Tuesday Truth – Week 2

Week Two in my quest to “count it all joy”. How did I do? Hmm, well I did keep the word joy at the front of my mind all last week although I’m not sure I was joyful. More like thoughtful and confused about what joy in the struggle means.

How is the Lord expecting me to live that out? What is joy in the struggle supposed to look like? Is it singing and praying all the time because that didn’t happen and probably will never this side of heaven. Is it always having a smile on my face because that didn’t happen either. 

So I’ve decided to do a word study on joy to see what the Bible means when it says we’re to be joyful in times of trial.

Joy or Chara (5479) in the Greek language is defined as delight, gladness, the joy received from you, the cause or occasion of joy.
Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words

From what I can gather from my study of the word in the bible dictionary, the commentaries, and the Bible I think joy is supposed to come because I am being grown in Christ.

The rest of the James verse talks about how trials make us steadfast. In the last few years of trial and difficulties, I can’t say I was steadfast. The Lord is growing me and I know I can get through trials better than I could before. I understand what it means to have faith even when I can’t see the outcome or even my next step but before I decided to surrender it all to him and focus on having faith I was not steadfast. I crumbled.

Now the joy comes from knowing my relationship with Jesus is growing. I’m growing closer to him so there is joy in that. Definite joy in that.

Growing in Christ is something to be joyful over. It’s nice to know that I don’t have to be joyful every moment of every day but when trials come I can focus on the fact that if I surrender the situation to the Lord I will grow in faith, be more steadfast and He will be doing a work in me that I can’t do on my own.

That makes me smile.

I’d love to hear what you’re struggling with on your faith walk. Use the contact form below to send me an email. I’d love to chat with you.

Have joy my friends and write on!



Healthy Writer Week 2

WooHoo! Week Two! Okay, that’s as excited as I’m going to get. I’m happy to report that I accomplished my goal of more movement last week. Monday was kind of a bust. It was pouring rain and the cough was still hanging on, however, I accomplished it every other day of the week

I took three spin classes and from Wednesday thru Sunday and when the rain stopped, I walked 4.5-5 miles per day. Not bad, right? The new puppy, a one-year-old Husky, is making the walking a necessity. He gets crazy in his head if we don’t walk twice a day which is awesome since it forces me to get out and get moving.

I’ve also started tracking my food and exercise on my LoseIt! App on my phone. I love this app. The free version has a lot of good features. It keeps me honest and forces me to make better eating choices. If I have to write it down and see how many calories I’m eating I’ll think twice about the cookies. It’s always about the cookies.

I didn’t weigh myself last week. It was a crazy busy work week but my clothes are looser! Woot! That makes me happy. I will start weighing in this week and report back next week.

My goals this week:

◆ Keep moving
◆ Track my eating
◆ Weigh in
◆ Make some healthy snacks to keep around!

How are you doing with your healthy writer goals? I’d love to hear.





12 Titles in 12 Months: An Interview with Tracy Reed

WriteNowWorkshop Podcast is brand new and has some amazing information and fabulous interviews already. It’s hosted by one of my very good friends and author buddies, Kitty Bucholtz.  This particular interview plays along with the productivity stuff we talk about here on Confused and Terrified Writer. And it’s an amazing story.

12 Titles in 12 Months

In 2016 Tracy Reed wrote 12 titles in 12 months. Wow. Here I was thinking my 36k was impressive. Nope Tracy wrote and published 12 books. In 12 months.  Listen to the podcast and hear all about how she did it! Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast. If you’re not listening to podcasts you should be! Some of the best information out there about writing and publishing is on podcasts!!!!



Canva for Work Update: Gifs!

 This week for #VisualContentThursday we’re talking about the newest update to Canva for Work. Being able to create gifs/movies for your visual content will make your content so much more interesting and eye-catching so I made a quick little video explaining how it works. Let me know what you think about Canva and the new update!


Tuesday Truth Week 1


Happy New Year!

I hope you all are recovered from the holidays and are back being productive in your writing careers.

I’m starting a new category on the blog this year. I’ve been planning it for a while and it’s finally time. In trying to work on all aspects of my life to achieve balance, writing and sharing my journey has always been beneficial to me and I hope it is to you as well.

This Spiritual section of Confused and Terrified Writer is going to be different, obviously, than the rest. I want to be clear and straightforward about that from the outset.

I’m a Christ-follower. The spiritual section of this blog is going to be about my journey through my work and personal life with Jesus.

If you’re not interested, I get that. This will not be for everyone but my walk with Jesus is not separate from my work life so I see no reason not to talk about it here and hopefully it will help and support someone along the way.

Feel free to skip this if it isn’t your cup of tea. There is going to be plenty of other writerly stuff here for you to take advantage of.

So with that said, we move forward…

This year I’ve chosen a word to focus on in my walk with the Lord. Actually, it’s two words because I’ve decided to keep the word from last year.

2017 was not the greatest year for me personally or professionally but I do feel like I grew in leaps and bounds spiritually.

I spent the year focused on the word “faith”.

Trust me how much I needed that word last year. Both personally and professionally my life was like a crazy upside down roller coaster through Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride ending with the huge drop on the Jurassic Park ride where you’re almost eaten by a T-Rex and then you get hit in the face with a wall of water.

Yup, staying focused on that word was a really good idea. Thank you, Lord, for making sure I got it.

I’m not done with the word faith by any means. I’ve discovered that I will never be done with that word. That being said I’ve also chosen a new word to go with it.



I want to have joy in everything not just the good parts of life.

Now I’m not a particularly negative person but I’m also not known to be especially joyful. More snarky, sarcastic and attitude-y while still usually seeing the positive side of things. But I want more. I want to be the person Jesus wants me to be.

I’m studying Philippians at the moment but the verse that stood out to me while deciding which word I was going to focus on was this:

“Count it all joy my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
James 1:2-4 ESV

So I’ve worked on having faith during trials. I have not accomplished perfection in this or any other area yet but I know for a fact that I was not counting the trials last year “all joy”.

As a matter a fact I think I was more of a whiny complaining three-year-old throwing temper tantrums at times. I’m not a fan when things don’t go my way.

Of course, I snapped back quicker than in the past because I stayed focused on faith. I knew the Lord had a plan for me but still, joy was not exactly a big part of the faith work I was doing.

I read that verse a few times last year and thought “Seriously?”

Having joy when things get tough is going to be a battle for me. I’m more of a pull into myself and get grumpy until I work it all out in my head kind of girl.  Walking out in faith was hard last year but being joyful when something goes wrong is going to be tougher I think. 

So I’m going to attempt to “count it all joy” this year. Have faith, trust the Lord with everything and be joyful.

I will share with you how this goes, what I’m studying, and how the Lord is working in these weekly Tuesday Truth posts.

What about you? What kind of work are you doing in your spiritual life this year? What changes would you like to make? I’d love to hear about it. Feel free to private message me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. You can always find me as Elena Dillon.

Have a blessed and productive day,



Healthy Writer Week 1!

So I’m not normally a health conscious person. I spend the majority of my time up in my head creating characters, making up crazy stories and in general not paying attention to what the rest of my body is doing.

This is why I have broken toes and bruises on my shins on a fairly regular basis. My family says I’m klutzy but I know it’s just that my head is an interesting place. This inattention to what my body is up to has led to some issues. I need to lose weight (can you say sedentary job?) and I have aches and pains I didn’t use to have so over the next year I’m committed to getting in better shape and taking better care of myself.

Healthy writer weekly posts are born! Ugh.

This week my goal is to move for an hour at least a day. Go to spin, walk, lift some weights or do some HIIT exercise. You’re impressed that I know what HIIT is right? Just so you know, I read blogs. I don’t do what they say but I read them.

I’m changing my diet too. My whole family is, thankfully, on the bandwagon otherwise this would be tough. The goal will be to eat more of a plant-based diet, more healthy fats and change my eating window. More on that in a later post.

Also, I’m reading The Healthy Writer by Joanna Penn and Dr. Euan Lawson. Lots of great information on creating a healthier lifestyle as a writer. I’m getting so much out of it and I’m not even halfway through.

I will report back next Monday with my movement results and with the next Healthy Writer post.

Sigh. I really should have thought this through better…

Let me know in the comments what you’re doing to keep yourself healthy while you spend your days writing. What is your favorite way to get your ‘steps’ in? I’d love to hear about it.


P.S. The affiliate links in this post pay a small commission and cost you nothing. Thanks for supporting Confused and Terrified Writer by using my affiliate links! =)



Visual Content Marketing for Authors Class

I’m so excited to share with you the commercial I’ve created for my Visual Content Marketing class using Animoto! Creating this video using Animoto software was simple and so easy. Not to be braggy here but I was really impressed with how it turned out after just a short time working with it

This whole visual content thing is a continual learning experience. Trying out new tools is one of my favorite parts of teaching visual content and this one is awesome!

I’ll be adding a video to the class all about how I did it. Animoto is my new favorite tool!

 Here is the link to the class:

 Visual Content Marketing for Authors 

Best Gifts For The Writer In Your Life

The word is I’m hard to buy a gift for. And maybe all writers are. I’m told that normal people have no idea what goes on in our heads.

I decided to spend some time thinking about why no one seems to know how to give a writer a gift.  What would make buying for us creative types easy?

Of course, research was called for. I checked with my writer friends, my readers and asked in my Facebook groups. This list, while of course, not complete,  is a list of things I heard over and over again.

So here you go normal-not-writer-types, this by category is what I came up with for you to get that very special writer in your life…

**Some of the links in the following article are affiliate links for which I’m paid a small commission but costs you nothing additional. For my full disclosure statement click here.**

First up? Software…


So far the most versatile writing software available for writers.  This software makes it possible to plot, plan, research and format all in one place. This one piece of, very reasonably priced, software has upped my productivity and made the whole novel writing experience so much easier than using Word or some other word processing software.  I love it so much that I’ve created a free class for it for my readers.

Scrivener Basics

There is a learning curve to Scrivener so if you are buying this for the writer in your life feel free to send them to my class so they can get started quick and easy with short video lessons, learning only the skills they need at there own pace for FREE.


If your writer is getting ready to indie publish and owns a Mac, this is a lifesaver. Vellum formats print and ebooks in all the needed formats and makes the entire process so easy. I want to kiss the guys that created Vellum. (I won’t of course, even if I meet them at a conference but I will probably gush like a fangirl)  This software is an indie authors dream.  It’s a bit more pricey than Scrivener but it is a powerful tool and pays for itself by the time you’ve published a book or two.


I’m really into productivity and streamlining my writing process so these two books by Chris Fox, in particular, have been extremely helpful.

Lifelong Writing Habit    and    5000 Words Per Hour

These books were amazing for my productivity and helped me to develop better writing habits. Chris is the real deal. Look him up here to see the kind of amazingness he’s accomplished and shared with his readers. Your writer will love him!

On Writing by Stephen King


This was the first book I read about writing that wasn’t assigned for a class in school. The first half is his autobiography where he talks about his childhood,  how he became a writer, and his harrowing accident that almost killed him.  The second half is his advice on writing. When I read this book I felt like I was sitting in a room with Stephen King while he shared with me his story and his writing secrets. I recommend buying this one in print for your writer because if they’re a nerdy learner like me they will want to make notes.

This next book is by a writer who also teaches other writers. She has a fabulous podcast and has published numerous nonfiction books on the craft of writing. This one, in particular, is all about characters

Creating Character Arcs by KM Weiland and (Nerd Alert we authors love these!) the Workbook to go with it!  Books on the craft of writing are always welcome. I find most writers to be lifelong learners and we’re always looking for ways to improve so these kinds of gifts are perfect, trust me.

To go along with these I’ve picked out some stuff to go with the books that all writers love:

Bullet Journal

Happy Planner


Generally speaking, all writers love paper,  pens, and ways to organize their time. The way to a writers heart is through office supplies and these are easy and good quality.

Conventions and Writing Groups…

These are always welcome to any writer. Writing is a solitary job so we love to get together with other writers and learn more about our craft and the business of writing. Honestly just being with other people who don’t look at you like you’re a nut when you tell them about the voices in your head is a gift in itself.

I always start with my peeps.

Romance Writers of America. Even if your writer doesn’t write romance RWA has an unequaled educational program. Romance writers are some of the hardest working writers out there and they love to share their knowledge with other writers.

They have a huge convention every year that is full of amazing authors and teachers and tons of people in the business. Your writer will come home from the RWA conference with a head full of knowledge and you will be the one that sent them there. That’s got to be good for some ‘you’re the best’ points for you!

RWA National Conference

List of Chapter Conferences these are smaller and more affordable so if there is one close to you these are really good options for a first conference so as not to be overwhelmed by National, which is huge!

Writer’s Digest also puts on a good conference. I haven’t attended this one but friends have recommended it and it appeals to all genres of writing.

RWA has local chapters and other events for your writer to attend throughout the year and Writer’s Digest has a publication that is available as well.

Writing Classes…

One of the classes I’ve found to be incredibly helpful and fun is MasterClass. They have a selection of video-based writing classes given by famous writers and this year they are offering an All Access Pass to all their classes for a very reasonable price.

I’ve personally taken the Shonda Rhimes Television Writing class and loved it.

Book Marketing Class…

I’m  offering 40% off to the readers of this post for my Visual Content Marketing for Authors class. If your writer is struggling with book marketing my class can help with that. Along with a private Facebook group for questions and critique.

I love to help other authors move forward in their career and visual content marketing is a great way to do that.

Here is a quick video

Any of those writing classes will be a hit with your writer. And giving all of them? Big points for you!

One of the biggest topics in writing circles now is mentoring and coaching. Individual and group coaching to bring your writing to the next level.

Is your writer having trouble getting to ‘The End’? Coaching can be really affordable and incredibly helpful to keep your writer on track.

WriteNowWorkshops offers one on one coaching to get that book finished! Your writer will be over the moon.

The last two are gifts that when I posted my question to my writer peeps about what they wanted, popped up the most.


Dedicated writing space. I understand that everyone has limitations on space in their homes but if as a gift you could give your writer space or better yet a room to write you would be in. If your writer doesn’t have that now I guarantee that is on the top of their gift list!

Here are some ideas from my Writing Space Pinterest Board

And last but not least?


For the modern writer who most likely has to work a day job and/or is busy raising children, running a household or just having a life, carving time out to write is difficult.  If you can think of a time in your writer’s schedule that they could consistently have that time just for their writing, give it to them.

Create a coupon book or a gift certificate that says Writing Time – 4 hours a week on Saturday mornings or whatever works for your family schedule. Encourage them to make time and to keep it. Don’t allow other family members to interrupt unless it’s life-threatening. Make sure they know what’s important to them is important to you. That would be the best gift of all!

Happy Gifting!






Using Scrivener For #NaNoWriMo #ScrivenerBasics

We’re coming up on NaNoWriMo like a freight train and I know everyone is getting nervous and excited. I’ve launched a free Scrivener class to help get your first document either set up or exported into Scrivener along with tips and tricks on that make Scrivener a powerful productivity tool.

Along with this if you sign up for the class you will have access to my free Confused and  Terrified Writer Facebook Group where you can ask questions and get help with your writing projects.

Here’s a quick video overview of the free class! And here is the link to sign up:

Scrivener Basics

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5 Reasons To Love Scrivener


I love Scrivener.  If the subject comes up I turn into a ridiculous gushing fangirl when describing how much I love it and why. I’d been trying to explain my nerdy love of this particular writing software to a group of writers a while back and they finally broke down and let me show them why. I taught a whole class on the reasons why I love it and how to use it. Shortly after it dawned on me that I should share this information with you, my readers.

Of course, there are way more than five reasons but these are my top five.

1. Setting up your book into individual scenes.  When I wrote my first book I did what most new writers do. I wrote it in Microsoft Word. That meant one long running document that made finding what I was looking for difficult and screwing up my document easy. When I discovered Scrivener before starting my second book I was amazed. There was a learning curve but just the idea of being able to break up my novel into scenes and being able to move them around and put them all back together was AWESOME!

2. Importing an existing document.  Most times by the time writers find Scrivener they’ve already started a manuscript.  Once I figured out how easy this was I was sold. The figuring it out took a little while but now that I know, I’m sold! Easy peasy.

3. Compiling a document.  This is one of the best features of Scrivener. You can save your work in many different formats and in many different places. You can put different parts of your document together, add notes, print, and format it all with one little button.  I use this for the many ways I back up my manuscript daily. I cannot say enough how many times this has been a saving grace. No joke.

4.  Project Targets.  Keeping track of your word count, project count and daily session count. This feature is a whiz of a productivity tool. Set your deadline for your project and you can see exactly how many words a day you must write to accomplish your goal. Deadlines are incredibly motivating for me so I adore this feature. And it’s sooooooo easy!

5. Corkboard/Outline View.  Putting each scene onto a virtual index card and being able to move them around however you want? Seriously cool. Being able to see a list of your outline with a touch of a button? This feature makes plotting simple, easy to move, add information, change and color code.

These features are only the beginning of what you can do in Scrivener. Can you tell I’m a fan?

A solution to the learning curve

If you’re put off by Scrivener because it’s one more piece of software to learn I  have a  solution for you. I’ve put together a Free course called Scrivener Basics.  The course teaches the bare bones of Scrivener with short videos and in a way that will make it easy to learn. You can choose what you want to know and get started quickly.

Sign up in the box below to get Scrivener Basics for free!