Sunday, April 19, 2015

Am I Hoarding My Writing Journey?

In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy. I Corinthians 4:2

When I think of stewardship, I think about managing something that is owned by someone else. I don’t think of my own life in that context, and I especially don’t think of my writing life that way.

I think of my writing life as a journey. And in a lot of ways that’s what it is.

Truthfully, though, it goes beyond just a journey. It’s also a set of experiences that make me who I am. The situations I’ve been a part of, the things I’ve learned along the way, even the people I’ve come into contact with, make up a very real part of who I am as a writer.

And I’ve come to realize that every aspect of this is a gift from God. It’s something He’s given me to make me into the person He knows I can be. Some of these experiences are filled with joy and others with great sorrow. Each one though, has added something to who I am as a person and as a writer.

What if these experiences aren’t just for me?

I’ve decided that they aren’t just for me. I do not believe God’s given me this abundance to draw on—to fuel and direct my creative endeavors—to have me squander and hoard them only for my on benefit. I believe He expects me to share my experiences with others and allow them to learn through what He’s been showing me.

So instead of hoarding my writing journey, I’m going to share it. Letting those around me see the good, the bad, and yes even the ugly. I'm going to trust that God has a bigger purpose than just me. I'm going to quit hiding away my experiences, letting them gather dust in the dim corners of my memory. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Art of Seeing—A Writer's Strength

The art of seeing. 

At first this concept may seem far removed from the craft of writing. But I think the two are intertwined. The writers who touch me the deepest are those who notice things others do not. 

How do you strengthen your visual sense and translate what you see into words?

"Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others." ~Jonathan Swift
Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

I also invite you to use this image any way you like online. Post it to your blog, share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, anywhere you'd like. All I ask is that you keep it intact, with my website watermark visible.

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

Friday, April 17, 2015

Writers Need A Support System (for our backs)

By Bruce Brady @BDBrady007

I’ve spent the better part of two months nursing a painful back injury. One that’s kept me from doing just about everything. Including writing.

Looking past the pain, this malady has taught me some valuable lessons about life and writing.

Let’s face it, our writing is dependent upon our physical health. When sitting, standing, and lying down are excruciatingly painful, it’s difficult to write.

Research shows there are similar steps we can take to improve our backs, and our writing.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

How NOT to Grow as a Writer—9 Traps to Avoid

By Edie Melson @EdieMelson

How NOT to Grow as a Writer
I’ve never met a writer who didn’t claim to want to grow and improve. Everyone single one I’ve ever met has had some sort of a goal. Oh don’t get me wrong, the goals differ widely—from wanting to write and publish the next great American novel, to just wanting to see their name in print, to wanting to record the family stories for the next generation. All of these different goals require growth.

But while everyone says they want to grow and improve—many don’t take even the simplest of steps to achieve that growth. So today, instead of pointing out what writers should do to grow, I’m going to turn the tables and give you a list on what to do if you do NOT want to grow as a writer. Beware if you fall into too many of the traps I’ve listed below.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Write What You Know (or take a first-hand look)

Edie here. Today I'm excited to introduce the newest member of The Write Conversation blogging team. Linda Gilden has guested her several time and I know you all already love her as much as I do. Now she'll be a regular monthly contributor. so be sure and show her some love!

One of the first pieces advice writers here is, "Write what you know."
Write What You Know

by Linda Gilden @LindaGilden

One of the first pieces of advice beginning writers receive is to “write what you know.” But once the honeymoon of your writing career is over, how do you expand what you know?
  
The obvious types of research – reading, interviewing, visiting key sites, personal experiences, etc. – will definitely expand your storehouse of factual material. But perhaps you need to explore new territory and actually step into the subject of your article, gleaning first-hand experience as a means of research?
  
When you write what you know, you can provide your reader with insider information. You have “been there, done that” and your confidence will assure your reader that you can be trusted. Your writing will come alive with your excitement of having experienced the setting or activity yourself. Becoming a temporary expert not only strengthens your writing but also will broaden the base from which you write.

Years ago I wrote for a national sports ministry. When I was asked to write the new soccer handbook, there was a problem. Even though my children had played soccer, I was always the mom in the stands who sometime had to be reminded which goal was our goal and often cheered at the wrong time or for the wrong team. So when I began to write the handbook, my son’s high school friends who were on the soccer team stopped by in the afternoons to demonstrate the different soccer kicks and moves. One would get on either side of me, hold my elbows, and another would pick my foot up in the correct position for the kick of the day! I learned to write about soccer moves not on the field but in the middle of my den. But as I learned I was able to bring life to the handbook.
           
Others have had similar experiences. Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickle and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, worked low-paying, entry-level jobs in three areas of the country to understand how women forced into the job market by welfare reform could survive. Phillip Reed, Consumer Advice Editor at Edmunds.com, decided to write about the car business so he got a job as a car salesman. This allowed him an “inside look” at the car business and the life of a car salesman. Yvonne Lehman took violin lessons to understand the feeling of her character in her story, “Name that Tune.”

So write what you know? That’s always a good place to start. But when you have exhausted your first-hand knowledge, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and learn a new skill. Then, write what you know (and just learned).

Now it’s your turn. How have you added to your own experience of what you know? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

TWEETABLES


#Writing what you know can also mean learning new things - via @LindaGilden on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)


Linda Gilden is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She finds great joy in time spent with her family. Her favorite activity is floating in a pool with a good book surrounded by splashing children!

To find out more about Linda, her writing, and her ministry, visit www.lindagilden.com. You can also connect with her on Twitter @LindaGilden and Facebook at Author Linda Gilden.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Homonym Primer for Writers: Did You Sea/See There/Their Mistake?

by Cindy Sproles @CindyDevoted

Homonyms are no laughing matter.
Homonym – A word pronounced the same as another but differing in meaning, whether spelled the same way or not, as heir and air or bear and bare.

I love editors. They are a breed all their own. A bit OCD and leaning toward a perfectionist’s mentality, they are the eyes that make our writing spotless. Clean. Grammatically. . . spit-shined. Without them, many of us would be . . .well, let’s just say, we wouldn’t look as good as we do. But, if you want to have some fun with an editor, mess with a homonym and watch their eyes begin to roll.

Homonyms are, in some ways, tricky, but for the most part, it’s our lack of attention to them cause us to look bad. Writer’s fingers key faster than their brains work and it happens. The wrong word is chosen. Even Microsoft Word in all its glory can only search for misspelled words. In the case of a homonym, the words aren’t misspelled, making spell check useless. This is when due diligence is important.

 I recently reviewed a critique at a conference. This is what I saw:

She called there home. Sent them notes. But it wasn’t until Meg knocked on their door to bear her indiscretions, that Jon realized her fear.

Don't let pesky homonyms rear their
ugly heads in your writing.
Those pesky homonyms reared their ugly heads and in this case, made an advanced writer look sloppy.

Some homonyms are easily confused, such as bear and bare especially when portions of their meaning are similar.

Bear – an animal; give testimony (bear false witness); give birth
Bare – to support or uphold; naked; basic and simple

Then there are those homonyms that prove to be writer laziness or unwillingness to proof and correct. For example: Their – possessive case of they; belonging to, and there – a place.

Whatever the case, homonyms are basic mechanics in writing and a vital part of the self-editing process. Practice due diligence and professionalism in your writing by watching carefully for homonyms.

Below is a short list of commonly misused homonyms. Check out www.cooper.com/alan/homonym_list.html for a more complete listing.

 Now it's your turn, what homonyms would you add to the list?

Don't forget to join the conversation!

TWEETABLES
Don't let #homonyms rear their ugly heads in your #writing - tips from @CindyDevoted on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

A #homonym primer for writers from @CindyDevoted on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Cindy Sproles is an author and popular speaker. She is the cofounder of Christian Devotions ministries and managing editor of Straight Street Books and SonRise Devotionals, imprints of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Cindy is the executive editor of www.christiandevotions.us and www.inspireafire.com. She teaches at writers conferences nationwide and directs The Asheville Christian Writers Conference - Writers Boot Camp. 

She is the author of two devotionals, He Said, She Said - Learning to Live aLife of Passion and New Sheets - Thirty Days to Refine You into theWoman You Can Be. Cindy's debut fiction novel, Mercy's Rain, is available at major retailers. Visit Cindy at www.cindysproles.com and book her for your next conference or ladies retreat. Also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.