Category Archives: Writing

Why a Writer Needs to Stay in Shape

Writing is an extremely physical activity—something that never occurred to me when I started out. Forty-one years ago, we didn’t have computers; we were lucky to have electric typewriters. Mine was a little, blue Smith Corona portable. I couldn’t afford an IBM Self-Correcting Selectric, which I coveted for years. I remember the feel of my…

Important Writing Skill: Focus on One Task at a Time

One of your most important writing skills is the ability to focus on a single task at a time. It is something of a cliché to say that writers are scatter-brained. But for many of us, much of the time, it’s true. As we sit alone at our desks we often find it hard to…

Four Ways to Bring Settings to Life

The devil, it’s said, is in the details. So, too, is much of the work of a writer. Too little detail leaves your characters wandering through the narrative equivalent of an empty stage. Too much, and you end up with great blocks of description that tempt the reader to skip and skim, looking for the…

7 Ways to Work Well With a Book Writing Coach

Let’s start with a little scenario. You have what you consider to be a great idea for a nonfiction book. Your head is spinning with ideas, and you can hardly wait to get started. Perhaps you have made a list of the main points you want to cover or even begun to write. At first,…

Do You Have a Book in You?

A book enhances credibility and commands higher speaking fees. Business leaders, subject matter experts, humorists, psychologists, and diet gurus are all expected to share their knowledge in book form. High-profile CEOs often write books to pass along their business philosophies and practices, to articulate their personal visions for their companies, or to share the hard-won…

How to Compile Newsletter or Blog Articles into a Book People Will Pay For

Got content? If you regularly provide tips, advice, case studies or the like in a free newsletter or ezine or on your blog, you may be able to repackage these articles into a free-standing product that readers would happily pay for. Whether your audience is parakeet owners, paralegals or paranoid landlords, if your information can…

5 Rules Every New Author Should Follow

How to Avoid Common Mistakes and What to Do Instead This article is a follow-up to 5 Mistakes New Authors Often Make. If you are a new author, the whole process of taking your book from planning to promotion may feel like an obstacle course. But it needn’t be, if you follow five basic rules…

Prepare Before You Start to Write

The most important writing tip of all: Prepare before you start. I have been advising and coaching writers for years now, and the best writing tip I know is to spend time on preparation before you start writing. It doesn’t matter whether you are writing a report, an essay, an article, a white paper, a…

5 Mistakes New Authors Often Make

How to Avoid Common Mistakes and What to Do Instead If you are a first-time author, you may feel like a stranger in a strange land. Welcome to the world of book publishing. If you don’t know your way around, you may make wrong turns and unnecessary blunders, but you can also avoid these mistakes…

Avoiding Comma Confusion

Are there too many commas in your writing? Not enough? Where do you need them and when? “Comma confusion” is one of the most common grammatical problems I find in manuscripts. Here are some quick tips to help you determine whether a comma is really necessary — and if so, why and where. One way…