Friday, February 27, 2015

Important Real Estate/Can't Happen Here?/Faith

1.  Do you know what to include in your author/writer bios? Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation, talks about this much-neglected subject as important real estate.

2.  We've read articles on homeschooling being outlawed/restricted in Germany. Can't happen here? Think again. WND reports on a homeschool family in Arkansas that had a scary experience.

3.  Quiet Spirit, at Following My King, has a devotional blog you might like to visit. Check out her article on Confessing Your Faith.

Writers:  What do you put in your bios?

Readers:  Do you read devotional books/blogs? What are some of your favorites?

Photo Credit:  sikarios

Monday, February 23, 2015

From Hunt-and-Peck to Proficient

I stepped into the 7th grade typing classroom with its rows of Underwood manual typewriters and the huge keyboard diagram above the blackboard. My days of hunt-and-peck typing would soon be a thing of the past, and I'd be closer to my chosen profession of secretary.

The glamor soon wore off as the teacher put us through endless drills. Finally, we began typing blocks of text. Looking down at our hands brought a sharp reprimand. This was a touch-typing class. In 8th grade we encountered more drills, more challenges, and built our speed.

Five years of typing classes taught me some important lessons:

1.  A strong foundation prepares you for bigger and better things.

2.  Repetition embeds needed principles in your brain.

3.  Practice promotes manual dexterity for typing and promotes what I call "muscle memory." After awhile, your fingers respond to the brain's commands with lightning speed.

We all want to be experts overnight, but it takes time and hard work. Instead of moaning about the learning curve, I've embraced it. Those halting initial steps toward our goals - whether writing or some other endeavor - will have a reward if we don't give up.

Writers:  How did you build your writing foundation?

Readers:  Learning how to read takes time and effort. What gave you the most difficulty with acquiring that skill?

Proverbs 13:4 (KJV): " The soul of the sluggard desireth, and [hath] nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat."

Photo Credit:  andreweld

Friday, February 20, 2015

Critiques/Don't Be Prepared/Staying Limber on a Road Trip

1.  Have you ever been shattered by criticism of your writing? The Positive Writer shows how to give constructive criticism in a way that doesn't discourage or put down the writer. These are valuable tips for those who belong to critique groups or edit.

2.  Do you like a good devotional? Adelee Russell, at Rewritten, tells us, "Don't be Prepared." I don't know about you, but I'm a proactive sort of person, so I HAD to read this.

3.  Dena Netherton, at My Father's World, My Father's Words, talks about exercise on the road.

Writers:  Do you belong to a critique group? Please share your experience.

Readers:  How do you keep from getting stiff during long road trips?

Photo Credit:  livaya

Monday, February 16, 2015

5 Ways Writing Changed My Perspective

I don't think I have to tell you that air travel has changed over the years. This didn't impact me personally since I didn't go anywhere. Yes, I booked travel for my company and had to know about airfares, schedules, booking online, and a myriad of other details, but it was more theoretical than practical.

My perspective did an about face when I had to book travel for myself. How was I going to get to the airport? What was I allowed to take in my carry-on luggage? How long would it take to get through security? All of these issues hit home.

In the same way, the addition of "writer" to my resume changed the way I thought about books:

1) The voracious reader in me read the story and recognized certain fiction techniques like show/don't tell, passive versus active voice, deep point of view, etc.

2)  I noticed when writing rules were broken and tried to discern whether it was a lapse on the author's part or a deliberate way to make the story work.

3)  When a story gripped my emotions, I wanted to know why and how to make that happen in my own novels.

4)  If the story made me forget about doing all the above, I knew it was a truly well-written tale.

5)  When the mechanics were right and the "heart" came through, the reading experience became something treasured.

Wanting to give the reader that almost magical trip into a character's world pushes me to improve my skills. The reading/writing process combined to birth a new story and give me an appreciation for both.
Writers:  How did writing either fiction or non-fiction change your reading habits?

Readers:  Is there some area of your life that went from being important for others to something deeply personal? Examples:  Babysitting versus being a mom, researching health issues for someone else versus grappling with your own.

Photo Credit: teslacoils

Friday, February 13, 2015

Speaking/Book Signings/Expecting Less

1.  Whether you're a writer, public speaker, or minister, you'll find this article helpful. Chad Allen shares 10 Things Every Public Speaker Should Know.

2.  Have you ever done a bookstore signing? Elaine Marie Cooper guest posts at Seriously Write about how the location of your display can affect your success. What a great idea!

3.  Jeanette Levellie, at Hope Splashes, shares how expecting less of others can keep us happy.

Writers:  Were you surprised by the prime location for a book signing? Have you discovered other areas of a bookstore that work well? Please share.

Readers:  Jeanette's inspiring post touched my heart. She's always got something so applicable to daily life. How do you keep from setting yourself up for disappointment?

Have a blessed weekend!

Photo Credit:  alesia17

Friday Thoughts - Video/Synopsis Writing/Changes

1.  My friend, Chatty Crone, posted a video (it's at the end of her post) that I LOVED! I hope you enjoy it as well.

2.  Romance University posted an article on writing the dreaded synopsis. No matter what your genre, you'll benefit from the advice. Hat tip to my friend, Jessica Nelson, at BookingIt, for bringing it to my attention. This was so good that I printed it out.

3.  About now, those New Year's Resolutions are wearing a mite thin. Laurel Garver, at Laurel's Leaves, shares ideas on how to make those changes permanent.

Writers:  What's your least favorite aspect of writing?

Readers:  Did you make New Year's Resolutions? How is that going for you?

Photo Credit:  K yohsen

Monday, February 9, 2015

Celebrating 1,000 Posts!

Yes, it's true. When I started Christian Writer/Reader Connection 6 1/2 years ago, the same questions that plague most bloggers concerned me:

1)  Would I be able to produce quality content week after week, year after year?

2)  Would writers and readers come to my blog?

3)  How would I handle the inevitable techy challenges?

By God's grace and sheer determination, I've put together 2-3 posts every week except when taking short blog breaks. The rewards have far outweighed any difficulties:

1)  I met a lot of great writers in the blogosphere, as well as several close friends.

2)  The social media experience prepared me for other sites like Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

3)  I've been able to promote the books of other authors and launch my own.

Since starting this journey, both the social media and publishing landscapes have seen dramatic changes. The growing popularity of Facebook and other venues has sometimes overshadowed the blogging world. Yet, we're still here, faithfully documenting our highs and lows.

Personally, I'd like to see a resurgence of blogging. The many writing posts provided much information on both the craft and the business, while book reviews alerted me to new authors and their debut novels.

Writers:  Do you think blogging is still a viable way to connect with readers? Please share.

Readers:  What do you look for in a blog? What changes/improvements would you like to see here at Christian Writer/Reader Connection?

Photo Credit:  ba1969

Friday, February 6, 2015

3 Weekend Thoughts - First Draft/Writing Reviews/Learning Patience

1.  Natasha Lekic guest posts at Positive Writer. When should you stop writing a first draft? A quote from her that hooked me, "Early drafts have a sly way of confounding everyone's expectations, which is what's so marvelous - and frustrating - about the art of writing."

2.  Readers: Is writing a book review intimidating? Zoe McCarthy gives some great tips on the subject. Reviews are important not only to authors, but also to other readers.

3.  Susan, at Writing Straight From the Heart, wrote a neat devotional piece. I thought you might like it.

Writers:  Have you given up on a manuscript too soon? Please share.

Readers:  Have you ever written a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, of What points do you make when writing a review?

Photo Credit:  nkzs

Monday, February 2, 2015

Are You Somebody?

Freedom. It's something most of us in the U.S. take for granted. Yet all over the world people are enslaved in the Human Trafficking trade. Yes, I capitalized it because it's a huge problem.

My friend, Susan Panzica, is the founder of The Justice Network, based in New Jersey. Her goal is to raise awareness and do whatever she can to help those in the clutches of modern-day slave traders.

Susan blogs at Eternity Cafe and Circles of Faith. She wrote a special post in January for Human Trafficking Month. I hope you'll pop over there and read it.

My books speak about freedom and what it would be like without it. If we ignore the plight of others, we might find ourselves faced with that reality. You may not think you can do much to alleviate the suffering, but you are somebody - somebody who cares.

Writers: How can you use your writing gift to raise awareness about the needs of others?

Readers:  Have you heard much about Human Trafficking?

Photo Credit:  Anitab0000