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3 Things You Can Do During the Holidays to Become a Better Writer

Even though the holidays are a busy time of year, there are some things you can do this season to become a better writer.

First of all, think of using some of the decorations everywhere as an inspiration for your writing.

Do they remind you of childhood?
Happy memories?
How about writing about positive things you remember.
Gritting your teeth to get through the whole season?
Can you turn something negative around and write the way you wish things had turned out?

Secondly how about using holiday cheer to find someone to read through your book and give you some feedback?

When someone asks if there’s anything they can do for you, ask them to read your book. Tell your reader you’d like them to focus on the positive things in your book if you’re nervous about hearing negative feedback, then use what they say to improve your book.

Finally if you’re asked what you’d like as a present, suggest some books about writing, or a monetary gift that you’ll use to take a writing course or seminar.

Those will definitely help you to become a better writer!

Whatever you do, I hope you can find ways this season to write and improve!

For help with your self-publishing and writing efforts, please write to me here or at

Why Writers Should be Thankful

This is the time of year when many Americans look back over the past year and remember things they’re thankful for. If you’re a writer, here are some things you could specifically be thankful for:

If you’re living in the United States, you should be thankful that you live in a country that allows you to write what you like. You can express yourself in writing without having to worry that you will be punished or threatened by writing something that disagrees with someone else.

You should be thankful that you actually doing something that many people dream of doing. So many people say, “I could write a book,” but they don’t. You have taken a step well beyond what most people do.

You should also be thankful that you’re sharing your story and knowledge with readers and touching their lives. Just as you can probably look to certain authors and think, “that book changed how I think about things,” others can look at your book and say your book changed them.

As for me, I’m thankful for all the wonderful self-published authors I’ve met and talked to and whose books I’ve read. You have also changed my life.

How to Know If Your Book Is Any Good

There are a lot of writers out there and a lot of books to choose from. How can you tell if your book is one of the good books or not is obviously a very subjective thing – everyone thinks their own book is good. But there are a couple things you can do to see if your book is any good.

Join a writer’s group and have your fellow authors critique your book.

They might see where something needs to be polished, or edited, or clarified. Or ask friends or family to read your book and let you know what they thought about the writing. Be open to hearing their opinions and see if changing things improves your book.

Record yourself reading your book out loud and then listen to it played back to you.

Can you hear things you want to change? Are there places in the book that sound better or worse when you hear them out loud?

Whatever you hear from other people about your book should not stop you from writing more books though. Everyone has an opinion and just because someone doesn’t like your book, doesn’t mean your book won’t become a favorite of someone else.

Got questions about self-publishing your book? Please write to me here or at

How to Control Your Writing Schedule During the Holidays

Everyone’s busy during the holidays – There’s always something distracting us, taking up time, and interrupting our routines. Here are a few quick ideas to maintain control over your writing schedule during the holidays:

First of all, where possible, work ahead.

If you can add on time spent writing in the weeks before things get busy, you won’t feel like you’re running behind. Write for an extra hour on the weekends, or if you normally give yourself a day off each week, use that day to write even if it’s only briefly spent working.

Secondly, limit your holiday activities.

Only go to one party per week, or whatever you think is necessary. You have a great excuse – you’re working! If you need to prepare a holiday meal, divide the meal between the guests – someone brings a salad, someone else brings a dessert, and so on. Or do what I do and find a restaurant that caters – you can get a great catered meal for a reasonable price from Boston Market for example!

Finally, be gentle on yourself – you also deserve a present and some time off might be perfect.

If you’re not able to maintain the level of writing you’d like, it’s all right. The holidays don’t last forever and if you’re a week or two behind schedule, you’ll be able to catch up in January.

What about you? Do you work at the same pace during the holidays? How do you control your schedule when there are so many outside demands put on it?

Please write to me here or at and let me know!

I meet people all the time who tell me they have a great idea for a book, but don’t know where to get started. Here are a few ideas I have for where to get help writing your book:

A great place to start is to join a writing group. These are people just like you who want to write and share their ideas. You can look for groups at your local library or community center, but if you don’t find one, start one yourself! Just post a notice asking other writers if they’re free to meet on a regular basis, usually once a month.

You could also do online searches for how to get started. Search “how to write a book” and you’ll find plenty of sites that give tips on how to get started.

Something you might do is talk to friends. Even if your friends aren’t writers, they might have a good idea for you to get started. You might use them as a sounding board about your book idea, or they might read through what you’ve written and give you thoughtful feedback.

Don’t forget that it helps to read well-written books. You can get a feeling for what works and what doesn’t. You might also try writing a paragraph or two of your book in the style of different writers. Not only is imitation the sincerest form of flattery, it’s also good practice!

Good luck with your writing, and let me know what worked for you to get help with your book!