Guest Post

But I Don’t Like Social Media!

Today we have a guest post from Steve Laube Agency client Afton Rorvik. Her book, Storm Sisters released Fall, 2014 from Worthy Publishing. She has a growing relationship with social media that she wanted to share. My guess is that today’s post will resonate with many readers of this blog.

Dan Balow

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I must confess something.

I have held a grudge against social media. I resented her demands on my time. I railed against her quirks. I spoke ill of her in public places and on the phone with my agent and publisher. I did not welcome her as a newcomer to my writing neighborhood.

But things feel a bit less strained between us these days.

Why?

I have decided to embrace this new relationship, viewing social media more as a friend than a foe.

So, just as I would invest time in getting to know a new friend, I spend time every day learning more about my new pal: social media (SM). I think of her as a gal-pal. Silly, I know.

My friend SM, I think, comes from Italy. We have a bit of a language barrier.

She talks often of hashtags, tweeps, retweets, gravatars, etc. I have had to pull out a reference book or two in order to understand her. Lately, I’ve been using this one a lot: Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Book by Frances Caballo

We have also had to work through some boundary issues. SM likes to hang out a lot—always seems to want to chat. Just as in any healthy relationship, I’ve had to set some boundaries. And try to keep them.

As much as I enjoy all that SM has to say and the information she leads me to, I have started telling her when I have time to chat rather than letting her suck me in at any and all random moments. I know it is a bit rude of me, but I always keep my eye on the clock while I am conversing with SM. A 30-minute conversation works best for me. Sometimes, though, I do grab a cup of coffee and allow myself a long, lingering afternoon conversation.

Now when I do sit down to chat with SM, I enjoy our time together more. I save up tidbits to share with her and look forward to what she has to say. I focus on her instead of half-hearing what she says as I try to focus on writing tasks. Thank you, Frances Caballo, author of Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Sill Have Time to Write, for your words of wisdom in this department.

Finally, by viewing SM as a friend, I think of my time with her more as a conversation. I would never sit down to lunch with a friend and tell her all the details of my week complete with 24 photos for each day. I would ask questions, pause to consider her words, and respond with honest words from my heart. Often the specific details of my life would fade into the background. In fact, some of our time together might involve my simply listening and encouraging.

So, I recently told SM I wanted to keep working on our relationship, something along the lines of, “I’m in it for the long haul with you. Let’s keep at it.” She assured me that she has no plans to disappear on me.

Funny, sounds a lot like a Storm Sister.

Afton Rorvik is the author of Storm Sisters: Friends through All Seasons, a book that tells her story of learning to connect with flesh-and-blood women during the storms of life. Visit her website at http://aftonrorvik.com (there are social media links there, as they have become friends)

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It Really Is Like Riding A Bike

By Michelle Van Loon Today, I’d like to introduce Michelle Van Loon as guest blogger for Holy Week. In 2016, NavPress will publish her new book focusing on the connections between Jewish traditions and our Christian faith. Michelle’s deeply-rooted faith in Christ and secular Jewish heritage are apparent in her …

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Give Thanks to God

http://www.gratisography.com/

There is a verse in scripture which sets out in bold relief the great besetting problem of the human race. It is Romans 1:21: ‘for even though we knew God…we did not give thanks.’ Astonishing! How can we actually know God and not give thanks? Scarcely a day passes in which we are not deluged by at least a hundred instances of God’s goodness to us. Thanksgiving ought to be the most natural of human reflexes, as spontaneous as drawing breath.

Doubtless there are a plethora of reasons why we do not feel thankful. Perhaps business is stressful, or marriage is disappointing, or parenting is unfulfilling, or health is deteriorating, or school is unrewarding. Or maybe we simply take for granted God’s goodness to us.

How important it is, then, to rehearse frequently all that God does for us. Only then will an unending torrent of thanksgiving be unleashed from our hearts. Nowhere is God’s goodness more compellingly set out in His word. Immerse yourself in what follows, luxuriate in the story of God’s grace to you. . . and be thankful!

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Who is like the Lord our God? Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He who is enthroned above the vault of the earth . . . and who stretches out the heavens like a curtain. How majestic is His name . . . When we consider His heavens, the work of His fingers, the moon and the stars which He has ordained, what are we that He should take thought of us?

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How To Stumble Onto Your Brand…

Erin Taylor Young has a remarkable gift for making her readers laugh out loud even as she’s delivering hard truths about living a life of faith. Her down-to-earth writing style invites readers into the books that God has given her and sends them away refreshed and assured that we’re not …

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Orphan Trains & Wild Stallions

by Allen Arnold I recently read about the unexpected publishing success of Orphan Train.  It’s a novel set in present-day Maine and Depression-era Minnesota. This fifth book from Christina Baker Kline has turned out to be a sleeper hit of the year, with more than one million copies sold. I’m …

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My Secret Writer’s Tool

Guest post by Jennifer Sienes Jennifer Sienes, one of Karen’s clients, is a talented fiction writer who according to editors has a gift for bringing out the emotional power of the scene. She was recently named as a finalist in the 2014 Genesis contest with her novel Redemption. You can find …

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How Entering a Writing Contest Just Might Change Your Life

Guest Post by Susan May Warren

Far East Russia in the middle of January has all the charm of a mausoleum. Our missionary family lived in a three-room flat on the ninth floor of a cookie-cutter apartment building that, to the untrained eye, resembled a recently shelled building in Chechnya. We had no running water during the day, no telephone line and the Siberian wind froze the windows shut, sheeting them with curlicues of frost.

Four children terrorized our 900 square foot flat, drag racing their tricycles down the hall, scattering their land-mine Legos and scribbling their names upon the walls like gulag prisoners. My husband too eagerly escaped to plant a church an hour from our city while I stayed to patrol the borders. Honestly, I felt like one of the captives.

At night, the wind howled against the panes and, locked in the now quiet house with the slumbering rabble-rousers…I wrote. I penned story after story of romance, adventure and suspense. My first was an epic tale of survival against a backdrop of war in 1940s Russia. The second, a story of a missionary fleeing a serial killer. Again, set in Russia.

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Knowing Discouragement’s End

A guest blog by Mesu Andrews

Mark Lowry is one of my favorite comedians. I heard one of his performances many years ago, and he quoted a single, profound phrase found 457 times in the King James Bible: “It came to pass…”

That’s it. That’s all.

It came…to pass.

And then he challenged the audience to remember those words the next time they faced an impossible situation, the depths of discouragement, or “a bout of constipation.” (Lowry’s words, not mine.)

I’ve needed that reminder during my writing journey: Discouragement will pass. And I decided if anyone could to teach me about discouragement, it was Brother Job. That poor guy lost his oxen, donkeys, sheep, camels, and children—and was left with a surly wife. Eee-gad!

So, I dove—headfirst—into the mire of Job’s whining and ranting. After reading a few chapters , my life didn’t seem so awful! And I learned things everyone should know when they struggle with discouragement:

Know yourself Know your enemy Know your Champion

Know Yourself

The world says look inward to know ourselves, but Job 1 shows us how God knows us. Read the Lord’s description of His servant Job:

“There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” Job 1:8

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A Scrivener Flunky Weighs In

A Guest Post by Deborah Raney

I’m probably not the best spokesperson for Scrivener, the popular novel writing software program from Literature and Latte, because I certainly don’t use Scrivener to its maximum capabilities. I don’t even actually write my novel in Scrivener. I still use Pages––Mac’s version of Word––to write the manuscript, although I do copy the manuscript into the program once I have a final version, just to keep my project all in one place.

I also don’t know how to use Scrivener for formatting e-books, etc., so I’m truly not an expert on it. Yet. I do love the software enough that I have a tutorial I paid good money for on my desktop, and I hope to work through it as soon as I get my work in progress off to my editor.

Despite my lack of expertise with Scrivener, I am an enthusiastic fan of the software, and I can testify that it is a great program, even for those who haven’t yet figured out all the bells and whistles Scrivener has to offer.

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Overcome the Discouragement of Expectations

Guest post by Erin Taylor Young


This is Henry, our dog. Not my husband.

I love my husband. Really I do. But there are occasions I’m tempted to take a sharp, pointy pencil and stab him somewhere non-fatal. Especially when I’m torqued over my anemic word count, frustrated by a recent edit, or discouraged by yet another rejection.

I’m venting why, why, WHY, and my hubby turns into a fixer. Worse, he’s a fixer with a PhD, so when he tells me exactly what’s going on inside me and how to change it—apparently it’s some stupid cycle between my situation, my brain, and my emotions—he’s right. I hate that.

Can I not just have five minutes to wallow?

Sometimes that’s exactly what we need. You know, like a good mud bath. People pay money for that.

Then again, people also get sucked into mud bogs and are never seen again.

The difference is in knowing what you’re doing in the mud and how to get out when it’s time. Which means understanding that cycle between situation, brain, and emotion is actually helpful. I’ll give you the elevator pitch though, so your eyes don’t glaze over.

We have goals. We try to achieve them. We fail.

Then we feel rotten because the mismatch between our goals and our ability to achieve them creates frustration. This is perfectly normal, and in fact a GOOD THING because it compels us to adjust our methods or our goals, i.e. get a grip on reality.

Sometimes it’s easy. Like that six-figure book contract with an eighty-city tour? Give it up.

Sometimes adjusting our goals is hard, because what if we did everything right? We wrote a great book, we’d be giddy over a puny contract, and the manuscript went to pub board at three houses. Then got rejected.

Our perfectly normal frustration makes us wrack our brains to figure out what we could’ve done differently, or what we can change now. But there’s nothing. So our brains keep cycling until we exhaust ourselves straight into discouragement.

And that, my friends, is a bog we can drown in.

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