How to…Write a Nonfiction Book in Ten Days (While crossing the writer’s block)

 Guest Blog by M. C. Simon

 

You have a blank page on your desk, a blank screen on your laptop, or whatever blank object you want to have in front of your eyes. You stare at it wondering how you will manage to fill it with words; wise, interesting, amazing words that will teleport the reader into a magical parallel world. While staring, you suddenly have a revelation; a deep one. And this revelation says that You, the Writer, are in the middle of a powerful and stubborn phase called a “writer’s block.”

The panic attack is nearing. The deadline for your book awaits you behind the next corner of time. Your brain starts to fight like a real ninja who is suddenly attacked by an army of mosquitoes. The writer’s block bites you from all directions at the same time. The white page becomes even whiter. It almost shines.

How can you overcome all these sensations?

Listen! I found such a simple method. It is so simple that even my two super-smart cerebral hemispheres wondered how this could be possible. It was a miracle. And I realized that… miracles are, in fact, in our hands. We can handle them if we use our knowledge and we trust in our passion.

Not too long ago, I found myself in front of a shiny blank page while writing my first novel; wanting to give the reader tools to help their own life on this planet, I decided that my first novel will be a combination of Fiction, Romance, and Spiritual. It has roots in old manuscripts written by humans who have reached high spiritual levels, and though it I wrap the information into a romantic adventurous garment—the intention is to awaken the incarnated souls who are now on this planet to seek the hidden meaning of all that is said.

I was left completely bewildered in my chair, near my desk, when the writer’s block hit me. Whatever I was doing to bring my inspiration back, did not return any positive results. During the moments when I was crying on my own shoulder, like a super yogi who can twist any member of her body, I was looking with lost eyes around me.

The next revelation invaded my whole human being (I have to mention here that in my case, the revelations are coming like trains in a railway station…when they are needed, and never missing). I understood what was happening.

The problem was my desk. Yes, you heard it well. My desk was positioned in such a way, that all the creative energy was being blocked. Even if this creativity would come in huge waves surrounding me, the energy created by my desk would block everything. Do I need to mention the so-called “poisoned arrows” headed for me from several directions?

Having many fields of interests in this life, and most of them becoming passions, I started to apply my knowledge about Feng Shui. I changed the position of the desk, I improved sectors needed in a writer’s prolific life, and after this, I started writing again.

The words were flowing in my head like a mountain river in its channel. The ideas were coming in such an intense way that I almost couldn’t follow all because of their speed.

Unexpectedly, in those moments of total bliss, I felt something I could compare with guilt.

I asked myself: “What are you doing? Do you really want to keep these only for yourself? There are so many writers who need to know how they can influence the energy around them!”

I cannot stand any feelings of guilt; so instantly, a decision was made. I will write a book about handling the energies that affect a writer. And I started to write.

The completed steps are as follows:

(1)  At the end of the first day, I already had written 20 pages. I was doing this with such a passion that nothing could stop me.

(2)  The second day found me in the position of wondering how to organize all the information—if I am using a Word document. For a novel, it is easy to handle the plot, but for a non-fiction book, the situation is somehow harder. You need to have control over what you are writing in each moment. At that point, I was losing a lot of time scrolling up and down inside the pages.

I remembered hearing about the miraculous software used by the writers, called Scrivener. I made some online researches, but I was not prepared to buy the program. Therefore, I spent the rest of the day researching other options that could help my organizational process. I chose a free software also used by writers for its ease and efficiency. It is called yWriter and I never regretted using it.

(3)  The third day I spent studying what the software can offer my needs.

(4)  The fourth day was occupied with the book’s plot. I decided to split the ideas in 15 chapters, some of them having multiple subchapters.

(5)  I practically started to write on the fifth day. The chosen title for my non-fiction book is “Feng Shui for Writers.”

The next ten days kept me stitched to my chair. The ideas didn’t let me go too far away from my desk; they were practically invading my brain, so I had to rapidly take them out to fill the page in front of my eyes – a page that was looking like anything else, except a shiny blank page. I admit that I didn’t even sleep the regular eight hours, which I used to spend in my bed until that moment.

I noticed that during the ten days, my sleeping habits had changed, and what before was eight, now became six or even five from time to time. I will not develop the theme here of what is necessity for the human body, nor will I talk about passion and desires. My goal was only to talk about “How to write a Non-Fiction Book in Ten days.” The main idea was already said.

To make it short, because you probably already want to go and write, I will then conclude with a personal advice, which I will split here in several parts:

(1)  While having a writer’s block, forget about your novel.

(2)  Remember that you have knowledge from so many fields of interests.

(3)  Look around you and find such a field.

(4)  Develop ideas.

(5)  Put them on the paper, like a novel’s plot.

(6)  Use the proper software to help you organize all the information.

(7)  Do research based on your ideas.

(8)  Collect information and organize them.

(9)  Start to talk about your knowledge, about your passion.

(10)  Add your heart there, powder on some soul, and mix it with some love for the reader who needs that information.

Now… Start to write the best non-fiction book that you ever wrote. You can do it!

 

Meet our Guest Blogger, M. C. Simon:

 

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“Writer, translator, researcher, engineer, happy mother, and beloved wife. What more can I want? :)”

To read M. C. Simon’s full bio, click here.

 

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How to Organize and Develop Your Writing Ideas

 Guest Blog by J. D. Scott

 

You may have had ideas come to you in a flood, or you may labor over them until they’re fully delivered, but they all have one thing in common: they need to be developed into literature. So let’s go over some techniques to help you make the transition from a great idea into a great piece of writing!

ORGANIZING YOUR IDEAS:

  • Do you have a lot of creative ideas for writing?
  • Have you thought of more than you have time to develop?
  • So what do you do with them all?

~ Write them down: An outline or a paragraph for the more complicated ideas, or a sentence describing the simpler ones, will help you retain your thoughts later.

~ Keep them organized: Index cards, filing cabinet, files on your computer, a binder. If you have multiple categories, you may want to divide them by color-coding the subject files.

~ Choose a subject: Now you have to pick! Consider the big ideas first. You may be able to combine a few into one story, but too many will confuse your reader. More is not always better! Consider your target audience, and focus in on that one idea. I would not recommend starting several writing projects at once. You could bounce from story to story, never finishing anything—or worse, get discouraged and give up all together.

DEVELOPING YOUR IDEA:

Now that you have your idea, it’s time to get writing! But how can this small seed develop into a thriving story? Here are some ideas…

Find a Writers Group: In person, or online.

Talk it out: One of the best ways I’ve found to develop a story is to talk it over, then talk it over again, and then some more! Have lunch with a friend or spouse, and share your ideas with them. Call another writer; you could be a sounding board for each other’s work. Using a tape or digital recorder can also be helpful. The idea is that sometimes listening to your thoughts out loud can be enough to get you moving forward in your plot.

Try Visualization: Play your story out in your mind like a movie. This is a powerful and creative processing tool. Picture your characters—what they look like, the environment they’re in, and what your senses are hearing, seeing, touching, smelling, and tasting. If you can picture it, it will be much easier to write. Photographs that represent settings or characters that you’re working on can also inspire you.

Sketch or Doodle: Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist, this can be very helpful. You could draw anything from a character, a setting, such as a castle or house, or even an aerial view of the land your work is set in. They don’t have to be worthy of publication; they’re simply to help you “see” your story better.

Charts and Graphs: This could come in many forms, from: a family tree showing genealogy, a timeline with a sequence of events, a chart with the climactic moments of your story, or a graph of your characters’s personality traits. The point is, it has to make sense to you and help your writing to move forward.

Storyboarding: This is simply using still pictures (photographs or drawings) to tell a story. Screenwriters and cartoonists commonly storyboard, however, it can be a very effective tool to lay out the storyline of a book. This could also be done in small sections on a dry-erase board. You don’t have to be great at sketching; you are simply creating images that are significant to you, or using words or word groups to keep track of where you are in your story. Including character descriptions, geology, dialog, or location can also be helpful.

Puzzle-making: This method consists of writing down storylines on strips of paper so that you can shuffle events around until you’re happy with the sequence. It can also be used to arrange a family tree, show relationships between characters, or just to keep track of your ideas. This can be time-consuming, however, it’s a great way to show the flexibility in your plot.

In writing, the hardest obstacle to overcome by far—is SITTING DOWN AND DOING IT! Our lives are busy, and we have many demands on our time, but if you are able to carve out a time each day—or even a couple times through the week—you will be pleasantly surprised with the outcome. I hope these ideas have been helpful to you, and have sparked your creativity.

 

Meet our Guest Blogger, J. D. Scott:

 

1398565_625686540810471_203956950_oJ. D. Scott is the organizing member of Abba’s Writers in Phoenix, Arizona. She leads, instructs, and teaches critiquing and story development to its members.

In 2013, J. D. Scott became part of the team at A Book’s Mind as a Publishing Consultant. She enjoys working alongside writers, helping them fulfill their dreams of becoming published authors.

Before being bit by the writing bug, J. D. Scott spent 20 years working with children as a nanny, mentor, camp counselor, and youth-group leader. With a heart for today’s youth, she set out to write books that both entertain and inspire them to rise above the current culture and see their true value.

She continues to live out her life’s passions of writing, publishing, and counseling/mentoring women and children.

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[See what J. D. Scott had to say about our editor!]

 

Bound by Fear

 Guest Blog by H. Squires

 

I am a writer, an author, and storyteller. It took me a long time before I could utter those words either on paper or in conversation. I was bound by fear—afraid of being judged, ridiculed, laughed at, or simply disregarded. My voice climbed only as high as the paper stacked.

From the time I was a child, I enjoyed writing. Rarely, did I share my work with others—or even let people know my love of words. I only allowed family members to read my stories.

After I wrote my first novel, I fantasized about being published—which actor(s) could star in the movie, and the potential revenue it could generate—but I didn’t spend too much time in “La-la-land”. Instead, I got busy writing the second novel, and by the third, I felt my work should be published. I was ready to share it with the world. However, I wasn’t sure if it was good enough to move forward.

I knew my husband and daughters enjoyed the stories, but I felt their opinions were biased. After all, they were my family. I needed others to give me their honest opinions. I had many unanswered questions pertaining to grammar, continuity, and the lack of clarity when it came to editing. Even though I considered myself [somewhat] good at grammar, I wasn’t sure if I remembered everything from school. Does the story make sense, flow right, and keep the reader engaged? You can do only so much research from the privacy of your home. I needed help—actual, human, face-to-face support.

One of the first things I did was join a writing group. It was an all-women’s group, so the tension seemed less nerve-racking. The group meets three times a month—one of which is a teaching class on grammar and other helpful tips. The second meeting, we are instructed to read our latest work out loud to the others. This was the most difficult thing I’ve had to do in a long while. Reading to a bunch of strangers—a story that I concocted—sent me into a shaking-fit, so much so that I decided to hand my pages to another lady to read for me. I was astonished by all the positive feedback, something I hadn’t expected. They helped, reassured, and gave me honest advice. It propelled me farther.

Last year, I accomplished my goal. My third novel was published, and, for the first time, people were reading my work. It made me realize that others struggle with the very same issues as I did—not willing to share their stories. Some people are satisfied letting close friends and family read their work. For example, Emily Dickinson—a world-renowned poet—wasn’t discovered until after her death. Her younger sister found a lifetime of collective poems in Emily’s attic. Later, she sought the publication for her sister’s work. Imagine how different Emily’s life could have been if she had become published?

If you are a writer and have written poetry, short stories, or novels that serve as dust-bunny habitats, it’s time to consider sharing beyond family. Trust me, I know how hard it is, like bearing your soul to the world. Research local writing groups or go to online writer’s forums. You will get a lot of advice, constructiveness, and learn a lot. Who knows, you could be considered as the next Hemingway, Rowling, or Dickens?

Take care, my friends.

How to Find a Writer’s Group
Online Writer’s Community


Meet our Guest Blogger, H. Squires:

 

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Heather Squires’ life calling to be an author began in 1989 in Phoenix, Arizona. As an editorial writer on staff at the Utopian Newspaper, she decided to seek further review and publishing. The first project to be completed outside of the journaling world was To Desecrate Man, an action novel; completed in 2005, it became over shadowed by the second project: Rogue, a young adult fiction-adventure novel.

Upon completion of Rogue in 2009, Squires’ place in the young adult fiction world became clear. The Sphere of Archimedes began to take shape, and was finished in 2011. Currently working on the sequel, The Omphalos of Delphi, she continues to create anticipation for the future of young adult fiction.

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[See what H. Squires had to say about our editor!]

 

Marketing: The Work After THE END

Guest Blog by Ginger Scott

Your manuscript is done. You’ve typed THE END. You’ve self-edited and have had your mom, best friend, sister, cousin, aunt, and the neighbor proof just in case. You’ve hired an editor to make it perfect, and you’ve gone through formatting and various platforms for self-publishing, or have handed everything over to your publisher to take on the remains of the process.

Phew!

All done.

Oh, if only it were that easy. I know I am not sharing anything original in saying that being an author was always my dream. It’s a shared dream—a wonderful dream. But for me, achieving that dream was always just out of arm’s reach. I was stymied by fear—fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear that I would write something deep and personal and nobody would care. And getting over that first hurdle, the rejection one, was enough to keep me stuck in pause for a long time.

But one day I just had a moment. I refer to it as my “Jerry McGuire” moment, where I realized if I didn’t try, just once, to push through those barriers that terrified me, then I would regret it a little more every day until eventually I ran out of days to live with regret. So, I rolled up my sleeves, finished my first manuscript and decided to take a crack at self-publishing. (Confession: this cut out that first layer of rejection, and that’s what drew me to self-publishing initially.)

Writing was the fun part; dare I say, the easy part. Then the marketing began. My debut novel was a coming-of-age romance titled Waiting on the Sidelines, and before I hit publish, I read blog after blog on indie author dos and don’ts. I sent messages to some of my favorite indie authors, many who have gone on to become best sellers. And here is the cool thing—they all wrote me back. Every. Single. One of them. Colleen Hoover. Katja Millay. S.C. Stephens. Abbi Glines. Jamie McGuire. They are enormous names in my genre of YA and NA Romance. And they all took time from their busy lives to give me a boost when I truly needed one. I used their tips, went to many sites they recommended, and when it really counted, took to heart their advice to breathe and stay calm, remembering to enjoy the ride.

Marketing my first novel was a trial by fire. I pushed publish and went with the grassroots method, using my personal Facebook account to recruit word-of-mouth. The next week, I started to reach out to book bloggers. My goal was to write a personal note to a dozen every night. My list has grown to more than six hundred, and I spend time tailoring each email to the needs of each blogger. It’s that extra touch, I feel, that is vital. Book bloggers are the biggest ingredient in an indie author’s marketing plan, and I respect them greatly. So if I need to block out enough time every day to write with them personally, to create guest posts for them, to answer their questions, and to send them copies of my book in a format that works best for them, that’s what I’m going to do. This practice has proven most effective, and my first two novels, Waiting and its sequel, Going Long, have remained in the Amazon top 100 for sports romance books for more than a year. I know I owe the blogging community for this outreach.

My next emphasis was on social media. It’s one thing to be present, to post things and to share your own agenda—AKA pushing your book. But social media is just that—it’s social. You need to engage, having conversations on Twitter, reaching out to other authors and bloggers. Retweet for others, and guess what? Down the road, they will do so for you. We’re all in this together, and we’re stronger working together. The same goes for Facebook, posting and sharing for others, and asking your followers and fans questions so they feel inspired to engage in your posts. The more they interact with you, the more likely they are to come back. And really, as readers—powerful ones who share their opinions—keeping them happy, and coming back for more, should always be a top priority.

I’m on my fifth novel now, and I’ve learned a lot of things along the way. I still adhere to the lessons from above, but I’ve found a few other things that work. I’ve also found some things that don’t—at least, not for me. Advertising is tricky—Goodreads ads for indie authors aren’t very expensive, but the click-through rate is difficult to increase. At least, it has been for me. I invest very little in paid advertising here, because I have found that my own elbow grease and social-media strategy tends to have a bigger reach.

I’ve also incorporated things like YouTube book trailers (it helps that my background is digital marketing, and I’m fairly handy at video editing). Then I add things to the mix, like Spotify playlists to share the music that I listened to while writing, as well as regularly posted graphic teasers and excerpts from the book. I’ve learned that planning these various elements beginning a month out from a book’s release-date helps to build excitement, making your first day of sales far more successful.

Finally, for me, I have found the best paid-resource to be a service called NetGalley. This is a service that allows authors to make their books available to readers of influence. It costs me $399 for a title, and my book is available to reviewers, librarians, educators, and bloggers for six months. They can read the book for free under the honor system that they will leave me a review somewhere. Reviews are like marketing gold. Are there people who will check out your book in NetGalley and never leave a review? Yes. There are flaws in every system. But I would rather have one more reader and the off-chance that they will tell someone, even just one person, about my book, than not try this service at all. So the flaws, I suppose, are worth the pay-off in my eyes.

This is just a quick tour of some of the things that have worked for me. And every recipe for every author is just a little different, and that’s okay. It’s best to keep your mind open, and to try—especially things with little risk and low monetary outlay. Because once something works, it can become a powerful tool that will help power your dream.

If I can ever offer a tip or advice, or be one of those “boost” emails for you, please feel free to drop me a line. Check me out online at www.littlemisswrite.com, and in the meantime, thank you for reading!

Meet our Guest Blogger, Ginger Scott:

 

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Ginger Scott is a writer and journalist from Peoria, Arizona. She has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines, and blogs for more than 15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals, and towns.

When she’s not writing, the odds are high that she’s somewhere near a baseball diamond, either watching her 10-year-old field pop flies like Bryce Harper, or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Scott is married to her college sweetheart, whom she met at ASU (fork ‘em, Devils).

Her debut novel, Waiting on the Sidelines, is a coming-of-age love story that explores the real heartbreak we all feel as we become adults throughout our high school years.

She now has five books in YA/NA Romance. Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling (coming soon).

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[See what Ginger had to say about our editor!]

 

Comparison Jokes Are Gold

[found on darkcargo.com; by Alex Shvartsman]

“Comparison Joke is Your Best Friend

Comedy is hard, but some aspects of it are easier than others. Arguably there is nothing easier than a Comparison Joke. They are effective, and reasonably easy to come up with. Comparison joke can be a well-placed and unexpected metaphor, or simply comparing a thing to another thing for comedic effect. Here’s one of my favorite examples, source unknown:

Game of Thrones is a lot like Twitter: There are 140 characters and terrible things are constantly happening.

This joke is asking a lot of its audience. You must be familiar with both Game of Thrones and Twitter in order to appreciate it. But if you happen to be a part of that target audience, you might find this hilarious. You will nod sagely, recognizing that the Game of Thrones book and/or TV series has an unwieldy cast of characters and something terribly unpleasant is happening to most of them at any given time. You won’t even stop to ponder whether terrible things are actually happening on Twitter. You won’t dissect it, chuckling at the comparison instead, because the joke works.

You can always spice up your description of absolutely anything with a comparison joke. Take care not to over-rely this tactic. Like everything else in life (with possible exceptions of coffee and chocolate), it is best used in moderation.”

[found on http://darkcargo.com/2013/04/29/five-practical-tips-on-writing-humor-by-alex-shvartsman]

Write With Passion

[found on fuelyourwriting.com; by Kim Phillips]

“Passion in writing becomes even more important in print or online, where the reader can’t be influenced by your tone, eye contact, or body language.

Michael Stelzner, who writes for the online magazine Social Media Examiner, is flat-out crazy about social media.  It’s not just his business; he’s in love with it, and it shows.  Contrast the corporate blog of Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, with that of Bill Marriott of the eponymous hotel chain and decide who loves his job more.

Some tips for writing with passion…

Write about something you understand. It’s not likely you’re going to have strong feelings about something you’re not familiar with.

Know who you’re writing for. This should always be the case, but it will be helpful if you know what you have in common with the reader.  If you’re a 55-year-old man writing for mommies about toys, you’re going to have to think about what experiences you share.

Don’t load up your writing with facts and stats. Unless you’re writing a blog for engineers, most people would rather know the meaning of the data and how it can help them.  If you’re writing about homelessness, describe one homeless family’s experience and leave out the chart.

Find your indignation. There’s nothing like a little righteous anger to get the juices flowing.

Tell a story. Relate not only what happened, but how you felt about it.  Be vulnerable:  people will consider it brave, and they will come with you.

Admit that you don’t have a clue. That happens so rarely that the reader will be intrigued.

Be yourself. You have a unique point of view and a voice that is not exactly like anyone else; that’s interesting.  Are you edgy?  Self-deprecating?  Thoughtful?  Irreverently funny?  The local curmudgeon?  Then be that.

If you want to engage people, get them on your side.  If you don’t care, why should they?”

For more tips on writing from FuelYourWriting, click here.

[found on http://www.fuelyourwriting.com/writers-embrace-your-passion]

Need A Writing Prompt?

[found on dailywritingtips.com; by Simon Kewin]

“Where To Find Writing Prompts Online

The internet is a wonderful source of writing prompts. There are sites dedicated to providing them which a quick search will turn up. Examples include :

There are also numerous blogs that offer a regular writing prompt to inspire you and where you can, if you wish, post what you’ve written. Examples include :

There are also many other sites that can, inadvertently, provide a rich seam of material for writing prompts – for example news sites with their intriguing headlines or pictorial sites such as Flickr.com that give you access to a vast range of photographs that can prompt your writing.

If you’re on Twitter, there are users you can follow to receive a stream of prompts, for example :

Another idea is just to keep an eye on all the tweets being written by people all over the world, some of which can, inadvertently, be used as writing prompts.

How To Make Your Own Writing Prompts

You can find ideas for writing prompts of your own from all sorts of places : snatches of overheard conversation, headlines, signs, words picked from a book and so on. Get used to keeping an eye out for words and phrases that fire your imagination, jot them down and use them as writing prompts to spark your creativity. You never know where they might take you.”

For more great information on writing from DailyWritingTips, click HERE.

[found on http://www.dailywritingtips.com/writing-prompts-101]

Writing Tips From the Masters

[found on openculture.com]
“Here’s one way to become a better writer. Listen to the advice of writers who earn their daily bread with their pens. During the past week, lists of writing commandments by Henry Miller, Elmore Leonard (above) and William Safire have buzzed around Twitter. (Find our Twitter stream here.) So we decided to collect them and add tips from a few other veterans — namely, George Orwell, Margaret Atwood, and Neil Gaiman. Here we go:

Henry Miller (from Henry Miller on Writing)

1. Work on one thing at a time until finished.
2. Start no more new books, add no more new material to “Black Spring.”
3. Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
4. Work according to the program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time!
5. When you can’t create you can work.
6. Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers.
7. Keep human! See people; go places, drink if you feel like it.
8. Don’t be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only.
9. Discard the Program when you feel like it–but go back to it the next day. Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude.
10. Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.
11. Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards.

George Orwell (From Why I Write)

1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

Margaret Atwood (originally appeared in The Guardian)

1. Take a pencil to write with on aeroplanes. Pens leak. But if the pencil breaks, you can’t sharpen it on the plane, because you can’t take knives with you. Therefore: take two pencils.
2. If both pencils break, you can do a rough sharpening job with a nail file of the metal or glass type.
3. Take something to write on. Paper is good. In a pinch, pieces of wood or your arm will do.
4. If you’re using a computer, always safeguard new text with a ­memory stick.
5. Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.
6. Hold the reader’s attention. (This is likely to work better if you can hold your own.) But you don’t know who the reader is, so it’s like shooting fish with a slingshot in the dark. What ­fascinates A will bore the pants off B.
7. You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality. This latter means: there’s no free lunch. Writing is work. It’s also gambling. You don’t get a pension plan. Other people can help you a bit, but ­essentially you’re on your own. ­Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don’t whine.
8. You can never read your own book with the innocent anticipation that comes with that first delicious page of a new book, because you wrote the thing. You’ve been backstage. You’ve seen how the rabbits were smuggled into the hat. Therefore ask a reading friend or two to look at it before you give it to anyone in the publishing business. This friend should not be someone with whom you have a ­romantic relationship, unless you want to break up.
9. Don’t sit down in the middle of the woods. If you’re lost in the plot or blocked, retrace your steps to where you went wrong. Then take the other road. And/or change the person. Change the tense. Change the opening page.
10. Prayer might work. Or reading ­something else. Or a constant visual­isation of the holy grail that is the finished, published version of your resplendent book.

Neil Gaiman (read his free short stories here)

1. Write.
2. Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.
3. Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.
4. Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.
5. Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.
6. Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.
7. Laugh at your own jokes.
8. The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it ­honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.

William Safire (the author of the New York Times Magazine column “On Language”)

1. Remember to never split an infinitive.
2. The passive voice should never be used.
3. Do not put statements in the negative form.
4. Verbs have to agree with their subjects.
5. Proofread carefully to see if you words out.
6. If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be by rereading and editing.
7. A writer must not shift your point of view.
8. And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction. (Remember, too, a preposition is a terrible word to end a sentence with.)
9. Don’t overuse exclamation marks!!
10. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.
11. Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
12. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
13. Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.
14. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
15. Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.
16. Always pick on the correct idiom.
17. The adverb always follows the verb.
18. Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague; seek viable alternatives.”

[found on http://www.openculture.com/2012/01/writing_rules.html]

The World Needs You ALIVE

[found on chattingatthesky.com]

“three truths to remember when envy tries to keep you quiet:*

1 . Your goal is not to make something new, your goal is to reimagine what already is.

2. We live in a world of abundance, not scarcity.

3. We need you awake and alive.

*This message has been truncated at author’s request.

To read the rest of this great inspiration on writing, click here.

[found on http://www.chattingatthesky.com/2012/06/20/three-truths-to-remember-when-envy-tries-to-keep-you-quiet]

Don’t Worry About Other Writers Stealing Your Ideas

[found on avajae.blogspot.com]
“As most of you who follow me on Twitter probably know, I participated in #pitmad last Friday. For those of you who don’t know, #pitmad is Twitter pitch fest, where writers pitched their completed manuscripts to agents and editors in 133 characters (to make room for the hashtag).
It was a fun event, and a great opportunity for writers. If you haven’t participated in a pitch event before, I highly recommend you check it out the next time one comes around.

I noticed, however, that there were a few negative Nancies out there who would pop into the #pitmad stream ever so often and make a snarky remark to the effect of “I’m not sharing my idea so that another writer can steal it and make millions.”I’m not looking down on these people—in fact, I understand where their fear comes from. When I first started writing, I too shared a fear of having my ideas (or other writings) stolen online. For the longest time I didn’t participate in any sort of competitions or online critiques because my skittishness got the best of me.But then I started getting more involved in the interwebs, and wrote a lot more, and the ridiculousness of this fear became very apparent to me.The thing is, sharing your pitch is probably the safest, least-risk inducing way of getting your work noticed. Why? The answer is simple: your idea is just an idea.

I’m not trying to demean your work, but an idea isn’t copyrightable (and if you don’t believe me, the government says so). Truth be told, original ideas don’t exist, and even if your idea somehow defied that rule, it still wouldn’t matter if someone stole it.

Why? Because as anyone who has tried to write a novel before knows, an idea is just an idea. It’s the seed of a novel, but it’s just that. Even if someone stole your completely original, totally brilliant idea, they’d still have to write a book to match up to that brilliance. And hell, maybe they would. Maybe they’d write it better than you did. But their book wouldn’t plagiarize your idea any more than Richelle Mead plagiarized Stephanie Meyers, or Meyers plagiarized Anne Rice, or Rice plagiarized Bram Stoker.

You see, they all wrote books based on a somewhat similar concept, but they wrote their own novels. They each wrote something different, because they each had a different take on a similar idea.

Anyone who has taken a writing class ever knows this very well: if you give a room full of students the same idea to write about, they will all write something different. Will there be similarities? Sure. But does that mean they somehow stole from each other? Does that mean their work shouldn’t be considered their work, or that it shouldn’t be considered original? Of course not.

The thing is, even if someone liked your pitch so much that they decided they wanted to write a book just like it, it wouldn’t matter. You’re already ahead of the game: you have a completed manuscript ready for pitching and they’re just scraping together ideas for a rough draft. And whatever they come up with based off of those 140 characters, I promise you, will be verydifferent from whatever you wrote. And, there’s still the whole matter of getting it published, which, as you already know, isn’t so easy. So.

If you have to worry about something, worry about having your writing stolen if you post online. Worry about someone copying your blog posts and republishing them under their own name. Worry about people pirating your work and selling it for a profit.

But as for someone stealing your ideas? Don’t waste your energy.”

[found on http://avajae.blogspot.com/2013/01/dont-worry-about-other-writers-stealing.html]