Wednesday, May 31, 2017

5 Steps to Becoming a Devoted Writer

by Jacob Cavett @JacobCavett

I used to find it difficult to call myself a writer. In many ways, I felt guilty giving myself a label I hardly earned while others had shelves crammed with their published works. I knew I had to start somewhere, but couldn’t help but be discouraged that I didn’t yet have an agent or book deal. Although I might need to have an inventory of works to be established, I don’t need any experience to be devoted to my craft. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

And the Winners Are... Christian Publishing Professionals Shine at BRMCWC

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

We want to extend our sincere congratulations to everyone who entered these contests. You are all winners because you were willing to put your writing out there!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

To Make a Long Story Pie

by Rhonda Rhea @RhondaRhea


Isn’t it great when someone says, “to make a long story short,” because then you know to cancel your plans for the rest of the day.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I’m not one to talk about long stories or the people who tell them. I’m known for being more than a little on the wordy side. And still, even in a personal conversation, I sometimes have trouble listening to others whose presentations are longer than three minutes. Especially if they don’t have visual aids.

Friday, May 26, 2017

What’s the Big Deal about Sans Serif Fonts?

by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

As long as I’ve been blogging, I’ve heard the warning, “Never use anything but a sans serif font on your blog.”

I’d nod my head and look solemn, because, apparently, the use of sans serif fonts is a serious thing. Inside, I’m clueless. What in the world is a sans serif font? And, horror of horrors, is there such a thing as a serif font? Dare I even ask?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Feeling Burned Out?

by Henry McLaughlin @RiverBendSagas

Have you ever felt tired and worn out? Burdened with obligations and things to do? Like there’s never enough time?

Have you ever felt like “Help!” is all you can pray?

I have. I think we all have. In my writing, my own writing competes with obligations to my coaching and editing client, and to my writing partners. Then comes responsibilities to my family. Add church to all this, especially in serving, and you’ve got the recipe for a perfect storm of frustration and burn out.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

3 Ways to Add Punch to Your Story

by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

In the boxing ring of every story’s aim to receive five-star reviews and thousands of sales, some novels emerge as winners, rightfully claiming a “golden glove” award in fiction. We all want to be there and not just for one novel but every one we create.

We writers analyze the hows and whys of bestsellers while incorporating new techniques into our writing. So here’s my challenge—Slip into a pair of writer boxing gloves. Get the adrenaline going and maybe a little caffeine. The following are three of my favorite ways to move closer to a championship title.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Giving Yourself Permission to Rest

by Eva Marie Everson @EvaMarieEverson

“Even God rested, Eva Marie,” a fellow writer exclaimed to me.

True, I reckoned. But is God a Type-A personality, I mused …

You know … constantly driven with a sense of urgency, always up against the clock with a tendency to overbook or overlap in the booking, able to leap tall buildings at a single bound, unable to do only one thing at a time?

Wait … yes. God is a Type-A. Which means He gets me.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Keeping Social Media Personal

by Bethany Jett @BetJett

Have you ever gotten excited when someone you admired friended you on Facebook, retweeted you on Twitter, or asked to be a connection on LinkedIn? For at least one millisecond, that person knew your name.

There were times I was so thrilled that I printed out screenshots for my smash book, which is simply a fun way to scrapbook without trying. It’s a nice feeling.

Unless the only reason they followed you, liked you, or friended you was to spam you.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

My Momma’s Best Advice: How to Keep Going when You Lose

by Andy Lee @WordsByAndyLee


I was in fourth grade, and the opening day of the Tillman County Fair grew closer by the minute. Excitement kept me up at night as I tossed and turned and day-dreamed in the dark of winning blue ribbons.

Competition didn’t pump through my veins on the basketball court or baseball field. An athlete I was not. But give me a sewing machine, recipe, or a speech contest, and I could win with the best of them—humbly of course.

But this county fair was different. My offerings to the contests did not fare as well as the year before. The chocolate chips in my famous chocolate chip cookies melted into the batter turning the golden delights into brown ones, but there was no time to bake another batch. Those would have to do. I hoped their taste would overpower their looks.

And my Thanksgiving table cloth with appliqued napkins and stuffed pumpkins was not perfect. Sewing a straight line never was my strength. Yet, it was creative. I thought.

So needless to say, after the judging was done, the ribbons adorning my entries were not blue. One was red and the other white. First place would not be mine to attain that year. My ten-year-old competitive heart crumbled. Disappointment hung thick in the car as we drove home down highway seventy passed Rhonda Rollin’s daddy’s Dairy Freeze. Not even an ice cream cone could make me feel better.

Wisely, my mom gave me time to grieve. She didn’t impart her advice until we pulled into our driveway. The blue Ford slowly rolled up to the house. Mom braked gently, put it in park, turned the ignition off, and turned toward her pouting, freckled face daughter. That’s when she gave me the advice that stuck with me for the rest of my life.

No rebuke.
  
No “You’ll do better next time.”

Just.

“Andy, in life you have to be a teeter-totter. You can’t always be on top. Others win. That’s just the way life is. Sometimes you’re on top, and sometimes you’re not.”

Time and time again that wisdom has softened the blow of defeat granting me grace for myself and the one who won. It even helped me recently when I learned that I had not won a writing contest. My initial disappointment wasn’t graceful. The loss stirred up that ten-year old girl who decided she would never enter another contest.

I even thought, Maybe I’m done writing! Maybe I should do something else.

I began second guessing everything I’ve written.

But after a short-stack of pancakes with a lot of butter and syrup, the memory of a my mom’s advice drifted through my mind.  It lessened the disappointment, silenced the doubts, and placed it all in perspective.

Andy, you have to be a teeter-totter.

Such wisdom. Her words reminded me that life is not about blue ribbons or being an award-winning writer. No, life is about using our gifts and passions for the Kingdom of Light.

And taking turns.

If my turn on the ground gives someone else the chance to be in the air, I’ll take my turn. Honestly, God didn’t tell me to win an award-winning book. He just told me to write a book.

And I did.

What was the best piece of advice your mom gave you?

TWEETABLE

Andy Lee is a Bible teacher, blogger, and author of A Mary Like Me: Flawed Yet Called (Leafwood, 2016) and The Book of Ruth Key Word Bible Study: A 31-Day Journey to Hope and Promise (AMG Publishers). Visit her site, www.wordsbyandylee.com where Andy digs deep to live fully and join her daily with hundreds of viewers on her Bite of Bread Facebook Live broadcast at 8:20 AM ET to start your day in the Word. 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Writing for Today's Reader - Fulfill Your End of the Contract

By Edie Melson

Did you know that you have a contract with your reader? You do. And it doesn’t matter if you write fiction, non-fiction, short or long. If what you write is being read, you have entered into a contractual agreement.

Today I want to explain what those expectations are and how you, as the writer, can fulfill those.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Amazon's New Policy Change, From Play It Again Sports to Read It Again Books

by Cyle Young @CyleYoung

Beware Amazon's New Policy Change!
In 1983 Play It Again Sports launched in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and within five years the store burst on the national scene through franchising opportunities. The stores' used sporting equipment resale concept found quick success as many customers looked to cash-in on low prices.

Many sports require equipment that has a lifetime much longer than the average participants age or developmental phase which creates an ever-growing pool of used sports equipment.  The chain soon blossomed to over 400 stores nationwide because of low product investment and high profitability. This same business model has allowed many movie and video game resale stores to find similar success.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

7 Things To Remember When You Host a Guest on Your Blog

by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

Copy and paste is technology’s gift to the writer. But that’s not all that is involved with using a guest writer’s post on your blog. Last month, I talked about how Friends Don’t Let Friends Blog Alone. This month I want to follow up with a simple but needed checklist for using guest blog posts. Not only do we want to enjoy blogging with other writers, but we want to make their posts for us as beneficial as possible to them.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Called to Share Your Hard Story

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

When God calls you to speak about the hard things.
“Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story.” Psalm 107.1-2

“I was crushed, so crushed I didn’t even want to face the public. And yet, I didn’t have a choice…”

Carol was a professional speaker who was used to sharing her story.

Until that day her only son was arrested for murder. While reeling from the unimaginable crime that would change all their lives forever, Carol knew she had to speak to a large crowd that weekend—people unaware of the recent event.

Monday, May 15, 2017

How to be a Zebra on Social Media

by Molly Jo Realy @RealMoJo68

Occam’s Razor is a theory, mainly used in medical diagnoses, that simply states “If you hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras.” They teach med students to stop looking for the gloriously exotic diseases, and instead see the ordinary, already right in front of them. Because social media is not a one-size-fits-most commodity, I say forget the horse. Be the Zebra!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Hands of a Mother

by Sarah Van Diest @SarahVanDiest

Mothers’ hands are often full. They hold bottles and diapers, dance costumes and permission slips, baseball caps and treasured, half-eaten, slightly moist cookies. Her hands are almost never empty. An empty hand can do many things, though. And sometimes mothers wish they had three or four. But an empty hand may sometimes feel odd, almost wrong, as if something important has been forgotten or dropped, as if something is missing.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Thursday, May 11, 2017

To Succeed as a Writer, Just Say No

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson 

I don’t mean no to writing opportunities—say no to some other things in your life. We all only have so much time in a day. And if you’re like me, it’s filled to overflowing. So that means changing some priorities.

Sounds easy, but to anyone who’s tried, it can be tough to carve out time for writing.

Here are some tips I’ve used to help me realign my life.
Decide where you want to go with your writing. You don’t have to schedule your time to get there overnight, but to get there, you do need to know where you’re going.

Take an inventory at what’s happening in your life right now. This is also going affect how much time you can realistically spend on writing.

Now answer these two questions:
  • What are you doing now, that you love MORE than writing? 
  • What are you doing now that you DON’T love more than writing?
These are the factors you need to consider to begin to map out a plan that works for you.

My Experience
To help you see how to apply what you've learned I'll share my answers when I first started writing. This will help you see how it gave me a plan for my writing.

I was a stay-at-home mom with three school-age boys. I had a goal to eventually earn a full-time living with my writing. I also didn’t want to loose family time or even what little adult time my husband and I had to spend together in the evening.

My writing schedule developed from these parameters. Every night after family time, I’d retire with my husband. When he went to sleep, I’d get up and start writing. I’d usually write until three or four o’clock in the morning, then I’d go to bed.

In the morning, my husband would get up with the boys and get them off to school. I’d get up later in the morning and be fresh when the boys got home from school. It might have been unorthodox, but it worked perfectly.

What did I give up? Lunches with friends and other daytime activities. I also stayed on a budget so I could afford to attend at least two writing conferences every year.

I’ve never found a way to do it all. But I have discovered there is time enough for what I truly love.

What about you? How do you make time for writing?

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

TWEETABLES
Learning to say NO is the best way to say YES to your #writing - @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Need more time to write? Learning to say no is the place to start - @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Get Started Writing Articles

by Linda Gilden @LindaGilden

Article writing can be a great place to start your
writing journey.
One of the pieces of writing advice new writers hear a lot is “Write what you know.” But for many, once they figure out what they know, the next question is “What do I do now?”

Of course, there are lots of answers. My favorite answer is that writing articles is a great way to get started on your writing journey. You may be thinking, Okay, so same question—what do I do now?

Articles can take you in several directions. Here are a few of them.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Present Yourself Professionally at Publishing Events

by Cindy Sproles @CindyDevoted


Conferences are wonderful. There's no other way to explain the benefits other than saying you must attend. 

Attending a conference allows the writer, whether new or seasoned, to interact with their peers, network with editors and publishers, and sharpen their writing skills. The goal is to have conferees walk away encouraged and filled to the brim.

Though more and more conferences are going to a relaxed dress and setting, there is one thing that should not change—how you present yourself.

Monday, May 8, 2017

There’s an App for That—Apps to Make Your Writing Conference Experience Better

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Taking time now to download some handy apps can
stretch your conference dollar & enhance your experience!
The writing conference season is in full swing. While everyone knows the value of attending writing conferences, many be not be aware of the benefits gained with a few simple apps added to your mobile device(s). This month I’ll share some of my favorites, and how they help keep me on track.

The first thing you need to know is that the value of an app isn’t dictated by the cost. Many of my favorites are free, and the others are all quite reasonable.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Write a Book, Go to War: The Reality of Spiritual Battle for Writers

by Danetta Kellar 
@DanettaKellar

He climbed over a smoking heap of debris, his head dripping with blood from the gash in his scalp. Over a shoulder he carried his best friend, unconscious and missing a limb. Nothing would stop him from getting out. Nothing. He had been trained to undergo enemy fire, and knew what to do. The sound of his grenade exploding echoed off the buildings as he created a momentary breach and raced through to safety under cover of smoke.

The soldier and his friend survived, later receiving the prestigious purple heart award for the war wounds they received at the hands of the enemy. Like the honored bronze medals now adorning their walls, their story of courage that day will always ornament their hearts like a combat decoration.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Tools For the Writer—Some Place You Might Not Have Thought to Look

by Tim Suddeth @TimSuddeth

Many of us use our writing as a means of sharing our own spiritual journeys with others. We do this by writing sermons, Bible studies, and/or devotions. It begins by wanting to share a word or thought that God has first given us.

To make sure our teaching is of God, and not just from us, we need to be sure we understand what the Bible is truly saying. Since the Bible was written two thousand years ago, in three  different languages, and for a different culture or cultures, it’s more important that we try to determine what the original writer was trying to get across. Fortunately, there are some tools to help in our search for the Bible’s truths.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Where to Find Free Editing for Your Manuscript

by Bruce Brady @BDBrady007

It’s writing conference time across the country. We hear many things at these gathers.

Some true.

Some not so true.

But one of the truths we always hear is that we need to edit our manuscripts before submitting them to agents and publishers.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

I Really Am a Writer—Watching the Dream Unfold

Edie here. Today I'm excited to introduce you to my friend, Erynn Newman. She's a gifted editor and also an incredible writer. I invited her here because her debut novel is just now releasing and I wanted a chance to give her a great send-off. Be sure to welcome her and share in her big day!


I Really Am a Writer—Watching the Dream Unfold
by Erynn Newman 
@ErynnNewman

I have always loved 
writing. Big surprise there. But having to write on topics provided by other people sucked the love right out of me. So, it was actually an extra spot for an elective in my schedule during my senior year of college, and an amazing Creative Writing professor, that reminded me.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A Reality Check for those Beginning the Professional Writing Journey

by Lynn Blackburn 
@LynnHBlackburn

Maybe I’m the only one who’s ever done this, but sometimes I read writing advice . . . and I roll my eyes.

I’m way too polite to do anything like that to someone’s face, of course.  But the truth is that I have at times been rather, well, how can I put this?

Clueless.

I was so sure my writing journey wouldn’t look quite like anyone else’s.

You know what I’m talking about, right?

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Write to Finish

by Cynthia Owens @EfficiencyAdict

4 Mindsets that make a difference!
I have a confession. I’ve struggled to finish writing a novel. Articles, blog posts, devotions, short stories, poems—these I can handle, but wielding 55,000+ words, making a fictional story bloom on paper the way it has unfolded in my head, has been my personal unicorn.

Until recently, I didn’t know how to change this. But, in the last six months the barriers have fallen. My current manuscript is 75% complete and on target to be finished in the next few weeks.

Monday, May 1, 2017

How to Never Run Out of Ideas for Things Write About—May Holidays, Special Days & Downright Crazy Days

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

May Holidays, Special Days & Downright Crazy Days
It’s time again for Calendar Days. These are just fun to read. They’re also a great way to jumpstart our creativity when looking for ideas for articles and blog posts. They’re also a fun writing prompt idea. 

In addition, calendar days are great conversation starters for social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, especially when two contrasting holidays fall on the same date.