Dec

14

2013

‘Tis the Season

Best Christmas Card Photo Ever? - Jon Acuff thinks so:

Source:  jamiliajean.com via Jon on Pinterest

Dec

13

2013

Fun Fridays – December 13, 2013

This simply made me smile. Extremely clever.
And these Canadians aren’t afraid to say “Merry Christmas!”

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Dec

12

2013

Staying Sane Over the Holidays

by Tamela Hancock Murray

Christmas Stress

Just because you’re a writer doesn’t mean you get a pass over the holidays. Many writers are contract-bound by December and early January deadlines, while other writers have self-imposed deadlines to keep their careers moving. The late arrival of Thanksgiving has also put a monkey wrench into many of our plans. I don’t know about you, but I just can’t get in the mood — or find the time — for Christmas preparations before Thanksgiving is over.

I’ve been married 29 years. During this time, I have become less insecure and eager to impress everyone by how much I am able to accomplish. As a result, I’ve changed many of my Christmas activities to help me save time and increase my enjoyment of the celebration.

Now, I know the level of enjoyment for each person is different, so if you love any or all of the activities on this list, go for it! Here are my changes:

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Dec

11

2013

Taking the “Dis” out of Discourage

by Nancy Farrier

NancyBattu2

With over 400,000 books in print, Nancy J. Farrier is no stranger to the ups and downs of the writing life. That combined with being a worship leader and Bible study leader has given her all kinds of valuable lessons on discouragement–and its solutions!

__________

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair…”    II Cor. 4:8a

During my writing career, I’ve often felt like Paul, hard-pressed on every side or perplexed due to the many areas of discouragement I’ve faced. Unlike Paul, I’ve often felt crushed and in despair. When I prayed about staying strong, God gave me a way to battle discouragement, showing me three areas where I often come under attack. Once recognized, they are easier to combat.

D—The first area is those who are distant to me. These are people I don’t know well, but who have contact with me: readers, critics, sometimes industry professionals. I don’t believe any of these people intended to say or do things to discourage me, but seemingly insignificant comments often cut deep. Even when most of my reader letters are very positive, notes like the following too often have a greater impact:

“I bought one of your books to give my granddaughter, started to read it first, and realized you’ve never opened a Bible in your life!”

I can’t tell you how much that hurt. I love God’s Word and I love sharing Scripture, so that attack was more painful than most. She didn’t say why she came to that conclusion. She didn’t even give her name or contact information. Perhaps from her perspective she was being honest, but her words wounded me and made me doubt my abilities.

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Dec

10

2013

A Writing Life – Pearl S. Buck

by Dan Balow

pearlbuck

Seventy –five years ago today, Pearl Buck became the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.  The king of Sweden gave her the award at a ceremony on December 10, 1938 in the Stockholm Concert Hall.  It read:

“By awarding this year’s Prize to Pearl Buck for the notable works which pave the way to a human sympathy passing over widely separated racial boundaries and for studies of human ideals which are a great and living art of portraiture, the Swedish Academy feels that it acts in harmony and accord with the aim of Alfred Nobel’s dream for the future.”

Pearl’s most famous works, her “House of Earth” series, written in the 1930’s (The Good Earth, Sons, A House Divided) are considered important works, making a significant literary contribution around the world.  The Good Earth was the best selling novel in the U.S. in both 1931 and 1932 and also won her the Pulitzer Prize in 1932.  It still sells consistently today…Oprah Winfrey named it as one of her must-reads in 2004.

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Dec

9

2013

Three Myths About an Agent’s Acceptance

by Steve Laube

Arrow with word  Fact breaks word Myth. Concept 3D illustration.

You’ve worked hard. You wrote a great book. You pitched it just right and the literary agent has called you saying they want to represent you and your project. Hooray! But there are some misunderstandings or myths about what happens next.

1.  Your Book Will Soon Be Published

Just because an agent has said yes doesn’t guarantee success. Nor does it speed up the inexorable process. Remember that while the agent will work hard in getting your work in front of the right publishers and deal with any objections or questions that come, it can happen that an idea is rejected by every publisher.

In addition the acquisitions process at a publisher is very process oriented. When I was an acquisitions editor we tried to have a monthly publications board meeting. I was given time to present about eight titles at that meeting. Thus beforehand we had to decide which titles were going to be pitched. Often I would bump an idea to the next meeting because another one took its place. For the author and the agent this means waiting and waiting some more. Other businesses may make their decisions more quickly, but publishing has always worked in this methodical manner. Of course there are exceptions, but usually at the expense of someone else’s project that has now been bumped to the next pub board meeting.

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Dec

6

2013

Dec

5

2013

Clear Your Brain!

by Tamela Hancock Murray

Panorama of a sunset on a lake

When I talk to writers about the day-to-day operations of my office, I usually mention weekends. And that we have them.

I make an effort to stay away from the computer for business on the weekends unless there is some urgent reason to do otherwise. This may sound selfish, and perhaps it is. But I also try not to bother my clients on the weekends because I want them to have weekends, too. Writers tend to pay attention when an email from their agent arrives, and I want them to be free not to think of business on the weekends.

I understand that many writers have other jobs and commitments and that may mean Sundays are their only time to write. But I hope these writers will choose another time or day to take off. Why not Tuesday? Or maybe Saturday.

Here’s why:

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Dec

4

2013

The Many Faces of Discouragement

by Karen Ball

Close-up of an English Bulldog Puppy, 2 months old, in a wicker basket, isolated on white

I know I promised you the final blog on accountability partners, but as I’ve talked with publishing folks and friends the last few weeks I’ve noticed a theme: Discouragement.

It’s a well-documented fact that people struggle with depression and discouragement more during the holidays than any other time of the year. I wonder sometimes if writers are among the most discouraged. Part of it, I’m sure, has to do with the in-and-out of finances this time of year—as in nowhere near as much coming in as is going out. I also think writers, introspective souls that we are, tend to look back on the year when December hits. You know, assess how we’ve done on meeting our NaNoWriMo or publishing goals. Many of us are forced to face what is rather than what we’d hoped would be.

Don’t you wish sometimes that you could write the story of your life? That you could tie up all the loose ends, show how even the hardest times are all a part of God’s plan to refine and restore? That we could craft a life where no one loses health insurance, jobs, or homes. And of course, in our wonderfully crafted story, family gatherings would be just like those heart-warming Norman Rockwell paintings, where everyone is smiling and happy and full of joy. But no, instead of Rockwell, we get a scene from Chevy Chase’s “Christmas Vacation.” As for the job of writing or publishing, well, what a year it’s been, what with publishers shutting down lines, editors being laid off, advances getting cut in half, contracts being cancelled…

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Dec

3

2013

The Right (Size) Stuff

by Dan Balow

Tools. Measure tape on white background

One hundred and fifty years ago this fall, President Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address on the site of the battle that turned the tide of the American Civil War.  It was 270 words and took two minutes to deliver.

Not as memorable was the 13,600-word oratory by American statesman Edward Everett that lasted for two hours prior to Lincoln’s epic speech. In fact, the program for that November 19, 1863 event consisted of eight elements…four songs, two prayers, Everett’s speech and a few words from the President.

History elevated those two minutes by the President to some of the greatest words ever spoken. The rest of the program is all but forgotten.

Recently I was in an airport terminal waiting to board a flight and the well-intentioned airline employee picked up the really bad microphone and began explaining the boarding procedure for my flight in tremendous detail.

Fifteen minutes later (I am not kidding, I timed it) the announcement was finished.

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