Just You Know… Write the Book!

Rachel Hauck, How To Catch A PrinceSeriously…

I wonder if our authority ancestors would berate us for our whining and procrastinating.

For having writing tools and craft lessons at our fingertips, literally, and yet we don’t finish the book.

For having libraries down the street, YouTube a click away, writing partners a phone call/Facetime/Google Hangout away.

For being able to attend conferences a car or plane ride away.

For Twitter and Facebook for which to spread the good news of our stories.

Yet, we complain.

Okay, I complain, but bear with me. Help me shoulder my guilt.

Why don’t I have more sales? Bigger sales?

What? My books aren’t as good as everyone else’s in the whole wide world?

Oh look, that authors has a whole bunch of five star reviews and I only have, well, a whole bunch too but she has thirty more than I do.



Of the heart, mind and soul that zap our strength.

We have more information and knowledge more blogs and videos than you can skip across the surface of calm waters, yet, we still don’t finish that book.

We still complain about sales.

We still aren’t content.


There’s a line where we trust God with our lives, our stories, our business. Where only He can make “it” happen.

He alone is our source and resource.

BUT, there is a time to work.

To put your ore in the water and row.

Stop reading craft blogs.

Stop researching.

Stop plotting.

Stop planning.

Stop being tentative.

Stop comparing your story with others.

Do it!

There’s no way to publish a book if it’s not written.

If we over think, we can ruin the fun of it all.

Trust me, I know.

I feel constricted sometimes to come up with a great story I love, the publisher loves, the reader loves, the reviewer loves and the old love, the youth love, and contest readers love, and blah, blah, blah, and suddenly it’s no fun any more.

That’s on me.

I’ve taken the fun out of it trying to make it be something everyone else wants it to be.

Yet, am I doing what I’m called to do?


Write! Worship as I write.


Do what He’s called me to do.

We have to write the book.

That’s always the first step.

There’s no conference, retreat, blog or group of craft partners out there that are more important than you getting with the Lord and writing the book!

Don’t get caught up in the externals. Deal with the internal journey of story telling.

It’s not always easy.

You have to write when you’re emotionally drained, tired, frustrated.

Get filled up.

And write the book.

Write that brilliant book!


Understanding the 5 Love Languages of a Writer

Gary Chapman wrote the best-selling book The Five Love Languages, detailing how people receive love in five primary ways:

Gifts – Love expressed through the giving of gifts
Quality Time – Love expressed by giving someone undivided attention
Words of Affirmation – Love expressed by using words to build someone up
Service – Love expressed when actions speak louder than words
Physical Touch – Love expressed through appropriate touch

What would those five love languages look like for a writer?


You’ve probably seen the “gifts for writers” lists that abound around Christmas-time. A favorite of mine is “Mostly FREE gifts for writers” posted on Edie Melson’s The Write Conversation blog. But writers need love all year-round and there are all sorts of writer-themed gifts:

 Coffee mugs – Maybe one that says: Yes, I am silently correcting your grammar or I’m not daydreaming, I’m plotting
AquaNotes – A notepad and pencil for writing ideas down in the shower
Typewriter jewelry or cufflinks – My husband has custom-ordered bracelets to celebrate my books.
• Gift cards  Think Starbucks or Amazon or Etsy.

Quality Time

Quality Time for a writer is not always time spent with someone you love – although it can be that. Quality Time can be when someone you love gives you uninterrupted time with your imaginary characters. Time to write. To rewrite. To plot. To ponder.
Another way love can be expressed by Quality Time? When someone goes for a walk with you and lets you talk story with them.

Words of Affirmation

When someone writes a positive review of one of my books, they are speaking my “author love language” by using Words of Affirmation. Author Cynthia Ruchti says positive reviews are gold to an author. Writing and posting a review takes time – but when you consider it as one of the Five Love Languages of an Writer, you see the true value of your review. And when someone writes a note to an author, telling them how much they enjoy their novels … well, those kind of Words of Affirmation are keepsakes.


How can you help a writer? I’ve had other writers offer to:
• Read a scene or a chapter to see if it’s working or not
• Read over a synopsis

Family and friends have performed Acts of Service while I’ve been on deadline. Things like:
Making appointments – One friend makes sure my hair appointment gets scheduled. We get our hair cut at the same time.
Carpooling to volleyball practice/school
• Making dinner
• Running errands
• Cleaning the house
• Doing research – My husband called and asked some research questions for me, allowing me to focus on writing.

Physical Touch

Writers need hugs. Sometimes writers need someone to hold their hand and commiserate with them when they’re dealing with disappointment. And you know what? Surprising a writer with a gift card for a professional massage can be a wonderful way to encourage and support them – especially one who just got off deadline.

When you consider the Five Love Languages of an Writer, which one would be your primary love language?

[Tweet “Understanding the 5 Love Languages of a #Writer by @bethvogt #amwriting”]

Risking it all: Being a writer is not safe! by Connilyn Cossette

This weekend, I did something I have never done before. I stood in front of a group of women for my first speaking engagement as an author. For weeks leading up to the day my stomach did gymnastics. But I knew my speech well, had practiced it in the mirror and in front of friends, and I was confident that my topic was divinely inspired. But still, I did not feel safe.

I am an introvert. Speaking in front of people older than about age twelve makes me extremely self-conscious. Will I look weird? Will I sound funny? Will I talk too fast? What if they think what I say is stupid or strange or…stupid?

Yet I felt that God had called me share my heart with these ladies, so I pushed through my fears. And guess what? It was great! The talk went well, my nerves disappeared, and from what I was told later, God used my words to touch hearts.

We, as writers, are called to do something that is in no way “safe”. We are called to pour out our hearts onto the page and then, against our own intuition, share those intimate thoughts with the world. It is a frightening thing, to hand over a piece of ourselves and allow people to judge, criticize, and possibly even rip it to shreds.

But when has anything exciting not involved risk? Marriage? Childbirth? Parenting? Traveling? Cliff-diving?

If we snuggle up with our fears the experience of risking it all will be missed. If I had held on to my insecurities and kept my manuscript clutched tightly to my chest I would never have known that it was any good. If I hadn’t taken those first terrifying steps of entering contests and querying agents, then Counted with the Stars would not be releasing next spring with my dream publisher.

When we push our book-babies out of the nest, there is risk. There will be people who turn up their noses at our genre, or our writing style. There will be critics and bad reviews. Guaranteed.

But if we are obedient to our calling as writers then there is nothing to fear. Yes, we risk failure. Yes, we risk rejection. But we also get the exhilaration of jumping off the cliff and into the arms of the One who called us to write in the first place. And there is no safer place to be.


Connilyn Cossette has a passion for writing stories of timeless grace that draw readers into a personal encounter with the rich ancient world of the Bible, and its Author. Her debut novel, Counted with the Stars, will be released with Bethany House Publishers in Spring of 2016. Connect with her at www.connilyncossette.com.

The ABCs of Twitter


Sometimes we tend to overcomplicate social media, especially Twitter. Today I’d like to share the basics with the ABCs of Twitter.

A is for Accessibility. It’s important to be easy to find on Twitter. This means your twitter handle needs to be as close to your own name as possible, and your avatar (picture) is recognizable as you.

B is for Bio. Even though your Twitter bio is only 160 characters long, it’s prime real estate. It tells your audience what to expect from your tweets. You can include hashtags, but don’t make them the only thing you list.

C is for Connections. The point of Twitter is to connect with other people with similar interests. It’s not your private station to broadcast commercials from. Keep self-promotion to a minimum and you’ll find some valuable relationships through this social media platform.

D is for Discipline. Small consistent steps will result in a strong Twitter platform. It’s not enough to share updates several days a month. Instead, set a goal for 4 – 6 updates on 3 – 4 days a week. It won’t take much time, but it will pay huge dividends in visibility and reach.

E is for Evaluate. Evaluate what you’re sharing on Twitter. Is it valuable to your audience or are you just adding to the noise? I share one of four types of updates:

  • An inspiring quote or Bible verse.
  • A thought provoking question.
  • Something funny.
  • A link to something I (and hopefully my audience) finds helpful.

F is for Focus. Even though I vary the types of updates I share on Twitter, I keep my message (and my Twitter personality) consistent. People who follow me know I post about writing, social media and things for military families.

G is for Grandmother. I’m convinced that my grandmother would have enjoyed social media. It’s a digital neighborhood that she would have understood. There’s a give and take here, and a willingness to courteous and helpful.

H is for Hashtags. Hashtags are one of the best things about Twitter. Do your best to limit yourself to no more than two (at the very most three) per update. And take time to do a quick search on Google for the best hashtag for the topic you’re tweeting about.

I is for Irritating. Yes, there are some people on Twitter who are irritating. And if they waste my time, I don’t hesitate to unfollow them. I encourage you to do the same.

J is for Jump. Don’t be afraid to jump into the Twitter universe. The easiest way to get started it to dive right in and learn as you go.

K is for Keep On. Don’t expect instant results. Like anything worth doing, growing a Twitter platform takes time (and don’t forget consistency). Don’t get discouraged and give up.

L is for Less is More. Even though Twitter updates can be up to 140 characters long, stop at least 20 characters early. This leaves room for retweets and comments.

M is for Myself. It’s critical that we’re honest and genuine on social media. We don’t have to over-share but we do need to be authentic.

N is for Nice. Nice a word that is—in my opinion—underrated. I have never in my life regretted being nice, even when the other person didn’t treat me the same way.

O is for having an Open Door Policy. Make yourself accessible and visible on Twitter. Don’t protect your tweets, require followers to be approved and refuse to engage in conversations.

P is for Promotion. Promote others ahead of yourself and you’ll find your Twitter popularity exploding. Promote yourself ahead of others and you’ll always struggle to grow your platform.

Q is for Questions. Asking questions in your Tweets is a great way to get the conversation started. Don’t neglect these types of Twitter updates when you’re planning your social media interactions.

R is for Reciprocate. Twitter etiquette leans heavily on reciprocal relationships. If someone follows me, it’s proper etiquette for me to follow them back. The only reason I don’t is if the appear to be spammers or share updates that I consider inappropriate. Just because they seem to share updates that are far from my topic isn’t reason enough to not follow them back. I’ve found a lot of good connections because I took a chance and followed someone back who appeared—at first—to not share similar interests.

S is for Schedule. Make sure you schedule your daily Tweets. Don’t send them all out at once, but spread them out throughout the day so you reach more of your audience.

T is for Time. Watch the clock when you’re on social media. There’s a law of diminishing returns that comes into play after about thirty minutes on any social media network—Twitter included. Spend no more than thirty minutes a day and you’ll get the most return on your time investment.

U is for Update. Learn which type of Twitter update to send for each situation.

  • A Tweet is for something you want to share on Twitter.
  • A Retweet is when you repeat what someone else said. It’s not the best etiquette to Retweet a post that mentions you. It’s better to Favorite the Tweet or Reply and say thank you.
  • A Reply is when you answer or comment on a Tweet. It’s proper etiquette to Reply and say thank you when someone mentions you on Twitter.
  • A Direct Message is private message sent to someone through Twitter.

V is for Vacation. Don’t try to work Twitter (or any social media) seven days a week. Instead, give yourself regular breaks. Your tweets will stay fresh and you aren’t as likely to suffer from burnout and overload.

W is for Wisdom. Be wise online. Don’t share your vacation plans in advance or while you’re gone. Don’t make yourself a target by sharing your location when you’re out. And most of all, make certain any photos you share don’t have embedded geocodes, especially if they’re pictures of children. There are people out there who are looking for such carelessness and by not being wise you are raising the risk of becoming a victim.

X is for X-ray. Learn the bones of a good Twitter update and you’ll never lack for something to say. I use headline writing techniques to compose my tweets and it’s the perfect way to connect with your audience in short bursts of information.

Y is for Yelling. Writing a Twitter update in all caps is LIKE YELLING. I reserve my use of all caps for the title of a book (since it isn’t possible to italicize in an update).

Z is for Zoo. Yes, at first glance Twitter can seem like a zoo. It can be mistaken for  a series of unrelated updates that make no sense to anyone. But take time to get to know your way around and you’ll find a gold mine of relationships and connections waiting for you.

These are my ABCs of Twitter, what would you add to the alphabet? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.