Tuesday, May 31, 2022

10 Tips to become a Valuable Contributing Writer


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

One excellent way to grow your visibility and readership is through contributing to articles and posts to other websites. This can be done through a single guest post or by becoming a regular, contributing, writer on a site that’s not your own. 

While website and blog owners are always looking for new content, they are protective of the communities they’ve nurtured and only willing to accept contributions that benefit that community.

Monday, May 30, 2022

Tips to Help Speakers Deal with a Persistent Cough or Voice Loss


by Yvonne Ortega @YvonneOrtega1

After a return home from a trip out of state, I woke up the next day with a cough and slight fever. My doctor insisted a trip to the ER for COVID and influenza testing plus blood tests, a chest X-ray, and an EKG were in order.

Nothing showed up except a cough, slight fever and elevated blood pressure attributed to the tension of riding in an ambulance. Therefore, the doctor prescribed only an OTC cough medicine. 

Sunday, May 29, 2022

9 Things My Dog Taught Me About Blogging


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Most of you know I’m an animal lover. We had one cat, Emily Dickinson, and our son's dog, Cosmo. I don’t know what I’d do without my four-legged friends cheering me on as I work every day.

But they’re more than just great companions, they’ve got a lot to teach me. I’ve shared lessons from Emily before in a devotion on Being Still. So today I’d like to pass along some of the wisdom I’ve gleaned from my dogs.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

4 Clever Tricks to Immediately Transform Any Scene into a Compelling High-Stakes Situation


by Zena Dell Lowe @ZenaDellLowe

Ever feel like you’ve written a scene and it’s just plain boring? Maybe that scene is too important to be cut, but it slows down the momentum of your story and just isn’t compelling. If you find yourself in this situation, behold, I bring good news. Here are four clever tricks that you can use to transform a ho-hum scene and make it come alive. 

Friday, May 27, 2022

How Are We Stewarding the Gifts God Has Given Us for Writing?


by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

“When GAWD blesses you, He don’t even have you in mind.” 

Thus declared Dr. E.V. Hill, pastor of Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist church in Los Angeles, California. A man with a big voice and an even bigger faith, Dr. Hill encouraged his congregation to look beyond themselves as they stewarded their time, talent, and treasure. “God will give it to you,” he said, “if He knows He can give it through you.”

God brought Dr. Hill’s words to mind when I received the advance on my first book. Our family has always set aside the first portion our income to give to our local church, so I knew we’d give part of it to God’s work. “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops,” Proverbs 3:9 reminds us.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Common Writing Obstacles (part 5 ): Taking Risks


by Henry McLaughlin @RiverBendSagas

Write the Story

Writing is risky. And not just in the sense of facing physical danger. Although I’m sure many writers did face physical danger at one time that stimulated or inspired them to write their story.

There are other risks every writer faces. More mundane than climbing Mt. Everest, but just as real. The underlying source of these risks is fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of embarrassment. Fear of failing.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

How the Sounds of Words Affect Emotion


by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Our ancestors struggled to develop language and communication skills. I imagine the beginnings of those grunts were emotionally motivated. 
  • Ugh! A dinosaur is coming.
  • Ah. The scent of a spring morning.
  • Mmm. The food smells good.
  • Ohhhh. I hurt
Over time, words grew out of necessity and a need to communicate effectively. Sounds and meanings were emotionally connected then and are today. The sound of a word doesn’t necessarily tell us what it means, but we can project to the listener what it means by the way it affects us emotionally. For example, a mother tells her baby who doesn’t have a grasp of language “No.” The emotion the mother uses shows her baby the negative connotation of the word.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Dipping the Quill Deeper—Words and Writings


by Eva Marie Everson

If you follow me at all, if you know only a little about me, you may know that my favorite devotional book is A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants, compiled and edited by Rueben P. Job and Norman Shawchuck. Reading from it, and underlining those words that resonate best within me, is a part of my early morning routine. I also read from this book often as a part of my Word Weavers International private Facebook group monthly devotion. 

Monday, May 23, 2022

Tips for Writing a Tag Line for Your Book


by Ane Mulligan @AneMulligan

The hardest thing you'll ever write is the tag line for a novel. How does one reduce 90K word novel to under fifteen? It's a hair-puller to be sure. 

The Difference Between aTag line & logline

There is a difference. A logline tells what the book is about—the main conflict, the main character, and the stakes. The tag line is a catch phrase—a hook. It doesn’t tell you anything specific about the story, but it does give you a feel for it in a way that a logline can’t. A tag line is what you see on movie posters or book covers. 

For starters, it needs to be short. A tag line is usually just one line. While you don't usually mention the genre in your tag line, readers should get an idea of whether it's i.e., romance or suspense. If your book is funny, your tagline should have a hint of humor in it. 

For the book that would become my first published novel, Chapel Springs Revival, I didn't try to write a tagline until the manuscript was completed. Then a writer buddy, who had read the manuscript, commented, "With a friend like Claire, you need a gurney, a mop, and a guardian angel." BINGO! I had a tag line, and you can see there is humor in this book. Fifteen words give you a sneak peek. 

Here are two examples of loglines vs. their tag lines:

Jaws 
Tag line: Don't go in the water.
Logline: A sheriff must find and kill a man-eating and frighteningly intelligent shark before it murders again and scares away all the tourists who support his beach-front community. 

Lord of the Rings
Tag line: One ring to rule them all.
Logline: A young hobbit needs to destroy an ancient, powerful ring before the evil overlord consumes the world in everlasting darkness.

Here are three favorites from other authors' books:

From Dust, by Eva Marie Everson: "Can an ordinary life leave an extraordinary legacy?" 

From With Love, Libby, by Roxanne Henke: "What happens when dreams come true?"

From Becoming Mrs. Lewis, by Patti Callahan: "In a most improbable friendship, she found love. In a world where women were silenced, she found her voice." This one is a little longer—still under 20 words. 

These are favorites from my books: 

From When the Bough Breaks: "Her dream job has a Catch 22 and time is running out." This hints at the suspense within this book.

From In High Cotton: "Southern women may look as delicate as flowers, but there's iron in their veins." Do you see what I was aiming for in this one? 

From On Sugar Hill: "She traded Sugar Hill for Vaudeville. Now she’s back." This doesn't say much about the story, yet it gives the feel of women's fiction. And it makes you wonder 

From By the Sweet Gum: "She's bound by duty. He's tethered to a dream." 

The toughest part of writing a tag line is cutting out what we as authors think should be there. Most of the time, it isn't needed at all. 

Join the conversation: What are some of your tag lines? Were they hard or easy for you to develop? 

TWEETABLE

Ane Mulligan has been a voracious reader ever since her mom instilled within her a love of reading at age three, escaping into worlds otherwise unknown. But when Ane saw Mary Martin in PETER PAN, she was struck with a fever from which she never recovered—stage fever. She submerged herself in drama through high school and college. Years later, her two loves collided, and a bestselling, award-winning novelist emerged. She resides in Sugar Hill, GA, with her artist husband and a rascally Rottweiler. Find Ane on her website, Amazon Author page, Facebook, Twitter, and The Write Conversation.

Featured Image: Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash

Sunday, May 22, 2022

True Character in the Characters You Write


by Craig von Buseck @CraigVonBuseck

Some of greatest literary characters in history are so beloved or reviled that they have become a part of our cultural consciousness. Just uttering their names transports us into their wonderful worlds—Ebenezer Scrooge, Scarlet O’Hara, Huckleberry Finn, Elizabeth Bennet, Captain Bligh—these characters and so many more have entertained us and taught us lessons that we have carried throughout our lives.

And it is not only fictional characters that have an impact. I can include in the list such notable real life characters as Elie Wiesel, Eleanor Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Golda Meir, Martin Luther King, Jr., Anne Frank—these inspiring true life characters have gone from stories to legends and have become engrained in our culture.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Writing That Inspires


by Emme Gannon @GannonEmme

I wonder what it would be like to escape from the daily boring routine of my life to a lovely seaside castle where one would awaken to the scent of wisteria and the soft lapping of the sea upon the rocks below? 

Friday, May 20, 2022

Advice for Writers—Eat Your Writing Peas!


by Crystal Bowman

Like many children, I was a picky eater and I especially hated peas. My mother told me to eat my peas because they were good for me. The only way I could tolerate them was to push them into a roll and eat the roll. 

At a recent writers’ conference I was meeting one-on-one with an aspiring young writer. As I gave her advice based on my years of experience, I realized that many of my words began with the letter P. She noticed it too and we laughed. As we ended our meeting, I said, “Eat your peas!”

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Announcing the 2022 Winning Titles of the Christian Indie Awards


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

The Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) is pleased to announce the winning titles for the 2022 Christian Indie Awards. The Christian Indie Awards honor books produced by small publishers and independent authors each year for outstanding contribution to Christian life. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Three Indispensable Keys to Writing Bible Studies


by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

A desire to write Bible studies comes from deep within. The desire to share God’s truth, to show how it’s relevant to life today. The desire to help people find more hope, more freedom, more joy. We write because we know all this is found in God and we want other people to find it in Him too. 

But passion to write Bible studies isn’t enough—we need hard work. Like learning the craft of writing. Studying our Bible passages well enough so we can explain them. Forming application of Scripture that’s rich with insight and meaning for our target audience. Adding stories and illustrations for reinforcement. Forming reflection and discussion questions that go deep but aren’t too intrusive. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

10 Things to Say to a Discouraged Writer


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson 

Writing often feels like a solitary pursuit. Truthfully, it’s the successful writers who know better than to try to go it alone. Writing in a vacuum is not a good idea—for a lot of reasons. It’s easy to lose perspective and either believe what you’re writing is perfect, or worse, that it’s junk. Having others who share the same struggles make us stronger.

Not to mention the fact that they can talk us down when we’re standing on a writing ledge. Writers can encourage Writers like no one else can. That’s what I want to share today.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Develop Beneficial Relationships for Media Marketing


by Karen Whiting @KarenHWhiting

One of my greatest treasures as a writer are the relationships I’ve developed. Many have blessed me with helping my marketing. The purpose of networking is to exchange information, advice, and referrals that assist in attaining career goals. Exchanging implies mutually beneficial and that’s what we should strive for in building the business relationships. This includes relationships with media professionals.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

How to Guard Your Writer's Voice


by Tammy Karasek @TickledPinkTam

As writers, we’re told to write in our own personal voice. As a newbie, I never quite understood what that meant, even though I shook my head and replied with an okay each time. In case you’re reading this and aren’t sure what is a writer’s voice, here’s a general definition:

Saturday, May 14, 2022

How God’s Word Holds Us Steady in Hard Times


by Beth K. Vogt @BethVogt

The last few weeks have been challenging—so much so that it’s been difficult for me to write. My word count on my various works-in-progress (WIPs)? Basically nil. My creativity? Hovering around non-existent.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Tips to Make Valuable Connections at Your Next Writing Conference


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

If the past couple of years taught us anything, it was how to Zoom. 

Meeting together online became normal for a huge part of our population and the writing conference landscape has radically changed because of that. First, because there was no other option. If we wanted to offer a writing conference or attend a writing conference, online was our only option. While we lamented the fact that we couldn’t be together—in person—we also discovered the ease and money-saving value an online conference can offer. 

Enter 2022.

This year more and more conferences are back to in-person events. But our in-person skills may be a little rusty. So here are my thoughts on preparing for an in-person writing conference—post-pandemic style.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

How A Parachute Jump Prepared Me for the Writing Journey


by Julie Lavender @JLavenderWrites

“Arch 1000.” I said the words aloud and pulled my shoulders into an arch while freefalling to the ground. 

“Look 1000.” I glanced at the buckle-like housing on my left shoulder that held the fake rip cord. My parachute jumpsuit, slightly large for my frame, flapped in the wind.

“Reach 1000.” I pushed against the wind of an 80 mph fall and reached with my right hand to touch the rip cord. 

“Pull.” I simulated a pull, though as a first time parachute jumper, I wouldn’t actually deploy the parachute. That took place from a static line, one end attached to the actual rip cord on my chute and the other end attached to a hook inside the plane.

At that precise moment in my countdown, the line went taught, my rip cord pulled away, and the parachute jerked me into a much slower descent. Finally, my heartbeat slowed to a more reasonable rhythm.

How did I get here? I pondered as the chute billowed out above me. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

5 Ps to Conquer Writing Deadlines


by Linda Gilden @LindaGilden

Some weeks the writer’s life bring some pretty hefty back-to-back and sometimes overlapping deadlines. Here are a few tips to make the struggling and juggling those writing deadlines a little easier.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

How to Choose Publishing Excellence


by Cindy K. Sproles @CindyDevoted

Since self-publishing came on the scene, the attitude of writers changed. Where we once received a rejection letter, read it, and strived to improve our work—a sense of entitlement seeped into our attitudes. First, when used appropriately, self-publishing is an excellent tool, and I hate to see so many insinuate that it’s not. It isn’t. It’s a tool. And like any tool, the user must learn to use it.

Anyone who knows me hears me continually harping, “Learn the craft. Learn the craft.” Back in the days before self-publishing, that was our only option if we wanted to be published—persistence and learning the craft. We sat through classes where we learned the differences in the types of rejection letters and how to interpret those. If rejection came, it wasn’t because it was rotten work (well…mostly not—there’s an exception to every rule), but our work wasn’t publication-ready. 

Monday, May 9, 2022

3 Ways for Writers Who Speak to Engage the Audience


by Linda Goldfarb @LindaGoldfarb

Are you eager to be remembered for your message and not your mistakes? With more than a thousand engagements in my speaking repertoire, I’ve found three practices extremely helpful as I plan to engage with my audience better.

I love how Father empowers us to empower others with our voices, don't you? If we choose to be personality-wise, pertinent, and punctual when presenting our messages, each audience member will walk away believing we were speaking directly to them. We may even hear, "It's like I've known you forever."

Tips to Engage Your Audience

1. Be a Personality-Wise Speaker
Do you realize to whom you're speaking? When I recognize and talk directly to the personalities in my audience, two tangibles increase—audience retention and my rebooking rate. 

As a co-author of the LINKED® Quick Guide to Personalities series, I reference our four dominant personality links when addressing my audience. The first one is the get-it-done Mobilizer, then we have the life-of-the-party Socializer, next is the keep-it-peaceful Stabilizer, and wrapping up our quartet of personality types is the everything-in-order Organizer. By including the easy-to-remember tagline and a story associated with each personality link, heads nod in agreement as individuals recognize themselves and their neighbors quickly. Engaging at this personal level builds instant rapport, resulting in “Linda sees me, and she knows me.”

Our audiences overflow with blends of the Mobilizer, Socializer, Stabilizer, and Organizer personality types. Therefore, to make the most significant impact with our message, it’s best to be personality-wise from the beginning and to include connectors that speak to everyone.

Use these LINKED® personality concepts to maximize your engagement as a speaker.

Mobilizers resonate with check-off boxes. Use bullet points and share concise action steps in your handouts and slide decks.

Socializers retain fun facts. Incorporate unusual props within your message and ask volunteers to use them—no personality test is needed for the individuals who race to the stage to get their pompoms.

Stabilizers relish relaxation. Consider just-because-you-showed-up “prizes” (Umm, don’t name them as such—wink) in the mix with any be-the-first-to options—as this personality tends not to jump up if they can remain seated.

Organizers require time to process. Offer a content outline such as, "During this session, we will …" to allow plenty of time for this personality to plan and participate.

Interested in knowing your dominant personality link? Check out LinkedPersonalityQuiz.com

2. Be a Pertinent Speaker
Do people need to hear what you have to say? I recall the fabulous Florence Littauer speaking these words into an audience filled with communicators of all stages, and their truth stuck with me. There's no better question to ask yourself. And though we all want to answer quickly with, "Yes!” The proof is in the pertinence. 

Consider the relevance of your L.I.S.T. Speaking Model as it pertains to your audience. 
  • Consider the age/station of your audience. Are your life experiences relatable? 
  • Can you modify your instruction to fit the lifestyle of your audience members better?
  • Do you need to update or add any links/sources in your handout? 
  • Does your takeaway fit the appropriate felt need of your audience?
You never want to hear these last words from individuals walking out after your presentation, "Well, that was a waste of my time."

3. Be a Punctual Speaker
Punctuality. I love the unique-to-speakers application of this word. Can your audience take your message and apply it today? Two-fold. We're looking at timely and practical.

Time is precious. We cannot add more hours to a day or turn back the clock for do-overs. Therefore, be that speaker who shows up early and stays a little later. Be happy to help and tolerant when others overstep their time. Always have your 60-120-second synopsis ready to share, and you will never be without a mighty word to leave your audience spellbound. Consider Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address which changed history in less than three minutes. 

Practical makes it possible. Take the preciousness of time to the next level and be that speaker who supplies useful, everyday, I-can-do-this applications of your takeaway. 

I suffered from a bone spur under my kneecap. The orthopedic surgeon said, "Sit on the edge of a chair and extend the bottom portion of your leg 45-degrees one thousand times a day and it will go away." 

I heard, "You don’t have enough time in your day to make this work.” 

A better solution "Start with ten extensions, three times a day. Increase the repetitions by ten each consecutive week. Increasing the reps will shorten the healing process." 

When you offer doable applications geared to your specific audience (age, mobility, economic status, etc.), the follow-through rate increases substantially. 

Bonus: Be a Promise-keeper Speaker
Though I'm on stage, I always want to spotlight my Savior. As a chosen vessel who shares truth vocally, I must represent well. To keep that promise, I use a phrase to remind myself of who I am not, "I'm not Truth. I point to Him."

For this reminder, one of my associated Scriptures is John 3:30 from the ESV translation, "He must increase, but I must decrease.” As Christian writers who speak, may we all be encouraged to walk in this way, one speech at a time.

Until next time, remember that your voice is a gift—use it with purpose.

TWEETABLE

Besides hosting the award-winning, YOUR BEST WRITING LIFE PODCAST, Linda Goldfarb is a multi-published award-winning author, audiobook narrator, international speaker, board-certified Christian life coach, and the co-owner, co-founder of the LINKED® Personality System, and co-author of the LINKED® Quick Guide to Personality series.

Linda and her hubby, Sam are empty nesters leading full lives. With four adult children and grand-baby #15 on the way—life is a new adventure every day. She loves sipping frothed coffee with friends, traveling the countryside with Sam, and sharing transparent truth to help others take their next best step—personally and professionally.

Connect with Linda 

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Springing into a New Day


by Martin Wiles @LinesFromGod

After twenty-seven years, he walked out as a free man. 

Nelson Mandela became the president of the African National Council in 1952. The ANC embodied South Africa’s nationalized resistance movement against apartheid—the institutionalized system of white supremacy and racial segregation. 

In 1961, authorities arrested him for treason. Acquittal followed soon thereafter, but authorities arrested him again the next year for illegally leaving the country. The courts sentenced him to five years at Robben Island Prison. In 1964, authorities charged him with sabotage and sentenced him to life in prison. 

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Don’t Miss God’s Good in Your Writing


By Tim Suddeth @TimSuddeth

Life and writing are similar in that both have their ups and downs. I love the ups. The downs, not so much. But it’s in the down times where we learn the most.

Since we do so much of writing in solitude, it’s easy for obstacles or perceived problems to become exaggerated in our minds. The same creativity that helps us when we face a blank page or screen can be our undoing when we run into reality.

Friday, May 6, 2022

Writing an Un-Put-Downable Character (Part 4 of 10): History


by A.C. Williams @ACW_author

Can you imagine Sherlock Holmes without his addictions? What about Elizabeth Bennet without the outrageous antics of her family? 

Would you get Frodo in the Lord of the Rings without first knowing about the Shire? Or what about the Pevensie children and life in war-torn England before they arrive in Narnia?

Last month in our series about creating un-put-downable characters, we talked about Contradictions. Today, we’re talking about History.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

The Writer's Life: Saying Goodbye to Characters You Love


by Lynn H. Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

It’s been a weird month in my head. 

Why?

Because I’m saying goodbye to characters who have held the top spot in my brain for years. And I’m saying hello to entirely new characters who are just starting to form in my mind. 

Last month, I turned in the final book of my Defend and Protect series. That particular story world lays claim to three novels, three novellas, and over three years of my life. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Graphic Novels: A “New” Way to Tell a Story?


by Sarah Sally Hamer @SarahSallyHamer

What exactly is a Graphic Novel? Honestly, it’s just a story told with mostly pictures. Words are definitely important, of course, but they are not the main way of telling the story in a GN. In a lot of ways, children’s books—up through chapter books—are all a form of GNs, since illustrations are used to help tell the story to non- or early readers. But pictures have always been a great way of telling any story, to any audience.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Writing Adversaries, Antagonists And Other Villains


by PeggySue Wells @PeggySueWells

“Contains one of the best well-rounded villains I have read in a long time,” reviewed Joseph Dyer about my book, The Patent. 

This remains one of my favorite reviews because this reader recognized the multi-dimensions of the antagonist. 

Monday, May 2, 2022

DIY Resources to Design a Lead Magnet Cover


by Kristen Hogrefe Parnell @KHogrefeParnell

For the last couple of months, we’ve been walking through a series on creating a lead magnet to offer valuable content to our readers. In case you missed the other posts and would like to catch up on the series, click on the different topics by title.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Writing from the Valley


by Audrey Frank @AudreyCFrank

Even when their paths wind through the dark valley of tears, they dig deep to find a pleasant pool where others find only pain. He gives to them a brook of blessing filled from the rain of an outpouring. They grow stronger and stronger with every step forward, and the God of all gods will appear before them in Zion. Psalm 84:6-7, The Passion Translation

I was in Jordan, the dusty country nestled square between Israel, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. Jordan shelters over 500,000 displaced people in one of the largest refugee camps in the world. Friends had asked me to visit a Syrian family because we had something terrible in common. We both had children who had been critically injured by fire. We both understood the long journey of wound care, the slow healing process. The searing pain that remained in all our hearts long after the scars took shape.

As we sped north toward the Syrian border, I cried out to Jesus.

What do You want me to say to them? This is still raw for me. I am not sure I am fit to encourage them. This valley stretches long in front of me, Lord. I need a little longer, to be a little stronger first.

I had been writing my way through the valley. But my words were between me and my Lord. Not for others, yet.