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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
Should You Take A Break From Writing? 5 Red Flags by K.m. Weiland | @Kmweiland
Should you ever take a break from writing? Is that just code for quitting? Is it a sign you’re copping to your own laziness or fear? Or that you’re really not a disciplined, serious, writer? The short answer: Who knows? Only you know. K.M. Weiland is the award-winning author of acclaimed writing guides such as Structuring Your Novel and Creating Character Arcs. She also writes historical and speculative fiction and mentors authors. 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.
Are there times in your life when it’s more difficult to write? Do you want to learn how to write when you don’t feel like it? There are days when we don’t want to write, where not even an extra large cup of coffee will get you through a writing session. In this article, Joe Bunting talks about why you don’t feel like writing and what you can do about it. 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).
Other motivational advice this week:
- Music Playlists As Story Inspiration by A.S. Axeman for National Novel Writing Month
- Defining And Developing Your Author Voice by September Fawkes for September C. Fawkes
- Build Your Lifelong Writing Habit: Productivity, Sustainability, Intention by H. Duke for The Writersaurus
- When Taking Criticism Is Hard by Renee Roberson for WOW! Women On Writing Blog
- When Your Story Gets Stuck (& Getting It Unstuck) by Nicole Pyles for WOW! Women On Writing Blog
- 3 Reasons A Writer Might Feel Like A Failure by Edie Melson for The Write Conversation
- Start With A Small Step by LA Bourgeois for DIY MFA
- Three Simple Tips On How To Have Great Ideas by Peter Rey for Peter Rey
- Is Recency Bias Harming Your Writing? by Daphne Gray-Grant for Publication Coach
- It’s Crucial To Know Who You Are As A Writer by James Scott Bell for Killzoneblog.com
- The Secret To Being A Successful Writer by Rachel Thompson for Killzoneblog.com
- Want To Be A Writer? You’ve Got To Read by Karen Cioffi for Writers On The Move
The art and craft of writing
Have Your Audiences And Readers Feel Emotion by Stavros Halvatzis
If we don’t feel emotion for our characters then we won’t care about their stories. And if we don’t care about their stories we won’t care about the ideas they espouse. This is simple to understand but difficult to achieve. 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).
13 Ways To Freaking Freak Out Your Horror Readers by Shayla Raquel
For horror writers, here are some ways to frighten a reader so badly that they text someone at midnight saying, “You have to read this!” Shayla Raquel is a self-publishing mentor, best-selling author, and public speaker whose books include The 10 Commandments of Author Branding. Follow her on Twitter at @shaylaleeraquel. For more advice from Jane Friedman writing advice site, subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link here).
It may seem a little odd to talk about story endings when you haven’t even started writing. Deciding on the type of ending you want, however, is an important part of planning a book. You usually wouldn’t drive somewhere without a destination in mind. Knowing how your story ends will help you work out the important plot points in between, all the plot twists that eventually lead to that climatic moment. J.D. Edwin is a sci-fi author. Follow Edwin on Facebook @JDEdwinAuthor, and on Twitter @JDEdwinAuthor. Her website is JDEdwin.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).
How To Create An Unhappy Ending by Chris Winkle
In a truly tragic story, the hero fails because they made the wrong choice. 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:
- If You Can Dream It, You Can Write It by Edie Melson for The Write Conversation
- The Key To Successful Revisions Is Time by Jessica Faust for BookEnds Literary Agency
- Creating Characters That Make Your Readers Care by Jamian Smalls for Craft Your Content
- Fear Thesaurus Entry: Relational Commitment by Becca Puglisi for Writers Helping Writers
- Two Essential Questions To Ask As You Self-Edit by Kahina Necaise for The Craft of Writing – SFWA
- Dig Deeper Than Descriptions To Create Nuanced Characters by Tiffany Yates Martin for Writers In The Storm
- Personality Traits: Creating Dimensional Characters by Kristen Lamb for Kristen Lamb
- Making Your Characters Real Individuals, Making Them Stand Out by Mary Carroll Moore for How to Plan, Write, and Develop a Book
- Plot Types In Stories by Stavros Halvatzis for Stavros Halvatzis
- Writing An Un-Put-Downable Character Part 2: Conflict by Edie Melson for The Write Conversation
- Roman A Clef: 3 Liberating Reasons Why Writers Should Use This by Denise Regga for The Write Practice
- 3 Crucial Steps That Will Improve Bad Writing by Jeff Goins for The Write Practice
- Theme Versus Meaning by Donald Maass for Writer Unboxed
- 5 Tips For Writing A Revenge Story by Kit Mayquist for Writer’s Digest
- How To Maintain Accuracy Across Multiple Plot Lines In Historical Fiction by Julia Brewer Daily for Writer’s Digest
- Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Correcting Submissions Before You Hear Back by Robert Lee Brewer for Writer’s Digest
- Using Weapons Of Opportunity: Fightwrite by Carla Hoch for Writer’s Digest
- How To Write About Difficult Topics by Daphne Gray-Grant for Publication Coach
- Why Sequels Don’t Erase Mistakes In The First Book by Oren Ashkenazi for Mythcreants
- Why Are Disingenuous Reveals So Common? by Oren Ashkenazi for Mythcreants
The business side of writing
Writers, Do You Need A Sensitivity Reader For Your Book? by Anne R. Allen
A sensitivity reader is basically a beta reader — paid or volunteer — who belongs to a marginalized group. Their job is to make sure you have portrayed characters of that group correctly, without bias, unconscious insults or demeaning stereotypes. Anne Allen started her career at Bantam and knows her way around the publishing industry. Allen also writes mysteries and how-to books about writing. For more advice like this, follow her on Twitter at @annerallen or on Facebook at @annerallenauthor. Anne R. Allen’s Blog… with Ruth Harris offers advice from a couple of publishing industry veterans. For more advice like this, subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly link).
Create Your Book Marketing Plan By Answering These 7 Questions by Sandra Beckwith
Do you remember Yogi Berra’s famous quote on the importance of planning? He said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up some place else.” His wisdom applies to book marketing, too. If you don’t know what you want to accomplish with your book, you won’t know if you’ve done it – or how to do it. 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).
Tips For Landing A Guest Posting Gig by Becca Puglisi
Guest posting can be a great idea for a number of reasons. You’re helping a fellow blogger by providing valuable content that they don’t have to write themselves. Most bloggers are crazy busy, so having someone write a relevant, quality post for them is usually a godsend. 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.
A bad book description will make your book look unprofessional and will likely lose you sales. Learn how to make them amazing in this article. Jason Hamilton is a fantasy author. Check out Hamilton’s site, MythBank, full of reading and viewing guides to the most popular sci-fi and fantasy works. You can also follow him on Twitter at @StoryHobbit and on Facebook at Jason Hamilton. 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.
Keywords In Your Book Description: Do They Help? by Dave Chesson
Want to know whether keyword in your book description will get you more visibility on Amazon? Check out this article to find out. 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.
Other business advice this week:
- Crave Rejection? 7 Never-Fail, 100% Guaranteed Tips For Raising Your R-Score. by Ruth Harris for Anne R. Allen’s Blog… with Ruth Harris
- Self-Publishing News: Is Print On Demand The Answer To Publishing’s Paper Crisis by Dan Holloway for Self Publishing Advice
- Best Practices For Working With An Independent Editor by Lisa Poisso for Writers Helping Writers
- How To Create A Critical Path For Your Book Release by Miles Oliver for The Independent Publishing Magazine
- 3 Tips When Asking For Feedback by Sue Bradford Edwards for WOW! Women On Writing Blog
- The Rapid Release Strategy by Elizabeth Cole for Write Now Coach!
- My Amazon KDP Advertising Campaign Strategy For Authors: Don’t Run Ads On Your Books Until You Read This! by Lori Culwell for Book promotion, marketing, and advertising for authors
- 5 Ways To Improve Your Chances Of Winning Writing Competitions by Amanda Steel for WritersWeekly.com
- 6 Things You Must Avoid When Marketing Your Book by Amanda Steel for WritersWeekly.com
- Using Book Templates: Advantages & Disadvantages by Emily Mccrary-Ruiz-Esparza for Written Word Media
- How To Create A Back-Cover Blurb That Sells by Dave Chesson for Kindlepreneur
- Hashtags For Writers: Free Generator Tool by Dave Chesson for Kindlepreneur
- Brandon Sanderson’s Kickstarter Is At $21 Million And Counting (This Week In Books) by Nathan Bransford for Nathan Bransford
Stages Of The Writing Craft: When Is It Worth Rewriting? by Orna Ross and Joanna Penn
Indie authors can update their books whenever they want. For some authors, this feature of digital publishing is a curse, igniting perfectionism and endless tinkering. 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).
The Blood And Guts Of Writing With Catherine Spader by Rachel Wharton and Joni Di Placido
Guest Catherine Spader talks about her career trajectory from ER nurse to journalist to fantasy writer. She explains how her medical background brings realism to her writing, and talks about the tips and tricks she learned as a journalist that shape her fiction writing. 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).
How To Turn Readers Into Superfans by Penny Sansevieri
There are some major differences between super fans and street teams, but both are important to your author branding, book marketing plan, and long-term success. 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 podcasts from this past week:
- How To Write Humour And Sex Positive Stories For Teens With Margot Wood by Sacha Black for Sacha Black
- When Pen Names Make Sense And How To Rock Them by Lindsay Buroker for Six Figure Authors
- Big Brands, Rewrites, And No-Sweat Instagram by Bryan Cohen and H. Claire Taylor for Sell More Books Show
- Bad Adaptations by Oren Ashkenazi, Chris Winkle, and Wes Matlock for Mythcreants
I’ve Got It, I’ve Got It… by Becca Syme
When you have already burned out, how do you keep it from happening again? First, need to address the “I’ve Got It” myth, because we all need support. Becca Syme is a Gallup-certified strengths coach, author coach, and nonfiction author. The QuitCast for Writers is a video podcast where Becca Syme discusses what to keep, what to quit, and what to question, if you are trying to make a go of the author career.
How To Write Without Triggering Your Writer’s Block by Lauren Sapala
When the nervous system gets freaked out, it sends danger signals to the brain warning that the creative process needs to be shut down immediately. The solution has to do with repairing the relationship your nervous system has with the writing process, and rebuilding trust. 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.
There’s a dysfunctional cycle that happens because of unresolved trauma that can block writers from being able to write. In this episode, Lauren Sapala talks about what’s actually happening between the nervous system and the brain when this happens, and why it always results in self-sabotage. 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.
Other videos from this past week:
- How Long Does It Take To Create A Youtube Video? (With Jenna Moreci) by Kristina Adams for The Writer’s Mindset
- Does Advertising Guarantee Book Sales? by Rachel Kerr for BookBaby Blog
- NFTs For Authors: Creativity, Collaboration, Community, And Cash by Joanna Penn for The Creative Penn
- Should You Switch To Dictating Your Writing? by Daphne Gray-Grant for Publication Coach
- How To Write A Book Without Typing by Book Launchers for Book Launchers
- How To Write Believable Characters by Get Writing! for Get Writing
- Prowritingaid And Grammarly: Are They Worth It? (With Kristin N. Spencer) by The Writer’s Mindset for The Writer’s Mindset
- How To Stay Motivated (With Savannah Kade) by The Writer’s Mindset for The Writer’s Mindset
- How To Write And Publish On The Side Of Your Day Job (With Sticky Brand Lab) by The Writer’s Mindset for The Writer’s Mindset
- Does Every Story Need Internal And External Conflict? (With Janice Hardy) by The Writer’s Mindset for The Writer’s Mindset
- The Importance Of A Video Format (With Jenna Moreci) by The Writer’s Mindset for The Writer’s Mindset
- Why Does Every Story Need A Hook? (With Kristin N. Spencer) by The Writer’s Mindset for The Writer’s Mindset
- 12 Steps Of The Hero’s Journey Explained (Episode 3: The Refusal Of The Call) by Write With Claire Fraise for Write with Claire Fraise
- Writing And Formatting Books Using Atticus, With Dave Chesson by Draft2digital for Draft2Digital
- Book Sales &Amp; Expense Reporting With Pete Fu From Publishwide by Draft2digital for Draft2Digital
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.