Friday, January 23, 2015

Platform Growth Promises

Platform gurus knock at my in-box door daily. Their emails promise the same things.

By following their programs I will
  • Increase my blog following
  • Grow my email list
  • Sell an astronomical number of books
  • Get rich
  • Get famous
  • Smell better (Oh wait--that last one's a Bath & Body Works email.)
picture courtesy of iosphere @freedigitalphotos.net

Some people know their stuff.
Others simply want to sell their stuff.
How do we tell the difference?

The good news is there are a host of knowledgeable people willing to share their techniques, often via free webinars. Afterward the presenter offers whatever course they're selling. It's a normal practice. After all, they've put time, effort, and money into their presentation.

Legitimate offers will usually be open for at least 24-48 hours, with email reminders hitting your in-box during that period.

Be wary of snake oil salesman techniques:

"This offer is only available NOW. When this podcast ends, so does your opportunity to get in on this fabulous deal. Sign up now or kiss your chances of fame and fortune goodbye. Plus you'll develop acne, wrinkles, nausea, your current followers will desert you, and your tires will go flat."

So how do we separate the wheat from the chaff, and find trustworthy people to glean from?
A few general indicators to look for: 

How long have they been around?
Are their results measurable? Achievable? Sustainable?
How many people follow them?
 
picture courtesy of vectorolie @ freedigitalphotos.net

 
In my next posts I'll lay out tidbits from some platform building white knights, like Michael Hyatt. This former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers has been in the business for decades. He shares his knowledge of social media, publishing, and productivity with his audience of 241,000 Twitter followers. (Yep. 241,000.)

Make that 241,001. This year I'm hopping on his bandwagon for pointers on how to grow my blog.

Bottom line:
DO: Take free advice from experts.
DON'T: Feel pressured to buy every program offered.


Now on to
 
Jeanie's Super-Secret Newbie No-No's
 
man working laptop quiet whisper finger
Photo courtesy of graur razvan ionut @ freedigitalphotos.net


To recap what we've learned so far:
 
Week 1- Exclamation marks scream, "Newbie!"
Week 2- Annihilate Adverbs.
Week 3- Eradicate empty words. Really just skip them. I'm very serious.
Week 4- Use "Invisible" Words: said, ask, answer, and reply.
Week 5- Run off Run-On Sentences
Week 6- Clear out Clichés
Week 7- Pass on Passive Voice
Week 8- Eliminate Empty Adjectives

This week- Reduce Redundancy.
 

Most new writers don't realize editors dislike reading the same repetitive words and phrases over and over. The excess, overabundant, superfluous words act like triggers on their overstretched and overwrought nerves.

Much like the old lather, rinse, repeat joke where the blonde never finishes washing her hair.

All editors retain a bevy of blonde hired-guns. When redundancy overdose overruns our offerings editors dispatch the Blonde Squad to obliterate the overkill in our work.
As soon as they finish washing their hair.

 
Since we all need to move forward, my Current Lofty Goal (AKA something I need to do, but want to put off) Rewrite the first draft of my novel.

What challenges do you face in your writing life? We at Wordsowers want to help. Connect with us here or on our Facebook page.

Great news: sign up for our free monthly newsletter to get help delivered straight to your inbox. It's easy--the button is on the right side of this page, near the top.

 
Jeanie Jacobson is on the leadership team of Wordsowers Christian Writers Group in Omaha, NE. She's published in four Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and a Bethany House compilation. She teaches a workshop geared toward helping new writers. She's currently working on a Christian-slanted YA fantasy novel. Connect with her at jeaniejacobson.com

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

January 2015 Dream Big

May 2008 our oldest daughter called to ask what I wanted for Mother’s Day.

“How about a trip to Oregon.”
free digital Photo

“Mom, be real?”

“Well I need a new computer.”

“Mother, something attainable, please.”

“Honey, I don’t have a want list these days. I don’t really need anything and what I do need or desire are impossible to buy or attain.”

“Mom, that’s really sad. You are the one that taught me to dream big.”

After we discussed my lack of faith, I hung up, opened my Bible and wrote my list.
1.   I’d like to teach a workshop at a writer’s conference.
2.   I’d like a trip to Oregon to see our family
3.   I’d like a new computer.
Marcus, Karen, Me and Kaitlynn
4.   I’d like a tapestry banner with a lion.
(can't remember #5 but received it)

The next week a virus hit my computer and killed it dead. Deader than dead.

I whined to the Lord, “I didn’t think we’d have to buy one—how will we pay for it?” Husband made sure I bought the best of the best desktop computers. We put it on a payment plan. (Sidenote: can you believe, in only three months an unexpected check arrived—we paid for the computer without interest.)

Three weeks after my conversation with my daughter a huge tapestry arrived. 


“Found this in the backroom where I work—it was on sale,” daughter said.

Wow. The lion and the lamb are beautifully woven into a huge tapestry. Much larger than I dreamed about.

Before long I found an airline ticket at half the usual price. I flew to Oregon and enjoyed family.

In the fall a friend I met online sent me an email. “Would you teach a workshop at our first IDAHope writers conference next year.” ‘

Can you see me? I jumped, yelled, hollered and called our daughter.

“Guess what? I’ve been asked to teach at a writer’s conference.”

Feeling blessed beyond belief I sent out emails to everyone I knew. Many friends congratulated me. Then I found out I needed to pay for an airline ticket from Omaha, Nebraska to Boise, Idaho.

I backtracked. 

Sent out another email saying, “It sounded too good to be true and I guess it is. I’m not going, but I’m thrilled with the invitation.”

But God wasn’t done.

The next day an email from a friend in Florida arrived.

“How much is the ticket? I’m sending the money in today’s mail?”

I did go to IDAHope.

I met many new authors—some are still in touch with me.
Auhor Carol Colson

I did spend three nights and four days with Carol Colson, a new precious friend whose book will come out soon.

I did teach, not one workshop, but two and critiqued twelve manuscripts in all genres’.

Now it’s 2015, time to set goals for the new year?

How big can I dream?

God is the God of the impossible.

If I can find it, pay for it, 
plan it in my budget—that isn’t dreaming big. 
I don’t need God if I can do it all myself.
More to come.
Still Lionhearted 

The Lionhearted Kat, one of the Leadership Team of WordSowers Christian Writers Group in Omaha, Nebraska. She is the author of “Capsules of Hope: Survival Guide for Caregivers,” published in seventeen compilations and has written numerous magazine articles. Kat teaches workshops for writer’s conferences and has a giant passion to encourage authors. She is the mother of three and grandmother of six. Since the death of her husband, she writes From the Eyes of Joyful Widow (www.lionheartedkat.info). 




Tuesday, January 20, 2015

2015 Dream Big, Bigger, Biggest

Somewhere around early 2008 I desired to teach writers workshops. When a conference leader asked for those interested in teaching to send an application with qualifications, I wrote a short note about my desire to teach and the following:

 Qualifications: Published in twelve anthologies, sixty magazine articles, and wrote for the Plattsmouth Journal for eighteen months. Published Capsules of Hope Survival Guide for Caregivers, and held numerous book signings for A Cup of Comfort. I started a critique group in 2006 and today everyone in the group is a published author.

I thought myself well-qualified, but I didn’t get the job. 
Not even a reply from the Leader. 
Does that mean I did something wrong? 
No, however I did feel disappointed. 
Did I stop sending out requests to teach?

Absolutely not. 

And at that time Husband kept saying, Mook, dream BIG.” 

And I did.
More To Come.


Monday, January 19, 2015

4 Questions to Help You Determine Which Social Media to Use

Platform/Marketing Tip 
photo credit: Free Digital Photos //Stuart Miles
When deciding which social media to use, ask yourself: 
Who and where is your audience? If your audience is 20 something, don't hang out at an AARP forum. Determine what kinds of things your audience enjoys and be a part of it.
What is your purpose? Each Social Media platform (Twitter, Facebook, blog, Google+) has its strengths and purposes. Do a bit of research and see which fits with your needs. 
Where are you already? Don't get caught up in doing it all. Not everything will be a fit. Are you already online? Start where you are. Build it up. Keep adding as you discover those places that are a fit for your message and your audience. 
What do you enjoy? If you get a profile on Twitter, but hate it, you aren't as likely to use it. Its better to have no profile there than an unused one. Your fans will want to see you active. Give a new spot a try, but don't bang your head against the wall if its not working for you. 

Remember from last week: your platform must be sustainable. It must work with your life if you're going to maintain it.  

Do you have a platform or marketing 
question you would like answered?
~ ~ ~
Writing Prompt: 
The following paragraph is wordy! And pretty boring (serves the purpose of this exercise). Two challenges: 
1) Tighten up the word count. Right now its at 60.
2) Give it some zing. Some interest. 

Have fun! Leave a comment and let us know your new word count for challenge #1.  

They went down to the store where there was a guy working that had sold them a broken toaster. They needed a toaster so bad because they didn't have an oven, so they needed to get their money back. Then they would go and get one at a different store where their neighbor told them a sale was going on. 

 ~ ~ ~ 
Resource Suggestion: JeffGoines 

 ~ ~ ~

“If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.” Toni Morrison
~ ~ ~


Angela D. Meyer is the author of Where Hope Starts a finalist in the 2014 Grace awards. Her short story, More to the Story, was a genre winner for the 2014 Family Fiction short story contest and she is a contributor to the devotional collection The Benefit Package. You can catch Angela on social media encouraging women in their faith journey and watch her video devotionals on her YouTube channel. She lives in Nebraska with her family and is active in Wordsowers Christian Writers group.

Connect with Angela:

Monday, January 12, 2015

Monday Writing Prompts, Marketing Tips and Suggested Resources

www.angeladmeyer.com









~ ~ ~

Platform/Marketing Tip

Start now to work on your platform. Don’t wait until you “need” it. A platform takes a while to build. Start early so you don’t feel pressured to do it all at once. Find a pace that fits you and your life so you won't burn out.  

Building an author platform must be sustainable 
to avoid burnout. (Click to Tweet)

~ ~ ~

Writing Prompt 

photo credit: Angela D. Meyer
 Set your timer for 10 minutes. 
Write as much of a story/scene as you can. 
Do not edit.

~ ~ ~

Suggested Resource: Michael Hyatt 

~ ~ ~

Do you have a question you would like answered?


Angela D. Meyer is the author of Where Hope Starts a finalist in the 2014 Grace awards. Her short story, More to the Story, was a genre winner for the 2014 Family Fiction short story contest and she is a contributor to the devotional collection The Benefit Package. You can catch Angela on social media encouraging women in their faith journey and watch her video devotionals on her YouTube channel. She lives in Nebraska with her family and is active in Wordsowers Christian Writers group.

Connect with Angela:
Find her book on Amazon 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Turn Writing Dreams into Reality

We all know about New Year's resolutions. 
courtesy of David Castillo Dominici@freedigitalphotos.net

A new year equals a fresh start...until want-power overtakes will-power.

           I want one last slice of cheesecake before starting my diet.
                     I want one more couch potato day before hitting the gym.
                              I want to read one more novel before I work on mine.

Here at Wordsowers we're turning our writing dreams into reality. 
courtesy Feelart @ freedigitalphotos.net
And this is your invitation to join us.
 
Will 2015 be the year your work emerges from the hidden depths of your computer into the light of publication?
 
From critiques groups to our annual writers conference, we at Wordsowers are determined to help each other.   
 
I can attest to that. Because of the help, encouragement, and critique I've received, Chicken Soup for the Soul purchased five of my stories, James Stuart Bell included me in his Bethany House compilation, Heaven Touching Earth, and I finished the first draft of my novel.
 
And that's in the last 18 months.  
 
Could I have done it on my own? Absolutely not.
Is Wordsowers ready to help you? Absolutely.


Please don't let intimidation keep you from your writing dreams. Connect with us here or on our Facebook page.

Plus, sign up for our free monthly newsletter and get help delivered straight to your inbox. It's easy--the button is on the right side of this page, near the top.


We'd love to hear your writing plans for this year. Please share them in the comments below.

 
Jeanie Jacobson is on the leadership team of Wordsowers Christian Writers Group in Omaha, NE. She's published in five Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and a Bethany House compilation. Jeanie teaches a workshop geared toward helping new writers, and is working on a Christian-slanted YA fantasy novel. Connect with her at jeaniejacobson.com

 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Speedy Gonzales syndrome.


My daddy's parents came to the US from Mexico in 1908. They worked hard, studied hard, and became US citizens. Their descendants went on to become professionals, holding prestigious jobs in business and government. But it took my Tia Gracia, my Aunt Grace, decades to pass her citizenship test. She was almost 100 years old when she became a US citizen. 

In my writer's group some people are more prolific. They can finish a month's worth of content while I'm constructing my first draft.

perky mouse rat
Courtesy of AKARAKINGDOMS @ freeigitalphotos.net.
It's like watching Speedy Gonzales zip by, leaving me in a cloud of dust...and discouragement.

Anybody else been there? Feeling intimidated? Like you're not as good?

We have two options:
A) Make excuses for why they're so much better.
or
B) Ask them for tips, and apply what we learn.

Hint: option B produces the best results. However, if you choose option A, bring a box of chocolates to my house and we'll host a pity party together.

Here are a few ideas to help push through:
1) Identify the problem. Ask yourself, "What's making this so difficult? Lack of resources? Lack of time? Fear of failure? Confusion? Vampire bats gnawing on your ankles? Once you define the hold-up...

2) Reach out for the solution. Use your life lines: Mentors, writer's group, google, self-help books, and genies in lamps.

3) Address the priority items. Connecting with fans on your author's Facebook page is great, but do it after you finish the guest blog due tomorrow.

4) Drown out distractions. Ignore email, the ringing phone, tweets, and the circus performers jumping through flaming hoops on your front lawn.

To stay on track ask,

"Is what I'm doing moving me toward my goal, or away from it?"

If you've hit a plateau, go back to number one to determine the hold-up.

If you're moving forward, please stop beating yourself up.
Comparing ourselves to others is a sure way to lose heart, lose focus, and lose momentum.

My aunt Grace could have said, "I'm an old lady. It's too hard to become a citizen now." But she didn't give up, and neither should we.


turtle crossing finish line
courtesy of digitalart @freedigitalphotos.net

We might not be a Speedy Gonzales, but remember, the tortoise still won the race against the hare.


Now on to
 
Jeanie's Super-Secret Newbie No-No's
 


man working laptop quiet whisper finger
Photo courtesy of graur razvan ionut @ freedigitalphotos.net


To recap what we've learned so far:
 
Week 1- Exclamation marks scream, "Newbie!"
Week 2- Annihilate Adverbs.
Week 3- Eradicate empty words. Really just skip them. I'm very serious.
Week 4- Use "Invisible" Words: said, ask, answer, and reply.
Week 5- Run off Run-On Sentences
Week 6- Clear out Clichés
Week 7- Pass on Passive Voice

This week- Eliminate Empty Adjectives.

 Mark Twain wrote, "When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don't mean utterly, but kill most of them--then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are far apart.” 

When editor Lee Warren critiqued the first chapter of my novel, he explained the weakness of empty adjectives. And used up an entire ink cartridge highlighting mine.

"Big" is imprecise. How big? The size of a bus? A skyscraper? A planet?
 
Lee noted there's nothing special about a "blue car." (Although an orange one might be interesting enough to pass inspection.)  
  
Most new writers don't realize that editors love sharp, concise writing. When they see fluffy modifiers they send Mark Twain's ghost to scare the empty adjectives out of your submission. Since ghost writers can cost a fortune, take all the big, pretty adjectives out yourself.

  
Since we all need to move forward, my Current Lofty Goal (AKA something I need to do, but tend to put off) Finish out NaNoWriMo, writing a 50,000 word novel during the month of November.

What challenges do you face in your writing life? We at Wordsowers want to help. Connect with us here or on our Facebook page.

Great news: sign up for our free monthly newsletter to get help delivered straight to your inbox. It's easy--the button is on the right side of this page, near the top.

 
Jeanie Jacobson is on the leadership team of Wordsowers Christian Writers Group in Omaha, NE. She's published in three Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and a Bethany House compilation. She teaches a workshop geared toward helping new writers. She's currently working on a Christian-slanted YA fantasy novel. Connect with her at jeaniejacobson.com

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Do You Dream Big

My First Feature Story 
Nice job,” my husband said when he read one of my articles published in the Sunday School handout called The Standard for the Church of the Nazarene.

“Yes, I’m glad it’s published. Thrilled to see my name in print. Like the payment, but my goal is to be the feature story.”

“What’s that mean?”

“I want the front cover story.”

A month later I opened a packet with three copies of my latest article, 'Basket of Goodness' published in LIVE, a Sunday School Handout for the Assemblies of God church. 

Although my hubby watched the Nebraska Husker football, I waved a copy of my story in front of his face.

At first he pushed it away. When I continued to pester him, he grabbed the paper and glanced at it.

“You did it, Babe. You have your feature story.” He grinned.
Inside the Cover ...tickled me to death. 


“I still wish to be published in Chicken Soup.”

“You’ll get there, Babe. You’ll get there.”

And last year I did. What a thrill.


Okay, I’m back to a few who say, “Well where is your book?” They know I published “Capsules of Hope: Survival Guide for Caregivers” five years ago. They also know I have a few hundred other ideas floating in my head for a novel, but for right now—well
I’m thrilled once more to say, “Hey, gang, this year I’m published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Touched by an Angel . What a thrill. Wish my precious hubby were here to celebrate with me.


The Lionhearted Kat, one of the Leadership Team of WordSowers Christian Writers Group and the author of Capsules of Hope: Survival Guide for Caregivers. She is published in seventeen compilations and has written numerous magazine articles. Since the death of her husband, she writes From the Eyes of Joyful Widow

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Does a Writer Need Rhythm?

Several years ago I joined an online writers group where a published author posed the thought for a couple days and others responded.

When we talked about pacing, author Brandilyn Collins said

I base my opinions on the fact that the actual wording of a sentence creates a rhythm within the reader. We live by rhythm. It's so common to us we don't realize it. But as writers we need to understand how to use sentence rhythm to create a desired effect in a scene.

When we are scared, our hearts beat faster. We tense. Our eyes move more quickly. Everything about our bodies picks up a heightened rhythm. In creating an aura in a scene, we need to pay attention to the rhythm of our readers. 
I pulled a couple books from my shelf to see if I could sense what Ms. Collins calls rhythm.
“Why are you here?” she asked him.
“His Majesty has summoned you to the throne room.” He gestured to the
door and waited for her to lead the way.
Abijah’s heart began to race. Ahaz had never summoned her to the throne room before. “Perhaps…would he like to see his new son?” she asked.
“The king said nothing about his son. He sent for you.” (Austin, Lynn; God’s & Kings page 190.)

We can feel the tension in only those few words. And what about this short scene:
Miles passed by.
“I think I’d like to kiss you good-night sometimes.”
“Okay.”
“I heard that smile.”
“Did you expect me to say no?”
“I’m just thinking about it.”
Bryce glanced over. Her eyes were closed and she was drifting. He smiled, and didn’t break the silence. He was thinking about it too.
Slower paced—awe, but feel the rhythm.  (Henderson, Dee; Unspoken; pg 358)

Interviewed by The Lionhearted Kat, one of the Leadership Team of WordSowers Christian Writers Group and the author of Capsules of Hope: Survival Guide for Caregivers. She is published in seventeen compilations and has written numerous magazine articles. Since the death of her husband, she writes From the Eyes of Joyful Widow

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Panelists Interview

Come prepared to ask our 
Wordsower Panel your writing questions.


Thursday, November 13, 2014, we will hold our Annual Q and A at the Bookworm’s new location, 90th and Center. We meet from 6 to 7:45. (The Bookworm closes at 8 p.m. sharp.)

Our panel: Angela, Jeanie, Kat, Lee and Teresa, will be prepared to answer your questions. Give the panel something to chew on—questions you’ve always wanted answered, but didn’t know who to ask.

Remember, the only stupid question is the one not asked.

Get acquainted with the panel. They’ve answered a few questions to help us know who they are, why they are on the panel and what dreams they have for Wordsowers.

Click HERE to read the interview. 

photo credit: www.freedigitalphotos.net //Ambro 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

You Can Survive a Tough Critique Group

HACWN friends, editors and publishers 2013


Do you love writers sitting around chatting and learning together? Me, too. I used the photo above to illustrate the family feel. Unfortunatly, all critique groups don't feel like family. 

When I first attended a critique group years ago, a woman I didn't know well bluntly said, “You write in purple prose.” I didn’t have a clue what she meant.love the color purple, I did write poetry, but I submitted a double-spaced typewritten article in black and white, where did she find purple or even rhyme?

Unsure of myself, I didn't ask what she meant. (Besides, you weren't supposed to ask questions, just listen to the critique.) When I arrived home I called a writer friend, she explained the critique to me. 

I survived six weeks in the group—seven well-published women and me. They taught me more in that space of time than in any critique group since.

Tough, yes. After each session I drove home in tears. My husband couldn’t understand why I returned, but I developed a tough hide. 

I knew those women wanted the best for me.

So what is purple prose?
  • The flowery speech of King Jameth,
  • Too many descriptive words to convey a simple thought.
  • Lengthy convoluted sentences.
  • Paragraphs of descriptive dialogue.
Editors and readers like concise sentences made up of active verbs and specific nouns. After you write, edit. Edit again. Cut more. Remember many editors pay by the word. Edit your work as if every word cost you $1. Now practice cutting your word count by 200 or 400 words.


One last thought--our move to another city took me away from the woman with a harsh critique, but not from writing. It pays to take what feels like harsh criticism handed to us for our good. 

The Lionhearted Kat, one of the Leadership Team of WordSowers Christian Writers Group and the author of Capsules of Hope: Survival Guide for Caregivers. She is published in seventeen compilations and has written numerous magazine articles. Since the death of her husband, she writes From theEyes of Joyful Widow. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Author's Bio 101


While you're busy creating your platform, make sure you prepare your author's bio. It's a short summary paragraph of your writing credentials.

Creating a bio can be a challenge for new, pre-published writers.


cartoon dog boxing gloves
Courtesy of Mister GC @freedigitalphotos.net
Picture yourself in an arena. The bell rings, the announcer grabs the mike, gestures to your colleague and rattles off her bio:

In this corner, weighing in at 89,750,000 followers, with 327 New York Times' best sellers, famous writer Sharon Queensbury!

He points to you and says,

And in this corner, the newcomer, who's written a grocery list and a note to the babysitter.

My first author's bio read something like, "Jeanie walks upright, and breathes in and out on a regular basis."

Because I owned zero writing credentials, I gave an abbreviated work history synopsis: "Jeanie's enjoyed a variety of careers, from computer programming to teaching exotic animal programs. She enjoys visiting with family and friends, and praise dancing. She's a member of Wordsowers Christian Writers Group." Not the most professional, but it was all I had.

Here are a few tips to keep you from getting K.O.'d:

  1. Write it in third person.
  2. Avoid terms like "new" and "aspiring." It erases your credibility, and reminds people of their nutty Aunt Jane who tried to write. Don't get relegated to the crazy relative corner. Come out of yours swinging. 
  3. Draw on your highlights. Pull from life experiences to show expertise. 
  4. Define yourself honestly but with flair. If you're a school crossing guard writing a childrens book you can say, "Mary Smith draws from her decades of experience working with children."
  5. Look at other authors' bios for ideas. Note: please don't copy and paste  their work. Use it to get the creative juices flowing.


Now on to
 
Jeanie's Super-Secret Newbie No-No's
( Yes, I used the term newbie. This isn't a bio.)


man working laptop quiet whisper finger
Photo courtesy of graur razvan ionut @ freedigitalphotos.net


To recap what we've learned so far:
 
Week 1- Exclamation marks scream, "Newbie!"
Week 2- Annihilate Adverbs.
Week 3- Eradicate empty words. Really just skip them. I'm very serious.
Week 4- Use "Invisible" Words: said, ask, answer, and reply.
Week 5- Run off Run-On Sentences.
Week 6- Clear out Clichés.

This week- Pass on Passive Voice.

Think of it as something done by someone. A quick way to identify passive voice is to do a search for the word "was" in your writing.

Passive: The race was won by Mary.
Active: Mary won the race.

Passive: The vicious guard dog was owned by Mary.
Active: Mary owned the vicious guard dog.

Passive voice slows our writing, adds superfluous words, and bores our readers.
 
 
Most new writers don't realize that editors hate passive voice. When they receive a submission filled with plodding passive sentences, they contact Mary. She sends her vicious grammar-guard dog to eat your manuscript.

Passive: My manuscript was eaten by a vicious grammar-guard dog.
Active: The vicious grammar-guard dog ate my manuscript.
Even in active voice, that scenario stinks, so exercise your active voice.
 
Since we all need to move forward, my Current Lofty Goal (AKA something I need to do, but put off) get prepped for NaNoWriMo.

Their website says, "National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30."
(GULP)

What challenges do you face in your writing life? We at Wordsowers want to help. Connect with us here or on our Facebook page.

Great news: sign up for our free monthly newsletter to get help delivered straight to your inbox. It's easy--the button is on the right side of this page, near the top.

 
Jeanie Jacobson is on the leadership team of Wordsowers Christian Writers Group in Omaha, NE. She's published in three Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and a Bethany House compilation. She teaches a workshop geared toward helping new writers. She's currently working on a Christian-slanted YA fantasy novel. Connect with her at jeaniejacobson.com

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Five Reasons I Attend HACWN

Sally Jadlow 
 How do I justify spending the money to attend another Heart of America Christian Writers Network Conference (HACWN) in November? 

After all, I’m on the Leadership Team for Omaha Wordsowers Christian Writer’s Conference and knee deep into the plans for April 24-25, 2015.

But after praying about it, waffling back and forth, I finally said, “This is something I enjoy. The Littleton’s allow me to teach workshops and I love meeting new authors, editors and publishers. Why not attend?”

After the 2012 HACWN conference I understood why I attend year after year—I saw at least four women latch onto a writing future. One of them, Rachel Skatvold is ready to release her first novella, “Beauty Within” next month.

What are the five reasons I attend HACWN year after year?

  1. Inspiration: I’m totally selfish. My number one reason is to find that extra “Umph” to keep me writing through the next year. When I hear about others accomplishments, I’m excited to arrive home and set goals for the next year.
  2. Encouragement: To cheer on another author is like a gift to me. I’m rejuvenated when I have the opportunity to meet “new to HACWN” attendees, give them a pep talk, pray with them and share what I’ve learned in the last year.
  3. Network with editors and publishers: Put my face before them, yes. But also to dig into their needs, both industry and personal. Ask, “How can I pray for you?”
  4. Learn what’s new in the writing industry: Be aware of the changes, but realize the world still wants to hold a magazine and/or a book. I’m also learning how to publish an E-book. I choose to live in a progressive world full of change.
  5. Support your closest writer’s conference. Because of Mark and Jeanette Littleton and their many volunteer helpers, HACWN is available year after year. By attending each year and paying our dues, we make it possible for new authors to have the same opportunities we’ve had in the past.
My new author friends with Rachel Skatvold on the right
Really there are six reasons. Carol Cumberland and family “house” our Omaha group. We have stayed in her home five times—this November is # sixth time. 
 
I can’t wait until November —who knows what new friends I’ll make.

The Lionhearted Kat, one of the Leadership Team of WordSowers Christian Writers Group and the author of Capsules of Hope: Survival Guide for Caregivers. She is published in seventeen compilations and has written numerous magazine articles. Since the death of her husband, she writes From theEyes of Joyful Widow





Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Low Pay Doesn't Mean Your Material Isn't Valuable


A tidbit from the Lionhearted Kat:

 In a panel discussions the topic of payment for anthology submissions came up. Many writers responded with, “I don’t have time to submit something when I’ll only receive $50.”

By the end of the emails that flew back and forth, I felt like a less-than-good-writer because I submitted to low-paying venues.

Truth is, I like writing for Cup of Comfort, Love is a Verb, Rainy Days, Picket Fences, Angels, Miracles and Heavenly Encounters, and Chicken Soup: Finding My Faith. My work is published in fourteen or is it seventeen anthologies now?No, I don’t earn a living on those stories, but God honors all work.

Last week a District Superintendent qualified the district churches. “We don’t have second-hand churches or less than stellar preachers. We do have many small churches in villages that pay little or nothing. The pastor is bi-vocational—that doesn’t make him or the church less than the mega work in the city.”

The same is true with authors. We may not make big bucks on an anthology, but our words are in print and we will never know what needy soul will read our story—the right story for their need.

The Lionhearted Kat, one of the Leadership Team of WordSowers Christian Writers Group and the author ofCapsules of Hope: Survival Guide for Caregivers. She is published in seventeen compilations and has written numerous magazine articles. Since the death of her husband, she writes From the Eyes of a Joyful Widow