Thursday, June 30, 2022

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Threads in the Writing Tapestry


by Kay DiBianca @KDiBianca

My husband and I had the good fortune to visit the Vatican Galleries in Rome some years ago. One memory I have was standing in front of several enormous tapestries that recorded events from the Gospels. I was astounded at the workmanship that told a story by weaving different color threads onto a background. I wondered if the weavers had used any special thread, maybe a gold or silver one, to highlight each one of his works.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

The Best Tip to Stop Neck Pain for Writers


by Ginny Cruz 
MPA, PT

Writers understand pain. They live with piercing stabs from rejection, dull aches from embedded insecurity, and throbbing neck pain caused by long hours at the writing desk. 

Most cases of neck pain in writers are caused or worsened by poor posture while writing. Most of us, nowadays, write on a computer. We sit staring at either a laptop screen (possibly balanced delicately on our laps) or at a computer on a desk. Either arrangement is usually a clue to why you experience neck pain while writing.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Brainstorming Alone? Use Storyboarding to Create Your Story


by Ane Mulligan @AneMulligan

At the beginning of the month, I taught a class at the BRMCWC (Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference) on Storyboarding. It's a method used by advertising agencies for years. I first used it when I was the creative arts director at my church. I was charged with writing scripts to illustrate or set-up our pastor's sermons. When I became a writer, I have used this method when I don't have a buddy to brainstorm with at the time. 

Sunday, June 26, 2022

A Comprehensive Explanation of Creative Nonfiction


by Craig von Buseck @CraigVonBuseck
Creative nonfiction is a blending of two previously separate literary worlds—and the results can be breathtaking. The genre—including narrative nonfiction and memoir—has become extremely popular, often dominating the best-seller lists.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Two Simple Techniques to Undermine the Readers’ Expectations and Keep Them Emotionally Hooked


by Zena Dell Lowe @ZenaDellLowe

The essence of story is that the plot unfolds because of the choices a character makes under pressure to achieve a particular goal. Without a primary objective, there is no story, because everything that happens in that story must be connected to the main character’s goal and his relentless pursuit of it. And as the story unfolds, your character will inevitably start to piece things together. They’ll start to see a way for them to actually accomplish their goal. A plan will form in their minds; they’ll know exactly what they need to do to make it all come together. 

Friday, June 24, 2022

Online Presentations & 5 Things NOT to Do


by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

Let’s face it. Zoom is here to stay. The pandemic pushed most of us into online and virtual communication, and, for the most part, this is a good thing. The ability to Zoom affords opportunities to share our message that we’ve never had before.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Proverbs For Writers


by Henry McLaughlin @RiverBendSagas

There is so much wisdom and wise counsel in the book of Proverbs. Like many believers, I spend time in this book every day. Sometimes a single verse or a few verses grab my attention. Other times, I’ll read an entire chapter. Often, what I read will speak to a specific area in my life. The following are some verses I believe apply to all of us, but especially those of us who are pursuing the dream of being writers.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

21 Ways for Writers to Reduce Stress


by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Writers are often stalked by a predator called stress. It’s a nasty disorder that can cause headaches, back and body pain, nausea, depression, problems in relationships, and a host of other physical and mental ailments. Not a pleasant malady. 

The causes of stress are as many as how it manifests in our bodies. We get ourselves into an overwhelmed mode with edits, harsh critiques, rejections, writer’s block, looming deadlines, and self-imposed perfection. Who wants to deal with misery if there’s a solution?

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

4 Reasons to Become a Contributing Author


by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

How many of us published authors began our publishing career by contributing to anthologies organized by others?

I see those hands. And mine is raised as well.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Increase Marketing by Building Publishing Relationships


by Karen Whiting @KarenHWhiting

Getting to know people in the publishing industry widens your horizons and broadens your marketing reach. Build awareness of the roles and people in the industry and how to network in ways that are mutually beneficial.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

How Do You View Your Writing Life?


by Tammy Karasek @TickledPinkTam

Most of us have heard the cliché about the issue of your glass being half full or half empty. Writing can have that same issue, or your attempt at writing that is. 

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Why You and Your Writing Matter


by Emme Gannon @GannonEmme

One hundred years from now we will all be forgotten. No one will remember that we existed. All our thoughts and deeds will be a thing of the distant past, remembered no more. 

Friday, June 17, 2022

Authors Helping Authors


by Crystal Bowman 

During a recent interview for a YouTube channel, the host surprised me with a question I was not expecting, but I was happy to answer. He said, “I have noticed something about Christian authors that I don’t see in other professions. It seems that you try to help each other succeed. Why is that?”

Thursday, June 16, 2022

2 Simple ONLINE Habits Every Writer Needs


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

I’ve been in the writing industry for a while (about a quarter century *gulp*). And two small habit I developed early on have been absolutely invaluable to my career. These two things have kept me from missing opportunities, provided valuable contacts, and enabled me to head off some cloning and hacking situations. 

What are they?

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Tips to Breathe Life Into Your Writing


by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

The imposing deadlines, that stubborn writer’s block, and maybe even lifeless words. This triple threat can threaten our creativity and stifle inspiration. Our highest aspiration as nonfiction writers includes capturing a message on paper that imparts truth, grace, and power to our readers. But when we grow weary of getting the words just right, smashing writer’s block, and conquering our deadlines, the goal becomes writing something on the page. Sometimes that’s all we can do until a fresh breeze of wisdom (and divine intervention) breathes life into our writing.

How can we transform lifeless into animated, and flat into inspiring? If your busy schedule and mental blocks are killing your writing, breathe life back into it with the following CPR method.

How to Give Your Writing Some CPR

C – Create a lead-in that captures the reader’s interest, and weave your story or slant all the way through your writing.

A story draws the reader in, and allows them to “see” your point. Pick a story that perfectly illustrates your main idea, and share more of the story in the conclusion or repeat a part of it that builds to a climatic finish. 

If you’re using a metaphor as your slant, weave it into several parts of your writing. Use it as the lead-in to gain interest. Explain its spiritual significance as you begin to talk about Scripture. Repeat it in your ending takeaway. The metaphor reinforces your point and ties your paragraphs together.

My favorite metaphor tends to be music or dancing. (The good kind.) I have contrasted guilt and forgiveness by using music as a slant. “The haunting melody of guilt had followed her, had crept into her soul. But she heard Jesus sing a different song, one of mercy and forgiveness.”1 This contrast became the slant for talking about the woman with the alabaster flask in Luke Chapter 7, a story I have always treasured. 

P – Present not only the what of your point, but include the why and/or the how.

Many writers stop with the what. It’s essential, but it’s not the whole story. Too often “factual” causes an article to be rejected or a book proposal to end up in the slush pile. Connect the facts to what intrigues the mind and touches the heart. 

To inspire readers to take action, show them why they need to take action and how to do what you’re discussing. Use Scripture and life experience to show them why they need to take your message to heart. Give them practical steps they can start implementing immediately. 

For example, in Breaking the Chains, Laura W. Watts contributed an article titled “Fight Indifference with a Flame of Love.” She not only identified eight symptoms of indifference, showing why it was so dangerous, but she gave six ways to break free from it. 

R – Replace limp words with vivid ones, and cut unnecessary words, sentences, and paragraphs.

I’ve learned that editing is not a personal attack. A cut to my words isn’t a cut on my identity or value. Editing is needed. Essential. It’s a must for anyone who bears the name writer. 

A good practice is to look at every word in a sentence and see if it’s vivid and necessary. Exchange limp words with nouns and verbs that illustrate, that paint a picture in the reader’s mind. Cut the words and sentences that aren’t needed. Analyze the purpose of whole paragraphs, and see if they fit nicely into your flow of thought. Streamlined writing makes for streamlined and enjoyable reading.

My heart has ached when I’ve copied and pasted whole paragraphs into an “Extra” file. But I knew I could visit them again if I found a home for them. The reader will never know what we have changed or cut in our writing. However, they will receive the best possible version if we faithfully infuse our writing with words that sing, touch the heart, and follow our flow of thought. 

Which step in the CPR method do you practice regularly? Which one do you need? Tell us in the comments, and keep infusing your writing with vitality and impact.

 

1 Katy Kauffman, compiler and author, Breaking the Chains: Strategies for Overcoming Spiritual Bondage (Buford, Georgia: Lighthouse Bible Studies, 2017), 13.


TWEETABLE

Katy Kauffman is an award-winning author, an editor of REFRESH BIBLE STUDY MAGAZINE, and a co-founder of LIGHTHOUSE BIBLE STUDIES. She loves connecting with writers and working alongside them in compilations, such as Feed Your Soul with the Word of God, Collection 1 which is a 2020 Selah Awards finalist.

In addition to online magazines, Katy’s writing can be found at CBN.COM, thoughts-about-God.com, and three blogs on writing. She loves to spend time with family and friends, talk about art and crafts in her group MY ARTSY TRIBE, and tend the garden in the morning sun. She makes her home in a cozy suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. Connect with her at her blog, WINNING THE VICTORY, and on FACEBOOK and TWITTER.


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Tuesday, June 14, 2022

How to Treat Your Writing Business Professionally


by Cindy K. Sproles @CindyDevoted

The mail is delivered, and you receive your first payment for writing. It may only be $25, but the fact remains: an earned check is exciting. Your writing has just moved to the next level—it's become a business.

Of course, it depends on how you want to run your business, and that is between you and your accountant, but there are some things you need to remember. 

Monday, June 13, 2022

3 Reasons Introverted Writers Make Effective Speakers


by Linda Goldfarb @LindaGoldfarb

If your storytelling style is deeply methodical, you have the makings of an excellent public speaker. 

Oh, my friend, does God have a plan for you. Indeed, you read correctly. Some of the world's most compelling speakers are introverts—Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, Eleanore Roosevelt, and Gandhi, to name a few. Hearing these names alone should heap a ton of hope into your extraordinary, introverted writer's soul. Personality-wise, introverts, Stabilizers, and Organizers are well known for making a positive impact with their words. Though appearing timid to some, perhaps even awkward growing up, every shy writer has the potential to be exceptional as a speaker.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Guard the Gift


by Martin Wiles @LinesFromGod

“Oh, they have a piano.”

My mother-in-law once spent several months in a local rehab center, recuperating from a fall that broke two vertebrae in her back. One day, my mother accompanied my wife and me to visit her. We strolled my mother-in-law down to the great room where we could all sit around a table while she ate the lunch we had taken her. 

As soon as we entered the room, my mother’s eyes locked on it: a piano. At the time, Mom had been playing the piano for over seventy years. Recognizing her talent, my grandmother had sown into this talent by purchasing piano lessons for Mom with money she accumulated by selling fish to the neighbors. Mom began playing hymns as a middle-schooler in the little Methodist church they attended, and she has been playing in churches ever since.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Choosing to Live in God’s Grace


by Beth K. Vogt @BethVogt

I’ve been reading different books about prayer this year, thanks to my One Word for 2022, which is “pray.” I just finished 100 Prayers Every Christian Should Know: Build Your Faith with the Prayers That Shaped History, which is published by Bethany House.

The Introduction ends with these inspiring words: “… we hope you feel drawn not only into the presence of the Almighty who loves you, but into the awareness of being one witness of many to His ongoing story of redemption.”

Friday, June 10, 2022

The Lord’s Prayer for Writers (Part 3)


by Joshua J. Masters @JoshuaJMasters

The integrity of our writing relies on the integrity of our character—not the ones we create for our narratives, but the character of the one typing. For those called to the ministry of writing by God, the condition of our hearts toward sin dictates how effective our craft can be for the Kingdom.

In this series on The Lord’s Prayer for Writers, we’ve explored how we should approach God in our writing and how our relationship with Him and others will affect our writing. 
This month, we’ll look at the last line of Christ’s outline for prayer:

And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one. 
(Matthew 6:13 NLT)

Thursday, June 9, 2022

How to Cope with Post Writing Conference Blues


by Julie Lavender @JLavenderWrites

Definition: Post-Writers’ Conference Blues (noun). The sadness that often occurs immediately following a writers conference. 

Do you experience the “blues” after returning from the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writing Conference or other writing conferences you attend? 

I certainly do! The thrill and excitement of being with a sold-out conference center of comrades who are as passionate about writing as I am for almost a week, that amazing, mountain-top experience, can come crashing down around me if I’m not careful. 

BRMCWC Conference Director Edie Melson wrote two great articles about post conference blues and you’ll find both of those here: Don’t Let Post Conference Blues Derail Your Writing Journey and 8 Ways to Beat Post Conference Blues .

And, in this article, Edie includes a section with suggestions for what to do after attending a conference. Tips to Make Valuable Connections At Your Next Writing Conference.

I’ve followed Edie’s helpful tips and suggestions when returning from a conference. And, I also include a couple of actions I’ve practiced over the years that aren’t specifically writing-related. With these suggestions and a lot of prayer, I get through the post conference blues and start dreaming about the next conference on my calendar!

Here are my 5 Tips to cope with post writing conference blues!

1. Go for a long walk outside. Allow your thoughts to wander back to the conference and give yourself that time to decompress. An additional benefit to a walk outdoors? Soaking in sunshine (safely) increases the body’s serotonin and is often medically recommended to help people with anxiety, depression, and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

2. Reach out to one or two new friends each day for the couple of weeks that follow the conference. Using the information on the business cards you collected, pick two a day to connect with. Find those new friends on social media, follow their author page, visit their website and subscribe to their newsletter, and reach out in an email, letting the person know how much you enjoyed meeting them at the conference. 

Allowing yourself contact with a couple of conference-goers each day helps you slowly come down from the mountain-top experience of being surrounded by like-minded writers for almost 24-7 for a week. Continuing the conversation with new contacts, albeit through social media and emails, each day keeps you from crashing head-first into the valley when you’re back home and have no writing friends within your sphere of daily life. 

Hopefully, these connections will continue throughout the next weeks and months and carry you until you meet again at next year’s conference.

3. Go out to dinner or coffee with one of your biggest “fans” to tell them all about the conference. That special person may be your spouse, adult child, favorite friend, mom, Sunday School teacher, or if you blessed to have one close by, a fellow writer. The person that celebrates and encourages your writing.

Choose that person who will listen to all the details without nodding off as if they suffer from sleep deprivation and that person who’ll cheer your success and encourage your perseverance. Though you love your mom or spouse dearly, they might not be the best suited person to listen to all the details you want to share. Oversharing with someone who loves you dearly in return but might not appreciate or understand your enthusiasm can often deflate the conference experience unintentionally. 

4. Find a way to serve someone else. It’s hard to have a “woe is me” attitude, an “I’m blue because the conference is over” attitude if you’re busying yourself by serving others. If baking is your thing—and if it is, then I certainly hope we connected at a recent conference, because it is definitely MY thing!—hen bake something sweet to take to a new mom or a casserole to share with an elderly neighbor or some fresh, homemade bread to share with the fostering family down the street. 

Arranging flowers might be your hobby—then pick up a couple of bouquets at the market and make a gorgeous display of God’s creations to share with an exhausted caregiver. 

Handy with tools? You might offer to help the single mom in the neighborhood with tasks that need accomplishing. Take along your spouse and visit at the kitchen table before the repairs begin.

5. Arrange a date night with your spouse or an outing with your kids to give them the opportunity to tell you all about their time while you were away. Oddly enough, part of my “post conference blues” stems from realizing that I “missed out” on something fun that happened back home while I was away. Creating intentional time with those I left behind when I attended the conference and catching up on their lives during that time alleviates the FOMO—fear of missing out—that sometimes pushes my blues’ button.

Post Conference Blues is definitely a thing! But you can alleviate some of the sadness of parting from writing friends after an extended period of time by incorporating writing related tips and non-writing suggestions in the days that follow the conference. And before you know it, conference time will come again for a fresh season of new and renewed friendships and new and reinforced information! 

What post conference tips would you add to the list? I’d love to add more to my list! 

TWEETABLE

Julie Lavender loves attending writing conferences and looks forward to several this calendar year. She recognizes and credits most of her writing opportunities with attendance at conferences and the connections made while there. Julie takes part in The Seven, a podcast where she joins six other writing friends to talk about life’s journeys and how we can intentionally ignite our faith each day. She is the author of 365 Ways to Love Your Child: Turning Little Moments into Lasting Memories (Revell) and Children’s Bible Stories for Bedtime (Zeitgeist/Penguin Random House.)

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Why NOT to Give Away Your Presentation Slides


by MaryAnn Diorio @DrMaryAnnDiorio

"May we have your slides?" This is a common question that I often hear after I give a presentation. Although I used to give away my slides, I no longer do so. While at first my decision may seem socially unacceptable, there is good reason and good precedent for not giving away one's slides. In the long run, not giving away one's slides will benefit those who attended the presentation.

So, why do I not give away my slides?

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

How to Use Mentors in the Stories You Write


by PeggySue Wells @PeggySueWells

Of the four characters generally found in story—protagonist, sidekick, antagonist, and mentor—the role of a mentor gets its name from Homer’s classic tale, The Odyssey, when the mentor actually has the name, Mentor. Disguised as the goddess of wisdom, Athena, Mentor instructs Telemachus to seek knowledge and stand against his enemies. Mentors have pretty much been dishing the same advice ever since. But it's important to know how to use mentors in the stories you write.

Monday, June 6, 2022

Why Writers Can’t Rush Ripeness


by Kristen Hogrefe Parnell @KHogrefeParnell

Here in Florida, blueberry season recently ended. However, opening week back in April was something I anticipated, because my husband and I had made plans to drive up to my parents’ place and pick at the farm down the road from them. 

Though we left opening weekend with a good haul, several rows of bushes weren’t ready yet. Their berries were green or a queasy shade of light purple. Tasting one of those berries was a recipe for puckering up!

Those unripe berries reminded me that we can’t rush ripeness—on a berry bush or in our own lives. If you’re feeling impatient today about the progress of your writing or publishing journey, be encouraged that ripeness or completion takes time. 

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Book-Worthy Letters


by Audrey Frank @AudreyCFrank

And I wrote to you as I did…for I felt sure of all of you, that my joy would be the joy of you all. 
2 Corinthians 2:3

The cardboard box was soft around the edges, fibers broken down by attic heat and time. I opened the floppy flaps to find a treasure of written letters, blooming with the handwriting of my youth. Across the ocean they had flown, from Japan to the United States. From Kenya. From England. From Colombia, Tanzania, Morocco, Egypt, Israel, Scotland. These tucked-away letters told the story of faith and obedience, fear and hope. My life story recorded in bleeding ink.

Saturday, June 4, 2022

When Writing Hurts


by Debb Hackett @Debb_Hackett

“I’ve been thinking I should write a book.” “I’ve always thought I’d write a book one day.”

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard these remarks, from people who have never tried to write, much less revise or edit a full manuscript. To many who haven’t written a book, doing so seems easy. You just sit down and write, right?

Friday, June 3, 2022

Writing an Un-Put-Downable Character (Part 5 of 10): Interests


by A.C. Williams @ACW_Author

When you make a connection with another person in life, what do you do? I'm not sure how it works for you, but when I'm trying to get to know someone, I ask about their hobbies. 

Would you believe it works the same way for fictional people too?

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Writing Advice for Writers Who Haven't found Writing Advice that Works


by Lynn H. Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

I love being able to talk to new writers and give them some encouragement. I love sharing from my own experience—the things that worked and the things that didn’t. 

But here’s the scary part. I still have no idea what I’m doing.

There are a lot of writing experts out there. They really do know what they’re doing. They’re great at it. They write lots of books, and they write books about writing books. And some writers read those books, apply those methods, and experience great success. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Making the Characters We Write React


by Sarah Sally Hamer @SarahSallyHamer

Characters react. Well, first they have a stimulus of sort, and THEN they react. In fact, characters (and humans) are always in some form of stimulus/reaction or cause/effect or motivation/response mode. Because that’s how story (and life) work. Nothing comes from nothing.