Sunday, October 2, 2022

Lessons the Headless Horseman Can Teach Us about Faith


 by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable—who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9

Now that fall is fully upon us, everywhere we look evidence of the season jumps out at us. The trees have donned their colorful best and pumpkins are sprouting grins on every front porch. Halloween candy is littering the aisles at grocery store and kiddos are planning costumes. Along with this, some classics have also come back to haunt us—from It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown to The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Four Seasons of a Writer


by Tim Suddeth @TimSuddeth

Ah, fall is here. I love fall. The cooler temperatures. The change from a monochromatic green to a Crayola-box color scheme of leaves. And the harvest festivals. I love it all.

But I must admit, if you ask me which is my favorite season, I couldn’t pick just one. I love them all. Especially in the sequence in which they come.

You need the heat of the summer to prepare yourself or the fall. And then the fall, the ever-shortening days and cooler temperatures, sort of scoots you into winter. And after the freezing weather, the brief daylight hours, and the dead-looking trees, spring pops up as a joyous treat. How can so many leaves appear on a tree overnight? Then spring matures into summer. The circle of life.

When I thought about using the four seasons as an example for writing, I had to pause. Because, for all of us writers, writing doesn’t progress from one to the other in the same order.

Friday, September 30, 2022

Ripples and Results: The Value in Updating Your Online Presence


by Yvonne Ortega @YvonneOrtega1

Have you ever changed one small item on your bio and then felt shocked at what else you needed to update? Simple changes had a ripple effect on my upcoming interactive workshop.

On Writer’s Chat, sponsored by Serious Writer, Inc., I noticed promotion of our next guest, author Edie Melson, to teach on writing an author bio. Since Edie is an expert on this topic, I squeezed that session into my workday. I didn’t think I would have much to update on mine. After all, I had several headshots and my bio done in the past couple of years.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

OTHER Valuable Reasons for Following Writing and Publishing Rules


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Any of you who know me are well aware of the fact that I’m a rule follower. But what may surprise you is the fact that following rules isn’t my natural inclination. At heart I’m a rebel and proud of it. But I learned—often times the hard way—that there is also great value being a rule follower. 

I need to confess that in my early days as a writer my rebel nature led me to make some serious mistakes. I really thought I knew best and believed that the rules were for other people. I’m not sharing this because I’m proud of that attitude. I’m sharing because I want others to learn from my mistakes. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

How Libraries Help Authors Reach Readers


by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Libraries are in the business of ensuring their patrons have plenty of reading, viewing, and listening choices. They keep their scopes up for the latest and greatest media items to fill their shelves. Every genre is represented, which means a win-win relationship for writers. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Dipping the Quill Deeper: When God Speaks


by Eva Marie Everson

Years ago, while at a small writers conference—and by small, I mean there were twelve of us along with one leader and his wife—I heard for the first time words penned by Frederick Buechner in his book The Sacred Journey. The words were few, but powerful, so much so that I asked our leader if I could take a picture of the page he’d read from.

Within a week of returning home, I had ordered a copy of the book, originally published in 1982, which doesn’t seem that long ago until I think about it. After it arrived, its cover having been only slightly abused, its pages yellowed, I sat at my desk, pencil in hand, and began to read.

Monday, September 26, 2022

How to Use an Actor's Tool to Write More Compelling Characters


by Ane Mulligan @AneMulligan

An actor gets into character by slipping inside skin—or head if you will of their role. It’s a mental exercise to shelve your own thoughts, feeling, reactions, etc. to become the character. 

It’s much the same in writing. We, the author, must climb inside our POV character’s head and write what she or he sees without telling the reader she saw it. 

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Blogging Doesn't Have to Be Scary: How to Overcome These 8 Common Blogging Fears


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

It's almost October and in honor of Halloween, I just couldn't resist a tongue-in-cheek post about the scarier parts of blogging. After spending the year traveling and teaching writers about blogging, I have heard about every fear—heck, I’ve suffered from most of them. So today we’re going to look at some common fears about blogging and how to overcome them!

Remember, none of us is born knowing how to do this stuff. So let's find a way to combat our phobias together!

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Radically Transform Your Character’s Arc with These Five Key Character Flaw Insights


by Zena Dell Lowe @ZenaDellLowe

A few weeks ago, a writer friend of mine reached out to me about an issue he was having in terms of the character arc. Every good writer knows that a fundamental principal of good storytelling requires the inner transformation of the main character over the course of the story. By the end of the telling, the main character is not supposed to be who he was at the beginning. By the time the story ends, we expect that character to have fundamentally changed. 

Friday, September 23, 2022

Maximize Your Amazon Reviews with These Eight Book Launch Tips


by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

Authors knows it’s important to gather a tribe of book reviewers to help launch a book. Reviews help attract attention, give a book credibility, and help potential readers decide to buy your book. 

Thursday, September 22, 2022

The Best Things About Being a Writer


by Henry Mclaughlin @RiverBendSagas

In my last blog, I wrote about reassessing where we are in our life journey in These Priorities in Our Lives Make Us Better Writers.

When we consider our writing life, it’s easy to focus on the negative things, the hard things. As I reassessed, I also thought of the good things about being a writer. Thus, the catchy title to this blog.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Lead Your Readers Deeper into God's Word When You Ask this One Insightful Question


by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

What question can we ask about any passage in the Bible so we can learn from it? What question would apply to both the Bible’s stories and its promises? What could we ask about Psalms and Proverbs that we could also ask about the books written by the prophets? What question would fit both Romans and Revelation?

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Writer's Block Happens, Here are 5 Strategies to Keep Writing


by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

Back in 1993, just after being named “Writer of the Year” at the Mount Hermon Writers Conference in California, I contracted for my first solo book. My proposal had been accepted and I was so excited to put together all I had been learning about God’s amazing grace – the gift we don’t deserve and can never earn. 

Unfortunately, when I returned home to New England, I faced a blank page in my computer.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Connect with Readers Through These Follow-Up Strategies for Writing and Marketing Success (Part 1)


by Karen Whiting @KarenHWhiting

In the sales world and probably many other areas, 80% of opportunities are lost due to lack of follow up. The writing industry is very relationship based, so it’s vital to cultivate connections. 

We meet people in all sorts of places. They can be potential readers, connectors, or industry professionals. On a plane trip recently, I met a Christian woman who loves reading. I gave her names of authors she might enjoy. Then she shared some difficulties, and I realized I had a book from a friend in my bag. I gave it to her. She emailed when she got home to thank me, and we agreed to pray for one another. That’s a new connection that could blossom into a friendship, or even a fan.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Even Writers Need to Play—Join in on the ABCs of Writing


by Tammy Karasek @TickledPinkTam

I don’t know how your year has gone, but my year has been rather testing on many levels. The summer brought us a new degree of on our knees praying. A lot. With that, I’ve lost a lot of time to write, which in turn has me pretty down. 

I’ve struggled with writing and all the doubts and questions have risen to a bubbling point. But I’m generally a positive person—and definitely one who loves to giggle as much as possible—so I thought I’d give us something to get any of us writers out there with drooping chins something to have fun with. 

Let’s have some fun and play “The ABCs of Writing.” I enjoyed trying this as I prepared this post, but I know you all can add to my list. For each letter of the alphabet, share a word in the comments below that is writing and writing industry related. See how many more you can add, and maybe we might find ourselves having to do a little research on some words we’ve not come across in our writing journey yet. 

Play the ABCs of Writing

A – agents, archetype, antagonist, acquisitions, alliteration.

B – brainstorming, bylines, bios, blogging, beats.

C – caffeine, chocolate, coaching, connections, critiques, conferences.

D – deadlines, deleting, dictionary.

E – editors, edits, engagement, editing, eBook.

F – friendship, fiction, flash-fiction

G – genre, galleys.

H – hybrid, historical.

I – Independent.

J – Jargon, journal.

K – keywords.

L – learn, lingo. 

M – manuscript, metaphor.

N – nonfiction, novel, novella.

O – online, outline.

P – premise, publishing, platform, protagonist, plot, POV, punster, proposals.

Q – query, questions, quantifiers.

R – romance, reading.

S – synopsis, suspense, subplot, speculative.

T – thesaurus, togs, trope, theme.

U – update, understatement.

V – value-added, voice, vocabulary.

W – writing, write, writer.

X – Xenophanic (for real writing term!).

Y – YOU (only YOU can answer YOUR calling to write YOUR story).

Z – Zoom!, Zzzzs (need your rest), Zeugma (look it up!).

Those are some I have come up with. What else would you add to the list? 

TWEETABLE

Tammy Karasek uses humor and wit to bring joy and hope to every aspect in life. Her past, filled with bullying and criticism from family, drives her passion to encourage and inspire others and give them The Reason to smile. She’s gone from down and defeated to living a “Tickled Pink” life as she believes there’s always a giggle wanting to come out! 

She’s the Social Media Manager for the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, Founding President and current Vice-President of ACFW Upstate SC, Founding President of Word Weavers Upstate SC. She’s a writing team member for The Write Conversation Blog, Novel Academy, and MBT Monday Devotions and others. Her work was published in a Divine Moments Compilation Book—Cool-inary Moments. When not writing Women’s Fiction and Rom-Com, she’s The Launch Team Geek helping authors launch their books and a Virtual Assistant for authors.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

How to Reactivate A Dormant Email List and Reconnect with Readers


by Patricia Durgin @PatriciaDurgin

You never thought it would happen to you. One minute, you were ecstatic to hear that special “bing!” that a new reader signed up for your email list. Hooray! The next minute (or so it seemed), months passed since your last email. That email list has gone silent. Dormant. Almost dead. (An e-mail “list” is a collection of names and email addresses of readers interested in a specific topic within your message.)

Friday, September 16, 2022

The Writer's Life: How Waiting to Be Picked for a Team at Recess Prepared Us


by Crystal Bowman

Pick Me!

Most of us can remember standing in a group of kids on the playground as the two best baseball players chose kids to be on their teams. I remember my heart pounding, my stomach churning, and my self-esteem hanging on the line as I waited to be chosen for the game at recess. Once I was chosen first, and one time I was chosen last. Most of the time I was somewhere in the middle.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Techniques to Improve Your Book’s Amazon Rank


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

Would you like to be an award-winning, bestselling author who sells over 500 books a month? To achieve this goal, you need a multi-faceted approach to book marketing. It is not one specific technique that causes a book to sell well. In this article we will review the strategies used to get one of my book’s overall Amazon rank to 4,400 out of 6,000,000 books. That ranking is better than 99.9 percent of Amazon books. A snowball effect occurred as layers of techniques were utilized to improve book sales and Amazon ranking.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Why Editing is So Important for Writers Who Want to Continue to Improve


by Linda Gilden @LindaGilden

One of the best bits of advice a new writer can follow is to have their projects professionally edited, especially in the early days of writing. Turning in your first manuscript is an exciting moment. But even more exciting is to have your editor respond with, “Your writing is so clean (that means few mistakes).

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Improve Your Writing: Choose to Edit Until It Hurts


by Cindy K. Sproles @CindyDevoted

Statistics show nearly half the marriages performed in our nation today, end in divorce. It’s enough to divorce a person but who would ever divorce their words?

Part of the learning curve in writing is learning to divorce your words. This is especially difficult for new writers for two reasons:

Monday, September 12, 2022

Social Media Basics for Writers: Deal with Unrealistic Expectations


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

“I’m not getting any traction with social media,” is one of the complaints I hear a lot as I travel and teach writers how to connect.

There are a lot of reasons people feel this way, a few are legit, but most are just unreasonable expectations. Today I’m going to address the unrealistic exception for social media that many have. 

Sunday, September 11, 2022

God's Hope is the Foundation for Writers When World is Falling Apart


by Martin Wiles @LinesFromGod

The news and I have a love-hate relationship. I love to know what’s taking place locally, nationally, and worldwide—but at the same time, I often hate to know what’s going on. 

As Andy Taylor of the Andy Griffith show once said when reading the town newspaper: “Bad news everywhere.” The news always seems to be bad. In fact, we might find it odd when newscasters occasionally include something uplifting in their reports. 

Currently on the list: COVID still runs rampant, even though we don’t hear as much about it. The President of the United States recently recovered from COVID, and soon after our first lady battled it. Monkeypox continues to spread. The war in Ukraine continues. Mass shootings are a regular occurrence. Inflation is on the rise. Airline flights experience high cancelation rates. Almost every business is short-staffed. Temperatures are rising, reflecting the effects of global warming. Drought conditions assault vast swaths of the United States. Criminals continue to ambush law enforcement officers. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. (Now I’m really depressed.)

I don’t have any trouble concurring with what the psalmist said and asked: “The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do” (Psalm 11:3 NLT)? And what can a righteous writer do? 

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Why We Shouldn't View Other Writers as Competition


by Beth K. Vogt @BethVogt

I’ve learned a lot of different things since I published my first novel back in 2012. Things like:
  • How to write a synopsis in all its various forms—one paragraph, one page, three pages or more.
  • How to write an author bio—25 words, 50 words, 100 words or more. 
  • How to brainstorm book titles and back cover copy and press releases and more. 

There’s one thing I wish I’d learned earlier in this writing journey, and it’s summed up in this quote: “Other authors aren’t your competition—they are your teammates.” Jenn Hanson-dePaula, co-founder of Mixtus Media 

Friday, September 9, 2022

How to Keep Your Heart in Your Writing


by MaryAnn Diorio @DrMaryAnnDiorio

Heart. How would you describe it? Emotion? Feeling? That special something that touches the deepest part of you?

One Internet dictionary defines heart as "the central or innermost part of something." The heart is the core that gives something life, around which everything else grows, and from which everything else flows. Without the heart, there would be no life.

When it comes to writing, heart is what gives your writing life. Heart is that special something in your words that stirs your readers, moves them to tears—or to action. Heart is what makes your readers keep turning pages and keep buying your books.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Stay Connected to God On the Writing Journey


by Julie Lavender @JLavenderWrites

The Problem
When I called to report a problem with my email, the responder from my internet service provider company said, “Well, I see here that your router is ancient. Maybe that’s the problem.” 

Ancient? I thought I’d only had that one for about three years now. And, I wondered why I’d not been informed that it was past its prime, since I leased the router from them anyway. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

The Influence of Writers on the World


by Sarah Sally Hamer @SarahSallyHamer

I believe that we, as writers, have a large amount of influence in this world. We tell our stories, whether big or small, and people of all ages have the opportunity to use them as guidelines in their own lives. I know that some of my own ways of dealing with things—love, family, despair—come from the books I’ve read over my lifetime. Of course, I have received my personal values from other places, but stories of other people have helped me to find ways to deal with everyday emotions and troubles. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Surprise Shock and Delight Your Reader


by PeggySue Wells @PeggySueWells

Readers like to be surprised. Characters that remain in our memories long after the story is complete often are the ones who in some way shocked, surprised, and delighted the reader. 

In a romp of storytelling, the characters in Fool’s Gold rapidly shift from enemies to partners to competitors to team players. The feature film starring Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson, is loosely based on the true story of treasure hunter Mel Fisher’s discovery of the 1622 wreck of the Nuestra Senora de Atocha. The fun surprise is how character alliances break and form as new information comes to light, and in reaction to choices others make. Rather than casting characters into the customary roles of good guys versus bad guys, the writers rotate characters in and out of these places.

Monday, September 5, 2022

Get Your Blog Found and Connect with Your Audience by Using These Basic 26 Blogging Tips


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Blogging is a great way to connect with your readers, build your platform and hone your writing skills. But like anything valuable, it takes effort to learn to do it effectively. Today I wanted to find a fun way to share some blogging basics. 

Sunday, September 4, 2022

A Prayer for Your Writing Dream & Against Discouragement


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10 NIV)

Dear Lord, You have put a dream in the heart of every person reading this. This dream is such a fragile thing. But is it really? In truth, with its roots resting in You, it’s one of the strongest things we have. Lead us places to help this well-rooted dream grow. Keep us from yanking it out from the root when we are frustrated and don’t think things are moving the way they should or as quickly as they should. 

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Writing Tips from Mister Rogers


by Tim Suddeth @TimSuddeth

Whether watching it as a child or with our grandchildren, many of us are familiar with the Mister Rogers Neighborhood show on PBS. Fred Rogers began the show in 1968 and it ran to 2001. It’s been shown in reruns ever since. Mr. Rogers, after changing into his comfy sweater and slippers, welcomed us into his home and his neighbor every morning. 

Friday, September 2, 2022

Writing an Un-Put-Downable Character (Part 8 of 10): Dreams


by A.C. Williams @ACW_Author

What do you want?

Seriously. I’m asking. What do you want? Because we all want something. Right now, I want fajitas. That’s not an exorbitant dream, but it’s a dream. 

It is a normal, natural state of being for a person to want something they do not currently have. Having dreams is part of being human. You have them, and so your characters need to have them as well. That’s what we’re talking about this time: DREAMS. 

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Best Writing Advice Ever: Write What You WANT to Know


by Lynn H. Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

We’ve all heard the classic writing advice to “write what you know.” 

And it makes sense for some things. If you know a lot about horticulture, it follows that you would write about plants and not about something else, like space exploration.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Use These Simple Steps to Create Your Best Writer's Bio


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Most writers struggle with writing a bio. And yet we all need one

I hate doing it. It feels either like I'm talking about how great I am or that I'm so uninteresting no one will want to engage. But it's like learning how to use a computer, word program or the Internet. It's something we all have to do and do well. 

It doesn't matter whether you're multi-published, just starting out or working as a freelance writer. Every writer needs a bio. And just like writing a query letter, a proposal, or a synopsis—writing a bio is something almost every writer struggles with. So today I'm going to share some simple steps to help you create your best writer's bio.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

How a Writer Can Resolve a Software Issue and Meet a Deadline


by Yvonne Ortega @YvonneOrtega1

I sat at my laptop to work on a PowerPoint presentation for a speaking engagement, but the software program wouldn’t open. Too early in the morning for me to function. I’ll have to type the password again. I typed it a second and a third time to no avail. That program I bought wouldn’t let me in.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Reach Your Blog Readers by Learning to Use Hashtags, Titles, and Images Correctly


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

A little teaching moment... 

With the chaos of social media, and the strict guidelines now in place with email, our digital connections have gotten more complicated. But one thing hasn’t change—the ability to be found through an organic search. 

Sunday, August 28, 2022

What to Do When You Don’t Feel Like Writing


by Dr. Craig von Buseck @CraigVonBuseck

It happens to all of us. For whatever reason, we don’t feel like writing. There are times when we are stretched, or stressed, or exhausted and then this feeling overtakes us. As a WRITER, I almost always want to write. So when I don’t feel like writing, I know there is something wrong. When this weariness overtakes me, I want to do what I need to do to push past the blockage and get back to writing—whenever it is healthy to do so.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

The Number One Tool to Help Writers Create 3-Dimensional Characters in Story


by Zena Dell Lowe @ZenaDellLowe

We hear it all the time. “Characters need to be three-dimensional.” But this exhortation can feel vague and confusing when it comes to story execution. What we need are specific action steps or concrete story principles to help us accomplish these things. 

Friday, August 26, 2022

Learn These 10 Secrets of Being a Successful Writer


by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

Ever wonder what makes some writers successful? 

Is there a secret sauce? A magic mouthwash or a particular brand of computer? A pen that writes so smoothly that words pour out of its tip unfettered and lovely?

I’ve probably attended twenty writers conferences in my ten years of professional writing. When I wasn’t learning, teaching, or networking, I watched and listened. From my observations I’ve compiled a list of ten secrets successful writers share—and, sorry all you Mac fans—they have nothing to do with owning a particular brand of computer.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

These Priorities in Our Lives Make Us Better Writers


by Henry McLaughlin @RiverBendSagas

I’ve been doing a lot of contemplating and pondering lately. About my writing. About life. About God. About making changes. Not really at a crossroads, but definitely a time of reassessment.

Why? What’s the point?

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

So, You Want to be a Successful Writer


by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Writers have all experienced the moment when the urge to write couldn’t be ignored. Some of us were young, and some of us faced the inevitable at an older age. Our minds threatened to explode if we didn’t put our thoughts on paper. We might not have had knowledge of the craft, or we didn’t know where our skills lacked. But it didn’t matter. We embraced a passion for the art of writing, and despite any obstacles, we were determined to be successful. And so can you.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Dipping the Quill Deeper; The Best Hours for Writing

Edie here. I cannot resist drawing attention to Eva Marie Everson's latest book, The Third Path: Finding Intimacy with God on the Path of Questioning. I had the honor of endorsing this book and I'm telling you it's destined to become a classic for those who write (and for everyone else as well). RUN, don't walk, to add this book to your library!!! I'm posting more about the book at the bottom of this post.


Dipping the Quill Deeper: The Best Hours for Writing
by Eva Marie Everson

“When do you do your best writing?” someone asked me.

I don’t mean a particular “someone.” I am asked this question at nearly every gathering of writers, whether by profession or hobby. I was asked this question several times recently at the biannual Christian Product Expo held in Lexington, Kentucky

When do you do your best writing . . .? 

Monday, August 22, 2022

Give Your Readers a Deeper Connection with the Characters You Write Through the Q Factor


by Ane Mulligan @AneMulligan

I learned about the Q Factor from James Scott Bell several years ago at the BRMCWC. He’s given me permission to share it. 

So what is the Q Factor for Writers? 

It’s a great tool that comes from Dr. Q, in the James Bond movies. He’s the one who gives Bond his gadgets, so during the crucial scene where Bond is dangling by his ankles over a school of piranha, he manages to get his thumb on a cufflink. That cufflink turns into a small, rotating saw, which he uses to cut through the restraints on his hands and legs. He then reaches into his jacket pocket and pulls out a fountain pen. The pen holds a compressed nitrogen charge and shoots a small grappling hook and line across the piranha pond, enabling Bond to swing to safety on the other side of the pool.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

When Writing Gets Hard, Sometimes We Just Need to Change Our Mindset


by Tammy Karasek @TickledPinkTam

As writers, we face many issues that trip us up and then we fail to sit and write. Reasons or excuses are as varied as the writer themselves. Here are a couple I’ve heard or might have said (ahem), I have writer’s block, I can’t write my computer is acting up, or why should I sit here and write nobody wants to read it anyway? 

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Returning to the Source: Where to Find Peace in the Midst of Writer's Block


by Emme Gannon @GannonEmme

Nothing was working. I’d paced, took a long walk, sat in the garden and daydreamed, even succumbed to a soothing cup of tea. Words still eluded me. Fear leaped into my heart and I wondered if this was it. Had my writing finally dried up and my years of weaving words into stories come to an end? A drab end, to be sure. Never accomplishing all I had dreamed of, hoped for, or imagined. 

Friday, August 19, 2022

How to Incorporate Our Personal Stories in Our Writing


by Crystal Bowman 

When I meet with people at writer’s conferences, I find that many attend because they have a personal story to tell and are not sure how to go about getting it published. Their story is important to them, and they want to share it with others. Some hope their story will encourage others who can relate to their experience. Some want to share their story to show how God did something amazing in their life, while others believe their story will put a smile on someone’s face.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

How to Create Amazon Ads to Become an Amazon Bestseller


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

Would you like to attain higher book sales? You can by creating sponsored Amazon ads, so your book shows up in the top of the feed when a buyer is searching for a topic similar to what is included in your book. It can feel daunting to learn the Amazon ad system and create your first ad. This article will teach you how to set up sponsored Amazon ads for both traditionally published and self-published authors. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Five Reasons Deleting Words Can Bring a Writer Peace Instead of Anxiety


by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

It can be hard to let go of my words. I get attached. Do you?

One of the hardest things about editing our writing is deleting sentences, paragraphs, and even whole pages. It’s not easy to string words and ideas together, so why go through the anxiety of having to delete some? 

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Tips for Writers to Begin a New Project Successfully


by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

How exciting! You have just received an assignment to contribute a devotion to a compilation book. Or perhaps it’s time to set up a new blog series. Maybe a local church has invited you to speak at their Fall Women’s Kickoff event.


What happens next? Where do you begin to prepare and how do you follow through?

General Ways to Approach a New Writing or Speaking Project

1. IDEA

Every new project begins with an idea; either from yourself or as an assignment from someone else. What is your idea for this project? Maybe God has been reminding you that the encroaching fall is a good time to start fresh on some goals, so you want to prepare a presentation that encourages young mamas how to navigate the next season. Or at that recent writers’ conference you agreed to write a devotional on how to overcome an obstacle in life, only now it is due in one month. Maybe you took a break from blogging in August and you must get those 500 words down in order to post next week. Whatever your idea or assignment, take it to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to guide your steps along the way.

2. TAKEAWAY

Before you write a word, ask yourself this question “When my audience/readers finish, what do I most want them to feel, to decide, to do as a result of my words?” That is called the takeaway or goal of your work. And if you determine the goal even before you write it, you can intentionally include what it takes to get your audience/readers from one place to another. Often our projects include several elements to accomplish a desired takeaway. We might want to inspire, challenge, teach, and even entertain them along the way. God can use many tools to accomplish His purposes. Once you have decided what’s most important, then you must come up with material to offer the catalyst for change. Say, because I want those young mamas just now sending their kids back to school in the Fall, to be able to find better balance in their lives, I might actually include some interactive questions, some fill-in-the-blank charts, plus lots of fun personal stories as I speak to them at their Fall kickoff. Remember, everything we write/speak must be value added to the listener/reader.

3. BREAK IT DOWN

Remember how your high school English teacher taught you do compose outlines? If you’re like me, you wondered if you would ever use that skill in life. Guess what? I use it almost every day – certainly in every writing project. When you look at your whole project, from that hook of a beginning to that satisfying closure, an outline helps you to break it down into parts. Bite sized chunks that can be accomplished step by step. You might want to use a very simple generic outline such as 1. Opening 2. Theme (tell them what you are going to say or address) 3. Statistic on why this is a felt need. 3. Biblical teaching on addressing this need 4. Personal anecdote that ties in God’s Word with your ordinary life 5. Wrap up (tell them what you said) 6. Closing and Challenge. Underneath each section, break it down to actual words, concepts, stories, quotes, questions, etc. Believe me, this works. “Inch by inch, it’s a cinch!”

4. BIRD BY BIRD

Back when author Anne Lamott was a girl, her older brother had put off writing a school report on birds until the night before it was due. He was panicked until his father came to him and suggested “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.” Anne uses this story in her writing book “Bird by Bird” to say that “Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.” Friend, just start! Bit by bit (bird by bird) begin to tell your story in your voice. Remember your takeaway, consult your outline, and then write, write, write the first draft. It may be terrible, but at least it’s now all down on paper or computer file. You can cut and paste later. Add and takeaway birds to use in another “nest” later.

5. READ and REWRITE

Now you read it aloud. How did that sound to your ear? What words kept being repeated or made no sense at all? I find reading my work aloud helps me recognize the gaps and the overlaps. I also try to “hear” myself from another’s point of view. Am I coming across as too preachy, too whiney, too know-it-all? I know you’ve heard it before, but most of writing is rewriting. So, you must be willing to rewrite and rearrange. Trust me, your efforts (even though editing and especially self-editing can be painful) will make your work into a better, more useful piece. And that is what we aim for—serving the audience, feeding the reader, touching a hurting world in Jesus’ name. 

What happens when you have completed your project is that you consecrate all those words and all the potential outlets for sharing those words, to the Lord. Pray over them and ask God to use the words, His Scripture that was quoted, and yourself as a holy messenger of truth. Then go forth boldly through the open doors. I will be praying for you.

TWEETABLE

Lucinda Secrest McDowell, M.T.S., is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, McDowell is the author of 17 books and contributing author to 36+ books. Her award-winning books include Soul Strong, Life-Giving Choices, Dwelling Places, and The Courage to Write. Lucinda, a member of the Redbud Writers Guild and AWSA, received Mt. Hermon “Writer of the Year” award and guest blogs monthly for ‘The Write Conversation.’ 

Whether pouring into young mamas, leading a restorative day of prayer, or coaching writers and speakers through “Encouraging Words Consulting,” she is energized by investing in people of all ages. As a communications teacher, she co-directs “reNEW – spiritual retreat for writers & speakers” and has served on the faculty of Speak Up Conference, Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, Florida Christian Writers Conference, Asheville Christian Writers Conference, and She Writes for Him. Known for her ability to convey deep truth in practical and winsome ways, McDowell shares words from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and blogs weekly at WWW.LUCINDASECRESTMCDOWELL.COM

Featured Image: Photo by Amel Majanovic on Unsplash