Mind Mapping Your Story Ideas

Are you a visual person? Do you hate outlining? Then mind mapping is for you. It is also a powerful tool for any writer. A mind map is a visual representation of connected ideas. This makes it perfect for playing with different elements of a story.

How to Brainstorm Your Novel into Existence

All the motivation and energy in the world will not produce a finished novel. We first need ideas. Focused brainstorming is one way to inspire them.

Fast Draft Your Manuscript: It’s NaNoWri

Do you want to write faster and enjoy the process while doing so? Check out Fast Draft Your Manuscript and Get It Done.

Organize and De-Clutter Your Writing Zone

Clutter around you, clutters your mind

~ Make it Beautiful ! Organizing is something you do before you do something, so when you do it, it is not all mixed up. ~ A.A. Milne   Last month, while pondering my Big Word FOCUS, I learned that maintaining one’s focus on one’s writing is a challenge that requires you to become immersed in the … Continue reading Organize and De-Clutter Your Writing Zone

How I Learned to Focus

Zara-West-Big-Word-Focus

~ Becoming a Focused Writer ~ Being able to focus is always an issue for a creative writer. No one is telling you what story world to invent nor how to get yourself in the seat, start writing, and then keep at it. Somehow, you have to shut out the world around you and zero … Continue reading How I Learned to Focus

My 2019 New Year Resolutions

New year Resolution word art

~A Dozen Hopes for 2019 ~ Time to make those 2019 New Year Resolutions. I have a long tradition of making New Year’s Resolutions. I bet many of you do too. After all, we only get a chance to revisit our hopes and dreams every 365 days. Usually, I make a list and stuff it away. … Continue reading My 2019 New Year Resolutions

12 things I am Thankful for: A Writer’s List of Thankfuls

Zara West's Cat

~ What I am Thankful For ~ On this Thanksgiving Day, I thought I would make a list of all the things I am thankful for as a writer. Most of the things are simple. It doesn’t take much to make me happy as long as I can write. Time to write A computer to … Continue reading 12 things I am Thankful for: A Writer’s List of Thankfuls

Writing a Series – 6 Tips for Success

~How to Extend the Story~ When I started writing my first romantic suspense Beneath the Skin, I had no plans to make it into a series. But it didn't take long for me to start imagining the lives of the secondary characters and wondering if they could win true love too. So when I pitched … Continue reading Writing a Series – 6 Tips for Success

Time Management versus Creativity in Writing

Notebook Zara West Suspense

Or Why Hitching Creativity to the Clock is Doomed to Failure Yikes! Where did the time go? My last post was when - December? So much for keeping a writing journal. It was such a good idea - writing down what was going on in my writing. So what happened?  Well, now that I am … Continue reading Time Management versus Creativity in Writing

Word Trackers. A Good Thing or Not?

word tracker

50,000 Words and Counting! I did it! For the third year in a row I managed to get down 50,000 words on my next novel, despite the holidays, a long-awaited visit from my sister who lives in Scotland, a book signing in Long Island, and all the daily things I do - like work. However, … Continue reading Word Trackers. A Good Thing or Not?

I love to read: Why reading during NaNoWri is a bad Idea

I love to read

I love to read. In fact, I don't just love it-- I am compelled to read. I read everything. If there is a newspaper in the recycle bin, I read it. If there is a cereal box on the table, I read the label. If there is a book left anywhere, I pick it up … Continue reading I love to read: Why reading during NaNoWri is a bad Idea

Fast Drafting My Way to The End or What I Learned from NaNoWri

Fast Drafting for NaNoWri

My first novel, written as a respite from working on my dissertation, took me five years to write. My second novel took seven years to write. My third novel took one month. What made the difference? Fast drafting. Fast drafting is the writing process in which you throw out everything you've learned about good writing … Continue reading Fast Drafting My Way to The End or What I Learned from NaNoWri