Edie Melson is a freelance writer and editor with 16+ years experience writing hundreds of articles and devotions, including ones for Focus on the Family and CBN.com.
Edie frequently serves as a faculty member at writers’ conferences around the country and was recently named Assistant Director for the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference (BRMCWC).
She writes for her own blog, http://www.thewriteconversation.blogspot.com/, is a contributing editor with www.thebookdoctorbd.blogspot.com, editor for the Southeast Zone Newsletter and staff reviewer for Afictionado Magazine. Edie and Kirk, her husband of 29 years, reside in Upstate S.C. and have three sons.
Thanks, Edie, for taking time to join us for an interview. Drop by anytime, especially to share updates about your book.
What encouraged your decision to move from technical writing to freelance writing and editing? How has the journey unfolded?
I was a stay at home mom and didn’t want a full time job outside the home and decided to give freelancing a try since I could work my schedule around raising my children.
I think the biggest thing that has contributed to my journey is my willingness to try new things. I have learned that God has an amazing journey mapped out for each of us, but it requires faith. Not just faith that God will show us the right way to go – but faith that He will stop us if we veer off the path. So many people I know refuse to act because of fear – fear that they’ll do the wrong thing or go the wrong way. I’ve learned that My God is way bigger than any mistake I make and He doesn’t hold those mistakes against me.
Who were/are your mentors? How have they affected your writing and editing?
I’ve been fortunate to learn from so many at conferences and online. Their instruction has served as a mentoring relationship in many ways. But someone who has taken a huge interest in helping me succeed is John Riddle (http://www.ilovetowriteday.org/). I met him over ten years ago and he has continued to support me in ways too numerous to count. Of course, my dear friend, Alton Gansky (http://www.altongansky.com/) has played a huge role in helping me fulfill my dreams as a writer. And finally, recently, Susan May Warren (http://www.mybooktherapy.com/) has helped me immensely—and she won Mentor of the Year at ACFW in 2010.
What are some of the highlights of your writing career?
There have been so many it’s impossible to name them all. But even with over 700 articles published this year I always feel surprised and amazed that someone wants to pay me to write. But here are some of the high points through the years:
- Finding my writing partner, Vonda Skelton (http://www.vondaskelton.com/), at our very first BRMCWC in 2001
- Winning first place at BRMCWC in non-fiction book category in 2005
- Winning first place at BRMCWC in the Mystery Novel category in 2006
- Becoming involved with Susan May Warren’s My Book Therapy website and getting one of the Bronze Medal awards at the first annual Frasier Awards
- Getting my book contract for Fighting Fear, Winning the War at Home
- Being named Assistant Director for the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference
- Always – watching writers discover their gifts and go on to publication
Tell us about your upcoming book. How did it come about? Who is publishing it and when will it be out?
This devotional book is for those with family members in the military and has been contracted with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas http://www.christiandevotionsbooks.com/. It’s really special to me because our oldest son served two tours in the Middle East as an infantry Marine. I describe our journey this way. “He went straight from high school to Marine Corps boot camp to Iraq.”
What tips do you have for beginning writers?
Don’t give up. 99% of the time the only difference between a published writer and an unpublished one is time.
What do you most often tell your mentorees about working toward a successful writing profession?
Write every day – 5 days a week. Submit things for publication – I recommend setting a goal for the number of rejections they receive a month. This takes the sting out of the no’s! And finally, study the craft – take classes, read books and blogs.
What makes a writer successful?
I cannot emphasize this enough – persistence.
Have any of your three sons shown an interest in writing?
Not yet, at least they haven’t admitted it. But they are all talented storytellers.
Describe a well-written day in your life.
Most important is starting my day off with some quiet time with God. No day, for me, goes well without that. After that, my days at home working are pretty similar. I’m very ADD and need order to succeed and stay on track.
Here’s my day –
Check email, job boards and social media – approximately 1 hour
Write until lunch
After lunch spend another 30 minutes with email, phone calls and social media
Thirty minutes before I stop for the day, I spend another 30 minutes with email, phone calls and social media.I also spend some time every evening with light work – usually while I’m hanging out with my family. I’ve learned not to answer email or phone calls when I’m writing, unless it’s an emergency.
Do you have a favorite quote (about writing, life, love, whatever)?
I have two writing quotes I keep above my desk:
“Easy reading is damn hard writing,” Nathaniel Hawthorne
“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit,” Richard Bach