December 6, 2021

by Penny Sansevieri

Photograph of a pile of different keys and key chains, from old fashioned to electronic, symbolizing the keys to successful publishing

I’ve written a lot of pieces on publishing success. I’ve talked about picking the right publisher, finding an editor, etc. All helpful, for sure but this time I wanted to dig a bit deeper into the keys to successful publishing.

I’ve been coaching authors for years on publishing, marketing, idea creation. You name it and I’ve probably addressed it in a coaching session. The topics I’m addressing in this piece are issues that seem to come up again and again when I’m working with authors and while this might sound more like a goal-setting or ra-ra Tony Robbins piece, believe me when I say that often the difference between a successful author and someone who just dwindles on the fringes of success lies in these tips.

Start Early

I say this all the time but clearly I can’t say it enough. Start early, get your website up, craft your message, do your research. I’ve done scads of articles on this topic so I don’t want to belabor it, but I do think it is important to start here.

Invest in Your Success

It’s funny how authors often think that being an author doesn’t require an investment. Hey, you wrote the book that should be enough, right?

Decide on your investment and then ask yourself: How much money am I willing to lose. Yes, I said lose. You may earn your money back in book sales, but you may not. It’s impossible to predict how any book will do so make an investment that you are prepared to lose if things don’t go as you’d hoped.

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

I mean this literally. Step out. Network. Go to events, listen to speakers, pay the money to go, travel, and stay over. Trust me if you pick the right event it will be completely worth it. Why? Because getting out of your comfort zone will not only gain you valuable contacts and networking, but it could also lead to new ideas or a new path that could lead to some additional success.

Author events and conferences, whatever you feel is right for your work, are fantastic ways to connect with like-minded people in the industry. A lot of folks favor virtual events, I like them too. But there’s nothing like sitting in a room with a bunch of folks doing the same thing you’re doing to get those creative juices flowing.

Stay Focused

This is a big one. Very big. I find in my coaching that the one thing that can separate the successful author from the author who just sort of flounders and does not find their way is focus. If you have to work with someone to stay focused it could be the best money you spend – ever.

Let’s face it, authors are creative and as such, we have minds that are fertile and active. We have no shortage of ideas, but we do have a shortage of time. Most of us don’t have an infinite number of hours to complete everything we want to, that’s where focus comes in.

Set Clear, Definable Goals

This ties into focus but deserves its own mention because it’s key and very, very important. As with any business or venture, you want goals.

Ideally, you want to create a list of goals, five or ten at the least, that you wish to attain by publishing your book. Then, once the book is out, what are the goals surrounding your marketing? How many bloggers do you want to reach? How many events do you want to do, etc.

Oh, and one final note on goals. Book sales should be at the bottom of your list. Why? Because you won’t get sales without exposure, and marketing wisdom tells us that people need seven impressions to your book, message, or product before they will consider a buy. Your goals should be aligned with that focus: getting as many impressions or pieces of exposure as you can. Get enough exposure and book sales will follow. It’s simple math.

Bring in Objectivity

I sort of address this with the team, and later on in being able to take feedback but trust me when I say that having people on your team who can be objective is often the difference between success and failure. Your family, friends, and neighbors all love you, but the likelihood that they can tell you “Sorry, this cover really stinks” is minimal.

Find someone or a team of people who can be wildly objective. Not only can it help you attain your success, it could save you a lot of money in the process. How? By giving you insight, tips, guidance, and things that you might otherwise have to learn on your own. (Read: the hard way.)

Follow Similar Authors

Success leaves clues. Follow and get to know other authors in your market. This will help you accomplish a few things.

First off, authors are very generous and if you’re connected with someone who has written in the same genre, I’m betting that he or she is open to giving you guidance, tips, and advice. If not, they are still great to follow and observe. Second, watching what a successful author does will be helpful to you when you’re defining your own goals and objectives.

And finally, get Google Alerts on the authors you aspire to be like, every time they pop up on a blog comment on their post, congratulate them on a review, network with them and the blogger. The blogs they are featured on might be great contacts for your work, too.

Read Your Contracts Carefully

I am amazed at how often authors just sign up willy-nilly for stuff out of excitement or the need to gain attention for their book. Read the contracts, do the research. Know what you’re getting into. You’ll be glad you did.

Hire a Team and Respect Them

If you’re hiring professionals to help you, remember that you are bringing them in because you need and value their expertise. Respect their work and respect their time. No one can create miracles for a book, least of all a hired team. They work hard, respect that.

If things go wrong, don’t blame everyone from the person who designed your cover to the guy who sold you your first pencil. Take responsibility for your success or lack thereof. Be proactive and be willing to take feedback.

This brings me to the following point...

Welcome and Encourage Feedback

I can walk into a room of five hundred authors and pick out the ones who will be successful. Is this magic? No. It’s called feedback. Authors who are willing to listen and learn and get valuable input to make their work better are often miles more successful than an author who refuses to listen to the advice of professionals who have been in the industry forever.

Look, not everyone will be right, but if you respect someone’s work, respect their input. Gather this data, then sit with it and see which direction you want to go. Accepting feedback is huge. I’ve had authors scream at me for not liking their cover. I refuse to feed into an author’s ego just to make them happy, that’s not what people pay me for. Y

ou should surround yourself with people who aren’t afraid to tell you something you don’t want to hear. This will help you more than any ego-stroking in the world.

Understanding Successful Publishing

Final Thoughts

So, if you follow all of these tips are you guaranteed success? I’d like to say yes, but success is a very personal venture and means something different to all of us.

The tips described in this piece might be the same ones I would suggest to anyone going into business and that’s the key. Publishing is a business, packed with the same demands, risks, and success that any business brings with it. Understand the basic principles of business and you’ve now understood how to be successful in publishing. Not only that, but using a solid model for business will put you light years ahead of most of the other authors out there, and with 300,000 books published a year, that might otherwise be a pretty impossible battle.

Which of these keys to successful publishing are part of your 2022 publishing plan?

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About Penny

Penny C. Sansevieri, Founder and CEO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a bestselling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. She is an Adjunct Professor teaching Self-Publishing for NYU. She was named one of the top influencers of 2019 by New York Metropolitan Magazine.

Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most innovative Amazon Optimization programs as well as Social Media/Internet book marketing campaigns. She is the author of 18 books, including How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon: 2021 Amazon Ads Powerhouse Edition, Revise and Re-Release Your Book, 5-Minute Book Marketing, and Red Hot Internet Publicity, which has been called the "leading guide to everything Internet." Her new book From Book to Bestseller: The Savvy Author's Guide to Book Promotion, Smart Branding, and Longterm Success is available now!

AME has had dozens of books on top bestseller lists, including those of The New York Times, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal

To learn more about Penny’s books or her promotional services, visit www.amarketingexpert.com.  

Image Credits

Top Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay 

Second Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay 

Third Image Oscar Castillo from Pixabay 

Last Image by Shahid Abdullah from Pixabay 

December 3, 2021

by James R. Preston

Photo of a young woman reading to her white haired grandmother because story is important.

This essay was inspired by an article in the October 2021 issue of Scientific American about reading as therapy. It opened with the words, “Parents, teachers, and caregivers have long sworn by the magic of storytelling to calm and soothe kids.”

Story (you can hear the capital “S” can’t you?) is important. You believe that or you wouldn’t be here at Writers in the Storm, reading about the art and craft of writing. 

One thing that turns up in these essays frequently is "encouragement," words that help you keep going when it’s 2:00 am, you’re awake, you hate your work-in-progress and it hates you in return. It's the words that keep you going when you’re seriously considering trading in the keyboard and taking xylophone lessons. So I think it’s important to take some time to celebrate a value in what we do that we might not have thought of in a while. 

Telling the Tale

I make it a policy to never discuss projects at the idea stage. After I have a draft, sure, bring on the feedback, but until something is down on paper with a beginning, middle, and end that looks like it might actually come to life, well — mum’s the word. 

I broke that ironclad rule for this essay and I have lived to tell the tale. (Note how I work in another reference to “Story.”) We’ll come back to how that happened and why I find it important. 

Story is Hard Work

Harlan Ellison once said writing is easy — you just slice off part of yourself and slap it on the page. He was right in some ways. 

I say creating a story is hard! It’s work! (On the other hand, when it clicks into gear and you can feel the tale unspooling through you it’s like nothing else in the world.) I happen to believe that we all need encouragement, seeing a positive benefit to all that time at the keyboard. Barbara Tuchman, incredible writer, author of The Guns of August, once asked her publisher who would read a book about the start of World War I. He replied, “Two people. You and me.” I guess that was enough encouragement because she kept going. Here at WITS we provide not only an audience but also a bit more cheerleading.  

Sacrifice and Benefit

What we ink-stained wretches do, sacrificing our time and energy and household chores, can have benefits to others that we might not think of often.

One way stories— including yours — can help others is by having them read aloud. Hearing a story for someone who is bedridden or who has a difficult time reading can be a wonderful experience. The oral tradition in literature goes back at least to Grendel picking a fight with Beowulf and that tradition is still around. 

Who

A young male nurse reading to an elderly woman because story is important.

Typically I’m talking about reading to elderly folks. Reasons they might have given up or reduced their reading are many. They may have failing eyesight, it may be hard to hold a hardback book for long periods of time, or they may suffer from dementia. 

I read to my father as he fought his way through the latter stages of bone cancer. I don’t know how we got started doing it, but I know it was a good thing for both of us. 

If you know someone who might benefit from hearing a story, I say give it a try. Read to them. If it’s not working you’ll know. If you think the individual might not like it, try it anyway. You never know. 

What

What should you read? My choice was easy. I read books that I knew would please because they were in my dad’s library, and later I did one that was an experiment. Other people have read from the Bible. I did not use it, but it is a good choice, and that rolling King James verse will always work. If you really don’t have a clue you can always ask. Narrative fiction is probably better than a play, because the description can carry your audience away. 

Should you read from your own work? I did not. I had a large selection of books that I knew my father loved and picked from them. I read mostly westerns by a fine writer called B. M. Bower. For that experiment I mentioned I branched out once or twice and read from The Eye of the World, the first book in The Wheel of Time series, mostly because it opens with an exciting chase on horseback, but I did not think it was as successful. It seemed to be important to read something familiar. 

When

When should you do it? I suggest a regular schedule. It can become something the person looks forward to. 

How long should you read? Pay attention to your audience. Signs of fatigue will tell you when to quit. As a rule of thumb, I’d say not as long as you might think. How’s that for specificity? Well, it depends on many factors and it can vary. After chemotherapy my father tired quickly, so I reduced the time I read. Other times it was him saying, “One more chapter.”

Why 

Aside from the pure entertainment value, your audience will derive other benefits.

Slower memory loss. A study published in Neurology, a peer-reviewed journal, suggested that hearing stories slowed the rate at which memory loss occurred in the elderly. (See Notes,)

Activity. It’s doing something. Pure and simple. 

Improved cognitive abilities. Again, there’s evidence to support this. 

And there are benefits to the reader, too. Look, there’s a limit to how much pure conversation you can do with somebody who’s bedridden. Do they really want to hear about your hot date? Maybe, but a couple of chapters from a good romance novel relieves you of having to think of things to talk about.

And while you’re reading someone else’s writing you’re absorbing their style and rhythm and vocabulary. You’re learning. I got acquainted with a talented western writer that I knew nothing about. 

Reading Is Contributing to Story

Image of an  open book with images of a dog on one page and a young girl  carrying a red umbrella walking away from the camera down one of two ruts in the grass.

Ok, back to breaking my rule of talking about a project at the concept stage. About a week ago on our way to dinner a friend asked what I was working on and I found myself talking, not without some difficulty, about reading aloud to my father as a possible topic for an essay.

Our friend, who was riding to dinner with us, spoke up and told of how she read to her father as he declined with Alzheimer’s. My wife then said she read to her grandfather when he was in a nursing home. Ask around, you may be surprised. 

And when that story is making a difficult time just a little bit easier for someone, stop and remember that you are a part of that tradition. You are contributing to Story, and Story is important. 

Notes and References:

In the anniversary edition of The Guns of August, Barbara Tuchman tells the story of asking her publisher who will read her book and he replies “Two people. You and me.” BTW, that essay is a primer on the writing process that should be a “must-read” for every aspiring writer. Check it out!

B. M. Bower was a prolific writer in the early part of the last century. My dad read her books growing up and late in life he set out to assemble a complete set of her works. Yes, “her.” She never listed her true first name because, gee, how could a girl write about six-guns and shoot-outs?

Full disclosure: Neurology requires a subscription to read the full article. I read the abstract. 

Story is Important

Finally, a bonus, and I’m not exactly sure how I feel about this. Some time ago I read another article, I believe in Scientific American, about reading to robots. Yeah.  Looking ahead to the time when machines become self-aware, the project started about five years ago. The goal is to teach ethical behavior. I’m not making this up. I guess the idea is when your self-driving car hears you talking about trading it in on a new model, it doesn’t drive off a bridge out of spite. I hope it works. Story is important. It might save your life. 

Now it’s time for you to share your experiences with reading stories. You’ll help all of us. Maybe you can suggest places to volunteer to read. 

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About James

James R. Preston is the author of the award-winning Surf City Mysteries and two historical novellas set in the swingin’ sixties. Kirkus Reviews called Buzzkill, one of the historicals, “a historical thriller enriched by characters who sparkle and refuse to be forgotten.” Remains To Be Seen, the next Surf City Mystery, will be published in the first quarter of 2022. His web page is jamesrpreston.com.

Bottom Image by Comfreak from Pixabay.

December 1, 2021

By Lisa Wilson-Hall

Writing character emotions is tricky, but an effective way to bring your writing to life. Emotions serve three specific purposes: to inform us, to protect us, to warn us. All of this is true in real life as in fiction.

Always tell the truth, as Stephen King has said, and we want our written characters to resonate the way they would in real life. These three purposes provide a framework if you will, that will help you drill down into the specific and particular WHY behind what your character thinks and does.

Emotions are not linear, they are not always logical or trustworthy, and are rarely convenient. Getting it right on paper takes careful planning. Within this framework, we must become curious about how our characters feel, and why they feel that way.

This framework also helps to keep showing-and-not-telling at the forefront. In deep POV, there’s no narrator or writer voice to explain or summarize how a character feels, or why they are thinking or doing any one thing. It’s even more important to clearly write emotion if you are using this point of view. So, let’s dive a bit deeper into brainstorming emotional complexity and nuance.

The Kids At The Table (Emotional Context)

Imagine there’s a conference table in your character’s head, and seated at the table are the younger selves of that character – one’s five, one’s ten, one’s eleven and a half, one’s eighteen, etc. They have all survived/lived through/experienced something that caused high emotions.

Each of those kids has a concern. And when that concern is raised will propose the solution that saw them through. Because remember, the purpose of emotions is to inform, to protect, to warn. (Note: these emotions do not have to be a traumatic memory.)

Consider the character you are writing when deciding who is at the table. An emotionally mature individual will have their ‘true self’ seated at the head. They will consult all the younger selves in order to:

  • hear their concerns
  • listen to their proposed solutions
  • then decide on an informed plan of action
  • they are not ruled by their emotion

 The character at the head of the table MUST be occupied by someone in a high-emotion moment, one that requires input from all their past selves to inform, to protect, and inform them about their next plot move.

An Example of Using Emotional Context:

Sally is at work and gets cornered by a handsy boss. The girls at the table are going to be shooting up their hands, speaking over one another, climbing on top of the table – each of them has a slightly different but very specific concern here.

  • One girl informs Sally that she has a mortgage and kids at home who need to eat and can’t afford to lose this job.
  • Another girl is screaming to inform Sally this is wrong and unfair and stupid… (she’s pretty angry so she’s very loud).
  • Yet another girl is banging her fist on the table warning Sally about the last time she rejected a man’s advances.
  • There’s yet another girl trying to protect Sally by pointing out this is just like when her ex-husband cornered her when he was drunk.
  • There may even be the ghost of a man at the table – her ex-husband, repeating that she deserves this because she’s a tease and a flirt.

Do you see how these voices have specific conflicting concerns? This is a rich emotional context that draws readers in. The vast majority of our decisions are made using emotional context. Each girl at the table with a concern will also propose a solution.

Who is at the head of the table can change the context dramatically. Consider a character that is emotionally immature.

Imagine the problems that could happen when the five-year-old gets the head chair. It’s a much bigger problem when that five-year-old spends A LOT of time at the head of the table (emotionally immature). It could turn your story in a completely different direction. These are ways to pepper emotional context into your story and enhance it.

Using Internal Conflict for Emotional Context

Sometimes your tablemates aren’t seeing eye-to-eye.  This can be a lot of fun in a story. Writers can pit the snarky teen self against the risk-averse mother self and watch the internal sparks fly!

Internal conflict isn’t when more than one kid at the table is upset, it’s when those kids can’t agree on what to do or which concern should sit at the head of the table.

Next Steps – Put This Into Action:

Choose an emotional high-point in a chapter, and brainstorm which kids are sitting around the emotional table in your character’s head. What are their SPECIFIC concerns and solutions?

Set them up to Cut them down (Squashed Emotions)

Your character will experience many emotions in your story.  But sometimes, they will not feel like they are being heard. They may not get what they want.  They may even be completely denied.

Example of Squashed Emotions:

Now, a squashed emotion behaves very much like that child who persistently tries to get mom or dad’s attention when mom or dad are busy or distracted. They tug and pull at mom’s shirt hem. Yes honey, just a minute.

They tug on the shirt hem some more without a reaction from mom. But this is important. So the child escalates their attempts to be heard. “Mom. Mom. Mom.” They may act out, they might hit or punch or throw things – all in an attempt to be heard. Our emotions function much like that.

And even though this child character may finally get your attention, they still may not get what they want. How many times do we finally acknowledge the child, only to have them tell them it's raining outside? Or the cookies they want are for school? The child character will need to accept this change, even if they are heard.

Emotions aren’t always trustworthy.

The character’s concern is super important to them, and it will keep the reader wondering how it will become resolved.  The internal conflict will continue to nag and tug and pull until acknowledged. The longer that concern gets squashed, the louder and more insistent that concern becomes.

So, our example character, Sally who is confronted by a handsy boss, lets the intimidated 14-year-old sit at the head of the table. It’s a child with no clear voice, no allies, no autonomy, no power. Her solution is to play along until Sally can escape. The 14-year-old thinks if they simply avoid the boss indefinitely, it will turn out fine.

This idea placates some of Sally’s concerns, but it makes the 18yo feminist fire up and gets her fists swinging. This is wrong, the 18-year-old thinks. This is BS. The 18-year-old wants to complain to HR.

That handsy boss concern isn’t going to sit down quietly at the table. Each time this conflict rises up, that concern is going to get LOUDER and LOUDER. But what’s the cost of ignoring or squashing that voice? Because it’s going to be exhausting and frustrating – because that 18-year-old isn’t wrong, according to the others at the table, isn’t she?

Next Steps – Put This Into Action:

Now, you’ve brainstormed which kids are sittCing at the table in your scene. Whose concern gets priority? Whose concerns are squashed? Which characters voice comes through and WHY? Be specific and particular.

Questions to Shape Your Internal Conflicts:

  • What does your character think each concern says about them, about what they really want? What would a stronger/smarter/more powerful person do?
  • What do they want to do but won’t allow themselves to act on?
  • How can you play with juxtaposing what they think/feel vs the actions they take or what they allow others to see or perceive about them/

Surprise The Reader – One Way to Craft Internal Conflict

In his book “The Emotional Craft Of Fiction,” Donald Maass recommends you brainstorm a list of three to five possible emotions in a scene, and choose one that will surprise the reader. The key is specificity and particularity.

 I’ve found there’s more tension in the response from my list that surprises ME – the writer the most. A response where I didn’t know they felt that way. Or a response that would cause a lot more trouble for my main character.

Sally can placate the handsy boss in the moment and work to avoid him later, but why this feels like the best course of action must be specific. Perhaps it’s because she’ll wait till he’s out of the office and then plans to slip evidence of his many indiscretions to his wife under his front door. Now that would be an interesting resolution to the conflict for all of Sally’s selves.

Next Steps – Put This Into Action:

How would you use these questions to form other possible outcomes?

  • What does your character think each reaction says about them, about what they really want? What would a stronger/smarter/more powerful person do?
  • What do they want to do but won’t allow themselves to act on?
  • What would they tell the younger self who feels squashed?

Do you find this idea of brainstorming with the kids at the table helpful for diving deeper into the emotions of a scene? What tips for internal conflict or resources that you’ve used could you share with our readers today?

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About Lisa

Lisa Hall-Wilson is a writing teacher and award-winning writer and author. She’s the author of Method Acting For Writers: Learn Deep Point Of View Using Emotional Layers. Her blog, Beyond Basics For Writers, explores all facets of the popular writing style deep point of view and offers practical tips for writers. 

She runs the free Facebook group Going Deeper With Emotions where she shares tips and videos on writing in deep point of view. 

Photo credit: Lisa Hall-Wilson

November 29, 2021

Every so often, I jump into the archives to see what is and isn't working here at Writers In the Storm. I look closely at the posts that are getting more attention to determine whether we should ask the contributor to continue with a series on a topic or whether there might be a tie-in with a current post. I look to see which posts successfully keep the top spots, year after year. (For example, only a few of the posts below happened in the last 18 months - most are older.)

It's always an interesting journey for me through the blog stats, and it seems like the list always offers me something I needed RIGHT NOW, such as Margie's post on hugs in the top spot below.

Perhaps that will happen for you today as well.

Who Got the Top Spots for 2021?

I removed the posts that get a bump by being included on top blogs or curated lists, and also any pages. But below is a list of the fourteen WITS articles that performed the best this year. I even left the numbers in, just in case those contributors wander on by (so they can bask in their amazingness).

TitleViews
Fresh Writing Sells: Make Hugs Carry Power - Margie Lawson6,944
Sexual Tension: It's All In Your Head - Susan Squires6,388
Should Your Story Have a Happy Ending? - James Preston6,124
10 Character Traits of an Espionage Hero - Piper Bayard5,772
The Benefits of Writing a Novel "Just for Fun" - Janice Hardy5,639
Evaluating Sexual Tension on the Sentence Level - Angela Quarles5,624
7 Unstoppable YA Plot Ideas to Make your Novel Fabulous - Kris Maze4,668
What Type of Secret Does Your Character Keep? - Angela Ackerman4,629
Book Cover 101: How Much Should a Cover Cost? - Melinda VanLone3,651
Five Tips for Writing Tears that Carry Power - Margie Lawson3,188
Using The 12 Stages of Physical Intimacy To Build Tension In Your Fiction - Jenny Hansen3,027
Why We Love (and Resent) Alpha Males - Laurie Schnebly Campbell2,932
The Ultimate Writers’ Guide to Twitter Pitch Contests - Carly Watters, Literary Agent2,892
4 Easy Edits That Make Your Story Flow Better - Julie Glover2,644

What do these posts have in common?

Except for two outliers -- Janice Hardy's writing life post and Melinda VanLone's article on book covers -- all of these posts are about writing craft.

Another interesting observation is that each post also covers most of the SMART goal spectrum. That means the topics and information in the post are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and anchored within a Time Frame. Basically, these posts offer tips that you can immediately practice and apply to your own work in progress.

I'm just a happy little blogger, but I'm pretty sure that last point is why these posts are "evergreen." After you poke around in the links above, I hope you'll let me know what you decide.

My Thoughts and a Question

I always like posts that make me think about my writing in a new way, teach me something completely new (I'm thinking about Melinda VanLone's book cover posts), or that help me stretch a bit as a writer to develop new skills. I also like posts that get people to share tips in the comments, since there's nothing I like better than an active comment section.

My question to you... What types of posts are your favorite(s), and what new topics would you love to see covered here at WITS? Which of the 14 above is your favorite? Please let me know down in the comments!

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About Jenny

By day, Jenny Hansen provides corporate communications and LinkedIn advice for professional services firms. By night she writes humor, memoir, women’s fiction, and short stories. After 20 years as a corporate trainer, she’s delighted to sit down while she works.

When she’s not at her personal blog, More Cowbell, Jenny can be found on Facebook at JennyHansenAuthor or at Writers In The Storm.

November 24, 2021

Today at Writers In The Storm we’re giving thanks for the “writerly” people and things that help us put words on the page. One of the things we're grateful for are the two new team members -- Lynette Burrows and Lisa Norman -- who have joined the behind-the-scenes team here at WITS. Please join us in welcoming them!

We're also opening the door for our readers! Share your gratitude for writerly things large and small down in the comments.


Ellen Buikema

I am thankful for all the people who have helped shape my writing, occasionally nudging me in another direction to make a clearer, more interesting story.

Many eyes on our work makes all the difference in the world. 

* * * * * *

Lynette Burrows

In a year that started with loss, I am grateful it was also about friends who stepped up to help.

It has been a year full of new opportunities for blogging, and writing, and writing friends. And I am especially grateful for the honor and delight that is being part of the WITS crew.

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Jenny Hansen

I'm giving writerly thanks for TWO things.

First of all, I am deeply grateful to Lynette and Lisa for joining our team. We are a close-knit group behind the scenes here, doing what's required to keep WITS running. It is our honor to do that work, but it is still work. My fellow WITS Warriors amaze me with their energy, their ideas, and their talent.

I am also giving thanks for Melinda Cohan and her team at The Coaches Console for making my day job dreams come true. I am two months from officially launching a LinkedIn Coaching business and it brings up some of the same emotions as a story launch. It's exciting, invigorating, rewarding, AND terrifying.

Here is the quote from Melinda that has kept me moving forward this month.

* * * * * *

Kris Maze author pic

Kris Maze

I'm grateful for rekindling the joy of writing small and trying out short story contests this year! It was fun to write with others doing the same contests, and it reinvigorated my writing.

My latest is Star Tracker - A New Beginning, written for the NYC Midnight contest earlier this year.

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Lisa Norman

I'm grateful for the amazing camaraderie of writers from around the world.

Instead of isolation, I've found friendship and connection with fellow writers through NaNoWriMo, Lawson Writer's Academy, and Writers In the Storm. What a wonderful gift this connection is for all of us!

I'm also excited to moderate "It's a Wonderful Writer's Life," the December "advent calendar" of prompts for writers happening at the Lawson Writers Academy. It's going to be so much fun!

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We won't be posting here on Friday this week, but we hope you continue to stop by to share your "writerly thanks" with us until we return on Monday.

If you're in the States, we hope you're preparing for a great Thanksgiving. If you're doing NaNoWriMo, we hope your word count is making you happy (or that you at least had fun). And wherever you are on your writing journey, we're thankful that you share your journey with us here at Writers In the Storm. Our readers are the BEST!

Many thanks,
Ellen, Jenny, Kris, Lisa & Lynette

Top Photo by Hanny Naibaho on Unsplash


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