When Writing is NOT a Career

This girl has spent a lifetime chasing rainbows
Hobby? Job? Pastime? What is writing to you? Most writers say when asked that they've been writing FOR-R-EVER. Stories in grade school. Or keeping a diary/journal. In my early childhood, I recorded everything that happened to me in my diaries, perhaps displaying the first hints of a natural-born reporter. Later during my years as an elementary teacher, a fellow teacher once told me she started out as a newspaper reporter. All starry-eyed, wishing I'd done the same, I said, why in the world did you quit and become a teacher? She said, "I like to eat."

Career Hints can Start Early
A woman I once interviewed for an article told me that astute observers can identify a child's interests and talents as early as four years old. At four, asking people questions came naturally to her son. So she went out and bought him a toy microphone. Unleashed was a blossoming reporter, who carried his microphone with him everywhere, asking people, "What do you do?" and, "Do you have a
favorite pet?"

When it came time for college she offered to help pay for it, but she struck out. He wasn't interested. What he did do was put himself through broadcasting school and upon completion, got a job as a disc jockey. Later, he went on to become a popular sportscaster. He told her he loved his career so much that he wanted to be buried with his microphone (a real one this time). She concluded the interview by saying, all this because I recognized his interest early-on, and directed him toward it during his early, most formative years.

No matter what interests young children have, if writing doesn't come naturally as it does for some of us, learning how to write then, becomes an essential tool. During parent-teacher conferences, my advice to parents of eight-to-twelve year olds was to encourage their children to write, draw or take photos for the school newspaper (naturally, encouraging reading was a given). Children who have a keen interest can be directed to publishing stories, articles and artwork in publications like Stone Soup, a magazine that is written by and for kids; and publications listed with The Children's Book Guild, which offers resources on how-to and where-to publish children's work, and includes such publications as Highlights for Children and Cicada, a magazine in the Cricket group. Really keen students can shoot for the top: become editor of their school newspaper, as Stephen King so successfully did.

A note about reading: When my children were in elementary school, I observed a classmate's mother carry around a reading resource, such as The New York Times Parent's Guide to the Best Books for Children, by Eden Ross Lipson; with the books she made available to her children to read checked off, one-by-one. It was an impressive way to supplement what her children were reading in school with her own choices of good literature.

Seeking the "Creative Life"
Elizabeth Gilbert, in her book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, writes that she "happens to believe we are all walking repositories of buried treasure.  . . The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them. The hunt to uncover these jewels--
that's creative living." She speaks broadly of "creative living," not that a person needs to "pursue a life that is professionally or exclusively devoted to the arts." But a "life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than fear." While the paths of a creative life vary wildly from person to person, it is an amplified life. It's a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a  . . . lot more interesting."

As long as the desire to write is present, the ways to incorporate writing into your life are limitless. One way is to compliment your profession by writing about it.
  • Google "Doctor/writers" and many photos come up of some of the most famous of these, a hint at how many doctors first seek their profession, and then write about it. Dr. David Hellerstein, in his article, "How to Become a Doctor-Writer," said that William Carlos Williams's autobiogrpahy was an inspiration to him as a doctor-writer, though there were  many others. He quotes Williams:
  • "Five minutes, ten minutes, can always be found. I had my typewriter in my office desk. All I needed to do was pull up the leaf to which it was fashioned and I was ready to go. I worked at top speed. If a patient came in at the door while I was in the middle of a sentence, bang would go the machine--I was a physician. When the patient left, up would come the machine. My head developed a technique: something growing inside me demanded reaping. It had to be attended to. Finally, after eleven at night, when the last patient had been put to bed, I could always find the time to bang out ten or twelve pages. In fact, I couldn't rest until I had freed my mind from the obsessions which had been tormenting me all day. Cleansed of that torment, having scribbled, I could rest."
  • The astonishing number of books written by Oliver Sacks, a personal favorite, includes Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, (Knopf, 2007), which helped explain, among other things, how musical pieces play over and over in my mind; and many other books describing  patients' struggles with conditions such as autism and Parkinson's disease.
  • Teacher-writers: Google also displays authors such as Robert Frost, Frank McCourt, Vladimir Nabokov and Julia Cameron, to name a few, seen in a completely different light--as teachers--than the works they are famous for. Teacher-writer dmatriccino, in the blog post, "Thoughts from a Teacher-Writer," writes, "The only reason I’m able to write is because someone taught me how to. I believe in myself because my teachers, in tandem with my parents, made me feel like I could. Teachers didn’t just teach me how to fulfill my dreams; they taught me how to discover those dreams in the first place." 
Watch out: Writing might Sneak up on you and become a Full-Blown Career
The point is that in NOT making writing a career (of course, the exception being successful career authors), we have indeed made writing a career, if nothing more than to live the "creative life." For me, no matter what else is happening in my life, writing remains my loyal companion, is always there, ready to fulfill my deepest longings and desires, and offer me worlds that wouldn't be available if I didn't make the effort. To take "creating something" a step further, I agree with Elizabeth Gilbert, creating anything is one of the keys to happiness. Have you ever had someone tell you, "I'm not creative?" Hogwash. Everyone is and can be creative. All they have to do is try.

Photo: From the childhood album of Linda Wilson

Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, has published over 100 articles for adults and children, and six short stories for children. Recently, she completed Joyce Sweeney's online fiction courses, picture book course and mystery and suspense course. She is currently working on several projects for children. Follow Linda on Facebook.

3 Tips to Help New Writers Build Confidence

By now you should have your goals and objectives written down for 2016. The difficult part for some of us may be following through on our commitment. 

We all get off track for a variety of reasons. But if you find yourself continually bombarded with reasons that are really excuses, maybe the problem is you need confidence.

Confidence is a state of mind. It is built through positive experiences. I know I can educate children because I've seen the results. I know I can make a great pot of spaghetti sauce for the same reason. These things make me feel confident.

When you get something published, you will naturally feel more confident. But until that time comes, there is work to do! 

Here are 3 tips to begin building your confidence now: 

#1: Self-talk 

How do you talk to yourself? Do you get discouraged easily? Do you have difficulty following through? Do you believe in yourself? 

Action: make a decision to stop all negativity. Choose to think and speak positively: "I will write this book", "I will get assignments". It may feel awkward at first, but it works. Believe you have something to say and no one can tell it quite like you.

Believing in negative thoughts is the single greatest obstruction to success. 
― Charles F. Glassman
#2: Stop Comparing

Any new endeavor will naturally cause us to compare ourselves with those who are experienced and more knowledgeable. Guess what? They started out as a new writer, too. 

Action: if you love to write and know it is what you really want to do, go for it! Soon you will find your niche, get your rhythm, gain momentum, and you will enjoy the writing process.

Comparison is the death of joy.
― Mark Twain

#3: Keeping it Fresh and Fun

Are your writing attempts like walking through mud? Are you bored? Is it drudgery? If you're not enjoying what you are writing, if it's not fun, then you will quit. 

Action: keep writing anyway. It takes time to discover what you really like to write. When you do, it will be easier and enjoyable. If you quit, you'll never find out what your niche is.

There is no greater gift you can give or receive than to honor
your calling. It's why you were born. And how you
become most truly alive.
-Oprah Winfrey

Place these tips in a spot where you will see them. It will boost your confidence!


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

After raising and homeschooling her 8 children and teaching art classes for 10 years, Kathy has found time to pursue freelance writing. She enjoys writing magazine articles and more recently had her story, "One of a Kind", published in The Kids' ArkYou can find her passion to bring encouragement and hope to people of all ages at When It Hurts http://kathleenmoulton.com

When Not to Follow the Blogging Crowd


Blogging fatigue hits most of us at one time or another. Why are we doing it? Just what is the point?

Some of us use blogs to make a living--or at least to try to earn enough to let them pay for themselves. Some of us use  blogs to promote our books and services. Buy me, buy me.

You can find blogging help all over the Internet. Some of it is useful. Some is not. But one idea is constant--the idea that blogging should be making you money. 

How to Publicize Your Blog

This cheerful little instagram showing how to publicize your blog and succeed at blogging is old in Internet terms--2013--but illustrates advice more than ever relevant today.

I, for one, am fed up with self promotion, email sign up lists, and building up websites that are under constant attack by spammers and hackers the more popular they grow. I am so cross with pop up attempts to make me click social media icons that I instantly click the little go-away cross and exit the site.

And I'm not the only one.

Think carefully before applying the next great software aid to help grow your list, add more readers, make more money.

Stay Real

With the proliferation of blogs on the web, how easy is it to find a real review site which is not ruled by PR interests or affiliate earnings?

Readers follow blogs which discuss real life interests, solve problems. It takes a load of trust to click on a blog advertisement.

How easy is it to find a helpful blog which is not overrun with advertisements? Not very.

But if we rely on these for our income, what then?

A Solution

Keep it simple.

Create your own simple advertisement image links with software like PowerPoint. Stop them looking spammy and salesy.

This helpful tutorial from Lynette Chandler shows how. These are created for social media. But you can easily adjust the idea to fit one or two into the margins of your blog. Attach them to an affiliate or book link.

The bonus is that you can play at creating these for a day or two and have a rest from thinking up ideas for your next blog post.

What do you do when faced with blogging fatigue?

painting Schlaraffenland by Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1526/1530–1569) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. It was never meant to illustrate blogging fatigue but the exhaustion of life in a land of milk and honey.

Anne Duguid
Anne Duguid Knol

A local and national journalist in the U.K., Anne Knol is now a fiction editor for award-winning American and Canadian publishers. As a new author, she shares writing tips and insights at Author Support : http://www.authorsupport.net where you can find Yaro Starak's Blog Profits Blueprint 2016 to download for free.

Her Halloween novella, ShriekWeek is published by The Wild Rose Press as e-book and in print  included in the Hauntings in the Garden anthology. (Volume Two)

At last starting to write something else...

Five Ways NOT to Attract an Editor's Attention

Will Rogers wisely said, “You only have one chance to make a good first impression.” As an acquisitions editor, I read proposals and manuscripts from authors every day. It’s no exaggeration to say I’ve read thousands of submissions in my years in publishing. Besides my work at Morgan James Publishing, I’ve acquired for two other publishers.

In minutes, I can scan your submission and see if it is going to move forward or be rejected. This may sound harsh because of the work and energy writers poured into their submission. Here’s the reality, every year our publishing house receives over 5,000 submissions and we’re going to publish about 150 books this year.

In spite of these large rejection numbers, I’m actively looking for quality work and daily interacting with authors and literary agents. Here’s five ways not to stand out:

1. Unprofessional appearance. Are you using a serif font like Ariel that is the default for most writing programs? Change it to Times New Roman or a serif font because it is easier to read and shows you care. This small change makes a huge difference to editors.

2. Untargeted submission. Many cover letters begin “Dear Sir or Madam” yet it is sent to my email address. It is an instant red flag. You want to write a particular editor or agent and address them in your submission.

3. Not specific for my publishing house. Every agent or editor is looking for certain subjects and types of books. Research online (big hint: use Google.com) then follow their guidelines.

4. Incomplete with the basics. An email address is not enough contact information. Many writers forget to include their mailing address and phone number. Without  this information, I can’t get the submission into our system nor can I easily reach you to engage you about your work.

5. Lack a memorable title or opening sentence. We read the opening and if compelling, we continue. If not, it is rejected. It is business and not personal but one way to handle the volume of submissions. Some of my agent friends receive hundreds of pitches every day. Make sure you start with a bang.

Every editor and agent is actively looking for the next bestseller. Your manuscript or proposal will stand out if you are professional with quality work. If you follow the basics and persist, you will be published.
W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. A former magazine editor and literary agent,

Terry has written more than 60 nonfiction books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. To help writers, he has created 12-lesson online course called Write A Book Proposal. Get his free Ebook Book Proposal Basics and teleseminar at www.AskAboutProposals.com. His website is located at: www.terrywhalin.com. Terry has over 161,000 twitter followers and lives in Colorado. 

Happy New Year!

Last month I reflected on 2015 goals, today it's time to set the goals for 2016. 

For some of you, you wrote goals in January of 2015, they were specific and you reviewed them easily in December and so know where you stand in your writing life. For others the goals and the end results might be less clear. So in 2016, let's clear things up.

First, why do goal setting? Change is difficult and setting goals helps us to keep our eyes on the prize. 

Step one: Determine your 2016 goals.
     Write each writing goal that you would like to achieve down on paper. Be specific, include measurements, make it realistic - ex: finish writing 260 page novel, edit the complete edition for both plot/story and grammar by October 2016.
     Create goals that include time editing, writing, researching, and marketing yourself or your work.
Goals also speak to your space. Perhaps 2016 is the year to get your space figured out. A place that allows you to work creatively without distraction.

Step two: Figure out the Why.
     Recognize that changing habits is hard.Write down at the end of your goals why you are establishing these goals. Understanding why is key to making things happen. ex: I am writing down goals because I am a great writer, but I'm terribly inconsistent about sitting down on a regular basis and working through difficult periods of my life.

Step three: Reward
     Write down how you will reward yourself if you achieve your goals in 2016. Having a reward to look forward to is an important part of goal setting. 

Step four: Hide
     Place your goals in a special container and place in a special place where they will not be disturbed until December. 

Now that you know where you are going and why - it's  time to get started. Good luck!

D. Jean Quarles is a writer of Women's Fiction and a co-author of a Young Adult Science Fiction Series. Her latest book, House of Glass, Book 2 of The Exodus Serieswas written with coauthor, Austine Etcheverry.

D. Jean loves to tell stories of personal growth – where success has nothing to do with money or fame, but of living life to the fullest. She is also the author of the novels: Rocky's Mountains, Fire in the Hole, and Perception.The Mermaid, an award winning short story was published in the anthology, Tales from a Sweltering City.

She is a wife, mother, grandmother and business coach. In her free time . . . ha! ha! ha! Anyway, you can find more about D. Jean Quarles, her writing and her books at her website at www.djeanquarles.com

You can also follower her at www.djeanquarles.blogspot.com or on Facebook.

Can You Speak Yoda? Grammarly Shows You How

Our friends over at Grammarly.com have another infographic for us - this one a take on Star Wars.

We’re talking about modifiers (adjective, adverbs, modifying clauses) and objects, Yodified.

How does Yoda handle the following?

Modifiers and objects should be placed within a sentence?

Flexible subject-verb order?

And, do you think Yoda handles auxiliary in negation and lack of contractions?

This is a fun and interesting look at Yoda-speak and the English language. You’ve got to check it out.

Yodify your Grammar Infographic

There's even more information on the Grammarly post, so be sure to check it out!

*This infographic is attributed to https://www.grammarly.com/grammar-check


Top 5 Reasons Many Writers Don’t Reach Their Potential
10 Tips to Achieve Your Writing Goals
You the Writer; You the Critiquer

Top 5 Reasons Many Writers Don’t Reach Their Writing and Income Goals

As a writing coach, I work with dozens of writers every week, and new clients come to me all the time. So I’ve gained some insight as to why writers often don’t achieve their writing goals and income goals.

Here are what I have found to be the...

Top 5 Reasons Writers Don’t Reach Their Writing and Income Goals

1. They aren’t clear about what they want and how they will get it.

Many people who say they want to make a living as a writer aren’t clear enough about what they want. They usually simply say something like, “I want to quit my job to be a fulltime writer and I’d like to earn at least $50,000 to start."

That sounds pretty clear.

At least the income part is clear. They want to earn at least $50,000 to start.

What isn’t clear is HOW they plan to earn this money.

In other words, they aren’t clear as to what they will write to generate this income and who will pay them to write it – so they have no plan.

Without knowing exactly what they want to write and who will pay them to write it, they can't go after clients or writing assignments. Instead, they tend to hope work will find them. But it usually doesn't.

2. They aren’t consistent.

Even writers who are clear about what they want and have a plan to get it are often inconsistent when it comes to taking the steps to get what they want. They don't consistently follow their plan. Succeeding as a writer usually means taking the same steps over and over again until these steps start producing results.

3. They aren’t focused or they don’t stay focused.

Many people who say they want to be successful writers aren’t focused enough to make this happen. They do one thing one day, then drop it and start something else the next day in the hopes that it will work better. If they stayed focused and stuck to their plan, they'd be much more likely to reach both their writing goals and their income goals.

4. They are afraid to STOP doing things that don’t work.

Most writers (like most people) develop habits that are pretty comfortable. They might love to blog, for example, so they write articles for their blog several times a week. The only problem is, they don't monetize these blog posts, so there is little possibility of these posts generating any income for them. They'd be better off spending their time trying to find clients or writing assignments, but that isn't so comfortable. So instead, they just keep blogging like they've been doing, but they complain that they don't have any (or many) clients or assignments.

5. They don’t expect to succeed.

This may seem strange, but when it gets right down to it, many writers don’t really think they can pull off making a living as a writer. It’s fun to dream about it. But it’s more comfortable to dream than it is to take steps that are a bit scary. So they continue to dream, but that's about all they do.

Does any of this sound like you?

If it does, change your behavior so you WILL reach your writing and income goals by the end of the year.

Identify what you hope to write and make a plan for finding people (clients, publishers, editors, etc.) who will pay you to write these materials.

Once your plan is made, consistently follow the plan. Take the same steps over and over again to reach your goal and follow through with your plan.

Stay focused. Remember – all you have to do is follow the plan. You don't have to keep creating a new plan. But do make sure the things you are doing are working. If they aren't, then it's time to revise the plan just a bit.

Finally, expect to succeed.

That makes all the difference in the world.

Try it!

Suzanne Lieurance is a fulltime freelance writer, writing coach, certified life coach, and the author of over 30 published books.

If you need a little help reaching your writing and income goals this year, get your free subscription to her Morning Nudge at www.morningnudge.com.

10 Tips to Achieve Writing Goals in the New Year

It's just over a week into 2016. And, odds are, most people have either set goals and forgotten about them OR forgot to set goals. Regardless, there's still time to set yourself up for success in the new year.

Here are 10 things you can do to set and achieve writing goals in the new year. (Yes, this works for other types of goals, as well...)

1. Write down all of your writing goals for the year. Do you want to write a book, a screenplay, or novel? Would you like to create a certain number of songs, poems ,stories, or articles? Is starting a blog on the horizon? Or do you really need to develop a full-on marketing and social media plan to get your writing out there?

2. Chose two or three projects you want to accomplish by the end of the year.

3. Then on separate pages (one for each project), write down everything you need to do to get each one of them done. Brainstorm benchmarks and tasks in any order. So for a book or a screenplay, each draft might be a benchmark, while each chapter, act, or a certain number of page counts as a task. If your goal is to a book deal, perhaps your first benchmark is to find an agent, and then tasks would include researching agents, networking for recommendations, sending X number of queries a month.

4. Now, prioritize. Determine what more important: Starting a blog or finishing your book? Self-publishing that chap book of poems or finding a publisher for your novel? The reason you want to have more than one project going at one time is it's inevitable at some point (or at many points) you will get stuck. It's nice to have a secondary project to work on if you need to give your mind a break from the primary. Also, when you get moving on one project, it will likely inspire you to propell the other one forward.

5. Determine how much time you have each week to dedicate to your projects, and put appointments in the calendar as the time you work on them.

6. Set deadlines for your primary project. If you want to get a complete draft done by December, how much progress must you make each week and each month? Put the due dates for your benchmarks in your calendar and set reminders to keep you on track.

If you would like, set deadlines for your secondary project(s), as well. But be realistic. It's better to set and exceed realistic goals than to overwhelm yourself. It's common for people to just give up when they feel like they are falling too far behind. And no one wants that.

7. Put your goals in a place you look at every day. Also, create a visual representation of the finished product and display it where you write. For example, tack up the last page of your manuscript with the words "The End" or mock up a book cover. If you have a constant reminder of what you are working toward, you are more likely to achieve it.

8. Track your progress. Remember the appointments you set? Each day, after you complete your writing time, add what you did that day to your calendar. This way, if you ever feel like you are not progressing fast enough, you can look at the time spent and accomplishments and realize you are doing pretty well.

9. Don't give up. If life gets in the way and you get off track, take a second, catch your breath, forgive yourself, and move forward. Things happen. Adjust any deadlines and get back to work. It may take a little longer, but it's all good.

10. Celebrate the small and large wins. When you reach an benchmark, celebrate. When you reach a goal, really celebrate. Treat yourself to something to acknowledge and appreciate all of your hard work.

Remember, achieving goals is a snap if you look at your goals every day, constantly put in the time, and work toward the finish line. You can do it!

Good luck!

Let us know your goals for the year in the comments. You can also post and report on weekly goals on the Write On Online Facebook page.

* * *
Debra Eckerling is a writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of Guided Goals and Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group. 

She is the host of the Guided Goals Podcast and author of Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages. 

Debra is an editor at Social Media Examiner and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

Fake Reviews: The Pros and Cons of Amazon's Being Arbiter of What's Good and What's Bad

Amazon Attacks Fake Reviews and Reviewers
According to the LA Times, Amazon is suing more than 1,000 writers for selling recommendations (and reviews!) for books (and other items) they didn’t buy.

If you have read The Frugal Book Promoter, you know that I recommend writing reviews of other authors’ books as a way to network and as a way to give back to the industry that makes books possible. In fact, a free and unbiased review is the nicest thing you can give to an author as a token of appreciation. And one of the best places you can post your review is on Amazon where it has the best chance of being read by thousands of readers. There are, of course, other places to post them including your own blog, Goodreads, and other sites. You can also volunteer to review for sites like BookPleasures, MyShelf and Midwest Book Review that depend on those who love to read to keep their sites going even when profit margins are slim.

It is reported that Amazon sees reviews that are too glowing as a danger sign. That’s fair. Professional reviews can be rave reviews, but no book is perfect. In fact, a review is more trustworthy (and therefore sells more books--proved by studies over the years!) if it does point out places where the book is weak. Such critiques needn’t be snarky. They can be tactful, firm, and helpful to readers and the author alike.

Perhaps it was the offers on Fiverr.com that finally ticked Amazon off enough to do this. Many offered reviews for $5. And some of those promised five-star reviews. And, yes, this is—to put it mildly—unethical. You’ve probably seen me discourage authors and publishers from paying for reviews in the past because they aren’t credible. People like bookstore owners, librarians, and other publishing industry professionals generally know they have been paid for even if they come from Publishers Weekly or Kirkus. In fact, those magazines put those reviews in a separate place or mark them differently so their readers will know! Reviews that aren’t credible are a waste of money and time. And, did I mention unethical? Ahem!

Some of these reviews offer to post reviews using multiple accounts and IP addresses. I say, go after them Amazon. This kind of thing ruins the process for everyone!

Nevertheless, I’ve seen Amazon pull reviews based on flimsy excuses in the past and so I worry.
The trouble with pulling reviews too aggressive is that they may use whether a person has bought something by their own sales logarithms to make their judgement. That seems like a good idea at first, but their site is not the only one that sells an item so if their logarithms are picking up reviews of items not purchased from them, they be wrong, terribly wrong.

Here is why:

  •  It is a publishing tradition that publishers and writers provide books at no cost--often special review copies or galleys-- to those who write reviews of their book (s). These books would not show up as sales anywhere.
  •   Many who write reviews of a book or product may have received the book as a gift for their birthday or a holiday.
  • Many write reviews of books or products that they buy at a bookstore or any other retail outlet.
  •  Some may write reviews of books they borrow from the library or buy from secondhand bookstores.
So are the bulleted review tracks above indications they are fake reviews? I don’t know how Amazon is selecting those people it will sue, (and I know they have plenty of money to waste if their selection is offbase and they lose!), but I think they are once again on very shaky ground.

In the meantime, if you review for Amazon (and you should), be liberal with disclaimers like this:
“Disclaimer: This reviewer received a book in exchange for an unbiased and fair review. No fee was charged either the author or the publisher.”

And do avoid touting your own book in the review. The link used in the review (the one that Amazon provides) takes readers back to your profile page. That, dear author/reviewer should be enough for you. Offering this to authors and reviewers is indeed a gift from Amazon and we should not abuse the hand that feeds us.

Note: For more on this topic see the LA Times’ Technology page in their business section, Thursday, October 2, 2015.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally books for writers as well as a novelist and poet. She is working on the third major book in the HowToDoItFrugally series of books called Getting Great Reviews Frugally and Ethically and she just published a book of poetry perfect for this silly political season. It is Imperfect Echoes, http://bit.ly/ImperfectEchoes. Her Web site is http://howtodoitfrugally.com 

Pacemaker Press--a Word Count Graph

Last month I talked about the motivational power of NaNoWriMo's word count graph, but since it's only live in November, I decided to try another online word count tracker:  Pacemaker.

I don't find Pacemaker as satisfying or user-friendly as NaNoWriMo's site, but it's still a great tool for tracking progress.  I also really like its flexibility.  You can set up different types of goals, including editing/revising plans, and you can count by word, scene, chapter, etc.  I tried to set my December goal by counting scenes and ended up changing it to word count because it was easier to tally.  However, I think the scene idea might work in another situation.    

If you're looking for a progress tracker to help get your New Year's writing goals accomplished, try out Pacemaker and see how you like it.  

NOTE:  If you use Pacemaker, don't forget to click the green "save plan and progress" button after adding your progress, even though you've already clicked the "apply progress" button.  It's a seemingly unnecessary step, but it won't save if you don't.

See my original post:  The Magic of Word-Count Graphs  

Melinda Brasher currently teaches English as a second language in the beautiful Czech Republic.  She loves the sound of glaciers calving and the smell of old books.  Her travel articles and short fiction appear in Go NomadInternational LivingElectric SpecIntergalactic Medicine Show, and others.  For an e-book collection of some of her favorite published pieces, check out Leaving Home.  For something a little more medieval, read her YA fantasy novel, Far-KnowingVisit her online at http://www.melindabrasher.com.

A New Year Gift


 And, here's a useful gift for the New Year that will help you build your email list:

It's another shareable gift!

Tips for Creating Subplots in Middle Grade Novels

by Suzanne Lieurance   If you’re writing a middle grade novel, you want to include at least one or two subplots. Subplots in fiction are sec...