How to Write Like a Professional

How to Write Like a Professional
6 Surprising Mistakes That Make Writers Look Like Amateurs... and How to Avoid Them

Monday, September 25, 2017

50+ Best Motivational Race Signs

Funny and Inspirational Spectator Signs


If you have ever run a marathon, then you know the power of the motivational spectator sign. Many are quite humorous, just enough to keep you going. But several are also very motivational, just the emotional pickup you need to keep going. Either way, funny or inspiring, these are some of the best race signs out there.

If you're not a runner, consider creating a couple of these race signs the next time you have the opportunity to be a spectator in a race. Many of them are famous Disney quotes, quotes from famous runners, or inspirational literary quotes.

These 52 motivational race signs are ALL a part of the Writers Who Run 10k Race in North Carolina every June. What makes it so unique is that they are staked into the ground along the race several days before the race takes place. They are printed on waterproof plastic corrugated cardboard on both sides so that the runners can be inspired both coming and going, even if no spectators show up.

Without further ado, here are the best quotes for writers who run.

1. "Just Do It." ~ Nike

"Just Do It." - Nike || 50+ motivational race signs, best marathon spectator signs

2. "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." ~ 2 Timothy 4:7


3. "I am not fast." ~ Baymax, Big Hero 6

"I am not fast." ~ Baymax, Big Hero 6 || funny Disney running signs, great marathon spectator signs

4. "Whether a mile or a marathon, you get there the same way... a step at a time. Such is life."
~ Baylor Barbee

"Whether a mile or a marathon, you get there the same way... a step at a time. Such is life." ~ Baylor Barbee || motivational race signs, best race signs

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

STOP RESEARCHING AND START WRITING

How to Know When to Stop Preparing and Just Do It


I recently quit my job. Just last month. I was the marketing assistant for a one-woman office. The job was okay, but the boss was NOT. Five weeks was all I could handle.

You want me to write a blog post for you? Sure! Not so fast, Christie. Little did I know she would be worse than a flock of mosquitos at the Bayou in summer, waiting to pounce on the first sight of human flesh at the break of day. She definitely wins the "Worst Boss Ever" award.

"No, you can't use the word cleanse! That's a gypsy word. You have to use the word clear. Never cleanse." My, oh, my. And that was seriously just the beginning.

STOP Researching & START Writing || How to know when to stop preparing and just do it, when to start writing, when to stop writing, when to begin research, how to know when you're finished researching

Stop Learning and Start Doing


But today, we're talking about a different kind of beginning. How to know when to stop researching and when to start writing. Or in my case, how to stop taking a hit and learn when to duck!

I have to admit that part of this analogy actually comes from the business/education world(s). They say, "Stop learning and start doing." People who want to start their own business are "all in" when it comes to the learning aspect. They (myself included) can become caught up in the learning mode and keep learning and learning and learning. It's easy to let research become your crutch to not face the fear of action. Research can become a form of procrastination.

Modes of Research


While you might not be conducting formal research for a term paper, both fiction and nonfiction require a certain amount of research. Every project is different. There's research for how to write, research for how other writers accomplish the craft, and research for the minute details you'll include.

Maybe you're researching setting, a time period, types of characters, a particular career, details of a certain person (biographies), or anything else you need to know. Here are some popular modes of research.

  • Reading. Perhaps you are studying the nuances of your favorite authors. Reading is a great way to do this. 
  • Travel. Maybe you need to travel to learn more about a setting, or to research a particular document held in a certain locale. Travel is a great way to feel more connected to those details.
  • Interviews. Interviewing the experts in the topic you need help with is an easy way to get inside the mind of a certain character, or simply to learn information in a more accessible way.
  • Studying. This likely involves reading, but it's more intense than a pleasurable novel. This includes books about how to write, in all the different varieties. It also includes blog articles about anything you need to know to get the job done.

Start Writing

So, how do you know that you have enough material for your book? What if you miss an important detail? Here's the thing. Once you have enough information to fill in the gap for why you're researching, you can go ahead and write that part, whether it be a character, the setting, a few details about a trip to the zoo, or something else. But if it's overall research you're doing, you'll probably be in research mode for a bit longer. Like if you're writing a biography. Either way, when you're able to explain what you're researching without your notes, then you're ready to start writing.

Sometimes quitting is a bad thing. Like when you're running a race and you're tired. Your lungs are burning and your legs and feet ache, but you want to cross the finish line, so you refuse to quit. But sometimes quitting is a good thing. Like when your boss is a Voodoo Lady. Or like when you want to give up binge-watching TV. Or when you have enough research to start your business or write your book. It's time to stop learning and start doing.

What project are you working on right now? What did you need to research? Share in the comments!

Keep on keepin' on...

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Monday, September 4, 2017

12 BEST WORD GAMES FOR WRITERS

The Best Non-Digital Games for Writers


If you want to keep your word prowess sharp, whether you're a writer, a teacher, a parent, or a child, this list is for you. Games engage the mind and when the game is FUN, you're likely to remember new knowledge. So choose a game from this list, grab some friends, and have a wonderful WORDY time!

12 Best Word Games for Writers || writing games, word games, popular games for writers, board games for writers, verbal word games, word games to play with writers

Board Games


While their are dozens of games to choose from, these games are likely to be your best bet when it comes to gaming with words. Some are classics, but the rest should be.

  1. Scrabble. This is the epitome of the classic board game for writers. Of course, millions of non-writers play this game too. Build words and win points. The most clever wordster will win.
  2. Boggle. A noisy option for a word game. Shake the plastic container and let the letters fall in place. Race against others - and the egg timer - to see who can make the most words from the letters you're dealt.
  3. Upwords. Similar to Scrabble, but you can build on top of previous words. And the scoring is different. Growing up, I played this game with my mom all the time. So, this is one of my personal classic favorites.
  4. Bananagrams. If you haven't heard of this game, you're missing out. A little yellow pouch shaped like a banana holds all the letter tiles. Each person shouts SPLIT, PEEL, and DUMP in a race to build words crossword puzzle style. The winner gets to shout BANANAGRAMS.  
  5. Balderdash. This game is a trivia and bluffing game. Be prepared to laugh out loud with this one. The trivia categories are weird words, movies, notable people, incredible initials, and laughable laws. You are using your "storytelling" skills to convince others of the right definition, especially when you don't have a clue. With categories that have to do with words and initials, a writer could really fall in love with this game.
  6. Apples to Apples. Even teachers use the Apples to Apples for Kids version in classrooms to help children learn the value of comparisons. You have to stretch your mind to find the best description from a handful of cards to match a different - perhaps seemingly unrelated - item on a another card. This word game is sure to make you laugh!

Paper Games


While there may be many more word games out there that only use paper and pencil, these seem to be among the most popular, even iconic.

  1. Crossword Puzzles. This is the iconic symbol of writers everywhere. What writer has never worked a crossword puzzle? If you're a writer and you've never done a crossword puzzle, I'd LOVE to know in the comments. When I was a kid, I got a giant wall crossword puzzle for my birthday one year. I spent many, many hours working on that puzzle, with my nose stuck in a dictionary. Unfortunately, I never did finish it. I got pretty close, but honestly, I think there were lots and lots of errors (and no solution available). At least I couldn't "cheat" right?
  2. Word Search Puzzles. Another favorite among wordsters. You can buy books with a theme. Cats. Dogs. Animals. You name it. Not as rewarding to some as the classic crossword, but it still passes the time and your brain learns to look for patterns.
  3. The Daily Jumble and Cryptoquips. These two games are typically found in the comics section of your local newspaper (along with crosswords and word searches). They are both forms of unscrambling. The Daily Jumble scrambles up common words and there's a puzzle at the end to describe an illustration. Cryptoquips are coded messages that you must figure out what each letter stands for. For example: P XT X SLPBOL would decode and read "I AM A WRITER."
  4. Word Lists. Another fun one, especially in classrooms, is when a long word or a short phrase, such as HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY is used as a "letter bank" for children to create as many words as possible. It's a fun little challenge and usually the one who writes the most words wins a prize.

Verbal Games


Finally, here are two simple games you can play, even if you don't own one of the board games above or if you don't have pencil or paper handy.

  1. Alphabet Trip. Remember the looooong "list" game? "I'm going on a trip to _______ and I'm going to take with me an A_______ (apple)." Then the next person repeats from A, B, C, etc. and fills in with the next letter on their turn. "I'm going on a trip to _______ and I'm going to take with me an Apple, a Bear, a Candy bar, and a Dinosaur." You can even make it more challenging by limiting it to only food, or fruit, or animals, or office supplies!
  2. License Plates. This is a game if you really ARE going a trip, even if it's just to the office supply store down the street. There is no winner in this game. It's just to see who can come up with the funniest phrases the fastest. License plate: WHB. Of course you can use any words you like, but to challenge yourself, try for adjective, noun, then verb. For example, Watery Horses Blubber. 

Sooooo... the next time you're trying to think of a word game to play, choose one off this list. They're some of the best games for writers out there!

Got another favorite word game? Share in the comments!

Keep on keepin' on...

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