Saturday, December 25, 2021

Subconscious Programming Can Help You Reach Your Writing Goals

by Suzanne Lieurance

When you have big writing goals you wish to reach, your conscious mind is usually onboard with these goals, no matter what they might be.

Your subconscious mind, however, might need some convincing.

And it's actually your subconscious mind that steers the ship, so to speak.

In her book Thinking Write: The Secret to Freeing Your Creative Mind, Kelly L. Stone says we all have the power to program our subconscious mind to get what we want.

She even says there's a formula for this.

The formula is:

genuine intention + repetition + burning desire = subconscious programming

Let's take a closer look at the first element in this formula—genuine intention.

We all have thousands, if not millions, of thoughts each day.

If we acted on each and every one of these thoughts, we could end up in a real mess.

Fortunately (for us), in order to make something happen we first have to convince ourselves at a subconscious level that we really want it to happen.

So how do we convince ourselves at this level that we really want something to happen—that we have a genuine intention?

Well, by taking baby steps.

By breaking down our larger writing goals into a series of smaller, more easily attainable writing goals.

Here's an example.

If you tell yourself—I want to write a book—that will seem too overwhelming to your subconscious mind, and it will react with a thought like—Yeah, sure you do. You've said that before, and you've NEVER written a book. You can't write a book. It's too difficult.

But, if you tell yourself—I'm going to write just one page every day and see if I can make it into a book—then your subconscious mind says—Okay. Go ahead. You can do that.

Once you start writing a page a day and you continue doing that for a while, you begin to convince your subconscious mind that you can do something even more difficult, so you raise the bar.

You start writing three pages a day, for example.

So, here's how to start programming your subconscious mind, so you eventually reach your writing goals.

Today, just follow these three steps:

Step One

Be sure you've set a genuine intention for the day.

That is, you really do want to accomplish what you say you want to accomplish today.

For example, it really matters to you that you get that next chapter of your novel written or that short story started.

Step Two

Make sure today's writing goal is just a baby step to a larger, more lofty writing goal.

That is, it is something you know you can accomplish.

Don’t tell yourself you’re writing a novel, for example.

Tell yourself you’re writing the first scene of chapter one.

Step Three

Now, get to work on whatever it is you have a genuine intention to accomplish today.

That's it.

Try it!

For more writing tips and resources for writers, visit, and don't forget to get your free subscription to The Morning Nudge!

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

Season Wishes


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Tuesday, December 21, 2021

How Writers Can Use Strange Holiday Experiences

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

The holidays are full of surprises and changes from the normal routine. Often we are with family that we rarely see or other people which take us out of the routine experiences. It's refreshing and good in many ways. Other times it brings challenges and even strange experiences.

I've had a few of those strange experiences during my holidays. There is no need to give you the specifics as I attempt to be diplomatic yet reach my point. When I have these different experiences, I'm committed to learning from them and growing through the strangeness until it is resolved in the best possible way.

If you write or want to get published (or have been publishing), I want to suggest several action steps with these experiences.

First, in your own private way, write down the incident, the feelings and the dialogue, Maybe you pick up an ink pen or pencil and put these words into a journal or open a file on your computer and type in the thoughts. I prefer the computer option since my handwriting had detoriated the point that people tell me they struggle to read my printing. Hey, I understand those comments because after the fact, I struggle to read my own handwriting. While the concepts are fresh you write the information. I've found time tends to blur the details of these experiences.

Next, look for places you can plug these incidents into your own writing life. For certain stories, you may have to changed the names or let family members read the stories and gain their permission before you publish anything (online or in print).

For some stories, I'd encourage you to go ahead and create the articles. Choose a potential publication or audience as you write so your completed article is an appropriate length in terms of word count and focus which means you lead the reader to a single point or message or takeaway. Then polish that story and write a query letter related to it. Some magazines will only look at a completed article if they have first seen the query letter and expressed interest. Other publications will read the completed article. It is your responsibility as the writer to research the publication and understand their needs and preferences.

Some of the most popular and widely-read articles that I've ever written in my years in publishing come from these personal experience stories. Many magazines prefer first person stories for certain sections of their magazine or maybe even a regular column. Again it is your responsibility as the writer to locate these opportunities.

Seasonal stories are always in vogue for magazines. As a magazine editor, I recall the challenge of finding enough stories connected to holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas or Easter or Valentine's Day or Fourth of July. Immediately when they happen is the best time to write these stories. You have several months to polish them before sending them out to the appropriate publication.

If you don't want to use them in a magazine article, then save the stories and weave them into a nonfiction book project or totally disguise the details and use them in a fiction project. You can even use a single incident in a magazine article (or two), a nonfiction book then as the spark of an idea for a short story and finally as an incident in your novel. The possibilities are endless.

I hear many authors bemoaning the limitations for their writing. Instead be aware of the boundless possibilities--if you capture the stories and proactively use them in your writing.

W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written for over 50 magazines and more than 60 books with traditional publishers. 
Jim Cox, Editor-in-Chief  Of Midwest Review wrote in the December issue, "If you only have time to read one 'how to' guide to getting published, whether it be traditional publishing or self-publishing, "Book Proposals That Sell" is that one DIY instructional book. " He lives in Colorado and has over 190,000 twitter followers


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Friday, December 17, 2021

More Creative Writing Practice


 Whether we are preparing an essay, blog post, or story, we need idea sparks to motivate our writing practice.

Here are a few suggestions:
1.    Search your favorite subject or blog topic to spark ideas.
2.    A favorite holiday memory, including a favorite recipe or two
3.    Re-write a scene from a novel you’ve read
4.    Take a magazine or newspaper article you liked and re-write it as a short story or a poem.
5.    Check out Fred White’s “Where Do You Get Your Ideas? A Writer’s Guide to Transforming Notions into Narratives.”
6.    Grab a Quote and use it for the first line of an essay.
7.    Create a new short story ending, use a story you like and make it different.
8.    As you drive around town on errands, your commute, or traveling, grab an unusual or common sight and give it a story. Create an article for its improvement.
9.    Use a subject word and make a word list to develop what it means to you. Then write a poem, a short story, or an essay relating your list. For example: I used the following list to develop a project about friendship:

a.    Finding Ruthie
b.    Friends
c.    Pals
d.    Companion
e.    Lots-in-common
f.    Walking-together
g.    Always there
h.    Camaraderie
i.    Close
j.    Buddy
k.    Chum
l.    Mate
m.    Comrade
n.    Partner
o.    Playmate
p.    Fun, play, dance
q.    Take-care
r.    Trust
s.    Love
t.    Joy & sadness
u.    Good times & bad
v.    Always sharing
w.    Together
x.    Support
y.    Encourage
z.    Dependable
aa.    Walking
bb.    Running
cc.    Keep friends & treat them right

Writing the Wave by Elizabeth Ayres
Elizabeth presents creativity formulas for building original creative writing projects by layering seemingly random steps. Her Point of View (POV) discussion clicked for me. She likens POV to an artist’s perspective and purpose as the underlying structure for writing creatively. Here are the steps I traversed recently:
1.    To gain perspective, or viewpoint, I first described an acquaintance, as she or he—in third person.
2.    Then that person describes herself or himself.
3.    Thirdly, someone, maybe grandpa, who has passed on, describes the same person.

In analyzing the three views, I noted the different levels of information given about the person. Which view might lend itself with glimmers into the person’s life and motivation for story development? Hmm.

I continue to work through the book, making discoveries, and having fun learning layering methods for Creative Writing Ideas.

Write & Embrace the Process

Helpful links:  


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:   
Visit her caregiver’s website:

Mom & Me: A Story of Dementia and the Power of God’s Love is available:



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Monday, December 13, 2021

Writers On The Go


 Writers On The Go by Mindy Lawrence

A Refresher on Writing Bugaboos

Although most of us have had classes about grammar and usage, there are still times when we need a refresher on the use of certain words. We know them but how to use them sometimes slips our minds. Here are a few bugaboos and a refresher on how to use them.

Also, see The Frugal Editor (second edition) and Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips both by Carolyn Howard-Johnson. Her books will enlighten you even more.

Whose vs. who’s
Both words are versions of the interrogative pronoun who.
Who’s is a contraction of who + is or who + has.
Whose means “belonging to whom,” and occasionally “of which.”


•    Who’s afraid of Frankenstein? (contraction)
•    Whose car is that? (possession)

Lie vs. Lay
You lie down, but you lay something down. The problem here is that the word lay shows up in both the past and present tenses. You only need a direct object with lay, you will know that the past tense is laid.

•    I would like to lie down and listen to the rain.
•    Lay the hammer on the table.

Me vs. I
If the people are the subject of the verb, you should use I. If the people are the objects of the verb, me is correct. To help you figure out whether to use me or I in a sentence, follow this hint.

Remove the other person from the sentence. If it sounds right, you’ve used the right word.

•    Jerry took I for a walk. (wrong)
•    Jerry took me for a walk (correct)

Pique vs. Peek vs. Peak
Pique means to stimulate interest. Peek means to take a look. Peak means the top of a mountain or something else high.

•    Reading about Frankenstein piqued my interest in monsters.
•    When I heard the noise, I had to peek out the window to see what it was.
•    She walked to the peak of the hill.

These are just a few of the words we often confuse. The more you write and edit or yourself, the better you will get on using these and other troublesome words.



Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Mindy Lawrence is a writer, ghost blogger, and artist based in Farmington, Missouri. She worked for the State of Missouri for over 24 years and moved to Farmington in 2020. 

She proofread the Sharing with Writers newsletter by Carolyn Howard-Johnson and wrote “An Itty-Bitty Column on Writing” there for ten years. She has been published in Writers' Digest magazine and interviewed by NPR’s All Things Considered.


Thursday, December 9, 2021

Celebrate Your Wins and Start Making New Plans: It's DEBcember!

When do you set new goals and make new plans? Every week? Every month? Every year? All of the above? I do, too!

While many wait for January for their fresh start, I like to begin the new year in DEBcember! Approaching the next calendar year with a running start is the perfect way to set yourself up for success.  

While everyone is winding down 2021, you can start achieving your 2022 goals before January 1st!

Celebrate Wins

Before new year planning can begin, take an inventory of the last 12 months ... and celebrate all of your accomplishments.

How did you do on the goals you set last year?

What was your biggest win each month? Each season?   

Also, consider the challenges you faced and how you dealt with them. 

Don't forget your personal achievements. Did you survive teaching your kids through Zoom school? Did you learn a new language, start a new hobby, or start a new writing project? Did you lose 20 lbs, even though you were aiming for 30? 


Note: If you had trouble remembering your wins, making the decision to track them in the new year is a great goal! At the end of each day - or week - write down one to three wins. Keep a dedicated notebook or computer document, so all of your wins are in one place ... and ready for you to look at when you need a boost!

Make Plans for 2022

Now, start planning for 2022. This time next year, what do you want to celebrate? Writing a new book? Getting an agent? Being published in a national magazine or three?

Write down your monster list of goals for 2022. These can be big goals, small goals, dream goals, easy goals, tasks, activities, projects. Include personal and professional goals. And also review - or rewrite - your mission and motto to make sure your action items and aspirations are in line with your big picture vision for your future.

Now, divide and conquer. Categorize all of your like goals and get organized. Look at your schedule and assign time each week (whatever is feasible with your busy schedule) to work toward your goals. Slow and steady gets things done. 

Final Thoughts

We have had so many changes over the last two years. Isn’t it time everyone gets a break? Get a running start to the new year. And, remember, you can do it!

* * *

For more inspiration and motivation, follow @TheDEBMethod on Twitter and Linkedin for your #Start2022Now Goal of the day!

* * *

What's your greatest win from 2021? What's your big goal for 2022? 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 writer, editor, and project catalyst, Deb works with entrepreneurs, executives, and creatives to set goals and manage their projects through one-on-one coaching, workshops, and online support. She is also the author of Write On Blogging and Purple Pencil Adventures; founder of Write On Online; Vice President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Women's National Book Association; 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.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

How Authors Can Learn to Love Amazon

 I get ideas about stuff to talk about in unexpected places. I assume that is not unique to my writing experience, but today something popped up in Facebook Memories feature I just couldn't resist passing along to my blogger friends. I think the major lesson to me (and from me! Ha!)  is that we can love to hate Amazon and other entities all we want, but it's more useful to our writing careers--both successes and enjoyment of them--if we don't listen to all the rumors of entities in the publishing world and find out for ourselves. In this case it is Amazon, but I constantly run into experiences even after decades of writing experience in several different disciplines (journalism, PR, marketing, blogging, and publishing in a variety of genres, etc.) that nudge me away from all the griping we hear on the web and elsewhere and onto doing what the basics of good marketing departments at great universities tell us to do. That is, make friends, network, and explore new possibilities.

Sooo, I had heard from several fairly reliable sources that Amazon wouldn't remove old editions of a book from their sales pages but decided to try one more time using the email feature at their Author Central to reach someone to ask for help. Here is my experience as posted on Facebook way back then--in probably about 2011.

"I just had the nicest telephone conversation with Amazon's Author Central. I had worked for two years trying to get the old edition of my The Frugal Book Promoter removed from Amazon via e-mail (I thought it would make it easier if they had all the ISBNs, etc in writing! Silly me! And, I admit to hating confrontation and avoiding it like the plague! )

"So the conversation goes like this:

"ME: "I understand I can't have the first edition of my The Frugal Book Promoter removed from Amazon even though it's outdated--by about a decade--but that I can add a new widget to that page to direct my readers to the new one."

"DANA THE WONDERFUL (At Amazon!):  "I'd be happy to do that for you."

"ME: Some chitchat including thank yous as she works. Then some magic words! "Too bad we can't just hide the old edition and get all 128 of the old reviews transferred to the multi award-winning second edition!" (Were "multi award-winning" the magic words?"

"DANA THE WONDERFUL: "Oh, we can do that!" Typing noises. "It may take 72 hours for that to happen but it's done."

"ME: "Really?"


"ME: Happy Dance. Huge Thank yous.

"Note: It obviously is worth the time waiting for a real person on the Author Connect (Author Central)  hotline!  Wish I had a recording of the conversation for you!"

Here's a disclaimer.  This is 2021,  NOT 2011. Amazon changes policies all the time as needed (or as they think are needed--I have seen them change back again). So if you are having this particular problem, try my method. But the real point of this post is to try it no matter what it is you want or need. In the past, I have had them...

1. Add several widgets to point to several of my books that were published in later editions.
2. To move reviews from earlier editions to later editions.
3. To remove early editions of e-books, but not paper books. Removing paper books interferes with their second market feature.
4. To fix or update metadata.
5. To get blatantly biases reviews removed. Amazon doesn't like this either and is working mightily to avoid it. There are all kinds of scammy approaches to reviews. In fact, I wrote a big, fat how-to book on reviews that includes a case study of sorts of Amazon vs. Scammy reviews.  We don't like to believe it, but there are actually fellow writers out there with an agenda and somehow believe that dissing their competition's books will be good for their own.  It is the third in my multi award-winning #HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers,  How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically at
6. It seems they have recently changed a wonderful feature they had where #authors and #publishers could add all kinds of helpful information to their buy page--everything from professional reviews to notes from the author. I told you they change all the time, but keep checking. Better still, keep asking. You might even run into my "Dana the Wonderful!"


More About the Writers on the Move.
Guest Blogger Howard-Johnson is the multi award-wining author of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. She is also a marketing consultant, editor, and author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers including the multi award-winning The Frugal Book Promoter (, now offered by Modern History Press in its third edition.

Carolyn's latest is in the #HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers is How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. 

She has two booklets in the #HowToDoItFrugally Series, both in their second editions from Modern History Press. Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers ( and The Great First Impression Book Proposal ( are career boosters in mini doses and both make ideal thank you gifts for authors.  

Carolyn also has frugal books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it helps them convince retailers to host their workshops, presentations, and signings, literally gives authors ideas on how to approach independent retails (including bookstores). It is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques ( 

Carolyn contributes to this blog regularly and  helps writers extend the exposure of their favorite reviews at She also blogs at all things editing--grammar, formatting and more--at The Frugal, Smart, and Tuned-In Editor ( Learn more and follow for news on her new releases direct from Amazon:

Growing Your Writing Practice

By Deborah Lyn Stanley We’ve been writing and developed certain habits. Maybe this is a good time to improve our practice, or even call it o...