Today marks a momentous milestone for me and my blog. This is post #100. To celebrate, I’d like to share 100 pieces of writing wisdom. Below you will see an epic collection of writing tips, techniques, resources, suggestions and quotes from talented writers. A gift from me to you.
With love, from the Word Nerd
10. Funds For Writers, run by author Hope Clark, is a writing resource of limitless possibilities. This website and eNewsletter share paying writing opportunities in the forms of contest, grants, jobs, freelance postings, and more. Hope even pays writers $50 for accepted contributing articles in her eNewsletter. This site gave me, and PAID ME, for some of my first bylines.
13. Go to a reading. Learn from other authors as you listen to them read their own work. In my town we have Story Time for Adults on the first Tuesday of each month. It takes place at Turtle Stack Brewery starting at 6:30pm.
15. Join SCBWI… Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. This international organization has been instrumental in the growth of my career. Click HERE to find out 5 reasons why this is a MUST DO.
16. Ask… for help, for a chance, for anything you want!! Click HERE to see what I mean.
17. Follow your favorite authors on social media. Watch the way they observe the world. Glean tips from the bits of their writing process they share with the world. Find out when their newest book is coming out or when they will be doing an event near you. The information is there for the taking… don’t miss out!
18. Set yourself up for success by creating a good work space. You can see mine HERE.
19. Use YouTube instrumental playlists to inspire your work and increase your productivity. My two favorite search terms are: epic movie soundtracks and fantasy instrumentals, but you can try anything.
29. Join a local writing organization. The two I belong to are Women Writers Ink and Chippewa Valley Writers Guild. The proximity of writing events, resources and friends increases the value of these rockstar organizations.
30. If your scene is stalling. Try a new entry point. Sometimes it takes me two or three tries to figure out where I’m supposed to start. And that’s okay! No one says you have to get it right on the first try.
31. Subscribe to your favorite blogs, so you never miss a single word of the wisdom they have to offer. For example, if you’d like to subscribe to this blog and have it automatically delivered to your inbox each week, click HERE!
32. Play! Don’t take yourself so seriously. HERE are a few ways to let loose and let your creativity run wild.
33. Use Thesaurus.com to find the perfect word. Truly, this is my most frequently visited website during the revision phase.
34. Protect your writing time and force others in your life to do the same.
35. DREAM BIG!
36. Go to a writing retreat, residency or camp. If you are curious, here is a look at an adult residency I attended, a kids camp at which I was an instructor, and one retreat I lead this summer. If you are interested in attending something like this, email me and I can give you a list of great options for 2019!
37. Know your weakness and seek it out. I personally struggle with point of view. I want to let my readers know what EVERYONE is thinking. And while it makes sense in my head, it’s pretty confusing for readers. So when asking for help, I tell my critiquers straight up to keep their eyes peeled for places where I’ve screwed up, SO I CAN FIX IT and IMPROVE. :)
38. Pay attention to the world around you and let it inspire you!
39. Switch up your writing location when you switch tasks. Sometimes you can fall into a lull of inactivity when you sit in the same place for a long period of work time. So move! I often switch from my office the the kitchen counter, or from the college cafe to the student union or library when I finish one task and start another. A fresh place and perspective, not to mention the walk between locations, is a helpful in waking up my brain and finding a productive gear again.
51. Choose a significant other that will support your writing goals and dreams. There is no way I would be where I am today without the encouragement, belief and supportive stance of my partner in life, my husband. There are plenty of people in this world that will need convincing that your words are a valuable contribution to this world. If your significant other is one of those that needs convincing, this road becomes a lot harder. I’m blessed beyond belief that my husband is also my biggest cheerleader. THANK YOU MATT!
52. Think about your writing like a business. Money is sometimes a taboo topic, and it may not be your ultimate goal, but it is important. HERE are a few helpful tips I have gathered you may want to consider.
53. Join a supportive Facebook group. I am apart of An Alliance of Young Adult Authors and get loads of helpful information through the generous sharing of others. One page I run is called Storytellers Wanted. Feel free to join us by clicking HERE.
54. Give NaNoWriMo, National Novel writing month, a try! I made big progress on my YA Fantasy manuscript during this month long writing challenge.
55. Read titles comparable to your current manuscript to learn how others craft their stories. Also, these books can be great sources of inspiration. THIS IS NOT CHEATING. IT IS LEARNING. For example, I recently read Willa of the Wood to see how another fantasy writer told a nature inspired fantasy story, and also to get some insight on the tastes and preferences of Disney Hyperion (the book’s publisher).
56. Subscribe to the Reedsy weekly writing prompt email. This email, delivered each Friday to your inbox, provides not only 5 themed writing prompts, but the opportunity to earn a byline and $50, if your submitted story is chosen for the week. HERE is the link to sign up, and HERE is my winning entry so you can see that it really does work/exist/is legit. :)
57. Watch a webinar or YouTube Tutorial. My writing club and I recently watched this webinar about memoir writing and I really enjoy what D4Darius says about storytelling on his YouTube channel. (FYI, Darius occasionally swears, which I don’t mind, but consider yourself warned.)
58. Write some more.
60. Shake things up. Get out of a rut by trying a new style, genre or format.
61. OneStopForWriters.com is an amazing site full of incredible writing resources and tools. Created Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, authors of my favorite character thesauruses, this site is a MUST ADD to your favorites. Character trait lists, interactive plot building applications and worksheets galore await you!
71. Take a class. The public library has access to free writing classes via GALE, The Loft Literary Center in the Twin Cities has AMAZING in person and online offerings, and I have some options on my website too. Check them out and take your craft to the next level.
72. Take a break! Go for a walk. Get some space. Sometimes hyper-focusing can be counterproductive. It’s okay to walk away for a bit. The same can be said for sticking a project in a drawer. If you are stuck or frustrated or know that your project needs more than you can give it right now… take a break. (Just not an indefinite one!)
73. Hire out help when needed. My website framework, automated email system and blog subscription service were created with the help of my business coach Chynna Haas. These things were important steps for me to move my business forward, but I was at a loss on how to get them done. So, I asked for help. You know what they say. “Time is money”. The money I spent accomplishing these tasks was less valuable to me than the countless hours it would have taken me to learn the needed skills to get them done on my own. Think of it this way. If you are learning how to use Photoshop… you are not writing. If you are struggling through YouTube tutorials on how to do A, B or C… you are not writing. When Instagram sold for a billion dollars to Facebook, they had 13 employees. They hired out or contracted everything they didn’t know how to do, so they could focus on what they TOTALLY ROCKED at.
74. Do a writing sprint. A writing sprint is a quick burst of writing time… usually thirty minutes or an hour… in which you push yourself to get as many words down on the page as possible. This is a great strategy to use while working on your first draft. HERE is a great tool you can use if you are interested in trying a writing sprint.
76. When it comes to social media, start small and give yourself permission to build slowly. These things don’t happen over night. Also, don’t try to be everywhere if you don’t want to be. Pick a few platforms and do them well. My author Facebook page now has over 1,000 likes and follows, but it took me years to get there. My eNewsletter lists are still well below that number, but hey, I’m working on it! P.S. You can sign up HERE to receive a FREE WRITING PROMPT PDF!
77. Surround yourself with positive people who encourage you to dream big, and that your big dreams are possible. Whether these are people you see in real life or are connected to online, let these people lift you up when you are low and celebrate with you when the good times roll.
81. Join a critique group. Do a shout out on Facebook. You never know which of your friends is a closet writer. Trust me, if you put out a call, you’ll be surprised who comes out of the woodwork. Those organizations I mentioned earlier are also great places to look for critique partners and groups!
82. Write a letter to your favorite author. I talk more about that HERE and give some tips to help you get started.
83. Hire a copy editor. TRUST ME. You want your BEST work to be seen. Grammar Nazi Aunties (hi Aunt Lynn!) are wonderful and so is your coworker who used to teach middle school English, but they do not compare to the people who do this for a living. I have the best copy editor ever… fast, reliable, and affordable!!! I’d be happy to share her information with you. Just send me and email and I will happily connect you.
84. “No doesn’t always mean never.” - Tim McCanna DON’T GIVE UP!
95. Apply for awards. Nothing sells a book like winning an award (and the press coverage that comes along with it!) HERE is a list to get your started. Also, back up at tip # 10 you can subscribe to an eNewsletter that will send you weekly award winning opportunities. :) Best of luck! May the odds be ever in your favor!
96. Author Accelerator is an amazing company that offers a variety of services and classes for writers. Several writers I know swear by their practices and won’t write a book without their help. I used an editor from Author Accelerator for a manuscript evaluation and felt it was well worth the investment for what I received in return. Check them out!
Alright! Whew! We made it!
I hope that in this post you found helpful tips, new resources and inspiration galore. I am looking forward to what the next 100 blog posts will bring. If you’d like to be along for the ride, you can subscribe HERE, and have this blog delivered free of charge to your inbox each and every Wednesday morning.
Until next time word nerds, happy writing!