Where Do You Find Your Inspiration To Write?

As a writer where do you find inspiration (or motivation) to actually sit down and write?

I sat down this morning intending on writing another slam dunk blog post but I’m having a hard time finding the inspiration. Maybe its, because my Pittsburgh Penguins lost (did we really believe a 3-peat was possible?), or that my lawnmower self-destructed halfway through the first grass cut of the season. (I really should post a picture of my lawn it’s actually kind of funny), or maybe because there are a million things that need to be done around here but I just can’t find the motivation to accomplish any of them.

As a writer where do you find inspiration (or motivation) to actually sit down and write? Whether it be from music, checking out some new art or just catching up on today’s news.

I want to hear from everyone let me know down in the comments section where you draw your inspiration from. I compiled a list of ways you can take a jackhammer to your writer’s block if you’re really stuck and somehow your story has lost its way!

Music. This is definitely my favorite way to gather inspiration. Listen to some new music something you wouldn’t normally you will be surprised how quickly the words start flowing.

Movies. Sometimes you’re just trying too hard. Shut your brain off for a while and dive into a new movie. It could be you just need to relax a while.

Magazines, News Articles. If you subscribe to some of your fav’s or you just pick up one while waiting at the dentist’s office find an article that interests you.

Art Galleries, Museums.  Do something different than your everyday routine. Take the time to check out a new exhibit at your local museum.

Exercise. This may be my least favorite but It has its uses (shhhh I know I have put on a couple pounds over the winter). Other than keeping healthy and our butts in our favorite pair of jeans, exercise can really clear the head and somehow wash away the worries of the day.

Freewriting. I have done this and it really does help. Don’t think just write. Wait! you say that’s my problem I can’t! I don’t mean write a story just write about anything, the grass outside your window, the neighbor’s dog that won’t SHUT THE HELL UP! Or maybe the bird that built a nest outside my kitchen window. (BTW all the eggs hatched we now have 4 baby birds) Don’t stop, don’t edit just let the pen flow.

The point is if you think you are stuck in a rut you’re probably right. Inspiration can strike anywhere anytime and sometimes you will realize you may just have to stop looking for it before it slaps you in the face!  Happy Writing!

Self Publishing Top Ten Tips!

Top 10 Self-Publishing and New Author Tips

As a new self-publisher I know you might have thought the bulk of your work was done when you finished writing your book, Right? I’m very sorry to tell you that your work has just begun! You must now switch gears and become the publisher and marketer. Having gone through the process myself and helping others get their work published I have gathered my top ten tips for new self-publishers and new authors.

  1. Examine your competition. It is very important to look at what else is out there in your genre. Put your self in the bookstore per se. When you are looking at your book, what else is on the shelf right by it? Why would you buy your book before you bought any of the other books on the same shelf? This can give you powerful insight into how to sell your book and make it stand out!
  2. A memorable title is key. Once again in the bookstore. Why would you as the reader grab your book first? Your title should command attention and stick with someone. This is your billboard ad to your readers.
  3. You are Your Own Editor. Mistakes happen its human to err but your work should not read as a 10-year-old wrote it. Most readers can forgive a grammar mistake or two but there does come a point when the readability of your work could be hindered by frequent mistakes. It will always be in your best interests to hire a professional editor. If you are unable to afford such an expense you should be willing to allow as many of your friends and family to read your final drafts to help catch mistakes.
  4. Marketing. Without a publisher or literary agent to market, your book for you the responsibility lies with you. Take advantage of social media and book promo websites. Those are your best bets when it comes to free d.i.y. marketing.
  5. Reviews. Free or paid a good review can make a book. Offer your book to some willing reviewer for free or pay a professional like Kirkus. Its always up to you if you want you to use a review or not in your marketing. One thing to keep in mind fake reviews are easy to spot and will hurt your book.
  6. A Literary Agent isn’t Necessary. Having a Literary Agent can often defeat the purpose of self-publishing. You will lose 100% control and end up paying a percentage of every sale and yearly fees.
  7. Still Eligible for Awards. Even though you are self-published there are many yearly awards you can enter or receive a nomination for. Having a strong readership will help your book receive the recognition it deserves.
  8. Know your Reader. Understanding your reader’s wants and needs can influence your marketing drastically. Do some demographic research on the readers of your particular genre.
  9. Price is Important. Bookstores will not carry books they cannot make any money from. You must price your books right an allow for a 55% wholesale discount.
  10. Sell Yourself. This may sound like you are prostituting yourself but in a way you are! You have to sell yourself and your work to your readers. Offer giveaways, free book signings anything you can to draw attention.

Remember don’t give up. Not every book is a bestseller. Good luck and Happy Writing!!


Top 10 Character Building Tips.

The greatest characters of all time will vary depending on who you ask but I can guarantee they all have one thing in common. They are distinguishable from most others in the given story. There is always a feature or impediment that makes them unique.

These top 10 tips will help you develop your characters. Good luck and happy writing

  1. Clear Motivations that help develop the story. Characters want and need certain things and are highly motivated to achieve these goals. Having clear motivations help the reader to infer as to what the character is trying to accomplish.
  2. Unique Features or Traits. Could you pick your character out of a police line up? Well, you should be able to very easily by his or her description. Your description of him or her should bring to life vivid images of what the reader thinks they look like.
  3. Love em or Hate em. Develop your character with values or have him be the scum of the earth it’s up to you. Your readers should grow to develop strong feelings for them or be able to relate in one way or another.
  4. Use Secondary Characters as “Foils”  foil is a character who contrasts with another character —usually the protagonist— to highlight particular qualities of the other character.
  5. Create interesting dynamics between characters and environment.  Where does your character live, work or play? Do they love their home and miss it while away on a journey.
  6. Characters shouldn’t know every detail. Most of the time as a writer you need to separate yourself from your characters vision or train of thought.  They don’t need to know every detail of the past present and future of the story and most of the time shouldn’t.
  7. Use Contradictions. This makes characters more complex. For example, most grandmothers are loving and doting, but what if they are also manipulative and self-serving.
  8. Use characters’ names to convey subtle implications. Research baby names for example. That can give you a good idea of the meanings behind names and help you form their traits.
  9. Avoid Lazy Stereotypes. Stereotypes are at best are usually false and at worst offensive. While sometimes a writer may find humor in some. Authors must remain aware how others may view it.
  10.  Build With Dialog. Most dialog happens in scenes involving the plot and it should be used to advance the plot. But dialog can also be used to build characterization  “You should use what your subjects say – and how they say it – to show penchants for jargon, poor grammar and mispronunciation. Or meticulous pronunciation, even eloquent diction. Or pretension, sarcasm, humor, anger, fright, sadness, joy, impatience, frustration.” –http://niemanstoryboard.org/stories/14-tips-for-building-character/

Remember there are many tools a writer can use to help develop your characters. Some more difficult than others but all are very useful.

Source: https://www.nownovel.com/blog/novel-characters-15-tips/


Writing Styles, What are they and Why are they Important

There are four main types of writing: expository, descriptive, persuasive, and narrative. Each of these writing styles is used for a specific purpose. A single text may include more than one style.

Expository writing’s main purpose is to explain. It is a subject-oriented writing style, in which authors focus on telling you about a given topic or subject without voicing their personal opinions. This is most commonly used in essays, articles, and textbooks.

Descriptive writing’s main purpose is to describe. It is a style of writing that focuses on describing a character, an event, or a place in great detail.

Persuasive writing’s main purpose is to convince. Unlike expository writing, persuasive writing contains the opinions and biases of the author. To convince others to agree with the author’s point of view, persuasive writing contains justifications and reasons.

Narrative writing’s main purpose is to tell a story. The author will create different characters and tell you what happens to them (sometimes the author writes from the point of view of one of the characters—this is known as first-person narration).

Specific genres can dictate what style is being used in each text. But today in modern writing styles are very often blended to suit the authors’ needs while building his or her story. Every authors’ writing style will develop as the author does. Many authors will try to force style into their writing by being “extra extra” descriptive or artsy. This is where bad habits are formed. Your style should be allowed to develop naturally.

Your writing style is essentially how well you tell your story. Just remember when you are forming your stories keep it as it comes. Don’t force it. Write and re-write it.

Remember to check out JourStarr  FREE New Author’s Writing Guide.

In A World That’s Stranger Than Fiction, Are Americans Still Reading Books? (via HuffPost)

Publishers claim Trump In the Trump era, it feels like book publishing is under siege. But is it really?

Since the November election, the majority of the publishing world ― a mostly white, mostly liberal crowd ― has been reeling, and not just because the Donald Trump presidency goes against the vaunted egalitarian principles of intellectual tastemakers. In The New Republic recently, Morgan Jerkins reported that many authors, editors and booksellers have noticed a significant slump in the market, which many blame on the current administration.

“The disastrous and almost comically incompetent Trump presidency has both frightened the reading market away from popular books and functioned as a kind of mass entertainment with which it is difficult to compete,” she wrote.

But what are readers actually experiencing? Are they reading less and spending more time on activism? According to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll, the answer to that is complicated, but it suggests that Trump’s rise has done little to substantially shift the habits of readers. is affecting book sales. The reality might be more complicated.

Nicolas Rapold, editor of “Film Comment” and organizer of the screening of George Orwell’s “1984” novel, holds the novel before the screening at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York, U.S., April 4, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Source: Huffpost https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/is-donald-trump-really-making-us-read-fewer-books_us_599df02ce4b0821444c09106