Find Writing Success by Learning How to Say NO!

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author-tips-limitationsby 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.

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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?

READ MORE WRITING TIPS

Numbering Your Days with One Word by  Beth K. Vogt

How Christian is Your Fiction? by Dan Walsh

How to Show and When to Tell by Susan May Warren


Alone by Edie Melson

 After her family is killed in the cleansing, Bethany’s purpose in life has changed. No longer will she be allowed to work to save her dying planet. As a slave, endurance is her goal as she marks each day as one moment closer to an eternity spent reunited with those she loved. But when her planet is invaded, everything changes. Now she must decide either to align herself with those from her planet who condemned her faith and killed her family, or with the warriors who have conquered her world. Ultimately her choice will mean life or death for more than just her planet’s ecosystem. She alone holds the key to a powerful secret, and the fate of the entire galaxy depends on her decision.
 Edie Melson—author, blogger, speaker—has a passion to help those who are struggling find the God-given strength they need to triumph through difficult circumstances. She’s written numerous books, including her most recent, fiction, Alone, and nonfiction, While My Child is Away. Her popular blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month and is a Writer’s Digest Top 101 Websites for Writers.In addition you can find her sharing articles on the military family blog at Guideposts.org. She’s also the director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and the Vice President of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, as well as the Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine, Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy, and the Senior Editor for NovelRocket.com.

Things to Remember When Publishing Doesn’t Go Your Way

by Edie Melson, @EdieMelson

Things to Remember When Publishing Doesn’t Go Your Way

It’s easy to get discouraged in the writing industry. It’s a tough business, and as they say on Project runway, “One day you’re in, and one day you’re out.”

So what’s a writer to do?

Here’s my list of things to remember when publishing doesn’t go your way:

  1. We always have a choice, we can get stronger through adversity or defeated by it. This is true in life, and also in publishing.
  2. Failure is an option, but it’s not as bad as you think. Some of my most valuable lessons have come through repeated failure. The key is to not let failure stop you.
  3. Publishing is subjective business. What one editor loves, another hates. Don’t let one or two opinions stop you in your tracks.
  4. It’s important to cultivate a positive attitude. Having a positive outlook doesn’t mean you ignore the negative, you just don’t let it defeat you.
  5. The best opportunities are often disguised as problems.
  6. Success has nothing to do with perfection. It’s important to strive to be the best we can be. But perfection is out of reach. Don’t let a lack of it hold you back.

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  1. Every writer needs a tribe. We need others traveling a similar path to encourage us and hold us accountable.
  2. Every writer’s journey is different. Although we need companions, we have to remember our path is unique. Comparing your opportunities and milestones are not a productive use of your time.
  3. Courage isn’t the absence of fear. We all are afraid of things—failure, the blank page, not living up to expectations. But the courageous writer continues on in spite of fear.
  4. Publishing is five percent talent and ninety-five percent perseverance. The tide will turn. It may seem like your turn with success with never come, but that’s only true if you quit.
  5. The harder the climb, the better view. When we work for something, we value it more.
  6. Publishing is a process, not a destination. We look at others ahead of us and feel like they’ve arrived. Truthfully, no one has ever arrived.
  7. It takes as long as it takes. There are so many things that go into the publishing equation. The key is to not rush the process.
  8. In this business, a lot of success does come from who you know. Networking is vital. Learn the lesson early and you’ll find the path easier.
  9. You are stronger than you think. So often we underestimate ourselves. Stop and look back at what you’ve already accomplished and give yourself a pat on the back.
  10. Every writer struggles with insecurity. It doesn’t matter if we’ve never published a book or published fifty. The blank page remains an enemy to be vanquished.
  11. Nothing lasts forever, not even the writing slumps.
  12. Flexibility is key. We can make plans, but just because things don’t turn out the way we hope is no excuse to give up.
  13. Finally, remember these words,A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9

These are the things I try to remember when publishing gets tough. What would you add to the list? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.


Alone by Edie Melson

 After her family is killed in the cleansing, Bethany’s purpose in life has changed. No longer will she be allowed to work to save her dying planet. As a slave, endurance is her goal as she marks each day as one moment closer to an eternity spent reunited with those she loved. But when her planet is invaded, everything changes. Now she must decide either to align herself with those from her planet who condemned her faith and killed her family, or with the warriors who have conquered her world. Ultimately her choice will mean life or death for more than just her planet’s ecosystem. She alone holds the key to a powerful secret, and the fate of the entire galaxy depends on her decision.
 Edie Melson—author, blogger, speaker—has a passion to help those who are struggling find the God-given strength they need to triumph through difficult circumstances. She’s written numerous books, including her most recent, fiction, Alone, and nonfiction, While My Child is Away. Her popular blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month and is a Writer’s Digest Top 101 Websites for Writers.In addition you can find her sharing articles on the military family blog at Guideposts.org. She’s also the director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and the Vice President of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, as well as the Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine, Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy, and the Senior Editor for NovelRocket.com.

 

6 Social Media Strategies for the Weary

by Edie Melson, @EdieMelson

I know, I’m supposed to be the cheerleader of all things social media. But let’s get real here. Some days—some weeks—it just makes me tired. Usually it happens when certain situations arise:

  • I haven’t had any meaningful conversations in a while.
  • My updates seem to be going into a black hole because no one is noticing them.
  • Life in general has gotten chaotic and it’s squeezing the life out of me.
  • My numbers aren’t moving up, they’re sitting there like an old tire in a mud hole.
  • It seems like everything I read on social media is rude, wrong, or just plain shallow.

Yeah, I’ve been where you are.

But I’ve also come through it to the other side. There are some things to do when social media gets to be too much to deal with. Here is what I do when it becomes just too much work.

6 Social Media Strategies for the Weary

  1. Take a 3-day break. Don’t stay off too long, but I’ve discovered giving myself a short 3-day vacation gives me the time I need to regroup. The permission to not open FB or Twitter is almost exhilarating. One thing about this though, don’t advertise it. Don’t get on FB and tell everyone you’re getting off for 3 days. That falls into the category of noise, not meaningful conversation on social media. Just quietly take a few days off.
  2. Set a timer. When you return, watch your . . . er . . . watch. Don’t try to make up for lost time. Instead be very deliberate about the time you’re on. Don’t let it go over 30 minutes a day. The one caveat to this is if you reserve a social media network for only play. I know some who love Pinterest or Instagram and only use it for personal enjoyment. If that’s the case, separate that time from your work time.

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  1. Reply to those who’ve mentioned you. If they’ve shared your blog, retweeted, commented on a FB post, or whatever. Take about 5 minutes and pick out a few to thank.
  2. Share something meaningful to you. Don’t try to anticipate what will get the most traffic humming. Just be transparent. Post a pic from childhood, share a quote, ask a question.
  3. Evaluate your social media content Look again at what you’re sharing. Spend some time looking for new places to visit online—blogs, websites, etc. Shake things up a bit. You will enjoy it and so will your audience.
  4. Change when you schedule your social media. If you normally schedule it in the morning, move that to late afternoon. Streamline what you can, but remain disciplined in your consistency. A change in routine can help shake things up in a good way.

Social media is a tool. It’s a valuable tool when we use it correctly. But like any good worker, we can’t just use one implement to get the job done. Sometimes we must put it down and pick up another one.

Remember also that being a writer—like any other career/hobby choice—has aspects to it that aren’t fun. There isn’t anything out there that’s one hundred percent fun one hundred percent of the time. So do the work that dreary, and focus on the reason you write.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on what to do when social media just makes you tired. Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.


Alone by Edie Melson

 After her family is killed in the cleansing, Bethany’s purpose in life has changed. No longer will she be allowed to work to save her dying planet. As a slave, endurance is her goal as she marks each day as one moment closer to an eternity spent reunited with those she loved. But when her planet is invaded, everything changes. Now she must decide either to align herself with those from her planet who condemned her faith and killed her family, or with the warriors who have conquered her world. Ultimately her choice will mean life or death for more than just her planet’s ecosystem. She alone holds the key to a powerful secret, and the fate of the entire galaxy depends on her decision.
 Edie Melson—author, blogger, speaker—has a passion to help those who are struggling find the God-given strength they need to triumph through difficult circumstances. She’s written numerous books, including her most recent, fiction, Alone, and nonfiction, While My Child is Away. Her popular blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month and is a Writer’s Digest Top 101 Websites for Writers.In addition you can find her sharing articles on the military family blog at Guideposts.org. She’s also the director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and the Vice President of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, as well as the Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine, Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy, and the Senior Editor for NovelRocket.com.

Digital Native or Digital Immigrant—Labels Writers Should Ignore

by Edie Melson, @EdieMelson

We live in an interesting time, to say the very least. Changes are happening faster than the most diligent among us can record, much less keep up with.

Our digital world seems to be the catalyst for the majority of those changes. Because I am a part of the the older generation (ouch, that hurts) I hear a lot of derogatory comments about technology and the fact that our generation is not a digital native. We are classified as digital immigrants.

Digital Immigrant vs. Digital Native

It’s a fact that many of us didn’t grow up around the technology we have today—and some of us not around any technology. That truth makes some things tough. But that difficulty is no excuse to quit. I didn’t grow up having to do a lot of things, but as an adult I had to learn.

Growing up, we had telephones connected by a cord in the wall, television sets that had to be changed with a knob on the front, and there was only one kind of mail and it involved paper, an envelope and a stamp. I’ve managed pretty well to learn how to use a remote control, cell phone, and manage email.

The truth is, we learn what we want to learn. 

I hear a lot of people lamenting the “good ol’ days” and wishing we could go back.

If we think back, the good old days weren’t all that great. Making phone calls meant encountering busy signals, disconnections, and angry parents who were tired of teenage girls tying up the phone line talking to boyfriends. The television was grainy, it went off the air at midnight, and there were only about a dozen channels. Then there was mail. It certainly was no more reliable than the email I deal with today.

Every time has its irritations and difficulties. 

But I would propose to you that our birth into this place and this time was no accident. God is not surprised by the stresses we encounter or the obstacles we encounter.

…And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this? Esther 4:14b (NIV)

Instead, I put forth the idea that He has a purpose for us in this point in history. And furthermore, that our digital struggles are part of that purpose.

Perhaps we need to stop looking at social media from such a small, one-sided, viewpoint. What if sharing information about our books and our message was secondary—a byproduct of what God actually intents. Suppose the whole point of this is to spread His message. Here are some things that God has me thinking about:

  • What if my refusal to learn to connect on social media is actually interfering with the purpose God has for me here and now?
  • What if using the fact that I’m a digital immigrant as a crutch is hindering God’s plan for my life?
  • What if, instead of ignoring or boycotting social media, God’s purpose is to retake it for His glory.

These aren’t easy-to-answer questions. But they are questions we should be asking ourselves. God put us here for such a time as this. I for one, have decided that I need to embrace this time and look for places to join Him in His work, no matter how uncomfortable that makes me. How about you?


Alone by Edie Melson

 After her family is killed in the cleansing, Bethany’s purpose in life has changed. No longer will she be allowed to work to save her dying planet. As a slave, endurance is her goal as she marks each day as one moment closer to an eternity spent reunited with those she loved. But when her planet is invaded, everything changes. Now she must decide either to align herself with those from her planet who condemned her faith and killed her family, or with the warriors who have conquered her world. Ultimately her choice will mean life or death for more than just her planet’s ecosystem. She alone holds the key to a powerful secret, and the fate of the entire galaxy depends on her decision.
 Edie Melson—author, blogger, speaker—has a passion to help those who are struggling find the God-given strength they need to triumph through difficult circumstances. She’s written numerous books, including her most recent, fiction, Alone, and nonfiction, While My Child is Away. Her popular blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month and is a Writer’s Digest Top 101 Websites for Writers.In addition you can find her sharing articles on the military family blog at Guideposts.org. She’s also the director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and the Vice President of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, as well as the Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine, Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy, and the Senior Editor for NovelRocket.com.