Writing – Keep on, Keeping on

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by DiAnn Mills, @diannmills

Writing is a series of keep on keeping on. Our minds are geared toward the latest project while balancing social media and staying up to date on the craft and changes in the publishing industry.

We waken at 3 a.m. with a forgotten deadline looming over us like a bad case of flu. Yikes! How did I miss that! We bolt from the bed and race to our computers to confirm what we already know is true. For the next few hours until the rest of the world wakens, we’re digging ourselves out of an unfinished manuscript.

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I’ve been there, and you probably have too. Our scheduled writing day now means doubling up tomorrow, and we think seriously about giving up writing and handing the task to a more capable writer.

Many of us thought writing would be free of the worries and hassles of a boss. We longed for the day when we could toss aside the need to clock in, stay late, and arrive early for a job that didn’t excite us. We craved to be a writer. But we’ve discovered numerous demands are made on our time and effort from: publishers, agents, editors, copy editors, publicists, critique partners, readers and family responsibilities. Is this worth it?

Dear writer friend, we can’t go there. Don’t even think about quitting, or I’ll be camped at your front door balancing a computer, dictionary, thesaurus, and triple espresso. Our conversation won’t be pretty. Abandoning our dreams can cast us into a pit where failures and weaklings whine and complain. Who wants easy and manageable?

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Creativity is part of our DNA. Our blood races with the joy of arranging and rearranging words. We thrive on stories that contain amazing characters, unique plots, witty dialogue, purposeful setting, deep emotion, and even editing. Our job can be strenuous, but look at the rewards of a worthwhile manuscript that touches our readers’ hearts?

If we think back to the time when writing began as a dream, the urge to communicate through the written word became so powerful we didn’t know what to do with the idea. Ignoring it made the need greater. A realization swirled deep inside us. We could no longer deny our calling as a writer.

  • We sensed the power of touching the world with our prose.
  • We drew on our passion to entertain, inspire, and encourage readers with story.
  • We found a purposein our lives, one that is richly fulfilling.

Let’s make a list of why we love writing. Use sensory perception and feel the emotions of a job well done, a job worth all the effort.

My encouragement to you is to keep on keeping on.

How do pull yourself back up when life threatens belief in yourself?


High Treason

When Saudi Prince Omar bin Talal visits Houston to seek cancer treatment for his mother, an attempt on his life puts all agencies on high alert. FBI Special Agent Kord Davidson is the lead on the prince’s protective detail because of their long-standing friendship, but he’s surprised – and none too happy – when the CIA brings one of their operatives, Monica Alden, in on the task force after the assassination attempt. Kord and Monica must quickly put aside inter-agency squabbles, however, when they learn the prince has additional motives for his visit – plans to promote stronger ties with the US and encourage economic growth and westernization in his own country. Plans that could easily incite a number of suspects both in the US and in countries hostile to Saudi Arabia. Worse yet, the would-be assassin always seems to be one step ahead of them, implicating someone close to the prince – or the investigation. But who would be willing to commit high treason, and can Kord and Monica stop them in time?

DiAnn Mills is an award winning writer who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She currently has more than fifty-five books published. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists and have won placements through the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Carol Awards and Inspirational Reader’s Choice awards. DiAnn won the Christy Award in 2010 and 2011. DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Romance Writers of America, and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn is also a Craftsman mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas. Find her on the web at www.diannmills.com.

5 Ways to Help Other Authors

help-other-authorsby Beth K. Vogt, @bethvogt

Let’s talk about other authors for a moment, shall we?

We like to say “It’s who you know” that helps you succeed as a writer – and there’s truth to that statement. But I also believe kindness begets kindness. The actual quote is “Kindness begets kindness evermore.”(Sophocles (496 BC- 406 BC), writer of ancient Greek tragedies)

But I digress.

Let’s avoid name dropping – the “who” we know – and talk about how we can help other authors. Just as writing can be isolating, this gig also can become awfully self-centered if we’re not careful. We can get so focused on our deadlines, our marketing goals, our to-do-or-die lists, that we forget there are lots of other writers just like us who want the same things we do: encouragement, positive feedback, and yes, success.

How can we encourage the authors around us? Might I suggest:

  1. Write them a note. Keep your message as simple as “Hi, I was thinking about you and I hope you’re having a great week.” Short and sweet. Or tell them you’re praying for them – and then do just that before mailing the card. (Yep, good, old-fashioned snail mail.) Tell them you love their book cover or their book.
  2. Give them a shout-out on social media. We all know how important social media is to an author nowadays because we’re all trying to be social with our readers. Here are some options:
    1. Retweet another author’s tweet.
    2. If you see another author’s book in a bookstore, take a photo of it and post it on Instagram/Facebook.
    3. Share when another author’s book is on sale.

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  1. Mention them in your newsletter. I’ve seen other authors have a “What’s on my nightstand” or “What I’m reading right now” section in their newsletters, and they include a photo of other authors’ books. How nice is that?
  2. Offer a group contest for your readers – and invite a debut author or two to be a part of the fun. Just-published authors are often looking for opportunities to get their names and their books out there. Ask them to join a giveaway rather than waiting for them to ask you to be included.
  3. Give their book away as part of a contest prize package. Last fall, I did a Facebook Live where I shared five things about me. At the end, I also shared several books by some of my author-friends, and then I gave the copies away to people who left comments.

What about you? How do you support and encourage other authors?

Read More Writing Tips

5 Types of Rough Drafts by Michelle Griep

Numbering Your Days with One Word by  Beth K. Vogt

It Only Takes A Spark. . . Or Does It? by Rachel Hauck


Things I Never Told You by Beth K. Vogt

It’s been ten years since Payton Thatcher’s twin sister died in an accident, leaving the entire family to cope in whatever ways they could. No longer half of a pair, Payton reinvents herself as a partner in a successful party-planning business and is doing just fine—as long as she manages to hold her memories and her family at arm’s length.

But with her middle sister Jillian’s engagement, Payton’s party-planning skills are called into action. Which means working alongside her opinionated oldest sister, Johanna, who always seems ready for a fight. They can only hope that a wedding might be just the occasion to heal the resentment and jealousy that divides them . . . until a frightening diagnosis threatens Jillian’s plans and her future. As old wounds are reopened and the family faces the possibility of another tragedy, the Thatchers must decide if they will pull together or be driven further apart.

Includes discussion questions.

Beth K. Vogt is a non-fiction author and editor who said she’d never write fiction. She’s the wife of an Air Force family physician (now in solo practice) who said she’d never marry a doctor—or anyone in the military. She’s a mom of four who said she’d never have kids. Now Beth believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” Beth’s first women’s fiction novel for Tyndale House Publishers, Things I Never Told You, releases May 2018. Beth is a 2016 Christy Award winner, a 2016 ACFW Carol Award winner, and a 2015 RITA® finalist. Her 2014 novel, Somebody Like You, was one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Books of 2014. A November Bride was part of the Year of Wedding Series by Zondervan. Having authored nine contemporary romance novels or novellas, Beth believes there’s more to happily-ever-after than the fairy tales tell us. An established magazine writer and former editor of the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth blogs for Novel Rocket and The Write Conversation and also enjoys speaking to writers group and mentoring other writers. She lives in Colorado with her husband Rob, who has adjusted to discussing the lives of imaginary people, and their youngest daughter, Christa, who loves to play volleyball and enjoys writing her own stories. Connect with Beth at bethvogt.com.

3 Steps Toward Writing Fearlessly

By Michelle Griep, @MichelleGriep

It’s okay to mess up. No, really. Not only am I giving you permission to crash and burn in spectacular glory, but you need to give yourself permission as well. Why? Because studies show that when you feel you are allowed to make mistakes, you are less likely to make any.

Sure, that’s easy to say, but how does it play out in the real world of writing? What exactly does it look like to write in a manner that is free from the fear of failure?

3 Steps Toward Writing Fearlessly

1 – Give yourself some time. 

When you start a new writing project, don’t expect to whiz-bang it out in a manner of weeks, especially if you’re taking some new risks in your writing (and you should always be taking some kind of risk). Don’t constrain yourself by expecting to create within a certain timeframe. This gets a bit more tricky if you’ve got an actual deadline, but even so, build some wiggle time into that looming date. That gives you space to correct mistakes that you will undoubtedly make. 

Example: I need to turn my next manuscript in by Feb. 1st. But I made myself a personal deadline of Nov. 30th. That way I can go back in and fix up the bugaboos without shifting into panic gear.

2 – Ask for help.

Nobody likes to admit they need help. It’s humbling . . . especially if you’ve made a mess of something. But don’t hide your mistakes. Share them with others who can help. Sometimes it really does take a village.

Example: The novel I’m working on is set in Upstate New York during the Colonial period. What the heck do I know about Colonial America? Sure, I’ve researched, but I’ve also got a few historical fiction buddies who are experts in this area. I’m not only asking them for help, I’m batting my eyelashes and adding a “pretty please with sugar on top.”

3 – Quit the comparison game. 

There are always going to be faster writers out there than you. But if you compare yourself to them, you’ll get all snarled up in feeling worthless. If comparison is a horrible habit you just can’t break, then compare yourself to yourself. Look at your performance this year and compare it to where you were at five years ago, or even a year ago. You might still be making mistakes, but are you making less? Are you improving?  

Example: I used to beat myself up for not being able to write more than a page a day. That count is in the rear view mirror. Now I can easily do 1500 in a day. That number still doesn’t compare to some of the rockstar authors I know, but I see growth and that frees me up to quit worrying about it.

Don’t stagnate in playing it safe to avoid making mistakes. Successful people take risks, even if it means they fail.


12 Days at Bleakly Manor

Imprisoned unjustly, BENJAMIN LANE wants nothing more than freedom and a second chance to claim the woman he loves—but how can CLARA CHAPMAN possibly believe in the man who stole her family’s fortune and abandoned her at the altar? Brought together under mysterious circumstances for the Twelve Days of Christmas, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters . . . and what matters most is love.

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of historical romances: The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, Undercurrent andGallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.the next level.

Just Write

by Gabrielle Meyer, @MeyerGabrielle

Five years ago, I started to write my first novel. I’d been dreaming about this book for over ten years. I knew every scene, every detail, every plot twist, and every character—yet the book remained unwritten. I’d been telling people I was a writer for as long as I could remember—yet the book remained unwritten. I devoured Christian Fiction, and dreamed of the day I’d see my name on the cover of a book—yet the book remained unwritten.

Why?

I was busy, of course. I was a mom of four young children, I homeschooled, I helped my husband run our small business, and I volunteered for several organizations. Yet, none of those things filled my writer’s soul. I was busy, but something was still missing.

Then, one day I read a book that changed my life. No, it wasn’t a self-help book. It wasn’t even non-fiction. It was a beautiful historical romance, so poignant, I closed the book and wanted to weep for all the emotions stirring in my heart. It made me long to write the stories I’d always dreamed of writing, and it forced me to ask myself one of the most important questions of my life:

“Why aren’t you writing?”

A laundry list of reasons came to the surface of my mind, but the answer was simple:

I was scared.

Scared that I didn’t have what it takes to be a writer, that I wouldn’t be any good, and that even if I wrote a book, no one would publish it.I was using my busyness as an excuse to cover my fear. But if I’ve learned anything in life, it’s that I don’t want to live life afraid.

So, I started to write, and write, and write, and write, and write.I read dozens of books about the craft of writing, I attended Susan May Warren’s Storycrafter’s Retreat, as well as her Deep Thinker’s Retreat, and I attended several ACFW Conferences.

And then I wrote some more.

In three years, I wrote four full length novels before my first novella was published with Barbour. What happened to those four novels? They’re still sitting on my hard drive, waiting patiently to be revised and published one day. But one of those stories caught the eye of an agent who offered representation, several of those stories finaled in writing contests, and all of them caught the eye of an editor at Barbour who invited me to submit an idea for a novella. But more importantly, each story taught me a very important lesson:

Just write.

Maybe you’ve taken the plunge and you’ve started to write. Wonderful! I have some advice for you: keep going and don’t stay on this story forever. Finish it and then start another, and another, and another. The biggest mistakes I see from writers is that they work on the same story for years. Each story we write teaches us about our craft. One story might teach us how to write great dialogue, another might teach us how to delve deeper into characterization, and still another might teach us how to write a powerful spiritual arc. But if we stay on the same story, or worse, don’t start writing at all, we miss the opportunity to become a great writer. Our craft develops with practice, hours and hours of practice, and the only way to practice is to write.

Since 2012, I’ve written eight full length novels and six novellas. Of those fourteen stories, ten of them are published or are slated for publication. Had I given in to fear, and used my laundry list of excuses not to write, I would have missed out on one of the greatest adventure of my life.

Don’t let fear hold you back. Just write.


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Don’t let fear hold you back! Just write. @MeyerGabrielle on @Novel Rocket #writing http://bit.ly/2wvsyKb (Click to Tweet)

I knew every scene and every character—yet the book remained unwritten. @MeyerGabrielle @Novel Rocket #writing http://bit.ly/2wvsyKb (Click to Tweet)

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Inherited: Unexpected Family

An Unexpected Partnership

After arriving in Minnesota Territory with her sisters to claim their late father’s hotel, Elizabeth Bell is shocked to learn her inheritance comes with a handsome co-owner. After too long working for a domineering boss, Elizabeth yearns to be in control—of the hotel and her life. But Jude Allen won’t sell his share, and Elizabeth refuses to leave.

Rescuing soiled doves and giving them hotel jobs is Jude’s way of redeeming his past. He’s counting on rough frontier life driving his new business partner away before she learns the scandalous truth and demands he stop his mission. But he may have underestimated Elizabeth…and the power of love to turn a complication into a bright new beginning.

Gabrielle Meyer lives in central Minnesota on the banks of the Mississippi River with her husband and four children. As an employee of the Minnesota Historical Society, she fell in love with the rich history of her state and enjoys writing fictional stories inspired by real people and events. To learn more, find her on Facebook, Amazon, Goodreads, her website at www.gabriellemeyer.com, and don’t forget to sign up for her Newsletter.