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This week’s top writing advice from around the web for May. 8
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
Top 5 Causes Of Procrastination In Writers by Lauren Sapala
Are you a writer who struggles with procrastination? Well, you’re not alone. Procrastination is one of the most commonly reported problems and sources of dissatisfaction among writers. 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.
Finding That Magical Flow State As A Writer by Natasha Ruhwald
How can you attain flow when most days it’s a struggle just to find the motivation to even sit down and write for a few minutes? Natasha Ruhwald is a writer, library technician, and author of the dark fantasy novel, Black Dog of the Sea. You can visit her online at NatashaRuhwald.ca . 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.
Other motivational advice this week:
- Baby Stepping by Sophia Hansen for Almost An Author
- What Sparks A Story? by Ann H. Gabhart for Suite T- The Author’s Blog
- Your Best Writing Goal Based On Your Enneagram Number by Mary Adkins for DIY MFA
- Consider The Neuroscience Of Writing To Help Yourself Write Faster by Daphne Gray-Grant for Publication Coach
- 10 Powerful Affirmations For Writers & How To Use Them by Lucy V Hay for Bang2write
The art and craft of writing
How Do Characters Who Don’t Know How To Fight, Fight? by Carla Hoch
Trained fighter and author Carla Hoch discusses how to write scene with characters who are untrained for more realistic fighting sequences. Carla Hoch is the author of the Writer’s Digest book Fight Write: How to Write Believable Fight Scenes. Her blog, FightWrite.net, was in Writer’s Digest Top Websites for Writers 2019 & 2020. She has training in almost a dozen martial arts and competes in Brazilian jiujitsu. She regularly teaches about the craft of writing fight scenes, as well as the mechanics of fighting for writers. 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.
No, SJWs Are Not Reducing Diversity In Fiction by Oren Ashkenazi
The so-called Galbrush Paradox is just an excuse to exclude marginalized characters. 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.
Macro-Level Jump Cut Scene by Sue Coletta
The jump cut is a technique where the writer drops the reader into a harrowing situation—in media res—conflict builds, tensions rise, all without the reader knowing what proceeded this scene. Sue Coletta is an award-winning crime writer. Sue also appeared on the Emmy award-winning true crime series, Storm of Suspicion and will be teaching an advanced education course on serial killers for Foothills Regional. For more about her, check out her website at SueColetta.com and follow her on Facebook at @SueColetta1 and on Twitter at @SueColetta1. The Kill Zone is the home of eleven top suspense writers and publishing professionals. They cover the publishing business, marketing how-tos, and the craft of writing. Follow them on RSS here (direct Feedly signup link). Follow them on Twitter @killzoneauthors.
Other writing advice this week:
- The Role Of The Antagonist In Story Structure, Pt. 1 Of 2 by K. M. Weiland for Helping Writers Become Authors
- How To Use Prologues, Part 2, What A Prologue Is And Isn’t by Harmony Kent for Story Empire
- Using Crisis To Reveal Character by Shawn Coyne for Writers Helping Writers
- Dos And Don’ts For Writing Viewpoint Voice by September C. Fawkes for MyStoryDoctor
- Top 5 Tools To Improve Your Content by Marilyn L. Davis for Two Drops of Ink
- Finding The Best Writing Class Or Conference For Your Book Right Now by Mary Carroll Moore for How to Plan, Write, and Develop a Book
- Sculpting The Shapely Sentence: 5 Techniques by Shutta Crum for Florida Writers Association Blog
- Writing Advice: Know Your Goal by H. Duke for The Writersaurus
- Writing An Un-Put-Downable Character (Part 4 Of 10): History by Edie Melson for The Write Conversation
- Saying Goodbye To Characters You Love by Edie Melson for The Write Conversation
- Graphic Novels: A “New” Way To Tell A Story? by Edie Melson for The Write Conversation
- Writing Adversaries, Antagonists And Other Villains by Edie Melson for The Write Conversation
- The Daring Writer’s Guide To Point Of View by Paula Munier for Career Authors
- Self-Defense Versus Martial Arts by Dan Koboldt for Dan Koboldt
- Lessons For Writing Realistic Fantasy Stories by Dan Koboldt for Dan Koboldt
- Magic Systems Made Stronger With Science by Dan Koboldt for Dan Koboldt
- It’s Simple, It’s Complicated, It’s A Novel by Donald Maass for Writer Unboxed
- Hiding Your Villain In Plain Sight by Sarah Penner for Writer Unboxed
- 7 Ways To Improve Your Writing Craft by Dario Villirilli for Live Write Thrive
- How To Stop Overwriting (And Why It Matters) by Gloria Russell for Self Publishing School
- How Do I Keep Clever Quips From Hurting The Story? by Chris Winkle for Mythcreants
- Direct vs Indirect Characterization: How To Show And Tell by Jordan Kantey for Now Novel
- Can A Writer Quote Song Lyrics In A Memoir Or Novel? by Anne R. Allen for Anne R. Allen’s Blog… with Ruth Harris
The business side of writing
The Top 5 Strategies For Promoting A Book On Social Media by Penny Sansevieri
People typically don’t use social media for the sole purpose of spending money. But that doesn’t mean promoting a book on social media won’t serve your bigger picture of building readership and selling more books. You just need to have the right mindset. 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).
30 Book Publishing Companies For Authors Without Agents by Dave Chesson
The top 30 book publishing companies in the world that accept author submissions without an agent and provide the best benefit for new authors. 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.
Love Storytelling? You, Too, Can Be An Audiobook Narrator! by Christy Lindsay
What do you need in order to channel your creative talents into narration? And, how can you get work as an audiobook narrator? Christy Lindsay is a professional audiobook narrator and author of “Freeing Colt,” published by BookLocker.com. Her narration credits include Elk Lake authors’ Wonders of the Galaxy: A Collection of Cosmic Tales and Debra Coleman’s Sugar Sands Series books, Joy After Noon and Song of Sugar Sands. WritersWeekly is one of the oldest and most respected sites on freelance writing. It has been published continuously since 1997.
Other business advice this week:
- Book Blog Tours by Jan Sikes for Story Empire
- Know Your Audience by C. S. Boyack for Story Empire
- Free Ways To Grow An Author Platform by Orna Ross and Dan Parsons for Self Publishing Advice
- The Ultimate Guide To Estate Planning For Authors Part 1: The Author by Askalli Team for Self Publishing Advice
- 9 Things I Wish I Knew Before Self-Publishing My Book by Madeleine Dodge for BookBaby Blog
- Instagram Stories For Authors: How To Create And Use Them by Sandra Beckwith for Build Book Buzz
- Marketing Funnel Part 1: Going To Market With An Online Course Or Book by Sabrina Ricci for Digital Pubbing
- How To Create A Powerful Synopsis To Sell Your Novel by Kris Maze for Writers In The Storm
- Share Your Work On Podcasts (And Get Asked Back) by J. Alexander Greenwood for Writers In The Storm
- DIY Resources To Design A Lead Magnet Cover by Kristen Hogrefe Parnell for The Write Conversation
- Short Story Submissions: 10 Easy Steps To Go From Writing To Published by Sarah Gribble for The Write Practice
- Five Factors That Lead To Freelance Business Success by Indiana Lee for DIY MFA
- You Can’t Do It All by Greer Macallister for Writer Unboxed
- How To Make Amazon KDP Keywords Work For You by Clayton Noblit for Written Word Media
- 4 Ways To Market Your Book For Free Or At Low Cost by Emily Mccrary-Ruiz-Esparza for Written Word Media
- Funny You Should Ask: Pitch, Revise, And Resubmit by Barbara Poelle for Writer’s Digest
- Your Complete 4 Step Guide To Book Sizes by Sarah Rexford for The Book Designer
- How Bloggers Can Use Social Media To Find New Readers by Daphne Gray-Grant for Publication Coach
- Republish vs Update A Book: Which One Is Better? by Dave Chesson for Kindlepreneur
Using The Loop Method To Co-Write Your Novel by Gabriela Pereira
Gabriela Pereira interviews Jessi Honard and Marie Parks about their contemporary fantasy debut. Gabriela Pereira is a writer, teacher, and self-proclaimed word nerd and the founder and instigator of DIYMFA.com, with a mission is to empower writers to take an entrepreneurial approach to their education and professional growth. 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).
Sell More Books, Working Your Backlist, And Changing Bonuses by Bryan Cohen and H. Claire Taylor
Do you think traditional publishing is going to change its mindset about backlist vs. new release? And how are you leveraging your backlist at the moment? 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.
Epistolary Stories by Oren Ashkenazi, Chris Winkle, and Wes Matlock
Epistolary stories have a number of advantages, but they also come with serious challenges. What epistolary does well, what it does poorly, and why you can’t just add a translator’s note at the beginning. Oren Ashkenazi is the 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.
Other podcasts from this past week:
- How To Write A Scrappy First Draft With Donna Barker by Sacha Black for Sacha Black
- Tiny Business, Big Money With Elaine Pofeldt by Joanna Penn for The Creative Penn
- The Audiobook Of The Secrets Of Character Is Out! by Matt Bird for The Secrets of Story
- Secrets Of Dungeon-Mastering: Critical Role by Matt Bird for The Secrets of Story
- Marvel Reread Club Episode 27: January, 1964, Part 2 by Matt Bird for The Secrets of Story
- 17.18: How To Be Funny, With Jody Lynn Nye by Howard Tayler for Writing Excuses
- Secrets of Dungeon-Mastering: Relics and Rarities by Matt Bird for The Secrets of Story
- 17.19: Working in a Collaborative Environment by Writing Excuses
How To Write Superbad Villains (With Sacha Black) by Kristina Adams and Ellie Betts
In this episode, the hosts talk with Sacha Black, a bestselling author, rebel podcaster, speaker and casual rule breaker. They discuss why we love good villains, and how to give villains more depth. Kristina Adams is a bestselling author and writing instructor. Find out more at her website, KristinaAdamsAuthor.com. The Writer’s Mindset is a YouTube channel from the team behind The Writer’s Cookbook, a site that offers writing workshops and courses as well as writing and marketing services. For more advice like this, follow them on Twitter at @writingcookbook and on Facebook at @writingcookbook .
Brainstorm With Me! How To Outline A Book Using A Plot Grid by Claire Fraise
What a plot grid is, how to outline a book using one, and the secret to pacing. Claire Fraise wrote her first novel when she was 16, and has since published two other supernatural thrillers. Connect with her on Instagram at @clairefraiseauthor, on Facebook at @clairefraiseauthor, or visit her website at ClaireFraise.com. Write with Claire Fraise is her YouTube channel.
Self-Publishing Fundamentals by Mark Dawson and James Blatch
In this episode, the hosts get back to basics, discussing the fundamentals every new author needs to focus on at the beginning of a writing career. They talk about most common mistakes new writers make, what a book package is, the importance of book covers, blurbs, taglines, newsletters and lead magnets. Mark Dawson is a USA Today bestselling author who teaches courses about book production and marketing. Check out his website at MarkJDawson.com. James Blatch writes military thrillers. For more, check out his website, JamesBlatch.com. On the Self Publishing Formula show, Mark Dawson and James Blatch talk about building a career as a self-published author.
Other videos from this past week:
- How To Deal With Lack Of Confidence by Daphne Gray-Grant for Publication Coach
- The Happy Hustler’s Guide To Writing And Marketing A Book Without Burning Out With Cary Jack by Chandler Bolt for Self Publishing School
- Draft2digital Vs Publish Drive – What’s Better For Authors? by Julie Broad for Book Launchers
- 5 Tips To Get That First Draft Done by Julie Broad for Book Launchers
- How To Grow As A Writer by Stavros Halvatzis for Get Writing
- How To Write Superbad Villains (With Sacha Black) by Kristina Adams and Ellie Betts for The Writer’s Cookbook
- How To Worldbuild When You’re Afraid To Worldbuild by Kristina Adams and Ellie Betts for The Writer’s Mindset
- Why Do We Love A Good Villain? (With Sacha Black) by Kristina Adams and Ellie Betts for The Writer’s Mindset
- Fancy Email Formatting: Do You Need It? by Kristina Adams and Ellie Betts for The Writer’s Mindset
- How I Sold 8,000 E-Books In 5 Days Using A Free Book Promotion On Amazon KDP by Claire Fraise for Write with Claire Fraise
- Looking Closer At Nook And Barnes & Noble by Mark Leslie Lefebvre for Draft2Digital
- Five Tips For Intuitive Writers by Becca Syme for QuitCast for Writers with Becca Syme
- Eating Our Words on Outlining by The Writer’s Mindset for The Writer’s Mindset
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].