Be an Author – Do One Thing

Do you have dreams of being an author? Specifically, you may feel a calling from God to write for children. I challenge you to do one thing this summer. Pick something from the list below. Do one thing.

  • Attend a writers conference.
  • Join a critique group.
  • Subscribe to a journal for writers.
  • Spend 30 minutes sitting in the children’s section of a bookstore.DoOneThing
  • Follow a writing blog.
  • Have a conversation with a children’s minister about books that should be written.
  • Spend two hours a week writing.
  • Check out the new books in the children’s section of the library.
  • Volunteer to work with kids (church, library, community organization).
  • Have coffee or lunch with a children’s author.

What choices would you add to the list?

Many blessings on you and your desire to serve God through writing.

Carol

Free Photos for Your Blog

You’ve written a terrific blog post. Next step is to scour the Internet for the right photo to accompany your post. But just as our writing is copyright-protected, so are many of the photos we find on the Internet.

Free PhotosSo where can you find appropriate photos that are legal to us and also free?

Here are a few sources to consider:

Canva

“Canva is an online designing software that makes designing images simple and is easily accessible, allowing you to create designs for Web or print.” Registration is required.

Death to the Stock Photo

The free subscription provides access to a monthly email of free photos.

Life of Pix

This site offers “free high-resolution photos” with “no copyright restrictions.” It goes on to say “all images are donated to the public domain.”

Lightstock

Identifies itself as a source of faith-focused, cheesy-free stock photos.

A paid subscription is required for unlimited use, but if you are on their email list, they offer a free photo every week.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met has made more than 40,000 high-resolution images available online.

Pexels

This site does not require registration.

Pixabay

Requires registration but the photos are free.

Unsplash

This site offers “Free (do whatever you want) high-resolution photos.”

U.S. government agencies
Many U.S. government agencies allow their images to be used without charge.

Pay attention to the various Creative Commons licenses. The most flexible Creative Commons license is Creative Commons Zero (CC0). CC0 enables you to use the photos for free, even commercially, without asking for permission or even crediting the photographer.

Always read any licensing fine print. Some free photos have restrictions preventing commercial use. Some sources require an attribution (e.g. “photo courtesy of …”) while others do not require that you credit the photographer. Still other sources provide the photo for free, but limit your use to one time only.

This list is just a sampling of what’s available, but it’s a good start. Have fun exploring these sources of free photos!

 

Is Writing the Impossible Mission?

Is Writing the Impossible Mission Write2Ignite

Writing conference season is in full swing. Conferences are such exciting times-filled with renewed relationships, new friendships, and countless dreams. Mixed in with the dreams, however, are less appealing realities. Changing markets, a depressed economy, and the small percent of manuscripts that see publication, not to mention agents, queries, verb tense, and point-of-view all present roadblocks to the path we once felt sure we were called to take. We find ourselves asking, “Is writing the impossible mission?”

I love watching the old television show Mission: Impossible starring Peter Graves. The heroes, the suspense, the music. Round any corner and find adventure and intrigue. Who among us hasn’t secretly pictured ourselves as the dashing Jim Phelps or Cinnamon Carter?

Then we ask ourselves: how can I ever hope to compare? An elite handful of men and women called on to save the world. What chance do I have of being one of them?

But there is another team of men and women called to be part of this impossible mission. Their roles are less glamorous, but no less vital. The couriers. In almost every episode, someone was called on to deliver the message. Without them, the heroes would have never learned what they were called to do.

Come to think of it, isn’t that what we as writers are called to do: deliver the message and help people learn what they are called to do? Our television couriers were entrusted with vital information. They received the call and delivered the message as they went about their daily routines. They were trusted to ensure that the right person received it, and they diligently watched for the person for whom the message was intended.

As Christian writers, we are called on to be trustworthy bearers of the best news ever shared with humanity. We are often called as we carry out our daily routines, and we are seldom called to abandon our daily life. We must vigilantly watch for whom we are called to minister to and share the message with them, no matter who they are or how they arrive.

There is one other thing I’ve noticed about those couriers. For every mission, a unique courier with a unique ability to deliver the message was chosen. The people called were as unique as the missions themselves.

Is writing the impossible mission? I suppose it depends on what part you want to play. If you are looking to be among the elite, to live a life full of suspense and glamour, perhaps it is. But if you are looking to be a part of delivering the best message the world has ever heard, God is always looking for more couriers.

Are you available?

Bonnie-Rose-Hudson-200x200Bonnie Rose Hudson lives in central Pennsylvania. Along with spending time with her family and writing, making kids smile is her favorite thing to do. Her heart’s desire is for every child to feel the love of God and know how special they are to Him. She loves creating curriculum and working for SchoolhouseTeachers.com, the curriculum arm of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, as the site’s executive editor. At TOS, she found a place where her love of God and history combine with her love of writing to bring encouraging, educational, and entertaining material to students and their families. She would love for you to visit WriteBonnieRose.com to discover how you can write for the homeschool market.

10,000 Hours

10,000 hours.

That’s the amount of intentional practice Dr. K. Anders Ericsson determined is needed to master a skill. He published his findings in the Harvard Business Review in 2007. Author Malcolm Gladwell popularized those findings in his book, Outliers, in 2008.

Time for Action

Just how long is 10,000 hours?

If you practiced full-time, 40 hours per week, it would take approximately five years to reach 10,000 hours.

But we’re not talking about just any level of practice. Dr. Ericksson notes the practice must be deliberate, intentionally “improving the skills you already have and extending the reach and range of those skills.”

To put it another way, you can have five years of experience in which each year builds on the skills and knowledge learned the previous year. Or you can have five years of experience in which you simply continue to repeat what you learned the first year, without any additional growth. Five years of experience or one year repeated five times.

For several years after those findings were published, the writing community saw a proliferation of magazine articles and blog posts discuss the merits of the 10,000-hour rule. Ten-thousand is not a magic number. Still, many professionals concluded that it provided a good indication of the perseverance and tenacity of those trying to succeed in publishing.

But those 10,000 hours need to be spent doing more than just repeating the same mistakes again and again. As a writer, whether new and unpublished or experienced and multi-published, how are you growing in the mastery of your writing skills? Are you:

  • Reading well-written books in your genre?
  • Reading books on writing technique?
  • Following blogs of professionals in the industry?
  • Attending writer’s conferences?
  • Participating in a critique group?
  • Seeking a writing coach or mentor?

In five years — 10,000 hours from now — where will you be in your writing? Use your time wisely!

 ###

Ava Pennington is a writer, Bible teacher, and speaker. Her newest book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, is endorsed by Precepts founder Kay Arthur. Additionally, Ava is co-author of Faith Basics for Kids. The first two books in the series are Do You Love Me More? and Will I See You Today? She has also written numerous articles for magazines such as Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse, Today’s Christian Woman, Power for Living, and Called.

In addition to her writing, Ava also teaches a weekly, Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class. She is a passionate speaker and teacher, and delights in challenging audiences with the truth of God’s word in relevant, enjoyable presentations. For more information, visit her at www.AvaWrites.com.

 

What Is New in Children’s Books?

NewBookStickersIf you follow our blog, you undoubtedly have a sense of calling to write for children and teens in the Christian market. Today, I want to encourage you to check out what is new in children’s books. Keeping on top of that may include some things that surprise you, but they will be relatively simple additions to your writing journey.

Check out what is new in Christian publishing for children.

  • Make a list of Christian publishers and check their new releases. You can do this easily by bookmarking their websites. Usually, new releases come out once a quarter, so add this to your calendar to do four times a year.
  • Check in with your local Christian bookstore owner. She will be able to tell you what titles are new on the shelves, what titles are selling well, and what kinds of books her customers request.
  • Keep track of the new releases that win awards.

What is new for children in the general market?

I don’t want to loose you at this point! You may be thinking that you solely want to write children’s Bible storybooks or devotionals. However, it is important to know the topics and formats of popular general market books. Understanding children’s books in general will help you write engaging books that will draw children to read more.

  • Make note of the books that are in the Scholastic Book Fairs in local schools. You can do this online, by reviewing the take-home order forms that elementary schools often send, or by visiting a school book fair with a child in your family. Talk to the parents who are working at the book fair. They will be able to tell you which titles are popular with kids and have been re-ordered to fill requests during the book fair.
  • Visit general market publisher websites, checking for new releases.
  • Talk to bookstore owners. Again, what is new? What are customers looking for?
  • Spend time in the children’s section of the bookstore. Study the sections of the store and the prominent displays. Listen to the requests of young shoppers. Keep in mind that grandparents are frequently those who purchase books for young readers.
  • Visit your local library. Look at the new book display. Talk to the children’s librarian, asking what is popular and what kinds of books she wishes were available.

How do you keep abreast of what is new in publishing? We hope that you will share some your ideas with the other readers here.

*****

Carol McAdams Moore writes for children and youth in the Christian and general markets. A parent and teacher, she writes books that engage young readers in the Word of God. Check out her preteen devotionals from Zonderkidz – Dare U 2 Open This Book (for guys) and Just Sayin’ (for girls). Visit Carol’s blog at carolmcadamsmoore.blogspot.com