Posted in beginning writer, getting published, how to write, learning about writing, the writing journey, writing, writing advice, writing better, writing mentorship

Offering Free Writing Mentorship

Image from Pixabay

I always make an effort to be thankful, but it’s this time of year that really reminds me of how grateful I am. Each year I find more and more blessings in my life to celebrate and be excited for. This year I have been contemplating my journey writing, and all it has done for me.

How many years has it been since that journey started? I honestly can’t say with any certainty. I started writing as a teenager. I still have some of those crazy stories in a notebook somewhere. I stopped for a good while, but picked it back up in young adulthood. I believe since then, it’s been about fourteen years.

In that time, I have written many, many short stories (a few of them published). I wrote several novels (one of them published). I dived into journaling pretty hardcore (and even published one of those too). I also started this blog that’s been going for about six or seven years.

Besides the physical production of writing, the act of writing has immensely transformed the landscape of my life from the inside out. It’s allowed me to dive deep into myself and the world around me. It’s allowed me to stretch myself and expand into possibilities I once thought impossible.

I would not be the person I am today without writing, and I am very thankful for that. I love who I am. I love the confidence I have built in myself and my writing ability. I love how much knowledge I have accumulated about writing and the writing life/community.

This has given me a new appreciation for myself, my journey, and how much experience I have in writing. And I can’t help but think that perhaps there are people out there who might benefit from some of what I know.

So I have decided to start a journey of becoming a writing mentor. I want to help others who might be beginning their writing journey, or who might be feeling a little lost in their writing journey and need some guidance, or who just needs a sounding board to bounce off story and character ideas.

Here are some writing, editing, design experiences that I have had…

  • I’ve submitting work to traditional publishers (several short stories published).
  • I also have two books I’ve self-published.
  • I’ve helped several fellow writers publish their works traditionally, and a few who self-published too, including my eleven year old son.
  • I ran a writing critique group for two years.
  • I am running a writing blog, and maintaining multiple writing social media accounts.
  • I edited and published articles for Psych Central for four years.
  • I was a slush reader for Apex Magazine for four years.
  • I have a graphic design degree, and have designed many book covers for myself and others.
  • I also have experience formatting books for ebook and print.

Here are some specific things I can do for you…

  • Help with story and character development
  • Help with starting, planning, and finishing a novel or novel series
  • Help with submitting to a traditional or indie publisher
  • Help with getting into self-publishing, which includes cover designing and manuscript formatting
  • Help with starting up a blog
  • Overall guidance for how to be a writer and how to setup a good writing routine
  • Be a sounding board for story and character ideas
  • Help with world building and fleshing out story settings
  • Offer helpful story critiques for finishing up a specific writing project
  • Offer support and advice for moving out a writer’s block or staying motivated to write

Right now I have three spots available. So if you are interested, or know someone who is interested in taking advantage of this limited time free mentorship, then please feel free to contact me.

When contacting me, just let me know what sort of help you are looking for. Once you contact me, we can then determine if we want to keep emailing or do a video chat, or a combination.

My wish is to help keep the writing spirit alive in those who wish to travel the path of the writer. Writing itself is a lonely task, but it doesn’t have to be a lonely journey. So if you think you are in need of a writing companion to help you cover some ground in your journey, please reach out and let’s see if I will be a good fit for your needs.

Posted in A Writer's Life, better writing, build confidence as a writer, free writing, How to Be a Writer, how to write, The Writer's Toolbox, writing, writing advice, writing discipline

5 Steps to Setting Up a Daily Habit of Writing

image from Pixabay

In order to be a writer, one must write. But let’s face it, it’s not always easy to find the time to fit writing in, especially as a daily thing. But I’ve been writing long enough to know that I’m a lot more successful at writing, when I make writing a daily habit. So let’s take a look at five steps to be a daily writer.

Step 1: Time of Day

First identify the best time of the day to write for you. Everyone will be different, so don’t judge what works for you against someone else’s writing time. If you aren’t sure, do some experimenting. Is it first thing in the morning that you do the best writing? Is it midmorning or midday? Or is it the afternoon, or late at night?

Step 2: Set a Time Period

Next, set a period of time that you will write. This can be anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, to several hours, or more. Even if it’s just a short writing session, if you are writing everyday, then that time will add up. You may find too that somedays you will get more writing in than others, and that’s okay.

Step 3: Have a Routine to Get You Started

It’s a lot easier to start writing if you are in the right mindset. Otherwise you could be sitting for half your writing time or more just trying to get into the piece you want to write on. There are many ways to get into a writing mindset. I will list a few here.

  • Listen to music you have specifically for writing
  • Start by free writing for 10 minutes or so to get into writing
  • Spend a few minutes clearing your mind and setting an intention on what you plan to do
  • Have a specific spot that you write and only write so when you sit down you are automatically put in the writing mood
  • Use a “writing hat” which is anything you wear or have near you while writing

You can do one or more than one of the above, or even come up with your own way(s). The important part is having a routine, so that your mind knows you are sitting down to write, and it’s time to get to business.

Step 4: Do Things to Prep for Writing

It’s important to only write during the time you allot to write. This may mean doing some prepping before hand such as letting anyone who lives with you know not to bother you during this time, turning off distractions like the phone or access to internet, and deciding the day or night before what you will be writing on. If you set an intention to write on something specific, you will be far more likely to have a great writing session the next day.

Step 5: Have Fun With Writing

Most important step of all. Don’t forget to have fun with writing! That’s why you started writing in the first place isn’t it? Writing was fun. It was exhilarating as you created new characters and worlds, or mind-blowing nonfiction. That should still be the case. Don’t let your deadlines or feelings of obligations suck all the fun away. Remember why you started writing, why you keep writing, and how much fun it is to play with words!

Do you already have a writing routine, and would like to share? Please feel free to post in the comments.

Posted in action, beginning, better writing, great writing, how to write, The Writer's Toolbox, writing

3 Ways to Make an Engaging Start to a Story, Chapter, or Novel

How does a writer start a story, chapter, or novel to make it engaging and keep the reader interested? After all, a story can be good, but are there are some key elements to making a story, chapter, or novel stand out? There are actually, and this post will address three of them, and I’ll give some examples of really fantastic starting lines I’ve come across in my reading.

Have you read some of the classics (even just dating back a few years ago) where the authors take the time to build a relationship with the reader? The stories start at a leisurely pace and it may take awhile to see any real action. That was nice and great, but unfortunately to be a writer in this day and age you have to forego the hand holding and get right into it. You can do the hand holding stuff, but do it while you are hooking the reader.

1. Start in the Middle of Action

One of the best ways to engage and hook the reader is to start in the middle of some sort of action. If you are starting a story or novel, then it should be bigger and more attention grabbing action.

What sort of action? Ask yourself this question. If you were starting to read a new book or story what would grab your attention?

Maybe your character is in the middle of fighting off a mugger? Or maybe your character is in the middle of a car accident. You can even do a smaller action like maybe a student just dozed off in class and smacked his head against his desk. Or maybe your character is driving down a dark road and the gas light is blinking and there’s not a gas station in sight.

How big the action is isn’t nearly as important as the action itself. Start with that blinking empty fuel tank light, or your character dodging a fist, and go from there. Engagement in this way creates interest, and then the details can be filled out as you continue further into the story.

Here’s an intriguing action line that opens the book The English Assassin by Daniel Silva.

Marguerite Rolfe was digging in her garden because of the secrets she’d found hidden in her husband’s study.

Continue reading “3 Ways to Make an Engaging Start to a Story, Chapter, or Novel”
Posted in better writing, Boosting Creativity, build confidence as a writer, creative writing, creativity, creativity blues, finding the muse, finding the right words, finishing stories, good writing, great writing, how to write, inspiration, learning to write, love of writing, sparking creativity, the art of writing, the creative process, The Writer's Toolbox, the writing journey, the writing process, write, writing, writing advice, writing better

Creating Opportunities to be More Creative

As a writer, being a creative person is a pretty big deal. We pride ourselves on how creative we are and yet there are times when we feel we just aren’t creative enough. It’s sort of a Ping-Pong match between the two. Some days it’s one, and a whole lot of other days, it’s the other. There have been quite a few times when I personally felt like I lost the game all together. Many times I found myself asking “Am I creative enough to be a writer?” or “What can I do to be more creative?”. In the end though, maybe it’s more of a question of how can we be the right amount of creative to accomplish our goals?

I want to tell you a story. Something that happened to me over the last few years that changed my life forever (causing me to abandon my blog for awhile too––sorry!) and made me see things in a little different light, especially concerning the way creativity works.

Continue reading “Creating Opportunities to be More Creative”

Posted in build confidence as a writer, character development, character torture, creative writing, experimental writing, good writing, great writing, how to write, novel writing, the art of writing, The Writer's Toolbox, the writing journey, the writing process

Writing About the Things We Fear

“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.” — Natalie Goldberg

Being a writer is a complicated thing. We love to write for the sake of writing, but we also don’t want to write because some days it is just so hard. But still we write, because not writing is not an option.

So what do we write about? People have different views on this. Some like light and happy stories. Some like dark and depressing stories. Some like gore and horror. Some like aliens and cool technology. Some like hot romance where the girl and guy always have their happy ever after. Some like the never ending thrill. And some like deep and moving characters no matter what the story is about.

But we all wonder… what really makes a good story? What draws the reader to each page to hungrily reach the end? What makes writing such an intense and rewarding process for the writer?

I think all these questions have one answer.

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