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This week’s top writing advice from around the web for Jan. 23
I subscribe to dozens of writing advice sites and new advice articles come into my news reader at a steady pace. You can see some of my favorites at my Writing Advice Sites resource page.
Here are the best writing advice posts from this previous week. Occasionally I include an RSS feed. To subscribe to an RSS feed, add the feed URL to your RSS reader app. The most popular is Feedly, which is the one that I use. It has a website and mobile apps, and it keeps track of which articles you’ve read, synched across all your devices.
This week, I’ve decided to divide the list into three categories.
The first, for the beginning writer, is about getting the writing process down. Finding time to write, discovering your own writing rituals, learning how to overcome your inner critics, fighting writer’s block, and how to finish what you start. Experienced writers sometimes hit these speedbumps as well, but they can kill a career for a new writer before it even starts.
Second, for the writer who’s already started getting the hang of the mechanics of getting the words down on paper, is improving the quality of the writing. Of course, you can’t improve writing if you don’t have any to improve, so the previous step is critical. But once you’re getting words down, you can start asking yourself if they’re the right words, or maybe you can find better words. And you can even start thinking about sentences, paragraphs, scenes, chapters, plots, character arcs — all that stuff that goes into writing readable work. And even experienced writers probably have areas where they can improve, or new things to learn.
Finally, for the writer who’s finished stories or books that are ready for the public, there’s the question of finding your publishing platform, producing the actual book, finding copyeditors and cover artists, marketing, and advertising. For beginning writers these are mostly theoretical questions, but for experienced writers, they are critical for success. And the answers keep changing as the industry changes, so staying on top of things is critical.
So here we go.
Productivity, mood management, and battling the demons inside
Practice Beats Procrastination: a Writer’s Suggestion by Sweta Srivastava Vikram
Writing is not your bed that you show up to at the end of the day after you have done everything else. You can’t fight writer’s block if you don’t have a time slot in your day or week to show up to your writing with devotion. Sweta Srivastava Vikram is a best-selling author and mindset coach. If you want more advice like this, check out Vikram’s website, Sweta Vikram, or follow her on Facebook at @Words.By.Sweta and on Twitter at @swetavikram. Women Writers, Women’s Books is an online literary magazine by and about contemporary women writers from around the world. Follow them via their RSS feed (direct Feedly link here).
Are You A High-Anxiety Perfectionist Writer? Then It’s Likely You Were Raised By A Narcissistic Parent by Lauren Sapala
There is a certain type of writer who not only struggles with the fear of judgment, but is completely paralyzed by it. This type of writer often reports extremely high levels of anxiety when they even think about showing someone else what they’ve written. There is hope though. You’re not doomed to be a blocked writer forever. You can get past severe perfectionism, but you’re going to have to do it in a way that focuses on healing and safe exploration. Lauren Sapala is a writer and a writing coach. For more advice like this, follow her on Twitter at @losapala, on Facebook at @LaurenSapala, and on YouTube at Lauren Sapala. At LaurenSapala.com, Sapala offers writing advice, courses, and coaching services.
Two A-Ha Moments That Boosted My Writing Confidence by Jenny Hansen
If you have any hope of finishing something as big as a book, your list of goals has to be broken down into much smaller steps. Jenny Hansen is a fiction writer. Check out Hansen’s personal blog, More Cowbell, on follow her on Facebook at @JennyHansenAuthor. Writers in the Storm is another great site for writing advice, with a group of regular contributors and guest writers who post frequently. It is very well worth following on RSS (direct Feedly signup link here).
Finding The Path To Authenticity by Barbara Linn Probst
What makes a story “authentic”— makes it seem so real and alive that the reader forgets she’s holding an object called a book and, instead, feels as if she’s living the story along with the characters? Award-winning author Barbara Linn Probst writes literary fiction and blogs around writing. To learn more, visit her website at BarbaraLinnProbst.com/. Follow her on Facebook at Barbara Linn Probst. Writer Unboxed is a fantastic writing advice site, with lots of helpful articles from some of the biggest names in the field. Follow them on RSS (direct Feedly signup link) and on Twitter.
Still Isolated? You’Re Not Alone Though by Marilyn L. Davis
Writing is an isolated and solitary job. But with COVID, this isolated writing is more challenging because it was imposed on us. We didn’t have much choice, and most of us want to have some semblance of choice in our activities. Marilyn L. Davis is the editor-in-chief at Two Drops of Ink. Follow her on Twitter at @MDavisatTIERS. Two Drops of Ink publishes short stories, poetry, essays, interviews, literary criticism, book reviews, and biographical profiles of authors. Follow them on Facebook at @TwoDropsofInk. Subscribe to them via their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link here).
Other motivational advice this week:
- The Pros And Cons Of Writing Exercises by Joshua Isard for LitReactor
- How To Learn To Write by Dave King for Writer Unboxed
- Find Joy And Creativity Again With Small Steps by Margo Dill for WOW! Women On Writing Blog
- Is Writer’s Block A Thing?: The Writer’s Block Expose by William L. Hahn for Anne R. Allen’s Blog… with Ruth Harris
The art and craft of writing
Want Your Characters To Stand Out? Give Them A Skill by Angela Ackerman
One specific area of characterization that can help you individualize your character is talents and skills. Writers Helping Writers co-founder Angela Ackerman is a writing coach, international speaker, and co-author of the bestselling book, The Emotion Thesaurus and its many sequels. I own a copy of this book and use it frequently, and highly recommend it. Follow Ackerman on Twitter at @AngelaAckerman. Writers in the Storm is another great site for writing advice, with a group of regular contributors and guest writers who post frequently. It is very well worth following on RSS (direct Feedly signup link here).
The definition of story arcs, a look at the six most commonly found story arcs in literature and how to use them in your writing, and which story arcs are the most successful. Joe Bunting is a book coach, an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. Follow him on Instagram at @jhbunting. The Write Practice is an advice site from a group of writers. They also have a writing critique community and a newsletter. Follow The Write Practice on Twitter, on Facebook, or subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link).
Outline A Short Story In Seven Steps by Chris Winkle
An easy-to-use formula for writing short stories. This is the second edition of this formula, with more tips, more options, and further reading. Chris Winkle is the founder and editor-in-chief of Mythcreants. Mythcreants is my all-time favorite writing advice site. Get their RSS feed here (direct Feedly signup link) or follow them on Twitter @Mythcreants and on Facebook at @mythcreants.
Other writing advice this week:
- The Six Word Test by Scott Myers for Go Into The Story
- Novel Problems: Finding Solutions In Revision by Lynne Reeves Griffin for Women Writers, Women’s Books
- “Perfect To Me”: How Self-Editing Can Take Your Novel To The Next Stage by Michelle Barker for Writers Helping Writers
- Using Physical Pain To Show A Character’s Past Trauma by Lisa Hall Wilson for Writers Helping Writers
- Should You Kill Off A Character? by Ty Cohen for Writer’s Life.org
- What Is A B Story? 6 Key Qualities Of B Stories by September C. Fawkes for September C. Fawkes
- How To Show, Not Tell by Ryan Lanz for A Writer’s Path
- Plots: Typing Up The Loose Ends by Niki Kantzios for Florida Writers Association Blog
- How To Write Your Character’S Happiest Moment by H. Duke for The Writersaurus
- Scene Writing: Omit Throat Clearing by Linda S. Clare for Linda S. Clare
- Proofreading Tools: 5 Grammar-Friendly Resources For Writers by Jackie Pearce for Make a Living Writing
- No Really. Show. Don’t Tell. by Barb Geiger for DIY MFA
- Focus On Format: How Do I Write A Flashback Within A Flashback? by Lucy V Hay for Bang2write
- The Expanded Ultimate Story Checklist: Does The Hero Discover An Intimidating Opportunity To Fix The Problem? by Matt Bird for The Secrets of Story
- The Expanded Ultimate Story Checklist: Does This Problem Become Undeniable Due To A Social Humiliation At The Beginning Of The Story? by Matt Bird for The Secrets of Story
- Relationship Thesaurus Entry: Fling by Angela Ackerman for Writers Helping Writers
- Does A Main Character Need To Be Likeable? by Edie Melson for The Write Conversation
- How Viable Are Whip Swords In Actual Combat? by Michael Schwarz for How to Fight Write
- The Expanded Ultimate Story Checklist: Does The Hero Hesitate Until The Stakes Are Raised? by Matt Bird for The Secrets of Story
- Become A More Observant Writer With These 7 Tips by Edie Melson for The Write Conversation
- Book Review: Ready, Set, Write — A Guide To Creative Writing By Melissa Donovan by Deborah Lyn for Writers On The Move
The business side of writing
How To Plan And Host Worthwhile Online Book Events by Jane Friedman
Learn best practices for online book events, regardless of the platform you’re using. Jane Friedman is an expert in digital media strategy for authors and publishers and publishes The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors. She is also a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. Her book for creative writers, The Business of Being a Writer, received a starred review from Library Journal. Follow her on Twitter at @JaneFriedman. For more advice from the Jane Friedman writing advice site, subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link here).
Amazon’s A+ Content Now Available To Authors And Publishers by Susan U. Neal
Recently, Amazon offered small publishers and self-published authors the opportunity to improve their book’s product page with visuals and enhanced marketing to overcome a buyer’s hesitation. You can create and post rich images, charts, and additional product details to help customers choose to purchase your product. According to Amazon, the A+ Content can increase your sales by 3 to 10 percent. Award-winning nonfiction author Susan Neal writes about health and wellness. Find out more at SusanUNeal.com or follow her on Facebook at @ScriptureYoga or on Twitter @SusanNealYoga. The Write Conversation frequently makes the top lists of writing advice blogs. Follow them via their RSS feed (direct Feedly link here).
An easy-to-understand overview of the best practices around marketing books. The most important one? Having at least 20 books on your author page.
Joslyn Chase is a thriller writer — you can see all her books on Amazon here and follow her on Facebook here. The Write Practice is an advice site from a group of writers. They also have a writing critique community and a newsletter. Follow The Write Practice on Twitter, on Facebook, or subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link).
Other business advice this week:
- When To Rethink Your Dream Agent by Bookends for BookEnds Literary Agency
- Book Piracy: What Indie Authors Should Do When A Print Book Gets Pirated by Rob Biesenbach for Self Publishing Advice
- Building A Writing Practice: What They Didn’t Teach Us About Titles At School by Libby Walkup for Craft Your Content
- The Pizza Pie Theory Of Selling Books by Brian Jud for Self Published Author
- Things I Wish I Knew Before I Published: Part I by Lynette Burrows for Writers In The Storm
- How To Write A Good Bio: 4 Tips by Robyn Roste for Craft – The Write Life
- Getting Your Work Out–How To Choose Your Best Avenue For The Time, Money, And Effort by Mary Carroll Moore for How to Plan, Write, and Develop a Book
- From Speaker To Writer Or Writer To Speaker? by Edie Melson for The Write Conversation
- Article Marketing To Sell Books And Build Your Platform by Edie Melson for The Write Conversation
- The 5 Best Book Marketing Questions To Ask A Publicity Company by Penny Sansevieri for Author Marketing Experts, Inc.
- How To Sell More Books Using The Global Reading Habits Of 2021 by Penny Sansevieri for Author Marketing Experts, Inc.
- Ai Will Make Writers Unnecessary… Or Maybe Not? by Peter Rey for Peter Rey
- 5 Freakishly Helpful Amazon Tricks Every Author Should Use by Shayla Raquel for Shayla Raquel
- How Writers Can Apply Business Tools To Their Writing by Katherine Quevedo for Writer’s Digest
- Get Published With The Latest Market Books Editions by Robert Lee Brewer for Writer’s Digest
- How To Avoid Bad Editing by Tiffany Yates Martin for FoxPrint Editorial
- Growing Your Writing Practice by Deborah Lyn for Writers On The Move
- Branding & Attention: Busy Brains In A Busy World by Kristen Lamb for Kristen Lamb
- Using Short Videos To Sell Books! – By Kristy-Leigh Avery by Brian Whiddon – Managing Editor for WritersWeekly.com
- Making It Mine: How I Kept My Virtual Book Launch Fresh by Caitlin Hamilton Summie for Women Writers, Women’s Books
- Tagline – How To Use It In Stories by Stavros Halvatzis for Stavros Halvatzis
How To Find Your Inner Genius With Kelly Trach by Sacha Black
Sacha Black talks to business coach and author Kelly Trach all about finding your inner genius. Trach is the author of P.S. You’re a Genius: An Unconventional Guide To Finding Your Innate Gifts (Even When You Feel Like You Have None). Sacha Black is a fantasy author and writing coach, with several writing advice books including 13 Steps to Evil: How to Craft Superbad Villains (Better Writers Series) May 9, 2017. Follow her on her website, Sacha Black, on Facebook at @Sacha Black or on Twitter at @sacha_black. Sacha Black is a site that offers writing advice, courses, and podcasts. Follow the site via their RSS feed (direct Feedly link here).
How To Build A Publishing Team by Orna Ross And Dan Parsons
A good book is always a team effort. As a beginner author, it can be tempting to either try to handle everything yourself or totally hand over control to a publishing service. Neither is most likely to bring you a successful publishing business. Orna Ross is a novelist, poet, self-publishing advocate, and founder and director of the Alliance of Independent Authors. Follow her on Twitter at @OrnaRoss. Dan Parsons is the production manager at the Alliance of Independent Authors. writes the Creative Business series for authors and bestselling fantasy and horror novels. Check out his website at DanielParsonsBooks.com or follow him on Twitter at @dkparsonswriter and on Facebook at @Dan Parsons. Self Publishing Advice is the advice center of the Alliance of Independent Authors. If you want more advice like this, subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link).
Other podcasts from this past week:
- The Craft Of Revision – Interview With William Germano by Gabriela Pereira for DIY MFA
- Dealing With Burnout And Writer’s Block As An Author by Lindsay Buroker for Six Figure Authors
- Episode 406 – Harlequin Plus, Six-Figure Direct Selling, And Getting Out Of Your Own Way (With Phoebe Ravencraft) by Bryan Cohen And H. Claire Taylor for Sell More Books Show
- Author Platform And Book Launch Essentials by Dan Blank for WeGrowMedia
How Much Is Too Much Editing? by Daphne Gray-Grant
Today’s question is how much is too much editing? Daphne Gray-Grant is a writing coach, author of Your Happy First Draft, and host of The Write Question show on YouTube. Publication Coach offers books, courses, videos, and one-on-one coaching for authors. If you want more advice like this, subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link) or follow them on Twitter at @pubcoach or subscribe to their YouTube channel.
Book Signing Event Tips by Julie Broad
What do you need to do to prepare for that book signing event so you look like a professional? Julie Broad heads up a team of self-publishing experts at Book Launchers. Book Launchers is mostly aimed at non-fiction book authors, but with useful advice for fiction authors as well. You can also follow them on Facebook at @booklaunchers and on Twitter at @booklaunchers. And, of course, subscribe to their YouTube channel.
Surprising Facts About Book Categories On Amazon by Julie Broad
When your book is ready for upload on Amazon you’ll be faced with choosing the book categories on Amazon. What might surprise many authors is the fact that Amazon categories are different by type of book and different by country. You have to do book category research on Amazon in multiple ways to ensure you have a better chance of placing your book where you want it. Julie Broad heads up a team of self-publishing experts at Book Launchers. Book Launchers is mostly aimed at non-fiction book authors, but with useful advice for fiction authors as well. You can also follow them on Facebook at @booklaunchers and on Twitter at @booklaunchers. And, of course, subscribe to their YouTube channel.
Use This Secret Weapon To Empower Your Stories! by Stavros Halvatzis
How to use the grand surprise as a genre-bending mechanism to make your stories memorable. Stavros Halvatzis is a writer and writing teacher. Get Writing is Stavros Halvatzis’s YouTube channel. For more advice like this, check out StavrosHalvatzis.com or follow himvia his RSS feed (direct Feedly link here).
Other videos from this past week:
- Everything Is Figureoutable & How To Be A Time Genius While Writing Your Book With Marie Forleo by Chandler Bolt for Self Publishing School
- Copyediting For Authors With Kristin N. Spencer by Kristina Adams for The Writer’s Cookbook
Am I missing any writing advice sites? Email me at [email protected].
Edited by Melody Friedenthal
MetaStellar publisher and news editor Maria Korolov is a science fiction novelist who, at her day job, covers artificial intelligence, extended reality and cybersecurity as a freelance technology journalist. See her Amazon author page here and follow her on Twitter here or on Facebook, or LinkedIn. Email her at [email protected].