Beat Those Writing Deadlines Using Your Brain

Do you wish you could beat writing deadlines, the smart way, by using your brain?

Well, now you can!

If you have ever struggled to beat deadlines, or struggled to hold yourself accountable to deadlines that you set yourself, be relieved. Modern research has provided some powerful insight to human psyche.

M.I.T. the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently completed a study. In the study they tested whether or not students who had hard deadlines performed better or worse on their final project scores.

The testing group was broken into three groups. In group one, each student set his or her own deadlines. In group two, hard deadlines were set for the project and the student had no control. For the last group, each student just had to turn all the work in by the end of the class.

The group of students who had total and compete freedom scored the worst and had the worst performance on their work, and the group of students who could set their own deadlines performed average.

But unlike the other groups, the group of students with rigid deadlines that were beyond their control scored substantially better than all other students.

It wasn’t even close.

Writing is an industry that thrives on deadlines. If you want to work in the industry, you must be able to provide quality copy, often on tight deadlines. Whether it’s a writing contest, an agent proposal submission, or a contract deadline with a publishing house, writers need to deliver their work on time—every time.

How can you use this information to not only help you meet or beat deadlines?

Stop setting your own.

If you have a publishing editor or an agent. Ask them to set firm deadlines for you to submit your manuscript, edits, etc.

If you are not yet represented by a literary agent, and not working on contract with a publishing house, get someone else to set your deadlines for you. This could be a spouse, a relative, or friend.

But is imperative that the person is unyielding and unbending. Give them full authority to pester and annoy you unless you meet your deadlines. And remember no person will want to help you set deadlines for long, if you don’t respect the relationship, and make sure to always turn your work in to them on time.

Do you struggle with keeping your own deadlines? Comment below with ideas or methods that you have tried.


Previously published at

5 Tips to Help You Navigate the Christian Fiction Market

Christian fiction authors have to ponder what place they can hold in an ever-diminishing christian fiction market.

The news is disheartening news for fiction authors in the CBA, but there’s a small light at the end of the tunnel. Publishers are still publishing Christian fiction—this isn’t the apocalypse.

If you are a Christian fiction writer, here are 5 ways you can “roll with the punches”, and adjust to the recent changes in the CBA.


Survival Tips


In all truth, the Christian market hasn’t gone away. Nielsen BookScan revealed that the Christian Fiction market decreased 15% from 2013-2014. What is left, is a narrow highly-competitive market.

Today’s Christian author can’t rest on his or her laurels. The state of the market is such that good writers may become passed over for better or great writers. Authors who are constantly improving their craft are going to have a higher amount of success than those who don’t.

Some ideas to improve: invest in a writing course, go to writing conferences, challenge yourself to find a writing mentor who will push you onward in your ability.

Build your platform
The truth is… When a publisher compares two books that are equal in every way, the one that belongs to the author with the biggest platform, is the one that’s going to get a contract.Take time away from your writing to focus on creating your own unique market for your books. Build your platform utilizing a website, blog, or social media. Expand your reach and grow your prospective audience while you gain influence with readers in your target audience.

Two great books on building platform: Edie Melson’s Connections:Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers and Michael Hyatt’s Platform: Get Noticed In A Noisy World.


Get out and meet your readers. Visit book groups, speak at schools, keynote at conferences, teach at homeschool co-ops, or visit churches.

Be active and expand your ministry beyond the page. Get out and meet and/or create an audience and platform for your work. These experiences can open up new ideas for future books. It could also turn into a lucrative opportunity to provide for yourself while you wait to see what happens with the CBA fiction market.

Write Non-fiction
One specific example that comes to mind, is Love Does by Bob Goff. Story after riveting story, his real-life stories pulled me in—deeper and deeper. I couldn’t put the book down—and it was non-fiction.Some of the best non-fiction books I have ever read, were written by authors who used an amazing mastery of story in their writing.

Maybe try your hand at writing a non-fiction book. Harness the storyteller in you and write a powerful and engaging non-fiction manuscript.


Have you ever heard the old saying, those that can’t write…edit? Well you might be able to write, but maybe God is offering you an opportunity to refocus on who you are as a writer.

If you have a love for all things grammar, words, syntax, plot, etc., then maybe you can spend time helping other writers improve their work. If you’re a good enough editor, you may also be able to generate a steady stream of income from editing.


Whatever you do in this fiction downturn, just remember, “In everything there is a season.” God has a plan and he hasn’t forgotten you, or your writing. Keep your chin up, and keep at it!




Previously published under a different title at

New Post at TWC – The Art of Two-Dimensional Characters

A master novelist paints his story with dynamic two-dimensional characters. The characters are woven into the story like puzzle pieces. Each is important to the final picture, but standing alone they bring no significant revelation to the final image.

Two-dimensional characters are flat. They lack depth, are partially developed, and often are stereotypically inclined.

But stories need two-dimensional characters. They bring the story to life, birthing a necessary reality for the main characters, and layering a believable background. READ MORE at The Write Conversation…


The Art of 2-Dimensional Characters. They CAN Enhance Your Story – @CyleYoung on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Writing Contests – Winning Can’t Be Duplicated


When it comes to entering writing contests, it’s important to remember that winning can’t be duplicated.

Many children’s sports leagues contain participation awards. Writing is very different form children’s sports. Publishers and agents aren’t looking for authors who have received participation awards. They are looking for authors who can write well enough to sell books.

Contests often help speed up an agents or publishers search process. They help separate the wheat from the chaff. Award recognition is a healthy sign of writing ability.

If you aren’t entering writing contests, you need to be. Contests help your writing career is various ways.

  1. Contests require you to meet deadlines
    1. Any writer, worth their salt, is capable of meeting a publisher or agents deadline. Contest deadlines push you to write well in a tight timeframe.
  2. Contests build your writing resume/bio
    1. Winning awards helps you pad your writing resume or bio. This is essential early in your writing career, as most beginning writers don’t have a lot of published work to include in their author bio.
  3. Contests help you find an agent/publisher
    1. Many agents and publishers serve as judges in contests. It gives them opportunities to discover new talent, find new clients, and see how your work stacks up against similar competition.
  4. Contests stretch your writing ability
    1. Competition drives us to improve. When you know your work will be judged against others, you strive to create your best manuscript, applying learned skills and strengthening your writing.
  5. Contests allow you to gain perspective
    1. Sometimes we need a reality check. You may think your manuscript is amazing, but in reality it needs some work. Many contest offer constructive feedback, which can give you critical insight into improving your writing.
  6. Contests encourage you to step outside the box
    1. Entering contests in various genres and writing styles helps you become a more well rounded writer. You may not be the best novelist, or best poet, but entering in various contests encourages you to grow as a writer, which can improve all of your writing.
  7. Contests help you get published
    1. Many contests offer publishing opportunities to winners and/or finalists. If you enter these contests and win, you may also find yourself become published in a magazine or anthology. Or better yet, you may land that all important book contract.

Writing contests are an important and necessary part of the writing lifestyle. Take time to search for contests that have deadlines within the next few months and begin writing and editing. Don’t wait for your writing to be perfect before you enter. No writer’s ever is.

Good luck, and I hope you win!

[bctt tweet=”Contests help you get published #contest #writer #writerslife”]

[bctt tweet=”If you aren’t entering writing contests, you need to be. #author #writersroad”]

My New Post at TWC – When Weed Words Creep into Your Writing

Have you ever read through your manuscript only to realize the same words keep popping up like weeds in a garden?

If your answer is yes, relax—we all do it.

In the flurry of keystrokes, some words just appear. You didn’t want them. You don’t remember thinking them. But nevertheless, they sprout like common weeds.

Your mind can often add unintentional words to your writing. Especially when you are rushed to meet a deadline, or when you are specifically trying to avoid writing certain words.

Many of these weed words are common to most writers.

10 Common Weed Words:

  1. READ MORE at the Write Conversation…

What to do when weed words creep into your #writing – @CyleYoung on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Word choice is vital for writers, watch out for weed words – @CyleYoung on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)