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, October 16, 2017

Spelling and Grammar Errors

You Know You're a Writer... [2 of 10]


Training for a marathon does something to your brain. Once you reach 15 miles, you think anything less than that is EASY. Yes, it's all relative, but it's true. Imagine going on a trip several hours away. You're getting closer to home. The sign on the highway says, "Your town. Next exit. 7 miles." You cheer! Seven miles! I just ran that distance a couple weeks ago! Woo-hoo, we're almost home!

You know you're a runner when... || grammar errors, christiewrightwild.com

You know you're a writer when... || spelling and grammar errors, writing humor, christiewrightwild.com

Spelling Errors


I won 1st place in my school-wide spelling bee when I was in the 4th grade. Spelling came easily to me. My sisters called me a walking dictionary. But guess who struck out the very next year? Yep. Me! First person, first word: awful. I swear I watched this movie one time about a blind artist with a pet dog named Offel. So that's how I spelled it. Crazy, right? It's pretty funny now, but in the moment, I was upset, to say the least.

Creative spelling might have it's place in character names, or even in real life human names, but when you're submitting a manuscript, it needs to be error-free.

  • Use spell check.
  • Have someone else look at it.
  • If you're unsure of any word, look it up in a dictionary.

Grammar Errors


I'm a writer. My husband is not. Yet he continually finds errors in news headlines, newspaper articles, online magazine articles, and yes, even signs. While signs with grammar errors can be hilarious, a manuscript with grammar errors is not. Well, maybe it is for the editor - upon occasion. But not for the writer when they get a rejection.

Again, use spell check and have others read your work. The three things to focus on when learning grammar is:

  1. parts of speech
  2. punctuation
  3. know the difference between a phrase and a clause
  4. how to write a good sentence

Submission Ready


Once you have a manuscript without spelling and grammar errors (and you feel like the story is truly solid), then you can submit it to publishers! Just don't plaster your stuff all over the highway for writers and runners to make fun of (when they see grammar errors).

Read the first comparison in the "You Know You're a Writer/Runner..." series: [1 of 10] How to Deal with Rejection.

What's the funniest grammar mistake you have seen, whether in real life, or online? Share in the comments!

Keep on keepin' on...

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Monday, October 9, 2017

How Writers Deal With Rejection

You Know You're a Writer When... [1 of 10]


As a writer and a runner, I couldn't help but discover these 10 similarities between writing and running. Over the next 10 weeks, I'll be sharing one "You know you're a runner when..." and one "You know you're a writer when..." quotes to make you chuckle and think a bit. I'll also share a little extra wisdom and inspiration for you.





Celebrate Each Milestone


It takes a lot of courage to write a manuscript. Even more to submit it somewhere. It hurts to receive that first rejection letter. But when you have a drawer (or email folder) full of rejections, you can wear the writer badge with honor. You'll be able to console others when they get rejections. Come up with a rejection celebration ritual. Buy a special candy bar reserved for rejections. And a different candy bar for each manuscript you finish. Not everything we write will get published, no matter how much we may want it.

Writers Aren't the Only Ones Getting Rejections


It's important to remember that literary agents and editors also get rejected. Agents get rejected a LOT. No matter how much an editor may love every piece that comes across their desk (they don't), they simply can't accept everything. So agents feel the brunt of those industry rejections. Editors also get rejected. When they connect with a piece they love, someone else on the acquisitions team (usually from the marketing department) can't quite fall in love with it the same way. So the editor gets rejected. They didn't want it to go down like that. It's a group effort and it's a business. It's just a part of being a writer. If agents and editors aren't taking rejections personally, then we shouldn't either.

It Only Takes One, "YES!"


Persevere! Be patient with the process. Yes, it's easy to doubt yourself. Yes, it's easy to let fear settle in and hijack your writing. Yes, it may seem like we'll never be published, but don't give in. Don't give up. Continue to hone your craft. Continue to work on your writing. Continue to work on you writing projects. Learn from the rejections. Celebrate each rejection. (Do I smell Hershey's kisses?) Remember, it only takes ONE yes. Keep running your writing race and you'll pass the publication finish line soon enough.

What do YOU do when you get a rejection? How many have you collected so far? Share in the comments!

Keep on keepin' on...

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Monday, October 2, 2017

How to Overcome Writer's Block

...and solve your plot problems


You may be wondering if writer's block is even real? What is writer's block anyway? How do you deal with writer's block? The answer is yes, writer's block is real. Some would argue otherwise, but if you've ever experienced it, then read on!

How to Overcome Writer's Block || is writer's block real, how do you deal with writer's block, what is writer's block, christiewrightwild.com

What is Writer's Block?


According to Wikipedia, the definition of writer's block is...
Writer's block is a condition, primarily associated with writing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work, or experiences a creative slowdown. The condition ranges in difficulty from coming up with original ideas to being unable to produce a work for years.
But I'd like to pose another definition:
Writer's block is the effect of a creative slowdown that causes a person to have a temporary lapse in the ability to solve problems.
Think about it. We all hit roadblocks from time to time. It doesn't matter if you're a mechanic, a doctor, a musician, or a parent. We encounter things that stop us in our tracks because we simply don't know how to move forward.

So why did writers get a special name for it? Probably because we write stories and encounter plot problems more than the average Joe. We don't know how to make the character get from point A to point B. That kind of creative slowdown is just as difficult to overcome for a writer as it is for a parent to figure out how to get their kids to go to bed on time, or maybe even at all.

What causes writer's block, anyway? In a nutshell, fear and timing. Perhaps you aren't quite ready to write the masterpiece you had in mind. When that happens, you'll hit a block for sure. And the other cause? Well, fear is what paralyzes most people from taking action. Fear of dying - no freefall jumping out of a plane for me! For writers though, it's the fear of rejection. The fear of not being good enough. The fear of not being perfect. The fear of failure. The fear of success. The fear of feeling like a fraud.

All kinds of fear can cause writer's block. The fear creeps up and inserts itself smack dab in the middle of your story. Usually at a critical point where a character needs to make some kind of decision. It's like time has frozen and the clock keeps ticking, but nobody sees any way out. It's a stone cold block of ice. But somehow, you've got to chisel your way out.

Is Writer's Block Real?


For anyone who has experienced the inability to solve a plot problem as quickly as they would have liked, yes, writer's block is real. Perhaps you struggle with coming up with new ideas. Or maybe you're stuck in your writing because you don't have all the research, or you haven't figured out transitions or point-of-view yet. All of these are examples of how writer's block can affect you.

Being stuck because you don't have any ideas is definitely hard, but writer's block isn't really about not having any ideas. It's really about not have any idea how to solve a specific problem. More specifically, a plot problem. And that's a real problem. One that takes guts, knowledge, ingenuity, and determination to find out how to overcome.

There is more than one way to overcome writer's block. You can change your environment, eliminate distractions, read a book, listen to music, or do something to get your blood flowing (my personal favorite, specifically running).

How do You Deal with Writer's Block?


Learning how to overcome writer's block is a skill you can learn. While there are lots of things you can do, the simplest thing is to "Just Do It." Yes, write through the pain. Sometimes during a run, I feel a slight kink in my neck, or a strange click in my hip, but usually when I run through the "pain" it works itself out and I feel a lot better afterward. The run loosens me up. Makes me more flexible. Works out the stiffness.

When you are feeling that stubborn stiffness in your writing, it's time to take action! You can't simply not write and expect the Muse to show up and help you with your writer's block problem. Creativity is the antidote to writer's block. So how do you boost creativity when you feel paralyzed by the fear of not knowing where to take your story next? PLAY!!!

Think of the most wild and wacky thing your character could do to get out of the trouble they're in. Just write. Write no matter how crazy it sounds. Write anything. Even if you think it's the stupidest thing you ever thought of, heard of, or wrote about. You don't even have to write on your current project. You can free write or journal to help get the wheels turning. You could even play a word game.

The point is to keep moving (whether literally or figuratively) and keep your writing head in the game. Forward momentum will help you bust out of that writer's block and finally get your characters from point A to point B.

What do YOU do to combat writer's block? Share in the comments!

Keep on keepin' on...

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