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Writers Workshop
Marcy McKay: Editor, Bbp Participant
Member since November 25, 2014

Marcy McKay is the “Energizer Bunny of Writers.” She believes writing is delicious and messy and hard and important. If you’ve ever struggled with your writing, you can download her totally FREE book, Writing Naked: One Writer Dares to Bare All. Find her on Facebook!


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How to Switch Gears from Writing to Editing
by Marcy McKay in How to Switch Gears from Writing to Editing
11:27 am on August 27, 2015

I recently finished the first draft of the second book in my series. I’ve typed The End, so now it’s time to switch gears. I plan to set that manuscript aside for four to six weeks, then go back and read with fresh eyes and start revising.

During the interim, I plan to finalize the first in my series: implementing the revisions from the editor I hired, paying a copy editor for a final review (typos, grammar and spelling errors), writing the back jacket copy, then hiring a graphic design artist to create my front cover.

It’s all quite exciting, but there’s just one small problem.

How to Overcome Writer’s Block While You Sleep

I recently dreamed that The Write Practice owner, Joe Bunting, Monica Clark (TWP regular contributor), and I were trapped in a room together overnight. We had to write 100 different blog posts until dawn…or, we died.

I know it sounds silly, but you know how dreams are. It was writing until the death, people! I awoke in a sweat.

Here’s the kicker: Joe wore a mustard-colored matador costume the entire time, complete with the bedazzled knickers and little black hat. I paused occasionally from our brainstorming to persuade him to change into regular clothes, but he refused because it made him more creative.

The next day, I realized….

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…

Your #1 Responsibility as a Writer
by Marcy McKay in Your #1 Responsibility as a Writer
12:24 pm on June 11, 2015

A writer friend I know adores her hero and heroine so much that she’s afraid of hurting them. She realizes her story reads flat, but can’t seem to put any real obstacles in their paths, despite the depth it would add to their journeys and the improved experience for her readers. Another writer recently told me he dislikes dark books, characters, plots, anything. He feels that life has enough suffering and not enough happiness.

I agree there’s too much pain in this world, but I also believe there’s a bigger discussion that needs to take place here at The Write Practice.

In my opinion, your #1 responsibility as a writer is…

The 3 Most Important Times to Keep Writing

I’m drawn to the dark side of creativity, the fears and phobias we let shut us down. I wasted too many years allowing the blank page to conquer me, doubting each word of every story, and worse, waiting for permission from others to call myself a writer. Now, I’m almost on a mission to save others from those painful mistakes because they’re both unnecessary and abusive.

There are just three times when fear will try to stop you from writing…

3 Traps to Avoid When Writing a Rough Draft

I’ve started a new novel, as in a blank page 1 in need of 275 – 400 more pages written to be complete. I’m lucky, because this book is second in a series, so I already have the plot and framework in mind (sort of ). I just require about 70,000+ more words to fill in the blanks.

It’s so simple, but difficult to do.

Fortunately, I’ve completed four other novels and will publish book #4 later this year. I’m trying to apply what I’ve learned in the past to remain more sane this go-round. Let’s discuss three pitfalls I’ve learned with first drafts.

How to Accomplish Twice the Writing in Half the Time

Many writers struggle with time management, but I’ve taken this dilemma to a whole, new level. In this post I want to talk about how I’ve learned to accomplish twice the writing in half the time.

Some writers have a set schedule. They work the same time every day.

Lucky them.

Others, do not. They sneak in their pages through tiny chunks of time — five minutes here, another 15 minutes there.

Nothing wrong with that, either. Just try to be consistent.

Here’s an interesting fact I’ve recently discovered about myself. In talking to others, they’ve admitted they do this, too…

Why You’re Not Writing
by Marcy McKay in Why You’re Not Writing
11:54 am on April 9, 2015

Sometimes after people learn I’m a writer, they confess to me in private they have a book inside them. They dream about it and long to make that happen. I know others who talk a lot about writing. They post writerly quotes on social media, links to publishing articles and always know the latest industry buzz. Another set are voracious readers; they can discuss a variety of cool topics or brainstorm story ideas. They love the whole literary scene.

What all these folks share in common is…

A Weird Way to Beat Writer’s Block
by Marcy McKay in A Weird Way to Beat Writer’s Block
11:48 am on February 26, 2015

I recently visited with a new writer over coffee. She confessed, almost with shame, “I’ve written on and off for years. Well, sort of…now I’m really trying to get serious about my novel, but I keep quitting. It’s really frustrating. How do you ummm,” she looked away, then back at me again, “How do you fight fear?”

That’s a great question, and the answer is…

Tell Your Critique Partners Exactly What You Need

I bumped into writer friend at the library and immediately saw something was wrong with him. He looked ghostly white and on the verge of tears, though he was usually quite stoic.

“What happened?” I asked.

He shook his head, looked away, then whispered, “I just asked her—tell me what you think.”

That’s when I noticed the pages clutched in his hands. His manuscript. It was just a few pages, but they were clearly bleeding red.

After coaxing the story from him, I learned he’d given the first chapter of his first-ever novel to an experienced writer with no instructions. She gave him back a line-by-line edit, listing everything wrong with his story.

He quit writing, which is a shame because he has talent. Although the experienced writer should have had more mercy on this newbie, he should’ve been clearer in his critique needs to avoid miscommunication.

Don’t make the same mistake.

What Your Favorite Books Tell You About Your Writing

Four novels sit on my desk at all times: To Kill a Mockingbird, A Prayer for Owen Meany, The Lovely Bones, and The Book Thief.

There are many other books I adore, but these are the ones I keep nearby for writing inspiration. Each changed me in an unforgettable way.

Those are the stories on my outsides, but what about the ones inside?

Have you ever analyzed your inner stories?

You should because it’s where you’ll find your most powerful and un-put-downable writing.

The Two BEST Reasons to Fail as a Writer
by Marcy McKay in The Two BEST Reasons to Fail as a Writer
10:03 am on January 8, 2015

I can produce my blog posts, copywriting or magazine articles on time and in abundance. No problem. However, I’m turtle s-l-o-w in writing my novels. In eighteen years, I’ve only completed four—all still unpublished. To me, only the last two are worthy to be on a bookshelf; the first two were teaching me how to write.

I’ve always sort of felt like a loser writer because of this, but a recent epiphany taught me why failure in your writing is good…


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