• All,  Lesson Learned,  Life,  Tools and Tips,  Writing

    how to know when you need a break

    Sometimes I think the words “slow down” aren’t in my vocabulary. I don’t say this to brag on myself or puff myself up; I actually see it as a problem, as I face writer’s burnout more often than I should and spend days spinning my wheels over the same problems when a good weekend off would do the trick. Don’t get me wrong, I think there’s something great about testing your limits, and if you want to accomplish anything, at some point you have to lay out your goals and stick to your intentions. But if you have a similar personality to me and don’t know when to quit, or…

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  • All,  Reading,  Tools and Tips,  Writing

    5 books to make you a better writer

    Every writer knows she must read well to write well. Any and all books, really, but there’s something incredible about reading a well-known (or not so well-known) writer’s experience and being able to empathize with their choices, emotions, and habits. Because if you feel the way other writers feel when they’re slugging through a bout of writer’s block or dealing with the fear of being unoriginal, that makes you a writer, right? If you’re looking for that feeling of, “Hey, I’ve been through that,” or if you just want some tips on how to polish your writing (or how to start in the first place), here are five books that…

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  • All,  Tools and Tips,  Writing

    10 quotes that will make you want to write

    I owe a great amount to other people’s words. I don’t think I would have given the idea of writing a novel much thought had it not been for Stephen King telling me (through his memoir, of course, and my dreams a little bit) to just start, write 2000 words a day, just sit down and write it all out and worry about dolling it up later. Seeing how other writers have struggled with the process, overcome self-doubt, battled perfectionism, and formed their own writing rituals is helpful in those time when I’m down on my writing or fretful over the future. If you need a little help kicking self-doubt…

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  • All,  Tools and Tips,  Writing

    3 great ways to find your writing voice

    One of the strongest fears most creatives face is the fear of being unoriginal. I’m not talking about accidentally stealing a fellow writer’s words and finding yourself slammed with a plagiarism lawsuit, rather that dread of being seen only in another’s shadow, your work forever tainted as “storebrand” fiction. Wal-Mart Tootie Fruities to Kellogg’s Froot Loops. The best way to avoid the generic label and stand out as a writer is to know your writing voice, which is challenging because, well, it’s yours. It’s like trying to truly hear the sound of your own vocal chords, truly see your reflection in the mirror. Often you’re too close to the situation to…

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  • All,  Tools and Tips,  Writing

    4 tips for faster writing

    If one of your 2019 goals is to start writing (or to start writing more — or to stop procrastinating your writing), you might have dipped your toes into the writing waters to see how they feel, and you may have found them to be colder and rockier than you’d like. One of those biting realities of writing that I tend to struggle with is how slow the process can be. For some reason, when I sit down in front of that blinking cursor and blank page, the words don’t come as freely as they did in my head, and I find myself backtracking, editing, biting my nails, worrying about the…

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  • All,  Life,  Writing

    fighting fear in 2019

    Yep, we made it people. Another year. 2019 is creeping right up on us and I’m still stuck somewhere in August. If you’re anything like me, you’re always looking ahead at the next step, the next move, the next couple of squares in the calendar. I like to know what to expect of my days and try to fill them with as much productivity as possible. Real, true, get-er-done work. As I’ve learned, winning is an intentional act, and it all starts with setting your sights on a goal. In 2018 I hit a few of mine. I finished a first draft (and nearly a second) of the novel I hope…

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  • All,  Characters,  Writing

    top 5 reads of 2018

    This year, I joined the 2018 Goodreads Reading Challenge by pledging to read 40 books. Sadly, I didn’t reach my goal (not even close — I’m a terribly slow reader), but I did read more than I ever have in a year and I read some pretty fine fiction, including many books that have sat on my To-Be-Read list for years. For a complete rundown of my reading year, you can check out the list on my Current Reads page. But for now, here are my top five favorites of 2018. 1. 1984 // George Orwell This one will probably stick with me for a long time. Admittedly, I am…

  • All,  Reading

    a bookish gift guide

    Gifting for the readers and writers on your list may be easy, but if you’re looking to give something other than their favorite author’s latest or the next title on their To-Be-Read list, here are a few unique suggestions for your literature-loving friends and family members. Beautiful Book Sets With #bookstagram all the rage these days, beautiful, artistic book covers are essential to creating that #bookblogger Instagram aesthetic. If you’re looking to spoil the bookworms on your list, consider gifting them one of these gorgeous book sets. Juniper Books – $$$-$$$$ Few companies do book sets quite as well as Juniper books, but their sets can be on the pricier side. Some…

  • All,  Lesson Learned,  Life,  Writing

    five lessons from failed drafts

    Raise your hand if you hate failing!!!!!!!!!! I’m raising both of mine and I bet you are too. But it’s inevitable as you’ll hear over and over, most especially when it comes to creative endeavors. If you’re anything like me, you have dozens of failed drafts stowed and locked in some closet of your home you never visit (because don’t throw anything out period), and when you think of all the dreadful writing filling those drafts you shudder with embarrassment and shame. Let’s not talk about those. Oh, I’m going to. You should some time too. At least with yourself, because you might actually have a lot to learn from those great…

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  • All,  Editing,  Tools and Tips,  Writing

    a strengths-based approach to editing

    Like most writers, editing is not my favorite part of the job. The work is never-ending and slow-going; the words and moments begin to lose their magic; and I never quite feel like I’m producing something the way I do when I’m drafting. The worst part this go around, however, has been the crippling self-doubt that has followed all my picking and probing and persistent criticism. I’ve encountered this before in editing, and with shorter projects the self-doubt is usually short-lived, but with this novel it seems only to get worse every day as the editing end seems nowhere in sight. Will I finish this book?  Is it good enough?  Is…