Category Archives: Writing Tips & Tricks

4 Reasons to Join the Writing Community

Writing is a lonely process. Most of the time, us writers are holed up in a room, all alone, with our own thoughts, dreams, and ideas. It’s such an isolated process that it can be hard to remember there are other writers – and people like us – out there. Since joining the Writing Community two years ago, I’ve connected with so many amazing writers, and found a place where I can fully be myself.

So where do you join the community?

It’s all over the place! Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc…However, Twitter is the best place to be the most active. So many writers have accounts, as well as literary agents and publishing houses, and it’s the easiest place to interact and communicate.

But what benefits are there to joining the Writing Community?

1.) Community

There is a community full of writers out there. People who are on the same journey as you – whatever level you may be at. There are those who are writing their first novel, or their second; others who are ready to self-publish or already have. Whatever path you’re on, there will be hundreds of others just like you.

Like I said before, writing is a lonely process. But finding a community that you can connect with, where you can talk to like-minded people, makes the writing process a little less lonely.

2.) Connections

Being part of the community also means making connections with people. Other writers, editors, freelancers, critique partners, beta readers, and literary agents – they’re all people you can meet, and it’s important to get to know them.

Well, you don’t have to get to know all of them.

But making a few meaningful connections with other writers who can become your critique partners, or getting to know what an agent likes or dislikes by their tweets, can build meaningful connections that are guaranteed to help you along the way.

3.) Advice

Another amazing part of the community is learning advice from other writers, agents, and editors. So many of these writers tweet out daily writing advice, or agents will tweet things they frequently see go wrong in writer’s query letters or manuscripts.
Twitter can be a goldmine of advice.

Follow writers like Delilah S. Dawson, Susan Dennard, or V.E. Schwab for advice on writing.

4.) Platform

Whether you’re self, traditional, or small press publishing, one of the most important things you will have to do as a writer is build your author platform. By building an audience of people who are invested in you, and your work and brand, you’re already making a name for yourself in the publishing world.

Marketing is harder than ever these days, with so many markets oversaturated with products; but by ensuring you are active, and actively making connections with people, you’ll only continue to grow and build your platform. Follower count isn’t the most important thing – but building connections is.

If you’re interested in joining the community, follow along with hashtags like:


Do any of these tips help you want to join the community? How do you interact with other writers? Let me know in the comments!

XOXO – Devon

6 Tips to Help You Read More This Summer

I love the summertime. In fact, summer is my favorite season! There’s nothing better than sitting out in the sun with a good book and enjoying the breeze. I love wearing my summer clothes, and being outside during this time of year. Where I live, most of the year it’s freezing or just too cold to go outside, so I try and enjoy the summer for as long as I can!

Summer is the perfect time for barbecues, water parks, campfires, family vacations, and so much more! But during the summer, it can be difficult to remember to read! There are so many other fun activities that occupy our time, and sometimes reading can slip our minds! If you’re looking to read more this summer, look no further! And if you’re hoping to make a reading a habit, check out my blog post all about how!

#1.) Bring a Book Everywhere

No matter where you go, carry a book with you! Or if you have a kindle, that works too! There are so many moments in our day where we can slip in a little bit of reading time, even if it’s just a paragraph or a page.

Whether you’ll be a passenger in a long car ride, traveling on a plane to your perfect vacation destination, or camping out, steal those moments to read instead of checking your phone. Oh – and you might want to bring more than one book!

#2.) Don’t Be Afraid to DNF

There is not enough time in our lives to force ourselves to read books we don’t like. Our time is so precious, and we need to enjoy every moment of it. If you’re just not enjoying a book for one reason or another, don’t be afraid to put it down. Find a different book you know you’ll enjoy. The summertime should be all about relaxing, not stressing!

#3.) Listen to Audiobooks

Audiobooks are a form of reading, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! They’re perfect for long car rides, or whatever travel plans you may have. And if you don’t – turn your audiobooks on at home!

I would listen to more audiobooks if I could – but the CD players in my car no longer works!

#4.) Read Lightly

Believe me, I’m a lover of huge, 800 – 1,000 page books. They’re fun to read, and they have their place. But even for a fast reader, a hefty book with such a large page count can still take some time to read.

Try limiting yourself to smaller books in the 250 – 400 page range. Not only will you read more, but if you’re traveling, you can take more books! The bigger the book, the less room you have!

#5.) Do a Summer Reading Challenge

Some people are very goal oriented, so have a reading challenge is a perfect way to keep them on track. Not only that, but they’re fun, too!

The PopSugar Reading Challenge, 2018 Modern Mrs. Darcy Challenge, and NY Public Library Challenge, are all great examples you can try. Or if you want, make your own!

#6.) Ignore the Hype

There are tons of book that come out every month. Tons. Every month, I hear about the hottest new releases, and can’t help but want to buy and add them to my TBR list. But the hype only deviates me from reading what I already have on my shelf.

Instead of reading books that are (and have) been waiting for me to read for months, I buy the newest books and devour them first. Not only does this keep me from reading what should have been read months ago, but it also makes me feel stressed about missing out.

Instead, try and ignore the hype. Take the summertime to read what you already have, or catch up on some old favorites. Even if the hype for a new book dies down, don’t worry – the book will still be there.

Do you find these tips helpful? What do you do to read more in the summer? Let me know in the comments!

XOXO – Devon

How to Use Music as Writing Inspiration

I’ve always been an avid listener of music. I grew up in a house where music was always playing. My Dad taught me from a young age the importance of music, and what an impact it can make. Since then, my tastes in music have not only grown and changed, but become one of the biggest sources of inspiration for all my writing.

That said, I simply cannot write without finding a few songs to use as inspiration for whatever I’m currently working on. I don’t always listen to music when I write, but when I’m stuck on a scene, I’ll pull up the playlist I’ve created and take some time to listen for a while. Normally, inspiration strikes while being lost in the lyrics and rhythm of the music. I swear by it being an excellent source of inspiration, and if you’re struggling, here’s a few tips that’ll help you out!

Step 1: Find Songs That Resonate With You and Your WIP

The first thing to do is find songs that will resonate with you and what you’re working on. Whether it be songs with lyrics in them, or instrumental music, it’s important to find songs that will really evoke ideas, inspiration, or motivation within you.

* Emotion

What kind of emotion are you hoping to invoke? Love? Sadness? Anger? What songs bring tears to your eyes? Find music that will accurately represent what kind of emotion you want to feel, especially if you’ll be writing it for specific scene.

* Lyrics

Listen to the lyrics next! There are so many great lines within song lyrics that have sparked so many of my ideas. Here’s some examples of songs with lyrics that have really inspired me.



If you could pretend your book was being turned into a movie, what songs would you want on the soundtrack? Look at examples of all the other great movie soundtracks and study how they fit into the atmosphere and theme of the world.

Step 2: Create a Playlist

Once you’ve picked out plenty of songs, the next step is to create a playlist. My favorite way to do this is create one in my iTunes library, putting all the songs for that current WIP into the playlist. Then when I’m writing – I listen to that playlist and only that playlist! It keeps me focused on the task at hand, and gets me pumped up to write. It keeps me from getting distracted wanting to get up and do something else, similar to when your favorite song comes on in the car and you don’t want to get out.

The most important step is figuring out the right songs that really capture the mood you’re trying to convey. I find pretty much all my songs through iTunes, or by falling down a rabbit hole in YouTube and finding new artists.

Check out some of the songs on my Androids Series playlist:

• Everybody Wants to Rule the World – Lorde
• In for the Kill (Skream’s Lets Get Ravey remix) – La Roux
• The Only One – Evanescence

• 24 – Jem
• Panic Switch – Silversun Pickups
• The Outsider – A Perfect Circle
• Believer – Imagine Dragons

Or even one of my newer projects, Forbidden:

• Horns – Bryce Fox
• Seven Devils – Florence + The Machine
• Bedroom Hymns – Florence + The Machine

• Don’t Let Me Go – RAIGN
• Sorry – Halsey
• Love is a Sacrifice – Ivy & Gold

Step 3: Use it as Writing Fuel

Once you’ve crafted your playlist, get to writing! Play your music while you work, and let it keep you motivated and in the zone of your world.

What music do you listen to while writing? Let me know in the comments!

XOXO – Devon

6 Things to Do Before Starting Your Novel

So, you’re getting ready to write your novel. Whether this is your first book or your tenth – here’s a handy list of things to do before you even begin putting words on the page!

1.) Outline Your Novel

Often times when I hear writers ask, “I don’t know what should happen next” My question is, “Did you outline your novel?”

Having an outline – whether it be detailed or not – can really help you keep on track. Knowing what happens beforehand will keep you motivated, and prevent you from suffering the dreaded writers block. It’s easier to sit down for a writing session and know where to take the story, rather than sit for an hour and wonder what happens next.

If you’re not an outliner, this might not work for you, and that’s okay. Everyone has a different method of writing their novels. If you don’t like to outline, it may help to just known the story beats of your novel, too. Check out Save the Cat! Writes a Novel to get a good idea on how to learn story beats.

2.) Know Your World (And Your Rules)

Every fictional world has a set of rules. There’s certain limits to a magic system, or certain rules within the government control that can’t be broken. Whatever it is – it’s important to know the rules within your world and how they work together.

Let’s take Harry Potter, for example. In the world of Harry Potter, people born who can do magic are known as “witches” and “wizards”. People who cannot do magic are known as “muggles”, and children born from muggles who have magic are known as “mudbloods”. Those born to magical parents, but unable to do magic, are known as “squibs”.

This is a perfect example of knowing your world. It’s important to know who can do magic and who cannot, and why that is. JK Rowling went so far to create an entire government based in her world of Harry Potter, known as the Ministry of Magic. Knowing your world, and the rules of the world, and how they work together can ground your story and make it feel more real.

If you want a more in-depth look at how JK Rowling created the rules for her Harry Potter universe, check out this page here.

3.) Organize Your Writing Space

It’s important to keep a clean writing space. Having a clean writing space will not only keep you free of distractions, but also keep you tempted from cleaning up. You’ll be able to focus more clearly on what’s in front of you, than what’s around you.

When I’m outlining, it’s always messy around me. Books and papers are littered everywhere. But when it’s time to write, I make sure my desk is neat and organized.

4.) Make an Aesthetic

Making an aesthetic is a favorite of many writers. Finding pictures that capture the atmosphere of your characters and world is a great way to not only keep yourself motivated, but to see what kind of imagery you’re going for with your novel.
It’s a great way to get a feel for your world, or what your characters interests and personalities are like.

I find all my pictures for my aesthetics on Pinterest, and even create different boards for all my ideas! I use Canva to edit the pictures together!

DoH31NiUwAAR02D.jpgAesthetic 1.jpgAesthetic 1.jpg

(*All pictures found on Pinterest. Credit goes to all artists. I do not own these images).

5.) Make a Playlist

Many writers love using music as an inspiration, myself included. Similar to an aesthetic, create a playlist of songs that really capture the atmosphere of your world, characters, or specific scenes. Play them as you write or just to keep yourself immersed in that world.

6.) Stop Procrastinating

This might be the hardest one yet! It can be so difficult for writers to sit down and begin their novels. There’s so much self-doubt and fear that goes into writing a book, and sitting down to write only makes those doubts even worse.

But the important thing to remember is that if you have a dream, no one else can make that dream come true but you. You will eventually have to sit down and do the work. But by utilizing all these tips above, it can be much easier to dive into the work, and enjoy the act of writing your novel.

Do you use any of these tips before writing your novels? Let me know!

XOXO – Devon

6 Tips to Make Reading a Habit

Reading is fun, and it’s just like every other entertainment medium out there. But so many people struggle with picking up a book, or never develop a consistent reading habit. If you’re someone who’s struggling to read more – or just looking to form a new habit – here’s six tips that should help you out!

#1. Find Books You Enjoy

I’m a big believer that high school English classes killed a love of reading for many people. Being forced to read classic literary novels that were hard to understand, digest, and even comprehend really sucked the joy out of reading for countless teenagers.

But here’s a secret: if you want to get back into reading, and make it a habit, it’s important to find books you’ll actually enjoy reading. You don’t have to read Charles Dickens or Nathaniel Hawthorne to be considered a reader. All you need to do is read.

Whether it’s YA books, science-fiction and fantasy, historical fiction, even graphic novels or comic books, find a genre that you will really be invested in. Reading is so much better when you actual enjoy it.

#2. Always Carry a Book on You

Whenever you leave the house, keep your book on you at all times. There are plenty of moments throughout the day where you can squeeze in some reading time. Like between classes, or waiting during a doctor’s appointment, or at the bus stop. You get the idea.
Think of it this way: if it’s a moment where you’d pull out your phone to browse the internet, try pulling out your book instead.

#3. Reduce TV Time

TV can be a great source of inspiration, creation, and wonderful storytelling. But TV and books are two entirely different mediums that tell stories entirely different ways. They both have their benefits, but TV can also be a time-consuming distraction.

For example, if you normally spend about three hours a night watching TV, try cutting your TV time down to two hours, and use that last hour to read. When developing a new habit, it’s important to be consistent.

#4. Set Scheduled Reading Times

If you find yourself struggling to sit down and read, try setting some scheduled reading time. Set a timer for fifteen, twenty, or thirty minutes – or however long you feel comfortable – and just sit down and read. Give yourself permission to sit back, relax, and enjoy whatever novel is in front of you for the allotted time period.

Even if it’s just fifteen minutes a day, doing it every day will only help you form a new reading habit.

#5. Set a Reading Goal

If you’re someone who is highly goal oriented, setting a reading goal can be a great motivator. Find a goal you are comfortable with – like reading one book a week – and stick to it. The important thing here is to motivate yourself to meet your goal, while also working at a comfortable pace. Set a goal that will not only keeping you invested, but also having fun. Because that’s what reading should be: fun.

#6. Read Daily

Find a time within your day where you can dedicate it fully to reading without any interruptions. Even if it’s only a page a day, the important thing is to be consistent. Reading daily will not only help you develop a reading habit, but it will also teach you to read faster, improve your vocabulary and writing skills, and stimulate your creativity. You can’t go wrong with a daily reading habit.

The important thing to remember is that reading should be, above all things, fun. Don’t force yourself to read books you won’t enjoy, and read at a pace you feel comfortable.


Do you use any of these tips to develop your own reading habit? Let me know!

XOXO – Devon

9 Tips to Make Writing a Habit

Writing is a special gift. But why do so many writers struggle to actually find time to put words on the page? Well, it might be because they haven’t developed a writing habit.

Life can be extremely busy. Between full-time and part-time jobs, children, social commitments, or other day-to-day things, finding the time to sit down and let your creativity flow can be incredibly difficult for some people. And there’s nothing wrong with that; taking care of your children is obviously more important than writing. But if you find yourself really wanting to develop a writing habit, and are struggling to figure out how, here are eight tips that might help you out!

(Keep in mind: You don’t have to follow all of these tips. But implementing just one or two of them into your daily schedule might just improve your writing life!)

#1: Write at the Same Time Everyday

Whether it means getting up an hour before everyone else, or waiting until everyone else goes to bed, find a time that works for you. Find a slot in your day – morning, afternoon, evening – that will have no interruptions and no distractions.

Writing at the same time every day will not only train your mind that that time slot is the time to write, but also let your family and friends know that time is when you’re busy. Commit yourself to this every time you write. You don’t have to write every day to be a writer – but you have to be consistent.

#2: Use Triggers

Maybe it’s your favorite cup of coffee or tea in the morning. Or maybe the scent of your favorite candle or incense. Whatever it is, use it to your advantage. Before you sit down to write, implement this trigger into your writing schedule.

If you get up in the morning, make a cup of coffee the first thing before you write. The smell of the coffee, and the act of getting it, will tell you brain it’s time to write. Over time, these triggers will help get you in the mood for a writing session.
Whatever it is – coffee, tea, a scent, maybe meditating an hour beforehand – use whatever trigger will work best for you. It’s important to get yourself excited to sit down and write, and be in the right headspace.

#3: Eliminate Distractions

Turn off the TV. Keep your phone in the other room. Disconnect from the internet. Whatever you have to do to keep yourself distraction free, do it. If you sit down to write during your allotted writing time, but find yourself checking your phone, or browsing the internet, it’s time to eliminate any distractions.

Distractions will only keep you from getting your writing done. Your writing time has to be for you. The internet can wait. The TV can wait. They’re not going anywhere.

#4: Organize Your Writing Space

Wherever you write – at a desk, the kitchen table, the couch in the living room – make sure it’s clean and organized. Having a clean space free of distractions will keep your mind clear. Not only that, it will prevent you from wanting to get up and organize the space instead of write.

Your space should be clean and organized, but also allow you access to everything you need – a pen, notebook, etc. – so you don’t have to get up and go search for it. Keep your writing space creative. Fill it with motivational quotes or posters. Hang up posters from your favorite TV shows or movies. It’s important to keep your space neat, but to also make it a safe haven where you can sit, uninterrupted, and let your ideas flow.

#5: Set Small Goals First

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to aim high for bigger goals. But if you’re trying to develop your own writing a habit, shooting big might not always be the best.
It’s best to start small and pace yourself.

Start with a small word count or time frame. For example, tell yourself you’re going to write five-hundred words for the day. Or you’re going to write for twenty minutes straight with no distractions. Whatever it is, push yourself to meet these goals.

Once you’ve managed to meet these goals for a few days, or maybe a week straight, begin to raise them. Instead of writing five-hundred words, bump up your count to seven-hundred. Increase your time from twenty minutes to thirty. Gradually, you will begin to meet higher word count goals without burning yourself out.

The important thing to remember is to take it in strides. Writing is like a muscle, and you need to train it appropriately. An athlete wouldn’t push themselves to run a marathon when they’ve never run one before, or even trained for it, would they?

Writing might be a different kind of “sport”, but you need to train yourself all the same.

#6: Make Writing a Priority

If there’s one tip you should follow out of everything else, this should be number one.
To put words on the page, to make this a habit, to find any success as a writer, you have to make writing a priority. There will be times when you need to turn things down in order to write. There will be times when you just have to say “no”.

For example, let’s say Friday nights are the only free time you have to write. But every Friday night you go out with friends and get drinks the entire evening. Are you making writing a priority here? No.

There may be times when you have to put writing above all else. This doesn’t mean neglect your health, your children, your spouse, or your loved ones – but it may mean sacrificing fun social activities, or missing the newest episode of a show you love, because you’ve made writing a priority instead.

Don’t burn yourself out, however. Remember to take a step back and have fun. Remember to take care of yourself. But don’t constantly put writing to the side in pursuit of something else, because if you do, you may never find the time to write.

#7: Set Boundaries

Once you’ve decided to make writing a priority, you will have to set boundaries. This means being able to say “no” to friends, family, and loved ones. This means telling people that this time slot you have – maybe an hour on your lunch break at work – is now writing time, not time for socializing.

Your friends and family may be frustrated by this. But it’s important to set those boundaries with them. Your writing time and space needs to be respected.

Writing is like work. Your family wouldn’t just barge into your workplace, would they?

#8: Be Accountable and Consistent

If you’re trying to build a writing habit, keep yourself accountable. Make sure you’re following your goals and the schedule you’ve set yourself. If you need to, find an accountability partner who will cheer you on and motivate you to keep going.

If you don’t hold yourself accountable, it’s easier to slip up and lose consistency. The more you lose consistency, the harder it will be to form a writing habit.

#9: Reward Yourself

Maybe there’s a movie coming out that you’ve been waiting to see, or a book you’ve been eyeing on the shelf. Whatever it is, use it as a motivator to keep yourself going. For every five-thousand words you write, you can treat yourself to a fancy Starbucks drink, or a sweet treat. When you write ten-thousand words, treat yourself to a fancy dinner. You get the gist.

Keep a reward in the back of your mind. Something you can finally give into buying or doing. Writing should be fun, too. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself when you hit a milestone.

No matter what tips and tricks you decide to implement here, the important thing to remember is that you need consistency to form a new habit. Research shows that it can take sixty-six days to form a habit. Writing is like everything else – you need to train yourself to sit down, show up, and do the work.

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
— Louis L’Amour

XOXO – Devon

8 Tips to Help You Brainstorm Ideas

In my previous post, I talked all about how to choose your next book project. But let’s take a step back: how do you actually get those ideas for a book in the first place? Where do they come from? How do you develop them? Today, I’m going to share nine tips on how to generate exciting ideas that will get you inspired and itching to write in no time!

#1: The “What-If” Method

Stephen King has been known to use this method frequently to develop his own ideas. The method is simple: ask yourself “what if this happened?”

“What if a girl wakes up with no memory of who she is?”
“What if a nurse is kidnapped while hitch hiking?”
“What if an abandoned baby is found by a couple who’s always wanted children?”

By just asking myself these “what-if” questions, I can already feel another series of questions brewing.

“What if the girl was in a horrible accident?”
“What if the nurse is running away from an abusive home life?”
“What if the couple who finds the baby are having trouble conceiving?”

Using this method, an entire door of creative possibilities can open. Ask yourself “what if” questions about the characters, the world, the “why”. This method is a sure way to create some story ideas!

#2: Listen to Music

I’m a big fan of music, and it’s one of my – and many other authors – favorite method of generating story ideas. Music has a way of pulling us in and taking us to a whole other world. When I’m generating ideas, I’ll listen to my entire music library at random, letting any and every song play. I like to have a pen and paper (or the notes app on my phone) at the ready in case an idea springs to mind.

#3: Read – Anything and Everything

I’m a big believer that if you want to be a writer, then you have to be a reader, too. There’s so much reading can do to help us grow and learn, not just as writers, but also people. When looking for new ideas, reading can be one of the best sources to find them.
Binge read for a couple of days. Devour every book you can, and see what ideas may spark inside of you. Maybe it’s a line or scene from a book. Maybe an author writes a retelling, and you don’t like the execution, so you think about how you would have changed things. Give yourself time to absorb everything you read, and see what happens.

#4: Take a Drive

A couple years ago when I was in college, I had to drive forty-five minutes there and back every day. Do you know how many ideas I got from those long drives? Tons!
Driving can admittedly be pretty boring, but it gives you the opportunity to let your mind wander. Simply letting your mind go, free of all restrictions, can help generate story ideas.

#5: Sleep

This may be one of my favorite methods, because I love napping. Dreams have been a source of inspiration and ideas for all writers. Even Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight came to her in a dream.

Even if you don’t get any ideas from your sleep, just getting enough sleep is a sure way to have a healthy mind.

#6: Absorb other Creative Mediums

Go to a movie. Binge Netflix. Browse Pinterest. Anything that can get your creative juices flowing is always a proven method. Let your mind absorb the information around you. Maybe there’s a line from a movie that sparks inspiration, or a photo on Pinterest (one of my personal favorite methods). Maybe you binge watch a TV show, and one of the episode concepts sparks inspiration. Whatever it is, absorbing new creative inspiration is necessary.

#:7: Go About Your Daily Routine

Sometimes our best ideas come from doing literally nothing but going about or day. Driving to work. Making that first cup of coffee in the morning, putting makeup on, cooking dinner. We do these tasks so frequently that it’s easy for our brains to wander, and before you know, an idea may come out of nowhere.

I’ve come up with a ton of ideas by simply doing my nighttime routine. Taking my makeup off, feeding the cat, getting a glass of water before bed – so many novel ideas have come from this monotonous routine.

#8: Research

My previous WIP, Forbidden, is heavily inspired by Ancient Greece and Greek Mythology. I spent a long time doing research on ancient Greek customs, festivals, rituals, etc. – all of which helped generate story and scene ideas.

Research different cultures, different mythologies, different fairytales – anything and everything can spark story ideas.

I think by now you’ve probably got the hint: inspiration cane come from everywhere. A person, a place, a line in a movie, a scene in a book. I actually have an idea for a science fiction novel that I got because of someone’s license plate! The point is, let yourself find inspiration everywhere you go. Don’t limit yourself, and the ideas will be sure to flow.

How do you generate story ideas? Let me know in the comments!

-XOXO Devon