Posts tagged Build Your Best Writing Life
Why I Set & Quit a Hundred-Book Reading Challenge


“If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.” — Stephen King

I’ve always been a reader, but in my early adulthood, my reading habit waned. Between demanding coursework and a struggle against depression, I rarely reached for the hobby that had entertained, encouraged, and inspired me throughout my youth. This all changed several years after I began writing.

I was disappointed in my progress and the quality of my skills when I stumbled upon this quote from Stephen King. Like a lightning bolt, realization struck. How could write phenomenal novels if I wasn’t reading them? 

In the months to come, I challenged myself to cull my mindless television consumption, a habit I’d picked up to distract me from the darkest days of my depression, and to replace those hours with reading. In the first year, I read 24 books. In the second, 35. That number continued to increase until my reading habit plateaued around 80 books a year. 

That’s no stack to scoff at, certainly. But I’ve always been one to strive for grander heights, which is why I challenged myself to read one hundred books in 2019. Now, five months and 35 books later, I’m calling it quits. Why? Well, that’s a complex question to answer, one that’s steeped in reflecting upon how I define my self-worth as a creative…

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Five Simple Tips for Conquering Creative Burnout

You’re excited about your novel idea. You want to write it, and you know you should be working on it, but life keeps getting in the way. When you do have time to write, you find yourself too physically and mentally exhausted. Burnt out to a crisp.

No matter where you are in life, you likely balance so many commitments that coming home to stare at a computer screen after a long day of school or work can seem like just another chore. Taking a break feels counterintuitive. Doesn’t that make the problem worse? How can taking a break from your passion prove refreshing?

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Feel like you're falling behind in your writing life?


As someone who blogs about writing fiction, I’m often asked about the fiction I write. 
How are your projects coming along? What kind of stories do you write? Are you published yet? Where can I find your books online? 

I’m always honored and encouraged when someone expresses interest in my work, but I’ll be honest: as a sort of public writing figure, I often feel a lot of pressure to excel in my personal storytelling, and that pressure can weigh heavy. When confronted with the fact that I haven’t yet published my work, that pressure compounds until I fear that I’m falling behind in my writing life.

This is a reality that I’ve dealt with for years, but now I’m gratified to realize that all the hard work I’ve put into owning my slow and steady approach to the craft has helped me build confidence in my creative journey. If, for any reason, you’ve also wondered whether you’re failing to live up to your creative potential, I’d like to share some of the hard truths I’ve learned with you today.

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How Critical Reading Can Improve Your Writing

“If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” 

When I first read Stephen King’s memoir, On Writing, this quote cut me to the bone. I wanted desperately to stake my claim on the title of writer, but I wasn’t doing much to set myself up for success. I wrote here and there and maybe read a book or two, but I felt myself too hindered by all of life’s demands to truly pursue what it took to write a novel.

In truth, I had plenty of time to read, write, and improve my writing skills, but making the time to actively work toward our creative goals is a topic for another day. Today, I want to focus on why it’s so important to read with a critical eye. After all, doing so may just be the key to coming into your own as a writer.

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Say hello to our new free e-course, Rock Your Writing Practice!

Whether you’ve failed to finish a first draft or forge a writing routine, build a career as an author or find confidence in your skills and stories, there are so few parts of the writing process that come easy. But don’t let that knowledge defeat you! You don’t have to be dissatisfied with your writing life anymore. The creative fulfillment you crave is within your realm of control.

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How to Rediscover Your Love for Writing

Has your writing life dwindled to near non-existence? You aren’t alone, writer.

Making time to write is one thing, but you aren’t simply struggling to juggle your calendar. You seem to have fallen out of love with writing altogether. It’s not that you don’t want to write in a big-picture sense. Sharing your stories with the world has always been a dream of yours. You’ve simply lost all desire to manifest those stories in your everyday writing life.

Is this some sort of writer’s block, then? A failure to overcome procrastination? A sign that writing isn’t right for you? Nonsense. It’s time we had a chat about creative passion, writer — and more importantly, how to rediscover it for yourself.

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Can a Drafting Cycle Help You Juggle Multiple Manuscripts?

Have a million amazing story ideas swimming around in that head of yours?

You may not be able to write them all at once, but you can speed up the process of bringing them to life. By utilizing a drafting cycle, you can juggle work on multiple projects without feeling overwhelmed, unfocused, or unproductive. This technique won’t be the right one for every writer, but if you often struggle to finish projects because others get in the way, it may be time to give a drafting cycle a try.

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How to Maximize Your Writing Time Like a Pro

Frustrated with your productivity as a writer?

Whether you’re struggling to find the time to write or failing to utilize the time you already have, today I’m going to share a few tips to help you level up the hours you spend creating. I won’t say these tips are universal, but I do think you’ll find them helpful. So whether you’re a newbie, an established writer, or a published author, let’s talk about maximizing the time we have to bring our stories to life!

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Eleven Tips for Creating a Feel-Free Writing Routine


Building a consistent creative practice is key to achieving our writing goals.

But with all the chaos of life, establishing a writing routine is often far from easy. With a scarcity of time, energy, and motivation alike, it’s easy to guilt ourselves for skipping writing sessions or outputting uninspired work. But rather than give into creative blues, how can we build writing routines that leave us feeling free? Let’s break down my top tips in today’s article, writers!

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Finding the Novel Outlining Process that Works for You

There’s nothing more nebulous than trying to produce a decent outline for your novel.

With dozens of outlining methods to choose from, all of which seem to work well for some writers but not for others, defining the outlining process that works best for you and your stories can be more than a little intimidating. How much detail do you need to include? Is outlining really necessary? Isn't there a better way? 

Writers, it's time to cut through the chaos and get down to business. Let's find the outlining method that works best for each of us in today's breakdown!

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My Top 5 Tools to Get You Writing

Ultimately, it's the writing that makes the writer, but that doesn't mean you can't set yourself up for success.

Over the years, I've discovered that the best way to have great productivity and an easy-to-manage writing process is to set myself up with good, reliable writing tools. It may seem odd to some that I use more than just a Word document to get the job done, but I'm a firm believer in not settling.

If there are tools out there that can make my writing process simpler, faster, and more inspired, then I want them—and I'd encourage you to get them a shot as well. Today, I'm sharing my top 10 tools that will get you writing like the #writeboss you long to be. Shall we dive in?

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How do we write in times of strife?

When the evening news is overwhelming, when injustice reigns and life reads like conflict straight out of a history book, how do we find the mental and emotional space to write?

This is something I’ve been thinking about quite a bit in recent months, but more so than ever following the events of Charlottesville this August. When a few blog readers expressed similar sentiments on Twitter, I knew it was time to unpack this topic to the best of my ability.

Writing in times of strife may seem insignificant or impossible, but nothing could be further from the truth. Your stories matter, and they are needed. Here are my best tips for bringing them to life when the world is in turmoil...

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5 Ways Writers Can Stay Creative (beyond simply writing + reading!)

As writers, writing and reading are obviously the two best ways to fuel our creativity.

But reading and writing aren't the only ways we can stay on top of our creative game. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that you aren't truly maximizing your creativity if you aren't staying active in other areas of your life.

What fuels an artists' work will be different for each of us, but in this week's #FridayFive, I'm sharing five ways that I encourage creativity in my own life outside of simply writing and reading in the hopes that these steps may prove helpful to you as well.

Ready to dive in? Scroll to read a written recap or check out my #FridayFive video below (or over on Youtube---don't forget to subscribe!).

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What are your writing insecurities? Here are a few of my own!


Every writer has doubts. Fears. Insecurities.

But in a world where we share the very best version of ourselves online, the version we want others to see, it can be difficult to remember that the writers we follow on social media aren't perfect. Not even the bestselling ones.

I'm certainly no exception to this reality. I have a bevy of insecurities that often weigh down my writing life, but I'm tired of letting the pressure to live up to other writers' online highlight reels dictate my confidence in my writing.

Insecurities are normal, and they don't have to keep you from living your very best writing life. That's why I'm sharing my own writing insecurities today! Check them out in the video below or scroll to view them in text.

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How to Stay Motivated When Writing Gets Tough (a #StorySocial recap)

Hello, friends! Time for another #StorySocial recap. In case you're new here (or if you've just yet to hear about our chats), allow me to cue you in: #StorySocial is the weekly Twitter chat that I host every Wednesday at 9pm Eastern.

Each week we get together for about an hour to chat about a fun writerly topic. This past Wednesday, we explored how to stay inspired when writing gets tough so we don't lose the motivation to keep on writing.

Did you miss out? Couldn't make it? Forgot all about it? No worries! I'm sharing a recap of this week's chat below. Check it out!

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The Pros and Cons of Traditional Publishing

Both traditional and self-publishing routes give authors the opportunity to share their stories with the world while building their writing careers. But which publishing path you pursue shouldn’t be decided on a whim.

There are disadvantages to working within the publishing industry just as there are for indie authors publishing online. Knowing the pros and cons of both publishing routes is the key to making the best choice for your writing career. 

Last week, in the second installment of our publishing series, we broke down the path debut authors are likely to experience should they choose to pursue traditional publishing.

If you’re brand new to publishing and are unsure of how traditional book deals work, I encourage you to check out that article first. Then, come back to today's post for an in-depth look at the pros and cons of working within the traditional publishing industry.

Sound good? Let's dive in!

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How to Set Smart Goals for Your Writing (a #StorySocial recap)

Hello, friends! Time for another #StorySocial recap. In case you're new here (or if you've just yet to hear about our chats), allow me to cue you in: #StorySocial is the weekly Twitter chat that I host every Wednesday at 9pm Eastern.

Each week we get together for about an hour to chat about a fun writerly topic. This past Wednesday, we explored how to set smart writing goals that can help you stay motivated as you work toward building your ideal writing life!

Did you miss out? Couldn't make it? Forgot all about it? No worries! I'm sharing a recap of this week's chat below. Check it out!

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Choosing Between Traditional and Self-Publishing (a #StorySocial recap)


Hello, friends! Time for another #StorySocial recap. In case you're new here (or if you've just yet to hear about our chats), allow me to cue you in: #StorySocial is the weekly Twitter chat that I host every Wednesday at 9pm Eastern.

Each week we get together for about an hour to chat about a fun writerly topic. This past Wednesday, we explored the pros and cons of traditional and self-publishing, as well as how to choose the best route for your stories!

Did you miss out? Couldn't make it? Forgot all about it? No worries! I'm sharing a recap of this week's chat below. Check it out!

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Exploring the Many Ways to Structure a Story (a #StorySocial recap)

Hello, friends! Time for another #StorySocial recap. In case you're new here (or if you've just yet to hear about our chats), allow me to cue you in: #StorySocial is the weekly Twitter chat that I host every Wednesday at 9pm Eastern.

Each week we get together for about an hour to chat about a fun writerly topic. This past Wednesday, we explored the unique ways in which we all structure our stories!

Did you miss out? Couldn't make it? Forgot all about it? No worries! I'm sharing a recap of this week's chat below. Check it out!

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Three Simple Ways to Combat Your Writer's Ego (with guest writer Emma Welsh)


Learning to let go of silly dreams can be tough, but it's all too necessary if you want to succeed. 

Whether you realize it or not, your writer's ego may be standing between you and the writing life you crave. On Monday, writer Emma Welsh stopped by the blog to share all about what a writer's ego is, why it's dangerous, and how you can spot the signs that your own ego may be taking over.

Today, I'm thrilled to have Emma back to discuss how we can combat our egos and keep our writing goals within sight. Make sure to check out Monday's article first, then come back here to dive into Emma's best ego-crushing tips!

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