Stuck In A Rut? Five Tips For Writing Your Way Out

by Catherine Matthews

 

As a writer, it is inevitable that you will reach the point where all you want to do is throw in the towel and walk away from your writing. You’ve written night after night and query after query, only to have your efforts met with kind but firm ‘no, thank you’ replies. Reading your own work no longer gives you pleasure; suddenly all you can see are problems. Problems that make you start wondering why you love this, if you love this, and are you really any good at it? Then comes the big question: Is any of this really worth it? Continue reading “Stuck In A Rut? Five Tips For Writing Your Way Out”

Four Mistakes Writers Make When Querying Literary Agents

By Sabrina Berndt 

As the submissions coordinator for a literary agency, I’ve noticed the majority of authors make at least one mistake in their query letter, most trying to find a clever way to capture the agents’ attention. However, standing out from the crowd is not always a good thing, especially when we provide clear guidelines. A clear query letter gives the impression that you can follow directions and will be easier to work with. Although an author may think their query might get lost in a sea of emails with the same format, the truth is proper submissions are the ones that truly stand out.

Here are a few of most common mistakes I see when sorting through query letters.    Continue reading “Four Mistakes Writers Make When Querying Literary Agents”

How to Keep Up With Your New Year’s Writing Resolutions

By Lauren Shade

Part of the excitement of a new year is the fresh start it gives you. Regardless of the past year, a new year holds so much potential. That is why starting the year off right – and maintaining your goals by exposing the new year’s potential – is so important. Yet many people who make resolutions, especially those involving writing, struggle to keep them. That is why we’ve created a list of ways to stay on top of your writing resolutions during the challenging months ahead.

Create a Schedule

It’s been said before but it has to be said again…and again. The best way to stay on top of your writing is to continue writing. The new year and all of the changes that it brings can be distracting. One of the most recommended things you can do to stay active with your story is creating a thought-out schedule for writing – and reading – times.

Give Yourself Small Goals

Frequently, we hear the resolution “I want to finish a book.” This isn’t a bad place to start. However, this idea should stand as your foundation.

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Each month you should work toward smaller, more realistic goals that will build up and, eventually, create a whole story. Ease into your resolution so you don’t get worn down by the task. Pacing yourself and finding time to set aside during your week in order to accomplish your writing goals will allow you to take your story slowly, not rush through important details and avoid becoming overwhelmed with the tasks ahead.

Find a Writing Partner

Finding someone to write along with is a fantastic way to stay on top of your writing. Critique partners will not only be motivation for you to continue writing but they also help you strengthen your writing. The same way a teammate can bring out the best in your game, critique partners offer fresh perspectives on your story and vice versa. If you’re struggling with where to start, social media is a great resource for finding critique partners for your work in progress! And if you already have a critique partner, try taking up another.

Use What’s Around You

One of my favorite ways to draw inspiration is by noticing the world around me. Noticing the way people speak and interact with each other and admiring the scenery/city in a new light – maybe even going out of your way to find someplace new – can all be, in their own right, fuel to forming new characters and plot. Some people do this by reading – which I recommended you do extensively this year – and some do this by observation.

Either way, the new year is about finding different and better ways to tell your story. Challenge yourself and maybe you will see things you didn’t see before. You can do this by reading outside your genre or finding a new place to write.

Just remember there are always resources out there to help you draw inspiration. The most important thing to do is to never give up on your writing, to continue to strengthen your craft, and to stay excited! If you hold on to that excitement and willingness to learn and grow, you’ll have no problem completing your resolutions.

Lauren Shade is a literary assistant with Holloway. Follow her on social media @Shade_Lauren.

10 Things Every Writer Should Be Doing

By Rachel Beck

They say you’re a writer if you write. But anyone chasing a book deal, who has put words on the page, enough to meet a goal word count, may constantly doubt those words are worth anything. Going from a writer to an author is the goal of anyone submitting their work to agents. As an agent, and former editor, I have received countless submissions and exchanged numerous email communications with aspiring authors, offering advice and as much helpful feedback and thoughts as I can.

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I constantly wonder how helpful I’m being, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to spell out ten simple things that I may not be able to communicate individually to each writer I interact with. If you want to go from a writer to an author, with a book deal and an editor and the whole she-bang, your chances of making that happen will be a lot greater if you can check off each of these things: Continue reading “10 Things Every Writer Should Be Doing”

Finding New Readers Through Your Local Library

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By Katelyn Uplinger

Writing a book takes a lot of time, effort, and determination, but authors aren’t off the hook when the book is published. Next comes marketing, which can be just as frustrating as writing. I’ve written before about how useful libraries can be for writers, but libraries can help you with more than just writing, researching, and improving your craft. Libraries offer other helpful options for published authors. Getting your book on the shelves of your local library can help you snag new readers and reviews. Some libraries even invite local authors to give talks or meet up with other authors.

Continue reading “Finding New Readers Through Your Local Library”

How to Motivate and Help Other Writers

By Sabrina Berndt

Although I am not a writer myself, I have plenty of friends and family members who do consider themselves writers. Sometimes they fall into a slump and don’t know how to get past their writer’s block. This is completely natural, but people tend to believe there’s nothing they can do to help. Today we’ll look at what you can do to help the writers’ in your friends and family conquer their writer’s block and keep telling their story.

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Be their cheerleader

Sometimes writers just want to feel appreciated. Especially if they’re unpublished, it’s hard to stay encouraged although their hay-day may be on the horizon. Or they simply get stuck and can’t seem to get around the dreaded writer’s block, which plagues every writer. Don’t be afraid to compliment them on their hard work and the piece itself. Writers have a difficult job, as we all know. It’s no easy task to create a place where readers forget reality and lose themselves in their story. If a writer you know is having a hard time, compliment them on their unique ideas and encourage them to tell their story. Whip out your pom-poms, sing them a song, whatever you need to do to make their day and break out their computer (or typewriter, we don’t judge).

Continue reading “How to Motivate and Help Other Writers”

Add a Sense of Time to Your Manuscript – An Agent’s Perspective

Time in writing is important. I know this is not groundbreaking news, but I think it should be said often and with passion.

Time informs everything within a story. Is it noon? Are we going fast or slow? What century are we in? Decade? Season? Day? You’d be surprised how often the amateur writing forgets or neglects time in their writing. And if I—or any other agent—lose the sense of time in a story, this is essentially the death of the story. So I have three general tips to keep in mind when revising. Continue reading “Add a Sense of Time to Your Manuscript – An Agent’s Perspective”