Monday, September 30, 2013

Social Media Monday—What I Learned about Blogging From Katniss Everdeen

This past week I was in Katniss Everdeen country.

I had the opportunity to spend the weekend with my BCGE crit partners on a writing retreat. (Waving to Charity Tinnin, Amanda Stevens, Jess Keller Koschnitzky, and Erynn Newman.) We were tucked away in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains where part of the Hunger Games was filmed.

The weather was brisk and beautiful and as we took pictures of the mill village that served as the set of her home in District 12. While I clicked happily away, I got to thinking about Katniss and how she’d played the game.

I realized I could learn a lot by applying some of her principles. Today I want to share what I learned about blogging from Katniss Everdeen.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Weekend Worship—The Day the Truth Set My Writing Free

And you will know the truth and the truth will make you free. John 8:32

Now I have to confess, usually I can only take so much TRUTH when it comes to my writing. And as exciting as writing conferences are, there tends to be—in my humble opinion—a surfeit of truth going on there.

Everyone you meet has an opinion, especially when it comes to your writing and how it should be fixed. Add to that the late nights, adrenalin rush of meetings, and a schedule jam packed with classes and you have a recipe for emotional disaster.

I found myself on that very roller the first ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference I attended in 2009. Luckily it wasn’t my first big conference, but it was by far the largest I’d ever attended.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Writing Prompt Image—Small Steps

What steps are you taking now to get where you want to be?

"We're called to be faithful, to take those first difficult steps—and leave the results up to God." -Alex Harris
Share your answers 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!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Life Lessons—Follow Your Heart Wherever it Leads

by Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Four weeks ago, I was riding my bicycle from McKleansboro, Illinois to Henderson, Kentucky on the Road to Freedom Tour when the unthinkable happened. I was climbing the bridge over the Wabash River when a ligament in my knee ripped.

Though I made it over the bridge and was able to pull off the road, my nightmare was far from over. I was stranded on the side of the road for over two hours before I could be rescued. Each time I tried to stand, dizziness would force me back to the pavement.

As I sat pondering the events of my then sixty day long bicycle tour, I lamented that it was coming to an end, right there on highway 62 in western Indiana. No more women would meet The Bicycle Lady and no more women would be set free from the torment of their past.

Defeat washed over me.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Calendar Days—Holidays, Special Days & Downright Crazy Days in October

It's that time again—Calendar Days. I sure hope you all are enjoying this column as much as me. It's funny, as I research these each month, I think of so many of you.

For example, I think of Cathy Baker, a wonderful poet on October 3, Poetry Appreciation Day. And Lisa Jordan on October 5 for Card Making Day, and finally, I can't help but remember Julia Tomiak on October 16, Dictionary Day. I just love her Diary of a Word Nerd blog

And I can't help but giggle at the holidays that fall on the same date, like October 30 has Create a Great Funeral Day and Frankenstein Day. That just hits me as ironic.

I always share this info on the last Thursday of every month. So be sure to drop by. Today I’m going to continue with the upcoming crazy and normal holidays in the month of October.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

How Writing is Like Going on a Blind Date

You may think I’m nuts with this comparison, but hang in here with me. There are a lot more similarities to these two circumstances than you might initially think. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the writer or the reader, unless you’ve met before neither one of you knows exactly what to expect.  So I’ve come up with some writing/dating Dos and Don’ts you might want to consider. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Blogging Meme—Blog Post Prompt—TRUST

I talk to a lot of writers with blogs. And one of the biggest problems they face is finding topics to blog about. Today I'd like to help solve that problem.

I'm starting a new Meme today. If you're not sure what a Meme is, here's a post I wrote about How to Increase Your Blog's Visibility With Memes. 

For this Meme, I'll post a prompt, then you write a blog post around that prompt. After your post is up, you can link it back here. The advantage is that others will see your blog and can visit, and we can all gain exposure to new followers. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Social Media Monday—10 Ways You May Be Wrecking Your Social Media Presence

For writers today, an online presence can mean the difference between success and failure. But if we’re not doing it right, we may be our own worst enemy. Today I want to share 10 ways you may be wrecking your social media presence.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Weekend Worship—The Calling of God

The Lord said to me, "You have seen correctly, for I watch over My word to accomplish it." Jeremiah 1:12

As believers, we often speak of our own personal calling. We look for that special something that God has for us to accomplish within his kingdom. Sometimes we treat the search for our calling as a quest or even a treasure hunt. But truthfully, our calling is buried deep within us, something we’re born with. It’s not really something we must discover, but something we to accept and grow into.

God has ordered all our days before we were born. He’s set into motion the events in and around us to shape us into what he has for us. Every single thing we need has been accounted for and placed within our grasp at the proper time.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Writing Prompt Image—Let Go and Fly!

How do you find the courage to let go and fly?

"No matter how beautiful your wings - you'll never fly until you
let go of what's holding you back." —Edie Melson
Share your answers 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!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Life Lessons—Finding True North

by Reba J Hoffman, Ph.D.

I recently spoke to hundreds of wordsmiths at the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Conference (ACFW) in Indianapolis. It’s an exciting time for writers, and yet, it can throw you a little off kilter emotionally.

As an author—even those who haven’t yet published—your career is filled with ups and downs and all sorts of emotional spiraling. I’d tell you this is normal but you’d probably throw something at me.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Genre Talk—Steampunk—You May Know More About It Than You Think!

Many of you know that besides training writers about social media and the craft of writing, I'm a full-time writer. I've published four non-fiction books, with two more due out January of 2014.

But the dream of my heart has always been to write fiction.

Specifically science fiction—known in the Christian writing circles as Speculative (Spec) Fiction. And I'm making significant headway toward that goal.

I have a scifi series I'm working on—the first book is finished and hanging around at several publishing houses while they decide if it's worth making into a book. (A truly scary sort of waiting game and another post entirely.)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Time is On My Side After All!

Guest post by Beth Ann Farley

Most of us are familiar with that Beatles song, Time is on my Side. I know it well and have to say that most often, time is not on my side. Sometimes I have to escape the madness, and retreat to my quiet zone to be able to write.

I have a desk set up in a spare bedroom, but unfortunately the room also houses my husband’s computer. Frequently our schedules overlap, and we find ourselves trying to work at the same time. He has a hard time hearing so he blasts the speakers and I, the loving wife, try very hard to keep patient. But many times I fail. Those are the times when I get really frustrated.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Social Media Monday—It's Time to QUIT Social Media!

Yep you read that right.

The Queen of social media is telling you it's time to QUIT social media. 

NOT permanently (thought you were going to get out of it, didn’t you!), but I'm suggesting you take a break periodically, and re-examine your plan.

I used to keep up with social every single day, whether I was home or traveling. But I’ve learned that I can’t sustain a reasonable social media schedule seven days a week, indefinitely. So I’ve given myself permission to have weekends off and to relax when I’m traveling.

I know it sounds scary, but the truth is—it hasn’t hurt my platform at all—as a matter of fact it has helped it. Here’s two reasons why:

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Writing Prompt Image—God's Perspective

What do you do to see things from God's perspective? 
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways and
My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9

Share your answers 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!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Life Lessons—Friday the Thirteenth and Other Superstitions

by Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Do I really have to discuss the stigma many people place on the thirteenth day of the month and how it is dark, evil and wicked if it happens to fall on a Friday? Sounds childish when I put it that way but there are many people who won’t go out on that day for fear their will meet their untimely end.

Before you roll in the floor unable to contain your belly laugh, what sort of untruths do you subscribe to that keeps the writer in you locked inside yourself? Here are a few common superstitions:

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Writing Road Detours—NOT the Roadblocks You Think!

I’ve never met a writer whose road to publication was a straight path. All of them tell stories about a much longer journey, often filled with detours and odd twists.

But one thing they all say is that they wouldn’t be where they are today without the experience they gained along the journey. Here’s my story:

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Conference Essentials for Your Computer Bag

Yesterday, since many of us are headed to ACFW in Indianapolis, I shared My Favorite Apps for a Conference. Today, I have a few more things you’ll want to pack. I call these my conference essentials for my computer bag. 

Business Cards: It doesn’t matter if you’re pitching or not you still need business cards. It’s a great way to keep up with new friends and exchange information.

Camera: This can be your smart phone or a digital cameral, but keep one on you at all times. You never know when you’ll meet your dream author or just want a snap to illustrate a future blog post.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Social Media Monday—Best Apps to Help You at a Conference

So many of us are heading to Indianapolis this week for the annual ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference. For some this will be the first time at a big conference, others are old pros.

It doesn’t matter where you fall on the scale, I have some app suggestions for your smart phone and/or tablet that can help streamline your conference experience.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Weekend Worship—Are You Making Waves or Ripples?

Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be serious and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. I Peter 1:13

We got the chance to spend a week at the beach this summer and it was a much-needed rest for mind and body. I spent hours on the beach, no really doing anything, just watching the waves. We also had the opportunity to visit some local gardens and places with calmer water.

I was struck by the different way the water acted when it encountered an obstacle, or when an obstacle encountered it.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Writing Prompt Image—Moving Forward When Doubts Descend

How do you keep moving forward when doubts descend?

"We know only too well that what we are doing is nothing more than a drop in the ocean. But if
the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something." —Mother Teresa

Share your answers 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!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Life Lessons—When You Can't See the Staircase

by Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

As a writer, it’s rare you ever see the staircase. In fact, sometimes you could not verify that a staircase even exists. That’s a pretty scary place to be walking on your journey down the writing road.

And, as we writers tend to do, we don’t take a step forward because we can’t see where the journey ends. After all, why bother to start the climb if you don’t know how many steps that will come after that and where the climb will end, right?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Thursday Review—Write Every Day

by Lynn H. Blackburn

So how much writing did you get done this summer?

Every time someone asks me this, I have to fight an intense desire to slink away in shame. Instead, I mumble something about being busy with the kids and vacation because I hate to tell them the truth.

How much did I write this summer? Not much.

Now I know some of you are going to try to tell me that it’s okay. I have young children. I’m not going to get much writing done during the summer. But the truth is, I wasn’t getting much writing done before summer started.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Business Basics for Today's Writer—Tune into Your Audience

Tune into Your Audience
How often do you tune into your audience as you’re writing? Probably not as often as you should. To be a successful writer you have to reflect their place in life. Let me explain by giving you an example.

I critiqued an article last week for a homeschooling newsletter and I was struck by two things. First, the depth of the research and the genius behind the conclusions the author drew. And . . . the boring way she conveyed that information.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Rejection, Rejection, Rejection

Guest post by Beth Ann Farley

Eight months ago I felt this strong tug to leave my cushy full time job to start writing from home. It Was December 2012 when I stepped down from full time employment to part time at a busy public library. It was no easy task.

Six months after my decision, I became ill. I went from doctor to doctor, had test after test performed and was finally diagnosed with a kidney disease. God’s calling for me to write became a huge challenge, one of which I cried many times over the keyboard. After all, didn’t He know how sick I was? Didn’t He know I had bills to pay? I was petrified.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Social Media Monday—Where Do I Find Pictures for My Blog?

Right on the heels of the questions about what to write about come those asking where to find good images for a blog. Everyone who knows me even a little knows that I’m a stickler about copyright, especially when it comes to borrowing (stealing) images on the internet. So where do I find pictures for my blog?

You may not like my answer. The truth is, I take a lot of my own pictures. I do it because it’s hard to find some of the images I want to illustrate the points I make. But don’t worry, I’ll give you a couple of places you look AND some tips on creating your own GREAT images.

It’s easier than you think, trust me on this!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Weekend Worship—Good Courage

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. I Timothy 6:11

We were singing an old hymn in church and one phrase in the chorus caught my attention, Good Courage. I’ve heard that all my life, but it struck me today as I watched the words flash across the screen, and I began to think about what it meant.

Is there such a thing as bad courage?

I mean the very word, courage, brings to mind admirable qualities of standing firm no matter the odds. But is that always what God wants us to do? So I did a little digging into my Bible and came up with this answer…it depends.