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This week’s top writing advice from around the web for Mar. 13
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
How To Write A Book When You Have No Idea What You’re Doing by K. M. Weiland
Not knowing where to start is a problem countless writers before us have faced and figured out, so if you are feeling a bit lost when it comes to your big dream, here are seven tips that can help you move forward and better yet, jumpstart your writing career. 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.
There’s a bottleneck phenomenon that occurs when various decisions that need to be made in a book outline line up behind the decision you’re consciously trying to make at any one moment, creating a jam that creates all sorts of frustration in turn. Hannah Eason is a professional book editor who owns and operates the Blue-Collar Bookworm platform. She is available for developmental editing, content editing, copyediting, manuscript assessments, and more. A Writer’s Path is an advice site for writers. If you want more advice like this, subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link), on Twitter at @TheRyanLanz and on Facebook at @AWritersPath.
If you dread deadlines for writers, you’re not alone. And the more you publish, the greater the possibility that you acquire more deadlines than not. Despite any fear of deadlines, you don’t have to crack under their pressure. Here are three steps you can take as you near your writing project deadlines, and how to overcome any resistance desperate to hold you back. 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).
Other motivational advice this week:
- Start With A Small Step by La Bourgeois for DIY MFA
- It’s Crucial To Know Who You Are As A Writer by James Scott Bell for Killzoneblog.com
- The Value Of Percolation by Jyotsna Sreenivasan for Jane Friedman
- 3 Reasons Why Writers Need Good Writing Friends by Cindy K. Sproles for The Write Conversation
- Hurry Up And Wait: On Writing And Getting Published by Jennifer Murphy for Writer’s Digest
- Writing Without Purpose by Andre Calilhanna for BookBaby Blog
- 22 Ways You Can Be A Better Writer In 2022 by Nicholas Labonté for Craft Your Content
- Finding Writing Fascination (And Inspiration!) by Shelley Widhalm for A Writer’s Path
- Short Story Tips: 3 Successful Strategies To Write A Short Story by Sarah Gribble for The Write Practice
- How We Can Beat Defensiveness by Chris Winkle for Mythcreants
- Featured Productivity Tool: How To Use A Journal For Clarity & Decision-Making by Debra Eckerling for Writers On The Move
The art and craft of writing
You may have an excellent idea for a book. Still, if you’re using an inappropriate tone and style to convey your message, you might struggle to find—and keep—an audience. Nina Amir is a book coach and a book proposal consultant and editor. For more information, check out her website NinaAmir.com or follow her on Twitter at @NinaAmir or on Facebook at @Inspiration to Creation Coach. How to Blog a Book is an advice site for nonfiction and fiction authors who want to use a blog to create a book. For more advice like this, follow them via their RSS feed (direct Feedly link here).
What Does Your Character Do All Day? by Jessica Strawser
We’ve all raced through mysteries filled with detectives, lawyers, and doctors. We’ve all gotten lost in romcoms about preschool teachers and bookstore clerks. But your character is more than an archetype—right? Jessica Strawser is editor-at-large at Writer’s Digest, where she served as editorial director for nearly a decade. Career Authors is one of Writer’s Digest top 101 websites for writers and helps authors write better, get published, and sell more books. For more advice like this subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link), on Twitter at @CareerAuthors and on Facebook at @CareerAuthors.
Breaking Out Of The Political World Building Rut by Ted Atchley
Fantasy and science fiction stories can push the bounds of what is possible in amazing ways. We design intricate magic systems and imagine future technologies with limitless potential. Yet, with the economic and political systems in our worlds, we seem to settle for well-trodden ground. Ted Atchley is a freelance writer and professional computer programmer, and a staff writer at Blizzard Watch. His website is TedAtchley.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedatchley3. 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).
Writing: Story Must-Haves by Linda S. Clare
Whether you’re writing fiction, memoir or nonfiction, your piece or book must tell a story. In nonfiction it might be a story about giving readers info or insights. In fiction and memoir, the story must have certain elements to succeed. Linda S. Clare has been writing professionally since 1993 and has taught fiction, memoir and essay writing for Lane Community College for more than a dozen years. In addition to her published books, award-winning short stories, articles and essays, she works as an expert writing advisor for George Fox University and is a frequent presenter at writer’s conferences. For more advice like this, check out her website, LindaSClare.com on Twitter at @Lindasclare. LindaSClare.com offers advice about writing and story structure, as well as coaching services.
How To Effectively “Advance Your Plot” by C. S. Lakin
It should be obvious that every scene—and let me emphasize every—should have a purpose. 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 Can My Angry Character Be Likable? by Chris Winkle
If you tread carefully, you can depict anger as a flaw while keeping the angry character likable. The better you can explain the reasons for their sensitivity, the more understanding the audience will be. 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:
- Plot Types In Stories by Stavros Halvatzis for Stavros Halvatzis
- First Page Of A Book: 4 Page-Turning Tips To Start Your Story by Monica M. Clark for The Write Practice
- Need To Write A Kissing Scene For Your Novel Or Short Story? Here’s How To Make It Swoon-Worthy by Barrie Davenport for Blog – Authority Self-Publishing
- Considering And Using Character Wound by Mary Kole for Insecure Writer’s Support Group
- Tips To Write A Character You Hate by Sue Coletta for Killzoneblog.com
- Dynamic Vs. Round Characters: Who Needs A Character Arc? by Lewis Jorstad for The Novel Smithy
- The Birthday Party: A Genius Analogy To Help Writers Introduce Their Stories by Lucy V. Hay for Bang2write
- Crafting Rich Characters (Part 3) by D. Wallace Peach for Story Empire
- Helping Your Readers Believe by Ann Gordon for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers
- Fear Thesaurus Entry: Being Capable Of Harm by Angela Ackerman for Writers Helping Writers
- Scenes Vs. Sequels: What’s A Good Balance? by Jami Gold for Writers Helping Writers
- 3 Questions To Ask Yourself When Writing About Past Trauma by Colleen M. Story for Writers In The Storm
- When Considering Character Traits . . . by David Farland for MyStoryDoctor
- Arc: How Characters Grow And Change Organically by Kristen Lamb for Kristen Lamb
- A System For Tracking The “Internals” In Your Fiction Or Memoir by Your Book Starts Here for How to Plan, Write, and Develop a Book
- Significant Action Or Dialogue? by Stavros Halvatzis for Stavros Halvatzis
- How To Turn Plot Holes Into Killer Plot Twists by H. Duke for The Writersaurus
- What’s The Difference Between A Writing Edit And A Writing Critique? by Linda Gilden for The Write Conversation
- Realistic Dialogue: 16 Observations Writers Should Know About Real Life Talk by Joe Bunting for The Write Practice
- Return With The Elixir: How To Master The Perfect Ending For A Hero’s Journey by David Safford for The Write Practice
- Five Common First Draft Mistakes (And How To Fix Them) by Heather Campbell for DIY MFA
- Secondary Characters Deserve A Life Of Their Own by Kathryn Craft for Writer Unboxed
- How Can We Recognize a Scene vs. a Sequel? by Jami Gold for Jami Gold, Paranormal Author
- What Your Reader Desperately Wants by Randy Ingermanson for Advanced Fiction Writing
- What To Give The Hero Who Has It All by Michael Schwarz for How to Fight Write
- Gut Wounds And Bleeding To Death by Michael Schwarz for How to Fight Write
- Tools For Collaboration, Editing, And Beta Reading by Steve Hooley for Killzoneblog.com
The business side of writing
The Author’s Ultimate Guide To Multiple Streams Of Income by Askalli Team
Multiple streams of income is more than a buzzword. It’s a business model, it’s a mindset and it’s the best way to ensure a sustainable income from your publishing. The AskALLi Team is the group behind Self Publishing Advice, the advice center of the Alliance of Independent Authors. 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).
Communities: Why They’re Important And How To Build One by Sabrina Ricci
Communities are important, and they can be powerful. As an author, your community consists of your readers, your fans, people who support your work. In addition to selling more of your work, or having a successful launch, your community can be a great place to share ideas, engage and connect with fans. Sabrina Ricci writes advice about indie publishing. Follow her on Facebook at @sabrinadenisericci or on Twitter at @sabsky. Digital Publishing is a site about indie publishing. Follow them via their RSS feed (direct Feedly link here).
A Marketing Revamp For Your Older Book Title by Penny Sansevieri
Book marketing strategies change a bit when you’re promoting an older title, so it’s important to keep your marketing plans separate for your new releases and your backlist. But that means something can be done to spike book sales on this older title! 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. 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 Ultimate Guide To Social Media For Writers 2022 by Dave Chesson
Using social media to get our writing out into the world can be an amazing opportunity. Learn how to get started in this article. 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.
How To Pitch A Story: 10 Killer Pitch Tips by Jordan Kantey
Learning how to pitch your story so that its merits and unique intrigue are clear is crucial. Read tips from Penguin UK, Penguin Random House and more. Jordan Kantey is a writer, marketer, community manager and product developer for Now Novel. You can find out more about him on his LinkedIn page. Now Novel is a company that offers writing sources, coaching, and editing. If you want more advice like this, subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link) or follow them on Twitter at @nownovel or on Facebook at @nownovel or subscribe to their YouTube channel.
A Thousand New Email Sign Ups In A Week? It’s Possible by Ashleigh Renard
You don’t need to start strategizing newsletter content or setting a delivery schedule in order to begin building your email list. Ashleigh Renard is a former figure skating coach and choreographer who coaches writers on building platform and connecting with their readers. She is the co-host of the biweekly Zoom platform chat The Writers’ Bridge. For more advice from Jane Friedman writing advice site, subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link here).
How To Engage Book Clubs by Carol Van Den Hende
Book clubs are one of the most engaging ways to create deep meaningful relationships with readers. Carol Van Den Hende is an award-winning author, public speaker, and MBA with 20+ years’ experience in marketing, strategy, and insights. Follow her on her website at CarolVanDenNende.com, on Twitter at @c_vandenhende and on Facebook at @Carol Van Den Hende. DiyMFA offers classes, advice articles and other training materials for writers. For more advice like this, follow them on Twitter at @DIYMFA and on Facebook at @DIYMFA or subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link).
Other business advice this week:
- Writers, Do You Need A Sensitivity Reader For Your Book? by Anne R. Allen for Anne R. Allen’s Blog… with Ruth Harris
- Update Your Website With These Spring Cleaning Tips by Kristen Hogrefe Parnell for The Write Conversation
- Five Secrets To Self-Publishing A Book And Generating More Sales by Penny Sansevieri for Author Marketing Experts, Inc.
- Start Guest Blogging To Build Your Author Platform by E.J. Wenstrom for DIY MFA
- Need A Better Book Title? by Matt Miksa for Writer’s Digest
- Why Audiobooks Are Skyrocketing, And How Writers Can Take Advantage In 2022 by Marissa Decuir for Writer’s Digest
- Vella: The Longer And Shorter Of It by Kendra Griffin for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers
- Self-Publishing News: What Does Brandon Sanderson’s Record-Breaking Kickstarter Mean For Those Who Inevitably Attempt To Follow? by Dan Holloway for Self Publishing Advice
- Get More Out Of Your Facebook Ads by Denis Nadj for #PublishingReinvented
- Why DIY Book Covers Kill Your Sales And How To Choose A Professional Designer Who Will Hit The Mark by Milan Manko for Build Book Buzz
- Prepare For A Writing Conference With These Never-Before-Told Tips by Julie Lavender for The Write Conversation
- How To Write Successful Promotional Posts: Part 2 by Patricia Durgin for Almost An Author
- Top 9 Best Email Marketing Platforms by Lisa Rowan for The Write Life
- Self-Publishing School Review: The Pros, Cons, And 3 Things It Will Help You Do by Lise Cartwright for The Write Life
- 5 Scams That Prey On Desperate Freelance Writers by Louisa Eunice for WritersWeekly.com
- 5 Amazon A+ Content Questions Answered by Becky Muth for Novel Publicity
- 5 Skills To Master Before You Launch Your Book by Maggie Smith for Writer’s Digest
- Amazon Kindle: 4 Big Ways Publishing Your Book Is Changing by Lee Foster for The Book Designer
- How To Design An Author Website: Complete Guide by David Martin for Kindlepreneur
How can we overcome self-doubt to write the books we really want to? How can we move past writer’s block? How can we reshape our definition of success and return to the joy of writing? Dharma Kelleher talks about the author mindset and more. 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.
What Are The First Steps For A New Author? by Orna Ross and Michael La Ronn
At what point, if you’re a new, aspiring writer, should you set up a publishing company, and other questions about getting started as a new author. 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. Michael La Ronn is the author of over 30 science fiction and fantasy novels and author self-help books, and the outreach manager at the Alliance of Independent Authors. Follow him on Twitter at @MichaelLaRonn. 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).
Mastering Deadlines, Rekindling Creativity, And That Kickstarter by Bryan Cohen and H. Claire Taylor
What is your opinion on Brandon Sanderson raising $26 million on Kickstarter, and what marketing lesson could you learn from his campaign? Bryan Cohen is an experienced copywriter, bestselling author, and the founder of Best Page Forward and Amazon Ad School. You can find out more about Bryan at BryanCohen.com. H. Claire Taylor is a humor author and fiction strategist, as well as the owner of FFS Media. The Sell More Books Show is a weekly podcast focusing on helping new and experienced authors stay up-to-date with the latest self-publishing and indie news, tools and book selling and marketing strategies.
Other podcasts from this past week:
- Neurodiversity In Fiction With Mazey Eddings by Sacha Black for Sacha Black
- Dealing With Criticism As An Author by Lindsay Buroker for Six Figure Authors
- Facebook Advertising For Authors by Thomas Umstattd Jr. for Author Media
How Can You Deal With Resistance? by Daphne Gray-Grant
If you had a writing habit before Christmas then you can have one again after the holidays are over. You just need to build yourself back up to it slowly. Have a little faith that you’re going to be able to do exactly that. 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.
The Nuts And Bolts Of Chapters by Morgan Hazelwood
While some writers see each chapter as its own short story, the best chapters typically give closure to one plot point — be it external goals or emotional growth — while setting up the anticipation for the next plot point. Morgan Hazelwood writes from her lair in Northern Virginia. She’s a blogger, vlogger, and podcaster of writing tips and writerly musings, plus an actively querying fantasy author. For more advice like this, follow her on Twitter at @MorganHzlwood, on Facebook at Morgan Hazelwood, and on YouTube at Morgan Hazelwood. At Morgan Hazelwood, she offers writing advice and resources.
What Every Author Website Needs (With Kenny Mackay) by Kristina Adams
Kristina Adams talks with Kenny MacKay, the host of the Author Your Dream podcast, a show he launched in March of 2020. As an author himself, he knows what it’s like to have no idea what you’re doing, and aims to answer the questions many aspiring authors are asking. Kristina Adams is a bestselling author and writing instructor. Find out more at her website, KristinaAdamsAuthor.com. The Writer’s Cookbook offers advice, podcast, videos, coaching, workshops, and writing courses. Follow the site via their RSS feed (direct Feedly link here).
Other videos from this past week:
- New Video On How To Write A Query Letter by Nathan Bransford for Nathan Bransford
- What Can Studying Creative Writing Teach You? (With Jonathan Taylor) by Kristina Adams and Ellie Betts for The Writer’s Mindset
- Tense Jumping And Why It’s Bad Reader Experience (With Kristin N. Spencer) by Kristina Adams and Ellie Betts for The Writer’s Mindset
- Media Pitching For Book Promotion by Julie Broad for Book Launchers
- 3 Book Writing Tips by Julie Broad for Book Launchers
- Start Your Story Right! Strengthen Your Idea Before Writing A Single Scene Or Chapter by Stavros Halvatzis for Get Writing
- What Did Our Creative Writing Degrees Teach Us? by Kristina Adams and Ellie Betts for The Writer’s Mindset
- Writing Overwhelm And What To Do About It by The Writer’s Mindset for The Writer’s Mindset
- Where To Research A Book (With Savannah Kade) by Kristina Adams and Ellie Betts for The Writer’s Mindset
- How To Turn Your Messy First Draft Into Something Actually Worth Reading by Abbie Emmons for Abbie Emmons
Am I missing any writing advice sites? Email me at [email protected].
Edited by Melody Friedenthal
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.