Book Writing Tips

A book lies in the heart of every person out there. The difference between the books that get written and those that remain in the heart is simple – to get the book out you have to write.

I was sharing this idea recently with a group of business women. We were talking about the challenges that hinder the challenge to get the words written. In other words, we were all sharing the excuses that we allow to stand in our way of getting it done.

I wrote a million words last year, and yet I still find myself caught up in excuses instead of getting the words down. If I want to write, then I have to write. It really is that simple.

5 Simple Book Writing Tips

1. Make a plan – know the reason behind the word release. Think of the writing plan as something similar (and yet quite the same) as a business plan. It should include a vision (for where you want to do), a mission (for why you want to do it), and a budget (not just of your finances but of your time as well). Having a definitive reason for the words will help produce a focus for your word creation.

2. Make a space – a clean and clear place where the words can roam free. Words need space to flow. A clean space and a clean schedule frees the mind and that act of freeing makes a way for the words. I have a designated office space that I regularly organized and clear. I also have a “go office” that allows me to easily pack up and go when it’s called for – and as a home school mom it is often called for. I also have a designated schedule – with writing time blocked out in the mornings and in the evenings (and rewrite/edit time squeezed in throughout the day). I have the space – literally and mentally – that provides me with the freedom to write.

3. Set priorities – make writing important if you want writing to be important. I have a friend, Katherine Grubb, who wanted to write her novel. She had five children and she was home schooling and she could have said “when I have time then I will write.” But she knew that she would not likely have that real time until after she had graduated her kids – which was a long way away. So she made writing a priority, for just 10 minutes every day, and with those few minutes of prioritized focus she got her novel written.

I have to make writing a priority if it is ever going to get done. In my life, mornings work best. There was a time when “nap time” was the best time to write (but it seems these days that more and more “nap time” is more for me than for the kids). You have to find the right time to schedule your writing time and then you have to make it work.


Combine activities – like doing the laundry and writing (in the laundry room where you can’t hear anyone over the washer and dryer).

Segment activities – clean a little, then write a little, then clean a little, then write a little. Digital timers work GREAT for segmenting time.

Double down on the activities – when you make breakfast, go ahead and prep lunch and dinner at the same time (and put them in a crockpot or in the preset oven if possible). You will only have one clean up AND you will have the normal prep time to do some writing.

There are ways to make writing a priority and to find the time to make it a priority – sometimes you just have to get a little creative.

4. Utilize the little times – little bits added together can make a big difference. The first time that I did National Novel Writing Month (which happens every November) I discovered that if I wrote for just a few minutes every night (challenged by my online friends doing word sprints and word wars) then by the end of the day I would have more than my necessary word count.

Just like Katherine was able to write her novel in 10 minutes, I was able to get my words done in 15, 20, and 30 minute bouts of time. I find bits of time waiting to pick up the kids after an activity, waiting between classes at church, and sometimes waiting in the car while someone runs in for an errand. I have started relishing these moments of wait because I have turned them into nuggets of writing gold.

5. Keep going. The only way to write your book is to write your book. Write words until you have all the words out on paper. Write words until you have told your story. Write words until you have no more words to write. Don’t worry about perfecting the craft of the words – writing is the art of painting the story with words. The crafting comes after the art if complete. Finish the story so that it will be done, but more importantly finish the story because it deserves to be told.

Writing a book requires writing. It is that simple and that challenging at the same time. Taking advantage of parts of these tips or putting to practice all of these simple ideas will help you to get your book completed.

Do you know someone that has been talking about writing a book or struggling to get through with the writing? May YOU are that someone. Get your #free “Break the Block” session today.

Book Review – Platform Book by Stephanie Chandler

Review: The Author’s Guide to Building an Online Platform

“Leveraging the Internet to Sell More Books”

I attended a conference in 2015 where John Michael Morgan challenged me to read a fiction book and a non-fiction book every week – or at least that is the challenge I took away from the discussion.

I have always been an avid reader, but I allowed life to create barriers to block my reading needs. In other words, I kept making up excuses to keep me from reading.

John’s challenge forced me to look at the excuses as what they really were and it helped me find a way to get back on the bandwagon of reading.

My latest non-fiction book comes from Stephanie Chandler, “The Author’s Guide to Building an Online Platform.”

The book was first released in 2008, and that is the copy I had on my shelf, so I suspected that much of what she was going to offer would be out of date – the internet just changes that fast.

I was pleasantly surprised. I marked several pages for deeper review, stopped in the middle of reading to take notes and write out quote, and found some great ideas for expanding my own platform.


One of my favorite parts of the entire book was the interviews with other authors. Not only did I get some insight into their unique journey that I could put to work in my own journey, but I saw that there are so many paths to success that it is crazy for me to try and follow that “one way” that many experts say they have.

It was an easy read – which worked out perfect for my new “10 minutes a day” reading plan for my non-fiction. Yes, some of the information was outdated (like having to wait and see if Kindle will take off – that made me laugh out loud) but the information about investing in my words and my path will remain timeless.

Visited Stephanie’s website to learn more about this book or the many other books that she offers to help you find your niche and build your online success.


WriteTalk Podcast – Define Success

#WriteTalk shares tips from writers with writers for writers – no matter where you are in the journey with words, we are stronger when we go together..

Define Success

Define why you write so that you will have a focus to keep writing.

Keep distractions at bay by having a specific plan for your journey.

Determine where you are going so that nothing will stop you from going.

Make a plan – a detailed business plan for the writing because if you want writing to be your professional then you have to come at it professionally.

Write! The number one thing that you can do to build your writing success is to invest in putting words down.

Define success for your journey and then you will be in a position to pursue that success with your words.

Listen now to the #WriteTalk Podcast with Katherine Grubb of the 10 Minute Novelists and Kathryn Lang of #GrowingHOPE.


Guest Blogging is Dead – Long Live Guest Blogging

Matt Cutts declared guest blogging dead . . . and for all the right reasons. He states that if you are using guest blogging to gain links then you should probably stop because it turns into something more like spam than actual relationship building.

He states,

stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy. In general I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well. Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a linkbuilding strategy.”

Cutts goes on to explain that there are still plenty of good reasons to guest blog, and they are the reasons that you should have used to justify writing for another site or letting others post on your site. It has to be about more than numbers.

Top Ways to Make Guest Blogging Work

    1. Offer the readers an insight, viewpoint or voice that will help, encourage or expand the current information provided on the site. In other words, the post will provide the readers and visitors with a benefit. That has to be the first and most vital part of the content offered on a website if you want the visitors and readers to have faith in the words you create.

    2. Support the mission of the website. Come into the guest blogging opportunity grow up the mission of the site – which means you will first have to take time to know the site and the creator or organization that hosts the site.

    3. Skip the sales pitch and focus on giving. Guest blogging (when it is a success) is about others instead of self. Include a link in the bio (if allowed by the host) but keep the audience focused on the site where you are guesting.

Write words that matter. Seek connections that can be grown into relationships that can foster mutual opportunities and growth. More than anything make a point to be focused on being relentlessly helpful every chance you get.

Growing up a fan base, a following, or recognition as the go to expert in your niche begins with these steps. If you are relying on guest posts to make it happen then you will find that guest blogging really is dead.


Pretend to be a Writer

I pretend to be a writer so I can begin to form the habits, the abilities, and the focus that will lead me into being a writer.

I have long dreamed of being a writer and in the last ten years I have taken steps to lead me decidedly closer to the place where I can stand proud and declare I am a writer and that I write for a living, for the love of words, and because I have stories to share (so that the voices and my head have a place to go). I got there in part because I made the choice to “fake it until you make it.”

I act like a writer – even on days when I struggle to find my voice and especially on those days when the world seems determined to discourage the journey. I need to get in the habit of pretending to be a writer so that I can make room for the words to flow for real.

Top Tips for Pretending to be a Writer

    1. Write an authoritative answer to something you know nothing about. I discovered this challenge on a satirical website in the form of a competition. “Write an ad for an outrageous miracle diet.” I wrote a piece about the cardboard diet – where you can eat all you want and the weight will still burn away. It was fun. It was ridiculous. And because it was fun and ridiculous, my imagination was set free to roam where it wanted.

One of the most important aspects to being a successful writer is to have a freely roaming imagination.

    2. Make up 10 titles of books you would never want to read. You never have to share the so be as silly or out of the ordinary as you want. The point of this exercise is to search the edges of your imagination because when we search the edges we expand the view.

A growing and expanding imagination is vital to a healthy writing journey.

    3. Rewrite a story that you have read recently. It could be a news story. It could be a fairy tale. It could be a book. Change the viewpoint of the story, or change the characters completely. Allow your imagination to see beyond the limits of the existing world and your imagination will begin to craft a world of its own.

A strong writer feeds and fosters a world creating imagination.

    4. Write as though every word you produce will be eagerly devoured by your fan base. I suspect that Tom Clancy, James Patterson, and other writing greats rarely sat around worrying who would read their books – at least in my mind they didn’t after their books became best sellers. See your words through that same place of success. Allow your imagination to drive the “when I am famous” slant of focus and you will soon discover that you write like you expect to be read.

Every word you create will have a reader that needs to read it.

Don’t just think about being a writer – ACT LIKE IT! Pretending to be a writer is about setting the imagination free and then following the imagination to the flow of words it will produce.


Career Basics for Writers – Create a Plan

A writing career needs some basic business foundations to create a path for success.

Creating a business plan should be the first step anyone takes when stepping into a new business venture. People who are launching a new business need to know the where, the why, and most definitely the how of the journey.

If you are pursuing an income through your writing then you have to treat your writing like a business – because professional writing IS A BUSINESS!

A Writing Plan can be as complex as the 20 page packet companies use to approach lenders and investors – complete with graphics, statistics, and market analysis. It could be that a writing plan with such details could set the foundation for future book proposals.

A Writing Plan can be as simple as a few notes jotted down in a notebook (dated for future reference, of course). These notes provide the guidance for taking steps and making the better choices amidst the opportunities that arise.

Not matter how details or how simple the plan, there needs to be a plan.

Basic Bones of a Writing Plan


    This statement encompasses the “why” of it all. What do you want to do with the words that you are creating?

A summary of the aims and values; the bumper explanation of purpose that guides the direction of action


    This statement points the cart in a particular direction. It is the “where” of the journey. Where do you want to do with the words you are sharing?

The roadmap that provides the desired success destination


    Create a breakdown of what it will cost to pursue the words, what the words need to produce to create a livable income for the professional pursuit, and also specific points for how the income will be attained.

Estimate the income and expenditures so that you can be financially prepared for the journey


    Marketing is about two things – creating lasting connections with people and being relentlessly helpful in those connections. You need a plan about who you are attempting to help and how you will reach them.

Marketing is defined as promoting and selling, but in reality it is all about relationships

Before taking another step in pursuit of freelance writing or any avenue of a writing career, make a plan. Including these four elements will help you to establish a solid foundation for building up a profession with words.


Count the Cost for Book Marketing

Book marketing is not for the faint of heart. It is a minefield – an obstacle course – a marathon of epic proportions. Too often authors are so eager to “make a living” with the book that they miss the bigger picture.

“Sign up to be a part of our . . . “

“Join our event where 20,000 people come each day.”

“If you show up then they will show up.”

I have heard hundreds of pitches and just as many promises since launching my writing career. I struggled to find a balance between getting my name out to people and throwing my “pearls before swine.”

In the ends, I have learned to count the true cost before I ever consider following through with the promises “THEY” make.

Count the Cost for Book Marketing

    1. Is there a cost involved? Most places charge something for authors to set up and hawk their wares. It can range from $5 to $5000 (yes, they can get that expensive).

    2. Are there added costs involved? Some places may provide you a table, but others will require that you rent a table. Internet or electricity can also be additional costs. The larger the venue the more the additives are likely to run.

    3. Where do the fees go? The more open and honest an organization is about how the monies are invested the sounder of a foundation you will have for making your decisions.

    4. What are the traveling expenses that will be associated with the event? If the venue offers room accommodations, you want to be certain that you will receive a discount (most hotels and resorts that can host an event have higher priced rooms). You should also add up the cost of transportation to and from the event.

    5. Who is the market that is expected to attend? There should be some marketing data available. You want to be sure that your target will be represented.

    6. What do you expect from the event? There are as many reasons to attend an event as there are events to attend. Connections, sharing, engaging, and even a vacation are all reasons.

    7. How much is required to recover the expenses you will have to invest? Most authors are in the business because it IS a business and the bottom line needs to come into play. If the event costs as little as $5 and is next to your house, then you can justify that better than if the event will require $500 in travel/hotel/food expenses plus the cost of a booth. The first translates into 2 books (plus a day of extroverted engagement) while the second will require the sale of over 250 books.

    8. What is the history of the organizers? Look at the social media of the organizers. Look at the motivation behind the event – the one that benefits the most should be the authors.

    9. What is the history of the event site? It should only take a little search and research to discover the main source of traffic to the location where the event will be held. An author event NEEDS lots of feet (and pockets).

    10. Are you ready? There will be more to setting up a strong marketing spot at an event than just books. You will want to have a way to catch the attention of visitors. You will want to have a way of staying in touch with those that you connect with at the event (a website or email list). You will want to have a way to take payments.

The bottom line IS the bottom line. There are so many ways to gain exposure and connect with readers (and authors) that it is important to count the costs of book marketing before you make a leap.

More than Settled – a Journey to Greatness

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“Maybe you answered the call but at some point gave up. You started down the road but decided to retire or settle, and at some point you let go. You settled for good when you were called to greatness.” Jeff Goins – The Art of Work

How did he know? How had he managed to write the very words that were creeping through my head and pushing me down into a hole of settled?

The words that he shared so hit their mark that there was nothing to do but cry – and write. The truth is that words are so much a part of who I am that I would never be able to function if they were not part of what I am doing.

And yet, I had been contemplating walking away from the dream. I was preparing myself for a life settled into okay or good enough instead of pushing myself into that place of extraordinary living.

I am not alone. I know that anyone stepping out into the road less traveled occasionally finds the need to curl up in a ball on the side of that road and cry “why?”

Why am I doing this?
Why am I not getting to success that I desire?
Why not me?

It rarely works out like I have it in my head. It would be nice if it did – but this journey involves too many variables (and way too many people) to be just what I want and expect.

Breaking through the moment of “am I good enough” and “should I just give up” is not always easy but I make you this promise – you are good enough. If you have a BIG DREAM and if you have the persistent diligence to pursue that dream then you will reach it.

Today on #WriteTalk, Kathryn Lang shares some raw truths about the pursuit of purpose

You are good enough.
You can make a living with words.
You can reach your desired success.

Tips for Breaking Out of Settled

    – Build up a wellspring of encouragement. Find people that will cheer you on in this journey and that will help you be bold in pursuit.

    – Learn something every day. Read books outside your genre or field. Attend classes (online or in person). Be open to the wisdom and insight that others have gained from their unique journey.

    – Write something every day. Ultimately the ONLY way to build writing success is to write.

    – Believe in the words that you are creating. Speak words of affirmation over your journey. Keep a book of positive insights and reviews (and look over them regularly). Feed the positive and the possibility because negative cannot dwell where they exisit.

    – Be flexible in the pursuit of the purpose. A plan is vital to success, but honing the plan, the path, and the focus must also be included.

It is possible. It just takes a commitment of pursuit and an investment in persistent work.

Are you ready to be more than good enough and to begin living a life of greatness?

The VERY Basics of Building Your Website

back to basics

1. Purchase your domain name.

What to do: You can do this through a local hosting company, like, or any number of companies. It will be the same name and system no matter who you use. I choose the smaller, local company because of the customer service that comes with it.

What to know: The domain name is not really “yours.” You are renting the domain name and will need to pay for it every year or so, depending on the plan that you use in the beginning. The domain name is also known as the “URL.” It is the information the internet uses to find you and your business or information.

2. Find a hosting company.

What to do: Find a company to use for hosting your domain (which will become your website or blog). Again you can choose a larger company or a smaller company – the end result will be the same.

What to know: A hosting company will give you a location on the World Wide Web that will allow you to settle your domain name. Finding a host is like looking for a storefront in a mall – there will be many other businesses in that mall and you will be your own unique store front in that mall. The “hosting” company is the mall owner and keeps the mall secure and protected and also monitors who else can have a storefront in that mall. You will have to pay a monthly or yearly fee to have your domain hosted.

Now things begin to get a bit tricky.

3. Download to your computer.

What to do: Go to the website and click the download button next to the question “Ready to get started?”

What to know: This is the first step that you are taking towards your new blog or website. The software is the “skin” of your endeavor. Think of it as the shell of the shop (in the mall of our earlier example) and you will use the tools available to decorate and design the shop of your choice.

4. Upload the WordPress software into your FTP.

What to do: First you need to extract the files from the zipped download. All this requires is right clicking on the file and then clicking on the option to unzip. This makes it possible for your computer to access all the files. Companies zip up files to make the more compact and easier for you to download. Next you need to upload all these files into the FTP folder for your domain.

What to know: gives you detailed instructions for making this happen. Some hosting companies can help you with this (another reason I prefer the smaller hosting companies). The most important thing to know is that WordPress is an OpenSource community so they are always willing AND EAGER to help you out if you get stuck.

5. Set up a theme for your site.

What to do: Go into the WordPress Admin and click on the Appearance button. This should bring up a place to “Add New” Themes or to activate themes. There are hundreds of free WordPress themes available to add to your site. Use the “Advance Search” feature to find specific elements (like having a responsive or mobile friendly theme).

What to know: The free themes and the “paid” themes have benefits and limitations. You may want to start on a free theme and switch to a “paid” theme if you find you have specific needs that are not being met.

6. Set up your sit with all the bells and whistles to make it work for you.

What to do: Highlight the “Appearance” listing in the left side of your WordPress CPanel. Use the customizing option and the widget option to begin getting things to look the way that you desire. Also use the “Plugins” listing to add tools to your site (including security systems). Always be sure that what you add is compatible with the WordPress system that you are using.

What to know: Each plugin and widget that you add can cause your website to be weight down. Research the options and choose the ones that will do more of what you need so that you will only have to upload a few. Also, keep in mind that the WordPress software and all of the plugins and widgets will need to be kept updated for security purposes.

That is it. Six steps to bring you closer to the website that you desire. Hope it helps, but let us know if there is more that we can do to help.

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Write Like You Mean It

Where there is a will, there is a way.”

It may seem trite or cliché, but that does not make the saying any less true. If I want to build up writing success then it is up to me to build up my writing success.

Yes, it is that simple.

There will always be reasons, excuses, or hindrances that seek to stop my progress. It is up to me to step around, to make away, or to push on until I break through.

Yes, it is that simple.

Other people may know more connections. Other people may have more resources. Other people may have more talent. Persistence is the only tool I need to reach the goal that I set. If I persistently seek the success then I will find the success.

Yes, it is that simple.

Finding the Path to the Write Life

    – Keep a record of all the time that you use each day. Write down when you do something, why you do it, and for how long. This is particularly beneficial to use with distractions (like television, internet, or electronic games). When I see it in black and white then it is easier for me to recognize what needs to change.

    – Know what you want. I have to define my goal and my desire if I am going to create a persistent determination to get there. Persistence only comes with focus. It is up to me to define my goal, but it does have to be defined.

    – Gather the tools that will get you to your desired success. If you want to be a published writer then you need to have a way to connect with publishers, agents, or to independently publish your own work. This could mean a computer or your own or it might mean utilizing the local library. There will be certain items necessary for getting there, so begin finding the tools needed.

    – Garner support. We are not designed to do this alone. Find others on a similar journey. Start a group. Attend a conference. Tell trusted friends or family members. The more people you have on your side, the easier it will be to keep going.

It is simple, but it is also up to me. Until I walk out the steps that lead to my success and keep walking with a diligent persistence, success will elude me. Where there is a will, there is a way, but it is up to me to make it so.