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Posts tagged ‘Prose from the Pros’

Prose from the Pros: The Winter of Writing

The Winter of Writing

We sit in front of keyboards, oftentimes mired in the dead, cold, frosty depths of winter. Our inspiration, our words, our productivity matches the dreary winter time season outside. There is no growth. Nothing emerges from the ground. Nothing sprouts from our careers.

The earth rotates in the cyclical seasons we’ve learned to expect. Sometimes our writing also flows in the ebbs and tides of seasons. Our bills, the car repairs, the food for our tables … that remains a constant. Our children need feed, clothed and sheltered; even during the depths of winter – even during the career cycles where we see no growth.

Following is some advice from some of the ‘Pros’. Three books on my bookshelves have become my ‘go-to’ books when I need to give myself a jolt of inspiration. All three are marked with post-its and their pages are littered with dog-eared corners. I recommend them for any writer’s library.

Getting Started as a Freelance Writer, by Robert W. Bly
How to Write What You Want & Sell What You Write, by Skip Press
How to Publish Your Articles, by Shirley Kawa-Jump

three books


In Getting Started as a Freeland Writer, Robert W. Bly recommends these seven words for getting out of a business slump. He states:

“I have developed a three-part strategy for overcoming a slump that works for both business and personal setbacks … it contains a total of seven words.

Here is the formula for getting out of a slump:

  1. Do something.
  2. Do more
  3. Keep doing it.”

He follows with some tips from writer Susan Miles.

  • Increase your market research time.
  • Prepare for the slow periods during your highs.
  • Give yourself a writing break.
  • Pull out back copies of writing magazines.
  • Change your writing habits.
  • Forget the epics and work on list articles.
  • Repackage and resell.
  • Remove distractions.
  • Revisit your ideas notebook.
  • Don’t aim for perfection.

See Robert W. Bly’s books here: http://www.bly.com/newsite/Pages/books.php


Skip Press, in How to Write What You Want & Sell What You Write, shares a ten step process to achieve success. To get out of your slump and continue on through the year towards a successful finish at the end of 2014, implement ‘Skips Process’. (I’ve only included the highlights of each step to include on this post. To see the expanded version, see his book, pages 22-24) Some of these steps apply more to beginning writers in the midst of gaining momentum in their career. If you’re further along the career path, there still may be useful kernels of information here for you.

  1. Survey local publications, particularly community newspapers. Read them and see what they buy. Contact the editor.
  2. Try to determine what you most want to write. Narrow down the field.
  3. Figure out what you will have to write to get 100,000 words done. Draw up a step-by-step plan of what you’ll have to do to have the time to write 100,000 words, and do your best to follow it religiously.
  4. Join a writing group.
  5. Unless you have a very big problem with low self-esteem, stay away from ‘touchy-feely’ classes and groups. You’ll be amazed how much your confidence will rise through accomplishment alone. “Thank you for sharing that with us” doesn’t go very far in getting you published. Completing a major project does.
  6. Buy a current Writer’s Market … even better, subscribe to Publishers Marketplace. (www.publishersmarketplace.com).
  7. Write something every single day, even if only a page.
  8. In social situations, don’t call yourself a writer unless you pretty much make a living at it The exception is when you are with a group of your peers, as in a writing group or class.
  9. Sell, sell, sell! Set a few hours aside each week (or as much time as you can), in locating and contacting markets. Even if you make a big sale, keep promoting.
  10. Be true to your personal goals.

Check out his web page here: http://www.skippress.com/


Shirley Kawa-Jump also has ten steps she recommends for all freelancers. In How to Publish Your Articles, she includes ‘Ten Freelancing Do’s’ for those desiring a successful full-time freelance career. As with Skip Press’s ten steps, these also only include the highlights of each step. See her book for the full version of her guidelines.

  1. Be sure you have the proper office equipment.
  2. Build up your resource library.
  3. Subscribe to writer’s magazines.
  4. Treat writing as a full time job. Work regular hours every day. Create a To Do list and prioritize your activities.
  5. Never forget that this is a business. Maintain good mileage records and keep receipts from business expenses.
  6. Every week try to send out at least three queries. I keep between thirty and forty queries in circulation at any given point. Maintain these submission numbers to ensure a constant flow of work.
  7. Turn rejections into new queries – Immediately. A query that sits on your desk isn’t making any money.
  8. Make use of reprints. Keep an eye on reprint markets so you’ll be ready to resell as soon as the article’s copyright reverts to you.
  9. Turn in pristine work on time. Nothing beats a good reputation.
  10. Join professional organizations.

Check out Shirley’s site, Jump Start Writing Institute, at: http://jumpstartwritinginstitute.com/


As with all seasons, this winter too shall end. Use this slower period to generate future growth and success. Here’s to a growing 2014 for all of us!

Prose from the Pros – Writing Success in 2014

Start out the new year with writing advice from ‘The Pros’.  See what they have to say, what helpful advice they have to share. Then, check out their links, their webpages, Facebook books, and other links they’ve listed.

Happy 2014!


Writing into the New Year
Well, one year has ended and another begins. As authors what does that mean?

We continue what we love doing, creating worlds through words to take our readers to times and places they otherwise never could have gone.

For me that means writing two Jessica Sales books which will finish the series. Also, starting at least one, maybe two, new regency series.

So, yes I’m looking forward to 2014 and new, along with the older, books for my readers.

About Lindsay Downs:
What does it take to be a bestselling author? Determination, skill, talent, luck or taking a risk with a venture into a totally new genre. For me it was a little of some and a lot of the others.
In 2008 when I got two books published I thought it was due to skill; little did I know it was more luck than anything. Over the next three years I wrote, submitted, got rejected. I then did what I tell everyone who asks; I wrote some more. I didn’t give up.
More on a dare than anything I tried my hand at a regency, one of the most difficult genres because of the rules, which I might add I broke almost every one. Within two days of its release the book was on a best seller list and stayed there for two months.
Turns out it is all of the aforementioned.
After two failed marriages, one from divorce while with the other died unexpectedly I decided upon retirement to move. That opportunity came in September 2012 when I migrated to Texas.
For me, as a multipublished author, it was one of the best things I’ve done to date. Now, every day I can write, creating stories to take my readers to places they can only dream about.
I’m also a member of the Published Authors Network (PAN) by the Romance Writers of America (RWA).

Follow Lindsay here:
Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/lindsay.downs.7
Facebook Pages-         https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lindsay-Downs-Author/325132754200597?ref=hl
Downs-Romance Author- http://lindsaydowns-romanceauthor.weebly.com/


Is it possible for a panster writer to offer advice on how to go about writing as a career? Are they not the kind of people for whom organization is an anathema? In my case, pretty much. At least it seems like it when writing. But…

There is a point in writing a story when most, if not all writers hit a buffer. While it may not be a big buffer, it may seem huge.  If you can’t write over or round it then don’t write anything about it at all. Open a new page and start writing. Don’t think about what’s going on to the page, just write.

Sometimes, and it’s happened to me, I’ve been gifted with a wonderful, stand-alone scene that offers the reader a ‘side step’ of information. It may end up leading you into or through the block, or it may slot into another part of your story. Enhancing it; adding another layer to that particular bit of scene or plot. When that happens it’s totally satisfying. If it doesn’t, then it likely to redirect your brain, remove the strain of anxiety that may be building because of that wretched block.

It’s not called ‘Freewriting’ for nothing.

It sets your mind free to explore, to grow and to adventure. Make the most of the gift of a block and enjoy the unexpected routes it may take you down.

It could even be the start of a new book!

About Sherry:
When best-selling author Sherry Gloag is not writing you may find her knee deep in dust. Selenite dust. The crystal she handcrafts unique items and ideal, personalized gifts from… or walking or gardening. All are occupations that allow her mind to cogitate on her plots, plans and characters of her next book.

Follow Sherry here:
Website: http://authorsherrygloagtheheartofroman.weebly.com/
: https://www.facebook.com/SherryGloagAuthor


As a newly published writer, I’ve discovered I have to be bold about my books as if they are a favorite child. My husband calls it winning one fan at a time. Meeting people in a person or being a more rounded on social media helps. I never say buy my book, but instead comment on the weather, my dog, the holidays and when my book is coming out or the great cover art. Pictures on Twitter make the tweet earn more retweets too.

The best advice on social media was to keep it light. Never make comments about religion, gun control, politics, anything that causes conflict. I’ve unfriended people because of their objectionable content too.

About Morgan:
Morgan K Wyatt, raised on a steady diet of superheroes, believed she could fly at a very young age. After using trees, barn lofts, sliding boards, and even a second story window as launch pads, she found her flying skills were limited to fast and downward. By the age of nine, her dreams to be a superhero needed some modifications, which caused her to turn to writing and horseback riding as alternatives to flying.

At the age of twenty, she had another chance at superhero greatness as being one of the few female soldiers trained for combat. The fact that women will be able to serve in combat soon indicates that all the witnesses to the grenade incident have retired. The grenade incident didn’t prevent her two sons or daughter-in-law from enlisting in the service. Having different last names probably helped.

Morgan recently retired from teaching special needs students to write fulltime, instead of in the wee hours of the night. With the help of her helpful husband and loyal hound, she creates characters who often grab plot lines and run with them. As for flying, she prefers the airlines now.

Follow Morgan here
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/morgankwyatt
Blogs: www.writerwonderland.weebly.comwww.datingafterfortyeight.blogspot.comwww.frugaldivatellsall.blogspot.com
Stranger/SCP Publishing http://bit.ly/1cttsFv


Before I get chatting let me give Trisha a huge thanks for having me here today. Thank you so much, Trisha. I hope my tip for writing success in 2014 can help someone realize and live their dream of being a writer.

My tip is a simple but darned difficult one.  It is to plant your butt in your chair daily and write. Even if it`s for an hour, or a half hour, put the backside in the seat. Every. Single. Day.

Discipline is one of the most critical things a prospective author needs to learn. I`ve had so many people ask me how I`m so prolific. I reply that it comes from having my rump in a chair and a keyboard in front of me. Once you make writing a priority, and carve out that niche of time for yourself and your craft, the words will start to add up on that Word page, I promise!

I know it is incredibly hard when we have jobs, husbands, wives, children, pets, family, and a thousand other things keeping us from our stories. But if you wish to find success as a writer you must write. Saying you plan to write won`t get your novel started.

So, buttocks in chair every day! Coffee and yellow writing cat at hand are optional but highly recommended.

About V.L. Locey:
Hi there! My name is V. L. Locey. I`m a romantica writer of M/M and M/ F books who loves worn jeans, belly laughs, anything romantic, ice hockey (Go Rangers!), Greek mythology, comic books and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, a steer named Mooka, and a flock of assorted domestic fowl.

Follow V.L. Locey here:
I love to meet new friends! You can contact me at my blog: http://thoughtsfromayodelinggoatherder.blogspot.com/

As well as Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/VL-Locey/124405447678452


Set Three Goals
The best writing advice I can offer for 2014 is to establish three goals – very specific goals – and post them over your computer. Not “I’m going to write more” or “I’m going to improve my platform.” But more exact goals, which if you study goal-setting, are the goals more likely to be achieved.

For instance, my three goals are:

  1. Write the second book in my new mystery series.
  2. Draft the third book in my mystery series.
  3. Perform at least 50 guest blog posts in 2014.

That means that when I sit at my keyboard each day, those are first and foremost my responsibility. I’ll still answer emails and produce my weekly newsletter FundsforWriters. I’ll maintain my social media following on Facebook and Twitter. But, I will not tackle these tasks without having contributed to the top three first.

Any efficiency expert will tell you that benchmarks make your goals measureable, so set measures to let you know when you’re ahead or behind schedule. Each month revisit where you stand. Intangible goals often dissipate before a month goes by. Buy a 2014 desk calendar and record what is expected of you, so you can hit the ground running . . . and understand the direction you must go. It’s exciting seeing where you’re headed, and ticking off the accomplishments as the horizon gets closer and closer in your journey.

About C. Hope Clark:
C. Hope Clark is editor of FundsforWriters.com, chosen by Writer’s Digest Magazine for its 101 Best Websites for Writers for the past 13 years. She is also author of the award-winning Carolina Slade Mystery Series, published by Bell Bridge Books. Book three, Palmetto Poison, releases February 2014.

Follow C. Hope Clark:
www.fundsforwriters.com / www.chopeclark.com



Stay tuned … new features on the way!

stay tunedStay Tuned!

Writer’s Zen is bringing you two new features in 2014.

PROSE FROM THE PROS, a post with writing advice from the professionals, will post on the first of each month. Each month bring you advice on different topics. January 1st is our debut post, WRITING SUCCESS IN 2014. Successful, published authors share their tips for writing success. (Shhhh …. I’ve seen some of the advice already and I think you’ll like it. This advice, if followed, will benefit our writing and our careers. I’m not going to say any more – stay tuned and come back January 1st to read what professional authors advise.)

Writer’s Zen is adding guest posts for our readers. On December 27th, Robin Marvel will kick off this new feature with a guest post and an excerpt from her new release. Other popular authors, including C. Hope Clark and Barbara Sinor, along with others are scheduled for future posts. 2014 is going to be a great year!

Stay tuned for more fun!

stay tuned1

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