Find Your Community

The most impactful thing you can do for your writing (besides finishing what you start) is join a community of writers. No one understands a writer like another writer. We have quirks, tremendous self-doubts, huge highs, and a lot of anxiety about an industry that can be maddeningly unpredictable. A community will provide you the support you need.

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Where can you meet other writers?

Blogs, social media, fan groups, conferences, and retreats are a few places to start. Target groups that write your same age group or in your genre. Be brave and introduce yourself. Pass along a business card. Ask them questions about themselves. Befriend them on social media. Whatever you do, think of reaching out as making friends and not as networking.

How do I find beta readers?

The same people you meet through blogging, social media, fan groups, conferences, and retreats are good options. Ask to swap manuscripts. If you ask someone to spend their time reading your manuscript, the best way to repay them is to do the same. Another option is to find or form a critique group. You may find one through your library or local chapter of SCBWI, SFWA, RWA, or any other reputable writing organization. Contribute to the groups you join, and only commit if you intend to be reliable and active.

What do I stand to gain from socializing with other writers?

The benefits are endless no matter where you are in your career.

For those of you who aren’t published, writers love to talk about books, so be ready for a lot of book recommendations. Some of these recommendations may become a comp title for your own work. Associating with other writers may lead to them asking you to participate in conferences, critique groups, book clubs, and book events. Socializing provides you the opportunity to receive feedback on worthwhile time investments, balancing home and work life, writing and working full-time, recommendations on agents, insight into how to query, what questions to ask when you get The Call from an agent, and so on. Publishing thrives on the whisper network. Most of what you learn will be from speaking directly to other writers.

If you’re published or under contract, you need a community too. You can get advice from others on cover art, social media platforms, building your newsletter list or website, and swag. You may want to know if, when, or how to part ways with your agent, which conferences are worth your time, advice on maximizing book bloggers, how to cope with bad reviews, what to do if your agent retires or your editor moves houses, how to sell on synopsis, and the list goes on and on. Join a debut group. Actively seek out relationships with authors, agents, editors, and bloggers. Maintain those relationships the best you can.

At no point in your career will you be better off without a community. Benefits come from creating reciprocal relationships with your colleagues. This is not “networking” per se. Initially your intentions may be to meet critique partners or gain social media followers. But as you engage with other writers, friendships will form. The same person you introduce yourself to at a conference could be the author you ask a blurb from one day or they may ask you. Interact with the spirit of giving. Don’t take anything without the intent to give back. Show up, be friendly, bravely ask questions, and contribute to building a community where all writers feel welcome.

 

Social Life

Since I began to write as more than a hobby I’ve been told you have to ‘have a online presence’, ‘the days of the reclusive writer are over’, ‘Myspace is where it’s at’. Only some of that turned out to be true. To start my online presence I joined Myspace and every other social media I could type my name in. before long I had my name in everything and was coming up for plans on how to make each account different from the next.

Then reality set in.

There was clearly too much to do. We’re given 24 hours in a day and some of that time needs to be spent on writing. Like actually writing. Who could imagine such a thing? But how are you going to do that when you’re spreading yourself thin on multiple platforms?

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In the past couple of weeks I’ve been seeing the mass exodus of Instagram users to a new platform called Vero. the familiar sensation to follow suit and not be left behind…then I thought better of it.

I’m not saying that I’m a hero, but when the call arose I stood up and said no.

I’ve learned that if something is the next best thing or the Facebook killer chances are it’s not. Remember Ello? How about Google+? Heck, even I don’t remember Peach. These things come and go. And by the time you learn how to build a brand on there it’s dead and you haven’t written a thing.

It’s true that the time of the reclusive writer is over and social media can have you connect with so many amazing people from across the world. If it weren’t for social media I wouldn’t be on this blog. But it has to be used responsibly.

As a writer it’s your job to, well, you know, write. If social media is hampering that then remove it. At the very least make your social media work for you. For myself my Facebook posts to my Twitter. My Instagram posts to my to my author page and my Tumblr. And my blog posts everywhere. That’s kind of it for me. Three main social media outlets that I use sparing throughout the day. With what few hours I have this works for me. What works for me won’t necessarily work for everyone but the issue is in finding your own balance. Whatever your social media outlets may be just remember to write, write, write! Also if you join a new site read the terms. This Vero thing keeps your posts as their own, along with some other very shady stuff.

Until next time have a writeous day!

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Matt Williams is an avid reader, a collector of many pens, an ever improving father of two, and an all-around fanboy. When he’s not wrestling with cats or building the inkslayer army you can find him hunkered down writing something imaginative. You can read his first book Beyond Here, a middle grade story involving a coma and a singing flower with a bent stem, along with a few projects with his other daughter. Follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

Empathy and Writing

Recently, I’ve been watching a lot of interactions on social media on some pretty difficult topics. Sometimes opinions and viewpoints conflict with others, which can lead to lots of arguing, hurt feelings, and, sadly, sometimes loss of friendship.

Other times I’ve seen kind exchanges where respect of others’ ideas happens. These are my favorite to read where the conversations aren’t laced with hate and “you’re wrong, I’m right” undertones.

I really enjoy observing people, listening to their thoughts, watching their interactions, and how that makes up who they are as a person. I try to understand what makes people tick, what motivates them, and perhaps even what life experiences led them to where they are now.

So, how does this all relate to writing?

Writers must have empathy.

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Without empathy, it becomes really difficult to get inside your characters’ heads and write them authentically. This also applies to nonfiction, but it’s more along the lines of being able to write in a way that’s relatable to others so you can impact your readers on a deep and personal level.

Being empathetic is more than feeling sorry for someone’s situation—that’s sympathy. Having empathy means you know what it would be like to walk around in another’s shoes because you can feel it. You can put yourself in another’s situation and understand what that would be like. It’s an ability to see more than your own narrow point of view, often with accompanying emotions.

What if I don’t have empathy? Then what?

Some people are naturally more sensitive to the emotions and feelings of others, but some of us are not. But, I believe it can be developed.

  1. Try looking outside yourself. Imagine what it would be like if your life experience was that of someone else’s. How would you feel? How might that impact you life now and in the future? How would it alter your beliefs about yourself, others around you, and the world?
  2. Seek to understand. When opinions differ from yours, try to understand the other viewpoints. Ask questions for more reasons why they feel the way they do. Talk less, listen more. Think about others’ views until you can fully understand why someone would think that way.
  3. Read books with characters from diverse backgrounds (and make sure they’re an accurate representation). Reading is a wonderful way to visit other places, hang out with different people, and experience things you have never yourself experienced—all from the comfort of your favorite chair. It’s a great way to get inside the head of another person and experience their thoughts and feelings.
  4. Be compassionate. Having compassion means really loving those around you. Love opens the gate to greater empathy because you care about others on a deeper level.

The world needs more empathy and compassion. As writers, we can spread more of that by using empathy to create authentic characters with real emotions and motivations. Be a writer who learns about people, their thoughts, feelings, emotions, motivations, and experiences not just from a sympathetic view point (though that’s a good starting point), but from a more intimate standpoint of empathy.

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576A6469Wendy Jessen is the author of more than 500 articles-family-oriented articles on familyshare.com and book reviews. She recently started a website for something she is passionate about–helping victims of sexual abuse find hope and healing. Wendy is the mother of 6 spirited children ranging in age from 5 to 15. In the throes of writing a few books (fiction and nonfiction), she finds ways to procrastinate which usually involves scrolling through social media. Wendy often stays up way past her bedtime reading, loves kid-free date night with her husband, family vacations, and kids’ bedtime, aka, the human version of whack-a-mole.

Life After Querying: Publication Insights from Authors

For writers who are interested in pursuing traditional publication, there are all kinds of tools and resources for drafting writers and revising writers and querying writers. There is hardly anything that then allows a writer on submission with publishing houses know what to expect. And if a writer publishes with one house — even a few times — and then doesn’t resign? It’s like trying to walk a maze in the dark with a blindfold on.

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With this in mind, I put together a survey to see what the “typical” experience tended to be, how writers negotiated time expectations when writing and marketing, and asked for some advice. Over 50 authors jumped in to share their experiences. I’m going to get out of the way and let you peruse the results.

How many times have you been published?

Screen Shot 2018-01-19 at 2.33.01 PMWhen was your first book released?

1990s – 4
2006 – 2
2009 – 2
2011 – 5
2012 – 4
2013 – 6
2014 – 6
2015 – 8
2016 – 6
2017 – 4
2018 – 1

Did you publish the same book that you were querying when you signed with your agent?

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How many publishing house read your book before you signed? Screen Shot 2018-01-19 at 2.57.44 PM

How many books were included in your first contract?

42 authors signed a single book deal.
6 authors signed a two book deal.
5 authors signed a three book deal.
One author signed four books, and one author signed six (this one was direct author to publisher)

Has the entirety of your publishing career been with the same publishing house? Screen Shot 2018-01-19 at 3.03.02 PM

If you have changed publishing houses, which book was it with? screen-shot-2018-01-19-at-3-03-33-pm.png

Considering the amount of time you have available to write, what % is spent crafting and what % is for marketing?

(for reference, the 1st number is crafting/the 2nd is marketing)

7 – 90/10
1 – 85-15
10 – 80/20
3 – 75/25
6 – 70/30
1 – 65/35
5 – 60/40
14 – 50/50
4 – 40/60
3 – 30/70

What advice do you have for authors who just signed their first contract?

  • Don’t be shy about communicating with your editor and publicist when you have questions or ideas.
  • It’s never too soon to start working on your next book
  • Always be writing.
  • Enjoy the honeymoon
  • Don’t stop learning. Book 1 is part of the journey, but keep writing, keep honing your craft so future books can be even better.
  • Market a lot at first, keep writing too
  • Read and understand what you’ve really agreed to.
  • Don’t compare to other authors!!
  • Get an agent.
  • You’re not done waiting.
  • Enjoy the giddy, crispy delight of having done this amazing thing. Then take a deep breath, because there’s way more work than glory ahead. ??
  • Keep writing. Book one is just one piece of your career.
  • Make sure to read the contract before you signing you don’t understand it ask for help
  • Build a mailing list!
  • Keep your day job
  • Be clear on the expectations
  • Be careful and read the final print of the contract. Make sure you have an agent who has your back.
  • Start writing the next book! One book does not a career make.
  • Try not to fret social media
  • Connect with other authors who are in a similar situation. It really helps when questions come up.
  • Don’t be a jerk
  • Build relationships based on commonalities and a desire to support others–not on hoping people buy your book. Have your agent be ultra-involved in marketing plans with an aim toward getting you as much support as possible. Remember this is a long game, a marathon not a sprint, and focus on your next book, and your next, and…
  • You make your living writing, not waiting. At first, I was nearly frozen with fear as I waited for edits or notes from my editor (agent) but I’ve quickly learned that that time is golden. It is time to try new ideas, work on my craft, build the next book. Oh, and become friends with your cover artist! Getting to know her/him will be a HUGE help if you need additional art for swag etc. They will also LOVE to help spread the word for you on their social media channel because it is their work too.
  • Be patient and keep writing
  • Focus on the good parts and celebrate them
  • All your marketing efforts are a drop in the bucket. If I were going back, I’d focus on a few select things I like or really want to try and would just spend the rest of my time on the next book.
  • Don’t rush to sign a contract. Don’t rush to fire your agent.
  • Get marketing savvy. You still have to do a lot yourself.
  • Remember you have little control about what happens next. Focus on editing your book to the best it can be and let go of the rest.
  • Before you sign, don’t rush. Don’t settle. Read it twice. If you sign, be cautious. Be clear. They’re not doing you a favor. This is your career.
  • Begin your next manuscript as soon as possible. Do not stop writing.
  • Write your next book and consider going indie. 😉
  • Breathe. Ask questions. Advocate for your book and your career. Meet your deadlines.
  • Nothing is as big a deal as it seems. Things will happen that you’ll be sure are going to ruin the book, the events, your career. It won’t. Don’t sweat it. Just keep working.
  • Everything is going to be fine.
  • Lay strong marketing groundwork now. Build relationships with people.
  • The first contract is just the beginning, not the final milestone. Enjoy all the little successes, because there will be lots of things that don’t pan out the way you expect them to. Cultivate gratitude and try to keep your eyes on your own paper–envy is hard to avoid, but poisonous to creativity.
  • Enjoy it!
  • Treat the time between signing and actual release day as a learning experience.
    It depends on whether they signed via an agent or not. If it’s an experienced agent, let them handle it. Ask for twice the number of finished copies they offer. Ask for print ARCs. Remember that while your sights are on a single book your editor is juggling multiple titles. All are important to him or her; keep that in mind when emailing, etc.
  • Keep writing, keep making connections like you’re still trying to get published
  • Start networking!
  • Just keep swimming
  • Keep your head down and work on your craft. There is so much out of your control.
  • Try not to compare yourself to other writers. Everyone’s journey is different, but all are valid.
  • Expand your platform as much as you can now. Be gracious. Watch out for people who just want to take your money. Ask around before signing up for marketing/promo services.
  • Be prepared to do a LOT of marketing on your own, no matter how you are published.
  • Ask questions!
  • Be informed. Stand up for yourself. If you’re panicking, you’re in the majority.
  • Be willing to make your own magic happen– your publisher likely won’t do it for you.
  • Make sure you have a lawyer look over the contract. Watch out for contracts that want to claim all future works or who will force you to purchase your rights back.
  • Editorial feedback is not always direct, so trust your gut. “We need a bigger plot point here” may mean “you need to make us care more here.”
  • Have an attorney review it. Don’t get sucked into the hype of the moment.

What advice do you have for authors who have to go on submission after having worked with a publishing house?

  • Be patient and prepared for change
  • None. I’m about to do the same thing.
  • Understand this happens to everyone. Publishing houses make mistakes and editors get fired or hired away, all of which are to of your control. Switching publishing houses is not necessarily a bad thing.
  • Sometimes the journey is hard and ugly. But it’ll get good again eventually.
  • Be patient and start working on something else
  • Keep writing.Keep submitting.
  • You’ve got this.
  • Keep moving forward
  • Evaluate how your agent or publisher has performed for your book and don’t be afraid to jump ship.
  • If you have to start over trying to find a new agent or new publisher, I would say gird your loins! And never give up, and stay busy on a new project.
  • Keep your chin.
  • It’s not the end of the world. Many authors end up publishing different works with different publishers. You’ve got a leg up in the process since you have books out there in the world and a web presence already.
  • If you want to publish traditionally, don’t give up.
  • Don’t think about it. Write the next book instead.
  • Hang in there. You did it once, and it will happen again. Maybe even at a better house than your first turned out to be.
  • It takes time. Oh my goodness, so MUCH TIME! Before finding a publisher that was a fit for me, we went out on submission to at lease 20 different editors/houses. I piled up comments, collected them, then finally started writing something new.
  • Before we had even collected all of our responses I had a new book ready and THAT is the book that finally found a home. Did I mention it takes a long time?
  • Solidarity, friends.
  • Don’t take any contract if it means changing your manuscript in a way you don’t want to.
  • Good luck and keep writing.
  • Being on sub is the worst anticipation. Fill your time with non-related writing activities as much as possible.
  • All the eggs in one basket is not the norm. It’s okay to be at more than one house, and self-published at the same time.
  • Most of us do have to chAnge publishers from time to time. Don’t be discouraged
  • Consider going the indie route. 😉 My indie book makes more than my book with a publisher…and I get paid every month and can see all the numbers.
  • Take courage. Believe in yourself and your writing. Absolutely write the next book, and focus on the things you can control!
  • Keep your tribe close. There are no guarantees in this business. You’ll need them more than ever.
  • Submission sucks. Be kind to yourself. Remember that your worth is not tied up in your writing–and even your worth as an author isn’t solely dependent upon whether or not a publisher buys your books.
  • It’s brutal out there. Believe in yourself and enjoy the act of writing.
  • Keep trying. There’s a home out there for it somewhere.
  • Best advice: never get angry in publishing (agent, editor, copyeditor, PR folks). It’s not personal–though it certainly will feel like it is.
  • Patience, grasshopper, it only takes one YES
  • As much as possible, try and write the next book and forget about the one on sub. It can take a LONG time, but that is no reflection on the quality of your work.
  • My bias is toward finding an agent you trust and who believes in your work 100%. That might include telling you a particular book of yours doesn’t have a market right now. This is certainly harsh to hear but I really do believe agents know and understand the market better than most writers do.
  • It’s OK to feel bad. Submission isn’t fun. Stock up on junk food and binge watch your favorite shows when you need to.
  • Develop a nice, thick, shell. I’ll be “out there” again after book #2, and at least I know now not to take rejection personally!
  • Get writing on something new
  • Turn the MS over to your agent and forget about it. Do something else, write something else. That book, for the time being, is not in your hands.
  • Find other things that bring you joy, and focus on them.
  • Each house has its own business plan. Whether or not your project is a fit may have nothing to do with the quality of your manuscript. Reality is, if they don’t know how to sell it, they aren’t the publisher for you.
  • Persistence outweighs skill 10 times out of 10

How do these experiences align with what you’ve experienced or heard? Have any advice you’d like to add? 

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Tasha Headshot Color

Tasha Seegmiller believes in the magic of love and hope, which she weaves into every story she creates. A co-founder of Thinking Through Our Fingers, she is the managing editor of the writing-focused website as well as a contributor to Writers in the Storm. She is passionate about helping women nourish their creativity and is a member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, where she serves as a board member. The former high school English teacher now assists in managing the award-winning project-based learning program (EDGE) at Southern Utah University. Tasha married a guy she’s known since she was seven and is the mom of three teens. She is represented by Annelise Robey of Jane Rotrosen Agency.

Four Ways to be Intentional Online

I’ve been thinking about online presence quite a bit lately. This is due, in part, to running social media for myself and four different organizations to some extent, but also because I’m helping college students understand some key ideas to having success in a digital and technological world.

In discussing this with a colleague recently, I realized I still had a lot to learn. Todd Petersen is a published author who is also very engaged project-based learning and active in the higher education community. His website reflects this as well as other interests that help people understand a bit about him.

My website was not what I wanted a while ago, so I moved it, and have been slowly (too slowly) working to improve what I have there. There can be a great temptation to be online “develop a presence”, so much so that people forget that before the internet, we dressed for the job we wanted to have, we highlighted ways you were involved in the community, at work, and the skill sets we had.

Just because we can do this more easily doesn’t mean our message can all of a sudden get sloppy.

1. Think about your audience. 

John Lee Dumas is a very successful entrepreneur, creator of eofire.com and the associated podcast. He explains the necessity of really considering our ideal client, or what he calls, our avatar. This means we need to lock in and think about who is going to be looking for us.

When I first started blogging, I knew I needed content but didn’t know what. I actually had two blogs before working on the one I have now, and the first was called Random Thoughts of a Mom. What did I blog about? Whatever came to mind. That might have been a book I liked, something funny my kids did, that random quote I saw that I liked, or if there was a challenge that sounded fun. My only followers were family, and that may have been out of relative obligation.

Fellow TTOF contributor Elaine Vickers has done a great job thinking about her audience: she writes middle grade, her site reflects that. Her Pinterest board explores all sorts of middle grade novels, with pretty much any category you might imagine, and she sent advanced reading copies for LIKE MAGIC, her book that received a Kirkus star last week. She has considered her audience, has worked to make her posts reflect that, and it is scaleable.

2. Allow your audience to get to know the real you. 

This can be a scary part. You don’t have to let them know your deep dark secrets (I wrote a character who loves spiders but they seriously creep me out). You do want to give them an insight into who you are though.

Rita award-winning Laura Drake does this well. She posts pictures on Pinterest and Facebook that showcases what she likes (writing things, the west, beautiful and secluded settings, funny and/or cute animals with cats and horses being at the top). Following her on Twitter allows her audience to know that she like writing and cowboys because she posts a writing quote of the day and cowboy quote of the day. She also talks about fly fishing, riding her motorcycle or pedal bike, and life in Texas.

Sharing a bit about the person behind the craft allows our humanity to come through and creates the opportunity for readers to connect beyond what we create, and even has the possibility of drawing new readers to what we write because of what we are willing to share.

3. Steady, consistent content is key

PLEASE don’t flood your readers with tons of things, and really think about how you can make each platform unique. Those people who share the same thing on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook all the time think they are saving time, but really, they are dissuading readers from following them everywhere because everything is the same.

There is a mantra out there that suggests our postings should be 80% about cool things others have done and 20% promotion of our own stuff. Share books you’ve loved, engaged in online communities, have conversations with people, and nudge occasionally regarding what you have been doing. Seriously think about the kinds of people you will find at each place. As a women’s fiction writer, I have a great chance to access to my readers on Instagram and Pinterest, with Facebook probably next and Twitter toward the end. However, as a contributor to a professional community, I know that my interactions with other writers will most easily take place on Twitter, that I can develop deeper relationships with other writers through Facebook, and that sharing insights about me are better served through Pinterest and Instagram. I do have a Tumblr account what goes through ebbs and flows, and I’ve not yet seen a reason to explore Snapchat but it could be valuable to younger readers.

Not sure which platform gets the most use for you professionally and for building and interacting with your audience? Think about writers who have been in the game longer than you, search them on each of the applicable platforms and look at the REACTIONS to their content. Not how much content is there, but how much people interact. At the very least, register for an account on each platform you know of so that, if at some time in the future, you want to use that platform, you have already got your accounts to reflect who you are.

Which brings me to my last point.

4. Have the same username/profile name/web reference across platforms. 

While you might be super excited about a project you have on deck, your next project might be totally different. You want to make sure that you are easily found, and similarly found, on every platform out there. In the olden days, people used to joke that “X” marked the spot. In the digital world, it is your name, your consistency, your content, and your accessibility that mark your spot. Make sure it is solid and your audience will find you.

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Tasha Seegmiller is a mom to three kids and coordinator of the project-based learning center (EDGE) at Southern Utah University. She writes contemporary women’s fiction with a hint of magic, and thrives on Diet Coke, chocolate and cinnamon bears. She is a co-founder and the managing editor for the Thinking Through Our Fingers blog as well as the Women’s Fiction Writers Association quarterly magazine, where she also serves as a board member. Tasha is represented by Annelise Robey of the Jane Rotrosen Agency.

On Stepping Away

I’ve been an active Twitter user for about three years now, mostly involved in the writing community, though I do interact with some non-writers as well. I joined it for networking—for getting my name out there so that when I eventually do have a published book, people will know who I am and will be more likely to want to read it.

In joining that community, I’ve gained so much more than that. I’ve gained friendships—have even met several friends in person. One of them is local, and we meet up all the time, and are pretty much besties now. I’ve also learned so much about the craft and art of writing that would have taken me much longer to figure out (if at all) had I kept myself isolated from social media. Twitter has been a boon to my writing, is what I’m saying. I was even chosen as a mentee during last year’s Pitch Wars contest, which I never would have even known about, much less have been ready to enter, had I not been on Twitter. I wouldn’t be writing for this blog either. I was invited to join as a regular contributor by one of my CPs, Helen Boswell, who I also met via Twitter.

Unfortunately, social media has also had its negative effects. I’ve developed a habit of popping on whenever I get stuck for words, and will often stay on longer than intended, scrolling and replying—wasting precious writing time. I’ve also noticed a changing atmosphere lately, with a lot of negativity and anger and shouting about things, and less writerly support and general camaraderie. So many rules, so many “do this, don’t do that’s.” So much urgency to prove oneself as a writer, to have an agent, to be published, to have something to show for all the work you do. And that’s good! And also bad. Bad for creativity, that is. At least for me.

So a couple weeks ago, I did something drastic. I deactivated my account. It’s only temporary—I would like to have that account later when I do have something published and want to let people know about it. But I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about the attitude I used to have for writing compared to the attitude I have now. It’s hard to explain, but I guess before, it was more about the magic and wonder of it, with less oh-my-goodness-I-need-to-hurry-and-produce-something-STAT, plus hyperventilating and an urgent need to puke. Basically, I needed to step away. Away, not just from social media, but from the community as a whole. (Again, only temporarily.)

And it was really, really hard.

But this is what happened: I started knitting again. I started reading again. I started cooking again, for fun, not just necessity. And best of all, I started writing again—not every day, but when I felt like it. When I feel like it. And that’s when my best writing occurs. I’m enjoying it again, wholeheartedly, with less stress, less need to hurry up and get something out there, less self-judgment, and much less fear. I do miss everyone, and as I said, I will come back, but I’m going to remember this experience and employ this method again whenever I start to slip back into that funnel of anxiety that I’ve slowly squeezed myself into over the last few years. I don’t even know if that metaphor makes sense, but I like how it sounds and I’m keeping it. See? Less self-judgment.

So if you can relate to what I’m saying, might I suggest you do the same? Just be sure and reactivate your account before 30 days are up or your Twitter life will be deleted completely. You might find a new way of thinking about things, and you might like it. A lot. You might love it. You might, may I be so bold, even wonder if you want to go back at all. (Do go back—just don’t log in as much maybe, but seriously go back, we’ll miss you). As for me, I will see you again on Twitter, bright and early, on October 1st. Probably. (Yes).

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When she’s not writing, revising, or banging her head on the keyboard (it’s all the same, right?), Megan Paasch can be found playing her ukulele (badly), knitting (rarely anymore, unfortunately), or herding two amazing, but rowdy little boys (pretty much constantly) with her husband. A native to the Pacific Northwest, Megan earned her B.A. in History from the University of Washington. (Go Huskies!) Her favorite history subjects were, and still are, Women in History, the Tudors, and the Celts. You can read more about her here. 

15 Pinterest Board Ideas for Writers

Are you a writer and a Pinterest junkie user? Are you addicted to Pinterest like you’re addicted to chocolate? Or do you fear you’ll get sucked into the vortex and therefore shy away from Pinterest like you do from decaffeinated coffee? I’m a Pinterest user that stands somewhere in the middle ground. I love it for inspiration and find it very useful as a resource, but I admit that I use the mobile app to skim and quickly post things so I don’t get sucked into it for hours and hours (because the potential of that happening is real).

Bottom line: Pinterest is a great way to find and share writing inspiration and useful information, connect with other writers and readers, and make your brand (i.e., YOU) more visible to others.

Here is a sample list of boards that you might find useful as a writer. I’ve included examples of boards for each of these categories (some of which I follow and others that are mine). If you’re not on Pinterest yet, this comprehensive list might appear overwhelming, but I suggest that you start with one or two boards that you find most helpful to you and slowly build up your boards with time. The key to successfully using Pinterest is to pin things that are useful, interesting, and aesthetically inspiring to you.

1. Character inspiration board

Models, fashion, hair, style, other pins to capture your characters’ personalities and voices (for each project or character)


2. World-building/scene inspiration board 
Scenery, locations, historical settings (for each project)

3. Writing resources & tips board
Favorite writing tips, how to’s, advice on writing craft

4. Favorite quotes board
Writing inspiration, general inspiration, writing prompts

5. Favorite reads board
Books you’ve loved, books on your TBR list, book teasers, book reviews

6. Favorite writing songs/bands board
YouTube videos, playlists, song quotes, lyrics that inspire you

7. Writing-inspired accessories/must haves board
Shirts, scarves, mugs, bookshelves, furniture, other decor for your writing space

8. Blogging board
Links to posts from your blog (include a custom graphic with a watermark from your website or with your name if possible; see tips at the end of this post)

9. Writing conferences/author events board
Links to events you’re attending, on your wish list to attend, and/or meet-up places that you recommend to other writers and readers

10. Writing opportunities/contests/competitions board
Writing contests, writing competitions, writing and publishing opportunities

11. Writing retreat locations board
Locations, destinations, settings for your dream writing retreat (also serving as inspiration)

12. Your books/WIPs & press board
Your own books, works-in-progress, book trailers, and any press-related items

13. Writing snacks board
Recipes to satisfy your writing munchies

14. Quick-prep meal board
Shopping lists and easy recipes for when you need more time to write and are sick of take-out

15. Easy kid crafts
If you have kids, easy crafts for them to do, possibly even while you’re writing

A few additional thoughts for pinning:

You can designate any of your boards as “secret” if you don’t want to share the content of your boards.

Like all social media, everything you post publicly will reflect upon you as a writer and will influence the types of followers you attract.

For your original pins/images, it’s always a good idea to create a watermark of your name or website on the pin. Re-pinned pins often lose original captions, and a watermark will maintain your name/brand’s visibility.

Do you use Pinterest to help you with your writing-related activities? Do you have any other suggestions for boards? If so, we would love it if you would share them with us!
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Helen Boswell loved to get lost in the pages of a story from the time she could sound out the words. She credits her dad, an avid fiction reader, with encouraging her to read ALL OF THE BOOKS on his shelves from the time she was a teenager. An author of both urban fantasy and contemporary romance, she loves to read and write characters that come to life with their beauty, flaws, and all. She is the author of YA urban fantasies MYTHOLOGY, THE WICKED, THE ETERNAL, and NA contemporary romance LOSING ENOUGH. She is also one of the authors of the YA/NA crossover anthology LOSING IT. She is mostly on Pinterest when she needs to do book research or needs to find recipes.