Category Archives: Writing goals

10 Rules for Writers From Maya Angelou

C43Vu3ZWEAATB-uIf you had the privilege of attending any of Maya Angelou’s speaking engagements, then you came away with much to think about. She remains one of the most quoted Americans, and many of her quotations speak to writers.

Read these and apply them as rules for your writing routine.

49044_original“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Rule 1: Aim for the hearts of your readers.

bfa24e57befa55db2ef97a5ce3fceb58--writer-quotes-business-writing“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

Rule 2: Don’t allow your stories to languish. Write!

EACH-OF-US-HAS-A-POWER-AND“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”

Rule 3: Be willing to take risks when you write.

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”

37d6866494084accb0ff9045731c6a74Rule 4: Decide not to be knocked down by rejection and criticism.

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”

Rule 5: Make self-worth your definition of “success”.

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.”

Rule 6: Do what you love, and do it well. 

07c4a21d55b019c76a35bd92e1c01fe0--literary-quotes-beauty-quotes“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

Rule 7: Learn from those times when you feel defeated.

“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”

Maya Angelou quote_0Rule 8: Open yourself up to all the creativity within you to discover your own unique style.

“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.”

Rule 9: Get below the surface when you write. Dig deep. Go for the roots.

fc969a38be0a4565bded730636e0d966--true-quotes-daily-inspiration“Do not complain. Make every effort to change things you do not like. If you cannot make a change, change the way you have been thinking. You might find a new solution.”

Rule 10: When you edit, don’t complain. Be willing to rethink what you’ve written and be open to change.

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Filed under Encouragement, Famous Authors, Inspiration, Movtivation, Uncategorized, Writing goals

Five Ways to Ruin Your Writing Career—After Your First Book is Published

ProcrastinatingYou’ve published your first book. But be careful! Here are five ways you can ruin your writing career.

1 Stop Writing.
You’ve published your first book. You expected to sell thousands—but you didn’t. There’s that voice in your head, (You know the one.), “You’re not good enough! Give up.” Will you listen to it and stop writing, or will you pick yourself up and try even harder?

Louisa May Alcott was told to stick to teaching. Rudyard Kipling was told he didn’t know how to use the English language. Scores of famous authors had their works rejected.

Don’t give up. Keep writing.

2 Oversell Your Book.
You’ve published your first book, and you’re so proud. On all the social media sites, you post about your book several times a day, day after day, week after week—and then you wonder why your book sales haven’t picked up.

Overselling can overwhelm potential readers (Think about those annoying ads that pop up on your favorite web sites. You just wish they would go away.)

Think beyond endless posts showing your book cover. Post a great review. Feature an interesting character. Be creative about garnering the interest of your audience. And don’t post too often.

3 Pester an Agent.
You’ve published your first book. Yea! Your agent pitched your book and got you the best deal—but it was a long road to publication. You wonder: if you had called your agent, texted, emailed and kept after him/her more often, would your book have been published sooner.

Think realistically. It takes time to pitch a book and find a publisher. Be appreciative that your agent placed your work. Along with being appreciative, be a team player. Be nice. Listen to your agent’s constructive criticism, and take it well. A good client/agent relationship leads to publishing more books.

4 Annoy an Editor.
You’ve published your first book—but the editor at the publishing house suggested tons of changes. You questioned most of them and even wondered about the editor’s competence. You preferred that every word stay exactly where you put it!

A first-time author’s first experience with an editor is humbling. It’s an editor’s job to make your book the best it can be, and there will be changes.

Changes fall into three categories.

  1. Why didn’t I think of that?

  2. It really doesn’t matter to me.

  3. No I don’t want to do that!

Learn to accept all changes in categories 1 and 2. If accepting a change ruins your vision for the book, (#3), then have a conversation with your editor.

5 Become Overly Confident.
You’ve published your first book, and now you’re an author—like Nora Roberts, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Michael Connelly. The title “author” means you’ve entered the publishing world, and you’ve nowhere to go but up.

Overconfidence can ruin your writing career. Your second book should be better than the first. Work at managing your ego. Keep learning. Even the most famous authors know there’s always room to improve.

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Filed under Encouragement, The Business of Writing, Uncategorized, writing, Writing goals, Writing Tips

How a Potato Launched My Writing Career

[One of my favorite posts from 2015]

Everyone knows that potatoes have eyes—those little dimples on the skin that sprout potato plantlings—but did you know that potatoes have legs?

I remember a sunny Saturday morning when I was a kid watching my mom peel potatoes at the kitchen sink. As the sharp peeler scraped the potatoes bare, I saw Mom dig out tiny, green bumps.

“Are those warts?” I asked.

“No, they’re eyes,” said Mom.

“How come potatoes have eyes?”

“Because little potato plants grow from the eyes,” she said.

“You’re cutting off the babies? You’re killing them!”

Just then, I’d realized that a potato was a living thing, a mother with babies sprouting from her eyes! (How weird was that?) And my mom was ripping the skin off that mother potato, digging the babies out of her eyes, and throwing them away like garbage. Then she cut that mother potato into pieces and boiled her in water.

Oh, the agony of it all!
The inhumanity!

Was I being a bit dramatic?

Yes.

Did Mom suggest that I go outside and play?

She did.

But, instead I went to my room, and I wrote a story about that potato sprouting legs and running away from my evil mother. With my limited knowledge of how to put words onto paper I wrote:

POTATO LEGS

Mom try to kill her
She run away
Run Potato Legs run.
The end.        

And that’s how my writing career began. Many more stories followed “Potato Legs” and today I can’t think of any better activity than to write.

Every writer has that one eureka moment that sparks his or her need to write.

Sometimes it’s a what-if question that begs to be answered. (What if potatoes had legs?)

Other times, a tragedy needs to bleed out shedding its anger and grief. (Dave Pelzer’s “A Child Called It” comes to mind.)

The need to write might come from reading a poorly written book. (“I could write better than that!”)

Or from the desire to be heard. (Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple”)

But most often, inspiration comes from encouragement. (“Hey! You should write a book!”)

How about you?
When was your eureka moment?
Why do you write?

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and inspiration for writers.

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Filed under Aspiring Writers, Uncategorized, Why write?, writing, Writing goals