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In This Issue...In This Issue...

When Hard Times Hit…

We all experience seasons in life. Holiday seasons. Back-to-school seasons. New baby seasons. Sometimes seasons are expected like decorating and shopping for Christmas. We can set our calendars for them years in advance. Others come thundering out of nowhere like a flashflood, sweeping us up in their wake and slamming us against the shore several miles away.

That’s where we found ourselves a few weeks ago. That Sunday afternoon, Gena was sitting in a Starbucks with our daughter, working on her freelance assignments, when she received a phone call from her brother in Florida.

“Gena, I just admitted Mom to the hospital. She’s in ICU. I think you should come.”

In that moment, our lives got rearranged. Within two days, Gena was in Florida with our daughter, talking with doctors and making treatment decisions. Chris was home, being both Dad and Mom to our two boys and preparing to host family members who were coming into town at the end of the week.

We won’t lie. It was a scary time when we didn’t know what the future would hold. Thankfully, Gena’s mom is recovering, and our immediate family is back together again in Arizona.

Being writers, we’re able to take our work anywhere. That’s the up-side. The downside is that those seasons of emotional upheaval can leave us empty. Our creative wells run dry. That’s where Gena found herself. She’s been working hard on a project, but in those days she couldn’t write. Couldn’t even think about it. She's just now getting back into the swing of things.

You may be in one of those seasons too. School is starting, so you may be racing to deliver kids to activities. You may be in the middle of a move. Or in your own health crisis.

Whatever it is, know that it’s okay to set those projects aside for a little while. Or, you may find writing to be just what you need to work through (or escape) the emotions. We don’t know. We offer no quick solutions. We only want to encourage you to be graceful with yourself and keep going. Don’t give up for good. Come back to your projects. Come back to your dreams. That's where we are right now—coming back after an unexpected disruption—and we hope you’ll join us.

To get you started, we’ve got some great articles that we’ve found to share. First in this issue, Chris shares his Surefire Tips for Productivity. These suggestions—groups, websites and apps—can help you stay on track and encourage you through those tough seasons.

Then, our friend, Rene Gutteridge, a celebrated screenwriter, author and writing coach, shares some common mistakes she reads in fiction and how to fix them. Check out 5 Writing Tips to Immediately Elevate Your Novel.

Finally, discover the difference between content writing and copywriting. This is valuable for writers, bloggers, and speakers.

And, if you haven’t yet secured your spot to attend WriterCon in Oklahoma City over Labor Day weekend, please do. We’ll be there teaching about writing and marketing and hacks to make the whole process easier. We’d love to see you there!


Must ReadsMust Reads

Author ChallengeAuthor Challenge

Power ToolsPower Tools

The Last WordThe Last Word

What are Chris & Gena up to?

What we’re watching: LEGO Masters—We love creativity in all forms.

What we’re reading: Chris is reading The Focus Project by Erik Qualman. Here’s a quote: “Greatness is often determined by what one decides not to do.”

What we’re doing: Gena began teaching a Writing & Rhetoric class to 7-10 graders. There’s nothing like teaching writing, especially explaining technique to students, to make a writer better.

Chris started running again. He hasn’t done it much since moving to a high altitude. It’s taken time to acclimate. Now, he’s working to catch up with our 15 yo son who’s in cross country.