Be Ready When Creativity Strikes

by Edie Melson, @EdieMelson

As writers, we know that inspiration is a fickle thing. And while we all need to keep writing whether we’re inspired or not, that rush of creativity is nice. What’s not nice is not being ready.

There’s nothing as disheartening as those times happens when inspiration strikes and we’re not ready to capitalize on it. So today I’m going to help you be ready.

7 things to do now to be ready when creativity strikes.

  1. Always keep a notebook nearby.

    It doesn’t matter if it’s a digital app or a physical book filled with actual paper. All too often I’ve thought I’d remember an idea or a new twist without writing it down. I rarely do. Beyond that, I spend a lot of time and angst trying to remember the brilliant idea.

  2. When driving, make sure you have a voice recorder within arm’s reach.
    My darling husband decreed note-taking off limits to me while driving—even if I was stopped at a red light. Because of that, I used to keep a digital recorder with me. Now that I have my smart phone, I use that to capture fleeting thoughts.
  3. Snag headlines and news stories that intrigue you.
    You can take a screenshot of digital articles, or use a program like Evernote. For newspaper headlines, use old-fashioned scissors and a manila file folder to keep track.
  4. When you snap or snip an interesting article, be sure to include notes to remind yourself why that particular piece caught your attention.
    There is nothing more frustrating than coming across something you thought was important with no idea why you thought it was important.
  5. Set up a system to keep track of those elusive ideas.
    These can be digital documents on your computer or a filing system in a nearby drawer, just make sure you can retrieve those ideas after you record them. For me, I use a series of files on my computer. I have one for quotes, one for blog post ideas, another for clever names, one for possible articles, etc.
  6. Add a visual prompt to your idea.
    I admit it, I’m a born lurker. I’ve been known to snap surreptitious pictures of interesting people when I’m out and about. I also take shots of places and things that I’d like to later describe—either in an article or a work of fiction.
  7. Become a professional eavesdropper.
    Along the lines of always having a notebook handy, take note of the conversations going on around you. But don’t stop with just the words that are spoken, write down the body language, tone, setting, everything that makes up an intriguing scene.

Each of these things on the list came directly from a lost idea because I wasn’t ready to capture it and hold on. I’d love to know what you’d add to the list.

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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 written numerous books, including her most recent, fiction, Alone, and nonfiction, While My Child is Away. She’s also the military family blogger at Guideposts.org. Her popular blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month. She’s the director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and a member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She’s the Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine, Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy, and the Senior Editor for NovelRocket.com.

Throw Your Words into the Refiner’s Fire

by Lynette Eason @LynetteEason

Perfectionism is a lofty goal. It’s not a bad goal, just not a very realistic one. That’s not to say we should have the attitude of: “Well, I’ll never get it perfect, so I should just give up.” Absolutely not. We should strive to do the best possible work that we can do, but not become discouraged because it falls short of perfect.

I remember taking gymnastics lessons and I would work for hours just to get the form right. We practiced in front of mirrors and I had to consciously think about how to hold my body, was my form right, were my movements smooth and graceful? And my instructor would correct, reposition—and encourage. But I never got it perfect.

And you know what I learned? Practice doesn’t make perfect.

Yep, I said it. LOL.

That’s the bad news. But, the good news is, practice does bring improvement and growth and skills we can implement. Every time we practice, we come closer to “perfection”.

The above words can be applied to anything in life, but for this purpose, let’s apply it to our writing. A lot of people think their writing has to be perfect before an agent or editor will be interested in signing or acquiring it. Guess what? It doesn’t.

That is not to say, it doesn’t have to be good, maybe even great, and that one doesn’t have to develop the skill to write in a way that capture their attention, but it doesn’t have to be perfect.

I look at it like this.

Someone is always going to know more than I do about writing. Someone has already walked where I’m getting ready to step. If I’m willing to listen and to soak in that person’s wisdom and have the attitude of: I want to learn and grow as a writer, therefore, I’m going to be teachable and follow the leading of my instructor, then growth is going to happen, my skills are going to sharpen, and eventually, someone in the publishing industry is going to sit up and take notice.

That’s my experience anyway. I had mentors, I went to writing conferences, I learned from the best in the business—and eventually, people noticed.

I say all that to say this. Be like clay in the hands of a master.

Malachi 3:3 says: He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver.

Zechariah 13:9 says: “I will refine them like silver and test them like gold.”
A refiner uses a fire to heat metal to a molten state, then skims off the dreg that floats to the top. The dreg is worthless. It’s trash that needs to be discarded. But underneath is pure silver, a metal that can be made into something beautiful, something worth noticing, something valuable.

I think this is a wonderful way to look at writing. Let those who’ve gone before you be like the refiner. Be willing to immerse your words into the fire so that the dross can float to the top and be discarded leaving you with a piece of work that, while maybe not perfect, is beautiful, valuable and noticeable.

What do you think about this? Have you had someone in your writing career who has been your refiner? How did this person make a difference in your writing career or life?

Happy New Year!!

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Practice doesn’t make perfect~ Lynette Eason (Click to Tweet)

Be willing to immerse your words into the fire~ Lynette Eason (Click to Tweet)

Lynette is also the award-winning, bestselling author of almost forty books. She writes for Revell and Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense line. Her books have finaled or won awards in contests such as The Maggies, Inspirational Readers Choice Award, The Carol, ECPA Book of the Year, and The Selah. She is also the 2016 Daphne du Maurier Award winner in the Inspirational Romantic Mystery/Suspense category and Overall Daphne Winner this year. Her most recent achievement is placing in the top 10 out of thousands of entries in the James Patterson co-writing competition. Lynette and her husband Jack live in upstate South Carolina with their two teenagers. Lynette can often be found online at www.facebook.com/lynette.eason , @lynetteeason (Twitter) , and www.lynetteeason.com.

Lynette Eason just released her first Indie novella called Lethal Homecoming. It’s a short read, but packed with suspense and romance. Feel free to check it out here: http://tinyurl.com/zs8dtcr

Six years ago, danger sent Callie Ainsworth running, and now all she wants is to go home to Tanner Hollow. She’s received word that the danger is over, so she is free to be reunited with her mother and sister. When someone tries to kill Callie before she even reaches the driveway, she realizes she’s made a horrible mistake and danger still lurks. But this time she’s not running away.

Nolan Tanner had loved Callie as a teenager and has never gotten over her sudden, unexplained departure. When he rescues her from a killer on her first night home, old feelings come rushing back. Still angry at her for leaving him six years ago, he soon realizes she had good reason for taking off–and that he’s still holding out hope for a future with her. Can he catch the person who wants her dead and convince her she needs to stay home for good?

‘Twas The Night Before an Author’s Christmas

by Tari Faris

‘Twas the night before an author’s Christmas, and in a small house
A writer’s fingers were stirring as they flew across her keyboard and mouse.
She had readied for bed and tucked the kids in with care,
In hopes that sweet sleep would soon find her there.

But as soon as the children were all snug in their beds,
Visions of her characters soon danced in her head.
The dark moment, the wound, their zinger-filled chit-chat,
All refused to settle down for her long winter’s nap.

When all of the sudden arose such plot,
She sprang from the bed to type what she got.
Across the keys her fingers flew like a flash,
She typed and typed until the fire burned down to ash.

Scene after scene the words poured out,
Until her husband walked in and she gave a small shout.
“Just one more scene – I swear – and then I’ll come to bed.”
“It’s morning.” He said with a wink and a shake of his head.

She dropped next to him on the couch as the kids ran in to see,
The stockings all filled and many gifts beneath the tree.
Her husband whispered in her ear as the kids expressed their delight,
“Happy Christmas, my love, now have a good-night.”

We, at NovelRocket, wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

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10 Things I Learned About Writing From Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson


I always struggle with blogging balance around the holidays. I want to join in the fun, but I get a little tired of all the non-writing posts I read everywhere. Today I want to share my version of a compromise—Top 10 Things I Learned About being a Writer From Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
I love all the Christmas specials that come around every year during the holidays, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has always been one of my favorites. I identify with his lack of self-confidence, his heart for his friends and especially his gumption when Santa called on him to step up and guide the sleigh that night. 
And it occurs to me that, as writers, there are a lot of valuable lessons in this holiday tale. 
What I learned about being a writer from Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer:
1. We’re all born with a special gift. 
2. At some point we all feel like that special gift is a curse.
3. Hiding who we really are are brings out the bullies and naysayers.
4. We all need time to mature into our gift.
5. Trying to live up to the image of who others think we should be won’t bring anything but trouble and heartache.
6. True friends will see beyond our differences and embrace the essence of who we are.
7. We’re given that special gift for a reason and a purpose.
8. Running away from who we are doesn’t ever solve anything.
9. There will come a time when you have to decide to work within your gift, not around it.
And the best lesson of all . . . 
10. Being who God meant you to be will bless others as much as you.
How about you? Care to share something you’ve learned from an unlikely source? Be sure to share your thoughts below in the comments section.
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Edie Melson—author, blogger, speaker—has written numerous books, including her most recent, fiction, Alone, and nonfiction, While My Child is Away. She’s also the military family blogger at Guideposts.org. Her popular blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month. She’s the director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and a member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She’s the the Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine, Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy, and the Senior Editor for NovelRocket.com.