How Writers Benefit from Exercising in the Morning

by Suzanne Lieurance

An early morning bike ride among the banyan trees is a great way to start your day in south Florida where I live.

It is no big secret that exercise, proper nutrition, getting plenty of rest and drinking lots of water throughout the day is a proven recipe for health.

And good health is most important for writers who must sit and work for sometimes long hours, day after day.

But, regarding exercise, is there a particular time of day when working out or staying physically active will deliver greater rewards?

The answer to that question seems to be "yes", and the time you should be exercising is in the morning.

When you are productive in any area of your life, you enjoy less stress and anxiety, more happiness and a sense of fulfillment, and more success.

Writers like Elin Hilderbrand exercise in the morning. Hilderbrand says she runs 8 to 10 miles every morning, not only to stay in shape, but to stay disciplined. And this discipline carries over to other areas of her life, including her writing.

To boost your productivity, get active more often.

Jogging, taking a walk, lifting weights, cycling, and performing yoga or Pilates will give you more energy than if you are sedentary, which will naturally lead to better productivity.

When you schedule that exercise in the morning, you supercharge that productivity.

Los Angeles writer Nina Revoyr has to work in her exercise around her writing and her job as the Executive Director of Ballmer Group’s philanthropic efforts in Los Angeles County and California, which are aimed at improving economic mobility for children and families disproportionately likely to remain in poverty. She prefers morning workouts, saying, "I work out when on I'm on a normal routine four or five days a week. I prefer to work out early in the morning before the day gets started."

And writer Carol Rice of makealivingwriting.com advises writers to, "Exercise first thing." She says, "My best-case scenario is to go for a one-hour mostly uphill walk before I sit down at my desk."

So why is morning exercise so beneficial?

Here's how it works.

Exercise in the morning means fewer scheduling conflicts.

You never miss a workout when you wake up early, and you don't have to push other responsibilities aside to make sure you get a workout in.

This means after your morning workout, your entire day can be focused on productively knocking out your to do list, and daily responsibilities.

Get your exercise in first, then you'll be ready to write.

Waking up is hard to do for a lot of people.

This means sluggishly getting through the morning and heading to work without much energy.

Exercise fires up your endorphins and cranks up your energy levels.

Enjoying even just 20 minutes of physical activity in the morning can lead to energy reserves to fuel a productive day.

Early-morning fitness means a spike in your metabolism.

So when you have a mid-morning snack and lunch while you are working throughout the day, you effectively burn more calories.

This means you're less likely to suffer a mid-afternoon energy crash.

Moderately intense to intense physical activity also wakes up your brain.

So you start the day with a clear head, improving your chances of keeping ahead of your workload and responsibilities all day long.

As far as motivation goes, getting your workout in early gives you a boost of self-esteem.

You have barely begun your day, and you have already accomplished something important.

Success can build upon itself.

The feel-good hormones that exercise releases make you feel good about yourself for exercising in the morning, a time when it may be tough to think about physical activity.

This successful early-morning achievement develops the proper mindset to attack subsequent goals and commitments with a lot of productive energy and positive feelings.

So exercise in the morning, then have a productive day writing.

Try it!


Suzanne Lieurance is a freelance writer, writing coach, certified life coach, and the author of over 40 published books.

She helps writers stay focused on their writing through her weekly group coaching program, The Monday Morning Shove.


I'm Tired Of Pitching

 

By W. Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

Can you identify with my title for this article? Whether you are just starting in publishing or have been doing it for years, you may be tired of pitching. Yet pitching is a reality into the fiber of every aspect of publishing. If I’m honest, some days I don’t want to pitch but after a long time in this business I’ve learned the hard way that if I don’t pitch then nothing happens.

For example, I’ve been teaching at a large writers’ conference almost every year for decades. Last year I participated in the event as an editor, but I did not teach a workshop or single session. As I thought about it, I understood why I wasn’t a part of the teaching instructors.  I did not pitch any workshops (new or old) to the conference director. Other people did pitch possible workshops and their sessions filled the schedule.

Every aspect of publishing involves pitching. To get an agent, you have to make a connection with them at a conference or pitch a book or book proposal that captures their attention. It’s the same for a publishing house. You can’t get a book deal without some sort of pitch that shows why you are the unique person to write and publish this particular book.

Pitching is not just for agents and editors; it is a critical part of the process for magazine work as well. You will have to learn to write a query letter, or a one-page pitch targeted to that publication and get the editor’s attention and request for you to submit your article.

When it comes to marketing and selling your book, it also involves—yes pitching. Radio station producers, podcasts hosts, bloggers for guest blogging articles and even writing for local or national newspapers—each aspect involves learning the specialized steps to catch their attention and get on their show or podcast or publication.

And when it comes to reaching readers, you have to pitch something to them that they want so they will join your email list (and then stay on your email list and not unsubscribe). To get the gig, every author has to learn to pitch.

There are a few exceptions to my statements about pitching. You can hire a publicist (after you get their attention (pitch). Then this publicist will do the pitching and scheduling of interviews for you. Or maybe you are invited to become a regular columnist for a publication. Even these regular gigs can come to a sudden end. For one well-known publication in one issue, they announced I was their book review columnist—then the editors abandoned the column with their next issue. Change is one of the consistent elements of publishing. One day you are up and the next day you are down—but you still have to continue pitching.

I may be tired of pitching but if I want to continue to be an active part of the publishing community, I’m going to continue to pitch. It’s like a teacher tired of teaching. Each of us need to understand it’s part of the fiber of this business and work every day to perfect our pitch and open more doors of opportunity. Every writer has a wide-open door of opportunity, but you have to take action and knock on the right door—which will take some effort and work but is definitely possible.

What steps do you take if you are tired of pitching? Let me know in the comments below.

Tweetable:

This prolific writer and editor is tired of pitching. He explains how pitching is in the fiber of every aspect of publishing so he will continue to pitch. Learn the details here. (ClickToTweet) 

W. Terry Whalin, a writer and acquisitions editor lives in Colorado. A former magazine editor and former literary agent, Terry is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 nonfiction books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams and Billy Graham. Get Terry’s recent book, 10 Publishing Myths for only $10, free shipping and bonuses worth over $200. To help writers catch the attention of editors and agents, Terry wrote his bestselling Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success. Check out his free Ebook, Platform Building Ideas for Every Author. His website is located at: www.terrywhalin.com. Connect with Terry on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

Creative Writing Tips: The Importance of Story

 

Creative Writing Tips: The Importance of Story by Deborah Lyn Stanley
We often read blogs and books to assist our endeavors in the craft of writing. Many are written with tips and guides to approach: plot, character, setting and structure. We may write blog posts, fiction, memoir or non-fiction pieces. But we all are telling stories as we use descriptive prose, narration, action and challenges to overcome.

Dinty W. Moore, author of The Story Cure, has an intriguing approach. We may be planning scenes for a book or articles for a magazine series. Whatever we plan may be helped by Mr. Moore as he breaks down “just what the Book Doctor orders”.

Mr. Moore frequently uses metaphors to make his points and engage the reader. It’s not “pain-free” but, even-though writing is painstaking, it should not be painful. Don’t let negative thoughts and doubts overcome the thrill of creative discovery!

As we travel along, read and listen to this intriguing method, whether we are in the midst of a project or at the start, it’s healthy to analyze our plan, our goals, and decide what’s working and what’s not.

Explore the Heart Story you are writing. What’s first in importance for the flow of humanity that runs underneath it? Identify the primal concern or desire in your book, story, or post and focus on the heart of it. This is so much more than diving into “theme” or “meaning”. There’s action and power with the heart to guide the story.
   
For example, Dinty Moore, points to David Copperfield by Charles Dickens’s. Throughout Copperfield’s adventures, setbacks, and unexpected events, we become aware of what he wants most. Copperfield wants an end to the abuse of weak and helpless orphans, debtors and the mentally ill by the wealthy and powerful.

Our goal is to engage readers, to write something of value, purpose and inspiration!
So we want to write vital posts, stories, books—ones the reader can enter, that incite a desire to see what happens next.

To that end, What does your character really want? What is his/her chief desire?
Once known, consider the emotions involved. What is it really about? Disappointments, fear of being left, safety, failure—go deeper.

Next, go through your piece making a list of the areas that are clearly connected to what your character really wants and strengthen others as needed.

                        Using Metaphors Adds Story to Articles, Posts & Interest to Narratives

Recommended links:
•    The Story Cure by Dinty W. Moore
A Book Doctor’s Pain-Free Guide to Finishing Your Novel or Memoir
https://www.amazon.com/Story-Cure-Doctors-Pain-Free-Finishing/dp/0399578803

•    What’s The Story by Melissa Donovan
The Storyteller’s Toolbox—Building Blocks for Fiction Writing
https://www.amazon.com/Building-Fiction-Writing-Storytellers-Toolbox/dp/0997671300/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1676233579&sr=1-1

 

Deborah Lyn Stanley is an author of Creative Non-Fiction. She writes articles, essays and stories. She is passionate about caring for the mentally impaired through creative arts.
Visit her My Writer’s Life website at: https://deborahlynwriter.com/   
Visit her caregiver’s website: https://deborahlyncaregiver.com/

Mom & Me: A Story of Dementia and the Power of God’s Love is available:
https://www.amazon.com/Deborah-Lyn-Stanley/
& https://books2read.com/b/valuestories



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Networking Goals


You can’t reach your goals on your own … you need your community of resources, clients/prospects, and advocates. 

On a recent episode of #GoalChatLive, I talked about Networking with Julie Migliacci, Director of Special Events, Revent Consulting; Janice Porter, Relationship Marketing Consultant & LinkedIn Trainer; and Stan Robinson, Jr., LinkedIn Trainer & Digital Selling Consultant. 

Julie, Janice, and Stan shared their thoughts on the value of networking and the challenges people have with it, as well as recommendations for networking, LinkedIn engagement, relationship development, and more. 

Networking Goals 

  • Julie: Track your networking – who, where, follow-up, etc. You can use a CRM like Hubspot, or OneNote, a simple spreadsheet, notebook, or your electronic address book 
  • Stan: Before an event, be clear about who can help you and how, and who you can help and how.
  • Janice: Schedule time to follow-up 

Final Thoughts 

  • Janice: People like to do business with people they know, like, and trust. Be authentic, have genuine conversations. Become someone people know, like, and trust 
  • Stan: For the messages you need to send repeatedly, try text shortener FlyMSG.io It will save you time … and you can spend that time networking 
  • Julie: Have fun! 
Networking works best when you approach it with a plan. Who do you want to meet? Who do you need to meet? Find like minds, make an impression, and follow up. You never know what great opportunities a new connection can bring.

* * * 

For more inspiration and motivation, follow @TheDEBMethod on Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin! 

* * *

What is your best networking tip? Please share in the comments. 

* * *
Debra Eckerling is the award-winning author of Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals and founder of the D*E*B METHOD, which is her system for goal-setting simplified. A goal-strategist, corporate consultant, and project catalyst, Debra offers personal and professional planning, event strategy, and team building for individuals, businesses, and teams. She is also the author of Write On Blogging and Purple Pencil Adventures; founder of Write On Online; host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat, #GoalChatLive on Facebook and LinkedIn, and The DEB Show podcast. She speaks on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

Valentine's Gifts: Sometimes Words Fail Even a Writer

 


He Won’t Write You a Love Letter

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers

 

Way back in the dark ages when I edited Ann Landers’ columns for a newspaper I worked for, I learned some advice columns can be nearly as valuable as an expensive therapist. My habit of turning to Ann’s column before I read the headlines came in handy recently when Ask Amy, her successor, published a letter dealing with a problem I’ve often heard applied to comedians who don’t like it when someone demands they “be funny,” when they haven’t quite finished swallowing whatever they are chewing. It never occurred to me that it applies to we writers as well.

 

Amy’s column featured a wife who had been married for thirty years to an “eloquent, thoughtful writer” who chooses words carefully. She says, “He turns mundane subjects into interesting reads.” She also says that he is smart, funny, great person, husband, father. (Yep, she’s still complaining to Amy!)

 

This rotter—her husband—won’t write down his feelings for her. He won’t do it for Christmas. He apparently has refused to do it to save money on a more expensive gift. She was hurt and when she pushed, he pushed back. She pushed again. Ugly argument.

 

All this scoundrel could come up with on demand for Valentine’s day is a card with a website address for planning a beautiful trip. No personal poem or sentiment suitable for a card but for her eyes only. One wonders if even a heartfelt “I love you” would do the job. I feel nothing but pity for her. Ahem?

 

At the end of this story, Neglected Wife admits that she knows he loves her. But she assumes she must not be the love of his life and wants an explanation. Now. For Valentine’s day! 

 

Wow. If she is dejected now, just think how disconsolate she’ll be when she finds out about the fifth-grade crush he can’t quite forget!

 

Amy tries to “describe the dynamic of being a writer and getting an emotionally loaded assignment” to this obviously ungrateful reader. The mere idea of fulfilling an assignment like the one this woman has given her husband gives Amy “writer-hives.”

 

So, what do we have here? Is he passive aggressive? Is it creative paralysis. Or do we have here a case of a controlling nature, a persistent controlling nature. On the part of the wife. Or a spouse (either one) who is insecure with love, with writing, or both?

 

I admit, I’ll often take the wife’s part when I read columns like this. So does Amy. I suspect we both figure a lot of men just don’t know how to fill the expectations of the woman they marry—or any other for that matter.

 

Here’s my suggestion to the wife. Back off and stay there. Your man already has an editor. Maybe a lot of them. People who are demanding (or give assignments) are often critical of the final product, even when the author (like certain presidents) think it’s “perfect.” He knows damn well that if he’s in trouble now, it will be worse once his sentiments are indelible. [Disclaimer: I am an editor and I try to be gentle; perhaps you can tell it’s my job to give advice.)

 

My mother used to say, “You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” I used to hate it. I thought it applied only to women. Women have to be made of sugar plumbs. Men get to be sauerkraut if they damn well want. Of course I was wrong. Even flies come in two distinct genders. What works for flies works for writers. Reluctant writers. Married writers. Writers of any gender. But it’s a little na├»ve to think it will always work.

 

Still it’s fun to think of the stories we might come up with if we writers apply this advice to other creatives. Do a little dance for your comedian friends. While I’m at being controlling, don’t tell them jokes. They pay writers for that.

 

MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. The books in her HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers have won multiple awards. That series includes both the third edition of The Frugal Book Promoter and my publisher and I are hoping for a February release of the third edition of my The Frugal Editor. They will then both be published by Modern History Press and between them they have won awards from USA Book News, Readers’ Views Literary Award, Dan Poynter’s Global Ebook Award, the marketing award from Next Generation Indie Books and others including the coveted Irwin award. How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically is still in its first edition and waiting for you in its indie-published edition. 

Middle Grade and Young Adult Differences

 


By Karen Cioffi

Lately, I've notice that a number of clients don't understand the difference between a middle grade (MG) book and a young adult (YA) book.

So, let's go over a few of the basic differences.

Also, keep in mind that there is simple MG and upper MG as well as simple YA and upper YA.

THE READER AGE GROUP FOR EACH GENRE

MG books focus on readers in the 9-12 age range. According to editor Mary Kole, "That's really the sweet spot." (1)

Along with this, there is an upper middle grade group that caters to the 12-13-year-old reader. They're not quite ready for YAs, but they're more advanced than a 9 or 10-year-old.

There is also a lower middle grade group that caters to the 8-10 range.

Another factor to consider is the age of the protagonist.

Generally, the protagonist is between 11 and 12 years old as kids want to read up. They want the protagonist to be as old or older than they are.

If it's an upper MG, the protagonist is usually 12-13.

It is important that the protagonist isn't in high school, thus the 13-year-old limit for upper middle grade.

Young adult books focus on readers in the 13-18 age range.

This genre is also divided into lower (younger) YA and upper (older) YA.

For the younger YA readers, the protagonist is usually aged 14-15.

For older readers, the protagonist is usually 16-18 years old, but he shouldn't be in college.

I'm currently ghostwriting a YA where it starts with the protagonist at 14 and will go with him through high school to 18-years-old.

WHAT CAN AND CAN’T BE IN THE STORY

With middle grade, especially younger middle grade, the story should still be simple and it'd be a good idea to keep it to a single point-of-view.

For upper MG, you can use two points-of -view, but my preference is still only one.

While the subject matter can be more mature than chapter books, it should be age appropriate. Keep in mind that the MG age group is still young. They're not experienced or mature enough to handle complex or mature topics.

Things like fitting in, simple crushes, and all the other things that go into the middle school years are fine.

If you're writing for upper middle grade, things can get a bit more advanced. Kids are experiencing the world. They know what they're seeing on TV and other media. You still though want to avoid dark or explicit subject matter. And, profanity should be avoided.

With young adult, kids are becoming savvy. They're experiencing everything from terrorism, violence, pandemics, and so on.

YA stories can go into the darker and grimier side of life.

While you still want to tone it down a bit for the younger YA group, for the older group you can pretty much go into everything. Although, explicit sexual content should still be limited. This is not the place for adult content.

You can though, add two or more points-of-view.

THE WORD COUNT

MG

The word count for middle grade is 15,000 to 65,000. Although, my fantasy adventure, Walking Through Walls, is about 12,000 and is great for the reluctant MG reader.

The general parameters are:

- Young MG is usually 15,000 to 25,000
- MG is usually 25,000 to 45,000
- Upper MG is usually 45,000 to 65,000

There is also the fantasy or sci-fi MG which can have a higher word count. But, it's not advisable not to go beyond 85,000 words.

YA

The word count for young adult is 50,000 to 75,000.

For the younger YA, keep it on the lower end of the word count.

While these are just the basics of the differences between MG and YA, it gives you a general idea of where your story should fit.

According to an article at Writers Digest, "a book that doesn’t fit within the parameters of either age category is a book you won’t be able to sell." (2)

An example of this:

With the story I mentioned earlier that I'm ghosting, it started as a MG. But, as the client wanted older subject matter and wanted the protagonist to go through high school, I had to change it to a YA.

The client actually wanted the protagonist to go through college also, but I had to pull in the reins.

You need to stay within the genre limits.

I hope this clears up the major differences between middle-grade and young adult stories.

This was first published at:
https://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com/2020/06/28/middle-grade-versus-young-adult/

References:
(1) https://marykole.com/how-to-write-middle-grade-fiction

(2) https://www.writersdigest.com/write-better-fiction/the-key-differences-between-middle-grade-vs-young-adult 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author and children’s ghostwriter as well as the founder and editor-in-chief of Writers on the Move. She is also an author/writer online platform instructor with WOW! Women on Writing. You can check out Karen's books at:
https://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com/karens-books/

You can connect with Karen at:
LinkedIn  https://www.linkedin.com/in/karencioffiventrice
Twitter https://twitter.com/KarenCV  
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karencioffikidlitghostwriter/


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