Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Wordsmith Collective Thursday – Investing in Your Writing

April 28, 2022
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As writers we want to produce the very best story for our readers. Although, we would like to spend all our time writing, there are many other demands on our time. Family commitments, work, chores and more, in fact just life! To improve our writing skill, however, we need to invest in it.

There are multiple ways in which to do this. Of course, some require extended time commitments, while others are easier to slot into our time constraints. Here are some options for you to consider:

Education

Furthering your writing education encompasses broad and diverse options. We can find many free on-line or paid resources, such as on YouTube, Masterclasses or Skillshare. There will also be courses, whether in-person or on-line for a day or evening class basis with a university or college course. These can be a large time and financial investment, so think carefully before committing to one.

Conferences and Events

You can find writing conferences held throughout the year by literary organizations, these range from free to paid. Attending a session with an expert and really focusing on their topic, is a great way to garner information and insight for your own writing.

Books

There is a plethora of books on writing and you can either borrow from your local library or buy. Depending on if you want a general writing guide or a specific one, you should be able to find one that matches your needs.

Writing Apps or Services

There are many to choose from, including ProWritingAid, Scrivener, or Novlr, to name a few. It is important to thoroughly research these before purchasing, so it is in-line with what you need as a writer and how you write. Some have free trial periods so you can test them out.

Coach

This option does involve a financial commitment, as well as a time commitment. Hiring a writing coach can make a tremendous difference to your writing. It can take the form of informal mentors to biweekly counseling sessions. Decide which one suits your personality and learning preference.

Writer in Residence

Many libraries have professional authors, who spend a period of time holding presentations, but also give free advice, whether one-on-one or via email. As a free resource this is a great option for any writer. (I always connect with our local WIR every year).

Writing Retreat

You can find retreats held by literary organizations in most areas. They can be structured or informal. Most will entail a financial commitment. If you belong to a writing group, why not organize your own, with maybe a special guest or two to give a presentation. Or decide on what is the most common element everyone wants to learn, discuss or practice is and build the retreat around that.

Writing Group

A local writing group is a real bonus in helping you improve your writing. You receive feedback on your writing, discuss the multitudinous of writing topics, as well as receive encouragement and support.

No matter which option you choose, investing in your writing always improves your skill.

What have you done to improve your writing skills?

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Utilizing Your Writer in Residence

January 27, 2022
mandyevebarnett


I have once again taken advantage of our local Writer in Residence program hosted by my library. Last week, I attended a virtual presentation entitled Writing Three Dimensional Characters That Sing. It was a highly informational session. As writers we are always learning and taking the time to learn is essential in improving our writing craft.

There was an extra bonus to this year’s writer in residence as she is an acquaintance and a great writer and writing community advocate. Rayanne Haines is the author of seven books, including three poetry collections. Her artistic practice focuses on projects that look to redeem and empower women’s narratives. In addition to her writing, teaching, and festival work, she also produces/curates intersectional feminist poetry films and panels with authors across Canada. Her current work focuses on mental health and intergenerational female trauma.

Having the opportunity to access a writing mentor and their free services through this program enables local writers to gain insight into their work. The program services include individual manuscript consultations, public readings and talks, information on the publishing process and networking with the writing community.

Do you have a similar program where you live?

What devices, programs and events do you use to learn your craft?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – What About Those New Year’s Goals? How are you doing?

October 28, 2021
mandyevebarnett


At the start of each year, some of us decide on goals for the year. These range from the most common ones, such as weight loss, fitness, and stopping smoking, the ‘healthy ones’ in other words. But, what of the other goals, the practical ones, so to speak? For authors this would be improving our brand, more sales, promotional opportunities, presentations or speaking engagements and more. As writers, we want to increase our word count, the number of projects completed, or receiving publicity or publishing deals.

Obviously, many of these goals go by the wayside pretty quickly, while others make it to mid-year, or possibly later. The question that arises is – why make goals in the first place? Are we swept along with the possibilities of a fresh start? Do we think we can achieve them, and stay committed to our self-inflicted goals? The excitement of a whole new year ahead of us is a powerful momentum for change. I think that is the key to our initial thinking, when it comes to annual goal making.

As we all know that momentum gets harder to maintain as the months roll by. We get off-track.

There are time constraints, health issues, family matters, work events, vacations, seasonal holidays – the list goes on. Each scenario affects how we feel, our ‘free’ time, and what we are able to accomplish. There is always some ‘distraction’ pulling us away from that initial elation of new year possibilities.

So, what is the answer? This is a difficult question to answer, as we are all experiencing life in a multitude of ways. No one person is the same as another. I think the first step is to be totally honest with yourself, when it comes to setting goals in the first place. Too many goals, too loftier a goal and the ‘good grief’ goals should be shelved before they even get ‘out the box’.

Making a goal is a very personal thing. You need to look at what your time will allow and also your personality trait. Do you have a week to week, or month to month planner or do you hope for the best? Or something in-between? Having too many goals sets you up for failure and that isn’t good for anyone.  Remember we don’t have to do ALL the goals in one year – pace yourself. Put the most ‘important’ one first, then plan accordingly and stick to it. Put less pressure on yourself and accomplish one or two instead.

My goal board

You can even make a ‘goal’ under the umbrella of a wider spectrum, such as ‘improvement’, whether for your health or for your writing career. Many of you saw my 2021 goal board link – it is the best board I have made in many years and I don’t think I will be changing it very much for 2022. I have goals I want to reach in the next few years and the board reflects that for me.

Realistically, a goal can take longer than a year. Accept that and work towards it at your own pace. Time constraints and deadlines are not applicable here. We all ‘work’ at different paces, make that work for you.

How are your 2021 goals coming along?

Have you succeeded or are you on track?

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Tips on Learning Your Writing Craft

August 19, 2021
mandyevebarnett


As writers and authors, learning new skills, keeping ahead of genre evolution, trope changes and writing methods is vital for our continued improvement as a wordsmith. With the industry changing so quickly, we need to be ahead of the game.

The best ways to do this are:

  1. Join a writing group
  2. Read articles on the book industry
  3. Take courses and workshops
  4. Attend writing conferences
  5. Subscribe to industry newsletters
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

How do you keep current with the writing industry?

This past weekend, I virtually attended When Words Collide and attended as many sessions as I could, while also being a co-presenter and panelist. Although, there was information I already knew, there were also those little nuggets of wisdom, insights and knowledge that made each session a gem. My notes were prolific and my follow up to action each gem will take several weeks.

There is always something to learn, whether you are just starting out on your writing career or have years of experience. We can have tunnel vision and ease into a ‘comfort zone’ so easily, when there are so many other calls on our time.

Some things can be scheduled monthly, such as updating your website or blog with current information. We don’t want a visitor to read upcoming events from 2018! Modify your bio to include your latest book, current WIP progression and appearances etc. Don’t leave your blog stagnant – post content regularly. (This can be once weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or even quarterly – just a known routine, so followers will know when to expect you to post).

We all have several social media accounts, so make sure they reflect the latest news, images etc. so they are in line with your current activities. This makes your author platform current. Also check links to ensure they are working properly or direct to a new site, if a change occurred. Refresh content and images so your platform doesn’t look dated or tired. Renew your copyright dates for all content across platforms on 1st January each year – this is one that can be missed very easily.

Can you share tips on what you do to stay updated and improve your writing skills?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Reading Challenges, Book Reviews and Giveaway Wins

July 20, 2021
mandyevebarnett


I join the annual Goodreads Reading Challenge each year, sometimes I succeed, but other times I miss by a book, or maybe two. This depends on how busy my life gets. I’m sure you can agree. As a writer, reading is an integral part of my education. Reading new genres, authors and styles gives me, not only ideas, but the ability to dissect the plot, characterizations etc. This can be done with movies too. This year, I am on track with my reading, probably because there have been no events to plan or attend apart from virtual ones. I would love to see your challenge statics if you want to share them. Here’s mine:

I was fortunate to win all three books in the series in a giveaway.

Review: A delightfully imaginative story that envelopes the reader into a magical world of imps, elves, forest and aquatic creatures. There is good tension throughout and the reader is propelled to read the next chapter.

My current read is one I received from another giveaway contest. When Robins Appear by Densie Webb.

What are you currently reading? Why did you choose that specific book? Have you won a book giveaway – which book(s)?

A friend of mine is a talented artist and she gifted me this delightful image. I can imagine a character from Ockleberries to the Rescue living there. https://www.amazon.ca/Ockleberries-Rescue…/dp/1988723663 Who do you think lives there from the stories?

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