What to Write When You Don’t Know What to Write

This week, I’m taking a break from The Psych Writer to discuss writing.

Writing is my bread and butter. I have some posts I’ve written about writer’s block, and facing the terror of the blank page. In fact, I’ve written about the blank page twice, at least. But writer’s block still seems to be one of the biggest complaints I’ve seen among young writers or writers who are just starting out.

Recently, I got this in the form of a question. “What am I supposed to write when I don’t know what to write?”

Since I am trained as a therapist, I tend to want to pick apart problems and either reframe them or otherwise deconstruct them in order to help.

So when you don’t know what to write, it could be for a variety of reasons.

  • You may be afraid of failing and not completing a project.
  • You may be afraid of succeeding and not knowing what to do next.
  • You may think your writing will never be good enough, so part of you feels it’s not even worth starting.

There are obviously many more reasons for keeping that page blank, but for this post, let’s just focus on these three. If you have one or two you’d like me to address, please shoot me a message on Facebook if you’d like, and I’ll address them in future posts.

  1. You’re afraid of failing and not completing a project.
    It happens. I have a few manuscripts I’ve abandoned about 3/4 of the way through because the idea wasn’t panning out, I couldn’t write the characters in a way that satisfied me, or a variety of other reasons. It happens to everyone. Think of your favorite writer, living or dead, and I could almost guarantee you they have abandoned and unfinished work.

    The best way to get around this is the “fuck it” philosophy. Say to yourself that you’re going to start a project and if it doesn’t pan out, fuck it. Start over, change direction, whatever. You can also just keep going even if you know it sucks, because the first draft of everything sucks. So go until you’re finished. Write until there’s no story left. You can revise it later.

  2. You may be afraid of succeeding and not knowing what to do next.
    This is one I’ve heard a few times now, so it’s not terribly uncommon. In this case, you’re fortune-telling. Can you really see the future and know you’ll be devoid of further ideas? Well, so what? One book that’s finished beats the hell out of one half-finished story that never got off the ground. Preventing yourself from succeeding because of what might be next cheats you out of the satisfaction of a finished project.
  3. You may think your writing will never be good enough, so part of you feels it’s not even worth starting.
    There’s one thing I’ve learned, and I’ve said it above–the first draft of everything is a steaming pile of crap. Some of it has potential, but every first draft needs to be reworked. You will learn to kill your darling manuscript with a hatchet at first, then come back with fine, surgical editing tools to improve it. Tell the part of you that tells you it’s not worth starting to shut up,  because that part of you cannot know what it feels like to finish a project. You have to get to the end to know what that’s like.

When you sit down to the keyboard, or sit with a pen and paper, block out the future. Block out expectations. Block out everything but you and that page, and tell it your passions, your fears, your world.

Get writing.


I am Anne Hogue-Boucher, and I write books. You can read them here.

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Non-Fiction Review: How to Pronounce Drug Names by Tony Guerra, PharmD

One of my promises is not to constantly “sell” you my books on my blog. I like to spotlight other authors, and I have a few queued up to tell you all about, but I like to be about variety. So this week, I bring you non-fiction.

Anyone who knows me understands my love for medicine. I have a passion for science. This week, I’m going to tell you all about my nerdy and strange fascination with pharmaceuticals. Go ahead, laugh. Tell me I’m crazy. I’ve heard it all before. I’m probably accused of being a shill for Big Pharma. If this shill thing is real, though, someone please tell me how to become one! I could use the money. (Pfizer? Merck? Novartis? Anyone?)

No takers? Damn.

Well, back to my fascination, then.

I think it all started when I was a young woman and a pharmacist saved my life. It wasn’t anything terribly dramatic, but it could have been. The pharmacist caught a potential life-threatening drug interaction, told me to wait, and then called my doctor. He got an answer right away (because that was one hell of an organized office), and found me an alternative drug to take. When I asked him what that was all about, he stopped everything he was doing and showed me exactly what happens chemically between the drug I was currently taking and the Rx I needed, and explained that I could have had sudden cardiac arrest.

He treated me like a peer, did not speak down to me, and made sure I understood to not ever take that one med while I was on the other one. Sadly, I don’t recall his name, but I know he saved my life.

Fast-forward about 20 years, and here I am, fascinated by chemistry, biochem, and human biology. People tell me I should go to med school or become a pharmacist, but I prefer to write.

One day I was searching on how to properly pronounce “metoprolol” because I had heard it two ways. Well, I like to pronounce things correctly, so I looked at google, and that’s when I found the coolest pharmacist ever.

His YouTube channel is Tony PharmD, and he is a teacher. He teaches Pharmacy Technicians, and I like to imagine all of his Pharm Techs graduate at the top of their classes. Because his videos are informative and they keep one’s attention, I can only think that his classes must actually be a lot of fun.

So I subscribed right away to his channel and I have not been disappointed.

Recently, Dr. Guerra (he has his doctorate in Pharmacology) posted about some books he’d written. Of course, now I’m drooling. Books? Books that can teach me? I love learning. There are two: Memorizing Pharmacology, and How to Pronounce Drug Names. If you are a student of pharmacy, whether you’re a tech or going for your doctorate, get them both. They will help you, especially if you struggle with chemistry.

Tony was kind enough to let me have a code for a copy of How to Pronounce Drug Names. I have finally made it all the way through the six-hour audio-book, and I have to say, it’s tempting me a great deal to go to school to become a pharmacist. I’m looking forward to listening to Memorizing Pharmacology–that one is seven hours and sixteen minutes long, so I’ll have to devote my evenings to that one soon when I’m not editing.

For any student who has English as a second language, has difficulties with pronunciation, and/or who struggles with chemistry, I believe they will find How to Pronounce Drug Names helpful in their studies. If you aren’t a student and just a nerd like me who likes to pronounce things correctly (it’s “lore-at-a-deen,” not “lore-at-a-dine”), you’ll enjoy it, too.

I especially enjoyed Tony’s choice of Ann M. Richardson as a narrator. Her voice is as smooth as silk. I thought she was a computer, at first. She keeps your attention with succinct pronunciation, although the anecdotes don’t carry much emotion. You have to watch Tony’s videos first and then listen to How to Pronounce Drug Names second to get a feel for the anecdotes in the introduction. But overall, that’s a minor shortcoming to Richardson’s reading, because it’s an educational piece and it’s more important to focus on learning than pure entertainment.

This is an excellent supplement to learning, but it can be useful for anyone. One copy is only $19.95, too, so it’s not even expensive, either–you get 6+ hours of learning out of it, and that’s worth the price.

Happy reading, or in this case, happy listening!


There will be more reviews to come, and a return of The Psych Writer is soon. In the meantime, follow Anne on Twitter and Facebook. It’s always a learning experience.

On Writing Reviews – The Dude

Have any of you read Food with the Dude? Well, it’s not your average food critic site, where someone who’s all stuck up their own ass gives a review/critique of the service in relation to their own personal snobbery.

If you want to become a reviewer and food critic, I think you need to follow The Dude. His unique approach is fair and covers multifaceted aspects of a restaurant, including accessibility, sanitation, food quality, and service. What I like most about it is that he keeps it fair.

Take a look at one of the more negative reviews about a restaurant that couldn’t quite get his mother’s steak right. Now, some of these food snobs who call themselves “foodies” because they’re too afraid of the word gourmand and couldn’t spell it if they tried could really afford to take a lesson from The Dude. He uses tact and thoughtfulness to express why service was not up to par, or why the food wasn’t as tasty as it could have been. Blame isn’t assessed, it’s analyzed.

The Dude keeps a rule of “Be Nice, Be Respectful,” and it works. When I read his reviews, I feel like I know exactly what to expect when I visit the restaurant he’s reviewing. He follows ethical critique which is a refreshing break from the bombastic style of “food critics” who just want to be crabby, snobbish bitches.

I suppose I could take a lesson from The Dude, myself, as I’m a bit crabby. But in all seriousness, I enjoy reading his reviews and am looking forward to a road trip to try out some of these places. If The Dude ever comes to Atlanta, I’ll be pleased as a pig at the trough.

This review style is the kind of succinct, straightforward writing I enjoy seeing in a review. He cuts out the nonsense and presents you with the real experience.

It’s a great example if you’re looking for inspiration on how to write your own reviews.

Nicely done, Dude.


I like to write about writing, and I do a little writing, myself. If you’re looking for something to read that’s a fun scare and enjoy Lovecraftian nightmares, check out my author page on Amazon. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Pleasant Publishing with Pronoun

Ugh, even that title sounds like an advert. But I promise it’s really not. I’m receiving no compensation from Pronoun for writing this. I just wanted to share my experience for all of the indie writers out there who are looking for a platform to get their work out for public consumption.

Back in October, in time for Halloween, I published Now Entering Silver Hollow. Well, we published it (my spouse and I).

The first time I was in print, Red Rattle Books took care of everything for me. They did my editing, proofing, publishing, and marketing. In that sense, traditional publishing is lovely. But the downside is that you have to do a lot of your own marketing, too, and you will see less of a cut for the work you put out. Your ROI is much more slim.

Then, I published Exit 1042 using Kindle Direct Publishing. It was simple enough. Just follow the steps and get your book out. This process was simple. The only added difficulties were that I had to do my own editing, proofing, publishing, and marketing. Okay, fine. At least I get a slightly larger piece of the pie I spent all my time slaving over, so that works for me. The downside of that is the distribution isn’t wide. It’s on Amazon Kindle and that’s that. So people who own/use/want to access through Nook, Kobo, Google Play, or iBooks are screwed if they want to read your things, because Amazon held onto it exclusively.

That’s okay, of course, because I agreed to it and thought it would be helpful because I was new to self-publishing and had no idea there was a way to publish on all platforms all at once.

Then, along comes Pronoun.

I had no clue what it was, but I was doing an article about the astounding ProWritingAid app when I had to write about publishing platforms. That’s when I found Pronoun and fell in love.

It’s a clean, easy-to-use publishing platform that lets you publish on multiple avenues. If you’re not lucky enough to have a professional editor or otherwise excellent editor look at your work before you publish it, they can connect you to their services. Yeah. They also have amazing book cover artists that will help you with your book’s cover art. Granted that part isn’t free, but you as a writer understand that artists and craftspeople deserve to be compensated for their work.

But everything else on Pronoun is free. You publish, you get your royalties when people buy. That’s it. No magic.

So I started out and discovered that when Pronoun became difficult and unwieldy, it wasn’t a part of the platform that was giving me problems–it was my own errors. Fortunately those were easy to clear up. A bit of formatting here, a touch of what the hell am I doing there, and voila, problems solved.

I had great support throughout the process. I found one issue where I ran into a brick wall and needed help. For some reason, my print ISBN wasn’t pulling through with Amazon, so while Pronoun was telling Amazon they were the same book on different platforms, Amazon was having a derp moment and not believing it.

I contacted Pronoun, thinking they were probably insanely busy and wouldn’t be able to get back to me in a hurry, so I’d have to suffer with the issue for a few days. Not so. A friendly Author Happiness Advocate (yes, that’s their title) named Elissa Bernstein got back to me in less than 16-hours and was pretty much the most incredible person I could work with. She was friendly, personable, and went out of her way to make it a painless experience. She reached out to Amazon who graciously fixed the problem and in less than 24 hours from the time my issue started, it was resolved. I know Amazon also has great customer service (I know this through experience), but I really didn’t think they’d hop-to when Pronoun came knocking.

Don’t know why I thought that but I’m glad I was wrong.

So much gratitude to Elissa for that, and for answering all of my off-the-wall questions about publishing. I’ve promised myself not to pester her with philosophical/unrelated queries, but I bet her answers would be phenomenal.

Here’s the GTTP (get to the point) version: If you’re going to do your own publishing, use Pronoun for your eBooks and CreateSpace for print. You won’t want to run screaming from the house and throw yourself off a cliff that way.


Anne writes books. She likes to write. Write. Anne. Write. You can follow her around on Facebook and Twitter, even at the same time, probably.

Discover Stephen Bentley: It’s his turn now…

In case you missed it, a few weeks ago, I was interviewed by the wonderful Stephen Bentley. You can find it here: Discover Anne Hogue-Boucher: Author Spotlight – Stephen Bentley

So now I’d like to chat with you a little bit about Stephen and just how cool he is. I mean, he’s mega-cool. He’s cool with extra cool.

He wrote a book about the events where he was an undercover cop for Operation Julie. If you’re in the UK, then you probably already know that’s a huge deal. It radically changed the way drug busts operated there, essentially setting the standard for future operations.

I think the tale is so thrilling because it’s true, and Stephen is unflinching in his assessments–of himself, his colleagues, and those he was set to watch. Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story tells us a lot about the action but doesn’t come across as cheesy. You don’t feel like you’ve been dropped into an episode of Starsky & Hutch (yes, I’m dating myself with that reference, shut up).

If you haven’t read my interview with Stephen, head on over and take a gander, and while you’re at it, head on over and grab a copy of Undercover: Operation Julie. Then, why not head on over to my Author’s Page and see what I’ve got cooking?

I’m still waiting to hear from a few more of you about The Psych Writer, and I’ll be back with that in just a couple weeks. Currently I’m working hard on NaNoWriMo, tackling a Weird West tale this time. I’ll tell you more about that later.

See you next week, and keep reading.

 

 

Who is a writer? Jen Jones on the Full-Time Writer

When I recently read an article by Jen Jones called Writing Is My Job, her voice resonated with me. As a full-time writer and editor, I know those struggles. Of people belittling and demeaning your work because you don’t have a standard 9-to-5.

Well, for the holidays, I took a temp job in October for three months so I could make extra money. So currently I do this second job, come home, write, sleep, and start over all over again the next day. For me, it’s a second job that might last six months instead of three, but we’ll see. My writing comes first.

For those of you who are writers, I just wanted to let you know that it’s okay to consider your current 9-to-5 as your second job. Because that’s what it is. You may not make enough to quit the second job and devote full-time to writing, or you may not be able to stretch the budget to get used to being paid quarterly.

It doesn’t matter. Your reasons are private and what you make is no one’s business.

And for those of you who don’t write and look down on those who do say they’re writers, sit your judgmental asses on the side for a second and listen up: if someone tells you they’re a writer, don’t make your first question “are you published?” It may seem like an innocent enough question and seem like you’re just inquiring where to buy their work, but to a writer who is struggling to publish or finish a manuscript, it can be a painful question. Plus I know some people do it to be dinks and belittle the person’s profession or make them feel small. That’s not any of my readers, though, I’m sure.

Just because they aren’t published yet doesn’t make them any less of a writer. I’ve published 5200 articles–all of them ghost-written. I’ve published a short story in an anthology, and I’ve published a one-shot short story on Amazon. I have a full composite novel coming out just in time for Halloween. Yes, I’m a writer. Even before I published my first short story.

Be nice to us indie authors. We’re just here to tell stories and be entertaining.

So what do you ask, then? A better question is, “what are you working on?” Okay, while it’s a grammatically incorrect question, it gives the writer a chance to tell you about their newest project or something they have already published. It increases your likelihood that you won’t be killed off in their next chapter, too. So side benefit.

“What are you working on?” is the question that a writer asks another writer, unless we’re being dicks on purpose. Sometimes I’ll ask, “where are you at with publishing?” because I want to be helpful. It’s a different question than “are you published” because I don’t presuppose that you have to be published to be a writer. It also gives the other writer a chance to brag about their new deal with Random House, or tell me they’re braving the waters of self-publishing and are in need of an editor.

Whether you’re a full-time writer or you have a second job to support your writing career, if you work hard day in and day out writing on your manuscript and you know what it means when I say the phrase “elevator pitch” without using Google, then congratulations, you’re a writer.


My name is Anne, and I write stuff. You can follow me on Twitter and Facebook. I also answer questions on Quora.

The Psych Writer: Grief – Phase Six: Depression

This has been a dreary series for some, I’m sure, so thank you to all the readers who are stubborn enough to get through it with me. For others, you understand that death and grief are part of the human condition. It’s worth closer examination. Sometimes it even helps.

Last week as part of The Psych Writer series, we took a look at the fifth phase of grief: anger. This week, we examine depression.

Remember (and for regular readers, say it with me): these phases are organized for the benefit of the clinician. They are not set in stone and the patient will likely not feel these things in order, or one at a time. They might, but they might not. Grief is individualized.

As clinicians we have a bit of a conundrum on the use of the term “depression” here, because depression is a clinical diagnosis. It’s more than just feeling sad. Depression is an illness that is typically long-term, can be lifelong, and can be hazardous to the patient. Yet we use the term here because depression not only means feelings of sadness, but a patient can develop Major Depressive Disorder in this phase. Not only that, those who already have MDD can face a downturn in mood or behavior. In other words, grief can push them further down the spiral.

Basically, you’ve got a lot of shit to do in this phase, too.

Depression from the Patient’s POV
Life is empty and pointless without X, where X is the source of loss. This is the phase most commonly associated with grief, so chances are, you’re familiar with it. Life is colorless. Bland. Some of the things I’ve heard from people in this phase have been soul-sucking. The depths of despair when facing a loss can be, well, depressing.

“I cannot live without them.”

“Not even food tastes the same.”

“I’ll never be able to listen to jazz again. It reminds me too much of my [loved one].”

“We used to go for walks together every day. Now I can’t even get out of bed. Without X, it’s just not worth it.”

“If I’m dead, then I can join them.”

Anything you can imagine that reflects the loss that’s depressing as hell can be found in this phase. It is utter disaster for a patient. Some believe they will never recover.

Sadly, some won’t recover. Some will spiral into MDD, and some will get worse if they already have MDD.

Depression from the Therapist’s POV
It is up to you to help the patient move away from this phase. It is not done quickly, and there is no efficient magic trick to make them better. Sometimes, you have to call in a psychiatrist’s consultation, particularly if the patient is already on medication for MDD, or they really should be on something for MDD. No, you’re not giving them a magic pill that will take away their pain of loss; nothing will do that. When you suggest medication, it’s because you are using a tool that may help pull them back from the abyss and give grief clarity.

In other words, you are helping them to just grieve, rather than get sucked down into the horrific abyss of MDD.

Remember some of the things I mentioned that I’ve heard from people in the depression phase? Let’s look at them through the lens of an ethical therapist.

“I cannot live without them.” (Silent warning bells. Find out if the patient is suicidal. Find out if they have the plans, and means. You may have to hospitalize.)

“Not even food tastes the same.” (Anhedonia is possible. Discuss what this means for the patient. Find out if they’ve had any unexpected weight loss. Note it. If patient has history of an eating disorder, consult with treatment team. Work with them and the patient. Work with the patient to help them find a way to remember their loved one through food, but in a healthy way.)

“I’ll never be able to listen to jazz again. It reminds me too much of my [loved one].” (Anhedonia is possible. Discuss the reasons. Let the patient talk and tell you a story about their loved one’s favored music. Help them remember this is a process and that over time it may become a positive way to remember the loved one.)

“We used to go for walks together every day. Now I can’t even get out of bed. Without X, it’s just not worth it.” (Loss of a physical activity can make depression worse. Discuss and explore alternatives, or how to get back to walking, etc.)

“If I’m dead, then I can join them.” (MAJOR ALARM BELLS BETTER BE GOING OFF IN YOUR HEAD. Patient has suicidal ideation. Check for plans and means. Hospitalization may be necessary.)

What this Means for You, The Writer
Of course it depends on where you’re going with the story. Usually when a writer examines grief in fiction, this is the phase that they start at because it’s the most recognizable and seemingly the one that gets the point across. Your character may have stopped eating. They may overeat. They stopped showering and grooming.

But consider writing from one of the different phases or combining a few instead of starting at depression. If and when you do choose to write this part, don’t forget the impact of show over tell. Show me the uneaten dinner in the fridge. Show me the ashtray full of cigarettes and the character lying in bed with a red face puffy from crying. Show me the dirty hair and stench of two-week’s worth of unwashed laundry, piled up in the corner and threatening to grow legs and walk off. Show me the guitar in the other corner just gathering dust. The darkened room. The unmade bed. The broken mirror.

Remember, it’s not the grief itself that’s interesting, it’s how the character faces it, doesn’t face it, or makes matters worse that is interesting to the reader.

If you came here looking for psychological assistance, please contact your local crisis line. Dial 2-1-1 in the US for the United Way, or contact the Samaritans in the UK. For a list of international crisis lines, click here.

Now go write. Go for a walk, too. Get a little fresh air.


Wow, just one more topic and you can breathe easier. We’ll move onto other subjects too, and I do take requests (you can ask via Facebook or Twitter). If you’re in need of some lighthearted diversions, check out my Facebook and Twitter. Or for some entertaining fiction that touches on grief and loss, grab a copy of Exit 1042.

The Psych Writer: Grief – Phase Five: Anger

Last week, we explored the guilt phase of grief as part of The Psych Writer series. Thanks for sticking with me thus far, as we’re almost finished with grief, and it’s a difficult topic to face. But after this, there are only two more left in the series, so hang in with me.

So after guilt, the anger phase often follows. Keep in mind the codicil that you can pretty much repeat with me now: these phases are organized for the benefit of the clinician. They are not set in stone and the patient will likely not feel these things in order, or one at a time. They might, but they might not. Grief is individualized.

Now back to anger. The person who is experiencing the anger phase may lash out in a variety of ways. That will depend on the person, the source of loss, and their current circumstances. They get angry with a person for dying, they get angry with the doctors or medical team for “not doing enough” or making a mistake (whether there was a mistake or not doesn’t matter), or they get angry with people for tangential reasons.

While the anger is a natural reaction and completely expected, it is vital that the person doesn’t get stuck in this phase, and it’s probably one of the most addictive phases to get into. You may already know this, but emotions are handled by the amygdala in the brain, and judgment is handled by the prefrontal cortex, and the left prefrontal cortex can shut down emotions. (This is basic information for the sake of brevity: if you want to read more, about anger, check out this article.) When a person is angry, there are a number of hormones released, including adrenaline and noradrenaline. Because those are “pump you up” hormones to get the body ready for a fight, anger can be addictive. It’s like runner’s high without all the knee blowout from running.

Anger from the Patient’s POV
The patient is pissed off royally. How dare X happen? How could grandma do that to you? How dare she die at a time like this?! How dare Phyllis divorce you?! Who does she think she is? Those fucking doctors don’t know anything! They couldn’t save Uncle Phillip and they’re all just money-grubbing bastards. What were they thinking?

There is a touch of the indignant to this type of anger. Remember, the focus of the anger can be anywhere, even at themselves. Grief is necessarily selfish, so the anger is most likely due to the fact that this person has been left alone, holding the bag as they say. There are underlying feelings that are feeding this phase.

Anger from the Therapist’s POV
As the therapist, it is your job to dig with the patient and find out which feelings are feeding the beast. Sometimes it’s fear. Fear of being alone. Fear of loss. Fear of mortality. Sometimes it’s feelings of helplessness. They were abandoned. They lost their sense of control. Or all of the above, plus ones you can’t fathom at the moment.

All of these feelings, and more, are normal and expected. When someone dies, and the patient is angry, it’s important to let them explore those feelings in a safe environment.

Here, you monitor for homicidal ideation even more (although you always monitor for suicidal as well, homicidal should not be forgotten) than before, because people who are angry may not be able to switch on the prefrontal cortex’s ability to stop them from doing something that could ruin even more lives.

Other things you have to watch for is increased substance abuse and self-harm.

What this Means for You, the Writer
This is the perfect opportunity to get your character set up for starting their revenge against whomever caused their loss. It can also be a good opportunity to write about their anger turned inward, and how they fell into a pit of depression, struggled with addiction, or committed acts of self-harm.

If you’re writing an unethical therapist, keeping the patient in this phase can help them orchestrate a murder, create chaos, or other unsavory ends via unsavory means.

Remember, it’s not the grief itself that’s interesting, it’s how the character faces it, doesn’t face it, or makes matters worse that is interesting to the reader.

If you came here looking for psychological assistance, please contact your local crisis line. Dial 2-1-1 in the US for the United Way, or contact the Samaritans in the UK. For a list of international crisis lines, click here.

Good luck, and get writing.


Just two more to go and then we’ll move on to other mental health topics. You’re almost at the end of the grief series, can you believe it? If you’re in need of some lighthearted diversions, check out my Facebook and Twitter. Or for some entertaining fiction that touches on grief and loss, grab a copy of Exit 1042.

» 8 Reasons Why Writing Is The Best Thing Ever

I have to share this article from Authors Publish:  8 Reasons Why Writing Is The Best Thing Ever. Mainly because I agree with it, but as usual, I have my own commentary on it.

By the way, if you’re a writer and you haven’t signed up for Authors Publish, you need to go do that now. I’ll wait.

Okay, ready?

Mainly, I want to point out Chantelle Atkins’s first point about how you’re always getting better. In some ways, I think it’s the truth. When you write, you practice, and when you practice, you tend towards growth.

BUT

Only if you get good feedback.

Sure, it’s nice to have the pat on the back and the reassurance that your writing is good. We all love that. But constructive feedback on your writing isn’t hurtful if you use it as a tool for growth.

Useless feedback includes saying your writing sucks or someone didn’t like it. You can toss that right in the garbage. It’s not going to help you grow because both points are based entirely on opinion.

However, if someone tells you that you use too many adverbs, then that’s sound advice. You can go back and see that your writing uses adverbs too often and fix it. The next time you work on a piece, you may be less likely to use adverbs to much. That means you grew, and your writing improved.

So keep growing as a writer, and don’t give up. If you’re looking for honest feedback on your latest work, you can always hit me up for professional services. I’m happy to help.


I like to write and help others become better writers. You can find my work at Amazon, and follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Need help with or advice on your manuscript? Contact me and I’ll be there for you.

 

Facepalm Time: Stupid Things Authors Believe, Part 1

I found this article from Authors Publish (and encourage all writers to subscribe to their newsletter. In this article, Stupid Things Authors Believe, Part 1, Kurt Bubna tackles the idea that if it’s not ‘original,’ it should be scrapped.

I’d also like to add my two cents on the stupid things authors believe. There are plenty of them. But for this week, I will focus on the point of Bubna’s article.

Everything you write is a retelling of something else. Everything. Somewhere, some time, someone had the idea and put it out there. But that’s okay!

Why is it okay? Because you’ve never done it before. So you bring a unique perspective to it. Just be sure to bring that voice of yours to the table rather than imitating someone else’s.

Having trouble finding your voice? Keep a journal. Don’t think about what you want to put in there, and don’t think about making it interesting or artistic. Just get in there and start writing. Your voice will come out, and it will be unique.

To get started, grab a notebook and a pen. Sit down and write me a letter. Seriously. Tell me some things you want me to know. Send them to me via Facebook if you want. I promise I’ll read them, and I’ll even answer some of them if I have the time.

Don’t worry about not being original. Don’t worry about being the next Lovecraft or the next Stephen King or the next whatever. Just find your voice. Find what makes your perspective interesting. The rest will flow.

Now stop believing stupid things and get writing.