Monday, November 24, 2014

What Kind of Reader Are You?

Linda Gilden is back this week to give us her perspective on the reader's personality. Enjoy.

And the winner of Linda's book is . . . Maureen! Maureen, please send your mailing address to andreamerrell7@gmail.com, and we will get your book in the mail.

By Linda Gilden


I’ve heard most readers spend eight to ten seconds looking at the outside of a book before they decide to move on or look inside. Have you ever stopped to think what draws you to one book over another? Perhaps it is your personality.

As a strong purposeful/melancholy personality, my preference often gravitates to covers that are to the point so I know what I am getting inside the book. I want it to have value for me and satisfy my thirst for knowledge. The colors are probably subdued without a lot of splash. Why does that appeal to me?

The purposeful/melancholy personality is curious about the world around him or her. The desire to go deeper when reading about subjects is often present. This no-nonsense reader doesn’t want to have to wade through the fluff, but wants the information to be complete and enlightening. A purposeful/melancholy reader searching for a novel to read may look for one with intrigue or settle on a romance with lots of family history and backstory. He or she may become engrossed in a book and forsake other duties to read.

While it may appear that those with playful/sanguine personalities are not avid readers, they love a good story. In fact, they can spin a yarn with the best. But in order to captivate this group of readers, the story line must move along quickly, and the action must be plentiful. Drawn to bright, cheerful, fun covers, if the words do not match the excitement of the cover, the book will probably join others on the book shelf that are half read. Fiction is the genre of choice for this playful, sanguine personality who is so easily distracted.

My friend who is a very powerful/choleric personality is even more matter-of-fact with her choices. The covers that appeal to her are not obscure, but give concise information as to what is in the book. For the choleric personality, a bulleted list is sure to please, with a promise to give information in a way she can understand and catalog in her storehouse of knowledge. A powerful choleric novel reader looks for intrigue and mystery, a story he or she can actively participate in and solve.

Observing the reading habits of the peaceful/phlegmatic personalities, they are drawn to books that have calm and inviting covers with promise of a peaceful getaway. This low-key personality loves to settle in the hammock with a good book that will entertain and give an escape from the hustle and bustle of the world. Books are a perfect gift for this personality.

Is it really important to understand personalities? Does it really matter why you pick up one book or another, or why you are drawn to a particular genre?

For writers, the answer to the first question is an overwhelming “Yes!” Understanding who your readers are and how they receive information gives you the inside knowledge of how to write so they will enjoy your books.

Having the knowledge of the personalities is a tool that can make a difference in your relationship with your readers, others around you, and with God. Certified Personality Trainer Tama Westman says, “Understanding the personalities is like a superpower. Being aware of what a person’s emotional needs are based on his or her personality, transforms your communication skills. You understand how you are perceived and how others receive information. You live more in tune with family and friends because you know why they walk and talk as they do. Personality knowledge made me realize God made me just as I was and He delighted in His creation.”

So the next time you visit the bookstore, what will interest you? Will you look at a cover with a catchy title and realize you like that because you are a playful personality? Will you see the purposeful person next to you drawn to the muted cover of a different book? Or perhaps a powerful person studying the list of features and benefits on the back cover of a book that interests him or her. Will you find a peaceful person intrigued by the story line?

No matter what your personality, there are plenty of books to choose from that will encourage, entertain, and enrich your life.

What kind of reader are you? We would love to hear your comments.

(Photos courtesy of blogthings.com and madisonpublicschools.org.)

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Linda Gilden’s most recent book is Called to Write, coauthored with Dr. Edna Ellison. Linda is a Certified Personality Trainer who loves helping people understand how to build better relationships with those around them through a knowledge of the personalities. Linda is an author, speaker, editor, and writing coach. Her other books include Mama Was the Queen of Christmas, Personality Perspectives, and others. Linda lives in SC with her husband, three adult children, and the five cutest grandchildren in the world! Her favorite activity is floating in a lake surrounded by splashing children.


Monday, November 17, 2014

15 Things Writers are Thankful For - A Christmas Gift Idea List

by Alycia W. Morales

As a writer, there are several things I find myself #thankful for each year. My mentor. My agent. My supportive husband. My fellow writers. Decaf coffee and chocolate (by the pound, please!).

I just didn't feel right offering up a Christmas gift idea list for writers without first honoring Thanksgiving, since that's still a little over a week out. And Christmas comes after that.

But the fake trees are standing tall in the local shops, ornaments galore are begging to be purchased as they dangle from hooks in the same stores, and Starbucks is serving up Peppermint Mochas and Cranberry Bliss Bars.

And since this is my week to post before Thanksgiving, I thought I'd offer up a list of 15 things writers are thankful for, aka a Christmas gift idea list. I know that my fellow writers and/or I are thankful we have these 15 things available to us, so they're probably something other writers on your shopping list would be thankful for as well. Feel free to print it off so you can bring it along on Black Friday. Or use it on Cyber Monday.

1. Scrivener - This "is a powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents. While it gives you complete control of the formatting, its focus is on helping you get to the end of that awkward first draft." (As their site says.)

I have many writerly friends who love Scrivener and use it regularly. After hearing someone comment about how handy it is for formatting (which tends to get wonky in Microsoft Word), I may be getting this for myself this Christmas. PS - Free trial.

2. An Editor - Any writer worth the words on their page knows and understands the benefits of having a professional editor go over their manuscript. What better way to encourage someone toward publishing their next great novel than to bless them with the gift of a professional edit?

Andrea and I (Alycia) would love to help, and our rates are available here on this site (click our names for the links to our pages). If you'd prefer to shop around, feel free to do so. Here are a couple of sites we recommend: The Christian PENA Little Red Inc.. Also, you may wish to check with your favorite authors. I know several of mine also work as editors on the side.

I met my agent at BRMCWC...
3. Writers Conferences - One of the best things a writer can do for their career is network. And one of the best networking tools in the industry is the writers conference. These are the place that you are going to meet the agents and editors that can get your manuscript into the hands of the right people. Most publishing houses no longer accept unsolicited materials. This means you need an editor or an agent to request a submission from you. One of the only ways to meet these people is to attend writers conferences. There are a few conferences I highly recommend attending: Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, Writers Advance Boot Camp, ACFW, Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, and Florida Christian Writers Conference.

If you're a writer wanting to go to a conference and your budget is tight, consider asking your family and friends to pitch in to your conference fee rather than buying you something else for Christmas or your birthday. If you're a family member looking for a gift idea, maybe consider sponsoring your writer or paying for their meal ticket, a plane ticket, hotel room, etc. associated with the particular conference your family member wishes to attend.

4. Online Courses - Maybe you can't afford the cost of a writers conference, but you still want to learn about the craft of writing or want a critique of your work or wish you could get your writing in front of an industry professional. Online courses can definitely help with that. One place to look for these would be Writers Digest.

5. Daycare Services - Many writers are stay-at-home parents. Or they work out of their "home" office. Which means that distractions are abundant. Maybe you could bless your writer with a few hours of daycare services each week. Or pop in and offer to watch the kids so they can work at their "other" office (aka Starbucks) for a couple of hours.

Personally, I know it's difficult to keep my creative juices going and the words flowing when my four children are constantly coming to me with a barrage of questions or needs (aka requests for me to buy them things they must have right now). It's a tremendous blessing when my husband comes home from his day of work and asks if I'd like to get out for a while so I can finish that chapter or race to meet that deadline.

6. A gift card to Barnes and Noble or Amazon or any other book carrier - Here's the thing about writing: it takes time to learn to do it well. Even if you're born with a natural talent for it. One way to learn to do it well is to read books on the craft of writing or how to edit or different ways to express the same emotion. Andrea and I provide a list of recommended reading {here}. Another way to learn how to write well is to read books by other people in your particular genre. You'll learn from reading their words what works well and what doesn't. Gift cards come in handy for stocking up on these reading materials.

7. A subscription to Writer's Digest or The Writer - Again, useful tools for a writer to learn how to improve their craft.

8. A gift card to Hobby Lobby or Michael's. Or a ticket to the next big game. Or concert. - Writers tend to be creative in more areas than one. Several friends of mine are also photographers, crocheters, jewelry makers, painters, and more. And one thing I've learned over the years is that I need to be creative in more than just my writing. Because it helps my writing if I can take a break and make something else. Or go someplace else. Maybe your writer isn't the artsy-craftsy type. Maybe they like hiking or flying planes better. Support them in those other areas as well. Bless them with a gift card or free pass or something so that they can enjoy another of their "outlets." Their writing will thank you for it.

Gloves by SoulRole on Etsy
9. Fingerless Gloves - As I'm sitting here typing this post, I'm wishing I had a pair. The weather is getting cooler (it's raining here right now, so add damp-cooler to that), and our fingers can get pretty chilly as they fly over the keys. It does help to have on fingerless gloves. Click on the picture to follow a link to that pair. Click "Fingerless Gloves" here or above to follow the link to a wide selection of them on Etsy.

(PS - There's even a pair listed for those Whovian writer friends of  yours...)

10. A gift card to Staples or another office supply-type center - Authors have various organizational needs. While some of us are super proficient keeping ourselves organized with our technological tools and apps, other tend to favor the white board. Or Post-It Notes. Some use the calendars on our phones. Others (like me) use the handy day planner. Believe it or not, a trip to the office supply store could be super handy and a huge blessing to a writer.

11. A gift card to VistaPrint or Moo - One of the key tools in a writer's networking bag is their business card. If a writer is going to attend a writers conference, they will eventually be told they need to come with business cards in hand. VistaPrint and Moo are two trusted sites for designing and ordering these.

I have a collection of minions on my desk.
12. Inspiration (or a gift certificate to a place where they can get it) - Many authors I know, myself included, have things hanging from their walls or sitting on their desks that keep them inspired. Whether it's quotes, photographs, minions--> or superhero paraphernalia, the item(s) encourage them to continue working through the day, the sudden blank page (or mind), or toward that deadline or goal. Find out what your writer loves and give them a little inspiration for their office space.

One of my favorite author spaces belongs to Torry Martin (comedian, actor, writer - honestly, I think he can do just about anything...). You can check it out {here}.

13. A workout video or gym membership - No, I'm not trying to say that your writer friend is fat. But writers do sit a lot. Which isn't good for us. Many of us will stand up and do at least 10 minutes of activity throughout our day, whether we wash the dishes, swap out a load of laundry, do a 10-minute workout, run the treadmill for 15, or take the dog for a walk.

14. If you're afraid you may offend your writer by buying them a workout video or gym membership, consider buying them a standing desk. (The cheapest standing desk was $35 and could hold a laptop.) These are becoming more and more popular for obvious health reasons. I'm even considering getting one. Especially since every time I have to stand for several minutes at a time, I find myself looking for the nearest wall or column to lean against.

15. Time - This could come in many forms. Maybe your writer could use a maid. Or a cook. Or a taxi driver. Maybe you're thinking, "She's crazy." But I'm not. Really. I promise you. What friend (especially if her love language is acts of service) wouldn't love it if you stopped by to offer to tidy up a bit, wash a load of dishes, cycle a load of laundry, take the kids to the park for an hour, or cook the family dinner for a night? Maybe he's been on deadline for three months and could use an evening out with his wife. Maybe she could use a weekend alone at a mountain cabin but needs someone to take care of the cats while she's away. Consider your writer and what his or her needs may be. Offer your service(s). Sometimes the best gift isn't one that money can buy. It's the offering of a true friend.

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15 Things a #Writer Would Want for Christmas via @AlyciaMorales #shopping {Click to Tweet}

Tell us, what would be the ultimate gift someone could give you as a writer?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Personality and the Writer

We are so happy to have Linda Gilden as our guest today. Leave a comment below, and you will automatically be entered into a drawing for her newest book, with coauthor Edna Ellison, Called to Write. 

By Linda Gilden


Recently, a friend called. “How do you do this?” she demanded.

“Do what?” I asked.

“How do you sit there all day and write? Don’t you get bored? Are you tired of being by yourself?”

I gave her a quick explanation of why my purposeful/melancholy personality was so well suited for writing. I also explained why as a playful/sanguine personality, she didn’t like being confined in a chair for long periods of time—alone. Once she understood why she needed multiple breaks and lunches out with her friends, she was less hard on herself to fit the writer mold.


 It may seem strange to even consider what personality you are if you are a writer. After all, you sit in front of your computer and type just like all the other writers in the world, right?

Well, yes and no. No matter what God has called you to do, it is affected in part by the personality He has given you.


For instance, the playful/sanguine writer loves the idea of having something in print. However, sitting in the same chair for hours on end with no one around to talk to is extremely difficult for this fun-loving, social personality. It almost seems a waste to keep all his or her enthusiasm still in a chair while waiting for a brilliant idea to come along. But playful/sanguine writers usually don’t lack for ideas. They just lack the discipline to carry through with those ideas. Sometimes they find it hard to stay on task and not put off the work part of writing. Their genuine love of people makes them love the research interviews, but they find it hard to focus on transcribing that interview into a wonderful story or book. But once the playful/sanguine writer gets started, his or her writing is colorful, descriptive, and fast-moving.

The powerful/choleric writer is strong-willed and decisive and once the decision is made to write an article or book, he or she is full speed ahead to check the task off his or her list. The powerful/choleric writer is not easily discouraged, but goal-oriented and will get the job done. When doing research interviews, the powerful/choleric writer arrives prepared with a list of questions and when they have the answers, the interview is done. The powerful/choleric’s writing is logical and easy to follow.

The purposeful/melancholy writer is creative and a deep thinker, always wanting to learn more about his or her subject. Being schedule-oriented, the purposeful/melancholy writer likes to finish every project he or she starts. While doing research interviews, the purposeful/melancholy writer wants to know more about his or her subject, sometimes requiring much more time than allotted. Often the purposeful/melancholy writers finds his or her perfectionism to be a hindrance. It’s hard to push the send button unless the work is absolutely perfect, and the mindset is that if the writer can just go over it one more time, that will eliminate more mistakes. The writing of the purposeful/melancholy writer is often deep and full of details and he or she will cover the subject thoroughly.

The peaceful/phlegmatic writer is a steady and competent writer. He or she works well under pressure, wanting to finish the tasks assigned. Because of his or her peaceful and laid-back style, this writer sometimes looks for the easy way to complete a task (and often finds it).  The writing of a peaceful/phlegmatic writer is sensitive and heartfelt. When conducting a research interview, he or she wants to get it done so he or she can finish the project. Peaceful/phlegmatic writers also love to be around people but sometimes prefer just to finish the article so nap time will come more quickly.

Do you see yourself in one of these personalities? Are there times when you need to take a step back from your writing habits and allow your personality strengths to make you a better writer?

Don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win!



(Photo courtesy of helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com.)

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Linda Gilden is an author, speaker, editor, and writing coach. Author of over a thousand articles, the Love Notes series, Mommy Pick-Me-Ups, Mama Was the Queen of Christmas, Personality Perspectives, and the recently released Called to Write, Linda has ghostwritten or contributed to over thirty books. She directs the CLASS Christian Writers Conference and the Carolina Christian Writers Conference, encouraging others to clearly communicate God’s love to the world. Linda lives in SC with her family—three grown children and their spouses, and five, soon-to-be-six, grandchildren—a great source of speaking and writing material! www.lindagilden.com ~ personalityperspectivesbook.com




Monday, November 3, 2014

CLOSE CALL

By Andrea Merrell


We’ve all heard the old clich├ęs, “Close but no cigar,” and “Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades,” but since everything is relative, how close is too close? How many times have you almost reached your goal, only to have some unforeseen event (or person) keep you just short of that goal?

Maybe you’ve entered a dozen contests and always come up in the top five, but never first place. Maybe you have enough rejection letters to wallpaper your bathroom. It could be you’re a writer who sets daily or weekly goals for projects and word counts, but you always come up short.

We all want the exciting hole-in-one experience, but sometimes a bogey is not so bad. And there’s always the mulligan (or the do-over) to help get us to the goal. The key here is to keep trying.

It’s hard not to get discouraged when you keep missing the mark time after time, but use that time as a learning process. There is nothing written so well that it can’t be improved upon by time, study, application, determination, and downright tenacity.

Over the years, I’ve seen writers have small successes, or maybe no success at all—at least in their own eyes. Many saw themselves as failures and gave up. I’ve seen others who went after their objective like a bulldog, not willing to let go until they arrived at the desired destination.

Sometimes a roadblock—which can appear as failure—is a way to point you in another direction. Many times God has another plan for you and He devises a way to get your attention and point you toward the destination He has for you. The truth is, God wants to be involved in every aspect of your life, including your writing. If He has gifted you with words, offer that gift back to Him as a sacrifice of praise and seek His timing and direction in every devotion you write, every article you submit, every blog you post, and every novel you pour your heart into. Pray, then put feet to your prayers. Your breakthrough will come.

I have personally used every excuse known to the human race for not sitting down to write. But when God calls me to get busy, all my excuses fall flat. As a famous author once said, “You only fail if you stop writing.”

How about you? What kind of roadblocks have you encountered? How do you deal with rejection? We would love to hear your suggestions.

(Photos courtesy of thetestofthecross.com, toonclips.com, and brghealth.com.)

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