Getting Ready for Writer’s Digest Conference 2019! (Plus, Five Quick Tips for Preparing for Your First Writing Conference)

It’s almost time for Writer’s Digest Conference, and oh my GOODNESS am I bursting with excitement! One week from now, I’ll be in New York City for this amazing literary conference that’s put on every year by Writer’s Digest magazine. And it’s going to be so much fun!

It doesn’t matter that this will be my fourth time at WDC. The thrill of learning more about the craft and business of writing, connecting with writers, reuniting with editor colleagues and my fellow staff writers at DIY MFA, and spending a few days in the Big Apple never gets old. (Oh, and N.K. Jemisin, one of my favorite authors, is delivering the opening keynote speech! Yay!) And coming from an introvert, that says a lot.

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New Service at Heart of the Story: Outline Critiques!

I have exciting news of a different kind to share with you today: I’m now offering outline critiques at Heart of the Story!

This service is perfect for writers who have an in-depth outline (20 to 40 pages) for a writing project but haven’t started the first draft yet. It’s a great way of ensuring that the structure of your story is solid, each scene has a purpose, and the main characters show a potential for growth or change.

(Read more after the jump.)

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Looking for Feedback on Your Story’s First Page? Check Out Today’s Critiques 4 U Contest at Writers Helping Writers!

Writers Helping Writers

OMG, I’m so excited, everyone! Helping out Angela and Becca at Writers Helping Writers for their Critiques 4 U contest back in March went really well. So guess what? They asked me to come back for this month’s contest! 🙂

If you’re working on a story or manuscript, or if you didn’t get a chance to enter the March contest, continue reading to learn how you can enter this month.

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New Interviews at Coach Daddy and SheBreathes

Hi, everyone! I’m here to share not just one recent interview I’ve done, but TWO. 🙂

First up is a #GirlsRock interview with Eli at Coach Daddy. The #GirlsRock series is dedicated to highlighting women who are doing amazing things and making the world a better place. Some of the women Eli has interviewed in the past include journalists, podcasters, TV reporters, and musicians / artists. So I’m honored – and psyched! – to be featured on Eli’s blog again. (I wrote this guest post for Coach Daddy back in 2015.) We talk about my editing / writing coaching business Heart of the Story, poetry, and my one piece of advice for women who enjoy writing.

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Heart of the Story’s Question of the Week (Plus, Looking for Feedback on Facebook Groups)

If you follow me and my editing / literary coaching business Heart of the Story on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you may have noticed an experiment I’ve been running on Mondays. It’s called Question of the Week, a conversation starter where I post a question about writing and any writers who are interested can respond.

So far, some of the questions have focused on your current writing project. Others have been about reading (since reading is an instrumental part of being a writer, right?) or the highlights and challenges of the writing process. So the topic varies from week to week; and since it’s not a chat with a set timetable, it’s something you can drop in on at your convenience.

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New DIY MFA Post on Writing Exercises for the Theme of Family (Plus, a Quick Note About Iceland)

So far in our recap of the theme of family at DIY MFA, we’ve covered why this theme matters to readers and shared recommendations for books about family. Today, we conclude our recap with a “how-to” post – specifically, how to explore the theme of family in your writing. This post is filled to the brim with writing prompts and brainstorming activities to help you with different angles of approaching this theme, from demonstrating family relationships through dialogue and interaction to using major life events to heighten conflict. So, grab some paper and a pen – or open a new document on your computer – and let’s begin!

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New at Writers Helping Writers: This Month’s Guest for Critiques 4 U + Guest Post on Writing Flashbacks

Writers Helping Writers

Yes, I’m posting on Tuesday instead of Wednesday this week! Why? Because something AWESOME is happening at Writers Helping Writers today, and I don’t want you to miss out on it.

Today, Writers Helping Writers (run by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, authors of The Emotion Thesaurus and other best-selling resources for writers) is running its monthly Critiques 4 U contest. The rules are simple: Comment on this morning’s blog post within 24 hours of it going live, and you’ll be entered for the chance to be one of three (3) writers to receive feedback on the first page of your manuscript.

Usually Becca critiques the three winners’ first pages. However, she and Angela have invited a special guest editor for this month’s contest: yours truly! 😀  So if you’re working on a story or manuscript right now, keep reading after the jump for more details.

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And the Big Secret Project Is… Heart of the Story Editorial & Coaching Services!

Hi everyone!

This is the Big Secret Project I’ve been working on since September: my own freelance editing and writing coaching business! I know I’ve been teasing about it for a while, but I’ve been reluctant to say much publicly before things were truly ready. And now, it’s Launch Day for…

Heart of the Story Editorial & Coaching Services

So what kinds of services does Heart of the Story offer? Who is the business designed to help? And, what does the business mean for this website? This post will go over all of that. So, without further ado…

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Reflections on 2018 and My Keyword for 2019

The end of December and beginning of January is a thoughtful time of year for me. I think back on the previous year, the highlights and achievements, the setbacks and lessons learned. Then I turn to the year that’s beginning to unfold. I ask myself, “What can I accomplish by the end of the year? What do I want to do? How can I continue to embrace the projects and ideals that matter most to me?”

This year, I’m taking that goal-setting to a new level by trying a New Year’s ritual that my friend Leanne Sowul practices. Every January, she chooses a word to guide her decisions, intentions, and actions for the next 12 months. In that way, it becomes a sort of theme for her year. And knowing what I’ll be up to in the near future, I’ve chosen my own word to be my touchstone for 2019.

Before I share that word, let’s put 2018 into perspective.

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