5 Ways Experienced Writers Can Recharge Their Careers

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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

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  • 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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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

Less Common Interview Questions for Blog Author Interviews

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Releases tomorrow.

For The Putting Green Whisperer releasing tomorrow, I had a stack of interviews for which I answered bloggers’ questions. At first, I liked the common questions, but was ashamed at the reason. I could copy those answers from other interviews and get the interview job done.

After I’d worked on answering a few unusual questions, I realized they revealed more about me and my story. Below, I list some less common interview questions that may tell more about an author and the author’s book.


Less Common Interview Questions About the Author


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  1. What was the most surprising thing you learned about yourself as you wrote this book?
  2. What was the best money you ever spent for your writing career?
  3. What does literary success look like to you?
  4. How could reading your readers’ reviews and comments help you?
  5. Have you met any of your favorite authors? What was the moment like?
  6. Is it true that being a published author is glamorous? Why or why not?
  7. Were you an avid reader as a child? What did you read?
  8. How does your faith affect your writing?
  9. What would you be doing if you weren’t writing?
  10. If you could be a fictional character from literature for one day, who would you be and why?
  11. If you were a pair shoes, what style, brand, and color would you be?
  12. If you’ve been on a writer’s retreat, what was the greatest benefit to you?
  13. What is one book that made you cry and why?
  14. How does writing affect your energy level?
  15. What’s more important to you, to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
  16. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
  17. What writing groups or events do you attend, and what are the benefits?
  18. What is an interesting event that occurred in your life?

Less Common Interview Questions About the Book


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  1. What did you edit out of this book and why?
  2. What do you love about this story?
  3. What do you hope readers will tell others about this book?
  4. What holiday would your main character enjoy celebrating most and why?
  5. How is your main character more similar or different than you in personality?
  6. What would your protagonist say about how you’ve put him/her in the story?

Less common author interview questions can reveal more about authors and their novels. Click to tweet.

What other less common questions have you asked or been asked for author interviews?

Pre-order Link Releases tomorrow.

Suddenly unemployed, Allie Masterson returns home to Cary, North Carolina where she caddies for her father on the PGA Seniors Tour. There, she encounters a man who possesses an alluring gift of reading the contours of the green. Fascinated with his uncanny ability, Allie is excited to meet the Green Whisperer—until she discovers that the easygoing caddy is actually Shoo Leonard, the boy who teased her relentlessly when they were kids. Despite Allie’s reservations, when Shoo is faced with having to overcome a hand injury, she agrees to use her sport science degree to become his trainer…and then she falls for him.

 Shoo Leonard is grateful to Allie for her singular determination to get him ready for the PGA tour, but he isn’t ready for anything more. Still raw from a broken engagement and focused on his career, he’s content to be her fist-bumping buddy…but then he falls for her.

What seems like a happily-ever-after on the horizon takes a turn when Allie decides she’s become a distraction to Shoo’s career. Is it time for her to step away or can The Putting Green Whisperer find the right words to make her stay?

How Do Readers Find Books They Want to Read? – Survey Results


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Authors, where will you spend your time and resources to reach readers?

The chart below shows the results from my survey, How Do Readers Find Books They Want to Read? The analysis below gives you methods represented by the bars and the percent of forty-three participants who chose the methods.

I don’t claim the results to be statistically sound but the patterns are interesting. They may give authors some thoughts about where they want to put their time and money in promoting their books.





1. What readers participating DON’T do.

         –  2. Attend book fairs (0%)

         – 11. Click on Facebook ads (0%)

         – 12. Click on Twitter ads (0%)

         – 13. Click on Goodreads ads (0%)

         – 25. Subscribe to blogs that review books (0%)

We know people do use these, but not these forty-three participants. My personal experience from an author’s perspective agrees with these results.

2. The two most popular methods readers use are the old staples.

         –  4. Act on word of mouth (56%)

         – 22. Look for books by their favorite authors (58%)

Probably, nobody is surprised. So, we authors probably should put more of our time and resources into becoming better writers and writing more great stories in well-edited books. Create the buzz.

3. Readers still like to peruse bookstores – brick and mortar and online.

         –  1. Peruse bookstores (26%)

 – 15. Peruse reviews & star ratings on online bookstore sites (Amazon,   CBD, B&N) (26%)

4. What some participants do may be the up and coming.

         – 8. Read mainly series and get the next book in the series (16%)

         – 9. Click on “Customers who bought this book, also bought …” (Amazon) (19%)

         – 18. Belong to book sites that report deals in your genre (BookBub, Libroso, Inspired Reads, BookGorilla) (19%)

Writing series and getting our books on sites where readers subscribe may be time well spent

5. The rest of the story.

         –  3. Find recommendations in newspapers or other publications (16%*)

         –  5. Investigate books announced through emails from authors about new books, or deals on old ones (9%)

         –  7. Investigate books mentioned in authors’ sidebars on their blogs or websites (9%)

         – 14. Look at reviews and recommendations on Goodreads (9%)

         – 24. Investigate books promoted on Facebook (9%)

         – 10. Click on “Sponsored products related to this item …” (Amazon ads) (5%)

         – 21. Look for books on certain publishers’ sites (5%)

         – 16. Attended Facebook parties to receive free giveaways (5%)

         –  6. Subscribe and use suggestions from authors’ newsletters (2%)

         – 17. Comment on blogs with giveaways to receive free books (2%)

         – 19. Belong to KindleUnlimited or a similar program (2%)

         – 20. Go to Online Libraries (2%)

         – 23. Investigate books promoted on Twitter (2%)

         – 26. Belong to a site where I choose free books to review (Authors Cross-Promotion) (2%)

         – 27. Purchase box sets looking for new authors (2%)

*Some of these participants said they only read nonfiction.

Two results surprised me. I expected more participants to belong to KindleUnlimited and fewer to peruse bookstores.

Again, the survey only shows patterns among forty-three participants that I polled through blog comments, Facebook, Twitter, and emails.

Survey results: how readers find books they want to read.  Click to tweet.

What did or didn’t surprise you from the above patterns?

COOKING UP KISSES  – the $0.99 deal for all five books ends July 18.

Five scrumptious e-book romance novellas, all for $0.99 or free on KindleUnlimited. Here’s the link.  Here are the blurbs: