5 Ways Experienced Writers Can Recharge Their Careers

image by Alexandre_Koch

Zoe has developed a guiding resource for beginning writers. Her method is designed for brainstorming, shaping, and revising an early draft of a manuscript. General and specific tips are offered for applying rules of writing to enhance one’s story for a workable second draft. By exploring the plot line of Love Comes Softly writers may examine their own work for stronger plot and characterization. Valuable tools are offered that enable the writer to develop a workable draft in 30 days! —Yvonne Lehman, award-winning, best-selling author of 48 novels

Learn more at the end of the post.

 

A writer’s career is not easy. For many of us, we just want to write the stories that are begging to flow to the page. Here are tips that may help you recharge your writing career.

1. Take a Sabbatical

  • You may dream about how much research, word count, editing, and creative ideas you could churn out on a writing getaway.
  • List what you must do to make a retreat happen and start planning your sabbatical.
  • Can you take off a month, or will your sabbatical last a week or occur over a few consecutive weekends?
  • Now, X off the days on your calendar. Don’t accept any interviews, guest-blogs, doctor or hair appointments, or meetings. Tell social media and family you’re off the grid for those days.
  • If possible, hold your sabbatical away from your home. If you can’t afford travel and a retreat setting, maybe a friend or family member would welcome you to stay in their home while they’re on vacation. 
  • Or plan a sabbatical with another writer(s). Share expenses, set no-interruption hours, and schedule times to bounce ideas off each other.

2. Honor a Sabbath Day

image by Cher-Free-Vector-Images

  • Make writing and marketing activities off limits one day a week.
  • Take a walk or a drive and enjoy God’s creation. 
  • Connect with God, friends, and family.
  • Daydream, read a book, or play a game with the family.
  • Enjoy a hobby. 

 

3. Include a Book on Writing on Your To-Read List 

  • Reading about old principles and learning new ones may energize you to write your next book.
  • Using a new-to-you angle or technique a popular author shares in a book or “Writer’s Digest” may be a fun challenge.
  • Perhaps, the book will spark a writing help idea you could share on your blog, podcast, article, or a book. 

4. Pay Forward the Help You Received

  • Helping others can be satisfying and energizing.
  • Attend a workshop for new writers. You might be reminded of writing principles you’ve become lax on. Help answer the new writers’ questions. Learn the problems new writers have so you can help the newer writers in your local writers’ group. 
  • Mentor a new writer. Or teach a workshop. 

 

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acunha1973

5. Limit the Activities You Take On

  • When you’re maxed out, your performance suffers.
  • it’s easy to commit to an interview three months from now because more white space is on that calendar page. Then that month arrives, and you’re maxed out again 
  • Opportunities bombard you from writers’ groups, social media, and professional promoters. Some sound good. You feel guilty for not pursuing these opportunities. 
  • Because you don’t want to give up what you’re already doing and are comfortable with, you try to make room for a new opportunity.
  • Maybe it’s time to decide which type of opportunities honestly help you meet your career goals and you truly enjoy.
  • Evaluate occasionally whether a fresh opportunity should replace an old one.

What have you instituted to recharge your writing career?

Buy Page

I finished reading Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days. I have AND will highly recommend it to anyone who dabbles in fiction. It’s one of the best “how to” books I’ve ever read.

—Marsha Hubler, Director Montrose Christian Writers Conference

If you want to increase your chance of hearing yes instead of sorry or not a fit for our list at this time, this book is for you. If you want to develop stronger story plots with characters that are hard to put down, this book is for you. Through McCarthy’s checklists and helpful exercises and corresponding examples, you will learn how to raise the tension, hone your voice, and polish your manuscript. I need this book for my clients and the many conferees I meet at writer’s conferences around the country. Thank you, Zoe. A huge, #thumbsup, for Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days.  

—Diana L. Flegal, literary agent, and freelance editor

Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript is a self-editing encyclopedia! Each chapter sets up the targeted technique, examples show what to look for in your manuscript, then proven actions are provided to take your writing to the next level. Whether you are a seasoned writer or a newbie, you need this book! 

—Sally Shupe, freelance editor, aspiring author

Need to rework your book? Zoe M. McCarthy’s step-by-step reference guide leads you through the process, helping you fight feeling overwhelmed and wrangle your manuscript into publishable shape in 30 days. Tailor Your Manuscript delivers a clear and comprehensive action plan.

—Elizabeth Spann Craig, Twitteriffic owner, bestselling cozy mystery author of the “Myrtle Clover Mysteries,” the “Southern Quilting Mysteries,” and the “Memphis Barbeque Mysteries,” http://elizabethspanncraig.com/blog/  

Zoe’s book, Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days, is a fresh and innovative refocusing of your novel or novella. Through a few simple—and fun—steps, Zoe helps writers take their not-ready-for-publication and/or rejected manuscripts to a spit-polish finish. Writing is hard work, yes, but it doesn’t have to be difficult.

—Eva Marie Everson, best-selling and multiple award-winning author, conference director, president of Word Weavers International, Inc.

Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days is chock-full of practical techniques. Numerous examples clarify problem areas and provide workable solutions. The action steps and blah busters McCarthy suggests will help you improve every sentence, every paragraph of your novel. If you follow her advice and implement her strategies, a publisher will be much more likely to issue you a contract.

—Denise K. Loock, freelance editor, lightningeditingservices.com

A concise, detailed, step by step resource for all writers. 

— Jamie West, editor coordinator, Pelican Book Group

Zoe’s writing blog has always intrigued me. As a high school English teacher, I can attest that her tips on good grammar and her hints for excellent sentence and paragraph structure are spot on. But as an author, I also appreciate her ever-present advice that excellent skills are not enough: you must tell a good story, too. This book clearly shows how to do it all.

—Tanya Hanson, “Writing the Trails to Tenderness,” author of Christmas Lights, Outlaw Heart, Hearts Crossing Ranch anthology, and coming in 2019, Tainted Lady, Heart of Hope, and Angel Heart. www.tanyahanson.com

McCarthy crafted an amazing self-help book that will strengthen any writer, whether new or seasoned, with guidance and self-evaluation tools.

–Erin Unger, author of Practicing Murder, releasing in 2019https://www.amazon.com/Tailor-Your-Fiction-Manuscript-Days-ebook/dp/B07PF7RBQZ

Christmas in July Reader Give Away

Happy Christmas in July! Welcome to the 17th blog in this Christmas in July Reader Giveaway, which runs July 12-23, 2021. At the bottom of each author’s blog post, you will find the secret words. Write them all down and provide the provide the entire answer on this Google form

Note: You must grab all the secret words from every author in the Christmas in July Reader Giveaway to be eligible to win a $400 Amazon gift card. At the end of this blog post is a link to the next blog, and so on, to the final blog post (20 in all). At each blog stop, the author will also give away a copy or copies of their featured Christmas book.

Don’t we sometimes need Christmas excitement in the summer months? I hope the Christmas in July Giveaway will add fun to your summer and the many books shown will fill you with reading pleasure.

Gift of the Magpie has a story before the story in how it was born.

One day, I perused Christmas book covers on Amazon. O. Henry’s story, “Gift of the Magi,” popped into my mind. Remember, that’s the story in which a couple agonizes over the gift they’ll give each other for Christmas. She cuts and sells her hair to buy a chain for his treasured watch, and he sells his watch to buy a comb for her treasured hair. 

On the heels of that thought, the words “gift of the magpie” flashed into my brain. Huh. How could I write a winter romance named Gift of the Magpie? Something different than O. Henry’s tale. Like popping popcorn, scene ideas populated my imagination. 

About that time, I read what author David Baldacci said in an interview, “If you can take a little slice of the world and a little piece of dirt and really focus on details, you can drive large, seemingly spectacular movements.”

Hmm. A snowstorm where they don’t have enough snowplows to handle the roads would limit the world. Richmond, Virginia, where I lived for about 30 years would provide a slice of the world. The area between, and including, the hero’s and heroine’s houses was “a little piece of dirt.”

So, on that limited turf, I focused on the details and the relationship between two opposites. Amanda and Cam’s story was born in Gift of the Magpie, a book that can lift reader’s spirits at Christmas or any time of the year.

Gift of the Magpie

What do a snowstorm, a deadline, and an embarrassing disaster have in common? Camden Lancaster.

Middle school English teacher, Amanda Larrowe must forgo the Christmas activities with family to meet the deadline on her middle grade book for boys. But when photographer Camden Lancaster parks a moving van at the house across the street after Richmond, Virginia’s huge snowstorm, Amanda plans to hide from the guy who ignored her following their perfect Valentine’s Day date in high school. Now, when Cam doesn’t recognize her on their first two encounters, she thinks it’s safe to be his fair-weather neighbor. Boy is she wrong.

The magpie is not a bird in the story.

For a chance to win one of two e-book copies of Gift of the Magpie (USA only, please), tell me what are Amanda’s (she has two) and Cam’s jobs in Gift of the Magpie’s blurb above. Three jobs in all.

Now it’s time for the secret words: done unto you.

Save the secret words, and when you reach the final blog, enter all the secret words on this form for a chance to win a $400 Amazon gift card!

Thank you so much for visiting! The final author on the tour is Sherry Kyle and her Christmas book Forever Yours This Christmas. You can find it at this link. Remember, this Christmas in July Reader Giveaway will end on July 23 at 8 PM EST!

10 Simple Edits for Critique Partners

image by slightly_different

Zoe has developed a guiding resource for beginning writers. Her method is designed for brainstorming, shaping, and revising an early draft of a manuscript. General and specific tips are offered for applying rules of writing to enhance one’s story for a workable second draft. By exploring the plot line of Love Comes Softly writers may examine their own work for stronger plot and characterization. Valuable tools are offered that enable the writer to develop a workable draft in 30 days! —Yvonne Lehman, award-winning, best-selling author of 48 novels

Learn more at the end of the post.

Besides looking for heavier story problems, you can look below for simple errors that crop up in your critique partners’ submissions. 

Simple Edits 

1. Then. Place a comma before “then” in sentences.

Incorrect: Elmo raised his eyebrows then smiled.

Correct: Elmo raised his eyebrows, then smiled.

2. Was going to or am going to. Shorten to “would” or “will.”

Wordy: Amy was going to hate her gift. “I’m going to buy you something else,” Elmo said.

Better: Amy would hate her gift. “I’ll buy you something else,” Elmo said.

3. So that. Can often delete “that.” No comma before “so that.”

Incorrect and Wordy: Elmo donated fifty dollars, so that Amy would think he cared.

Correct: Elmo donated fifty dollars so Amy would think he cared.

4. Already. The word is often unnecessary.

Wordy: Elmo already had the five dollars he needed. By now, Amy should have already arrived at the store.

Better: Elmo had the five dollars he needed. By now, Amy should have arrived at the store.

5. That. Can often delete “that.”

Wordy: Elmo feared that Amy liked Barry. He hoped that she’d change her mind.

Better: Elmo feared Amy liked Barry. He hoped she’d change her mind.

 

6. Just. Can often delete “just.”

Wordy: Amy turned to a group just entering the building.

Better: Amy turned to a group entering the building.

7. Suddenly. Should delete most occurrences of “suddenly.”

Wordy: Elmo calmed, then suddenly a policeman appeared.

Better: Elmo calmed, then a policeman appeared.

8. Began to or started to. Can often delete these phrases, especially when the character is not stopped.

 

image by Mampu

Wordy: When Amy began to open her mouth to speak, the bus arrived. Elmo stood and started to walk to the bus.

Better: When Amy opened her mouth to speak, the bus arrived. Elmo stood and walked to the bus.

9. Into, in, or in to. “Into” is used with actions. “In” is used to show position. “In to” is used when the “to” belongs with a verb that follows “to.”

Correct: Elmo drove to the library. With a book in his hand and planning to walk in toreturn a library book, Elmo opened the door. He stepped into the library, returned the book, then strolled into the aisle labeled Mysteries, where he stumbled into Amy.

  10. There was or wasn’tIt was or wasn’t. Rewrite sentences using “there was,” “there wasn’t,” “it was,” or “it wasn’t.”

Wordy and passive: Because there was no sign of a struggle, it was believed the perpetrator attacked her by surprise.

Better: Because authorities found no sign of a struggle, they believed the perpetrator attacked her by surprise.

What other quick fixes would you recommend to critique partners?

Buy Page

I finished reading Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days. I have AND will highly recommend it to anyone who dabbles in fiction. It’s one of the best “how to” books I’ve ever read.

—Marsha Hubler, Director Montrose Christian Writers Conference

If you want to increase your chance of hearing yes instead of sorry or not a fit for our list at this time, this book is for you. If you want to develop stronger story plots with characters that are hard to put down, this book is for you. Through McCarthy’s checklists and helpful exercises and corresponding examples, you will learn how to raise the tension, hone your voice, and polish your manuscript. I need this book for my clients and the many conferees I meet at writer’s conferences around the country. Thank you, Zoe. A huge, #thumbsup, for Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days.  

—Diana L. Flegal, literary agent, and freelance editor

Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript is a self-editing encyclopedia! Each chapter sets up the targeted technique, examples show what to look for in your manuscript, then proven actions are provided to take your writing to the next level. Whether you are a seasoned writer or a newbie, you need this book! 

—Sally Shupe, freelance editor, aspiring author

Need to rework your book? Zoe M. McCarthy’s step-by-step reference guide leads you through the process, helping you fight feeling overwhelmed and wrangle your manuscript into publishable shape in 30 days. Tailor Your Manuscript delivers a clear and comprehensive action plan.

—Elizabeth Spann Craig, Twitteriffic owner, bestselling cozy mystery author of the “Myrtle Clover Mysteries,” the “Southern Quilting Mysteries,” and the “Memphis Barbeque Mysteries,” http://elizabethspanncraig.com/blog/  

Zoe’s book, Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days, is a fresh and innovative refocusing of your novel or novella. Through a few simple—and fun—steps, Zoe helps writers take their not-ready-for-publication and/or rejected manuscripts to a spit-polish finish. Writing is hard work, yes, but it doesn’t have to be difficult.

—Eva Marie Everson, best-selling and multiple award-winning author, conference director, president of Word Weavers International, Inc.

Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days is chock-full of practical techniques. Numerous examples clarify problem areas and provide workable solutions. The action steps and blah busters McCarthy suggests will help you improve every sentence, every paragraph of your novel. If you follow her advice and implement her strategies, a publisher will be much more likely to issue you a contract.

—Denise K. Loock, freelance editor, lightningeditingservices.com

A concise, detailed, step by step resource for all writers. 

— Jamie West, editor coordinator, Pelican Book Group

Zoe’s writing blog has always intrigued me. As a high school English teacher, I can attest that her tips on good grammar and her hints for excellent sentence and paragraph structure are spot on. But as an author, I also appreciate her ever-present advice that excellent skills are not enough: you must tell a good story, too. This book clearly shows how to do it all.

—Tanya Hanson, “Writing the Trails to Tenderness,” author of Christmas Lights, Outlaw Heart, Hearts Crossing Ranch anthology, and coming in 2019, Tainted Lady, Heart of Hope, and Angel Heart. www.tanyahanson.com

McCarthy crafted an amazing self-help book that will strengthen any writer, whether new or seasoned, with guidance and self-evaluation tools.

–Erin Unger, author of Practicing Murder, releasing in 2019