Power Blogging times two

I am out at two workshops today, in Mundelein and Lake Zurich. The topic, Power Blogging, is my most-requested program this year.

As a writer, you know a blog is good for gaining exposure for your work, but there’s more:

A Blog is…

A public space to be seen, and to reach people
Regular writing exercise
A way to connect with people
A free tool to build a following
The basis for a platform to promote your work

In summary, a blog is easier than a web site, more focused than Facebook, and more tantalizing than Twitter.

Stay home in your PJs on a rainy Saturday, and blog today!



Guest post: Christina Katz

With Christina’s permission, here’s an excerpt from her recent blog post: “There Has Never Been a Better Time to Be a Writer.” Can’t argue with that… (Full link here).

…”Because writers have increased choices for how to publish. Because we have increased choices of how and where to seek assistance. Because we have so many easy, inexpensive career-building tools at our fingertips. And because it has never been easier to locate and make the most of everything we need to succeed in the short run and the long run.”

More at ChristinaKatz.com

Make Your Own Rules for Success

Here’s an old bon mot:

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.

— W. Somerset Maugham

Use it as your motivation to make your own rules, find your own path, and make 2012 the year you move your writing ahead.  Get an article published, research the requirements for a book proposal or charge ahead on the path to seeing your book published. A year is a long time, and that time will be filled with a myriad of obligations and surprises. How you use your time to push closer to your goals will detemine the outcome for you at year-end.

I’ll get off my soapbox now!
Best regards,
Helen Gallagher

Write faster with Google Scribe

Ever wish you could write faster, or perhaps not have to carefully type the name of your book over and over. In the old days we used macros, to record keystrokes. I still use them all the time for client Excel projects, but Google has an easy way for you to learn how to record keystrokes for your writing too.

Google Scribe is another new product from Google Labs. It helps you typing faster by auto-completing your words and sentences with Google’s prediction technology. Though not perfect, it’s become very popular in some circles. There is a plug-in to use it with your blog, either on Blogger or WordPress. Let Google Scribe help you find the right words faster, as you type your posts.

Search the Plug-in directory at your blog for Google Scribe.

Are you writing yet? National Novel Writing Month is underway.

Search the archive here for the NANOWRIMO category, down the left side of this blog, to read a bit of history and the fun of NANOWRIMO from 2009. I don’t have much time this year, but I’m already dipping into the e-inkwell to get some pages done every day.

Don’t feel that you don’t have time, just jump in this year and meet your minimum goal:

Make yourself write every day.


That’s really the appeal of National Novel Writing Month. You needn’t turn out a novel but its fun to have goals.

Please comment here to let us all know if you’re participating this year, and how you’re doing.

Are you LinkedIn?

A writer never needs to feel alone any more. The web offers loads of opportunities for you to get connected with other writers on LinkedIn. Facebook and Twitter get all the attention but they are not superior to the serious connections you can make on LinkedIn. There are hundreds of writing groups at LinkedIn, and this morning, I’ll share one that might interest you; a Women’s Memoir group.

Here is the description (for those of you not logged in):

While having a personal story to tell is critical to writing a memoir, there is so much more to writing a GOOD memoir:
– Having a compelling point of view
– Avoiding the pity party
– Engaging readers with your attention to sensory detail
– Creating a universal message out of your personal story
– Using the many conventions of good writing effectively
– Considering a memoir organizational device
– And more

We would like this group to be a gathering place for memoir writers of all skill levels and experience and become a resource for sharing ideas, asking/answering questions, discussing writing, publishing, marketing and sales issue, and anything else about memoir that comes to a member’s mind.

The Women’s Memoir group has over 1000 members. If you’re already a LinkedIn member, you can search Groups and join this memoir writing group. Otherwise, search the groups and find another group that is a good match for your motivation,  whether you’re working on fiction or making your first million dollars on ebooks.

If you’re more interested in non-fiction or publishing groups, drop me a line and I’ll send you a group invitation.

Helen Gallagher

Eager to get noticed?

Jane Friedman has a powerful article in the  July-August 2011 issue of Writer’s Digest, entitled “Revising Your Path to Publication.” On the writersdigest.com site, Brian Klems posted this excerpt. Take it to heart, and see what you can do today to get a little closer to these milestones in your writing career …

6 Signs You’re Getting Closer to Publication
September 20, 2011 | Brian A. Klems | Comments: 2

Be on the lookout for these signals, which may indicate that agents and publishers are starting to take notice of your work.

  1. You start receiving personalized, “encouraging” rejections.
  2. Agents or editors reject the manuscript you submitted, but ask you to send your next work. (They can see that you’re on the verge of producing something great.)
  3. Your mentor (or published author friend) tells you to contact his agent, without you asking for a referral.
  4. An agent or editor proactively contacts you because she spotted your quality writing somewhere online or in print.
  5. You’ve outgrown the people in your critique group and need to find more sophisticated critique partners.
  6. Looking back, you understand why your work was rejected, and see that it deserved rejection. You probably even feel embarrassed by earlier work.

This article was written by Jane Friedman.

Got the ‘back to school’ itch?

With the web, there are countless ways for you to re-engage with that ‘back to school’  feeling we had when we were kids.

Was it just a fantasy of new notebooks, paper, pens and the promise of time allowed to complete tasks? Could we still feel that way about getting back in gear for a ‘semester’ devoted to writing?

The world has sure changed, but there are good resource for online classes, that will give you that same spark of imagination and drive.


MediaBistro with courses from novel writing to personal essay to blogging and editing.

Poynter News U with self-directed and webinar courses. Scholarships available.

Writer’s Digest with free online seminars so you can see if you like the concept before moving up to paying classes.

Does your writing sizzle, like summer?

When writing is good, people often use lively descriptions, such as:
“It jumps off the page,” or “Sizzling, “Superlative,” even “walloping Great,” as Arthur Plotnik boldly claimed in his book:
“Better Than Great: A Plenitudinous Compendium of Wallopingly Fresh Superlatives”

I bring this up today because sometimes our writing is so hot it smoulders, and sometimes, like mid-July when fun, friends, family and the great outdoors call to us, our writing languishes.

Take 30 minutes today to read through one of your essays, or a section of your memoir or novel, and see if you can slow down and go back and add some real punch to the writing. Summer is a great time to get inspired, if we take time to put pen to paper, and let words keep us cool.


Are you working hard enough?

This is one point from a long blog post by well-known J. Konrath, a bestselling author, via traditional and ebook markets. I wanted to share this simple point with you today because it illustrates the basic fact. If you’re a writer, you write. Here’s Konrath’s quote:

“Practice Makes Perfect. I’m currently reading a book that was recommended to me by my buddy Henry Perez, called Outliers: The Story of Success. It mentions the 10,000 Hour Rule. In short, no one becomes an expert at something without having invested 10,000 hours in it.

“I found it interesting to apply this to my career. It took me twelve years to become published. While holding down a full-time job, I still managed to write over a million words during that time–roughly 15 to 20 hours a week. Guess what? That’s 10,000 hours.”

So, its a lovely May Saturday morning. Are you ready to write? There’s never been a better time to write, so keep busy and take your work to the next level of success. There’s more waiting to be written, so finish something. It frees you up to start something new.


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