Monday, October 31, 2022

How Writing Ruined My Wife: Why Going Out with a Writer is a Scary Endeavor


by Kirk Melson

I used to love taking my wife out to eat. It was always a carefree time when we could visit about what was going on in our lives, share our dreams and our struggles. 


Then she began to write…fiction.

And the carefree quickly morphed into the socially awkward. Oh we still discussed our dreams and our struggles and what was going on in our lives, but the stories she was (and still is) writing began to intrude. 

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Quit Writing from a Place of Fear and Rediscover Your Joy


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson 

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him (Psalm 28:7 NIV).

A while back, I was having difficulties with a project. As I tried to figure out why, it dawned on me that instead of writing with courage and faith, I was writing from a place of fear.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Writing Stress Happens, Use These Tips to Find Relief


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

The world has come through a couple of stressful years. Writers haven't been immune to the fall out from that difficult time. We're all trying to figure out what normal looks like going forward. Beyond the world-wide stresses, there are other things that can make life harder and affect how we move forward. The reasons for the stress we face are as varied as the writers who suffer. We can experience anxiety for many reasons—from a series of difficult deadlines, an extended length of time with no forward momentum, exhaustion from a marketing push, or even a series of negative experiences.

The cause isn’t as important as recognizing the symptoms and dealing with them.

Tips to Cope with Writing Stress

1. Take your fears and feelings to God. Begin with prayer, but take it a step further. Journal your prayers and what you feel God is saying to you. When we begin with a connection to the Father, the other things we do to cope are more productive.

2. Stay connected to the present. This is also a kind of non-judgmental mindfulness. Look honestly at your situation and evaluate what's bugging you. Examine and emphasize the differences between truth and lies. Don’t beat yourself up for your feelings, instead study them and acknowledge what you’ve learned and apply that. 

3. Start a journal. Give yourself the gift of a place to pour out your feelings. I’ve found that especially for writers, writing down the confusing emotions we’re dealing with brings order. Give yourself permission to be messy. Don’t try to write only once a day in an orderly fashion. Instead write when you feel like it. It may be several times a day or only a few times a week. The important thing is that you have a place to pour out what you’re dealing with. 

4. Surround yourself with good smells. Yep, aromatherapy can actually help. Use essential oils, candles, and even soothing lotions. Our mood is affected by the odors around us. Be deliberate about enhancing that part of your environment. I’ve begun lighting a certain candle when I write. Now I’ve got a kind of Pavlov’s Dog situation. When I catch a whiff of that candle, I’m almost instantly in the mood to write.

5. Avoid caffeine, tobacco and alcohol. Yes, we’re writers and we are caffeine-fueled word machines…sometimes. Now is not that time. Instead find a beautiful glass, fill it with sparkling ice cubes, a slice of fruit and fresh water. Hydrate your water-starved body. Need something warm? Choose an herbal tea.

6. Walk away regularly. You may find yourself on a deadline again, but the time you spend on a short walk or another healthy exercise will make you MORE productive. If you’re a knitter, spend an hour with yarn and needles. Pull out your Bible journal or bullet journal and let creativity reign. Whatever renews your spirit is what you need to build into your routine.

7. Find a support group. You are not the only one who has ever experienced this. You are not weak or stupid or defective. Listening to those lies isolates us from the community we desperately need right now. In addition to leaning into God, find His people, open up, and let them support you. When you’re feeling better, you can return the favor. 

8. Don’t neglect physical activity. Go for a walk, take a hike, but most of all—work up a sweat. You need those endorphins right now. By getting back into a regular exercise routine you’ll also bring order from chaos. 

9. Weed out the unnecessary. Now isn’t the time to add to your work load. Instead look for things you can drop from your regular routine. Cut back on social media, subscribe to a meal service and let that hall closet rest without cleaning it out. 

10. Unplug from your electronics. Yes part of being a writer in 2020 is having an active online presence. But this does NOT mean 24-7. Resolve to check your phone only a few times a day. Otherwise, leave it in the other room. Consider even writing old school. Walk away from your computer, pick up a pen and record your ideas on actual paper. 

11. Refuse to give in to shame. We have all been where you are. But when we all hide it shame creeps in. Instead be the brave one who admits life can be overwhelmingly stressful. You’ll find freedom in that and release others from their bondage in the process. 

12. Prioritize daily and weekly. Every evening I use my bullet journal to make a list for the next day. By recording my to-dos then, I free up my first-thing-in-the-morning for time with God. I also keep a running list for the week so I don’t forget anything vital. I’m developing the habit of NOT looking at my phone or email until after I’ve had some precious time with God. Knowing I already have a list, frees me from the stress of feeling like I’m already behind when I climb into my work-mode. 

The biggest thing to remember is that we’re not alone. Being a writer can lead to an incredible life, but it can also bring extreme times of difficulty. With these tips you can begin to recover from the stressful times and help others in the process. 

Now it’s your turn. What would you add to my list of ways to cope? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comment section below. 

Don’t forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,
Edie

TWEETABLE

Edie Melson is a woman of faith with ink-stained fingers observing life through the lens of her camera. No matter whether she’s talking to writers, entrepreneurs, or readers, her first advice is always “Find your voice, live your story.” As an author, blogger, and speaker she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world. Her numerous books reflect her passion to help others develop the strength of their God-given gifts and apply them to their lives. Connect with her on her website, through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Featured Image: Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash

Friday, October 28, 2022

10 Tips for Writing Amazing Amazon Book Reviews


By Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

When an author friend asks you to write a review, what should you write? What shouldn’t you write? 

In last month’s post, I shared how to Maximize Your Amazon Reviews with These Eight Book Launch Tips. Today I’d like to flip the perspective and share ten tips when you’re the one writing Amazon reviews. 

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Common Writing Obstacles (Part 6): Plotting


by Henry McLaughlin @RiverBendSagas

This is one more installment in a series on common obstacles writers face.

Some people say you can’t have a story without a plot. Others say you can’t have a story without characters. Both are true. I think characters are more important.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

How Writers Can Create Authentic Cause and Effect


by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Bestselling stories explode from powerful emotions that push a character into authentic cause and effect. The process is the backbone of fiction. A character is deeply motivated and commits skills, time, energy, and knowledge to pursue something tangible or intangible. The something is valued, meaning sacrifices are expected. The reader will feel cheated if the character is not willing to give up that which is treasured.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Dipping the Quill Deeper: A Writer Who is a Christian or a Christian Writer


by Eva Marie Everson

Lately I’ve struggled with something personal. A thought, really. One that the enemy brought up, I know, to confuse and confound me … to slide a tentacle up and around my throat ever-so-gently … almost unnoticeably … until time to squeeze.

And the squeezing has caused me to question. To wonder. To try to figure out, on my own, whether or not I am who I say I am, namely a writer. More directly, a Christian writer. Or, a writer who is a Christian. 

Monday, October 24, 2022

Create a Fictional Town Your Readers Can Relate To


by Ane Mulligan @AneMulligan

I'm a visual writer. I have a cork board in my office where I post photos of my characters and a map of the town where the story is set. Being a writer of more than cough-cough years, I've entered that forgetful stage of life, where I forget what I came into a room to get—or where I left my cup of coffee … usually found in the linen closet or a cupboard.

 

One of the most important items for me is the map. I can't have a character going down the wrong street. Readers catch things like that. Besides, I want them to feel like it's a real town, so if I have a map, where I can add bits of description to help them in the suspension of disbelief.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

17 Things About Social Media that Scare ALL Writers


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

It's October and in honor of Halloween, I just couldn't resist a tongue-in-cheek post about something scary. After spending the fall traveling and teaching social media I have plenty of fears to share. Lest you think this is me pointing fingers, let me reassure you. EVERY single one of the things listed has been something I've done/struggled with at some point. And these are helpful tips about social media for writers.
Remember, none of us is born knowing how to do this stuff. So lets laugh at our phobias together!

Saturday, October 22, 2022

The Character Arc: Six Primary Reasons Why theCharacters You Write Must Change and Grow


by Zena Dell Lowe @ZenaDellLowe

Every story is ultimately about your character's inner transformation. By the end of the story, we expect to see someone who has fundamentally changed over the course of the telling. Plot is just what unfolds according to the choices a character makes in pursuit of some primary objective. But what matters most is your main character’s inner emotional journey, which unfolds according to the unresolved needs and trauma wounds of a character—whatever plagues his or her heart most.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Ending the Stories You Write with Hope, not just Happily-Ever-After


by Crystal Bowman

Everyone knows how fairytales end: And they all lived happily ever after. It’s the perfect ending for fantasy stories—where frogs turn into princes, and mice and pumpkins turn into horse-drawn carriages. Anything can happen in fantasy and fiction, where magical stories delight readers young and old. But in real-life stories, devotions, or realistic fiction, “Happily ever after” may not be the right way to end your story.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Create A Free Holiday Gift Sure to Wow Your Email Subscribers

Edie here. I'm so excited to introduce you to my friend Patricia Durgin. Many of you already know her as an idea machine for writers and marketing. Now she'll be a regular guest here on The Write Conversation!!! Be sure to give her a warm TWC welcome!


Create A Free Holiday Gift Sure to Wow Your Email Subscribers
by Patricia Durgin @PatriciaDurgin

Though it's October, you may already have the holidays in mind: family gatherings, church socials, Thanksgiving parades and Christmas concerts. Makes me feel warm inside thinking about it. You, too? 

Presents are part of this season. Have you considered giving your email readers a free holiday gift? 

A great way to deepen your connection to your subscribers is to send them a valuable gift, whether they're a new or long-time reader. It can be in a PDF, video, or audio format. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

5 Ways to Stay Inspired to Write


by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

Do you write only when you’re inspired? It’s hard to make ourselves sit down and write when creativity isn’t bubbling within our souls. I love to write when a feeling of inspiration sings in my heart, but there are times when I’m up against a deadline without any “music” humming inside me to draw from. What do we do?

Here are five ways to stay inspired to write. Which of these do you already practice, and which could be added to your writer’s regimen to stir your heart to write?

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

6 Tips to Move Ahead Even When You Don't Feel Like Writing


by Lynette Eason @LynetteEason

What do you do when you don’t feel like writing? Gasp! Not feel like writing? Is that even a real feeling?

Um…yes. Unfortunately, it happens. At least to me. Don’t get me wrong. I love what I do. I adore my job and the flexibility it affords me. Believe me, I don’t take it for granted. But I don’t wake up EVERY SINGLE day thinking, “Oh boy! I’m just so excited, I can’t wait to hit the keyboard!” 

Monday, October 17, 2022

Follow-Up Techniques for Writing & Marketing Success, Part 2


by Karen Whiting @KarenHWhiting

In my last post, Connect with Readers Through These Follow-Up Strategies for Writing and Marketing Success, I talked about basic strategies for following up with people you meet. I ended with mentioning setting up goals on following up. Goals should include building a stronger network, deepening relationships, and making the most of opportunities to get leads, contracts, and increase marketing. Let’s consider each type of goal and ideas that will maximize the power of the connections.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Things to Consider When Creating an Effective Writing Schedule


by Tammy Karasek @TickledPinkTam

In the writer’s life there must be organization without a doubt. For the last couple of years as I’ve begun this writer’s journey, I’ve read quite a bit on the topic of best writing time practices. One that is prone to be compliant, well most of the time, I’ve tried each and every suggestion to achieve the perfect structure for writing success. 

I’ve failed at those suggested writing schedules and procedures. Miserably failed.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Learn to Use the Three Layers of Dialogue Text Context and Subtext Effectively


by MaryAnn Diorio @DrMaryAnnDiorio

Much has been written on how to write dialogue but, to my knowledge, less has been written on the components of dialogue. This post will explore these components and the reasons it is important to understand them. 

So, first, the three components of dialogue are Text, Context, and Subtext. These three components function much like the three parts of a syllogism: Major Premise, Minor Premise, and Conclusion. 

With that parallel in mind, let's take a closer look at Text, Context, and Subtext.

TEXT
Text is the major premise. Just as the syllogistic major premise is the foundation of the logical argument, Text is the foundation of the fictional argument. Text is that component of story that tells the reader what happened. It is the bare facts. It is everything on the page that is not implied but stated straightforwardly. Text does not need interpretation. It marks the obvious, what is clearly understood from any angle. Like the major premise in a syllogism, Text is fact, albeit story fact, in its most elemental form.

Of the three components, Text is the easiest to understand. It is also the all-encompassing foundation of a story in the sense that both Context and Subtext are contained within Text and rest upon it, just as the minor premise and the conclusion are contained within the major premise and rest upon it. Without the major premise, we could have no minor premise or conclusion. Likewise, without Text, we could have no Context or Subtext.

CONTEXT
As its meaning implies, Context is what goes with Text. The word context derives from two Latin words: cum (meaning with) and texere (meaning to weave). So, Context is a weaving with Text. 

Context includes all the information a reader needs to understand the story. Context includes who the characters are, whatthey are doing, where they are doing it, when they are doing it, and so forth. Context is the supporting actor to Text. 

Context is essential to the reader's engagement with a story. Just as the minor premise informs the major premise with deeper understanding, so does Context inform Text with deeper understanding. In a syllogism, when there is no minor premise to give deeper understanding to the major premise, the logician will feel disoriented and disengaged from the argument. Likewise, without Context to give deeper understanding to the story, the reader will feel disoriented and disengaged from the story. 

SUBTEXT
Whereas Context is the information surrounding a story and grounding the reader, Subtext is what the reader reads between the lines. It is what a character does NOT say but what a character implies. Subtext is beneath the surface (The Latin word sub means under). In Subtext, what is on the surface does not match what is beneath the surface. What is going on with the character on the outside is at odds with what is going on with the character on the inside.

Subtext adds depth and dimension to a story, making it solid and well-rounded. But, it is the job of the reader to pick up subtext. When Subtext is written well, the reader will usually have no problem recognizing it.

Example:
Mom reprimanded five-year-old Mandy for getting into her lipstick. "You're too young to wear lipstick." Mom's lips could not suppress a smile.

In this story snippet, we know that Mom's reprimand (external) contradicts her amusement (internal). That contradiction is made clear by the juxtaposition of the dialogue (Text) with the description of Mom's reaction (Subtext). 

We adults employ Subtext daily in real life, and so should our characters. For example, unlike children who are blunt in their communication (A precious child once told me I was "ancient." :)), we adults would say something like, "You're seasoned and mature."

Subtext enriches a story and enables the reader to participate more fully in it. Use it well with Text and Context and you will create a compelling story that will keep your readers turning pages and your characters lingering long in their minds and hearts.

TWEETABLE

MaryAnn Diorio writes women’s fiction from a small, quaint, Victorian town in southern New Jersey where neighbors still stop to chat while walking their dogs, houses still sport wide, wrap-around porches, and the charming downtown still finds kids licking lollipops and old married folks holding hands. A true Jersey girl, MaryAnn is a big fan of Jersey diners, Jersey tomatoes, and the Jersey shore.

Featured Image: Photo by Sergey Zolkin on Unsplash

Friday, October 14, 2022

How to Successfully Tone Down Your Internal Editor and Make Progress During NaNoWriMo


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Next month, November, is a writerly sort of month. 

It's 30 days of NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month. During this time, some industrious writers take up the challenge to complete 50,000 words in a single month. It can be a great experience, with lots of benefits. 
In honor of NaNoWriMo, I'm going to share some insights I've gleaned about writing a first draft.

I’ve spoken with a lot of writers who have trouble disconnecting their INTERNAL EDITOR when they're working on an early draft of a manuscript. 

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Using the Calendar to Find Writing Ideas, Four Seasons of Writing Success, Part 2


by Julie Lavender @JLavenderWrites

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1 NKJV

Searching for a new idea for an online article or blog post? Look no further than the calendar hanging on the wall, and you’ll find an endless supply of ideas just waiting to splash autumn colors on a blank page! As mentioned back in July with part 1 of Four Seasons of Writing Success, holiday and seasonal writing never runs out of style. Online magazine editors, newspaper editors, bloggers, and websites need fresh content consistently, and celebratory posts can engage and inspire readers with fun and festivity. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Four Important Reasons Book Sales Matter to Authors & Speakers


by Linda Gilden @LindaGilden

What a thrill it is to walk in an event or a bookstore and see your book on display for the first time. Your name on the cover makes you swell with pride and joy and thankfulness. You have waited so long for this day and can’t wait to see people crowded around the table to purchase their copy.

When asked what the greatest impact of selling your books is, many authors will look shocked at the question. “Why, to make money, of course!”

But there are other reasons to be interested in book sales.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Use these Valuable Tips to Seek and Secure Endorsements for Your Manuscript


by Cindy Sproles @CindyDevoted

Oxford Languages defines "endorsement"as an act of giving one's public approval or support to someone or something.

Once we land that book contract and work through the editing process, a note hits our email box. Please send us a list of endorsers for your work. It's an exciting time, and then suddenly, it becomes a real challenge, especially if you are a debut author. When the time arrives to seek out these endorsements, we suddenly realize how short our reach is into the publishing industry. 

Monday, October 10, 2022

Using Lists to Organize Your Writing, Reduce Stress, and Bring Back the Joy of Creating


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Have To, Need To, and Want To!

I have a love/hate relationship with lists. They definitely keep me organized and on track, but they also highlight just how many commitments I have. 

To combat the downside, and keep me moving forward, I’ve found a way to categorize my writing tasks through a 3-tiered approach. 

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Helping Readers Remember


by Martin Wiles @LinesFromGod

Helping readers remember should be one of a writer’s primary goals. 

When I asked, “Don’t you remember?” my son said, “No.” 

My son and his family hadn’t visited our home in two years. His anger over something he thought we’d done, but hadn’t, boiled, so he responded by not talking to us or coming to see us. It wasn’t the first time. We had hoed that row before, even though the strained relationship lay heavily on us. We attempted to mend the hurt, prayed for him, and bided our time. 

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Three Important Things to Consider When You Face Great Disappointment


by Beth K. Vogt @BethVogt

If you’re feeling anything like me, this year has gone by more quickly than you expected. 

You may be someone who celebrates the arrival of fall by cheerfully unpacking your sweaters and baking all things pumpkin. Even as you do, you’re marveling at the fast spin of the seasons.

October is here. In 31 short days, November will be knocking our doors, and then December will be fa-la-la-la-la-ing, which means we’ll be prepping our 2023 calendars.

As we wind down one year and start to ponder a new one, we can’t help but glance over our shoulders and think about all we’ve accomplished and all the things we wanted to accomplish but didn’t. It happens every year. 

Friday, October 7, 2022

Writing an Un-Put-Downable Character (Part 9 of 10): Observables


by A.C. Williams @ACW_Author

How important is it to know that your character is tall? Or that he has red hair? Or that she has green eyes? I am more of the opinion that your character’s other aspects are superior details to focus on, especially at the beginning of a story. Of course there are always exceptions, but generally that’s the case. 

However, knowing what your character looks like DOES matter. We need to have some sense of their features and physical presence. Though it may not be the most important detail to communicate, it’s still important for setting the stage and presenting a complete portrait of your character. 

This month we’re talking about the OBSERVABLES, which is a big lumped-together category that contains all the outside details about your character. 

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Great Freebie Ideas to Add Value to Your Author Newsletter


by Lynn H. Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

If you’re an author, aspiring or published, you know you need a professional website, a vibrant social media platform, and a newsletter.

You probably have a decent handle on the website and social media aspects. But your newsletter can be a daunting proposition, especially when you’re pre-published or very young in your writing career. 

How are you supposed to get strangers to sign up to receive an email from you? 

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Connect with Readers by Avoiding These 9 Common Blogging Mistakes


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Blogging is a great way to connect with our online audience. And while there are a lot more people out there doing it well, I still see some common mistakes. These things affect a blog, making readers click away before they finish a post and even unsubscribe altogether. 

Today I’m going to share the top blogging mistakes I see from authors.

Monday, October 3, 2022

Advice from Industry Experts on Street Teams


by Kristen Hogrefe Parnell @KHogrefeParnell

Authors depend on street teams or launch teams to help spread the word about their books, but if you’ve been on some of these teams before, you already know how different they can be in structure and expectations. 

As I’ve discovered, there is no one right or wrong way to run a street team. However, at this year’s Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference, I asked several best-selling authors if they would share their advice on street teams, and I’ve compiled some of their tips here today.

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.