When You’re Having Trouble Sitting Down to Write

Okay, writing time… I’ll just make myself a green smoothie and then…oh, maybe I should put in a load of laundry…now, I’ll just sit down and…oh, wow, it looks like it might rain. I’ll just take that bike ride first… huff,puff, puff…Now I’ll just sit down to write and…oh, the phone. Better get it. It could be Oprah wondering how my book is coming along…Okay, that was a huge time waste, but now to get down to wr…Doorbell? Are you kidding me? Much of the time, the difficulty in sitting down to write comes from the pressure we place on…  Read more

Don’t Believe Stephen King

On a consultation call today with a new client, she’d mentioned that her self-confidence took a nosedive today.  On reading, On Writing, by Stephen King–a fabulous book about writing well, by the way–she was crestfallen by his pronouncement that you’re not really a writer unless you write every day. Rubbish. First of all, are you solely a writer? Or do you have another business? Perhaps you are a therapist, doctor, lawyer, coach, entrepreneur or stay at home mom…Well, Mr. King is a full time writer. Mr. King primarily writes fiction. You, most likely, are writing about your life, your work,…  Read more

What Improv Can Teach You About Writing

peeking out of box

With something like 17 of us gathered around the stage, Chris Simpson singled me out to take a step back to enlarge the circle. I looked down at my feet. The woman to my left stood about 8 inches farther back, as did Kevin, to my right–their heels a mere inch or two from the edge. Every fiber of my being told me not to step any closer to the edge of the stage–especially with my back to the drop. I inched back a couple centimeters as a compromise. Thus began my first lesson in trust last night in Improv…  Read more

October is the Month for Writers Conferences and Book Festivals!

whistler

I love writers conferences–both presenting and attending workshops. Perhaps my favorite aspect of writers conferences is the opportunity for new input into one’s writing: An essayist may show you a new way of seeing something about your writing. Or a poet may teach you a nifty trick to get your creative juices flowing. Or you may learn some editing tools that make your writing better. There’s also, of course, the sense of community–just being around other people who love writing, who love words. I often find myself especially inspired after the evening readings–staying up late to write some more. Writers…  Read more

Find Your Writing Voice: Tips for Writing Self Help Books and Memoir

“Find your writing voice.” Maybe you’ve heard this advice before as a way to make your writing stand out and powerfully resonate for your readers. Yet, voice can be such an elusive thing—how can you uncover, discover or find your writing voice? First, I suggest you consider both your audience and topic. What would help make the book work for your audience? With a self help book, is there anything getting in the way of your readers benefiting in the book—a problem that voice can address? For example, since readers of The Ultimate Guide to Transforming Anger were likely to…  Read more

If Your Writing Gets Stale…

mad magazine

Ever feel like you’re in a slump with your writing? It needs something fresh? One trick I’ve found is to read something in a completely different genre. Then, if inspired, even write something short in a similar voice. When you go back to the first project, you may find new inspiration. For example, I recently bought a MAD Magazine at Casablanca Comics in Portland, ME. I hadn’t read MAD since I was fourteen or so and I felt like a pre-teen again as I turned the pages, lying belly down on my friends’ lakeside dock, sometimes laughing out loud. Inspired…  Read more

How to Launch a Website…Your Ideas Needed

lisa-tener-book-writing-coach

While I spent much of this glorious summer with family–walking the beach and watching my sons swim and play tennis– the brilliant Rachel C. Vane was redesigning my website (and she did a beautiful job). Although the new site is mostly up (do you like the updated look?), we’re still fixing, tweaking, adding testimonials, etc. When complete, this will call for a celebration and website launch and I’m hoping my community–you–will be part of it, but I’m still trying to figure out what “it” is. I’m thinking some prizes–free books, free self-study courses, maybe a free teleseminar…what do you think?…  Read more

Treat Yourself to Book Proposal Coaching or a Book Concept Consultation

kimber-signing

What an exciting summer: This spring I coached six clients on their book proposals in a variety of fields—self help books on relationships, spirituality, healing PTSD with dream therapy, education, plant-based eating and one memoir. Five of the six book proposal coaching clients landed top agents. The sixth knew that her niche did not require an agent and she sent her book proposal directly to publishers, received several offers and is signing a publishing contract with her top choice of publisher in her field (education). And one of the six actually worked backwards—I sent his proposal to the perfect publisher…  Read more

Write and Do Good: The San Francisco Writing for Change Writers Conference

Lisa: What’s the purpose of the San Francisco Writing for Change Conference? Mike: The theme of the conference is “Changing the World One Book at a Time.” The right book will change the world. We are besieged with huge domestic and international problems urgently in need of solutions. Government and business can’t provide them, so they have to come from the bottom up. Writers are essential for providing the ideas, guidance, and inspiration we need, and they have instant access to however many of the three billion people on the Web read English. The world desperately needs all of the…  Read more

Experimenting with Author Platform & The Microbiome: A Crowdfunding Story

daniela-carrots

I met Dr. Daniela Connelly, an MD and organic farmer, at the Harvard Medical School’s CME publishing course this spring. Since then, I’ve been advising her and co-author, Laura Wolfer, on their book proposal and platform building. The authors recently e-mailed with a new twist in their book writing journey–they’re crowdfunding research on microbes and the microbiome, a hot topic in science nowadays. Now, I’ve advised authors about crowdfunding in the past because it’s a great way to build community, create buzz for the book early on and also fund your publishing costs–from editing to book cover and design to…  Read more