Writer, you NEED to keep a notebook

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You Write Fiction

“I’ll remember it later.” It’s the lie that sentences countless ideas to oblivion each day, especially for writers, since we’re ceaselessly coming up with and processing new ideas.

Fresh ideas have a knack for hitting us out of nowhere: in bed, in the shower, out for walks, at our day job, during meals, etc.

So we say, “I’ll remember it later.” Except we don’t, because that’s one of the biggest fibs since I read and agree to the terms and conditions.

The solution isn’t a mystery: keep a notebook. Or, if you don’t like the bulk, try sticky notes. Or a phone app. Anything that lets you jot down ideas as quickly as you can and come back to them later.

Arnold-do-it-now

I stubbornly refused to follow this sage advice for a long time, and I wonder how many great ideas were lost because of my pride. I thought my brain was a…

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5 Things I Would Tell My Younger Writing Self

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You Write Fiction

I started writing fiction when I was about 10 years old. For those of you who don’t know my age, that was twelve and a half years ago. Do the math.

I still remember the first novel I ever started (and never finished). Since then, I’ve grown A LOT as a writer and a person (I hope). I’ve learned a thing or two about my craft and about myself.


Fun fact: I won my first short story contest when I was twelve. It was a school contest. Mine was the only entry.


If I stumbled upon a time-machine and could go back to visit my younger self, here are five things I would tell myself (from a writer’s perspective):

To 20-year-old me… “Don’t rush. Be patient, be thorough. Write hard, edit harder, proofread hardest.”

To 18-year-old me… “Value humility. You’re good, but you’re not great. Be teachable and study your…

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The Writer’s Life According To Jack Sparrow

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You Write Fiction

Yo-ho, yo-ho, a writer’s life for me…I think. Here are 11 gifs that sum up a writer’s life quite nicely.

sparrow4 When a new idea hits you.

sparrow6 When your cat mocks your new idea.

sparrow3 Writer’s block.

sparrow10 This chapter needs some work…

sparrow9 The cat’s on the keyboard again.

sparrow11 The first time someone asks about your book.

sparrow 2 When a friend/relative singles you out as a writer.

sparrow8 When you’re forced to socialize.

sparrow5 The one time you have company over.

sparrow7 When someone criticizes your writing.

sparrow2 When you get a good review on your book.

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11 Tips For Maximum Writing Productivity

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You Write Fiction

Find your best writing time: most writers have a particular time of day when they have an easier time concentrating and getting the job done. Be flexible yet consistent.

Find your best writing place: regularly writing in ‘your spot’ (and using that spot only for writing) puts you in a focused mindset.

Establish a healthy environment: make sure you’re comfortable and your posture isn’t warping your spine, and keep the room well lit and ventilated.

Eliminate distractions: avoiding distraction is a choice you alone can make. Know your weaknesses and actively remove them.

Set achievable goals: motivate yourself to keep going with small objectives you know you can accomplish. These small goals quickly add up to surprising results.

Take frequent breaks: get up, walk around, go outside, grab a drink, talk to people. Keep your mind fresh and your body active to avoid burning out.

Plan ahead: if you know what…

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What Makes a Character Likable?

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Eve Messenger's OtherWORDly Endeavors

Lately, I’ve run across  way too many YA book reviews that decry the extreme unlikability of main characters. Are writers making their protagonists too unlikable? Sure, writing an engaging main character is a complex process — we like our protagonists flawed and thus more interesting, but isn’t it also important for them to be likable enough to root for through an entire novel?

With fictional characters, as with real people,“engaging” and “likable” are subjective, to be sure. In Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train, for example, some readers find the protagonist Rachel so incredibly flawed that she’s just too pitiful to root for; others, like me, find her compelling and sympathetic in her way.  The truth is, no characters in The Girl on the Train are heroic in a classic sense, but the story still works. That’s just good writing, so kudos to Paula Hawkins.

So…what makes…

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