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


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




Tuesday, July 2, 2019

One Easy Step to Improve Your Writing This Summer



With summer in full swing, the Independence Day celebration days away, there is a way to keep your writing skills sharp while having a BLAST.

Family gatherings. Beach trips. Fireworks. Laughing. Sand in toes. Barbecue. Great food. Sticky fingers. Messy little faces. Giggles. Sandcastles. Bike rides. AND MORE.

THIS is a moment to savor. Remember last years?

If you can spare five minutes you can follow this easy step to improve your writing.

Some time during the day, even if it is at night before you sleep, or morning with coffee, turn to the next blank sheet of paper or blank screen. In the spirit of summer, treat this moment as fun. No editing. All fun. No due date. Think about one isolated moment from the day. Something that brought a smile inside. Something that made you giggle. Something that touched your heart. Brought a tear. Write down what happened. Five minutes.

If nothing from the day stands out, dig back to your youth. Here is mine:

My parents took my sisters and I to the county fair. I was eight years old. One booth had balloons attached to a wall. The man shouted out to the crowds, "Break four in a row and win a prize!" Stuffed animals of all sizes sat on a high shelf above the balloons. I begged my mom to let me try to win a prize. Dad handed money to the man.

The man set four darts on the counter in front of me then called out to others passing by. "Come everyone. Break four in a row and win a prize." 

I picked up one dart. Behind me, music played from the carousel. I eyed the bear on the top shelf then the red balloon wagging in the breeze with fifty others and threw the dart. POP.

"The little lady broke a balloon. Come see. Come win a prize." The man shouted to the crowd.

I picked up the second dart, aimed at the blue balloon, and threw. POP.

"The little lady broke a second balloon. She can't possibly break a third. Step right up. Get four darts and try your luck. Win a prize!"

My mom leaned close. "See that pink duck?" She pointed. You could win that. Wouldn't that be nice?"

The pink duck was for babies. I wanted the bear. I picked up the third dart, aimed at the yellow balloon, and threw. POP.

"Honey, the pink duck is almost yours." 

"She broke a third balloon! She's broken three. Don't worry, little lady, you'll win a small prize even if you don't break the fourth. Step right up, Ladies and Gentlemen, and get your darts. Try to win a prize."

"The pink duck would be nice, honey."

"She won't break the fourth balloon." The man said to my mom.

I rarely ever caught a ball. I rarely ever tossed anything where it belonged. My eyes couldn't see like most people's eyes. An eye surgery at age five didn't fix the problem. If that fourth balloon broke, well, it wouldn't be because of my aim.

I looked up at that bear then picked up the fourth dart.

"She's broken three balloons. Can she break the fourth? I don't think so. Step right up. Come see the little lady try to break the fourth balloon. Get your darts and try to win a prize."

The green balloon wobbled in the breeze. I drew my arm back. The carousel's music blared behind me. Kids laughed. 

"Hurry. Hurry. Get your ice cream. Get your ice cold ice cream."

The dart flew away from my hand. The green balloon shifted to the left.

"Get your four darts. Win a prize."

POP

My five minutes ended.

While cleaning the house for family visitors yesterday, I listened to recordings of this year's Blue Ridge Writer's Conference. The tip I shared today is from the session taught by Bob Hostetler's class on writing well.

It's your turn. Take five minutes.

Perhaps you are asking why? What are the benefits to these five minutes.

These five minutes are a source of great ideas. Thoughts. Expressions. Descriptions. Feelings. True senses from every aspect. Invaluable tools for your future stories and WIP.


Would you like to know what happened next at the balloon stand? Okay. Here it is.

"You won the pink duck, honey!" said my mom.

The man left his perch and walked to me. "The little lady won a prize!" He leaned closer. "What would you like?"

Mom put her arm around me and pointed to the pink duck. "Tell him you want that one."

The man didn't look at my mom. "You can pick the prize you want, little lady. What will it be?"

"I....want....the bear."

That bear visited school for show and tell the next day. Sat in my bedroom for years. Moved to my new home when I married. And became the favorite stuffed animal for my children. 

Yup. This was a true story.


~Mary Vee
Photo taken in Venice, by 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