Get into the Zone an...

Sometimes the hardest thing about writing is the act of sitting down and getting the work done. Many writers have rituals that they use to get in the right frame of mind to produce material. Mine – which I admit is odd – is to eat a giant bowl of cereal, then put the bowl down next to my...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

The Book in You: Thr...

There are many stages to discovering the book in you. You might be wondering how to write a story, or you might already be in the process of writing. But no matter which stage you’re currently in, eventually you’ll be searching for the answers on how to get published. Prepping for...

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...