Daily Writing Practice

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Building an Author Website: The First Step to Publishing

If you’re like most writers I know, you probably dream of getting published. But as I’ve worked with writers for the last six years, I’ve found that most are woefully unprepared for what publishing actually takes, and this means that either they never figure out what it takes to get published or when they finally DO get published, they find themselves disappointed with the process and with how many books they sell.

How do you prepare for getting published though? There are several steps, but the first step is building an author website. In this article, I’m going to share a step-by-step guide to building a simple author website yourself that will support all of your publishing efforts.

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Ten Secrets To Write Better Stories

Writing isn’t easy, and writing a good story is even harder.

I used to wonder how Pixar came out with such great movies, year after year. Then, I found out a normal Pixar film takes six years to develop, most of it on the story.

How do you write a story, and more importantly, how do you write one that’s good?

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Why You Should Let Go of Past Writing and Create Something New

Our past writing can keep us from writing now. We may feel discouraged and not write if we think our past writing was horrible. Or maybe we think we were brilliant and not write because we feel we can never write that well again. Or maybe we think we are better at being typists for our cats than we are at writing our own stories.

I met a writer last week, Sheila, who destroyed her past writing. She told me she had just shredded everything she ever wrote—journals, poetry, and short stories. I asked her if she still had the shredded paper. I wanted it.

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Ever Gone Months Without Writing? Try This

Although I call myself a writer, the last few months I haven’t been writing. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but somewhere between ghostwriting projects and blog posts, I just stopped.

I couldn’t put words on a page, and when I did, the words barely made sense. I stopped writing for a total of three months and no matter what I did, nothing seemed to help. None of the writer’s block tricks were working.

It took me a few weeks to realize that it wasn’t writer’s block I was dealing with. It was writer’s burnout.

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100 Writing Practice Lessons & Exercises

Want to become a better writer? Perhaps you want to write novels, or maybe you just want to get better grades in your essay writing assignments, or maybe you’d like to start a popular blog.

If you want to write better, you need practice. But what does a writing practice actually look like? In this post, I’m going to give you everything you need to kick off your writing practice and become a better writer faster.

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Want to Be a Better Writer? Cut These 7 Words

If you’re reading this, then you want to be a better writer. However, becoming a better writer is elusive, isn’t it? It’s more art than science. There are hundreds of writing rules, thousands of words to know, and millions of possible ways you could write even a simple message.

How do you become a better writer when writing itself is so complicated?

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35 Questions To Ask Your Characters From Marcel Proust

We’re on a characterization kick this week on The Write Practice. Today, we’re going to continue to delve into the lives of our characters by going through a list of thirty-five questions to ask your characters made famous by the canonical French author, Marcel Proust.

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Writing an Essay? Here Are 10 Effective Tips

Honestly, throughout most of high school and college, I was a mediocre essay writer. Every once in a while, I would write a really good essay, but mostly I skated by with B’s and A-minuses. I know personally how boring writing an essay can be, and also, how hard it can be to write a good one.

However, toward the end of my time as a student, I made a breakthrough. I figured out how to not only write a great essay, I learned how to have fun while doing it.

That’s right. Fun.

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One Surprising Way to Write Better

As writers, we often find ourselves squeezing in extra writing-work time around many other demands in our lives, from paying jobs to family responsibilities to house chores and more.

But don’t forget to take to take time to rest, too. It can improve your writing in a number of ways.

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3 Times You Should STOP Writing

Write every day. Set a word count and don’t get up until you reach it. Butt in chair, hands on keyboard.

Writers get a lot of advice about the importance of pushing ourselves to get the words on the page. It’s a principle I try to live by, and I know I’m not alone. But there are times when the best thing you can do for your writing is just step away.

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Why You Should Take a Day Off from Writing

It takes 21-28 days to create a new habit—though some research has found it takes as many as 66 days. It takes 10,000 hours to become a “master” at something complex—hence the reason we have a resource like The Write Practice.

But when starting an exercise program, they say it’s important to schedule “rest days” so your body has time to rebuild and grow stronger. Skipping those rest days only leads to injury and burn-out.

So what does that mean for writing?

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Stop Creating

Most people are their most creative when they’re not creating.

Bob Dylan wrote the chorus for “Like a Rolling Story” after he quit music. Hemingway wouldn’t allow himself to think about his novels when he wasn’t writing because he wanted his subconscious to work on it without him. One screenwriter had been blocked for months, when he was woken up by the sound of an imaginary woman’s voice. He started writing, and the screenplay ended up winning Academy Award. Twice in the last two years, I’ve gotten to a point in a project that I was so frustrated I wanted to quit writing. Both times, a break through came just a little while later while I wasn’t working.

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Limiting Options

Like so many writers, I am easily distracted by the internet. I’ll be writing away when I hit some kind of problem, and instead of sitting with the discomfort of the problem I shoot off and check my email, my facebook, my twitter account. Instead of wrestling with the difficult problem, I run off to find easy, mundane problems to solve.

Of course, this doesn’t work when you’re job is to solve those difficult problems.

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The Best Stories

are really about relationship. In our culture, we value productivity, making money, and buying cool things, but at the heart of every great story is relationship. So why do we tell these boring stories about mindless productivity with our lives? Yes, making money is...

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Date Night

I worked on an article for a magazine today for about four hours. It’s still not finished but it’s close. The muse is pumping and I’m in the flow.

But it’s 5:55 pm and my rest tonight includes a date with my wife at six pm.

I have two options:

1. Post-pone our date for thirty minutes to finish the article.

2. Reject the muse and stop working.

This isn’t a hard decision. My spouse is more important than my writing (sorry, Hemingway), and besides, she’d yell at me if I didn’t turn off. I saved the article and shut down my computer (or I will after finishing this). Done. Rest on.

However, most of the time we don’t make this decision. We choose to postpone rest (a date with ourselves, our souls) all the time.

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Rest is for Vulnerability

Experimenting is a dangerous path filled with the ever present risk of disgrace, and these last two weeks, I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting on The Write Practice.

One of those experiments was our new rest page called (for now), Real Writers Rest. I wanted to create a home base of sorts for this idea of rest we’ve been talking about for almost the last year.

The scariest thing I did in the last two weeks, though, was my first attempt at monetizing The Write Practice.

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Stop Being So Busy

Stop being so busy.

Busy is the enemy of Art.

Busy is the avoidance of Pain, and Pain is the only way to grow.

Art comes from Pain.

Busy kills productivity.

You will never be happy when you are Busy. But you will never be sad either.

Busy, like all drugs, can become an escape. It will always end in failure.

Be where your butt is, where your feet are. Be with your fingers and in the lining of your Lungs. Going in. Going out. Your shoulders relaxing into the world.

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The Lesson of Easter

Is the same as that of spring: creativity will not be stopped. Even death cannot destroy life. When you write, you capture this same life in ink and bits. You participate in the creation—no, the recreation—of the world. The underlying framework of the universe is...

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Is Travel Restful?

Well, I’m out and about again. Having just gotten back from Spain and Chicago, Talia and I are off to Nashville for a conference. I like to travel, and I like to meet new people, but it makes resting a challenge.

Is driving or flying or taking the train restful?

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14 Prompts

14 Prompts is a short eBook full of fourteen of our best writing prompts designed to both inspire you to write and teach you a few practical techniques to improve your writing.

14 Prompts is real, it is beautifully written, it is full of inviting and thoughtful ideas about the craft of writing and the life of a writer. Diana Trautwein

This book balances inspiration and pragmatism in perfect proportion. Andrea Cumbo

Author and Editor

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the new directions my own writing’s been led to since using the Prompts. Audrey Chin

Internation Bestselling Author

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