Tuesday, December 5, 2017

You Know You're a Writer Who Runs [4 of 10]

When You Get Mad If You're Called Anything Else


You write when you're excited. You write when you're scared. You write when you're mad, sad, and glad. You're a writer. But are you really? If you've ever wondered if you're really a writer, then this series is for you.

You know you're a runner when you get mad if someone calls you a jogger. | funny runner quotes, Christie Wright Wild

You know you're a writer when you get mad if someone calls you an aspiring writer. | funny writer quotes, Christie Wright Wild

Aspiring Writer vs. Writer


If you write, you're a writer. If you want to be a published author, then you are an aspiring author. You're already a writer!

Maybe you don't write every day. That's okay. Maybe you think you're writing isn't that great. That's okay too. Maybe you think your writing is superb! Maybe it is. Maybe you're "this" close to getting published.

If you aspire to write, then you are not writing. If you write, you're a writer. Aspire to be a GOOD writer!

Jogger vs. Runner


Likewise, when someone calls you a jogger, fume rises out of your sneakers. You run every week. Quite possibly every single day. You're a runner!

But what about those days when you're injured? Are you still a runner? YES!!!

What about active rest days? When you're just walking. You might even pick up the pace to jogger status. But you're still a runner!

Don't let labels define your happy place. Run to your heart's content, no matter what your speed is. Don't worry, I'll be here to bring up the rear. Keep running!

So... are you a runner, a jogger, or a walker? Share in the comments!

Keep on keepin' on...

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You Know You're a Writer [1 of 10] | You Know You're a Runner [1 of 10]
You Know You're a Writer [2 of 10] | You Know You're a Runner [2 of 10]
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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

You Know You're a Writer Who Runs [3 of 10]

When You're Almost to the Finish Line and...


My first marathon changed me. It turned me into a runner. Took me 8.5 hours to complete it. Do the math, that's merely a walking speed of 3.1 mph. I did a walk/jog combo and stopped to enjoy the Alaska scenery and take some photos every few miles. My second marathon 2 years later was 6.5 hours. Yep, I had to do it again. Crazy runner.

You know you're a runner when you're almost... || www.christiewrightwild.com || writing humor, running humor, you know you're a writer series, you know you're a runner series


You know you're a writer when you're almost... || www.christiewrightwild.com || writing humor, running humor, you know you're a writer series, you know you're a runner series

Make it to the Finish Line


You know you're a writer when you struggle to finish the book in the first place. You might even start complaining about it. But you're in love with the story. You might fight with the words, but that's okay. You gotta spit them out first. Then you can spin them into a beautiful piece of art.

Write the Next Book


You know you're a writer when you just wrote the most difficult thing ever and you swear you'll never do it again, but then you do anyway. When I finished my picture book biography, I swore I'd never write another biography again! But before I even got my agent, I already had more ideas to write, not one, but FIVE more biographies. I just have to tell these stories!!! Trust me, it's gonna feel like running a marathon.

What's something difficult you said you didn't want to do again, but yet you changed your mind and planned a repeat? Share in the comments!

Keep on keepin' on...

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You Know You're a Writer [1 of 10] | You Know You're a Runner [1 of 10]
You Know You're a Writer [2 of 10] | You Know You're a Runner [2 of 10]
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Monday, October 16, 2017

You Know You're a Writer Who Runs [2 of 10]


When You See a Sign on the Highway...


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

You Know You're a Writer Who Runs [1 of 10]

When You're Drawers Are Full


As a writer and a runner, I couldn't help but discover these 10 similarities between writing and running. Over the next 10 posts, 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 plot problems "in your sleep".



While you may not be able to work through every intricacy of your story's plot while asleep, you CAN solve a few problems subconsciously with these tips.

You may even be wondering if writer's block is a real thing. What is writer's block anyway? How do you deal with writer's block?

Yes, writer's block is real. If you've ever experienced it, you know what I'm talking about. Some would argue otherwise, but it really depends on how you define it.

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 for writer's block:
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.



More Ways to Overcome Writer's Block:
Discover 3 Proven Methods That Work






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.

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!!!

There is more than one way to overcome writer's block. You can boost your creativity and play in the following ways:
  • CHANGE your environment: write somewhere different.
  • FOCUS on the writing: Eliminate immediate distractions so you can actually get some writing done.
  • DISTRACT yourself: Read a book, listen to music, or watch a movie.
  • GET UP and get active: dance, clean house, garden, go for a walk or a run (my fave).
  • PLAY with your writing as you just write through it.

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.

There are other ways to overcome writer's block, too. Ways that I've seen HUGE results with. Get your 3-Tier Writer's Block Guide to boost your efforts to overcome writer's block.



More Ways to Overcome Writer's Block:
Discover 3 Proven Methods That Work






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

Keep on keepin' on...

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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.

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.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Clover Me Green

Well, I'll Be! Clover Me Green! I Really AM a Good-Luck Machine!


Did you know that one of my super powers is finding 4-leaf clovers? I LOVE 4-leaf clovers! I collect them in little decorative boxes. Once, I found 17 4-leaf clovers in an hour! That averages to a mere 3.5 minutes per genetic mutation!



Plants I Love


I love 4-leaf clovers, the purple-bearded Iris, dandelions, sunflowers, wild roses, gardenias, daisies, and buttercups. But I hate the smell of a Lily. They give me a headache. What's your favorite and/or least favorite flower?

Clovers and Shells


When I was in 3rd grade at Candler Elementary School, my teacher was Mrs. Comer and her assistant was Ms. Allen. Ms. Allen collected 4-leaf clovers in a barrel of water on her front porch. Anytime someone found a 4-leaf clover, she'd trade a seashell for it. That's how I began my collection of seashells. Though I had never been to the beach before, I had collected dozens of shells. I was the best 4-leaf clover finder in the 3rd grade! And I finally got to visit the ocean when I was in high school.

Clover Me Green


Of course, there's a book I'm writing about 4-leaf clovers. It's called Clover Me Green. Maybe one day you can see it in print and read all about Molly and her clover hunting adventures.

What's your 4-leaf clover finding record? Share in the comments!

Keep on keepin' on...

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Do Your Children Know What a Copperhead Snake Looks Like?

Did You Know Copperheads Are Pit Vipers?


I'm writing a book about a boy who loves snakes. So, I have to become an expert too. My husband found this video in an article on USA Today, so I thought I'd share it with you. Even though most people would kill a copperhead in an instant (and I'm no different), they are also "good" snakes because they eat mice and voles.



Art Schaeffer's Nickname is Gleek


Did you know that "gleek" is a verb? It means: to use one's saliva glands to shoot saliva a credible distance, with the intention of hitting someone or something. Also known as "snake spitting." He learned to gleek at a young age, by accident.

Growing up, my brother could always gleek on demand. I never could get it right. Occasionally, I'll accidentally gleek when yawning. What about you? Can you gleek?

Gleek's Pet Snake


In my book, Gleek has a pet snake. I'm thinking of letting it be a common grass snake, either a rough green snake or a smooth green snake. They are smaller, 2-3 feet, and a more shy species that may not like to be handled as much as some other species. But Art likes to hold his snake a lot. Do you have a favorite species? A species suggestion you'd like to see Gleek own?

10 Snake Species That Make Good Pets


Of course, some of the following snakes make better pets than others. If you want a pet snake, do your research. Here's a great site to help you.
  1. Ball Python
  2. Boa Constrictor
  3. Common King Snake
  4. Corn Snake
  5. Garter Snake
  6. Gopher/Bull Snake
  7. Grey-banded King
  8. Hognose Snake
  9. Milk Snake
  10. Mountain King

Have you (or your children) ever owned a pet snake? How long did it live? What did you name it? What kind of snake was it? Share in the comments!

Keep on keepin' on...

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Writers Who Run 10k Trail Race - 2018

Who Won the Wireless SoundWhiz Headphones?


One of this year's sponsor's, SoundWhiz, donated three pairs of wireless headphones. The top 3 winners overall were super excited to win them!!!

Writers Who Run 10k Trail Race || Top 3 Winners Overall Won Free Wireless SoundWhiz Headphones

Top Three


The top three winners of the race, overall, completed the 10k trail race in under an hour!

  1. Dave Essinger (57:58)
  2. Dave Harlow (58:19)
  3. Dylan Astrom (59:20)

And did you notice that they all have a name that begins with the letter "D"?

SoundWhiz


One of the racers, who sadly didn't win one of the SoundWhiz headphones, was ACHING to win one. It was what kept him going - the hope for such an awesome prize. He still won 3rd place in his age group, though. Thanks, SoundWhiz, for being the carrot to dangle in front of our racers!

Next Year


Next year's race will see a slight (or a not-so-slight) change. In order to more easily accommodate more runners of differing levels, there will be a 5k option added. And the course will change. It will be a flatter course, on the road, with a grand view at the base of the famous Fontana Dam, the second largest dam this side of the Mississippi. The name is changing too. Instead of the Writers Who Run 10k Trail Race, it will be called the Writers Who Run 10k and 5k Race for Literacy. Hope to see you there!

Question goes here? Share in the comments!

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Sunday, July 9, 2017

Total Eclipse of [My] Heart

Are You an Astronomy Geek, Too?


This August 21, 2017 will the first time the United States will see a total solar eclipse across the contiguous states since 1918. I'm within 2 hours of the 100% band! I'm so excited! I even found a video about five ways to safely view a solar eclipse.



Making Memories


I don't know why I love celestial bodies so much, be it the sun, the moon, or the stars, but I do. I love the constellations and special occurrences such as solar (and lunar) eclipses. If you can, get with your children and make some memories with them. Maybe they'll turn into an astronomy geek too!

5 Ways to Safely View the Eclipse


In the video above, they list:

  1. solar shield
  2. eclipse glasses
  3. pinhole method
  4. pegboard
  5. lens solar filter

What have you used in the past? What's your favorite? It seems as though children most often use the pinhole method. It's probably the safest because it has the lowest risk of accidental exposure.

Storytelling


Lastly, I once wrote a picture book manuscript that will never see the light of day. It was about the constellations and the tooth fairy. Apparently, it was two different stories overlapping, much like the moon overlapping the sun. Can you write a story about the moon, the sun, or the stars? Who will be the star of your story?

Are you planning on watching the eclipse this August 21? If you had a chance to see it, what was it like? How will you (or did you) celebrate? Share in the comments!

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

How to Personalize a Query Letter

3 Ways to Gain the Attention of an Editor or Agent


Before you send a query letter, hopefully you know how to look up the submission guidelines and that you need to actually follow them. Every editor is different, and every publisher is different. Sending Editor A a query letter according to Editor B's guidelines may get your query letter tossed in the trash. So, FOLLOW SUBMISSION GUIDELINES!!!

Once you have a list of editors to whom you'd like to submit your work, and you know their submission policy, you're ready to personalize your query letter. Whether you are polishing off your query by finally adding that personal touch, or you are just now beginning to write your query letter, it doesn't matter. Either way, it's the personal touch that may help the editor decide to actually read your query letter.

You want to make it clear that you're querying that person for a reason. If you follow one of these three ways to personalize a query letter, you'll definitely have a higher percentage of gaining the attention of an agent or an editor.

HOW TO PERSONALIZE A QUERY LETTER: 3 Ways to Gain the Attention of an Editor or Agent || writing, authors, submission process, submissions, how to submit a manuscript

Be Familiar With Their Interests


Yes, editors and agents are busy, but they have a personal life too. If you do any level of research at all, you're likely to find a few of their interests online. Whether it's their passion for all things elephant, or their interest in haunted houses, if you have a similar interest, you can use it to your advantage, especially if you've written something about that interest.

Query Example: I am writing to you because we share a similar fondness for elephants. I happen to have a manuscript about elephants that I think you might be interested in reading.

Follow Your Potential Agent or Editor to Conferences


Most editors and agents are always looking to grow their list. One way they do this is by speaking at writing conferences or retreats. If you follow your dream agent to a conference, you'll have an instant "in" to querying him or her. Often, you'll get an invitation to submit your work for a limited time. So if you want your book published with a certain publisher, follow where their editors go to speak and be sure to introduce yourself.

Query Example: I met you at the Writers Who Run Retreat last June and really enjoyed your workshop on great beginnings. I think you might enjoy reading my middle grade novel about magicians and love.

Know What Authors They Associate With


Every editor and agent has a list. They work with authors, both new and established. Be familiar with that list of authors. Know which authors you're fond of. When you mention an author or two in your query from their list specifically, they will know that you have done your research. They will be impressed with the fact that you like their work and the authors they associate with. So, do your research.

Query Example: I am querying you because you represent Author A, B, and C, all of whose work I greatly admire, especially Book 1, 2, and 3. I have a book with a similar feel to their work, though still uniquely mine. I think you might enjoy taking a look at it.

What's another way you can personalize your query letter? Share in the comments!

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Monday, June 5, 2017

The Pros and Cons of Different Types of Webinars

The Internet is exploding with webinars these days. In almost every industry, you'll find webinars being offered. Knowing the different types of webinars out there will help you face them head on when you encounter them. If you want to host your own webinar, it will be helpful to know all the different types of webinars you can choose from.

Pros and Cons: Different Types of Webinars || writing, entrepreneur, writerpreneur, what to look for in a webinar

Webinars are one way in which we consume information. It's not the only thing out there. There are blog posts, podcasts, infographics, links within social media to other articles, videos, white papers, transcripts, and more. Webinars can be categorized in four basic ways, but the combination possibilities are many.

  1. long or short webinars
  2. paid or free webinars
  3. informational or sales webinars
  4. live or recorded webinars
  5. interactive or boring (just kidding, but nobody wants to listen to a boring presentation)

Different Types of Webinars


The Long vs. Short Webinar


The Long Webinar

This type of webinar is typically an hour or longer. There is generally a vast amount of information to convey, or a specific list of steps to cover. People who attend longer webinars are obviously

Monday, May 29, 2017

Getting Your Manuscript Critiqued is Like Buying a New Pair of Running Shoes

As a writer, you know it's important to revise your work until it shines. That's why you joined a critique group. That's why you look forward to your manuscript critiques. It's just like buying a new pair of running shoes. Let me explain.

How to Get Your Manuscript Critiqued || buying a new pair of running shoes, similarities between writing and running

An Outside Perspective


For big races, there's an expo. The race expo is where you go to pick up your swag bag, which includes your shirt and your bib. Then you get to walk around and look at all the vendors. There's food, drinks, coupons, shirts, hats, shorts, socks, headbands, jewelry, info about other races, massaging tools, insoles, and of course shoes.

At one such expo, the Brooks team was there with a big prize wheel, a little bus, and lots of shoes. "Step on a treadmill! Get a Brooks assessment. We'll find the right shoe for you." So you strip down to your tootsies and step on the treadmill. There's a camera aimed right at your naked feet, recording the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Within minutes, you have an outside perspective telling you where your strengths, and your weaknesses lie. Are you a supernator? An overpronator? Are your ankles in alignment with your legs and your feet? Sometimes, a look from the outside is what we need to tell us which pair of shoes to buy.

And with your writing? The person providing you with a critique is another outside perspective? Do you tend to be passive? Do you tend to tell more than show? Sometimes it's harder to know your own weaknesses, so invite someone to gently point them out to you!

Trying on the Recommendations


So now you know your running weaknesses. It's time to try on the recommended pair of shoes. Hop back on the treadmill and take them for a spin. You'll either go with pair A or pair B. Run a little here and run a little there. Recommendations are great, but you've still got to try them on and see which your feet like better.

Your story has been cut up with a microscopic razor. Things you never saw before. Things you never even thought of. But you can't wait to try out all the great advice. Well, minus killing off your main character's love interest. It doesn't matter; you're keeping it in. You might change the name though. But the rest of the critique seems to have some great recommendations! So far, so good.

Hope for Improvement


You chose pair A. They're bright and colorful, even though you'd prefer navy and grey. The good thing is that they are super comfortable. You're excited to have a new pair of running shoes. You were 200 miles overdue. Now all you can do is hope for improvement. Improved feel, comfort, and breathability. Improved times. Improved muscles. Less soreness. Fewer injuries. Yes, pair A will certainly improve your running. Now get out and run!

You sit at your computer and implement several of the changes suggested by your critique partners. You hope it makes your story better, that you've improved upon the last version. A few tweaks and you're ready for round two. "Hey, can you take a look at my story? Let me know if you like it, and what I can do to make it better. Let me know if any of it doesn't make sense." At this point, all we can do is hope for improvement. So run with it and keep writing!

How often do you buy new running shoes? Could you live without your critique group? Share in the comments!

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Fiction Books for Runners about Running

If you like to read and run, or you know someone who likes to run and read, then this list of books is definitely for you! Even if you hate running, but you love to read, you might find one of these books intriguing.

Books About Running || runners | runner characters | books runners will love

Running Books For Adults


This list is quite long, so I only list the image and summary for a couple. The other running books listed for adults are quite popular and well-known in the world of runners.

Resolve by JJ Hensley


In the Pittsburgh Marathon, 18,000 people from all over the world will participate. Over 9,500 will run the half marathon, 4,000 will run in relays while others plan to run brief stretches. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn't their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment and one man is going to be murdered.

Running Out by Dave Essinger


After a plane crash in a remote Canadian wilderness, the athlete-hero faces the race of his life—to save his wife, his daughter, and himself. Dan’s past is fraught with sinuous turns and compelling complexity, but his present path is straight and clear: survival. We follow his every stride, sometimes as breathless as he is, as he runs toward rescue—or disaster.


MOSTLY FICTION


What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
Once A Runner by John L. Parker, Jr.
Again to Carthage by John L. Parker, Jr.
Running by Jean Echenoz
Marathon Man by William Goldman
Run by Ann Patchett
I Want to Show You More by Jamie Quatro
Preparation for the Next Life by Atticus Lish
Running The Rift by Naomi Benaron
The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen
A Gift of Dragons by Anne McCaffrey
Two Hours by Ed Caesar
The Runner by Cynthia Voigt
Flanagan's Run by Tom McNab
Run With the Champions by Marc Bloom
The Purple Runner by Paul Christman
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner by Alan Sillitoe

MOSTLY NONFICTION


Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
PRE: The Story of America's Greatest Running Legend by Tom Jordan
Swoosh: The Unauthorized Story of Nike and the Men Who Played There by Julie B. Strasser and Laurie Becklund
Out of Nowhere: The Inside Story of How Nike Marketed the Culture of Running by Geoff Hollister
Bowerman and the Men of Oregon by Kenny Moore
A Race Like No Other: 26.2 Miles Through the Streets of New York by Liz Robbins
Why We Run: A Natural History by Bernd Heinrich
Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness by Scott Jurek
The Accidental Athlete: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Middle Age by John "The Penguin" Bingham
Feet in the Clouds: The Classic Tale of Fell-Running and Obsession by Richard Askwith
The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It by Neal Bascomb
Running and Being: The Total Experience by Dr. George Sheehan
Running With the Buffaloes by Chris Lear
Running Through the Ages by Edward S. Sears

I'm sure there are more, but this will get you started.

Running Books For Teens

Run by Jolyn Brown


When Supermom joins Dad on his latest project, Morgan is left with her aunt. Instead of dating the cute boy from her high school track team, Morgan will spend the summer in a small town near Kanab, Utah, five hours from home and all of her friends. Her plan is to keep a sane distance between herself and her aunt's six boys. What Morgan does not expect is being attracted to the neighbor kid who hangs out with her cousins. How can she like two guys at the same time? Just when her life could not get more messed up, Morgan stumbles across an abandoned house and learns she lived there when she was small. The house and its secrets haunt her . . . it turns out she has been dreaming about the place for years. All she wants is to hold onto what she loves. But as the summer passes, she wonders if she is going to lose everything.

The Inside Track by Richard Tice


A college student who has started weight lifting and running to improve his love life meets a fascinating girl on the track who introduces him to the Mormon Church.

Running Books for Children


The Pumpkin Runner by Marsha Diane Arnold


"Nearly all the sheep ranchers in Blue Gum Valley rode horses or drove jeeps to check on their sheep. But Joshua Summer Hayes liked to run...with Yellow Dog trailing behind him." So it's no surprise when Joshua decides to enter a race from Melbourne to Sydney. People laugh when old Joshua shows up in his overalls and gumboots, calmly nibbling a slice of pumpkin for energy. But then he pulls into the lead, and folks are forced to sit up and take notice.


Marathon Mouse by Amy Dixon



The mice of New York City dread the day of the New York City Marathon more than any other—the crowds, the large shoes, the noise. All of them, that is, except for Preston. He and his family live underneath the starting line on the Verrazano Bridge and every year Preston has dreamed of joining all the other runners in the marathon. This year, Preston is determined to make his dream come true, even though his family tells him that mice are not fit to run marathons. He trains hard leading up to the big day and when the race starts, he successfully dodges sneakers and crosses the finish line, showing his family that mice can do much more than just scurry.


The Quickest Kid in Clarksville by Pat Zietlow Miller



It's the day before the big parade. Alta can only think about one thing: Wilma Rudolph, three-time Olympic gold medalist. She'll be riding on a float tomorrow. See, Alta is the quickest kid in Clarksville, Tennessee, just like Wilma once was. It doesn't matter that Alta's shoes have holes because Wilma came from hard times, too. But what happens when a new girl with shiny new shoes comes along and challenges Alta to a race? Will she still be the quickest kid? The Quickest Kid in Clarksville is a timeless story of dreams, determination, and the power of friendship.


Wilma Unlimited by Kathleen Krull



Before Wilma Rudolph was five years old, polio had paralyzed her left leg. Everyone said she would never walk again. But Wilma refused to believe it. Not only would she walk again, she vowed, she'd run. And she did run--all the way to the Olympics, where she became the first American woman to earn three gold medals in a single olympiad.


Have you read any of these? Which one will you add to your reading list? Share in the comments!


Outline Your Novel 

With a Simple Plot




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Sunday, February 12, 2017

14 Days of Lit Love

This Valentine's Day, I invite you to join the 2-week writing challenge, 14 Days of Lit Love. Celebrate all things literary! #14DaysofLitLove


Celebrate literature


The best way to celebrate literature is to buy books and read books. But another way is to write! By practicing the writing craft, you can create more awareness for all things literary.

Write more often


Most people say it takes 21 days to form a new habit. New research says the average is closer to 67 days. If you made a New Year's Resolution this year to write more often, or to write every day, or to be more consistent with your writing, this challenge is the perfect way to help you implement that!

For two weeks, you'll receive a fun and fast writing challenge in your inbox that will inspire you to keep going. Receive even more motivation by sharing your musings on social media (Twitter and/or Facebook).

Amp up your creativity


The 14 writing exercises can act like little warmups for a longer writing stint, if you like. They're meant to challenge your creative thinking and help you have fun with your writing. They are exercises that you can repeat over and over again. Join the challenge today!

Are you game? Type, "YES!" in the comments if you joined the challenge!

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

How I Got My Agent

Writers always want to know how other writers got their agents. In fact, someone recently asked me how I got my agent and I realized I hadn't yet shared it on my blog. So today, you're in for a treat!

How I Got My Agent || how to connect with an agent | literary agents | resources for agents for picture book writers

I Wasn't Looking for an Agent


I started writing seriously way back in 2009. I had two ideas. I wrote and wrote and wrote. In 2010, I continued to write and finished multiple manuscripts. I even joined a critique group. In 2011, I went to my first SCBWI writing conference. I had been to two other conferences during college, and a writing workshop several years later. But an SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) conference is in a league all its own.

But I was never really looking for an agent. It felt too scary. It was late 2012 before I ever sent a manuscript to an agent, and that's only because I heard him speak at the annual SCBWI conference. I decided I didn't feel like researching who would be the "perfect agent" for me and my work. I'd just submit to agents I've heard speak and had an "in" to submit to them, or to agents I'd actually met. In 2013, I submitted to 6 agents, one of which asked to see more of my work. Exciting! Yes. But ultimately, a no-go.

Even though I wasn't actively looking for a literary agent, I did happen to collect several possibilities along the way. I saved it for you, too! If you write for children, you might want to check out this list of 60 Agents Who Represent Children's Books. If you write for adults, my list won't help you, but my story can still inspire you!

My First Agent


Yes, I'm on my second agent. It happens. It's actually very common in the industry. In 2014, I went to a writing conference/retreat (it was kind of a hybrid) and I met a few agents. I even submitted to one of them earlier that year through the Gold level membership of 12x12 (it's for picture book writers), but never heard back. Yep. Crickets.

At this retreat, one particular agent's workshop resonated with me... a LOT! Because of the insight I received and the connection I felt, I revised my manuscript and several weeks later, I submitted to this agent. Less than a week later, I got a phone call about 9:00 PM. I had so many questions! We chatted about my book and some other manuscripts I had ready to go. A week later, I signed the contract. I had an agent!!! Woo-hoo.

But somehow, subconsciously, I got a little lazy as a writer. I was still active in my critique group and still attended conferences, but something was "off" with my mindset. About a year after I got my agent, we broke up. It just wasn't working for either of us. There were lots of factors. I was depressed for a bit, but my writing community helped me get through it.

After the Breakup


I still didn't feel like doing hard-core research to find "Mister Perfect." Yes, I was on the rebound, so I selectively submitted to two agents. We didn't court. In early 2016, I submitted to a handful of agents. Meanwhile, I participated in a Pitch War on Twitter. I didn't find my agent through a Twitter Pitch session, but I did become more aware of the hashtag #mswishlist. Yes, there's a whole website dedicated to what agents and editors are actually looking for!

I thought about my strongest manuscript, the one that got me my first agent. The story that had been submitted to only a few choice editors at this point. A manuscript I started in December 2011 and finished the first rough draft in January 2012, a manuscript that I continued to revise for 2 to 3 years. My agent-hunting manuscript. I went to MSwishlist.com and looked for a good fit. I saw a few posts of agents looking for a manuscript about the history of a thing. Perfect!!! I connected through Twitter and was invited to submit through the guidelines on the agency website. So I did.

Although I had never heard of this agent before, or met her, let alone heard her speak anywhere, I followed through. She emailed me and set up a date and time for a phone call. I had my questions ready. She patiently and happily answered every single one of them. She asked me about my other projects. I told her about 5 or 6 of my other polished mss. And she loved the idea for all of them! We hit it off right away. She offered representation at the end of the call, but specifically told me not to answer her right away, and to take my time and get back to her in a couple weeks.

So I contacted the other agents I had submissions out to, and in March, I signed with Stacey Graham of Red Sofa Literary. She's a perfect fit: professional, dedicated, conscientious, thoughtful, and my personal cheerleader. Thank you, Stacey! If you want to see what my books are about via some fun similarities, visit my Pinterest board: MY BOOKS.

Do you have a dream agent? Not necessarily a contract with your dream agent, but one you'd love to have? What's one question you asked your current agent or WILL ASK an agent, given the opportunity? Share in the comments!

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