The Writer's Cookbook

Writing, productivity, publishing.

Category: Creativity (Page 1 of 4)

Discover how to write about long-term stress in this blog post.

How to Write About Stress

In the words of Bartok from Anastasia, ‘Stress. It’s a killer.’

And it actually is.

According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress is linked to the six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide. And more than 75 percent of all physician office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.

Chronic stress can affect your brain, suppress your thyroid, cause blood sugar imbalances, decrease bone density and muscle tissue, raise blood pressure, reduce your immunity and ability to heal, and increase fat deposits around your abdomen that are associated with heart attacks, strokes and elevated “bad” cholesterol.

Source: Miami Herald

Short-term stress can help us to achieve our goals and is the reason many of us work well under pressure.

Long-term stress, meanwhile, can affect our physical and mental health temporarily and permanently.

Let’s dig a little deeper, shall we?

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Find out how to write about ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

How to Write About ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

Remember that kid in class that could never sit still and was forever getting told off?

Some kids were forever in detention because they just wouldn’t do what they were told.

Some got off (seemingly lightly) because they’d been diagnosed with ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

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How to write anxiety

How to Write Anxiety

Anxiety is a cruel creature that can take over your life without you even realising it.

It can control everything from your day-to-day decisions to your career paths to your relationship choices.

And if you don’t know you suffer from it, it’s impossible to control.

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How Do You Know When Your Book is Ready?

First off, do you mean ready for an editor/beta readers, or ready for self-publication/submitting to agents?

They are all VERY different things.

Having published two books, sent a third off to beta readers (more on that soon), and studied Creative Writing, I’ve had to get good at knowing when my work is ready to share with people.

Sometimes it’s a case of the book is ready, but you’re not.

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Should you go indie or publish your book traditionally? Here's some of the differences.

Indie Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

There comes a point in an author’s life where they have to make a decision. It’s a decision that we barely had five years ago, and ten years ago didn’t exist at all. But, just as iTunes and Spotify changed the music industry, the likes of Kindle and Kobo have changed the publishing industry forever.

Self publishing (sometimes called indie publishing, although some people insist they’re different things) cuts out the agent and the publisher. Most of the profits go to the author. With the case of Kindle, that’s 35% (if you charge less than £1.99), or 70% (if you charge more than that). The rest goes to Amazon.

When you compare that to how much authors get from traditional publishing—an advance of a few thousand, and royalty payments of as little as 7.5%—self publishing is tempting.

But is it worth it?

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Discover how to write sarcasm.

How to Write Sarcasm

Ignore what they say—sarcasm isn’t the lowest form of wit. It’s also not the highest form of intelligence (sorry). But it is fun. It doesn’t always translate well into writing, though.

My characters use sarcasm A LOT. Why? Because they take after my friends and I. Some of us use it occasionally while others use it hourly.

And, since we’re millennials, most of our communication is done digitally. That means that understanding when the person is being sarcastic and when they’re being sincere is crucial. Some of this comes from being friends and having known each other a long time, but not always.

In the digital age emojis can make it easier to get the right tone across, but how do you write sarcasm that comes across as sarcasm and not you being an arse without using emojis?

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How to get into the Writing Zone

Life is stressful. It’s even more stressful when you have to come home from a tough day at work then sit down and write. How do you shake off the day’s stresses and focus on your fiction? (Or nonfiction or poetry?) How do you give your characters the attention they deserve?

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Are Creative Writing Classes Worth it?

Ever considered taking a creative writing class but then wondered if it’s worth the time and money?

Ever thought that you could just learn everything you need about writing from a book?

Ever wondered just what creative writing classes teach anyway?

While I can’t speak for every writer or every creative writing class, I’ve studied my far share of writing. I’ve got a BA and an MA in creative writing, and regularly take part in classes at the local writers’ studio.

With writing, there’s always more to learn, and the best way to do this is by engaging with other writers.

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Don’t Myth Out on Writing Competitions!

There are hundreds of writing competitions held every year, often with tempting prizes, yet many writers don’t enter.

There might be good reasons for this in some cases, but I’ve heard many that simply don’t hold water.

I’ve won 25 writing competitions and literary awards, and part of the reason why is that I’ve ignored some of the myths that prevent writers from entering and winning. I’ve also judged both poetry and prose competitions, so I know what not to do!

Give yourself the best chance by not falling for these common myths:

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6 Writing Myths That Are Holding You Back

We’ve all dreamt of creating a world as well-respected and worshipped as J.K.Rowling’s Wizarding World. We’d be lying if we said that we didn’t. Unfortunately, this just isn’t possible for most of us. It’s sad, but true. While it’s important to aim big, it’s also important to be realistic in what we can achieve as writers. The truth is, no matter what path we choose, fewer and fewer writers each year make a living from what they write, whether it’s fiction, nonfiction, or even journalism.

Here are 6 writing myths and the realities behind them.

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