Sunday, April 26, 2009

Writing Tips Yet Again

Here's another set of good tips for writers.  I'm not reposing the same advice from different writers in general, but fresh ways to say my top two favorites I continue to post.  See if you can guess the things I have found most useful!

“The quickest way to get publicity is to be timely. So creating a media calendar for yourself can be an invaluable tool for getting publicity online. That is, writing down all the times of the year that your topic could be relevant to pitch the media in your niche market. You can even check Chase's Directory of Annual Events to see if there are any holidays that specifically relate to your topic.”  Sally Shields  and co-host, "Blurb!" www.blogtalkradio/blurb
“For non-fiction especially, think about indexing early, especially if you're going to save money by doing the index  yourself. Knowledge of what you want in your index can also help you recognize gaps and uneven coverage. Select you structure and keywords as you go through writing and editing rather than waiting to the end. That can help in consistency and balance. “ Jeff Lindsay, Director of Solution Development  Innovationedge with the forthcoming book, Conquering Innovation Fatigue by Jeff Lindsay, Cheryl Perkins, and Mukund Karanjikar (John Wiley & Sons, July 2009).
“Give yourself permission to write a first draft without regard to style, length, typos or even how much sense you’re making.  Write freely and enjoy the process without worrying about getting it perfect the first time around.  Then go back and reread what you’ve written and whittle away anything that doesn’t work for you.  Your work will begin to take shape with much less effort and you’ll end up with a much better finished product.”  Cindy Lieberman
“Write every day or as much as you possibly can.  Remember, to get to the ‘good stuff’ you have to write a lot of bad stuff.”  From Weston Lyon,
“Write Through Fear.  Mix your fear of writing up into fiction, or a great piece of non-fiction. Write down the reasons for your fear. Look at what you wrote. Create a character to work through it.  Place him/her in a setting comfortable  for you.  Or, do some research, and write about a certain fear. You'll understand the reason for your fear, and move on.” From M. Glenn Novel Link:

“Writing groups provide support, friendship, encouragement, ideas, and accountability for us writers struggling alone at our computer screens.  From my initial desire to bond with other writers, I was led to new friends, a new book, and ultimately a new career as a facilitator of women's writing groups. To overcome the solitary side of writing, take my advice and join a writing group.  And if you can't find one, create one!  Who knows the direction it will lead you?”   From Diane Owens

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Continuing the bountiful harvest of writing tips!

I'm so happy to have all these great ideas to share with you.  It's a busy time for me, grading senior theses and final papers in my classes.  But the cool suggestions just keep coming from HARO~ here is batch 8.  cheers,   Laura

“So many great voices are masters at telling a story out loud, but struggle when it comes to writing. Speaking the words into a recorder and transcribing them can let those brilliant stories out. “ From  Scott Hepburn Founder, Media Emerging

“Promoting your books on  1. Set up your author profile page. 2. Read other books in the same field as yours, and write detailed, positive reviews of those you liked.  People reading the reviews will get an introduction to your writing  style and will see a link to your author profile. 3. Create "Listmania" lists.  Pick several themes that include your book (for example, if you have an Italian cookbook, themes might include "great cookbooks", "great Italian cookbooks", "great pasta recipes", etc).  Choose 10-20 other books in each theme that are best sellers, and include them in your lists (along with your book).  These lists will be randomly displayed at the bottom of the sales pages for all the books.”From Praveen Puri   

Recycle, recycle, recycle. Make your articles go farther by reworking them for different publications. For example, I wrote an article on swaddling twin babies for a national magazine for parents of twins. Then I cut down the article and removed the product reviews for an online column I write about twins and multiples. After that, I took out the “twins” angle and generalized the article to include all babies for publication in a pediatric newsletter. I even recorded a Podcast about swaddling! With just a little bit of work, I was able to use the same research in four different ways.” From Susan Heim

“Here’s how you too can sell foreign  rights.  Prepare an email that sells the book  and include:
– successes to date, including sales figures and other  rights sales;
– a short summary of the book and the table of  contents;
– reviews and endorsements of the book;
– links to the  book’s Web site, its page on, and radio and TV  coverage;
Offer to send a copy of the book and ask for the agent’s  mailing address."  From Elliott Katz, the author of Being the Strong Man A Woman Wants: Timeless wisdom on  being a man. If you have questions, you can contact him at

“Getting a celebrity, notable VIP, or leader in your field to give your book a short testimonial or endorsement (sometimes called a blurb) is a great way to boost sales and garner extra publicity.  Remember that this is a trade-off. You get a testimonial for your book, and the endorser gets additional exposure and/or credibility." From Jordan McAuley  (

Friday, April 24, 2009

Writing Tips Continued

Time for some MORE writing tips. Can we have too many? I hope not, lots left still!

Here’s some good advice: “… connect! Go to writers conferences to hone your craft but also to network with other writers. This profession can be lonely and demands draining self-motivation so it's suicide to fail to connect. “ From Brenda Nixon, THE BIRTH TO FIVE BOOK: CONFIDENT CHILDREARING RIGHT FROM THE START (Revell),
“People think it's hard to write a novel because it's so many pages. But any journey is just one step at a time. If you can write a page a day you can finish a novel in a year. A page is only 250 words. We all have at least 250 a day in us. “ From Ian Randall Wilson, author of Great Things Are Coming (
“My best marketing advice: Utilize the Internet. Ask bloggers to write reviews. Schedule a blog tour with virtual visits to blogs. Use social networking sites like Facebook, LinkdIn, and Twitter.” From Lucy Adams, Author of If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny .
“My favorite tip to give is to "never give up" even when you think your project is dead. It took me two years to get published. Don't give up.” From Gary Unger,
”I believe that writing, vs. writing a blog are quite different things altogether. Certainly the blog readers attention span is shorter, but more significantly writing a blog is very much more ‘conversational.’ I have found as my blog has evolved so has my writing style. Unlike a paper you might hand in in college, or a print article we would sit down to read, a blog talks back.” From Craig Sumsky “First thing in the morning, sit down at your writing place - computer or note pad. No email. No web. No television or radio or newspaper or anything else. Just you and your writing tools of choice. Stay there until you write. It doesn't have to be good; it just has to be something - you can always rewrite. But stay the course and don't leave until you've got something down on paper/screen. Repeat daily. Never give up.” From Libbe HaLevy, author, Blast Your "Writer's Block" to Smithereens!; .

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

HARO Writing Tips, part 5

Hi writers,
Here is a new batch of interesting writing tips, more HARO advice with special inspiration clues! This is the page to bookmark for days when you’d be tempted to go to my friend Laura Jayne’s blog, and sink into despondency. After you take this advice, then you’ll want to go to her blog, to celebrate.

“If you don't have a publisher yet, say out loud, ‘I request a Most Benevolent Outcome for finding the PERFECT publisher for my book, thank you!’ That gets your own Guardian Angel involved in assisting you, and they are only allowed to assist if you request assistance.” Tom T. Moore, .

“Lucid dreaming, or the ability to become consciously aware while in the dream state, is a fascinating, complex and reality bending subject. My advice to writers is simply this: if stuck, pay attention to your dreams!” Robert Waggoner, of the recently released, Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self (Moment Point Press, 2009).
Jill Nussinow
Sometimes I write about why I don’t want to write about whatever I need to write, which, of course, gets me writing about it. The blank screen or blank page disappears and then I am writing. I guess that you could call that “bitching to inner-self.” Jill Nussinow,

“Create a writer’s resume -- sometimes called a functional resume -- which differs from a traditional resume by listing your experience, skills, publications, and clients by category rather than chronologically. Or add a publications list (if you use a traditional resume) that includes the titles and other bibliographical information of your published works as well as links where they can be found. “ From Michele Dagle, Writer-Editor, Editorial Studio

Craft: Writers write. In the old days that meant many paper files filled with pieces, parts, thoughts and such. Some of us kept them in a writer’s journal. Today, the writer’s journal is a blog. If your goal is to make it as a writer, you must be blogging. The topic is not really that important. It is important that you put down words about something every single day. Rick Grant

Monday, April 20, 2009

Writing Tips from HARO PART 4

HARO tips are still coming in and I am sharing them with you, this being the fourth batch.  I am amazed at the sheer volume of response, but almost all of it is inspiring and worth reading. 

“Don't listen to some of the popular writing myths out there. One is  ‘write what you know.’  If writers did that, the whole field of science fiction would be eliminated. Many mysteries would be off the shelf, because, frankly, few writers encounter dead bodies, and certainly none encounter them every year!  Also, all the fairy tales would be gone, and most of the fiction field, too.  Much better advice is to write what inspires you. Write the kind of book you'd like to read. Write what you want to know. Write with passion, with an eye for detail, with attention to accuracy - even if it is fiction. The devil, or rather the delight, is in the details.”  From Sylvia Forbes , ,

 Hildy Silverman

“Sales Tip:    Do not respond to rejections unless explicitly told to do so. Many writers think they can ‘explain’ their story to the rejecting editor, get exact feedback on what they should rewrite, or otherwise argue their way out of the rejection. They can't -- all they can do is irritate the editor, who will probably make a note that the person is difficult and reject any future submissions out-of-hand.”   From Hildy Silverman, editor-in-chief of Space and Time Magazine ( and professional short fiction writer.

Tips I selected from a long list: “Get up, have coffee  tea, or breakfast and just start writing about whatever project you are working on. There is something about engaging the subconscious immediately after getting up that unlocks amazing ideas.”  

Also, “If you are in a position of writing about something you know very little about, or the subject of your writing has little background, start making things up that pertain to the subject. Then go back to edit with the scalpel of truth. ” 

Janet Hansen, Brio Public Relations, Sumner, WA, with this social site for music lovers: .

 free e-letter: ,


Sunday, April 19, 2009

HARO Writing Tips PART 3

Continuing to pass on the great writing tips from those who subscribe to HARO, here is the third installment, here are several more contributions.  I’ll see you later, I’m going to apply Feng Shui to my writing space!

“The rules for writing a novel may be a mystery, but the Feng Shui rules for setting up the space where you write are well known.  Create a Writing Space.  Whether it is a separate room or only a corner of the kitchen, designate an area where you write; try to use the space at the same time every day.
Face the Door.  Sit in the power position, diagonally across from the door, so you are in command of your writing. Change Your View.  Hang artwork directly in front of you that shows gently moving water, which symbolizes flow and creativity for your writing projects.  Add Living Things.  Surround yourself with plants and flowers to represent the Wood Element, which encourages growth of your writing skills.
Enhance Your Fame.  Display copies of your published works, complimentary letters, and awards you have won in the Fame/Future area of your writing space to encourage you to move forward.
Call on Mentors.  Place copies of books or articles from writers you admire in your Helpful People area to act as mentors for your writing projects.”  From Carol M. Olmstead, FSII
"Never be afraid to let your story take its own form and find its own direction. Most writers who give up do so because they are trying to force their preconceived ideas onto the page."  From Ian Coburn  Author of "God is a Woman: Dating Disasters"

“While going over the final draft, read the entire thing out loud. (Yes, even for a book.) You’ll be amazed what you find that doesn’t work.”   From Doreen Orion, author, QUEEN OF THE ROAD.

“First, write with passion. Readers will be passionate about your work when your writing shines with passion. Second, write with conviction. Readers will be convinced when your writing is convincing. If you do not sound firm or sure of yourself, how could you convincingly convey your intended messages?  Your piece lacks firmness when it includes "honestly," "to be honest with you," or "to tell you the truth." If you use any of those in one sentence, does that mean the rest of your writing is not as honest?   So always write from your heart for a personal, passionate, and convincing read!” From Shirley Cheng, Blind and Physically Disabled Award-Winning Author, Motivational Speaker,

Friday, April 17, 2009

Writing Tips from HARO, part 2

Here are some more tips from writers on HARO. Some of you have emailed asking, “what is HARO?” It means Help a Reporter Out at and if you subscribe, you’ll get requests from reporters re stories they are working on. I posted a request for tips for writers, and got a great crop that I’m stretching out over several posts.

Write each day—even if it is a stream of consciousness or the same word over and over...just do it for an hour every day. Kelley Rexroad America’s HR Strategist™ The HR expert with front porch common sense and www.krelleyrexroad/

POLISH POLISH POLISH: One draft is not enough. Two drafts are not enough. Nor are three. Once you get the story just the way you want it, go back and read it again and again and again. Somewhere in there something is not right, or a comma is out of place, or a whole paragraph (or maybe a whole chapter) is crying out to be deleted. Have a brutally honest friend read it. Have a professional editor go over it. Go over until you can't stand looking at it anymore. Everyone in the book world is crazy busy. Acquisitions editors really appreciate a clean manuscript--and they are much more likely to read it to the end if they aren't mentally making corrections along the way. From Joan Schweighardt, a four-time award winning published author, a former publisher, and currently a freelance editor, ghostwriter, publicist and sometimes agent. []

Budding writers should not be averse to doing "minor" sorts of writing jobs while they await the big break. Although my own (brilliant!) novel is still languishing in a carton, waiting for an open-minded editor or publisher, I have taken all sorts of odd jobs that involved writing in some aspect. I was (and still am) a stringer for the newspaper, covering human interest stories. I also do some freelance editing for other aspiring writers. I do research and editing for a best-selling author and life coach. And I edit and semi-transcribe the minutes of Town of Woodstock board meetings. My labor of love is writing for and associate editing a grassroots animal welfare organization's quarterly newsletters. ( No, none of these jobs help to get my novel published, and none of them pay very well, but they do give me a wide experience and help me hone my skills. From Eileen Fay.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Hi Writers! Here is the first installment of HARO input on tips for writers. I’m going to repeat the one I put in the comment below, because I don’t want anyone to miss it: Here is a tip from Melissa Hart. You may have seen her reviews of Literary Magazines in your favorite writing magazine. She has a new book coming out this fall, Gringa, a Contradictory Girlhood, so watch for it! Here is her tip: "Do you have a talent for telling a good story in just a few minutes? So many magazines publish one-page essays; at approximately 800 words, the piece leaves editors just enough room for a photo or other art. Some of my favorite markets for this type of essay are Horizon Air Magazine, High Country News, and Skirt!, but you'll find that there are hundreds of other publications that look for poignant, oftentimes humorous short essays. Don't be afraid to pitch your own photos to illustrate your essay, as well. The first photo I ever had published was a picture of a weed in Horizon Air Magazine. I'd written an essay about flunking my nature photography course, and this was the only successful picture I shot." Melissa Hart, Author/UO Journalism Teacher, Writing Blog at

And here is another tip: “So my tip to writers is to write what you know. If you have knowledge of the subject matter AND contacts who can suggest stories or serve as sources for you, you'll have much better luck getting assignments. I look forward to seeing other tips." Lisa Tibbitts, Public Relations & Marketing, +1.917.674.8060 Follow me on Twitter:

Stay tuned, there are lots more coming! Laura