A writer like you: Eddie Cantrell

Meet Eddie Cantrell, a short story and novel writer who enjoys the ancient sword fighting martial art of Kendo with a self-proclaimed unhealthy Samurai obsession. In fact, his current urban fantasy work in progress will probably have a few samurai-like critters running around. You’ll love Eddie’s perspective on why we need stories, how to stay motivated, and our relationship with the Muse.

5 FREE THE WRITER takeaways from Steven Pressfield's THE WAR OF ART

In his book The War of Art, Steven Pressfield argues that Resistance is the cause of all human suffering. He asks, “How many of us have become drunks and drug addicts, developed neuroses, succumbed to painkillers, gossip, and compulsive cell-phone use, simply because we don’t do that thing that our hearts, our inner genius, is calling us to? Resistance defeats us.” Pressfield will help you define the ways that Resistance manifests in your life so that you can overcome your personal barriers. He will also show you not only how to fight, but how to live beyond Resistance in a higher realm of creative living. If you struggle to define and overcome what holds you back from achieving your creative dreams, this book is for you.

A writer like you: Amanda Luzzader

Amanda Luzzader has earned millions of dollars from her writing. Most of that has come from her work as a grant writer for a nonprofit family support center. When she’s not writing, her hobbies include reading books, rewashing the same load of laundry, reading books, buying rock hard avocados to discard when they become mushy, reading books, photography, and reading books. Amanda is currently working on the final book in her dystopia series Among These Bones. You’ll love Amanda’s relatable writer beginnings, her belief in our important role in society, and her tips to overcome writers block from her experience as a grant writer.

A writer like you: Lisa Barr

Meet Lisa Barr, an author, journalist and blogger based in Chicago. She is the award-winning author of the sexy beach read, The Unbreakables (Harper) and the historical thriller Fugitive Colors. The first half of her career was spent as a journalist. She covered everything from “terrorism to sex & relationships” … having served as an editor for The Jerusalem Post, managing editor of Today's Chicago Woman, managing editor of Moment magazine, and an editor/reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times. She is also the creator and editor of the popular parenting blog GIRLilla Warfare, and has been featured on Good Morning America and TODAY to discuss this generation’s biggest bullies: Mean Moms. You’ll enjoy learning her secret to consistently writing while raising three daughters, her community-building strategies, and her grounding definition of writer success.

A writer like you: B.T. Lowry

Meet Bevis Lowry, a short story writer and novelist who, after studying art, spent ten years as a bhakti-yoga monk in South India. You’ll love reading about how Lowry’s spirituality influences his work, his perspective on how writers can change the world, and his use of writing to understand all that is outside of himself.

A writer like you: Ashley I. Hansen

Meet Ashley I. Hansen, an author, book nerd, and chocolate lover. She is the author of the YA novel Thaw. She is currently working on a middle-grade novel that involves magic, tricky fairies, and gnomes with names that don’t fit their personalities. One of her favorite books is The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. When she isn’t writing you can usually find her exploring the mountains, curled up with a good book, or eating chocolate. You’ll love her view of writing as a battle over procrastination, her business-smart friendship with the librarians, and her 15-minutes-a-day writing trick.

A writer like you: Leslie Burton-Lopez

Countess Sparkle VonUnikkorn the 1st is a writer of things sometimes. Just kidding, her name is Leslie Burton-Lopez. She likes to pretend. She is published in When to Now: A Time Travel Anthology, an extremely entertaining and devastatingly cool short story anthology with a time travel theme (available on Amazon!) You’ll love her passion for flipping houses, make-believe holidays, looped stories, and critique groups. Let’s dive into the interview, shall we?

A writer like you: Andrea Nourse

Meet Andrea Nourse, an author, blogger, working mom and wife. She is currently working on a contemporary, women’s fiction novel about a woman who learns her entire life has been a lie. Andrea is an avid reader and is a fan of historical fiction, women’s fiction, thrillers and paranormal/supernatural novels. Her favorite authors include Jennifer Weiner, Katherine Center and Rea Frey. By day, she works in retail marketing for a regional chain. You’ll love Andrea’s inside look into how ideas become stories, how to overcome comparison and self-doubt, and how to stay motivated.

5 FREE THE WRITER takeaways from Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life

In her book The Writing Life, Annie Dillard explores the ups and downs of being a writer. Her beautiful prose will capture all of your writerly emotions and leave you feeling a little less alone. She’ll somehow express all of your frustrations and triumphs, your courage and fears, your craziness and determination (sometimes all in one paragraph). If you are a writer looking to understand or be understood, turn to Annie Dillard. She’ll slap you in the face and give you a hug all in one motion.  

A writer like you: Louisa Dwyer

Meet Louisa Dwyer, a fantasy author, business owner, and fanatical reader. When she is not working on the final edit of the second novel in her Firebird Trilogy series, she is helping to run both online and offline book groups and working her way through her ever-expanding 'To-be-read' list. Her first novel, The Firebird's Trail, was published in May 2018 and she describes being able to hold her own book in her hands as one of the proudest moments of her life. If you’ve had a hard time getting back into writing, Louisa’s story (not to mention her writing mantra) will inspire you to start now. You’ll also love reading about how she gets ideas and her experiences with self-publishing.

A writer like you: P.C. Keeler

Meet P. C. Keeler, an author and programmer (at least until an opening comes up for ‘intergalactic hero’ or ‘ridiculously wealthy layabout’). He’s currently working on two novels, several short stories, and that day job. When not working on those, he enjoys reading science fiction, fantasy, and humor, and accordingly finds Terry Pratchett a particular favorite. His debut novel, Migon, was published in 2018, and is about a boy who becomes a dragon. But not one of the city-stomping firebreathing variety. As a shoulder-sized dragon, he has to find a wizard, become his familiar, and guide that wizard to save his family, his city, and his world. It’s a big job for a little dragon. You’ll enjoy learning about Peter’s perspective of writing as a business, his writing process, and his story ideas that celebrate humanity.

A writer like you: Alison McBain

Meet Alison McBain, an award winning author with nearly one hundred short works published. She has one novel under her belt as an author (The Rose Queen), one anthology under her belt as lead editor (When to Now: A Time Travel Anthology), and a recent nomination for the Pushcart Prize for poetry. You’ll enjoy reading about the journey to find the “good words,” the struggle of being your own boss, and the compromise you might have to make with your inner writer critic.

A writer like you: Elizabeth Chatsworth

Meet Elizabeth Chatsworth, a British author and actor based in Connecticut. She writes of rogues, rebels, and renegades across time and space. From Victorian sensibilities to interstellar travel, her fiction takes you on an adventure like no other! Elizabeth is the author of THE BRASS QUEEN, an award-winning sci-fi comedy set in an alternate Victorian age. Her LGBT time travel romance “Ten Minutes After Teatime” is a finalist for the New England Readers’ Choice Award. Currently, Elizabeth is working on a sequel to THE BRASS QUEEN, a comic space opera, and a contemporary romcom. You’ll love Elizabeth’s advice on where to start as a beginner writer, how to land a literary agent, and how to build a successful author platform.

5 FREE THE WRITER takeaways from Libbie Hawker's Take Off Your Pants

In her book Take Off Your Pants: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing, Libbie Hawker argues that writing an outline can help you avoid the unnecessary waste of time or words and ensure that your book will engage readers...before you’ve written anything. Writers will find her process of building character arcs and outlining plot points simple to apply. Hawker promises that writers who apply her strategies will improve their writing speed, increase their backlist, and produce a better quality book. So why not try it? Let’s take off our pants and start outlining!

A writer like you: Barbara Russell

Meet Barbara Russell, an entomologist and soil biologist. (Basically she digs in the dirt, looking for bugs.) Nature and books have always been her passion. She fell in love with fantasy novels as a kid when she read The Lord of the Rings. She also enjoys cosy mysteries and crime novels like Hercules Poirot and Sherlock Holmes. “Then I grew up,” she says. “And…Nah, I’m joking. I didn’t grow up. Don’t grow up, folks! It’s a trap.” You’ll enjoy Barbara’s sense of humor, her writing process, and her writer dreams.

A writer like you: Ed Ahern

Meet Ed Ahern, author of three books and over two hundred stories and poems. Ed resumed writing after forty odd years in foreign intelligence and international sales. He also works the other side of writing at Bewildering Stories, where he sits on the review board and manages a posse of five review editors. In addition to a stream of short stories and poems, Ed is working on a thriller tentatively titled Will of the Wisp and assembling his poems for publication. His novella The Witches Bane was recently reissued. You’ll enjoy reading about Ed’s journey to become a published author, how he avoids writer’s block, and his publishing advice.

5 FREE THE WRITER takeaways from Child Psychology and Development for Dummies

Wouldn’t it be cool to have a list of how children develop each year of their life? Can you imagine how much a list like that could help writers? The “for Dummies” series provides a basic overview of subjects including...drum roll please...child psychology. Writers can use Child Psychology and Development for Dummies to create more realistic characters, connect with their audience (especially children), and better understand people. This post includes some of the concepts I thought would help writers the most.

A writer like you: Rosie Talbot

Meet Rosie Talbot, an aspiring author from the UK. She is currently working on a Young Adult ghost story set in York. Her favourite authors include V.E Schwab, Neil Gaiman and Francis Hardginge. When she’s not writing she’s probably reading, eating all the cake or lurking in bookshops to hide from the washing up. You’ll enjoy learning about her WHY, her craft-sharpening strategies, her writing to-do list, and her perspective of the writing industry.

Writing prompt of the day: Write a chanso poem.

The Chanso is a versatile French poetic form of five to six stanzas and an envoy or tornada (a summary of the theme or a dedication to a friend). The poet determines the length of each stanza, but every stanza should be the same length with the same rhyme scheme. My own attempt was based on my recent fascination with Jane Goodall’s story and work. I thought it would be cool to structure the poem around the idea that chimps have five fingers and five toes just like we do. So I wrote a chanso of five stanzas of five lines, five syllables each. Unfortunately the concept that worked in my head did not work on paper, but in the spirit of letting myself come up with crap, you can read my attempt to write a chanso poem.

5 FREE THE WRITER takeaways from Blake Snyder's Save the Cat

Screenwriter, author, and educator Blake Snyder wrote Save the Cat “for those who want to master the mainstream film market.” He explores how to write a killer logline, define your genre, choose the perfect hero, structure your story, revise your screenplay, and market yourself. Writers will find his breakdown of genre and story structure useful in understanding how the elements of story work together. Although I disagreed with some of his arguments (protagonists do not always have to be likable to be compelling and showing Lara Croft saving a cat would not have saved the movie), there are useful nuggets of wisdom throughout this book. In this article, you’ll find an overview of the principles that Snyder shares in his book. I’ll let you decide what’s useful and what’s not.