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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.

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.  

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!

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.

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.

59 famous author rejections that will comfort you on the hard days

Rejection is hard to swallow, especially when you’ve sent your vulnerable heart into the world in novel form. But getting published isn’t easy for anyone, including some of the greatest authors of all time. If you don’t believe me, this post provides a list of 59 famous author rejections. Read (and reread) it on the hard days. Although the rejection will still sting, you’ll be able to maintain your hope a little longer.

5 FREE THE WRITER takeaways from Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces

Joseph Campbell was an author and professor who devoted his life to researching folklore and myth. His novel The Hero With a Thousand Faces is a unique blend of modern psychology and comparative mythology that unpacks the universal motif of the hero’s transformation. Campbell has influenced millions of storytellers, helping them understand the symbols and patterns that lay the foundation for a great story. I’ve done my best to collect concise quotes from Campbell to help us understand the stages of the hero’s journey. But let’s be honest, Campbell’s work is dense, but let’s go for it.

5 FREE THE WRITER takeaways from Karen Karbo's In Praise of Difficult Women

As we pursue a career in writing, many of us face doubt. We feel afraid that our stories don’t matter, we’ll fail, or we’ll succeed and lose what we care about. It can be difficult to identify and trust in our voice. Heck, it can be difficult to trust in ourselves. Karen Karbo’s In Praise of Difficult Women explores the lives of imperfect women who trusted in and fought for their voice. Although many of them are not writers (some are), these women’s stories can inspire you to forge your own path. And isn’t that what writing is all about? Let these women’s stories inspire you to be the writer and person you want to be.

5 FREE THE WRITER takeaways from Anne Lamott's BIRD BY BIRD

It seems like most aspiring writers see publishing like an engaged couple sees marriage. Somehow we believe that one moment, one promise, one publication will automatically change our lives, forgetting that a life is changed through small, daily decisions. In her step-by-step writing guide Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott swings a wrecking ball at any misconceptions we may have about writing. Lamott asserts that the only way to be a writer is to write consistently, to commit to it and love it; publication will not save you from the hard days or self doubt. If you are a committed writer, you will appreciate Bird by Bird as it explores what it really takes to be a writer, how to develop your craft, what being a writer really means, and how to overcome what keeps you from writing. Let’s see what Lamott wants to share with us today.

5 FREE THE WRITER takeaways from Brené Brown’s THE GIFTS OF IMPERFECTION

Many writers struggle with shame and the fear of not being enough. Our fear of letting our true selves be seen and known often leads to bad writing or procrastination. In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown invites everyone, including all of us writers, to join a “wholehearted revolution” and choose to live and love with our whole hearts in defiance of fear, self-doubt, and unrealistic expectations. She encourages us to own our stories instead of spend our lives running from them. Even though many of us want to live (and write) wholeheartedly, we don’t know how to get there. The Gifts of Imperfection can help us identify the barriers holding us back and empower us to choose vulnerability despite fear.

5 FREE THE WRITER takeaways from Ann Whitford Paul's WRITING PICTURE BOOKS

Ann Whitford Paul’s Writing Picture Books outlines a writer’s path from brainstorming to publishing. Though centered on picture books, Paul’s advice can help any writer learn to tell an engaging story. I’ll admit I found her organization a little off and some of her writing samples a little trite, but her book provides essential writing tools and practical ideas. Overall, Ann Whitford Paul’s helpful explanations, examples, and exercises effectively teach how to diagnose an ailing story and polish it until it is ready to submit. Check out my five FREE THE WRITER takeaways from this book on writing.

My (sort of) interview with Stephen King Part II

Have you ever wondered how many books Stephen King reads in a year? King shares his writing and reading habits in part two of his interview. Learn what writing tools King recommends you keep in your writer toolbox, how to craft a great story using narration, description, and dialogue, and why you should avoid plot at all costs. Check out this week’s interview with Stephen King.

My (sort of) interview with Stephen King Part I

Writers can improve their skills by learning from other successful writers. The best approach would be to ask them for an interview, but alas, when you are a little fish in the big sea, it can be hard to get that opportunity. Before you go cry in your closet, your tears smearing the ink of all your hopes and dreams, there is another option. All you have to do is sit down, read what they wrote, and look for something you can apply to your own writing. For this reason, I’ve compiled some of the knowledge I gleaned from Stephen King’s On Writing. Just for fun, I organized the information into an interview format (hey, a girl can dream). Simply skip to the questions that you’d have for Stephen King. So let’s dive into the first part of my (sort of) interview with Stephen King.

So you want to write nonfiction: how to plan, structure, and write a book that will actually connect with your audience

Writing nonfiction is a smart way to build your business, spread your message, teach a skill, share your expertise, or simply try something new. Whatever your reason is for writing your book, I’m here to make it a little bit easier. I’m obsessed with planning and organizing which tends to come in handy when writing a novel. Below you’ll find my favorite tips and tricks to help you plan, structure, and write nonfiction that will actually connect with your audience.

How to write a delicious query letter that will leave an agent craving more (and save you loads of time)

Your query letter is sometimes your only shot to intrigue the very person who could further your writing career: an agent. To get published, you need to prepare a query letter that will blow minds and quicken heartbeats. (No pressure or anything!) This post will take you from a blank page to a query letter that will leave an agent craving more. You’ll also find helpful checklists and templates to guide you through the stressful process. Following every step of this post will get you well on your way to becoming a published author!

9 revision techniques that will knock your writer socks off

Yay, you finished a first draft! Give yourself a delicious piece of Marie Callender's chocolate satin pie, because you deserve it, dude. You are probably wondering where to go next. There is not one “right” way to revise your novel which is why I’ve compiled a wide variety of revision techniques from many GREATS (a.k.a. successful authors). I encourage you to experiment with each one until you find what works for you personally. No matter what, my guarantee is that at least one of these techniques will knock your freakin’ writer socks off! Let’s dive in, shall we?


5 powerhouse statements that will kick your inner writer critic's butt

My inner writer critic likes to say horrible things to me as I write. When I finally make an ounce of progress or start to feel halfway confident, my critic decides to come out and play. I have a feeling that I’m not the only one whose critic has a party as soon as she starts to write. When our inner writing critics rear their ugly heads, we need to stand up for ourselves. In this post, I share the five powerhouse statements I use every day to kick the inner writer critic in the butt…