Writing Prompts

Great Creative Writers Are Serious About Their Writing. Are You?

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“14 Prompts does what most writing books don’t—gives you practical advice while also inspiring you to want to take it.” Andrea Cumbo, andilit.com

The Poor, Misunderstood Semicolon


Sadly, many writers have a confused relationship with the semicolon, not really sure how or when to use semicolons in their lovely sentences. Don’t worry, little semicolon. Your virtues will not be lost on this audience as long as I have a say in it.

What Is THE GIVING TREE Actually About?

What Is THE GIVING TREE Actually About

Do you remember The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein?

I picked it up for the first time in decades (literally) while visiting my friend’s baby at her house. She asked me what I thought the book meant. I told her. She was surprised by my answer and then told me that every other person she asks interprets it differently.

I was fascinated.

Why Beta Readers Can Revolutionize Your Writing


What exactly is a Beta Reader, and why should you care? The term ‘beta’ is borrowed from the software industry, meaning the beta ‘tests’ (reads) your full, finished manuscript to help you eliminate ‘bugs’ (problems) before it’s published. Here’s a more official online definition I like: “An alpha reader or beta reader, also a pre-reader or critiquer, is a non-professional reader who reads a written work, generally fiction, with the intent of looking over material to find and improve elements such as grammar and spelling, as well as suggestion to improve the story, its characters, or its setting.”

All true, but they left out the most important benefit.

Beta readers are invaluable to your writing. Here’s why…

Who Is Your Audience in Writing

Who Is Your Audience in Writing

If you haven’t figured out your audience in writing, you’re going to fail. Is Stephen King’s audience children? Is the Los Angeles Times’ audience people in rural China. Is the Write Practice’s audience ballerinas? The principle of audience in writing stands for fiction and non-fiction writers alike. And that’s a good thing, because you will be writing in a way […]

Four Ways To Fail as a Writer (And One Way to Succeed)

Four Ways to Fail as a Writer (And One Way to Succeed)

This is where I admit I am a fool and I tell you that I wrote my story at midnight the night before my column on The Write Practice was due.

If you want to set up your writing for failure, I know how.

Why Writing is like Yoga

why writing is practice like yoga

We know how to become better writers. As with anything in life, the way to get better is to practice.

That said, there’s two kinds of practice. There’s the competitively oriented kind where you run drills to improve, like soccer.

And then there’s the process-oriented kind, where you mindfully return to it over and over, for the sake of the experience itself, like yoga.

If you want to be a better writer, you have to practice like you practice yoga.

Contractions List: When To Use and When To Avoid

Contractions List

I had a conversation with a fellow writer recently about contractions, when they’re appropriate to use and when they should be avoided.

But first, what are contractions? Is there a contractions list?

Are You Writing with a Fear Filter?

Are You Writing with a Fear Filter?

When asked why he wrote horror stories, Stephen King once said that he wrote about the things that scared him the most.

He went on to say, writing horror stories was therapeutic in a way; a method to overcome his own insecurities and phobias.

What to Do When You Run Out of Creative Steam

What To Do When Your Creative Energy Dries Up

Here’s the thing about creative energy: it can dry up.

Writing is an amazing act of courage and creation, and it takes a lot out of us. All too often, we run out of steam, and usually at the worst possible moments—when we have a deadline, a story to finish, a publisher breathing down our necks, or even just our own internal editor’s demands.

The good news: it happens to us all.

The better news: there’s a way out. Read on.

When You’re Stuck in the Writing Process, Do This.

When You're Stuck in the Writing Process, Do This.

Have you ever felt like you needed help with your writing process, but didn’t know where to turn? Perhaps you’re new to this writing thing, or you’ve been too scared to tell anyone what you’re working on.

Or, if you’re like me, you’ve spent so much time in the writing process, so much time writing, editing, pitching, and educating yourself on the process that you truly believe you’ve done all you can possibly do on your own.

What should you do now?