Tuesday, August 31, 2021

A Writer's Stumbling Block—Expectations


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him (Psalm 62:5)

When I was young all I wanted to be was a writer. As a matter of fact, I actually wrote my first novel in eighth grade...long hand, with a purple-ink pen. But through the years, my dream of writing drifted farther and farther from the realm of reasonable possibilities, until I finally I gave up. 

Monday, August 30, 2021

Grow Your Social Media Presence AND Still Have Time to Write


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

I teach online and in person—a lot. In spite of the fact that I’m a card-carrying introvert, I love getting to share what I’ve learned about publishing and marketing with other writers. And I love teaching writers the value of social media. One of the things I get asked over and over again is, “How do you accomplish so much and still have time to write.”

This question always thrills me, because I have some tips that can truly make a difference in the person who’s asking. My tips aren’t difficult or expensive or even hard to implement. Many are ones I’ve developed over the years as I’ve tried to give myself more uninterrupted writing time. Others are ones I’ve learned from fellow authors. Today I’m going to share some of the best of them with you.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

How to Grow Your Story with a Word Tree


by Molly Jo Really @MollyJoRealy

Did you know word tree is a real thing? I didn’t.

But my subconscious must have. Because late one night last week, I saw it.

Halfway between wanting to write and needing to sleep, the concept of my story started to group itself together in ways I hadn’t imagined before.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Why Does the World Need Stories - Part 1


by Zena Dell Lowe @ZenaDellLowe

This last week I got a call from a friend of mine who felt trapped in an existential funk. She said she hadn’t been able to write anything over the summer, not because she was out of ideas, but because of everything that’s been happening in the world. 

She couldn’t reconcile how she was supposed to justify writing her little one woman show based on her own childhood struggles with her complicated mother which impeded her ability to find herself as an adult. And, by the way, you should know that it’s a delightful little piece. It’s funny, poignant, creative and insightful, and yet she hasn’t been able to finish it since, as she said, "What does it matter in light of what's happening in the world? It all just feels so meaningless and self-indulgent." 

Friday, August 27, 2021

Editors (and Dentists) Are Not the Enemy


by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

I’ve been a dental hygienist most of my life. For 37 years, to be exact. As a dental professional, I’ve heard every dental joke out there. Dental slurs find their way into books, articles, and conversation, and I try hard not to take offense.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

The Importance of a Listening Place for Writers


by Henry McLaughlin @RiverBendSagas

Every day our ears are bombarded with sound—traffic, radio, television, kids, work, school, church. Almost everything comes with sound. Many times, it becomes white noise. Something that’s always there, sounds we no longer distinguish as being music or voice. We adjust and adapt. Or we block it out.

But there are times when writers need solitude and silence. We need places where we can sit and listen. These places don’t happen by default. They are conscious, intentional decisions we need to make.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

How to Write a Character with Integrity


By DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Integrity applies to characters who value and practice honesty and strive in every way to practice strong moral and ethical principles. They are unwavering in a persistent quest to live their beliefs in public, with family and friends, and when no one is watching. When these characters fail, they learn from their mistakes and establish means to change their behavior. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Develop a Social Media Plan by Knowing Where You Are & Where You Want to Go


By Edie Melson @EdieMelson

When I teach social media, I encourage people to relax and not take on too much at once.So today I want to back up and start at the very beginning. Because social media can reach millions, it’s way too easy to think of it as mass marketing. In reality social media is about one-on-one relationships.

That is the beauty and the dichotomy of the medium. It can be overwhelming—this building relationships with millions—especially when our goal is writing, not advertising. Now the good news: social media is not as difficult as it seems.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Adverbs: Love 'em or Leave 'em?


by Ane Mulligan @AneMulligan

This post is aimed at new writers, although we can all use a refresher now and again. In a Facebook group (Avid Readers of Christian Fiction) an author asked readers if they notice adverbs being used. The answers varied, but a few readers said they felt like they were being told what to see in the story. They didn't experience it when the author used too many adverbs. 

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Curiosity and Passion: The Writer’s Friends


by Craig von Buseck @CraigVonBuseck

As a writer of history and biography, I have found two essential keys to writing success – curiosity and passion. These two tools come into play from the choosing of a project until the submission to an editor or publisher.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

The Name of Your Call to Write


by Emme Gannon @GannonEmme

A name is a precious gift, an identifying word that should bring a symphonic sound to your ears each time it is spoken. Your name is a word filled with the essence of who you are. You are the name by which you are addressed. We often couple our name with what we do. Your name, then author, or writer. Both names need to be part of the image we have of ourselves. However, that is not always the case.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Three Writers and a Waitress


by Crystal Bowman

For most careers you can earn a degree, complete an internship, or acquire a certification. Not so for writers. We can attend writers conferences and take some online courses, but basically, we need to figure things out on our own—with the help of other writers. So when my author friend Ava Pennigton asked me to join her for lunch, I said yes. 

Thursday, August 19, 2021

The Difference Between an Em Dash, an En Dash & a Hyphen


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

WARNING! Grammar nerd content ahead.

Today I'm sharing the answer to one of my personal pet peeves—the incorrect use of punctuation. But instead of a rant, I'm going to equip you to do this correctly!

I run into this issue with writers all the time—even with experienced writers. So today I’m going to give you the grammar short course and you’ll be an expert on the differences and know the best choice for every writing situation. 

You may ask why it matters, but the fact is we want to be accurate when we communicate through the written word. And each of these punctuation marks carries a different meaning. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Three Ways For Writers to Love Their Readers


by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

Writers must love their readers.

I think about my friends who have chronic illness and admire their trust in God and commitment to doing ministry. I think about how they can give and give, when they need to receive and receive God’s help and healing. What drives them to keep at it, holding onto hope and helping others? I would say it’s love.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

What to Do When a Writer Needs Rest


by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

A whole week in a cottage by the sea. Sounds like a perfect time to write, doesn’t it?
            
Or not.

Maybe it’s a perfect opportunity to actually Do Nothing. To rest. To walk. To be silent. To listen. To remember.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Marketing Tools Writers Should Make the Most Of


by Karen Whiting @KarenHWhiting

You’ll get the most out of any promotional tool by using it, reusing it, modifying it, and applying the tool in different ways. Making the most of marketing means being pray-pared, prepared, and practiced.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

How to Write When You’re Hurting


By Tammy Karasek @TickledPinkTam

As writers, we sling words around like the farmer pitchforks hay into a feed trough—plentiful and all over. 

Sometimes our words are elusive though. Try as we might, they won’t come no matter what we do. We sit and stare at the taunting cursor and the words don’t appear on the screen, or in our minds. I’m thinking many of you are shaking your heads in agreement at this point. The word slump could be from tiredness, a state of overwhelm, sadness or a long list of other reasons.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

As Writers, Let’s not be Sore Losers


by Beth K. Vogt @BethVogt

The 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics ended eight days ago. I tuned in for the opening ceremony, as well as gymnastics, sculling, fencing, archery, swimming—a plethora of events. I loved the athletes’ stories most of all.

There is one story I’m still mulling over—and no, it’s not gymnast Simone Biles’ decision to withdraw from competition and how she highlighted athletes’ mental health. 

Ben Whittaker, a British boxer, was so upset about winning a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics, he refused to wear his medal and cried on the podium. He collected his medal and stuffed it in his pocket, taking it out briefly for photos, but still refused to wear it. 

When the BBC asked him why he was upset, he said, “You don’t win silver. You lose gold. I’m very disappointed. I feel like a failure.” 

Winning a silver medal at the Olympics is failing? For this man, yes, yes, it is.

Perspective is everything, my friends.

I can’t engage Whittaker in a conversation, so let’s talk about us today. How do we receive those less-than-we’d-hoped-for moments in our writing lives?

I’ll go first.

There have been a few occasions when I was focused on that first-place finish above all else. When I didn’t achieve it, I wasn’t immediately thankful being “just” a finalist in a contest. Or for coming in second. Or third. 

You know what that’s called?

Being a sore loser.

Ouch.

That attitude? It’s also being ungrateful for what I did receive—being blind to what I was given. Nothing is guaranteed in this publishing journey. Nothing. The numbers of readers who follow us. Our first—or next—contract. Awards. Sales. 

None of it.

The only thing we can guarantee is how we respond to the lows and highs we encounter along the way. 

We choose whether we view ourselves as losers—like the Olympian who won a silver medal did—or whether we see ourselves as winners. Whether we celebrate our victories—large, small, and miniscule. 

Feeling like a failure? That doesn’t mean you are one. 

If I could have talked to Whittaker, I would have told him to stop crying. To lift his head. To pull the silver medal out of his pocket and wear it because he earned silver—he didn’t lose gold. 

What would you have told him?

TWEETABLE

Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” Having authored nine contemporary romance novels and novellas, The Best We’ve Been, the final book in Beth’s Thatcher Sisters Series with Tyndale House Publishers, releasers May 2020. Other books in the women’s fiction series include Things I Never Told You, which won the 2019 AWSA Award for Contemporary Novel of the Year, and Moments We Forget. Beth is a 2016 Christy Award winner, a 2016 ACFW Carol Award winner, and a 2015 RITA® finalist. An established magazine writer and former editor of the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth blogs for Learn How to Write a Novel and The Write Conversation and also enjoys speaking to writers group and mentoring other writers. Visit Beth at bethvogt.com.

Friday, August 13, 2021

The Ministry of a Book Launch


by Joshua J. Masters @JoshuaJMasters

I welcomed the typical author concoction of excitement and uncertainty in the depths of my spirit as I hovered over the send button. With a click of the mouse, the first email went out announcing an invitation to join the launch team for my new book, A Faith Unleashed: Living in the Hope of God’s Rescue.

The message described the true story of a rescue dog’s journey from isolated brokenness to joyful belonging and how it mirrors our own spiritual path, teaching us to a pursue a healing relationship with the One who brings true rescue. Throw in a cute dog on the cover and who wouldn’t stumble over themselves to be part of that launch team? 

Thursday, August 12, 2021

ABC’s of Newspaper Writing, part two


by Julie Lavender @JLavenderWrites

In a recent column, I shared an alphabet-list of newspaper writing jargon in hopes of enticing you to consider newspaper writing as a viable way of adding valuable credits to your writing portfolio. (You’ll find that article here https://thewriteconversation.blogspot.com/2021/06/the-abcs-of-newspaper-writing-part-one.html#more.)

Newspaper contributions offer many benefits to a writer, like gaining those much-needed clips to share with an editor, publisher, or agent as proof of published works; practicing the concept of writing tight; meeting editor’s deadlines; crafting a ‘story,’ whether fiction or non-fiction, and much more.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Publishing as a Second Language: Front Matter and Back Matter—Does It Really Matter?


by Linda Gilden @LindaGilden

Once you finish the body of your manuscript, it’s time to add the extras. Most books will include endorsements, acknowledgements, dedication, table of contents, bio of the author or authors, previous books by the same author or authors, a Q & A with the author, a chapter of the next book. Some people include a preface, prologue, or forward. It is not necessary to have all of these, but they are all possibilities. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Tips to Set Your Own Publishing Pace


by Cindy K. Sproles @CindyDevoted

Once the manuscript is complete. It’s been shopped. Sold and awaits publication. You can lean back and take a breath. Or can you? What’s next? In this post, we’re going to discuss some hard things for you to hear, but I want you to learn the truth and not live on assumptions.

Writing is a difficult business. Like acting and singing, sometimes it’s just being in the right place at the right time (hence, why conferences and networking are so important.) New writers tend to fall into the “romance of writing” without seeing the “work of writing.” 

This leads to discouragement or, even quitting. It is with great love and a burning desire for you to succeed, that we launch headlong into some heart-to-heart information.

Monday, August 9, 2021

Speaking Tips for Writers: Meet Patricia A. Durgin


by Yvonne Ortega @YvonneOrtega1

If you’re a writer, you'll want to meet Patricia A. Durgin. She delivers speaking tips for communicators with personality, power, and purpose.

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Searching for Guilt


by Martin Wiles @LinesFromGod

“In those days, at that time,” declares the Lord, “search will be made for Israel’s guilt, but there will be none, and for the sins of Judah, but none will be found.” Jeremiah 50:20 NIV

I once searched for snakes…poisonous ones. 

Saturday, August 7, 2021

How Do I Pick the Right Writing Advice?


by Tim Suddeth @TimSuddeth

Where do you go when you want writing advice? No, your mama won’t work.

Whether it’s for advice on the craft of writing, the business side of getting published, or just finding out where to begin, do you know who to listen to?

Friday, August 6, 2021

Run Your Own Writing Race


by A.C. Williams @ACW_Author

Anybody else been watching the Olympics over the past few weeks? I sure have. I have marveled at the sheer physicality of these extraordinarily talented and dedicated athletes while I nosh on low-fat popcorn from the relative comfort of my couch and hum the Olympic theme on commercial breaks.

Aren’t the runners amazing? Those people are otherworldly in their grace and speed. They make running look effortless. Running is something I don’t do. Ever. The zombies can have me, and the rest of you can escape. I ain’t running.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Do You Participate in Writing Sprints?


by Lynn H. Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

I love the Olympics. 

I like sports. I watch football and baseball and basketball all the time. But during the Olympics, I find myself watching all kinds of random sports that I know nothing about. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Tips on Writing in Active Voice


by Sarah Sally Hamer @SarahSallyHamer

Was. One of the banes of my existence! I love that word and use it all the time. As I write the first draft, my character is always “was thinking” or “was running” or “was excited”. 

Boring and passive, right? The character may be excited but the reader won’t be. 

So, after my first burst of creativity when the words flow from my fingertips, I hitch up my big girl panties and do a “search and destroy” (also known as “find and replace”) on my document and remove almost all of those cherished wases. And weres. And should bes.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Can You Find The Three Story Essentials?


by PeggySue Wells @PeggySueWells

As writers we learn by studying the work of masters, considering the projects of artists ahead of us in the journey, and observing the ideas of creatives. In his inspiring book, Steal Like An Artist, Austin Kleon notes that pretty much all art is inspired by others. 

Compelling stories have three essential ingredients. In How To Create Characters Your Reader Cares About we identified these essentials as

Monday, August 2, 2021

15 Tips to Help You Find Time to Write


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

I think one of the biggest obstacles writers face is finding the time to write. It's a common myth to think that time just magically appears.

Truthfully, we never FIND time to write, we have to carve out time to write. 

That’s what separates the wanna-be from the professional.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Writing Lessons from a Camera


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson 

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

When hubby and I go hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains and I always bring my camera. And I usually take a LOT of pictures. But I never know exactly what I'm going to end up with when I get home and see the pictures on my computer screen. They rarely turn out as I expect. Sometimes they're better and sometimes they're a disappointment.