The Writer's Cookbook

Writing, productivity, publishing.

Category: Productivity (Page 1 of 8)

Christmas Present Ideas for Writers

Like it or not, the holiday season is officially here.

I love giving and receiving presents, but the people around me are super difficult to buy for. People say they don’t want a present, but if they buy you something and you don’t buy them anything, things get awkward.

But what on earth do you buy a writer?

I’ve written a Christmas gift guide for writers before.

Since that post is a few years old, I’ve decided to do an updated version for 2017.

Scrivener 3

For the disorganised mind, Scrivener is the perfect tool.

Whether the writer in your life uses Scrivener or not, they’ll appreciate the latest version, which came out at the end of November.

There are lots of books and courses out there on how to use it, too, so if they’re new to one of the most versatile writing programs out there, they’ll have plenty of resources to help them get their head around it.

You can download Scrivener 3 from Literature and Latte’s website, or the App Store.

The latest version is only available for Mac OS X Sierra and High Sierra.

A new version for Windows will be out in 2018.

Tickets to a writing conference

In every career it’s as much about what you know as whom. Writing is no different. Why not buy the writer in your life tickets to a writing conference?

Why not buy the writer in your life tickets to a writing conference? #ChristmasGiftIdea Click To Tweet

Most 2018 dates will be out now, and most big cities/counties/states will have their own. There are conferences out there for most genres and forms of writing.

Don’t forget to factor in the costs of travel and hotels if it’s not in their hometown, though.

A simple search for ‘writing conference’ followed by the type of writing or genre in question should bring up local search results. If you’re looking for a different location to where you live, add in the nearest big city to where your writer friend lives, or search using Incognito mode to ensure that your previous search history/your location doesn’t influence the results.

Note-taking app

There are lots of note-taking apps out there. They all have different features and functionalities, so it’s worth researching what features your writing friend would benefit from the most before purchasing a subscription for them.

Evernote and Bear are two of the most versatile, and offer features such as multi-device sync, and calendar integration.

However, if they already use a note-taking app and have hundreds of notes to move across, it’s probably better to go for a different gift idea.

Janet Murray’s Media Diary

Janet Murray knows her stuff.

Her 2018 Media Diary will help the writer in your life to plan out their content for the whole of 2018. Janet has also put together a Media Diary Owners’ Club, and has courses on how best to use it.

Music streaming service subscription

Music can have a huge affect on our moods. Listening to music, therefore, can be hugely influential on the scenes a writer crafts.

Whether it’s a subscription to Spotify, Apple Music, or Tidal, giving a writer access to millions of songs can kick-start their creativity much faster than a 15-track album.

They can also use the services to create playlists based on their works-in-progress, or the mood that they want to create, and share them with their audience.

Productivity for Writers

I wrote Productivity for Writers to help other writers escape the road blocks that I have so often faced.

If the writer in your life wants to write but struggles to find the time or the motivation, this is the perfect book for them.

Productivity for Writers is available on Kindle, iBooks, Kobo, and more.

View the full list of places to purchase Productivity for Writers.

Over to You

What are you buying the writer in your life for Christmas? Share your ideas in the comments below!

5 Christmas present ideas for writers: Click To Tweet

Scrivener 3 Review

I’ve been a huge fan of Scrivener for a few years now, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Scrivener 3 when it came out.

I’d originally planned to do a video review, but things didn’t quite go according to plan. Rather than keep you waiting a little while longer, I decided to do a written review of Scrivener 3 instead.

Here we’ll explore some of the big differences between Scrivener 2 and Scrivener 3, and look at the new features of Scrivener 3, to help you decide if it’s for you.

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You can get over your anti-failure mindset. If you're ready to.

How to Defeat Your Fear of Failure

Nobody likes to fail. Failing is horrible. It’s a sign that you’re a failure and will never achieve anything worthwhile in life.

Or is it?

When we look at other people, we only see their successes. We don’t see their hundreds of unpublished manuscripts, or the rejection letters, or the failed marketing tactics. We see that they have something that we want, and we’ll never get it because we suck and they’re awesome.


Stop right there.

Go splash some cold water over your face then come back.

I’ll wait.

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Stuck in a writing funk? Here's how to get out of it.

How to Get Out of Your Writing Funk

So you’re stuck in a funk and you don’t know how to get out.

Well you’ve come to the right place.

I used to get stuck a lot.

Truth is, I still do sometimes.

But it’s my job to write content. I can’t afford to get stuck.

So here’s what I do instead.

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Got a Question About Writing or Productivity?

Got a question about writing and productivity?

Don’t know who to ask?

You’ve come to the right place!

No question is a stupid question

It helps to have a mentor.

I wish I’d had one when I first started out: someone I could ask seemingly silly questions to without being laughed at.

But I didn’t have anyone.

So here I am, giving you the opportunity that I never had: to ask your writing questions and get them answered.

Whatever your question is on writing and productivity, just drop me an email. I’ll pick one question to answer each month.

All questions will be answered anonymously, so you don’t need to worry about feeling self-conscious or anyone finding out it it was you. It can be scary to admit that you’re a writer—especially if your family and friends aren’t supportive—so rest assured that your secret is safe with me!

I promise to never, ever pass your details on to anyone else.

You’ll only hear directly from me about my books, my blog posts, and anything else I think you’ll find cool or interesting.

You can check out past questions on Medium.

Past Writing and Productivity Questions

I’ll update these each month with new questions 🙂

Don’t forget…

As a member of my mailing list, as well as getting your writing and productivity questions answered, you’ll also receive my monthly blog post roundup to ensure you never miss the latest writing and productivity advice, and you’ll get my Essential Writing Ingredients ebook!

Phew, that’s a lot!

And it doesn’t cost you a penny 🙂

Free writing advice just for you?

What are you waiting for? 😉


Download your copy of Productivity for Writers today!

Productivity for Writers is out now!

I first announced Productivity for Writers back in January 2016.

SO MUCH has happened since then.

I decided to make Productivity for Writers my third book because I wanted a break from the world of Hollie and Fayth.

I also chose it because, out of all of my other books, it was the one that was furthest along.

Had I not announced it so long ago, I may have waited a little longer to release it. I might’ve waited until I’d released a couple more books. Or I may have put it off indefinitely.

Productivity for Writers was the hardest book I’ve written so far.

It pushed me very far out of my comfort zone.

Of course, I’m always uncomfortable when sharing my writing with you, but I’ve gotten used to that feeling, both on this blog and with the adventures of Hollie and Fayth.

The difference is that I’ve never published a nonfiction book before.

It’s a whole different market, and I have no idea what to expect.

That’s both a terrifying and exciting process.

Like I advise in Productivity for Writers—and like I learnt while working on What Happens in New York—I’m trying to channel my anxiety into excitement and getting shit done, but quite often that’s easier said than done.

However, forcing my way through the anxiety and using it to drive me instead of destroy me works. And it feels pretty good knowing that I’m one step closer to controlling my anxiety, too.

Use the nervous energy your anxiety creates to drive you instead of destroy you. Click To Tweet

What’s Productivity for Writers all about?

I wrote Productivity for Writers for my younger self.

It’s everything I wish I could’ve told myself five years ago, back when I was in a dark, desolate place.

It’s everything I wish I could tell my friends who don’t feel they have the time to write.

It’s everything I wish I could’ve told Boyfriend’s coworker who was so depressed that he didn’t save a single word that he wrote. Ever.

Whether you can’t write because you’re short on time, you don’t feel that your writing is good enough, or your mental illness interferes with your writing, Productivity for Writers can help.

However, Productivity for Writers won’t work for you if you’re not ready to listen.

Good advice is only good advice if you're willing to listen. Click To Tweet

Many of us buy nonfiction books and think that they’ll offer us some form of enlightenment, but then we read them and don’t think that the lessons in them apply to us. We don’t do the activities in the books, or we read them with a fixed mindset and don’t consider their advice.

If that’s you, then Productivity for Writers can’t help you.

You have to be willing to change.

You have to want to write more.

You have to be willing to make sacrifices.

You have to want to put your writing above all else.

You have to give the book’s advice a chance. A proper chance, not a half-arse one.

Only then will you know if this is the book for you.

Is Productivity for Writers the book for you?

Productivity for Writers won’t hold your hand.

It won’t pussyfoot around what’s stopping you from writing.

It’s a tough-love guide.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll already have a feel for my writing style.

I’m here to be honest with you about my struggles, and about the issues you may encounter, too.

And I’m not going to sugarcoat the solutions to those problems.

You won’t get anywhere fast by tiptoeing around solutions.

You’ll achieve your dreams faster by accepting that you have a problem, and actively seeking a solution.

To get to what we want in life, we have to be willing to make sacrifices.

We have to be willing to put our goals and our dreams above all else.

That’s the only way.

And if you’re not hurting anyone else in the process, then why shouldn’t you?

Download your copy of Productivity for Writers today!

You can download your copy of Productivity for Writers now on Kindle, iBooks, Kobo, Nook, and more. (If you click the link it will take you to all of the platforms where it’s available 🙂 )

You can also check out some excerpts on the blog:

I don’t have a print version planned right now, but if enough people request one, I may change my mind.

Happy writing!

Writing helps me to deal with my depression.

How Writing Helps Me Handle My Depression

I never used to talk about my depression much. When I first wrote a draft of this post—back in October 2015!—there was only one person I discussed it with.

Since then, I’ve tried to be more open about my experiences in the hopes that it helps other people, too.

It’s not easy, though.

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Why you'll never achieve perfection as a writer

Why You’ll Never Achieve Perfection (And What to Aim for Instead)

Some people see perfection as a badge of honour; a cross to bear that they just have to carry the burden of.

They use it as their biggest weakness in a job interview, as if wanting everything you create to be flawless is even possible.

But it’s not.

Perfection should be treated like a snake that wants to bite you.

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Find out why you need to embrace rejection in this exclusive excerpt from Productivity for Writers.

Why You Need to Embrace Rejection

There isn’t a single published writer out there who hasn’t been rejected at least once.

In fact, I think you’d struggle to find a writer who’s only been rejected once.

Even Stephen King had short stories rejected when he first started out.

Harry Potter was rejected by numerous publishers, and J.K.Rowling had some pretty harshly-worded rejection letters for her Cormoran Strike novels, too.

Some authors get to the point where their name alone is enough to attract the attention of a publisher.

To get to that point, though, you have to go through what feels like endless rejections.

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Are you on the brink of burning out? Discover the signs of burnout and how to cope.

How to Deal With Stress and Burnout

Think of your energy levels like a battery.

Certain things recharge that battery, while others drain it.

You may find dealing with people draining, while alone time recharges you.

You may find that some days writing helps you to recharge, while on other days it drains you.

It can depend on what stage of the writing process you’re at, or what’s going on in your life outside of your writing.

Just like when you let your phone battery get close to 0%, the lower your battery levels get, the longer it takes to recharge.

Read More

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