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This week’s top writing advice from around the web for Jul. 24
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 Avoid Writer’s Guilt This Summer by Angela Ackerman
Summer can be a tough time for writers. Sunshine lures us away from our computers. 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).
What To Do When You’re Overwhelmed by Randy Ingermanson
Modern life forces you to make impossible choices. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the stuff that needs doing. Randy Ingermanson is a theoretical physicist, award-winning sci-fi author, and writing coach. He is best known for the snowflake method of story structure, see How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method for more info. You can follow him on Twitter at @SnowflakeGuy. Advanced Fiction Writing offer writing advice tools, books and writing courses. Follow them via their RSS feed (directly Feedly link) or on Facebook at @Advanced Fiction Writing.
Writing Community: 10 Ways To Connect And Share by Jordan Kantey
The best writing communities foster growth, accountability, and provide companionship throughout the sometimes lonely 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 motivational advice this week:
- Writers, Listen Up! This Is The Thing You Keep Doing That’s Killing Your Story by Lauren Sapala for Lauren Sapala
- Creating Your Life So You Can Create Better Writing by Mary Carroll Moore for How to Plan, Write, and Develop a Book
- Getting Lost In The Details? Try This Simple Trick by Elizabeth Maria Naranjo for WOW! Women On Writing Blog
- The 6 Creativity Killers: A Reconnaissance Report On Creativity’s Greatest Enemies by Mason Engel for DIY MFA
- 3 Ways To Find A Thriving Writing Community by Lewis Jorstad for The Novel Smithy
- Are You Intentional About Growing Your Writing Craft? by Lisa E. Betz for Almost An Author
The art and craft of writing
Create A Compelling Plot With What-But-Therefore by Lynette Burrows
You can have interesting characters in a striking setting and have a boring book. Plot structure can create tension that keeps the reader engaged and eager to finish your book. Lynette M.Burrows writes dystopian sci-fi. For more advice like this, check out her website, LynetteMBurrows.com, or follow her on Facebook at @LynetteMBurrowsAuthor or on Twitter at @LynetteMBurrows. 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).
Pinch Points That Reveal The Opposition In Your Fiction by C. S. Lakin
What the heck are pinch points? Do you need them? Where do they go in a novel, and what’s their 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. MyStoryDoctor offers writing advice, editing, coaching, online courses, and live workshops. Subscribe to them via their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link here).
A Character Profile — Making Characters More Compelling by Stavros Halvatzis
A character profile helps you write compelling characters—the mainstay of any story. 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).
Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Understanding Point Of View by Moriah Richard
The Writer’s Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week’s writing mistake is not understanding point of view. Moriah Richard is the managing editor at Writer’s Digest. Since obtaining her MFA in fiction, she has worked with over 100 authors to help them achieve their publication dreams. Follow her on Twitter at @MoriahRichard93. Follow Writer’s Digest via their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link), on Twitter at @WritersDigest and on Facebook at @writersdigest.
Other writing advice this week:
- 7 Tips For Opening Your Story In Medias Res by K. M. Weiland for Helping Writers Become Authors
- Characters And Diversity. Part 2: Wealth by Gwen M. Plano for Story Empire
- Good Scenes Require Specifics by Sharon Oard Warner for Jane Friedman
- Worldbuilding A Diverse Landscape by Siera Schubach for National Novel Writing Month
- What Makes A Great Antagonist by Maggie Smith for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers
- Satisfying Ways To End A Story by Ellen Buikema for Writers In The Storm
- The Secondary Principles Of Plot: Progress, Setbacks, Costs, Turning Points by September C. Fawkes for September C. Fawkes
- What Is Context In Writing? by Jackie Pearce for Craft – The Write Life
- Antagonists – Why Bother? by Anne Hawkinson for Florida Writers Association Blog
- 5 Tips To Pick Up The Pace by Dana Isaacson for Career Authors
- How Telling The Truth Can Increase The Tension And Humor In A Novel by Holly James for Writer’s Digest
- Managing Point Of View: The Distance Of Time by Sharon Short for Writer’s Digest
- Mental Health In Storytelling: Creating Compelling Neurodiverse Protagonists by O.E. Tearmann for Writer’s Digest
- How Do I Find A Sensitivity Consultant For Disability? by Fay Onyx for Mythcreants
- How To Create A Vivid Sense Of Place In Your Novel by Andy Maslen for Authors A.I.
- A Roadmap For The Author’s Revision Process by Becca Puglisi for Anne R. Allen’s Blog… with Ruth Harris
- Top 5 Mistakes Writers Make With Sex Scenes by Lucy V Hay for Bang2write
The business side of writing
The Secret Side Careers Of Successful Authors by Alexander Lewis
Many successful authors maintain side writing careers, in less glamorous forms such as grant writing, copywriting, and ghostwriting. Alexander Lewis is an Austin city, Texas based SaaS copy writer and executive ghostwriter who writes weekly newsletters for freelancers about business and craft writing. He is also a guest post writer on jane friedman. Check out Lewis website lewis commercial writing. For more advice from Jane Friedman writing advice site, subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link here).
5 Make Or Break Success Strategies: How To Market Your Self-Published Book by Penny Sansevieri
A short list of ideas for how to market your self-published book. 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).
Other business advice this week:
- #Mktg 17 — Tiktok by Jan Sikes for Story Empire
- Time Is Ticking: Why Tiktok Is Worth Your Valuable Time by Eva Newland for #PublishingReinvented
- 253 Resources About Podcasting, Audiobooks, And Smart Speakers by Sabrina Ricci for Digital Pubbing
- Why You Should Avoid Traditional Publishing If You’re Planning A Series by Penny C. Sansevieri for Self Published Author
- 7 Killer Tips For How To Write A Bio by Pamela Hodges for The Write Practice
- How To Sell Self-Published Books Without Amazon: One Author’s Experience by Andrew Couldwell for Author Marketing Experts, Inc.
- How (And Why!) To Build An Email Following by Scott Lieberman for Live Write Thrive
- What Is Hybrid Publishing, And How Hybrid Presses Differ From Other Publishers by Elizabeth Javor for Self Publishing Advisor
- How COVID Has Changed The Publishing Industry—Including Self-Publishing by Elizabeth Javor for Self Publishing Advisor
- How Author Photographs Help Your Book’s Success (+ Top 7 Mistakes To Avoid) by Sarah Rexford for Self Publishing School
- Self-Publishing: A Changing Landscape by Audrey Beth Stein for Writers’ Rumpus
- The Power Of A Strong Book Cover Blurb by Paul Goat Allen for BookBaby Blog
- Author Platform: Here’s What All The Fuss Is About by Brooke Warner for The Write Life
- Writer’s Digest Best Self-Publishing Websites 2022 by Writers Digest Staff for Writer’s Digest
Tools and tactics may change, but the principles of book marketing remain the same whatever the situation. 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.
Creating An Author Universe With Penny Reid by Tara Cremin
After several authors expressed interest in writing in her worlds, Penny Reid opened it up and created the collaborative universe Smartypants Romance. Tara Cremin is the director of Kobo Writing Life. Kobo Writing Life is the writing advice site from the people behind the Kobo reader. For more like this, subscribe to their RSS feed (directly Feedly link here).
Non-Romantic Relationships by Oren Ashkenazi, Chris Winkle, and Wes Matlock
Non-romantic relationships tend to get overlooked in writing advice, which is why the Mythcreants team is focusing on them in this episode. They talk about how to avoid romantic implications, what other kinds of relationships can look like, and how to make them satisfying. Oren Ashkenazi is 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.
Other podcasts from this past week:
- Author Plans, Brands And Success With Zoe York by Sacha Black for Sacha Black
- Writing Communities by Amy Jones, Robert Lee Brewer, Moriah Richard, and Michael Woodson for Writer’s Digest
Why You Should Always Read Your Contract by Jessica Faust And James Mcgowan
The importance of reading your contract, what to look out for, what to understand, and most importantly, what to do before signing. 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.
If you self-publish on Amazon, you need to add categories and keywords onto your book. The choice can make a difference in how easily readers can find your book. 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.
Family Structures In Science Fiction And Fantasy (A Balticon 56 Panel) by Morgan Hazelwood
From werewolf clans to alien hives, this panel discussed the most imaginative and thought-provoking examples of family structures in genre works. 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.
Other videos from this past week:
- Is It Worth Waiting For Inspiration? by Daphne Gray-Grant for Publication Coach
- How To Write And Publish A Series by Kristina Adams and Ellie Betts for The Writer’s Cookbook
- Outlining Mistakes That Authors Make (With Libbie Hawker) by The Writer’s Mindset for The Writer’s Mindset
- How To Write And Publish A Successful Series (With Helen Scheuerer) by The Writer’s Mindset for The Writer’s Mindset
- This Video Will Motivate You To Write by Abbie Emmons for Abbie Emmons
- The Self Publishing Show Live! 2022 (Show Recap) (The Self Publishing Show, Episode 340) by Self Publishing Formula for Self Publishing Formula
- 10 Ways To Save Your Self-Publishing Budget by Writing With Jenna Moreci for Writing with Jenna Moreci
- How To Write Flowing Dialogue by Get Writing! for Get Writing
- How To Grow Your Audience (With Miriam Laundry) by The Writer’s Mindset for The Writer’s Mindset
- Writing Tips For Discovery Writers! | Organization, Story Movement, Etc. by Shaelinwrites for ShaelinWrites
Am I missing any writing advice sites? Email me at [email protected] or leave a note in the comments below.
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.