This week’s top writing advice from around the web for May. 1

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

Do You Have To Write Every Day? 10 Pros And Cons by K. M. Weiland

Should writers make it a habit to write every day? Is that the secret to success? Is that what distinguishes “real” writers? K. M. Weiland is one of my favorite writing advice people, and the award-winning author of acclaimed writing guides such as Structuring Your Novel and Creating Character Arcs. If you want more advice like this, subscribe to her blog, Helping Writers Become Authorsvia its RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link). You can also follow her on Twitter @KMWeiland and on Facebook 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.

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Believing Naysayers by Robert Lee Brewer

There is a huge gap between listening to feedback to improve your writing and letting the naysayers trick you into believing that you shouldn’t write. Robert Lee Brewer is senior editor of Writer’s Digest. Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer. 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.

Other motivational advice this week:

The art and craft of writing

What’s Your Character Hiding? by Becca Puglisi

Being able to write realistic, consistent, multi-dimensional characters is vital to gaining reader interest. Doing so first requires we know a lot about who our characters are—you know, the obvious stuff: positive and negative traits, behavioral habits, desires, goals, and the like. But it’s not always the obvious parts of characterization that create the most interest. 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.

21 Popular Science Fiction Tropes For Writers by Robert Lee Brewer

Here are 21 examples of science fiction tropes for writers to consider and subvert when writing their space age, futuristic, and technological science fiction. Robert Lee Brewer is senior editor of Writer’s Digest. Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer. 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.

Five Tips For Avoiding Disorientation In Your Opening Hook by Chris Winkle

While readers are sorting out what you’re saying, they can’t appreciate your story. 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.

How To Write A Plot Outline: 7 Plotting Techniques by Jordan Kantey

There is no single method for how to outline a story, but these are some ways to make story structure and planning work for you and your writing process. 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 writing advice this week:

The business side of writing

Pen Names: How And Why To Use Them by Scott Mccormick

If you think of your author name as a brand, you will go a long way towards boosting sales and name recognition. Scott McCormick is the author of the Audible bestselling Rivals! series and the hit fantasy novel The Dragon Squisher. 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.

Something To Blog About As An Author by Janna Lopez

Developing a voice, knowing your intention, and identifying your ideal reader will help you find a winning formula for your author blog. 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.

The Difference Between Book Reviews And Endorsements by Sandra Beckwith

What’s the difference between book reviews and book endorsements? (And why should you care?)
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).

The Ultimate Guide To Beta Readers: Definition, Why They Matter, And How To Find Them by Sarah Gribble

If you’re going to publish a book, you need beta readers. And no, they’re not a replacement for hiring a professional editor. Sarah Gribble is a horror and fantasy author. Check out her website at 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 business advice this week:


6 Lessons From Three Years Of Full Time Writing by Sacha Black

This is a special solo show reflecting on what Sasha Black has learned having completed her third year of working for herself. Sacha Black is a fantasy author and writing coach, with several writing advice books including 13 Steps to Evil: How to Craft Superbad Villains (Better Writers Series) May 9, 2017. Follow her on her website, Sacha Black, on Facebook at @Sacha Black or on Twitter at @sacha_black. Sacha Black is a site that offers writing advice, courses, and podcasts. Follow the site via their RSS feed (direct Feedly link here).

7 Figure Fiction With Theodora Taylor by Joanna Penn

How can you hook readers into your story by using universal human desires and motivations? How can you write what you love, run your author business your way, and still pursue a 7-figure author business? Theodora Taylor gives her thoughts in this interview. 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.

Other podcasts from this past week:


How Literary Agents Negotiate by Jessica Faust and James McGowan

What role does an agent play in getting you the best deal for your book(s)? How do they do it? What are they looking out for? This video describes the negotiation process that agents may go through to make sure their authors are getting as much out of their deal as they can. 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.

You Get Agency, And You Get Agency — Everybody Gets Agency! by Morgan Hazelwood

The thing about stories is that the main character is expected to have agency. But if you want your story to be more realistic, secondary characters should have agency, too. Morgan Hazelwood writes from her lair in Northern Virginia. She’s a blogger, vlogger, and podcaster of writing tips and writerly musings, plus an actively querying fantasy author. For more advice like this, follow her on Twitter at @MorganHzlwood, on Facebook at Morgan Hazelwood, and on YouTube at Morgan Hazelwood. At Morgan Hazelwood, she offers writing advice and resources.

How To Get Book Blurbs – The Ultimate Guide by Julie Broad

Getting blurbs for your book is one of the most talked about steps in book marketing. As an author, getting blurbs might seem overwhelming or intimidating. What are book blurbs, what you need them for, and what makes a great blurb. 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.

Other videos from this past week:

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, 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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