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Jeff Elkins: Subscriber, Author, Bbp Participant, Contributor
Member since August 13, 2013

Jeff Elkins is a writer who lives Baltimore with his wife and five kids. If you enjoy his writing, he'd be honored if you would subscribe to his free monthly newsletter. All subscribers receive a free copy of Jeff's urban fantasy novella "The Window Washing Boy."

Website: https://vagrantmisunderstandings.com/

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How to Write to Market and Still Write What You Love

When new writers ask, “How do I succeed as an author?” the advice they most often receive is, “Write to market.”Popularized by Chris Fox’s 2016 book, Write to Market: Deliver a Book that Sells, the strategy requires authors to pick a genre to write in, study the tropes of that genre of books that are currently selling, and then write a book in that genre that fits all the existing tropes. While many authors struggle to embrace this concept, by changing our perspective on it, we will find it empowering rather than limiting.

Writer’s Block: 3 Tips to Keep Writing Even When You’re Discouraged

In the movies, inspiration strikes the writer, and then a montage of the writer banging away on his or her chosen instrument flashes by, ending with a completed masterpiece that shares the writer’s soul with the world. Sadly, the reality is not like the movies. Sometimes the stories rip through your fingers like your hands are possessed; but more often, putting a story into words feels like yanking your teeth out of your head. It’s all too easy to get stuck in writer’s block.

When that happens, there’s nothing more we want to do than give up on the story and start over. But we can’t. We have to push through and finish it.

6 Mystery Writing Tips to Puzzle Your Readers

When I tackled writing my first mystery two years ago, I was shocked at how different the process was from writing a general thriller. Even though I’d already published six novels, I was surprised at how much preparation and planning writing a detective story took.

If you’re thinking of writing a mystery, here are six things I had to learn I wish someone had told me.

3 Tricks for Writing Even When You’re Sick
by Jeff Elkins in 3 Tricks for Writing Even When You’re Sick
09:30 am on September 9, 2019

As writers, we create new realities, which demands we use our experiences to inform our work. A stroll with a friend in a park or a dance in a fountain will translate into chapters.

We don’t just have to grab the good times. We can do this with illness as well. When we are sick, we should try and take a step back and learn about how our characters will feel when they are struck with a disease.

How to Find the Writing Coach You Need
by Jeff Elkins in How to Find the Writing Coach You Need
03:50 pm on January 29, 2019

In high school, I was part of an amazing football team. We won most of our games and routinely went to the State Championship. But it wasn’t just the players that made the team great — it was also the coaches. And writing coaches can have just as great an impact on our writing.

An incredible coach doesn’t just tell you what to do and how to do it. They help you as you learn, answering questions and showing you how to improve your performance.

When I started writing, one of the first things I began looking for were coaches who could help me along the way. Finding the right writing coaches can make all the difference in our work.

You Should Read More. Here’s How
by Jeff Elkins in You Should Read More. Here’s How
11:01 am on January 15, 2019

My father died over twenty years ago. One of my strongest memories of him is of him reading.

He was a surgeon and a teacher. Most nights, after dinner, he would sit down at the end of the table with a stack of medical journals on his right. He would then read through them one at a time. When he finished one, he would stack it on his left.

He was a brilliant man who invented surgical techniques, wrote articles, and published a few books; yet still, every night he was reading. As writers we spend so much time with words, we forget how important it is that we are also reading and learning.

3 Tricks for Getting Unstuck During the Holidays

In order to succeed, one thing writers need is stress-free time to work and think, which is why the holidays can be hard for us. With all the added parties and present buying and family events, it can be easy to feel stuck and unable to write.

Yes, writing can be particularly challenging during the holidays. But that’s no reason to quit trying altogether. Instead of giving up and not writing for a month, try these writing tricks to get through the craziness of the holidays.

General Powell’s Motivational Quotes for Writers During the Holidays

December can be a difficult time for creatives. With holiday parties, additional family responsibilities, and decorations to hang, it is hard to keep up the discipline of writing. Sometimes what we need is someone in our ear, giving us advice and spurring us onward, with motivational quotes for writers.

It would be helpful if this inner coach was a model of leadership and discipline. So let’s embrace some of the motivational quotes of retired four-star general in the United States Army Colin Powell.

6 Things to Expect From Writing Sprints Like NaNoWriMo

Expectations are important. If you are craving yogurt and you walk into a bakery, you are likely to be disappointed. If you go into your boss’s office thinking you are going to get a raise but all you receive is a pat on the back, you will probably be frustrated. If you think your date is taking you to see a ballet and you end up at a monster truck rally instead, you are likely to be confused, irritated, and overdressed.

Having appropriate expectations when it comes to writing sprints like NaNoWriMo are equally important. Sprints can be wonderful teachers; but it’s important to understand what we should expect from them.

3 Creative Tricks to Find Your Character’s Voice

Great characters feel real. They talk, act, and respond to stress in ways we recognize, with their own personal character voice. We can relate to them because they seem human.

To write a character that leaps off the page, we need to know her deeply. We need to understand her thoughts and feelings. If our audience is going to empathize with her, we have to first.

How to Prepare for Writing a Book: 4 Steps
by Jeff Elkins in How to Prepare for Writing a Book: 4 Steps
12:50 pm on October 9, 2018

You’ve been thinking about it for months, promising yourself that when it arrives you are finally going to knuckle down and get it done. You’ve been telling yourself all you need is the extra push; you just need a deadline because you work best under pressure. You need a race, something that will help you compete against yourself.

You’ve decided to finally write your book. The question is, how do you prepare for writing a book?

How to Handle Rejection: 4 Things NOT to Do and 3 Things to Do After You’re Rejected by a Publisher

Rejection may be one of the hardest parts of writing. After pouring our lives into our manuscripts, it feels personal when someone tells our work isn’t good enough. Even if we know in our minds how to handle rejection, our hurt and disappointment can make us want to lash out.

Additionally, when we are submitting something the size of a novel, we are offering up something that represents years of our lives. To have it dismissed with a form email may make you question if you’ve been wasting your time.

When we are feeling rejected, we may be tempted to lash out. But that’s not a healthy way to process rejection. Here’s what to do (and what not to do) instead.

Motivation to Write: The 7 Fundamental Needs of Writers And How to Leverage Their Motivational Power

If you write long enough, at some point you are going to experience a lag in productivity. Whether you call it “writer’s block” or “resistance” or just “a slump,” the moment will come when you struggle to put words on the page, and you just can’t find motivation to write through the struggle.

One way to overcome that lag is to lean into what motivates you. Do you know why you write?

How to Sell Books Without a Publisher
by Jeff Elkins in How to Sell Books Without a Publisher
10:52 am on July 30, 2018

One of the great benefits a traditional publisher brings to the relationship is a network of agents and bookstores designed for the purpose of selling books. Like sailing a small boat into the ocean, without that pre-established network, self-publishing is scary. When we are first drifting into open waters, there is so much we don’t know.

Here is the good news: It is possible to sell books without a publisher. You just have to learn how.

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