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A Writer’s Life: Solitary and Sedentary

First Posted by Susan Neal at

There are incredible advantages to being a Christian author—fulfilling God’s inspired dream, determining your schedule, and writing in your PJs. However, with that flexibility there are some negative aspects as well—it can be a lonely and inactive profession. This blog will provide tips on how to beat the solitary and sedentary features of this career.

  • Start your morning by spending fifteen minutes meditating with God.

During this time don’t bring your prayer requests; instead, allow time for your mind to wander. God will lead you to important things you may have forgotten. He may remind you to send a friend a word of encouragement, or it may be a time to process an emotional issue that is bothering you. After this quiet time with the Lord, pray.

  • Before breakfast, drink two glasses of water and take a probiotic with ten different strains of beneficial microorganisms.

Antibiotics and medications kill the good bacteria in the gastrointestinal system. It is vital to balance your gut flora, so you don’t crave sugar and processed carbohydrates. The probiotic will also increase your energy level. With your healthy breakfast take a multi-vitamin.

  • As you begin your workday get the blood pumping with five minutes of exercise.

Exercising improves your brain function. I have a portable desk with an adjustable height and a mini-stair stepper. I get on this as I review my to-do list for the day and peruse Facebook.

  • At some point during the day go for a walk or perform a fifteen-minute workout.

I lift five-to-ten pound weights and do an upper body work out. If I need mental clarity, walking is a useful way to help me focus and generate new ideas.

  • In addition to exercising, we need to fill our bodies with whole foods, the way God intended for us to eat; not processed foods that come out of boxes and bags.

Foods high in sugar and carbohydrates, cause brain fog. We need clarity of thought to write well, so eating a nutritious diet is essential to a successful career. Instead cut up fresh vegetables and eat them with a healthy dip like hummus or guacamole. Eat more salads, nuts, and seeds.

To escape from the solitary aspects of being an author, I joined a Word Weaver Christian Writers Critique Group. I drive 75 minutes one-way to attend our monthly meetings. The members have become my dearest friends. They understand the ups and downs of this writing journey.

I needed more than one monthly meeting, so I joined an online Word Weaver Group too. I had lunch with one of the members last week, as she has a winter home 90 minutes away. We met half way so we could become closer friends and understand God’s calling on our lives. Sharing this passion with other writers is fulfilling.

To improve your writing life join a Word Weaver group, start your day by meditating with God, take a probiotic, drink plenty of water, eat nutritious foods, and perform a short workout every day. As you take care of the glorious body God gave you, you will create work that glorifies Him.

Susan Neal RN, MBA, MHS is an author, speaker, and Christian yoga teacher. Her motto is “to help others improve their health so they can serve God better.” She published three books, 7 Steps to Get Off Sugar and Carbohydrates, Scripture Yoga a #1 Amazon best-selling yoga book, and Yoga for Beginners. She produced Christian Yoga Card Decks and DVDs. Susan is the president of an online Word Weaver Christian Writers Critique Group and vice-president of the Destin Word Weavers Critique Group. She has been interviewed on Moody Radio, Blog Talk Radio, Premier Christian Radio from the UK, Divine Wellness Academy Podcast, Author Audience Podcast, A Fine Time for Healing Podcast, and Fabulous Beyond 40 Summit. Susan blogs on



Scripture Yoga Classes

Susan is teaching Scripture Yoga™ Friday-Sunday morning at 6:30-7 am. Susan recites theme based Bible verses while participants hold a yoga pose. It is like a mini Bible study. Meditating on verses while in the postures creates a very tranquil time for God to penetrate one’s heart so you can hear from him. Join Susan and get away from all the distractions of life, and enter into His presence. If you have a yoga mat, please bring it with you to the conference, but there will mats provided as well.

2018-02-20T14:56:16+00:00 February 20th, 2018|

Five Myths about Writing for Children

First posted by Michelle Medlock Adams

Number one:Michelle_2966-200x181

  • MYTH: Writing books for children is much easier than writing books for adults.
  • TRUTH: Good writing is tough no matter what genre we’re talking about; however, writing for children can be one of the most difficult to master and one of the most difficult to break into—but you can do it!


*You have to say a lot in so few words—must make every single word count!

*You must be selective in word choice so that each word matches grade level. (Get a copy of the “Children’s Writer’s Word Book” by Alijandra Mogilner, published by Writer’s Digest Books.)

*It’s highly competitive! (The average national publisher receives 6,000 -15,000 unsolicited manuscripts a year, and of those, they publish 2-3. The rest of the books they publish come from agents, from authors they’re already publishing, and from other authors they meet at conferences.) But, you can do it!!! J

*I recently read an interview with a children’s book editor at Bloomsbury Children’s Books in NYC and the interviewer asked her, “Is there really a slush pile? If so, how many manuscripts would you estimate are in it?”

She replied, “It is many piles. It is huge! And I have no idea—maybe a thousand manuscripts in it.”

Then she was asked, “What percentage of manuscripts from the slush pile do you estimate get published?”

She answered, “Less than 1 percent but that’s still a real number—we get thousands of submission a year, and every year, we find one or two great things in it.”

So, you could be in that 1 percent!


E-books are giving children’s writers more opportunities to publish their work! In fact, 11 million parents have purchased an e-book and 19.6 million parents plan to buy an e-book in the future, according to recent stats.

Number two:

  • MYTH: Children’s stories should always teach a lesson.
  • TRUTH: Children (as well as children’s book editors) dislike preachy books.


*Good children’s books usually have a message woven throughout the text, but the story is what drives the text. Of course…there is an exception to every rule. J

*Good example…Veggie Tales books teach good morals, but they are fun, silly and kid-friendly while doing so!


Want to see a list of best-selling children’s books? Read this article at:


Number three:

  •  MYTH: The adult in the story should solve the problem.
  • TRUTH: Actually, any adult in the story is simply a sidekick. The main character must

be the child, and that child must solve the problem. He can certainly take advice from an

adult, but the child needs to do the problem solving.


*Through our books, we want to empower the child, not tell the child that an adult must always solve every problem. We want to instill the message of “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”—in a sneaky, funny, kid-friendly way!

Number four:

  •  MYTH: After I write my children’s story, I need to find an illustrator to illustrate my story before submitting it anywhere.
  • TRUTH: Unless you are a professional artist yourself, it’s not wise to send pictures with your manuscripts. In fact, it might even hurt your chances for publication.


*The editor might really love your words but despise the artwork that your sister did to accompany each page. Her yucky artwork could nix the whole deal for you.

*Editors at publishing houses already have a list of talented illustrators that they love to use, so let them choose your artist.

*Especially if you’re a first-time children’s author, the publisher will try to pair you with a better-known illustrator to improve your chances for better book sales.

Number five:

  • MYTH: Writing my book in rhyme will give my book a better chance.
  • TRUTH: Actually, it could hurt your story’s publication chances. Some editors despise rhyme because they receive so many poorly written rhyming books; therefore,they are prejudiced AGAINST rhyme. However, if you can write rhyme well, go for it!


*FYI: I have sold more than 40 children’s books to publishers such as Zonderkidz, Simon & Schuster, Ideals Children’s Books and Concordia, and all but my non-fiction library books are written in rhyme! J

*Rhyme isn’t a crime, as some editors would have you think— it sells well! (Just get yourself a rhyming dictionary for help!)

2018-02-07T07:32:13+00:00 February 7th, 2018|


2018-01-31T12:49:56+00:00 January 30th, 2018|


2018-01-30T15:35:47+00:00 January 30th, 2018|
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