Guest Blogger, Desiree Villena contributes…(part 1)

Guest Blogger: Desiree Villena is a writer with Reedsy, a marketplace that connects authors and publishers with the world’s best editors, designers, and marketers. In her spare time, Desiree enjoys reading contemporary fiction, writing short stories, and giving (mostly) solicited advice to her fellow writers. When asked about where she lives and how many cats or kids she has, this was her response, “Sadly I have no dogs, cats, or kids, as my London flat isn’t quite big enough!”

Battling With Writer’s Block? Here’s four tasks to help kick start your writing again….

When you find yourself dreading going back to your work in progress, it may be time to switch to another writing task. Writing something different can provide the perspective shift you need to  able to return to your project without a feeling of miserable writerly drudgery.
Of course, these alternative writing tasks can still be related to your project, but it’s important that you allow yourself to take a break from the specific points in your writing where you’re encountering difficulties! Since the mind works subliminally, working on something that’s somewhat related to your project is an excellent way to keep exercising that writing muscle, while giving your brain the space to reorganize itself and find new inspiration. Here are four different writing tasks I recommend for anyone trying to break through writer’s block, while still keeping your project in sight.

#1. Draft a query letter to a literary agent
Your query letter is going to be critical when it comes to finding a literary agent. This letter functions as a pitch of your work in progress, and writing this pitch means two things. First, it forces you to distill the essence of your book. Trying to present your project to a total stranger involves taking a step back and re-assessing the bigger picture, which can help dislodge our tired focus from worrisome micro details and minor issues. Second, in describing your idea, you’ll hopefully be reminded of why you love it so much: in other words, you’ll get a chance to re-motivate yourself on the way. Of course, queries to agents are subject to some conventions and rules. To avoid remaining in an agent’s (or indeed publisher’s) slush pile forever, remember that your query should stand out for its content, not its structure. So make sure to open with a hook, followed by an exciting and concise synopsis of your book (check out some examples here).
Then make the case why you are the best person to be writing this book, and demonstrate your knowledge of the literary market by listing a few comparable titles — and don’t pick the most popular titles just because they appear to buff up your work! It’s much more effective to choose books that you feel are actually the most comparable to yours.

Since you’re just working on a draft letter for fun, you don’t need to worry about personalizing your query for its intended recipient. But when the time comes for this query letter to be sent, make sure you also talk about why you have chosen that agent specifically.

#2. Write a brief for a book cover designer
Another fun way to mentally circle the terrain of your ongoing project is to draft a cover brief. A strong book cover design is going to be a crucial part of your marketing later on, but for now, a design brief is a fun way to summarize your project. In fact, it’s not dissimilar to drafting a query letter, but with a distinctly visual focus.  To be continued…

“The first lie every writer tells themselves is this: I don’t have the time to write. The second lie is this: I can’t write. Here’s the truth: writers always write. Are you a writer? But you’re not writing? Then ask yourself this: why aren’t you writing? What are you trying to avoid by not writing? I promise you the answer is going to be some variation of abject fear.” ~~ Mike Maden writing for Tom Clancy

Don’t Miss Part II next week. 
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My weekly BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   May:  Joram Piatigorsky, June: Mike Maden writing for TOM CLANCY. July: Guest Blogger Desiree Villena, August: Carolyn Brown
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Motivational Moments…for Writers! #25

One of the main problems you may face as a writer is standing up to your inner critic.  Being overly self-critical can be very dangerous; stopping you dead in your tracks.  It is all too easy to tell yourself to give up, that there is no point, that you will never get anywhere.

But saying things like this to yourself is untrue and the kiss of death to your creative spirit!

So how do you control your inner critic and learn how to shut it down when it is threatening to ruin your writing career? Here are some examples of what it might say, and exactly how to respond.

‘You’ll never be as good as [insert name of your favorite author)’. We can’t help but compare ourselves to authors who have been and gone, ones who’ve had successful and seemingly effortless writing careers, whose fans adore them, who are praised by the media and their peers, who win awards and make millions.

Of course, there are going to be writers out there who are more successful than you, but this shouldn’t stop you from writing. Nor should it give you any reason to think that you can’t be that successful too.

There is no one right way to write, many different authors have become successful for various reasons. Write for your audience and yourself and know that you are unique, your stories are written just the way they should be and comparing yourself to others will get you exactly nowhere.

‘Your book will be a flop.’  Your self-critic will always try to make you feel like a failure and will fill your head with thoughts of giving up.

Don’t let it win.

Your inner critic has many tricks up its sleeve. They’ll range from petty insults to targeting your biggest fears and insecurities. However, knowing how to respond, to shut it down and feel positive about your writing will only help spur you on to become a better more productive and more exciting writer.

So whatever you do stand up to your inner critic, and never let it stop you from writing!


“A writer never has a vacation. For a writer life consists of either writing or thinking.”  Unknown

“It’s okay that I am a little strange, I’m a writer.” Satine


MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?   December: Reed Farrel Coleman, contributing writer for Robert B. Parker series. January was Dinah Jefferies and February’s author is Sheryl Steines. Johan Thompson (South African author) will join us in March.
Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

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