Write Now with Sarah Werner | For Writers, On Writing

By Sarah Rhea Werner: Writer, Editor, & Creative Professional

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Description

A weekly podcast for aspiring writers looking to find a healthy work/life/writing balance. Get the encouragement, honest advice, and inspiration you need to pursue your passion and write every day. Recurring themes include books, coffee, rainy days, truth, beauty, lasers, dinosaurs, and all of your other favorite things.

Episode Date
Coffee Break 078: Philip Kenney
37:01

Psychotherapist and author Philip Kenney sheds some light on the universal obstacles of creatives, the benefits of meditation, and trusting in your muse.

Jun 18, 2018
Coffee Break 077: Anthony Olivieri
46:05

Audio drama creator Anthony Olivieri and I talk about balance, inspiration, and building both a sense of mystery and deeper meaning into your work.

Jun 11, 2018
Coffee Break 070: Andrew Chamberlain
41:27

Podcaster and creative writer Andrew Chamberlain shares advice on building characters, utilizing story structure, and listening to writing advice.

Jun 04, 2018
Coffee Break 075: Mark Millien
31:34

Podcaster Mark Millien shares how to overcome the fear of creative exposure, avoid world-building pitfalls, and flex your creative muscles through D&D!

May 28, 2018
Coffee Break 074: Jennifer Blanchard
28:41

Author, blogger, and creative enabler Jennifer Blanchard talks personal branding, pursuing multiple passions, and living a writer's dream life.

May 21, 2018
Coffee Break 073: Julia Samuel
22:18

Psychotherapist and bereavement counselor Julia Samuel shares methods of healthy grieving and finding a literary narrative within death and loss.

May 14, 2018
Coffee Break 072: Eli McIlveen and Sean Howard
31:41

Alba Salix creators Eli McIlveen and Sean Howard talk about creativity and comedy, hobbies and hiatuses, and the undeniable power of roleplaying games!

May 07, 2018
Coffee Break 071: Jeff Leisawitz
30:31

Writer, counselor, and all-around creator enabler Jeff Leisawitz shares tips, tricks, and stories to help get your creative goals airborne.

Apr 30, 2018
Coffee Break 070: Jewel Eliese
24:20

Blogger and busy mom Jewel Eliese shares the benefits of joining and starting online communities, as well as giving yourself permission to write.

Apr 23, 2018
Coffee Break 069: Jon Negroni
30:06

Author, podcaster, and movie nerd Jon Negroni reveals the secrets behind breaking the rules by breaking writing conventions and trusting your writer's gut.

Apr 16, 2018
Writing Full-time - WN 065
31:04

Making the switch to a career writer is tough, but you can do it! Here are some pointers that can help your writing dream become a reality.

Apr 09, 2018
Coffee Break 068: Anne Bogel
25:13

Author, podcaster, and literary matchmaker Anne Bogel talks about personality tests, the value of believable characters, and how books can change the world.

Apr 02, 2018
Coffee Break 067: Albert Flynn DeSilver
27:05

Poet, author, and speaker Albert Flynn DeSilver talks about transformation through writing, striving for beauty, and our shared human birthright.

Mar 26, 2018
Coffee Break 066: Esther Goldenberg
28:29

Teacher and independent author and publisher Esther Goldenberg makes reading fun for reluctant readers and talks about children's and YA self publishing.

Mar 19, 2018
Coffee Break 065: Kenny Porter
39:43

Comic book writer and publisher Kenny Porter chats about the essential relationships needed to make great comics, asking for help, and dealing with critics.

Mar 12, 2018
Coffee Break 064: Mike Papantonio
25:54

Attorney, radio host, and thriller author Mike Papantonio exposes law myths, reveals the truth of fiction, and shares some great writing tips!

Mar 06, 2018
Coffee Break 063: Monica Leonelle
32:57

Is there a correlation between an author's word count or financial success and the quality of a book? Monica Leonelle has a few things to say about that!

Feb 19, 2018
Coffee Break 062: Matthew Brough
39:51

Writer, pastor, and podcaster Matthew Brough talks about baby steps, the ups and downs of self publishing, and how he helped his 70-year-old mother publish her first novel.

Feb 13, 2018
Coffee Break 061: Bob Stromberg
48:22

Bob Stromberg shares the secrets of living a creative life, taking control of your "muse", and rediscovering the creativity of your childhood.

Feb 05, 2018
Coffee Break 060: Erin Pringle
25:55

Short story author Erin Pringle shares how loss and grief spurred her to publish, as well as the therapeutic and calming power of creative writing.

Feb 01, 2018
Coffee Break 059: Joseph Bendoski
27:30

Thriller author and podcaster Joseph Bendoski talks literary psychology, media manipulation, and the prehistoric survival instincts of storytelling.

Jan 22, 2018
Coffee Break 058: Audrey Knapp
32:46

Can you gain readers by supporting other authors? Can you make money marketing on social media? Can you successfully self publish? Audrey Knapp thinks so!

Jan 15, 2018
Coffee Break 057: Alan Alda
30:06

Alan Alda talks about innovative communication methods, the benefits of empathy and listening, and the joys of life's unexpected interruptions.

Jan 08, 2018
Coffee Break 056: Win Charles, Cerebral Palsy, and the Writing Life
20:25

Win Kelly Charles was born with Cerebral Palsy, but she has never let it stop her from achieving her dream of writing and publishing books.

Jan 01, 2018
Coffee Break 055: Corey Vilhauer
28:49

What do writers do when they're not working on their novels? Corey Vilhauer is glad you asked! Let's talk about online journalism, copyediting, and UX!

Dec 04, 2017
Coffee Break 054: Helen Scheuerer
26:38

Fantasy author HelenScheuerer explains how exercise, daily routine, and group critiques fuel her writing and helped publish her latest novel.

Nov 16, 2017
Coffee Break 053: Grant Faulkner
23:14

NaNoWriMo Executive Producer Grant Faulkner talks about the process behind National Novel Writing Month, as well as how to develop superhuman creativity!

Nov 08, 2017
Coffee Break 052: Joanna Penn
29:58

Scalable income? IP assets? No problem! Podcaster and author Joanna Penn shares some realistic options to turn your writing side-hustle into a career.

Nov 01, 2017
Coffee Break 051: Lora Mitchell
31:52

Instagram, poetry, and therapy through storytelling. Lora Mitchell shares her love of the written word and her journey to self publishing.

Oct 23, 2017
Coffee Break 050: Randal Greene
36:40

Author Randal Greene exposes the secret life of a full-time writer, as well as a sure-fire way to capture 'the muse' and beat writer's block!

Oct 12, 2017
Coffee Break 049: Nicole Gulotta
29:31

Food and poetry? Yes, please! Nicole Gulotta dishes on deadline-free writing, building an audience, and rediscovering your forgotten passions.

Oct 03, 2017
How to Rest as a Writer - WN 064
32:26

Today we'll take a look at what we should do if (& when) we find ourselves exhausting, burned out, and feeling hopeless as we stare down a blank page.

Sep 25, 2017
Coffee Break 048: Katie Cross
32:53

Author Katie Cross talks having it all: a loving family, a legitimate writing career, and a supportive network of peers. It's possible AND practical!

Sep 13, 2017
Tips for Writing While Traveling - WN 063
25:26

Trying to write while traveling can be one of the most frustrating things for a writer. Let's explore some ways to jumpstart our creativity on the road!

Sep 06, 2017
Coffee Break 047: Jeffery Weaver
31:07

Long-time fan of the show and cancer-fighting author Jeffery Weaver shares his incredible story and talks character building, rejection, and motivation.

Aug 29, 2017
Coffee Break 046: Rachel Stout
34:33

Think self publishing is your only option? Think again! Rachel Stout spills the beans on traditional publishing and working with literary agents.

Aug 07, 2017
Do I Need A Writing Degree? - WN 062
36:04

"Do I need a writing degree?" It's a complex question that involves factors like time, money, lifestyle, goals, & more. Work through your own decision with help from today's episode of the Write Now podcast!

Aug 02, 2017
Coffee Break 045: Ryan Dalton
35:48

YA novelist and nerd culture extraordinaire Ryan Dalton talks about unorthodox writing, tips for green authors, and pushing through publisher rejections.

Jul 27, 2017
Coffee Break 044: Aminah Iman & Jaqueline Stone
27:22

Join the ladies from Red Ink Publications for a chat about genre writing, delicious cake, and finding confidence in writing what you love.

Jul 17, 2017
Self-Writing and Self-Talk - WN 061
25:22

Words have power—especially the words we say and think about ourselves. So whether you think you're slime or God's gift to writing, the way you think about yourself can have an immense effect on your work. 

 

For show notes, links, & more, visit http://www.sarahwerner.com/self-writing-and-self-talk-wn-061/

Jul 10, 2017
Coffee Break 043: Mark Rubinstein
24:28

Award-winning novelist and psychiatrist Mark Rubinstein talks about the psychology behind sharing stories and the courage it takes to write them down.

Jun 27, 2017
WN 060: Make Them Tell You No
22:07

What's the worst that will happen if you put yourself out there? How will you handle rejection? Even worse, what happens if you do nothing?

Jun 20, 2017
Coffee Break 042: Randy Wayne White
26:26

Randy Wayne White talks the virtues of trusting your characters, connecting with readers, leaving behind a legacy, and the secret to writing over 40 books!

Jun 13, 2017
Coffee Break 041: Megan Hannum
30:44

Editor Megan Hannum shares some new and innovative options for writing, editing, and publishing that you may not have considered.

Jun 04, 2017
Coffee Break 040: Vahan Zanoyan
44:54

Vahan Zanoyan shares the literary benefits of breaking through comfort zones, sharing fact through fiction, and becoming lost in different cultures.

Jun 01, 2017
SEO for Writers - WN 059
44:45

You finally have a website! Now how do you let the internet know you exist? How do you attract users? Never fear: SEO (search engine optimization) is here!

May 29, 2017
CB 039: Robert Tanenbaum
50:04

In this fascinating discussion, novelist Robert Tanenbaum unpacks judicial integrity, American history, and what makes a classic story truly timeless.

May 19, 2017
All Of The Best Writing Excuses - WN 058
30:23

Do you ever put off writing because you need to wash the dishes or watch American Idol with your spouse? Are these legit reasons -- or just excuses? Learn how to ditch the excuses and just write in this week's episode of the Write Now podcast!

May 16, 2017
Coffee Break 038: Renita Bryant
33:04

You just finished your first novel! But... now what? Renita Bryant shares what it takes to go from "hot off the press" to "meet the press"!

May 08, 2017
Coffee Break 037: Mya Kay
28:23

Join me for a chat with Philadelphia-born author Mya Kay, whose passion and dedication to the craft of writing are changing the landscape of YA fiction.

May 04, 2017
How To Survive Your Day Job - WN 057
32:01

Corporate structure crushing your spirit? Wishing you could quit your day job and write full time? This episode is for you.

May 01, 2017
Coffee Break 036: Barbara Kyle
36:43

Do you think about writing all day, every day? Barbara Kyle does! That's what makes her a master of her craft. And today, she's sharing what she knows.

Apr 24, 2017
Coffee Break 035: Kale Lawrence
23:37

Today I talk to local writer Kale Lawrence about writing a book series, giving yourself a second chance, and trusting in your own impulsive talent!

Apr 17, 2017
Coffee Break 034: Jonathan White
32:10

The tides and oceans mean many things to many people around the world. Today's guest, Jonathan White, won't rest until he explores them all!

Apr 09, 2017
Living A Creative Life - WN 056
27:21

Are you living the life you want to live? Living a creative life is about making your own decisions and breaking the mold. But what does that mean?

Apr 03, 2017
Coffee Break 033: Jay Greenfield
30:33

Think it's too late to start your novel? After listening to 84-year-old, first-time published Jay Greenfield's story, you'll need a new excuse!

Mar 27, 2017
How to Prioritize Your Writing - WN 055
36:45

Where does the time go? Between work, family, and countless other obligations, who has the time to write these days? You do! Let's prioritize.

Mar 20, 2017
Coffee Break 032: Sandy Kreps
36:06

Blogging, bullet journaling, and networking. Oh my! Sandy Kreps gives us the honest truth and helpful tips about becoming a full-time freelance writer.

Mar 15, 2017
Coffee Break 031: Jake Heilbrunn
24:31

Where there's a will, Jake Heilbrunn has a way! Join us for an inspiring talk about leaving it all behind and finding yourself in the process.

Mar 06, 2017
Introvert & Extrovert Writers - WN 054
29:19

Don't let myths about personality keep you from fully exploring yourself as a writer. Discover your strengths, weaknesses, and how you recharge!

Feb 27, 2017
Does Listening to Music Help You Write? - WN 053
30:45

What's the best music to listen to (if any) while you write? Let's talk about music curation and what different genres of recorded sound can do for you!

Feb 20, 2017
Coffee Break 030: Janna Maron
32:00

How can creative nonfiction help you to connect with people? What does it take to find or even create a supportive community? Tune in to find out!

Feb 16, 2017
Personal Branding for Writers - WN 052
34:45

If you write, you have a personal brand! Let's discuss some ways you can grow, maintain, and market your brand to help readers find your work.

Feb 06, 2017
Should I Use A Pen Name? - WN 051
30:23

How do you know if writing under a pen name is right for you? This week's episode of Write Now lays out 6 reasons a pen name might be a smart choice.

Jan 30, 2017
Coffee Break 029: Paul Sating
38:16

FRIENDS! On today's Coffee Break episode, I'm talking with writer Paul Sating with a kind of storytelling I haven't featured before: the audio drama!

Jan 20, 2017
The Most Important Question A Writer Can Ask - WN 050
28:42

Sometimes the most important aspect of writing is not the words you string together but the questions you ask. And one question in particular is incredibly helpful.

Jan 16, 2017
Coffee Break 028: David Galef
56:38

Novels, poetry, short stories... if you can name it, David has probably written it. In this fantastic episode, we're talking about the power of brevity, compartmentalizing your life, & more.

Jan 12, 2017
What I Learned From Writing A Book In 1 Week - WNP 049
34:03

Get the 10 invaluable writing lessons I learned while writing a book in one week. (That's right: ONE WEEK.)

Jan 09, 2017
Coffee Break 027: Jocelyn K. Glei
30:03

Creativity expert-turned-full-time writer Jocelyn K. Glei & I talk about the balance between business and creativity, distraction, and so much more!

Dec 19, 2016
Coffee Break 026: Patrick Hicks
40:52

"Whatever scares you to write... that's what you should be writing." I talk with author Patrick Hicks about how to see the world through a writer's eyes, how traveling can change the way you write, how to deal with fear, and more.

Dec 08, 2016
Coffee Break 025: Fauzia Burke
38:19

Fauzia and I talk about the NY book publishing bubble, the joys of self-publishing, social media marketing, taking risks, and more!

Nov 29, 2016
Coffee Break 024: Ginny Carter
25:50

Ginny "The Authormaker" Carter and I have a lovely conversation for you about the nonfiction book-writing process, different modes of publication, and Ginny's favorite aspect of being a writing coach. 

Nov 16, 2016
30 Tips for 30 Days of NaNoWriMo - WNP 048
42:10

From turning off your phone to staving off fear and/or hunger, this episode of the Write Now podcast is here to help you write through NaNoWriMo.

Nov 02, 2016
Coffee Break 023: Kevin T. Johns
38:07

Fellow writer, podcaster, ghostwriter, and writing coach Kevin T. Johns and I have a great (and honest) conversation about making the most of our time as busy writers.

Oct 20, 2016
Coffee Break 022: Honoree Corder
51:45

Honorée is a speaker, business coach, writing coach, and Writer with a capital W. She is also a smart, successful entrepreneur who has published 20 books and knows what it takes to sell them.

Oct 14, 2016
What They Didn't Teach You In School - WN 047
39:21

We learned a lot of great things in school. But our educational system isn't perfect, and there are some things we should have learned about writing (and life) that we didn't. All of those (and more!) in this week's episode!

Oct 05, 2016
Coffee Break 021: Jenny Bravo
29:51

Author Jenny Bravo & I talk about writing sprints, handwriting with pen & paper, keeping a scene list, our mutual love of Twitter, and tons more!

Sep 23, 2016
Crafting Your Mission Statement - WN 046
32:46

A mission statement is a valuable tool for a writer -- it can help you understand your own story, remind you of your purpose, and guide you toward your goals. Today's episode of Write Now podcast will help you create one!

Sep 12, 2016
Coffee Break 020: Andrew Coons
35:36

Poet & filmmaker Andrew Coons and I have a great conversation about career writing, anxiety, depression, self-worth, and getting back into the things you love after putting them on hold.

Sep 05, 2016
Careers for Writers - WN 045
46:14

Stuck in a soul-sucking, toxic day job while you dream of being a paid writer? Today's episode covers 10 different career paths for writers just like you.

Aug 31, 2016
Coffee Break 019: Hend Hegazi
28:02

Today's show is an interview with Arab-American author Hend Hegazi, who has just published her second novel about gratefulness, forgiveness, and the universal yet hidden struggles we all deal with. I hope you enjoy it.

Aug 22, 2016
Coffee Break 018: Mark Messick
23:46

Meet Mark Messick, the 16-year-old bestselling author of more than eleven books. Today we're talking about possibility, positivity, and living the life you want to live. Join us!

Aug 16, 2016
How Do I Find My Muse? - WN 044
26:52

Chances are, you've heard of the concept of a muse, whether you've read your fair share of Shakespeare or simply seen Disney's "Hercules". But can a muse possibly have an effect on us here in the modern world?

Aug 10, 2016
Coffee Break 017: Andrew Chapman
46:58
Jul 27, 2016
How Important Is Networking For Writers? - WN 043
36:39

I know, I know. You hate networking. I hate networking. It feels so corporate and shallow and sell-out-y. But it's important for writers nonetheless. That's why this episode is here to help you navigate the turbulent waters of this essential skill.

Jul 06, 2016
Coffee Break 016: Melissa Johnson
38:24

Enjoy a great conversation about how to fit creative writing into a busy schedule with entrepreneur, author, and my own personal mentor, Melissa Johnson.

Jun 20, 2016
Are There Any Original Ideas Left? - WN 042
35:50

Is it true that there's "nothing new under the sun", that we just keep retelling the same 3 stories over and over, and that Hollywood is out of ideas? Find out in the latest episode of Write Now!

Jun 06, 2016
Coffee Break 015: Karan Bajaj
35:11

I absolutely loved interviewing bestselling Indian author (& striving yogi!) Karan Bajaj, whose new book, The Yoga of Max's Discontent, hit bookstores earier this month. Join us as we talk about the burden and freedom of a creative habit, the power of a journey, and so much more.

May 27, 2016
Should Writers Be Paid? - WN 041
30:12

We hear it all the time: "We can't afford to pay our writers," or, "Your payment will be exposure and experience!" But is that true? Should we take that unpaid internship? Find out in Episode 041 of Write Now.

May 17, 2016
Coffee Break 014: David Faux
35:44

David is a church-custodian-turned-tow-truck-driver who is querying his first sci-fi novel. We're talking worldbuilding, NaNoWriMo, & hope in today's show.

May 12, 2016
How To Deal With Rejection - WN 040
34:58

Rejection happens to every writer. This week's episode explores different types of rejection and how some of them can actually help us to become better writers.

May 04, 2016
Coffee Break 013: Diane Vallere
28:48

Diane & I talk about finding the courage to do what you love and love what you're doing, the ups and downs of self-publishing, and what it's like to be a "pantser".

Apr 17, 2016
The Worst Writing Advice - WN 039
32:48

The internet is brimming with writing advice -- both good and bad. Episode 039 of Write Now talks about how to determine which advice is worth following, and gives you a rundown of what I think are the worst offenders.
Bad advice is bad.
I think we've all received bad general advice at one time or another, such as:

"Gun it! You can totally make it through that yellow light."
"Aw, come on. You can totally handle one more drink."
"You don't really need to study for the bar exam."
"Your kids would totally respect you more if you dyed your hair blue."

Sometimes it's easy to tell whether advice is good or bad -- it's just up to us to make the correct decision. But other times, the line between good and bad is a bit more blurry.
Discerning good advice from bad advice.
Advice, like so many things, is relative. Advice that's good for one person might be bad for another person (think of medical advice as an example here).

So when you receive a piece of advice that sounds pretty good, ask yourself:

Is it true?
Who is giving me this advice? (Are they trustworthy?)
Why is this person giving me this advice?

Alex Cavoulacos of themuse.com offers two more great questions to ask when considering the source of the advice, in her article called "A Simple Test That Will Help You Tell If You're Getting Bad Advice":
"The vast majority of advice you’ll be given in your life will be one of two types: Either ‘Do what I did’ or ‘Do what’s best for me right now.’ Make sure you take the time to identify if either is the case before taking the advice at face value."
If either is the case, that doesn't immediately mean the advice is bad -- it just means that you have extra context to consider.

And again, advice is only ever just advice. It's not a marching order, and so it's your responsibility to consider it fully before taking or not taking it.
The worst writing advice.
Here's my list of the worst offenders:

"Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life." -- This is simply untrue. I love to write, but at the same time I recognize that it is often frustrating and incredibly hard work.
"Art is never finished, only abandoned." -- This quote from da Vinci may ring true, but it's terrible writing advice. It seems to be saying that if you decide a piece is finished (and gasp! submit it for publication), you're abandoning it, which is shameful and guilt-inducing.  When a mother bird pushes her baby birds out of the nest, she's not abandoning them -- she's sending them out into the world to flourish and grow.
"You can't force good writing." -- Au contraire! If you've written for a deadline before and produced anything decent, you've likely forced good writing. Now, what you may not be able to force is creativity -- but if you take this as writing advice, all you're going to get is the license to be lazy.
"I'm against schedules. Write when you feel excited by the prospect." -- This one is from novelist Rick Moody, and it happens to be bad advice for me. (Though it might be great advice for you!) I'm just so busy that if I never scheduled in my writing time, I would never get to do it -- even though I love it.
"You need [X] to write." -- Here, "X" can be coffee, booze, a lucky pencil, a program like Scrivener, a specific typewriter, or any other crutch. If someone tells you that you need "X" to write, they are probably trying to sell you "X". The only thing you need to write is you.
"Write what you know." -- Just... ugh. I hope you know how terrible and limiting this can be. Please do not take it as writing advice. Ever.

What about you? What's the worst (or best) writing advice you've ever received? Let me know in the comments below!

The Book of the Week.
I AM STILL READING Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey. I am SO SORRY ABOUT THAT.

Apr 05, 2016
Coffee Break 012: JoAnna Ver Meer
37:32

Episode 012: JoAnna Ver Meer
Oh my friends, I am so very excited about today's Coffee Break episode (a.k.a. Tea Break, just for today). That's because I'm talking with my good friend & poet JoAnna Ver Meer, and I think that, by the end of this episode, you'll adore her as much as I do.
"I don't think I would be a happy person if I couldn't write every day."
Today's episode is a celebration of JoAnna's newest book of poetry, Syllables and Other Poems (published under her maiden name of JoAnna Tatman), and a look at how this poet balances her creative writing life with her technical writing life.
"There's so much beauty around us that we miss it."

JoAnna is a gentle and quiet spirit who has worked to develop a writer's mindfulness, read widely from the classics, and find confidence amidst her natural shyness.

Listen to today's episode using the controls above or on iTunes, and while you're at it, be sure to follow Jo on Twitter or snag her books Walking After Rain or Syllables and Other Poems. (Again, her books are published under her maiden name of JoAnna Tatman.) Enjoy!
You can help keep my dream (a.k.a. my podcast) alive.
You can help support the work I do here at the Write Now podcast and Coffee Break spinoff by pledging $1 or more per episode on Patreon! :D

I will send you emails.
You won't regret it if you sign up for my email newsletter! (Probably!)
Subscribe to Coffee Break (& Write Now).
You can listen to the full Coffee Break episode using the controls at the beginning of this post.

Or! You can listen and subscribe using your favorite app/website/podcatcher:

iTunes
Overcast
Stitcher
Spreaker
TuneIn Radio
Acast
Podbay
Android

Help support this podcast! >>
Or visit my sweet swag shop!
That's right -- Write Now MERCH has landed. :) Shop for the writer, reader, or podcast listener in your life today!

I'm on social media.
Connect with the Write Now and Coffee Break podcasts on your favorite social media platform(s):
Twitter | Facebook | Ello | Instagram

The post Coffee Break: JoAnna Ver Meer appeared first on The Write Now Podcast with Sarah Werner.

Apr 01, 2016
Coffee Break 011: Matt Paulson, Take 2
35:57

Episode 011: Matt Paulson

You might remember Matt Paulson from one of my very first Coffee Break episodes, where we talked about his digital publishing company, automating the writing process, and blogging, as well as a book he had recently written.

Five months later, Matt is publishing another book. It's called The Ten-Year Turnaround and it's about achieving financial freedom within a ten-year time period.
"All writers are entrepreneurs, whether they realize it or not."
Want to feel even more inadequate by comparison? Matt wrote this entire book while walking on a treadmill.
"Fitbit tells you 'good job, you got your steps in,' and you also got a bunch of work done."
During today's Coffee Break, we're talking about multitasking, being smart enough to know when you've hit a wall, the perks of self-publishing, and writing on the treadmill. Also, I recorded this after a very long week and while incredibly sleep-deprived, so I am in rare form. (You'll see.)

And #neverforget:
"Be a tool."
...Which reminds me, you can help support the work I do here at the Write Now podcast and Coffee Break spinoff by pledging $1 or more per episode on Patreon! :D

Anyway, give today's episode a listen using the controls above or on iTunes, and while you're at it, be sure to visit Matt's website, snag his latest book, or listen to our previous conversation.
I will send you emails.
You won't regret it if you sign up for my email newsletter! (Probably!)
Subscribe to Coffee Break (& Write Now).
You can listen to the full Coffee Break episode using the controls at the beginning of this post.

Or! You can listen and subscribe using your favorite app/website/podcatcher:

iTunes
Overcast
Stitcher
Spreaker
TuneIn Radio
Acast
Podbay
Android

Help support this podcast! >>
Or visit my sweet swag shop!
That's right -- Write Now MERCH has landed. :) Shop for the writer, reader, or podcast listener in your life today!

I'm on social media.
Connect with the Write Now and Coffee Break podcasts on your favorite social media platform(s):
Twitter | Facebook | Ello | Instagram

The post Coffee Break: Matt Paulson, Take 2 appeared first on The Write Now Podcast with Sarah Werner.

Mar 25, 2016
Give Yourself Some Grace - WN 038
32:13

I ended the last episode of the Write Now podcast (#037) with the concept of giving yourself some grace. I ended up thinking about that concept for a long time after that, so decided to give grace its own episode. I hope you enjoy it here in Episode 038.
My deep, dark secret.
No, I'm not Batman. Let's just get that out of the way.

My deep, dark secret is that often I don't like myself very much. Maybe you feel like this sometimes, too. Or a lot of the time.

You see, I never feel like I'm quite enough.

I'm never thin enough, tall enough, fashionable enough, smart enough, motivated enough, or driven enough. I don't clean my house enough and I'm certainly not wealthy enough. I don't write enough.

I have really, really high standards for myself and the work I do. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, in and of itself. But it can have troubling echoes throughout your life.
SET ALL THE GOALS???
Recently, I made the mistake of taking a leadership course that focused on setting (and achieving) goals.

The course essentially said that there are X number of hours in a week, and you are responsible for making each one work toward your goals. If you do this, you will be fulfilled.

Well hey, that sure sounds nice. But I found that when you implement it into your life, things begin to break down.

You start defining your self-worth by the goals you accomplish. You start packing in more and more goals to accomplish. You start to see any time not spent toward goal-achievement as wasted time. You see no value in relaxation. You see no value in enjoying life.

This is a problem.

Even worse, at the time, you think that you're chasing success. You think that you're doing something good.

But then you find success. And you find that, even though you've accomplished something, you're not fulfilled. Not in the way you hoped you'd be.

Because even though you've accomplished something, it hasn't changed who you are. You're still you. Which means you're still not thin enough or rich enough or smart enough or whatever it was you were dissatisfied with in the first place.

So what are we chasing, anyway? What will it feel like when we're finally "enough"?

I think that what we're really looking for is love. We feel like if we are thin enough or well-read enough that we'll finally be worthy of or earn the love that we want.

Well guess what? You don't need to be worthy of anything. You don't need to earn anything.
Enter grace.
Grace is what we need to give to ourselves and to others.

The basic tenet of grace is the understanding that we are all human, and no human being is or can be perfect. With that in mind, grace is favor—approval or preference—given without merit. Without having to earn it.

Grace is the antidote to all of those awful feelings that keep us from writing, or from writing well: doubt, fear, hatred, guilt, anxiety, worthlessness.

Today's episode is all about how necessary it is for us to give ourselves some grace, especially when it comes to writing. It's about the freedom we so often deny ourselves to simply live as we were made to live.

But in grace and peace and love, I can tell you that you are enough, just as you are.

Now go, and write, and enjoy your life.

The Book of the Week.
I finished a book this week! No, it wasn't Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey, which I am still reading.

The book I finished was The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, a paranormal mystery/romance/adventure for young adults.

It's the story of Blue Sargent, a high school student who comes from a long line of clairvoyant women. In a deviation from the YA paranormal norm (so to speak), Blue is not the Chosen One. In fact, she has no clairvoyance of her own at all.

The chapters alternate between Blue's point of view and the POV of the Raven Boys,

Mar 14, 2016
Coffee Break 010: Kaitlyn Mirison
32:50

Episode 010: Kaitlyn Mirison

Kaitlyn Mirison was one of the first people to get in touch with me when I first launched the Coffee Break offshoot of the Write Now podcast. And I am so grateful that she did.

Kaitlyn is the author of An Artist's Pillars, and host of the Potential & Possibility Podcast, both of which encourage creative folks like you & me to believe in ourselves and deepen our experience of living.
"It felt like I was standing on the sidelines of my life."
For years, Katilyn worked as an accounting executive, a role in which she was successful but ultimately unfulfilled. She had dreamed of being a writer ever since she was a little girl, but those dreams had been crushed by fear and self-doubt.
"At the very core, I didn't believe that I was valuable as a person."
In this beautiful and moving episode, Kaitlyn talks about finding the permission you need to write, going against well-intentioned advice when necessary, making peace with your inner critic, and discovering your self-worth & value as a person.
"When I started writing my book... that's when I felt like I was coming home."
Give today's episode a listen using the controls above or on iTunes, and while you're at it, check out Katilyn's book and podcast. They are both as lovely as she is. :)
I will send you emails.
You won't regret it if you sign up for my email newsletter! (Probably!)
Subscribe to Coffee Break (& Write Now).
You can listen to the full Coffee Break episode using the controls at the beginning of this post.

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The post Coffee Break: Kaitlyn Mirison appeared first on The Write Now Podcast with Sarah Werner.

Feb 29, 2016
De-Clutter Your Life So You Can Write - WN 037
29:03

I've been thinking a lot about work/life/writing balance ever since I committed to writing a book this year. And so Episode 037 of the Write Now podcast is about just that -- balance, clutter, distraction, scheduling, and so much more.
Just keep spinning...
This is what I feel like a lot of the time:

It's not incredibly fun (though maybe it looks cool from the outside).

Being busy is fine if you can balance it well. But how many of us can actually claim that we balance it well?
What's really important?
Before we take a look at what's cluttering our life, let's look at the non-clutter -- the important stuff.

In today's podcast episode, I encourage you to think of 5 things that are deeply important to you -- 5 things, whether they're objects or entities -- that are integral to who you are.

Here are some suggestions to get you started:

Spending time with family
Nurturing healthy relationships with your friends
Serving the community and volunteering
Your faith
Your creative time spent writing, drawing, painting, dancing, photographing, etc.
Your vintage car collection
Your career
Personal fitness
That plant your mother gave you that you've triumphantly managed to keep alive for nearly a year
Reading
Etc., etc., etc.

If the other stuff in your life doesn't support these things, it might just be clutter.
Distraction destruction.
Clutter creates distraction. I know that when I used to think about my email inbox of 300,000-odd unread emails, my eyes would glaze over and my stomach would knot with dread. It's hard to write when your mind is on all of the emails you've never responded to.

Same goes with a cluttered desk or office, a cluttered sink full of dishes, even a cluttered schedule.

Sometimes it's worth it to devote the time to purge that stuff from your life. Sometimes it's even worth sacrificing one writing session for. Clean it up, get it over with, and get back to writing.

Ultimately, the question you need to ask is:
What needs to happen for you to sit down and write with the focus that you need to write?
The answer might surprise you.
It also might be time to give yourself some grace.
I'm not very good at all at doing this for myself. But if you accidentally spend 45 minutes answering emails instead of writing during your writing hour, just forgive yourself, move on, and be more intentional about writing during your writing hour tomorrow.

We're human, after all. We're not perfect. So give yourself some grace, move on, and set yourself up for a successful distraction-free writing session tomorrow.

The Book of the Week is on its way.
Uh. Yeah. I am still working on reading Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey. It's really, really good, but also really, really long. (And I've been really, really busy.)

More to come... in the meantime, keep up-to-date on my book-reading adventures on Goodreads!
MERCH?!?!?!
This week marks the soft launch of my MERCH store!!! You'll find a ton of varieties & colors of pro-writing, pro-reading shirts, hoodies, tote bags, mugs, and more -- all of which support the work I'm doing here at the Write Now podcast. :D

 

Or if you prefer, please do feel free to take full advantage of my Tip Jar:

What's cluttering your writing life? What's distracting you from writing?
Let me know via my contact page, or simply email me at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com. I can't wait to hear from you. :)
Subscribe to the Write Now podcast for free!
Listen to the full podcast episode for free (as always!) using the controls at the beginning of this post, or listen & subscribe for free (as always!) using your favorite app/website/podcatcher:

        

Help support this podcast on Patreon! >>

Feb 23, 2016
The Pressure To Be Great - WN 036
30:58

We're under tons of pressure all the time -- as writers, family members, employees, and just as human beings in general. That stuff can really get to you -- and that's what we're talking about in Episode 036 of the Write Now podcast.
Under pressure.
Pressure surrounds us all the time -- and I'm not just talking about the type that keeps our heads from exploding. I'm talking about the type that keeps us in line socially, that often dictates our behavior without us even realizing it.

Pressure isn't necessarily good or bad -- it's just a neutral force that presses against us, against our morals and values and strength of character. And we can decide how we respond to it.

And that's what today's episode is all about: how to take a step back and reassess the pressure you're under. It's about how to deal with and respond to pressure in a way that creates positive outcomes (inspiration) instead of negative outcomes (crippling fear & doubt).

At the end of the day, pressure doesn't control you. Your decisions about how you react to pressure determine how things turn out.

So give today's episode a listen, and give in to the pressure -- in a good way, in a way that keeps you writing and fulfilled.
Speaking of pressure... I've decided I'm going to write a book this year.
I can't tell you whether or not it'll be any good. But it's something I've wanted and needed to do for a really long time now, and I've decided to commit.

One thing I do know is that it's going to take a ton of time and hard work. So I'm going back and listening to Episode 009, "Say Yes To Writing", and remembering that when you say "yes" to one thing, it means you say "no" to something else. And that can be a good thing.

So I'm honing my naysaying abilities. More about what that means in an upcoming episode.
The Book of the Week is not really a book.
OK SO. I am still working on reading Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey. It's really, really good, but also really, really long. (And I've been really, really busy.)

HOWEVER!

The Black Tapes Podcast has been my companion this week during my workouts, and I've gotta say -- this modern radio drama really takes the "work" out of "workout."

It's the serial story of a naive audio journalist who finds herself in the midst of an adventure when she begins investigating the videotape collection of a paranormal investigator who doesn't believe in the paranormal.

Something fun for you to listen to while you're awaiting new episodes of the Write Now podcast. ;)

Keep up-to-date on my book-reading adventures on Goodreads.

Coming soon: MERCH!
My friends! I am currently building a store where you will soon be able to support my work at the Write Now podcast with sweet, sweet merchandise (a.k.a. MERCH)!

Get very, very pumped. :D

Until then, please do feel free to take full advantage of my Tip Jar:

Do you feel the pressure to be great?
Let me know via my contact page, or simply email me at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com. I can't wait to hear from you. :)
Subscribe to the Write Now podcast for free!
Listen to the full podcast episode for free (as always!) using the controls at the beginning of this post, or listen & subscribe for free (as always!) using your favorite app/website/podcatcher:

        

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The post The Pressure To Be Gre...

Feb 15, 2016
Coffee Break 009: reShoUNn Foster
37:51

Episode 009: reShoUNn's Story
Welcome to another Coffee Break episode of the Write Now podcast. I'm so glad you're here.

Today I'm talking with beautiful poet, corporate writer, anthroponymist, jazz den owner, community builder, & kindred spirit reShoUNn Foster, who is working to invigorate Detroit with the art of words through her Out My Write Mind and Hip n Zen in the Northend projects.
"Facebook saved my life."
In today's episode, reShoUNn shares her story of what she went through during a long period of depression (she terms it her "Job period"), as well as the importance of having a writing identity, the healing power of journaling, writing, poetry, & friendship.

She also speaks passionately about developing communities through teaching individuals to develop themselves and learn all they can about who they are.

Check out reShoUNn's projects, and be sure to look out for her new website & podcast, coming soon.
Want to be on Coffee Break?
I'm always looking for exciting writers, authors, and other creative-type people to showcase with casual conversations about creativity, writing, and work/life balance. Send me an email at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com or contact me if you're interested in a guest appearance.
I will send you emails.
You won't regret it if you sign up for my email newsletter! (Probably!)
Subscribe to Coffee Break (& Write Now).
You can listen to the full Coffee Break episode using the controls at the beginning of this post.

Or! You can listen and subscribe using your favorite app/website/podcatcher:

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Help support this podcast! >>
Or visit my sweet swag shop!
That's right -- Write Now MERCH has landed. :) Shop for the writer, reader, or podcast listener in your life today!

I'm on social media.
Connect with the Write Now and Coffee Break podcasts on your favorite social media platform(s):
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The post Coffee Break: reShoUNn Foster appeared first on The Write Now Podcast with Sarah Werner.

Feb 05, 2016
Coffee Break 008: Deane Barker
57:17

Episode 008: Deane Barker
Hi friends! Welcome to your monthly Coffee Break episode of the Write Now podcast.

Today I want to share with you the delightful and fun conversation I had with Deane Barker, who has been an authority in the web content management space since the mid-'90s and is wrapping up his first book on the subject.

So! Even if you're not in to nonfiction (or especially if you are), Deane's insights about finding time to write, getting "friend-zoned" by your dream, dealing with writers' block, "parking lots" for ideas, imposter syndrome, chronic & acute editing fatigue, and giving yourself permission to fail (AND SO MUCH MORE!) are incredibly insightful and valuable.

Also: cats!

Curious to learn more about Deane? (I wouldn't blame you; he's a crazy-intelligent & super-awesome dude.) Check out his blog at Gadgetopia or his profile at Blend Interactive, grab your own copy of his book, Web Content Management, or follow him on Twitter at @gadgetopia.

Oh, and if you were interested in checking out the link to Deane's raw, unedited "parking lot" full of notes for this podcast episode (per our conversation about collection systems), you can find that here.
Want to be on Coffee Break?
I'm always looking for exciting writers, authors, and other creative-type people to showcase with casual conversations about creativity, writing, and work/life balance. Send me an email at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com or contact me if you're interested in a guest appearance.
I will send you emails.
You won't regret it if you sign up for my email newsletter! (Probably!)
Subscribe to Coffee Break (& Write Now).
You can listen to the full Coffee Break episode using the controls at the beginning of this post.

Or! You can listen and subscribe using your favorite app/website/podcatcher:

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Overcast
Stitcher
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Acast
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Android

Help support this podcast! >>
I'm on social media.
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The post Coffee Break: Deane Barker appeared first on The Write Now Podcast with Sarah Werner.

Jan 27, 2016
The Power of a Writers' Group - WN 035
46:11

One thing I always want to stress in the Write Now podcast is the fact that you are not alone. Despite what you might feel, despite what you might what (or think you want), you're not alone. This is important. And it's the focus of Episode 035 of the Write Now podcast.

Before we begin, a quick note that I've made it easier than ever before to support the work I do with the Write Now podcast with my new Tip Jar! :D

OK. Enough of that. Let's begin...
Starting a great writers' group -- or making your current writers' group even better.
Podcast listener Laura emailed me with some questions about best practices for writers' groups:
I wondered if you would consider doing a podcast on good practices for a writing group?  Do you have any suggestions based on your experience?  Exercises and activities? Resources? Pitfalls to avoid?
Great questions, Laura. And YES! I have experience with both successful and failed writing groups, and I'm excited to share what I've learned with you.
Different types of writing groups.
Writer-Specific Groups
What type of writers' group do you want to have? Writing groups that focus on a specific type of writer can include groups for mystery writers, women, veterans suffering from PTSD, sci-fi writers, poets, dissertation students, adolescents, and tons more.

You could also simply just have an umbrella group for people who love to write, regardless of what they're writing.
The Spectrum of Groups: From Encouraging to Critiquing
What do you want your writers' group to do for the folks who join (including yourself)? I've been part of writers' groups that are 75% critique and 25% encouragement, and groups that are 90% encouragement and 10% critique (if that). Each offers different benefits.

Critique-heavy writers' groups will help you develop your skills as a writer, and improve your manuscript (or whatever you happen to be working on) as well as your editing and critiquing skills. They are also great if you want to get better at reading your work in front of others.

Encouraging writers' groups can tend to be a bit more laid-back -- they are places of social inspiration and discussion, and can equip you with the energy and encouragement you need to go home and write up a storm.

Both will give you community and fellowship with like-minded writers, and can help you make both friends and the important connections you need to be successful.
Group Size, Dynamic, & More
You'll want a group that's neither too large nor too small. I recommend the sweet spot of 4-8 regular participants.

There's also the dynamic to consider. I've been in writers' groups where one person is just a really bad fit (perhaps better described as a toxic personality), and we've had to find a way to ask them to leave. It's unpleasant, to say the least.

If you're beginning your own group, consider carefully whom you'll be inviting. I'm not advising you to act under an exclusive mindset, but rather to carefully consider the cocktail of personalities you're mixing together.

You're creating a writers' group, a community, a haven for creatives, a circle of trust. So be intentional about whom you invite.
Beware Entrepreneur's Depression
Bestselling author and blogger Jeff Goins coined this phrase, and I love it: entrepreneur's depression.

Essentially, if you're thinking about starting a writers' group, you're going to have a vision for it. And a vision can be exciting and awesome and amazing. But sometimes, it can also set you up with some unrealistic expectations.

Your vision may be (like mine was) incredibly optimistic. I imagined 20, 30, 40 people attending my writers' group in downtown Chicago. I imagined a line out the door of the coffee shop where it was held. But instead, I got one or two people. And often none at all.

It was discouraging.

Jan 22, 2016
Feeling Like A Fraud - WN 034
29:30

 

Oh, my friends. It's time for episode 034 of the Write Now podcast. And I am so glad about that. :)

Before we begin, a quick note that I've made it easier than ever before to support the work I do with the Write Now podcast with my new Tip Jar! :D

All right, enough of that. Let's begin.
"Who gave you permission to be a writer?"
I know that often, on this very podcast, I've encouraged you to stand up (or stay seated, whatever) and proudly proclaim, "I am a writer."

But sometimes (or maybe a lot of the time) saying this can make us feel like a fraud. Or perhaps you feel so fraudulent that you say it with a blush and a grimace, or you never say it at all.

Because despite all the positive, affirming statements, there's always that voice. That mean, nasty little voice in the back of your mind that causes you to doubt yourself. The voice that asks, so viciously, "Who gave you permission to call yourself a writer?

This is all part of something called the Imposter Syndrome, and today we're going to talk about how to respond to it.
Why is it so hard for us to see our own value?
The Imposter Syndrome is described beautifully in a New York Times article by Carl Richards entitled "Learning to Deal With the Imposter Syndrome", published on October 26, 2015.

The article credits psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes for coining the term in 1978, and Richards describes it as follows:
They described it as a feeling of “phoniness in people who believe that they are not intelligent, capable or creative despite evidence of high achievement.” While these people “are highly motivated to achieve,” they also “live in fear of being ‘found out’ or exposed as frauds.” Sound familiar?
Why, yes. Yes it does.
Remembering your worth.
Obviously, it's not healthy to think that you are the most amazing writer in the cosmos, and that your writing is going to, like, liberate all people everywhere from shackles real and imagined.

But it's also not healthy to feel worthless or fraudulent. Because you are neither of those things. You. Are. A. Writer. And you have immense worth as a person... whether or not you are working on a writing project at this moment.

And just think -- the fact that you even deal with imposter syndrome is an indicator that you have the depth of intelligence and creativity that it takes to be a really fabulous writer.

So what I want you to do, right now, is take a deep breath and say, "My name is [your name], and I am a writer." I don't care if you stand up and shout it or remain seated at your desk and whisper it.

Just say it. Believe it. Do it. Be it. Prove that voice in your head wrong. And show the world how amazing you are.

Book of the week.
This week's book is Among Others by Jo Walton. And... wow. Just wow.

Reading this book felt like coming home to myself -- there's no other way of putting it. I've never identified with a character (the protagonist, Mori) so much.

The main character's twin sister has passed away in the climax of a battle between good and evil... and we come in as readers to witness the aftermath.

This book is like nothing I've read before. It's a gently told tale that takes place just as the dust begins to settle, just as Mori's life begins to morph and change with the absence of her sister.

It's also a beautiful homage to the love of books and reading. Throughout this novel (told diary-style), we get unique insights into not only Mori's thoughts and actions but what she's reading as well. Mori loves sci-fi, and I love the way Ms. Walton has woven books (and the reading, processing of, and discussing them) into the story.

It's unique and very much unlike any other fantasy you've read. I urge you to give it a try. I for one can't wait to read it again.

Keep up-to-date with my book-related adventures on Goodreads.

Jan 14, 2016
Do I Need A Website? - WN 033
28:07

Welcome to episode 033 of the Write Now podcast! Today I am answering the question, "As a writer, do I need a website?" I am also answering the inevitable follow-up questions of "Why?" and "How?" Stay tuned!

Though as you listen, please note: I am not a lawyer! So please take what I say in this episode as my own thoughts & opinions and not official legal counsel. :)
As a writer, do I need a website?
Short answer: Yes. Long answer: Yessssssssssssssss.

Seriously, a website is a great tool for any writer, whether you're a novelist, a blogger, a journalist, a poet, or... you know. Any other kind of writer.

First, I'd like to establish the need for every writer to have an online presence of some type (if not a website). Whether that's a Twitter profile or an Instagram account, there's a community of other writers and (perhaps more importantly) readers online that you can't afford to ignore.

So why would you need a website if you already have a digital presence on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Ello, etc.?

Because you don't own those properties. Not 100%.

But! BEFORE I GET IN TO ALL OF THAT, just a quick heads-up that I now have a Tip Jar live on my site!

If you feel that the content I provide is valuable and encouraging, tossing a buck or two into my tip jar will help me continue to produce fun, interesting, & ad-free content on a regular basis.

Thank you! :D

All right. Now back to the good stuff.
Home... home on the web...
You need a home on the web -- a digital base camp -- that you own and control fully. Here's why:
Branding.
You can more fully brand yourself -- you're no longer constrained by the blue boxes and formatting of Facebook, or the 140-character limit of Twitter. You don't have to worry about being censored or having posts removed if you're a fan of four-letter words.
Trust & credibility.
Your own website lends you trust and credibility. You can refer people to [yourname].com instead of encouraging them to find you on Facebook/Twitter/etc.
Professional email.
And you can set up email on your domain so that your queries and correspondences come from something like hello@sarahwerner.com instead of saucylibrarian82@hotmail.
Blog and write whatever you want.
Your website is also a great place to host a blog, where you can establish yourself as an expert in your field -- whether that's novel writing, poetry, book or music reviewing, technical writing, and more.
Build your audience, readership, or tribe.
Your own website is also a great home base from which to build your tribe, a.k.a. your audience or readership. Build loyalty, collect email addresses, send emails to the list you build, and more.

(For example, check out the black bar at the top of this page, where you have the option to sign up for the Write Now newsletter!)
Make the money you deserve from your work.
Finally! With a bit of finagling, you could sell your books from your website and not deal with the 30%, 60%, 80%, etc. costs of a middleman like Amazon.
How do I get my own website as a writer?
The awesome news is that you don't have to pay an agency $35,000 for your own website. In fact, depending on what you want your site to do, it's quite likely that you can make it yourself for a relatively small investment.
Build it!
Here's what I recommend, depending on your level of comfort with digital & web-based stuff:

Squarespace.com (beginner)
Wordpress.com (intermediate)
Wordpress.org (advanced)

I built my website on wordpress.org, if you're curious. And no, none of these platforms is paying me to shill them (sadly). I actually do recommend them.
Measure your analytics & success.
Web analytics (such as Google Analytics, which is free and easy to install) provide a treasure trove of valuable information.

Jan 04, 2016
Your New Year's Writing Resolution - WN 032
28:46

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Let's take a look at New Year's resolutions specifically for writers in episode 032 of the Write Now podcast.
Make & keep your New Year's resolution.
Let's be honest -- we are not part of the 8% of the populace that actually sticks to a New Year's resolution. For most of us, a New Year's resolution is lucky to last through the third week of January. And many of us, I'm sure, see New Year's resolutions as dumb, hypocritical, or useless.

But maybe this year we can use the idea of a New Year's resolution to improve ourselves as writers.
8 tips for making and keeping your New Year's resolution:

Keep it positive.
Make it realistic and focus on just one thing.
Make sure it's something you actually want to do.
Establish a way to hold yourself accountable.
Set baby-step goals and celebrate every time you reach one. Remember, you're establishing a new habit and that is hard.
Set the stakes, if you need to.
Start before January 1! (Yes, you can do that!)
Remember to fail a lot.

My New Year's resolution for 2016 is to write 100 words per day, 7 days a week. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

And I'd love for you to keep me posted, too. Contact me or send me an email telling me about your New Year's resolution. We'll hold each other accountable and make 2016 a year of amazing writing.

Book of the week.
This week's book is the complete Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson. Because I'd been feeling down and cranky and maybe just a little bit cynical.

"Calvin and Hobbes" is a syndicated comic strip that ran in U.S. newspapers from 1985-1996 and, unlike "Cathy", "Family Circus", and "Rex Morgan MD", it wasn't terrible. In fact, it was delightful, and a source of constant and consistent inspiration for my young writer's mind.

This strip follows the adventures of an imaginative boy named Calvin and his best friend, a stuffed tiger named Hobbes. But it's anything but childish.

Bill Watterson has struck the perfect balance of sharp wit and scathing brilliance, raising the question over and over again of why we (whether child or adult) are constantly made to squash our creative impulses.

Through "Calvin and Hobbes", Bill Watterson challenges the reader time and time again to live freely and creatively, and to make the very most of the time we are given.

Keep up-to-date with my book-related adventures on Goodreads.
Support the Write Now podcast!
The best thing you can do to support Write Now is completely free -- simply tell your family, friends, and fellow writers to listen to it!

But you can also help keep the Write Now podcast happily independent and ad-free with just $1/episode (or more or less, depending on how generous you're feeling):

Or! There is also now the option to give a one-time gift or donation through PayPal! Simply type in any amount and you'll be on your way:

Thank you! :D
What's your writing resolution?
I'd love to hear how you're challenging yourself in this upcoming year, and how you plan to stick to your goals. Let me know via my contact page, or simply email me at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com. I look forward to hearing from you!
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Confession time: I AM TERRIBLE AT EMAIL. However, that doesn't mean I don't try. So every Wednesday(-ish), I'll send you the inspiration you need to write (or maybe just get through your day). All you have to do is add your name to my email list! >>
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Dec 28, 2015
Coffee Break 007: Vanessa Blakeslee
31:33

Episode 007: Vanessa Blakeslee

Hi friends! Welcome to your weekly Coffee Break.

Today I'm talking to Vanessa Blakeslee, the acclaimed short-story writer (and, I can add, distinguished and delightful personage) who has published her first novel, Juventud.

Juventud (or "Youth") is a beautifully and vividly written coming-of-age novel set in Santiago de Cali, Colombia, and follows the story of Mercedes Martinez, a young woman who is in love and determined to make her own choices in life -- until tragedy strikes.

Vanessa was a pure delight to talk to and I think you'll enjoy our conversation, which delves into the agency that we give our characters when we write about them, the differences between crafting a novel and a short story, giving your subconscious the time to "stew" over your story, and more!

Curious to learn more about Vanessa Blakeslee? Check out her official website, snag your own copy of Juventud, or enjoy her award-winning volume of short stories, Train Shots.
Want to be on Coffee Break?
I'm always looking for exciting people to showcase with casual conversations about creativity, writing, and work/life balance. Send me an email at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com or contact me if you're interested in a guest appearance.
I will send you emails.
You won't regret it if you sign up for my email newsletter! Probably!
Subscribe to Coffee Break (& Write Now).
You can listen to the full Coffee Break episode using the controls at the beginning of this post.

Or! You can listen and subscribe using your favorite app/website/podcatcher:

        

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The post Coffee Break: Vanessa Blakeslee appeared first on The Write Now Podcast with Sarah Werner.

Dec 22, 2015
Creating In A Time of Destruction - WN 031
27:01

Talking about creation and destruction go hand-in-hand. And I think that writers play a special part in not only conveying the destruction of the present, but creating the future.

Makers gonna make, yo. Let's do this together in episode 031 of the Write Now podcast.
Creation, destruction, & writing.
Destruction is hard to talk about -- it's so deeply tied with loss and grief and pain. But it's a reality that we as writers have to deal with, whether it's the latest in a string of mass shootings, the bulldozing of a beloved local forest, or an illness that's ravaging the body or mind of someone dear to us.

Today's episode is based on a quote that I love by Maxine Hong Kingston:
"In a time of destruction, create something."

-- Maxine Hong Kingston
And so when we're in the midst of a time of destruction, a long and vast stretch of wilderness, I think what matters is how we respond to it.

Because we are powerful, creative beings. I've said it before and I'll say it again until the day I die -- words have power. The power to create and the power to destroy. The power to expose truth and shape the future.

The world is changing. Let's change it for the better, together.

Book of the week.
The book this week? The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

What did I think? Well, I'm never one for hype -- back when the movie "Juno" came out, approximately 1.3 million people told me how much I'd love it, and when I finally got around to seeing this movie that was "MADE FOR ME" and would "CHANGE MY LIFE", according to everyone else... it was good, but it didn't quite live up to the hype.

This book, much like "Juno" and Gillian Flynn's somewhat comparable Gone Girl, came to me with a similar amount of hype. So I went into it with a fair amount of trepidation.

And for the first couple chapters, I was disappointed. The book seemed to be about a bitter British woman who rode around on a train staring out at the world around her.

But. I sallied forth to give it a fair chance, and soon found myself lost in a wonderfully subtle psychological mystery that didn't so much smack you in the face as creep under your skin.

Because you are the narrator. Even if you're not an unemployed alcoholic who commutes via train. You are her. And you get to learn with her and grow with her and develop at an extremely well thought out and strategic pace.

This book has been compared to Gone Girl because it's subtle and psychological and full of murder. But I think it stands very well on its own. I think you'll enjoy the slow-burning character development, the recurring themes, the artful writing, and the sweetly optimistic ending.

Recommended to folks who don't mind taking a harrowing journey with a flawed heroine, who appreciate a solid murder mystery, and who don't mind a bit of sex and violence in the mix.

Keep up-to-date with my book-related adventures on Goodreads.
Support the Write Now podcast on Patreon.
Help keep the Write Now podcast happily independent and ad-free. It doesn't take much -- just $1/episode (or more or less, depending on how generous you're feeling).

Just click this link and you'll be on your way:

Thank you! :D
What do you think?
What destruction are you facing today? What is your wilderness? Have you tried using writing to overcome it? How has it worked for you -- or against you? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Submit your insights, comments, or questions on my contact page, or simply email me at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com. I look forward to hearing from you.
Get weekly inspirational emails.
I think we can all agree on one thing: I AM TERRIBLE AT EMAIL. However, that doesn't mean I don't try. So every Wednesday(-ish), I'll send you the inspiration you need to write (or maybe just get through your day). All you have to do is add your name to my email list!

Dec 14, 2015
Coffee Break 006: Kate Dyer-Seeley
26:53

Episode 006: Kate Dyer-Seeley
My friends, I have to admit: this episode of Coffee Break almost turned me into a hypocrite.

Earlier this week, I released an episode of Write Now titled Letting Go, especially re: perfectionism. I proclaimed, several times, that "done is better than perfect!"

This episode of Coffee Break really challenged that belief. The audio quality is not very good, thanks to a shoddy Skype/internet connection and echo-chamber-like setting, and my interview questions were total lame-sauce. I considered simply deleting this episode and sending an effusive apology letter to the interviewee, Kate Dyer-Seeley, who despite my flailing was absolutely delightful.

But I couldn't do that, because on top of everything else I am stubborn as heck. So instead I'll apologize to you, lovely listener, for the substandard audio quality, let it go, and move on. :)
Kate Dyer-Seeley on mystery plotting, hiking, & the magic of editing:
Today's Coffee Break focuses on Pacific Northwest author Kate Dyer-Seeley. She's the author of several mysteries in the "cozy" genre (one of my faves), and a pure delight to talk to.

Mystery writers need to be particularly strategic with their craft to keep the reader guessing, and Kate very graciously goes into detail about her strategizing and sketching process, from mapping out the murder on her whiteboard to creating suspect sheets, "adding the magic back in" with editing, and more.

We also talk a bit about the New Adult genre, writing places as characters, "NaNo-ing" throughout the year, and more.

Talking to Kate just really made me want to go home, shut myself in my office, and WRITE. I hope our conversation makes you feel the same way. :)

Curious to learn more about Kate Dyer-Seeley? Check out her official website, or curl up by the fireplace with a mug of cocoa and one of her delightful cozy mysteries.
Want to be on Coffee Break?
I'm always looking for exciting people to showcase with casual conversations about creativity, writing, and work/life balance. Send me an email at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com or contact me if you're interested in a guest appearance.
WOOOO, email!
You won't regret it if you sign up for my email newsletter! Probably!
Subscribe to Coffee Break (& Write Now).
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The post Coffee Break: Kate Dyer-Seeley appeared first on The Write Now Podcast with Sarah Werner.

Dec 04, 2015
Letting Go - WN 030
44:37

 

Letting go is one of the hardest things a writer (let alone a human being) has to do. It speaks of loss -- whether willful or not -- and grief and all manner of unpleasant things.

But as a writer, you have to do it. And it would benefit you to learn to do it well, and with grace.

Today, in Episode 030 of the Write Now podcast, we'll talk about the different types of letting go you may face in your daily writing, work, and life overall.

And I'll try not to get that Disney song stuck in your head.
How to let go of:

Perfectionism. Remember, done is better than perfect.
Things that have changed and you cannot change back. And how to be OK with it.
Needing to change other people (and letting go of your own ego). You are a finite resource, and you may need to pick your battles.
Your own self-deceit. Sometimes clinging to a good idea prevents you from working on a great idea.

Finally, we'll talk about how to know when to let things go, and how to give yourself some breathing room.

This is important stuff. I hope you like it.

Book of the week (x3!).
This week, I read three books that ended up in my "started-but-never-finished" pile. :/

YES, I am one of those people who is willing to put down a book that isn't particularly engaging or to my liking. The way I see it, there are just too many amazing books in the world (and too little time) to spend time on books I'm not enjoying.

Here's what I read:

The Killing Floor by Lee Child
Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs
Orchid Beach by Stuart Woods

None of these books are bad books. I think I was just in a wrong place/wrong time scenario with them.

Keep up-to-date with my book-related adventures on Goodreads.
What do you think?
Do you have trouble letting go -- of words, of situations, of your own ideas or ego? I sure do. And if you do, too, I'd love to hear from you. Submit your thoughts or questions on my contact page, or simply email me at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com.
Get weekly inspirational emails.
Every Wednesday, I'll send you the inspiration you need to write (or maybe just get through your day). All you have to do is add your name to my email list! >>
Subscribe to the Write Now podcast for free!
You can listen to the full podcast episode using the controls at the beginning of this post.

Or! You can listen and subscribe using your favorite app/website/podcatcher:

        

Help support this podcast on Patreon! >>
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Connect with the Write Now podcast on your favorite social media platform(s):
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Leave me a review.
Like the Write Now podcast? Help me reach more listeners on iTunes when you write a five-star review. I might even read your review on the air! FUN! xoxo

The post Letting Go – WN 030 appeared first on The Write Now Podcast with Sarah Werner.

Nov 30, 2015
Writing With All of Your Senses - WN 029
32:18

I'm back from my mission trip to Jamaica, my friends. And I have several stories and writing insights to share with you. It's all here in episode 029 of the Write Now podcast.
Is travel a "must" for writers?
Travel is a great way for writers to learn, grow, and gain an entirely new perspective. The only downside is that it's not feasible or accessible for everyone. Travel can be expensive, and not everyone can take an extended leave of absence from work, family, or other duties.

This is why I'm so grateful to my employer, Click Rain, for sending me on an annual overseas mission trip to inland Jamaica for the past three years. In today's podcast episode, you'll hear all about my trip and how it affected me as a writer.

A more complete and engaging story.
I acknowledge the irony of lauding "writing with all of your senses" in the same episode in which I visit a village for the deaf. But I'm not saying that you need all five senses (or only five senses) to be a good writer. Not at all.

I think that films and movies have done great things for our imaginations, but they have rather limited the way we tell stories. I've read many writers that rely on the same two elements -- sight and sound -- that movies use... and nothing else.

But what about touch and taste and smell? Or any other kind of knowing?

Today's podcast episode encourages you to create a multi-sensory experience for your reader, and not just convey sights and sounds in the tradition of the silver screen.
Book of the week.
This week's pick is Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn, an incredibly fun mashup between historical fiction and mystery.

Lady Julia Grey is recently widowed and GASP! is there the possibility that her husband could have been murdered?

This book has everything I love about the mystery genre, from lovable, genuine characters to smart and snappy plot twists, and in some ways pays a gentle homage to Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody series.

Lady Julia completes an enjoyable character arc that leaves us with a spunky, satisfying heroine who's quite progressive for her time. Plus, there's a dashing, mysterious, and very Heathcliff-ian hero named Brisbane, plenty of tea, a tiny dog named Mr. Pugglesworth, and a raven named Grim. I think you'll like it.

Keep up-to-date with my book-related adventures on Goodreads.
What do you think?
I'd love to hear from you. Submit your thoughts or questions on my contact page, or simply email me at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com.
Get weekly inspirational emails.
Every Wednesday, I'll send you the inspiration you need to write (or maybe just get through your day). All you have to do is add your name to my email list! >>
Subscribe to the Write Now podcast for free!
You can listen to the full podcast episode using the controls at the beginning of this post.

Or! You can listen and subscribe using your favorite app/website/podcatcher:

        

Help support this podcast on Patreon! >>
The Write Now podcast is on social media, too.
Connect with the Write Now podcast on your favorite social media platform(s), for the low low price of FREE:
Twitter | Facebook | Ello | Google+ | Pinterest | Tumblr
Leave me a review.
Like the Write Now podcast? Help me reach more listeners on iTunes when you write a five-star review. I might even read your review on the air! FUN! xoxo

The post Writing With All of Your Senses – WN 029 appeared first on The Write Now Podcast with Sarah Werner.

Nov 23, 2015
Coffee Break 005: Abraham Allende
26:44

Episode 005: Abraham Allende
It's time to sit back, relax, and enjoy another episode of Coffee Break.

I love talking with people who have interesting stories to tell. And Abraham Allende -- former Cleveland sportscaster and current bishop of the Northeastern Ohio Synod of the ELCA -- has many.

Language has been a central part of Bishop Allende's career, from teaching high-school French to broadcasting Cleveland Indians games under the name Allen Davis. And he continues to speak, teach, and write professionally today -- though now it's from the pulpit.

Despite any misgivings you may have about organized religion, I think you'll enjoy our conversation about the power of language and the messages we choose to share.

We also talk about what it means to be called to a vocation. (You know, like writing. Or teaching. Or whatever it is you feel called to do.) Oh, and the importance of being authentic. All good stuff.

Visit Bishop Allende's blog, or read more about him at Cleveland.com.
Want to be on Coffee Break?
I'm always looking for exciting people to showcase with casual conversations about creativity, writing, and work/life balance. Send me an email at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com or contact me if you're interested in a guest appearance.
WOOOO, email!
Find out all of the latest haps when you sign up for my email newsletter! I promise I won't spam you. :)
Subscribe to Coffee Break (& Write Now).
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Or! You can listen and subscribe using your favorite app/website/podcatcher:

        

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The post Coffee Break: Abraham Allende appeared first on The Write Now Podcast with Sarah Werner.

Nov 19, 2015
My Writing Retreat - WN 028
24:11

Welcome to Episode 028 of Write Now. I've returned from my annual writing retreat and we've got some catching up to do.
Should I take a writing retreat?
I've spoken with a lot of writers over the years about the merits of a writers' retreat. And the question of Should I? isn't really fair to ask, since the answer has been a resounding Yes! from all surveyed.

Perhaps a better question to ask is: How do I keep the good effects of a short-term writing retreat going throughout the year?

Takin' it to the woods.
I know the woods aren't for everyone, but they're where it's at for me. And this year, I witnessed a lot of cool stuff, including a tiny snake, a toad that sat on my foot, and something mysterious howling in the night.

But best of all, I found stillness and silence. I had time to process my thoughts (and time to even have thoughts in the first place). I ate when I was hungry and slept when I was tired, and read and wrote whenever the urge struck me -- which, in this environment, was often.

You don't need to escape to a one-person cabin in the middle of nowhere to have a great writing retreat. I mean, I do because I am the introvert's introvert. But you can do whatever speaks to you -- whether it's taking a weekend at a hotel, bed & breakfast, or retreat center, a week at a friend's loft in Chicago, or simply a couple hours barricaded in your basement away from your kids.

Read. Write. But most importantly, listen. Get back in touch with who you are as a person and as a writer. And don't expect to have your life changed (though that might happen), but rather leave yourself open to finding meaning in even the most mundane experiences.
Book of the week.
During my retreat/hermitage, I read several books. But my absolute favorite was Charles Yu's How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe.

It's the story of the man who invented time travel and mysteriously disappeared, and his son, a time machine repairman who tries to find him.

I've said it before and I'll say it again -- I'm a huge sci-fi nut. But even if you aren't, chances are you may still enjoy this book. It's a quick read, full of wit and humor and deep human feeling.

It's also incredibly accessible -- Yu writes with plain language so that even talk of the space-time continuum and matters of physics are easily understood. There's none of the "parsecs" and "terraforming" and characters with a thousand apostrophes in their names (U'Zorge'drr) that can turn people off to sci-fi. Just a really interesting story about a father and a son, and a nonexistent but ontologically valid dog named Ed.

Keep up-to-date with my book-related adventures on Goodreads.
What do you think?
Have you ever taken a writing retreat? What are the benefits you've taken away? And has your writing life changed at all because of it?

Submit your own thoughts or questions on my contact page, or simply email me at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com. I can't wait to hear from you!
Get weekly inspirational emails.
Every Wednesday, I'll send you the inspiration you need to write (or maybe just get through your day). All you have to do is add your name to my email list! >>
Subscribe to the Write Now podcast for free!
You can listen to the full podcast episode using the controls at the beginning of this post.

Or! You can listen and subscribe using your favorite app/website/podcatcher:

        

Help support this podcast on Patreon! >>
The Write Now podcast is on social media, too.
Connect with the Write Now podcast on your favorite social media platform(s), for the low low price of FREE:
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Leave me a review.
Like the Write Now podcast? Help me reach more listeners on iTunes when you write a five-star review. I might even read your review on the air! FUN! xoxo

Nov 16, 2015
NaNoWriMo and You - WN 027
30:53

Help support this podcast on Patreon! >>

It's November--and you know what that means! Or maybe you don't, in which case I'll tell you: it's NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH! And the way I see it, November is a time to celebrate all writers, not just novelists. That includes you. Get ready for the writing frenzy with episode 027 of Write Now.
What is NaNoWriMo, and is it right for me?

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month (because who wants to say that over and over?), and over the years this has become a sort of marathon for writers. The challenge? To write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, from November 1-30.

Yes, that's nearly 1,700 words per day. Yes, that's insane. But it can also be kind of fun, and a great way to get into a daily writing habit.

Keeping NaNoWriMo realistic.
NaNoWriMo is a positive, inclusive event that encourages everyone to tell a story, and I love it for that. But it can also be incredibly difficult to meet and keep up with the daily word count.

That's why I advocate participating in NaNoWriMo without the expectation of winning (i.e., reaching the 50,000 word count by November 30).

Instead, set a daily writing goal that is more reasonable for your situation (e.g., 170 words a day, 800 words a day) and focus on reaching that goal every day in the month of November.

Thinking about giving it a try? Friend me on the NaNoWriMo site and we'll do this together.

And don't forget to enjoy the pep talks by some of your favorite novelists along the way.
Book of the week.
I'm a huge fangirl of Kelley Armstrong, who writes PNR (paranormal romance) for adults. So when I saw she'd published a YA series, I was curious to see how it would differ.

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong is the tale of 16-year-old Maya -- or at least it's the beginning of her tale.

Because as much as I adored Maya's character (for once a whip-smart, funny, and likable heroine so much unlike Bella Swan), I had a hard time grappling with the fact that I was essentially reading 25% or 33% of a story.

I love YA series, and I love cliffhangers. But I have really little patience with partially-told stories.

A full book's worth of story should establish expectations that it then follows up on. If it ends on a cliffhanger, that's fine, as long as the reader feels satisfied (if tense, and excited for the next installment) by the final page.

But with The Gathering, none of my expectations were met or fulfilled, and the abrupt, anticlimactic ending wasn't a cliffhanger so much as a "meh." It wasn't enough to lure me in to buying the next book (of which there are currently three).

Keep up-to-date with my book-related adventures on Goodreads.
Tell me your thoughts.
Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? Or have you done it in the past? I'm eager to hear all about your experience, or what you hope to get out of it!

Submit your own thoughts or questions on my contact page, or simply email me at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com. I can't wait to hear from you.
Get weekly inspirational emails.
Every Wednesday, I'll send you the inspiration you need to write (or maybe just get through your day). All you have to do is add your name to my email list! >>
Subscribe to the Write Now podcast for free!
You can listen to the full podcast episode using the controls at the beginning of this post.

Or! You can listen and subscribe using your favorite app/website/podcatcher:

        

Help support this podcast on Patreon! >>
The Write Now podcast is on social media, too.
Connect with the Write Now podcast on your favorite social media platform(s), for the low low price of FREE:
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Leave me a review.
Like the Write Now podcast? Help me reach more listeners on iTunes when you write a five-star review.

Oct 26, 2015
Coffee Break 004: Dave Booda
51:24

Episode 004: Dave Booda
It's time to sit back, relax, and enjoy another episode of Coffee Break.

Dave Booda (that's him, with the magnificent man-bun) of the Darken the Page podcast got in touch with me a while ago about recording a podcast episode together, and I thought it sounded like a great idea.

SO THAT IS WHAT WE DID. Enjoy our banter about the creative process and all the STUFF that comes with it. :D

Please note: This episode originally aired as Episode 43 of the Darken the Page podcast, but Dave very generously let me use it for today's Coffee Break as well. Thanks, my friend!
Interested in Coffee Break?
I'm always looking for exciting people to showcase with casual conversations about creativity, writing, and work/life balance. Send me an email at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com or contact me if you're interested in a guest appearance.
WOOOO, email!
Find out all of the latest haps when you sign up for my email newsletter! I promise I won't spam you. :)
Subscribe to Coffee Break (& Write Now).
You can listen to the full Coffee Break episode using the controls at the beginning of this post.

Or! You can listen and subscribe using your favorite app/website/podcatcher:

        

Help support this podcast! >>
I'm on social media.
Connect with the Write Now and Coffee Break podcasts on your favorite social media platform(s):
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The post Coffee Break: Dave Booda appeared first on The Write Now Podcast with Sarah Werner.

Oct 22, 2015
When Life Kinda Sucks - WN 026
43:27

Help support this podcast! >>

Episode 026 of the Write Now podcast is once again sponsored by my good friend Dave Booda at the Darken the Page podcast. Check it out!
Life isn't always as amazing as we'd like it to be.
...To put it lightly.

Sometimes the Powers That Be decide that juggling the usual work/life/writing balance just isn't hard enough, and sends us fun new things to deal with on top of it all. Things like illness, depression, toxic people, and bad situations at work.

So what's a writer to do?

Keep yourself from getting lost.
Sometimes, it's easy for all that rotten stuff to get to us -- to corrupt us, to dishearten us, to discourage us from writing.

But you're stronger than that. Today we're going to talk about that, and about how to stay true to yourself during the toughest times.
Tell me your thoughts.
How do you deal with all of the negative stuff that life throws your way?

Submit your thoughts or questions on my contact page, or simply email me at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com. I can't wait to hear from you!
Leave me a review.
Like the Write Now podcast? Help me reach more listeners on iTunes when you write a five-star review. I might even read your review on the air!
Get weekly inspirational emails.
Every Wednesday, I'll send you the inspiration you need to write (or maybe just get through your day). All you have to do is add your name to my email list! >>
Subscribe to the Write Now podcast for free!
You can listen to the full podcast episode using the controls at the beginning of this post.

Alternately, listen and subscribe using your favorite app/website/podcatcher:

        

Help support this podcast! >>
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The post When Life Kinda Sucks – WN 026 appeared first on The Write Now Podcast with Sarah Werner.

Oct 19, 2015
Coffee Break 003: Matt Paulson, Take 1
25:46

Episode 003: Matt Paulson
Hey friends. It's time for another Coffee Break!

Today, I'm speaking to my good friend Matt Paulson, the author of two books and finance blogger-turned-entrepreneur.

Matt is a smart dude who did something really interesting. He built a software program to gather financial data and generate blog posts about it. So today he's talking to us as the writer who literally built his own robot replacement.

It's like science fiction, but it's REAL LIFE! And Matt has seen an incredible amount of success.

That left Matt the writer with nothing left to write -- so he started writing books. One of those books he wrote in just 18 days (which you'll hear more about in this episode), and it's about an aspect of being a writer that often gets overlooked or pushed to the sidelines -- marketing.

Matt's newest book, Email Marketing Demystified, is a great and accessible way to gain a following for bloggers, novelists, and writers of all kinds. He spills some secrets in this episode about when to start collecting email addresses through your website, how to use them, and more. I think you'll agree it's pretty cool stuff.
Get a free copy of Matt's book!
Want to learn how, as a writer or a blogger, to get started with email marketing? Matt's book, Email Marketing Demystified, is available free on Kindle through October 4, 2015, and if you'd still like a free copy after that, please contact him through his website.

And while you're there, you can sign up for his email list. :)
Interested in Coffee Break?
I'm always looking for exciting people to showcase with casual conversations about creativity, writing, and work/life balance. Send me an email at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com or contact me if you're interested in a guest appearance.
Receive incredibly exciting emails from me.
Find out all of the latest haps when you sign up for my email newsletter! I promise I won't spam you. :)
Subscribe to Coffee Break (and Write Now).
You can listen to the full Coffee Break episode using the controls at the beginning of this post.

Or! You can listen and subscribe using your favorite app/website/podcatcher:

        

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Oct 03, 2015
My 10 Favorite Books - Part II - WN 025
28:02

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Episode 025 of the Write Now podcast is sponsored by my good friend Dave Booda at the Darken the Page podcast for creatives of all kinds. He's a smart and funny dude. Check it out!
LET'S TALK ABOUT BOOKS AGAIN!
Today's podcast is a follow-up to last week's episode about 5 of my 10 favorite books.

In this episode, you'll learn about the remaining five, as well as the reasons why they're so important to me:

My remaining 5 favorite books!

All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy

The Ape Who Guards the Balance by Elizabeth Peters

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle

Sabriel by Garth Nix

Storm Front by Jim Butcher

I'm so excited to share these books with you!
Tell me your thoughts.
Do you have a favorite book (or two or three or fifty)?

Have you read any of the 10 books on my list of favorites? What did you think of them?

Submit your own thoughts or questions on my contact page, or simply email me at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com. I can't wait to hear from you!
Leave me a review.
Like the Write Now podcast? Help me reach more listeners on iTunes when you write a five-star review. I might even read your review on the air!
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The post My 10 Favorite Books (Part 2) – WN 025 appeared first on The Write Now Podcast with Sarah Werner.

Sep 28, 2015
Coffee Break 002: Mad Like Alyce
48:51

Episode 002: Mad Like Alyce

Welcome to another episode of Coffee Break! This week, I'm talking to lifestyle blogger Mad Like Alyce, who offers a special focus on living a healthier life with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and chronic pain.

This is a great podcast episode for any writer who has a blog or is thinking about starting a blog!

In our conversation, Alyce & I talk about the importance of selecting a niche for your blog without letting it confine or label you, how to draw inspiration from other bloggers while maintaining your own voice, how much time to spend writing a post vs. how much value it provides to your readers, and so much more.

Alyce is not only a writer but a tech geek like myself, and so you'll also get some tips on starting your blog on a shoestring budget, using Google Analytics to understand and grow your blog traffic, and finding the right blogging platform.

I hope you enjoy it.
Visit Alyce's blog.
You'll find Alyce online at madlikealyce.com, where she blogs about living a happier and healthier life with PTSD and chronic pain. She also offers fun lifestyle features highlighting new music, fashion, recipes, and more. Check it out.
Interested in Coffee Break?
I'm always looking for exciting people to showcase with casual conversations about creativity, writing, and work/life balance. Send me an email at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com or contact me if you're interested in a guest appearance.
Receive riveting weekly emails from me.
Find out all of the latest haps when you sign up for my email newsletter! I promise I won't spam you. :)
Subscribe to Coffee Break (and Write Now).
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Sep 25, 2015
My 10 Favorite Books - Part I - WN 024
40:35

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DID YOU KNOW THAT I LOVE BOOKS? This is a good thing, because episode 024 of the Write Now podcast is all about books. Hooray!

This week's episode is sponsored by my good friend Dave Booda at the Darken the Page podcast. Dave is passionate about exploring the creative process, and his interview-style podcast lends some great perspective. Check it out!
What are your favorite books?
As writers, we tend to love books. Many books, various books, perhaps even all books.

But we still have our favorites -- those books that we've had since childhood, books that comforted us when we were afraid, that kept us company when we were lonely. Those books that contain characters we count closer than our friends and remind us of all the possibilities life can bring.

Here are 5 of my 10 favorite books, along with the reasons why.

My favorite books!
Today's podcast is about 5 of my 10 favorite books, and it gives you some background on why they're so important to me:

Pattern Recognition by William Gibson

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

I'm super excited to share these books with you!
Tell me your thoughts.
What are your favorite books, and why? (Look at me, assuming you have more than one. It's OK if you don't.)

Submit your own thoughts or questions on my contact page, or simply email me at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com. I can't wait to hear from you. :D
Leave me a review.
Like the Write Now podcast? Help me reach more listeners on iTunes when you write a five-star review. I might even read your review on the air!
Get weekly inspirational emails.
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Sep 24, 2015
Coffee Break 001: Barbara Kyle
28:28

Episode 001: Barbara Kyle
Welcome to the very first episode of Coffee Break, in which I speak with the elegant and gracious Barbara Kyle about what it means to write professionally and craft a true page-turner.

Ms. Kyle is the author of the popular Thornleigh Saga, a series of historical novels set in the court of King Henry VIII.

However, she has also has a fascinating past as an actor -- she starred in the TV daytime drama High Hopes, among other roles on screen and onstage.

In this conversation, Barbara talks about the importance of outlining or storylining your novel, the role of empathy in storytelling, and how she came upon writing as a second career.

I hope you enjoy it.
Visit Barbara's website.
If you're interested in learning more about Barbara, you can visit her website, where she offers a series of webinars for writers and talks about her upcoming symposium this October in Toronto, called "Crafting the Page-Turner".
Interested in Coffee Break?
I'm always looking for exciting people to showcase with casual conversations about creativity, writing, and work/life balance. Send me an email at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com or contact me if you're interested in a guest appearance.
Receive incredibly exciting emails from me.
Find out all of the latest haps when you sign up for my email newsletter! I promise I won't spam you. :)
Subscribe to Coffee Break (and Write Now).
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The post Coffee Break: Barbara Kyle appeared first on The Write Now Podcast with Sarah Werner.

Sep 17, 2015
What Does Success Look Like For You? – WN 023
33:35

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Oh man. Episode 023 of the Write Now podcast is about SUCCESS. Get ready  for some kind of MONTAGE or MOTIVATIONAL POSTER, probably!

...Or, you know, a nice earnest discussion on what it means to find success as a writer.
What does success look like for you as a writer?
It's something that we all daydream about but rarely give any serious thought: What would it look like if we were successful?

I think that a lot of writers interpret success as a "luck of the draw" type fate, and to a certain degree, that's true. But I think those writers also tend to underestimate the power of strategic planning and goal-setting.

It all starts with understanding and defining what success means for and looks like to you as a writer.

For you, is success:

Changing the way your society operates?
Shaking up the status quo?
Spreading an idea?
Selling a lot of books?
Making a ton of money from selling a ton of books?
Hitting the New York Times or Amazon bestseller list?

Or is it something else entirely?
Success is possible.
Success is not impossible for you. Now, I'm not saying it's necessarily probable, either. I'm just saying that, if you're willing to set goals and put enough work into it, success is possible.

So have hope. Take heart. And get to work. I'll give you the rundown on what to do in today's podcast episode.
Here's that motivational  poster I promised you.
I hope you like it.

 

Book of the week.
This week, I decided to read This is Water by David Foster Wallace. It was a good decision.

Originally given as a commencement speech in 2005 to the graduating class at Kenyon College, this brief book takes up about 100 pages and 20 minutes of your time, but will leave a lasting impression that will keep you thinking throughout the week.

I'd never read David Foster Wallace before (I know, shame shame), and this seemed a bit more digestible than The Infinite Jest. But now I've got a taste for it and can't wait to dive in to his heavier works.

Keep up-to-date with my book-related adventures on Goodreads.
Tell me your thoughts.
How do you define success as a writer? And how do you plan to get there?

Submit your own thoughts or questions on my contact page, or simply email me at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com. I can't wait to hear from you.
Leave me a review.
Like the Write Now podcast? Help me reach more listeners on iTunes when you write a five-star review. I might even read your review on the air!
Get weekly inspirational emails.
Every Wednesday, I'll send you the inspiration you need to write (or maybe just get through your day). All you have to do is add your name to my email list! >>
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The post What Does Success Look Like For You? – WN 023 appeared first on The Write Now Podcast with Sarah Werner.

Sep 09, 2015
Was I Meant To Be A Writer? - WN 022
27:54

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Hey friends. Have you ever questioned your writer-ly destiny? Then Episode 022 of the Write Now podcast is for you.
What if I simply wasn't meant to be a writer?
I received a letter from a very bright, very talented young writer named Amanda who was wondering whether she was actually meant to be a writer.

Her letter affected me so much that I decided to dedicate this episode to exploring the topic.

Amanda writes,
I'm not sure if I'm meant to be writing... I like coming up with characters and thinking about the situations they would get into. I like developing the characters. I love dialogue particularly.

...But I spend maybe 5% of my writing time actually writing. The rest of the time, I am in misery. I agonize over my faults until I can barely move, let alone be creative...

I'm just wondering if I should even be writing at all. Can someone maybe have a passion for writing but then shouldn't do it anyway?
Wow. It took me a while, but I was finally able to provide Amanda with an answer, and I'd like to share it with you.

There is no "should".
The first thing I would do is question your "shoulds" and "meant tos".

When you wonder whether you were "meant" to be a writer, or whether you "should" be writing, whose mandate are you following? Who is imposing those "shoulds"? Fate? God or a higher power? A teacher, professor, or friend? Yourself? That feeling of enjoyment/satisfaction/joy when you're able to write?

I went through a time when my own "shoulds" seriously conflicted with what I wanted and needed to do with my life. I would bet that you have been through something similar as well.

What's hard to remember amidst all those "shoulds" is that your life is not just one pre-determined path. Your life isn't just point A to point B. It's point A to LITERALLY ANYWHERE. There are thousands of possibilities, and thousands of choices you make in any given day that will determine the course of your life.

You were given (or have, depending on your perspective) a talent for writing. And it's up to you to decide what you want to do with that talent.

Do you want to write as a hobby? As a career? Or do you not want to write at all?

The only person who can make that choice is you.
Have you ever asked yourself this question?
Let me know what conclusion you came to, or what happened because of the choice you made, by sending an email to hello [at] sarahwerner.com or sharing your thoughts in the comments below!
Book of the week. (Okay, books.)
I got lost in not only a great book but a great series this week. Karen Marie Moning's excellent urban fantasy "Fever" pentalogy (like a trilogy, but with five parts!) begins with Darkfever and ends with Shadowfever and wow is it a wild, gripping, breathtaking ride.

I read all five books in some sort of fever of my own, often staying up significantly past my bedtime to read just one more chapter.

The premise? MacKayla Lane travels to Dublin, Ireland to identify the body of her sister and best friend, Alina.

While she's there, she notices that things aren't quite right, and embarks on an adventure to not only identify her sister's killer but prevent the extinction of humanity at the hands of the warring Seelie and Unseelie Fae courts.

Read this series if you love urban fantasy, mysterious strangers, Dublin, tightly knit plots, bookshops, self-aware heroines with swords and spears, saucy brooding heroes, and epic storytelling.

Do not read this series if you are sensitive to foul language or graphically depicted adult situations. (Seriously. I'm not kidding. It's graphic.)

Otherwise... I hope you don't have to get up early for work the next morning.

Keep up-to-date with my book-related adventures on Goodreads.
Talk to me!
Submit your own thoughts or questions on my contact page,...

Aug 31, 2015
How To Defeat Writers' Block - WN 021
38:48

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My friends. Episode 021 of the Write Now podcast is about writer's block and how to defeat it. GET READY.
Have you ever struggled with writers' block?
Writers' block can seize any writer at any point during the writing process. But that doesn't mean you can't fight back!

In today's podcast episode, I talk about what to do when:

You can't come up with an idea
You have too many ideas and you can't commit to just one
You don't know what to write next
You've strayed from your outline and you don't know how to get back on track
You're bored with what you've written
You don't feel like writing
You're paralyzed by fear
You're stuck in revision purgatory

The many cures for writers' block.
From writing exercises to the steps to getting unstuck (WN 013), getting yourself in a writing mood (WN 008), or regaining your confidence (WN 005), you'll want to make sure that you choose the cure that fits your situation. I'll help you do that in today's episode.

Going through a period of writers' block does not make you a failure. Even if you miss a day or two of writing (or a month or two, or a year or two), it doesn't mean you're any less a writer.

Writers' block happens to most writers. What really determines if you're successful or not is how you deal with it.
What do you do?
What do you do when writers' block strikes? Let me know or share your thoughts in the comments below!
Question of the week.
Thanks to podcast listener Brian for this week's question! It's about social media.

Brian asks:

Would you recommend having two separate social media accounts? One for your writing, professional self, and another for everything else? I'm especially interested in Twitter, but wonder if this would apply to other services as well.

I have a background in digital marketing, so this was a fun question for me to tackle. It starts at about the 31:11 mark and will hopefully help you sort out what's right for you.

Submit your own thoughts or questions on my contact page, or simply email me at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com. I can't wait to hear from you.
Leave me a review.
Like the Write Now podcast? Help me reach more listeners on iTunes when you write a five-star review. I might even read your review on the air!
I will send you things.
I'll send you fun emails when you least expect it. All you have to do is add your name to my email list! >>
Subscribe to Write Now right now!
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The post How To Defeat Writers’ Block – WN 021 appeared first on The Write Now Podcast with Sarah Werner.

Aug 24, 2015
Truth In Fiction - WN 020
25:42

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I never intended to go into marketing. In fact, I just kind of fell into it -- and realized I was fairly decent at it. In marketing, I've learned a lot about truth (and how people respond to truth) that I'll share with you today in Episode 020 of the Write Now podcast.
Truth! Beauty! Right?
There's an adage that says, "Writers are professional liars." I can understand the cynicism and humor that lie beneath that statement, but I don't agree with it. Not a bit.

When you're writing to connect with people, whether it's an account of factual events or a story about unicorns piloting spaceships through a multiverse of rainbows, you have a responsibility to tell the truth.

The fiction writer is the penultimate truth-teller.
The resonant and enduring beauty of fiction doesn't lie in a mere faithful retelling of events. And simply writing what you know (yet another writing adage) is not enough.

We write and read fiction to connect with others -- to find truths in one another. As Ernest Hemingway once said,
"From all things that you know, and from all those you cannot know, you make something through your invention that is not a representation but a whole new thing, truer than anything true and alive."
I really can't say it any better than that.
Read more about it.
Podcast listener Maggie referenced a rich and lovely interview with Maya Angelou in her letter to me. If you'd like to read that interview yourself, you'll find it here, in the Paris Review No. 119.

I also quote a couple passages from Stephen King's On Writing in this episode. It's a great book, and you should read it if you haven't already.
The book of the week.
I re-read Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried for this week's podcast episode, and I'm glad I did. Not because I especially enjoy war stories or Vietnam War fiction, or even because I missed a lot of its finer nuances as a college student.

It just felt... refreshing to know that I'm not the only one who struggles with truth-telling in fiction.

It's a relief to know I'm not the only one who gets frustrated by the gross inadequacy and inability of our language to convey the complex spectrum of emotions that can be packed into one single event, one single moment.

I'm not alone in this. You're not alone in this. And that's truth-telling at its finest.

Keep up-to-date with my book-related adventures on Goodreads.
Leave me a review.
Like the Write Now podcast? Help me reach more listeners on iTunes when you write a five-star review. I might even read your review on the air!
Is your email inbox lonely?
I'll send you fun emails when you least expect it. All you have to do is add your name to my email list! >>
Comments? Questions?
What sort of truths have you discovered in your own writing?

What do you think of the adages "Writers are liars" and "Write what you know"?

Submit your own thoughts or questions on my contact page, or simply email me at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com. I can't wait to hear from you.
Subscribe to Write Now right now!
You can listen to the full podcast episode using the controls at the beginning of this post.

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Aug 10, 2015
7 Reasons You Need A Writing Mentor - WN 019
33:07

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Do you have a writing mentor? Find out why it's super-important to have one in Episode 019 of the Write Now podcast!
Every writer needs a mentor.
What are the benefits of having a writing mentor? How do you go about finding one? Is it possible you have one already? And how can you tell a good mentor from a bad one? SO MANY QUESTIONS! Good thing I have so many answers.

You are not alone.
I think that, in general, writing as seen as a fundamentally solitary, isolated, and alone process. We imagine writers sitting up late at night at a well-shadowed desk, sipping cognac by the fire, shut into an office or study, out for a lonely walk.

Maybe it's a man, maybe it's a woman. Heck, maybe it's this guy:

(Sorry, I couldn't resist. That pipe-chomping, suspender-wearing image of a writer really cracks me up.)

Point is, I don't think it's healthy for a writer to be perfectly 100% alone in their craft.
Good vs. bad mentors!
I share the story of how I met my current mentor, Melissa, and what a good mentor should be. I also talk a little bit about a mentorship with a different mentor (one that had been assigned to me) that did not turn out so well.
7 ways a mentor can help you in your writing:

A mentor has been there -- he or she knows what it takes, and can offer trustworthy advice.
You can trust a mentor to be honest and unbiased with you.
A mentor can help open doors that might otherwise be closed to you.
A mentor can act as a counselor, lifeline, or anchor during times of stress.
A mentor can be a great role model, especially in the social graces.
A good mentor will challenge you in ways you wouldn't challenge yourself.
Meeting with your mentor will leave you feeling refreshed and inspired -- and in love with writing again.

Really, nothing will get you fired up about writing like someone who is really fired up about writing. :)
Where can I find a mentor?
You can look for mentors pretty much anywhere. Here are some ideas:

An old teacher or professor
A member of your writer's group or book club
An editor of your acquaintance
A coworker who gets storytelling
A spiritual or religious leader
A writer you admire -- whether within your own circle of friends or a nationally recognized author

And, as a special bonus, from my own personal bias:
Six traits to look for in a mentor:

Your mentor should be someone you can trust.
Try to find someone you admire & respect, whose advice you'll look forward to following.
Make sure your mentor is someone who is willing to be honest with you.
Your mentor should be willing to take an interest & invest time in you.
While you want them to be invested in you, make sure they're not going to take over your life. (Forceful personalities can be forceful.)
You find yourself writing down the stuff they say so that you can reference it later.

What do I do when I think I've found someone to be my mentor?
Just ask them this question:
"Can I buy you a cup of coffee sometime?"
[Or some similar variation.]

This question has been the key to some truly great professional relationships and mentorships. Give it a try and let me know what happens!
The book of the week.
AAAAAAH! Speaking of work/life balance, I didn't have time to finish a book this week. BUT. Check back next week, and in the meantime, you can keep up-to-date with my book-related adventures on Goodreads.
Leave me a review.
Like the Write Now podcast? Help me to stay visible on iTunes when you write a review. I might even read your review on the air!
Get sweet emails from me.
Join the movement of people adding their names to my email list and add your name to my email list! >>
Comments? Questions?

Jul 29, 2015
Fail A Lot - WN 018
31:01

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Hey there, friends. In episode 018 of the Write Now podcast, I'm going to give you some advice that I'll bet you don't hear all that often:
Fail a lot.
As writers, why are we such perfectionists? Why do we expect perfection from ourselves? Shouldn't we understand better than anyone else that the human creature is inherently and beautifully flawed?

I know, I know. I'm guilty of this, too. But let's do something we writers tend to be not-super-great at and dive headfirst into REALITY and admit:

We are human.
We are not perfect.
And that is okay.

Go ahead and repeat that a couple times, whether out loud or simply to yourself. Because it's true, and it's true of everyone.

Especially if you're the type of person who protects yourself from failure -- and by doing so also prevents yourself from trying. And protects yourself from success.
Failure fun facts:

Failure is not rejection -- rejection is subjective feedback.
Failure is not the opposite of success -- failure is a step toward success.
Failure is not consequence -- before you stop yourself from failing at (a.k.a trying) something, it pays to find out what the consequences for that failure are, if any.

If anyone has been successful at anything, whether it's writing a book or painting a mural or learning to walk, it's because they failed a lot on the way there. The more you fail, the more you'll succeed.

In short, you have all the permission you need to fail a lot. Now go out and make it happen.
The book of the week.

The paranormal romance genre (often called PNR) has been gaining popularity over the past decade or two, recently exploding into the Twilight phenomenon.

But far before Edward began stalking Bella, Buffy romanced Angel and Spike, readers fell in love with Christine Feehan's dark side, and Elena Michaels was bitten.

I love PNR -- as long as it's well written. There are so many coattail-riders out there post-Twilight success that sometimes it can be hard to tell the good from the bad.

However, I picked up Dark Currents by Jacqueline Carey with blissfully blind confidence.

Jacqueline Carey has long been one of my favorite writers. I first read her (in)famous Kushiel's Dart series in high school and found a whole new world of sexy political intrigue in a uniquely feminine high-fantasy setting. It was new and surprising and soaked in syrupy language while remaining imminently readable.

So when I saw that Ms. Carey had written a PNR series, I was ecstatic. How was she going to deviate from the norm this time? I wondered. I bought all the volumes I could find (which, at time of writing, is 3) and happily began to devour the first, Dark Currents.

Unfortunately, Ms. Carey's considerable skill wasn't enough to elevate this novel from what it was: a perfectly by-the-book (no pun intended) PNR standard. Love triangles, mythical beasts, sociopaths, and a murder mystery should make for an immensely compelling story. But unfortunately, we've seen it all before, and all too often.

Also, I'm still not super 100% sure what to make of the main character's tail.

Keep up-to-date with my reading exploits on Goodreads.
Featured quote:

Leave me a review.
Like the Write Now podcast? Help me to stay visible on iTunes when you write a review. I might even read your review on the air!
Get sweet emails from me.
Join the movement of people adding their names to my email list and add your name to my email list! >>
Comments? Questions?
Do you permit yourself to fail?

Submit your own thoughts or questions on my contact page, or simply email me at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com.
Subscribe to this podcast!
You can listen to the full podcast episode using the controls at the beginning of this post.

Or!

Jul 20, 2015
Your Professional vs Creative Self - WN 017
31:00

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Welcome to Episode 017 of the Write Now podcast, my lovelies. I am so glad you're here. Today we're going to talk about your work/life/writing balance.
Where are you putting your energy?
If you go out to iTunes and check out the Write Now podcast "about" info, you'll see it says:
"A weekly podcast for aspiring writers looking to find a healthy work/life/writing balance."
Sometimes, I feel like three separate selves trying to work together, instead of one self trying to find balance: my work self, my life self, and my creative writing self. And they don't always get along:

Work self: This is your professional side -- the one that is paid to meet & greet clients, counsel people over the phone, make sandwiches, pour concrete, teach math, serve lasagna, balance the company budget, and lead a team.
Life self: This is the "home" you -- the part of you that takes care of and hangs out with your family & friends, washes the dishes, binges on Star Trek: TNG reruns, volunteers at the animal shelter, and loves chili dogs.
Writing/creative/passion-project self: This is often your most personal or secret self -- the you that loves, desires, and needs to create. The you that stays up until 2:30 a.m. drinking coffee and hammering out the next chapter of your novel (or bemoaning your writer's block).

Think about how much energy you devote toward each of these three realms. (Not how much time you spend in each! Time and energy are different.) This can be per day, per week, per year -- however it makes sense to you.

My lineup:

Work = 70% of my energy
Life = 25% of my energy
Writing = 5% of my energy

Don't judge me too harshly, please. Next, I'd like you to think about what it would take for you to be balanced or more satisfied with how you're prioritizing your life. Please be aware that balance is different from equal. A healthy work/life/writing balance doesn't mean each one should get 33.33% of your energy.

It means that you need to determine what a satisfying, healthy balance would be for you, and be very intentional about living that out.

For me, that healthy, ideal balance would look like this:

Work: 30%
Life: 35%
Writing: 35%

What is your ideal balance? How does it differ from the balance you're juggling right now? And what can you do to balance out the energy you spend in each realm?
The book of the week.
This week, I gave in to my curiosity (no puns about cat-killing, now) and read what I had long viewed as a member of a weird fringe genre of literature -- cat mysteries.

The Cat Who Could Read Backwards by Lilian Jackson Braun is the first in one such series (dubbed "The Cat Who..." mystery series).

I was a little disheartened that the cat (named Koko) was not the main character -- rather, he plays supporting actor to newspaper reporter Jim Qwilleran as the latter finds out who kills a local art critic.

Notably, The Cat Who Could Read Backwards was published in 1966, so there are no mobile phones in characters' pockets, no computers in the newsroom, all newspapers are printed on paper, etc.

And honestly, that just made this cozy mystery feel all the more cozy to me. There's just something about reading a paper book or newspaper by the fire with a cat curled up in your lap that's incredibly comforting. Despite, you know, all the murder that keeps happening.

This is a sweet-natured, cozy murder mystery that pokes fun at the pretentious nature of the art world while elevating the pretentious nature of cats. I liked it, much to my surprise. But I'm not incredibly sure it's worth your time.

Keep up-to-date with my reading exploits on Goodreads.
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Jul 13, 2015
How to Make Writing Fun Again - WN 016
27:10

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This is the sweet 16th episode of the Write Now podcast with yours truly.
Sometimes we lose that spark.
Remember when writing used to be fun? Or better yet, satisfying?

You can find that feeling again. It might just be a matter of letting go of some other stuff that matters less. It's about understanding what it is you love about writing.

Here are some simple questions you can ask yourself that will guide your mind back into a happy writing place.

Ask yourself...
What was it that made you fall in love with writing in the first place?

Reveling in the sheer number of possibilities?
Getting lost in a unique story that was all your own?
Playing out an imagined fantasy?
Sharing a message you were passionate about?

Next, ask: What changed?

Did someone kill your confidence and tell you your writing wasn't great?
Did you, for some reason, begin to feel ashamed of what you had written?
Did you lose yourself in trying too hard to be like another, more famous, writer?

Finally! What would it take for you to feel real joy and satisfaction in your writing again?

That's where happiness lies. I'll help you find it in this week's episode of Write Now. 
The book of the week.
What first drew me to Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer, book 1 in the Southern Reach Trilogy, was a couple things:

That pretty, pretty cover
Rave reviews from two wonderful and well-read friends
Insinuations that it is similar to LOST

How could I resist?

It is so hard to do horror right, in my eyes. Despite being a genre that gets looked down upon by critics and the public alike, good horror is difficult. It's so easy to be cheap -- so easy to be gory and cruel, to follow a common trope to its logical conclusion.

It's hard to write something both truly awful and truly beautiful.

But that is what Jeff VanderMeer has done in Annihilation.

Four female scientists -- a biologist, anthropologist, psychologist, and surveyor -- are sent to investigate the mysterious "Area X", where 11 expeditions have gone before them and never returned -- or returned changed.

You know me and my affinity for the Weird, so be prepared. This book is certainly Weird, and it's not for everyone. A quick scan of fellow reader reviews on Goodreads suggests that people tend to either love or hate this book. If I were you, I'd take my chances regardless. The narrator is unreliable and the science questionable, but I think you'll appreciate VanderMeer's beautiful, speculative, and deeply insightful writing.

Keep up-to-date with my reading exploits on Goodreads.
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The post Jul 06, 2015

Why Is It So Important For Writers To Read? - WN 015
35:33

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Welcome to Episode 015 of the Write Now podcast. We're going to be talking about something I've wanted to talk about for a while. SO I HOPE YOU HAVE BEEN WANTING TO HEAR IT! (Hint: the topic is BOOKS, you guys!)
Why do writers need to read?
"Reading is essential if you're going to be a writer." You've heard it from teachers and fellow writers and books on writing. Heck, you've even heard it from me.

(And from Stephen King.)

But why? Why is it so essential for writers to read?

8 benefits of reading for writers:

Reading lets you understand what a reader wants -- and what you need to give your own readers.
Reading gives strong fundamentals in story structure and plot development.
Reading gives you a feel for and can expand your own ideas of stylistic items such as graceful narration, metaphor, transition, voice, and more.
Reading gives you both inspiration and drive to move forward in your own work.
Reading is a great way to get ideas!
Reading shows you what's already been done.
Reading lets you take advantage of lessons already learned by generations of smart writers.
And, via our good friend Stephen King's excellent book On Writing: "The real importance of reading is that it creates an ease and intimacy with the process of writing... Constant reading will pull you into a place... where you can write eagerly and without self-consciousness."

My point is, a writer who doesn't have time to read is like a musician who doesn't have time to listen to music, or a chef who doesn't have time to eat. The two activities are complementary and necessary if you're going to write well.
6 ways to fit reading into your busy schedule:
Starting with the most obvious!

Read in your favorite reading place during your free time -- whether that's out on the beach, in a cozy armchair by the fireplace, or in bed before falling asleep.
Read over lunch at your desk or in the break room. Wear headphones (whether or not they're playing music) as necessary.
Read while waiting -- at the doctor's office, in line at the DMV, while you're waiting for your daughter to emerge from school, on the toilet... wherever you can.
Read during your commute to work, if you happen to ride a train or bus, or travel via carpool (but not if you're driving, bicycling, or walking).
Read while you're exercising on a treadmill, elliptical, spinner, or another piece of equipment that doesn't need you to, you know, keep an eye on anything.
Read EVERYWHERE ELSE (while jogging, gardening, vacuuming, driving, attending a boring party, etc.) with the magic of audiobooks!

Bonus:
I coin the phrase "predilection for fiction" in this episode. You're welcome.
The book of the week.
It must be Stephen King week in my brain or something.

YOU GUYS. I read Bag of Bones and I was really glad I did. And not just because it was gripping and compelling, etc., but because it's about a writer and the struggles all writers face.

It's also about ghosts and lucid dreams and a truly disturbing custody battle.

I won't give any spoilers here -- part of the pleasure of reading this book, of course, is all the twists and turns it takes as it unfolds. But I think you will enjoy the exploration of grief and what it means to be haunted -- not only by literal ghosts, but by memories and hidden histories and resounding echoes of lost talents.

Keep up-to-date with my reading exploits on Goodreads. Hooray!
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Jun 12, 2015
Creating A Space For Writing - WN 014
32:07

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YOU GUYS it has been a while. But I am back, and the foam on my delicious cappuccino is as fluffy and delightful as the suds in an angel's bathtub. (Is that weird? Maybe that's weird. But it's TRUE.) Anyway, I'm glad you're here.
Where do you write?
It surprises me sometimes -- where I am able and where I am unable to write. Can you write anywhere? Or do you have certain objects, snacks, or environmental enhancements (whatever that means) that you need to be able to write?

The conditions can never really be perfect, I've found. BUT. If they could be perfect...
Sarah's perfect writing environment:

Large flat wooden desk for handwriting, brainstorming, and doodling.
Plenty of paper, pens, and pencils to alleviate scarcity anxiety.
Plants. Plants everywhere.
Comfortable upright chair (too comfortable or slouchy and I will fall asleep).
A window.
Perfect silence -- or, if that's not realistic, lyric-less music to drown out sound.
A soft rain or snow.
Coffee-accessible.

My own personal office incorporates these elements as much as possible, and adds in:

Pale yellow walls for creative energy.
Inspirational imagery and interesting knicknacks.
Computer for typing.
Books for research, inspiration, and periodic breaks.
Piano.
Two cats who don't always get along.
Impressive and/or shocking supply of M&Ms.

My point is that we curate these spaces -- we take them very seriously. Many famous writers, such as Jane Austen and Roald Dahl, do (or did, during their lifetimes).

And yet I've done some great writing in the most unexpected places.
Does the environment shape the work or does the writer shape the environment?
What about your writing environment inspires you? Or what about your writing has inspired the environment? Do we change as we write? Does writing change us? I have so many questions, you guys.

But the question I'm most interested in is: What is your perfect writing environment? And is that where you do your best writing?
The book of the week.

I wandered back into YA fantasy territory with this week's book of the week: Graceling, by Kristin Cashore.

It's about a teenage girl with a keen talent for killing in a world where the Graced (those with superpowers) and the un-Graced (those without) must coexist.

There are some similarities here with The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (including heroines Katniss and Katsa, a bond with a younger girl, themes of survival and rebellion against a corrupt government, and more) -- and in fact both books were published in the same year.

But this book is strong enough to not feel like a derivative from its popular companion with a great love story (better than The Hunger Games'), compelling narrative, and unique fantasy world.

My only complaint about the book was that, once the romantic tension was resolved (about 3/4 of the way through), there wasn't a whole lot left to keep me interested.

Now, this isn't because the plot wasn't interesting -- but because Cashore is really good at writing interesting characters, and I was disappointed when there was no witty banter and romantic tension left. Katsa and Po are lively and smart and their relationship is a joy to read about.

I even loved that the hero's name is the somewhat dumpy-sounding "Po" -- it flies in the face of the contemporarily sexy and dominantly alpha-sounding Edward and Jace and Christian.

And -- for a final bonus -- THERE IS NO LOVE TRIANGLE. REJOICE!!!

So if you're in to YA fantasy, or a die-hard fan of The Hunger Games, it's worth giving Graceling a try.

Keep up-to-date with my reading exploits on Goodreads. Hooray!
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Jun 06, 2015
7 Ways to Write Yourself Out of a Corner - WN 013
34:11

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Oooh. Lucky episode 013. Or unlucky, if you suffer from triskaidekaphobia. And I hope you don't, because I think you'll enjoy this episode.
Help! I've written myself into a corner!
We've all been there. That point where you realize a scene's just not working. Or where you realize that your character's motivations don't match the action you need him or her to take. Or where you realize your outline sucks, or that you've been writing an extended idea and not a story.

You've written yourself into a corner and you have no idea how to fix it. Well, I don't want you to be in the corner. The corner sucks.

Here are seven ways to get out of that corner.

Go back and your novel and search for the last place you didn't feel lost. This will help you find the "wrong turn" you took, or the mistake you made -- wherever things went wrong. Delete everything after that point (or, less drastically, copy-paste that chunk of text into a new file called "Leftovers"). Stephen King calls this "killing your darlings." And I know, it hurts. But sometimes you need to cut off the hand to save the arm.
Throw a weird twist in there and see what happens. This means that you must give up your iron control over the plot -- you must stop caring for just a moment and be willing to see what happens. You can do this after having completed method #1 above, or all on its own.
Realize it's OK to deviate from your outline. Sometimes we get into a place where our own ideas (or adherence to what we think is best) can limit us. Crumple up your outline (or tuck it neatly away into your "Leftovers" folder) and free yourself to imagine a new route.
Re-examine who your characters are and determine what they would do leading up to a given situation -- not what you want them to do. Put yourself into your characters' shoes, flip on the empathy switch, and be willing to let your characters surprise you.
Sleep on it. You might just be frustrated and burned out. If you are stuck, either take a nap or go to bed and let your mind heal itself. Just make sure you start again the next day -- otherwise, this is known as quitting. I don't want you to quit.
Meditate. Turn off your computer and give yourself the time and the space to think. Writing isn't all active production -- sometimes we just need to sit and reflect and know it's okay to sit and reflect. Go for a walk. Take a shower. Doodle as you watch the pigeons strut along your window ledge. Have some tea. Clear your mind and see what happens.
Ask for help. I KNOW. I am really bad at this, too. But sometimes it can really help to have someone you trust take a look at what you've written and offer suggestions or insights. Do not ask this person or these people to solve your problem for you -- only you can do that. But they can help point out weak and strong points within your writing and give you a fresh outlook or a new idea you hadn't considered.

The trick to all of this is that you cannot be unwilling to change. Only when you give up your complete control over this messy, organic work will it begin to work for you.
The book of the week.

This week, I read The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey.

Without spoiling it for you, I can tell you that it's about a little girl who lives in a facility where she is treated very poorly -- and then you find out why.

This book is very intense and extremely gory, and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone with a weak stomach. But if you're looking to dip your toes into the horror genre, or if you're a horror fan looking for a literarily complex new work, please check this one out.

With a compelling heroine, complex characters, a bone-deep humanity, and heartbreaking twists, The Girl With All The Gifts was a fast-paced horror/mystery/survival drama and all around pleasure to read.

Keep up-to-date with my reading exploits on Goodreads.

May 19, 2015
My 8 Favorite Writing Tools – WN 012
37:53

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In this week's episode of the "Write Now" podcast, I talk about caffeine addiction, my obsession with Bic 0.7mm #2 mechanical pencils, an intense personal dislike of sports, the ubiquitous egg timer, and (bonus!) Jane Austen's homemade ink recipe.

Buckle up, because this is going to be ONE WILD RIDE.
What are the tools of the writer's craft?
Sculptors use a hammer and chisel. Knitters use needles. Writers use... what? A word processing program on a laptop? A composition notebook and pencil? A vintage Lillian Rose typewriter from 1945?

My point here is that YOU COULD LITERALLY USE ANYTHING to write. Soggy Alpha-Bits floating in milk. Chalk. Blood and bones.

But every writer has his or her preference -- and not only regarding what they use to create their art, but what they use to get inspired, stay focused, and get published. John Steinbeck used only one specific type of pencil. Jennifer Crusie uses a program called Scrivener. You'll hear more about all of that in today's episode.
My eight favorite writing tools, you guys.
And bonus -- they're all free, or at least incredibly cheap!

OmmWriter: OmmWriter is a beautiful, minimalist writing program that enhances your focus and removes distractions. It's about $5 and up for either Mac or PC.
Pencil & paper: I prefer Bic 0.7mm #2 mechanical pencils (they're SUPER cheap) and yellow college-rule legal pads.
Idea book / reminder app: I use a more affordable knockoff version of the Moleskine ruled cashier journal. They're unobtrusive and fit perfectly into pockets and purses.
Coffee: Oh you guys do I ever love coffee. (Not free, sadly.)
Timer: I simply use the timer app on my phone. Otherwise, a kitchen timer, stopwatch, or online timer will do.
Pinterest: Free! Might want to use your timer in conjunction with Pinterest to ensure you don't waste all of your lovely writing time.
Sound: Be it music, silence, or a tool such as Rainymood (free website) or Noisli (app & free website).
Dropbox: Don't lose your novel to a faulty hard drive or fried motherboard. Save it to the cloud using Dropbox and access it from any electronic device. The basic version is free.

Please note that I'm not getting paid to shill any of the above products -- rather, I'm telling you about them because I use them myself. 
The book of the week.

Another home run this week! (AAA! Sports metaphor!)

I'd never read Isaac Asimov before (he's the guy who wrote I, Robot and all sorts of other formative sci-fi), and I figured it was about time.

Written in 1954, The Caves of Steel is a sci-fi murder mystery that stars a cop and his robot partner. It sounds cheesy, but OMG SERIOUSLY it is amazing.

The twist is that robots are slowly replacing humans in the workforce, and if this cop wants to keep his job, he'll have to solve the murder before his robot counterpart.

I expected this book to be dry and dull and dated, but it remains immensely readable, with natural language, masterful storytelling, and social messages that are still relevant today -- if not more so.

It's the mark of great sci-fi and I can't wait to read more of Asimov's books.

Keep up-to-date with my reading exploits on Goodreads.
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May 05, 2015
Finding Your Voice - WN 011
40:07

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Hey friends. Welcome to Episode 011 of the "Write Now" podcast. I'm glad you're here.
How do I develop my writer's voice?
You can probably name a lot of great writers who have their own particular voice. You might have heard something referred to as "Kafka-esque" or "Lovecraftian", or you might recognize echoes of similarity between one particular writer and his or her mentor.

So what is this elusive element we call a voice? And how do we go about developing our own?

Fortunately, you've already taken care of the first step.

Unfortunately, you might have taken a ton of additional steps that you didn't need to take, or that you need to un-take.

As the wise Yoda said, sometimes we must un-learn what we have learned.

It's about finding yourself all over again.
This week's episode of "Write Now" will help you get to the root of where your own personal writer's voice lives, and develop it from there.

It's not a quick or easy process, but I think you'll find it's well worth the journey.

Your voice will allow you to create real, innovative works that will set you apart from the million other writers out there.
The book of the week.

It's so RARE that a book consistently surprises me. Lev Grossman's The Magicians did just that.

Readers either tend to love or hate this book -- and I'm not sure I loved it, but I certainly enjoyed reading it, to the point where the mind-momentum had built up to a point where I couldn't stop reading it. And I valued (so lame a word!) the constant surprise.

This is not so much a cohesive novel as it is a collection of connected vignettes centered around two conceits -- first, that the Harry Potter world is real, and real teenagers react realistically (and more raucously) to the situations such a world presents them with; and second, that the Narnia world is real, and the Harry Potter-world young adults have access to it.

The result is this oddly wonderful mish-mash of the naive and the profane, the cheerful and the dirty, the wondrous and the cynical. I thought it was an excellent portrayal of the post-college-graduation dump into the "real world" of 8-5 jobs and the magical possibilities that seem just out of reach.

Keep up-to-date with my reading exploits on Goodreads.
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What do you think?
Have you found your voice as a writer? How did you do it?

Do you struggle with being "great" vs. being "real"? Have you ever felt guilty for being a "hack"?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, or email me your thoughts at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com!

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Apr 27, 2015
Writing Is Our Passion - WN 010
26:29

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This is Episode 010 of the "Write Now" podcast. I HOPE YOU LIKE IT. It's about passion. <3 And no, not that kind of passion.
What do we really mean when we say writing is our "passion"?
Passion. It's part of the "Write Now" podcast tagline -- this is "the podcast that helps aspiring writers to find the time, energy, and courage you need to pursue your passion and write every day", after all.

But what does that mean?

Are we in love with writing? Do we feel called or compelled to write? Or does it mean something else entirely?

This episode looks at the root of the word "passion", which in both Latin and Greek means "to suffer" or "to do harm".
Wait, so do writers have to suffer for their craft?
No. Absolutely not. But there are different ways to have passion about a craft like writing. One is life-enhancing and fulfilling. The other is detrimental and might just drive you mad. We'll look at both types of passion (harmonious and obsessive) in today's episode.

GET PUMPED.

The book of the week.
This week, I tried to read City of Bones, the first book in Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series. It's about a girl who realizes she's magic and goes on adventures. It originally started as Harry Potter fan fiction. It was made into a movie. It has become embroiled in plaigiarism scandals. It had so much going for it!

But I just couldn't finish it -- in fact, I had to put it down after the first four chapters.  Find out why when you listen to Episode 010.

Keep up-to-date with my reading exploits on Goodreads.
I will email you sometimes!
I'll send you interesting emails when you least expect it. Don't worry, I hate spam, too. Sign up to get email updates from me. >>
Submit a question (or two or ten).
Submit a question when you visit my contact page and type out your thoughts. You can also email me at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com. I can't wait to hear from you.
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What do you think?
Do you talk about writing as a "passion" of yours? Do you find that passion and suffering are intertwined when it comes to writing? Do you ever suffer for your craft -- or do others ever suffer for your craft? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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The post Writing Is Our Passion – WN 010 appeared first on The Write Now Podcast with Sarah Werner.

Apr 20, 2015
Say Yes to Writing - WN 009
29:19

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As Joaquin Phoenix once said, "I'M STILL HERE." Mockumentary and hip-hop career to follow shortly. (Seriously, though, I've realized I turn out new episodes about every 10 days instead of strictly weekly. I hope that is okay with you.) Either way, welcome to Episode 009 of the "Write Now" podcast.

Small note: If my voice sounds weird in this episode, it is because I have both a new microphone and a head cold. Life is fun like that.
In order to say "yes" to writing, you have to say "no" to other stuff.
When we were little, our teachers told us, "You can be anything!" But my ambitious little brain interpreted that to mean, "You can be everything!"

Which is simply not true.

Because despite our best efforts, there are only 24 hours in a day.

And we can only fill those 24 hours with 24 hours worth of activity, from sleeping to going to work, cooking, driving the kids to clarinet lessons, reading, grocery shopping, tuning up your bicycle, rewatching all 144 episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, washing behind your ears, going to church meetings, and yes, writing.

So if you're going to say "yes" to writing... well, sometimes that means saying "no" to other stuff. Fun stuff. Important stuff. Stuff society deems essential. And that can be hard.

You are enough.
When we start to examine our limits, we begin to feel... well. Kinda crappy. Kinda small. Kinda worthless.

We realize we can't do everything we want to do. We realize we have limits, that we'll never be smart enough or fast enough or strong enough to do it all.

But while you can't do everything, you can do anything.

You have the power to choose how you spend your time. You have all the permission you need to call yourself a writer. You are a whole person, however broken you might feel, and I want to reassure you that whatever that "anything" is that you want to do? You are enough to do it.

So the question becomes -- what are you willing to sacrifice for your art? What can you do within the limits you've been given?
The book of the week.
When I was instructed to read The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst for a women's group that I belong to, I'm kind of embarrassed to admit I rolled my eyes. I don't usually read a lot of self-help books, and the cover of this one was just so... Pinterest-y.

But as I read through this book (which has a Christian bent to it, if that turns you on or off to it), I realized -- I needed help. I was overstressed, overbooked, overwhelmed, and racked by guilt. In short, things were LESS THAN OPTIMAL.

I'm not going to say this book fixed me or changed my life, but it did help me to see more clearly all of the self-destructive things I do to myself when I say "yes" to too many things out of a people-pleasing mindset, and it reminded me that it's OK to prioritize my commitments and (kindly, graciously) say "no" to requests.

Keep up-to-date with my reading exploits on Goodreads.
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I'll send you interesting emails when you least expect it. Don't worry, I too believe spam is evil. Sign up to get email updates from me. >>
Submit a question.
GUYS I have a question this week! It's from a smart, wonderful person who wished to remain anonymous. And, coincidentally, it's about work/life/reading/writing balance.

Submit a question when you visit my contact page and type out your thoughts. You can also email me at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com. I can't wait to hear from you.
Listen to the full podcast.
You can listen to the full podcast episode using the controls at the beginning of this post.

I am also now on Stitcher! So if that's your thing, check out the "Write Now" podcast there.

Or find it on iTunes! >> (And subscribe!)

Wheee!
Tell me your thoughts.
What are you willing to sacrifice for your art?

Apr 02, 2015
How to Write When You Don't Feel Like Writing - WN 008
33:08

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If you're looking for episode eight of the "Write Now" podcast, you've come to the right place. OR SHOULD I SAY THE WRITE PLACE BAH HA HA HA HAAA haaaaaaaaa I'm such a dork.
I probably should be writing, but I just don't feel like it.
There are days when it's hard to even think about writing. I know -- I've been there. (In fact, I may or may not be there right now.)

It's so easy to feel disheartened or stupid or restless or any of those other thousand things that can keep you from writing.

But I've come up with a decision tree you can follow that will help you start writing and keep going on even the worst days (or to know when it's time to get the rest you need).

1. Enter your writing space. Shut the door and sit down.
2. Honestly assess how you feel. If you are actually exhausted, go to sleep. But if you are simply feeling lazy (i.e., if you feel a tinge of guilt or regret when you think about ditching your writing session), then you need to write.
3. Create a "journal" file on your computer, or grab a notebook you can use as a journal. In it, begin writing about why you don't feel like writing today.
4. Take action to combat whatever you've written down, or simply use your journaling momentum to continue writing for your writing project.
Either way, the key here is finding a active/creating path, and not tripping merrily along a passive/consuming path. Listen to this episode to get the full details.

I also reference episode WN 004, "Go On, Surprise Yourself", which you can listen to if you need to liven up your storytelling.

Also, while I'm at it, here are a couple of the passive "Do Not"s:
1. Do not watch a movie.
2. Do not watch TV.
3. Do not play video games.
4. Do not take a nap.
5. Do not surf the internet. Despite your best intentions, you will get lost in a black hole of unproductivity.
I hope this helps. Because you're a smart, capable writer with a great story to tell. And I want you to tell it.
The book of the week.
I just finished Rachel Hartman's Seraphina. It's a YA fantasy novel about a 16-year-old girl and dragons and political unrest and OMG YOU GUYS I LOVED IT. And despite your age/gender/whatever, you might love it, too.

Seraphina is a great example of a strong female character -- not in the "Angelina Jolie can bend bullets" or "Viking woman is a better fighter than the Viking men" way, but in a way that's real. She's confident, passionate, and true to herself while dealing with various personal flaws and realistic relationships.

There are a few plot holes here and there, but it was otherwise an incredibly satisfying read. I can't wait to start the sequel.

Keep up-to-date with my reading exploits on Goodreads.
I will email you.
I'll send you super-fun emails when you least expect it! Don't worry, none of it will be spam. Promise. Sign up to get email updates from me. >>
Submit a question.
I like answering questions, and I didn't have one this week! So visit my contact page and type out your thoughts. You can also email me at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com.
Listen to the full podcast.
You can listen to the full podcast episode using the controls at the beginning of this post. Or find it on iTunes! >> (And subscribe!)
Tell me your thoughts.
How do you make yourself write when you've had a long day and don't feel like writing? Let me know in the comments below, or send a quick email to hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com.
The Write Now podcast is on Facebook, apparently.

Join the online community here. Ask questions, share your thoughts, let me know what you're writing, recommend books, and more. :)
Like what you've heard?
I'm on Patreon! It's a great platform that helps folks who appreciate the arts to support content creators like myself.

Mar 22, 2015
Who Is My Audience? - WN 007
32:40

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Welcome to episode seven of the "Write Now" podcast. This episode is kind of a two-for-one special, in which I talk not only about finding and writing to your audience, but how to deal with that irritating little perfectionist who lives in your brain and doesn't want you to finish anything. Ever.
Should I be writing for myself? My audience? Help!
You want people to read and like (and buy!) your novel/book/etc. A great way to do that is to write stuff that people want to read. But who are those people, and how do you engage them?

Should you focus on engaging everyone on the planet, a mid-sized audience, or one single person? Or should you simply write for yourself and hope that others share your interests?

So many questions. But I have answers! You'll find them by listening to this week's "Write Now" podcast.

Spoiler alert: My advice is to write for yourself, and edit for an audience of one person you respect and who encourages you.

For me, that person is Walt Wangerin, Jr., one of my favorite professors from Valparaiso University and winner of the 1978 National Book Award for The Book of the Dun Cow. This is he:

Remember, at the end of the day, done is better than perfect. Squash that little perfectionist who lives in your brain. I'll help you.
Book of the week!
I enjoyed a lovely re-read of one of my favorite poetry anthologies this week, Staying Alive: Real Poems for Unreal Times, edited by Neil Astley. It's an amazing compilation, and I can't stress enough how much you should pick up a copy for yourself, and potentially all of your friends and family and the strangers you bump into on the street.

I also talk about "Wild Geese", my favorite Mary Oliver poem which also appears in this anthology. I debated whether or not it would be legal for me to read it out loud to you on the air, and erred on the side of caution. BUT! You can hear Mary Oliver herself read this short, lovely, & inspiring piece herself, courtesy of Maria Popova from Brain Pickings. And please do.

Get inspired and keep up-to-date with my reading exploits on Goodreads.
Get fun, random emails from me!
I'll send you emails when I feel like it. Don't worry, I promise not to send you spam or do anything evil with your email address. I respect your privacy and I like you as a person. Sign up to get email updates from me. >>
Submit a question.
I like answering questions, and I didn't have one this week! So visit my contact page and type out your thoughts. You can also email me at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com.
Listen to the full podcast.
You can listen to the full podcast using the controls at the beginning of this post. Or find it on iTunes! >> (And subscribe!)
Tell me your thoughts.
Whom do you write for? Yourself? Someone special or important in your life? Let me know in the comments!
Like what you've heard?
I'm on Patreon! It's a great platform that helps folks who appreciate the arts to support content creators like myself.

I'm trying to do this without sounding like a sales-y jerk. So if you find value or inspiration in the information I share, please consider becoming a contributor on Patreon. :)

Your generosity will go a long way in helping me continue to produce fun, interesting, and useful content on a regular basis. Thank you!

Help support this podcast! >>

The post Who Is My Audience & How Do I Write For Them? – WN 007 appeared first on The Write Now Podcast with Sarah Werner.

Mar 11, 2015
Walk It Off - WN 006
24:04

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Dumpster diving. Mall walking. A 19th-century transcendentalist. These are only a FEW of the things that you have to look forward to in the sixth episode of the "Write Now" podcast.
Walk it off.
It was my dad's advice to me as a child, and it's my advice to you now as a writer. There's an interesting relationship between writing and moving -- between kinetic and creative energy. I hope you've had a chance to discover this for yourself. But if not, there's no time like the present to try it out.

Going for walks helps me deal with writers' block and find new (or rediscover old) inspiration. It is a great way to refresh your perspective, get the blood/oxygen pumping into your brain, and simply reconnect with the world around you.

And if walking isn't your thing, or if you face physical challenges or medical difficulties, that is completely fine! I've noticed that I get very similar benefits from riding in a car and gazing out the window, or otherwise having my physical body transported through time & space.

Also! Here are the texts I reference in this episode, if you're interested in checking them out:
1. "Walking" by Henry David Thoreau, via The Atlantic
2. "A Poem is A Walk" by A.R. Ammons, via Claims for Poetry
Energy begets energy. Remember that next time you get stuck.
Book of the week!
Ugh. I read the next book in the "Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter" series, and in doing so decided I was done with the "Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter" series. Burnt Offerings by Laurell K. Hamilton is the seventh book in the series and... for a number of reasons, I simply didn't enjoy this installation.

It was relatively plot-light, which is sometimes OK with books and book series where the main focus is the main character's growth and relationships with other characters. But I really can't say those are especially well done here, either.

Don't get me wrong -- I love horror. But everyone has subtle preferences where genres are concerned. I prefer creepy tales of psychological horror and madness and supernatural creatures and loud crashes in the basement. (See: House of Leaves, The Haunting of Hill House.) I don't enjoy the side of horror that revels in torture and cruelty and hurting people. And that is what's in the spotlight here. There are multiple violent rapes, intentional cruelty, and much else that I find personally distasteful.

So! You might enjoy continuing with this series if you're OK with the more torture-y side of horror (and no judgment here if you are!) -- it simply wasn't something I enjoyed. It was fun while it lasted, Anita.

Keep up-to-date with my reading adventures on Goodreads.
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Submit a question.
Give me more cool stuff to talk about! Visit my contact page and type out your thoughts. You can also email me at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com.
Listen to the full podcast.
You can listen to the full podcast using the controls at the beginning of this post. Or find it on iTunes! >> (And subscribe!)
Tell me your thoughts.
Does taking a walk ever help you write, or is it just me? How else do you escape writers' block? Let me know in the comments!
Like what you've heard?
I'm on Patreon! It's a great platform that helps folks who appreciate the arts to support content creators like myself.

I'm trying to do this without sounding like a sales-y jerk. So if you find value or inspiration in the information I share, please consider becoming a contributor on Patreon. :)

Your generosity will go a long way in helping me continue to produce fun, interesting, and useful content on a regular basis. Thank you!

Help support this podcast! >>

The post Mar 03, 2015

Regain Your Confidence - WN 005
28:17

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It's the fifth episode of "Write Now"! Hooray! I hope that this podcast is helping you to find the time, energy, and courage you need to pursue your passion and write every day.
Regain your lost confidence in 5 steps.
Say it's been a long time since you've written. Say you've been rejected, you've been told (or told yourself) you're not good enough, you've lost a job, or you've simply been intimidated by the sheer number of books at the bookstore.

Fear not! Seriously. I'm here to tell you that you're awesome, and that you can regain the confidence you need to start writing again. Here's how:

1. Free yourself of the pressure.
2. Remember that you are a writer, and nothing can change that.
3. Be proactive -- don't let despair win.
4. Form a habit of writing every day -- for while practice won't make you perfect, it will make you better.
5. Find a writing coach, mentor, or someone you trust to read your work.
I mention a couple of previous podcasts in this episode, which you can find below if you haven't listened to them already:

WN 001: What's keeping you from writing?
WN oo3: Writing as self-care

Remember, you have potential. So regain your confidence, get back on the horse (or bicycle or Vespa or dinosaur or whatever you prefer to ride), and live it out.

I know you can do it.
Book of the week!
I am DEFINITELY NOT EMBARRASSED about what I read this week. Which is The Killing Dance by Laurell K. Hamilton, a.k.a. the sixth book in the infamous "Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter" series.

It's kind of like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"-meets-paranormal romance-meets-'90s noir. If that sounds like something you'd enjoy, I'd recommend starting with the first book in the series, Guilty Pleasures. Or not. It's your life, and you're free to read whatever books you like in whatever order you wish.

Keep up-to-date with all of my reading exploits on Goodreads!
Submit a question.
Give me more cool stuff to talk about! Visit my contact page and type out your thoughts. You can also email me at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com.

I'm not telling you what today's question is. Ha!
Listen to the full podcast.
You can listen to the full podcast using the controls at the beginning of this post. Or find it on iTunes! >> (And subscribe!)
Tell me your thoughts.
If you've ever lost confidence in your ability to write, how did you gain it back? Or if you haven't yet gained it back, what's keeping you from doing so?
I WILL EMAIL YOU.
Sign up to get email updates from me. >>
Like what you've heard?
I'm on Patreon! It's a great platform that helps folks who appreciate the arts to support content creators like myself.

I'm trying to do this without sounding like a sales-y jerk. So if you find value or inspiration in the information I share, please consider becoming a contributor on Patreon. :)

Your generosity will go a long way in helping me continue to produce fun, interesting, and useful content on a regular basis. Thank you!

Help support this podcast! >>

The post 5 Tips to Regain Lost Confidence – WN 005 appeared first on The Write Now Podcast with Sarah Werner.

Feb 25, 2015
Go On - Surprise Yourself - WN 004
28:55

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Welcome to the fourth episode of "Write Now", the podcast that helps aspiring writers to find the time, energy, and courage you need to pursue your passion and write every day. I'm so glad you're here.
Go on -- surprise yourself.
My own ability to surprise myself is my all-time favorite thing about writing. I've never been able to fully articulate how it works, or where the magic comes from.

But I take a stab at it in today's podcast episode. I also talk about what it means to be "in the zone" when you're writing. Get very excited.

AND SO! Today you'll get the answers to questions such as:
1. What is the value of surprise for both the writer and the reader?
2. How do I get to that place where I'm surprising myself in my own writing?
3. How do I get into the "writing zone"?
4. Is writing an inherently selfish or narcissistic act?
5. Am I insane?
Since I'm not a particularly humble person, I'd like to tell you that I think this is my favorite episode I've recorded yet. But I'll let you be the judge of that.
Book of the week!
This week's book gave me the inspiration for today's podcast. I heartily recommend Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury if you haven't read it before.

Keep up-to-date with all of my reading exploits on Goodreads!
Submit a question.
I'll do my best to answer it. Just visit my Contact page and type out what you're thinking. You can also just email me at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com.

Today's question is: "What can I do with an English major?"
Listen to the full podcast.
You can listen to the full podcast using the controls at the beginning of this post.

OR! Download it from iTunes! And maybe also subscribe on iTunes! :D
Tell me your thoughts.
How do you get into the "writing zone"? Or is it something you haven't yet experienced? Let me know in the comments below!
My words. Your inbox.
Sign up to get email updates from me. >>
Like what you've heard?
I'm on Patreon! It's a great platform that helps folks who appreciate the arts to support content creators like myself.

I'm trying to do this without sounding like a sales-y jerk. So if you find value or inspiration in the information I share, please consider becoming a contributor on Patreon. :)

Your generosity will go a long way in helping me continue to produce fun, interesting, and useful content on a regular basis. Thank you!

Help support this podcast! >>

The post Go On – Surprise Yourself – WN 004 appeared first on The Write Now Podcast with Sarah Werner.

Feb 07, 2015
Writing as Self Care - WN 003
29:13

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You guys, I am super stoked about this week's podcast topic. BECAUSE IT IS IMPORTANT:
Writing as self care.
The idea of using writing as a way to attain and maintain both physical and mental health isn't new.

From amateur journaling to more official psychoanalysis efforts, writing is often used for external processing, personal introspection, and the sheer (and necessary) act of creation.

Today's podcast explores:
1. Writing as healing.
2. Writing as maintenance.
3. Writing as social healing.
My question to you is: how do we make the act of writing -- and its inherent benefits -- part of our daily routine?

Book of the week!
This week's book is the sparse and starkly beautiful The Cold Dish, the first of the Walt Longmire mystery series by Craig Johnson. Ever wonder what would happen if Cormac McCarthy were to write a mystery novel set in rural Wyoming?

Wonder no more.

Keep up-to-date with all of my reading exploits on Goodreads!
Submit a question.
I'll do my best to answer it. Just visit my Contact page and type out what you're thinking. You can also just email me at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com.
Listen to the full podcast.
You can listen to the full podcast using the controls at the beginning of this post.

You can also download or subscribe to the Write Now podcast on iTunes! I tend to release new episodes on Mondays.
Tell me your thoughts.
Have you ever experienced healing via writing or reading? Let me know in the comments below!
My words. Your inbox.
Sign up to get email updates from me. >>
Like what you've heard?
I'm on Patreon! It's a great platform that helps folks who appreciate the arts to support content creators like myself.

I'm trying to do this without sounding like a sales-y jerk. So if you find value or inspiration in the information I share, please consider becoming a contributor on Patreon. :)

Your generosity will go a long way in helping me continue to produce fun, interesting, and useful content on a regular basis. Thank you!

Help support this podcast! >>

The post Writing as Self Care – WN 003 appeared first on The Write Now Podcast with Sarah Werner.

Jan 23, 2015
5 Steps to Making Your Writing Goals a Reality - WN 002
34:25

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Woo! I've officially made it to the second episode of "Write Now", the podcast that helps aspiring writers to find the time, energy, and courage you need to pursue your passion and write every day.

I've also been told by several listeners that my voice is "soothing" and "mellow", which I'm counting as a win.
5 Steps for making your writing goals a reality.
You probably already know that goals are extremely important to writers of all kinds.

But how do we set goals -- and stick to them?

This episode explores five steps for setting realistic goals and following through on them:
1. Begin to set your goal by defining something tangible you want to accomplish.
2. Establish your own realistic expectations.
3. Translate those realistic expectations into realistic goals.
4. Stick to those goals.
5. Move beyond your goals by internalizing them.
I also take a look at some of the goals and habits of famous American writers, including Ernest Hemingway, Flannery O'Connor, and others. You can read more about these fascinating folks in this Flavorwire article.
Book of the week!
This week's book is the lovely (and starkly honest) On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King.

This is a must-read for any writer -- yes, even despite the fact that King is widely regarded as a hack. I don't care. This book offers fantastic, practical advice on world-building, vocabulary, truth-telling, plotting, getting an agent, and more.

You should read it.
Q&A
I answer your burning questions! This week, it's, "Help! I'm constantly distracted by the internet! What should I do?"
Submit a question.
I'll do my best to answer it. Just visit my Contact page and type out what you're feeling. You can also just email me at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com.
Listen to the full podcast.
You can listen to the full podcast using the controls at the beginning of this post.

IT IS ALSO AVAILABLE ON iTUNES, YO! Download and subscribe and all of those pretty things.
Tell me your thoughts.
How do you stick to your writing goals? Shout it out in the comments below!
What's that?
You wish there was some way you could receive awesome emails from me? WELL MY GOOD SIR/LADY, YOU ARE IN LUCK.

Sign up for awesome email updates here. >>
Like what you've heard?
I'm on Patreon! It's a great platform that helps folks who appreciate the arts to support content creators like myself.

I'm trying to do this without sounding like a sales-y jerk. So if you find value or inspiration in the information I share, please consider becoming a contributor on Patreon. :)

Your generosity will go a long way in helping me continue to produce fun, interesting, and useful content on a regular basis. Thank you!

Help support this podcast! >>

The post 5 Steps to Making Your Writing Goals a Reality – WN 002 appeared first on The Write Now Podcast with Sarah Werner.

Jan 14, 2015