Advice to Myself as a Young Writer

Advice to Myself as a Young Writer

I’ve been thinking a lot about nurturing lately, especially dealing with the kiddos. How do I direct them to discover their talents and follow their dreams? It’s easy to just say, “Hey, kid, follow your dreams,” but that really isn’t enough. You have to provide guidance and an environment that allows for exploration.

So how does this translate to writing? I went back to the first big writing project I did: a series of 14-15 page stories (hand-written on 8.5 x 11 notebook paper) back in middle school. I was a big mystery reader, and of course, I thought I had read so many books that I could easily write one myself. Continue reading

The Right Energy for Writing

Have you ever noticed that when you have a rough day, you just don’t feel like writing? Maybe you sit down at your desk and push yourself anyway. If you actually type anything though and don’t end up tossing your laptop against the wall, when you go back later and read it, is it any good?

Probably not.

There is a good reason for this. You are in the wrong energy for writing.

When you aren’t in the flow of your best energy, then you aren’t going to write like you. It can feel forced, frustrated, angry. And worst of all, when you read it later, that energy shines through. You don’t want to read it, and no one else will either.

The best thing you can do is to actually put yourself in the mood for writing. Continue reading

How Authors Stay Focused When They Write from Home

How Authors Stay Focused When They Write from Home

“What are you talking about, crazy lady? My book is my total focus! I eat, breathe, and sleep this story!”

Sure you do. Now. But what happens when writer’s block creeps in? Or you start smelling funny? Keeping your nose to the grindstone isn’t a practical long-term work method, is it?

Our inspiration may ebb and flow, but that doesn’t mean that our time devoted to our craft should. Especially when you work from home, your personal life can become a problematic distraction from your work, and that is never a good thing. Continue reading

Finding Balance so You Can Focus on Writing

Finding Balance so You Can Focus on Writing

This past weekend, I went to a three-day women’s retreat for leadership and business. Each of the five women who went spoke on a topic that would resonate with the group, all of us being entrepreneurs. I talked about how to write about yourself, for bios or about pages, because so many people have confessed to being stressed by just thinking about it. One of the other women talked about a book called The One Thing, and ideas from that book have permeated my thoughts since.

Watering it down (a lot): the author states that we should focus on one thing and do it well. Naturally, I was conflicted. Part of my job is to advise people on how to write books, and most of those people are doing multiple things, not just one. Stolen moments away from work, housework, friends, and family are usually how we cobble together a novel.

How can we expect to write to the best of our ability if we should truly focus on “one thing”? Continue reading

How to Start Writing a Book

How to Start Writing a Book

A few weeks ago, I spoke at Jefferson Primary School in West Virginia, and I asked the kids what they thought authors did when they decided to start writing a book. The answers varied with each class I spoke to, and I got several different answers from each group. Honestly, these kids gave me some great responses!

My favorites were “come up with an idea to write about” and “do some research.” These kids got it, and they were only between five and ten years old.

Most people realize that you don’t just sit down at your desk and start writing. (Though, honestly, how cool would it be to sit down and bang away at your keyboard, writing your entire novel perfectly stream-of-conscious?) There is a process. You have things to consider before you get too far into your story. You want to make sure that you are on point so you don’t invest time writing half a novel only to discover that you are writing to the wrong audience or something doesn’t align with your purpose. Continue reading

My Best Writing and Editing Advice for 2016

My Best Writing and Editing Advice for 2016

For my 2016 wrap-up, I’ve sorted through all my blogs and pulled out the best advice for writers, from setting yourself up to write with the correct mindset to mitigating writer’s block to editing like a pro. Here are the best juicy tidbits, as well as links to the full blog post for more details.

Enjoy! And make the most of the last few days of 2016 by thinking about your writing! Continue reading

Long After English 101: Writing More Maturely

Long After English 101: Writing More Maturely

If you aren’t used to writing since your days in academia, then you may have a very rigid idea of how to write, which could include the structure of an argument, the use of pronouns, or what you’re supposed to—or not supposed to—talk about.

Don’t throw those conventions out the window, but understand that there is more than one way to write. The way you were taught in English 101 was a simple structure for everyone to learn how to develop their writing. As you mature as a writer, these rules are meant to guide you down the right path. Continue reading

3 Bits of Advice for Young Writers

3 Bits of Advice for Young Writers

Over the weekend, I held the book launch for all six of my books. Considering that I’m new to the author thing, it went well! Several people showed up, and I sold a few books. Connecting with readers was nice. It made me feel like all the hard work was worthwhile. I finally feel like I’m getting somewhere with my writing. It’s liberating!

One of my buyers was a girl in middle school, the same age as Martina Mackenzie, the main character in my middle grade fantasy series. Her mother said that she’s a good writer and asked me what advice I would give her, so I thought I should share what I said, from the perspective of a new author and experienced writer/editor. Continue reading

Sweeten the Experience: Develop a Richer Connection with Readers of Inspiring Non-fiction

Sweeten the Experience: Connecting with Readers of Inspiring Non-Fiction
When I sat down to write this post, I started thinking about my experience editing non-fiction. It’s actually how I got started in my business, and I’m pretty proud of what I’ve done so far this year: I’ve already edited four non-fiction works that became best-sellers for two different authors. Wow! (I’m even surprising myself.)

In less than seven months, I’ve had the pleasure of editing four non-fiction best-sellers from these authors, and it’s been an amazing experience for me. Not only was I able to shape the construction and lovingly encourage the verbiage as it developed, but I also gained insight and inspiration from the books. If you’re curious about them, please refer to my portfolio page, which links to places to purchase the books.

When you’re writing inspiring non-fiction, it can be easy to fall into a didactic tone where you are instructing your reader to follow steps to achieve or a story-telling pattern where you tell the reader what happened for the bulk of the book. Let’s take a step back from that, though. Do you think that your reader will truly feel engaged if you are talking at them like that? What sort of experience do you want your readers to take away from the book? Can you inspire them while making them feel like they personally know you, like they were there for the event, or like they have a connection with your story? Continue reading

Quick Tips to Spark a Creative Mindset + Free Download

Quick Tips to Spark a Creative Mindset
How do you get inspired?

That’s a pretty broad question, but it’s one that I think a lot of writers hear. We are mysterious creatures, and the masses want to know how we tick.

For me, the answer varies by the day, and the impetus waxes and wanes with the source of inspiration. The strongest source by far, though, is reading. When I read other stories, it makes me want to participate in the global discussion, the call from literature that draws forth our imaginations. Authors like Edgar Allan Poe, Wilkie Collins, H. Rider Haggard, Salman Rushdie, Christopher Paolini, Neil Gaiman, and others fuel my fantastic thoughts, sending me on journeys across ‘scapes that only belong in the artist’s brain or in the pages of a novel.

As a busy mom and entrepreneur, though, finding time to read a book that doesn’t have cartoons of princesses and funny animals across the pages is pretty rare, so typically, that’s not where I get inspiration anymore.

So what stirs my imagination now? Three main things: clever movies, personal experience and other writers. Continue reading