Archive | Writing Tips

Ready, Set, Write!

November’s National Novel Writing Month(tm) is about to begin. Gear up with inspiration from NaNoWriMo(tm) winners in this recording of our Ready, Set, Write teleclass. Our experts share their ups and downs, favorite writing apps, and their secrets for maintaining the blistering speed that propelled them across the finish line. They’ll convince you that you, too, are up to the challenge!   SaveSave

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Illustration of hand in thumbs up position made of round wheels of bright colors, from Writers Need Cheerleaders, by Beth Mende Conny

Writers need cheerleaders

To write a book, we must enter unknown territory. Having supporters to cheer us on makes our travels less frightening. Ideally, these folks will lend us their ears and hearts; offer suggestions and a shoulder to cry on; build us up, not tear us down. They will journey with us and benefit from our efforts, directly or indirectly. It doesn’t always happen that way, of course. We may well have to ask, prod and teach […]

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Drawing of Brain with a "Logic" side and a "Creative" side, from Re-route your mind, by Beth Mende Conny

Re-route your mind

Neurons are the building blocks of our nervous system. We have 100 billion of them and their job is to transmit information. New information, new pathways. New pathways, increased ability to learn, adapt and remember. Scientists once believed this building process occurred only in infancy. They now know it occurs at all stages of life. The most important stage? From my perspective: now.

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Dehabit your life, by Beth Mende Conny

De-habit your life

We are all pilots — autopilots. We fly, as we live, according to our habits. Some habits are good. They are the shorthand of our everyday lives. Without them, we would waste lots of time and would most certainly get to work late. Can you imagine if you woke up and first had to figure out what to do and how to do it? Take shaving, for example. Unless you are a novice, you do […]

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Why you should deviate, from Beth Mende Conny

Why you should deviate

My husband and I are making a cake. Open before us is the bible for lost souls: the Joy of Cooking. Across the countertop are the requisite ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda and powder, eggs and salt) and various implements of destruction (measuring cups and spoons). The Joy (ha!) of Cooking makes clear the precise measurements and order of ingredients. It states, “Deviation brings disaster.”

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Author Beth Mende Conny of Write Directions shares profiles of Ernest Hemingway, Philip Roth and Joyce Carol Oates, as listed in Daily Rituals: How artists work by Mason Currey. So, what is your daily routine?

Famous writers and their daily routines

  I turn to Mason Currey’s Daily Rituals: How artists work when I need inspiration and a reminder that while the writing process isn’t easy, writing regularly makes it easier. Rituals, like weight-lifting, build muscle, and we writers need strength to finish our projects. Ernest Hemingway’s ritual was to begin writing at dawn, when no one would disturb him. He would read what he had previously written and wouldn’t stop until he knew what would happen next. According […]

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query-letters-that-rock

Why editors accept or reject query letters

When you submit a query to an editor, the editor will respond in one of three ways: yes, no, maybe. The editor says “yes” for these four reasons: Your idea your article appeals to her publication’s audience. That publication could be an off- or online magazine, newspaper or newsletter, among others. Your idea is solid. It has depth, scope and significance. Your writing is stellar. It’s engaging and succinct and, as should go without saying, […]

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Memoir vs. novel - which one should you write?

Memoir vs. novel — Which one should you write?

As a book coach, I estimate that half of my writers want to write a memoir. They may not call it that per se. It could, indeed, be more of a self-help, travel or genre book, or, simply, a collection of reflections. Such books are considered nonfiction, because they are based on facts and personal experiences. Theoretically. As a memoirist, it’s your right to choose what to include or exclude from your book — within […]

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Whitney Yount, proofreader

Do I need a proofreader?

I recently asked my colleague, proofreader Whitney Yount, if I really needed a proofreader. After all, I review everything I write several times. Here’s what Whitney had to say: As a writer, you have undoubtedly put a great deal of time and effort into your work. This commitment is essential in making your manuscript the best that it can be, but at the same time, your closeness to the project may prevent you from seeing […]

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