Category Archives for Writing Tips

Five Lessons I Had to Learn to Write My Book

Blank white book w/pathI recently accomplished a life-long dream: I wrote and published a book. I have always heard that writing a book is more about who you become while writing the book than the book itself. I now believe that is true. I had started this book before—many times. This time, from start date through planning, outlining, and writing was just a few weeks.  What made the difference this time—what did I have to do and believe to get this book out of my head and onto the page? Continue reading

Tell the REAL Story

Have you ever read a book or heard a story that just had too many themes to follow? For example, I have a hard time with novels that have multiple families—each with people who have their own issues. It’s a challenge for me to keep the characters straight in my head, especially if the names are at all similar or difficult to remember. Continue reading

How Ants Can Help You Win at Writing

How does an ant move a mountain?

Image courtesy of SweetCrisis at

When I read Dan Miller’s workbook, Write to the Bank, I thought he was grossly exaggerating when he said writing was 5% of the job. The first draft of my first book was almost finished. It had been no quick feat. Surely the bulk of the work would be done when it was complete.

While Dan was emphasizing the importance of promotion, I discovered writing and publishing a book involve many steps. For me, that included a lot of learning.

Learning by Doing Continue reading

One Thing I Learned from a Successful Year of Blogging

If you’re anything like me, writing about ideas comes easily, but coming up with topics or angles can be difficult. It always seems to start out well, but after several days, weeks, or even months after launching out into the world of writing regularly, coming up with new topics can become mentally draining.

I struggled with constantly coming up with blogging topics for several years. Far too often, the early mornings of my scheduled post day would find me pecking away at my keyboard, writing whatever was on my mind, primarily because I had no idea what to write about, what angle to take, or what problem to solve. I procrastinated on writing, and the blog suffered as a result. It was this way for me in 2011, 2012, and in 2013 I stopped writing the blog altogether—at least for that year.

At the beginning of 2014, I set an audacious goal to write two posts per week. Continue reading

Tea and Takeaways from Bestselling Author Nora Roberts

Prolific. What else would you call an author who publishes four to six novels annually?

I suppose you could also call Nora Roberts wealthy since her books consistently and almost instantly hit the New York Times bestsellers lists.


Tea at Ashford Castle in Cong is as beautiful as it is tasty.

I got to meet Nora (she called me Erin, so I guess we’re on a first-name basis) at Ashford Castle in Cong, Ireland, and was oddly star-struck. Odd because, although I’ve met quite a few celebrity-status authors, I felt absolutely giddy to have the opportunity to have afternoon tea with Nora…and a couple hundred other people. I was so excited, in fact, that my friend and I arrived early and snagged a seat at the front table. (Early is a big deal for me; just ask my husband.)

Afterwards, when her UK editor at Little Brown told me that Nora (aka J.D. Robb) publishes at least four books a year (she’s releasing a total of five in 2014), I almost choked. That’s a LOT of writing and a massive amount of discipline. There’s another descriptor to attribute to this impressive and totally approachable author. Continue reading

Writing from the Road

Thanks to Tim Bishop, for sharing his thoughts on writing from the road in this guest post. Tim and his wife, Debbie, will be touring through mid-September, writing as they go. Read on to learn about how and why they write.

When writing creeps into your bloodstream, it becomes an innate expression of your life experiences, whether or not it covers your bills. You write because you love it…and because you must. When those inflicted with this “bug” embark on one of life’s adventures, they have no choice but to write about it. Continue reading

Do You Know Your Audience?

You may have a powerful message to share, but your book isn’t for everyone.

The first question you should ask when writing anything is: Who is the audience? Defining your audience before you write the first word will help you craft a message that hits the mark.

Continue reading

6 Tips to Help You Get Unstuck

Thanks to Joanne Miller, co-author of Be Your Finest Art: Awaken Your Creative Selffor this guest post. 

Be Your Finest Art by Joanne Miller and Dorsey McHughEver sit down in front of your computer, place your fingers on the keyboard and wait for the right words to drop from brain to fingertips, but you can’t get the juices flowing? Any writer, if truly honest, will admit to having moments—sometimes days (or more)—of blocked creativity. It happens to the best of us. This happens for a number of reasons, but there are ways to push through to renewed creativity that really aren’t that complicated or illusive. Perhaps these six tips will help you the next time you are staring at a blank screen and your fingers refuse to move. Continue reading

5 Quick Self-Editing Tips

Have you ever read something you wrote and wondered, “What was I thinking?? Did I really think that sounded good?”

For me, late-night sessions, tight deadlines and too much caffeine create a bad combination that leads to sloppy, meandering writing.

The truth is, bad copy happens to even the best writers at some point. The goal is to catch that less-than-stellar writing before it’s published. Continue reading

What to Know BEFORE You Write A Book

I need to write a book.

 I want to write a book.

 Someone told me I should write a book about my experiences or expertise.

 A book would be a good way to market my services or leverage my knowledge. 

 If any of these statements sound familiar, it’s time to take the next step and decide if you’re really going to write that book. Answering the following questions may help you work through the deliberation stage. (No dice required.)

  1. Why do you think you need a book?
  2. What do you hope your book will do for you? What are your goals for your book? Do you hope to write a best-seller? Do you want a deliverable for speaking engagements–something sell at the back of the room? Do you want a book to boost your credibility with prospects?
  3. List any other books that are already available on your topic.
  4. What information or points of view can you offer that would make your book different from those already available?
  5. Who is your book for? Note: It is not for “everyone.” Every book has a specific audience. Who comprises yours? Be specific.
  6. Are you already connected with an audience? Do you know people who will buy your book? How can you increase your audience and their loyalty to you?
  7. Are you willing to spend considerable amounts of time promoting your book? Unless you’re using your book as a business card, you’ll need to develop and carry out a smart marketing plan.

Before you commit to the process of writing a book, you’ll want to know your reason, your points of differentiation and your audience. Getting clear about these three things will bring focus and help reduce frustration as you write. Also, realize that writing is only part of the process. Marketing is essential if you want to sell more than a handful of books.  

Are you ready to write a book? The 8 Weeks to Authorship program will help you develop and stick to a doable writing plan.