Thursday, November 30, 2017

Blogging Success—Slow and Steady Really Does Get You Where You Want to Go

by @EdieMelson

For the past five years I’ve been sharing tips and tidbits from the writing life here on The Write Conversation blog. One of the things I keep coming back to is the fact that small consistent steps make a big difference.
Today I want to toot my own horn a little, as well as share some small things you can do consistently to duplicate the success I’ve had with building an online platform.

Timeline for Success
December 11, 2009: Here’s the very first post, MasteringYour Dream.  I haven’t gone back and edited or formatted it—it doesn’t even have an image to go with it. It was seen by 27 people and got 5 comments, really not bad for a first post.
  • My goal was to blog once a week, reality was a little different. I posted twice that December and twice in January of 2011. Then, because I’d gotten so consistent at this blogging thing, I started a second weekly post in February of 2011. That was when my Thursday Review column began. That idea actually began to shape the focus of my blog. I didn’t do (and still don’t) general book reviews, but instead review things related to writing.
  • I added my third weekly column on March 27 with my Weekend Worship devotion on Sundays. The first one was Beneath the Cross.  As you can tell, I still hadn’t clued in to the fact that images make the post better.
  • In October of 2011, I hit my first month of more than 10,000 unique hits.
  • I stayed with three posts a week until December 11, 2011. Then I was asked to become part of the Clash of the Titles group of bloggers. That year (2011) I ended up with approx. 80,000 unique hits. 2011 was also when I began using social media (Twitter and Facebook) consistently.
  • In 2012, I sort of leveled out. I had good numbers—approx. 20,000 hits per month—but couldn’t break past that. I ended up with approx. 296,000 hits that year. I stayed consistent with my blogging schedule and with social media
  • In 2013, I broke into the 30,000 hits a month category and began to see my consistency with blogging and social media begin to bear significant fruit. August of 2013 was also when I started blogging seven days a week.
  • A couple of months ago, I did a rather major change. I opened up The Write Conversation to other hand-picked contributors. This means I’m no longer one hundred percent responsible for posting seven days a week. I share the burden with other writers who, truth be told, know a whole lot more about this industry than I do.
  • And just this past week, I hit 15,000+ Twitter followers and 1,000,000 unique hits on my blog. That’s why I decided to do a little sprucing up with a new header and design.

But all this personal bragging really isn’t to lift me up. It’s to encourage you with the thought that if I can do this—ANYONE can.
Tips to Achieve Your Own Successful Timeline
1. Come up with a blogging schedule and stick with it. If something happens and you miss a day here and there, don’t stress. Go right back to the schedule and keep moving forward.
2. Don’t be afraid to play around with the focus for your site. I’ve let you—my audience—help me refine my focus.
3. Don’t count the plateaus as failure. I truly believe those months where I didn’t see active growth were a time of strengthening. It’s almost like my blog had to develop muscle to get to the next level.
4. Use social media to enhance your online reach. I tried to stay as consistent as possible with social media—always promoting others instead of me. I know this helped my audience gain confidence in the fact that I’m not in this for myself.
5. Don’t be afraid to quit something that doesn’t work. I mentioned that I was a part of Clash of the Titles. Well, I wasn’t a successful part. My blogging audience wasn’t interested in that column. I gave it time to be sure (about 8 months) then quit when I saw it was the weak link in my weekly schedule. I rarely got more than a few dozen visitors on the days that column aired.
6. Remember that the numbers aren’t really numbers, they’re people. Through all this time I’ve tried to stay focused on the people I’m reaching. It’s hard at times, but always remind yourself of this when you get discouraged.
7. Always keep refining. I’m always looking for ways to make my blog better. Trust me, we’ve never arrived. No matter where we are, there’s always room for improvement.
This is my story and these are the tips I’ve used to get where I am. Now I’d love to learn from you. What things do you do to continue growing your blog?
Don’t forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,
Edie
Edie Melson is the author of numerous books, as well as a freelance writer and editor. Her blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains ChristianWriters Conference and the Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy. She’s also the Military Family Blogger at Guideposts. Com, Social Media Director for SouthernWriters Magazine and the Senior Editor for NovelRocket.com. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook. Don't miss her new book from Worthy Inspired, WHILE MY SOLDIER SERVES.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Writing the Cozy Mystery - Part 3 the Main Components

by Elva Cobb Martin

 In Part 1 we covered the differences between Mystery, Suspense and Horror novels. To read that click here   http://bit.ly/2Axc6Y0 
In Part 2 we defined what a Cozy Mystery is. Click  http://bit.ly/2zwkTwM .

Today let's talk about the Main Components of a cozy we will need to plan.

The Amateur Sleuth
Unlike regular mysteries (detective stories, police procedures) a cozy has an amateur sleuth protagonist working to solve the mystery, although there may be trained law officers also working on the case. Think of Father Brown on Netflix, who solves the case right under the angry inspector's nose who tries to keep Father Brown out of the picture. Think of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple and Poirot. I love these amateur sleuths. And I love Sherlock Holmes, but can't class him as amateur. He's too much a brain.

Location/Setting
One reason I like Father Brown and Agatha Christies' series is the English village setting. Don't you love the stately old manors, churches, modes of travel, and the dress? I'm probably going to need to consider writing an historical cozy since I love historical stuff.

The Murder Victim and Crime
Eddie Jones, CEO of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, says in his Cozy Mystery Workshop that the body must appear very soon in the story, definitely by the end of Chapter one or sooner. The crime must capture the reader's imagination and give enough information about the victim to make the reader care that justice will prevail.

Great Plotting
Like any other type story, we have to have a well-thought out plot. Plot usually has three main stages:

1) Beginning - getting to know the protagonist and set up for the conflict/crime
2) Conflict/Problem/Journey
3) Resolution

These are broken down into many parts. For a mystery it must also include clues, red herrings, and many twists until the very end. The end does not have to be happy but it must be satisfying.

Are you thinking about writing a mystery? Do you have a question? I look forward to your comments and please do share this on your social media by clicking on the below small icons.

Blessings,
Elva Cobb Martin

Elva Cobb Martin is president of the South Carolina Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers (2014-2017). She is a former school teacher and a graduate of Anderson University and Erskine College. She has two inspirational novels contracted with Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas. Summer of Deception, a contemporary romantic suspense, and an historical romance, In a Pirate’s Debt. Both are spending time on Amazon’s 100 Best Sellers List for Women’s Religious Fiction. Decision, Charisma, and Home Life have carried Elva's articles. Jim Hart of Hartline Literary represents her. She and her husband Dwayne are semi-retired ministers. A mother and grandmother, Elva lives in Anderson, South Carolina. Connect with her on her web site http://www.elvamartin.com, her blog http://carolinaromancewithelvamartin.blogspot.com, on Twitter www.twitter.com/ElvaCobbMartin; Facebook http://www.facebook.com/elvacobbmartin;  and Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/elvacobbmartin
Link to her romance novels and non-fiction works on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2pOgVHI






Thursday, November 16, 2017

Writing the Cozy Mystery - Part 2 Definition

by Elva Cobb Martin


In my last blog we defined Mystery and Suspense and reviewed the major differences between Mystery, Suspense and Horror novels. You can find that blog here http://bit.ly/2Axc6Y0 .

Carolina Reckoning by Lisa Carter is a great mystery I enjoyed.

What is a Cozy Mystery? --by Eddie Jones, CEO, Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas (LPC):
A cozy mystery features an amateur sleuth solving a murder within the confines of a controlled setting (think train, mansion, small town). Most of the suspects know each other and thus know each other's secrets. This leads to lots of accusations as to whom the killer might be.

Another definition I like is: A cozy mystery is a sub genre of crime fiction that gives readers a chance to delight in vicariously solving a murder--without graphic violence or sex. As a Christian writer this is what makes a cozy mystery my favorite kind of mystery and the kind I will want to write.

Others have said: "Cozies offer readers the kind of escapism that harder-boiled detective stories simply can't deliver."

"The abiding appeal of the cozy owes a lot to our collective memory, true or false, of simpler, sweeter times."

Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers are two cozy authors who have inspired several generations of cozy writers.

According to Brian Klems, Writers' Digest editor, there are four things a writer should know if considering venturing into cozy-mystery writing today:

1) Cozies have evolved since Christie and Sayers in faster pacing and more driving action with a broader range of subject matter.



2) Series are the way to go - virtually all cozies published today are part of a series with recurring characters and may be anchored around a hobby or craft--or even cats like the Lilian Jackson Braun series, which I have also enjoyed on tape as I exercise.

3)  Sales are steady, but moderate.

4) Genre-specific support is available - like Sisters in Crime writing group
(sistersincrime.org) one of the leading networks for mystery authors. It offers
a Guppies program that provides help for new mystery writers.
http://sinc-guppies.org/


Who is your favorite cozy author? Please join the conversatoin and share this on your social media by clicking on the small icons below.

Blessings,
Elva Cobb Martin


Elva Cobb Martin is president of the South Carolina Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers (2014-2017). She is a former school teacher and a graduate of Anderson University and Erskine College. She has two inspirational novels contracted with Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas. Summer of Deception, a contemporary romantic suspense, and an historical romance, In a Pirate’s Debt. Both are spending time on Amazon’s 100 Best Sellers List for Women’s Religious Fiction. Decision, Charisma, and Home Life have carried Elva's articles. Jim Hart of Hartline Literary represents her. She and her husband Dwayne are semi-retired ministers. A mother and grandmother, Elva lives in Anderson, South Carolina. Connect with her on her web site http://www.elvamartin.com, her blog http://carolinaromancewithelvamartin.blogspot.com, on Twitter www.twitter.com/ElvaCobbMartin; Facebook http://www.facebook.com/elvacobbmartin;  and Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/elvacobbmartin
Link to her romance novels and non-fiction works on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2pOgVHI




Thursday, November 9, 2017

Writing the Cozy Mystery - Part 1 Mystery, Suspense or Horror?

by Elva Cobb Martin


I've had a cozy mystery novel on the back burner for quite a while and have just decided to pull it up to the front burner. You are invited to trek along with me as I refresh my thinking about mysteries in general and this cozy book idea specifically on my next several blogs. Of course, my cozies will always have a good dose of romance!

To start with I've refreshed my understanding of the difference between Mystery and Suspense novels, and also Horror novels.

Here's a fave mystery writer's definition of Mystery: 
A Mystery is a story that has a crime already committed (preferably violent like a homicide) and the suspect is unknown until the end of the story. Mysteries can be broken down into sub-genres like Hard-Boiled Mystery, Police Procedure, Detective Stories, Cozy Mystery, Legal or Medical Mysteries, etc.

A Suspense novel is where the suspect may be be known to the reader, but the thrust of the story is the protagonist's attempts to catch, stop, or overcome the antagonist before a murder or mayhem can be committed.

Another interesting break down I've seen is the difference between Crime/Mystery, Suspense, and Horror stories relating to four aspects:

1) The Murder 
2) The Secrets 
3)  The Question
4) The Appeal

The Murder:
Crime/Mystery: The body is discovered close to the beginning.
Suspense: We anticipate the murder.
Horror: We see the murder happen in real time.

The Secrets
Crime/Mystery: We know none of the secrets until later.
Suspense: We know half the secrets; the characters know none.
Horror: We know all the secrets.

The Question
Crime/Mystery: Who did this and why?
Suspense: Will the character live or die?
Horror: How and when will the character die?

The Appeal
Crime/Mystery: Intellectual Curiosity.
Suspense: Worry and Concern
Horror: Gut Reaction

So now that I've gotten that review freshened in my mind, I will be ready next time to delve into the specifics of Cozy Mysteries.

Do you like mysteries? Do you  like to read Robert Whitlow's legal thrillers? Many of us call him the Christian version of John Grisham. WHO doesn't like Agatha Christie or Perry Mason, Monk, Colombo, Murdock, or Father Brown?  My husband will watch most of these series with me on TV. There are several good mystery series, but my favorite are cozy mysteries. In my next blog I'll tell you why and define what makes them "cozy."

Would love to hear about your fave mystery writer. And please do share this on your social media by clicking on the small icons below.

Blessings,
Elva Cobb Martin
Elva Cobb Martin is president of the South Carolina Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers (2014-2017). She is a former school teacher and a graduate of Anderson University and Erskine College. She has two inspirational novels contracted with Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas. Summer of Deception, a contemporary romantic suspense, and an historical romance, In a Pirate’s Debt. Both are spending time on Amazon’s 100 Best Sellers List for Women’s Religious Fiction. Decision, Charisma, and Home Life have carried Elva's articles. Jim Hart of Hartline Literary represents her. She and her husband Dwayne are semi-retired ministers. A mother and grandmother, Elva lives in Anderson, South Carolina. Connect with her on her web site http://www.elvamartin.com, her blog http://carolinaromancewithelvamartin.blogspot.com, on Twitter www.twitter.com/ElvaCobbMartin; Facebook http://www.facebook.com/elvacobbmartin;  and Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/elvacobbmartin
Link to her romance novels and non-fiction works on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2pOgVHI



I

Thursday, November 2, 2017

You Might Have Commitment Issues as a Writer If…

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson


Choosing to be a writer can be a daunting prospect. It involves courage, creativity, and yes, commitment. When we’re unwilling to make that commitment, we can destine ourselves to failure before we’ve had a chance to succeed.
This post isn’t meant to beat anyone up, but rather to make us aware of some of the things holding us back on our writing journey.

You Might Have Commitment Issues as a Writer If…
1. You’re unwilling to write on a schedule. Notice I didn’t say write every day or write every morning. There are some who other commitments in addition to writing that make scheduling a daily writing time unreasonable. HOWEVER, we can all make a commitment to certain times during the week to write.
2. You’re unwilling to spend time writing. This seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how creative writers can be when it comes to thinking up reasons not to write. Beyond that, you’ll find writing groups and gathers populated with scores of people who want to be writers, but have reasons why they can’t right now. The truth is we all have reasons in our lives not to take the time to write. It all boils down to priorities. We make time for the things that are most important.
3. You’re unwilling to invest in learning how to write. Talent is great, but that alone won’t get any of us to the top, or even very far above the bottom. We have to learn how to apply the talent we’ve been given. That means reading books and blogs as well as attending classes and conferences.
4. You’re unwilling or defensive about being critiqued. I’m still not the best about enjoying a good critique, but I’ve learned how to accept it. I thank the person critiquing me, and even if I don’t agree, I look it over and try to take what I can from it. Especially with in-person critiques I’ve learned that being defensive and trying to explain or justify is counterproductive.
5. You’re unwilling to join a writers group. There are those in the industry who disagree with me, but not many. I’ve found that for me, and the hundreds of writers I’ve worked with, that we’re all stronger together. We need others to encourage us along the way. We also need the perspective of those who’ve experienced what we’re going through.
6. You’re refuse to spend time reading. Our business is that of writing. How can we have perspective on the industry if we refuse to read what’s being written? Books are a valuable way to learn and polish our own writing.
7. You’re unwilling to learn the business of writing. There’s more to writing than just putting words on paper. We need to learn the language of the publishing industry. We need to learn the etiquette of the publishing industry. We need to learn the marketing and social media side of the business, and how things work.
8. You’re unwilling to be patient. Writing is a craft. It’s not something learned overnight. We often come into this business with something we’ve written and expect it to be publishable. That’s just not reasonable. A concert pianist can’t expect to be performance-ready before his first lesson, and neither can a writer.
9. You’re unwilling to submit your work. Yes we want to write with excellence. We need to do the best we can right now, but not let perfectionism get in the way of submission. There are two truths in this industry we each need to embrace:
  • No matter how hard we try, we’ll never be perfect.
  • No matter how much we revise the piece we’re working on now, the next one will be better.

10. You think everything you write is publishable. There are going to be some things we write that just don’t fit the market—any market. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bad. It could be the wrong time or place for such a piece. We need to know when to move on to the next thing.  
11. You’re unwilling to accept advice. I don’t think we should accept every single piece of advice we receive. Likewise though, I don’t think we should ignore every single piece of advice we receive. When someone
12. You’re unwilling to stop looking at yourself as the exception to the rule. There are certain ways that things are done or not done in the publishing industry. There are also exceptions to almost every single instance. But there’s a reason they’re called exceptions. It’s because those specific set of circumstances rarely happen that way. It’s fine to dream and hoped, but we also have to be diligent, disciplined and do our part to make our dreams come true.
13. You look at every other writer as competition. There is plenty of work to be done. Especially as believers who write, God has room for each of us. We need to celebrate the successes of one another, share what we’re learning, and never gloat when things go well.
I’m sure this list could go on and on and on. I’m at the end for me, but I’d love to hear what you’d add. Be sure to leave your thoughts in comments section below.
Don’t forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,
Edie

Edie Melson is the author of numerous books, as well as a freelance writer and editor. Her blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains ChristianWriters Conference and the Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy. She’s also the Military Family Blogger at Guideposts. Com, Social Media Director for SouthernWriters Magazine and the Senior Editor for NovelRocket.com. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook. Don't miss her new book from Worthy Inspired, WHILE MY SOLDIER SERVES.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Launch of The Emotional Wound Thesaurus & Five Steps to Overcome Writing Rejection


By Elva Cobb Martin
Hi everyone! Today I have a special post as part of the Writers Persevere event that authors Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi are running for the next few days to celebrate their newest book, The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Psychological Trauma. This book looks at the difficult experiences embedded in our character’s backstory which will shape their motivation and behavior afterward. I love their books!

You can find out more about this book and all the links to purchase it and others here: http://writershelpingwriters.net/bookstore/
To help them celebrate this release, many of us are posting stories about some of the obstacles we’ve overcome as writers. As we all know, this isn’t an easy path. Writing is hard and as writers we tend to struggle with doubt. Sometimes too, we don’t always get the support we need to follow our passion, or we have added challenges that make writing more difficult. Because people are sharing their stories this week about how they worked through these challenges to keep writing, I wanted to post about it too. Here's my story!
I wrote the first draft of my first novel, Summer of Deception, a romantic suspense, thirty years ago. It was rejected 26 times before I finally landed a contract. Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas released Summer of Deception in May, 2017, and it's spent time on Amazon's 100 Best Sellers List for Women's Religious Fiction. Earlier, I've written a 9-part blog series on "My Long Journey to a Book Contract - Five Vital Steps"  Click here to start Part 1   http://bit.ly/2yLohlW

However, here are the Five Vital Steps in brief. I know you will love me for giving them here! To get much more detail and craft information check out the series in my archives. Maybe what was holding my contract up is holding yours.

Step 1) NEVER GIVE UP! Check out Philippians 1:6 and be confident God will complete a good work in you.
Step 2) Keep Honing Your Craft -with every rejection I learned something. I     studied plotting, deep POV, and Goals, Motivation and Conflict, and                      most important, how to show/not tell. Study craft books and writer blogs.
Step 3) Attend Writing Conferences. Join a writing group and look for critique                      partners. Good critique partners are a blessing.
Step 4) Help Other Writers. Four years ago I helped found the South Carolina Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers and have served as president. This great group has been instrumental in helping my writing craft and perseverance keep moving forward. I enjoy helping other writers on their way. Sowing good seed helping others, brings needed help to you. That's a Bible principle. Here's a link to our S.C. ACFW Chapter's latest blog by Edie Melson, our VP:   http://bit.ly/2gzFQLV  Check out the top list of pages for more info. We meet the 4th Saturdays at 2:00 PM in Anderson, SC. Oct. 28 our speaker is a law officer who will share investigative procedures and weapons info for writers.
Step 5) Learn How to Submit to Agents and Editors - How critical it is to READ and FOLLOW Guidelines posted on their sites! 
 
Do you have a story to share, or some advice for others? You can join Becca and Angela at Writers Helping Writers from October 25-27th, where we are celebrating writers and their stories of perseverance. Stop in, and tell them about a challenge or struggle your faced, or if you like, write a post on your own blog and share it using the hashtag #writerspersevere.  Let’s fill social media with your strength and let other writers know that it’s okay to question and have doubts but we shouldn’t let that stop us.

GIVEAWAY ALERT!
There’s a prize vault filled with items that can give your writing career a boost at  http://writershelpingwriters.net/2017/10/help-us-celebrate-the-incredible-strength-of-writers-and-a-new-book/
I would love for one of you to win something that will help you get closer to your goal!
The giveaway is only from October 25-27th, so enter asap. And don’t forget to share this using the #writerspersevere hashtag so more prizes will be awarded!

So glad you stopped by. Do leave a comment and share this post on your social media by clicking on the small icons
below.

Blessings,
Elva Cobb Martin
Elva Cobb Martin is president of the South Carolina Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers (2014-2017). She is a former school teacher and a graduate of Anderson University and Erskine College. She has two inspirational novels contracted with Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas. Summer of Deception, a contemporary romantic suspense, and an historical romance, In a Pirate’s Debt. Both are spending time on Amazon’s 100 Best Sellers List for Women’s Religious Fiction. Decision, Charisma, and Home Life have carried Elva's articles. Jim Hart of Hartline Literary represents her. She and her husband Dwayne are semi-retired ministers. A mother and grandmother, Elva lives in Anderson, South Carolina. Connect with her on her web site http://www.elvamartin.com, her blog http://carolinaromancewithelvamartin.blogspot.com, on Twitter www.twitter.com/ElvaCobbMartin; Facebook http://www.facebook.com/elvacobbmartin;  and Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/elvacobbmartin
Link to my romance novels and non-fiction works on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2pOgVHI

Thursday, October 19, 2017

31 Fun Field Trips for Writers

By Edie Melson @EdieMelson
Fall is my favorite time of the year. I could happily spend from September through November outside hiking, exploring, and road-tripping. 

In honor of my own personal wanderlust, today I’m sharing my list of places to explore.
These are things that you can do by yourself, or get together with another friend to try out. Most would even work as a group activity for a writers group. The key here is to get out and stretch your legs and your creative muscles.


Fun Field Trips for Writers
  • 1. Visit your local history museum. Every county and most towns have them. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll find.
  • 2. Take a quick trip to a local landmark. Chances are there are some that you’ve never visited, no matter how long you’ve lived where you are now.
  • 3. Go to your local farmer’s market. Not only will you pick up some wonderful—local—edibles, you’ll be inspired by those attending and those displaying their wares.
  • 4. Try a different cuisine. Pick one you haven’t had before, if possible. Research it before you go and you’ll know what to order.
Take a quick walking tour. This was taken in
downtown Greenville, SC.
  • 5. Take a walking tour. Greenville, SC is the large town nearby and there are all kinds of self-guided walking tours we can take.
  • 6. Spend a few hours geocaching. Here’s a great article on Geocaching 101, if you’re not familiar with this hobby.
  • 7. Do a search for hidden menus at Starbucks, then try something new. There are all kinds of cool drinks you can order, if you just know how. For example, did you know there’s a concoction that’s reputed to resemble Butterbeer from the Harry Potter universe?
  • 8. Take a trip on a local river or lake. Go kayaking, canoeing, or even paddle boarding.
  • 9. Get together a group and go on a bookstore crawl. The point is to visit all the bookstores in a geographic area. It’s even more fun if you post pics to social media and see how many books you can find from authors you know and love.
  • 10. Plan an old-fashioned murder mystery evening. You can find suggestions online or you can buy a box that has everything need.
Go leaf-peeping.
  • 11. Go leaf-peeping. Fall is definitely upon us and that means the trees are turning in most areas of the country. Take a drive and be inspired by God’s creativity!
  • 12. Visit a local art gallery. Yes, I’m a writer. But I’ve found that seeing how others express their creativity inspires me.
  • 13. Get tickets to a play at your local community theater or even a school production. You'll be inspired by the actors, the costumes, the story, and the overall atmosphere.
  • 14. Go old school and show some community spirit by watching a local football game. Yes, high school was tough in some ways. But most of us remember fall football. It might have been as a cheerleader, a member of the marching band (me), or just a fan. This is a great way to reconnect with your roots.
  • 15. Take a cooking class. Again, it’s the creative aspect that drives this suggestion. But you also might find a new hobby you can share with your spouse.
  • 16. Spend the afternoon people watching at the local mall. Take a pen and paper and write down snippets of conversations. If you write fiction, you may find a place to use it in your WIP. If you write nonfiction, the things you overhear may give you article/book ideas.
  • 17. Visit a corn maze or a haunted house. Personally, I’m not a fan of haunted houses, but a lot of my friends are. A corn maze is much more my speed.
  • 18. Offer to read at your local retirement center/nursing home. It doesn’t have to be your book that you’re reading.
  • 19. Visit your local zoo.
  • 20. Take another author’s book to your local bookstore and recommend it to the manager/workers. It feels good to do something nice for someone else, and it helps the management find books they might have missed. 
Visit some nearby historical landmarks.
  • 21. Visit some nearby historical landmarks. Greenville is rife with old textile mills, bridges and general historic sites. I love crawling around old foundations and taking picture of the stonework and gears that are always left behind.
  • 22. Memorize a poem. Go to your local library or book store and find a book of poetry. It can be something funny, or touching, or anything in between. But the process will stimulate your mind and stretch your mental muscles.
  • 23. Explore a local festival. This time of year you’ll find everything from state fairs to barbeque cook-offs to pop up arts and crafts shows.
  • 24. Take a bicycle ride. If you don’t own a bike, rent one. Chances are there’s someplace nearby where you can ride.
  • 25. Listen to some live music. It might be an evening at the symphony, or a free band that plays in a park downtown.
  • 26. Stroll through a local flee market or antique mall
  • 27. Go on a hike. Find a local park and take a walk.
  • 28. Take a class. Look for something non-writing related. 
  • 29. Spend an afternoon coloring. Find a book or download a free page from the Internet, pull out your colored pencils and pretend you’re a kid. It’s not a hobby for everyone—which could be said about a lot of these suggestions, but I’ve found if I mention coloring it’s polarizing. People either love it or hate it. I’m one of those who’ve discovered it doesn’t relax me. But if it does help you unwind, go for it. If you haven’t tried it, it’s past time to give this new fad a try.
  • 30. Shop for a new pen and stationary. Go to a place where you can try out different types of pens and find one you really like.
  • 31. Take only a pen and notebook and find a park. Spend an hour or two writing longhand. Describe your setting, do free-writing, or brainstorm your next project.
Truthfully, this list could go on and on. But I’ll stop talking now and let you have a chance to share your best ideas.
Don’t forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,
Edie

Edie Melson is the author of numerous books, as well as a freelance writer and editor. Her blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains ChristianWriters Conference and the Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy. She’s also the Military Family Blogger at Guideposts. Com, Social Media Director for SouthernWriters Magazine and the Senior Editor for NovelRocket.com. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook. Don't miss her new book from Worthy Inspired, WHILE MY SOLDIER SERVES.