Tuesday, September 10, 2019

7 Conference Countdown Tips-It's Two Weeks Away!




I am an unusual mix. I make lists, organizing my day, yet when a conference approaches, I come down with a terrible case of procrastination. 

This can be a deadly disease...for the story we hope to pitch, the classes we think we might be taking, the individuals we might get appointments with, and the crucial networking we can do.

This alone is a good reason for me to start preparing TODAY for the conference.

1. Let's start with the easy task. What outfit should I wear to the awards ceremony? 
I had this taken care of two months ago. Note the word had. Last night, I tried on my dress and looked in the mirror. Sigh. I rummaged through other dresses back in my closet and chose one. Tried it on. Added accessories and checked the mirror. Yes, I could check this off my list. 

If there will be a character costume night, try this outfit on as well. Put all the pieces in one place.

2. For networking, check your business card stash. If you have bookmarks or any other related items get them out. Blow off the dust. It may be too late to order more. Perhaps a local vendor can make up a few for you. Yes. You should bring business cards.

3. Prepare or review your one sheet. At the first conference I attended, I had no clue what this was. A one sheet is an organized flyer providing information about one, or one of the manuscript/s you will pitch at the conference. Editors and agents will say, "Do you have a one sheet?" in your meetings. Search our blog's topics for past posts addressing one sheets.

4. Practice your pitch ten times every day. Know it as well as your name.

5. As conference time draws near, I will look over the scheduled classes. The houses and agencies represented at the panels. I reread the information provided for the agents, editors, and mentors. The more prepared I am, the less nervous I will be, and the better chance I will have to well represent my manuscript.

6. Gather all flight, shuttle, hotel, and conference reservation information. Have you asked someone to take you to the airport? Will there be someone there to pick you up when you fly home?

7. The conference has an app. The best feature is the updates. You will know classroom changes, additions, cancellations. Download the app ahead of time.

These are a few of my favorite reminders. What did I forget? Take a sec and comment below something to remember for the upcoming conference.

The Alley Cats are excited to see you there. Nearly the entire group is able to attend this year. Look for us. Say hi!



~Mary Vee

Photo by Mary Vee
#TipfulTuesday #ACFW #Conference #MaryVeeWriter #procrastination #WritersAlley 


In Mary Vee's newsletter, readers take a virtual trip to various places. No bug spray. No packing. No passport. Explore something new in each letter! Sign up today at http://eepurl.com/dITkz5 The next newsletter hits email boxes September 15.


Link to Mary's books: https://amzn.to/2Fq4Jbm


Mary Vee -Rock climbing, white-water rafting, and hiking top Mary’s list of ways to enjoy a day. She was homeless for a time, was a teacher, a missionary, and married an Air Force vet. Mary has been a finalist in several writing contests and writes for her King.
Visit Mary at her WebsiteBlog, and her ministry blog to families: God Loves Kids. Or chat on Facebook or Twitter






Thursday, August 29, 2019

The Next Right Thing + A GIVEAWAY


Laurie here with a book recommendation! If you've been reading my posts for any length of time, you know my love language is goals and dreams. This book, The Next Right Thing, and the podcast that it sprang from, have been so instrumental in my life. (And it's on super Kindle sale!)

To put it figuratively, I tend to sprint toward my goals at full speed until I get to a brick wall. And the author, Emily P. Freeman, is a gentle voice that not only encourages me to slow my pace and find some peace, but shows that in most cases, that brick wall of a dream is totally doable. I might not be able to plow through it, but I can climb it, brick-by-brick -- one "Next Right Thing" at a time.

The story of how and why I went back to school is a long and complicated one, but the right one. Despite the fact that my favorite shows growing up were Rescue 911, Trauma: Life in the ER, and Dr. G: Medical Examiner, I didn't think I had what it took to be in the medical field, but I always felt drawn toward it. After graduating with an English degree, I worked in PR, started a family, and the bricks in that wall started getting taller. The programs I'd looked into would all required 8+ prerequisite classes, losing my income for a little while, upending my family's routine, missing my kids' formative years, derailing my writing career. That was if I even remembered how to balance an equation or study for an exam.

So finding Emily P. Freeman's podcast and then reading her book helped show me that I didn't have to have all the answers and ducks lined up ahead of time. I didn't even have to quit writing and my family wasn't going to suffer if I was working hard for a season. All I had to focus on was the Next Right Thing, the closest brick I could reach on the wall.

It somehow feels like ages have passed and *yesterday* that I enrolled in that first chemistry class almost 2 years ago. I'm now beginning my 8th prerequisite, waiting on my last transcript to clear on my nursing school application. And I've found all of the doubts I had were unfounded because, when the Lord calls you to do something, he gives you the strength and the tools and the favor to do it, even if it doesn't look exactly how you envisioned it.

What's the dream that feels insurmountable in your life? What brick walls have you scaled with the Lord's help? Since it's Laurie and Sherrinda's birthday week, we're giving away Kindle copies of The Next Right Thing to a few lucky commenters! Good luck!


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Laurie Tomlinson is the award-winning contemporary romance author of That’s When I KnewWith No Reservations, and The Long Game, currently featured in the Once Upon a Laugh novella collection. She believes that God’s love is unfailing, anything can be accomplished with a good to-do list, and that life should be celebrated with cupcakes and extra sprinkles.
You can connect with her on her WebsiteFacebook, and Instagram.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Five Peaceful Writing Time Tips



Every morning, no matter when I wake, my family sweetly sleeps. They sleep while I shower. They snore while I run the hair dryer. They snooze when the microwave beeps: the coffee is hot. They peacefully slumber while my computer loudly strums the start-up cord. This is the big difference between the only morning person in a house of night owls.

BUT 

When I walk to my workspace and raise my fingers to key the FIRST word of the day, they suddenly awake, bubbling with great stories that must be heard at that very moment. How do they do that? Shhhh...I am sneaking in this post before they notice.

Let's talk about ways to have some peaceful writing time. Here are some tips I found:

1. Bob Hostetler gave a great tip for this very issue at a recent conference. Ah, the stories of writing at home that he shared. We laughed. Bob said he used a signal that communicated, "I am writing, do not disturb." 

The idea is simple. He wears a special sports coat when writing. The family knows, do not disturb Dad when he wears the sports coat. The advantage to this signal over...say...a closed door, is he can pace about the house maintaining his writerly mode. I like that. 

2. If the household is quiet, but your spirit is not in the mood to write, Pepper Basham plays themed music that matches her story. A great way to kindle the words. Pirates of the Caribbean sound track is great for adventures. Italian dinner jazz is great for romances. You know best what would work for your story. Hop over to Pandora, You Tube, or others and play a tune to set the mood.

3. Angie Dicken and Krista Phillips suggested a trip to a favored coffee shop. Choose a comfy place to sit, perhaps by the fake fireplace, and cue your characters to take the stage. Angie and Krista make an appointment for the trip once or more a week so the family knows mommy is going to work. When the money is tight, the same appointment can be at the library...or even at home when they are at school/events.

4. Ashley Clark says she writes for an hour or two after the family falls asleep.

5. We all have a lot that happens in our day. Somedays we simply hurt. Oddly enough this too is a good time to write. Our passions are stirred and we can better understand what our characters are experiencing. In moments of rejoicing write. Your characters have moods too! As writers, we are putting them through a whole heap of trouble...yet...as we know...they survive in the end.

And so will we. So good friend...go...write...and be peacefully blessed.

~Mary Vee
Photo by Mary Vee
#TipfulTuesday #Peace #Writing #Time #TimeManagement #WritersAlley 

In Mary Vee's newsletter, readers take a virtual trip to various places. No bug spray. No packing. No passport. Explore something new in each letter! Sign up today at http://eepurl.com/dITkz5 The next newsletter hits email boxes September 15.


Link to Mary's books: https://amzn.to/2Fq4Jbm

Mary Vee -Rock climbing, white-water rafting, and hiking top Mary’s list of ways to enjoy a day. She was homeless for a time, was a teacher, a missionary, and married an Air Force vet. Mary has been a finalist in several writing contests and writes for her King.
Visit Mary at her WebsiteBlog, and her ministry blog to families: God Loves Kids. Or chat on Facebook or Twitter







Tuesday, August 13, 2019

4 Ways to Go Beyond Prepared



Last Saturday I attended my state chapter's ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) meeting. I learned a lot and met new writers. What I want to share with you today is the golden nugget I came home with at the after meeting chat time. 

Caveat-I knew this--thought I had this--but didn't.
A woman picked up my book from the book table, gazed for a brief moment at the cover, turned the book over and began to read the back copy WHEN a second woman--one who had already read the book--shared what she enjoyed about the story. The second woman set her hand on my shoulder and said, "Here is the author, I'll let her tell you."

Gasp!

At that very second, Miss Introvert shoved her way to the forefront of my being, turning me into a mute. Did I have the answers? Only about a thousand. Did I know the story as well as my name? Definitely. Was I ecstatic that a reader became interested in the book and another became a cheerleader for the story? Absolutely. 

Then why did I not seem prepared or enthusiastic over this wonderful story?

Sigh. Because the introvert shoved her way to the forefront of my being. And I let her.

The key here is: that I let her.

We have a calling. Last week, Ashley talked about our Holy Calling. Scroll down to read her enlighting post. 

There are many tasks/people/events/life that squelch our work both around us and in us. There is one who works 24/7 to throw these things in our path, preventing the stories from reaching readers.

Our job: go beyond prepared. There is no MI6 "should we choose to accept it". We must go beyond prepared and fulfill our calling.

How?

Here are four steps to help us put Miss Introvert in her place.

Practice pitches you plan to use at conferences, answers about your books/manuscripts, why you write in your genre, etc. Take them to the point where they become conversational instead of rote memorization. Story form is great when sharing your work with Jane and Joe America. 

I know. We have done this. A thousand times and yet Miss Introvert still pushes her way to the front of our being. SO. Here are some tips:

*Practice them with your family (This is so difficult!  They may tease, but it is done in love. When--not if--you master this skill, you will benefit so very much. They will invite you to practice again with them. Bring popcorn).

*Practice them with your friends (They are more compassionate. Sometimes too much--even when we ask them to give constructive criticism. But it is a great practice.)

*Practice them with your neighbor (This is a challenge. She/he may not know you are an author yet. But they will, right?)

*Practice them with a stranger. (Oddly enough this is obtainable. One day on Instagram someone wrote a post about a family member. The girl had a beautiful, yet uncommon name. The post struck me because the main character's name in one of my stories had the same spelling. In my comment, I mentioned my character. That I chose her name because of its beautiful sound and unique, yet simple spelling. The person replied with great joy and interest, wanting the link to my book to purchase it. I never expected that response. 

I must admit, practicing with a stranger was easier to do on social media than when sitting next to one on an airplane. I'll have a chance to practice that in September when I fly to the ACFW national conference. If you see me there, ask me how well I did. Hold me accountable. :)

How about you? How have you kept Miss Introvert from taking charge?

~Mary Vee
Photo Credit: Canva
#TipfulTuesday #Introverts #Promotions #Promoting #Writing #Marketing #TheWriters Alley @MaryVeeWriter #Pitches #Networking

In my newsletter, readers take a virtual trip to various places. No bug spray. No packing. No passport. Explore something new in each letter! Sign up today at http://eepurl.com/dITkz5


Link to Mary's books: https://amzn.to/2Fq4Jbm

Mary Vee -Rock climbing, white-water rafting, and hiking top Mary’s list of ways to enjoy a day. She was homeless for a time, was a teacher, a missionary, and married an Air Force vet. Mary has been a finalist in several writing contests and writes for her King.
Visit Mary at her WebsiteBlog, and her ministry blog to families: God Loves Kids. Or chat on Facebook or Twitter











Thursday, August 8, 2019

A Holy Calling


"You are... God's instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you--from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted." (1 Peter 2:10 The Message)

Dear friends,

You may've seen my posts about this on Facebook. Several weeks ago, I was able to attend the Northwestern Writers Conference with Angie and learn from one of my all-time favorites, Robin Jones Gunn. I am always enchanted by her speaking/storytelling, but during her keynote, something in particular struck me. She reminded the audience our calling to write is that: a calling. Which means we ought to be treating it like a profession, a ministry, a holy thing.

I've been writing for a very long time. I've come to a place here I truly love writing for the opportunity to create alongside God, and while I really really really want to be published, I catch myself sometimes seeing writing as a personal, spiritual thing. Maybe that's how I've survived the whims of what sells in the industry? I don't know--but I for one have gone inward to cope with rejection. Whether you're unpublished or an award-winning author, this propensity never fully goes away because rejection never fully goes away. Threat never goes away. Writing is a very courageous thing. So long as you're writing, you are risking loss in all the traditional ways, from a manuscript without a home to a poorly-selling book.

And so, I believe that over time, we begin to cozy into a writing comfort zone. Maybe for you that means not writing at all, and dedicating all your time to social media instead. Maybe it means "researching" but never actually putting the story on the page. Maybe it means distractions around your house or other commitments you see as more important.

Friends, if God has called you, your writing is important. It's important enough to carve out a dedicated time for, even if that's two hours before everyone in your family wakes in the morning (I recently read in a tribute to Toni Morrison that's how she wrote her first book as a single mom in her late 30s) or two hours after everyone goes to sleep.

Everyone is asking questions like how to write books that sell in both markets, how much is too much, how CBA can maintain its audience with the closing of Lifeway, you name it. But is it possible we are asking the wrong questions? Is it possible we're taking the long way around because we don't want to do the work climbing up the mountain, and we already know the path we are supposed to take? Maybe the better question is how can I better discipline myself to follow the calling God has already given me?

You and I are the future of the industry. Think about the books that have influenced you in the last decade. You have the opportunity to be that voice for someone else. So stand up and take it seriously! Who cares if you win that contest or if your first five books sell. If God has called you, is that not enough to make it holy?

We often think what if I never have readers? or maybe what if I my books never find an audience beyond a few hundred people? But the thing is--and maybe this should stagger us a little. What if they do? Will you be ready?

Let's be careful we don't forsake our confidence in God and call it "humility." It's never prideful to take your calling seriously, nor is it a virtue to grow wishy-washy in your dedication to pursuing your gifting.

I'd love to hear from you! What practical ways do you (or can you) prioritize your writing despite your busy schedule?



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Ashley Clark writes romance with southern grace. She's dreamed of being a writer ever since the thumbprint-cookie-days of library story hour. Ashley has an M.A. in English and enjoys teaching literature courses at her local university. She's also an active member of ACFW. When she's not writing, Ashley's usually busy rescuing stray animals and finding charming new towns. You can find Ashley on her website - and while you're there, be sure to sign up for her newsletter!

Thursday, July 25, 2019

How to Ensure Readers Won't Throw Your Book Across the Room



At our last meeting, my local writing group (shout out to my CityInk storytellers!!) and I were talking about what makes a story unputdownable vs. what makes us not want to finish a book.  And let me tell y'all one thing:

There are some REAL FEELINGS on this subject.

So here's what we came up with. We will DNF (Did Not Finish) a book if:
  • The writing and sentence structure are choppy and don't read well.
  • There are too many plot points and the story gets too complicated.
  • There's an overindulgent death, decision, action, or overuse of language that feels manipulative--like the author is just going for shock value.
  • Characters have no redeeming qualities or do not evolve (their story arc is flat).
  • There's a lack of plot progression, characters stay in their own heads, or there's too much description.
  • Characters do something out of the ordinary and behave in a way that's inconsistent with the person they've been the entire story. 
  • On a high level, if it's not an interesting concept or the concept is executed poorly.
  • Stories that blatantly copy an existing storyline (such as a fairytale retelling) or common trope but don't do it well. 
  • Too much repetition: a piece of dialogue, a character's thought/feeling, or even a description is overused after the author has already driven that point home.

So let's make a pact together as writers.

I, ________________, solemnly swear that I will:

  • Be diligent about re-reading my own work (and especially reading other books in my genre) to make sure my writing not only flows well but reads well. I will even try reading it out loud, as some writers find this to be a good indicator. 
  • As I'm writing or plotting, I will ask myself if each plot point moves the central storyline forward and chop it if it's unnecessary.
  • I will be a good steward of my readers and make sure any character deaths, decisions, and actions are executed (no pun intended) tastefully and won't make them want to stop reading.
  • If my characters are baddies, I will show WHY they are the way that they are and then give them some measure of redemption and growth. 
  • I will make sure each scene serves a purpose to the central storyline and that a good portion of each scene moves that story forward with meaningful action and not too much description or reflection.
  • My characters will remain consistent with the traits I've developed throughout the story. (Unless they have a real-live lobotomy in the middle of the book. Real lobotomies change everything.)
  • Before I start writing, I will make sure my concept/trope is fresh, original, interesting, and that my story does justice to the original if I'm doing a retelling. 
  • As I read through my manuscript, I will ensure I don't repeat the same bit of dialogue, emotion, description, character reaction, or reflection when I've already well established that information. I will trust that my readers are smart and I don't need to tell them again.
Signed, _____________________________

What are some deal-breakers for you in a story? Have you ever walked out of a movie theater or thrown a book across the room in the middle of reading? Our comments are open to allll your thoughts and feelings! 

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Laurie Tomlinson is the award-winning contemporary romance author of That’s When I KnewWith No Reservations, and The Long Game, currently featured in the Once Upon a Laugh novella collection. She believes that God’s love is unfailing, anything can be accomplished with a good to-do list, and that life should be celebrated with cupcakes and extra sprinkles.
You can connect with her on her WebsiteFacebook, and Instagram.




Tuesday, July 23, 2019

#TipfulTuesday The Key Ingredient to Publication: A Stellar Proposal


The Conference season is in full swing. Some have ended, some are yet to come. THIS TOPIC is crucial for writers hoping to land an agent or book contract while there.




After many years of attending writing conferences, classes, and reading books on writing, I have learned the key ingredient to publication, second only to a magnificent manuscript, is a stellar proposal.

Not the number of followers.


A stellar proposal is the answer.

The first instructor I heard give this advice said, "You spend months maybe years crafting a good manuscript. The proposal should have as much attention." Write To Publish Conference Instructor, Wheaton Illinois 2002.

Devote Time to Crafting a Stellar Proposal

What did he mean by that? A proposal is simply a collection of facts about your book and you, right? 

Not really. The hours spent collecting that data and splashing them on a page is only a tiny portion. We are writers and must convey the information in a compelling manner.

Perfect the Writing and Formatting

While at the Blue Ridge Conference, a Books and Such agent scanned through my proposal and pointed out several phrases. "I don't need that. Or that." Without her guidance I wouldn't have notice.

Agents and publishers receive numerous submissions daily. They will scan your proposal like a reader scans a new book. They are first looking for something that interests them. If their eyes fall on wordy phrases, superfluous information, or poor writing, the proposal will be rejected in the same way a reader will put the new book back on the shelf and walk away. 

Include Only Relevant Information

Think of a resume. If you applied for a medical position, you wouldn't note the art class you teach. 

However, say my story had homeless characters, I could include my Masters in Guidance and Counseling, my work as a caseworker for the homeless, or my volunteer work at the homeless mission because this shows credibility.

Vigilance not stagnation

Also, Agent Cyle Young, whom I spoke with at an American Christian Fiction Writers' Conference  (ACFW) state chapter meeting, showed me a few items to delete because, although they were relevant, the numbers generated did not create a positive impression. What did he mean? All information should reflect your efforts to get your message out. It should demonstrate your vigilance not stagnation.

Writing a proposal takes much more than looking at a sample from online and tailoring the style/formatting to suit your manuscript.

Bob Hostetler, agent with Steve Laube Agency, finds the proposal a key tool in selling his client's books to publishers. His 2019 BRMCWC class had a great focus on this topic. Articles on proposals are available on the Steve Laube Agency website: https://stevelaube.com/?s=proposals


*Set aside some time each week to research how to write a proposal. 
*Read in-depth blog posts, watch You Tube videos, read several books, and take classes on-line. 
*Practice
*Have Your Proposal Critiqued by one or more persons who have mastered the art of proposal writing.
*Refine

Without a stellar Book Proposal, a magnificent manuscript may never be read

And we want you to be successful!


~Mary Vee
Photo Credit: Mary Vee




In my newsletter, readers take a virtual trip to various places. No bug spray. No packing. No passport. Explore something new in each letter! Sign up today at http://eepurl.com/dITkz5


Link to Mary's books: https://amzn.to/2Fq4Jbm


Mary Vee -Rock climbing, white-water rafting, and hiking top Mary’s list of ways to enjoy a day. She was homeless for a time, was a teacher, a missionary, and married an Air Force vet. Mary has been a finalist in several writing contests and writes for her King.
Visit Mary at her WebsiteBlog, and her ministry blog to families: God Loves Kids. Or chat on Facebook or Twitter









Thursday, July 18, 2019

Ten Ways Writers Can Utilize Their Time

Time for a writer is elusive. As I was thinking about a post for today, I remembered a post I did a couple of years ago. It was such a good reminder for me, I thought I'd share some of it again.

From July 2017:

Putting your behind in the chair and doing the work of writing is difficult. Whether you are putting new words on the page, editing a rough draft, or learning more about the craft, it takes time. It takes sacrifice. It takes discipline.

Life gets in the way. Your car breaks down. There's a funeral, a lunch date, FAFSA to fill out (can I just say UGH?), hair cuts, and...dare I say it?...toilets to clean.

So what do you do to make the most of your time, and feed your writerly self? Everyone has to decide for themselves. No one can do it for you, because only YOU knows what will work for YOU.

We all have to find the "thing" that helps us - that motivates us - into writing when it's hard.

Here is what I came up with - in no particular order.

Top 10 Ways to Utilize Your Time

1. Use a diction app and dictate a scene on your way to work, or while doing dishes, ironing, etc.

2. Listen to a craft book or podcast in the car while going to work or hauling kids to school.

3. Carry a Moleskin notebook in your purse to write down ideas for your story, prompts for short stories, or blog post ideas.

4. If you get stuck in your story, move on to another project. (I stole this from Tina because it is so helpful.)

5. Stay up 30 minutes later to write. (I get up at 5 am already....can't go earlier!)

6. Read a chapter of a craft book at lunch.

7. Email a chapter to your Kindle so that it is there when you are in a waiting room, carpool line, etc. Highlight things that you need to change.

8. Alternate cooking nights with your husband so you have more time to write.

9. Make a date with yourself once a week and go to the library, coffee shop, or park to write free from responsibilities at home.

10. Purchase a cute timer or use the one on your phone to write in 30 - 60 minute increments. Then set the timer for 15 minutes and clean a toilet or make the bed or do a load of laundry. Then get back to writing.

Nothing on my list is new. Many have already figured out the best way to get the most out of their day. But some of us need reminders that we can carve out extra time, and every minute we garner gets more words on the page.

What things have you found to help you carve out time and up your word count? 


**************************************************************
Sherrinda Ketchersid is a born and bred Texan, preacher’s wife, mother of 4 children, and works part-time as a bookseller at Amazon. With the children grown and out of the house, she weaves tales of fierce knights and their ladies in a time where men were warriors and women had to be strong enough to keep them in check.

After taking time off from writing, she has returned with a new motto in place to spur her on. “Writers write. Everyone else makes excuses.” ~Jack Bickham.  No excuses this time. She is weaving her love of romance with history to bring joy and the hope of love to those who may one day read her stories. Her first book, Lord of Her Heart, released in May 2019.

You can connect with her through:
Newsletter: Sign Up Here
Website: sherrinda.com
Twitter: @sherrinda

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Five Lies Writers Believe


The past few weeks, I've had several discussions with writer friends that seem to come back to the same thing-- feelings we all share but think we experience in isolation. Today I want to talk about some lies we often believe about ourselves as writers as well as the writing life. I hope it encourages you to realize your story and your purpose are far greater than the discouragement whispering in your ear. Write on, friends.


  • I don't have time for writing. If God has given you a passion for stories, you can't afford not to write. He has designed writing as a means of communion and worship with him. After all, God is the ultimate creator! Be open to the fact that writing may look untraditional in certain seasons. For example, Pepper often dictates scenes to her phone whenever she doesn't have the time to write at her computer. You may even find these different methods free up some creativity!
  • This next manuscript is going to be "the one." I literally said this to my husband tonight at dinner. But you know what? There is no such thing as the one. There. I said it. Even after the contract, you'll want the one that hits a bestseller list. The one that wins awards. And so on and so on. There is no magical finish line, folks, and thank God for that-- can you imagine how disappointed we'd feel otherwise? Find contentment in what you have right where you are.
  • No one else understands the despair of rejection because I'm so sensitive, I feel it more deeply. Um, no. Just no. Rejection, isolation, and self-doubt are the rule rather than the exception. Even--dare I say especially--authors who we'd consider wildly successful feel these same emotions regularly. It's all part of being a writer.
  • God must not want me to write anymore because I asked him for a sign, and I haven't seen a baby alpaca commercial while lightning strikes and rainbows fill the skies. Sometimes, we get so excited about that-gave-me-chills moments of storytelling that we forget the vast majority of it is walking in faithful obedience to the calling we have received. Feel like God isn't speaking to you anymore? What is the last thing you're sure he told you to write/say/do? Have you moved on from that prematurely? Or, conversely, is it possible you have a seed for a new story idea that you haven't yet acknowledged? Do not despise the day of small beginnings (Zechariah 4:10).
  • I need to change __________ and write something different, because what I'm doing is not selling. Friends, I've been writing for a long time, and I have personally seen trends come and go again and again and again. It's amazing how industry professionals absolutely insist a trend is dead one year, only to find in another year or two that those books are suddenly on trend once more. If you write to the trends, you will never hit your creative potential. Write to your story, not to the market, and avoid the temptation to people-please what you imagine an editor wants to see.

Have you ever found yourself caught in one of these traps? What lies do you have to add to the list?




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Ashley Clark writes romance with southern grace. She's dreamed of being a writer ever since the thumbprint-cookie-days of library story hour. Ashley has an M.A. in English and enjoys teaching literature courses at her local university. She's also an active member of ACFW. When she's not writing, Ashley's usually busy rescuing stray animals and finding charming new towns. You can find Ashley on her website - and while you're there, be sure to sign up for her newsletter!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

#TipfulTuesday The Heart or Business of Writing




Several of us gathered on the Alley and had a chat about the heart or business of writing. Oddly, I happened to listen to a conference recording about the same basic topic this week. Many great points were raised that I thought might interest you.

No matter the writer, there seems to be a crossroad that causes us to wonder. We have a story that is very dear to us. The story is pitched to editors and/or agents. We might receive no response or a rejection. Naturally, whether we admit it or not, we feel wounded. This story came from our heart and could help so many readers.

The editors/agents see our story and seem to know within seconds that this particular story would not fit the current need. Perhaps they signed a similar novel an hour before. Perhaps the quota for year had been met. There are many reasons that we don't always know.

From the business side, writers can attend conferences to learn what publishers need or are looking for. Writers could write stories for these needs and have a better chance to get published. But it isn’t the heart story.

The conclusion in this discussion so far has been: write the story on your heart, AND write stories to establish/grow a writing business, AND do both.

We are writers. We can choose to delve into that heart story OR write stories as a business. We could alternate. I know a few writers who do precisely this. There is no shame in either because God gave you the gift of writing.

So, feel the freedom to follow your calling.

write. Write. WRite. WRIte. WRITe. WRITE.

What are your thoughts? We’d love to have you join us in this discussion.

#TipfulTuesdasy #TheWritersAlleyBlog #Writing #writingbusiness #writingfromtheheart @MaryVeeWriter

~Mary Vee
Photo credit: Pixabay.com


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Mary Vee -Rock climbing, white-water rafting, and hiking top Mary’s list of ways to enjoy a day. She was homeless for a time, was a teacher, a missionary, and married an Air Force vet. Mary has been a finalist in several writing contests and writes for her King.
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