Listen to the Ann Kroeker, Writing Coach podcast
I want you to reach your writing goals, and I believe you’ll make significant progress (and have fun!) by being more curious, creative, and productive. These writing podcast episodes offer practical tips and motivation for writers at all stages. I keep episodes short and focused so writers only need a few minutes to collect ideas, inspiration, resources, and recommendations to apply to their work. Tune in for solutions addressing anything from self-editing and goal-setting solutions to administrative and scheduling challenges. Subscribe (see below) for ongoing input for your writing life that’s efficient and encouraging.
Ways to Listen:
- Subscribe to the Ann Kroeker, Writing Coach podcast with Apple Podcasts (formerly iTunes), where I’d love to have you rate the show and leave a review—reviews help listeners find relevant content.
- Subscribe with Stitcher or Spotify.
- Search for “Ann Kroeker, Writing Coach” in any podcast player.
- Open the page for each episode below by clicking on the title—it will open a new page and you can click play on the embedded player.
- Listen through the player above (which only displays the most recent 10 episodes).
Ep 252: From Idea to Contract: The Inspiring Story of a First-Time Author, with Merideth Hite Estevez
Gain inspiration from the journey of a first-time author who transformed her dream of writing into a reality by taking bold action. Meredith Hite Estevez’s success story involved launching a captivating podcast and partnering with a coach (yep, that’s me!) to develop a winning strategy. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [52:31]
Ep 251: Trauma-Informed Writing Transforms You and Your Words, with Michelle Stiffler
We’re exploring a topic that every writer is going to want to tune in and learn about: a trauma-informed approach to writing. To speak to that, I’ve invited Michelle Stiffler on the show to help us see how trauma-informed writing can transform both us and our words. This is one of the longest interviews I’ve published, but I believe it’s one of the most important. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [1:02:06]
Ep 250: What’s Your Christmas Reflection?
I hosted a virtual Christmas party in my membership program, Your Platform Matters (YPM). At the party I encouraged a writing exercise: Christmas Reflections. Discover what we created! For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [6:08]
Ep 249: AI writing tools keep getting better. How can writers keep up? (Interview with ChatGPT)
AI writing apps, programs, and tools are all over the news. People are reacting. Some say don’t worry, AI writing tools can’t write like humans. Others claim this is an inkling of what’s ahead—they’re going to surpass our skills. For a glimpse of what’s possible now, check out my “interview” with an AI writing app that’s making the headlines: ChatGPT. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [14:23]
Ep 248: Do You Need Stephen King’s Pencil?
While researching Stephen King’s pencil, I realized I wanted to hear from you—real writers at work. What do real writers use? Through social media, my newsletter, and a coaching call in my writing community, I asked: What’s your favorite writing instrument? And you told me. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [8:21]
Ep 247: How to Make Time to Write and Develop a System to Take Notes, with Bryan Collins
Bryan Collins relies on a simple system that captures notes and ideas that flow directly into his projects when he sits down to write. His writing routine doesn’t take all day yet achieves significant results. Find out how he works and test it out. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [37:32]
Ep 246: Poetry as a Playful and Pleasurable Creative Practice, with Mark McGuinness
In this interview, Mark describes the vision for his podcast and his own poetic beginnings, and he urges writers (and readers) to simply enjoy poetry. You’ll see ways poetry intersects with and impacts prose—you can even play a literary game he describes at the end. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [45:59]
Ep 245: Try This Creative Writing Prompt to Get the Creative Juices Flowing!
If you’re a writer taking yourself a little too seriously, I have just the thing for you today—a writing exercise you can play with in your writing journal, where nobody will see it. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [4:01]
Ep 244: Prepare for Publishing Insights from Literary Agent Lucinda Halpern
Literary agent Lucinda Halpern prepares us to navigate the industry and prepare for publishing. With her insights, we’ll position our project—and ourselves as authors—to pitch agents and get noticed. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [33:41]
Ep 243: What’s a Writing Coach (and what kind do I need)?
Have you ever wondered what a writing coach is? In this episode I provide the simplest, broadest definition of what a writing coach is and does, explore what a writing coach isn’t, and explore various types of coaches, so you can make the best choice for your writing challenges. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [15:48]
Ep 242: Find Your Book Midwife, Say “Yes” Before You’re Ready, Pitch to Build Platform, and Authentically Engage with Readers (interview with author Clarissa Moll)
I should shorten that title, but Clarissa packed this interview with so much value, you simply must click through and listen—she’s fabulous! For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [46:29]
Ep 241: 10 Ways to Start the Writing Process When You’re Staring at a Blank Page
Are you ready to begin writing but you don’t know where to start—you don’t know how to get the words to flow? I’ve got 10 options for you—ten faucets, if you will. I’ll bet one stands out more than the rest. Pick one. Try it. See if it gets those words flowing. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [13:43]
Ep 240: Embrace These 4 Key Roles for a Flourishing Writing Life
Over the years I managed to build a writing career, but as an English major, I wasn’t prepared for the business aspects of writing. I thought I’d be…writing. But I had to understand and embrace the four key roles that lead to a flourishing writing career. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [12:55]
Ep 239: How Simple Systems Can Unlock Your Writing Productivity, with Kari Roberts
If you’re like me, you struggle to carve out time to write…you wish you could uncomplicate life and get more done. Good news! I have business coach and online business manager Kari Roberts on the show to help us think through simple systems that can unlock our writing productivity and creativity. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [41:29]
Ep 238: Decoding Greatness: Discover the Fast Track to Writing Success
In this interview, Ron Friedman demystifies the writing process and introduces a surprising path—a fast track, if you will. He says “it is the path by which so many writers and artists and inventors and entrepreneurs have succeeded.” What’s the path? Reverse engineering. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [41:35]
Ep 237: Do you view your writing life as a profession?
Do you view your writing life as a profession? No matter how you answered, this podcast episode will help you identify where you are and learn what it takes to build a writing profession. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [11:01]
Ep 236: It’s fun to write with others!
Writing is most often a solitary act. But sometimes we get an opportunity to write with others. These occasions may involve brief connections or extended collaboration. Quite often, they’re just plain fun. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [5:31]
Ep 235: Develop a Daily Writing Practice to Find Your Voice: Interview with Allison Fallon
Enjoy my discussion with Allison Fallon. Allison is an award-winning author, sought-after public speaker, and nationally recognized writing coach. She has worked with thousands of people to realize their writing potential and become published authors. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [50:01]
Ep 234: Shawn Smucker & Maile Silva on creative legacy, rejections, and being faithful to the work
On this episode of the podcast, I hosted two novelists: Shawn Smucker and his wife, Maile Silva, for a literary discussion. Shawn and Maile touch on topics like creative legacy, writing rejections, self-publishing versus traditional publishing, and being faithful to the work. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [1:02:10]
Ep 233: Winning Book Proposals Need These 3 Things
Let’s cover the three things your proposal must convey to attract the attention of industry gatekeepers like agents and Acquisitions Editors (AEs). For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [9:41]
Ep 232: Resolved to Write a Nonfiction Book This Year? Let’s Do the Math!
We’ll do the math together to determine the number of words you need to write each day to complete your book in the year ahead. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find out that this number is within reach. You can pull this off. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [8:56]
Ep 231: How to Structure Your Nonfiction Book
While there’s no one standard way to organize your material—there’s no one way to structure your nonfiction book—I offer four approaches you can take to determine what will work best for your work in progress. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [15:36]
Ep 230: How Do You Read Like a Writer?
There are ways writers can read that can be both inspiring and instructive, and that’s what we’re going to cover today, so you can see how reading, as Stephen King says, can serve as your “creative center.” For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [10:42]
Ep 229: 5 Writing Strengths You Need to Succeed
You want to start out strong as a writer and succeed at your work. A lot of different strengths are at play to keep us at the keyboard or page, and the good news is—you may already have some of these strengths. If not, you can develop them over time. Let’s look at five strengths you need to succeed as a writer. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [9:04]
Ep 228: Validate Your Idea to Produce Your Best Project (Back to Basics)
You have an idea for your next writing project. That’s great! Before you get too far—before you write too much—you need to be sure this idea is going to fly with your audience. You need to validate it so you move forward with a concept that, depending on your purpose, will truly resonate, connect, teach, persuade, inform, or entertain. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [14:25]
Ep 227: Back to Basics: 6 Methods to Right-Size Your Next Writing Project
Test these six methods for narrowing—or broadening—your next writing idea and you’ll land on the perfect length, approach, and slant to suit this project’s audience, purpose, and medium. In the process, you’ll gain clarity and solidify your ideas. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [9:29]
Ep 226: Back to Basics: Generate Ideas to Find What You Have to Say
In episode 225, where we kicked off a Back to Basics series, we started by identifying a project’s high-level elements—its Topic, Audience, Purpose, and Medium. After that, you can focus on the message of your project; that is, given your topic, what is this project’s IDEA. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [23:04]
Ep 225: Improve Your Writing by Getting Back to Basics
Every project, big or small, has a topic, audience, and purpose. Every project, big or small, will find its way into the world through some medium. Answer these fundamental questions about every project—even if you breeze through them—to make appropriate decisions about every other aspect of the piece. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [13:21]
Ep 224: Find What You Need and Write What You Can
At any given moment, find what you need and write what you can, without feeling pressured to perform or produce. If you can’t write a single word, relax. Fall silent awhile. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [9:19]
Ep 223: One Thing Writers Can Do in a Pandemic: Document the Days
As I write this, a pandemic is spreading across the planet. I surely hope you and those you love are spared any sickness during this worldwide crisis. I’m stating this in part to document my day in the midst of these extraordinary circumstances. This is something we can do as writers: Document the days. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:19]
Ep 222: Can a Poem a Day Make Us Better Writers?
I believe poetry can open us up to become more thoughtful, creative writers and human beings. Maybe we need a poem a day to learn to become better writers, equipped to bring our ideas, our hope—our heart—to the page. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:36]
Ep 221: What’s a Book Proposal (and why do I need one)?
If you’re trying to land an agent and eventually a contract with a publisher, you can’t get around it: you need to craft a compelling proposal to pitch your nonfiction book. Let’s look at what a book proposal is and why you need one to pursue traditional publishing. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [18:26]
Ep 220: How to Get Your Nonfiction Book Traditionally Published
A writer reached out to me with news that she’s writing a nonfiction book and wants to be published. “What’s the process?” she asked. I’m happy to explain. I’ll cover the main steps to becoming a traditionally published author without going into minute detail. This will give you—and her—a broad overview. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [16:00]
Ep 219: Build Your Platform: To Be More Findable, Find Your People
Whether you’re interested in increasing blog readership or building a freelance writing business—and especially if you’re pursuing traditional publishing—you’ll want to connect with readers. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [10:30]
Ep 218: Do writers really need to do *all the things* for a successful career?
Do we really need to do all the things to be a writer these days? Are all those extra activities and tasks required for a successful career? Do we really need to vlog and launch social media campaigns on five different platforms? Are we required to blog and guest post? And is it true we have to be prepared to step on a stage and speak? For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [16:07]
Ep 217: How to Gather Momentum When Your Writing’s at a Standstill
Writing at rest stays at rest unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. If I want to get my writing in motion and gather momentum, I have to take action. And I thought I might not be the only one facing inertia and hoping for momentum in the new year, so here are some strategies to rev up the engines and get our words moving again. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [6:31]
Ep 217: How to Gather Momentum When Your Writing’s at a Standstill
Writing at rest stays at rest unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. If I want to get my writing in motion and gather momentum, I have to take action. And I thought I might not be the only one facing inertia and hoping for momentum in the new year, so here are some strategies to rev up the engines and get our words moving again. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [6:31]
Ep 216: An Easy Structure for Your Chaotic Work in Progress
The zoom in or zoom out method gives you an easy way to organize your material and structure your work in progress. Not everything fits this outline, but try it. See if the pieces of your project fall into place. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [6:00]
Ep 215: Try This Classic Structure for Your Next Nonfiction Writing Project
Organization is a challenge for writers. You may have strong ideas, feel confident with grammar, and write in a fun style. But putting it all together in a structure that makes sense? That can be hard. There’s no one perfect way to structure most projects. You have options. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [15:23]
Ep 214: Are Outlines a Writer’s Greatest Gift…or Curse?
If you’ve never used outlines or you hated them in your past, looking at them as a curse, I urge you to try them again. Both now—and in the future—they may be your greatest gift. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [10:51]
Ep 213: Productive Writers Build Their Body of Work, Pillar Three
If we want to hook readers and hold their attention so they read all the way to the end, we have to generate an intriguing title or headline. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [13:31]
Ep 212: Productive Writers Build Their Body of Work, Pillar Three
Don’t be afraid or ashamed of humble beginnings and simple restarts, because that’s how it begins. To be a productive writer, you’ll take action. And your action will produce results. Following systems that work for you, you’ll continue to see results and build your body of work over time. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [12:19]
Ep 211: Be More Creative to Enjoy Your Best Writing Life, Pillar Two
How can any writer—all writers—practice creativity? How can we be more creative to enjoy our best writing lives? For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [9:52]
Ep 210: Cultivate Curiosity for Your Best Writing Life, Pillar One
As curiosity becomes a daily practice, our writing will benefit, because curiosity serves as a driving force to producing captivating content and developing a writer who has things to say. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [13:30]
Ep 209: Curiosity, Creativity, Productivity: Three Pillars to Building Your Best Writing Life
Develop these traits as a part of everyday life and as part of your writing practice, and you’ll position yourself to become the writer you want to be. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [8:40]
Ep 208: Children’s Book Author Sharon Stohler’s Path to Self-Publishing
Sharon Stohler’s path to publishing was long and required vision, flexibility, patience, and perseverance. But she did it. She pulled off self-publishing her children’s book Affectionately Yours: The Devoted Life of Abigail Adams. Learn more about her process in this interview. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [50:51]
Ep 207: How to Sort and Stack Your Ideas and Tasks to Transform as a Writer and Person
Don’t lose what you’re learning. Instead, save and implement ideas, solutions, tools, and tips by first capturing them all in some kind of stack, whether paper or virtual. Then sort it all into usable stacks. Even the writing itself can be sorted and stacked like this, especially if you use the modular approach. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [8:42]
Ep 206: A Writer’s Guide to ROI (Part 4)
Creative content repurposing for writers, inspired by Chalene Johnson, causes us to ask, What one piece of content could be my starting point? What could I create to serve at least double-duty if not triple- or quadruple-duty to have the biggest impact possible? For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [9:18]
Ep 205: A Writer’s Guide to ROI (Part 3)
What’s the greater ROI? Consider your goals. What’s more important? What’s needed first? That will help you determine the best investment of your time, creative energy, and personal resources. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [5:42]
Ep 204: A Writer’s Guide to ROI (Part 2)
Our values are behind it all, at the core of our choices. Whether we realize it or not, we inevitably return to our values to determine our ROI. Does any given activity and the investment it requires fit with what we value most? For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:14]
Ep 203: A Writer’s Guide to ROI (Part 1)
If you’re like me, you do a lot of writing and writing-related activities essentially for free. You craft social media content, articles for a blog, and guest posts as part of your plan. It’s a lot of work. Is it worth it? How do we determine if it’s worth it? For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:59]
Ep 202: Enjoy Creative Freedom with the Modular Approach to Writing
This modular approach to building is an approach I suggest you apply to writing—especially if you’re finding it hard to begin a project or you’re stuck in the middle of one. Or maybe your brain doesn’t think in a linear or sequential way. If so, this solution helps you develop your draft without having to commit to an orderly process at first. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [8:37]
Ep 201: Next-Level Writer: Have You Emerged at the Next Level?
For the past few weeks, you’ve awakened each morning with more intention about your writing. You’ve implemented your plan intentionally, faithfully, relentlessly. You’ve evaluated how things are going and adjusted the plan as needed. After this purposeful effort, where are you now? For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [8:37]
Ep 200: Next-Level Writer: Relentlessly Execute Your Plan to Level Up
we must “relentlessly implement” or “relentlessly execute” to level up. It’s the only way we evolve and mature into the writers we need to be in order to produce the work we want to produce to reach the readers we want to reach. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:50]
Ep 199: Insights into Christian Publishing with Don Pape
Listen in on my conversation with NavPress Publisher Don Pape. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [45:50]
Ep 198: Next-Level Writer: Organize, Schedule, and Enact Your Plan to Level Up
Find that balance between diving in without any plan at all and aiming at nothing, and getting mired down in the minutiae so much that you never get started. Because that balance is how you will level up as a writer and achieve your goals. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [9:40]
Ep 197: Next-Level Writer: Surges & Drips
Is it a surge to press into new audiences and raise visibility or to complete a project that’s nearly done? Or is it a solid, sustainable routine that drips out content to reach readers and create change right now, day after day? With planning and persistence, you can do what it takes to level up, through surges or drips—or both. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [6:56]
Ep 196: Next-Level Writer: Make a Plan and Persist
Make your plan, enact your plan, stick with it, give it time. Persist. You’ll measure success not only with outward results, but also inward, as you transform into the person who is stronger, smarter, wiser, and more skilled—a perfect fit for the next level. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [8:27]
Ep 195: Next-Level Writer: Develop Your Macro Plan to Level Up
You’ll use your responses from episode 194 to start forming your macro plan, determining the writing world you want to level up in and what you need to do within that world. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [8:27]
Ep 194: Next-Level Writer: Where Are You Now?
The 10 questions in this article will help you evaluate your writing world so you can orient yourself and identity your starting point. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [8:27]
Ep 193: Next-Level Writer: To Start, You’ve Got to Get in the Game
When we begin writing, we start with natural abilities and skills. We write and we learn what we’re capable of and we gain experience along the way. At some point, we may feel the nudge to level up, so we can see our writing expand. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [10:44]
Ep 192: (Re)Write to Discover How to Improve Your Drafts
Serve your readers. Fight for elegance and beauty. Write and rewrite to discover how to produce the best possible outcome for your next project. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [14:32]
Ep 191: Write to Discover Your Voice
Peter Elbow, Anne Lamott, and Julia Cameron all suggest that our true voice will emerge and energize as we seek truth, explore it, expose it, and express it. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [13:11]
Ep 190: Interview with Literary Agent Jeff Herman
Jeff Herman’s literary agency has ushered nearly one thousand books into print. He’s the coauthor of the acclaimed Write the Perfect Book Proposal and is often featured as an expert in print and broadcast media. Jeff provides insider insight that will give you hope that it’s possible to see your words in print. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [52:44]
Ep 189: Write to Discover New Skills and Techniques
When you’re looking to improve—to discover new skills—read, analyze, and then write. Write to discover the skills, techniques, and devices, and write to lock them in as your own. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [10:55]
Ep 188: Write to Discover What You Really Want to Say
The act of writing—the process of writing any given project—can lead us to discover what we really want to say. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [15:11]
Ep 187: Write to Discover Your Ideal Reader
We write both to please ourselves and to serve an audience—readers—and we hope to reach as many as possible…to make a difference in their lives. Otherwise we’d just write in a journal and at the end of the day, shove it under the mattress for safekeeping. No, we are writers, seeking to discover and serve our ideal readers. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [11:55]
Ep 186: Write to Discover Your Favorite Type of Writing
What’s a new form for you? A new style? A new genre? This week, try something new. You don’t have to show anyone your first attempts. Just give it a go. This week, write to discover your favorite type of writing. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [12:29]
Ep 185: [Interview] Poet Tania Runyan
Enjoy learning about all the ways a writer can write as you get to know Tania Runyan (and you may be inspired to invest in a Roomba). For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [11:44]
Ep 184: [Interview] Jennifer Dukes Lee – Author, Acquisitions Editor
When Author and Acquisitions Editor Jennifer Dukes Lee was in town for an event, we met up and discussed challenges that writers—especially nonfiction authors—face as they try to land a traditional book contract. Jennifer generously provides us with behind-the-scenes insight and solid action steps we can take today. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title.[33:07]
Ep 183: Write to Discover Your Top Themes & Topics
When you begin to identify these top areas of interest, pick up on clues to narrow your focus. This will help you discover the kind of writing you can pursue. To confirm which of these top themes and topics you want to write about—and the ones you want to be known for—start writing about them. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [11:44]
Ep 182: Write to Discover Your Reason for Writing
t pays to revisit this question of why you write and see if your reasons have morphed. Because when you know why you write, you can stay focused and motivated. You can run decisions through the filter of your primary purpose. How to discover it? Through writing. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [10:47]
Ep 181: Write to Discover the Courage You Need to Confront Your Fears
Maybe it sounds like a contradiction or an oxymoron, but write to discover the courage … to write. In the act of writing, you’ll tap into the courage to keep writing. More than that, you’ll find the courage to dive down to discover the hard truth, the stuff readers come back for because it transforms them. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [12:42]
Ep 180: Write to Discover – Start with Yourself
As you write to discover, start with yourself. Discover more about you, the writer, and bring your wiser and more grounded self to every project, inserting fresh insight and honesty into everything you share with readers. And walk away with greater health. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [10:04]
Ep 179: Time to Schedule Your Writing Life Tune-up
It sounds so boring, I can’t believe I’m sending you off for two weeks with this message. Then again, I’m convinced if more of us would take the time to develop a simple system that supports our whole writing life, we’d stay on track and meet more of our goals and make new discoveries and find new outlets for our work—in part because we aren’t scrambling at the last minute to meet a deadline. So it’s time to schedule your writing life tune-up. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [12:14]
Ep 178: The Writer at Work – Use Freewriting to Give It Some Thought
We can try to trick the mind and get past censors and perfectionism to truer, more engaging ideas and thoughts with freewriting. Or we can think and plot and plan before we sit down and tap out the first words of a project. Either way, we’re trying to think the right way at the right time to produce the best possible final product. When you’re a writer at work, you must give it some thought. Try out these techniques and see which one works best for you. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [12:20]
Ep 177: [Interview] Alison Hodgson on Boiling a Story Down to Its Essence, One-Star Reviews, and Perseverance
In this interview, Alison Hodgson discusses such topics as boiling a story down to its essence, seeing work come to fruition, managing a pug’s Instagram account, surviving one-star reviews, and much more. Enjoy getting to know Alison Hodgson (Note that Interviews run much longer than solo shows, with this one clocking in at just under an hour). For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [55:26]
Ep 176: What Do You Know to Be True?
Whatever you call these projects—brief memoir, flash nonfiction, a tiny truth—they remind us that our writing doesn’t have to be long to be powerful. Writing brings clarity—at least that’s what I believe to be true. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [9:23]
Ep 175: How to Use Lists to Transform Your Writing (and your life)
Lists are useful and practical, but they can serve a far more creative and powerful role in the life of a writer. You may find the humble list becomes the most used tool in your writer’s toolbox. Let’s look at 11 ways lists can transform your writing…and your life. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [13:30]
Ep 174: What Lies Beneath the Surface of Your Life?
We can delve into our experiences, diving beneath the surface to discover ourselves and live more meaningful lives. What lies beneath the surface of our lives? We can use writing to look beneath the surface and to listen to the voice of the soul. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. 9:03]
Ep 173: [Interview] Patrice Gopo on Meaning-Making on the Page and Studying the Craft
In this conversation with Patrice Gopo, we discussed her work as an essayist and meaning-making on the page. She gives us an inside look at her writing process, including several techniques she’s used study the craft of writing as well as the importance of feedback. It’s a long listen, packed with great ideas for writers. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [46:32]
Ep 172: 4 Simple Ways to Put Your Own Writing First
Shawn Smucker commits to writing his own projects first. As a result, he knows it’s going to happen. Shawn’s wakeup call can serve as our own, calling for us to prioritize our own writing. If we don’t, other things will swallow our time and energy and we’ll have nothing left. But when we do prioritize our writing—when we put our own work first—we start to achieve our writing goals and build our body of work. We can bring our best, most creative selves to our own projects by prioritizing in four different ways. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [11:44]
Ep 171: [Interview] Shawn Smucker on Cowriting, Ghostwriting and Prioritizing Your Own Work
In this conversation with Shawn Smucker, we discussed his work as a cowriter, ghostwriter, and novelist. Our discussion took place just before release day for his nonfiction book Once We Were Strangers. He will inspire you to keep going as a writer and to re-read your favorites to learn and grow in technique. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [46:16]
Ep 170: How to Be a Better Writer (Pt 5) – Four Writing Tips
I’m wrapping up this series with four more tips you can apply right away to turn out great writing. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [8:04]
Ep 169: How to Be a Better Writer (Pt 4) – Boost All 7 Traits of Great Writing
Whether you’re writing a blog post, a social media update, or a book—fiction or nonfiction—the 6+1 Traits serve as useful reminders and guides for all stages of the writing process, from idea and developmental stages down to the final proofread. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [10:11]
Ep 168: How to Be a Better Writer (Pt 3) – Write Tight
Be specific, which may expand your words to bring clarity and elements of style, but write tight to hold their attention. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [11:06]
Ep 167: How to Be a Better Writer (Pt 2) – 3 Simple Tweaks You Can Try Today
You may be familiar with these tweaks and appreciate the reminder to read through your drafts with them in mind. Or maybe they were new to you and you plan to implement them in your next project. Either way, I hope they become writing tips, tweaks—even tools—you can use to be a better writer. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [9:04]
Ep 166: How to Be a Better Writer (Pt 1) – Start with the Right Mindset
Ernest Hemingway said, “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” In other words, we’ll always be growing and changing as writers. When we have a beginner’s mindset—when we see ourselves as an apprentice—we can continue to learn. Even those who feel confident in their writing skills can discover room for growth. We are all apprentices capable of becoming better writers. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [9:40]
Ep 165: Writing Fears and How to Overcome Them – Feeling Not Good Enough
Many writers fear they aren’t good enough, and some never get a project off the ground because the fear takes over. It shuts down their creativity and keeps them from finishing. If they manage to finish, they’re too afraid to share it with the world. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:42]
Ep 164: Writing Fears and How to Overcome Them – Fear of Rejection
I’m here to say it is not the end. Bri McKoy encourages her Instagram readers to take heart. “Rejection is not an executioner. Rejection is a guide…Remember you are living out a full story, not a highlight reel. Let rejection inform you, not destroy you.” I join Bri in saying “take heart.” Take heart, because a rejection is not THE END. It’s not. So don’t let the fear of rejection keep you from doing the work. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [10:30]
Ep 163: How to Write When You Work Full Time
A writer wants to know: How to write when you work full time? That’s a tough one. It’s hard to have any kind of hobby or side hustle when you work full-time. When you put in the hours at work and come home exhausted, how can you possibly devote your depleted brain and energy to a creative project? For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [10:37]
Ep 162: What Do You Do with Story Ideas?
I got a writing coach question in which this person said they’re great about coming up with a brief synopsis and sometimes even an outline but then they get stuck. “I never know where to begin! What’s the best way to start any story?” For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [8:04]
Ep 161: Subscribe to Podcasts to Learn on the Go
Whether or not you’re an auditory learner, I hope you give a new podcast a chance. Pick one from this list of writing-related shows, dig into their archives, and see if you might be able to learn on the go. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:44]
Ep 160: Ways to Rebrand Yourself as a Writer: Cold Turkey
Rebranding in a sudden way certainly offers some benefits…and a few disadvantages. See if rebranding “cold turkey” is for you. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [8:04]
Ep 159: Ways to Rebrand Yourself as a Writer: Slow Transition
Now we’re diving into total change—the true pivot. When you leave it all behind, you can do it right away—suddenly—or you can transition over time. When you take your time rebranding, I think of that as a slow transition. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [8:04]
Ep 158: Ways to Rebrand Yourself as a Writer: Integrate
When you decide to rebrand by integration, it’s almost a continuation of your trial run in that you integrate the new brand with the existing brand. Instead of completely changing, you actually absorb the new and expand the old. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:09]
Ep 157: Ways to Rebrand Yourself as a Writer: Trial Run
You’re going for it. You decided you’re going to rebrand yourself. How will you go about it? You have options. One is what I’ll call “Trial Run.” For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [6:24]
Ep 156: In a World of Author Branding, What If You Want to Rebrand?
Despite gaining a following and discovering readers who like what you have to say and how you say it, you decide you want to pivot—to rebrand.But if you’re feeling the itch to make a global shift, a true pivot where you change dramatically and permanently to speak and write differently from now, you might think twice. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [8:56]
Ep 155: In a World of Author Branding, uh…What’s an “Author Brand”?
I’ve been talking about author branding, but I didn’t describe or define it. And in this world of author branding, you may be wondering, “Uh…what’s an ‘author brand’?” For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [5:52]
Ep 154: In a World of Author Branding, Be Consistent at Your Core
I should have no question I’m listening to the same person. Everywhere I encounter you—online, at a conference, or in line at Starbucks—I should sense that you are essentially the same. Whether you’re dressed in your best suit for a photo shoot or sitting around a campfire roasting marshmallows with friends, be the same core you. Maintain consistency in content, too, to avoid blindsiding readers. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [6:39]
Ep 153: In a World of Author Branding, Find a Place to Play
In an era when writers must take personal branding and platform-building seriously to be considered by traditional publishers, we must be smart about establishing our online presence. In the midst of those efforts, I like to set aside one space where I can be more natural, casual, and real—where I can test story ideas and experiment with my voice a bit. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:34]
Ep 152: 20 Generous (and Easy!) Ways to Encourage a Writer Today
No matter how many followers we have on any platform, no matter how many subscribers we have on our email distribution lists, we can make a difference in another writer’s life by helping share their projects with the people who know us. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [10:55]
Ep 151: Your Best Mother’s Day Gift Ever – A Written Tribute
What mom wouldn’t love to be celebrated in this way on Mother’s Day or any day…memory by memory, by someone she loves who remembers her laughter, joy, struggles, and hope? For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [4:59]
Ep 150: Write Your One-Line Legacy
What’s the one thing you’d want to be known for if your life was reduced to one simple idea? Write that down. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [5:23]
Ep 149: Write Your Own Obituary
Something about this exercise will push you to think about what you really want and recognize how critical it is to start living toward that every moment of every day. I advise you take time to do this for yourself. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [6:09]
Ep 148: Increase Writing Quality by Both Filling and Stilling the Mind
To increase your writing quality and output—and have more fun as a curious, lifelong learner—develop a healthy, ongoing practice of filling and stilling your mind. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [6:35]
Ep 147: You and Your Writing Deserve the Grand Gesture
If you’re struggling to get to your project—if you find you’re procrastinating and it’s always dropping to the bottom of your to-do list—invent a grand gesture. It says to your loved ones the work is worth it. It tells everyone—yourself included—that you, the writer, are worth it. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [6:35]
Ep 146: Your Writing Life Beginnings
Writing is hard. Editing is hard. Publishing is hard—sometimes brutal. You’ll have bad days, when you question it all and want to give up. Go back to your writing life beginnings. Write it down. Read it. Remember. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [4:50]
Ep 145: My Writing Life Beginnings, Pt 2
“What do you really want to be?” he asked. I blurted out, “A writer.” For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [9:10]
Ep 144: My Writing Life Beginnings, Pt 1
My brother excelled in everything involving words—from composing song lyrics and essays to dominating Scrabble games and inserting witty comments into conversations at just the right moment. I played softball and ran track. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [11:38]
Ep 143: If You Want to Be a Writer, Keep Showing Up
Once you write the first poem or the first essay or the first book or the first Instagram post—or the next poem or the next essay or the next book or the next Instagram post—keep going. Pick a sustainable pace and keep writing, keep editing, keep finishing, keep shipping them out however they’re shipped. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:01]
Ep 142: If You Want to Write, You Have to Get Started
Whatever it is you’ve been dreaming of doing? Do it. Start it. Grab your computer keyboard and type the first words of that novel. Set your phone on a shelf and record your first Facebook Live. Grab your camera and snap a first few photos for Instagram. Set up a website and start publishing articles. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [6:29]
Ep 141: Writers Help the World Begin to See
You and I, as writers…maybe we’re some of the few who can realize life while we live it, and help the world begin to see. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [6:58]
Ep 140: Listen for the Music – More Self-Editing Tips from The Artful Edit
In her book The Artful Edit, Susan Bell says editing “involves a deep, long meditation within which the editor or self-editor listens to every last sound the prose before him makes, then separates the music from the noise.” This takes time. Attention. Focus. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [9:24]
Ep 139: Tips on Self Editing from The Artful Edit
When you get the draft done and you’ve built in some distance, return to it, ready to revisit and revise your work. In that stage—the self-editing stage—it’s time to lean in and listen close. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:11]
Ep 138: Beware of These 5 Ways Curiosity Can Ruin Your Writing
Make sure curiosity is working with you, not against you, and you’ll produce the best writing you’re capable of, on time, that builds your body of work and makes you proud that you know when to stop and how to focus. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [9:46]
Ep 137: What Do I Write Next – Experiment and Expand Your Repertoire
Move outside your comfort zone toward the project that awakens interest and curiosity, the approach that will stretch and challenge you, the experiment that helps you discover untapped potential. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [9:13]
Ep 136: What Do I Write Next – Enjoy Your Vein of Gold
Have you found your vein of gold—that kind of writing, that sound of writing, where you consistently deliver a brilliant performance? If so, the next time you’re deciding what to write next, why mess with success? Why risk falling flat? If it’s where you shine brightest, you’re probably making the greatest impact on your readers. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:15]
Ep 135: What Do I Write Next – Why Not a Series?
Thinking about sequential writing, in series form, gives you a fun option when deciding what to write next. Use a serial mindset to discover the next action with an existing project or to develop something totally new. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:35]
Ep 134: What Do I Write Next – Why Write Small When You Want to Go Big?
Big goals and big projects hold potential for big payoffs. Do the work on the big stuff because it probably holds your deepest dreams and represents your greatest goals. However, while you plug away at the big project consider giving your spirits and brain a little boost by assigning yourself a shorter project now and then. What can you write that you can finish and ship fast? For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [6:56]
Ep 133: How to Decide What to Write Next (Introduction to What Do I Write Next? Series)
In this episode, I offer lots of ideas for how you candecide what to write next. One or more approaches may stand out, but if it all seems confusing and overwhelming, don’t worry. Just pick something and write. Whatever you choose—and however you choose—I hope you’ll get to work feeling at least little more confident you’re on the right track. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [a bit long, clocking in at 10:15]
Ep 132: This Is the Year to Tackle That Complicated, Unfamiliar New Writing Project
This year, take the risk. Overcome your fear, and write something newer and bigger or more complicated and unfamiliar than ever before—tackle something you’ve always wanted to do, even if the process and project feel intimidating and scary. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [6:59]
Ep 131: Reverse Engineer Your Editorial Calendar
By reverse engineering the steps and estimating the time it will take to produce a project from beginning to end, you’ll form a realistic plan. To figure it out, start at the end and worked your way back, asking what’s needed to arrive at each stage. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [8:55]
Ep 130: The Simple Way to Clarify Your Content
You’re writing. Everything’s moving along just fine, and then…you hit a section that won’t flow. You write a line or two and it feels convoluted. You’re not sure how to best express the idea. Or something’s missing and you’re not sure what. Maybe you just stop, blocked. Try this technique to clarify your content. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [5:26]
Ep 129: Repurpose Your Writing to Reach More People
Make the most of your content…and your time. Start with one idea and expand it into a full-blown article, essay, or book chapter. Or start with a full-blown, fully developed project and pare it down until you express it at its simplest core thought—perhaps as a quote—on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [10:41]
Ep 128: Write in the Middle of the Holidays
It’s hard to know how much writing we can actually produce in the middle of the holidays. Do we write, or take a break? If we write, how much and how often? If we take a break, for how long? For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [8:12]
Ep 127: The Paralysis of Perfectionism
Many of us are held back by the sense that we need to be perfect in our every attempt at writing. In fact, we feel so proud or vain or nervous or shy or the need to be perfect, we keep our writing attempts tucked away in our computer and refuse to share anything with anyone. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [11:13]
Ep 126: From On-The-Page to Face-To-Face
Face to face is how we become more than words on a page. It’s how we connect as human beings—as partners in the work. It’s how we build trust. I hope you find people you can sit across from—people you can smile at and look in the eye who will hear your pitch and ask to hear more. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [5:31]
Ep 125: No Time to Write? Do This Every Day
Every day, write a paragraph. That’s it. Write one paragraph for your work-in-progress every night. This is how you can get it done, even when you think you have no time at all. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [6:23]
Ep 124: No Time to Write? A Simple Solution to Kickstart Your Work
Set aside a time block devoted to your writing in the same way you’d fight to make a vacation happen. Why? Because it’s a promise to yourself. When you block off that time, you’re saying your writing is valuable. Your words are worth investing in. Blocking off that time says you’re taking yourself seriously. That block of time will kickstart your project. And that block of time will set you up for ongoing success. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:30]
Ep 123: This Is How to Write Real Copy for Real People
Knowing your audience is a must for any writing project, big or small. We must know our audience to use the best language to connect with them. If we don’t know precisely who are primary audience is, we’re capable of generalizing and writing in a distant, unfriendly, unnatural voice. Learn how you can quickly write in a clear, natural voice. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:30]
Ep 122: The Role of a Gatekeeper in the Publishing World
Ep 121: Out of Ideas? Be an Idea Machine
Whether you need ideas for blogging, essays, creative nonfiction, poems, short stories or novels, ideas abound. You can find things to write about all around you, just waiting to be explored, developed, and written into existence. In this podcast episode (available to read, as well), I present two methods for idea generation that provide ideas to last a lifetime. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [6:06]
Ep 120: Plotters and Pantsers for All Genres
The plotter is imagining his characters and thinking through their struggles up front, before he writes a single word, planning out the story’s plot. The pantser has a basic idea and a main character or two, tosses them into a setting, gives them a problem, and starts writing—because he’s thinking as he writes and the story unfolds before him. While nonfiction writers and poets don’t technically have to plot out anything, I suspect writers in all genres can identify with one or the other of those general approaches. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:20]
Ep 119: If a Writing Nemesis Holds You Back, It’s Time to Be Free
What is it that hisses at you when you sit down to write? What threatens to grind you to a halt, rising up and causing Resistance to your creative work? You’ve got to know your enemy…name your nemesis if you can. That’s a good first step in order to fight back and be free. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [6:19]
Ep 118: How Inexperienced Writers Can Supercharge Their Growth
Is there room in the market for the rookie? Should inexperienced writers even bother trying when so many experienced writers have established themselves? You can take action this very moment to gain experience and grow into a confident writer who knows the ropes. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [8:19]
Ep 117: How to Dredge up the Memories You Want to Write About
What if the events we want to write about took place long ago, before we thought about writing anything down? What if we must rely entirely on memory for material? Flannery O’Connor said, “Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days.” If that’s true, all that we need to write short- and long-form memoir is in us. Somewhere. Try two methods for dredging up the memories you’re looking for. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [5:30]
Ep 116: Can You Write Your Story Before It’s Become a Story?
Do you write memoir, short or long? Most people recommend waiting to gain emotional distance from the event or events you’re writing about to gain insight and perspective. But Dani Shapiro has a different take on it these days, and it aligns more with how I wish I’d been writing. Maybe this post will get you thinking about writing a memoir in real time, as it’s unfolding. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [5:30]
Ep 115: You’ll Write More When You Use an Editorial Calendar
Experiment with an editorial calendar of some kind (several examples provided in article). Start plugging into a calendar the articles you want to write and submit or publish. Use the one that seems the fastest, simplest, most accessible, and most natural for your personality and you’ll write more than ever as the looming deadlines inspire you, reminding you of the goals you set for yourself. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [8:30]
Ep 114: Make the Most of Your Time with a Writing Pipeline
Develop a writing pipeline: a process with phases or stages that take a writing project from initial idea to final product…including the step of shipping it out into the world. That way you can open the file of any given project, know what it needs given the phase it’s in, and get to work, confidently taking all your projects from start to finish. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [8:30]
Ep 113: An Easy Solution for the Writer with Big Goals and Little Time
You can save your ideas easily and quickly if you write with your voice—it’s a solution for any writer with big goals and little time. Lots of options listed in the article for how to take dictation or record for transcription. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [6:21]
Ep 112: My Best Writing Tools to Get More Done (at Home and on the Go)
It’s fun to hear from other writers about the tools they use, but don’t fret so much about what’s the best choice. Use what you have on hand to capture ideas and drafts. If it helped you write—and if you finished the project—it was the best tool for you. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [10:35]
Ep 111: Build Your Email List with a System That Fits the Way You Think
If you haven’t started yet, I highly recommend you begin building an email list comprised of ideal readers. In this episode you see my reasons for converting from MailChimp to ConvertKit. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [10:27]
Ep 110: You Want to Be a Writer Who’s Read? Learn Something New Every Day.
If you want to be a writer who’s read, you’ll have to learn and keep learning—and you must act on what you learn. Use the knowledge and implement the skills you learn so readers can find you and read you. After all, isn’t that the main reason any of us sits down to do the work? To be read? For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [6:31]
Ep 109: Improve Your Writing with a Growth Mindset
The fixed mindset causes us to slam shut a door that was actually standing wide open to us. “Oh, that’s not for me. I can’t do that.” The growth mindset says, “Hey, I’ll try it without worrying about what others think or what the final outcome ends up looking like. I’ll try. I’ll work hard. I’ll get better.” If you’ve been told writers are either born with the gift or they aren’t, that’s a fixed mindset. Those voices from the past are holding you back. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [8:59]
Ep 108: When Writers Compare: The Good, Bad, and Ugly
As soon as we starting thinking in terms of better or worse, superior or inferior, more or less advanced, more or less prolific, more or less famous…we’re using the language of comparison to label who’s better or worse than us at something. It can be good, but it can also lead to unhealthy comparison. Identify where you’ve struggled (and find ideas to counteract the negative effects). For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [13:39]
Ep 107: Learn from the Best – Copywork for Grownups
When we copy out someone’s work, we don’t miss a thing. We see each and every decision as it emerges in our writing notebook. Copywork documents the work of another writer so that the copyist is naturally, organically mentored by the original author. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [9:16]
Ep 106: Learn from the Best – Imitate but Don’t Plagiarize
Note: This is a longer-than-usual episode. An excellent way to read analytically for the purpose of improving as writers is to follow Benjamin Franklin’s method, which aligns nicely with Francine Prose’s description of carnivorous reading, or reading for what can be admired, absorbed, and learned. It involves imitating great writing to learn how it works. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [11:10]
Ep 105: There was never yet an uninteresting life – Visting Mark Twain’s Hannibal, Missouri
Mark Twain said, “There was never yet an uninteresting life.” You and I have stories to tell. Follow the passageways of the past, get lost for a while exploring the wonders within, lift up a candle and see what’s written on the walls. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [8:00]
Ep 104: Learn from the Best – The Book Is Yours When You Write in Its Margins
A tried and true way to integrate a book into our lives—the surefire way to “own” a book—is to mark it up with meaningful notes, or be one who practices “marginalia.” For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:42]
Ep 103: The Trouble with Memoir Is a Wiggly Mind
Memoir depends upon memories, yet memory is a living thing—a slippery, unreliable thing. How can we trust this tilting machine to deliver something whole and wholly reliable? For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:36]
Ep 102: Grow as a Writer – Surround Yourself with Excellence
Excellence doesn’t usually spill out of an untrained, undisciplined, inexperienced artist, so we have to find ways to grow as a writer. One way is to surround ourselves with excellence. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [8:00]
Ep 101: Energize Your Writing by Memorizing Poems
In poetry, you’ll find freedom from some of the mechanics expected in prose; in poetry, you’ll find fresh phrasings that throw your brain off its expected track and into novel ways of thinking and imagining. This can happen when you read a poem, but it works best when you take it to heart. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [6:06]
Ep 100: Submissions – How to Bounce Back after an Editor Turns You Down
We are not impervious to the pain of a rejection, nor should we be. We will open that email and feel the wave of nausea. You have every reason to react in whatever honest, human way you need to. My hope is you’ll find a way to feel without ending up paralyzed—you’ll figure out how to bounce back after an editor turns you down. I recommend a Rejection Ritual. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:01]
Ep 99: Submissions – To Get a Yes, You Risk a No
When you know in advance that you will receive rejections, you can deal with them a least a little more rationally. Knowledge of the inevitable won’t make the rejections any easier, but at least they won’t take you by surprise. The only way to avoid rejection completely is to stuff your work in a drawer or let it languish in a digital file, and never, ever send it out. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:20]
Ep 98: Quick Fixes for Comma Splices
If you leave in comma splices, industry professionals may wonder how many other ways your manuscript will stray from The Chicago Manual of Style guidelines—it might be a red flag to a conservative editor. Why risk a negative response to your work when you have so many other ways of constructing a sentence? For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [4:56]
Ep 97: How a Simple Comma Can Save a Life
In the example “Let’s eat, Grandpa,” the surrounding sentences will help us understand that this is not a story about cannibalism. But to avoid giggles and possible confusion—or horror—it’s best to include the direct address comma whenever and wherever it’s needed. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [3:49]
Ep 96: When You Really Need Next-Level Edits
Whoever you turn to for input, make sure the person you’re working with knows how to dig into edits in the right order: from high-level edits to copyediting, line editing, and proofreading. And remember to do this yourself. With this approach, you’ll take your writing to the next level. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [6:56]
Ep 95: Focus on Your High-Level Edits First
Let’s divert our creative energy to tackling the big-picture edits first. That way, we’ll avoid wasting time obsessing about commas that may disappear completely when we restructure paragraphs and pages. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:15]
Ep 94: Grammar Matters: Why Concern Ourselves with Commas?
If you’ve been around the world of words a while, you know the tension, the arguments, the passion associated with this tiny punctuation mark used—or not used—in the specific scenario of a series. Why care about this or any comma? Because our writing choices—even the smallest ones—really do matter. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [5:48]
Ep 93: Why I’m Committing to the Work-Ahead Advantage
I urge you to do what I failed to do: write several articles or blog posts and store them up—better yet, prep and schedule them—so you’ll have content for the weeks you head off on vacation, catch the flu, or volunteer to serve at a four-day tournament. If you don’t, you’ll end up like me and have no choice but to recycle something from the archives or simply take the week off. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [5:44]
Ep 92: How to Compose the Perfect First Draft
Don’t let perfectionism hold your words hostage when you’re working on that first draft. Let it all out. As Jane Smiley would say, it’s perfect for what it is: the first draft. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [5:00]
Ep 91: Your Writing Needs Revision (but don’t be afraid)
Don’t be afraid of the work. Look at it, and look at it again, to see what’s working and what’s not. With revision, you’ll find the best way to say it. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [6:15]
Ep 90: The Long-Term Results of a Faithful Writing Life
Faithfully showing up today, tomorrow, and the next day and the next week and the next month and the next year to write and share what’s written . . . is never, ever a waste of time. It is, instead, worth every minute, and gives you a life worth living. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [5:14]
Ep 89: The Rush to Publish – How to Pace Your Career
Don’t try to speed up the process too much. During this era, you’re growing your audience and, more importantly, you’re growing as a writer. One day you’ll publish something for a larger venue with a larger audience. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [4:48]
Ep 88: How to Develop Your Own Self-Study Writing Course
Consider some of the areas you’d like to grow in first, and then find online courses, books, articles, webinars, and podcasts created to address those key skill sets. Work through them, over time, as a self-study program custom-made for you, and by you. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [5:00]
Ep 87: You Can Impact Readers Right Now Through Social Media
Start having fun and get creative on just one social media outlet. Experiment. Jot a few ideas for a short story. Write a line of poetry. Think about a mini-essay you could compose. Here’s your chance to get ahead of the curve. Here’s how you can impact readers right now. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [6:46]
Ep 86: Your Writing Platform – First Steps to Launching Your Social Media Presence
If you’re new to social media, learn the basics of setting up a profile at the places you think your reader will be—and places you think you’ll enjoy. And for now, that’s enough. You’re simply positioning yourself for phase two. And by all means, continue engaging with people in the places you already enjoy and understand. That’s why they call it social media. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [5:00]
Ep 85: Now Is the Time to Start Building Your Platform
Small investments over time pay off when it comes to platform-building. Now is the time to get started, so you can experiment, adjust, try new things, and watch it grow. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [5:00]
Ep 84: Your Writing Platform: Do People Expect Writers to Be Speakers?
I think publishers—and maybe people in general—do expect writers to speak because it’s a tremendous opportunity to connect with people who care about your topic or story. I think any writer building a platform should—whether asked or not—consider looking for ways to speak, including taking advantage of all the technology available to record and distribute our messages. Give it a try. As you grow more confident and keep trying, you may find you have a powerful new outlet to share your words—your message—spoken. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [5:55]
Ep 83: Your Writing Platform: What’s the Definition of Platform (and Do I Really Need One)?
A quick definition of platform is, according to Chip MacGregor, simply the number of people you can reach with your words. “Add up the audiences for all the ways in which you reach out, he says, and that’s your platform.” You can’t have too much social media presence, so keep writing and keep connecting to build your writing platform. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [6:06]
Ep 82: Plan a Sustainable Year for Your Writing Life
Look ahead and make those plans for the year. Tackle something new. Look for projects and activities that will move you closer to becoming the writer you’ve always imagined. Just make sure that the plan is sustainable and that you, as a writer, are sustained. That’s when you’ll deliver to the world material that breathes life into the reader. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:48]
Ep 81: A Gift of Writing
When our writing is sent out to the world, it’s usually enjoyed by one reader at a time, so in a way, all of our writing is for individuals. What I mean here is you can sit down and write for someone in particular—an individual who will be the only intended recipient of a given project. If you write a gift of words specifically for and to them, you’re sending a powerful present. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [3:56]
Ep 80: Your Writing as a Gift
View your work as a gift to the world—as a bridge built to create connection or a door opened wide through which others might pass. Pour your heart into it, knowing you might make a difference in someone’s life. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [6:28]
Ep 79: Your Writing Platform: Who Is Your Who?
You’ll start to visualize your Who when you move through the questions in this post. Next time you write something, bring that person to mind—your Who. And believe that your Who is going to love what you have to say and the way you say it. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [6:28]
#78: Your Best Material – The Practice of Remembering
As you compose these scenes from your past, you’ll learn from them. Future readers may, as well, if these end up as essays or poems that could be submitted, but that’s not the main reason to undertake this project. It’s about mining for material in your own mind. And none of these ever needs to be published. They are first and foremost for your own personal growth. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [6:49]
#77: When You Don’t Know What to Say, Try Poetry
When you don’t know what to say, try poetry. It’s what we can turn to when our own words would fall flat. As Emily Dickinson reminds us, it gives us a way to tell all the truth, but tell it slant. Instead of blasting the reader with lightning bolts, we can dazzle gradually. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:36]
#76: Your Writing Platform – How to Confirm Your Niche
Three hundred twelve. That’s how many posts you have to write to publish content twice a week for three years: 312. If you think you’ll get bored writing about your narrowed category, your niche may be the wrong fit or too narrow. If you feel like you could write about it forever, well, this is how you confirm your niche. Could you write about it forever and not ever get bored? I think you found it. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:55]
#75: Your Writing Platform – What Fascinates, Captives, and Energizes You?
Make a list of those fascinating, captivating, energizing topics—the ones you return to again and again. You’ll want to write about something on that list, but you don’t have to write about everything in the whole world for everyone in the whole world. How do you narrow? Why should you narrow? For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:50]
#74: Your Writing Platform – The Need for Focus
You can start building your writing platform by snagging your name, if possible, and finding a focus that fits. It’s your name. Your focus. And content that represents what you bring to the world—the problems you’ll solve for people, the stories you’ll tell, the ways you’ll connect with, support, and encourage readers. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:26]
#73: Your Writing Platform – No Need to Be a Wandering Troubadour
Building your writing platform doesn’t have to feel overwhelming. Start with creating a home base—an author website. Gradually increase your presence there with content related to your genre, themes, or “brand,” so when readers and publishing industry gatekeepers Google your name, they find you—and like what they see. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [6:50]
#72: Don’t Miss This Platform-Building Opportunity (like I did)
If there is one non-technological platform-building item every writer needs, it’s a business card. Just remember to take them everywhere you go (especially writing conferences). For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:05]
#71: Is the Wind Blowing You This Way and That? It’s Time for a Plan.
My planning isn’t perfect; unexpected events, both good and bad, can throw me off. Nevertheless, my writing life is taking root and growing; I’m making significant, measurable progress each day. I wake up, accomplish my daily routines, and sit down and do what my system tells me to do. Because that’s my plan. (But I still leave room for serendipity.) For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [5:26]
#70: What to Do When You’re Unsure How to Begin
Get your idea in motion and if it means you write the most sluggish, boring, wordy beginning, keep going. If it takes six paragraphs to finally get the wheels turning and the story in motion, who cares? Write. Write, write, write. Because you know what? You can write—or rewrite—the beginning…at the end. Yes, at the end of the whole process of getting your draft down, you can swing back around to the beginning and edit that beginning all you want. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [6:06]
#69: Have You Ignored the First Absolute in Nonfiction Writing?
Ayn Rand believes nonfiction writing is something one can learn. “There is no mystery about it,” she says. What’s the key? In a world of Google searches, shallow reading. and limited reflection, she says we need to think. Clarity of thought that leads to clear writing is the first absolute in effective nonfiction. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [5:30]
#68: Write, Now
Last week we tried Raymond Chandler’s approach. This week, as part of our experiment, try the Kingsolver approach. Sit down and write, now, whatever you can, as best you can. Get it out, get it down, and meet deadline. No stopping, no staring, no waiting, no writhing. Just write. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [3:50]
#67: Either Write or Nothing
Try following Raymond Chandler’s writing approach. The short of it is this. When you sit down to write, follow two simple rules: “a. you don’t have to write. b. you can’t do anything else.” For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [5:14]
#66: Olympic-Inspired Goal-Setting Strategies for Writers
This episode leans on Olympic marathoner Meb Keflezighi’s goal-setting strategies to help us set good writing goals (they’re pretty close to SMART goals, but it’s fun to take the advice of an Olympian). His five steps: pick a goal with personal meaning, make it specific, keep it challenging but realistic, add a time element, stay motivated. For more on the goal-setting steps along with show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:18]
#65: 6 Reasons People Stay Secretive About Their Writing Projects
I share six reasons people choose to stay secretive about their writing projects, including (1) so no one steals their ideas, (3) so they don’t have to admit they never followed through, and (6) if they talk about it, they don’t write it. For all six reasons along with show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:32]
#64: How Secretive Are You About Your Writing Projects?
Some writers talk freely about their projects, while others won’t say a peep, offering no clue what they’re working on. How about you? How much do you reveal? Why do you choose to talk about your writing projects or why do you choose to stay silent? For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [5:57]
#63: Three Things a Freelance Writer Needs to Succeed
Three things Neil Gaiman says freelancers need to keep working: (1) They need to be good writers, (2) They need to be easy to get along with, and (3) They need to deliver their work on time. In my opinion you’ll ideally have all three traits or at least be working on them, but Gaiman claims two out of three is fine. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:30]
#62: When You’re Not the Writer You Want to Be
When the words fall lifeless on the page, we have to forgive ourselves for not being the writer we felt we needed to be to write the beautiful story in our heads. All we can do is be the writer we are at that moment in time. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [5:15]
#61: Why Writers Should Be Curious About People
Be genuinely interested in other people, ask good questions, and gather stories. If you’re a writer, you can never have too many stories. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [4:37]
#60: The Top 5 Ways Curiosity Can Ruin Your Writing
Don’t let curiosity rule or ruin your writing. Make sure curiosity is working with you, not against you, and you’ll produce strong writing, on time, that builds your body of work and makes you proud that you know when to stop and how to focus. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:30]
#59: Your Writing Can Change the World
Whether with one person, or ten, or ten thousand, a writer builds bridges through stories and observations, ideas and interviews. Writers create connections. And connections can bring about change…Know yourself, create connections, and you can change the world. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [6:23]
#58: How to Affirm Your Own Writing Life
When you’re having a tough day, whether from your own internal resistance or some external force that’s slammed you, go ahead and feel a little sorry for yourself, but not for long. Then brush yourself off and pull up these statements—these affirmations—to remind yourself what’s true. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:29]
#57: Go Ahead and Play to Your Strengths
Dance at the edge of the comfort zone to stretch yourself and avoid, well, avoidance, and boredom, and underselling yourself. But don’t dance so far out and for so long that you’re stressed and overwhelmed and unable to shine. That’s when you can back off and go ahead and play to your strengths. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [4:33]
#56: To Learn How to Write, You Have to Write
Quiet those voices tempting you to close the laptop and take up Candy Crush. Put yourself on a deadline and create something. Start to fill that gap between where you are and where you want your writing to be, because you learn to write, by writing. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [5:39]
#55: Writers Should Say Yes to New Experiences
Go ahead and say yes to that new experience. Regardless of the outcome, your life is going to be richer, and so will your writing. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [4:33]
#54: It’s Good for a Writer to Ask Why
If you need motivation or clarity or vision or direction for your writing life or for a particular writing project, ask yourself why you write, and why you’re writing this particular piece. Hopefully your answers will help you get started, feel in control as you move toward meaningful goals, toward the writing life you really want. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:14]
#53: Need Writing Ideas? Take Inventory of Your Life
My world and the way I experience and process it serves as fodder for my next writing projects. That’s what I want you to discover, too. Someone, somewhere, is going to be delighted to read about your world and the way you experience and process it. I offer categories to help you think through ideas from your own life. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [6:45]
#52: Open Your Heart and Invite Your Reader In
We give purpose and meaning to others as we discover our own purpose and meaning—when we write to discover ourselves. And it can start with practicing vulnerability. It can start with emotion. So open your heart and invite your reader in. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [7:13]
#51: Make the Most of Your 50 Headlines
If you took the 50-Headline Challenge, pick at least one headline from your list, and write. And that is the main way you’ll make the most of your 50 headlines (though I offer ideas for organizing your headlines, as well). For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [6:11]
#50: Stop Waiting for Last-Minute Writing Inspiration
Take the challenge: write no fewer than 50 headlines for whatever kind of writing you do…in one week…to have options and inspiration at your fingertips. Because I don’t want you to be stuck sitting around waiting for last-minute inspiration. For show notes and resources, click here or on episode title. [5:30]
#49: Here’s to the Writer Moms
Writer moms are trying to raise their family while advancing their writing in some way. And it’s hard. My message to the writer moms listening? Keep your finger in the publishing world—keep making deposits in your writing career—and it will add up. For show notes and summary, click here or on episode title. [7:21]
#48: Why Do We Writers Put So Much Pressure on Ourselves?
There’s a time to take your work seriously, but the pressure? It’s too much. You can’t survive that over the long haul. Please, please don’t do that to yourself. I hope you are reaching and stretching yourself. But I also hope you are…finding joy.
For show notes and summary, click here or on episode title. [6:53]
#47: Don’t Be Afraid to Evolve
Don’t be afraid of letting a writing project sit until the idea grows and matures to the point where you feel you’ve got a handle on it. Likewise, don’t be afraid to let your writing life and evolve. It might feel easier to stick with what you know. But step out into the unknown, and you may find that the new type of writing you wanted to try ends up being your sweet spot and you’ve evolved into the writer you never knew you wanted to be. For show notes and summary, click here or on episode title.
#46: What’s the Big Idea?
Next time you set out to write, consider writing at the top of your screen your controlling idea, your theme statement, your thesis, or, simply, your big idea. Let that guide you. Because it’s a lot easier to write, if you know where you’re headed. For show notes and summary, click here or on episode title.
#45: You Don’t Have to Do It All
As the writer’s to-do list grows long, we start to see things sit unfinished and half-done on our screen or our to-do list. If you’ve been putting a lot of pressure on yourself to try it all, to get it right, to work nonstop, to reach every goal in a tight time frame, and everything’s falling apart or you’re falling apart…give yourself a break. You don’t have to do it all. For show notes, click here or on episode title.
#44: Every Writer Needs a Buddy
Wouldn’t it be nice to phone another writer who could provide a little input? You could swap projects and offer a few thoughts on each other’s work? Listen for where to find a writing buddy, when you should ask someone to be a mentor or coach instead of a buddy, and what you can gain from forming this relationship.
#43: How to Avoid Distraction and Manage Attention to Write
Take both a macro and micro view of attention, focus, and distraction. Avoid Shiny Object Syndrome and minimize everyday, moment-by-moment distractions. In addition, learn to become “meta-aware,” noticing when your mind is wandering and nudging it back to the task at hand by saying, “Okay, I’m writing now. So, quiet. I’m trying to concentrate.”
#42: Manage Your Energy So You Can Write
Think through high-level energy solutions such as the impact of sleep, nutrition, and exercise. Then experiment with actionable ideas—three simple solutions that offer immediate results to help us manage our energy so we can write.
#41: 5 Steps to Find Time for Writing
The steps are: (1) Figure out what you’re doing with your days. (2) Stop doing some of those things by eliminating, delegating, or pausing anything you can. (3) Determine if you’re in a chaotic season, and if you are, admit it and as much as possible, embrace it. (4) If you have a predictable schedule, block off time for writing; if you’re in a chaotic season, be ready to snatch an opportunity when time opens up. (5) When you find the time, write. For full show notes with resources, click here or on title.
#40: Take Charge of Your Writing Space, Tasks, and Projects
In this episode, I dive into another aspect of our space—ways to manage our writing tasks and projects. Whether you choose an analog or digital solution (or a combination of both), dump everything into one task management or project management system and commit to it.
#39: Manage Your Writing Space to Be a More Productive Writer
Consider many ways to improve your workspace, creating a punch list to work through. And be sure to clear your main desk area. If you take the time to evaluate, manage, organize, and maintain your writing space, you will be a more productive writer.
#38: Manage Your Writing Space, Time, Energy, and Attention
If we focus on these four areas, I’m convinced we can increase productivity as writers, even if we’re working with limited space, limited time, limited energy, and limited focus.
#37: How Good Does My Writing Need to Be Online?
Have you wondered how good your online writing needs to be? Do people expect blog posts to be messy? Maybe some readers don’t mind, but I offer three big reasons to produce your best work every time you write and publish on your blog.
#36: Why Writers Need Five Fat Files
What would you like to be known for? What would you like your name to be associated with? Pick five areas you’d like to grow in—even develop into an expert in—and focus your resources on those five areas, gathering material to read, to absorb, to own.
#35: Want to Be a More Creative Writer? Get Curious!
When something strikes a spark of interest, follow it. That right there is key to fueling our creativity when we’re working on our writing projects. If you want to be a more creative writer, follow a spark of interest, pay attention, stay eager, and get curious.
#34: Celebrate What’s Done
We can have a tendency to make our to-do list and continually look ahead to what we have yet to do, and never really stop, look back, and reflect on the day and say, “Look at all I got done!” However you go about it, I want you to reflect back, and celebrate what’s done. For show notes, click here or on episode title.
#33: Start with Three Sentences
Think of ways you can make tiny gains, because a few sentences will become a paragraph, a few paragraphs become a chapter. And a few chapters become a book. Set out to write at least three sentences. The following week, try to make a tiny gain, and sentence by sentence, you’re going to meet your goal, because tiny gains over time add up.
#32: What’s the Thing You Really Want to Write…That Scares You?
There’s something you want to write, but it scares you. You could be scared for a lot of reasons. When you think about this project…if you don’t write it, will you look back in ten years and wish you had written it? Yes? It’s time to write that thing you really want to write. Write it. Write it scared.
#31: Plan a Playful Year
When you think back to the early days of your writing life, do you remember being playful? Playing with words and stories? Writing just for the fun of it? If we can regain that playful freedom as writers, we’ll find freedom to be more creative and productive.
#30: Action Creates Clarity
Do something. Write something. Take action and gain clarity. Start trying to express your thoughts and as you write, your ideas and stories will solidify—or maybe they’ll get muddier! But if you take action, you’ll know what to do next.
#29: The Energizing Work of a Playful Writer
Play energizes our work. Let play light up your brain and feed your creativity. Research says the playful writer will come back with more energy and ideas than ever.
#28: In This Season of Big Dreams, Take Time to Write Small
This is a time to dream up some big goals for 2016 and think about how you can expand your reach and stretch yourself, and I definitely applaud and encourage that. But it can also be a time to go small—to use your words to connect with one or two people at a time.
#27: Pay Attention to Draw Attention
If you are unable to keep up even a modified version of your writing routine this holiday season, you can still do one thing: pay attention, to draw attention. Walking alongside your future reader, write as if you’re saying, “Look here. Can you see it?”
#26: Why Writers Need a Rut to Run In
Pre-decide what your routine will be. Set it on repeat, day after day, so that it’s automated, so it’s a habit, and it becomes a rut to run in, leaving you with mental space and energy…to write.
#25: Stuck in the Middle
The halfway point in a writing project is critical, because you know what it took to get to that point, so you know you need at least that much effort to finish. It can feel overwhelming. If you’re stuck in the middle, though—you can begin again.
#24: Let It Go or Let It Grow
If you waited a few beats too long and your idea was written up and sent out by someone else, you have some options: You can let it go, or let it grow.
#23: Never, Never, Never Sit on a Story
Though I’ve not been in the newspaper business other than writing the occasional feature story, I’ve learned this lesson from my dad’s managing editor. “Never, never, never sit on a story!”
#22: How Writers Increase Grit
In this episode I’m posing several ways writers can increase grit, so if you feel like a low-grit writer, listen and try some of the ideas.
#21: One Thing Every Writer Needs to Succeed
But there’s one thing writers need even more than a bullet journal or a filing system or Evernote or Asana or ToDoist or Wunderlist.
#20: How to Find and Generate Energy
But what if you don’t feel the energy? What if your writing feels stale? What then? That’s what Julie asked in her Facebook comment. Is it possible to find and almost generate energy?
#19: Find and Follow the Energy
It’s hard to write when there’s no enthusiasm for the project—when there’s no excitement for it. It’s hard to write when you’re missing that feeling of eager anticipation for digging in, when you’re lacking curiosity at what the finished product will be. If we follow that energy, however, we’re on our way to a satisfying writing life.
#18: Bless, Assess, or Press
Here’s a way to ask for input from individuals or groups. First, decide what level of input you truly want. Then ask the person or group to bless your piece, assess your piece, or press your piece.
#17: 6 to 1 Ratio (and Clicker Training for Writers)
Honest affirmation is kind of like clicker training for writers. It works especially well when you have the luxury of taking a long-range view, trusting that over time, the writer will self-correct the more confident he grows from knowing what he does well. The next best thing to rewarding the good with positive input and ignoring what’s not working is to put into place a 6 to 1 ratio of positive vs. negative feedback.
#16: Affirm, Affirm, Affirm
It’s so easy as a teacher to focus on correction and minimize affirmation but I learned I got far better results when I showed them what worked well in any given project. If I focused too much on what needed revision, they grew discouraged. So I tried to affirm in as many ways as possible.
#15: Non-Writing Writing Tasks
[Longer than normal episode] If we’re going to be the least bit serious about our writing, we’re going to have to do some non-writing, writing tasks. It’s part of the work. Learn ways to approach them.
#14: Progress, Not Perfection
I’ve discovered I’ve accomplished far more the times I’ve attempted to execute a plan and fallen short than the times I didn’t bother making a plan in the first place. If I set a goal and don’t meet it, I can still look back and see I’ve covered a lot of ground. Celebrate progress. Because progress is how you get the work done. Word by word by word.
#13: Multi-Sensory Writing
In this short podcast, I encourage writers to introduce at least three senses into their writing, whether they are working on fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. Don’t rely completely on the way things look. There’s also the way things sound, smell, taste and feel. Pick three. Bring your writing to life. One, two, three … and you’re done. For a scene to really come alive, include at least three senses.
#12: Rest and Productivity
It seems like a contradiction. A paradox. It seems impossible that more rest would result in greater productivity, but so we’re being told by study after study. Regular rest and renewal gives us the focus and energy we need to get our work done more efficiently and effectively.
#11: Learn the Lingo
A lot of the writers I work with as a writing coach feel frustrated because they’re trying to sell a book or start a blog or submit to an online magazine and end up confused and frustrated, lost in the publishing industry lingo. Don’t be afraid. Learn the lingo. The more you understand what the words mean, the more you’ll understand how things work. And then, the more confident you’ll feel diving into this world to do the writing you wanted to do all along.
#10: Food for Thought
A mash-up of Food on Fridays and The Writing Life, this episode covers brain food for writers.
#9: Start Where You Are
No matter how far you fall behind, you can get back in the game. Simply start where you are.
#8: Keep Calm and Carry On
It looked like I’d have to give up on my writing life. And I did have to step back from some responsibilities for a while until we figured out what this was going to look like. I stayed flexible and worked late and was able to continue with several commitments as we rode the roller coaster of my dad’s crisis. We never know what a day will bring, so keep calm and, as much as possible, carry on.
#7: Search and Destroy
Search and destroy the filler words that distract from the meat of the message, like “and,” “so” and “very.”
#6: What’s the Next Action
I use this GTD productivity question to break big writing projects into manageable chunks, prioritizing and ordering them as I go.
#5: A Writing Space with a Door
I longed for a door. A door, I thought, would help me become a productive, efficient writer. I had a writing space. I just needed a door. Yes, a door … to shut. If only I had a door, I could write.
#4: Goals vs Systems
There’s a difference between goals and systems.
#3: Collaboration with Charity Singleton Craig
What challenges did you face when you collaborated on a creative project and how did you work through them? Have your collaboration projects been filled with enough joy to balance out the challenges?
#2: Rescue Lost Time
When over the past week might you have rescued lost time to work toward a writing deadline? What tool or tools might you use to start rescuing lost time?
#1: Just Get Started
What have you been putting off because you’re afraid, uncertain, or intimidated by everything involved? What project could you start today?
I’m finally getting around to listening to these after the Christmas rush. Keep ’em coming, Ann! This is great encouragement. (And yes… I’m jotting down a few systems to meet my goals per Episode 4.)
Ann Kroeker says
So glad to see you here! Hope some systems can move you toward goals!
This is really great and nice podcast