You Should Be Writing [Book Review]

No matter if you’re a professional or a hobbyist, you know you should be writing. It’s like an internal drumbeat. Always there, always beating, never relenting.

So, what do you do about it?

You Should Be Writing by Brenda Knight and Nita Sweeney. Book with lavendar on the cover

A Journal of Inspiration and Instruction to Keep Your Pen Moving Forward

I love craft books. At any time of the year. But this one is especially intriguing because it’s a bit off the beaten path. For me.

Slotted in the “quotation reference” genre.

It’s a thing!

Also, the pitch is great! It says it’s a book to help me “write to document, reflect and heal.”

This isn’t my usual approach to the craft, since I do this as my profession. I write to eat, live and work.

So you understand why I want to explore a different, more emotional side.

There isn’t much to the book, subtitled as “a journal of inspiration and instruction to keep your pen moving.” There’s a bit of intro and then pages and pages of lines, waiting for you to fill them.

Each page begins with an inspirational quote. And the quotes are organized into topical sections.

You’ll be encouraged to find the topic or quote that inspires that creative spark. And then…it’s time to write.

If you’re a bit blocked or are looking for a book of prompts to aid your creative exploration, this is an excellent option.

You Should Be Writing: A Journal of Inspiration and Instruction to Keep Your Pen MOving Synopsis

From famous all-time-great poets like T.S. Eliot to modern creatives like Roxane Gay, the selected writing quotes in this journal aim to instruct and inspire you to become a better writer.

Writing Inspiration from Incredible Authors

Gathered by Brenda Knight and writing coach Nita Sweeney, author of Depression Hates a Moving TargetYou Should Be Writing provides you with writing wisdom from a variety of accomplished authors.

Writing Practice on Every Page

This journal is a must-have for writers everywhere. With quotes from a diverse group of historical and modern authors to use as creative prompts on every page, you’ll be able to bring your writing inspiration with you wherever you go. You’ll find plenty of great advice, such as Toni Morrison’s encouragement, “As a writer, a failure is just information. It’s something that I’ve done wrong in writing, or is inaccurate or unclear. I recognize failure―which is important; some people don’t―and fix it.”

Creative Writing Practice for Every Genre

This writing journal with prompts helps you practice a wide variety of writing skills. The excerpts and prompts include:

  • General advice: “Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.” —Zadie Smith
  • Helpful instructions: “If you scribble your thoughts any which way, your reader will surely feel that you care nothing about them.” —Kurt Vonnegut
  • Genre-specific writing ideas and tips for particular areas of writing, such as poetry or storytelling: “For those whose bucket-list entails seeing their name on the spine of a book, it boils down to the power of persistence.” —Marlene Wagman-Geller

If you were inspired by the creative writing prompts and advice in 642 Things to Write AboutComplete the Story Journal, or Piccadilly 300 Writing Prompts, you’ll love Brenda’s and Nita’s You Should Be Writing: A Journal of Inspiration & Instruction to Keep Your Pen Moving.

You Should Be Writing was published on June 16, 2020 by Mango Publishing.

Other Literary posts you may like

No matter if you're a professional or a hobbyist, you know you should be writing. It's like an internal drumbeat. Always there, always beating, never relenting. So, what do you do about it? This quotation reference book will help.

One more thing. I think you’ll enjoy my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

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The Author’s Checklist by Elizabeth Kracht

The Author’s Checklist is a literal A-Z checklist. An amazing, wonderful, helpful list.

The Author’s Checklist An Agent’s Guide to Developing and Editing Your Manuscript

The Author’s Checklist: An Agent’s Guide to Developing and Editing Your Manuscript

Agent, editor and author Elizabeth Kracht based her book on common issues she noticed in the thousands of manuscripts she has read over the years.

There is a significant gap between manuscripts that writers believe to be ready for publication and those that agents or other publishing professionals do.

Elizabeth K. Kracht

Kracht came to the publishing industry from the author side. Now on the agent side, she wants to bridge the gap between authors and agents. The Author’s Checklist helps authors identify weak points in their manuscript. The goal? Empowering writers to fix these common errors so they can get published.

Offering tips for authors at every stage of their writing journey, the A-Z headings contain short snippets of helpful advice and recommendations. While some sections are definitions explaining concepts and jargon, others act more like warnings. (For example, under “Word Count” the first sentence reads, “Word count matters.”) Other headings include “Proofreading,” “Collections,” and “Voice.”

Here’s an excerpt from one of the tips about how unsolicited queries go. This is found under “Agency Guidelines.” I found it especially enlightening.

At most agencies, unsolicited submissions are first read by an intern or reader rather than by an agent. Often these readers are highly educated English majors seeking to enter the publishing industry. Such readers can be less tolerant of mistakes such as typographical errors and failure to follow submission guidelines.

Elizabeth K. Kracht

Hmm.

I’m relating to this piece in particular because I’m reflecting on how much I’ve eased up with my stringent editing/gatekeeping as I’ve matured in my career. I was SO picky when I was a new writer/editor taking submissions. I wanted everything perfect. Just so. No, exactly so. Now? Decidedly more tolerant. Interesting. And a good nugget to keep in mind.

Anyway, the tips included in this book aren’t overbearing or too bossy. They’re handy for catching slippery errors and making them right. The tips are also excellent explanations for what to expect when you’re querying. And there’s some good advice for how to make your book better in general.

The simple solution? Don’t take shortcuts. No matter how much urgency you feel to get your book out there. Do it right. Think through every aspect of your writing and prepare to dive deep. You’ll get there, you just have to do the work.

The Author’s Checklist: An Agent’s Guide to Developing and Editing Your Manuscript was published on February 4, 2020 by New World Library.

The Author’s Checklist: An Agent’s Guide to Developing and Editing Your Manuscript is a literal A-Z checklist. An amazing, wonderful, totally helpful checklist.

The Author’s Checklist Synopsis

An Indispensable Guide for All Writers in All Genres

The bad news: even really good manuscripts have weak spots that are enough to garner rejections from agents and publishers. The good news: most of these problems are easy to fix—once the writer sees and understands them. After several years of evaluating manuscripts, literary agent Elizabeth Kracht noticed that many submissions had similar problems, so she began to make a list of the pitfalls. The Author’s Checklist offers her short, easy-to-implement bites of advice, illustrated by inspiring—and cautionary—real-world examples. Most aspiring authors yearn for a friend in book publishing. The Author’s Checklist is just that.

Other writing-related book reviews

The Author’s Checklist: An Agent’s Guide to Developing and Editing Your Manuscript is a literal A-Z checklist. An amazing, wonderful, totally helpful checklist.

One more thing. I think you’ll enjoy my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn with you. As I learn new tips and tricks about writing and marketing I make sure to add new resources to the library.

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Boekenweek | The Darkness that Divides Us [Book Review]

This March commemorates the 85th annual Boekenweek. It’s a festival celebrating Dutch and Flemish literature and this year’s theme is “rebels and dissenters.” How wonderful!

Boekenweek | The Darkness that Divides Us

Boekenweek | The Darkness that Divides Us

Thanks to World Editions, I’m participating in Boekenweek by reading and reviewing The Darkness that Divides Us by Renate Dorrestein, an important contemporary writer from the Netherlands.

This is a gripping tale of Lucy, a young Dutch child, whose life is changed forever when an incident on a stormy night sends her mother to prison for murder.

I found the story both chilling and captivating. And shrouded in mystery.

Broken into three parts, the first is told from the voice of observers, so the reader isn’t quite sure what happened to Lucy (then age 6) on that fateful night.

When the narrator switches to Lucy in the second part, the reader doesn’t learn much more. Turns out Lucy, now 12, is wilfully forgetting the past. Or perhaps repressing her memories.

It’s not until the final part when Lucy at age 18 finally confronts her past, her memories and her guilt. We all learn together what happened when she was an innocent six-year-old child. I cheered in hope that the truth would finally set her free so she could face the future with her former zeal.

The Darkness that Divides Us quote page 322

The Darkness that Divides us asks an important question about whether looking back or moving forward is the important thing. It also circles around the themes of how keeping secrets separates you from freedom and telling the truth, although horrible at the time perhaps, will save you from prison, real or imagined.

I found the literary devices Dorrestein chose intriguing (she writes the first section as a collective “we”—three six-year-olds!). Her writing challenges me to try new, more daring writing styles.

This is not something I would normally read but I’m glad I did, for many reasons.

The Darkness that Divides Us Synopsis

Beautiful, happy people? No.

Lucy is the most popular girl in the local elementary school of an idyllic Dutch housing estate. When a bizarre crime rocks her world and sends her mother to prison, Lucy is turned into an outcast and her childhood becomes an ordeal of constant, vicious bullying. After her mother’s release, Lucy’s family decides to escape and make a clean start on a rugged Scottish island. But even here, in this remote corner of the world, Lucy’s past holds a firm grip on her. Told in the alternating voices of the bullies and Lucy, this darkly atmospheric and emotionally gripping story is part family drama and part mystery.

About Boekenweek

In the Netherlands, Boekenweek (Book Week) is an annual celebration of literature, happening every Spring since 1935. Events are held across the country during Boekenweek, and include book signings, readings, and panel discussions. Every year, a well-known Dutch author is asked to write a novella specifically for Boekenweek that is given out for free in bookstores to each customer who purchases a book. These books then act as tickets for a free train ride anywhere in the country. In 2016, World Editions author Esther Gerritsen (RoxyCraving) wrote the Boekenweek gift of which 600,000 copies were handed out.

Other Fiction Reviews

Thanks to World Editions, I'm participating in Boekenweek by reading and reviewing The Darkness that Divides Us by author Renate Dorrestein, an important contemporary writer from the Netherlands.

One more thing. I think you’ll enjoy my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

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Thinking Like a Boss by Kate Crocco

If I learned anything from Thinking Like a Boss author Kate Crocco it’s this: the lies we tell ourselves hold us back more than anything else.

This applies to our businesses, our relationships and spills into our entire lives.

Thinking Like a Boss: Uncover and Overcome the Lies Holding You Back from Success

Thinking Like a Boss: Uncover and Overcome the Lies Holding You Back from Success

When mindset coach and now author Kate Crocco first popped up in my radar I didn’t think much of it.

While I believe things like setting healthy boundaries and managing decision making is important, I had trouble relating it to my business.

It’s funny, in a way, because now it’s all I see.

  • My mindset directly impacts my emotions, my attitude and my work ethic
  • My mindset affects the way I go after what I want in life
  • Heck, my mindset either propells me towards thinking big or locks me into a negative victim mentality

In her new book, Crocco addresses 12 common lies we tell ourselves and offers tips and strategies for overcoming them.

She also shares personal anecdotes and lessons from her own life and business. Reading through I noticed I resonated with some lies more than others, which I think is normal.

I used this as a signal for areas I should pay attention to and spend some time on.

Which lies?

  • Making Money Is Greedy (Lie 5)
  • I Need My Friends’ and Family’s Understanding in Order to Succeed (Lie 8)
  • I Am My Business (Lie 11)

These lies stick out in particular.

If you run your own business, or even if you’re thinking about starting your own or trying freelancing out one day, Thinking Like a Boss will allow you to move past your limiting beliefs and find the success you’re dreaming of.

No guilt or shame allowed.

Today is the day! Thinking Like a Boss releases February 18, 2020 on Kindle, audiobook and hardcover.

We all want to be seen, heard, and understood by those around us. But when it comes right down to it, no one in your life will truly understand what your business requires except for you, and that’s okay.

Thinking Like a Boss, Lie #8

Thinking Like a Boss: Uncover and Overcome the Lies Holding You Back from Success synopsis

With over 11 million female-owned businesses in the US today, more women than ever are taking the reins to create their own success. Maybe you feel the pull to start a business but deep down you’re afraid that you don’t have what it takes. Maybe you have a great idea but wonder if you’re actually qualified to make it happen. Or maybe you want to expand your business, but you’re worried about how it will affect your family. If that’s you, it’s time to start thinking like a boss.

In this practical and encouraging book, Kate Crocco exposes the 12 limiting beliefs that are holding you back from your true potential, such as

  • I should have it all together and I don’t
  • I’m not ready or qualified to start
  • I don’t have enough time
  • It’s already been done before
  • and more

With plenty of inspiring true stories and actionable steps you can take—starting now—Thinking Like a Boss will help you turn your limiting beliefs into limitless opportunity.

Other Book Reviews

If I've learned anything from Thinking Like a Boss author Kate Crocco it's this: the lies we tell ourselves hold us back more than anything else. This applies to our businesses, our relationships and spills into our entire lives.

One more thing. I think you’ll enjoy my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

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8 Literary Podcasts for Book Lovers

Book lovers everywhere, rejoice! There are so many wonderful, literary, bookish podcasts to binge, consume and otherwise indulge that it could become overwhelming.

Podcasts for Book Lovers

Here are eight of the best book podcasts to try in 2020, everything from author interviews and conversations to book recommendations, reviews and more. Perfect for book lovers!

9 steps to planning a podcast worksheet

If you dream of launching a podcast but you don’t know what to do next, you’re in the right place. This workbook will guide you through the nine steps you need to take to plan your podcast BEFORE you start recording.

A one-page sample of the workbook is free with membership to my resource library. This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by signing up here (or by popping your email address into the form below).

You can also purchase the in-depth ebook.

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8 literary podcasts for book lovers

The Literary Salon

Damian Barr’s Literary Salon tempts the world’s best writers to read exclusively from their latest greatest works and share their own personal stories. Star guests have included Bret Easton Ellis, Jojo Moyes, John Waters, Helen Fielding, Diana Athill and Louis de Bernières—all in front of a live audience at leading glamourous locations. Suave salonnière Damian Barr is your host. Don’t worry it’s not a book club—there’s no homework. Salon Selective!

Just the Right Book!

Just the Right Book is a podcast hosted by Roxanne Coady, owner of famous independent bookstore R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison, CT, that will help you discover new and note-worthy books in all genres, give you unique insights into your favorite authors, and bring you up to date with what’s happening in the literary world.

Between the Covers

Author interviews with today’s best writers—established & up-and-coming—in fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Hosted by David Naimon, Tin House & KBOO 90.7 FM, Portland, Oregon.—The Guardian’s 10 Best Book Podcasts—Book Riot’s 15 Outstanding Podcasts for Book Lovers—the most intense and awesome podcast I’ve ever been a part of—Gary Shteyngart.

Nerdette

Nerdette is a safe space for nerding out about all the things you’re watching, reading, and encountering IRL. Interviews with your favorite (or soon-to-be favorite) authors, artists, astronauts, and more.

Literary podcasts for book lovers

What Should I Read Next?

What Should I Read Next? is the show for every reader who has ever finished a book and faced the problem of not knowing what to read next. Each week, Anne Bogel, of the blog Modern Mrs Darcy, interviews a reader about the books they love, the books they hate, and the books they’re reading now. Then, she makes recommendations about what to read next. The real purpose of the show is to help YOU find your next read.

Literary Friction

A monthly conversation about books and ideas on NTS Radio hosted by friends Carrie Plitt, a literary agent, and Octavia Bright, a writer and academic. Each show features an author interview, book recommendations, lively discussion and a little music too, all built around a related theme—anything from the novella to race to masculinity. Listen live on NTS Radio.

Fully Booked

Get the ultimate insider’s scoop on the best new books. The editors at Kirkus Reviews interview your favorite authors, tell you whether or not the books on the bestseller list are worth the read, give you behind-the-scenes insights, and introduce you to great books you may otherwise never find.

Book Club for Masochists

A Readers’ Advisory Podcast about becoming better library staff by reading books we hate! Every month we read books from a new, randomly picked genre; then on the podcast we discuss our reading choices, experiences, opinions, appeal factors, and other related topics as friends and library workers. (Warning: Language)

Other Podcast Related Posts for Writers and readers

Book lovers everywhere, rejoice! There are so many wonderful, literary, bookish podcasts to binge, consume and otherwise indulge that it could become overwhelming. Here are eight of the best book podcasts to try in 2020, everything from author interviews and conversations to book recommendations, reviews and more.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

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