The Myth of the Lone Creative Genius

Today’s post is an excerpt from the recently published Birth Your Book! by Dr. Liz Alexander. Find out more about Liz at the end of this post. Where did the myth of the lone creative genius come from? You know, the idea that a writer must sit alone in the garret awaiting his or her muse for […]

2012 Writer's Market

To Learn About Your Readers, You Need a Site

In the newest edition of Writer’s Market (and Writer’s Market Deluxe), there’s a featured interview with me, where I discuss the future of publishing, websites and blogging, and Twitter strategy. Here’s a brief snippet: Your personal website is impressive, incorporating your blogging, tweets, an e-mail newsletter sign up and more. What do you see as the […]

Alan Watts

I Am Always Sincere, But Never Serious

I am always sincere, but never serious. —Alan Watts When I started my first professional blog, I struggled to give it a name. While I thought I could offer helpful information, the truth about writing advice is that it’s only helpful if you’re the kind of writer who benefits from it. Not all writers do […]

Cheryl Christmas Soper

When Mom Was My Age (#42)

“When Mom Was My Age” is an interview series between daughters and mothers. New interviews appear every Monday. If you would like to participate, contact Jane. The following interview is with Cheryl Christmas Soper (age 55), reflecting on her life at age 33, interviewed by daughter Katharine McKinney. From Katharine My mother is in many ways my dearest […]

Banksy in Boston by Chris Devers

Stop Being an “Aspiring” Writer

Today’s guest post is by Ollin Morales from Courage 2 Create. Find out more about Ollin at the end of this post.  Every once in a while I’ll come across a blog post that is absolutely brilliant. It’s gold. If I was a literary agent or a publisher, I would sign you up in two […]

Writer's Digest (July/August 2011)

Are You Wasting Your Time Trying to Get Published?

Don’t you wish someone could tell you if you’re wasting your time trying to be a writer? Or if you’re at all close to getting traditionally published—assuming that’s your goal? In a recent issue of Writer’s Digest, I have a feature article, “Revising Your Path to Publication,” that attempts to address these (rather) unanswerable questions. […]

Inis Meáin

Grantwriting 101 for Writers

It doesn’t occur to most writers that there is “free” money—from government and nonprofit foundations—that is available to support creative projects and professional development. However, it requires writing grants, and it’s not a skill or experience that many people have. If it’s something you’re curious about, here’s a primer. Before You Consider Applying for a […]

Facebook logo

3 Principles for Facebook Fan Pages

Facebook is the No. 1 most popular website in the United States in terms of visits, which means it’s more popular than Google. According to its own stats, Facebook has 750 million users, 50% of which are active on it every day. This alone makes Facebook an important site when it comes to author marketing […]

Amy Stolls

How Much Has Book Marketing Changed Since 2005?

Amy Stolls is the author of The Ninth Wife, a novel just released from HarperCollins as a paperback original. The premise: What sane woman would consider becoming any man’s ninth wife? I had the pleasure of meeting Amy in late 2010, before her novel’s release, while serving on a panel for the National Endowment for […]

Chiang Mai wat and yellow buddha

Don’t Feel Guilty About “Playing Around” Online

“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others […]

Storify Willamette

3 Invaluable Takeaways for Writers: Willamette 2011

I speak at many writing events each year, and I always love to pass on the most useful advice I hear. So I’m starting a series through Storify where I curate and headline some of the best conference advice that I find reported via social media. Click here for the goodies.

Kindle

5 Things Beginners Need to Know About E-Book Publishing

The e-book publishing landscape is changing fast—with new services, new terms, and new formats. Despite the pace of change, here are 5 things that have remained fairly constant this year—and that you must be aware of—before you undertake any kind of self-publishing process for e-reading devices. I promise to update this list should any of […]

Patricia Jean Saiger Limbacher

When Mom Was My Age (#41)

“When Mom Was My Age” is an interview series between daughters and mothers. New interviews appear every Monday. If you would like to participate, contact Jane. The following interview is with Patricia Jean Saiger Limbacher (age 47), reflecting on her life at age 20, interviewed by daughter Rachel Saiger. From Rachel My mom, Patricia Jean Saiger Limbacher, is […]

Darrelyn Saloom, 1958

Behind the Curtain of Memory

Before the kidnapping, I lived with my father and two older sisters in Austin, Texas. In second grade—1963—Daddy longed to enroll me in an art program at a progressive academy because I covered our walls with words and drawings of rotary telephones. I’d never attend the conservatory, but I remember holding my father’s hand as […]

Christina Katz

The Secret to Twitter That Can’t Be Taught

I’ve found Twitter—and many aspects of social media—somewhat tricky to teach. Why? Here are 3 reasons to start: Using social media is mostly about being YOU, finding your voice, and finding the right audience (those inclined to listen). Your strategy, motivation, or purpose will be different—and it will change—depending on where you’re at in your […]

List Making & The Creative Process

I love making lists. Big-picture lists, daily lists, grocery lists, checklists … you name it, I list it. I even make little list tools that sometimes other people enjoy. (For example, click here for my Weekly Goal Sheet. Here are specific instructions on how to use it.) Lists are a personal thing—they speak to the ineffable […]

Platform Inventory Worksheet

Draft Your Platform Action Plan: 5 Worksheets

Last weekend at the Midwest Writers Workshop, I offered a workshop on author platform building. Part of the workshop included 5 worksheets to help writers take an inventory of their platform (as it stands today), and also brainstorm how to better grow it. Good news for you: I’m making my platform worksheets available for free. […]

When You Have Anxieties About Change

Yesterday, I was a guest over at Writer Unboxed, discussing the anxieties that surrounded my move from “Writer’s Digest blogger” to “independent blogger.” Here’s a snippet. When it comes to personal change, I feel protective of what story gets told about it. As writers, we should be super-cognizant of the power of storytelling in our […]

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 7/29/11)

I watch Twitter, so you don’t have to. Visit each Sunday for the week’s best tweets. If I missed a great Tweet, leave it in the comments. Never miss a round-up: Subscribe to this site via RSS, e-mail, or however else you prefer. Best of the Best The vague test and your first line @Kid_Lit Should […]

Midwest Writers Workshop

The Basic Pitch Formula for Novelists

At the Midwest Writers Workshop, an agent panel gave some wonderful, straightforward advice about how to construct your pitch. You could use this formula as part of a query letter or in a live pitch. Brilliant! Option 1 I have a completed [word count][genre] titled [title] about [protagonist name + small description] who [conflict]. Option […]

Getting Over the Hump by Jeffrey Gifford

Expect Resistance With New Technology

This phenomenon comes up a lot when I talk about Twitter (or—really—any new media tool). People don’t use it. They haven’t tried to use it. And they decide not to use it often because it’s too much trouble. This reason, in and of itself, is fine. I understand when people have other priorities, especially when […]

Look for People Who Believe What You Believe

[Update: The discussion in the comments—on this site as well as my Google Plus profile, among others—has made me realize that my post title, “Look for People Who Believe What You Believe,” is misleading and unintentionally provocative. It isn’t meant to be a blanket statement about how to live life. Rather, it’s about how we […]

Conversation Prism

Build Diversity Into Your Online Presence

Back in 2008, a smart guy named Brian Solis created the Conversation Prism (above), and wrote a blog post titled State of Social Media 2008. 2008 is eons ago in new media terms—but the post is worth revisiting, especially for writers just now learning how to integrate online media into their everyday life. While not […]

Jane speaking at the 2011 Writer's Digest Conference

Jane’s Writing Advice Archive

I’ve been offering writing and publishing advice for a long time. So I thought it might be time to create a handy archive of what’s available online, especially for those who haven’t been following me since the very beginning. Click here to browse. If you know of something wonderful I’ve written that isn’t included here—or […]

There Are No Rules

The End of an Era: Goodbye to There Are No Rules

On the last day of April 2008, I launched my first professional blog, There Are No Rules. Every day since then, I’ve thought about what to tell writers that would be helpful, insightful, and a little bit provocative. While I will no longer be posting my perspective at No Rules (though the archives will remain […]

Pam Brown (1984 & 2010)

When Mom Was My Age (#40)

“When Mom Was My Age” is an interview series between daughters and mothers. New interviews appear every Monday. If you would like to participate, contact Jane. The following interview is with Pam Brown (age 61), reflecting on her life at age 34, interviewed by daughter Sarah Brown.   When you were my age (34), where did you […]

Twitter logo

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 7/22/11)

I watch Twitter, so you don’t have to. Visit each Sunday for the week’s best tweets. If I missed a great Tweet, leave it in the comments. Looking for more online content I love and recommend? Subscribe to my e-newsletter. Best of the Best Author Blogging: You’re Doing it Wrong, but John Locke’s Figured it Out […]

Mary Carla Ligon (1987 & 2011)

When Mom Was My Age (#39)

“When Mom Was My Age” is an interview series between daughters and mothers. New interviews appear every Monday. If you would like to participate, contact Jane. The following interview is with Carla Ligon (age 56), reflecting on her life at age 32, interviewed by daughter Michaella Hammond. When you were 32, the year was 1987. Where did you […]

Reading Notebook #33: Marriage Is About Solitude

I have my friend Nath to thank for this, who sent me a book in the mail with no note, only passages highlighted. From Rilke On Love and Other Difficulties: I hold this to be the highest task of a bond between two people: that each should stand guard over the solitude of the other. […]

Chico McCormac

When Mom Was My Age (#38)

“When Mom Was My Age” is an interview series between daughters and mothers. New interviews appear every Monday. If you would like to participate, contact Jane. The following interview is with Chiko McCormac (age 77), reflecting on her life at age 42, interviewed by daughter Susan Hamaker. From Susan I was hesitant to ask my mom, […]

Naomi Dawn Heinemann

When Mom Was My Age (#37)

“When Mom Was My Age” is an interview series between daughters and mothers. New interviews appear every Monday. If you would like to participate, contact Jane. The following interview is with Naomi Dawn Heinemann (age 76), reflecting on her life at age 53, interviewed by daughter Judy Croome. From Judy I live and write in […]

Reading Notebook #32: Happiness Is About How We Intertwine

From “Social Animal” by David Brooks (The New Yorker, January 17, 2011) I guess I used to think of myself as a lone agent, who made certain choices and established certain alliances with colleagues and friends. Now, though, I see things differently. I believe we inherit a great river of knowledge, a flow of patterns […]

Laura Greene

When Mom Was My Age (#36)

“When Mom Was My Age” is an interview series between daughters and mothers. New interviews appear every Monday. If you would like to participate, contact Jane. The following interview is with Laura Greene (age 75), reflecting on her life at age 47, interviewed by daughter Jessica Greene (47). From Jessica Mom was about to turn 29 […]

Dianne Frye

When Mom Was My Age (#35)

“When Mom Was My Age” is an interview series between daughters and mothers. New interviews appear every Monday. If you would like to participate, contact Jane. The following interview is with Dianne Frye (age 51), reflecting on her life at age 33, interviewed by daughter Lisa Bartelt. Where did you live? 1106 Fargo Avenue, Dixon, Illinois. You […]

Caroline Gerardo & daughter Blaire Barbeau (2011)

When Mom Was My Age (#34)

“When Mom Was My Age” is an interview series between daughters and mothers. New interviews appear every Monday. If you would like to participate, contact Jane. The following interview is with Caroline Gerardo (age 42), reflecting on her life at age 19, interviewed by daughter Blaire Barbeau (age 19). Where did you live? In June  1978, […]

Ginny Sue Gohmann & daughter Johanna Gohmann

When Mom Was My Age (#33)

“When Mom Was My Age” is an interview series between daughters and mothers. New interviews appear every Monday. If you would like to participate, contact Jane. The following interview is with Ginny Sue Gohmann, reflecting on her life at age 35, interviewed by daughter Johanna Gohmann. Where did you live? Where we live now. I lived […]

Deborah Owen & mother Ruth Crayton

When Mom Was My Age (#32)

“When Mom Was My Age” is an interview series between daughters and mothers. New interviews appear every Monday. If you would like to participate, contact Jane. The following interview is with Ruth Crayton (age 93), reflecting on her life at age 69, interviewed by daughter Deborah Owen. Where did you live at age 69? My husband […]

Gillian & Katy Lassetter

When Mom Was My Age (#31)

“When Mom Was My Age” is an interview series between daughters and mothers. New interviews appear every Monday. If you would like to participate, contact Jane. The following interview is with Gillian Lassetter (age 63), reflecting on her life at age 29, interviewed by daughter Katy Lassetter. Where did you live when you were 29? I […]

When Mom Was My Age (#30)

“When Mom Was My Age” is an interview series between daughters and mothers. New interviews appear every Monday. If you would like to participate, contact Jane. The following interview is with Ruth (age 68), reflecting on her life at age 48, interviewed by daughter Beth Moschetto. Where did you live? Your dad had just accepted a […]

Linda Jones (age 64)

When Mom Was My Age (#29)

“When Mom Was My Age” is an interview series between daughters and mothers. New interviews appear every Monday. If you would like to participate, contact Jane. The following interview is with Linda Jones (age 63), reflecting on her life at age 34, interviewed by daughter Rayne Devivo. Where did you live? Same place we do right […]

Kathy Thiel and daughter Krista Thiel

When Mom Was My Age (#28)

“When Mom Was My Age” is an interview series between daughters and mothers. New interviews appear every Monday. If you would like to participate, contact Jane. The following interview is with Kathy Thiel about her life at age 33, interviewed by daughter Kristin Thiel (age 33). Where did you live? I was living in a northwest […]

Gigi Amateau (age 17 & age 46)

When Mom Was My Age (#27)

“When Mom Was My Age” is an interview series between daughters and mothers. New interviews appear every Monday. If you would like to participate, contact Jane. The following interview is with Gigi Amateau (age 46), interviewed by daughter Judith Amateau (age 17). From Judith Throughout my life, my mom has been many different things to me—a […]

Christine Becraft & Sophie Becraft

When Mom Was My Age (#26)

We’re back after a brief hiatus! “When Mom Was My Age” is an interview series between daughters and mothers. New interviews appear every Monday. If you would like to participate, contact Jane. The following interview is with Christine Lisa Becraft (age 46), interviewed by daughter Sophie Kona Becraft (age 11). Where did you live when […]

Evelyn Schwartz, 1985 & 2010

When Mom Was My Age (#25)

“When Mom Was My Age” is an interview series between daughters and mothers. New interviews appear every Monday. If you would like to participate, contact Jane. The following interview is with Evelyn Schwartz, interviewed by daughter Laura Cerwinske (age 63). From Laura I am now 63, and in 1985, when my mother Evelyn was my age, […]

Jane Rusbridge & daughter Natalie Miller

When Mom Was My Age (#24)

“When Mom Was My Age” is an interview series between daughters and mothers. New interviews appear every Monday. If you would like to participate, contact Jane. The following interview is with Jane Rusbridge, interviewed by daughter Natalie Miller (age 22). After attempting to move out of the family home twice, I am now back again, trying […]

Reading Notebook #31: A Writer’s Appetite for Fame

From “Writing and Winning” by Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker (October 18, 2010). Click here to read the full piece. Since the first strum on the oldest lyre, literature has been about competition and the possibility of recognition. Pindar, the father of lyric poetry, took as his chief subject the winning of games, and the […]

Reading Notebook #30: Existential Reasons for Procrastination

From “Later” by James Surowiecki, The New Yorker (October 11, 2010). Click here to read the full article online. But before we rush to overcome procrastination we should consider whether it is sometimes an impulse we should heed. The philosopher Mark Kingwell puts it in existential terms: “Procrastination most often arises from a sense that […]

Reading Notebook #29: When the Author Became More Important Than the Publisher

From “Talent Grab” by Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker (October 11, 2010) … a parallel revolution was taking place in the publishing world, as authors and their agents began to rewrite the terms of their relationship with publishers. One of the instigators of that revolution was Mort Janklow, a corporate lawyer who, in 1972, did […]

Dorothy & Peggy

When Mom Was My Age (#23)

“When Mom Was My Age” is an interview series between daughters and mothers. New interviews appear every Monday. If you would like to participate, contact Jane. The following interview is with a daughter, mother, and grandmother!  Daughter Teresa Coates interviews Peggy (her mom) and Dorothy (her grandmother), talking about their lives at age 40. Pictured above: […]

Jane at AWP 2011

3 Boring Elements of Success

I don’t think my age is a secret, but just to be clear: I’m 34. Sometimes when I speak at conferences, people say they expected someone older. I’ve been hearing this since 2002. I think there are a variety of reasons for this—not least among them that many decision makers in publishing are younger than […]