On writing, diets, and moving forward

Ray Bradbury © Lennox McLendon/AP/Shutterstock.com

Picture yourself firing up your laptop first thing in the morning, getting ready to lay down some words.

What’s your very first thought when you sit down to write? If it’s “I feel like I’m on a diet,” then you might have more in common with Ray Bradbury than you thought when you started reading this.

“Just write every day of your life,” the iconic author once said. “Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.”

Even though at first glance, typing words on a screen and staying away from junk food don’t seem to have much in common, it turns out they are both very effective ways to move forward toward a goal—a little at a time.

That is, as long as you do it every single day.

And for you, I’m willing to bet writing a novel is one of those goals.

When was the last time you caught yourself working so hard on something you forgot to eat lunch?

…or experienced the thrill of making progress—in leaps and bounds—toward a long-standing goal you’ve wanted so badly to achieve?

…or gave yourself a pat on the back for a job well done, or created something you could proudly show off?

If it’s been a while, then join us for the 10K Novel-Writing Challenge!

The funniest thing is that without even knowing it, Ray Bradbury just summed up the entire Challenge with his quote.

Starting October 1st, we’ll each be cranking out 10,000 words in our novels—1,000 words a day for 10 straight days.

We’ll be sharing our work and becoming each other’s Fans.

We’ll be giving friendly feedback and constructive criticism to each other in an effort to fine tune what we’ve written and develop a strong foundation to build on.

Why is it so important to keep writing every day? Because every time you stop, your goal flies further and further off into the future.

It’s time to reel it back in.

October 1st might just be the first day of the rest of your writing career. If you’d like to join a talented, friendly group of writers as we make huge strides toward our goals, you can pre-register for the Challenge right now!

So here’s my best career advice: do something every day that moves you forward.

But don’t take it from me. Take it from Ray Bradbury.

Amazing Tip #2: The best way to “sculpt” your novel

Learn more about TimWith the 10K Novel-Writing Challenge right around the corner, it’s time to talk about how to write a novel that’ll absolutely pop—and wow your readers!

Writers from all over the world will be gathering online, starting October 1st, to write 10,000 words in 10 days and share their stories with each other. Want to join us? You can pre-register here.

In that spirit, I’d like to offer my best tips on how to use ChapterBuzz to get even more people to read your novel…and give feedback!

(I have 5 Amazing Tips to share, and this is the 2nd. For the first, check out this article.)

Feedback on your work-in-progress is valuable for many reasons, but chief among them is the peace of mind you get when you know that readers are diggin’ what you’re writing—and that when you publish your book, there’s no need to wonder what people will think.

Without further ado…

Amazing Tip #2: Post a comment on your own chapter. Really!

This is how you start a discussion on one of your own chapters: by posting a comment on that chapter. When you do this, everyone who has you in their Feedback Circle is notified so they can get involved.

The best way to start a discussion is to ask for specific feedback about that particular chapter. Ask yourself what type of feedback you’d like. Comments about grammar? Readability? Pacing? Reactions to the big plot twist? Ask and you shall receive!

Starting one or two discussions a day is the best way to keep your Feedback Circle engaged and wanting to read more.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how amazing was that tip? If you said 10, keep your eyes peeled for Amazing Tip #3, coming soon!

And be sure to pre-register now for the 10K Novel-Writing Challenge, starting October 1st!

Amazing Tip #1: getting people to read your novel

Learn more about TimAs we prepare for the 10K Novel-Writing Challenge, where your goal is to write 10,000 words in 10 days, I’d like to give you my 5 Amazing Tips for getting people to read your novel.

You see, a big part of the 10K Challenge is reading other writers’ chapters and giving your feedback and input…while getting feedback from others as well!

It’s a powerful way to improve your manuscript in leaps and bounds as you lay the foundation for the rest of your novel—and by the way, you’re invited to join us.

So what’s the best way to get people to read and give feedback? Feast your eyes on Amazing Tip #1 (out of 5):

Amazing Tip #1: Comment as much as possible on other writers’ chapters

This may seem obvious, but when you comment on other writers’ chapters, you’ll find that most writers will return the favor. This is how you start great discussions—and also make connections that could last a lifetime!

To give feedback to another writer, simply scroll down to the bottom of any one of their chapters, and add your comment.

(If you don’t see an area for commenting, it could be because that writer is only accepting feedback from members of their Feedback Circle. In this case, go ahead and add the writer to your Feedback Circle. There’s a good chance they’ll add you to theirs, too!)

So that’s it for Amazing Tip #1! I like to keep things simple.

Stay tuned for Amazing Tip #2!

And be sure to join us for the 10K Novel-Writing Challenge—which starts October 1st—and get that novel written while you build your Fan base, get helpful feedback on your chapters, and network with your fellow writers.

You could be an award-winning writer…by next month!

Learn more about TimThree talented writers will be presented with awards for excellence in several categories next month, as part of our 10K Novel-Writing Challenge.

Are you one of them?

Just think: you could be an award-winning writer…as soon as next month!

We want to showcase as much talent as possible among the writers in our ChapterBuzz community, and the 10K Novel-Writing Challenge is how we find the best up-and-coming authors.

Nothing boosts your career and builds your CV/resumé faster than recognition for your writing, and this is one of the most enjoyable ways to do it—while meeting other writers and sharing your work.

“I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to work so hard for something before. I’d written for hours on the last night of the Challenge, and I am so happy that I managed to get through and finish.”

Bexx Matthews, winner of the Most Buzz Award

Many writers assume that in order to win an award, they need to have not just a published book, but a slew of good reviews and the patience to slog through a lengthy submission process.

That’s not always the case! The truth is, you can win an award at any stage of the writing process, including when you’re working on your first draft. An award is an award, no matter when you win it.

We’ll be recognizing both raw writing ability and how well your work-in-progress is received by readers during the 10K Novel-Writing Challenge, which starts October 1st.

Perhaps the biggest benefit? Seeing the words “Award Winner” on the cover of your published book can tip a reader from “Hmmmm…” to “Sold!” in an instant.

Pre-register for the 10K here:

Know some writers? Those social buttons below make it easy to share this…

How to handle criticism of your writing: 3 time-honored tips

Learn more about TimOne of the biggest benefits of the 10K Novel-Writing Challenge is the feedback you can get on your chapters when you share them with our community.

But even though you know how much the feedback helps, it might still seem a little bit scary.

No longer!

This is because author Liberty Henwick, an award winner in our first-ever 10K Challenge, has some excellent advice.

Here are 3 time-honored tips on how to handle criticism of your work:

  1. Have a thick skin and be willing to listen to the suggestions your readers make with an open mind, so that they feel at liberty to be completely honest. You don’t want them to hide the painful truths!
  2. Don’t take criticism personally, it’s not you but your writing that is being critiqued. It’s not unlikely that your work will need improvement—it will hardly ever be perfect the first time.
  3. You don’t have to take all advice on board. Sometimes you can stand by what you write if you feel strongly that there’s a good enough reason for it.

Of course, it’s always nice when you return the favor, and Liberty has some advice on how to give feedback, as well:

  • Highlight any confusing passages and language that doesn’t make sense.
  • Point out sections that are boring.
  • Write down questions you have about the story so far that you’d like to see answered before the ending.

Over the years, many writers have told me how much Liberty’s advice has helped.

Now it can help you, but please…pass it on!

And be sure to join us in the 10K Novel-Writing Challenge, starting October 1st.

Sunday Wrap-Up: the hardest part of getting started, a new Rising Star Author, and an incredible word count

Learn more about TimEvery week is a whirlwind of activity in the ChapterBuzz writing community, and here are some of the milestones we’ve reached.

The biggest news is that the 10K Novel-Writing Challenge is now pre-registering! Your challenge: write 10,000 words in 10 days, starting October 1st.

Add your name to the Priority List now—it’s free—and I’ll let you know the minute you can officially sign up.

Quote of the Week

“The hardest part is choosing which word to start with. After that, the rest is easy.”
Mel Hankins, Tier II Rising Star Author

Got some words of wisdom for writers? Join the 20-Year Novel Club and share them with us.

A thriller novel on the way

Barry B. Wright‘s historical fiction thriller novel, Angel Maker, is in the final editing and proofreading stages before it’s released as a published book.

Barry has been working hard on this novel for quite some time. Become his Fan on ChapterBuzz and be the first to know when Angel Maker goes to press!

Soaring to new heights

Jo Hawk, Tier II Rising Star Author, has written a staggering 22,059 words since joining the 20-Year Novel Club just a few months ago.

This represents 89 days’ worth of word count totals, where at one point, Jo had recorded 58 consecutive days of word counts. Great work, Jo!

What’s striking about Jo’s progress of over 22,000 words is that she didn’t sit down and write thousands of words every day. Each day’s average was about 250 words, but after several months, it just…added up. The 20-Year Novel Club is all about doing a little each day so you can make steady progress without feeling overwhelmed.

Stop by and read her award-winning work-in-progress, Flash Fiction Collection.

A big welcome to the Club

Dariush Ahmadzadeh RezvaniThe 20-Year Novel Club has 3 new members! Leah Lindeman, Karen Peltier, and Dariush Ahmadzadeh Rezvani have all recently joined the Club.

Want to be in the 20-Year Novel Club? As a member of the Club, all you need to do is write 10 words a day.

Moving up in the world

Finally, Mel Hankins has earned a new badge. It’s the Rising Star Author badge, awarded for reaching the next rung on our Ladder of Fame. Congrats!

You’re invited

Are you ready to write & publish a novel while connecting with writers from all over the world? See you at ChapterBuzz!

Writer’s block? This is the ultimate cure

Learn more about TimI assure you, I understand the frustration of writer’s block. Sometimes it hits me for long periods of time. Other times it hits quickly, but often.

You know what I’ve found that stops writer’s block in its tracks?

The pressure of a deadline.

Hands down, this is what tells writer’s block, “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!” and ushers in some of the most productive hours, days, or even weeks I’ve had in a good while.

Well, guess what? You now have a deadline.

You know that book you’ve been meaning to write? That story you can’t wait to bring to life? The one you know people will love, if only you could just get it done?

It’s about to happen—in the 10K Novel-Writing Challenge, starting October 1st, and pre-registering now.

Your challenge: to write 10,000 words in 10 days.

This is your chance!

Suddenly, you’re forced to write. Your goal is 1,000 words a day! That means you’ve got to come up with something—even if it’s not perfect. We’re all in the same boat, because all of our novels are works-in-progress.

You’ll meet other writers, read other people’s chapters. You’ll give feedback and receive feedback. You’ll have a chance to stand out as a top writer in our community.

The best part? The feedback you get will spark more ideas, and soon, the words will be flowing. Sayonara, writer’s block!

Once you finish the Challenge, we’re giving three awards for the most promising novels. It’s an award you can proudly display on the cover of your newly published book!

Make this October count. Make it the month you charged ahead on that book you’ve been meaning to write.

Pre-register for the Challenge now!

10,000 words in 10 days. Go!

Learn more about TimWriters and aspiring novelists, it’s time!

The 10K Novel-Writing Challenge is back, and it starts October 1st.

And this time, I challenge you to write 10,000 words in 10 days.

This could be your first 10,000 words or your next 10,000 words. Whether your novel is a blank page or already halfway done, this is the motivation you need to get a slammin’ headstart on your book!

It’s your dream to write a novel, and this is your chance to go after that dream. Add your name to the Priority List and I’ll let you know the minute registration opens.

By the way, the Challenge is about a lot more than just writing 10,000 words. You see, ChapterBuzz is also an active community of readers and writers!

Which is why part of the Challenge is to get 10 new Fans. Why? Because just as important as actually writing your novel is connecting with the people who will read it, give you feedback, and help you write the best novel possible.

Your Fans are the people who are most excited about your project. The people who will know every time you post new chapters, so they can stop by and read. They are the people you can invite to give you feedback, so you can improve your story. And they’re also the first to know when your book is published and hits the shelves.

You’ll grow your Fan base over time, but this month, all you need is 10.

Add yourself to the Priority List here and I’ll let you know when the doors swing open!

For writers and readers alike, this is the best time of year

Whether you’re a writer or a lover of great books, this is just the right time of year to be an active member of our ChapterBuzz community, because there’s so much happening!

Writers, the deadline for the Book of the Year Competition has been extended until the end of the year—which gives you plenty of time to get the three reviews you need in order to qualify. Learn all about how to enter your book right here.

This article is from the latest issue of Books & Buzz Magazine. Not a subscriber? Start getting all of our great articles by subscribing for free!

And readers, be sure to RSVP for our Winter Book Reading Party, where all of the Book of the Year contenders will be showcased. You’ll be able to read books, Buzz chapters, and help us choose the most important award we’ve ever given: Book of the Year.

It’s bound to be an exciting competition!

In the meantime, let’s see what we have inside this month’s issue:

Award-winning author Shirley Holder Platt explains the difference between four different types of editing, some of which are indispensable, and others that fall into the “nice to have” category. “My best advice is to swallow your pride and heed your editor’s advice,” Shirley writes. “It may be hard to hear what he or she has to say, but the editor’s job is to make you shine.” Be sure to read the whole article, because when you hear about one mistake she made—that her editor thankfully caught—you’ll see why editing is so important when it comes to the smallest details.

Next, if you’ve ever found yourself wondering where your story is going, or trying to figure out what your character should do next, Kenneth Lawson, Tier III Newcomer Author at ChapterBuzz, has a good answer. Or rather, a good method—which involves thinking logically. “Sometimes the next scene presents itself easily. But most of the time,” he rightly points out, “not so much.” His advice is especially helpful for those who write by the seat of their pants and don’t bother with outlines.

To round out our issue, award-winning freelance editor and author Cindy Davis gives her four best tips for writing a fiction series. Even though writing a series comes with pros and cons (“It can be heaven, it can be hell,” she says), there are best practices that will help ensure your success. For example, some writers may be tempted to end each book with a cliffhanger, but according to Cindy, this is a big no-no. “Readers need a complete story, with the main plot tied up in one nice package,” she tells us, as she presents her list of four crucial dos and don’ts of writing a series.

Finally, on the cover this month is Barry B. Wright, retired high school math teacher–turned thriller author from Ontario, Canada. “My choice to devote my time now to writing,” Barry says, “has led me down a path of revelation that is nothing short of miraculous.” Learn how this award-winning author kept returning to writing every time it seemed like life had other plans for him, what he’d really like new writers to know, and why stories, for him, so strongly resemble math equations.

As the first leaves start drifting toward the ground, the kids head back to school, and the whole world suddenly turns pumpkin flavored, grab the first moment of peace and quiet you can find, and enjoy this month’s issue of Books & Buzz Magazine.

Happy reading,

Timothy Pike
Editor-in-chief, Books & Buzz MagazineSubscribe now for free!