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Photo Writing Prompt…

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 pandapublishing8@gmail.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.

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Why My Opinion Doesn’t Matter…

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.

X LLB

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Why You Need a Mentor…

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.

X LLB

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Jacqueline Woodson Ted Talk…

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!

 

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Bullet Journals…What Are They and Why You May Benefit From One…

October 11, 2019– What is a bullet journal exactly? It’s a system of keeping track of notes, ideas, storylines, and anything else that is important to you. It’s an easy way to simplify things! It’s a quick and simplified way of getting a snapshot of where you’re headed in your writing life.

Here are some ideas of what you can put in your bullet journal should you choose to use this method of organization for your writing:

  1. Writing inspiration-write down story ideas as they pop into your mind.
  2. Tracking your submissions to publishers-when and who you submitted to along with guidelines if applicable.
  3. Organizing your storyline-plotting your novel and the important events that will take place in your book.
  4. Managing your time-jotting down most important tasks, deadlines, and projected release dates.

Bullet journals can work really well for some writers if they enjoy this method of organization, give it a try and see if it works for you! Happy writing! X LLB

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Why don’t the Yankees Have…

October 7, 2019- On Friday, I was fortunate enough to attend the ALDS game 1 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. It was an epic game with quite possibly one of the greatest catches of the playoffs made by number 99 (Aaron Judge). Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love baseball and team sports, but I think there’s a lesson here that has to do with writing…let me explain.

Do you know why the Yankees are one of few teams in the MLB that don’t have the players names on the back of their uniforms? Because they believe that NO ONE PLAYER IS GREATER THAN THE TEAM AS A WHOLE. Read that again and let it sink in. The same thing goes for me and my team-no one is greater than the team as a whole and as a team we are much stronger than individual authors. We have the same goals in mind, we are moving in the same direction, and we all have our specific talents that we celebrate together. Everyone on this team has something special and unique about them, but at the end of the day, we all play for the same House.

The same thing goes for publishing, the author is only part of the story. To get a book to publication and on the shelf, it takes a literal team of people to make it happen. It takes everyone from illustrators, to graphic artists, to marketing people, to cover designers, to book store owners, and a bunch more people in between to get a book to market; that’s why no one can do this alone and it’s important to remember that we are not the ones who make it happen by ourselves even though we may be the ones front and center sometimes.

So, I’d like to personally thank each and every one of my teammates for making this House as strong as it is and for being the amazing people they are.

X LLB

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Snuggle Up with a Cozy Fall Romance…

October 4, 2019– I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, cozy romance books are my guilty pleasure. With the weather turning cooler and my favourite holiday (should be) in precisely twenty-seven days, romance is in the air! Snuggle up and read with one of my favourite books to get you in the mood for autumn. Happy Reading! X LLB

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The Best Times to Post…

October 2, 2019– Check out this cool info-graphic about the best and worst times to post on social media; it’s important to create a content schedule so that you can keep in touch with your readers and to ensure that your posts have maximum impact!

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Photo Writing Prompt…

September 25, 2019-This stunning photo writing prompt is full of inspiration! Look how gorgeous the landscape is! Will your story be romantic fiction? Will it be a mystery or psych thriller? Will it be poetry? There is no limit to creativity with this piece. I challenge you to write a story in 500 words.

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It’s Never Too Late!

September 20, 2019- It’s never too late to reinvent yourself. Take it from Paul Tasner who worked for other people for 40 years, before he founded his own start-up at age 66, pairing his idea for a business with his experience and passion! Check out the video below: