Category Archives: Guest post

Guest Post: 9 Blogging Mistakes to Avoid–and the Easy Fixes, by Web Design Relief

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This article has been reprinted with the permission of Web Design Relief.  Whether you’re just starting out or a best-selling author, Web Design Relief will improve your existing website or build you an affordable, custom author website to support your author platform, boost your online presence, and act as a hub for your social media outreach. Web Design Relief is a division of Writer’s Relief, a highly recommended author’s submission service. Sign up for their free e-publication for writers, Submit Write Now! Visit the site today to learn more.

Blogging is a smart way for writers to grow their audience. But just because you can write a great short story, poem, or novel doesn’t mean you’ll also be a natural at writing and maintaining an interesting blog. The experts at Web Design Relief know that new bloggers as well as those who have been blogging for a while can make some common mistakes. Here are the 9 biggest blogging mistakes to avoid, along with the easy fixes!

Common Blogging Mistakes To Avoid

Posting Only For Yourself

Your blog is not a diary! While it’s important to enjoy what you write about, your posts must be geared toward a wider audience. Talk about what your audience wants to know—not just what you want to tell them. Your content should be user-focused and educate, instruct, or entertain so visitors will want to return again and again to read your latest blog entry.

Constant Repetition

Your blog posts should make a point. It’s important that they have a point. One thing your post should definitely include is a main point. Do you see how annoying this is to read? While some repetition helps with SEO, don’t get carried away. Be sure to have something meaningful to say without reiterating the same information over and over again and again. The same goes for your blog topics—posts offering a range of topics will be more interesting than fifty-three posts about what to name a particular character.

If you search for your blog topic on the Internet and find thousands of similar blog posts, you might want to consider writing about something else—or choose a new angle for familiar content. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but try to keep your content fresh. If you need some inspiration, check out these forty blog post ideas.

Not Professional Looking

The writing for your blog articles should be conversational and casual, not stiff and formal. But that doesn’t mean you can skip formatting your posts! Your blog style should be professional and consistent. For example, if you title your posts, make sure you title ALL of your posts. Similarly, you should use the same design theme for each post.

Incorrect Length

You shouldn’t try to write a 50,000-word novel on your blog, because no one wants to read an overly long post. But your post shouldn’t be just three or four sentences, either—put something so brief on social media instead! A good rule of thumb is to aim for about 500 to 1,000 words per blog article.

Wrong Font Choices

Your font and the size of the typeface you use can make or break the readability of your blog post. If your text is too small, readers will have to zoom in to see your post. Likewise, using overly large text or fonts will have your visitors scrolling excessively or trying to shrink your posts. Choose a text size that visitors can read without adjusting—12 point often works well.

Avoid fonts that are too decorative, and don’t make your text the same or nearly the same color as your background. You can’t go wrong using Times New Roman or Calibri in black on a white background.

Posting Inconsistently

Whether you post once a month, once a week, or every day, choose a schedule that works for you—and stick to it. If you post every day for a week, then skip two weeks and post once, then don’t post anything for a month, your followers won’t know when to return to read your next installment. Being inconsistent when posting is one of the main ways that blogs lose readers. Use a calendar to plan your posts in advance.

Inaccurate Information

The only thing worse than a “this is old news” blog post is one that’s littered with incorrect information. Unless you are an expert on your topic, you should research your blog articles and include links and references for your readers. Your blog posts are more worthwhile to your audience when based on data that supports your claims. If you post inaccurate information, you risk damaging your credibility with your followers.

Being Unresponsive

When a reader comments on your blog, they’re often hoping to receive a response. When you don’t take the time to interact with your followers and respond to their comments, it limits all future engagement from your audience. Fans who get a response will feel a personal connection with you and your blog and are more likely to return.

If you’re not getting any comments, here are some tips on how to get people to comment on your blog.

Not Proofreading

Your blog article isn’t a casual throwaway piece—it’s an important way to build your audience and connect with your fans. Make sure your blog posts are proofread and edited just as thoroughly as your short stories, essays, poetry, or book. A post filled with typos and poor grammar will reflect poorly on your writing as a whole. A sloppy post will lose readers and leave any visiting literary agents or editors unimpressed.

Blogging can be a fantastic marketing tool and a way to stretch your creative muscles. Avoiding these common blogging mistakes will help you grow a larger audience and effectively engage your readers.

Question: Which blogging mistake do you see most often on blogs?

Guest Post: Merry Christmas by Kathy Temean

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Thank you to Kathy Temean and to Writing and Illustrating for these beautiful Christmas images and lovely accompanying music.

Writing and Illustrating

 

CHERYL PILGRIM: Being featured on Illustrator Saturday Janruary 11, 2020.

KATE COSGROVE: FEATURED ON ILLUSTRATOR SATURDAY.

DEBORAH MELMAN: FEATURED ON ILLUSTRATOR SATURDAY.

FRANCE BRASSARD:FEATURED ON ILLUSTRATOR SATURDAY

 Sleigh Ride

Jing, Jing, Jing Jingle,
the bells mix and mingle
with clip-clopping hooves as we glide,
on a sleigh sliding silently,
winding a path
on a shadowy, whispery ride

Toes tap and tingle,
as jingle bells jingle,
a single brave horse leads the way.
We snuggle together
like sleepy snowbirds
at the end of this best Christmas Day.
By Carol Murray

JIM STARR: FEATURED ON ILLUSTRATOR SATURDAY.

RUTH SANDERSON: FEATURED ON ILLUSTRATOR SATURDAY.

RUTH SANDERSON: FEATURED ON ILLUSTRATOR SATURDAY.

RENE GRAEF: FEATURED ON ILLUSTRATOR SATURDAY.

TIEMDOW PHUMIRUK:FEATURED ON ILLUSTRATOR SATURDAY.

HOW BEAUTIFUL CHRISTMAS

By Eileen Spinelli

How beautiful these wintry nights,

scented trees and twinkling lights,

ribboned gifts, stocking hung,

cookies baked and carols sung.

How…

View original post 136 more words

Guest Post: 6 Easy Steps to Book Your Author Blog Tour, by Web Design Relief

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This article has been reprinted with the permission of Web Design Relief.  Whether you’re just starting out or a best-selling author, Web Design Relief will improve your existing website or build you an affordable, custom author website to support your author platform, boost your online presence, and act as a hub for your social media outreach. Web Design Relief is a division of Writer’s Relief, a highly recommended author’s submission service. Sign up for their free e-publication for writers, Submit Write Now! Visit the site today to learn more.

It’s pretty common knowledge in the publishing industry that most book signing tours don’t generate big bucks for new authors. Sure—book tours can stir up buzz and interest. But most of the time, bookstore tours are put in place only after an author has established some kind of meaningful reputation that can translate into lines that wrap around the store.

These days, there’s a new way of connecting with readers that doesn’t involve brick-and-mortar book signings: blog tours. A blog tour is when an author does a series of interviews or guest posts on the blogs of book readers and reviewers. Blog tours are fantastic for author self-promotion.

Most of the time, blog tours are synchronized with book releases so that writers can sell more copies of their books. Blog tours can be inexpensive, fun, and rewarding!

How To Set Up a Blog Tour To Promote A Book

There are many ways to kick off your promotional blog tour. You can:

  • Hire a publicist to nab spots on popular blogs.
  • Hire an established and reputable book blog tour company (NOTE: There are unscrupulous companies that claim to get gigs for their clients on dozens of blogs, many of which lack a meaningful audience or are owned by the companies themselves).
  • Set up blogging dates yourself.

If you’re a DIYer and want to book a blog tour without having to pay for publicity help, here are the five steps that will get your book on great blogs.

1. Start reading book blogs. Do your research and narrow your focus to those blogs whose audiences are active readers in your genre. Make a list and track the blog’s attributes, audience participation, readership, and proclivities. HINT: Establish a clear minimum number in your head for the number of blogs that you’d like to appear on.

2. Establish a relationship. If possible, begin leaving comments on the blogs you like. Visit regularly. You may need to demonstrate your genuine appreciation of the blog before you’re invited to appear on it. Use Twitter and other networks to give shout-outs to blogs you like.

3. Write up a pitch plan. Some bloggers have writers beating down their door, begging for reviews and free promotion. You’ll need to make yourself stand out with a personal touch as well as an incentive. Are you willing to give away free copies of your book? Is your idea of what you’d like to “do” on the blog consistent with what the blogger is already doing? Are you willing to do interviews or only guest posts? Will you host the blogger on your author blog in exchange?

4. Draft your “nice to meet you” letter. Reach out to the blogger via a personal email when possible. Be kind, flexible, and maybe a little deferential: you’re asking to be invited to the party, after all. Express your appreciation for the blog and volunteer to host a giveaway (should the blogger believe that his/her audience would benefit from your visit to the blog).

5. Follow instructions carefully. If a blogger agrees to host you, be sure to follow directions. Also, include links to your social networks and author website in your post—just don’t overdo it.

6. Set up your blog calendar. On the days that your blog post is to appear on each guest blog, be sure to put in an appearance that day. Leave comments, interact with readers, thank the host for having you. Then, if you’re running a contest, follow up as soon as possible by sending out the prize.

When Your Author Blog Tour Is Over

Be sure to thank your host for his/her willingness to help you; you might even want to mail out a little thank-you gift. Then, keep your contacts well organized so that when you have another reason to do a blog tour, their contact information will be at your fingertips.

QUESTION: Do you like the idea of doing a blog tour?

Guest Post: Thanks, Lt. Dan! by Donna of My OBT

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Thanks to Donna for this spotlight on the Gary Sinese Foundation. When the article first appeared on her blog, My OBT, I looked up Gary Sinese’s Foundation on Charity Navigator, where it earned a high recommendation, and I signed up to donate monthly. Our veterans and first responders deserve our support and our gratitude.

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Photo: New York Post

In 1994, Gary Sinise was cast to play the memorable Lt. Dan in the blockbuster movie Forrest Gump. That role changed everything for him, not just in terms of his acting career, but also as a person. Though Sinise had never served himself, after the movie, he found himself being approached by service members – and especially veterans – who thanked him for his thoughtful portrayal of the character. Until that movie, wounded warriors were typically portrayed in movies as hopeless and broken. But though Lt. Dan went through a lot of tough things that really resonated with the veterans, his character was eventually able to make a new life for himself. What Sinise had been thinking of as a relatively small part in a Hollywood movie had brought hope to many of the veterans who saw it. The actor was moved by the soldiers’ stories, and wanted to do something to help, so he joined the USO. But he quickly realized that wasn’t enough; he knew he needed to do more.

From those unexpected beginnings came the Gary Sinise Foundation, an organization that raises money to help active military, veterans, first responders, and their families. Here are a few of the Foundation’s major programs and what they do:

  • RISE Program (Restoring Independence, Supporting Empowerment): adapts/builds handicapped-accessible vehicles and homes to help wounded veterans with their particular physical challenges
  • HOPE Program (Heal, Overcome, Persevere, Excel): offers emotional and financial support to veterans experiencing trauma, emotional distress, and injury.
  • Snowball Express Program: creates a community of support for Gold Star families by gathering them together for trips and celebrations.
  • First Responders Outreach Program: provides funds, equipment, training, and wellness programs for U.S. firefighters, police, and EMTs.
  • Serving Heroes Program: cooks and serves homemade meals to soldiers at active military outposts to make them feel closer to home.

The Foundation also does plenty of community outreach on a smaller level, too. The organization hosts numerous festivals (including performances by the Lt. Dan Band) to support and celebrate our military and their families. And they’re not all talk, either. In 2018, 89.86% of every dollar contributed was applied directly to support military and their loved ones, earning them high marks among the agencies that rate not-for-profits.

To continue reading this article, click here.

Guest Post: 12 Tips for Giving Your Characters the Best Names, by Writer’s Relief

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This article has been reprinted with the permission of Writer’s Relief, a highly recommended author’s submission service. We assist writers with preparing their submissions and researching the best markets. We have a service for every budget, as well as a free e-publication for writers, Submit Write Now! Visit our site today to learn more.

elements of fiction

In fiction, a name helps readers form an image of what a character looks and acts like. If you don’t believe us, try picturing Frodo Baggins with the name Mycroft Holmes, or Darth Vader as Atticus Finch. At Writer’s Relief, we know the right names can help your readers really connect with the characters in your short story or novel. And depending on how many characters are in your story, you might have to come up with a lot of names! Use these strategies and tips to give your characters the best names and make them more real and memorable for your audience.

What To Consider When Giving Your Characters Names

Time frame: In creating the right world for your story or book, the appropriate names are important. Mildred was a popular girl’s name in the 1920s, but you won’t find many parents giving that name to their daughters today. Tybalt is a great name for a medieval knight, while Zyla is more suited for a warrior living on Mars in the future.

Age: Some names seem more suited to older characters, while others feel more modern and better fit a young character. Aunt Edna will seem older than Aunt Susie. And as we mentioned earlier, keep in mind the names that would have been popular when your character was born.

Personality: Is your character no-nonsense with a dry sense of humor? A simple, short name might fit best. If your character is elaborate or showy, a more intricate name will help reinforce this trait. For instance, what kind of character does the name Digby Beaumont call to mind? Complete a character study for each of your characters to really know their personalities before you name them.

Parents: If your character’s parents play a vital role in the story (even if they are absent, like Harry Potter’s parents, James and Lily), think about what they would name their child, and what that choice might mean. Assuming your character is using the name their parents gave them, this could be a fun and creative way to come up with the perfect name!

Genre: In fiction, each genre has its own unique rules. If you’re writing science fiction or fantasy that features a unique jargon, you’ll want to reflect that element in your characters’ names. For a contemporary romance, you’d pick names that are more likely to sound like people your reader could be friends with.

Meaning: When you’re having trouble coming up with a name, think about the character’s chief qualities. Then choose a name that has that meaning. For instance, Kella is a name of Irish origin that means “warrior,” while Jamal is Arabic for handsome. You could also choose a name that embodies something your character would find significant.

Where To Find Character Names

Baby name books. Rather than trying to think up names off the top of your head, use a baby name book, which offers you a great resource and starting point. It will put hundreds of names at your fingertips, along with their meanings and origins.

Google. Want to know the most popular names in a given year, or to search for names by their histories and meanings? A quick Internet search will gather all that information for you in seconds! Random name generators are always fun to try too.

Movies and TV shows. Still can’t settle on the perfect character name? Consider giving a nod to one you’ve loved in another medium! Think back to characters who stand out from movies, TV, or plays.

Cemeteries. This may seem a bit morbid, but consider browsing old graves for characters’ names—especially if you’re writing a historical piece and need a name that’s accurate for a specific time period.

Places you’ve visited. The names of towns or landmarks can make great names for characters! If there’s a particular place that’s important to your character’s backstory, this is an angle to consider. Your wealthy entrepreneur who grew up in New York City might fittingly be named Madison.

Day-to-day life. Writers are expert eavesdroppers—when you’re people watching or when you happen to overhear a conversation, make note of the names you hear. You may come across a gem to save for later!

Once you’ve decided on a name for your character, give it a test drive. Then, after you’ve written a few scenes, go back and read your story to see if the name works. Does it suit the character? Are you envisioning someone who looks as you hoped? If yes, yay! Keep writing! But if your character’s appearance or actions don’t seem to mesh with the name you’ve chosen, maybe you want to consider another name. After all, Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s was named Connie Gustafson in the first drafts!

Question: What’s the best character name you’ve ever read?

Guest Post: Why Writing Poetry Makes for Good Storytelling by Liam Cross

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A big thank you to Liam Cross for this article extoling the virtues about writing poetry (and other genres), which first appeared on A Writer’s Path.

My Unwritten Rules For Writing

Me, personally, I’ve always been a huge believer of two key things when it comes to writing, and those things are: writing every single day in some way, shape or form, and also, branching out in your writing and walking into any unexplored avenue you uncover.

My Philosophy behind it is simple, the idea behind writing every single day is because I like to think of our creativity levels and imaginations as another skill that has to be perfected. Like how a football player must train his feet, us writers must train our imaginations and keep those creative juices flowing, or else the flow will fizzle out.

The same simplicity is applied to my theory of branching out in your writing. The more genres and styles we write in, the more we try out and learn about, the more developed we become as writers.

And sticking with this theory, I believe there’s a very distinct benefit to be had from writing poetry, in terms of your capacity to construct a beautiful and gripping novel-length piece of writing.

 

Poetry and its Secrets

I find poetry to be one of the most expressive forms of writing out there. There are no set rules, no set boundaries; no set regulations, it’s just you, the paper and your pen. And what could be more beautiful than the thought of a blank page coming to life with nothing more than the trapped ingenious thoughts of a writer and a few shabby scrawls of black ink?

To continue reading this article, click here.

Guest Post: How To Become A Better Poet – 7 Ideas To Try Right Now, by Writer’s Relief

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This article has been reprinted with the permission of Writer’s Relief, a highly recommended author’s submission service. We assist writers with preparing their submissions and researching the best markets. We have a service for every budget, as well as a free e-publication for writers, Submit Write Now! Visit our site today to learn more.

FYI

Writing great poetry is very different from writing a great short story or novel. As a poet, you use language in a unique way. Whether you’ve been writing poetry for a while or you’re considering giving it a try for the first time, Writer’s Relief has tips and advice to help you hone your skills and become a better poet. Here are the best ideas for mastering the craft of poetry.

7 Ways To Become A Better Poet

Read other poets. Take a little time every day to read the work of poets you admire—and poets who are new to you. You’ll become familiar with styles and forms and more aware of the current trends. Check out some of the great poetry collections available from your local library. And while you’re reading Shakespeare, Dickinson, and Angelou, be sure to check out the Instapoets too!

Keep a journal. You can jot down notes throughout the day and keep your journal by your bedside to record any inspiration from dreams as soon as you awaken. When you revisit your musings, you might find ideas for your next poem. If you’re worried about what you can fill your journal with, here are some ideas.

Experiment with poetry forms. Trying new poetic forms and meters can improve your skill set and add depth to your poetry. If you normally write in spondaic meter, try iambic, or dactylic for a change. If you typically write sonnets, try your hand at free verse. And even if you never intend to write rhyming poetry, give it a shot and shake up your status quo! You may find the basis for your next poem within those rhyming verses.

Develop a writing schedule. How can you put your free-spirited muse on a schedule? By making writing a habit! Establish a writing routine and let your muse know your new office hours so she can visit more regularly. If you’re not feeling particularly inspired on a given day, try some freewriting to spark your creativity.

Try a new literary device. When used correctly, figurative language such as similes and metaphors can enrich your writing and poetry. Simile compares unlike things that have similarities and uses the words “like” and “as,” while the metaphor is a more direct comparison. Making comparisons can shine a new light on your subject. Alliteration and synecdoche are two other techniques that can enhance your poetry. Here are nine rhetorical devices you might want to try.

Explore other types of writing. Flex your writing muscles by trying another genre. Challenge yourself by writing a short story or a piece of flash fiction. You may discover the beginnings of a prose poem! Experimenting with a new genre will keep your poetry fresh and engaging.

Connect with other poets. Whether in person or online using conferencing platforms, you can join a local poetry writing group, participate in an open mic night, and attend reading events. You can also follow your favorite poets on social media. By interacting with other poets, you’ll learn how they approach writing and pick up new inspiration for your own poetry. Being a member of a poetry writing group will also nudge you to create work on a more consistent schedule.

Try a few (or all!) of these seven ways to boost your creativity—they’re sure to have a positive impact on your poetry writing skills and help you to become a better poet.

Question: Who is your favorite poet?

Guest Post: 10 Ways To Help Your Literary Agent Help You Get Published, by Writer’s Relief

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This article has been reprinted with the permission of Writer’s Relief, a highly recommended author’s submission service. We assist writers with preparing their submissions and researching the best markets. We have a service for every budget, as well as a free e-publication for writers, Submit Write Now! Visit our site today to learn more.

FYI

Every book author dreams of landing a literary agent and getting a publishing contract. Of course, the first step to accomplishing this is to write a really good book! But at Writer’s Relief, we know there’s something more you can do to make your manuscript even more appealing when you’re trying to get a literary agent: Make the agent’s job easier. Help your literary agent by making it easy to pitch your book to publishing houses! When you take steps to help your literary agent help you get published, you boost your odds of a literary agent—and a publishing house—saying YES to your book.

What You Can Do To Help Your Literary Agent Sell Your Book

Write a strong manuscript. This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s the most important part of selling your book! Make sure your book has strong writing, characters, and plot. If your agent suggests any revisions, be sure to give them thorough consideration and make any edits that improve your manuscript.

Proofread diligently. You want your manuscript to be as clean as possible to make a good first impression! Double- (even triple-) check your spelling and grammar, and format your manuscript to publishing industry standards. If you can, hire a professional proofreader. Writer’s Relief can help—our proofreaders are top-notch!

Hit the right word count. Each book genre has its own recommended word count. Though there are notable exceptions to these rules, never assume that’s the case for you. And remember, it can be especially tough to break word count norms as a first-time author.

Curate a solid social media presence. For editors, deciding whether or not to take on a book isn’t just about great writing; it’s also a game of numbers—potential sales numbers. You’ll look much more attractive to publishers if you already have a strong fan base via social media. Agents and publishing editors will see your loyal fans as a ready-and-waiting audience eager to buy your books.

Have a strong author bio. Are you uniquely qualified to write the book your agent will be sending to editors? Are you an expert on your subject matter? For example, if your murderer is a baker and you went to culinary school, knowing your way around a mixing bowl will benefit your manuscript. Having publishing credits will also go a long way in supporting your book. A strong author bio is a good selling point for fiction and nonfiction alike, and can help tip the odds in your favor when your book is shopped to publishers.

Know your audience—and the market. It’s your agent’s job to know the literary market, but you should also do your research. You want to make sure your project is potentially marketable and suits the tropes of your genre. Knowing classics in your genre as well as what’s currently popular is imperative.

Communicate, communicate, communicate. The best agent-author relationships are partnerships that have openness and honesty. Your agent can’t help you unless he or she knows what you want! How often do you expect your agent to give you updates on how the process is going? Do you want to know exactly what editors say when they pass on your book? Communication with your agent is key to your success!

Avoid being a pest. While it’s good to have an open line of communication between you and your literary agent, you don’t want to become annoying. That’s not how to work with your agent if you want to have a good relationship! Remember, they have other clients and are also busy trying to sell your books to editors. If it’s been a few weeks and you haven’t heard back from your agent with answers to your questions, you can follow up (nicely!). But don’t call, text, and e-mail just because you haven’t received a reply within an hour.

If you’re still at the querying stage trying to land an agent, definitely do not pester the agents to whom you’ve sent submissions. Making a pest of yourself now will only show literary agents that you’ll be needy and difficult to work with—traits agents and publishers don’t want to deal with.

Make yourself available. Many writers are procrastinators by nature, but it’s important not to procrastinate with your agent. If you’ve promised your agent a new draft by a certain deadline, be sure to send in the work on time, or explain why you need an extension. And if an editor asks for more materials, or wants you to do some revisions, or wants to talk to you directly, be sure to respond quickly! Build a reputation in the publishing industry as a reliable writer.

Be patient. Sometimes waiting while your literary agent submits your book to publishing editors can take even longer than your own process of submitting to agents. Though it can be nerve-racking to wait while editors review your book, remember  your agent can’t make editors respond any faster. 

By following these tips, you’ll make your query much more attractive to literary agents because it will be easier to sell your book to publishing houses. You can boost your odds of getting published by helping your agent help you!

QUESTION

How are you prepared to help a literary agent sell your book to publishers?

Guest Post: How to Feel Like Writing Again, by Ryan Lanz

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Thank you to Ryan Lanz and to A Writer’s Path for this excellent article on reviving your motivation.

frustrated-writer-2

by Ryan Lanz

We’ve all felt it at one time or another. The story loses its shine and you’re left with a half-completed story. Why does this happen, and how do you continue?

For a lot of writers, this is the mid-point of the story, but truly, it can happen at any point. I want to focus on something entirely different from “writer’s block”; this topic regards when you know what to write next, but you just don’t feel like doing so.

“Of course, motivation is not permanent. But then, neither is bathing; but it is something you should do on a regular basis.” – Zig Ziglar

The cursor blinks at you, nudging you to continue typing, but the combination of your eyes drooping and the itch to do something else feels overwhelming. You’ve already procrastinated enough today. Your bedroom can only be cleaned so many times, and you’ve already checked Facebook, Twitter, and your email twice in the past half-hour.

“Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.”

You’re a writer. You know how to get the job done; it’s the motivation that’s lagging. Let’s look at some different factors.

Your story no longer excites you
For me, this usually happens just on the other side of the midpoint, roughly 55% into the book. About then, I usually start envying short story writers. It’s when the thrill of the beginning and even the spike of the midpoint event wears off, and I have to begin laying the ground work for the finale, but it’s not yet to the exciting build-up for the ending climax.

Wherever it normally happens for you (and it could change from story to story), it can be a trial. Why does it happen? Here are a few possibilities:

  • You’ve already thought of the next story, and you’re more interested in starting the new one than finishing the current one
  • You hit a plot snag and aren’t looking forward to unraveling it
  • You realize that your story idea might not be as interesting as you thought it was
  • Self-doubt creeps in
  • Life got in the way of writing, and you’re not as emotionally connected
  • Something as simple as: it’s just not new and shiny anymore

The first one gets me every time.

To continue reading this article, click here

Guest Post: Not Inspired To Write Right Now? Here’s How To Get Unstuck, by Writer’s Relief

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This article has been reprinted with the permission of Writer’s Relief, a highly recommended author’s submission service. We assist writers with preparing their submissions and researching the best markets. We have a service for every budget, as well as a free e-publication for writers, Submit Write Now! Visit our site today to learn more.

FYI

When life gets complicated, it can be hard to maintain your normal writing routine. You’re worried or distracted (or both!), your muse seems distant, and you’re just not feeling inspired. And if you do try to write, the end result seems merely so-so. Don’t get discouraged! If you’re not feeling inspired to write, Writer’s Relief has simple tips that can help you get unstuck and back on speaking terms with your muse.

How To Get Unstuck And Inspired To Write Again

Read Something New

If you’re a writer, you’re probably also a voracious reader. But if you want to counteract the burnout you’re currently feeling, mix it up and get out of your comfort zone! Read an author or genre that’s new to you. If you usually read science fiction, try a Western or a cozy mystery. If your favorite author is David Baldacci, pick up a book by Brandon Sanderson. Or, if most of your reading is fiction, switch to nonfiction and see where that leads you. Many writers regularly scan the newspapers (remember those?) for ideas and inspiration.

Listen To Music

Music is a wonderful source of inspiration, and author playlists continue to gain popularity. Writers have created inspirational playlists on many popular music streaming platforms, and you can listen in too! You can also create your own motivational playlist to get your muse humming along. You might consider going old school and playing vinyl records, which have resurfaced in a big way. Whether it’s classical music or classic rock ‘n’ roll, try listening to music you normally don’t tune in to—it’s a great way to shake it up, twist and shout, and work it on out!

Start A Collection

Author Ransom Riggs began collecting peculiar vintage photographs, but what he discovered is that the photos spoke to him. They each had their own story to tell, which Riggs wove together for his first novel, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Ignite your creative spark by starting a collection of something that interests you. A coin collection may lead to ideas about what the money was used to buy or the foreign country it came from. Estate jewelry may inspire stories or poems about the person who might have worn a ruby brooch or silver airplane cuff links.

Take A Mini Road Trip

Countless novels were and are inspired by road trips, one of the most acclaimed being On the Road by Jack Kerouac. But you don’t have to drive across the country to find inspiration for your poem, short story, novel, or blog. Instead, take a drive (or a walk) around town using streets you don’t normally travel. Who lives in the old house on the dead-end street? Why are there so many pink flamingos on that corner lawn? Is that a chicken crossing the road, and where did it come from? You’ll be surprised to discover how much inspiration you can find right in your own neighborhood.

Visit Museums Online

Most museums have online virtual tours available. And you don’t have to limit yourself to art museums! Science, natural history, war, and archeology museums are all great places to find inspiration. So sit back, grab a cup of cocoa, and visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Louvre, or The Museum of Natural History—all while wearing your jammies!

Try Crafting Or A Hobby

Another way to beat writer’s block is to engage in a creative, non-writing activity to help your mind reset so you can be more receptive to inspiration. Crafting is a great way to do this! If you need some new material, why not plug in that sewing machine you got for your birthday three years ago? There are lots of easy sewing patterns on the Internet to try. Knitting and crocheting are also very popular right now. When you’re finished, you’ll enjoy a sense of accomplishment and perhaps be inspired—and you’ll have a new scarf, hat, or blanket as well!

A new hobby can also help you discover new routes to inspiration for your book, short story, poetry, or blog. How about genealogy? (What? Uncle Milt was a fighter pilot and part-time spy?) Astronomy, jigsaw puzzles, or bird-watching, anyone? To get started, check out the hobbies of these famous authors.

Send Snail Mail

Social media and e-mails have taken the place of mailing a letter via the postal service, but the art of letter writing has not disappeared entirely. Some authors believe it is actually easier to process thoughts with handwritten words. Joyce Carol Oates, Neil Gaiman, and Tom Wolfe all prefer writing their novels in longhand. So, if you’re seeking inspiration, pick up a pen and paper instead of sitting down with the laptop.

Mail everyone you know a card with a handwritten note inside, and the experience may reveal some insights or call to mind an event involving that person. You’ll be inspired, and they’ll love getting something from you in the mail!

Want more ways to get inspired and kick-start your creativity? We have a few articles that will help:

Post These Quotes: Workspace Inspiration To Keep You Motivated

Inspiration For Poets: 15 Ways To Breathe New Life Into Your Poetry

Starved For Inspiration? 12 Ideas To Get Your New Story Started

7 Ways To Find Writing Inspiration In Your Memories

Question: How do you get unstuck when you hit a writing slump?