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This week’s top writing advice from around the web for May. 1
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
Do You Have To Write Every Day? 10 Pros And Cons by K. M. Weiland
Should writers make it a habit to write every day? Is that the secret to success? Is that what distinguishes “real” writers? 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.
Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Believing Naysayers by Robert Lee Brewer
There is a huge gap between listening to feedback to improve your writing and letting the naysayers trick you into believing that you shouldn’t write. Robert Lee Brewer is senior editor of Writer’s Digest. Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer. This venerable resource for writers celebrated its hundred-year anniversary last year, but is still going pretty strong. Follow Writer’s Digest via their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link), on Twitter at @WritersDigest and on Facebook at @writersdigest.
Other motivational advice this week:
- How You Define Yourself Might Be Holding You Back by Jessica Faust for BookEnds Literary Agency
- Is Journaling A Waste Of Writing Time? by Anne Carley for Jane Friedman
- Finding My People: Why You Should Make Writing Friends by R.L. Merrill for National Novel Writing Month
- Wanted: New Approach To Balancing Marketing, Writing, Oh And Yes, Life by Nancy Houser-Bluhm for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers
- How To Write When You Have Small Children by Catherine Yardley for Women Writers, Women’s Books
- How Can I Know When To Trust My Intuition (In Writing And In Life)? by Lauren Sapala for Lauren Sapala
- On Changing Perspective by Elizabeth Spann Craig for Elizabeth Spann Craig
- Five Ways To Fail As A Writer by Susan Koehler for Florida Writers Association Blog
- Characteristics Of A Determined Writer by Edie Melson for The Write Conversation
- Overcoming Fear To Write by Rochelle Melander for Write Now Coach!
- Do The Work by Martin Johnson for Almost An Author
- The Five Stages Of Dealing With Rejection by Jeneva Rose for DIY MFA
- Revising The Stories We Tell Ourselves About Ourselves by Kristan Hoffman for Writer Unboxed
- How To Create A Better Writing Routine by Daphne Gray-Grant for Publication Coach
- A Trick To Help You Start Writing Or Finish Writing by Suzanne Lieurance for Writers On The Move
- You’ve Got To Have Grit: My Path To Publication by Debbie Schrack for Women Writers, Women’s Books
The art and craft of writing
What’s Your Character Hiding? by Becca Puglisi
Being able to write realistic, consistent, multi-dimensional characters is vital to gaining reader interest. Doing so first requires we know a lot about who our characters are—you know, the obvious stuff: positive and negative traits, behavioral habits, desires, goals, and the like. But it’s not always the obvious parts of characterization that create the most interest. Becca Puglisi is one of the founders of the Writers Helping Writers website and the author of the Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression, which has sold over half a million copies. I own a copy and refer to it nearly every day. Writers Helping Writers is a great site for writing advice. These guys also have the One Stop for Writers online tool set. Subscribe to them via their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link here) or follow them on Facebook at @DescriptiveThesaurusCollection or on Twitter at @WriterThesaurus.
21 Popular Science Fiction Tropes For Writers by Robert Lee Brewer
Here are 21 examples of science fiction tropes for writers to consider and subvert when writing their space age, futuristic, and technological science fiction. Robert Lee Brewer is senior editor of Writer’s Digest. Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer. This venerable resource for writers celebrated its hundred-year anniversary last year, but is still going pretty strong. Follow Writer’s Digest via their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link), on Twitter at @WritersDigest and on Facebook at @writersdigest.
Five Tips For Avoiding Disorientation In Your Opening Hook by Chris Winkle
While readers are sorting out what you’re saying, they can’t appreciate 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.
How To Write A Plot Outline: 7 Plotting Techniques by Jordan Kantey
There is no single method for how to outline a story, but these are some ways to make story structure and planning work for you and your writing process. 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.
Other writing advice this week:
- Crafting Rich Characters (Part 5) by D. Wallace Peach for Story Empire
- Pixar’s 22 Rules Of Storytelling by Philip Athans for Fantasy Author’s Handbook
- Avoiding Claustrophobia On The Page: Letting Some Air Into A First-Person Narrative by Valerie Nieman for Women Writers, Women’s Books
- Writing With Humor: Flex Your Funny Bone! by Writer’s Relief Staff for Writer’s Relief
- Fear Thesaurus Entry: Agoraphobia by Becca Puglisi for Writers Helping Writers
- You Wrote A Killer Love Story…But Did You Romance The Reader? by Angela Ackerman for Writers Helping Writers
- Ten Questions To Ask Your Characters by Eldred Bird for Writers In The Storm
- Discovering Story Magic: The X-Factor by Laura Baker for Writers In The Storm
- Six Ways To Fix Manuscript Problems With An Outline by Kris Maze for Writers In The Storm
- The 5 Commandments Of Storytelling According To The Story Grid by September Fawkes for September C. Fawkes
- 3 Problems That Come Up With Middles by David Farland for MyStoryDoctor
- Science And Magic Are Two Sides Of The Same Coin by Ryan Decaria for A Writer’s Path
- The Deepest Wounds: Lies, Deception & Betrayal by Kristen Lamb for Kristen Lamb
- A New Take On Storyboards For Your Book by Mary Carroll Moore for How to Plan, Write, and Develop a Book
- Where Does Your Story Begin? by Mary Ann De Stefano for Florida Writers Association Blog
- Common Writing Obstacles (Part 4): World Building by Edie Melson for The Write Conversation
- Secondary Characters: Five Secret Ways To Use Them by Hank Phillippi Ryan for Career Authors
- Writing Finishing Touches by Linda S. Clare for Linda S. Clare
- The Copyediting Checklist: A Recipe For Clean, Clear Writing by Krystal N. Craiker for DIY MFA
- Worldly Wise: Create Your World In Six Questions by Disha Walia for DIY MFA
- It’s Messy In The Middle: Unpacking Racism & Colorism In Character Descriptions by Gabriela Pereira for DIY MFA
- 9 Compelling Ways To End A Story And Leave Them Wanting More by Barrie Davenport for Blog – Authority Self-Publishing
- Fast-Writing Secrets Of C. S. Lewis by Jim Denney for Live Write Thrive
- The Power Of Plot Compels You by Michael Schwarz for How to Fight Write
- Blending Into The Crowd by Michael Schwarz for How to Fight Write
- Second Chances And Parallel Plots by Kay Dibianca for Killzoneblog.com
- How To Transition Into A Flashback by Tiffany Yates Martin for FoxPrint Editorial
- 5 Storytelling Skills Every Writer Should Master by John Kerr for The Novel Smithy
The business side of writing
Pen Names: How And Why To Use Them by Scott Mccormick
If you think of your author name as a brand, you will go a long way towards boosting sales and name recognition. Scott McCormick is the author of 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.
Something To Blog About As An Author by Janna Lopez
Developing a voice, knowing your intention, and identifying your ideal reader will help you find a winning formula for your author blog. Janna Lopez is an intuitive book coach, creative writing teacher with a MFA, and published author. She leads creative writing retreats for individuals and small groups in Santa Fe, New Mexico, through Land of Enchantment Writing. 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.
The Difference Between Book Reviews And Endorsements by Sandra Beckwith
What’s the difference between book reviews and book endorsements? (And why should you care?)
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).
The Ultimate Guide To Beta Readers: Definition, Why They Matter, And How To Find Them by Sarah Gribble
If you’re going to publish a book, you need beta readers. And no, they’re not a replacement for hiring a professional editor. Sarah Gribble is a horror and fantasy author. Check out her website at Sarah-Gribble.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 business advice this week:
- The Pros And Cons Of Turning Your Blog Into A Book by Beth Bauer for How to Blog a Book
- You Cannot And Should Not Do It All by Jessica Faust for BookEnds Literary Agency
- Writers, Stop Using Social Media (Like That) by Allison Williams for Jane Friedman
- Selling More Books With Book Sales Funnels by Sabrina Ricci for Digital Pubbing
- Is The Writing Conference Back? Yes! by Writer’s Relief Staff for Writer’s Relief
- Promoting A Book On Amazon Just Got Easier With The New Advertising Updates by Penny C. Sansevieri for Self Published Author
- 14 Basic Tips For A Successful Book Signing by Edie Melson for The Write Conversation
- Best Places To Find Readers For The Books You Write by Edie Melson for The Write Conversation
- How To Publish A Short Story: 5 Important Steps When You’re Ready To Publish by Sarah Gribble for The Write Practice
- What I Learned By Being On A Pub Board by Donna Jo Stone for Almost An Author
- Test & Revise Your Elevator Pitch by Terry Whalin for Almost An Author
- 5 Must-Join Facebook Groups For Indie authors by L. Danvers for Write It Sideways
- Simple Book Marketing Strategies This Self-Published Author Used To Sell Over 20k Books With Almost No Money by Penny Sansevieri for Author Marketing Experts, Inc.
- Can Freelancers Retire? 7 Basic Ways Writers Can Prepare For Retirement by Carol Tice for Make a Living Writing
- Book Back Covers: What You Should Include by Gloria Russell for Self Publishing School
- How To Start A Publishing Company: 2022 Guide by Dave Chesson for Kindlepreneur
- How To Identify A Book’s Sales Problem: Follow These Steps by Dave Chesson for Kindlepreneur
- Hey Writers: Here’s Why You Haven’t Scored Representation Yet by Lucy V. Hay for Bang2write
- Enhance Your Brand With A+ Content by Linda Wilson for Writers On The Move
- Should A Debut Indie Author Pay A Company For Book Marketing? by Anne R. Allen for Anne R. Allen’s Blog… with Ruth Harris
6 Lessons From Three Years Of Full Time Writing by Sacha Black
This is a special solo show reflecting on what Sasha Black has learned having completed her third year of working for herself. 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).
7 Figure Fiction With Theodora Taylor by Joanna Penn
How can you hook readers into your story by using universal human desires and motivations? How can you write what you love, run your author business your way, and still pursue a 7-figure author business? Theodora Taylor gives her thoughts in this interview. 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:
- Indie Publishing Is A Great News Story by Howard Lovy for Self Publishing Advice
- 10 Common Book Marketing Mistakes: Book Marketing Podcast Episode by Penny Sansevieri for Author Marketing Experts, Inc.
- Public Vs. Private Personas: Crafting A Novel Based On Historical Figures by Gabriela Pereira for DIY MFA
- Junk Marketing, Delayed Launch, And Managing Pain by Bryan Cohen and H. Claire Taylor for Sell More Books Show
- Would You Be So Nice As To Leave Me Reviews? by Matt Bird for The Secrets of Story
- Secrets Of Character: The Checklist! by Matt Bird for The Secrets of Story
- Innovative Indie Marketing With S.d. Smith by for Author Media
- Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy by Oren Ashkenazi, Chris Winkle, and Wes Matlock for Mythcreants
How Literary Agents Negotiate by Jessica Faust and James McGowan
What role does an agent play in getting you the best deal for your book(s)? How do they do it? What are they looking out for? This video describes the negotiation process that agents may go through to make sure their authors are getting as much out of their deal as they can. Jessica Faust is the owner and president at the BookEnds literary agency. Follow her on Twitter at @BookEndsJessica or on Instagram at @jfaust_bookends or email her directly at [email protected]. James McGowan is a literary agent at the agency. BookEnds is a literary agency that represents more than 300 authors and illustrations, both fiction and non-fiction, including several New York Times and USA today bestsellers. They are currently open to submissions. If you want more advice like this, subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link) or follow them on Twitter at @bookendslit or on Facebook at @BookEndsLiterary.
You Get Agency, And You Get Agency — Everybody Gets Agency! by Morgan Hazelwood
The thing about stories is that the main character is expected to have agency. But if you want your story to be more realistic, secondary characters should have agency, too. 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.
How To Get Book Blurbs – The Ultimate Guide by Julie Broad
Getting blurbs for your book is one of the most talked about steps in book marketing. As an author, getting blurbs might seem overwhelming or intimidating. What are book blurbs, what you need them for, and what makes a great blurb. 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.
Other videos from this past week:
- Create A Sharing System by Dan Blank for WeGrowMedia
- Handling Book Piracy For Authors by Book Launchers for Book Launchers
- Have Emotion Drive Your Story by Stavros Halvatzis for Get Writing
- How To Manage Your Time Better by Kristina Adams and Ellie Betts for The Writer’s Mindset
- How To Choose A Website Host by Kristina Adams and Ellie Betts for The Writer’s Mindset
- Mindset, Marketing, And More For Indie Authors by Kristina Adams and Ellie Betts for The Writer’s Mindset
- Author Website Design Tips by Kristina Adams and Ellie Betts for The Writer’s Mindset
- From Concept To Book In One Week With Author E.S. Curry by Mark Leslie Lefebvre for Draft2Digital
- The Hidden Science Behind The Strong Female Character by Abbie Emmons for Abbie Emmons
- How Eavesdropping Will Help You Write Better Dialogue by Kristina Adams and Ellie Betts for The Writer’s Mindset
Am I missing any writing advice sites? Email me at [email protected].
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].