Say no to structure and let your imagination run w...

“Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” – E.L. Doctorow We know everyone’s writing style is different, so we believe as long as you get it down in paper who is to say you didn’t do it the “right way?” Just because you didn’t create an outline or know the ending to your novel before writing Chapter 1 doesn’t mean you’re wrong. You shouldn’t feel obligated to do things how others tell you do them – keep doing what works best for you. You don’t always have to clearly see everything laid out before you – just enough to...

The Never Ending Jou...

Guest Blog by Grant Faulkner Did I choose my writing process, or did it choose me? This was the question I asked myself after 20+ years of writing fiction. I wondered if I’d stumbled thoughtlessly upon my creative practice, and instead of actively scrutinizing it or consciously constructing...

Sell Your Heart: Whe...

You’ve got to sell your heart, your strongest reactions, not the little minor things that only touch you lightly, the little experiences that you might tell at dinner. This is especially true when you begin to write, when you have not yet developed the tricks of interesting people on paper,...

You Can Make Anythin...

Remember this quote from C.S. Lewis the next time you sit down to start a new writing project. Be encouraged by the idea that there are no limits to the stories you can tell, the worlds you can create, or the characters you can meet. “You can make anything by writing.” ― C.S. Lewis The...

Soak up the Stories ...

How much writing material have you come into contact with throughout your life? “We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” ― Ray Bradbury Without even really trying, you’re constantly...

Writing Real

One of the cardinal rules of writing is to “write what you know.” A simple enough suggestion, but seemingly so limited it’s all but useless. How can you only write about what you know? Can you write crime fiction without being a criminal or a cop? Can you write a legal thriller without being a lawyer? Stephen King, in his classic work On Writing, clarifies a bit: “When you step away from the ‘write what you know’ rule, research becomes inevitable, and it can add a lot to your story. Just don’t end up with the tail wagging the dog; remember that you are writing a novel, not a research paper. The story always comes...

Writing Influences: ...

Few things are more beneficial to your writing than reading the work of other great writers. Reading and studying the greats can show you what’s possible, teach you what works, and give you inspiration. But once you’ve soaked in all the wonder and wisdom from your favorite...

Before and After: Th...

Wouldn’t it be interesting to see before-and-after photos of all the ideas that ever sparked a story — to hold our intentions and inspirations up against our final manuscripts and see the evolution? It’s amazing how much an idea can change before an author is through with it — how...

What type of writer are you?

If you’re searching for a way to classify your identity as a writer, look no further than this great quote from George R.R. Martin: “I think there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners. The architects plan everything ahead of time, like an architect building a house. They know how many rooms are going to be in the house, what kind of roof they’re going to have, where the wires are going to run, what kind of plumbing there’s going to be. They have the whole thing designed and blueprinted out before they even nail the first board up. The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and water it. They kind of...

Mastering Conflict a...

Mickey Spillane once said, “The first line sells your book. The last line sells your next book.” But how do you bridge the gap between those two lines? How do you get readers from Point A to Point Z without them giving up around Point F? (F as in Failed your job as a writer to engage the...

Now’s the Time to Pursue Your Writing Goals

In the writing world, there’s little room for fear. The moment you decide you want to be a writer, the time has come to put all self-doubt aside and simply go for it. It takes confidence, persistence and action to reach any writing goal — from finishing a draft of a manuscript to promoting your published work. “I don’t think you have time to waste not writing because you are afraid you won’t be good at it.”  ― Anne Lamott Most writers — no matter how talented — go through phases of writing work they’re not happy with, getting rejections, and struggling to find people who are interested in their work. It’s...

How to End a Writing...

When in the middle of a writing session, how do you know when it’s time to stop working? When is time to keep writing, and when is it time to walk away? What’s the key to staying productive and energized? Today, we look for the answer in the words of Ernest Hemingway: “I always...

The “Stress-Free” Art of Writing

The creative moment is something that has fascinated me my whole life. As a child I’d watch my father, a gifted amateur painter, set a blank canvas on his easel, squeeze some paint onto his palette, fill his turpentine cup (ah, that heady, pungent aroma!), and set to work. Gradually he’d transform that blank expanse into a picture of a crashing seashore or a country lane or a collection of objects — bottle, candle, peach — that looked more lively and interesting than real life. How did this happen?, I wondered. How does that peach on that flat surface look more exciting than any real peach could? Later I learned something...

Facing the Blank Pag...

In the beginning — as you’re trying to put the first words on the blank page of your newest work in progress — it’s easy to feel as though each word you write should be perfect. You want to start strong. You want to write that perfect opening paragraph that will unfold...

Spring Cleaning For ...

It’s that time of the year when winter fades away and spring slowly emerges. With this changing of seasons, a lot of us turn our focus toward spring cleaning. The start of a new season mixed with the cleanliness of your home gives one the feeling of being refreshed and recharged. Just like...

Make the Most of You...

With the 2013 Writer’s Digest Conference East just around the corner, we thought we’d take a look at a quote from the featured keynote speaker of this much-anticipated event — Adriana Trigiani. How does this bestselling, prolific and beloved writer go about her work? “Everything has...

Windowpane Writing

There are many ways to assess the quality of one’s writing. “Good writing” can mean many different things to many different people, but let’s take a look at what the great George Orwell has to say on the matter: “Good writing is like a windowpane.” —...

Writing with Style

On the path to discovering your unique voice as a writer (your style), you need only be yourself. Your style is yours alone and cannot be forced, faked or based on imitation. “Style is to forget all styles.” — Jules Renard Tweet this Quote While finding your own style isn’t something...

Just Keep Writing

Sitting down to work on your writing can be difficult when you’re feeling uninspired. But if you allow yourself to back off of your writing goals each time writer’s block rears its ugly head, you could end up in a cycle of procrastination that prevents you from creating something...

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

  Late last year, Writer’s Digest published a book by author and instructor Fred White entitled Where Do You Get Your Ideas?  The book’s premise is that finding ideas isn’t so hard, but finding good ideas and turning them into stories that are worthy of spending six months, a year, or even longer on takes some careful thought. White shows readers where to look for ideas, how to separate the good from the bad, and how to develop the former into something great. For me, I’ve always found that with my best ideas, I feel as if there’s a purpose to the writing — that I’m always moving towards a predetermined...