Bed Bugs – Inspiration Ready to Strike

Bedbug Inspiration
Last year one of my children moved in with someone who had bed bugs. Until this little incident in our lives I had always thought that bed bugs were a part of a children’s bedtime story. No way did I ever in a million years think the little creepy things were an actual “thing”. The house they had was infested and they actually had to move in order to get away from them leaving behind all their furniture.

While most parents would have been pissed that their child was exposed to these invaders, and I was to some degree, I had quite a different take on the whole mess. The bed bugs inspired me to consider a story where a small town was taken over by an alien race that took the form of bed bugs. Why bed bugs you might ask? Well upon researching these creepy crawlies I learned that bed bugs were quite apt at hiding. They are flat in their unfed form and can literally slide into any crevice available. This brings me to the other incredibly interesting aspect of bed bugs…they feed on blood, human blood. (que the creepy laugh – bwahahahaha….)

These facts along with their size, the fact that they reproduce like freaking rabbits and their ability to move really fast made them excellent little aliens who could take over an unsuspecting small town. It made for a fun little short story which may lead to an actual anthology utilizing insects. Do you see what happened there? Bed bugs inspired me! (And made me itch a bit while writing the story)

My point is that you can find inspiration in just about anything at all, even something you didn’t realize actually existed. As a writer you should always be looking at things with a “writer’s eye”. The “writer’s eye” is the ability to see the story in just about anything…even bed bugs.

Try this….while heading out this week to handle life try seeing things with your writer’s eye. See the story possibility in every aspect of your life. If you do I’ll bet by the week’s end you find a new story just waiting to make you itch! (See what I did there? Que creepy laugh again – bwahahahaha)

© The Writer’s Advice, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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Posted by on September 1, 2015 in Writing


Avoidance Thy Name is Writer’s Block

Writer’s Block…is it or isn’t it? For many years now we, as writers, have been wrestling with the concept of writer’s block. Is it a “thing” or is it an excuse? I vote an excuse and here is why. Writer’s Block is, by definition the “lack of being able to write for no determined reason”… it’s simply avoidance with a name.

I get writer’s block all the time. I sit down at my desk and I check Facebook, emails, text messages, I feed the dog, pet the dog, let the dog out, I call a friend, or my mom, I clean my desk…I could go on but I think you get the picture. Writer’s block for me is simply avoiding writing. The fact that I can call it “writer’s block” is kind of cool because there is some validation in it having a name; that, after all, makes it sort of a condition…not just me being lazy.

Writing is hard. Sitting down and focusing when our hearts aren’t always in it can be defeating and we all experience it. Calling it “writer’s block” doesn’t make it better to have, in fact, I think that makes it worse because we are telling ourselves that it is okay to avoid writing…it’s not.

So call it what it is….avoidance and move on. The only way that your work is going to get published is if you actually do it. You have to put your butt in the chair and your fingers on the keyboard…simple. Stop making excuses by giving your laziness a name. Now go write!

© The Writer’s Advice, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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Posted by on August 31, 2015 in Writing


Write a Good Story Because There Aren’t Any Out There

2006-01-03 Bad-writer
I took some time off yesterday and I sat down and watched television…wait…nope…that ain’t true…I flipped through the channels looking for something decent to watch to no avail. It was frustrating to see that there really is a bunch of crap out there on television these days and it is even more frustrating to realize that it is because there are no decent stories out there to base it all on.

Today we see books being published so quickly that no one is actually looking into whether they are good enough to be published. No longer is there an editor or publisher in the mix to suggest that a story be changed or more focused or even written better. These days want-to-be authors write a book, self-publish and it’s done, out there for the world to see good or bad. I long for the days when young writers had the resources to make their stories better…now they don’t even realize when it’s bad until it is already out there.

Here’s the connection to the television shows…we writers are the ones who inspire those shows…if we are bad, they are bad. Without good material there can be no good movies or shows. I don’t know about you but bad television actually encourages me to write….I need better material to watch during my down times!

So folks, get to writing and make sure that you utilize an editor if you are self-publishing. Yes it is easy to publish and that is kind of cool but these days being published does NOT make you a good writer. Anyone with a little time and the gift of rambling can get a book out there which just makes it that much harder to weed through the offerings in order to find something good to read. There is an old saying, just because you can doesn’t mean you should, and this applies to writing books too. If you are good, get us some good material out there…if you are bad…find another thing….writing just might not be your thing.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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Posted by on August 30, 2015 in Writing


Writers are (or should be) Always Thinking Ahead Just Not Writing There

Every story has a beginning, a middle and an end. If it didn’t have those elements it wouldn’t be a story but rather the random ramblings of some slightly insane scribbler. In the world of the writer beginning a story is easy….one dark and stormy night….and so on… The middle of the story is also semi easy because, well a story is gonna do what it’s gonna do but that ending….well THAT’S where we get our bums in a pinch. That damn ending is the hardest part and why? Because most of us are just too stupid not to want to start there.

I can’t tell you how many time I have had another writer come up to me at a conference and say, “I had the ending all figured out first!” I usually politely nod and smile but in my head I am saying, “Universe who laughs at us -1, Want to be writer – 0. If you are beginning with the ending you are simply doing it all wrong. You cannot create characters and then allow them to do what comes naturally if you are forcing an ending. It’s like having a really good running back and then not letting him run…it’s ridiculous.

We should always be thinking ahead just not writing from there. I am currently working on a series involving the same main characters so, to some degree, I have to always be thinking ahead but I can’t write from there because, in the end, my characters are gonna do what they are gonna do.

Thinking ahead to how a story “could” end can be fun but don’t let that cloud how the story naturally progresses. The key to any good story is to create the characters, flesh them out and then let them do what they do. The story will progress but in such a ways that it will make total sense based on the characters themselves.

So as a writer always “think” ahead…just don’t write from there!

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Posted by on August 25, 2015 in Writing


Remembering that YOU are a Writer

I write so much that I forget that I am a writer. Seriously. I write other people’s books (ghosting), I write articles, I write press releases, I write blogs…I write constantly…all day long….every day. But sometimes….I forget that I am a writer.

While I think it’s cute the way you tilt you head slightly to the left and look confused…allow me to explain. As a writer who makes a living writing it is easy to forget that you also have work of your own to do. I really do write all day, every day but it is on other people’s stuff. I have a tough time, for instance, keeping up with this blog. I enjoy doing it but my work is the very first thing that I push aside when I have other projects. The other project are money coming in and my projects are often money coming in someday. Here’s the thing I realized just yesterday though…I really have to stop it.

My writing was, after all, why I began to write in the first place. I had a story to tell….hell I had (have) tons of stories to tell and in order to be true to my craft I have to continue telling them, even while I tell other peoples’ stories as well. I sat here, yesterday, at my desk, feeling like a failure. I have two projects in the works and some editing to do and I haven’t touched any of it in months. A good friend came over last weekend and asked, where’s my book? She referring to the third in a series that I have been working on for some time. I didn’t have the heart to tell her it’s stalled on the first chapter. Then there is my spouse who has been waiting for “her” book to be finished for over 8 years.

So what does a writer do when they aren’t writing? The answer is fast, hard and easy…they need to write. I have to schedule some time for Jai’s writing just like I do everyone else’s. While the other writing pays the bills right now…eventually MY writing should pay the bills for the long run…if, that is…I’m actually doing it. So I got up this morning and I penciled me in. I scheduled my writing in alongside everyone else’s. The only way that my writing is going to get published is if I am actually…well….writing…

What about you?

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Posted by on August 24, 2015 in Writing


My Family Needs Me to Wear a Writer’s Mood Ring

Writing can be very emotional but those who don’t write…they don’t get that. I have two kids living at home and two living outside the home and whenever any of them talk to me when I am in the middle of writing they are always surprised that I am not actually listening.
When I write I need to be focused in order to be in-touch with the story. I need to feel the emotions of my characters and when I am in a particularly tough area where a lot of characters are doing a lot of stuff I can’t just stop and change lanes. My family often doesn’t understand that and end up with the, she’s just being pissy tude. It is really frustrating that after all these years they still don’t get it.

Chance are they may never understand so I have had to move on and just live with it. My advice to you is to do the very same thing. Write and do so with reckless abandon and the understanding that, no matter how much you try to explain…most non-writers will never understand….and that’s okay.

Writing is one of those things that is a total mystery to those who don’t do it. You get silly questions like, how do you come up with ideas and do you always have a story in your head, or, one of my favorites, do you enjoy making stuff up? The way I write is to create characters, breathe life into them and then let them do what comes naturally and what comes naturally of course comes with a lot of emotion, all of which I feel too throughout the story.

So baring a mood ring that helps folks see what writing mood I am in, it will always be a crap-shoot for those who live with us writers….and that’s okay. If we are not feeling the emotion after all we are really not writing a good story.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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Posted by on August 7, 2015 in Writing


Getting Paid – Don’t Let Anyone Devalue Your Writing

Getting Paid
I don’t only write novels, I also freelance as many writers do. Let’s be honest, while it would be awesome to be able to live of those book royalties, it is rare that it actually works out that way. Many writers take side work, editing, ghosting, article writing…and yes I do all of that and more. While freelancing helps pay the bills there is a bit of frustration that comes with it as well…those clients who don’t think they have to pay for your work.

Over the years I have had some great clients. In fact, I am the type of writer that many of my long term clients have actually become a part of our family as well. I enjoy the connections that I make and I value those I work with. Writing together is an intimate process – I don’t know how you couldn’t become personally involved. Having said that though, the other side of the coin are those people who hire me and then decide at some point that they don’t have to pay up when the work is completed…that is frustrating.

Writing takes time…lots and lots of time. As a writer I often work late into the night and through weekends. I put my clients before family if there is a deadline looming and I make myself available 24-7. I am personally invested in the work I do and I always strive to do the very best job I can. But this is what makes not getting paid for it so tough. I can’t repo the writing. It’s done. When a client gets the work I am left trusting that they will pay me for it and sadly there are a number of people out there who won’t. I have done many an assignment only to have the client walk away. This happens a lot with college students who need help with their papers.

When I was younger I use to let this make me feel as though my writing wasn’t good enough. I would convince myself that if the writing had been amazing the client wouldn’t have had a choice but to feel they should pay the final bill. I would spend hours coming down on myself for not having been good enough. It took me a lot of years to realize that I wasn’t the problem….some people are just dishonest.
Not getting paid for your work is, unfortunately, is sometimes one of the side effects of freelancing. Because there are rotten people out there you do stand the chance of getting cheated, however, don’t let that stop you from doing what you love. Today, I have more clients who pay me than not and of those clients I am very proud to say some of them have gone on to be very successful writers/authors. For me, seeing someone whose work I have edited make it as an author is more than money can provide…and I get to know the person as well. If you are going to freelance understand that there may be times when this happens but also realize that it’s not you, it’s them. Don’t devalue your work…it’s not the work…..

© The Writer’s Advice, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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Posted by on July 29, 2015 in Writing

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