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About thewritersadvice

Jai is a full-time writer in the Pacific Northwest. An award winning journalist and published author, Jai writes mystery thrillers, ghost writes articles and books as well as feature articles for several national magazines.

The Friday Writing Pebbles #7


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Like throwing a pebble into the water some writers put advice out into the ocean of hopeful newbies hoping the ripple effects will reach them and they will learn a thing or two. Fridays here at The Writer’s Advice is pebble collection time. I will post some of the pebbles of wisdom I discover and I encourage you all to do the same. Each Friday we will help each other. So here are mine….show me yours!

Do Negative Thoughts Give You Writer’s Block? 5 Ways To Cut Loose – http://writetodone.com/toxic-thoughts-prevent-writing-5-antidotes/

I’m in Love With a Writer: A Survival Guide – http://blog.pshares.org/index.php/im-in-love-with-a-writer-a-survival-guide/

The Geek’s Guide to the Writing Life: Never Give Up- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephanie-vanderslice/the-geeks-guide-creative-writing_b_5134567.html

How the Ups and Downs of Writing Can Improve Your Craft – http://thewritelife.com/ups-and-downs-of-writing/

These Are the 21 Female Authors You Should Be Reading – http://time.com/63548/goldfinch-female-authors-reading/

 

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. 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 April 18, 2014 in Inspiration, Writing, Writing Tools

 

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Sometimes I Can’t Find the Fun and then it’s One Dragon at a Time


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Today I am overwhelmed. I want to write. I need to write. But somehow, over the past week, I have managed to get so far behind on my assignments that I feel buried. Today…I don’t want to write.

We all have times like these. Writing seems like an easy task to the outside world but what they don’t know, those non-writers, is that we are our own worst enemy. We fight with deadlines…sure…but we also fight ourselves constantly. I have two sets of deadlines…I have the ones set by the clients and I have the internal ones that I hold myself to. I have to do this because so much runs through my mind at any given time. My brain is populated by stories, lists, characters and the need to procrastinate.

So what do you do when you’re overwhelmed as I am right now? My motto is, “one dragon at a time”. Yes I don’t want to do any of it because I feel like it is a tsunami of work that I want to run from, but I know it all has to get done so I choose one thing and I work on that one thing. I work on that one thing until it is done and then I go about slaying the next dragon.

As a writer, the work will always be there no matter what kind of writing you do. If you are serious about writing and you freelance as well it can get crowded and thus overwhelming. The key is pace. You have to pace the work and yourself. Followed by pace comes persistence. Persistence is handy when the weather is good outside and you would rather be out soaking up the sun which can be sort of elusive here in the Pacific Northwest. Persistence is what keeps your butt in the chair so that the bills get paid.

Finally, persistence is followed by caring for the writer in you. Understand that the work will get done but don’t allow it to at the expense of your sanity. Take it on one dragon at a time and allow yourself to relish the victories as they happen. This morning I did 25 pages and then took a break to sit in the sun for a half hour, then, I went back to work. These small allowances will ensure that you don’t feel like a prisoner trapped by the work. So don’t get overwhelmed and pace yourself…it will get done.

Remember…one dragon at a time.

 

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. 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 April 13, 2014 in Writing

 

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Spring Cleaning Time – Throw out the Crap


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Spring is a time of renewal for the planet but let’s be honest, for us writers it is a time of complaining about having to clean out your office. I know at my house I get this look about this time of the year that translates to “get all that paper and crap out of there – it’s a fire hazard”.

Over the winter we writers tend to horde. I know for me personally I come up with all sorts of ideas in the dead of winter and I half write them all down. I have to be honest; I do a lot of brainstorming to get out of other things like shoveling snow or running the kids back and forth in the freezing rain. I “suddenly” get an idea that I “just have to get down on paper”; go figure that still works after over 10 years…yeah me. But now that it is Spring it is time to sit down and rummage through all those “ideas” and see which ones work and which ones are just stupid.

Although I hate doing this myself, it is an important part of the writer’s year. If we don’t take the time to weed through our winter slush pile we can get overwhelmed by the large stack of potentials. I take great care in going through mine because sometimes, despite why a story idea was created, it turns out good. I have pulled out some real jewels but I have also pulled out some real dogs.

So take a moment while the sun is out and tackle that slush pile before making your writing excuses for the summer. You never know, there may be something in there that gets you really excited about writing even if the sun is out.

 

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. 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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Check Out the New Book


In Your Write Mind coverIn Your Write Mind – A Writer’s Thoughts on the Writer’s World is a 74,653 word layman’s manual on how to be a writer. We have thousands of books out there now that “preach” at writers but there are very few that “talk” to the writer. The tone of In Your Write Mind is one of humorous common sense. It is written as though two writers are having coffee and the “seasoned” writer is pointing out the obvious, weeding through all of the “advice” other writers impart.

In Your Write Mind addresses some of the age old advice such as “write what you know” and offers new writers another way of considering that advice. This book speaks to the writer through common sense and humor thus helping them to remember what is being imparted while ensuring that they won’t be snoring by the end of the book. In Your Write Mind is laid out as 150 days of advice, each day offering the writer another way to consider what they have been told. It also offers some new ways to tackle being a writer and it addresses some of the challenges in such a way that writers don’t have to feel overwhelmed or alone in their endeavors. And it will make you laugh.

 

Buy it today at http://www.amazon.com/In-Your-Write-Mind-Thoughts-ebook/dp/B00HERH8WA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1396808320&sr=8-1&keywords=Jai+COlvin

 

 

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The Friday Writing Pebbles #6


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Like throwing a pebble into the water some writers put advice out into the ocean of hopeful newbies hoping the ripple effects will reach them and they will learn a thing or two. Fridays here at The Writer’s Advice is pebble collection time. I will post some of the pebbles of wisdom I discover and I encourage you all to do the same. Each Friday we will help each other. So here are mine….show me yours!

  • Stephen King’s Top 20 Rules for Writers -http://www.openculture.com/2014/03/stephen-kings-top-20-rules-for-writers.html

 

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. 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 April 4, 2014 in Inspiration, Writing

 

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Sometimes it Sucks


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I love being a writer. I love the concept of story. I love typing. I love seeing my name on a book cover. I love seeing readers read my work with a smile on their faces. You know what I don’t love though? Critics. Critics are men, small, humanoids that take pleasure from trashing other people. I’m not talking about the occasional person who gives you a few suggestions to make your words better; I’m talking about those folks who seem to make it their jobs to make your life frustrating.

I read once that critics are just frustrated writers but I think it goes beyond that. I think critics are mean people who enjoy putting others down. As a writer you will meet them everywhere. Writer’s conferences are the worse. It’s as if there are a group of these mealy little beings who go to writer’s conferences just to pick at the writers. I have had more than on occasion to be the victim of these folks in front of crowds; there is no way to come back from a person shouting that you suck in a room of 50 people.

Let me make it clear that there is a huge difference between a critic and a person who is trying to help. A person trying to help does just that, helps. They might point out a mistake but they are then quick with a proposed solution too. They want to make you look better. A critic just wants to follow you around and point out your mistakes and enjoy the way it makes you uncomfortable. You should hug the person trying to help and trip the critic. (It’s okay, the law allows this)

By far the best way to deal with a critic is to ignore them. Remember that they are unhappy bullies looking for a victim. I usually just nod my head a lot, smile and walk away. If you let them see it hurt you, they won’t go away. Remember that you are a writer and you are writing otherwise those critics would have nothing to go after you on. Smile, nod and walk away…nothing makes a critic angrier than being ignored.

 

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. 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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The Friday Writing Pebbles #5


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Like throwing a pebble into the water some writers put advice out into the ocean of hopeful newbies hoping the ripple effects will reach them and they will learn a thing or two. Fridays here at The Writer’s Advice is pebble collection time. I will post some of the pebbles of wisdom I discover and I encourage you all to do the same. Each Friday we will help each other. So here are mine….show me yours!

  • Ten Mistakes Writers Don’t See (But Can Easily Fix When They Do)-http://www.holtuncensored.com/hu/the-ten-mistakes

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. 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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There is More to the Story than the Final Line


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I do a lot of ghost writing. While I wish I was independently wealthy and had enough money to just work on my books…alas…I don’t, therefore I take other writing jobs. I do actually enjoy ghost writing, as a journalist for many, many years I have always loved telling other people’s stories, but, as with any writing job, ghost writing has its pros and cons.

One of the largest “cons” if you will is the writing itself. While I am always motivated to do the work, sometimes my clients are not. They begin the project with me and almost always there comes a time when they (the client) start to drop off a bit. I have to wrangle them back and refocus them back towards the project. Sometimes it is easy because the client is invested in the project but at other times clients get side tracked by everything else. It is for this reason that when signing a contract I try and make it very clear to the client that they have to commit to the project.

Ghost writing is just that, ghost writing, you are writing someone else’s story. If they don’t tell you the story there is nothing to write. Then it gets into a time wasting effort and no one has the time or money for that. So in an effort to help other writers out there who want to ghost write, here are some things to say to a potential client BEFORE signing the contract…

1. Make sure you are committed to the project – Just because a client puts a down payment down it doesn’t necessarily mean they will stay focused.
2. Explain the way you work – Remember that often times the person you are ghost writing for knows nothing about how writing works. They instead have a romantic notion which is often wrong. Explain the writing process so there are no misunderstandings.
3. Set a specific number of times to meet each week. If you are working for someone with a lot of time on their hands they can take over your life. Set it out in the contract that you agree to meet X number of times.
4. Explain the way the payment plan works – almost all ghost writers work with payment plans; set specific goals and then stick with them. You don’t want the project to start costing you money and it will.
5. Goals are fluid – Life happens so it is important to write that into the contract. Make sure that your client understands that sometimes life slows us down and it’s okay.
6. Finally, you have to finish at some point – Your client has to take part in the process. You have to be able to get the story from them and the only way to do that is to work together.
These are just a few things to consider telling a client before signing that contract. Remember that the contract binds you both.

 

 

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. 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 March 24, 2014 in Writing

 

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Technology – How Can Something so Wonderful be so Frustrating?


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I am a gadget person. What does that mean? Well, it means that my spouse hates it when something new comes out that makes noise or lights up. It means that my office is a cornucopia of toys that walk, talk and otherwise flash cool colors. It means that whenever a new “tool” (that’s what I call them, “tools” it kind of makes that whole justification thing easier when it comes to spending the money) comes out, I HAVE TO HAVE IT!

Now keep in mind that this means I have collected a lot of crap over the years that now has a place in a box in the garage but now and again I end up with something really helpful. Case in point, my Galaxy Note 10.1. I love this gadget and, to some degree, it has really been helpful with my writing. I can write anywhere, anytime and I can have my work where ever I go. Yes I had to buy all the accessories – the mouse, which required a special piece that allowed it to plug into the Note, a case that allows the Note to stand at the right angle when working on it, the keyboard because everyone knows how awkward the on-board keyboard on a tablet is and a bag to carry it all in. Yes my spouse looked at me sideways when the cash register just kept ringing up but in the end I love the Note and will upgrade at some point. Here’s the problem though…I don’t fully use it in the way it was intended because, well, I’m kind of old fashioned.

While it is fun to collect gadgets, when it comes to an actual functional gadgets that allow you to work better, change can be tough. I am used to my laptop and it is easy to use. Everything is all in one place and I don’t have to “learn” anything. It’s easy, it’s known and the unknown is what scares me. So instead of using my Note to it’s full potential I play at it. I learn just enough to look like I can justify the price of it and I go no further. I am screwing myself.

Here’s the thing fellow writers…time is a tickin and it waits for none of us. We can all sit on our laptops or, heaven forbid, our paper and pencils, and never feel the rush that comes with making our job easier and more accessible or we can get on board and meet the future face first. Yes technology is wonderful and yes it can also be frustrating because we have to learn a new thing but in the end you have to ask yourself am I wasting time with the old school ways? I know I have been. My Galaxy makes it easier to see clients and do work onsite, I don’t have to lug around my laptop which weighs more and it gives me access to whatever I need whenever I need it…I just have to learn how to use it properly.

So here is my challenge to you my fellow writers….embrace technology. Check out the new gadgets and see what might work to help you do what you do better. I know young writers who are churning out several books a year; they have embraced the future. I would also challenge you all to share here on the comments below what kind of newer technology you have been using. If it works for you it may just help some of the rest of us too.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. 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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Words are Wonderful…Until You Use Them Wrongly


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Wrongly….yep…yesterday someone used that word at me. I say “at me” because when a person, especially a so-called writer, uses a word in a way that is annoying it is like getting slapped in the face. Come on people….words are your thing…they are what you do….use them correctly and for Pete’s Sake…don’t overuse them!

Here are some examples of writers gone stupid and/or words we should always stay away from.

  • Basically, essentially and totally – Three more useless words in writing you will be hard pressed to find. These words add nothing but word count spaces. Your sentence almost always improves without them. And don’t get me started on the whole “totally” phase the kids are into right now.
  • Irregardless – THIS IS NOT A WORD! No one word will annoy me faster than this one.
  •  Thusly – Whenever I read a writer who uses this word it screams one thing to me, he/she is trying to sound smarter than they are. The words thus or therefore go a long way and don’t make you sound like you are trying too hard.
  •  Paradigm, synergy, leveraging; thinking outside the box, attacking low-hanging fruit, getting things done down and dirty and, worse of all, easy-peasy – Folks you are writers, so write…don’t use the overused crap that everyone from newscasters to the kids on the block are using. My spouse actually looked at me last night and asked, “What does easy-peasy mean exactly?” I had to shake my head and respond, “I’m not sure but it sure sounds stupid.”
  •  Literally – This is a biggie. Most people who use this word don’t actually realize what it means. “Literally” isn’t a word you use for emphasis. It’s a word you use when you say something that shouldn’t just be interpreted figuratively. If you say that you literally worked your ass off, it doesn’t mean that you worked really hard; it means you no longer have an ass. Stop misusing this please.

These are just a few examples. I am sure that many of you have your own examples of words gone wrong. Please take a moment and share them here so that we might help some other poor writer who doesn’t know any better.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. 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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