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This week’s top writing advice from around the web for Feb. 27
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
You Really Want To Be A Writer. So Why Do You Have So Many Problems Actually Writing? by Lauren Sapala
Being a writer is hard work, any writer can tell you that. But what many writers won’t tell you is exactly how deep their writing problems go. There are countless writers out there who deal with constant guilt and shame around the writing process. 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.
Dear Writer, What Causes Burnout? by Kris Maze
Overview of the various causes of burnout and advice for how to recover from it. Kris Maze writes young adult dystopian fiction. You can find her young adult horror stories and keep up with her author events at KrisMazeAuthor.com. 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).
How To Make Writer’s Block Work For You by Niki Kantzios
Writer’s block (shudder). Nobody needs to tell us wordfolk how painful and frustrating that condition that freezes up our creativity can be. But you know the old saying: “When life hands you a lemon, make lemonade.” Yes, fellow authors, even writer’s block can be put to good use. Archeologist Niki Kantzios writes a series of novels set in the Late Bronze Age Mediterranean. Check out her website, NLHolmes.com, or follow her on Facebook at @nlholmesbooks and on Twitter at @nlholmesbooks. The Florida Writers Association is a great resource for writers, with a very active advice blog. Follow the Florida Writers Association via their RSS feed (direct Feedly link here), on Facebook at Florida Writers Association and on Twitter at @FloridaWriters1.
Other motivational advice this week:
- Are You Writing For Art Or Money by C Hope Clark for FundsforWriters
- 11 Ways To See Your Writing In A New Light by Dawn Field for BookBaby Blog
- The Motivating Factor: Tips And Tricks To Motivate & Inspire Your Writing by Kris Schoewe for Craft Your Content
- Writer Warnings: Steps To Avoid The Dreaded Burnout by Kris Maze for Writers In The Storm
- 5 Tips For Social Media Detox by Lisa Norman for Writers In The Storm
- Do You Need Quiet Or Noise To Do Your Best Writing? by Mary Carroll Moore for How to Plan, Write, and Develop a Book
- How To Banish Writing Fears: The Cure For What If Disease by Edie Melson for The Write Conversation
- Common Writing Obstacles (Part 2): Talent Vs Learning by Edie Melson for The Write Conversation
- One Struggle This Introverted Writer Faces by Edie Melson for The Write Conversation
- Letting Go Of Rejection, Literally by Deanna Cabinian for Writer Unboxed
- The Rewards Of Writing Epic Fantasy Fiction (After Writing In Another Genre) by G.R. Macallister for Writer’s Digest
- How To Start Writing A Book: 7 Simple Steps To Start Today by Scott Allan for Self Publishing School
- If You Can Dream It, You Can Write It by Edie Melson for The Write Conversation
The art and craft of writing
Improbable Action? How To Render It Believable by Stavros Halvatzis
In his book, Film Scriptwriting: A Practical Manual, Dwight V. Swain offers us two principles that underpin verisimilitude in stories – justification for everything that happens in the tale and a proportional response from the character to the events that confront him. Stavros Halvatzis is a writer and writing teacher. For more advice like this, check out StavrosHalvatzis.com or follow him via his RSS feed (direct Feedly link here).
9 Ways To Approach Relationship Dynamics In Fiction by K. M. Weiland
Creating an amazing supporting cast that can offer important relationship dynamics in fiction will also help develop your protagonist. K. M. Weiland is one of my favorite writing advice people, and the award-winning author of acclaimed writing guides such as Structuring Your Novel and Creating Character Arcs. If you want more advice like this, subscribe to her blog, Helping Writers Become Authors, via its RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link). You can also follow her on Twitter @KMWeiland and on Facebook @kmweiland.author. Helping Writers Become Authors is one of our favorite writing advice sites. Follow it via its RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link), on Twitter, and on Facebook.
The Drama, Humor, And Horror Are In The Details by Scott Mccormick
For laughs, scares, tears, and thrills, nothing brings out emotions and draws in your readers like the little details in your writing. Scott McCormick is the author the Audible bestselling Rivals! series and the hit fantasy novel The Dragon Squisher. BookBaby bills itself as the nation’s leading self-publishing services company. For more advice like this, subscribe to their RSS feed (directly Feedly link here), or follow them on Facebook at @BookBaby or on Twitter at @BookBaby.
Five Clever Techniques For Writers To Make Your Audience Care by Zena Dell Lowe
How do you make your readers care about your main character’s journey? Zena Dell Lowe has worked professionally in the entertainment industry for over 20 years as a writer, producer, director, actress, and story consultant. The Write Conversation frequently makes the top lists of writing advice blogs. Follow them via their RSS feed (direct Feedly link here).
First drafts are ugly, as they’re intended to be. Frankly, if your first draft isn’t full of run-on sentences, plot holes, and poorly developed characters, you might be doing something wrong. With the hardest part done, you turn to your second draft—but how do you write a second draft? J.D. Edwin is a sci-fi author. Follow Edwin on Facebook @JDEdwinAuthor, and on Twitter @JDEdwinAuthor. Her website is JDEdwin.com. 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).
Five Common Weapon Mistakes In Speculative Fiction by Oren Ashkenazi
Most writers aren’t weapons experts, but we can still get better at depicting fights. Oren Ashkenazi is a speculative fiction manuscript editor at 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.
How To Write Three Types Of Friendship Arcs by Chris Winkle
A great friendship can add meaning and emotional depth to your story. 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.
Is Your Protagonist Focused On The Wrong Goal? by Tiffany Yates Martin
If you’re struggling with story momentum, stakes, plot, or character arc, analyze your character’s goals and make sure you’ve defined not just the secondary goal, but the primary one that underlies, powers, and drives it. Tiffany Yates Martin has spent nearly thirty years as an editor in the publishing industry, working with major publishers and New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling and award-winning authors as well as indie and newer writers, and is the founder of FoxPrint Editorial and author of the bestseller Intuitive Editing: A Creative and Practical Guide to Revising Your Writing. FoxPrint Editorial offers online courses, workshops and presentations, and advice to authors.
Other writing advice this week:
- You Are Not Your Traumas. But Here’s How To Write About Them by Lisa Cooper Ellison for Jane Friedman
- When To Kill A Character by Angela Ackerman for Writers Helping Writers
- Dramatize Conflicting Wants by September Fawkes for September C. Fawkes
- To Cliffhanger Or Not To Cliffhanger, That Is The Question by Sara Butler Zalesky for A Writer’s Path
- 3 Things That Make A Great 1st Line by Morgan S. Hazelwood for A Writer’s Path
- Deciding When To Stop A Series by Elizabeth Spann Craig for Elizabeth Spann Craig
- Hero’s Journey Resurrection: How To Write The Most Important Scene In A Story by David Safford for The Write Practice
- What’s Characterization? What A Writer Really Needs To Know by Joe Bunting And Abigail Perry for The Write Practice
- You May Be Done, But You’re Not Finished by Deborah Dearmond for Almost An Author
- Scrivener Skills: Tag, Color Code, And Organize With Metadata by Gwen Hernandez for Writer Unboxed
- What To Expect When Writing A Book For The First Time by Emily Mccrary-Ruiz-Esparza for Written Word Media
- Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Asking Questions In The Drafting Process by Moriah Richard for Writer’s Digest
- How Do I Craft Assistive Devices For A Blind Character? by Fay Onyx for Mythcreants
- High Fantasy Vs Low Fantasy: Everything You Need To Know by Adam Bassett for Kindlepreneur
- Writer’S Voice – Your Most Powerful Tool by Marti Johnson for Writers’ Rumpus
- Top 5 Tips For Writing A Compelling Antihero by Lucy V Hay for Bang2write
- Have Your Audiences And Readers Feel Emotion by Stavros Halvatzis for Stavros Halvatzis
- Green Herring: How To Camouflage A Villain In A Mystery Novel by Dimitri Vorontzov for Writer’s Digest
- The Strategic Value Of Insight by Michael Schwarz for How to Fight Write
- The Top 10 Ways To Write Better Right Now by P. S. Hoffman for P.S. Hoffman
The business side of writing
Publishing Scammers Are Everywhere: How To Stay Safe by Anne R. Allen
Publishing scammers get more brazen all the time, and there seem to be more of them every day. Anne Allen started her career at Bantam and knows her way around the publishing industry. Allen also writes mysteries and how-to books about writing. For more advice like this, follow her on Twitter at @annerallen or on Facebook at @annerallenauthor. Anne R. Allen’s Blog… with Ruth Harris offers advice from a couple of publishing industry veterans. For more advice like this, subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly link).
7 Ways To Promote Your Book While Watching TV by Sandra Beckwith
If you have to be doing something else at the same time as you’re watching TV, you might want to flip through a magazine. Knit. Or you can promote your book. Here are seven ways how. Sandra Beckwith is an award-winning former publicist who now teaches authors how to market their books. Follow her on Twitter at @sandrabeckwith and on Facebook at @buildbookbuzz. Build Book Buzz offers do-it-yourself book marketing tips, tools and tactics. Follow them via their RSS feed (direct Feedly link here).
Create A Stand-Out Proposal by Terry Whalin
Throughout his decades in publishing, W. Terry Whalin has reviewed thousands of submissions from authors. He believes you can break through, get a literary agent and a traditional publisher, if you pour the right work and effort into creating a book proposal. W. Terry Whalin, a writer and acquisitions editor lives in Colorado. A former magazine editor and former literary agent, Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 nonfiction books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams, 10 Publishing Myths, and Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success. Almost an Author offers writing and publishing advice. For more this this, follow them on Twitter at @A3writers, on Facebook at @A3writers and subscribe to their RSS feed here (direct Feedly signup link).
Infographic: 5 Simple Strategies To Use In Your Quarterly Book Promotion Plan by Penny Sansevieri
It’s easy to become overwhelmed with everything you need to do to market your book. Creating a book promotion plan to get more exposure and more book sales may seem like a daunting and impossible task. Penny Sansevieri is the CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, an adjunct professor at NYU, and a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Follow her on Twitter at @Bookgal and on Facebook at @therealbookgal. Her book, How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon, has just been updated for 2021 and is in Kindle Unlimited. Author Marketing Experts is a book promotion company. For more advice like this subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link).
The Best Way To Rack Up Book Reviews On Amazon by C. S. Lakin
Getting numerous, honest reviews on Amazon should be at the top of your market strategy list. C. S. Lakin is a writing coach, workshop instructor, award-winning author of over 30 books, and blogger at Live Write Thrive. Her Writer’s Toolbox series of books teach the craft of fiction, and her online video courses at Writing for Life Workshops have helped more than a thousand writers. She also works as a book copyeditor and does more than 200 critiques a year for writers, agents, and publishers in six continents. I’ve been reading her advice for a few years now and she is awesome. If you want more advice from her, follow her on Twitter at @LiveWriteThrive and on Facebook at @C.S.Lakin.Author. Live Write Thrive is a writing advice site by novelist, editor and writing coach C. S. Lakin, author of eight-book The Writer’s Toolbox Series. Follow her on Twitter @LiveWriteThrive. Also check out her other site, The Self Publisher.
How Much Money Can Book Authors Make? (Video) by Daphne Gray-Grant
Some websites will try to tell you that self-publishing is dramatically more lucrative than traditional publishing. This is only partly true. 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.
How To Publish A Book In 2022: A Step-By-Step Guide by Chandler Bolt
Very comprehensive and clear summary of all the key things you need to do in order to publish a book, from writing it to hiring an editor to pricing strategies. Chandler Bolt is an investor, advisor, the CEO of Self-Publishing School andSelfPublishing.com, and the author of six bestselling books including his most recent book titled Published. Self Publishing School offers online courses about self publishing, as well as a podcast, blog, and other resources. For more advice like this subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link), on Twitter at @Self_Pub_School and on Facebook at @Self Publishing School.
How To Write A Subtitle That Sells [Definition And Examples] by Dave Chesson
Learn how to write amazing subtitles that will help sell your book, with advanced marketing tactics, book subtitle examples, and tips and tricks.
Dave Chesson is the founder of Kindlepreneur is pretty much the top site out there for self-published authors who want to sell more e-books on Amazon. The RSS feed is here (direct Feedly signup link). Follow them on Facebook at @KindlePreneur and Chesson himself on Twitter at @DaveChesson. And make sure to subscribe to his podcast, The Book Marketing Show. Kindlepreneur is pretty much the top site out there for self-published authors who want to sell more e-books on Amazon. The RSS feed is here (direct Feedly signup link). Follow them on Facebook at @KindlePreneur and founder Dave Chesson on Twitter at @DaveChesson.
Business Musings: Exclusivity In 2022 Part Two by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Some ways that long-term exclusive contracts with publishers can go horribly wrong for writers. New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristine Kathryn Rusch writes bestselling science fiction and fantasy, award-winning mysteries, acclaimed mainstream fiction, controversial nonfiction, and the occasional romance. At KrisWrites.com, Rusch offers her thoughts about the publishing industry and other topics.
Do You Know Your Competition? by Terry Whalin
Every book has competition in the marketplace. It’s the responsibility of the writer to understand and describe that competition in their book proposal. W. Terry Whalin, a writer and acquisitions editor lives in Colorado. A former magazine editor and former literary agent, Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 nonfiction books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams, 10 Publishing Myths, and Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success. Writers On The Move offers writing, publishing and book marketing advice from experienced authors and marketers.
Other business advice this week:
- Writing Book Blurbs by D.l. Finn for Story Empire
- Book-Themed Videos That Promote Sales by C Hope Clark for FundsforWriters
- How Important Is Genre When Pitching And Promoting Your Book? by Sangeeta Mehta for Jane Friedman
- What Sells Books In 2022: Kobo Writing Life by Askalli Team for Self Publishing Advice
- Guest Post: Essential Marketing Tools For Writers In 2022 by Dee Survilla for Digital Pubbing
- Lies Told By Small Presses by Steven Capps for A Writer’s Path
- Do You Need A Press Kit? by Lisa E. Betz for Almost An Author
- Out Of The Blue, Too Good To Be True: Beware Soliciation Scams by Victoria Strauss for Writer Unboxed
- The Best Self Publishing Courses: Top 5 Publishing Courses by Scott Allan for Self Publishing School
- Self-Publishing Companies: Pros & Cons (+13 Of The Best) by Bella Rose Pope for Self Publishing School
- What Makes A Good Book Cover: 5 Simple Tips To Make A Book Cover That Sells by Shakaib Feroz for Self Publishing School
- Font Copyright Laws For Books: Your Print Book Could Be In Violation by Jason Hamilton for Kindlepreneur
- How To Survive Book Marketing Burnout by Lewis Jorstad for Kindlepreneur
- Best Book Title Generator 2022: Free Tools & Trade Secrets by Dave Chesson for Kindlepreneur
- 16 Speculative Fiction Magazines Open For Submissions Now – Paying Markets by Erica Verrillo for Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity
- Author Business Considerations by Book Launchers for Book Launchers
Raising The Stakes by Oren Ashkenazi, Chris Winkle, and Wes Matlock
The story is tense, but could it be… *more* tense? Oren Ashkenazi is the a speculative fiction manuscript editor, Chris Winkle is the founder and editor-in-chief, and Wes Matlock is a content editor at 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.
In January 2022, Joanna Penn re-edited her first novel, Stone of Fire, which she started during NaNoWriMo in 2009 and published in April 2011. In this episode, she explains why and how she re-edited the book, as well as some lessons learned from revisiting her writer self of over a decade ago. Joanna Penn has been sharing writing and publishing advice since 2008 at The Creative Penn and is the author of Successful Self-Publishing and many other writing and publishing advice books. She also has one of my favorite writing advice podcasts, and you can subscribe to it on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher. The Creative Penn offers articles, videos, books, tools, and courses for independent authors.
It’s never too late to start writing and there are many pro writers ahead of you on the path lead the way. Craig Martelle shares tips on writing, self-publishing, and book marketing, as well as how 20 Books To 50K believes in the rising tide that lifts all boats, and how helping each other is the best way for indies to prosper. Joanna Penn has been sharing writing and publishing advice since 2008 at The Creative Penn and is the author of Successful Self-Publishing and many other writing and publishing advice books. She also has one of my favorite writing advice podcasts, and you can subscribe to it on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher. The Creative Penn offers articles, videos, books, tools, and courses for independent authors.
Other podcasts from this past week:
- How To Launch Your Book On A Budget by Thomas Umstattd Jr. for Author Media
- Mailing Lists For Indie Authors With Tammi Labrecque by Sacha Black for Sacha Black
- Who Makes Money From Subscriptions? Also, Draft2digital Acquires Smashwords: Self-Publishing News Podcast With Dan Holloway And Howard Lovy by Dan Holloway and Howard Lovy for Self Publishing Advice
- Sfa 121 – Tips For Selling Books Outside Of Amazon + Draft2digital/Smashwords Updates by Lindsay Buroker for Six Figure Authors
- The 411 On Blurbs, Series, And Robot Rights by Smbs Team for Sell More Books Show
- Finding Joy In Sharing Your Writing by Dan Blank for WeGrowMedia
What I’ve Learned Talking To 4,657+ Aspiring Authors With Matt Emmorey (Becoming An Author-Ity Figure) by Chandler Bolt
What if you could distill down the key takeaways from conversations with over 4,657 authors and aspiring authors? Matt Emmorey is here to do just that. Matt is the author of Where The Rubber Meets The Road, a book about getting more with less effort. Chandler Bolt is an investor, advisor, the CEO of Self-Publishing School andSelfPublishing.com, and the author of six bestselling books including his most recent book titled Published. Self Publishing School offers online courses about self publishing, as well as a podcast, blog, and other resources. For more advice like this subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link), on Twitter at @Self_Pub_School and on Facebook at @Self Publishing School.
Master The Use Of Backstory by Stavros Halvatzis
This video teaches how to smuggle in snippets of backstory inside character and plot. 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:
- How To Write A Book: 21 Steps By A 6-Time Bestselling Author by Chandler Bolt for Self Publishing School
- Self-Publishing Industry Insights with Mark Leslie Lefebvre – March 2022 by Draft2Digital for Draft2Digital
- “How do I get excited about writing again?” | #AskAbbie by Abbie Emmons for Abbie Emmons
Am I missing any writing advice sites? Email me at [email protected].
MetaStellar editor and publisher Maria Korolov is a science fiction novelist. During the day, Maria Korolov is an award-winning freelance technology journalist who covers artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and enterprise virtual reality. See her Amazon author page here and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Email her at [email protected]. Her first virtual world novella, Krim Times, made the Amazon best-seller list in its category. Her second novella, The Lost King of Krim, is out now. She is also the editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business, one of the top global sites covering virtual reality.