Sunday, April 22, 2012

t is for tips

In my last post I mentioned that I would try to send along a few writing TIPS today. Imagine such arrogance coming from someone whose debut novel has been moldering in a drawer for over a year! What I meant was that I’d offer my take on how to cope with all the advice out there that comes from highly successful writers and publishers. Not to guarantee success but to make the process yours.

The endless barrage of writing advice is enough to make anyone run for cover. Books, magazines, web sites, and blogs…full of suggestions and corrections and admonitions. There is so much information out there it can be hard to focus…hard to pick and choose which sites to follow, whose method to adopt, which recommendations to accept. So, to simplify the process my suggestions are:
1. Run a couple of cold beers down to the “boys in the basement” every so often.
After all, they’re the ones who are likely to be there for you in a pinch. My guys will sometimes send up just the right piece of dialogue when I need it or a catchy metaphor that hasn’t been used before or a strong action verb instead of an adverb. And they do it when I least expect it. They deserve a little refreshment for their efforts.

2. Ask your muse what kind of music she likes. My muse likes anything MoTown, sacred choral works, Paul Winters, and Drum Sex by Brent Lewis…depending on her mood. Especially when she’s stuck.

3. Use what works for you. I’m sad to say that “Writing Begins with the Breath” with Larraine Herring didn’t work for me although it might be just what you need. (Maybe it was all that tapping on my head…). I adored Lynda Barry’s workshop, “Do You Wish You Could Write?” but the endless spiraling didn’t work for me either. Julia Cameron’s retreat, “The Artist’s Way” was empowering but didn’t improve my style or punctuation. My breakthrough came with “Story Engineering” by Larry Brooks (

 Voila! Now we’re talking! Use what works for you. You'll know when you find it.

4. Start the day with a good work-out or a long walk…or take a break after a couple of hours of writing before you feel your hips start to spread. It’ll do your heart good…literally.

5. Encourage other writers. Root for them. Cheer them on. Applaud them just for trying. It’s good karma.

These are my five TIPS for the day. With them I managed to get a short story published. In fact, "On a Different Note" will be coming out this month in The Storyteller Magazine ( )

Let me know how these TIPS work for you!

“Pure logic is the ruin of the spirit."
--Antoine De Saint-Exupery--
In tomorrow's post I'll offer some words about uncertainty.


  1. You're's different for everyone.

  2. Great tips! I did the workout today but I didn't get much of anything else relating to writing done today.

  3. Thanks for the tips! A new follower of your blog, found you through A to Z of course!