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So You Want To Be A Writing Superstar?

(This post may contain affiliate links. Please read disclosure.)

Writer
I know this is a super old meme. Imma use it anyway though.

Lezbehonest folks.

Writing isn’t hard.

No, really.

If you can read, you can write.

And if you write, well then congrats!

You’re a writer.

Wait, what was that? You want to be a good writer?

You want to be the kind of writer that leaves readers begging for more long after they’ve finished the last page of your book?

You want to craft a novel that reads so effortlessly that readers forget you, the writer, exists?

You want to create a fictional world so rich and lavish in detail, and so intricate in plot and backstory that HBO decides to turn it into the most watched and arguably best show ever made in television history?

Writer1
Hey boo!

You want to…not suck so much?

Well my friends, you’ve come to the right place.

Look, anyone can write drivel.

But good writing is an altogether different beast.

DISCLAIMER: There’s no shortcut to good writing. You gotta read A LOT. You also gotta write A LOT.

And you’re still probably gonna suck for a long time.

BUT

In my quest to suck less at this writing thing, I’ve come across several books that have literally TRANSFORMED my writing into something halfway decent and mostly readable.

Ahem

EVELYN’S LIST OF BOOKS YOU SHOULD COP TO HELP YOU SUCK LESS AT WRITING

#1 OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL BY K.M. WEILAND

Writer2

I hate outlining.

It’s boring. And annoying. And ridiculously time-consuming.

I mean, why spend months working on an outline when you could be WRITING your actual book?!

Right?

So after reading K.M. Weiland’s book, I finally realized how incredibly necessary and underrated outlining really is.

And unlike every other outlining book in the world, she doesn’t give you a ‘one size fits all’ system of outlining.

Instead, she guides you toward the type of outlining that best suits you.

Even if that ends up being no outline (it’s okay that some of you are psychopaths who don’t outline…I guess).

She also offers up tons of helpful tips and tricks like using a free online calendar to keep track of the days of the week in your novel (trust me, unless your entire novel takes place over the course of one day, you will want to do this)

BONUS! Her website Helping Writers Become Authors is a straight up master class in writing. Do yourself a favor and read EVERY SINGLE blog post. You’ll thank me later.

#2 THE EMOTION THESAURUS BY ANGELA ACKERMAN

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This book is exactly what it sounds like.

A thesaurus for emotions.

For instance, let’s say that your character is angry.

Sure you could write, Sarah is angry. But that’s boring af.

Not to mention, it also breaks the cardinal writing rule of “show don’t tell.”

So what’s a future George RR Martin to do?

Open up a copy of The Emotion Thesaurus and look up Anger. Inside you’ll find pages of suggestions like these:

And that’s only half of the suggestions for Anger!

DISCLAIMER: I strongly caution you to use The Emotion Thesaurus in the same way you’d use a regular thesaurus.

Your reader shouldn’t be able to tell that you’ve used either.

Think of The Emotion Thesaurus like a cheesecake.

Eating a couple slices here and there is fine but for goodness sake, don’t eat the whole damn thing at once.

Goodness knows I’ve never done something like that before.

I mean, I haven’t.

Well, maybe once but like a really really long time ago. So it’s almost like it never happened.

I um…ahem.

Please stop judging me.

#3 GRAMMAR FOR FICTION WRITERS BY MARCY KENNEDY & CHRIS SAYLOR

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If I had to choose an MVP of the list, Grammar for Fiction Writers would be it.

Hands down, this is the most helpful writing guide I have read to date and I promise it will transform your manuscript into something worthy of publication.

And if you self-edit. This is a MUST HAVE.

Marcy and Chris walk you through some basic grammar from primary school that you’ve definitely forgotten.

AND

They give you actionable steps you can take to

Fix. Yo. Shit.

BONUS! Marcy and Chris have written an entire series of books entitled The Busy Writer’s Guide, covering things like Point of View, Description, Dialogue, Show & Telling and more.

Sidenote: I have read all of the Busy Writer’s Guide books mentioned above and they are just as good as Grammar for Fiction Writers.

Do yourself a favor. If you only buy one book from this list, let it be this one.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

HACK YOUR WRITING BY MAY DAWNEY

Writer9

Hack Your Writing by May Dawney is an awesome writing guide for newbie writers.

May concentrates on the things most newbie writers screw up like overusing adverbs and avoiding POV violations.

I love the common sense/down to earth feel of her book. You know you’re learning from someone who’s been there and knows what they’re talking about.

DEEP WORK BY CAL NEWPORT

Writer10
One of these things is not like the other lol

So Deep Work is not a writing book per se. It’s a book that teaches you how to focus in a world full of distractions.

This is probably one of the most helpful, but also one of the most difficult-to-utilize books I’ve ever read.

It’s a book you’ll read multiple times because it will take SEVERAL attempts before you’ll be able to do deep work on a consistent basis.

I’m STILL working on it.

ON WRITING BY STEPHEN KING

Writer11

It’s Stephen King.

You just gotta.

IN CONCLUSION

And there you have it, folks.

Those are my first round draft picks that will turn you into a writing superstar.

Or at least someone who can piece together a coherent, decently written story for mass consumption.

Remember y’all…

Writer12

evelyn dar

 

 

 

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How To Work From Home Without Losing Your Mind

(This post may contain affiliate links. Please read disclosure.)

Work
Me after 300 days of working from home with minimal human contact

Alright, so I think we can all agree that working from home is a literal dream come true.

And if you happen to be your own boss…

Well, you’ve pretty much hit the occupational jackpot.

You can get up whenever you feel like it.

Set your own work hours.

Watch copious amounts of HGTV then use that knowledge to design a sweet home office setup that Chip and Joanna Gaines would be proud of.

And the very best part is…

You don’t have to deal with people.

Annoying people. Stubborn people. Asshole-ish people. Melodramatic people. And just sucky people in general.

Work1
The moment when you realize you no longer have to deal with other people’s bullshit.

It doesn’t get any better than that.

Right?

Well, y’all…it’s complicated.

Look, I’m not going to lie and tell y’all that working from home sucks.

It doesn’t.

In fact, it’s the opposite of sucking.

The truth is, working from home has a ridiculous number of perks and I’d rather work from home than, well not work from home.

BUT

It also has some drawbacks as well.

Work2
Me explaining to my friends why working from home isn’t as amazing as I’d thought it would be.

I’m currently on my 18th month of working from home and recently found myself browsing through a listing of local part-time jobs openings.

And not because I need the money.

Well, not yet anyway.

But because staring out of the same window for over 300 days with only an apathetic cat and sleepy dog to keep me company isn’t as easy as I thought it’d be.

So I decided to create a survival guide of sorts for those of us who belong to the ‘work from home tribe’ and those who are considering joining.

These are the things I wish I would have implemented from day one of working from home, but God forbid I do any research into anything before diving in head first.

THE “WORK FROM HOME” SURVIVAL GUIDE

#1 GET A DAMN HOBBY OR TWO

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I know you think you’ll be spending every second of every day “on your grind.”

Lolz.

You won’t. Not even close.

And if you do, you will burn out faster than you can say, “Gary Vaynerchuk is my hero.”

You need to do crap that has nothing to do with your work crap.

Bonus points if your hobby gets you out of the house.

Triple bonus points if your hobby involves interacting with other people.

Take up a sport. Learn how to knit. Start a garden. Collect stamps. I guess people still do that? If not, who cares. Do it anyway!

But for the love of goodness, do something simply for the enjoyment of doing it.

Your sanity will thank you later.

#2 DON’T BE A VAMPIRE

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Me wondering why the sun burns after not leaving my house for a month.

Go outside at least once a day.

Seriously ya’ll.

The sun helps your body make vitamin D and probably other stuff that I’m too lazy to google.

Perhaps I’m not a scientist (I mean, I’m not) but I do know that going outside makes me feel hella good.

Protip: Get a dog

Amendment to Protop: Do not get one of the most active dog breeds in the world like my dumb ass did.  

#3 TRY TO TALK TO SOMEONE AT LEAST ONCE A DAY

Work5
Quadruple bonus points for being on a swing set while talking.

I’m not picky here.

It can be online, on the phone, through text message, or two cans connected by a string.

Have at it.

BUT

Do try to have a chit chat with someone once a day if you can. Even if it’s as simple as talking to the cashier at your local grocer about how rainy it’s been lately.

It counts.

And it’s super important to your sanity and emotional well being.

There’s a reason why the worst punishment in prison is solitary confinement.

We need consistent human interaction.

Protip: Check out meetup.com to find like-minded folks to chit chat and do stuff with!

#4 COMBAT WORKSPACE FATIGUE

Work6
Girl, same.

Is workspace fatigue a real thing or did I just make it up?

I don’t know, but I swear I’ve suffered from it and that makes it real to me.

Look, after a while sitting at the same desk and staring out the same window can really get to you.

Especially if your occupation requires tons of creativity.

All that sameness can really hamper said creativity.

SO

At least once a week, try to work somewhere other than your office.

A cafe. A library. A park. The McDonalds inside of a Walmart.

It doesn’t matter where just so long as you switch it up every now and then.

Protip: If you have a backyard, haul your laptop and some iced tea out back and enjoy a nice change of scenery without having to leave your home.

#5 DATE

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A concert. Dinner. A movie. Drinks at the bar. Clubbing.

A long walk on a moonlit beach on an unseasonably warm October night with soft jazz playing from an unknown location.

Now when I say date, I don’t mean strictly in the romantic sense (although, get it if you can!)

I’m actually a huge fan of the “friend date.”

Treat a friend to the current musical being put on by your local community theatre or go halfsies on a bottle of expensive merlot at the Olive Garden.

Try to do something special with someone (romantic or platonically) at least once a month.

It’s fun, it keeps your friendships/romances fresh, and life’s short.

We should try to spend a good amount of it with the people that mean the most to us.

#6 PUT ON SOME DAMN CLOTHES

Work8
What I wear when I work from home…J/K I wear joggers and a t-shirt.

One of the best things about working from home is that you can wear whatever the hell you feel like wearing.

Want to work naked?

Work naked.

Want work in a three-piece business suit?

Go for it.

Over the past 18 months, I’ve found that what I wear isn’t nearly as important as actually getting dressed.

AKA Get out of your PJ’s folks.

Psychologically, I believe that getting dressed for work is one of the most important things I do to set myself up for a productive workday.

Now granted, my work clothes rank low in style and high in comfort (sweats, I wear sweats) but when I change into them it’s like a switch gets turned on in my head.

Morning fun is over. Work time has begun.

So put on some clothes, dammit.

IN CONCLUSION

I LOVE working from home. It’s convenient. It’s comfortable. And most days it feels like a dream.

BUT

If you’re not careful to take care of your mental, emotional and physical needs, it can become depressingly lonely, dull and stagnant.

So always remember, you have the power!

Work9

evelyn dar

Achieving Balance and Why You’re Probably Doing It Wrong

(This post may contain affiliate links. Please read disclosure.)

Balance
Me (on the right) attempting to achieve “balance” lol

As I’m sure you can tell by the title, this blog post is all about achieving that ever elusive, and tricky sumbitch we like to call ‘balance.’