It’s That Time Again – Strategic Planning for Authors

As the end of the year looms large, we writers should be thinking about strategic planning. I know—it sounds like work. Boring work. But, honestly, if you don’t plan your writing career, you won’t achieve as much as you hope. Any savvy business owner or entrepreneur will tell you—you have to have a strong, viable business plan. Writers need one too!

I’m going to reprint some of my posts from years back that discuss ways to plan your writing career strategically. This is what I do every year, at the beginning of the year. I sometimes go into great detail. Othertimes I just make a list of what I plan to accomplish for the year.

For me, that can often be enough. But I’ve been executing my writing goals and plans for many years now, averaging about three published books a year for the last ten or so years, along with things like online courses, translations of my books, audiobooks, workshops and retreats, and teaching at conferences.

I always need to lay out my objectives and goals for the New Year, pushing myself to excel, learn, reach new heights, and learn new things. We writers (humans, in general) should strive to learn new things continually. And while we can have an open mind to learning at every turn, being open to life’s lessons, there is something to be said about planning strategically. Continue Reading…

3 Keys to Novel-Writing Success

In consideration of National Novel-Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), I’m reprinting a post I ran a couple of years back, which should be helpful to anyone writing a novel!

Anyone who’s written a novel—or attempted one—can attest to the level of difficulty involved.

Some of you are presently in the throes of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). You’re racing the clock trying to complete a novel in one month. And that’s a fun and challenging thing to do.

But here’s my question for you: Why are you doing this? Is it just to see if you can throw together something that looks like a novel so you can feel a sense of accomplishment? And don’t get me wrong—I don’t belittle this at all. It takes real strong stick-to-itiveness (yes, that’s a word!) and a big jar of butt glue to stick you in that chair and write a whole lot of words.

If you get to the finish line, you should be proud! Continue Reading…

Evoking Emotions in Readers in a Masterful Way – Part 5

I’m picking up where we left off a couple of months ago, looking at the masterful writing of some amazingly talented authors. I want to revisit the topic of evoking emotions since that is one of the most difficult things to achieve yet so very crucial.

Surprisingly, there are very few blog posts and books that address this topic. Writers are told to “show, don’t tell” in order to draw readers into their stories. But we all know that “showing” a character pointing a gun at another character, and even showing the character is trembling or sweating, doesn’t ensure readers will be tense or scared or shocked.

If you’ve not taken the time to read the previous four posts in this series, I highly encourage you to do so. Start with the first one here. We write to evoke a response in our readers, and the primary purpose of fiction is to elicit an emotional response. Think about it. Readers of fiction aren’t reading to acquire facts, such as they might do when studying a nonfiction book. They read to be entertained, affected. They read to be tense, laugh, worry, get excited. In other words, they read to feel something.

And your job as a fiction writer is to masterfully write in a way that will evoke a specific emotional response in your reader. You may not be able to name exactly what those emotions are, but you should know what those emotions feel like when you experience them.

To reiterate: we’ve been looking at the way thoughts lead to emotions, and how getting into our characters’ thoughts can be a powerful tool to evoking emotion in our readers. When we show what our characters are thinking, via the narrative or direct thoughts (when in their POV), and even in dialogue (whether in the POV or not), we can sense what they might be feeling. Sometimes the feelings are obvious, but masterful writing will imply the complexity of the character’s emotions. Continue Reading…

Recent Posts

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Immersion for Writers

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Immersion for Writers

Today's guest post is by therapist Hayley Watkins. Immersion is often a wonderful experience. It'[...]
How to Smash 4 Roadblocks That Prevent You from Writing

How to Smash 4 Roadblocks That Prevent You from Writing

Today's guest post is by author Todd Matthews. Fear is instilled in us, and, for some, as we age [...]
Outline Your Novel for NaNoWriMo

Outline Your Novel for NaNoWriMo

You're all signed up for National Novel Writing Month. Great. Are you going to get working on an out[...]
Want to Get Published? Try Flash Fiction

Want to Get Published? Try Flash Fiction

Today’s guest post is by Gila Green. When I tell people I teach a virtual flash fiction course, I[...]
The Way to Really Get Ready for NaNoWriMo

The Way to Really Get Ready for NaNoWriMo

With the mayhem of NaNoWriMo (National Novel-Writing Month) approaching, I'd like to encourage write[...]
Yes—you CAN make a comfortable living as a writer. But you need a clear plan!
Enter your email to grab my proven 4-step system for mapping out your career (and you'll also get my useful twice-monthly updates!).

Yes—you CAN make a comfortable living as a writer. But you need a clear plan!

Enter your email to grab my proven 4-step system for mapping out your career (and you'll also get my useful twice-monthly updates!).

Awesome! Check your email for your free guide.