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...

Go after inspiration with a club

 “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”  – Jack London Too often writers sit in their local coffee shop waiting for the lightning bolt of inspiration to hit them. But, you need to heed London’s advice and take charge of your inspiration. Whether it’s signing up for a new experience (geo-caching, for example) or just changing up your writing area, you need to be actively searching for inspiration. London was famous for finding inspiration from the simplest items, such as newspaper clippings. You might not churn out material at the rate London did, but you can ensure you have plenty of...

Read a book to keep your mind fresh

You may not be a fan of Stephen King’s books, but you can’t deny that he knows what it takes to write a book or two. “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”  – Stephen King If you want to continue honing your craft, you must continue reading. By reading another author’s work you enjoy, you pick up new plot ideas, different ways of holding dialogue between characters or even inspiration for your next book cover. We urge you to go a bit beyond your preferred genre and pick up something you might not normally consider. It doesn’t have to be the classics, but...

Never stop learning about your craft of writing

Many writers have their own style or writing pattern, but it’s important to never stop learning about your craft. Try something new. “Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.” —Larry L. King Stepping out of your comfort zone when it comes to reading or writing can be tricky. With new adventures come great lessons, and there is so much out there that can help you become a better writer. Check out a new book genre, try a writing style you’ve never done before or attend a seminar. Continue to grow as a writer because there is no end to useful writing knowledge.  Takeaway Tweets “Write. Rewrite....

What is your untold ...

We understand how frustrating it can be to receive rejection letters from traditional publishers. But, everyone has a story to tell. And, it’s our responsibility here at Abbott Press to help you share it. “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya...

Learn to Love Deadlines

As a writer, you probably have an interesting relationship with deadlines. As easy as it is to give yourself deadlines and get excited about the prospect of meeting them, it’s even easier to ignore them. “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” ― Douglas Adams It’s usually no difficulty to let deadlines pass you by — especially the ones you set for yourself. If you have a hard time holding yourself accountable for your own deadlines, let outside influences help. Look to writing contests, literary journals, conferences and workshop groups to set your deadlines for you. You’re likely to...

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 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...

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...

Read and Write to Co...

Have you ever turned to a page of a book and read something that seemed to speak directly to you? Sometimes we come across the words of another that articulate our own thoughts, feelings, passions and struggles.  To see another person ― either an author or a fictional character ― going...

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...

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...

Fictional Stories, Real Emotions

Up until his recent death, Roger Ebert had seemingly endless insights into the craft of storytelling and the value of art in our lives. As a writer, here’s one nugget of Roger Ebert wisdom that’s good for you to hold on to: “We feel the same emotions for our ideas as we do for the real world, which is why we can cry while reading a book, or fall in love with movie stars.” — Roger Ebert Whether you’re writing a story, reading a novel or watching a film, it’s easy to get wrapped up in a fictional world. It’s not just frivolous escapism — it’s an important exploration of ideas, values and emotions. No...

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.” —...

Let Your Words Sing

Like other forms of art, part of the beauty of writing has little to do with the message or meaning behind the words. Words — like individual brush strokes or notes of a song — can be beautiful on their own. While beautiful words become more powerful when they form a larger story or idea...

Write to Discover What You Know

Writing — at its best — can be one of the most satisfying of creative endeavors. Whether working on a novel or scribbling in a journal, writing offers a unique opportunity to turn your thoughts, feelings, ideas and creativity into something more tangible. “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O’Connor Even when you begin writing with a fully conceived storyline or message in mind, it’s not unusual to end up with a draft that hardly resembles your original intentions. A single sentence can spark a tangential string of writing that brings you to an unexpected place. A character might...

Writing the First Se...

If there’s anyone I’d feel safe taking writing advice from, it’s Joyce Carol Oates — one of the most prolific writers of our time. Having published over 120 books over the course of her career, surely she must know something about powering through a first draft and reworking it until...