How to Write a Book When You Have No Idea What You’re Doing

I want to write a book. You remember when this big idea first hit, right? Maybe you were browsing for books, waiting for an author’s autograph, or sitting in stupefied awe after finishing a great novel. The idea took root and then, bam, you’re rushing to a stationary store to gear up, buying all the […]

writing for a modern audience header

4 Challenges of Writing for a Modern Audience

Sometimes I think everything I learned about life I learned from The Andy Griffith Show. For instance, in the episode “Andy Discovers America,” when Andy is incredulous about the new school teacher “starting them awful young for history,” Aunt Bea just sighs, “Well, maybe they have to. There’s more of it these days.” If that idea was […]

when writing how do you know when enough is enough

When Writing, How Do You Know When Enough Is Enough?

Last month, I invited you to tell me what topics you’d like me to write about. You flooded my inbox and comments section with suggestions. (I scheduled this as an “easy” post that wouldn’t require much maintenance while I was in the midst of the a big move. When I logged on that first day to […]

How to Judge Less, Trust More, and Create

Judge Yourself Less, Trust Yourself More, and Write Better Stories

When we think of creativity, we usually think of light and color, happiness and freedom. That’s the upside of living the creative life of a writer. But there’s a dark side too—one we don’t always like to talk about. And that dark side can be encapsulated in two words: judgment and perfectionism. There’s a controversial […]

How to Spot and Avoid Self-Indulgent Writing:

How to Spot and Avoid Self-Indulgent Writing

As writers, we have the opportunity to live lives of creativity, in which we get to craft whole worlds that conform to our every whim. Whether you’re writing your first book or your thirtieth, it’s always going to be a heady experience. But this comes with certain inherent pitfalls. Sometimes all this power can go […]

4 Ways for Writers to Become Better Readers

4 Ways for Writers to Become Better Readers

Anyone can read a book, right? We all become better readers just by reading, right? Learning to put letters together into words and understand what they say—learning to read—that’s a learned skill. But once you’ve pretty much mastered that by fourth grade, you can read anything. There’s no skill to reading a novel. What is there […]

Top 10 Writing Posts of 2017

Top 10 Writing Posts of 2017

We’re hurtling toward the end of the year, which means it’s time to hit pause, amidst all the winter festivities, and take a look back at 2017. For me, this has been a vastly different and vastly important year. As I talked about in the post “6 Lifestyle Changes You Can Make to Protect Creativity,” […]

5 (Not-So-Little) Additions to the Great Novel-Writing Checklist

5 (Not-So-Little) Additions to the Great Novel-Writing Checklist

Learning how to write a successful novel is largely a matter of memorizing and mentally tracking the vast number of “parts” that make a story run. Honestly, this alone is sometimes the hardest part of the entire job. There’s a lot to remember—which is why, today, we’re going to look at the second part of our […]

6 Bits of Common Writing Advice You're Misusing

6 Bits of Common Writing Advice You’re Misusing

Recently, I found myself reminiscing about some of the early books on writing advice that transformed and molded my understanding of storytelling and writing. They opened my eyes, honed my craft, and changed my life. I wouldn’t be the writer I am today without the solid writing advice I’ve received from the writers who have gone […]

5 Important Ways Storytelling Is Different in Books vs. Movies

5 Important Ways Storytelling Is Different in Books vs. Movies

These days, everyone is writing movies. Including novelists. Not screenplays, mind you, but even if you’ve never touched a Celtx program and will never see your story on the big screen, you’re still writing movies. Our society is saturated by visual storytelling. It’s the cool kid on the block, da boss. Whether we’re talking Hollywood movies, TV shows, […]