Write about a noise you dislike, from fingernails on a chalkboard to the sound of people eating bananas to weekend-morning leaf blowers. Describe a time you heard this sound, the circumstances, and how you reacted. (Fiction writers: This is an excellent exercise to apply to one of your characters.)
Category: The Writing Life
When Forgetting English was published back in 2009, I was overwhelmed with all the book promotion I had ahead of me. And one thing I learned quickly was that I could promote my book around the clock, and it still wouldn’t be enough. Because there’s always more that can be done, how does an author decide where to start and — just as important — where and when to end?
The bad and good news is that there is no end to book promotion, but you can find a balance. This is one of the reasons I wrote Everyday Book Marketing. And I am absolutely thrilled to be part of Adventure by the Book‘s new Author Academy, which launches in September and offers incredible opportunities for authors to prioritize, strategize, and make the most of their budgets, even if time and/or dollars may be hard to find.
The inaugural workshops for the Author Academy will take place on Sunday, September 29, in San Diego. The day will be divided into two parts, starting with a general overview of Everyday Book Marketing that covers essential book promotion basics (from 10 to 11:30 a.m.), followed by an interactive workshop (from noon to 2:30) that builds upon the morning session and in which, using a checklist, you will create your own customized marketing plan. Click here for more details and for registration details.
I’m particularly excited about teaming up with Susan McBeth of Adventures by the Book, whose Author Academy series will continue with monthly interactive workshops covering everything from how to take the best author photo possible to how to shine at your book events.
Visit Adventures by the Book for more info — we hope to see you in September!
Write about a foreign language you speak, studied, or wish you could speak. How does the language or the idea of the language affect your world view, and in particular your place in the world?
Write about a local news story. Begin with the actual story, then take it in a fictional direction — create your own ending, have the main players go off in some other direction, etc. Just have fun with it.
Here’s an example of a recent news piece from where I live: A man burglarized a home, then fell asleep on the lawn of the burgled home; this is how he was caught. (I can’t wait to write about this and see where it takes me.)
Write about a vacant lot.
I was delighted to visit The Writers’ Workshoppe while I was at the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference last week — this spot is a veritable candy store for writers (literally; the store sells chocolate and other goodies).
This amazing bookstore and writers’ center offers an abundance of books, gifts (fabulous T-shirts, mugs, coffee, writing implements, and other necessities for readers and writers), as well as writing workshops. Owner (and writer) Anna Quinn‘s vision is that of what every bookstore should be — a hub for writers, readers, and all things literary.
It’s especially fun to browse the stacks here, as Quinn does not merely stock the shelves; she is a curator of her inventory and has arranged books by subject and theme as well as the usual categories, with such sections as “Influential Women Writers You May Not Have Read” and “Best Kick-Ass Female Characters.”
This wonderful spot also offers classes, from weekly workshops to one-day intensives, for writers of all levels and genres. These classes are both literary and hands-on: offerings include everything from poetry and fiction to social media and blogging classes for writers.
The Writers’ Workshoppe is located in beautiful downtown Port Townsend and is a must-visit for writers and readers … and those who love them.
Write about the last time you moved into a new home. What went with you, and what stayed behind? And why?
What is the first thing the comes to mind when you see or hear the word “water”? Write about all the meanings this word has for you.
Write about a time you left without saying goodbye.
Write about a favorite summer food or beverage. When was the last time you enjoyed it, and what was your first memory of it? Then, write a scene (either from your own life or that of a fictional character) in which this food or drink features prominently.
Write about the last time you had to downsize. What had to change, and how did you change along with these changes in your physical landscape?
Write about the first thing you do in the morning after you wake up.
Write about a red door.
It’s not only Short Story Month, but it’s also the anniversary of The Pen and the Bell, the marvelous book about mindful writing by Brenda Miller and Holly Hughes.
Brenda and Holly are hosting a giveaway to celebrate the one-year anniversary of their book — click here for details and to win your own copy.
In case you don’t yet know why you need this book, check out my Q&A with Brenda about the book, writing, and more.
This one is all about falling: Write about a fallen tree. Write about the first time you remember falling. Write about a recent fall or stumble. Write about a time you witnessed someone falling. And keep writing…