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...

It Feels Like the Ground Is Shaking — But Maybe Th...

Two weekends ago, I was fortunate enough to get to host the annual Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City. It’s a somewhat progressive conference as these things go, with a great deal of time spent learning about the business of publishing and the great changes impacting writers, agents and publishers alike. What’s fascinating about all of this is that there wasn’t a sense of fear or anxiety, but rather one of excitement, opportunity and engagement. In general, the level of positive energy was off the charts. I was happy to see this given that this same weekend, Scott Turow, President of The Authors Guild, Inc., published...

Country Girl takes a...

Dare to dream. I did, and I ended up in New York City. Granted, that may not impress most people, but to me, a woman who’s lived her whole life in the coalfields of Southwestern Virginia, it felt like somebody handed me the moon. I’m talking about my recent trip to New York City to attend...

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...

The Value of Writing Conferences

On April 5-7, Writer’s Digest will be hosting a large writing conference in New York City. What’s new this year is that even though much of the conference covers topics of interest to self-published authors, such as creating a career out of e-books or learning how to build a brand for your work, we’re launching the event with a full day of programming devoted exclusively to self-published authors. It’s an exciting time when self-published authors can have a conference all to themselves. So why attend a conference? (And by that I mean any conference, not just ours.) Conferences provide you with the kind of classroom session...

Make Writing a Prior...

With a busy work life, family life, social life, etc., it can be easy to lose focus on your writing life. Because finding  time to write can be a struggle, you have to make  time to write instead. “There are many excuses not to write. Try using writing as an excuse not to do other...

Writing takes Confidence

The world of writing and publishing can be harsh, discouraging and intimidating. Because writers regularly put themselves in a position to have their work scrutinized and rejected, it’s important to develop not only thick skin, but a healthy dose of self-confidence. You’ll need this confidence at each stage of the writing process — from finishing the first draft of a manuscript and working through revisions to reaching out to agents and submitting your work to contest, journals and conferences. “Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to...

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...

Celebrate Your Love ...

It’s February 14th, and what better way to honor the day than to share what we love about writing? Following are a few quotes from the Writer’s Digest staff. If there’s something in particular that you love about writing, let us know in the comments section below!   I love how writing...

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...

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...

You Know Enough

If ever you doubt your capacity for great story ideas, may you find comfort in the words of novelist, poet and memoirist May Sarton: “Anyone who is going to be a writer knows enough at 15 to write several novels.” — May Sarton When you find yourself struggling to find inspiration, look...

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...

Writing Your Future

There are two schools of thought when it comes to destiny. The first states that all is preordained and that all things happen according to a plan that cannot be changed or avoided. The other believes that fate does not exist and that our lives progress, for the most part, as directed by our...

How to use Pinterest as a Writer Jan03

How to use Pinterest...

The last thing many writers want is another social networking platform to worry about. But, as Pinterest has found its place among top social media sites, it’s worth your time to investigate how you might use this popular online space as a resource. Unlike most social media platforms,...

Holiday Writing Fun

We’re less than a week away from Christmas so I thought it might be nice if you gave yourself a little break over the holidays. Instead of sticking to your tried-and-true writing routine, try your hand at one (or more) of the fun exercises below. Maybe they’ll inspire a short story —...

Top 5 Quotes on the ...

As the publisher of Writer’s Digest, I’ve had the honor of speaking with hundreds of exceptional authors about writing and publishing. And I’ve been lucky enough to publish some of them. This is particularly gratifying because I love books on the craft and business of writing. In fact,...

Life After NaNoWriMo...

Last month, writers everywhere participated in National Novel Writing Month with the ambitious goal of completing a 50,000-word novel manuscript. If you reached your November writing goal, congratulations! You’ve already accomplished something impressive, yet finishing the first draft of a...

Write Engaging Scenes Using All Five Senses

Quick — does your novel need an IV? Or maybe emergency surgery? It might be because your descriptions are flatlining.  You’ve already heard that to create lush, engaging descriptions in your novel, you need to “show, don’t tell.” But “show” implies “sight,” which leaves out our other four senses entirely. To have your reader experience a scene as intimately as possible, you must also incorporate sound, touch, taste and smell. These senses are often neglected, if they’re even addressed at all. To give your descriptions a jolt of electricity, follow these guidelines from Novelist’s Boot Camp by Todd A....