This week’s top writing advice from around the web for Jul. 10

Reading Time: 12 minutes
(Illustration by Maria Korolov based on image via Pixabay.)

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.

You can see all the previous writing advice of the week posts here and subscribe to the RSS feed for this writing advice series here (direct Feedly signup link).

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

Toxic Productivity For Writers – Do You Have It? by Karen Debonis

The key identifying characteristic of toxic productivity is producing for the sake of producing. Karen DeBonis writes about motherhood, perseverance, and people-pleasing. You can see more of her work at or follow her on Facebook at @KDeBoniswriter or on Twitter at @KarenDeBonis. 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).

Why Reading Books On Productivity Is The Worst Thing A Writer Could Do by Lauren Sapala

To someone who believes you must be constantly productive to earn your worth, “unmotivated” really means “lazy.” To someone who recognizes that every single one of us has a natural energy cycle and our creative process cannot be separated from that cycle, “unmotivated” actually means “in need of rest.” 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, Sapala offers writing advice, courses, and coaching services.

Other motivational advice this week:

The art and craft of writing

Copy Editing Secrets by Hank Phillippi Ryan

USA Today bestselling author Hank Phillippi Ryan loves copyediting! And what she learned copyediting her fourteenth thriller taught her a few powerful secrets. Hank Phillippi Ryan is the USA Today bestselling author of 13 psychological thrillers, winning the genre’s most prestigious awards. Follow her on Facebook at @Hank Phillippi Ryan or on Twitter at @HankPRyan. Career Authors is one of Writer’s Digest top 101 websites for writers and helps authors write better, get published, and sell more books. For more advice like this subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link), on Twitter at @CareerAuthors and on Facebook at @CareerAuthors.

A Step-By-Step Guide To Better Sentence Length by Daphne Gray-Grant

Is your writing filled with long, winding sentences? Here’s a guide to achieving better sentence length. Daphne Gray-Grant is a writing coach, author of Your Happy First Draft, and host of The Write Question show on YouTube. Publication Coach offers books, courses, videos, and one-on-one coaching for authors. If you want more advice like this, subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link) or follow them on Twitter at @pubcoach or subscribe to their YouTube channel.

How Memorable Are You? by Debbie Burke

Storytelling and marketing advice from a recent talk by script consultant Barbara Schiffman. Specifically, using telling details can help readers want to learn more about a character. But they can also help readers, and publishers, want to know more about you, the author. Debbie Burke is an award-winning thriller writer and journalist. For more, check out her website, or follow her on Twitter at @burke_writer. 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.

How To Write An Anti-Hero Readers Will Adore by Lewis Jorstad

From rough romantic leads to smarmy space pirates, the best anti-hero strikes a delicate balance between smug, sarcastic villain and genuine hero. This isn’t always easy to pull off.
Lewis Jorstad is a developmental editor, writing craft author and the founder of The Novel Smithy. The Novel Smithy is a site that helps writers build a robust writing toolkit. Follow them on Twitter @TheNovelSmithy.

Self-Editing For Fiction Writers: 10 Top Tips by Krystal N. Craiker

If you’re editing your own work — or trading editing with a fellow writer — start with the big picture edits first. These include plot holes, pacing issues, fleshing out scenes and character arcs. Save the grammar and spelling for last. Krystal N. Craiker is the Scholars of Elandria fantasy series. For more advice, and book reviews, check out her website, or follow her on Facebook at @KrystalNCraiker or on Twitter at @KrystalNCraiker. ProWritingAid is an AI-powered editing tool. The site also offers writing advice.

How To Make Any Character Complex by September Fawkes

The three best ways to make any character complex are to create, consider, and explore their seeming contradictions, personal boundaries and value systems, and layers of identity. 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).

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Choosing Between Plotting Or Pantsing by Michael Woodson

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 choosing between plotting or pantsing. Michael Woodson is a content editor at Writers Digest. If you want more stuff like this, follow Writer’s Digest via their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link), on Twitter at @WritersDigest and on Facebook at @writersdigest. Follow Writer’s Digest via their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link), on Twitter at @WritersDigest and on Facebook at @writersdigest.

How To Write A Sex Scene Like Nobody Is Watching by Jessica Martin

Keeping physical and emotional distance, ignoring the worries about your future readers, and figuring out the mechanics—lawyer and author Jessica Martin walks us through how to write a sex scene like nobody is watching. Yes, this advice is mostly useful for romance writers, but sci-fi, fantasy and horror books can have sex scenes, too. Jessica Martin is is an author and a lawyer. Visit her website at 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:

The business side of writing

Seven Cautions Before You Start A Writing A Column by Noelle Sterne

A quality column takes consistent effort, thought, and rewriting. Here are seven important considerations. After reading this post, if you’re interested in writing a column about writing — or about enjoying — science fiction or fantasy or horror, email me at [email protected]. Noelle Sterne is an author, editor, writing coach, writing and meditation workshop leader, spiritual counselor, and gentle nag, Noelle has published over 700 writing craft articles, spiritual pieces, essays, short stories, and occasional poems. For more advice like this, check out her website, Trust Your Life Now. The Florida Writers Association is a great resource for writers, with a very active advice blog. Follow the Florida Writers Association via their RSS feed (direct Feedly link here), on Facebook at Florida Writers Association and on Twitter at @FloridaWriters1.

Trends In Speculative Fiction by Disha Walia

Three speculative fiction trends that are hot, and three on their way out. Disha Walia is a lifelong storyteller and an enthusiastic writer and editor in love with the idea of exploring the creative world of words. Connect with her on or follow her on Twitter at @quillinary. 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).

How To Make Reviews Into Marketing Workhorses by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

You don’t need to ask for permission when quoting from reviews. Generally, if you’re quoting less than 25 words, it falls under fair use. But asking for permission anyway can earn you friends as you work with those who reviewed your book. This article is about the practical details of using reviews, including how to select and edit them. Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and founder and owner of a retail chain to the advice she gives in her multi award-winning How To Do It Frugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s Writers’ Program. Her book The Frugal Book Promoter is now in its third edition. Follow her on Facebook at @carolynhowardjohnson or on Twitter at @FrugalBookPromo. Writers On The Move offers writing, publishing and book marketing advice from experienced authors and marketers.

Other business advice this week:


Different Kinds Of Editing, And How To Find An Editor With Kristen Tate by Joanna Penn

What are the different types of editing? How can you find and work effectively with the best editor for 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 PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify, or Stitcher. The Creative Penn offers articlesvideosbookstools, and courses for independent authors.

Story Structures by Oren Ashkenazi, Chris Winkle, And Wes Matlock

This week’s episode is all about how story structures don’t actually do what their proponents claim. 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:


AuthorTube Writing Conference: Make Good Choices (Author Marketing Just For You) by Becca Syme

This is a live presentation, scheduled for July 15 at 7 p.m. eastern. It is part of the 2022 AuthorTube Writing Conference. Check out the full conference schedule here. There are presentations about both writing and publishing — 48 sessions total on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I’m looking forward to watching Steampunk and the Other “Punk” Subgenres and How to Write Your Books 95% Faster (Even if you have a busy schedule). But really, pretty much every single panel offers something relevant to both new and established writers.

But I Have Free Time… by Becca Syme

Not all free time is usable for writing. You might not have the energy to write because of external forces beyond your control. Guilt about not writing won’t help. What will help is to adjust your expectations to what you are capable of doing, and to change your circumstances to the extent that you can so that you do have the energy when you need it. 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.

Finding Keywords For KDP In 10 Minutes by Self-Publishing With Dale

How to find profitable keywords when publishing ebooks through Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. There are commercial tools you can use, but you can also do it yourself, for free. Dale Roberts is a successful indie author and host of Self-Publishing with Dale on YouTube. For more, check out his website, Self-Publishing with Dale, follow him on Twitter at @selfpubwithdale, or on Facebook at @selfpubwithdale. Self-Publishing with Dale is a YouTube channel with millions of views.

How To Design Amazon A+ Content On Kindle Direct Publishing Using Book Brush by Claire Fraise

Book Brush is a user-friendly graphic design platform made specifically for authors. Claire Fraise wrote her first novel when she was 16, and has since published two other supernatural thrillers. Connect with her on Instagram at @clairefraiseauthor, on Facebook at @clairefraiseauthor, or visit her website at Write with Claire Fraise is her YouTube channel.

How To Use D2D’s Automated Frontmatter & Endmatter Tools by Mark Leslie Lefebvre

This is a live webinar scheduled for July 14 at 1 p.m. Eastern time. Mark Leslie Lefebvre is the director of business development at Draft2Digital. Draft2Digital is one of the leading publishing platforms that helps authors publish their books to multiple platforms. It also has a very nice and easy ebook creation and formatting tool.

Meet D2D’s Marketing Team – Ask Us Anything! by Mark Leslie Lefebvre

How to promote books with Draft2Digital, the effect of the SmashWords acquisition, and other user questions were answered in this live Q&A session last week. Check out the D2D Live page to stay on top of all their live events. Mark Leslie Lefebvre is the director of business development at Draft2Digital. Draft2Digital is one of the leading publishing platforms that helps authors publish their books to multiple platforms.

Other videos from this past week:

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, and check out her latest videos on the Maria Korolov YouTube channel. Email her at [email protected]. She is also the editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business, one of the top global sites covering virtual reality.

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