This blog has run for three years, as I used it to create a book on how to write your way instead of the way you were taught. The idea is to match and enhance your strengths, not somebody else’s. And it shows you how to create your own voice to match your new writing process.

Last year, I extracted 145 posts from the blog and rearranged them into book order, instead of the catch-as-catch-can order of blogs. I wrote a few bridging passages, created new front matter, and added apparatus: bibliography, credits, etc. Then I rewrote the entire typescript four times to change the focus from journalistic techniques to general professional writing practices.

I was helped by my tough agent, Liv Blumer, and my editor at Writer’s Digest, Scott Francis, who kept pressuring me toward reframing that made the book more accessible to general readers. Thank you, Liv and Scott.

I am pleased to tell you that the book will appear on March 13. It has been announced on Amazon for pre-publication orders and a Kindle version.

Here’s the cover:

(I like the way this cover captures the gadgety spirit of the book; do you?)

Published in: on February 16, 2012 at 11:09 am  Comments (11)  


I posted this tweet this morning: “Don’t feel like writing today? Type a placeholder sentence, and revise it, and you’re writing.”

This method works because the words enmesh you. We writers think of ourselves as controlling our words, and we do. But merely putting words on paper or a screen changes what you’re thinking, and in this case, your mood.

You can experience this effect when writing dialogue. For example, this morning I was drafting a scene in a novel about two boys trying to live in the woods according to a book their father brought back from World War II: How to Survive on Land and Sea. They discover they already know most of what the book says.

“We could have written this book ourselves, Donny. Whenever we look things up in it, we’re usually already doing it.”
“What a great idea, Eddy. When we get rescued, we’ll write our own survival book for boys like us. But we’ll need a zippy title.”

And off they go brainstorming potential titles. I didn’t plan that, but once they started, I just turned them loose. How did that happen? I had struggled through last fall trying to come up with a title for my new book, Writing Your Way, forthcoming from Writers’s Digest on March 13. So once the boys came up with their book idea, it was an easy leap to their needing a title.

Such happy accidents can unnerve a control freak, which is a bad thing to be if you’re a writer. But if you don’t like what the characters do or say, you can just erase it.

(Ever had your characters take over, or your words divert you?)

Published in: on February 8, 2012 at 10:26 pm  Comments (3)