Tag Archives: motivation

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:

#WritingCommunity
#writingcommunity
#amwriting
#amediting
#authorlife
#writerlife

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

June Recap 2019

Today’s my birthday! I officially turn twenty-five today, and that means I’m five years away from being thirty. Wow. It’s so hard to wrap my head around. I feel like when you’re a teenager, thinking about your twenties seem so far away, but every year just goes by faster and faster. June went by in a blur, but I’m still feeling pretty down about certain things in my life. I’m hoping July is a better month!

What I Wrote:

Back in May, I finished outlining three new projects. My original plan was to bounce between all three and work on them all simultaneously, but after more thought, I decided against doing so. I had a feeling that pushing myself to write three different stories would only both confuse me, and mess with my writing.

However, I did start writing my YA Thief idea, and it’s currently sitting at 42,000 words! I feel strongly that I’m going to hit my 80k word count goal, and while this project has been pretty hard to write, I’m falling more in love with it every day.

What I Read:

Total: 3

The Invited by Jennifer McMahon ★★★★☆

I’ve really been in the mood for a ghost story, so when I googled “ghost stories” and saw this new release on Goodreads, I just had to pick it up. The story follows Helen and Nate, a couple who are building their dream house – but little do they realize that the land they’ve bought may be haunted.

While I did really enjoy this book, I had two gripes with it: one was that it just didn’t feel spooky enough. I was hoping for a little more fright and chills, but I unfortunately didn’t get any of that. My second gripe is that it took me forever to finish this book; I normally finish a book within three-to-four days, but this took me over a week to read. I’m not sure if it was the pacing, or the fact that words were rather small and the pages really long, so my brain was tricked into believing there were more words than there actually were.

All in all, I did really enjoy the mystery and the characters within this book. If you’re looking for a ghost story that’s not too scary, then this might be the perfect book for you!

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson ★★★★☆

This is the first novel I’ve read by Margaret Rogerson, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The world and characters were rich and complex, and I love the magic system. I also loved that this was a standalone fantasy, which I don’t feel like there are enough of. My only major issues with the book (besides a few nitpicky personal things) were that the pacing felt off, and there was quite a bit of purple prose.

By the last hundred pages of this book, I kept wondering when it was going to end. While the story was amazing, I definitely felt it dragged on just a tad too long. There were also many instances of far too heavy-handed description, which would pull me out of the story. However, the ending made up for a lot of the issues I had, and this was still a really beautiful story.

The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman ★★★★☆

Reading Ms. Herman’s debut novel has really made me miss contemporary fantasy in the same vein of Beautiful Creatures. The writing was simplistic, yet beautiful, and I did enjoy the story and characters within the novel. There’s not much more I can say, other than that while reading this book, I felt transported back in time to my high school days, and I really miss contemporary and paranormal fantasy being on the shelves.

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What I’m Watching:

I’m halfway through the final season of The Fosters, and will be sad to finish the series. Once I do, I’m not sure what I do watch next. Let me know if you have any recommendations!

Otherwise, the boyfriend and I are on the final season of The Tudors, and I’ve been really enjoying it.

Currently Reading:

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How I Did: June Goals

Back in June, I gave myself several goals:

• Create my July blogging schedule
• Finally apply to school
• Begin writing YA Fantasy Thief Idea
• Begin writing Secret Project Idea
• Begin writing Sci-Fi Idea

I’m happy to see that I completed two of these. As I mentioned before, I decided not to write all three WIP’s at once, so I haven’t got around to writing the Secret Project idea or the Sci-Fi idea. I also created my July blogging schedule; unfortunately, I still have not applied for school. I really feel like I need to go and get a degree, but I’m so worried about the cost of going back.

Have any of you gone back to school later in life? How did that go for you, and do you regret it? Let me know in the comments!

July Goals:

I’m very excited to say that all of my beta readers finally got back to me, and I’ve analyzed all of their feedback and read through my adult fantasy WIP once again with a fresh pair of eyes. I’m ready to dive into revisions, and that’s definitely one of my new goals this month:

• Revise adult fantasy WIP
• Finish writing YA Thief Idea
• Send adult fantasy WIP back out to readers
• Make a final decision about going back to school
• Create my blog schedule for August and September

Coming Up:

Since I’m about to start revisions, and I have three projects I want to work on, I’m going to be taking a step back from the blog. I have several posts scheduled to upload for the rest of July, but I’ll be taking most of August off to really focus on my writing. I still plan on uploading at least two blog posts, but I hope to be back in full swing in September!


How’d everyone’s June go? Are you excited for the summer?

Let me know!

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!

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(*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

Interview with a Writer: Tauri Cox

Are you interested in getting to know more of the writers who are part of our amazing community? As part of my new blog series, I’ve interviewed some of the writers in an effort to get to know them better, as well as share their stories!

So today, I’m introducing Tauri Cox onto the blog! Tauri and I met last year and become fast friends and critique partners. I am so excited to share what she has to say about her life as a writer, the advice she has to new writers, and what her publishing goals are!


#1. What got you into writing? How and when did you first start?

I’ve been experimenting with writing for as long as I can remember: short stories, creative writing classes, etc. But I didn’t pursue it – or even consider it – seriously until my senior year of college. I had gone in as a pre-med student. Then quickly learned I sucked at math and science. But my professors always complimented me on my writing. So I switched over and immediately fell in love.

#2: Where do you usually get your ideas?

My ideas come from a variety of places. My first two novels were fictionalized retellings of real life events. But my third and current project was inspired by the city of New Orleans. It’s one of my favorite places in the world, and I just knew I wanted my next story to be based there. Luckily there’s plenty of interesting subject matter to go with NOLA!

#3: What current project are you working on right now? What was the inspiration for this project?

Like I said above, New Orleans was the inspiration for my current project. Once I dug into the past and culture of the city, I found a story about Marie Laveau – the infamous voodoo queen – and the pieces fell into place.

My second inspiration was Damon Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries. I really wanted to write a female version of his character: a morally grey, reluctant, sassy but lovable antihero. My main character Jessa stemmed naturally from there, popping into my head fully-formed.

So my WIP is a NA contemporary fantasy revolving around a young woman who discovers she’s the missing heir to the voodoo queen but doesn’t really want anything to do with it.

#4: Traditional, Self-Publish, Small Press? What path to publishing are you pursuing/have pursued and why?

I am currently pursuing traditional publishing. I dream of seeing my book on the shelves of Barnes & Noble, and I believe traditional is the best way of going about accomplishing that dream thanks to bigger distribution and the backing of a big house and editorial/marketing team.

#5: What’s the best writing tip you’ve ever received?

Hmmm. That’s tough because I’ve been lucky enough to receive a lot of great feedback. But I think the best was a reminder to take breaks. Burnout is a very real thing, and it can happen fast. So pacing yourself, refilling your creative well and taking a break between drafts has really helped my process.

The other is to give yourself a little grace – especially with first drafts. I am a perfectionist and the first draft is paralyzing to me because it never comes out the way I want it to. But that’s okay. That’s what revisions are for. So just get it down on paper and fix it later.

#6: When are you most creative?

After a glass of wine 🙂 but seriously it’s true. It goes along with the above, loosens my control freak-ness a little so I can just write. I typically am most creative in the evenings – right after work and before dinner. I can crank out a couple of hours then.

#7: What authors inspire you the most?

I am sure everyone says this, but JK Rowling has been a huge source of inspiration to me. Her journey is just fantastic. Sarah J Maas is the same way. She was published so young and has created this incredible platform from scratch.

But I’ve also been really inspired by a lot of the writers I’ve met along the way. Writers who have been working for years and never given up, writers who have consistently published books – books that didn’t make it big – but slowly built a strong following, writers who advocate for each other. It’s really a phenomenal community.

#8: What’s your most anticipated read in the next few months?

Well, my TBR pile is so gigantic that it’s actually overwhelming. But there are some great books in there! One of my most anticipated books of the year just came out a couple weeks ago and that was Finale by Stephanie Garber. It was fantastic. I am also really excited to finally start reading V.E. Schwab’s Darker Shade of Magic series.

#9: What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman. It’s fabulous – dark and atmospheric with well-crafted characters. I love seeing more and more “fantasies” set in the real world – especially since that’s what I am writing!

#10: What’s your favorite book or book series?

That’s a toss up. Favorite series are Harry Potter and both of Sarah J Maas’ series. Favorite stand alone is The Great Gatsby!

#11: Favorite childhood book?

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – a classic! The Witch Family is a close tie.

#12: Biggest book pet peeve?

Insta-love. It drives me CRAZY! Insta-lust is fine. But I am a firm believe that you can’t really love someone until you know them and know them well. Plus slow burn romance is the BEST.

#13: What book has made you cry?

A lot. I am a big crier. But The Shack by William P. Young absolutely wrecked me in the best way possible.

#14: Favorite writing snack or drink?

Red wine and Goldfish.

#15: What’s your biggest fear? Writing related or otherwise – or both!

Snakes and failure.

#16: What other hobbies do you have outside of writing?

Reading obviously. I love puzzles and crafts and cooking. The rest of my life pretty much revolves around my dog and my family.

#17: Biggest real life pet peeve?

Slow walkers and people who don’t pay attention to where they are going in the grocery store. MOVE, GET OUT THE WAY!

#18: Any final words to aspiring writers out there?

Don’t lose faith if your first book doesn’t get you an agent. Don’t lose faith if your first book doesn’t get picked up by a publisher. It’s rare, and it’s all about the right book at the right time with the right person. And eventually the right combination will arise.


All About Taurisweater-headshot.jpg

Growing up, Tauri wanted to be a variety of things: marine biologist, veterinarian, equine chiropractor, neonatal surgeon. All biological, all scientific.

Until she arrived at college and quickly discovered… she was horrifically bad at science.
But she also learned that she had a knack for writing, and a passion was ignited.

Since then, Tauri has graduated from the University of Texas where she studied creative writing and psychology under Elizabeth McCracken, five-time author and James A. Michener Chair in Fiction. Immediately afterward, she joined the Writer’s Path at Southern Methodist University where she honed her skills under the tutelage of authors Suzanne Frank and Kay Honeyman.

She now lives in Austin, TX in a one-bedroom apartment with her eighty pound German Shepherd mix, her satanic cat, and a small shred of intact sanity.

You can follow Tauri on her blog and on Twitter!

 

May Recap 2019

May was a hard month for me. Between what feels like constant kidney stone pain, some personal things going, and just feeling stuck in life, I’ve had a rough month. I’m really hoping for a fresh start in June!

What I Wrote:

Well, I didn’t get any writing done; but I did finish outlining three of my new projects, which I’m very excited for! I have big hopes and ideas for these projects, and am so excited to start writing them!

What I Read:

Total: 7

Shadow Crown by Kristen Martin ★★☆☆☆

I read Ms. Martin’s first novel, The Alpha Drive, last year and was really unimpressed. I felt there were far too many problems with the novel and that it needed a lot more work before being published. That said, I debated for a long time on whether or not I wanted to buy the first novel in her newest series, but finally caved and decided to buy.

By far, Shadow Crown is leaps and bounds ahead of her first novel. The writing is much smoother, the plot is less jumpy, and the story is more focused. However, Shadow Crown is not without err.

The novel is littered with grammatical errors, the use of modern language, and military time. Phrases like “firing like missiles” and “awesome” are used. The characters act without much reason or motivation, and the entire inciting incident only happens because our main characters makes a decision that is completely out of character. We’re constantly told things instead of shown them, and there is hardly any world-building.

While Shadow Crown is much better than The Alpha Drive, I have to give this two stars. It’s clear Ms. Martin is improving as a writer, but I still think she needs work.

Someone Knows by Lisa Scottoline ★★★☆☆

This is my first Lisa Scottoline novel, and I’m really torn on how I feel about it. The writing was absolutely beautiful, and the world was vivid. The characters were interesting and complex, and every voice was unique and easy to follow.

The novel is divided into two parts, following the past and present. The past part of the novel was by far my favorite, and the mystery was well constructed and amazingly written. However, the present part of the novel – which takes place twenty years later – felt like it fell into the thriller cliché a little too much. The killer was outed easily, but the final, end twist was unexpected and it really made this novel.

But between the beautiful writing, there were far too many characters to follow whose POV’s felt unnecessary to the overall plot. One character also keeps a secret from his spouse, and has a choice to revel this secret, but he choose not to. This character decision was something I could not get behind, and it’s one of the reasons I have to take a star off.

Someone Knows is a really close four stars, but I would definitely pick up another Lisa Scottoline novel and give the author another shot.

The Summer I Turned Pretty Trilogy by Jenny Han ★★★☆☆

The Summer I Turned Pretty ★★★★☆
It’s Not Summer Without You ★★★☆☆
We’ll Always Have Summer ★★☆☆☆

I’m rating the entire trilogy three stars, but I’ve given each book in the series an individual rating as well. After reading, I have some major thoughts on these books.

On one hand, I loved the first book. I really connected to the main character, Belly, and identified with her struggles as she grew into a young woman. The writing was simple, yet beautiful, and I didn’t expect to enjoy the first novel as much as I did.

Unfortunately, my enjoyment for this series only faltered as I went on. The quality of the writing stayed the same, but it was the two love interest’s behaviors and actions that made me enjoy the series less and less. I didn’t agree with Belly choosing either love interest, not after the way they treated her throughout the series, and by the end I found myself rooting for Belly to find her own independence. Unfortunately, the books ended in a way I just wasn’t happy with.

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An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena ★★★☆☆

I’ve read both of Shari Lapena’s previous works and enjoyed them, so when I saw she’d released a new book, I picked it up without hesitation.

An Unwanted Guest is clearly inspired by Agatha Christie’s novel, And Then There Were None, and there’s even a slight mention of the novel within the book itself. Lapena does well to make sure her own novel is original and interesting, and the premise really pulled me in.

What really fell flat for me is that the end twist – while I didn’t see it coming – just didn’t grab me the way I hoped.

The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald ★★★★★

Okay, I LOVED this book. The writing was beautiful, the characters were complex, and the story was fast-paced and so gripping. The story was unique, and I love the parallels between past and present. This book brought tears to my eyes in the end, and I was satisfied with the journey and ending of the amazing novel. I will definitely be picking up Christina McDonald’s next book!

What I’m Watching:

Well, May marked the series finale of Game of Thrones. I admit that I was crushed by the ending. I’d been rooting for Daenerys to win the Iron Throne since day one, so seeing what happened to her was so disappointing.

The boyfriend and I also stopped watching The Magicians, which was a bit disappointing, but we just didn’t have any interest anymore. On the flip side, we’ve begun watching Psyche and The Tudors, which we’re both really enjoying.

I am devastated that Netflix took off Switched at Birth. I was halfway through season two and loving it. Since they’ve taken it off, I’ve been watching The Fosters, and am already halfway through season three!

Currently Reading:

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How I Did: May Goals:

Back in May, I gave myself several goals:

• Outline YA Fantasy Thief Idea
• Outline Secret Project Idea
• Actually make a plan to go back to school
• Create my June blogging schedule
• Begin writing YA Fantasy Thief Idea
• Begin writing Secret Project Idea

I’m proud to say I completed three of these! I outlined both projects and created my June blogging schedule. I wanted to come up with a plan to go back to school, but unfortunately, I had some decisions to make that I was holding back on making. I’m proud to say I have made a final decision, and am excited to move forward with my education!

I really wanted to begin writing my two new projects in May, but wasn’t able to, considering it took me most of the month to plan both novels! I also decided to add a third new project to my plate as well, which I’m proud to say I also finished outlining!

June Goals:

• Create my July blogging schedule
• Finally apply to school
• Begin writing YA Fantasy Thief Idea
• Begin writing Secret Project Idea
• Begin writing Sci-Fi Idea

What’s Coming Up On the Blog:

I have a brand new series planned to be released this month, so stayed tuned for that!

I’ve also been considering doing more full-length book reviews instead of only these smaller reviews on my Monthly Recaps. Do you guys want to see more in-depth book reviews? Let me know!


How’d everyone else’s May go? What goals do you have planned for June?

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