Writing and Publishing

UR Turn: Are You on Instagram?

Share photos and videos with friends on Instagram

In past months we’ve talked about a lot of social media sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Goodreads, Google+, and Pinterest.  Another social media platform is Instagram, a place to share pictures and videos from your smartphone (and now computer).ur

As far as social media sites go, it’s still a kid, launched in 2010. (And bought by Facebook a couple of years later.)

It has a fresh, clean interface and is easy to use. It appeals to a younger demographic, with upwards of 800 million users worldwide. Many writers use Instagram to connect with their readers.

Are you on Instagram?

I am, but I’m a newbie. I post images and videos from my blog, along with book covers.

Maybe we can follow each other.

If you’re not on Instagram, check it out.

Here’s my Instagram page.

Please share your Instagram link below. Then we can follow each other.

Writing and Publishing

UR Turn: Do You Post Videos on YouTube?

YouTube Is the Second-Largest Search Engine in the World

In past months we’ve talked about our presence on various social media sites.

Here’s my list: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Goodreads, and Google+. Let’s connect on your platform of choice.

There’s also YouTube.

People gravitate to video.

As a writer, I don’t so much like this interest in video, but I have written video scripts for some of my clients, and it’s a lot of fun.

As a consumer, I like videos. They pop up on Facebook and Twitter, where they seem to capture people’s attention over images and text. (Again, not good news for writers.)

I have a YouTube channel. It has 41 videos on it. And I have a whopping two subscribers. [January 2022 update: 317 videos and 248 subscribers.]

Most of the videos are for my blog posts, which my VA embeds into my posts on my blog. My VA also creates videos for me based on my text. She does a great job, so if you like them, it’s all because of her!

I also have a book trailer video for my first book, Martin Luther’s 95 Theses (formerly 95 Tweets). This reminds me. I need to make a trailer for my book, How Big Is Your Tent? and a book trailer for my third book, Women of the Bible.

Writing and Publishing

UR Turn: Favorite Writing Quotes

Quotes by writers about writing can teach, inspire and motivate us

Last month we asked the question, Who’s your favorite author? This month we’ll look at what writers say about writing. What are your favorite writing quotes?

My absolute favorite writing quote is the concise, exemplary advice to “Omit needless words.” It comes from the classic book The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White.

(For the record, I think I follow this wise advice in my own writing but not as much when working for a client. Sometimes I need to hit a word count goal and having a few needless words helps me get there faster. By the way, the best clients don’t insist on word count targets. They just tell me to cover the topic.)

Of course, there are many other quotes that likewise guide my writing and my work. In a few weeks, I’ll share some of my other favorite writing quotes. But until then, please share some of yours.

If you don’t know the source, that’s okay. And if you need to paraphrase, no worries. The main thing is to share what helps you, because I’m sure it will help others, too.

Writing and Publishing

UR Turn: Who’s Your Favorite Author?

We love some authors so much, that we buy every book they publish

If you were to ask me who’s my favorite author, I’d shrug and say, “I don’t know.” However, that would be wrong. From my perspective, one author rises above all others: Robin Mellom. I’ve gushed about her in the past.

I bought her debut novel, Ditched, which she re-published as Perfect Kiss. It’s a young adult rom-com (romantic comedy). I loved it so much, that I’ve gone on to read every book she’s published—except for her most recent one, which is on my Christmas wish list. I continue to read her books, even though most of them are middle-grade fiction, which I typically don’t consider.

That covers my favorite fiction author.

What about nonfiction? Though I’ve read multiple books from many nonfiction authors, none of them rises to the top to become a favorite. There are none of them who I’ll automatically buy their next book just because they wrote it. I’ll save that status for Robin.

That’s my story.

Writing and Publishing

UR Turn: What’s the Most Encouraging Thing Anyone Has Ever Told You?

A simple word of encouragement can mean a lot to a writer

As a person who uses words to make a living, words have a great impact on me. The words of others have encouraged me—and discouraged me. Even the lack of words, the things left unsaid, can have a powerful effect—a negative effect.

The things others have told me about my writing have helped me move forward, as well as almost derailing me. But let’s talk about the positive. Some of those comments have stayed with me for years.

Once, when working on a joint proposal for myself and another consultant, he reviewed my work and gushed. “I thought I was a good wordsmith,” he said, “but you put me to shame.” His remark truly affirmed me.

Another time, someone who I respected was reading my work. After a few minutes, she paused and said, “Well, you certainly know how to write, so that’s not an issue.” That was all the impetus I needed to think I could begin to call myself a writer.

I have also had times when other writers have reminded me of encouraging things I’ve said to them. This, too, shows me the power of words. May I always use mine wisely.

Writing and Publishing

UR Turn: What’s the Best Writing Advice You’ve Ever Heard?

We’re wise to learn what we can from other writers who have gone before us

This blog is about writing and publishing. I share what I know in the posts, and you share what you know in the comments. Our monthly segment, UR Turn, allows us to focus on this. We can learn from each other.

In addition, we can also learn from other writers through their blogs, podcasts, webinars, and books. Plus, we can read magazines about writing.

Over the years I’ve learned a great deal. I strive to apply what I learn. Then I share the results.

Today’s UR Turn question is, what’s the best writing advice you’ve ever heard?

For me, the answer is easy. I’ve repeated it here many times. It is simply to write every day. Doing this changed my life and my career as a writer.

Now it’s your turn.




Writing and Publishing

UR Turn: Have You Used Dictation Software to Write?

Authors who use dictation claim a much higher writing speed

I’ve recently been experimenting with using dictation to write and bought a USB headset to reduce dictation errors. So far I’m excited about the process and anxious to get better at it. To accomplish this, I’ve bought Dragon speech recognition software and will begin using it.

What are your thoughts about dictation?

Have you considered it? Did you try it and give up?

If you do dictation, what software and hardware do you use? What are the benefits? What advice can you offer?

Please share your input in the comments below.


Writing and Publishing

UR Turn: Are You on Goodreads?

Goodreads is the premier social media site for book lovers

In past months we’ve covered Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. One social media option is especially tailored to writers: Goodreads. “Goodreads is the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations.” Goodreads turned ten this year. It has 55 million members, 1.5 billion books listed, and 50 million reviews. (I’ve posted 91 reviews and left 133 ratings.)

Goodreads is a great place for readers to connect and share their love for books. This also makes it ideal for the authors of those books. But don’t think of Goodreads as a place to promote books, instead view it as a place to connect with readers, and potential readers, of our books.

Right now I’m on Goodreads as a reader. If you’re on Goodreads, I’d like to connect with you. Here’s my link: Send me a friend request.

Writing and Publishing

UR Turn: Other Social Media Platforms for Writers

With no shortage of social media platforms to consider, several may warrant attention

So far we’ve talked about Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

But there are hundreds of other social media platforms to consider. While some platforms are obscure, others garner much more attention.

Though some of these social media outposts are worthy of consideration, my varying degrees of involvement on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest already takes up too much of my time. So, I’ll not add a fifth to the mix.

However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.

Perhaps another social media platform works for you better or more effectively connects with your audience. Then maybe you should be there in place of one of the above options.

What other social media platforms do you use? What do you like about them?

Please include a link to your pages so others can find you there.

Writing and Publishing

UR Turn: Do You Use Pinterest as Part of Your Author Platform?

Pinterest is a quick way to share images and connect with like-minded people

So far we’ve talked about Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn as possible social media platforms for authors. What about Pinterest?

Of the four of them, I’ve done the least amount of work with Pinterest. Maybe that’s because I’m a guy and most Pinterest users are females.

Nevertheless, I do have the beginnings of a Pinterest presence, and it’s growing little by little. I pin my blog graphics and have a board for book covers. Other boards have sayings and offer encouragement. My favorite board has a growing number of church signs, from the humorous to the profound. 

Are you on Pinterest? Follow me on Pinterest and I’ll follow you.

My page is Please share your Pinterest page in the comment section below.