There are so many writing tools at our fingertips right now that it's easy to forget what inspired us to get ideas out of our heads in the first place: good old-fashioned pen and paper. I had this conversation a few days ago with a lady named Michelle. She, too, is an avid writer and self-proclaimed grammar nerd. And while sharing stories about how we each developed a passion for what we do, she asked how I prefer to start the writing process. "Do you go straight to your lapt
My friends Joe and Diane Mayes at Patchouli Joe's Books & Indulgences hosted the first (and long-awaited) Denton Writers' Roundtable on Wednesday at their insanely-popular bookstore on the square. And if you missed it, you really have to be there for the next one! The idea behind the event is to kick-start an inclusive writers' group in our community to share tips and tricks, learn from each other, hear each other's stories, and build lasting relationships. More importantly,
I found an article about writing and procrastination that suggested writers are the worst procrastinators. The author even admitted – or perhaps embellished for the sake of the piece – that she checked email 3,000 times and found herself engaging in numerous Twitter battles and other nonsense in the course of writing that one article. She's not wrong. Everyone procrastinates, whether with home, work, school, relationships, or something else. And that includes writers. After a
The positive reviews for my book, Write Like You Mean It: Mastering Your Passion For The Written Word, has been nothing short of amazing. But two recent ones, in particular, show how motivating and inspiring this book is for many of my fellow writers. The first I'd like to point out came from an old client. We hadn't spoken in three years, but he reached out to tell me that after buying my book, he couldn't pry it out of his wife's hands. My wife picked up your book and can't
I've said before that my ultimate goal is to have my book, Write Like You Mean It: Mastering Your Passion For The Written Word, become a key educational tool in every high school and college writing class in the country. One way to spread the word is to speak to those classes and share tips and tricks I've learned throughout my nearly 25-year career. I'd love for your class to be the next place I visit – so all of us can write like we mean it! I'm interested in speaking to an
In January, a veteran journalist crafted a Twitter post telling other writers to stop recording most of their interviews. In her opinion, recording interviews with sources for your articles is both time-consuming and leads to an over-reliance on quotes. She called it her #journalismtipoftheday. Her tweet was met with wide-sweeping disagreement in the form of roughly 1,200 replies and nearly 2,500 quote tweets. I, too, respectfully disagreed. Recording your interviews: Ensures
I've always had a healthy respect for authors, but that admiration grew tenfold as I dove into writing my book, Write Like You Mean It: Mastering Your Passion For The Written Word. The hard work that goes into each chapter, including the emotions, pride, and pieces of ourselves that we pour into each syllable we type – I underestimated all of it. But I also embraced all of it. And when the time comes, I'll do it all over again! If you've been thinking about writing a book, do
There I was, sitting at a table by myself and wondering if anyone would show up. Only 10 minutes had passed since the start of my book signing for Write Like You Mean It: Mastering Your Passion For The Written Word, but what can I say – I was nervous. "It looks great," my wife said in response to a picture I'd just texted. "All I need is people," I said. Thankfully, someone did show up ... and then another person ... and then another. The next thing I knew, I had a successful
While watching a few author interviews several years ago, I couldn't help but marvel at how smooth the conversations were. It didn't matter what question was asked or which random direction the discussion went. They knew every inch of their book like the back of their hand. They recited specific passages from memory – as if they had the book open in front of them. They didn't stutter, stammer, or trip themselves up out of sheer nervousness. How could this be? Well ... beyond
It's not every day that I have the opportunity to be the spotlight author at a book signing. But here I am, thanks in no small part to my new book, Write Like You Mean It: Mastering Your Passion For The Written Word. It's a little more than a week away. And here's the best part: YOU'RE INVITED!
I am cordially inviting all writers and avid readers everywhere to my book signing from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday, January 22! Patchouli Joe's Books & Indulgences in downtown Denton is gr
A friend told me the other day that he keeps getting in trouble at work for writing his reports in the passive voice. Granted, no one expects him to be a professional writer, but that hasn't stopped his boss from pleading with him to start writing in the active voice. My reaction when he told me was, "Good for your boss!" Everyone should know the difference between active and passive voice. With active voice, the subject in the sentence acts upon its verb. With passive voice,
What in the world am I doing writing about rejection right before Christmas? What a downer! But hear me out because not a day goes by where a new writer or a veteran trying something new isn't dealing with or worried about having something they've written get rejected by a publishing house, newspaper, magazine, online site, etc. Writers get told "no" a lot, which can be especially hard during the holidays. I wrote a few quick words on rejection in my new book, Write Like You
Writing my new book, Write Like You Mean It, wasn't as difficult as initially imagined. Finding a publisher who was just as eager to see the finished product – also not too difficult. Promoting my new book and getting it into everyone's hands? Well, that's a bit different. Friends have enjoyed teasing me for becoming that guy who walks around with a box of books on his hip ... a "traveling book salesman" of sorts. And they're not wrong. Without fail, I have them on hand every
When you're a writer, your goal is to get published. I know ... that's not exactly "mindblowing news," is it? That's like saying basketball players have a goal of putting the ball in the net, or a lawyer's goal is to win their first case. Of course, we want to get published. As I said in my book, Write Like You Mean It: Mastering Your Passion For The Written Word, "to write like you mean it also means to write like you mean it to be read." And that's true for any writer – reg
Christmas is almost here. And if you're like me, you're probably still trying to figure out what to buy for friends, family, and perhaps that loveable writer in your life. Here are 9 holiday gifts for the writer in your family. And yes, this list starts with my new book! 1. New book: Write Like You Mean It This book is useful to first-time writers, veteran writers, nonfiction writers, fiction writers, freelance writers, college writers, high school writers, writers who own th
Since the day that my book, Write Like You Mean It: Mastering Your Passion For The Written Word, was published, I've had this irrational fear that no one will read the introduction.
Why read the intro? Just curl up by the fire and jump right into Chapter 1.
And then Chapter 2.
And Chapter 3.
And so on ...
I didn't always read book introductions when I was younger. And it was for the same reasons: I simply couldn't wait to dive into whatever it was that the author was t
I was approached recently by a gentleman who was writing a book about poverty. A few of his goals were to shine a light on the epidemic, pepper his first chapter or two with a slew of sobering statistics, and then dive into how he's been getting people out of poverty for good. As he handed it to me, he admitted that what he had so far was too clinical and certainly not something someone would read cover to cover unless they were forced to. It was missing something, and it was
In last week's blog, I wrote that my mom has always wanted me to write a children's book. And who knows ... maybe I will someday. I'm certainly not against it – it's just that now is not that time. Do you know who did, though? My father-in-law, Dennis. That's right. In 2018, long before I even thought about writing my first book, Write Like You Mean It: Mastering Your Passion For The Written Word, Dennis published a book he'd been sitting on for the better part of 20 years.
For years, my sweet, loving mother bugged me to write a book. She'd seen my Gamel Funny Farm blogs and laughed until her sides hurt listening to me and my wife share what was going on in our world with the kids. Naturally, she insisted I write a children's book. Now, I get it ... it's smart to say, "Yes, mommy," and follow through on anything your mother says. But not for this one. I mean ... maybe someday I'll write a children's book. But not yet. I had my eyes on nonfiction
I spent the early days of my career writing about sports. And boy, did I ever jump in with both feet! I covered games for the local newspaper every Friday night. I also wrote athlete profiles and feature articles and even uncovered my share of breaking news pieces. Sports writing was fun – and it was ALL I wanted to write about. As time went by, I began to think a little differently. I still loved being a sportswriter. I was just at a game the other night, in fact. But I want