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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Happy Birthday & Congratulations, Lindsay Harrel!

photo courtesy Alessandro,
Today is CWOW member, Lindsay Harrel's birthday - YAY!

We wish you a very Happy Birthday, Lindsay, and we celebrate the news you posted on Facebook today.

Lindsay wrote...
"God gave me a really sweet gift this year: an agent! I'm excited to announce that I'm now represented by Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such Literary Management. Soooo incredibly blessed and excited to take this next step in my writing journey!"
Congratulations, Lindsay!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Five Tips When You’re Starting a Blog: Guest Post by Lindsay Harrel

It’s been a little over two years since I began blogging. I well remember the fear of starting out – wondering what I would write about and whether anyone would ever read it! I’ve learned a few things along the way and wanted to share them with you today. Here are five of my most basic tips for those considering starting a blog.

1.       Write posts that are true to who you are. Before writing that first post, consider what you like to write about and read. There are a million and one writing blogs out there, many done very well. But if you’re a writer, think about who you want your readers to be. Chances are, you’re wanting to reach people who share similar values and interests as you. So write posts that get to heart of who you are. Sure, you’re a writer, but you’re more than that.

I started out trying to write posts about writing…and I felt clueless. I mean, what could I really teach others? Instead, I thought about what I loved, what moved me: my faith, music, reading, etc. Now I write posts about what I’m learning in my faith walk and how certain songs and books I’ve read move me. I find they’re more fun to write – and I’m being true to who I am.

2.       Write something worthwhile. We’ve all seen them – those blog posts where people simply give a play-by-play of what they’ve done recently. I think these are okay occasionally, especially once you’ve established rapport and a relationship with your readers. But most of the time, you want to offer readers something they can’t get anywhere else. Oftentimes, that’s just your perspective or advice on something. For example, if your blog is about living life as a homeschool mom, you could post tips for managing your day, healthy but easy family recipes, or lessons you’ve learned from your kids (instead of the other way around!).

3.       Use intriguing titles. Be really forthright about what your blog post is about. See how this blog is titled “Five Tips When You’re Starting a Blog”? People can see that and know whether they want to read it. You can also use something creative to pull people in. But don’t get so “creative” that you confuse your readers either. Author and social media guru Edie Melson has a great post on that.

4.       Include an image. The Internet has ruined us forever – we crave images! Keep your blog posts fresh and engaging by including at least one image or video. One of my favorite places to locate free photos is

5.       Ask a question. You want your blog to be a space for building relationships, and the way to get readers involved is to ask them a question at the end of your post. By asking for their opinions, you’re inviting engagement and are more likely to get people to come back. Be sure to respond to each comment if you can.

I hope these tips are helpful to you as you venture forth into the world of blog creation. Good luck!

Your Turn: Do you have a blog? Are you thinking about starting one? Any questions about starting one? If you have a blog, share the link in the comments and tell us what it’s about!

Lindsay Harrel has a bachelor’s in journalism and a master’s in English. She was a 2013 ACFW Genesis Finalist (Contemporary Category) and is published in the Falling in Love with You anthology from OakTara. She works in marketing as a copywriter and has worked in the past as a business writer and curriculum editor. Lindsay lives in Arizona with her husband and two golden retriever puppies in serious need of training. Connect with her on her blog or via Facebook or Twitter (@LindsayHarre

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Free Editing Software

Just discovered this great FREE editing tool - SmartEdit Lite.

Just copy a secion of your manuscript, paste it into the SmartEdit program and it will check it for adverb usage, over-used words and phrases, clich├ęs, and improper use of dialog tags. SmartEdit Lite works with RTF files and offers a great start for any writer when editing their work.

They also have a much more robust version of the program which runs about $50 if you want to take the next step in editing your novel.

You can check out and download both the Lite version and the Full version at Bad Wolf Software.

They also have several other programs with free versions that could be of benefit to writer.  Check them out.