Stuff Writers Like

The Stuff

All of our stuff—plus the stuff we have to say about others’ stuff.



Writers, Get Your Wands

You know the story. Harry’s eleven years old when he gets his letter. A few days later, there’s a large man with an umbrella turning his cousin into a pig and saying, “Yer a wizard, Harry.”

That’s sort of like becoming a writer.

When you’re eleven—or ten, or six—you tell your first story. You write it down and show it to a parent, teacher, or friend. And they like it. Something fires up in your brain, and you know you’re going to be doing this for a long, long time.

Writing makes you feel whole and free in a way that nothing else does. It’s not an easy journey, mind you. There are plenty of hurdles. Sometimes the writing itself can feel nearly impossible. Sometimes friends and family won’t understand why you dedicate so much time and energy to a “hobby.” And sometimes the rejection letters will feel like evil creatures tormenting you. ...

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Assess Your Plot

Joseph Campbell's stages of the hero's journey inform a massive number of books, television shows, and movies. The structure is not genre-specific, and if you're not sure where your plot should go next, consulting the common path of the hero's journey is a great way to get the ball rolling.

This infographic breaks down Campbell's ideas to help you understand the pattern and apply it to your work. ...

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What Do I Blog About?

Blogging is a great tool for building an audience and connecting with readers—and other writers. We spend so much time typing out words and stringing together sentences. Knocking out a blog post or two each week should be no big deal, right?

Sometimes, thinking of something to blog about feels like hitting your head against the wall. I call this “blogging block.”

Next time you’re stuck for ideas, try blogging about one of these topics:

1. What You’re Reading

As writers, we draw a ton of inspiration from the books we read. We analyze books as both a reader and a writer, considering what the author did that worked. Try blogging about the book you’re reading, but don’t make it a book review. Approach it from a writer’s perspective. Do you like the book? Why? What techniques did the author use that’s helping you connect with the story (or not)? This can be a valuable exercise for your readers and for yourself. ...

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Create a Successful Author Blog

I’ve made some spectacular blunders in my blogging career. But since we learn from our mistakes, I’ve got a boatload of information now.

As Ruth and I say: “We made the mistakes so you don’t have to.”

The worst decision I made was trying to turn this blog into a monetized business blog. That lasted about six months—until my doctor said I was going to have to choose between blogging and living to see my next birthday.

This is the second anniversary of the beginning of that failed experiment, and I’ve been thinking over what I’ve learned.

My biggest mistake was that I didn’t see that an author blog has a different purpose and goal from a business blog. Author blogs aren’t about making money directly with ads or sales.

Instead, they provide a platform for your writing and a way to communicate with readers and fellow writers. An excellent one. In fact, a blog is still the best platform-building tool for authors, according to agent Laurie McLean of Fuse Literary.

The money comes later when we sell our books. The mechanics of those sales are best left to retailers like Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, etc. unless you have a huge franchise with twenty or more titles to sell, as well as mugs, t-shirts, etc.

Does that mean we’re giving away our work for free when we write for a non-monetized blog?


But. ...

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Spot the Online Writer

Twitter is the water cooler for writers. It’s where we go to socialize, procrastinate, and encourage each other. While every writer is crazy in their own special way, you may come across a few types of writers on Twitter:

1. The Word Count Crusher

This Twitter writer posts tweet after tweet about nailing insane word counts. “Wrote 10k words before breakfast this morning.” You’ll often find them hanging out at #writingsprints or #5amwriters. If you want to get some writing done, this is the person to follow. Seeing their tweets in your news feed will have you whipping out your manuscript and trying to keep up. ...

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Overcome Your Writing Demons

Every writer faces challenges. Writers don’t face off against other writers. There is no enemy or other team to fight, so the most difficult adversary is often our own emotions. To write a good story, we have to deal with our own egos, insecurities, and weaknesses. Conquering our own emotional challenges can be far more difficult than decoding style manuals.

To help us onto the right track—and to remind us we’re not alone—Become a Writer Today has put together an infographic of how 11 great writers overcome their demons. ...

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