10 Goals for Writers for 2020

By Debra Eckerling, author of Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals (January 2020)

[Editor’s note: In this time of world chaos, we wanted to present something positive for you to focus on, as you deal with the changing times.]

It’s an opportunity to jump into new writing projects … and perhaps revisit some old ones. Whether your long-term goal is to sell a manuscript, get an agent, or break into a new publication, start by setting some short-term writing goals. 

I’ve made it easy, and listed some goals to get you started. Keep the ones that resonate, tweak the ones that don’t quite hit the spot, and add new ones that will help you reach your long-term goals.

Here are 10 goals to set you up for writing success in 2020.

  1. Journal Regularly. I’m not going to say journal daily, because for most people that’s not realistic. However, you can make some time for journaling. Spend 5 or 10 minutes, a few days a week, brainstorming your projects, retelling funny people-watching stories, or sharing thoughts of what’s going on in your life. A journal is multipurpose, in that it’s a tracking document for what’s going on in your life, personally, professionally, and creatively. Use it as such.
  2. Research. This is going to be the year you get a leg up as a professional writer, right? Well, if what you’ve been doing is not quite working, try something new. Research new publications, agents, and professional development groups. And don’t stop there. Write a pitch, send a book proposal, go out networking, or all of the above. You never know where research and new connections may lead.
  3. Explore a New Genre or Format. Just like researching new places and people to pitch, why not switch up your writing too. Are you a horror writer? Try writing something personal. A technical writer? Give poetry a try. Here’s a secret, this is for fun. You don’t have to show your work to anyone, unless of course you love it and you want to. 
  4. Learn. There is no shortage of continuing education opportunities for writers, both in person and online. Find a conference or workshop to attend. Even better, offer to volunteer at one. By working at an event, you will make even more connections, in addition to learning new things.
  5. Do Something Creative. What – besides writing – gets your creative juices flowing? Painting? Playing or listening to music? Cooking? Gardening? Dancing? If you don’t have a go-to creative outlet beyond writing, it’s time to find one. Try new things throughout the year, and stick with the ones that resonate.
  6. Refresh your Website or Blog. You are a professional, and your website should showcase that. Give your website a mini-makeover. Re-read and re-do your bio page, upload a new headshot, and write a new blog post. And, while you’re at it, send out a newsletter. I’m sure your readers and followers would love to hear from you.
  7. Clean up your LinkedIn Profile. As a social network for professionals, LinkedIn is often the first place people search for you after you meet. Make sure your Summary and Experience sections are up-to-date, and that each includes one or two multimedia links or files. 
  8. Spend Time on Social Media. A social media presence is necessary in any business, and that includes writing. Even if you have not yet become known, you should have public social media pages for yourself or your business. It’s another one of those things that gives you a professional leg up and enables you to showcase your expertise by sharing your own content, as well as links your readers will find interesting.
  9. Have Fun. Add fuel to your writing background by going on adventures. These can be close to home – or even at home – or in faraway places. The point is to have fun, enjoy experiences, and learn new things that you can bring back to your writing and in turn share with your audience.
  10. Revisit a Passion Project. Give yourself permission to spend time on a passion project. You know the one – it’s that book, essay, or screenplay that you always wanted to write. Even if it’s an hour a week – or a few hours a month – the time adds up. Stop thinking about it and start doing it. This is your year.

As a writer, it’s important to constantly hone your craft, have new experiences, and put your best foot forward. These goals will give you a head start for a productive and writing-infused 2020.

Best of luck reaching your writing goals.


Debra Eckerling is the author of Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning, and Achieving Your Goals (Mango Publishing, January 2020), as well as the self-published Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog and Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages.
A goal coach, project catalyst, and founder of the D*E*B METHOD®, Debra works with individuals and businesses to set goals and manage their projects through one-on one coaching, workshops, and online support. Note: DEB stands for Determine Your Mission, Explore Your Options, Brainstorm Your Path. She is the founder of Write On Online, a live and online community for writers, creatives, and entrepreneurs, as well as host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat (Sundays at 7pm PT) and the Guided Goals Podcast.

POSTPONED – Pitch-O-Rama PLUS 2020!

Dear San Francisco WNBA community –

After much thought and discussion, we have decided to postpone Pitch-O-Rama to a new date of June 13th at the same venue of Bethany UM Church. We are acting in accordance with and on the advice of various public health officials, and the guidelines from Mayor London Breed’s guidelines to not host an event of over 50 people at this time, since ours would be close to 100.
We deeply regret any inconvenience and disappointment any of you may experience as result of this decision, but as a small non-profit community-based organization we are placing the health and safety of you and our community first. We hope you understand that concerns of spreading the COVID-19 virus necessitated this decision.

The Women’s National Book Association San Francisco Chapter is hopeful you can find your way to join us on the new date of June 13th at the same venue and same time. We have contacted the registered attendees via email, and have extended our refund policy through April 15.
Please let us know if you have any questions regarding this event by emailing registrar@wnba-sfchapter.org; we are very happy to help in any way we can.

We really appreciate your understanding in this matter and hope to see you in June.

Many thanks and take good care,

Brenda Knight, President WNBA-SF Chapter

NEW DATE: Saturday, June 13, 2020Register for Pitch-O-Rama!
8:00 am – 12:30 pm 

Pitch-O-Rama PLUS – now in Noe Valley!

Bethany UM Church
1270 Sanchez Street (at Clipper) SF, CA 94114

Includes a continental breakfast and pre-pitch coaching.

Registration:
$65 WNBA members,  $75 Non-members, Men Welcome!
Limited to the first 90 ticketed attendees.

Come join the fun – register here!

 

 

 

It’s Complicated: 3 Rules for Writing about Difficult Relationships

By Nita Sweeney, author of Depression Hates a Moving Target

“Love truth, but pardon error.” – Voltaire

If my mother hadn’t died, she would have been 89 on March 1st. And if she hadn’t died, I might not have written Depression Hates a Moving Target: How Running with My Dog Brought Me Back from the Brink because I’m not sure I would have taken up running. Sorry for the cliffhanger, but the book tells that story.

When I posted a photo of Mom on social media, as I do nearly every year on her birthday, friends and family commented with fond memories. They weren’t making it up. She could be kind, thoughtful, generous, creative, witty, and brilliant.

But she was the most confusing person in my life.

Mom only appears on a few pages of my running and mental health memoir, but she might be the most interesting person in the story. The year after she died, I wrote a first draft of a memoir about our relationship. I found the writing so painful that I set it aside to heal and gain perspective.

Her birthday and my reaction to the social media comments (curiosity and a bit of terror at the thought of what people who loved her might think after they read the book) led me to ponder how we can love someone so much yet also find the relationship so hard. As a writer, I reflected on how to write about difficult relationships.

Did her death grant me artistic license to tell the truth?

I’ve written before about Mary Karr’s admonition to memoirists. Karr, author of the memoir The Liar’s Club, one of the first memoirs about dysfunctional families to hit the best-seller list, has been referred to as “grande dame memoirista.” When she spoke at a nonfiction conference I attended years ago, Karr didn’t mince words. “Don’t make shit up.”

When I wrote this memoir (and the other memoir drafts sitting in files on my computer and in boxes in our basement) I heeded Karr’s words. “Don’t make shit up” was my canon, my lodestar, my guiding light. I wrote with abandon while compulsively checking journals, running logs, and datebooks to ensure accuracy.

Then came the revisions where I had to decide what I really wanted to say. How could I portray my experience without making any of the people in the book, and especially my mother, look like either monsters or saints?

Here are three rules I used in both parts of the process:

  1. BE BRUTAL. I wrote it all down. I used full names, actual places, true occupations. I wrote what everyone said and how it made me feel. I laughed, screamed, and cried. I put myself back in the scene and relived it on the page.
  2. BE KIND. I summoned empathy. I asked myself what the other person might say if they could tell their side of the story. I asked myself if I could be wrong about what happened or why it happened and I wrote that too. While I told the story from my perspective, it’s more interesting (and honest) to see all aspects. Perhaps it’s my legal training or my “mediator” personality, but after the dust of the first draft had settled, I found great relief in asking these questions. It added depth to a story that might otherwise lie flat.
  3. CHOP IT IN HALF. Then I cut, cut, cut. My first drafts are gargantuan creatures, unwieldy and wild. Trimming and tightening helped me see where I may have been mistaken and (I hope) allows the truth to shine through.

[This article originally appeared in Nita’s blog, Bum Glue.]


Nita Sweeney is the author of the memoir, Depression Hates a Moving Target: How Running with My Dog Brought Me Back from the Brink, which was short-listed for the William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition Award and the Dog Writers Association of America Award. Her articles, essays, and poetry have appeared in magazines, journals, books, and blogs including Buddhist America, Dog World, Dog Fancy, Writer’s Journal, Country Living, Pitkin Review, The Taos News, Spring Street, Pencil Storm, WNBA-SF, It’s Not Your Journey, and in several newspapers and newsletters. She writes the blog, Bum Glue, publishes the monthly e-newsletter, Write Now Columbus, and coaches writers in Natalie Goldberg style “writing practice.” Nita has been featured widely across media outlets about writing, running, meditation, mental health, and pet care. She was nominated for an Ohio Arts Council Governor’s Award and her poem, “Memorial,” won the Dublin Arts Council Poet’s Choice Award. When she’s not writing or coaching, Nita runs and races. She has completed three full marathons, twenty-eight half marathons (in eighteen states), and more than ninety shorter races. Nita lives in central Ohio with her husband and biggest fan, Ed, and their yellow Labrador running partner, Scarlet the #ninetyninepercentgooddog.

Options to Make Your Book Marketing More Effective

By Bridgitte Jackson-Buckley, author of The Gift of Crisis​ 

If there is one thing I’ve found out about book marketing it’s this: everyone is not your customer.

As a reader, this makes sense. You don’t want to read every book that’s out there yet, when you publish your own books, why does that knowledge suddenly become irrelevant?

You suddenly want everyone in the world to read your book. It doesn’t matter if it’s the silver-haired grandmother in Texas, the roughneck in Alaska, or the mouthy teenager next door — you simply now insist your book appeals to every demographic on the planet and no one can convince you otherwise.

So, you share your book links everywhere and sit back and wait for the sales to roll in. 

And then…

Crickets.

According to Worldometer as of this writing, over 40 thousand books have been published and we’re only a few days into the New Year! 

Within this publishing phenomena, how can one book stand out and/or connect with the right readers? 

Well, you make your book marketing more effective.

Here are a few options you may not have considered.

 

  • Take the time to determine your ideal reader

 

What is your reader most likely to carry in their backpack, handbag, or briefcase? Is your ideal reader a teen girl, a business person, or a blue-collar worker? Once you’ve determined who your ideal reader is, the next step is to find out where your people hang out online. 

Here are some place to look:

  • Hubspot: If you don’t know a lot about demographics or marketing, this is a great place to start. Their services are a tad pricey, but the blog is free.
  • Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that provides tons of great info about our world. You can use it to find out where your demographic/ideal reader spends time on social media. Enter the search terms you’re looking for about demographics and it’s likely in there. 
  1. Goodreads quotes
    This seems like such a simple and obvious suggestion, but believe it or not I recently got this straight. I’ve had a Goodreads profile for some time now. Even though I often search online for quotes and inevitably Goodreads shows up in the search, it never occurred to me list quotes from my book on my profile! You never know when your work may appear as others search for quotes. On the author profile there is also an “ask me questions” feature, which is a good way to connect with readers. Additionally, Goodreads is a great place to connect with genre readers – for free! 
  2. Quote graphics
    quote "the time to be with your heart is precisely the time when it feels most difficult, most out of reach and the last option"My website is hosted by WIX and I have to be honest…if asked, I would happily do a promotional spot for WIX’s stellar customer service. Beyond great customer service, they have a marketing tool that allows users to create beautiful quote graphics that can be posted on all social media platforms. The picture is an example of one of my favorites that was made through my website.
    Canva is also an excellent source for creating graphics. However, you will have to research the correct sizing for the graphic you create. Depending on which site you want to share it to, if the dimensions are off the site you post the image on will cut off the edges or stretch the image, distorting it and sometimes making it blurry. It’s helpful to name the pictures as you save them as “A World without Butterflies — Insta” or “A World without Butterflies — FB cover” etc. so you’ll know which graphic can be used for which site based on the dimensions.
  3. Podcast interviews
    Shortly after my book was released I received several interview requests. Considering this was the first time I had ever done anything like this, I was quite nervous. It was interesting to see how differently each interview was conducted and how the information came across. I had to get used to watching AND listening to myself on video and in audio interviews. Consider podcast interviews great practice for book signings, speaking engagements, interacting with the public and representing yourself as a writer. One of the best interviews I have ever done to promote my book was on The Soul Directed Life podcast with Janet Conner. Overall it was a spirited exchange between two people with a genuine interest in my book’s subject matter.
  4. Quora
    I’ll admit, Quora didn’t appeal to me for a long time. However, it’s another great way to find your audience. If you’ve written “How to Start a Podcast without Looking Silly,” go onto Quora and find people asking questions about how to start a podcast and provide a creative and honest answer, while also linking your article in the answer.
  5. YouTube readings
    Recording readings or making quick videos on the topics you write about is a good way to draw readers to your site and your writing. You can create a 10 minute video discussing your book and reading a few key paragraphs and share on your (newly created) YouTube channel (the one with 3 followers). You can also post the video link to your author pages on Goodreads, Amazon, and your website.
  6. Use smaller sites like Mirakee and Flipboard
    Mirakee is a great place. It’s a visual site with a younger following. Flipboard allows you to post articles like a collection of online magazines that people can follow.
  7. Contact your local newspaper
    You never know! I emailed one of my local newspapers to get information on how to get my book featured beyond a paid advertisement. The editor responded, “If you can make it relevant to the community, we’ll run a feature.” Done!
  8. Create author share groups
    Creating a small group of 3–5 people who agree to do a share rotation of work. If there are three of you, each person can share their “promo-of-the-day” link or two to the group, and as you make your promotional rounds you share yours, then theirs, and they do the same for you. Set an agreed number of sites to share to and number of shares so you each benefit from the sharing collaboration.
  9. ManyStories for Medium
    ManyStories is part of the Penname platform. Penname is a platform of integrated websites dedicated to content distribution and discovery; a place where writers grow their audience and readers discover stories. ManyStories links to the original article link and selects stories to share on the front page of the site each day and will notify you if your work is selected to distribute. If you’re already a writer on Medium, it’s great because it allows writers to find new readers who are not part of the Medium  platform and allows writers to find a pool of writers, with a disproportionately high number of active Medium writers, as well.
  10. Business cards/face-to-face interactions
    Yes. Good old-fashioned business cards. The business card I use now is version number 5! It took several different versions before I finally created a business I am absolutely proud of. When I hand my business card to someone, I am so grateful that my presentation is strong and well-prepared to represent myself as a writer. When I am out and about and a natural conversation strikes up with someone, I’ll give the person my business card and invite them to read my writing. The title of my book is listed on the back of my business card and they can search my name and find my writing on various platforms. Considering we live in an infinite universe full of infinite possibilities, you never know what can happen as a result of these brief encounters!
  11. Focus and learn
    You can’t be everywhere, all the time. It’s inefficient and exhausting. A good approach is to narrow down tactics, or start slowly, and see what works. Toss what doesn’t. The definition of efficacy is the power to produce an effect. The more you learn what works for you, the better prepared you are for the next book launch. And the next.
  12. Do what you can, then let it go and live your life.
    As a writer, there comes a point when you simply have to let go. The book is written, you’ve poured your heart into it and then you have to let it do what it’s meant to do…not always at your direction or on your preferred timetable. A relationship with a book is very similar to the relationship a parent (or caregiver) has with a child. Eventually the child will grow up and have a life of its own. Until then, you do everything within your power, means and resources to provide a good start, a good foundation and then…all you can do is let go. You let go and trust your very best efforts will contribute a life – an existence – that will thrive and touch people in ways you could not have imagined. 

I’d love to hear your feedback. Share what works for you and what doesn’t below in comments!


Bridgitte Jackson Buckley is a freelance writer, author and ghostwriter whose focus includes spirituality, transformational documentaries, and in-depth interviews. She is a former contributor to General Religion on the National circuit of Examiner.com as the National Spirituality Examiner. She’s interviewed many New Thought luminaries including Eckhart Tolle, Iyanla Vanzant, Deepak Chopra, and Elizabeth Gilbert. As a freelance writer, she has written online articles for Examiner, Tiny Buddha, Recreate Your Life Story, Thrive Global, Medium, Gaia and Patheos’ Spirituality Itself. She is a fluent Spanish speaker and has traveled extensively throughout Central America including Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Additional travels also include Hong Kong, Malaysia and (her favorite adventure) Thailand. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, three children and Miniature Schnauzer.

Five Reasons to Review a Book and a Brief How-To

By Nita Sweeney, author of Depression Hates a Moving Target

I’m embarrassed to admit how little I appreciated the importance of book reviews until my own book, Depression Hates a Moving Target, was published. Before that, I posted the occasional review on Goodreads and didn’t even know that some publisher sites (including Mango) accept reviews. I rarely left a review on Amazon.

How times change. Now I am ever-so-slightly obsessed with (I’m always obsessed with something) checking all those sites for reviews of my book. And I’ve gone so far as to spend your precious time telling you about it.

Why Leave a Review?

So just why should a person, especially a busy person with lots of competing interests and precious little time or energy, a person such as you, review the books you read?

  1. To Remember the Book

I’ll go ahead and date myself. I’m old enough that I sometimes forget I’ve read a book, even if it seemed “memorable” at the time. It’s a bit frightening, but also enlightening to scan a review I’ve written. It refreshes my recollection and sometimes makes me want to read the book again.

  1. To Forget the Book

Perhaps it’s part of my mental health challenge, but I don’t think I’m alone here. If I read a deeply moving (or deeply disturbing) book, I get “stuck” in the story. Characters and scenes stroll and scroll through my mind when I should be doing other things. Often I can’t sleep. I toss and turn, trapped by the book. But if I write a review, capturing the essence of what is looping through my mind, it releases me and helps me move on.

  1. To Keep Yourself Honest

Many of us skim when we read. I’m no different. But in order to leave a detailed review, I must read deeply. If I want to review the book, I allow myself to slow down, sink in, and really pay attention. As a result, reading regains a pleasure it once lost.

  1. To Share Your Joy (or Pain)

If I enjoy a book, I want other readers to know. If I detest a book, I want other readers to know. If I didn’t finish a book, I want other readers to know that too. Having said that, I do my best not to pan a book just because it wasn’t what I expected. I’m referring to the 3-star review Marko Kloos received because his novel wasn’t a 36-count package of Jimmy Dean sausages.

  1. To Applaud the Author

I’ve always loved authors. Since my earliest days, people who created books out of thin air were my heroes. But now that I have personally gone through the entire process of not just writing a book and finding a publisher, but also marketing the book, I hold other authors in even higher esteem. I want to shout from the rooftops, “You did a really difficult thing! Great job!”

What Makes a “Good” Review?

As a published author, I appreciate the numbers game. Any positive review is lovely and a review of more than two sentences feels like a gift. But the reviews that stay with me are the ones in which the reader shares something personal about themselves and how the book made them feel. One reviewer said “Nita is inside my head.” Another wrote, “I had to stop at the end of one paragraph and call my mom.” Personal connections like these bring me to tears.

When I write reviews now, I remember how it felt to read reviews of my own book. I search for a place where I connect deeply with the book and share that with the author. This type of review achieves all the things I listed above and writing it feels fabulous since it provides the opportunity to cheer someone else along this twisting, winding, writing path.

[This article originally appeared in Nita’s blog, Bum Glue.]


Nita Sweeney is the author of the memoir, Depression Hates a Moving Target: How Running with My Dog Brought Me Back from the Brink, which was short-listed for the William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition Award and the Dog Writers Association of America Award. Her articles, essays, and poetry have appeared in magazines, journals, books, and blogs including Buddhist America, Dog World, Dog Fancy, Writer’s Journal, Country Living, Pitkin Review, The Taos News, Spring Street, Pencil Storm, WNBA-SF, It’s Not Your Journey, and in several newspapers and newsletters. She writes the blog, Bum Glue, publishes the monthly e-newsletter, Write Now Columbus, and coaches writers in Natalie Goldberg style “writing practice.” Nita has been featured widely across media outlets about writing, running, meditation, mental health, and pet care. She was nominated for an Ohio Arts Council Governor’s Award and her poem, “Memorial,” won the Dublin Arts Council Poet’s Choice Award. When she’s not writing or coaching, Nita runs and races. She has completed three full marathons, twenty-eight half marathons (in eighteen states), and more than ninety shorter races. Nita lives in central Ohio with her husband and biggest fan, Ed, and their yellow Labrador running partner, Scarlet the #ninetyninepercentgooddog.

From Novel to Netflix: Mentoring the book-to-film path with Trisha R. Thomas

By Bridgitte Jackson-Buckley, author of The Gift of Crisis​ (October 2018)

Mentoring comes in all shapes and sizes. It’s not always a meeting for coffee and reporting back. It can happen in a variety of different ways, like meeting an author at a book fair and requesting an email interview.

Unlike my usual manner of attending events without having gone over the complete schedule, for some reason before going to the Leimert Park Book Fair, I looked through the online schedule in its entirety and noticed a book-to-film panel discussion. How did I miss that when I made plans to attend?! I immediately switched gears in preparation to arrive two hours earlier to attend the panel discussion.

When I arrived at the book fair with my 12 year-old son, who is also an avid reader, we hurriedly walked to locate the main stage where the panel discussion was scheduled to take place. Unfamiliar with the venue, we stopped at the information table on the 1st floor and were directed to the 2nd floor. We got off the escalator and walked to the end of the hall (as directed).

No stage.

We went back down the escalator and asked a second volunteer for the location, but were again erroneously directed to the opposite end of where we needed to go. Finally, we found the main stage and I quickly found a seat. My son went to look out the window. This isn’t his genre. No dragon and sorcerer discussions here.

I was prepared to learn all the wonderful ins-and-out of a subject matter completely foreign to me. ‘Tell me something I don’t know!’ I thought as I eagerly positioned myself to listen to the panel, which consisted of a one-on-one with authors Trisha R. Thomas, Nappily Ever After and Michael Datcher, Americus.

Nappily Ever After, based on the novel by Thomas, an award-winning author of literary fiction, was made into a feature film on Netflix starring Saana Lathan.

Nappliy Ever After Trailer (2018) Netflix

I had many questions, but because we had difficulty locating the main stage we arrived five minutes before the panel discussion ended!

After both Thomas and Datcher left the stage to sit at the book signing table, I wasn’t sure what to do with my unanswered questions. I stood near the line for the book signing table while my son repeatedly requested a $5.00 slice cheese of pizza and two attendees asked if I was in line or not.

I carefully considered my most pressing question:

As an African-American woman writer, how did she break through the book-to-film barrier?

I took a deep breath and decided to request an email interview with Thomas.

She agreed.

BJB: How can writers, specifically women writers of color, break through to have their book considered for a film option if their literary agent does not query film agents?

TT: I have found it helpful to have a literary agent who specializes in book publishing and a specific agent for film development. Two different agencies.

BJB: What is the most important thing you wish you had known prior to having your book made into a feature film on Netflix?

TT: Before having Nappily Ever After made into a film I ended up writing 8 more books in the series. I kept writing about Venus (Violet) to see where her journey was taking her. I actually hoped it was going to be a series so I wanted to be prepared with her full life trajectory, falling in love, falling out, and finding herself again.

I don’t have anything I would’ve done differently.

I have a library of cool stories under my belt that I wouldn’t have had if I’d just been sitting on my hands waiting for the film to happen.

BJB: What plans do you have to mentor or offer guidance to African-American women authors interested in the book-to-film path of writing?

TT: I have a few writers that I’m mentoring right now.

I suggest if you’re looking for a mentor you start locally where you can have a personal relationship as well. Go to conferences and meet the person you’d like to bounce ideas from and have a real interaction. The next step is exchanging contact information and your goals.

Mentoring is more than the transfer of advice, knowledge and information. It’s not solely about achieving goals. It’s also about coming together; coming together in unexpected ways to help each other.

You may not have the same goals as your mentor, but what you do have are similar intentions to create inspiring and creative content. This is why each and every person who is intrinsically inspired to create in whatever form — be it writing, painting, drawing, photography, or singing — is important. What you think and feel and how you share your creativity with the world carries a distinct vibration of inspiration.

The wonderful part is there is room for everyone.

Not only is there room, there is a collective need for similar creative intentions to be expressed in a variety of ways because there are a variety of recipients.

Your work touches differently than that of your mentor and because of this it’s crucial to have supportive camaraderie; someone who is willing to share information and encourage you as a writer to keep going — to let your creative voice be heard.


Bridgitte Jackson Buckley is a freelance writer, author and ghostwriter whose focus includes spirituality, transformational documentaries, and in-depth interviews. She is a former contributor to General Religion on the National circuit of Examiner.com as the National Spirituality Examiner. She’s interviewed many New Thought luminaries including Eckhart Tolle, Iyanla Vanzant, Deepak Chopra, and Elizabeth Gilbert. As a freelance writer, she has written online articles for Examiner, Tiny Buddha, Recreate Your Life Story, Thrive Global, Medium, Gaia and Patheos’ Spirituality Itself. She is a fluent Spanish speaker and has traveled extensively throughout Central America including Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Additional travels also include Hong Kong, Malaysia and (her favorite adventure) Thailand. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, three children and Miniature Schnauzer.

Meet WNBA-SF at SFWC 2020!

SF Writers' Conference logoThe fabulous San Francisco Writers Conference, will be showcased at the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero on the waterfront, near the fabled Ferry Building.

Nowhere could you find a more spacious and elegant accommodation for networking and learning the newest trends in the craft and business of writing. Often called the “friendliest” as well as the premier West Coast writers conference, SFWC is now only a BART ride away from SFO or from almost anywhere in the Bay Area.

 

Presidents Day Weekend–February 13-16, 2020

Experience SFWC’s Hyatt Regency venue, where you will discover hidden nooks in the soaring atrium (the world’s largest hotel lobby), and an entire floor of meeting rooms surrounded by glass-enclosed hallways and foyers. You will be steps away from a myriad of restaurants, food courts, and the outdoor marketplace at Embarcadero Center, an iconic and accessible destination. Where better for a writer to find community? Register here.

Top Ten Irresistible Reasons for Writers to Attend the San Francisco Writers Conference

Find sessions that fit your specific writing needs and goals. At SFWC you can choose from a full schedule of workshops and panels.

Meet industry leaders and learn how to play the publishing game. The information at SFWC covers the latest trends and technology to help you get more writing done…and successfully sell what you write.

At Speed Dating for Agents pitch your book ideas one-on-one in a room full of literary agents ($75 option for registered attendees only). Literary agents at SFWC are on the lookout for new clients with great books they can represent.

Learn about a wide range of publishing options from leaders in self-publishing AND traditional publishing.

Receive FREE editorial feedback on your work from freelance book editors. Click HERE for the FAQ sheet!

Build your personal writing community. At SFWC meet like-minded writers from all over the United States…and other countries, too.

Seek innovative writer-related services. Meet with the exhibitors at the conference to find out what’s new for writers.

Browse the onsite bookstore and get the books you purchase autographed by the presenters.

Enjoy SFWC’s over-the-top networking opportunities. SFWC attendees can jump into pitch practices, share their work at “Open Mic” readings, and socialize at our Gala Party and Poetry and Jazz events. This is just a sampling of what goes on during the event. 

You want to go to a conference that offers it all. You’ve just described the San Francisco Writers Conference–top quality information and excellent speakers, yet extremely friendly to writers at all levels. 

The MAIN CONFERENCE registration fee includes four days of live sessions, keynotes and events from Thursday through Sunday. Plus a consult with an editor and publicist, unlimited networking with over 100 presenters (and fellow writers!), a Networking Gala, the Poetry and Jazz party, morning continental breakfasts, the popular Practice Your Pitch event, an attendee bag filled with writer goodies, and more!

Wait, there’s more!

A One-Day Poetry Track at the San Francisco Writers Conference 
The Poetry Summit at the 2020 SFWC
Saturday, February 15, 2020
Starts at 9 am and ends with Poetry & Jazz evening event.
Included with main conference registration or stand-alone for $195.

And…SAN FRANCISCO WRITERS FOUNDATION MASTER CLASSES!
Pre-Conference: Thursday, February 13, 2020
Post-Conference: Monday, February 17, 2020
 REGISTER HERE

Women’s National Book Association—San Francisco Chapter has been a proud sponsor of SFWC since its beginning 2004 at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, and then followed the conference to the Mark Hopkins, and now at the Hyatt Regency. Throughout SFWC’s 17 years, WNBA has been an exhibitor; WNBA members have been volunteers, presenters, pros, freelance editors, and coordinators. Meet us this year at the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero!

 

 

 

NaNoWriMo – Tips for Success

by Nita Sweeney

When someone asks HOW to start writing, what they often want to know is WHERE to start writing, as in, “Where should my story begin?”

If it is November and they are participating in National Novel Writing Month, the annual challenge to write 50,000 words of fiction during the thirty days of November, about which I’ve written many times, the person’s question is premature.

Come to think of it, regardless of whether or not it is November or whether or not they are participating in NaNoWriMo, the question is still premature. In order to begin, a writer, new or otherwise, doesn’t need to know what words will follow the heading “Chapter One.” They just need to start writing.

But let me add a caveat. I write from my gut. I feel my way through. Not everyone is like this. Some people need to think a piece through or draft an outline. They may need extensive notes and research, especially for longer works. All that is fine, of course. But at some point, they just have to dive in.

That’s where writing practice saves me.

Decades of doing timed writing with no agenda except to put words on the page sidesteps the potentially paralyzing question of where the story should start. I figure it out by writing. I get in there and wallow around. Research or plotting or planning I’ve done ahead of time only serves me once my fingers are hammering the keyboard. I have to turn on the spigot and then, once the water is flowing, I’ll see what crevices it naturally wants to enter.

What is writing practice? It’s what I learned from best-selling author Natalie Goldberg. Timed writing. Set a timer and go. No thought. No crossing out or back spacing. No wondering if what I just wrote makes any sense. No stopping until the timer dings. It’s freeing and terrifying and the only way I know how to work. It’s the engine beneath everything I write.

And, it is just my way. I would love to hear about other ways in the comments.

Nita Sweeney
(c)Nita Sweeney, 2019, all rights reserved


Nita Sweeney is the author of the memoir, Depression Hates a Moving Target: How Running with My Dog Brought Me Back from the Brink, which was short-listed for the William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition Award. Her articles, essays, and poetry have appeared in magazines, journals, books, and blogs including Buddhist America, Dog World, Dog Fancy, Writer’s Journal, Country Living, Pitkin Review, The Taos News, Spring Street, Pencil Storm, WNBA-SF, It’s Not Your Journey, and in several newspapers and newsletters. She writes the blog, Bum Glue, publishes the monthly e-newsletter, Write Now Columbus, and coaches writers in Natalie Goldberg style “writing practice.” Nita has been featured widely across media outlets about writing, running, meditation, mental health, and pet care. She was nominated for an Ohio Arts Council Governor’s Award and her poem, “Memorial,” won the Dublin Arts Council Poet’s Choice Award. When she’s not writing or coaching, Nita runs and races. She has completed three full marathons, twenty-seven half marathons (in eighteen states), and more than eighty shorter races. Nita lives in central Ohio with her husband and biggest fan, Ed, and their yellow Labrador running partner, Scarlet (aka #ninetyninepercentgooddog).

Three Ways To Get Buzz For Your Book

By Paula Rizzo, author of Listful Living: A List-Making Journey to a Less Stressed You(September 2019)

A few short weeks ago, my newest book, Listful Living: A List-Making Journey to a Less Stressed You, was published! I’m super excited. 

Many of my clients are authors as well and I always give them the same advice when I’m media training or working on media strategy with them. 

So I’m practicing what I preach! 

Here’s what I’ve been doing to get my book out there before it hit bookshelves:  

Get Traditional Media Mentions: When it comes to publishing a book, I always tell my clients to get media attention well before the book comes out. If you’re lucky you could be like my friend Ilise Benun who got one media mention that brought her ten years worth of business! Check out my video interview with her here. 

I spent close to two decades as a television producer and the authors who got coverage were the ones that I already knew. That’s because they were already experts in my eyes and it was easy to say yes to someone who has already proven to be a good source for you. You want to be friendly with editors and producers well before you have a book to sell. It’s much easier to get their attention when they know and trust you already. 

As I always say media begets more media, so putting your name out there will create a ripple effect and hopefully bring new potential readers and media to your door. For more on what television producers specifically looking for check out my post on it here.

Here’s a recent interview I did with PsychCentral.com where I was interviewed about how to brainstorm better and be more creative. I took an example from my recent trip to Greece. Creativity is not a topic I typically would speak on but it worked and I got a mention for my book in there along with my quote. 

So that’s a lesson – don’t be tied to only talk about your topic. If you can confidently lend expertise in other areas do it – you’ll still get a mention for your book so it’s a win win! 

Also remember to never stop doing media. That’s a big mistake a lot of authors make. They only do media when they’re promoting. Make it part of your overall strategy. If you’re serious about this I can help – apply for a media strategy session here.

Produce Video Content: I may sound like a broken record with how often I encourage everyone to do video but that’s only because it works! 

When you’re seen on video the viewer gets to know you and like you. It’s a special connection that you can’t get through written word only. This is something you should be doing regularly. But for sure leading up to a big launch you should double your efforts.

There are so many topics that an author can create videos about. You wrote a whole book – pull from that! Remember to teach what you know and it will be much easier. 

If you want to learn how to create compelling video – take my free webinar “Produce Like a Pro” here

Plus, take your potential readers behind-the-scenes of your big launch. Let them see what you’re up to and they’ll get excited as well. For example, here are a few recent videos I’ve done as I prepare for Listful Living’s launch. 

VIDEO: Unboxing my author copies of Listful Living and seeing it for the first time!

FB LIVE: 30 Days til Listful Living Publishes

FB LIVE: Heading to record the audio book version of Listful Living 

Get Booked on Podcasts – Podcasts are so hot right now. You might be hearing that “everyone has a podcast” these days. They’re actually so popular that recording studios are the new must-have for boutique hotels. It’s true!  

So what better place to start getting your name out there? Podcasts tend to have a unique and niche audience so you can really target those who you think would be interested in what you offer. And you can even reach new audiences too. 

Also – podcasts are a good place to work out your material because they are usually between 20 minutes and one hour. So your answers don’t have to be as tight and concise as with television. 

Plus, here’s something you might not know, people who listen to podcasts buy books. Yep it’s true. 

Everyone thinks getting on the Today Show or another TV show means your book will fly off the shelves.

It’s simply not true. 

Podcasts are the ticket. 

In fact, I was just at a conference and a media expert said her client was on The Today Show and sold only 111 books from that appearance. But when she was on a podcast the numbers soared. 

Here are some of the recent podcasts I’ve been on to talk about my book – even before it is published!

Profitology Podcast with Kelly O’Neil – Crack the Media Code with Paula Rizzo. Even though this is about media I still got to mention my book. 

Good Life Coach with Michele Lamourex – How to Get Booked on TV and in Print. Same with this podcast and the host was so intrigued with my other expertise in productivity and list making that she wanted to record a second show just on that topic. 

Good Life Coach with Michele Lamourex – How to Use Lists for a Happier Less Stressed. 

Get Published with Paul Brodie  – How to Use Traditional Media Effectively. This one combines my journey as an author with strategies to get media attention.

available now and  

My book is available everywhere books are sold; if you’re the least bit interested I’d love if you grabbed a copy now: 

Amazon: http://bit.ly/ListfulLiving  

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/ListfulLivingBN 

Indiebound: http://bit.ly/ListfulLivingIndiebound

BONUS FREEBIE: Your message deserves the media’s attention. So how do you get out there in a bigger way? I’ve got you covered. CLICK HERE to grab my free “Checklist to Become a Go-To Media Expert.”


As a best-selling author and Emmy-award winning television producer for nearly 20 years, I’ve produced health, wellness, and lifestyle segments with a range of top experts, including JJ Virgin, Jillian Michaels, and Deepak Chopra. I served as senior health producer for Fox News Channel in New York City for over a decade. Today, I work with experts, authors, and entrepreneurs on how to position themselves for media (traditional as well as blogs and podcasts), build their lists, and engage customers and fans for their brands, books and businesses.

I’m also the co-creator of Lights Camera Expert – an online course geared towards helping entrepreneurs, authors and experts get media attention.

I created the productivity site ListProducer.com and am the best-selling author of Listful Thinking: Using Lists to be More Productive, Highly Successful and Less Stressed, which has been translated into 12 languages and has been featured on many media outlets including Fox News, Fox Business, Prevention, Business Insider, Entrepreneur, Brides and made it on Oprah.com’s list of “Self Help Books That Actually Help.”

My latest book: Listful Living: A List-Making Journey to a Less Stressed You was published in the Fall of 2019.

I’m a regular speaker, and presented the keynote address for New York Women in Communications, and have presented at MA Conference for Women, Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), American Society of Association Executives, and others.

 

Love it or Leave it?

By Angelica Shirley Carpenter |

On November 5, 1872, Susan B. Anthony voted in the presidential election in her hometown of Rochester, New York. Two weeks later a United States deputy marshal called at her house to arrest her for illegal voting. He offered to let her go to the district attorney’s office by herself. “Oh, dear, no,” she said. “I much prefer to be taken, handcuffed, if possible.” 

Her arrest and trial made national headlines. Some accounts were written and published by her friend Matilda Joslyn Gage, a fellow leader in the National Woman Suffrage Association. Gage traveled from her home near Syracuse to support Anthony; they organized separate speaking tours around Rochester. Anthony’s speech asked “Is it a Crime for a Citizen of the United States to Vote?” Gage’s talk was entitled “The United States on Trial, Not Susan B. Anthony.” 

Their speeches were so effective that the Monroe County district attorney ruled they had tainted the jury pool. He changed the venue to Ontario County, where the two suffragists managed to stage another whirlwind of talks before the trial. 

The court case, by today’s standards, was a joke. The jury was all male. The judge, described by Gage as “a small-brained, pale-faced, prim-looking man,” ruled Anthony incompetent to testify (all women were considered incompetent to testify at trials). After two days of testimony and speeches by lawyers, the judge pulled a piece of paper from his pocket. 

“This was the first criminal case he had been called on to hear since his appointment,” Gage wrote later, “and with remarkable forethought, he had penned his decision before hearing it.”

“Gentlemen of the jury,” the judge read from his paper, “Miss Anthony knew that she was a woman, and that the Constitution of this State prohibits her from voting. She intended to violate that provision—intended to test it, perhaps, but certainly intended to violate it. . . . She voluntarily gave a vote which was illegal and thus is subject to the penalty of the law.” 

Without allowing the jurors to deliberate, or even to speak a word, he directed them to find her guilty. After instructing the court clerk to enter the verdict, he dismissed the jury and announced a fine for Anthony: one hundred dollars, plus court costs.

“May it please your honor,” Anthony said, “I shall never pay a dollar of your unjust penalty.” And she never did.

Later a law journal published a review of the case, offering advice to the radical women. Matilda Joslyn Gage responded in her newspaper, The National Citizen and Ballot Box: “The Albany Law Journal,” she said “. . . advised Miss Anthony and ourself if we were not pleased with ‘our laws,’ that is, laws made by men, to leave the country, to exile ourselves. This legal journal does not even recognize woman’s right of protest, but if for any reason, women are not pleased with ‘our laws!’ they are bidden to leave the country. Under such a monstrous perversion of justice, . . . cannot all women say We are Without a Country?”

This monstrous perversion of justice has echoed through decades of patriotic dissent. In the 1960s, people who protested the draft and who fought against America’s involvement in the Vietnam War received similar advice. Some did leave, but others stayed, and some even died in that war, believing that they could effect change from within. And eventually the country agreed: the United States had been wrong to attack that small, brave country. 

Today the demand comes from a white supremacist president, aimed particularly at women of color, to love this country or leave it. In solidarity with them, I’d like to echo the 60s: Hell no, we won’t go! It’s our country, too. We will stay and fight to make it better and to make it equal for all.


Angelica Shirley Carpenter is the author of Born Criminal: Matilda Joslyn Gage, Radical Suffragist. Her website is angelicacarpenter.com.