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
If you’re struggling to appreciate your relationship with the written word, these ideas may help shift your perspective and give you a new lease on writing. Janna Lopez is an intuitive book coach, creative writing teacher with a MFA, and published author. She leads creative writing retreats for individuals and small groups in Santa Fe, New Mexico, through Land of Enchantment Writing. BookBaby bills itself as the nation’s leading self-publishing services company. For more advice like this, subscribe to their RSS feed (directly Feedly link here), or follow them on Facebook at @BookBaby or on Twitter at @BookBaby.
Other motivational advice this week:
- Three Non-Writing Tips To Get You Writing by Corie Adjmi for Women Writers, Women’s Books
- Getting Through A Tough Spot In A Project: 5 Tips by Elizabeth Spann Craig for Elizabeth Spann Craig
- 7 Lies About Becoming A Writer That You Probably Believe by Joe Bunting for The Write Practice
- Allowing Your Mind To Wander — A Writing Secret by Daphne Gray-Grant for Publication Coach
- How To Knock Down Your Creative Blocks by Daphne Gray-Grant for Publication Coach
- Benefits Of Using A Content Planner For Your Novel by Christina Queen for Writers On The Move
- Embracing Uncertainty by C Hope Clark for FundsforWriters
- Rejection by Mary Gillgannon for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers
The art and craft of writing
The Genuinely Popular Culture Of Your World Is… by Philip Athans
How do we create characters, especially in fantasy and science fiction stories and novels with no grounding in the real world at all, that seem like real people, when nothing about the world in which they live is itself real? Philip Athans is the New York Times best-selling author of Annihilation and a dozen other books including The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction, and “Writing Monsters. His blog, Fantasy Author’s Handbook, is updated every Tuesday, and you can follow him on Twitter at @PhilAthans. Fantasy Author’s Handbook offers advice for authors of fantasy, science fiction, and horror.
Create Stronger Characters By Giving Them Roles by Janice Hardy
Knowing what role a character plays in the story helps you determine which character does what in every scene—which helps characterize them at the same time. Fantasy author Janice Hardy has several must-have writing guides up on Amazon and you can follow her on Twitter @Janice_Hardy. Follow Janice Hardy’s Fiction University via RSS feed here (direct Feedly signup link), or follow them on Facebook at @JaniceHardysFictionUniversity. 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).
The Secret Ingredients For Writing Theme by September C. Fawkes
Many people in the writing community caution against writing with a theme in mind. They argue that if you do, your story will feel contrived, or worse, preachy. But this is only true if you don’t know what you are doing. September Hawkes is a freelance editor. Follow her on Twitter @SeptCFawkes and on Facebook at September C. Fawkes. MyStoryDoctor offers writing advice, editing, coaching, online courses, and live workshops. Subscribe to them via their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link here).
The Five Reasons Prequel Stories Are So Difficult by Oren Ashkenazi
Prequels are an especially challenging type of story to write, and many authors simply aren’t prepared for the extra difficulties. 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.
Other writing advice this week:
- 13 Rules To Be A Better Beta Reader by K. M. Weiland for Helping Writers Become Authors
- Story Development And Execution Part 9: Writing Action by Staci Troilo for Story Empire
- Characters And Diversity. Part 3 — Physical Ability by Gwen M. Plano for Story Empire
- How To Get The Most Out Of Your Climax by Brian Andrews for Career Authors
- A Writer’s Guide To Breaking The Rules by Sarah Penner for Writer Unboxed
- The Power Of Surprise by Greer Macallister for Writer Unboxed
- 5 Tips To Writing About Place In Fiction by Yasmin Chopin for Live Write Thrive
- How Do I Make A Sidekick Feel Like Their Own Person? by Chris Winkle for Mythcreants
- Try To Make Your Scenes Do More Than One Thing by Nathan Bransford for Nathan Bransford
- Things You Didn’t Know About Writing What We Know by Louisa Morgan for Women Writers, Women’s Books
- The Yin And Yang Relationship Between Psychology And Storytelling by Stefan Emunds for Writers In The Storm
- Writing An Un-Put-Downable Character (Part 7 Of 10): Internal Dialogue by A.C. Williams for The Write Conversation
- How To Write Better By Following This One, Simple Rule by Joe Bunting for The Write Practice
- Plot Driven Story Telling by Martin Johnson for Almost An Author
- Five Must-Haves For A Great Ending by Gilbert Bassey for DIY MFA
- Pacing Your Fight Scene by Carla Hoch for Writer’s Digest
- Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Rushing The Drafting Process by Michael Woodson for Writer’s Digest
- The 12 Best Writing Organization Tools Of The Year by Joel Friedlander for The Book Designer
- How To Give Social Justice Feedback by Chris Winkle for Mythcreants
- The Three Types Of Opening Lines by James Scott Bell for Killzoneblog.com
- Elements Of Science Fiction by Hannah Yang for ProWritingAid
The business side of writing
Your Self-Publishing Toolbox For Authorial Success: Publishing Tools by Stephanie BwaBwa
Quick reviews of top publishing tools, including Miblart’s cover designs, Vellum formatting, and publishing via IngramSpark, Kindle Direct Publishing, and Draft2Digital.
Stephanie BwaBwa writes young adult fantasy. Visit her website at StephanieBwaBwa.com. 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).
Best Self Publishing Courses: Which One Is Right For You? by Dave Chesson
Dave Chesson takes the most popular self-publishing courses on the market, and, after finishing them, tell you how to pick the one that’s right for you. 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:
- Ghostwriting Fiction On The Freelance Sites by C Hope Clark for FundsforWriters
- Boost Book Sales With More Powerful And Intriguing Book Descriptions by Sandra Beckwith for Build Book Buzz
- Nine Critical Signs Of Trouble When Selling Your Books by Brian Jud for Self Published Author
- NY Book Editors Blog: Free Marketing Tools For Book Promotion On Amazon by Penny Sansevieri for Author Marketing Experts, Inc.
- How To Make An Audiobook: 10 Steps To Listeners by Jordan Kantey for Now Novel
- Adventures In Reversion– Getting The Rights Back by Kay Dibianca for Killzoneblog.com
- Indie Versus Traditional: The Author’s Dilemma by Beem Weeks for Story Empire
- Half The Work, Twice The Fun? What You Need To Know About Collaborating by Christina Hamlett for Women Writers, Women’s Books
- Sure-Fire Ways To Succeed When Promoting Your Writing Or Books On Instagram by Ruby Immaculate for WritersWeekly.com
- How To Get Started Selling Books On Social Media by Elizabeth Javor for Self Publishing Advisor
- Business Musings: Let’s Talk Real Business, Shall We? by Kristine Kathryn Rusch for Kristine Kathryn Rusch
- 91 Paying Markets For Flash Fiction by Erica Verrillo for Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity
- How To Jumpstart Book Sales With Reviews And Excerpts by Carolyn Howard-Johnson for Writers On The Move
- Getting Started With Audio Book Narration by Morgan Hazelwood for Morgan Hazelwood
- Nobody’s Reading My Author Blog! 10 Tips For Getting More Blog Traffic by Anne R. Allen for Anne R. Allen’s Blog… with Ruth Harris
What do you need to consider if you want to go full time as an author entrepreneur? What challenges might you face in your first few years? Sacha Black shares her lessons learned from three years full-time. 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.
Acquisitions, Adapting, And Decision Fatigue by Bryan Cohen and H. Claire Taylor
When to sell direct, how insecurity kills creativity, and why its hard to make decisions. 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.
Podcast For Authors: Hiring A Book Marketing Company With Less Risk by Penny Sansevieri
A lot of authors hire book marketing firms, and for various reasons, their expectations just flat-out weren’t met. Either their firm didn’t deliver on their promises, or they didn’t communicate effectively with the author. Or worse, the firm’s intentions were sketchy, at best. This episode is about how to determine your goals and needs, and how to find the right firm. 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).
Murderbot by Oren Ashkenazi, Chris Winkle, and Wes Matlock
The Mythcreants team discusses what makes the Hugo-award-winning Murderbot books so great. 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 Crowdfund Your Book by for Author Media
- 17.32: Everything Is About Conflict by Howard Tayler for Writing Excuses
How to sell books in bulk, presentation tips for book promotions, book proposals, and how to manage burnout. 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.
Character Profile by Stavros Halvatzis
How to jump-start character creation through a character profile. 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).
Other videos from this past week:
- The Anatomy Of A Best Seller With Sacha Black And Cassie Newell by Sacha Black for Sacha Black
- How To Make Your Next Book More Successful Than All Of Your Previous Books by Chandler Bolt for Self Publishing School
- How To Use Book Brush by Claire Fraise for Write with Claire Fraise
- Can I Query My Book Before Its Done? by Jessica Faust and James McGowan for BookEnds Literary Agency
- Income Ideas For Authors – Sponsorships And Paid Ads by Julie Broad for Book Launchers
- The Most Common Writing Mistake: Why Telling And Exposition Are Actually Good by Shaelin Bishop for ShaelinWrites
- 10 Stupid Things Writers Say (Stop Telling On Yourself!) by Jenna Moreci for Writing with Jenna Moreci
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.