What other genres do you enjoy reading?

Documentaries and biographies

­Have you ever destroyed any of your drafts?


Fiction or non-fiction? Which is easier?


How many children do you have? Do you see any young writers in any of them?

I have one and yes. He’s shown interest. From what he has shared with me I think is good for a beginner. It wasn’t anything I ever forced on him. I make it very clear to him he doesn’t have to like it or be into it the way I am, for him to be into what he likes.

What advice would you like to pass on to young writers of today?

If your dream is to be published one day work toward that. You won’t always find the support you need so you need to be your own support in that situation. Don’t give up.

Is privacy an issue for you?

I once was super worried about privacy, but it’s not an issue mostly for me. If it’s something I don’t want online, I don’t put it online.

Were you a troublemaker as a child?

I wasn’t perfect, but wasn’t out to cause trouble either.

What time of the day do you usually write?

Nighttime, I’m usually up anyway so I make the most of it.

Describe a typical writing day.

This can change depending. Mostly I handle my responsibilities to my family, grab a cup of coffee, and start working on writing. Whether it’s setting up a draft, purging out my ideas, organizing, or writing. I take breaks and handle chores on those and then get back to writing if I’m able to.

Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit. Any tips for aspiring writers?

Yes. Best I can say is breathe. If you’re becoming stressed step away. If you’re becoming emotionally drained step away. Self-care is important and if you’re not taking care of yourself, it will affect your work and those around you.

It’s been a very long time since I tried NaNoWriMo. I failed early by becoming distracted and losing interest, but much has changed since then and I tried again and start fresh!

I have more on my side this time, for example, the support of fellow authors, the encouragement of others, and I’m not going in blind. They have given me some fantastic advice to take this challenge this year. I also have a rough outline of an idea that I’ve wanted to do for some time. Since I never laid down an actual word for this story, I decided this was the project for this event and this year.

Yes, I have deadlines to publishers. Yes, I’ll be getting those things done. Luckily, I have the support of my family and the time to get everything done now.

If you take part in NaNoWriMo, please add me as a buddy! Let’s support eachother. My Profile

Over the years, I announced different projects. Works in progress that never seemed to come out. Things that readers requested either by pm or by email. Sometimes these requests would come in the form of questions that gave me inspiration such as Whatever happened to Eshu or Will we ever get information about the other past lives of Lilith? Some questions were answered if you knew where to look, for example Eshu from The Blasphemer Series appeared in Chasing Shadows by Kindra Sowder. He also misbehaved from what I was told.

Stories were announced and were written on, but never made it to publication. Sometimes this happens in the writing industry. Now, with that said, I fully planned on publishing many stories. If I hadn’t planned on it, I wouldn’t on some level mentioned or announced them. The Lives of Lilith and more on Maxwell were both written, but I had never finished them. Maxwell’s book was written with Lilith/Adele telling the stories to their youngest family members, so they would learn along with the readers. Martel, the prequel work of The Painting of Martel also got worked on, but I put a pause in it to work on more pressing matters.

I even worked on a more children friendly work, but it never came to light. My feelings on it were that it wasn’t feeling finished when I wrote all the stories for it, so feeling it incomplete I didn’t want to move forward on that project.

The Mephistopheles Chronicles a co-authorship project between me and Kindra Sowder was put on pause as both of us got busy with work projects. It’s a crossover of The Blasphemer Series and her Van Helsing characters. This project is paused, but not permanently as I’m aware, so it remains a work-in-progress between the two of us.

Many stories, upon their writing being finished, felt better in a short story format and were and are being polished to be in a series of releases, by whom I’m not fully sure, now of writing this. I can say, with full confidence, some of them are being cleaned and polished to be included in Little Lunacies. I will cover this fully in an official announcement.

This post was inspired when I began digging through older files. I then realized all of my ‘back-burner stories’ reminded me of a story I read: Fiction by Ryan Lieske. The tagline of that book is ‘Sometimes, a character is so strong, it refuses to be buried’. I highly recommend every reader check this out. All I kept thinking about was all the stories that were not finished, characters that had personalities and lives and how they were ‘living’ without being given life.

With this update I will say, in some fashion or form all that I have worked on will eventually make its way to all of you. I will make an announcement when something from The Unwritten Stories log comes to life, perhaps even a book dedicated just to the unfinished but becoming finished. The sky is open right now for me; I have no limits on my creativity, and I will take advantage of this new spark fully.

Last night, my kid and I were talking about my website and content ideas I’ve been having lately. He then suggested what is now becoming this post. He wanted to send a challenge to all writers. Understanding what a prompt is he decided to go that route for his challenge. Below are three!

  1. Write from the perspective of a tree. Every ring of the tree is a lifetime. Your challenge here isn’t just to write from the perspective of a tree, but to write about each lifetime. Are you a young tree or a very old one? What have you seen while you have been here? What did you see as a seedling until now?
  2. Life of a cat. With some many abandoned animals in the world and so many in need your challenge is to write something dramatic and serious. What can you write about the life of a cat. Where you a street cat that was saved? Were you caught up in medical testing? Where you a posh-living kitty that was abandoned one day?
  3. Write about a fallen angel. This can be first or third person. Why did the angel fall? Was it an epic battle? You don’t necessarily have to have them fall to Hell, but they could’ve fallen to Earth instead. Were they once a guardian angel?

There they are. The challenges to all writers my son has given. Think you’re up for it? Think you can come up with something for his challenge?

Dear Younger Self,

You don’t know it yet but things are going to be getting easier. I know you’re lonely, feel like a weirdo, and feel as if nothing will ever change, but it does. In the next couple of years you will meet someone that changes the direction of your life.

He will accept everything about you and for everything else he’ll tolerate it because he loves you so much. The feeling will be mutual. In fact, you’ll get married to him a few more years later and have a child. You’re still married and that child is thriving as I type this.

I know…I know…you’re thinking I’m full of it. I remember being in disbelief a lot of the time and having such an overwhelming dreadful feeling. Feeling caged all of the time and simply escaping into writing, it will change for the better. Learning patience is a challenge you’ll overcome and then must teach to someone much more important that will come into your life.

There’s a lot of things that you will simply have to learn and experience, but that’s okay. You haven’t learned yet that all of the bad and all of the good experiences, even people, are lessons to be learned.

You’ll lose touch with a lot of people, but some will resurface. It’ll be okay. I know you need to hear that, it’ll be okay. You have just started to learn things can be okay and have already learned that people come and go in your life, it’s apart of life that won’t change. You will eventually learn those that matter will be around a lot longer and that’s when you will also learn that you’re lovable and worthy of love.

There are dark times ahead. We’ve never faltered when having to face the darkness before, we just never knew that the situation was ‘dark’ at the time we just shrugged things off as ‘just another day’. I won’t go into it fully, how dark things will get because at the age I am now you’ve learned to look for the light at the end of the tunnel and the positive that comes from struggle. There is a lesson in the dark, you will find it, and you will survive even if you felt you weren’t going to.

Love, Your Older Self

What would you say if you could talk to your younger self?

Digital Camera

I am from north east Arkansas. After college and moving around many years I returned to the area. My career was in music and music education. It remains a major interest for me. Science fiction and some fantasy tales held my interests from childhood. I got to view many of the 50’s grade B sci-fi flicks as they first came out. As a teen I enjoyed several of the genre’s short stories.

My writing experience is regarding graduate schools and career needs. My preference is the Chicago Manual style. So, I would certainly urge all aspiring authors to learn the fundamentals of writing/language usage.

Next, writers should expose themselves to the wide variety of styles that exist. I think that, as in my chosen field of music, the more styles you can be versed in the better your chances of success. It hurts nobody to read a poem or two, some old/new style novels and short stories, and folk tales of various cultures. I believe everyone should read some of the Psalms in the Bible. David and Asaph were great in that style and knew how to write expressively.

I told myself the stories I have published several times in my head before I wrote them. Inspiration comes from different places for all of us. I have composed two novels that need revising, of course! The first began with a scene that came to mind while on a long walk during a winter night. Colors and sound often grab my attention. I envisioned a snowy scene of a bright blue flag, the image panned downward to a line of people with a primitive and brassy fanfare sounding. Then I began wondering: who were they, why were they there, where were they, and why? The second book built on the first.

Most places and characters I use are based on who/what I know. My first story, “The Night at Amos James’ Cabin”, is rooted in a family story passed to me by my maternal grandmother.

The second one. “Glork”, reflects my interest in what would happen if alien visitors desired to become Christian. Something would surely go wrong, and it does.

Write so that you show what is happening, rather than just telling it.

Study some history like the events you wish to write about. I can’t imagine writing on warfare without knowing about the World Wars and the Civil War, etc.

Write a lot. Consider it as practice, which everyone needs.

Finally, find an editor you trust, as well as accurate beta readers. Edd Sowder of Burning Willow Press has been such an editor for me, and one of our sons, Ben, is a creative writing graduate and helps when needed. My wife, Cindy, is also a valuable “sounding board”. It is often mentioned to not use family in
such projects, but since mine have the credentials, I do not mind doing so.

Check Out David Online:

Amazon Author Page

Many people struggle with writing, I get it sometime it gets hard, but never give up! Here is a list on how to improve your storytelling! These are tips I have shared for years to help everyone wanting to write stories or even improve their literary role-playing and storytelling. It’s time to bust out your thesaurus or your online dictionaries for what they were meant for!

5. Research

The saying goes: write what you know. I agree fully, but what about everyone else that love writing new things, things they may not know? To that I say: write what you know because research will teach you. If you’re unsure of something fully exhaust yourself researching about a subject. Of course, go fully legal in your research and harm no one.

4. Comparing

The best way for a writer to explain something is to compare it to something more familiar. Recently, I wrote a short story and inside of it I described a UFO as a ‘silver donut’ Seems very simple, but you now know exactly what I’m talking about right.

It’s good to be descriptive, but sometimes simple gets the job done. If you’re writing descriptively enough throughout the story comparing something unfamiliar to something that is recognizable is a great way for the reader to see in their mind what you’re trying to convey.

3. Know Your Characters/World

The best way to write a character or world is to fully flush them out. It may be tedious, but it can help very much during writing. This is also where the jokes authors make of ‘my character wouldn’t let me’ or ‘they told me how they felt’ come in. It’s from, I hope, them flushing out personalities, histories, and all of that before hand.

Ask yourself questions and answer them. Who is this man or woman? Did they overcome what they went through? Did it damage them in anyway? This is also good for world building.

Fully flush out everything, enough of everything at least. I’ve met writers that have gone above and beyond creating interesting worlds and some that have done enough.

2. Pull From Your Own Emotions

This seems easy enough, but sometimes isn’t utilized properly. I have become well known for my ’emotionally driven writing style’ and the secret is this. If I’m writing something more horrific than what I’ve been through I use how I felt to write what it is and try and add upon it.

For example: I’ve never been possessed, but I’ve written about it (Human Ouija, The Blasphemer Series: Harvest, and The Painting of Martel depict different styles of possession). I imagine the worse possible feelings I’ve gone through, wrote them, and then thought more about the character’s situation. Feeling invaded, feeling overwhelmed, and perhaps confused.

1. Remember Your Five Aristotelian Senses

The key to really pulling someone into your story and improving your own writing is remembering the 5 ‘traditional’ senses (also known as the Five Aristotelian Senses). These are touch, taste, hearing, seeing, and smell.

Ask yourself questions.

Touch/Feeling – Is it cold? How does this character feel about that? Can they feel the warmth of their coat or perhaps they feel the chill because they’re not properly dressed. Perhaps your character has picked up something, how did that object feel. You can even describe simply if it was heavy or lighter than expected.

Tasting – Is the food salty or sweet? Did that cause them to moan enjoying the flavor? Say they were hit in the mouth, what did the taste of the blood against the taste buds of their tongue taste like? Perhaps they expected something to taste delicious because it appeared that way, but sadly it was disgusting. You can describe the disgusting flavors, why it was disgusting to that character. How did the food look before they tasted it?

Hearing – If the scene is ‘quiet’ can the character hear the buzzing of the air against their eardrums? Perhaps they do and it’s interrupted by a sudden noise. How did they react to it? Was it a familiar sound of another character coming home or a stranger breaking in? Did they hear glass shattering of a window or a door’s wood breaking when it was kicked in?

Seeing – So much of the story can be based on what is seen or describing a scene in such a way the reader can see it too. Things can be bright, blinding bright, or dark and dim. It is, for me, one of the first descriptors as it puts color to the moment.

Smelling – Smell is said to be the strongest of our senses linked to memories. They can take us to our grandmother’s house because she baked a lot or even to a sad memory of losing someone. For example: After a funeral many bring food to the family that has lost someone. Perhaps in this situation your character cannot stand the smell of pies because they remember losing their mother.

There are all kinds of scents. Sweet, nasty, or something that reminds me of our favorite memories. Apply those to your writing. Did the apple smell delicious or has it rot? You can even mix smelling with feeling and go the route of the air smelt clean and cold. You see? Mixing the senses creates a dynamic surrounding for your character and will add to the world they’re in.

You can even go into how the smell made your character feel. Did the burger joint’s smells make your character hungry or sick because it was overpowering? Use this!

There are more senses, you can learn about them here and here. I recommend this as it can help even further!


What did you think? Did this help? Have anything to add to the list above? Do you want me to do more examples? Perhaps show these tips in action?

Are you in the publishing business? Are you hybrid, indie, or self-published? Do you have some advice you think might help others in the business or would like to share your experience? A new page on the website has opened for you to find all you need to know to submit your articles to the website so that we can continue to share and help each other! All these submissions will be found under The Word: Writing Advice category upon publishing.

This isn’t just limited to writers/authors. I’m welcoming formatters, editors, designers, artists, publishers, podcasts, and all those that want to take part to submit. The only limitation is that you must be in the publishing business!

Check out the new submissions page.

I had the honor to get a hold of some of Mr. Sowder’s time and ask him a few questions. I wanted to do a more in-depth follow-up to the post I did called The Word: Mythbusting – Stereotypes and Misconceptions of Self-pubbing and independent pubbing and that’s what this is meant to be. I wanted the perspective of a publisher and not just my perspective as a working author, graphic artist, and formatter in the business.

Edd Sowder is the type of man to not hold back his thoughts or feelings when it comes to business and thus he was the perfect person for me to ask. He’s been publishing for many years and brings to this Q&A his experience and expertise.

I hope in some way that those that read this gain a perspective and insight they may not have had before on things behind-the-scenes of publishing. So many of us go into submissions unaware of what may be going through the mind of the person we’re sending a manuscript to. This is inside one such mind.

In your opinion, what should someone know before submitting to a publisher?

My opinion varies from day to day. Recently, well…when our submissions were still open, I noticed that a lot of authors were submitting first drafts, if not second. I feel that if you are an author, and have written the next great novel in history, you should have someone beta (prior to submitting your books a “beta reader”) your novel from one end to the other and help you with suggestions on fixing plot holes. Additionally, if you could allow time from when the novel was submitted, many publishers have what’s called a “slush pile” of books to read and yours is just as important as the others, so if they say it will take at least three months, don’t email them a week later and say, “did you like my book?”

I feel that if you are an author, and have written the next great novel in history, you should have someone beta your novel from one end to the other and help you with suggestions on fixing plot holes.

Edd Sowder

Many believe the publisher should take on full responsibility for the marketing of a project where others believe in splitting the responsibility, what should people know on this? I have read where some will do all the marketing for the author and others will do zero.

Ours is somewhat in the middle of that. In today’s world, an author should be just as proud of their book as the publisher is. Now if the idea of marketing your books is just completely devastating to you, guess what? If you self-publish it, you will still have to do that as well but you will not have the same amount of reach, you will have to come out of pocket for the edits, cover, interior, and deal with the business side of being published. It is not as glorious as some think. Here is a piece of real information, NO book is accepted by a big five publisher anymore without a marketing plan submitted for approval by the author. I have heard this and read it in several areas. Will my company do it for you? No, not exactly. We will do some light promotional posting, some follow up after the book is out, a few posts on social media a few times a year for you but that is about all the time I have. I actually expect my authors to do the bulk of it themselves. It does show when they, and/or I, do find a few minutes to post something about the back catalog. There is no reason why it would not show something if the author did it as well. Each author is different though. And to ask if an author will or will not, well… most will at the beginning of the life of the book, but soon after it has come out, they discontinue to do so. I have seen it a lot. It is unfortunate but we all get pretty busy.

Here is a piece of real information, NO book is accepted by a big five publisher anymore without a marketing plan submitted for approval by the author.

Edd Sowder

From an active publisher, what is your take on what you see authors doing wrong?

I think I just answered that in the last question but I can elaborate one that I have seen all too often that burns me, and many other publishers up. You have a book with a publisher, and one with another, and you have self-published a few. Great! Good for you! We could not be happier for you and if you ask, I am certain that we may even help you spread the word on your newest book that was self-published as we have the time… just don’t forget that this industry does not revolve around the last book you let out into the world. It is hinged upon all of your catalogs. You have a book here, there, and now a new one but when did you stop loving that first one you have with the initial publisher who took a huge risk on your name, book, concept and put their funds into it to make your dreams come true? Is that now the step-child you never liked? It happens all the time and it hurts not just the publisher but you as well as nobody remembers the first books you put out because you are spending so much time promoting the newest one. Bundle it, ask for a sale to help promote it, make sure that you are not bastardizing the prior catalog you have just because the newest book is ready. They all deserve equal attention.

…just don’t forget that this industry does not revolve around the last book you let out into the world. It is hinged upon all of your catalogs.

Edd Sowder

The situation is a newcomer/green writer to the business doesn’t know what to do, they’ve got a bunch of things done, ideas, and no networking. Advice for those people coming in and unsure what to do and what not to do?

Ask questions. Each publisher, author, editor, graphic artist, will have ideas of what you should and should not do to get things rolling. Join a couple of groups online that are primarily other authors and be certain you join a few that are readers too. You will need beta readers. Those that will read your book before it goes to print and help you mold the idea. These people are just as important as the ones who publish it for you. I cannot express to you how important in today’s world social media is for sales. Everyone behind a computer screen is anonymous and nobody knows more about your story than you do. So, share it with friends, family, and loved ones online in excerpts. Don’t give them a whole chapter but give them a part of the book, a passage, that you are particularly fond of writing. Do some interviews. Get on some podcasts as a guest, start an online blog, guest write on a few. It will keep your name in the spotlight and when your book comes out, people will be looking for it.

I cannot express to you how important in today’s world social media is for sales. Everyone behind a computer screen is anonymous and nobody knows more about your story than you do.

Edd Sowder

You’ve gone to many conventions, met a bunch of celebrities. What can you share for an author starting off in conventions? What should they remember about dealing with celebrities?

Be yourself, be gracious, and be thankful. If you are an introvert, as most authors are, take someone along with you who can help liven up the table a bit for the passersby to talk to. If you are an extrovert, like me, go out a few times a day and walk the area to see who all is there. Meet other authors, artists, and for Pete’s sake, get bookmarks, business cards, or something else that will tell others who you are in case they do not buy today. New authors going to cons are hard sells. But sometimes, if you can get in good with a neighbor, they will point people in your direction for you. We have done it for others and likewise, others have done it for us. As far as dealing with celebrities, if there is an after party to go to where they will be there, do it. No excuses. Just go. They will be more relaxed, likely having a drink, chatting with others, and less in the mindset of having to make money. We have met some incredible people on our journeys and many of them are still friends with us to this day. Some have even brought us into cons with them as we get along with them so well. Remember, at the end of the day, we are all just people. Being in the place of a celebrated actor/actress, remember to respect their privacy, ask for permissions, and be cool. All of them like to get something cool from fans (many are readers too), and if you can get a photo op at the end of the con with them, all the better.

Be yourself, be gracious, and be thankful. If you are an introvert, as most authors are, take someone along with you who can help liven up the table a bit for the passersby to talk to. If you are an extrovert, like me, go out a few times a day and walk the area to see who all is there.

Edd Sowder

What’s your take on the saying ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket’? Some don’t submit to more than one publisher whereas some prefer doing this?

While I would like to have exclusivity on all published works, that is unreasonable. We suggest—since we know we are not the only publisher out there—to shop around. If you tell us that your book is being submitted to other publishers, as well as ours, we will understand. It will not speed us up in getting to your potential work but we do want to know ahead of time. Submitting to a publisher and then not submitting to others while you wait seems like you are willing to just wait and see. I suggest, weighing the options and looking for who seems to be the best fit for you. Much like we are implementing new tactics for new submissions, we expect that you, the author, are willing to look to not just reputation of the publisher but also ask questions to authors that are with that publisher. If the overall atmosphere seems good for you, and you are willing to wait on them, then by all means submit and be inquisitive but if you get an overall bad feeling from them, or their authors are highly dismissive of how they work with them, walk away. Keep in mind that not all authors will feel that they are getting a fair shake from the publisher, and not all publishers will feel that the authors are doing their fair share of working with the publisher. So, take all info with a grain of salt, so to speak, and weigh the pros and cons of each decision.

If the overall atmosphere seems good for you, and you are willing to wait on them, then by all means submit and be inquisitive but if you get an overall bad feeling from them, or their authors are highly dismissive of how they work with them, walk away.

Edd Sowder

Pet peeves that authors should know about publishers?

Well, that is a good question. That list can grow substantially daily and shrink just as fast depending on the schedule, the stressors of the day, and the attitudes of those involved, myself included. One thing that publishers hate is for someone to refer to themselves as the “next Stephen King, Anne Rice, James Patterson, Lovecraft, Wells, Harris, etc.” Let us make that determination for you. No, on second thought, let your readers and reviewers do it. If your style is much like Koontz, or Rushdie, your readers will notice. Don’t make the assumption that you are the next anyone. Be you. Be honest. If you are influenced by those prolific authors, then, by all means, state it in interviews that you enjoy their works but if you are trying to be the replacement for Gaiman, you need to have the clout to back that up. Another pet peeve that publishers, well I personally hate, is an unedited manuscript sent in with credits installed in the file that says who edited it. Now, all editors will see a sentence differently than the next but if you have several hundred mistakes per chapter in your submission but it was supposedly edited prior to submitting, and you named that person, as the editor, we already expect a very clean version of the MS. When we get in there and start reading only to find these mistakes, missing words, sentence structure that is horrific and not in any way ready to be considered… it slows us down. If we really want to know if the sub is worth it, we will read on trying to ignore the issues but sometimes, the issues will outweigh the story. This is where beta readers come in handy. Additionally, never submit a first draft. I think I said something about this earlier… or a second. Revisions are your friend. A submission is a piece of your soul. You are baring it for the other world to see and it is also a career path. Treat it as such. Never get too upset if you get a rejection. It comes with the territory and developing a thick skin as it takes to handle it will go further for you than wallowing in self-pity. Hopefully, the rejection that comes back will have some creative ideas to help you grow. I know when I send one back, it has ideas in it to help the author but many other publishers will send a form letter. Those are too impersonal and it’s like they never read through your submission. Why waste your time like that? Keep in mind that most publishers work on a release schedule and many times it has to fit with their preconceived budget to operate for the year. If they tell you the book is accepted and will not release until such and such date, ask them what you can do in the meantime to help them and yourself in potential sales. They should have some good ideas to get your name out there. Remember, your name is now a brand, the book is a product. You need to sell it as much as the publisher will, if not more. You are competing with over one million other books a year to get a piece of the proverbial pie in sales, although other authors are not your competition by any means.

One thing that publishers hate is for someone to refer to themselves as the “next Stephen King, Anne Rice, James Patterson, Lovecraft, Wells, Harris, etc.” Let us make that determination for you. No, on second thought, let your readers and reviewers do it. If your style is much like Koontz, or Rushdie, your readers will notice. Don’t make the assumption that you are the next anyone. Be you. Be honest.

Edd Sowder

Interesting Reads and Related Content

We’ve all been there, at least us writers. We are somewhere between the beginning and the end of a story and find ourselves not wanting to go back. We hover with the taunting blinking icon awaiting those words that never come and we ultimately find ourselves on social media distracting from the story that needs to be written. It’s common place, but what to do? What to do? I decided to share my top 10 ways to keep going and getting it done.

Some of these may work for you and some of these may not work for you. I listed what I know has worked for me, some times one or two will work and sometimes just one, but this is my personal list rewritten for this post.

  • 12 – Set a goal: Giving yourself a target to aim for is utterly helpful. How else will you get from A to B? I’m not saying know instantly how the story will end, just know you want to end this story by -insert a date-. When given a deadline it’s setting a goal, but sometimes deadlines can be hard to meet. A publisher will put a deadline on a project, but you can put a secondary one just for yourself to finish by. You can set different goals, that’s just an example of one you can do. Another goal that’s common is completely x-amount of words a day, week, or even monthly.
  • 11 – Reading the work as a reader: While writing we don’t listen to what we’re doing. This is something I do during revisions and editing, don’t do it when you’re writing it’ll become a complete cluster**** if you do it during. This is a hard lesson I had to learn, but it’s an important one. Take time, if you can, to read the work or have your program read it to you. You’ll start hearing for yourself when things don’t sound right, catch errors, and give you a good first impression not as the writer, but as a reader.
  • 10 – Take a break: Sometimes we work so hard we have written ourselves into a rut. Taking a break is not only good for the story, but good for the writer. Too long in one place is bad on the body, especially the legs, and if you’re hurting you will be even less likely want to write. Just walk away for awhile, but return!
  • 9 – Don’t edit while you’re writing: This can be hard, but it will interrupt a creative flow. Revisions can come after getting the story out, they should come anyways because no one should ever publish a first draft of a manuscript or send that in to a publisher.
  • 8 – Why so serious?: Though the work is considered important, don’t take it so serious. You’re going to add pressure on top of whatever negativity that is bubbling and that’s no good. Write, take your time, and pace yourself. Too much too fast may overwhelm you very quickly, especially if you’re working on multiple projects and everything is on deadlines.
  • 7 – Write what you love: If you’re writing something you don’t enjoy my question is why? If you don’t have some passion for the project you’re involved in it will reflect in the final piece.You’ll also most likely never attempt whatever you were trying to do again.
  • 6 – Don’t quit: Remember its a marathon not a sprint. If you are rushing a project just to get it done it’ll show. If you’re doing something you don’t like it’ll show. No matter what you’re doing don’t give up! Giving up is never the answer to anything, trying and finishing is better than telling a publisher that you ‘just couldn’t do it’. If you are unable to meet a deadline you can request an extension, but repeatedly missing extensions will reflect badly upon you, the kind of person you are, and the kind of career you’re wanting for yourself. Write the story, finish the book, and don’t give up!
  • 5 – Stop while you still want to write: I know this sounds weird, but it works. If you have yourself on a time limit, emergency, or something else and you cannot write anymore get to a point where you want to keep going with the story and step away. You’ll be eager to get back to it and most likely return to the project refreshed. It’ll also be easier to return to a project that’s proving difficult.
  • 4 – Remember you’re in control: Many writers will joke that the character(s) are ‘not letting them’ write the story they way they want, but realistically we know (or hopefully many know) that we control things. We create the characters and the world. I’ve come across writers becoming frustrated because -insert character name- isn’t letting them do the scene properly. I’ve said it, others have said it, but I’ve always joked blaming that as the reason my story frustrating me, but the truth is it was well overdue for me to step away. Remember you control the story, if it isn’t working step back to a point that it was working and start again. I’ve deleted entire chapters that weren’t working, it has helped me greatly!
  • 3 – Have you purged?: I believe strongly in writer’s block being real. I had no ideas and had no want to begin even though I’d try. I didn’t have a creative burnout, I was doing other things creatively. (Though I have had a burnout) I eventually got frustrated and in this frustration I opened a word document and began writing all that I wanted in one book, then another, and another. I eventually purged all my ideas out for two series, short stories, and ideas for things that could fall into any category. I wrote about this method for Horrortree and it still is something I have used to this day when I’m having a moment. Read The Purging Method article for more details on this and see actual pictures of what I did.
  • 2 – Organize: Some people don’t do this, but it is pretty important. I use a program called Scrivener to keep things organized in stories. I don’t use it for writing, but I know many do. Ever been writing and realize so and so suddenly has blue eyes when they were suppose to be green? That’s due to disorganization while writing and forgetfulness. It can cause frustration and if it’s bad enough a complete writing breakdown leading to not wanting to do the work.
  • 1 – Don’t be lazy: Just not doing the work will hurt the work, obviously. Being lazy on the job is bad, any job really. Being lazy can lead to writing becoming an issue and you ultimately hating it when you realize the deadline is coming. The book isn’t going to get to the publisher and get published by itself! Putting in the work makes those rewards so much more delicious.