Finding Time to Write: Don’t Despise the Bits and Pieces of Time You Have Available

Finding Time to Write:

Don’t Despise the Bits and Pieces of Time You Have Available

By Edie Melson

I had always believed that I needed at least an hour, and preferably three, to make any progress at all with my writing.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The truth is, those small bits and pieces of time we all have add up to a lot. And wasting them can severely hamper our ability to meet deadlines and find success.

Over the years, I’ve learned how to use the time I have, even if it’s just ten minutes. Today I want to share the specific things I do to help increase my productivity when long stretches of writing time just aren’t possible.

Tips for Finding Time to Write

1. Decide to use what you’ve got. This is the biggest part of the puzzle. If you wait for perfect circumstances, chances are you’ll never finish your book. Truthfully, things rarely line up. When they do—celebrate! When they don’t—just decide to work harder.

2. Do your pre-work. There are a couple of things I recommend you do before you start writing in those short bits of time. AND they can also be done in bits and pieces.

  1. Have a road map of where your book is going. I’ve learned that I work better from a scene map (a list of all the scenes I want to include in my book). You may not have something that detailed. But you should know what you want to write about next. After you finish a scene, before you get up, make a couple of notes about where you want to go from there.
  2. Have a foundation of research to build on. I take a few weeks, before I start writing, to do my research and compile my notes.
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Page Turner Deadline in Four Months!

FaithWriters and Breath of Fresh Air Press are pleased to announce the Tenth Annual Page Turner Contest  – and this year we are celebrating in a very big way. For the first time, the door is open for both fiction and nonfiction manuscripts – with a winner and runner-up in BOTH categories!

If you are a member of the FaithWriters Platinum 500, you are invited to enter this very special contest created just for you. If you are not yet a Platinum member, this is the perfect reason to upgrade your membership.

Maybe you’ve got a half-written manuscript gathering dust in the bottom of your wardrobe. Perhaps it’s something you wrote during NaNoWriMo last year. It could even be an idea that’s been brewing in the back of your mind for years. Whatever the stage of your manuscript, this contest is just the spur you need to get writing and polishing-and we will give you until the end of September (note this change from previous years) to get your entry ready.

Sound good? Well, here’s what you need to do:

1. Write, edit and polish at least one chapter of your manuscript. You may seek professional editing input to polish your chapter.
2. Prepare a book proposal.
3. Combine the  chapter and book proposal as one Word or RTF document (book overview first, followed by the chapter), and you’re all set to enter the 2016 Page Turner Contest.

See further details here (if you are a platinum member) or here (if you are not yet a platinum member).

This year, there will be two Page Turner winners-one from the fiction submissions, and one from the nonfiction submissions. These two champions will each receive:

1. A fabulous cash prize of $250 (US);
2. The offer of traditional publication of their winning manuscript by Breath of Fresh Air Press;
3. Free publicity and marketing of their book on all FaithWriters’ sites for twelve months following  publication; and
4. A special Page Turner Champion award plaque.

A Page Turner runner up will be chosen from each of the two categories (fiction and nonfiction). Each runner up will receive a special Page Turner award plaque.

Brief feedback on your entry by Deb Porter (Breath of Fresh Air Press) will be available after the contest is concluded. However, this feedback will only be provided at the entrant’s request (which should be indicated by checking the appropriate box on the entry form). Many people enter the Page Turner purely for this very helpful feedback.

Is your interest piqued? If you are a Platinum member already, here’s where you can find out all the details, and also where you will go to submit your entry:

If you are not yet a Platinum member, you can find out all about the Page Turner contest here.

So get working on your manuscript – and get it submitted before September 30!

Are you in?

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FaithWriters Gathering: Early Bird Deadline Approaching!

So, are you planning to attend the FaithWriters Gathering in McDonough, Georgia (outside Atlanta) this summer? It’s sure to be a fabulous time of fun, fellowship, and learning, and the price is incredibly reasonable considering all you will be getting.

Need some details? Here we go:

FaithWriters Gathering: Ignite Your Passion

Friday, July 15, 2016 at 5pm to Saturday,July 16, 2016 at 9pm

First Baptist Church, McDonough, GA

Cost: $50 until May 31; $57 from June 1 on

The FaithWriters Gathering is not another writers’ conference. You won’t be sitting listening to people speak all day. Instead, we want you to escape to Georgia for a weekend of fellowship, fun, encouragement, inspiration, and hands on workshops and word games. Come prepared to write. (Bring notepads, pens, tablets, laptops, and anything else you need to ignite your writing passion.) Cost includes workshops, plus Saturday meals and snacks.

PLEASE NOTE: In the event of your cancellation, all but a $10 administration fee, per person, will be refunded. Rates do not include transportation or room charges.

Session/workshop offerings include songwriting, creative nonfiction writing, beginnings and ends, poetry, critique, fiction essentials, and more.

There is a block of rooms reserved at a nearby hotel, and the church is providing limited shuttle service to and from the airport (see more details at the FaithWriters Gathering page).

And the early-bird price only lasts another two weeks!

Who’s Coming to the FaithWriters Gathering?

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FaithWriters Going Mobile-Responsive – Pardon Our Dust :)

417720305At the request of members, and to keep up with technology, FaithWriters will soon begin a gradual conversion to a mobile responsive site. Much of the hard work of individual page conversion has already been done on a duplicate site designed for development. We will gradually be replacing the current site pages with pages that will automatically re-size based on your viewing device.

This has been a very large and time consuming project due to the size of the site. As we convert, you should not notice any interruption on a normal sized laptop or larger screen. We are hoping for no issues on mobile devices, but there could be issues at times with links not working and misaligned formatting on pages.

If you are using a mobile device, for a time you may experience pages that respond correctly to your device size and other pages that display in their current full size format. A gradual transition should avoid any huge issues that might occur by transitioning all at once.

We thank you for your patience.

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You Are What You Read?

You Are What You Read?

By Randy Ingermanson

Years ago I was talking to a fellow novelist whom I’d just met and I asked him what his Top Five favorite novels were. This is a question I ask writers a lot. I’m always looking for great books, and one place to find them is on the Top Five list of another writer.

This guy’s answer just about knocked me over. He said, “I don’t read fiction.”

I couldn’t believe it. I asked him if he meant he didn’t read much fiction. No, he didn’t read any. He was a nonfiction kind of a guy.  He wrote fiction, but he didn’t read it.  That was years ago, and I haven’t seen anything from him recently.

To put it bluntly, I don’t see that as a recipe for success. If you’re a novelist, you need to be reading fiction.

There’s a saying that “you are what you read,” and I think this is partially true.  If you read great fiction, you’ll absorb some of it, and you’ll become a better writer. You’ll learn what’s possible to do in writing, and it can’t help but expand you as a writer.

But I think it goes beyond that. I recommend reading widely, even if it isn’t great fiction. Because the fact is that you are MORE than what you read. What you read is fuel for your mind—it’s necessary, but it’s not sufficient.  Novelists need to be reading fiction. A lot of fiction. Not just the bestsellers. Obscure stuff. Good fiction. Great fiction. Horrible fiction (not too much of this—if you do manuscript reviews at a writing conference, you’ll see more than you need).

When you read other people’s fiction, you learn things that you couldn’t learn any other way. Because when it comes to the craft of writing, you don’t know what you don’t know. The only way to learn what you don’t know is by reading other people’s work.  For starters, you should read widely in your category. You need to know the rules of your genre—which ones are ironclad and which ones can be bent.

Continue Reading…


Congrats to Winter 2016 Quarterly Cash Winners!

A HUGE congratulations to EVERYONE who entered the FaithWriters Writing Challenge this past quarter.  Just by submitting an entry, you are a winner. But some pieces rise even higher than that to place – while others go even higher than that.

And that is what the quarterly cash awards are meant to recognize. The highest scoring entry in EACH LEVEL over each entire ten-week quarter receives a $50 cash prize. This past quarter  had a variety of topics – from smear to delicious to call – and these four entries (one from each level) came out on top. Be sure to check them out!

LEVEL 1        The Pea-Sized Problem by Belinda Peoples (Resolution Challenge)

LEVEL 2        Taking it to the Mat by Wanda Draus (Resolution Challenge)

LEVEL 3        ASSAM by Pat Small (Resolution Challenge)

LEVEL 4         Who Kissed the Teacup? by Francy Judge (Smear Challenge)

The new challenge quarter starts up THIS WEEK – with the new topic announced this Thursday, April 7. Be sure to give the Writing Challenge a try – YOUR name could be here in a few months!


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For Passion Week: Contemplating History

Contemplating History

By Joanne Sher

A man – jaw set, countenance firm – looked out in the distance
contemplating history, recalling events of the past.

They said they loved the Lord, that God was their Father.
Yet Adam and Eve disobeyed, eating of the forbidden tree.

And the man pursed his lips.

He said he would follow God, that he trusted His direction.
Yet Abraham bedded Hagar to sire a son his own way.

And the man cringed.

They praised the Lord for miracles, declaring their devotion to Him.
Yet the Israelites built an idol in the desert, bowing low to a calf of gold.

And the man wept.

He said he would rule for God, that he would lead His people righteously.
Yet Saul took power into his own hands, offering an unholy, forbidden sacrifice.

And the man clenched his fist.

He said that God was his shepherd, that the Lord would meet his every want.
Yet David sent a man to his death to satisfy his own lust.

And the man sighed.

He said he wanted Godly wisdom, that he would serve Him only.
Yet Solomon took wives by the hundreds, and followed each of their gods.

And the man shook his head.

He was a prophet of the Most High, speaking His pronouncements far and wide.
Yet Jonah turned from Ninevah and entered the great fish’s belly.

And the man bowed his head.

They praised God with singing, celebrating their return to the land.
Yet the remnant neglected His temple, letting its gates disintegrate.

And the man closed his eyes.

They taught God’s Word to the masses, rebuking those who defied their authority.
Yet the Pharisees hated His Son, and worked to destroy Him.

And the man grit his teeth.

He marveled at Christ’s miracles, following and speaking for Him.
Yet Judas betrayed Jesus, sending Him to death with a kiss.

And the man grimaced.

He said he would never leave Jesus, declaring Christ was the Son of God.
Yet Peter turned his back on Him, denying Him thrice in one night.

And the man scanned the crowd.

They said they were God’s chosen, following His laws and precepts.
Yet the crowd rejected God’s Son, condemning Him to death on a cross.

And the Man examined His hands and feet.

“It is finished,” He cried, and He gave up His spirit.
At that moment, the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

Based on Genesis 3 and 16, Exodus 32, 1 Samuel 13, 2 Samuel 11, 1 Kings 11, Jonah 1, Nehemiah, and the four Gospel accounts.

The direct Bible reference is taken from John 19:30 and Matthew 27:50b-51.

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Writing: The Logical Approach

Writing: The Logical Approach

By Linda W. Yezak

We authors get to rolling in our manuscripts and sometimes forget to pay attention to what we’re putting on the page. Don’t ask me how this happens, I don’t know. I’m as guilty as anyone and often have to giggle at my own silliness as I delete words and phrases from the previous day’s session.

And that’s precisely what I’m talking about–the silly things. These little giggle-producing jewels are actually the big ol’ chunks of coal that increase wordiness, loosen what should be tight writing, and sometimes, simply defy logic.

What do I mean? Well, let’s see if you can recognize the coal in these sentences:

He nodded his head.

She raised the pitcher with her hand.

He gave her a silent smile.

He sat beside her bed. As she drifted into dreamland, she could see him playing with the phone cord.

In the next few minutes, she cooked and served dinner, cleaned the kitchen, bathed the kids, and read them a bedtime story, before collapsing into bed herself.

The first three are silly, nit-picking little things, but if you’re trying to control your wordcount, they’re things you should look for. “He nodded his head.” Think about it: what else would he nod? The same logic doesn’t apply to “He shook his head,” because other things can be “shook”–he shook hands, for instance. But the nod? That’s a head thing, no point being redundant.

Same approach to “She raised the pitcher with her hand.” Uh, opposed to raising it with her foot? Her teeth? “He gave her a silent smile”–as opposed to a noisy one, right?

The last two are tests of logic: How could she see him if she was drifting to dreamland, unless she slept with her eyes opened? Of course, she could see him in her dreams, I suppose. Depends on the context.

How about that last one? Can all that be done “in the next few minutes”? I guess in the overall expanse of a person’s life, the four hours, more or less, that it would take to do everything listed there could be considered “a few minutes.” However, when we’re thinking in terms of “minutes,” we’re thinking in terms of five or ten clicks of the clock’s big hand, not two hundred forty of those suckers.

When you’re reviewing your work or are in your first edit, hunt these little culprits down. Use the logical side of your brain. Think like an editor–because that’s what editors do. They take everything literally. And good thing they do, because you never know when one of your readers has a keen sense of logic and catches all these things that you didn’t.

Logic. It’s not just for philosophers and mathematicians.


lindayLinda W. Yezak lives  in a forest in east Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. She holds a BA in English and a graduate certificate in Paralegal Studies. Thirty years later, she’s finally putting her degree in English to good use, combining it with her natural inclination toward story-telling to create fun, unique novels, which include Give the Lady a Ride, The Cat Lady’s Secret, and The Simulacrum. Her major non-fiction title is Writing in Obedience, cowritten with Hartline literary agent, Terry Burns.

Facebook Fan Page:


Twitter: @LindaYezak

Amazon Page:


777 Peppermint Place:


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FaithWriters Gathering Registration Open!

It has been a few years since FaithWriters folks have gathered in person – but that will be changing – and SOON!

In just five months, FaithWriters from across the US (and even around the world!) will be meeting in McDonough, Georgia for the Ignite Your Passion Writers’ Gathering – and registration is now open!

This year’s FaithWriters Gathering is not another writing conference, and it’s not quite a writing retreat. It’s fun, encouragement, fellowship, and hands on workshops. You will write.

WHERE: First Baptist Church, McDonough, Georgia. (Thanks to the amazing Cathy Baldwin and her church for opening their arms to welcome us.)

WHEN: Friday, July 15, 2016 at 5pm to Saturday, July 16, 2016 at 9pm

WHY? In the words of Ms. FW Deb Porter: “In July last year, a number of old FaithWriters members began seeing photos from the FW conference held a few years ago. They were popping up as memories on social media, and it brought home how much we miss one another. It was then I realized that the most important thing with a FaithWriters gathering is the fellowship. We’ve known for years that Christian writers lift one another up (and have fun together, too). That’s when the idea of a completely different ‘gathering’ came to mind. A time for writers to retreat from all the busyness of life and relax while learning new tools or honing the old, fellowshipping and having fun (and eating … can’t forget that).”

Registration (which does not include transportation or room charges) is only $50 through the end of May, and includes hands-on workshops, Saturday meals, and snacks.

Check out more details here – and register here (details on accommodations, payment options, and workshop choices are also here).

Register Now!

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Characterization: Journey to Awareness

Characterization: Journey to Awareness

By Gail Gaymer Martin

Every novel moves the main characters toward growth on their journey from unawareness to awareness. This happens in any genre from suspense to romance. And it happens in real life. We all make mistakes and, hopefully, learn from them.  So do all the main characters in a novel when they are confronted with a situation or an individual whose demands cause opposition that results in change.

Change can be positive or negative. Negative change creates doubt, discouragement or anger while positive change results in understanding or confidence through evaluation, new perception, and decisions. Weighing and judging new evidence provides wiser choices as characters face their weaknesses or deficiencies within their own thought processes or abilities.

The character’s past strengths and weaknesses can be reevaluated and understood, giving options for how the character might succeed or fail in putting two and two together. This helps wiser choices to be applied to the situation they face.

In life and in fiction, sometimes growth is a pattern of failure and success. Success can be achieved when a character digs deep inside to evaluate those patterns by organizing and evaluating what has been learned and then chooses the best answer to his dilemma. When a character ignores a friend’s warning about a bad investment or ignores a job offer that sounds questionable, the character faces a loss. If this happens, he can learn from the mistake and realize that not listening results in consequences. Next time a friend’s warning will have greater value and can result in a wiser decision. This means the character’s journey moves from unawareness to growth and progress and then awareness.

Still some character may have to ignore numerous warnings before he faces his weakness, the inability to weigh and judge choices wisely. This can add conflict to a novel by two partners or friends dealing with this issue when the result affects them both.

By understanding the process of growth through understanding the positive and negative attitudes and the abilities of a character, authors can use this knowledge to deepen the characterization of the individuals in the story and add realism and anxiety for the reader.

In your next novel, challenge characters by overlooking or ignoring other’s knowledge and have them act on their ignorance. When they admit mistakes, gain awareness and grow, the change will add credence to the characterization and the reality of the story.

© Gail Gaymer Martin 2015

Question: In what way have you allowed your characters to make mistakes and then face their errors and grow as a person? Share your thoughts in the comments.


gailmartinMulti-award-winning novelist Gail Gaymer Martin writes Christian women’s fiction, romance and romantic suspense. Gail has six-three published novels with four million books sold. She is the author of Writers Digest’s Writing the Christian Romance. Gail is a co-founder of American Christian Fiction Writers, a keynote speaker at churches, libraries and writers organizations, and presents workshops at conference across the US. She was named one of the four best novelists in the Detroit area by CBS local news. She lives with her husband in a northwest Detroit suburb. Her latest novel is Romance By Design released by Winged Publications. Visit her website at

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