Guest Bloggers

On Top Of Your Game

My dear friend, Nancy Julien Kopp blogs at Writer Granny’s World by Nancy Julien Kopp. Last year, Nancy posted: In mid-November, I posted a review of The Write Spot: Possibilities.  The anthology consists of stories, essays, and poems by several writers. At the end of each offering is a prompt that might have inspired what they wrote and also a paragraph or two of advice for writers. Ahhh, advice. It can be given, but is it always accepted? Not by a longshot. Sometimes, we read the advice of other writers with a shield in front of us. The attitude can be Go ahead, teach me something I don’t already know. At other times, we’re wide open to any advice given. We want to soak it up like water in a sponge.  I’ve been skimming through the book again looking at the advice the writers offered. I consider it a gift to us,…

Guest Bloggers

Lara Zielin: The World Needs Your Stories

Today’s Guest Post spotlight shines on Lara Zielin. When I first read her post (below), my hand went to my chest. I recognized those feelings. I felt those feelings. Last summer I experienced a similar situation that Lara describes. The difference though, is that while giving my presentation, I knew I was “off” and I couldn’t get back “on.” I felt like a runaway train took off with me barely hanging onto the caboose. I so wanted to do a great job. Someone recommended me to this group as a presenter. I wanted to make her proud. At the end, I was afraid I embarrassed her and I certainly embarrassed myself. And when I read what happened to Lara, I took a deep breath. Lara wrote: Several years ago, a colleague and I gave a presentation to the board of a national museum. In the moment, the presentation felt amazing….

Guest Bloggers

Understanding 4 C’s: Being a Successful Author

Guest Blogger Joan Gelfand writes: I never set out to write a novel. I mean, really? I had cut my literary teeth on Simone de Beauvoir, Virginia Woolf, Willa Cather, Kurt Vonnegut, Gunter Grass and Wallace Stegner. I was satisfied being a poet, known to my local community. Writing a novel seemed terribly pretentious, a misguided idea. No. I did not start out to write a novel. I started out with a story that, after two years, and much encouragement from my writing instructor, grew into three hundred pages. I had written my first novel without planning to do so.  It was with that first novel that I began to understand that becoming a successful writer wasn’t just about writing. It was several years after my first attempt to find a publisher for that first novel that I understood the business of writing. I learned that the letter I got…

Guest Bloggers

Rachel Macy Stafford: Live Love Now

I recently started following Rachel Macy Stafford’s blog, “Hands Free Mama.”   If you are looking for wise words about life, I recommend “Hands Free Mama.” An excerpt from Rachel’s February 29 blog post: I can’t quite forget the publisher’s words: “We love the concept of the book, but the title needs work.” The title that encompassed the message of hope contained inside the book was rejected. Rejected. It is a harsh word, but it is the truth.  Suddenly, it comes to me; I will take the most powerful word of my rejected three-word title and I will write it on every blank slate in front of me.   Through tears of determination, I see a pattern:   Write your fears on green notes.  Write your triumphs on pink slips. Write your rejections on blank slates.  Put the notes in a jar. The question I asked young people at the end of my classroom…

Guest Bloggers

Finding Time to Write

Guest Blogger Bella Mahaya Carter writes about: A Cure for Writer’s Block: Write without “Writing” Many of my students and clients tell me that they have a hard time finding the time to write. This is totally understandable. Our lives are busy. We have obligations and commitments we must fulfill, or face tangible consequences. Writing is not like this. Nobody knows or cares if we don’t write.   But people who have the urge (calling) to write and don’t act on it often experience dissatisfaction, even angst. They feel like they have an itch they can’t scratch. Part of the problem—what keeps people from sitting down to write—is their own imagination. They’ve made up stories about what “writing” is supposed to look like. They assume they need to carve out huge chunks of time. They believe that they have to feel energized or inspired. They might envision their writing hurting people they love. They…

Guest Bloggers

Belinda Pollard: Personal Stories Enhance Your Writing

Inspiration from Belinda Pollard on how to use memoir writing in any of your writing. Excerpt from “Putting Your Self Into Your Writing, Exercise 1,” by Belinda: Memoir is a popular genre these days, as people tell their personal stories and inspire others to overcome obstacles, cope with life, or laugh at someone’s funny antics. But personal stories go much further than memoir. They are great additions to many types of non-fiction, especially self-help. They are wonderful in travel narratives. How-to can also become more engaging and effective if you tell about your own ups and downs as you learned a particular skill. And your fiction writing can improve as you learn to tell your personal stories well. I’ve edited biographies and memoirs, and other types of books that use personal story. One of the elements that work really well is when the author finds a way to give readers…

Guest Bloggers

Listen To Your Heart

Today’s guest blogger, Nancy Julien Kopp, has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul books 22 times! Her story: A good many years ago, I submitted to a Chicken Soup for the Soul  book for the first time. The story was a simple one, a childhood memory, that I thought might work for the Fathers and Daughters book. Maybe. I hesitated to send it. Why? My pride told me it was impossible because rejection hurts a lot. Experience added that I hadn’t been writing very long, and the Chicken Soup editors received hundreds, maybe even a thousand or more, submissions for each book. My chances were pretty slim.  Reason stepped in and sneered at me as it said it was pointless to submit this story. What would it matter to the rest of the world? Then they laughed and I whimpered. All three had ganged up on me, and then a funny thing happened. My heart…

Guest Bloggers

Bella Mahaya Carter & The Priority Pyramid

Today’s guest blogger, Bella Mahaya Carter offers inspiration with a “Priority Pyramid.” The following is an excerpt from her original post. Last November, I worked with Dan Blank, author of Be The Gateway: A Practical Guide to Sharing Your Creative Work and an Audience. In his book, Dan recommends an exercise to help creative professionals get clear about their life and work priorities. If you’d like to try this exercise, get fifteen index cards and write down one word on each card indicating what’s important to you. Then prioritize your cards into a pyramid, with your most important priority at the apex, and work down from there. These cards are a wonderful reminder of what matters if you lose your way. Each person will obviously have different words on their cards. Here’s what mine looks like: For me, a deep spiritual connection with Self comes first. When I lose that…

Guest Bloggers

Jeff Goins & His System

Today’s guest blogger, Jeff Goins, shares the system he uses to write books and blog posts.  Excerpt from Jeff: Most writers think writing is a one-step process . . . it’s a three-step process: coming up with ideas, turning those ideas into drafts, and then editing those drafts into publishable pieces. The Three-Bucket System . . . how I get my writing done. Bucket #1: Ideas Capture ideas [and keep] in a place where you can return to. Bucket #2: Drafts Pull an idea out from the first bucket and start writing. Save in a draft folder. At any given time, I have a whole bunch of half-finished chapters and blog posts on my computer begging to be edited and completed. The point of this system is to think as little as possible and just do the next thing. Bucket #3: Edits Pull out one of those drafts and edit it. Either schedule it…

Guest Bloggers

Anne R. Allen & Indie Publishing

The following is an excerpt from Anne R. Allen’s December 22, 2019 blog post. You, too, can be an indie-author. It helps to be informed with willingness to do the work. From Anne: In a few days we’ll be leaving the twenty-teens to enter the 2020s. We’ll be saying goodbye to a decade of wild upheaval in the publishing industry. It’s been quite a ride. On January 5th, [we hosted] agent Laurie McLean from Fuse Literary Agency, for her annual “Crystal Ball” predictions for publishing in 2020. But today I’m thinking about the decade that’s passing, and how it disrupted and radically changed the way authors approach publication. A lot of us got to behave like teens—experimenting with radical publishing ideas and trying on lots of new writing venues for size. Amazon’s Kindle had the right name. It fired up the writing community in a major way. Self-publishing became a…