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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
How To Optimize Your Writing Sessions by Lisa E. Betz
Most writers fall into one of two general categories, those who work best in small spurts and those who work best in longer, more focused writing sessions. We all have a sweet spot that represents the optimum number of words our particular writer brain likes to handle in one sitting. An engineer-turned-mystery-writer, Lisa E. Betz infuses her novels with authentic characters who thrive on solving tricky problems. Her debut novel, Death and a Crocodile, won several awards. For more from her, check out LisaEBetz.com, follow her on Twitter at @LisaEBetz or on Facebook at @LisaEBetzWriter. 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).
Other motivational advice this week:
- Smashing Through Writer’s Block by Stavros Halvatzis for Stavros Halvatzis
- 21 Ways For Writers To Reduce Stress by Edie Melson for The Write Conversation
- On Writing (Or Not) On Vacation by Jessica Strawser for Career Authors
- Unlocking Writer’s Block Sideways by Angela Yeh for DIY MFA
- Let Your Words Grow Wild by Kelsey Allagood for Writer Unboxed
- How To Quickly Develop A Writing Habit by Nina Amir for Live Write Thrive
- What Does It (Still) Take To Be A Writer? by James Scott Bell for Killzoneblog.com
The art and craft of writing
Five Reasons Your Novel’s Premise Is A Powerful Writing Tool by Lewis Jorstad
Though it may not look like it on the surface, a strong premise is key to nearly every stage of the writing process. Your novel’s premise will be there to keep you on track as you write, help you honor your original inspiration while editing, and even find your ideal readers when it comes time. 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).
Artificial Intelligence Tools For Writers by Jane Fazackarley
While many writers are skeptical of AI’s usefulness, others find it a valuable asset for their writing. Jane Fazackarley is a freelance business writer specializing in creating content for the B2B, Cryptocurrency, and digital marketing sectors. She’s also a fiction writer and her debut novel Then He Left Me is available on Amazon. WritersWeekly is one of the oldest and most respected sites on freelance writing. It has been published continuously since 1997.
Character Talents & Skills: Beyond The Superficial by Becca Puglisi
What can our character’s talents or skills add to our story if they’re not important to the plot? 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. For more advice from Jami Gold, check out her website, JamiGold.com, named one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers by Writer’s Digest.
5 Ways To Use Short Stories To Grow As A Writer by Dallas Woodburn
Short story writing can be a gateway to writing your novel—but they’re also fun and worthy stories in their own right. Here, author Dallas Woodburn shares 5 ways to use short stories to grow as a writer. Dallas Woodburn is an award-winning author who writes young adult fiction, hosts the podcast Overflowing Bookshelves and teaches writing classes for teens and adults. Connect with her on Facebook at @dallaswoodburnauthor , on Twitter at @dallaswoodburn, and at her website at DallasWoodburnPR.com. 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.
The Three-Act Structure Is A Mirage by Oren Ashkenazi
The three-act structure isn’t a universal guide for storytelling, nor is it a boot pressing down on creativity and expression. 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.
How To Make Your Character Novel by Chris Winkle
Novelty isn’t easy, but it’s the quickest way to make an impression. 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:
- Why The Last Page Of Your Novel Is As Important As The First by Anne R. Allen for Anne R. Allen’s Blog… with Ruth Harris
- Understanding The New Normal World Of A Story’s Resolution by K.m. Weiland | @Kmweiland for Helping Writers Become Authors
- Suspension Of Disbelief by C. S. Boyack for Story Empire
- Chekhov’s Gun by D. Wallace Peach for Story Empire
- Listmania: How Lists Can Make Your Writing Faster And Easier by Ruth Harris for Anne R. Allen’s Blog… with Ruth Harris
- World-Building Tip: Consider The Culture by Adam Bassett for National Novel Writing Month
- Seven Components Of A Successful Novel Opening by Maggie Smith for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers
- There’s More Than One Way To Revise Your Writing by Michael Gallant for BookBaby Blog
- 10 Tips And Tricks To Get Writing Inspiration Anywhere And Anytime by Lucia Tang for Digital Pubbing
- Invaluable Writing Tips: Writer’s Puzzle Board by Rachel Glickler for Women Writers, Women’s Books
- Fear Thesaurus Entry: Infidelity by Becca Puglisi for Writers Helping Writers
- Avoiding Stereotypes In Fiction: Characters With Mental Health Issues by Cheryl Rainfield for Writers Helping Writers
- Chekhov’s Gun: A Double-Edged Writing Sword by Eldred Bird for Writers In The Storm
- Diversity And Inclusion In Writing by Megan Ganesh for Writers In The Storm
- Balancing Out Your Cast Of Characters by September Fawkes for September C. Fawkes
- Writing Powerful Scenes, Part 2: Beginning With Character by David Farland for MyStoryDoctor
- Agency: What Is It And Do Your Characters Have It? by Michael James for A Writer’s Path
- Writing Rules: How & Why We Play ‘Follow The Reader’ by Kristen Lamb for Kristen Lamb
- Researching Your Characters–Why It’s Important To Know As Much As You Can About Them by Your Book Starts Here for How to Plan, Write, and Develop a Book
- Yet Another Use For Outlines by Elizabeth Spann Craig for Elizabeth Spann Craig
- Secondary Characters by Anne Hawkinson for Florida Writers Association Blog
- I’ll Have A Draught. Not A Post About Happy Hour (Mostly) by Al Pessin for Florida Writers Association Blog
- Two Simple Techniques To Undermine The Readers’ Expectations And Keep Them Emotionally Hooked by Edie Melson for The Write Conversation
- Ten Secrets To Write Better Stories by Joe Bunting for The Write Practice
- Atticus Review: Is This Book Writing Software Your Writing And Formatting Solution? by Joe Bunting for The Write Practice
- How To Read Like A Writer And Boost Your Writing Skills by Joslyn Chase for The Write Practice
- When Worlds Collide by Dave King for Writer Unboxed
- How Can I Include Disability In A World Where People Design Their Bodies? by Fay Onyx for Mythcreants
- Best Book Writing Software 2022 by Dave Chesson for Kindlepreneur
- Top 9 Best Grammarly Alternatives: A Guide For Authors by Dave Chesson for Kindlepreneur
- Writing Safe Or Risking Your Readers by Tiffany Yates Martin for FoxPrint Editorial
- How To Write Non-Romantic Relationships by Bethany Henry for The Novel Smithy
- What Does ‘Authenticity’ Really Mean, Anyway? by Lucy V Hay for Bang2write
The business side of writing
Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Having An Online Presence 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 having an online presence. 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. 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.
Business Musings: Long-Term IP Management by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Writers should consider their IP a living breathing entity that has a lifespan all its own; IP is not something to be easily discarded or sold for a quick buck. 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:
- Why Your Agent Should Not Be Your Critique Partner by Jessica Faust for BookEnds Literary Agency
- Why Agents Don’t Give Feedback—And Where To Get It Instead by Allison Williams for Jane Friedman
- The Indie Authors’ Ultimate Guide To Hiring Virtual Assistants by Askalli Team for Self Publishing Advice
- How To Find (And Build) A Market For Your Books by Brian Jud for BookBaby Blog
- Use These Webinar Takeaways To Get More Author And Book Publicity by Sandra Beckwith for Build Book Buzz
- Are You Your Worst Book-Marketing Problem? by Brian Jud for Self Published Author
- Why You Want People To Hate Your Website by Lisa Norman for Writers In The Storm
- How Self-Published Authors Can Promote Their Books In A Digital Landscape by Miles Oliver for The Independent Publishing Magazine
- Increase Marketing By Building Publishing Relationships by Edie Melson for The Write Conversation
- A Free And Simple Method To Grow Your Audience by Chad R. Allen for Chad R. Allen
- Promoting A New Book: 5 Book Marketing Strategies All Authors Need To Try by Penny Sansevieri for Author Marketing Experts, Inc.
- Infographic: The Top 5 Social Media Strategies For Book Marketing by Penny Sansevieri for Author Marketing Experts, Inc.
- Reading Between The Lines: The Predatory Contracts Of Serial Reading and Writing Apps by Victoria Strauss for Writer Unboxed
- How To Find The Right Editor For Your Self-Published Book by Emily Mccrary-Ruiz-Esparza for Written Word Media
- Authorpreneur: How To Embody Both The Author And The Entrepreneur In Self-Publishing by Elizabeth Javor for Self Publishing Advisor
- How To Find Beta Readers For Final Draft Feedback by Jordan Kantey for Now Novel
Spotify Rewrites Audiobook Sales Rules, Buys AI Narration Tool by Dan Holloway and Howard Lovy
Spotify rewrites the rules on audiobook sales by ditching the subscription model and going à la carte. Also, Spotify buys an AI narration tool, but is artificial intelligence really ready to take over from human narrators? ALLi news editor Dan Holloway is a novelist, poet and spoken word artist. He is the MC of the performance arts show The New Libertines. Howard Lovy is ALLi’s multimedia manager. 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).
Writing With Artificial Intelligence With Andrew Mayne by Joanna Penn
What is GPT-3 and how can writers use it responsibly as part of their creative process? How can we approach AI tools with curiosity, rather than fear? Thriller author Andrew Mayne talks about these aspects 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.
Food In Spec Fic by Oren Ashkenazi, Chris Winkle, and Wes Matlock
What purpose food serves in the plot and how it can assist in character development. But also, can people really tell the difference between replicated and unreplicated food? We demand answers! 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:
- How To Write Great Beginnings With Sandra Gerth by Sacha Black for Sacha Black
- Selling Books Direct On Shopify With Katie Cross by Joanna Penn for The Creative Penn
- How To Become A Kobo Bestseller by Rachel Wharton and Joni Di Placido for Kobo Writing Life
- Pricing Right, Copyright, And Running Right by Bryan Cohen and H. Claire Taylor for Sell More Books Show
- How To Record Your Own Audiobook Using Hindenburg Narrator by for Author Media
Why Does Querying Take So Long? by Jessica Faust and James McGowan
In this video, the first in a series of three videos covering why the various stages of publishing take so long, Jessica and James discuss why the querying process can take such a long time. 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.
Taking Off Your Pants To Become A Plotter by Kristina Adams
This episode’s guest, Libbie Hawker, is a bestselling novelist who specializes in historical and literary fiction. She is also the author of the popular how-to guide Take Off Your Pants: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing. 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:
- Ways To Publish A Book by Book Launchers for Book Launchers
- 10 Author Mistakes To Avoid by Book Launchers for Book Launchers
- How To Use Genres by Stavros Halvatzis for Get Writing
- Kobo Writing Life: Reach New Readers by Mark Dawson and James Blatch for Self Publishing Formula
- PR Services For Authors by Mark Dawson and James Blatch for Self Publishing Formula
Am I missing any writing advice sites? Email me at [email protected] or leave a note in the comments below.
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.