Friday, September 25, 2015

Reflections from a Christian Writer's Conference: The Take Away

It's been close to a week since I returned from the annual ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Conference, and I'm still trying to digest all that I learned. Is that even possible?

I've been rolling around the key concepts, lessons, and skill building tools in my mind to share since returning. So much information, good information, so what do I want to latch on to, focus, and apply to my life and writing?

Here are six points/lessons that keep churning to the front of my brain:

1: God is priority in our lives.
    This means:
    *We make time to read the Bible, pray, & hang out with other believers.
    *Writing must not come before our time with Him or our time with our family.
    *We must trust God & His timing with our words, whatever that means in our life situation, whether published or not.
    *Understanding we are unique. Some people write quicker than others. For me, I can write a book in about a year. Others well, they are bionic, and can pump out more. Ha. :) Hugs to all you bionic writers out there. :)

W/ my Publishers from Olivia Kimbrell
Press, Author Hallee Bridgeman &
her hubby Gregg!
2: Set writing goals. Tangible goals. Write them out. Put them were they'll be seen.
    My goals now hanging at my desk:
   * Write a minimum of 1,000 words a day, 4 days a week.
   * Market on Social Media 15 minutes a day, 6 days a week (Market not only my books but books and blogs by other people, fun pics, quotes, recipes, things happening in my life etc.).
    * Replace a teacher's salary with my books, turning my part time income into a full time income within three years.
  Will I achieve these goals? Maybe. Maybe not. But they're there, and if I fail, then I'm closer to the goals than if I hadn't set any.

Speaker, Author, Film Producer
Bill Myers charges us to always
say 'Yes' to God.

3: Use a timer to help get things done.
   Whether doing dishes, cleaning around the house, blogging, scheduling social media posts --whatever-- a timer helps. When the timer beeps, time to move on to the next thing. The timer has FREED me ya'll!

4: Don't quit.
  * Always continue to develop writing skills. Study the craft. Read books that you enjoy.
  * Just write.
  * As followers of Christ we were meant to persevere -- even if a publisher or agent rejects our work. It's alright. No is a part of the game. He's given us a talent and desire, so we should hone our writing craft, and use our words to bring Him glory.

Author & Founder of My
Book Therapy,
Susan May Warren
& equips writers.

5: Treat Readers the way we want to be treated
  * Connect with readers, reply to their posts as often as possible.
  * Share bits and pieces of our life with them.
  * Make them feel special, because they are.

6: Write from the Deep.
   *We gotta be in God's Word, and spending time with Him to do this.
   *Writing from the deep goes to those places in our lives that we don't want others to know. It's that hurt, that question, that thing unresolved, a fear down in our core. It's opening up our heart to let God clean out the cobwebs, and work out a novel from those depths. It's authentic, and readers will appreciate that.
    *This is where I wanna stay, wanna be, when I'm writing. I want to give my readers something real, and meaningful.

Wondering if investing in a writer's conference is worth it?

Gifts to Share with Readers, & to
review, enjoy & share with others.
Yes. It is. Every penny!
Conferences are like college course for writers. They're an amazing time for growth in many avenues of our life, renewal & refocus, networking, encouragement, and mentoring.

Looking for Christian Writer Conferences close by? Check out this list of events.

Thanks for stopping by today, and God Bless You wherever you are in your writing journey!

In class with Authors Dani Pettrey &
Becky Wade, learning how to tame
the social media beast!

Hannah Conway is a military wife, mother of two, and speaker. Her novels are a deployment experience of their own, threaded with faith, and filled with twists and turns sure to thrill, and encourage. Hannah is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and My book Therapy. She and her family live in Tennessee

A / IBook /BN / K )
CLICK the Links Below The Image to Download Your eCopy of WEDDING A WARRIOR

Friday, September 11, 2015

Helping Kids Cope with Deployment

September 11th means many things to Americans--many things we aren't even able to put into words.
It's been 14 years.
Doesn't seem like it.
I've often thought it strange that my children cannot remember a time when our country hasn't been at war, nor do they quite grasp why their Daddy has had to be gone for long periods of time to fight the bad guys.  So today, Dear Readers, we have a special Guest Blogger & Army Wife who is going to talk with us about helping our kids cope with deployment. We want to honor our brave men and women who keep our country safe, and support their families with all the love and encouragement we can muster.
Welcome, Julie Provost!
~   ~   ~
Helping Kids Cope with Deployment
My oldest son was only about 2 years old when his Dad deployed for the first time. By the time my husband deployed for the 2nd time he was 4 and his little brother was 2. By our 3rd deployment my boys were 6, 4 and 2.5 months old. Then the 4th they were 8, 6 and 2.
As I look back over the years I can see how each time they handled the deployment a little differently. This is normal because different kids in different ages tend to do that. Some kids can handle deployments better than others. Sometimes it is because of their personality, but sometimes it is because of their age and how much they can understand.

There is a lot you can do as the Military spouse to help your children cope during a deployment. If you have a small baby, one who can’t even talk yet, you might just keep sharing photos with them. Some people will laminate them and put them up in the nursery. Just so your baby sees their Dad and gets used to his face.

For a toddler or preschoolers it might get a little more difficult. They might not be able to explain to you how they are feeling about the issue but they might act out a little more because they are missing their other parent. It is best to keep that in mind as you go through your day. Try to set up Skype chats if you can and just be there to help them through it.
When your kids get a little older and can understand what the word “war” and “Army” means you can sit down with them and have conversations about it. You can check in with them about how they are doing and what they might be worried about. Have them help you with care packages and have them talk to their Dad as often as possible. Just let them know that you understand how hard it is for them.
You can do some fun activities around the house that might help them through it. Have a chain of deployment days. Put up pictures of your spouse. Have them help make the homecoming posters. Get them excited when you know it is coming to an end.

Remember to pray with your kids for Daddy every night. Pray for his safety and the safety of his Company, Unit and the whole Army. It can be a good way for kids to get used to praying for others too.
There isn’t a lot you can do to change the fact that your spouse will be deployed when they are in the Military. It happens and could happen more often than you would like. But, you can be there for your kids and get them through the separations. You can be the person that they can always go to when they are feeling too sad about it. You can help them cope.

Tweet: "There is a lot you can do as the #MilitarySpouse to help your children cope during a #deployment."

Julie is a blogger & social media addict living in Tennessee. She has been married for 13 years to her National Guard Soldier and has three boys, 10, 8 & 4. You can find her at Soldier’s Wife, Crazy Life and on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram.

All Because of One Woman: A Mother, Wife, Author, Speaker Point of View
5 Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage: Building Intimacy, Not Walls
Loving My Soldier: Hindsights & Insights of PTSD
Army Wife Tips

Hannah Conway is a military wife, mother of two, and speaker. Her novels are a deployment experience of their own, threaded with faith, and filled with twists and turns sure to thrill, and encourage. Hannah is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and My book Therapy. She and her family live in Tennessee

A / IBook /BN / K )
CLICK the Links Below The Image to Download Your eCopy of WEDDING A WARRIOR

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Journal & the Journey: The One Who Knows the Way

Not too long ago, I stumbled on an old diary at a flea market. The journal year? 1888.


What a treasure for a history lover like myself. Of course I bought it, then struggled whether or not to read it. I wouldn't want a stranger snooping through my journal! Friends assured me no moral dilemma existed considering the age of the document, and we were all curious, so...well, we read it. :)

To our amusement and utter awe, Sierra Hunt, the writer, described her life, and it's simple, often mundane tasks. With her words, this young teen, transported us back in time. Glorious experience!

Not much changed from Sierra's day to day routine. School, fetching water, helping Ma in the kitchen. On Sunday she walked to church. She made mention of the weather, social gatherings, a family friend getting ill, and visitors. At times, she seemed frustrated by her simple life, and skipped several days in the journal --a sad thing for all of us reading.

Sierra had grown used to her life, and it's routine. I found myself able to relate well this young lady of the past. For years I've stayed at home with my children, raising them, and moving from state to state with the military. At times the life set before me seemed so rote, and blah. Even as a 21st century grown woman, I understand Sierra's century old teenage rant.

So we continued to flipped through the journal, thoroughly enjoying each entry, until it stopped mid sentence.

She wrote on July 6, 1888: "Warm & Pleasant. I worked for Mrs. Struthers this forenoon. Sewed some. Scottie [her brother] and I went up and got the "

And that's it. Nothing more. We're left wondering where she and Scottie went, what they were doing, and what ever happened to Sierra. Did she finish school? Get married? So many unknowns!

If our lives were a journal, how many unknowns would we have?

For me, plenty.

We don't know what tomorrow brings, or what our future holds when our paths in life change. We're on this journey, and our journals are filled with unknowns.

But God knows. He knows what happened to Sierra, and I intend to ask him one day. He knows the paths our lives will take, and we can trust Him with all our unknowns. All of them -- the career choices, parenting tips, finances, the good & the bad of it all. I'm learning this day by day as I transition into a new phase of life with my hubby retired from the Army, and my youngest starting school.

A new path doesn't have to equal uncertainties when we are certain of The One guiding us.

"And whenever you turn to the right or two the left, your ears will hear this command behind you -- this is the way, walk in it." Isaiah 30:21

Many blessings, and a journey full of joy for all of you.

Click to Tweet: "A new path doesn't have to equal uncertainties when we are certain of The One guiding us." ~Author @hannahrconway