Writers, don’t get derailed

What’s wrong with your writing project? When did it jump the tracks?

Are you trying to save the world, train children or some other lofty dream?

Well, stop it!

Remember when you first started writing? You wanted to tell a story. You wanted to share an idea. I bet you were having fun back then.

Don’t become a trainwreck-in-progress. Write something you’d like to read.



No Valentine’s card yet? Write a do-it-yourself alternative

Andrew Gold needed a whole song. You can produce a hit in just two sentences.

Andrew Gold needed a whole song. You can produce a hit in just two sentences.

There’s no need to stand in line in the greeting card aisle. Let others fight over the last “To Wife” offering.

Who needs a Valentine? Your parent, spouse, offspring?

Go home. Get a piece of paper.

Simply write THANK YOU. Then, add one sentence telling why you are grateful to have that person in your life.

Love is gratitude.

Don’t worry about pink paper or red envelopes. Your one-of-a-kind words will sparkle for untold holidays to come. That’s something Hallmark will never match.

Is writing a good occupation for people-haters?

Garbo did not say "I want to be alone." Maybe she really said, "I want to be a writer!"(Photo credit: UCLA Library/Wikimedia Commons)

Garbo did not say “I want to be alone.” Maybe she really said, “I want to be a writer!”(Photo credit: UCLA Library/Wikimedia Commons)

Barbra Streisand sang about people who LOVE people. However….

Rachel Gillett penned a fun “think” piece for Business Insider. What are good careers for people who aren’t “people persons?”

Creative writers. Hunters and trappers. Quarry rock splitters. Jobs like these were ranked for how much time a worker has to spend interacting with others. Also, how often do these jobs require you to be pleasant with others?

I thought everyone wanted to write for fame and fortune!


A post-Olympics idea for writers

Rio Olympics stampsThe Olympics are over.

Stop competing!

All writers should read. You want to write books? Then, guess what you should read?

It’s that easy.

What makes it hard?

Comparing yourself to others.

This is an event that everyone can win. Just be yourself.

Ask why you like parts of what you’re reading. How did the author do it? Read and learn.

Or, find parts of a story you don’t like. How would you make it better?

Stop wanting to be someone else. Start going for the gold. Read!


Sued for a negative online review? It can happen!

(Photo credit: Daino_16, Freeimages.com)

(Photo credit: Daino_16, Freeimages.com)

And the truth shall set you free?

We’d all like that to be true. However, some businesses smarting over honest online customer reviews are taking the debate to a new level.

Meet the Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, also known as SLAAP.

The Sunday Des Moines Register ran a jaw-dropping example of a business hoping to silence an unhappy customer. A lawsuit is the too-common answer these days to someone who won’t retract their review.

Investigative watchdog Lee Rood pointed out that Iowa is one of approximately 22 states without a law protecting consumers against intimidating lawsuits, or SLAAP attacks.

In this election season, ask candidates their First Amendment views. Do you live in a state without a law protecting online reviewers?

Your honest opinion shouldn’t result in a bankrupting courtroom battle. However, reviewers should know that they’ll need to be ready to defend those opinions.



Think editing non-fiction is impossible? Check out picture book biographies for inspiration

Griffey bookFriend Barbara Kramer is one of the hardest-working non-fiction authors in children’s lit today.

When she’s not creating a new biography, Barbara is blogging. I wanted to applaud her latest post:

I’ve mentioned in the past how children’s non-fiction is a great place for a researcher to start. Well, picture book biographies remind (even adult) authors of two amazements:

  1. Think everything has been written about a topic or personality? Children’s picture books are famed for putting a new spin on an overlooked moment in history.
  2. Think your editing is overwhelming? Look at the minimal word counts on a non-fiction picture book.

In the 1990s, I co-wrote a series of biographies for PowerKids Press. I was told to follow the established format. Ten chapters. Each no more than 80 words. A beginning, middle and end in just 80 words? It’s possible!

Children’s books: not just for children.