Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: writing blogs

Writing Blogs That Are about More Than Just The Writing

Back on the 9th of January, I published a post called Fuel for Writers.

It had 11 sites that could supply an endless number of writing prompts…

But, what about once you’re in the heat of the writing or when you’re preparing to publish or needing to promote?

One place to visit would be Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity

Here are just a few categories of their helpful resources:


Calls for Submissions

Paying Markets

Publishers Accepting Unagented Manuscripts

Agents Seeking Clients

There’s lots more to explore over on Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity :-)

And, if you haven’t yet got the heat turned up on the writing part (and, for help with sundry other writerly topics…), check out these 13 Top Creative Writing Blogs That Are Actually Helpful:

Copyblogger ***
The Creative Penn
Goins, Writer ***
Terrible Minds
Jane Friedman ***
Daily Writing Tips
Helping Writers Become Authors
The Write Life ***
Better Novel Project
Writer’s Digest
The Book Designer ***
Lauren Sapala ***


The sites with *** after the name are ones that I find particularly valuable

And, a Wonderful Bonus Site that anyone associated with any phase of writing should explore (even if you’re not writing a novel…):

Roz Morris’ Nail Your Novel

“Writing, publishing and self-publishing advice from a bestselling ghostwriter and book doctor”

If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
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Grab A Free Novel…
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An Online Writing Group that Looks Like It Could Work . . .

I’m not the kind of writer who works well with groups, though there’s no way I’d ever discourage others to take part in good Writing Groups.

Writing Group

Image courtesy of carl dwyer ~

My Best Friend, a writer in Australia, has been in a small and dedicated writing group for many years.

Others I’ve known have treasured the time they spend receiving critiques and sharing literary opinions.

So, I want to introduce you to what seems a very promising endeavor—Scribophile.

Here’s some info from their site:


“First, earn karma points by critiquing the work of others. Don’t worry if you’re not sure how to critique—we’ll show you how, and it’s easy, fun, and improves your own writing too!


“Next, spend your karma points to post your own work for review. Each work you post is guaranteed to get at least 3 long critiques, and you usually get a lot more!


“Improve your writing in our workshop with insightful critiques from other writers, with our professional writing blog, and by talking shop in our writing forums.

Make Friends

“Writing can be lonely. Lucky for you there are thousands of writers on Scribophile every day, and we’re a pretty friendly bunch. You’ve never seen a writing group like this one!

A little more about how it works…

“We’re a writing group that works on a karma point system. Members spend karma points to post their writing for feedback from the community. To earn karma points, members submit thoughtful critiques for the work of others. Everyone has to earn karma points before they can post!

“This system ensures that every work you post gets awesome critiques from other talented writers. Forget about sites that are popularity contests, get spammed with work that sits unviewed, and “reviews” that say nothing but “good job.” At our writing group every piece gets the full critiquing attention it deserves.

“Don’t feel like critiquing? That’s OK! Hang out in our busy writing forums to chat with other passionate writers, read our writing blog for tips and tricks, and meet and connect with writers from all over the world.

And there’s even more for writers…

“Keep your rights protected. You have full control over your writing. Only other members can read it.

“Get quality feedback, guaranteed. Every work posted is guaranteed at least 3 insightful critiques.

“Win cash in free writing contests. We give out hundreds in cash and prizes each month!

“Be part of a busy, vibrant community. We’re one of the largest and most active writing groups online.

“Everyone welcomed, from beginner to pro. Everyone’s here to learn, and we want to help!”

So, that’s what Scribophile is all about.

If you’re already a member or if you decide to join, do, please, leave a Comment, ok?

Naturally, any comments about writing groups, in general, are also very welcome :-)
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
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Blogs by Writers ~ Who Really Knows How To Do One?

I’ve spent many hours writing posts here about all the “advice” for writers the Internet is spewing out.

Part of me feels I’ve wasted a huge amount of time discovering the rotten underbelly of “Authorial Experts”.

Still, reading all the “advice” has let me, at least, warn others about where not to go

Just the other day, in a post called, Happy Birthday to Brain Pickings !, I introduced a video with these words:

“Since many writers attempt to subsidize their fiction writing by monetizing their blogs, I chose a video of Maria talking about alternatives to the ad-supported model.”

That’s Maria Popova and she really does know how to blog.

Then, there’s a man I’ve featured here many times, Joel Friedlander. { click his name in the Top Tags widget in the left side-bar }

Joel does something on his blog that inspires confidence—a seven-part Publishing Timeline—his personal journey through the Book World.

I feel it’s important to reveal a bit of Joel’s history here—give you a sense that this man has been around the block, many times, and knows what he’s talking about. So, here are some excerpts from that journey:

“My father, Royal Friedlander, had apprenticed as a compositor—when printing forms were made from metal objects—in the 1930s. I grew up around printing, and can remember my father sitting at the dinner table in our little kitchen, the creases of his hands still black at the bottom from black ink. He had big tubs of pumice-based soap in the bathroom, but no matter how hard he scrubbed, he said, he had ‘printer’s ink in his veins.’”

“As I learned more about the history of printing and the fine presses of the past, I also researched the modern rebirth of the book arts, starting in the late nineteenth century with William Morris’ Kelmscott Press and later, the Doves press. Along with a friend I started trying to render a modern version of Nicholas Jenson’s fifteenth-century original, considered by many to be the most beautiful roman face in the history of printing.”

“I had quit my day job to concentrate on publishing, which drained our reserves far faster than they ought to have been. And I had published what my heart told me were books that needed to be published—not what the market told me it wanted. Rather than increase our profitability, each book put us farther in the hole. Without a real sense of what the market wanted, or how to reach the people who would buy our books, our company was pretty much doomed from the start.”

“I decided I needed a new company structure, and started Marin Bookworks….Gradually I put a team of professionals together as my contacts expanded….There was rarely a month that went by at Marin Bookworks where there wasn’t at least one self-published book in the mix….Publishing continues to go through a somewhat chaotic revolution of technology and distribution. New technologies are emerging on a weekly basis that have the potential to radically change a business that hasn’t changed that much in 500 years.”

Joel recently published the blog post, 5 Steps to Author Blogging Success,

And, for those of you who don’t normally take all the links I put in my posts, I’ll list those steps here ( each with a link to more information on Joel’s blog :-)

Find your readers

Author Blogging 101: Where Are the Readers?

Create compelling content

7 Formats for Winning Blog Posts

Foster engagement

Writers’ Blogs: 5 Essentials for Engaging Your Readers

Network with other bloggers

Author Blogging 101: 11 Sources of Organic Traffic

Profit from your blog

Direct Marketing, Scottsdale Arizona, and Why a $10 Ebook Can Change Your Life

If you visit any of those links, I’d love it if you left a Comment about your thoughts and feelings

Also, if you know about a writer’s blog that gets it right, let us know about it in the Comments.
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
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Practicing Your Writing ~ Do You Actually Do That?

O.K., imagine a basketball player

Imagine they go to the park every day and play a pick-up game with friends.

That player would probably get better over time.

Now, imagine that same player getting help to break the whole game down into its component parts—dribbling, passing, shooting from different distances from the hoop, defending against another shooter, etc.—practicing each of those skills six days a week then, once a week going back to the park

Eventually, the second method will produce a better player.

So, do writers practice the components of their process or do they just try to write a story, then another, then another?

Eventually, writing a lot of stories will improve your writing but breaking it all down and practicing the narration, description, dialogue, flash-backs, POVs, etc. will help much more.

Do you practice your writing like this?

Would you like to?

It’s said the great artist Michelangelo would first have his students copy the masters, using that practice to find their own style.

Here’s a description of a very special blog for writers:

“Fifteen minutes a day, six times a week, you will practice writing like Hemingway, James Joyce, Malcolm Gladwell, and many others. As you imitate their voices, you’ll grow into yours. And you’ll be on your way not just to publishing, but to publishing something people will actually want to read. Sound good?”

Here are two recommendations for that blog:

“There are so many worthy writing blogs out there, but what makes this one unique is how extremely practical and relevant it is. It’s focused and intentional, providing exactly what every writer needs: PRACTICE. —Jeff Goins, Author and founder of

“I love this blog, both as a writer and a person interested in seeing other writers succeed. Joe’s insights are good for both new and accomplished writers, and the exercises keep his readers writing and learning every day. —Mark Almand, Author and Professional Editor

And, if you subscribe for free to their Updates, you’ll get a free copy of a book called 14 Prompts.

This free book is rather special since each of the prompts/exercises is keyed to a special section on the blog—you do the exercise and submit it to the blog and get feedback :-)

Here’s the bio of the creator of the blog:

“Joe Bunting is the founder of the Write Practice. He loves the sound of a good sentence and would like to think of himself as a literary snob but can be kept up far too late by a page turner meant for thirteen year old girls. He would like for you not to know that though. He and his wife, Talia, enjoy playing backgammon and Angry Birds on her iPhone.”

And, without further ado, here is a link to this blog:

The Write Practice

If you go there and like what you find, do, please, come back and share in the Comments :-)
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
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A Post Full of Questions About Blogs. . .

What do you like to see in blogs?

Why do you read them?

Do you relax when reading them or do they stir you up?

What’s you favorite kind of blog?

Are blogs a “form” of writing?

Will blogs ever attain classic-status like books?

What do you think motivates a blogger to persist even when very few folks comment?

Do blogs have to have pictures to be interesting?

Do you have a blog?

Have you had a blog in the past?

Are you contemplating having a blog?

What tips on blogging do you think worthy of sharing?

What’s the best blog you’ve ever visited?

Do you leave comments on blogs?

Are blogs a form of social media?

Has a blog post ever “saved” you from doing something stupid or dangerous?

Has a blog ever “enlightened” you?

Have you ever cried while reading a blog?

When you like a blog post, does that make you explore the depths of the blog—the sections beyond the daily posts?

Where did the word “blog” come from?

Have you ever watched someone “live-blog”?

Will blogs ever fall “out of fashion”?

Do blogs make an important contribution to the betterment of society?

Do many of these questions make you want to answer, “It depends on the blog.”?

Do you feel like you’d like to answer some of these questions in the Comments?

Will you answer one of them in the Comments?

If you want to make a comment but don’t, what holds you back?

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