines, and with a gruff reprimand gave my blonde bangs a quick yank. No wonder it’s taken me over two-thirds of my life to realize I’m a writer. If not for that early trauma, I’m convinced I’d be a New York Times bestselling author by now.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Waiting for the Right Time to Write

by Lynn Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

March of 2019 marks ten years since I began writing. I sat at a computer in our bonus room and the story in my head found its way onto a page. That book remains in a drawer, but that night was the beginning of all that has come since.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Tips for Tagging Dialogue

by Sarah Sally Hamer @SarahSallyHamer

Dialogue tags can be one of the most useful tools in your toolbox, or they can be completely wasted words, depending on how you use them. Putting just a little thought behind which tags you use can make all the difference in the world. A dialogue tag – also called an attribution – is a small phrase, which usually tells the reader WHO is speaking. But it can tell us so much more.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

After the Conference—How to Navigate a Writing Conference, Part 2

by PeggySue Wells @PeggySueWells

Wonder of wonders, miracles of miracles, you attended a writers conference and met with an editor about your project. 

At the end of your 15-minute meeting, the editor handed you his or her business card.
“Send me the proposal. I’d like to take a look at that.”

Monday, April 1, 2019

It's Time to Quit Social Media

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Yep you read that right. And even though it IS April Fool's Day, I'm only half kidding.

The Queen of social media is telling you it's time to QUIT social media. 

NOT permanently (thought you were going to get out of it, didn’t you!), but I'm suggesting you take a break periodically, and re-examine your plan.

I used to keep up with social every single day, whether I was home or traveling. But I’ve learned that I can’t sustain a reasonable social media schedule seven days a week, indefinitely. So I’ve given myself permission to have weekends off and to relax when I’m traveling.