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Tools and Tips: What Every Writer Needs to Know to Go “Pro” NOW AVAILABLE

I’m excited to let everyone know that the print version of my new book, Tools and Tips: What Every Writer Needs to Know to Go “Pro”, is now available on Amazon.com

What are people saying?

Tools and Tips is full of very useful information. I’ve always been impressed with your organizational and get-the-job-done skills. You did a good job of sharing them. I especially like your do-it-yourself writer’s retreat idea! Congratulations! This is a great addition to your list and I’m sure it will lead to even more inspirational readers for your other works.”

— Patsy Rae Dawson – International marriage consultant, has mentored both husbands and wives for 40 years, award winning author, Certified Public Speaker, publisher, BlogTalk radio host,

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The Five Senses in Your Writing

Using the five senses makes your writing come alive. When reading a story or novel, I believe that the reader should be drawn into the actions and relationships. Most readers fall in love with characters who they can relate to and feel what they are feeling. The scene your character acts out needs to play like a movie in the readers mind. Include what they see, smell, sounds, hear, and taste. If your character enjoys a meal, then make the reader’s mouth water and their stomach growl. Bring smells and sounds to life. A character’s touch felt by the protagonist brings a sense of exactly what it feels like to the reader. Using the senses makes the difference between flat, mechanical writing and a book that people will want to read again and again. I challenge you to include the senses in your own writing. I’ve heard it said that if the writer feels it, then the reader does too. Enjoy your summer writing. Sit down with a glass of iced tea and make your work live.

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More Time Management Tips

I remember a story about a woman with a family, husband, job, and many varied interests. She tried getting everything managed but always seem to drop the ball somewhere. After reading an article about managing your time, she realized that if she got up 15 minutes earlier, then she’d have the time she needed. Delighted she continued to add 15 minutes periodically to her daily schedule until … one day she realized that she had to get up 15 minutes before she went to bed.

Do you ever feel like that? Learning how to set priorities and saying ‘no’ to some things can be a challenge to some of us. How many hours per day do you already have committed to job, family, church, or other activities? How much sleep do you require to stay healthy? Here are a few suggestions on how to use those little pieces of time:

1. With Kindle, Nook, iPad, and cell phones that give you access to internet and many apps, you can take care of reading emails or books or paying your bills on line while waiting to pick up your children or another family member. DO NOT do these tasks while your car is moving unless you are not the driver, please!

2. If your job requires travel, then you probably spend time in airports or on planes. Use that time.

3. Do you have a deadline to meet for a project at work or to submit an article? Move that to the front of your priority tasks.

4. Let your list of things to do act as a guide. The most important things rise to the top like cream. Take care of those first. Everything on the list will move up in priority in it’s own time.

5. When there is a conflict between two responsibilities, then delegate one of them to someone else.

Hope these help you with your juggling act. BTW – don’t forget to take some time for yourself. If you don’t charge your own battery, then you won’t have the energy when you need it.


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Tips From the ACW conference

For many people, this week is Spring Break and they are off camping or to the beach or visiting family and friends. I on the other hand am focusing on ghostwriting, always reading a good book – Twelve Ordinary Men – and filing away my conference notes after reviewing them. I promised some tips and here they are:

1. Be healthy when you write. Use an ergonomic keyboard. It is the one where the keys are split down the middle and you can type in a much more natural position. It can keep you from getting carpal tunnel or other repetitive motion injuries. In addition, take a break at least for five minutes every hour away from the keyboard. Get a chair that helps you avoid back pain. There are ergonomic chairs available. Set your keyboard at a height that your elbows are at a 90% angle if at all possible. That puts less pressure on your neck and shoulders as well as your wrists and arms. Your screen needs to be set on a level so that you don’t have to hunch over or stretch to see clearly. You should be able to look straight ahead.

2. Treat your writing like a business. If you treat it like you do an office job downtown, then other people will too. Set work hours and don’t let people take up your time because they think you aren’t doing anything because you’re at home. If you don’t respect your time, then no one else will either. Sometimes the hardest part is getting your family to understand you are working.

3. Join writers organizations and attend conferences because you will meet other writers. You can learn from each other. Writing is a solitary endeavor and it helps to talk with other writers. Network with other writers. Join a critique group that can help you hone your writing skills.

4. Write what you know and what interests you. Write everyday and enjoy yourself.  If you don’t know what to write, then keep a notebook or computer file that is just for free-writing. Free-writing is taking a minimum of 10 minutes to write anything that crosses your mind. You can even write disconnected thoughts to start. It gets your brain working and gets you unstuck.

5. Most of all submit your writing. If you never submit anything, then you’ll never get published. Submit. Submit. Submit.

Have a great week and enjoy yourself!