Tag Archives: Writing tips

The curse of the blessed deadline

Untitled1Nothing motivates me to do unpleasant tasks that I’ve been putting off like a writing deadline that’s quickly approaching.

Suddenly I find the motivation to take out the trash, do the dishes, mow the lawn, re-texture the bathroom walls, run a marathon, even blog. Continue reading

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Four voices a writer listens to

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Photo Credit: sokabs (Creative Commons)

We tend to think of a writer as a voice that others listen to. That’s true. But no writer reaches any measure of success unless she, too, is listening to voices herself. Here are the four voices that I listen to, in no particular order:

The craft of writing
We all have room for improvement. From time to time I’ll read an instructional book that I hope will improve my sentences and paragraphs. I even went, to a seminar, last month, on the use and abuse, of commas (can’t you tell?). Continue reading


School, job, writing, and babysitting

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Used under Creative Commons license.

Do others claim they have to babysit you?

Are you an adult?

We need to talk.

Following directions is a lost art. That’s because we prefer to do things our way or the easy way (for many, these two are the same).

We all need advice from time to time. We all need wise counsel and helpful direction in life. Continue reading


Ship it!

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Photo courtesy of Creative Commons license

I’m applying the expression “Ship it!” to publishing.

It’s been used in the manufacturing world for decades, when a product came off of the factory assembly line, got packaged, and was shipped to the customer.

The tech world has borrowed the term for the last decade (see How Google Works). I first heard it applied to publishing while writing as a contributing editor for Logos Bible Software during my summer sabbatical from my church.

I find there are two extreme tendencies when it comes to writers. Continue reading


WHY do you write?

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Image courtesy of Jonas Lowgren from Flickr Creative Commons

Why do you write? What’s your motivation?

Are your reasons good? Is your motivation proper?

Or, perhaps another way to ask it: are there any bad reasons for writing?

I believe there are. Probably lots.

For money? I can’t say this is a bad reason altogether. Continue reading


WHAT will you write?

Words written in blood

Image courtesy of http://www.torange.biz.

We continue our series of blog posts on the who-what-when-where-why of writing (see previous posts about who, when, and where).

We turn now to WHAT gets written. Here we’re talking about the content of your fiction or nonfiction.

And here I’m planning to go against convention a bit.

We hear much about building a platform, writing for the market, carving out a niche, and author branding. Nearly all of these encourage a singular voice or genre or series. And granted, if this is what the editors and agents are telling us, then this route probably does provide better odds for getting something published.

But I’d still like to state my case (which does not eliminate the importance of a solid platform, mind you). Continue reading