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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
Giving Yourself Permission To Write by September Fawkes
Sometimes, we might want someone to validate that we are writers before we write. But you need to be the person who gives yourself permission. Not your spouse. Not your teacher. Not your neighbor. Not your mom or dad or writing idol. September Hawkes is a freelance editor. follow her on Twitter @SeptCFawkes and on Facebook at September C. Fawkes. At SeptemberCFawkes.com, Fawkes offers writing advice. Follow the site on its RSS Feed (direct Feedly signup link).
Ten things that people try when they’re struggling to finish writing a book that don’t work—and why this ends in giving up on a book, or paralyzes them due to writer’s block. Joe Bunting is a book coach, an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. Follow him on Instagram at @jhbunting. 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).
Finding Time To Write: 3 Foolproof Ways To Write With A Busy Schedule by Michelle Renee Miller
Regardless of where you are in your writing life, there are a few foolproof ways you can fit writing into your busy schedule, even if it’s stacked with non-negotiable responsibilities. For more advice from writing coach Michelle Renee Miller check out her website. This article is a guest post for The Write Practice, 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). 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).
How To Finish A Novel: 10 Ways To Follow Through by Jordan Kantey
These ten tips should help you follow through and finish writing a book. Read about stacking habits, the benefits of smart goals, how many drafts published authors write 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.
Other motivational advice this week:
- Conquering Your Fear Of Critique by Kendra Griffin for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers
- Your Un-Ideal Routine: Getting Your Writing Done When Your Perfect Writing Routine Is Impossible by Ali Luke for Craft Your Content
- The Not-Good-Enough Hole And Why Writers Are Always Falling Into It by Lauren Sapala for Lauren Sapala
- The Extraordinary Blessings Of Asking For Help by Jenny Hansen for Writers In The Storm
- Eight Ways To Stay Open To Story by Monica Corwin for Writers In The Storm
- Sometimes Writing Is Hard by Peg Sias Lantz for Florida Writers Association Blog
- Lighter Fare Or Darker Stories by PJ Gover for Almost An Author
- Write Ugly by Sophia Hansen for Almost An Author
- Writing A Book For The First Time: 3 Easy Tips To Get Started by Sarah Rexford for Self Publishing School
- 5 Books To Help You Beat Writer’s Block by Rebecca Moody for Writers’ Rumpus
- The 9 Best Podcasts For Fiction Writers And Indie Authors by P. S. Hoffman for P.S. Hoffman
- Three Questions To Improve Productivity by Katy Segrove for Pick Up Your Pen
The art and craft of writing
How To Gracefully Leave Your Writing Group by Lisa Cooper Ellison
Wanting to leave your writing group doesn’t make you a jerk. Departing with grace is an act of kindness that furthers your development and the friendships you cherish. Lisa Ellison is an editor, writing coach, and speaker. She has spent the last two decades helping clients and students turn difficult experiences into art and currently teaches courses in memoir, creative nonfiction, and mindful writing practices. To learn more about her work and writing, check out her website at LisaCooperEllison.com or follow her on Twitter at @LisaEllisonsPen. For more advice from Jane Friedman writing advice site, subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link here).
The Magic Of World Anvil by Lisa Norman
A game master built World Anvil for writers. As you explore, you’ll find tools and prompts designed to help you not only build immersive worlds, but write beautiful stories and finish your writing projects. Lisa Norman writes as Deleyna Marr and is the owner of Deleyna’s Dynamic Designs, a web development company focused on helping writers, and Heart Ally Books, an indie publishing firm. She teaches for Lawson Writer’s Academy. 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).
Five Secondary Character Arcs To Strengthen Your Cast by Lewis Jorstad
Secondary character arcs, which are specialized character arcs based on common journeys like coming of age or redemption. These universal stories are flexible enough to apply to a wide range of characters, but also provide a more detailed blueprint for planning your cast. Lewis Jorstad is a developmental editor, writing craft author and the founder of The Novel Smithy. 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).
Foreshadowing: A Revision Skill To Love by Kathryn Craft
Once you know the story’s destination, you can go back and add in some signage along the way. Novelist Kathryn Craft has been a freelance developmental editor at Writing-Partner.com since 2006, and teaches in Drexel University’s MFA program. Learn more on her website, KathrynCraft.com or follow her on Facebook at @KathrynCraftAuthor and on Twitter at @kcraftwriter. Writer Unboxed is a fantastic writing advice site, with lots of helpful articles from some of the biggest names in the field. Follow them on RSS (direct Feedly signup link) and on Twitter.
Medieval Footwear by Michael Schwarz
What kind of boots are most practical for a hunter-slash-fighter in a medieval-ish world? Michael Schwarz offers advice about fighting and battles. Advice on how to create realistic fight scenes and characters from a third-degree Black Belt. This site is mostly in an Q&A style, with more than 500 fight-related questions answered. If you like the site, you can support them on Patreon. Their RSS feed is here (direct Feedly signup link).
The Best Characters Eat Their Spinach — And Their Candy by Chris Winkle
Candy is anything in a story that glorifies a character. Spinach is anything in a story that humbles a character. This silly-sounding spectrum has a huge impact on how we respond to characters. 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:
- 14 Tips For Dealing With The Passage Of Time In A Story by K. M. Weiland for Helping Writers Become Authors
- How To Use Prologues, Part 1, Overview by Harmony Kent for Story Empire
- Reaching The End Of Your Story by C. Hope Clark for BookBaby Blog
- Fear Thesaurus Entry: Abandonment by Becca Puglisi for Writers Helping Writers
- Six Tips For How To Write A Compelling Action Scene by Emily Young for Writers Helping Writers
- What Is Rhythmic Writing? by Sue Coletta for Writers Helping Writers
- I Feel Funny: Humor Writing Tips For Novelists by Kathy Flann for The Craft of Writing – SFWA
- A Word On Plot by Doug Lewars for A Writer’s Path
- Fiction Filler: Bloated Writing Makes Readers Sick by Kristen Lamb for Kristen Lamb
- Surprise! Suspense And The Unexpected by Niki Kantzios for Florida Writers Association Blog
- Deep POV: 6 Key Details To Use In The Beginning Of A Book (And Beyond!) by Joslyn Chase for The Write Practice
- 6 Tips For Smarter Novel Research by Jess Montgomery for Career Authors
- Writing Ratios: Actions vs Info by Linda S. Clare for Linda S. Clare
- Lighten Up: Injecting Humor To Relieve Narrative Tension by Linda Dahl for DIY MFA
- How To Start A Book: Seven Questions To Ask About Your First Chapter by Abigail K. Perry for DIY MFA
- Exploit Your Hero’s Flaws by Jim Dempsey for Writer Unboxed
- Struggling With Weak Characters? Here’s How To Make Them Stronger by Alex J. Cavanaugh for Insecure Writer’s Support Group
- What Are Tropes In Writing? by Robert Lee Brewer for Writer’s Digest
- What Is Voice In Writing? by Millie Dinsdale for The Book Designer
- Starship To Starship Combat by Michael Schwarz for How to Fight Write
- Big Muscles: Cutting Water Weight, And Combat Effectiveness by Michael Schwarz for How to Fight Write
- Does My Protagonist Have To Solve The Problem? by Oren Ashkenazi for Mythcreants
- How To Write Dialogue: 7 Great Tips For Writers by Hannah Yang for ProWritingAid
The business side of writing
Why So Many Blogs And Newsletters Aren’T Worth The Writer’S Effort by Jane Friedman
Many writers are told to blog or send an email newsletter without much idea of how to approach it. Here are the most common mistakes they make. Jane Friedman is an expert in digital media strategy for authors and publishers and publishes The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors. She is also a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. Her book for creative writers, The Business of Being a Writer, received a starred review from Library Journal. Follow her on Twitter at @JaneFriedman. For more advice from Jane Friedman writing advice site, subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link here).
Secret Method To Choosing The Best Amazon Categories by Dave Chesson
There are secret Kindle categories that Amazon doesn’t tell you about when publishing and you can actually be listed for seven extra categories. 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.
The Writer’s Voice by Elaine Viets
What it’s like for an author to record their own audio book, and why hiring a professional might make sense. Elaine Viets has written 30 mysteries in four series. Check out her website at ElaineViets.com. 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.
Business Musings: The Final Brandon Sanderson Post by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Brandon Sanderson’s Kickstarter brought more than $40 million. Some think he’s a unicorn. But any writer who wants to spend the time cultivating their fanbase can grow a huge Kickstarter. 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.
Other business advice this week:
- Writing And Book Covers by D.l. Finn for Story Empire
- How To Help Readers Navigate Your Books by Nina Amir for How to Blog a Book
- Get Used To Rejection…It’S A Fact Of Publishing by Jessica Faust for BookEnds Literary Agency
- Marketing And Social Media For Writers by Sabrina Ricci for Digital Pubbing
- How To Write And Market For Two Different Genres by Evangeline Anderso for Kobo Writing Life
- Is Social Media A Good Investment For Writers? by Edie Melson for The Write Conversation
- How To Market Your Book Without Losing Your Mind by Penny Sansevieri for Author Marketing Experts, Inc.
- Seven Author Branding Tips: How writers can build stronger brands and sell more books by Mark Coker for Author Marketing Experts, Inc.
- 10 Ways To Plan A Successful Book Launch by BJ Bassett for WritersWeekly.com
- Tips From Authors On Social Media, Events, Expectation, and The Long Haul by Ann Marie Nieves for Writer Unboxed
- How To Come Up With The Perfect Book Title by C. S. Lakin for Live Write Thrive
- What Is An ISBN? 11 Facts For Self-Publishing Authors by Dave Chesson for Kindlepreneur
- How To Get An ISBN: Quick Guide For Self-Published Authors by Dave Chesson for Kindlepreneur
- Self-Publishing Should Never Be A Last Resort. Here’s Why by Lucy V Hay for Bang2write
Marketing Books With Written Word Media by Rachel Wharton and Joni Di Placido
Clayton Noblit and Grant Shepherd of Written Word Media offer insight into successful marketing as an indie author. Rachel Wharton is the author engagement coordinator at Kobo Writing Life. Joni Di Placido is the author engagement specialist at 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).
Home Retreats, Hacks, And Hucksters by Bryan Cohen and H. Claire Taylor
How to have a home-brewed writer’s retreat, how to copyright your book, whether you should accept a Kindle Daily Deal, whether hacking your productivity is a good idea, what new Kindle Vella feature will help engage your readers, what you can do tonight to start writing more tomorrow, what Barnes & Noble did to their audiobooks, and what print being down means for publishing. 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.
The Story’s Middle by Oren Ashkenazi, Chris Winkle, And Wes Matlock
This week the Mythcreants team is tackling the often muddle-some middle, discussing things like how much content it needs, how to pace it, and when the low point should be. Also, why you should always remember your most urgent conflict. A lot of authors forget that point. 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.
Other podcasts from this past week:
- Sticking With Standalones With Carter Wilson by J.D. Barker, J. Thorn, Zach Bohannon for Writers, Ink.
Sell Books With Content Marketing by Julie Broad
One of the best ways to sell books over time is through consistent content marketing. In this video, author and founder Julie Broad explains what content marketing is, how it helps you sell books, and what content you may have that can be repurposed again and again to grow your audience and market your book. 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.
How To Write The Hero’s Inner And Outer Journey. by Stavros Halvatzis
How the two hero journeys — the inner and the outer — intertwine to produce a deep and convincing story. 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).
Six Figures In Her First Year by Mark Dawson
With support from an ex-spouse, Nora Phoenix was able to leap into the void and begin a full-time writing career. Now she regularly tops the best-seller charts, all while spending very little on advertising. Mark Dawson is a USA Today bestselling author who teaches courses about book production and marketing. On the Self Publishing Formula show, Mark Dawson
Other videos from this past week:
- Your Book’s Pre-Sale Period Explained by Avery Bacchues for BookBaby Blog
- The Case Against Outlining (Why Mindmapping Is Better) by Daphne Gray-Grant for Publication Coach
- Using Publicity & Instagram To Sell Books & Grow Your Business by Chandler Bolt for Self Publishing School
- What Great Design Teaches Us About Building An Effective Author Platform by Dan Blank for WeGrowMedia
- Do You Need An Author Website? by The Writer’s Mindset for The Writer’s Mindset
- Three Tips For A Great Author Website by The Writer’s Mindset for The Writer’s Mindset
Am I missing any writing advice sites? Email me at [email protected].
MetaStellar editor and publisher Maria Korolov is a science fiction novelist, writing stories set in a future virtual world. And, during the day, she 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]. She is also the editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business, one of the top global sites covering virtual reality.