October 30, 2019– I’m so excited to share this with you! During the month of November, we will be matching purchases and donating them to schools to promote literacy. What does this mean? It means that any time you purchase one of our books on our site, in person, at an event, or at the book store, we will send a copy of that book to a school that we’ve chosen. We believe that literacy matters and that knowledge is freedom! If you would like to have your school considered for this amazing event, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be choosing four schools to send our books to this month. You can see the titles we offer by clicking on the link:
October 30, 2019– To celebrate Halloween (1 more sleep!) check out this Ted Talk by Scott Peeples about why you should read (one of my most favourite authors) Edgar Allan Poe. Click on the link below!
October 25, 2019– We all struggle. Every single one of us struggles at something or at some point in our lives. Difficulty is part of the process so trust it. Could you imagine if everything was easy and just handed to you on a silver platter? Part of being a human is overcoming challenges. When we find a solution to our challenges we end up building confidence, trusting ourselves, and believing that we can do whatever we set our minds to. Here are three ways that you can help yourself if you’re struggling with an aspect in your writing career:
- Get out of your comfort zone. When things feel uncomfortable, that’s a really good indicator that you’re on the right track. Maybe it’s making that phone call or tracking down that distributor or writing while being vulnerable, whatever it is, make sure you do it because getting out of your comfort zone has the power to change the trajectory of your entire life. Try to do one thing a day that makes you uncomfortable and watch your life change.
- Put a timeline on it. There are some days that are rougher than others. When you’re having a tough time, put a timeline on feeling sorry for yourself. Give yourself five minutes at most to feel crappy about the situation (it’s important to recognize the bad so that we can appreciate the good) and then roll up your sleeves to start fixing it. Do you need to scrap the entire intro to your novel? Do you need to have that hard conversation with one of your employees?
- Know that it will pass. “My mamma told me there’d be days like this and man, she wasn’t foolin.” Aerosmith sure nailed that on the head. The good news is that time marches on. Whatever you’re dealing with, just know it’s a moment in time…it will pass and then you’ll be on to the next thing. If it won’t matter in five years, don’t spend more than five minutes worrying about it. That’s a personal rule that I keep.
The point is, there is no success without struggle. Keep going, you’re doing great. X LLB
October 23, 2019– We’ve all been there. Pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, we’ve all written scenes that don’t work; they’re boring and bland and we sit staring into the abyss wondering where we went wrong. The good news is that we can fix it! Here’s how…by using our five senses.
- Sight-What is around your character? What do they see from their point of view? Are there landmarks? Describe in detail what your character sees. It’s better to write too much and pare down afterward, than it is to write too little.
- Sound-What does your character hear? Is there dialogue? Is more dialogue needed? Do they hear their own thoughts? Is there internal dialogue between the character in their head?
- Smell-What does your character smell? Is there the scent of salty ocean air? Fresh baked cookies? Rotting flesh? That escalated quickly, but you get my point.
- Taste-What does your character taste? Blood from biting their tongue? Vomit? Coffee? The taste of someone else?
- Touch-What does your character feel? Do they feel the softness of cashmere against their skin? Do they feel the brush of another character’s hand against their own? Do they feel cold metal against their temple?
Here’s the thing, it’s important to write and get the words on paper before you can even think of editing them. When you do find a scene that needs a bit of meat on it or that is boring, use your five senses to expand the part and then edit from there. Happy Writing! X LLB
Special Forces-why they’re calmest before an attack…
October 21, 2019– I really love this photo prompt; it’s haunting and beautiful and immediately gets my creative brain pumping with ideas and directions I could take. The mission of the photo writing prompt is to write a short story (500 words or less) or a poem about the photo below. If you would like to submit your work, I’d love to read it, send me an email email@example.com and remember that I never open attachments. I’ll post my own short story based on the photo in an upcoming blog post…maybe on Halloween:) so stay tuned for my take on the image.
October 18, 2019– Recently, I received an email from someone who submitted their work to me for consideration. There was one line in the email that hit me, “I’ll take your opinion to heart.”
I’m here to tell you NOT to take my opinion to heart when it comes to your writing. Why? Because it’s my opinion and not absolute, undisputed fact. Let’s face it, I have to send out a ton of rejection letters each month and it’s up there with being one of the worst parts of my job, but that’s the nature of the business. I find that sometimes, aspiring writers tend to get so discouraged when they get a rejection letter from a publisher that they stop writing altogether and that’s the worst thing that can happen. Yes, it’s difficult to accept that people don’t appreciate your work the way that you do, but art is subjective and writing is art. There are a hundred of reasons why your work may have been rejected and sometimes it just comes down to the House being full with upcoming projects.
Never stop writing, write the story that you want to read, and take all criticism with a grain of salt. Now, I’m not talking about being arrogant and saying that the professionals in the business have no idea what they’re saying and that you’re the greatest writer of our time and that we’re all idiots and that you’re the next Poe…(that’s a true example by the way) I’m talking about taking the criticism and doing something with it to improve your writing. A lot of times publishers don’t offer critiques and they just don’t respond at all, in that case, try and get an opinion on your story from a third party, not someone who is related to you or thinks you hung the moon. Get a beta reader group, ask an editor, or find someone that doesn’t like you, (I’m serious, they’ll tell you the truth) and have them read your manuscript and offer feedback.
Never give up. Continue to improve your craft and I promise that the magic will happen. The universe is in love with stubborn hearts.
October 16, 2019– A mentor can be defined as an experienced and trusted advisor. It’s bewildering to me the amount of people that ask for advice from people who have no experience and who are not doing better than them. Never ask anyone for advice that you wouldn’t be willing to trade positions with. Read that again.
Here are three reasons why it’s imperative to have a mentor:
- Mentors provide essential information and knowledge. Let’s face it, whatever you’re planning on doing (writing a book, included) someone out there has already done it. They’ve probably done it better and faster and have worked out all of the kinks. They have tips and tricks up their sleeve which will make your life easier because you’re not reinventing the wheel.
- Mentors encourage you to do better. Mentors should be people that we look up to, people that we aspire to be like. If you hang around with turkeys you become one. Did you know that you become the five people you hang around the most? Why wouldn’t you hang out with someone who encourages you to be the best that you possibly can? Mentors force us to level up. That’s why you MUST choose the right ones!
- Mentors keep us accountable. The best mentors are the ones you check in with and who check in with you. They ask you how your project is going, they want progress reports, and they want to know what stage you’re at in your work. We have to answer to them and the last thing we want to do is disappoint them along with ourselves.
Whatever you aspire to do or be, make sure you have a mentor. Don’t have one? Get one. It’s essential to your success.
October 14, 2019– Check out this Ted Talk from Jacqueline Woodson about what reading slowly taught her about writing! I’m guilty of reading super quickly and skipping information without retention of what I just read…are you? We should slow down!