“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
― Toni Morrison

5 Essential Questions to Ask Yourself Before Hiring a Book Editor

Edit: 5 Essential Questions to Ask Yourself Before Hiring an Editor

You finally finished writing your book. There’s a glimmer of hope that the end is near. It’s time to pass your rough draft on to an editor to clean it up, right?

Not so fast. Have you revised it yourself yet?

What a lot of bestselling authors and writing coaches will tell you is the hard part of writing a book is not writing the book. The hard part is rewriting your book.

“Writer’s Block” Is a Lie—And It’s Ruining Your Writing

Writer's Block is a Lie

Let’s be honest. There is no such thing as Writer’s Block.

This is a phrase that we use to describe the frustrating experience of wishing to write without being able to. But there’s no such thing. We say that we have this thing called “writer’s block” and it’s the reason why we’ll never achieve our dreams. As if it’s a contracted disease. But it doesn’t exist.

What we are experiencing is the self-inflicted phenomenon of writers making choices that frequently lead to failure. And knowing that writer’s block is a myth is exactly what you need to beat it.

How to Write a Story Without an Outline

How to Write a Story Without an Outline

I have been opposed to outlining since childhood. I distinctly remember a time in middle school when I was required to write essays and turn in my outline as well. I couldn’t do it.

The necessity of the outline had a paralyzing effect on me—I couldn’t write anything if I had to know everything I was going to write beforehand. I took bad grades on good essays because I refused to do the outline. (To me, that’s like taking points off a bicyclist at the Tour de France for not using training wheels, but my teacher didn’t see it that way.)

I know many writers who say they can’t write without an outline. While it can help people organize their thoughts, I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary for anyone.

Use this One and “Only” Hack and Never Confuse Your Readers Again

Both/and, either/or: Use This One and "Only" Hack and Never Confuse Your Readers Again

I’m pretty confident most of you know how to write a decent sentence: subject–predicate, noun–verb. However, when it comes to getting fancy, ambiguity can happen. And you can confuse your readers to boot.

Let’s take “only,” “both . . . and,” and “either . . . or,” for example. Where do you put them? And why does it matter?

7 Easy Ways to Connect with Readers

Audience Engagement: 7 Easy Ways to Connect with Readers

Why do readers suddenly have the attention spans of gnats?

It’s easy to blame writers and suggest their quality of work has declined, but I contend there’s a growing evil sucking attention away from the page. This villain takes many forms.

I hold responsible the brilliant innovators, creators and storytellers of our generation for producing the most competitive market place for readers’ attention that the world’s ever seen. Fewer and fewer people can make it through an entire page before departing and plugging back into their easy-to-consume content outlets.

This new reality means you must write smarter than ever to seize attention and audience engagement. You must be calculated in how you connect with readers.

Here’s What Writers Really Do

Whenever someone asks me what I do, I always say the same thing: “I’m a writer.” It’s what we all say.

It’s a simple statement, the typical one-word description of who we are and what we do. But for me, the word “writer,” by itself, just doesn’t do it justice. The dictionary definition of a writer is “A person who writes books, stories, or articles as a job or regular occupation.” True? Yes. Basically, to the rest of the world, what we do? Yes.

But that definition still isn’t complete. The truth is, we’re much more than writers.

What to Do When Your Writing Process Fails You

Writing Process: When Writing Is the Worst Thing in the World

When Joe Bunting invited me to contribute a guest blog post to The Write Practice, I was thrilled. After all, this is a thriving community of dedicated writers hungry for craft discussion. It’s a writing coach’s dream come true. What is not a dream, however, what is in fact a writer’s worst nightmare, is when your creativity fails to flow, when despite your best efforts the words fail to come.

When your tried-and-true writing process fails you.

What do we do when our writing practice unexpectedly goes off the rails? When writing feels like the worst thing in the world?

Spring Contest Winner: Run

Run: Writing Contest Winner

We’re very proud to publish this story by Maia Thomlinson, which won the grand prize of $300 in the 2016 Spring Writing Contest with wordhaus literary magazine.

Run. Run. Run.

As light bleeds into this endless plane, I run towards the rising sun.

I run from destruction, from my own pounding heart. Gun shots fire. Still, I run.

Pressed tight up against my chest, my baby brother whimpers. The tall grass grabs for his tiny, bare feet, and I clutch him tighter still. This precious cargo is all I have left; no more family, no village, no home.

3 Devious Steps to Write an Antagonist You Hate

3 Devious Steps to Write an Antagonist You Hate

In any good book there is conflict. Often, that conflict is between the characters. No matter how many characters you create, it all boils down to two: The Protagonist and the Antagonist. The stars of the show.

We write a lot about the protagonist, the one who really is the actual “star.” But I’ve noticed that not as much attention is devoted to the antagonist. In my own writing, I find it much more difficult to write about him then the protagonist. At times, I find it nearly impossible to relate to him and his beliefs, to be able to step into his shoes as I do with every other character.

Today, I’m sharing how to write a great antagonist, even if you can’t stand him.

How Writing Habits Make Writing Easier

How Writing Habits Can Make Your Writing Easier

As all athletes know, whether you’re getting ready for a basketball game or a short jog, you need to loosen up. But for elite athletes, just like writers, loosening up isn’t just about warming up the physical body; it’s also about preparing yourself mentally for what is to come.

If you’ve ever seen basketball star LeBron James’ pregame “chalk toss” ritual, you’ll know what I’m talking about. You may not toss chalk before you write, but you can develop writing habits that will make your writing easier.