What Writer is Your Greatest Influence?

I have several authors whom I list as my favorites, or as my greatest influences. I believe a lot of writers probably do the same.

A writer (or artist of any discipline, really) takes a little bit from every piece of work they read or experience. And that’s really the best way to learn. We learn to tell great stories by imitating other great storytellers.

Learning by Imitation

When we’re first learning, the imitation is often just that: a thinly-disguised copy of a favorite story or an obvious mimicry of another author’s style. And that’s okay, because we’re still in the early stages of learning and developing our own style. Our influences are more apparent. Continue reading

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So You Want to Be a Social Media Expert?

I originally wrote this post for the blog at Helps2, the social media company that I work with. 

Social media manager. Content creator. Platform consultant. Growth hacker. Yes, this is a thing now.

Ten to twelve years ago, social media as we know it today didn’t exist at all. So is there such a thing as an “expert” in a field that is not only brand new, but is changing on a daily basis? And if you’re not Mark Zuckerberg or a Google employee, can you actually become one of these people?

Yes, you can. While I may not be considered an “expert,” as compared to the real pros, I have learned a thing or two about the social media world and how to stand above the crowd. I’m still learning, growing, practicing, and adjusting, but I will share a few tips that can help you move out of the “newbie” realm and on towards “expert.” Continue reading

You are the Narrator of Your Own Life

What is a narrator? A narrator is someone who tells a story.

In literary terms, a narrator can be “I” – called first person point of view. To borrow the first line from a classic Gothic romance novel, an example of first person narration would be “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderly again.” (from Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier)

A third person point of view narrator is someone else telling the story. This is either a character written as he/she/they (not “I”), or an outside onlooker relating the tale (as when a story begins with something like “Listen, dear reader, and you shall hear a tale…” Continue reading

My Favorite Writing Blogs

While I usually blog about something writerly (or bookish, or something sci-fi/fantasy related or geeky), most of the blogs that I read are actual for real how-to-write-better blogs.

Hopefully if you’re a writer and you follow my blog, you get something of value at least occasionally. But if you’re really looking for good writing tips, here are four of my favorite writing blogs:

Kristen Lamb’s Blog

Kristen Lamb is a self-professed author, blogger, and social media Jedi, and all of these are true. She blogs about all things writerly – from writing your antagonist’s wounds to how to build your author brand online. She’s also hilarious, sarcastic, and not afraid to tell the hard truth about most anything. Her blog is well worth reading. Continue reading

Why Do You Write?

Every writer has a different reason for writing.

Some write from a place of pain, and their writing is both healing to themselves and a message to the world about true hurts.

Some write from a place of joy, wanting to share the positive experiences that tie all humans together.

Some write because they have a message to deliver, a cause they want others to support, or a lesson they want others to learn.

Some write to explore the inner workings of their own minds, or to help others explore theirs.

Some write just to tell a good story. Continue reading

Twitter Hashtags for Writers

I love Twitter, and I’ve used it for years. I believe that Twitter is one of the best social media sites for writers, because it’s so easy to engage with people. You can follow, be followed by, and actually chat directly with everyone from readers and fans to editors, agents, and publishing companies.

Another powerful aspect of Twitter is the hashtag. The # symbol (yes, it can also be called a pound sign, number sign, or sharp sign) is called a hashtag when used on social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

The hashtag is a powerful search tool. When you click on a hashtag, it brings up every tweet that contains that hashtagged word or phrase. This can be a great way to reach readers, commune with other writers, find other professionals in the book industry, even find new story ideas or writing prompts.

Here are some powerful hashtags that writers of every genre and level of experience can use on a regular basis: Continue reading