Monday, November 28, 2016

Turning Soapbox Rants into Writing Ideas

Ever have a moment where you want to jump on the soapbox and start ranting? 

From rude behavior to society's injustices, we've probably all been tempted. While I believe that these episodes are opportunities to build character and patience, I think they also offer a host of writing possibilities.

For example, while attending a funeral years ago, I witnessed an interesting faux pas by someone paying their respects. To be fair, it wasn't horrible; funerals are awkward and people are often at a loss as to how to behave. I was probably only attuned to this hiccup in decorum because the service was for my sister.

I wasn't upset, but rather, inspired. My thoughts turned to writing an article, perhaps entitled Five Things Not to Do at a Funeral. Once the brainstorming began for that idea, I had others, and was pleased that an event that could have sparked a soapbox speech provided a creative opportunity instead.

Another example resulted in my recent post, The Publishing Journey, Reflections and Lessons. The adventure with my first publisher yielded good things. It was also a bumpy road, with opportunities for soapbox rants. Months later, I penned the post, reflecting on lessons learned. My goal - to share insight and tips, helping writer friends make wise, informed choices.

Soapbox topics can be tricky. They generate a host of emotions. Tact, of course, is necessary. What purpose does a blistering speech serve if it turns readers off? An emotional and thought provoking commentary, done right, can speak to readers in a unique way.  Not everyone will agree with the stance, but well written prose should garner respect and offer takeaway value.

There are two key tips I heed before publishing any work generated by an emotional topic or event:

Give it time - Writing when emotions run high isn't a bad thing. But it's usually not a good idea to commit to a final draft in a highly emotional state. Whether a blog post or article, text, email, or social media rant, it's better to check those emotions and see how it looks after letting it rest a while.

Get another opinion - A perspective outside the realm of one's heart and head can offer valuable counsel and feedback. Even if this person shares your opinion, they can be the voice of reason, sharing insight, helping your written words convey a balanced message.

With care, caution, and class, pet peeves and emotional topics, whether big or small, can provide great opportunities for us writers.

What writing ideas do your soapbox rants generate? How was your Thanksgiving? What are you working on this week?

Happy writing,

Photo credit: Free Images -  Peter Galbraith

Monday, November 21, 2016

Counting Blessings

"For each new morning with its light,

For rest and shelter of the night,

For health and food, for love and friends,

For everything Thy goodness sends."

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

With Thanksgiving week upon us, we can't help but reflect on the abundant blessings we enjoy. 

I'm grateful for my Heavenly Father, family, and wonderful friends like you. 

Thank you for your friendship and kind support. :)

What are you thankful for? 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Blessings to you,


Monday, November 14, 2016

6 Ways to Manage the Demands of Blogging

As you know, blogging is a wonderful way to meet people, sharpen writing skills, make connections, and market services and books. There's no getting around it, though, blogs require attention and care. Writing content, posting, general site upkeep, responding to comments, visiting others' blogs, etc., it can get overwhelming at times. How can we keep stress to a minimum? Here are 6 tips that have helped and inspired me.

1) Keep posts short.

Long posts are great, but short ones can offer good info and interaction too. It doesn't hurt to take the pressure off sometimes, sharing brief thoughts, a quote, or simply asking your readers one question. A high word count doesn't guarantee quality content or reader engagement.

2) Schedule posts in advance.

This is probably the best thing since the invention of the blog. Whether you're going away, looking ahead to a super busy month, or have an idea for a July post strike you in February, scheduling ahead can be a lifesaver.

3) Offer regular features.

Author Susan J. Reinhardt's Friday blog posts share interesting links and info. Ask the Expert, a staple at veteran freelance writer Jennifer Brown Banks' site, offers great interviews. Regular features here include Meet the Blogger and Miscellaneous Monday. These types of posts provide good content and can be scheduled in advance.

4) Post less often.

There are no blogging laws dictating post frequency. Sure, you want to be consistent so that readers know when to expect good content, but that doesn't mean you must post every day. When I began blogging, I posted twice a week. I'm down to once a week now with an occasional extra post as necessary. This better suits my schedule, as I suspect you prefer a sane Karen over an overworked, scattered one. 

5) Find a good time management balance.

This is an ongoing challenge, with family, work, social media, and other demands. But we need to find and maintain our right balance. It's tricky, but it can and must be done to be healthy and productive. Allow yourself space and grace, too, when things don't go as planned. In ten years, it won't matter if you miss a post or forget to tweet. 

6) Take a break.

A little time to regroup, refresh, and catch up on other things is therapeutic. Plus it gives you time to stock up on chocolate or other necessities. I hate to say it, but the blogging world will manage in our absence. And that's okay. They'll miss us, of course, but they'll soldier on until we get back.

Basic tips? Yes. But ones worth revisiting when feeling uninspired or overwhelmed. At least for me, anyway. :)

How do you manage blogging's demands?

Happy writing, 


 Photo credit: F. Turco

Monday, November 7, 2016

Meet the Blogger with Lynda R. Young

As you might have guessed, I had the privilege of meeting Lynda R. Young through blogging. W.I.P. It, her blog, is a great source of writing and social media tips and other writer-ly topics. This smart and talented Australian author has a new devotional book out entitled Cling to God. I'm excited to have Lynda here this week to share her wisdom and experience with us.

Welcome Lynda! Congratulations on your new book! Why did you start blogging? What is your blog about? 

Thank you, Karen! I had written a collection of devotionals and wanted to get them published but was told I needed a platform. So I started my 'Fearfully and Wonderfully' blog which covered lots of devotional, inspiration thoughts. I loved blogging so much that I started a second blog about writing, called 'WIP It'. I failed to build a big enough platform to traditionally publish my devotional and I started to write fiction so I moved to my writing blog full time. The funny thing is, I never gave up on my devotional. It seemed a tragedy for it to be sitting in a drawer doing nothing so I sent it out again and to my absolute shock it was accepted with open arms. I guess it's all about God's perfect timing. 

You're right, God's timing is never wrong. :) What benefits have you gained through blogging? 

There are so many benefits to blogging. It's a joy to write and share articles for my blog, to help others in their pursuit to get published, to help others promote their books. But I've also met life-long friends. I've met some truly amazing, inspiring people. Sure, I've built up a semi-decent platform which helps to promote my work, but I don't do it for that anymore. That's just a side bonus. 

The people, I agree - what a blessing! And a great bonus. What prompted you to write your new book, Cling to God? 

Cling to God didn't start as a book idea. It started as a quick jotting of some random thoughts I came up with after reading some verses in the Bible. Writing my thoughts out helped me clarify my understanding of the Bible. I started to gather so many that an inkling of an idea formed. I had enough for about seven months of daily devotionals. All I had to do was to keep writing them and I'd have a whole year's worth of devotionals. They needed to be shared. 

I'm glad you kept at it, for you're right, good thoughts should be shared. What might people be surprised to learn about you? 

I like chocolate. No, wait, everyone knows I like chocolate. I'm a massive geek. I love sci-fi and fantasy and games. I do more than just write. If it's a creative pursuit, then I more than likely have a hand in it. I paint, draw, do digital art, animations, photography, compose music, design and develop games, edit, and so forth. I'm somewhat busy. 

Wow, then I guess you're rarely bored! :) What advice would you share with a newbie blogger? 

Blog because you love sharing your thoughts and passions, not because someone told you you should. Don't blog in isolation. Get out there and visit other bloggers. Be a part of the community, and the rewards will be huge. 

Great advice, Lynda. So glad you stopped by to see us. Wishing you much success!

Cling to God: A Daily Devotional
by Lynda R. Young

Published by Freedom Fox Press

Cling to God in the chaos of life…

Cling to God is a book of devotionals for every day of the year. The aim is to encourage Christians in their faith, to help them think about their beliefs and learn more about God. The devotions are short and inspirational so that people with busy lifestyles will still be able to spend time with the Lord each day. It will appeal to a wide Christian audience, to those new in their faith as well as those matured beyond milk and honey.

More About Lynda

Lynda R Young writes devotionals, articles, and speculative short stories. In her spare time she is also an editor, game developer, artist, and dabbles in photography and all things creative. She lives in Australia with her sweetheart of a husband. You can find her here: Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Visit Lynda


Find Her Books

Do you have any questions for Lynda? What do you read for inspiration? What are you reading this week?

Happy writing,