40 Reasons Why I Write

I read a Positive Writers blog post on posting 40 reasons why I write. I haven’t written a blog post for a while, so this got me thinking about my motivation. I decided this is a great way to restart my writing.

So here are the first 40 reasons why I write: Continue reading “40 Reasons Why I Write”

5 Tips for Increasing Your Writing Productivity | Evernote Blog

I am taking a Christmas break today. Here is an interesting article on maintaining productive writing habits. It is good advice no matter what kind of writing you do. 

It especially rings true for content writers, copywriters and writers at church.

5 Tips For Increasing Your Writing Productivity 

Beware of the toxic time triangle!

Toxic time triangle sketch

I am attending the Indiana Faith and Writing Conference this weekend in Anderson, Indiana. Yesterday, Doc Hensley of Taylor University spoke about the toxic time triangle. When you are pursuing a writing career, you have to balance all the necessary, good things like friends, family and health on one side, routine paying jobs on the other, and major career work like novels and writing for the stage on the third.

It is quite a challenge to take care of one end without causing the other two ends to suffer.

I’ve found this to be true. It’s amazing how no matter who we are, we have the same amount of time each day. Yet, some people are able to do so much more with it than others.

One suggestion of Doc Hensley’s was to eliminate time sappers by taking an audit of your time. He said you’d be amazed how much time you waste on a daily basis.

I’m looking forward to trying this and some of his  other time management suggestions in the coming weeks. In the meantime, it’s off to the rest of the writers conference!

How do you know when criticism isn’t working?

Cartoon of a dog washing dishes and a man
Cartoon of a dog washing dishes. A man says to him, “You missed a spot.”

Criticism is the most popular way to teach someone something, isn’t it? When we someone who isn’t doing things the way we think they should, the most natural way to teach is to correct the individual.

So why do we hate criticism?

  • Because it can tear down a person if we’re not careful.
  • A small problem magnifies a huge problem.
  • Without some tact, we sound brutish and hurtful.
  • The receiver of criticism interprets it through the lens of past experiences.
    • Experience with the one who is criticizing
    • Experience with the task they’re being criticized for.

How can we correct a problem if criticism doesn’t work?

  • Be vulnerable. No one likes to receive criticism if the one sending it displays an air of perfection. People are much more receptive to criticism if we are honest about our own faults.
  • Choose your battles. Is it really worth pointing out that little spot when ninety-nine percent of the job was perfectly?
  • Point out the good more than the bad. It is easy to focus on the bad news, but who likes to hear it? A critical point goes further if most of the time we her positive comments.

How do you effectively use criticism in your business or with your kids?

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What authors can gain from trade shows

Cartoon of a guy at a bookstore. He says to a clerk, "I'll take the economy sized bookmark."

At the end of this week, I’ll be heading to the International Christian Retail Show in Saint Louis, Missouri.

I am looking forward to this event because it has been several years since I have been to this show and mingled with customers that use my products every day. While you may not be in my industry, there are several trade shows throughout the book industry that you would find interesting. There are events such as Book Expo AmericaSCBWI sponsored children’s book conferences, and  various writers’ conferences and Comic-cons.

Now I am as introverted as the next guy, but I’ve always found these events to benefit me. Here are a few of the reasons I would encourage authors and illustrators to go to a conference.

  • You can see what the current trends are in an industry.
    • That doesn’t mean you should copy them. After all, by the time you bring that “trendy” book to a publisher, the market will be tired of that topic. Still, it is good to see what the market is focused on now.
    • It may give you some insight on what is popular now and could lend itself to future topics. If you’re good at predicting the future, who knows, you may introduce the next big trend.
    • You will be able to see the technical innovations that are going on. The markets are changing and even expanding. You may discover your idea will work as well, or even better as an app, or e-book.
  • You meet people who know what it’s like to write and illustrate.
    • This is a solitary business. The Internet has made it easier to connect with others that share your interest, but there is nothing like talking one-on-one with someone who shares your passions and struggles with the same issues you face.
    • You can learn from your peers. It continues to amaze me how authors and illustrators are willing to share some of their tricks. A little suggestion here and a tip there can do wonders to keep you motivated.
  • You can see there is still a great market for great books.
    • The doomsayers may say print is dead, and it may be a different publishing world than the one that existed even five years ago. But print isn’t dead. There is a market for print and digital publishing.
    • You can get a feel for the direction publishers are going. Perhaps that will lead you to connect with a publisher that shares your passion and love the way you tell a story.

I’ll be writing on what I’ve learned at ICRS. One thing I am sure of, it will be a ton of information. I’m sharpening my pencil and ensuring I have plenty of blank pages in my sketchbook!