How Should You Structure Your Writing?

How Should You Structure Your Writing?

How Should You Structure Your Writing?

Recently, I was working with two different writers on their projects. We worked a lot on how to structure their writing, and talked about what the different structures are that you can use–whether to outline or not. 

Structure is important.

We need to have structure to our writing and something to hang our writing hat on. Otherwise, we get lost, even when we’re the writers.

But how do you do structure writing?

This is a problem that many writers have.

Let me tell you something, some people are not outliners but pantsers. What does that mean? It means they write and write and write, and then later they go back and add structure to what it is they’ve written.

Personally, I like to write several drafts, and then return later to impose some kind of structure on the writing.

To some people that is terrifying. These people are outliners. They like to have a structure in place beforehand and plug their writing into place. The two writers I was working with wanted some kind of structure. They came to me with ideas, and we created a structure together so they could do their writing. 

The important lesson is know what your style is.

Are you a person who needs structure? Then by all means, create that structure for yourself and work with that.

Are you a person who likes to write first to get all your ideas out, and then impose structure later on? By all means, I’m giving you permission right now to be that writer.

You don’t have to be something that you’re not. You should enforce your creativity into one box or another, because that will not help your creativity flow naturally. 

There are different kinds of structures out there. It’s fine to be that writer that you are. And if you need help with structure, you can always call on me.

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Why NaNoWrimo Fails So Many Writers

Why NaNoWrimo Fails So Many Writers

Why NaNoWriMo Fails So Many Writers


At the beginning of November, many writers get excited about joining NaNoWriMo. They might finish a novel in that month or not.

Regardless, it usually does not end up the way they thought it would. 

If you bought Storytelling for Pantsers, you get the full checklist of what a quality writing program is like.

What does that look like?

The right program:

  • Has the right knowledge. It tells you how to do something, not just gives you accountability. NaNoWrimo could be a great thing but it is so not focused on your craft skills. What do you do when your character misbehaves when your plot gets all twisted? You need information on how to get out of these and a quality program will tell you just that.
  • Gives you the support you need. It helps you when you get stuck in those moments when you can’t make your word count, stuck in an emotional state, and more. 
  • Has quality feedback. So many writers come to and say they have given up writing because they got the wrong kind of feedback. Trust only professionals to give you high quality feedback. We don’t just trust anyone who has a fork and a toothpick to fix our teeth–we trust our dentists to do that. It is the same with writing–trust only professionals to give you the right kind of feedback. 
  • Has someone who has insider industry knowledge. The publishing industry is fickle. What’s trending now changes really quickly. Trust your novel with someone who knows what’s going on with someone who meets with industry professionals regularly. 
  • Gives you accountability. The NaNoWriMo program gives you really important aspect of accountability–the time that you set aside in writing is rewarded. This is good, but this is the only aspect that this program gives writers. Writing programs are supposed to have all the components mentioned above that not only help writers complete their books but complete them well–to publishable.


If you want real progress and want to publish your novel, get on a call with me. We can talk about where you are, where you’d like to go, and how you can get there. Let’s see if you are the right fit for the program and we can help you get your book from finished to published. 


Are You Bitter That You Haven’t Published Yet?

Are You Bitter That You Haven’t Published Yet?

Are You Bitter That You Haven’t Published Yet?


Most writers want to publish. They want to see their name on a book, but more importantly, they want to get their message out into the world. They believe they have a story to tell and something important to say, and I believe that you do, too. 

I hear a lot of writers say that they’re bitter about seeing others publish, because they feel like they haven’t been chosen yet.

I recently got off the phone with someone who’s been trying to publish for five years, and she’s bitter. She looks at all the stuff that’s coming out, sees the novels that are getting published, and she thinks, “Why is all this terrible stuff getting published?”

I’ve heard other people echo that same sentiment:

“Why does that get published and I’m not getting published?”



So, I took a look at this woman’s manuscript after our conversation today, and to be honest with all of you, it was filled with really long, difficult to read, gratuitous descriptions. There were several moments in the novel where there was overly-academic phrasing no one was going to understand or want to look at.

What happened is the way she was looking at the book, her own work, wasn’t in line with what the publishing industry is looking for. 

Here’s the bottom line: at the end of the day, bitterness, resentment, envy, or jealousy are not going to serve you. They’re not going to move you forward.

If you want to get published, if you’re serious about getting published, you have to give people what they want. You have to know how to write books that are going to sell.  

That doesn’t mean compromising your artistic vision, or that you have to be a sellout. 

What it means is that you need to take your ideas and present them in a way that excites agents, editors, publishers, and readers. Whether you traditionally publish or self-publish, if you want to sell books, you’ve got to have appeal.

Do you know what the industry standards are? Do you know what’s trending now?  

I speak with industry professionals every day, and have my hand on the pulse of the publishing industry. I’d love to talk with you about your manuscript, and how you can move it toward publishable. 


Let’s chat. Drop yourself right into my calendar.

Pluses and Minuses of the Digital Age

Pluses and Minuses of the Digital Age

Pluses and Minuses of the Digital Age 

I want to talk to you about the digital age as it concerns writing and publishing. I have spoken with a lot of you about where you are and what your goals are for your writing. You’ve all shared your celebrations as well as frustration during this writing process.

I have noticed that many people don’t understand publishing. I constantly ask writers how they want to publish. Many don’t know that there are three different ways to publish: 

  1. Traditional publishing
  2. Self-publishing
  3. Hybrid publishing

Many writers who don’t know about these fall victim to scams and lose money without real progress in their writing career. The development of the digital age has made many things easily accessible to people. But with this accessibility comes some pro(s) and cons. 

The best advantage of the digital age:

  • Democratization of publishing
    • Back when the internet didn’t exist, publishing houses ultimately decided who to publish. Now, with the digital age it has opened up publishing for many people. 

Disadvantages of the digital age:

  • Not knowing the best publishing route for your writing.
    • This happens when writers don’t research about the different ways to publish and what would work best for them. 
  • Not knowing trustworthy from untrustworthy sources. 
    • There are many scammers and shysters online who will pretend to help you publish with their products. These people sell you “cheap” and “affordable” products but ones that will not get you anywhere. 

In the end writers lose time and money from these disadvantages. It is very important for writers to understand their best publishing route. We want you to publish your story out into the world, in a way that will not waste your time and will get you to your goal. 

If you’d like to learn about the different ways of publishing, we have an affordable course that walks you through it. We can figure out the best publishing route for you. 

Is Your Feedback Based On Neuroscience

Is Your Feedback Based On Neuroscience

Is Your Feedback Based On Neuroscience?

Many of you continue to ask about feedback, such as what kind of feedback you should get, where you should get it from, and what qualifies as quality feedback. 

As I mentioned before, feedback is a commodity that cannot be undervalued.

But what happens if you don’t get quality feedback for your writing?

Some writers have given up writing, because they got feedback from someone who did not want to help them. In other words, they got feedback from the wrong source at the wrong time

Feedback isn’t something anyone can give you. It takes an expert, a professional, to give you quality feedback that can help you with your writing career. 

Two things that you need to keep in mind are the timing and quality of the feedback.

The way that your brain works is shown by neuroscientific research. There are certain times where feedback works better under certain methods. I’ve seen this first hand at the brain imaging lab. This is just how your brain works, and you cannot change it. 

Writers I work with have access to the information I learned on the work that I‘ve done in the brain lab and studying neuroscience. This information can help them with their writing career.

I work with them in a way that the feedback they get can be valuable to their writing. What does that mean for you? What does it mean to have feedback that can help your creativity rather than stifle you? 

Here at the Writing Gym, we hold writing salons. We had an in-person salon in Colorado, and the people there were amazed with the creative release they experienced.

They did not want to stop writing, because inspiration just kept coming. 

No, this is not a magic trick. It’s just neuroscience. We have to address our brain’s needs in the way that it works. Once we learn how to optimize the way that our brain works, we get to a very creative zone. 

If you are interested in optimizing your creativity and learning how your brain works to move your writing forward, put yourself right into my calendar for a talk

How is FEEDBACK Related to Publishing SUCCESS?

How is FEEDBACK Related to Publishing SUCCESS?

How is FEEDBACK Related to Publishing Success?

Recently, I was featured in our local newspaper. They gave me a full page, which was kind of a big deal. During the interview for the article, I was asked how I felt about one of the big local writing groups. This group was huge in our city; they have many participants, and I’ve actually taught as an instructor. 

They might have been looking for a bit of sensationalism when they asked me this question. The reporter read my book, Storytelling for Pantsers, and knew how I felt about bad feedback, especially from this writing group. Of course, I answered the question—I’m not really one to disparage and believe that there is a place for free writing groups.

In truth, free writing groups are only great for camaraderie.

So what is the difference between someone who’s a hobbyist and someone who wants to be a professional?

I enjoy painting. I’m not very good at it, but I really enjoy it. I can spend time with other painters, share ideas, give each other a little feedback and such. This is great because we’re having fun doing our hobby, but not one of us dreams of becoming a professional painter one day. This is the same as writing groups

If you’re a hobbyist and you just want to write for fun, these free writing groups will meet your needs. However, if you actually want to become a professional, and are looking for professional results, you need professional feedback.

Let’s take another analogy: If I want to become a professional skiier I won’t just hang out at the ski club. Instead, I’ll hire a professional and dedicate a lot of time to training.

To be a professional writer you need professional training.

Are there anomalies to this? Yes. However, most of us would need training, support, and feedback that will make us successful professional writers. 

In Write to Publish, you will find the same sense of camaraderie with other as those free local writing groups. However, here we focus on bringing you to the path of publishing success. We provide different tools that can take you to this end goal. The feedback that we do here is based on my study of neuroscience. You might have heard me mention about my time at the brain-imaging lab at MIT and how I study and teach how the brain impacts creativity. 

What we use in the Writing Gym is just that: neuroscience-based feedback. And we do it well. If you are ready to learn more and speak with me about where you are, where you’d like to go, and how you can get there, put yourself right into my calendar. 

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