The One Essential Step After a Writing Challenge

The One Essential Step After a Writing Challenge

Have you participated in a writing challenge like NaNoWriMo or our 7 Day Creative Writing Challenge? Congratulations! Whether you met your goal or didn’t quite make it, you’ve written words that weren’t there before.

Now, don’t let all your hard work go to waste. It’s critical that you capitalize on your momentum before it slips away.

10 Writing Tips from Ursula Le Guin

10 Writing Tips from Ursula Le Guin

Le Guin was a “genre” writer who constantly pushed the boundaries of what we think of as genre. Besides sci-fi and fantasy, she wrote poetry, creative nonfiction, and literary fiction.

I honestly believe she will go down in history as one of the greatest writers, literary or otherwise, of the 20th century.

Encouraging Words for Writers: 3 Essential Reminders for Struggling Writers

Encouraging Words for Writers: 3 Essential Reminders for Struggling Writers

On the wall of my office, I have a collage of quotes and pictures that have inspired me. Each quote represents a story from my past. I read over them whenever I need a boost of encouragement (which is at least once a day).

These encouraging words for writers are a wonderful source of strength for me. Many of the quotes on the wall are from friends and family who had the right words for me at the exact right time.

Here are three I lean on regularly to get me through rough patches.

Story Ideas: How to Beat Shiny-New-Idea Syndrome and Actually Finish Your Projects

Story Ideas: How to Beat Shiny-New-Idea Syndrome and Actually Finish Your Projects

Authors often get asked where they get their story ideas. It’s one of the most common questions my student writers wish they could ask their writing heroes. They think, “If I could just find a way to come up with the next best-selling story idea like [insert famous author], then I’ll make it as a writer!”

But they misunderstand one critical truth: the magic isn’t in the ideas. It’s in the execution. We need the ideas to get started, but many writers don’t have a system for capturing the ideas around them daily, and they don’t develop ideas consistently in practice.

We all have files full of unfinished projects and story ideas spread across notebooks and online platforms. Why do ideas lose their luster the moment we start writing them?

Healing From Shame: How to Overcome the Insidious Cause of Writer’s Block

Healing From Shame: How to Overcome the Insidious Cause of Writer’s Block

Every time we sit down to write, our mood and state of mind affect our words. We infuse, to some extent, everything we write with our unique “voice.” Our emotions come through on the page.

When we’re struggling to eke out even a few words and make sense of our writing, it shows in our work. Our characters are flat. Our scenes are dull and passive. Our plot is thin and weak. Nothing we try fixes the problems. Or, maybe words don’t come at all.

We may declare that we have a case of writer’s block, particularly if we’ve wrestled with the vexation for weeks or months. But, there may be a stronger and more insidious obstacle: shame.

Setting of a Story: 3 Ways Going Outside Can Improve Your Writing

Setting of a Story: 3 Ways Going Outside Can Improve Your Writing

Our job as writers is to transport our readers into our stories. A high-octane plot and three-dimensional characters are obviously necessary to accomplish this goal, but so is an immersive setting.

Setting is often overlooked when describing a scene. We all want to move on to the next plot twist and wasting important space on what trees look like will just bore the readers, right?

Wrong.

To draw readers fully into a scene, we need setting. We want them to forget they’re reading and make them experience everything our characters are experiencing.

Sometimes, you can get away with building your setting straight from your imagination. Sometimes, you can’t.

3 Types of Conflict and Why You Need to Use Them

Conflict is necessary for all stories. It doesn’t matter what kind of story it is — novel, short story, mystery, romance, thriller, children’s, adult — it will always need conflict. In order to keep the plot interesting and exciting, conflict must be there. It gives your characters obstacles they have to overcome before they can reach their goals.

But how do you create conflict for your characters? There are three key ways.

How to Spark Your Story With an Inciting Incident

How to Spark Your Story With an Inciting Incident

If you are planning on writing a story, there is something you need to consider besides basic plot structure. You need to determine your Inciting Incident.

What incident will compel your protagonist to act, prompting them to move through a meaningful story?

Let’s take a look at what an inciting incident is and how to write one.

3 Inspiring Writing Prompts to Find Your Character’s Voice

3 Inspiring Writing Prompts 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.

Best Book Writing Software: How to Organize Your Writing so You Never Lose It Again

Best Book Writing Software: How to Organize Your Writing so You Never Lose It Again

How organized are you? I realized last year that I had spread my writing over various notebooks and virtual programs and platforms to the point that it took me an hour to find a snippet I wanted to use. The best book writing software will help you get your words on the page, but it won’t organize them on your computer so you can find them again — as I experienced firsthand while hunting down that snippet.

By the time I finally found it, I was frustrated and worried that maybe I was losing more writing than I was saving. Not losing it in the sense that the writing was gone, but losing track of where and how I manage my writing process.

Where do you keep your writing?

3 Writing Prompts That Will Rekindle Your Writing Enthusiasm

3 Writing Prompts That Will Rekindle Your Writing Enthusiasm

We’re almost two weeks into 2018 and I’ve already dropped at least half the resolutions I made, and if you’re like most people, you probably have as well.

Resolutions to better yourself are stressful, and even a momentary lapse can make a person want to scream and kick and cry. Perhaps eat an entire pint of ice cream. Perhaps lay on the couch and wallow in self-pity, lamenting over the magnificent writing career that could’ve been if only you hadn’t skipped writing that one day.

Today I’m going to ask you to think about the coming year a little differently, and hopefully renew some of the enthusiasm you may have already lost.

Why Writers SHOULDN’T Set a New Year’s Resolution in 2018

Why Writers SHOULDN’T Set a New Year’s Resolution in 2018

Did you set any New Year’s resolutions for 2018? Have you broken any of them yet? New Year’s resolutions sometimes get a bad rap, but research backs them up. In fact, you are ten times more likely to achieve your goals if you make resolutions than those who don’t. Even so, only eight percent of people actually achieve their New Year’s resolutions.

Perhaps there’s a better way, a way to reach your goals without feeling like you’re letting yourself down when the scale on your bathroom floor tells you the wrong number or your savings account balance just isn’t as high as you hoped it would be.

When Do You Use “Quotation Marks”?

When Do You Use “Quotation Marks”?

A few years ago, I rented a car. Normally this wouldn’t be a memorable event. But an appalling misuse of grammar burned it into my mind, and years later, I haven’t forgotten.

You see, when I went to the airport to return the rental, I saw this wonderfully instructive sign:

Please… LEAVE “KEYS” IN CAR!

And this brings me to today’s grammar lesson: how and when to use quotation marks.

7 Day Creative Writing Challenge

7 Day Creative Writing Challenge

You want to become a writer, but you’re not sure how to stay disciplined. But now that it’s 2018, you’re ready to commit and focus on your writing (or refocus). Where do you start?

Well, that’s where our 7 Day Creative Writing Challenge comes in!

Why You Should Rewrite Your Story This Year

Why You Should Rewrite Your Story This Year

For most of us, our 2018 writing goals probably involve rewriting a work in progress. It’s a draft, roughly complete or unfinished, that never seems to be “done,” no matter how much we tinker with it.

There’s a reason we get stuck in these perpetual works in progress. And if we don’t figure out how to overcome it, we might find ourselves in the same sticky mess 365 days from now.

2017 Was a Great Year for Writers!

2017 Was a Great Year for Writers!

How do you become a great writer? How do you write books that people love? How do you turn your writing into a career without losing it as a passion?

These are the problems I was trying to help writers solve when I started The Write Practice in 2011, and in 2017, we did more to accomplish those goals than ever. But we couldn’t have done it without the help and support from this community.

In this post, I’m going to do a year-end-review on everything we’ve accomplished together in 2017.