My Writing Blog:
One of the things I’m passionate about is teaching other writers. I post writing-related topics on my blog every Tuesday, so make sure to stop by then or subscribe in the sidebar of my blog to the weekly email.
My Articles on Writing:
Also, take some time to browse through the categories below (click on each topic for a dropdown menu). You’ll find a wide variety of my past posts on writing techniques organized by topic.
- Reaching For Our Dreams
- The Hard Work of Making Dreams Come True
- What Does It Really Take to Get Published?
- Top Ten List of Advice for Aspiring Writers
- 10 Ways to Prepare in Advance for Publication
- 4 Ways to Prepare for a Professional Writing Career
- Put Your Best Work Out There: Avoid These 25 Newbie Mistakes
- 4 Tips for Researching a Novel
- 4 Keys to Unlocking Your Creativity
- How to Find Original Ideas When You Have None
- How to Find Plot Ideas
- One of the Best Ways to Find Writing Ideas
- 4 Steps for Organizing Plot Ideas Into a Novel
- Methods of Writing: Plotter, Pantser, or In-Between
- The Why’s, When’s, and What-Not’s for Opening a Story
- The Opening Hook of a Book: Is It Important or Not?
- Five Common First-Chapter Mistakes
- 8 Things to Keep in Mind When Naming Characters
- 3 Tips for Developing Enthralling Characters
- Developing Characters: Moving Beyond Hair & Eye Color
- How to Avoid the Trap of Creating Unlikable Characters
- 6 Key Things to Consider When Developing Characters
- Suturing: Making Our Readers One With the Story
- How To Bring Your Characters to Life
- Making Memorable Minor Characters
- Planting Minor Characters With Purpose
- When to Show Character Emotions and When to Tell
- 5 Ingredients for Creating Swoon-Worthy Heroes
- 5 Tips for Writing Better Settings
- First or Third Person: Which Point of View is Best?
- 7 POV Basics Every Writer Should Know
- A Few Tips for More Complicated POV Issues
- 7 Setting Basics That Can Bring a Story to Life
- 3 Techniques to Keep in Mind When Setting the Stage
- 7 Dialog Basics That Can Help Tighten Our Stories
- Developing Dazzling Dialog
- Cliched Writing: Avoid it Like the Plague
- Learning to Find a Balance in Showing Versus Telling
- Using the 5 Senses to Make Our Stories Jump Off the Page
- Spicing up a Story With Similes and Metaphors
- Manipulating the Moods of our Stories
- How to Make Your Book Play Out Like a Movie
- Why Every Story Needs a Zombie
- The Key to Successful Storytelling
- 4 Ways to Add Caffeine to Your Story
- An Important Technique for Adding Momentum to a Slow Plot
- Riveting Our Readers By Using the Death Factor
- The Importance of Throwing Our Readers for a Loop
- Writing Tight: 3 Pieces of Advice I Wish I’d Known Earlier
- Creating a Book Readers Can’t Put Down
- 4 Ways to Deepen Romance Relationships in Any Type of Story
- 5 Elements Sigh-Worthy Romance Novels Must Have
- 10 Techniques for Getting Tension on Every Page
- Theme: What is It? And How Do We Develop One?
- Cliff Hangers: Practical Ways to Leave Your Readers Hanging from a Cliff
- 3 Simple Stages of Self-Editing
- Self-Editing: When is Enough, Enough?
- A Self-Editing Checklist
- Why Every Writer Needs Feedback
- Every Writer Needs as Much Editing as Possible
- Why Skimping on Macro-Editing Could Cost You Readers
- Why We Need to Put Our Books to Bed
- How Much Editing Does a Contracted Book Get?
- 3 Tests That Can Help Us Handle Difficult Feedback
- 4 Ways to Find a Critique Partner
- 4 Ways to Make Yourself Complete a Book
- How to Set Writing Priorities
- What Keeps You From Writing?
- One Trick That Helps With Meeting Daily Word Count Goals
- 8 Ways Writers Can Push Themselves to Grow
- 5 Foundational Areas to Focus on for Intentional Growth
- When Writing Demands Cut into Other Priorities
- 4 Ways to Make Your Writing Schedule Work
My Writing Process:
How do you organize your writing time?
I give myself a daily word count of how much I need to write, and I stick to it as best as I can. Whatever amount I miss one day, I try to make up on another day of that week. Having the daily/weekly goals help keep me going even when I’m not in the mood.
What is your favorite part of the writing process?
As a writer, I love telling stories. I especially like the feeling that comes as I near the end of the book when everything looks hopeless, the characters are in big trouble, and somehow I’m able to wrap up the book in a satisfying way. I call it the first-draft love affair! I fall absolutely and madly in love with the story and think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written.
What is your least favorite part of the writing process?
I struggle the most during the editing phase of each of my books. The love affair that started during the first draft comes to an end. I fall out of love with my books. By the last edit—called the Galley Review—I finally reach a point where I loathe the book, think it’s the worst thing I’ve ever written, and wish I could just throw it away.
What stands out in your mind about what has made you grow the most as a writer?
If I had to narrow down one specific thing that has helped the most in my quest for publication, I’d have to say that my careful, ongoing, and thorough study and practice of writing techniques has been the single most beneficial aspect of my writing career.
In other words, I read writing craft books, studied fiction-writing basics, and then put what I learned into practice. All the studying has been the number one thing to help me in my writing career.
My Advice to Writers:
What advice would you give young writers?
Writing is like any other profession: we can’t succeed unless we achieve mastery of the subject. And how does one achieve writing mastery? We need to learn everything we can about the craft of writing and then put it into practice. In other words, learn, learn, learn. Write, write, write. Repeat ad infinitum.
What is your best piece of advice for other moms out there who are pursuing publication?
My encouragement to moms pursuing publication is that it is possible to juggle being a mom and writer. It’s NOT easy, but it is possible! We should try to set aside a little bit of time to write every day (even if it’s not at the same time every day). We may have to write in small spurts. And we can’t let interruptions derail us. Even if we only write 300 words a day, it’s something. Before we know it we’ll have completed the first chapter, then the first half of the book, and finally we’ll have a finished book in front of us.
What steps do you recommend for an author interested in building a brand?
I suggest every author find their marketing strengths and focus on what they’re good at. We can’t do it all, so it pays to know where we excel. I happen to really love blogging and teaching. I’ve focused my time and energy on meshing my two strengths.
However, no matter our strengths, I also recommend every author have a growing online presence. Since so many readers are online nowadays, that’s where we’ll be able to meet, engage, and maintain relationships.