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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How to Write a Book: Tips

I would love to start this post by saying that I’m an expert book writer; however, despite many years of writing, reading and studying the world of publishing, I still frequently feel that I am stumbling around a dark room looking for answers that aren’t actually there.

Before embarking on this long, and often arduous, journey it’s important to know what you’re after. Do you love to read fiction and long to detail your own epic love story that weaves a tale of elves, ogres and evil princes? Do you want to write an informative nonfiction book about growing wheat grass, choosing natural birth or writing a knockout resume? Understanding your goal is paramount because you can create an outline or plan from that larger intention.

Will you write fiction, nonfiction, memoir or novella? Figure it out and then go one step further and figure yourself out. Why do you want to write this book, this story? For me, writing has always been a release. I journal ferociously, but writing a novel is about moving into the realm of possibility. It’s about feeling inspired to tell a story and giving myself the power to create a whole new world and lead a character through it. It also comes down to self-discovery and world discovery because I’m becoming intimately acquainted with a space that exists within me and within the larger consciousness of humankind.

For instance, I wrote a fantasy book last year called Ula and it has been contracted for publication through Bluewood Publishing. When I started the novel, my central character, Abby, did not exist. Ula began as a few paragraphs about a girl walking through a forest and stumbling upon a dead body. Where did the idea come from? Who knows, really? I love the woods and I’ve always been drawn to the macabre so it was likely born from that eerie feeling that periodically accompanies a walk in the forest. Thus Ula began with this idea, but a single scene does not a novel make, so from that scene I moved backwards. Where had my character been before finding this body? What types of synchronicities had occurred to bring her to this juncture? And then I moved forward. How had discovering this body changed her life? What would happen as a result of her discovery?

As I wrote the story, I began to know my protagonist more and more deeply. I wrote her actions, her thoughts and her appearance. In a sense, her experiences became my experiences. Then something interesting happened; I began to move the novel into the realm of fantasy. No longer was I writing from the limitations of life, as we know it; I was writing from a bottomless chasm of magic, witches and evil. I was giving myself an enormous creative gift by veering into the world of the unknown and the unknowable. In fantasy, all is possible and there is something very tantalizing about writing from such a wide, wonderful space. I had not anticipated this novel as fantasy when I started it, but that is what makes creative writing so fantastic; it's your creation, it can go anywhere you choose to take it.

Once I moved to fantasy, I also opened the possibility of multiple books, a trilogy or more. This allowed me to introduce more characters, more storylines and more questions. I am not an avid fantasy reader and, at times, this made writing fantasy difficult, but at the end of the day, we are all steeped in fantasy from birth until death; our imaginations feed on it, our souls need it to recognize how amazing life on earth truly is.

Your imagination is the infinite pool of wisdom that you can dip into generously for ideas. For the less creative aspects of writing a book, consider the tips outlined below:

  • Find your prime writing time and be selfish about it. I write really well in the mornings. My mind is clear, I’m fresh from a night of dream travel and the day is just beginning. I make a French press of coffee, sit in a comfy window-facing chair and get down to business. Writing is tough and it’s even harder when you’re tired, unmotivated or uninspired. Monitor your writing experience at various times of the day for a week and take notice of when you’re at your best and then carve that time out for writing and stick to it!

  • Put pen to paper or fingers to keys - no matter what. It is very easy to choose something other than writing - like petting your cat, surfing the web or rearranging your living room furniture, but if you repeatedly do those things, the writing simply will not happen and the book will never get finished. Once you have blocked-out your writing time, commit to doing nothing else during that window. If you can’t get motivated to write your next scene, try journaling instead. Write about your day, your observations or happy childhood memories. You're setting an intention and each day that you fulfill it, you improve your craft and your commitment.

  • Write through the blocks. I’m not a huge fan of the term writer’s block, but I am familiar with feeling stuck. Sometimes it’s a difficult character or you've reached a major turning point and just aren’t sure where to go. In these cases, I write a future scene. I simply skip where I’m at and plug myself into some less pressure-filled moment where my protagonist is encountering an old friend or stumbling across some worthy clue. I write this scene as if I will throw it away. This allows me to write past the block and potentially connect to a future plot point.

  • Find creative ways to know your characters. Sometimes my characters are very real in my head; other times they are mere shadows of a life and I stress over their every move. I like to plug my characters into personality quizzes to get to know them better. The questions on the quizzes provide quirky and sometimes helpful information about your characters' behaviors, personalities and beliefs. Try quizzes on Psychology Today to discover their sensuality levels, paranormal beliefs and more. 

"Read, read, read. Read everything—trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the most. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out the window."

William Faulkner 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Writing Jobs for Monday November 28, 2012

Hi writers! We have a nice selection of writing jobs this week including food writers in Ann Arbor, online content creators and a variety of writing calls for submissions. Best of luck in all of your creative endeavors. 

Writing Jobs in Michigan

Food Writers: Ann Arbor

Press Representative: Ann Arbor

SEO/SEM Sales Specialist: Center Line

Experienced Sports Broadcaster: Detroit Area

Managing Editor: Detroit

Resume Writer: Detroit

Associate, Communications Writer: Detroit

Screen Play Writers: Detroit

Grant Writer: Detroit

Editor II: East Lansing

Audio Media Editor: Flint

Technical Writer: Grand Rapids

Web Updating and Marketing: Macomb

SMO Specialist: Novi

Marketing Letter Assistance: Oakland County/Telecommute

Reporter: Port Huron

Content for Business Website: Roseville

Interactive Content Manager: Southfield

Horror and Sci Fi Writers: Wayne County

Telecommute Writing Jobs (From Home) 

Website Content Writer

Creative Content Writers

Website Writers

Blogging and Reviews

Manuscript Proofreader/Editor

Textbook Editors

Newsletter Writer

Article Writer/Spinner


Sports Website Writers

Online Content Contributors

Unpaid Writing Gigs and Submissions

Fashion Bloggers

Literary Magazine Seeks Submissions

Celebrity Stylist Needs Fashion Blogger Intern: Detroit

Publishing Company Seeks Submissions

Running Bloggers

Submissions for Postcard Lit. Magazine

Travel Stories Wanted

‘I see the role of the writer as creating a room with big windows and leaving the reader to imagine. It’s a meeting on the page.’

Kevin Crossley-Holland 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Writing Jobs for Saturday November 19, 2011

Look below for a variety of writing jobs in Michigan and online writing jobs including grant writers, SMO specialists and freelance bloggers. 

Writing Jobs in Michigan 

Grant Writer: Albion

Assistant Editor: Ann Arbor

Ford School Writer: Ann Arbor

Part Time Technical Writer: Ann Arbor

Digital Marketer/Copywriter: Battle Creek

News Services Communications Specialist: Big Rapids

Copywriter: Brighton/Telecommute

Service Advisor/Writer: Detroit

Grant Writer: Detroit

Website Writer/Manager: Detroit/Telecommute

Technical Writer: East Lansing

Editor II: East Lansing

Proposal Writer: Livonia

SMO Specialist: Novi/Northville

SEO & HTML Internship: Royal Oak

Horror & Science Fiction Writers: Wayne County

Telecommute : Online Writing Jobs 

Content Screener

Long Term Copywriting Project

PR & Copywriter

Freelance Writers Wanted


Technology Bloggers

Entertainment News Bloggers

Construction Business Writer/Editor

Linkbait Researcher

Marketing Copywriter

Food Writers/Bloggers

Freelance Copywriters

Copy Editor

New Media Company Seeks Writers

Biography Writers

Submissions and Unpaid Writing Gigs

Poetry Competition

Short Fiction and Poetry Submissions

VZ Magazine Contributors

Pigeontown Seeking Nonfiction and Photography

Golf Site Looking for Writers

Seeking Old Query Letters ($10 per)

‘Poets will never be the highest-paid writers in the world.  Instead, poetry will go on cutting a hand-made path through the mass-market insanity.  For me, anyway, that path is the one that leads to the Chapel of the Grail.’
Jeanette Winterson

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Writing Jobs for November 13th 2011

 Writing jobs for this week include reporters in Lansing, telecommute article writing jobs and a variety of writing submissions and internships.

Writing Jobs in Michigan

Information Technology/SEO: Algonac

Technical Copy/Editing: Ann Arbor

GSA & Gov. Contract Proposal Specialist: Canton

MaidenDentroit Seeks Writers: Detroit

GRE Question Writer: Grandville

Reporter/Writer: Lansing

Grant Writer: Lapeer

Creative Writer for Admissions Essay: Novi

Instructional Designers/Freelance Writers: Rochester Hills

SEO and HTML Internship: Royal Oak

Documentation Specialist: Troy

Senior Copywriter: Warren

Telecommute - Writing Jobs from Home

Copy Editor

Film Website Writers

Latin America Writer

Associate Editor for WorldJewishDaily

Marketing Assistant

Blog Writers

SEO Article Writer

Website Article Writer

Internet Research & Persuasive Writer

Professional Business Templates

Administrative & Editorial Assistant

Submissions and Unpaid Writing Gigs

Literary Magazine Submissions

News and Events for Local Stew

Editorial Intern

Music Bloggers

Screenplay Writer

Fiction and Poetry Submissions

Poetry Competition

"Becoming the reader is the essence of becoming a writer."
John O'Hara

Monday, November 7, 2011

Writing Jobs for Monday November 7th 2011

Check out this week's array of writing jobs including Occupy Wall Street writers, web content specialists, car bloggers and many more. 

Writing Jobs in Michigan 

Quality Assurance Proofreader/Team Leader: Ann Arbor

Book Writing Project Help: Ann Arbor

Occupy Wall Street Ann Arbor Writers: Ann Arbor

Web Content Specialist: Ann Arbor

HR Professional for Editing Project: Burmingham/Troy

Freelance Copywriter: Detroit

Copywriting Jobs: Detroit

Audio Transcriber Needed: Detroit/Telecommute

Project Manager/Technical Writer: Fremont

Technical Writer: Lansing

SMO Specialist: Novi/Northville

Collection Writer: Novi

SEO & HTML Writing Internship: Royal Oak

Financial Writing: Southfield

Editorial/Blogger Extraordinaire: Troy

Tech Writer: Warren

Editor: Warren

Writing Jobs from Home : Telecommute Writing Jobs

Keyword Experts Wanted

Direct Response Copywriter

Home Furnishings Copywriter

Social Activist Intern Writers

Marketing Assistant for Health and Wellness Company

Educational Publishing Experience Writers

Literature Writers


Article Writing and Blogging

Food Writer (China Specialist)

Senior Grant Writers

Case Studies Writer with Professional Services Experience

Project Coordinator

Car Blogger Wanted

Aviation Marketing Material

Submissions and Unpaid Writing Gigs

ISO Hobbyist Writer

Short, Brilliant Non-Fiction

Social Media Intern

'My stories run up and bite me in the leg.  I respond by writing them down - everything that goes on during the bite. When I finish, the idea lets go and runs off.' 
Ray Bradbury
Higgins Lake, Michigan