Friday, January 31, 2020

Brushing Up and Being a Grammar Nerd

I like being a Grammar Brat.  The more I learn, the less I realize I know.  Isn't our language fun?  (Haha, many say that is monster talk.)  Our language is a defiant, mind-boggling fiend, I tell you!


So, I was on Skillshare brushing up on some information before I was ever ready to order the 1,100-page Chicago Manual of Style.  On Skillshare, I found a dude.  The dude knew a lot . . . but, unfortunately, his knowledge seemed to have what was to me a very obvious limit, and it began to falter like a car tip-toeing the stairs on its hind wheels.  It became awkward and very visible where his weaknesses in editing were.  And I worried over viewers learning incorrect information.

I know I shouldn't have, but Grammar Brats are called "Grammar Brats" for a reason.  We can't help ourselves.  We want to help.  We love the processes of explaining and fixing and teaching . . . even if we ourselves are in the same boat (hahaha, yes, we're hypocrites, a lot of us).

I went on a help-spree, poked some holes in his incorrect usage and omission of information on dialogue and quotations, on modification of quotes using brackets, and a few other very important things which can help writers move from the novice stage to a more expert one.

(If you want some more writing tips, head here, to my free Wattpad book.  Otherwise, skim down for the extra tips I'd thought were extra helpful and enlightening.)

Welcome to My Crazy:

Sorry for being a stickler on grammar, but I want to help ensure your future viewers will have the best learning experience.  There were several mistakes and things not mentioned which I want to point out.  Other than that, you’ve given excellent advice and are quite accurate with most of your stuff.


I saw nothing on interrobangs, yet I've seen many writers use them incorrectly.  The question mark always comes before the exclamation point, not the reverse, and only one of each punctuation should be applied, not multiple.

On Video 59:

The quote within the dialogue tag was incorrect on your third example, around the 1:23 time stamp.  The double-apostrophe belongs on the outside, framing set of dialogue tags, and the single-apostrophe signifies within it that the second set is something (said by another person) which is being reiterated by the current speaker. 

The same rule is applied to curved brackets, square brackets, and parentheses (in that order) in both math and English.  Further, commas always go inside of the dialogue tag or quote tag, even if the quote is part of a series of quotes.  It is the same for the period you placed outside of the quotation marks at the very end of that slide.  I believe the British rules allow for some variation in certain places, but in American English, this is the rule.  Clarifying this would help your future viewers greatly.

You mentioned nothing about indented quotes within text, where the quote exceeds a certain number of lines or sentences and must be separated entirely from the paragraph.  In that case, the paragraph ends with a colon, just before the beginning of the long quote.  That long quote is then moved down the document / essay / work.  Then, that whole quote-paragraph is indented, with the proper use of opening and closing quotations.  The first line of that indented paragraph is not given further indentation, either.  Next, ellipses within quotes indicate excess words not valid to the point of your argument, and using brackets around certain modified words within the quote signifies these changes were not part of the original quote itself, and it thus assures readers of accuracy and that there is neither copyright infringement nor plagiarism.

Another important note for quotations is when there are multiple paragraphs of extended dialogue, where quotation marks are treated another way not often intuited by novice writers.  There is no quotation mark at the end of the paragraph if the speaker’s dialogue continues into the next paragraph.  The next paragraph simply picks up a new opening set of quotation marks, and that dialogue runs until the speaker finishes, in which case the ending quotation mark is finally applied. 

On Video 61: In the case of dashes: there are more forms the one you mentioned.  You used a hyphen where you should have used one of two other types of dashes: the N dash or the M dash(Neither are as short as the hyphen.) The N dash is the shorter of the two and the M dash is the longer.  Both N and M dashes serve to replace the same punctuation(s): a single comma gets a single N or M dash; a set of commas will be replaced by a set of N or M dashes; and a set of parenthesis will be replaced by a set of N or M dashes.  Depending upon the rules or common practices of the publisher, the N dash often has a space before and after, and the M dash does not.  A hyphen is not used by every publisher as the standard dash, as it can be too easily confused with something intended as a hyphen.  Visually, it is also an unpleasing differentiation where other alternatives can be used.

Another note on the dashes: both N and M dashes are interchangeable and depend upon the program being used and the publisher’s chosen guidelines—but they must be used consistently throughout a document.  One or the other, not both.  A twice-typed hyphen is automatically converted into an M dash in some programs but not in others, where it must be copied and pasted instead.  And if the copy and paste does not result in the intended N or M dash, simply typing two hyphens, one after the other--and with or without a space before and after the mark--will often suffice.  Again, ensure consistency when deciding whether to apply the space before and after.

Final note on video 61: no comma at time stamp 1:10 on your first example.

So, there you have it.  Some incredibly complex (yet easy to remember once put into practice) rules for beautiful punctuation!  It was very fun to correct an editor, haha!  I hope this was helpful!

Send me a message on my Contact Me form if you'd like to see some more grammar rules, or if I've missed something important!  The form is at the bottom of my home page at

And good grief, this would have been a perfect time to have worn my new "Because...#Reasons" shirt!  I'd have felt quite smug, wearing that!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

June 2019 Planner Vlog

I wanted to share how I utilize my Business Projects Happy Planner, since it’s really starting to feel streamlined and simplified.  Gone are the days of overcomplicated schedules and notes that strain the eyes.
Marking things off has gotten a whole lot more motivating.  Because of the gray marker mark-it-off-as-done method, I can still see almost every project color very vividly while avoiding confusion over whether I meant to underline something, or if I meant to cross it off, or what color code the item was before...etc.  The pages look neater when they're finished.

I’ve added a few pages to my Happy Planner that don’t typically come with them, and I mention a few tips for planner newbies.  As a writer, I even make my own custom lined sticky notes for multiple uses—from documenting character arcs for every chapter, to writing chapter names, to making To Do lists, etc.  I’m excited how the process will change over time!

I haven’t even covered my other Happy Planner.  (You do get a glimpse of the crazy, though!)

If you're interested in joining my community where Indie authors and artists support, teach, and inspire each other, head on over to my 7Bloodfire Art and Story Facebook page and join us!

Monday, June 10, 2019

YouTube: Community for Artists, Writers, and Entrepreneurs

Whether you intend to become (or are) an Indie author or you want to sell your works through another company, it is important to think of your brand and of yourself as a business entity.  Consistent calls to action for your audience, with clear goals and separation between your various ideas and projects, will help you to reach success and stay there.  This means you should write down your vision, plot out your path and what you need to learn and do, and then start completing each step, one at a time.  (Organization is the first key, communication is the second.)

For me, setting up for business was more difficult than it needed to be.  I was scattered, didn't even know what I needed to learn in the first place, or how to go about streamlining the processes and developing a system that works for overthinkers and overachievers like myself.  However, I want to ensure others do not have the struggle I did, or the stress caused by the unknown or the overwhelm.  So I have created a YouTube channel devoted to art and writing, and I have set up a few pages on Facebook where we writers and artists can support each other and where I will post help and inspiration videos, news, events, book and product releases, and more.  You can find the links to a lot of those in the sidebar next to this post.  The Facebook pages are listed on the Communities page.

Progress has been slow-going, but I am definitely seeing it.  So far this year, I have completed the designs for my publishing company's logo, updated my media banners across most of the social media outlets I am on, and set up or completed other important items for Brand Design.  I've created a board for many of the business steps I need to complete, and one by one I am checking them off.  And most importantly, I have been writing and creating art with the intent to sell and entertain.  My greatest love, after all, is reaching into others' hearts and minds, and inspiring them to feel.

Anyway, I wish you luck on your own projects!  May the rest of the year be productive, inspiring, and filled with blessings!


A page for fans of the Leviathans series!

A page for Writers and Artists, Advice, and Support!

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Topics under the Channel category include: 

Channel Introduction, Store, Tour, Changes, and other channel related news.  

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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

June 2018 Blog

Hi, guys!  We're halfway through another year, and I've got about a quarter of my 1st novel written.  It's exciting!  No more changing the story from here on out, this is the final version of my story.

The book is already at 70,000 words, so I'll have a huge edit to do, but it's great so far!  It's amazing to look at the completed outline and see so easily what needs done and what has been accomplished, where tiny fixes can be added, and what scenes will inspire some artwork for future merchandise.

Our vacation to Turner Falls and Castle Collins was a blast this year, and we revisited the Renaissance Fair in Muskogee, Oklahoma as well.  A first, however, was a trip to Oklahoma City, to visit the Myriad Botanical Gardens.  It was all very lovely, the various cultivars of exotic plants and the large school of coy.  We watched baby ducks and small turtles dip into the water while attempting to avoid the worst of the sun.  (Photos are at the end of this post.)

I still hope to finish my 1st draft by October of this year, but we shall see.  I will be giving out teasers as we get closer to completion, and maybe I'll post some of the art concepts, too.

I plan to continue working on the huge tasks I've set for this year.  I'm building cabinets, creating a garden, and working on a large number of business and writing related goals.

This year is still going strong, and there are still many things to keep me a mad little busywoman.

May the year continue to be as prosperous, busy, inspiring, and productive for you as well!

Castle Collins...

Turner Falls...

Myriad Botanical Gardens...

Renaissance Fair...

Monday, May 23, 2016

Giving Book Club Book Reviews

Book Reviews
Questions to Answer
Many writers know a writing group or a book club can help them improve.  Some join existing clubs, others create their own.  But what do they a great deal of really good ones have in common?

The writers involved look over each other's manuscripts, analyze and comment, and review what has been mentioned on their own.

This is one of the lists I always give to my own book club members.  For beginning writers, this is invaluable.  With it, you can begin to learn to look at a manuscript the way an editor does.  When you are ready to edit your own (or another's) work, crack open a notebook and answer these questions.
  1. Description or Blurb - Clarity, conciseness, consistent voice, level of tone / diction / syntax, grammar, intrigue, clear genre and age level.
  2. Opening - Lines & paragraphs have a spark or a hook?  Something that draws you?
  3. First chapter - Is it confusing or vague through the first chapter? Does it draw the attention?  What can be done to improve it?  Are things defined well enough for lay man readers?
  4. Draw - Does the first chapter(s) end where I am drawn to turn the page?
  5. Dramatic questions - Are the dramatic questions obvious?
  6. Inciting incident - Is the inciting incident obvious?
  7. Original world / actions - Are the original world and original default actions clear?
  8. Realistic - Are the details consistent and realistic, or a little bit...strange?  Unfathomable?
  9. Repetition - Are there any words or ideas that are repeated several times, or which are weird in the descriptions?  Which should be removed?
  10. Flow - Does it flow flawlessly and smoothly instead of bumbling with run-on sentences or awkward things that make reading difficult?
  11. Grammar / punctuation - How well did they do with grammar and punctuation?
  12. Tense and pov consistency - Does the tense or pov change, or is it flowing and consistent?
  13. First Person -  Is the word “I” repeated over and over in this pov?
  14. Voice (etc) - How well did they do with voice? Tone? Diction? Syntax?
  15. Descriptions - How well did they do with sensory / thought / emotion / picturesque descriptions?  Do the descriptions ever slow the progress of the plot in favor of pretty phrases?  Do the chapters use long passages of exposition to fill the reader in on histories and back information rather than let the story itself hint throughout the entire work what has happened before?  Are there moments where you begin to skim through rather than read diligently?  Beware that.  Are there symbols or metaphors relating to a bigger picture or theme wrought throughout the descriptions?  Is there too much dialogue?  Too few dramatic questions hidden in the descriptions?  Are the interactions between the characters riddled with enough tension or micro tension that the environment itself, as perceived by a character, has become a character in and of itself?
  16. Plot clarity - How clear is the plot?  Does it lag?
  17. Recommendation - How highly would you recommend it to others?  Would you buy this book, even from first glance?
  18. Overall judgment and flavor - Personal opinions.  Ideas on how to improve, or where.
  19. Minor opinions per chapter - Comment on what you liked or didn’t like per chapter.  Or other information.

Make sure you pay very special attention to your opening line / paragraphs / first chapter.  It can make or break your book for your readers.  Think of ways to shorten what you are saying in order to make it more concise, quicker in pace, and faster to reveal what is going on.  DO NOT DALLY.  That's my rule on Chapter One.  Hook, line, and sink.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Analyzing What You Read or Write

1. Does the summary (also known as the book blurb or jacket synopsis) hint at the story and / or introduce the book's dramatic question?
  • A dramatic question is what keeps the story going and keeps us turning pages to find the answer, like "will the hero find the bomb in time to detonate it?" or "will the main character find true love despite everything that happens?"  Some writers call it the spark, or the hook.

2. Is the opening line of the book a strong one that draws interest?  Or does it dip into setting or exposition without hinting immediately (and concisely) that something of great importance is happening, is about to happen, or has just happened?  Is there a point to the actual description, aside from showing us where and when?  If not, it's boring and should not be the actual focus of the first paragraph(s).  In this case, add the setting in small doses between whatever is actually going on, as embellishment to the moving emotional state of the character, or as seasoning to the opening action.  Make sure you never have a static opening.

3. Does the opening paragraph draw interest or curiosity?  Or does it just dive into the "bobbing heads syndrome," where characters are talking and you have trouble relating to them or caring for them for a few pages?  Or, does it begin flopping about like a dead fish with pretty prose or circular, not immediately important, description?  Fix this, or many of your prospective readers will drop your book.  There doesn't have to be action, but reveal tension and apprehension from the very first line / paragraph / page / chapter.  Always consider this: How do I hook a reader from Word One?
  • This step gives ideas on how to fix any weak spots in your own works, and it helps you to figure out what type of advice to give on others' works.  AVOID LAGGING IN THE FIRST FIVE PAGES.  The first five pages of a manuscript is one of the most important parts, where agents and publishers accept or deny, and it's where most readers keep the book or drop it.  (Many give only one to three.)  It is just as important as the synopsis on the jacket, and the cover image and title.

5. Does each chapter have some small theme or question that keeps interest and draws you to want to read farther?  Are these questions related in some way to the main goal of the characters throughout the book?  Are they related to or revolve around the big picture for this book?  How do they apply to the questions driving the series?  How do the questions change over the course of the book as the characters and situations change?
  • Themes are things like "good versus evil," "rags to riches," "racial issues," "the bonds of family love," etc. Themes are one of the things agents and publishers look for, and they are one of the ways in which readers relate to the books they read.  You want your story to have high impact, right?

5. Do the descriptions need some extra work?  Suggestions for improvement?  Is it excessive in the wrong places?  Does it make your scenes lag in bad places?  Do the descriptions have undertones of tension or micro tension (as described by Donald Maas in his Writing 21st Century Fiction)?  I recommend that book highly, by the way.  It'll make things clearer for you than ever before.

6. What was your favorite / least favorite part of the book?  How can it be improved?  How can you turn it on its head?

7. How far did you write before it became difficult?  Or, if you are a reader analyzing a work, how far did you read?  The end?  The middle?  Do you think you'll continue reading this author, or writing this book or series?  Why?  What makes you passionate about it?  What is the work trying to say about life in general?

8. How highly do you recommend this book to other readers?  Scale from 1 to 5, if 5 is the highest.  How is your own work like this one?  How is it different?  Where do you fail where this one succeeds?  Where do you succeed where this one fails?
  • This is a useful tool if you are doing reviews or want to revisit a work later for more analysis.  You can thumb through some of these notes in order to remind yourself what to strengthen.

9. Does the ending satisfy you?  How?  Is it because enough of the underlying questions were answered? (Like "Did the vampires find him?" or "Did she get the guy?" or "Was the world saved?")  Did you get the ending you expected?  Did it blow your expectations in a good way or a bad way?
  • If you're writing - Alter your original ending.  The first ending you choose can be very, very wrong because likely, it will be what the reader predicts.  Even if you choose to stick to your original idea, how can you add a new twist to it?  What did the endgame cost?  What has the character had to sacrifice in order to finally achieve his or her goal?  And, how does that character apprehend this change?  A twist like this, under the skin of everything else that is more obvious, will give the story even more meaning.

10. Does the story feel too short or too long?  Can you explain what you feel is missing or what is too much?   If you read through the story during edits or other revision processes, are there places that you begin skimming over or have trouble focusing on?  Can you pair down anything that is excessive, circular, redundant, too purple (as in purple prose--look it up if you are not sure), or not focused enough?  Are there places where only one goal is obvious, or one single risk, and nothing else?
  • Cut anything that meanders off point--like excessive sub plots that don't ultimately affect the book's main plot, but which are in there anyway because they were awesome.  (Save those for another story!  Or use them for free short stories to boost traffic to your stuff that is going to be on sale.)  Cut excessive backstory or exposition.  If you want exposition, create some side reading for readers who are interested, and publish those separately.  Detailed maps, concept art, genealogies, histories, etc.  Don't bog down the progress of your story by delving into a bunch of information that will only serve to get the reader to forget what is currently happening in the book.
  • If it is too short, add more.  Go more in depth.  Begin asking "What If?"  Always imagine the worst.  Throw your character through a physical wringer as well as an emotional one.  Give the hero goals that contradict one another, and needs that make achieving those goals almost impossible.  Make the hero war with himself.  Turmoil and conflict.  Use it.
  • Look at what happened in Chapter Eight; begin weaving hints of what is coming earlier in the book, like, say, Chapter Two.  Shift some of the character's ideas / morals / goals.  Make their original internal compass completely the opposite.  This will make change more difficult, more interesting, and more wrought with turmoil and conflict.  This is how you insert micro-tension and contrast, both of which are gold nuggets for writing.  The two convey change and motion even when there really isn't any.

11. What do you think were some other themes throughout the book, aside from the main one earlier?

12. What do you think the main dramatic question might have been?
  • Sometimes this can be guessed by the genre, as Romances are often about whether or not the woman and / or her lover can conquer that which threatens to keep them apart .  In a Thriller, it may instead be: Will John diffuse the bomb in time to save the city?

13. What genre do you think this book belongs to, and in what age group?
  • Does the story's tone and the writer's voice appeal perfectly to that age group?
  • Is the writing too mature?
  • Too old in style?  (Easy fix here, just pair down, simplify, and modernize your phrases and words a bit.  Only retain hints of the older style, and it will come across as archaic while also remaining understandable.)
  • Too technical?  Tone down the jargon, but make sure your facts are right.
  • Too immature?  (I'm sure that if you've ever been on Wattpad, you will have found books containing adult characters who pout and huff and stomp their feet like children, or who think the first kiss is the ultimate "encounter" of any relationship.  Ever.  And that once the first kiss is given, a character is ruined, becoming a pariah to all chaste beings everywhere, and numb to all other advances or proclamations of love.  Although some of them can have a first kiss with another character that is just as "amazing.")
If you guys want a more extensive list of questions to consider while you are reading or writing, let me know and I will compile a more comprehensive one for you.  This was kind of basic.

If you really want to know the ins and outs of every successful commercially published bestselling work of fiction, I still recommend Donald Maas's Writing 21st Century Fiction.  It is very, very informative.  Click the link below to find it on Amazon.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Renaissance Fair 2016 Cosplay - Shoulder Armor for the Hubby

My husband has been working hard on his Assassin's Creed outfit, updating it to personalize it for the Muskogee Renaissance festival this year.  Of course, he does the "easy" stuff.  Sewing.  I, on the other hand, am tasked with the serious details of designing and creating shoulder armor and stomach armor.  Turned out great, coming from a crazy nerd girl who was never taught to do anything crafty!  Tommy was stunned at what came from my staying up until 5 am a few days ago.  I would be much the happier if he voiced his opinions more, rather than lifting his devilishly arched eyebrows -- THAT EXPRESSION MEANS TOO MANY THINGS.

Ahem.  Anyway...Hehe.

The project made me think of my own characters and how their own armor will look.  Mmmm.  As a great lady (who is my friend) once said, "Thoughts, thoughtsies, thoughts..."

I would love to cosplay as one of my own characters, but I refuse to sew by hand ever again.  And my mother-on-law's sewing machine isn't working right.  Sad, indeed.

But look!  Isn't it gorgeous?!

The secret?  Draw it out on cardboard first.  Then use thin craft foam.  Layers are the secret sauce.  Lots and lots of layers (and repeating patterns).  And paint markers.  Those are required, too.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Renaissance Fair - May 2016

We are heading to the Renaissance Fair in Muskogee, Oklahoma again this year!  We will be there on May 8th, so if any of you spot me, make sure to introduce yourself! Or throw a frog on me as a prank.  I will laugh after I scream, I promise!

I love all of the shows they have!

The horses are so beautiful.

The live jousts are amazing.

The belly dancers are talented.

And there is sooo much more!  There are lots of comedy acts and...I heard this year there are mermaids!  Wha...?

Great for kids.  Great inspiration for writers and artists.  Great fun!

I will die if I don't go this year.  So I am going!  See you there!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Dos and Don'ts of Taking Your Writing to a Career Level

A few years ago, I decided to stop circling my writerly wishes and set some career goals.  Since I did not set deadlines, it took me a lot longer than I'd intended to even start to get my act together.

Get your North figured out.

If you want to get published by a traditional publisher or become self-published, you are going to need to start with being realistic.  Tell yourself you’re not likely to hit it big with just your first book, not unless you learn everything necessary to the industry, marketing, networking, platforming, editing (quiz: what’s a galley edit?), or the inside-out, know-hows of writing and selling commercially publishable bestsellers’ material.  Ever thought of taxes as being part of the overarching process?  Bookkeeping?  Yep.  Most don't.

My intent is to become a full-time author. Is yours? 

Turn this into a checklist, print it out, put it in with your Career Goals, and then research the hell out of each topic.  Figure out what is best for you personally, and then adapt it.  Take detailed notes as you learn, and share what you learn as you go--it helps you understand what you are learning better.  And most importantly, always work toward completing the next step.

This is the order of business:

  • Research apps that help writers and test them.
  • Research habits of successful, bestselling writers.
  • Research pitches, synopsis, plot structure, querries, etc.
  • Research productivity tips for writers.  There are ways to reach 10,000 words a day, guys.  Familiarizing yourself with recording devices is one of them.  It is awkward at first, just like learning to type is, so I suggest using them for writing prompts first, to practice.
  • Research how to write commercial fiction: plot structure, character arcs, and other components of stories.  There's a huge list of things that goes into a commercially successful book.
  • Research Trello and editorial calendars. You may use other systems, but Trello has served me best and I like that it's free and very versatile.  Editorial Calendars will give you deadlines and push you to achieve more by certain dates.
  • Write a business plan. Where do you (as a writer) want to be in five years? Ten Years? How many books do you want to have published 2 years from now? How many books do you want to have published by the end of next year?  Make sure you have a forgiveness process because you don't want to push yourself into tears when you don't reach goals.  At least you made progress!!!
  • Research the editing processes (there are multiple rounds and types of them).
  • Research the marketing process (web design, business cards, tag lines, reviews, etc).
  • Research platform development - and get started NOW!!!  Even if you take baby steps. Having a single user ID across many social media platforms helps your searchability.  I always try to make mine 7bloodfire -- whether I am on Twitter, Facebook, Wattpad, or elsewhere .  I even own the domain name for 10$ a year through Enom.)
  • Research how to create your own brand.  Think series books, or a specific type of fiction or memoir you are good at or enjoy a lot.  That’s what your brand will be from, and you need to figure out what it is and how to develop it.
  • Research how to make money from writing novels, how to set improve sales and traffic, etc.  This includes website analytics and conversion rates.
  • Research what all goes into a self-published book: cover pages, ISBNs, EINs, marketing, costs for print, promotions, gift ideas as promotions, contest ideas as promotions, etc.
  • Research how to promote your book: conferences, tours, press releases, starting book clubs, etc.
  • Research Web Site Development and HTML.
  • Plan the focus and layout of your site, blog, etc.  You'll want an overall goal the site will achieve, and an action funnel that drives people to that ending action.
  • Create your site, blog, etc, and link them all in a very tactical way while thinking of that action funnel.
  • Research networking and creating business partnerships. Implement as it comes up.
  • Start, join, or hire: Review Groups / Beta Readers / Book Clubs.
  • Attend Seminars / Conferences / Webinars / PodCasts, etc.
  • Research setting up Seminars / Conferences / Webinars / Podcasts
  • Set Up your own Appearances at Seminars / Conferences / Webinars / Podcasts later, when you are famous, too.  If this is a goal, it stays on the list.  Get used to the idea that writing is a business.  And businesses have training seminars and meetings.
  • Research and Develop Email Lists, Customer / Fan Bases, etc.
  • Research and then get paypal or other online and POS (point of sale) banking methods of getting paid for ebooks and physical books.
  • Research and keep up with Industry News.
  • Research genre types and how to write in them.  Same with looking up published books’ lengths.  This gives you idea on what is expected across the board.
  • Create a Career Journal and add to it: Projects, Goals, Syllabus, Scheduling, Tours, Travel, etc.
  • Improve your writing productivity one project at a time.  You could improve more than just speed with a dictation app or program--it also trains you to speak comfortably and publicly.  If you don't have a dictation app, just record yourself and transcribe it later.
  • Incorporate all research or research notes' file links into one place for easy reference.
  • Put the editorial calendar to use.
  • Practice and incorporate anything new that works - dictation and transcribing? Yeah!
  • Research copyright laws, like Fair Use, Plagiarism, etc.
  • Research using social media for business use, like marketing campaigns, posting times and frequency, etc.
  • Research blog post types, like Round Up posts and other types.
  • Implement Deadlines, break down your project into stages, and strive to meet those deadlines.

I am a little over halfway through my list.  And I HIGHLY recommend Trello for the Editorial Calendar, as I mentioned.  It also works for book writing processes and many other things. Here's a link to Trello, if you want to get started:

So, as you can see, if you’re like me and got the ball rolling before you knew where it was going to have to go in order to get commercial, you’ll have to put the writing addiction on the back burner in order to get your alphabet straight. You have to research what to research.  Having a good list to start with HELPS.

As for improving your skill at the craft? I always recommend Donald Maas’s Writing 21st Century Fiction.  It’s...AMAZING.  There are a lot of really good books out there, though, and I couldn't even begin to name all of the ones I've read and enjoyed thoroughly.

By the way, traditional publishers want you to already have a huge platform with a couple of thousand fans anyway.  You’ll be marketing your own material even if they sign you on, and after 6 months, whether your book sells or not, you become competition to the very company that signed you on.  (Better look up publishing contracts while you’re researching! There is a saving grace called a backlist.)  Also, they don't always catch every error.  The pros of self-publishing have increased against the cons over the years, so the many hats is a plausible step for many writers now.  Self included.

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Thanks for stopping by!  I'm glad if any of my advice here on my writer blog is helpful!