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Writers, Why You Should Take a Notebook with You at All Times

I always carry a notebook and pen with me because I find interesting things that I want to remember all the time. Actually, I also always carry a small pack of colored pencils, because I like to scribble down sketches of some of the places I visit in case I want to write about them later.

There are several things I always make note of such as interesting quotations, funny things people say, and ideas for future stories or articles. I also keep a list of words I like and want to remember, or that I need to look up in a dictionary when I get a chance.

Some writers prefer writing in longhand, and even if you’re not one of them, it’s very convenient to have a notebook handy for the times you’re stuck somewhere and have an idea you want to write about. You can always type it once you’re back in front of your computer, but without a notebook handy, you might forget something you want to include in your book.

Do you keep a notebook handy? What other tips do you have for other writers? Please let me know here or at I’d love to hear from you!

How to Get Your Book Finished by the End of the Year

We’re in the homestretch of the year, and you might be finishing your book with no problem. If you’re stuck though, here are some things you might try that will motivate yourself to finish your book by the end of the year.

If you started off well but have slowed to a crawl, take a moment to think about what worked for you at the beginning.

Do you like starting a fresh document?

Then, try making each chapter a separate document.

Did you work at a specific time and now find yourself working sporadically?

Try working with the schedule you used at the beginning.

Are you stuck?

Have a friend (or a writing group) look through what you’ve finished so far and give some feedback. You might just need a fresh perspective to get back on track.

Do you have an outline for the rest of your book?

Try working on different parts and fill in the outline as you go. You don’t have to stick with working from the beginning to the end. Write the end, jump around and write parts of each chapter, don’t worry about working in a certain order.

Figure out what you have left to do to finish your book and write a schedule.

  • Do you need to write a certain number of words per day?
  • Do you need to do one day of editing per week along with writing?
  • Can you set up a specific time each day to work for the final stretch?
These are just a few tips to help you. Good luck writing your book and finishing it by the end of the year! You can do it!

And if you have questions about self-publishing your book, please write to me here or at Thanks!

How to Get Ready for the School Season and Have Time to Write

Getting ready for the school season can be a speed bump in summer fun. You know it’s coming, but it feels like it’s coming too fast. Here are a few tips to get things ready and still have time to write.

First of all, once you have your list of items needed for school, find out if another parent will be kind enough to buy double of everything so you don’t have to go shopping at all, with you paying your half once the shopping is done. If this doesn’t work, how about splitting the job with another parent – you go to one store, they go to another. This helps both of you.

Second, try getting everything ready all at once – school supplies, clothes, books – and setting it up in a closet somewhere that won’t be in the way. I find that if I spend one day working hard at getting it all put together, it leaves me more time to write than if I spend a couple hours here and there spread out over a few weeks.

Third, check what you already have before you buy something new. Have you emptied the backpack your child brought home in June? It might be full of things on the list of school supplies. Can your child re-use notebooks and folders? Are there enough pencils/pens/crayons left from last year that you don’t need to shop for new?

If you’re able to split the shopping with someone, work hard for a day rather than spread the work out, and reuse and recycle old school supplies, you should be able to get ready for the new school year and still have time to write.

For more tips on writing, self-publishing and running a business, please contact me at

Self-published Author Interview - Saurav Dutt

Today we’re talking to Saurav Dutt, author of a number of books and winner of the Dark Tales Quarterly horror competition 2010 and the Dark Static short story contest 2009. Here’s what he had to say:

Tell us about your self-published book and where it is available.

My book is a biography of Academy Award nominated actor Mickey Rourke. As well as providing a career retrospective, it is a commentary and film criticism analysis of his life and work. It is available through Amazon UK and US on paperback and Kindle formats as well as the Lulu website on paperback, Ebook and digital download.

Why did you decide to self-publish?

Ultimately, it was to have the creative control I so savored and needed to portray the exact vision of my work that I had in mind when it was first conceived.

What was your biggest challenge to overcome in self-publishing your book and why?

Having the tenacity to self-promote and pursue as many avenues of promotion as possible especially when that side of being an author was completely alien to me at the outset. It was time consuming and sometimes self-defeating to trawl through these multitudes of hyperbole to find the best ways to promote and market.

What has been the best part about self-publishing and why?

Having a more one to one relationship with my audience and getting back the positive feedback from them is pleasing knowing that I could reach them through my own endeavors and with a writing style that was completely my own and not diluted by editors, literary agents or publishers. It was purely my own work from the first to the last word, and getting praise from complete strangers was worth all the effort as they understood my vision.

What advice do you have for other writers who are self-publishing their book?

To stay true to their creative truth and to never ever compromise or dilute their art for the perceived likes and dislikes of others. In other words, don’t commercialize your work for the sake of somebody else, stick to your guns and your vision and believe me, there is an audience out there willing to be engaged.

Is there anything you would like to add?

As well as my biography on Mickey Rourke, I have published books of poetry and fiction ranging from horror to drama. Most recently my book “The Far Lonely Cry of Trains” made the shortlist of the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel award and my first novel “Dark Mood Rising” won the Exeter Writing Competition in 2010.

Thanks for the information Saurav, and good luck with book sales!

Do you need help self-publishing your book? Please write to me here or at I'd love to hear from you!

How to Find Time to Write Your Book

Finding time to do all the things you need to do each day can be tough, and adding in writing a book can really take up your time. What I think helps is flexibility. What works at one time may change – for instance if you have young children, you might write during their naptimes. If you have a full-time job, you might write early in the morning or late at night.
You also need to find what works best for you, and this might mean you try working at various times. Do you have uninterrupted time on the weekends? Are you a night owl? If you try varying the times you write, you might find you work best at a different time than you thought.

Another thing you might try is getting up earlier than you usually get up to write, or stay up later at night to write. I choose to work early in the morning, because I never know what each day will bring, but one of my best friends always writes late at night once she’s finished everything else she needs to do. You might be able to make time during the day to write, for instance take a shorter lunch break and use the extra time to work.

Is there something you can take off your list of things to do and use that saved time to write? For instance are your kids old enough to do their own laundry, which would free up the time you’d normally have to do it for them? Could you find a lawn service to take care of your yard to give yourself a couple hours on the weekends to write?

Let me know if you have any tips, here or at I’d love to hear from you!