3 Tips for a Great Instagram Feed

Instagram is not a mystery. We make it a mystery because on the surface all we see are photographs and memes. But there is a lot more to it, especially if you’re an author or writer. Here are three basic tips to creating a great Instagram feed.

  1. Be interesting. You have hobbies, recreational activities, and interests that match other Instagram users’ interests. Share photos of your garden, your knitting, the pastries you bake or the products you love.
  2. Tell a story of you without selfies. You don’t have to share selfies to tell a story about you and your book or product. Take a shot of that blank computer screen when you have writer’s block. Snap a photo of your feet reclining on your lounger or sofa to tell the story of a special moment of relaxation.
  3. Share what you love. Post photos of a work of art that moves you. A book that you love. That special coffee blend you buy. People love knowing that someone else shares their loves too.

Instagram hashtags are many, so research a few in their search engine or online. Also, think beyond your existing audience to attract a wider one using visual imagery on Instagram. Instagram is a great tool for continuing your marketing efforts without having to always promote your work. Use it as a supplement.

 

4 Books Every Writer Should Own

By now you already own a dictionary and thesaurus, but there are four other books essential to writing. Each serves its own purpose and each can be a great resource. Also, each has an online relative linked below.

The Elements of Style, William Strunk, Jr.
Asserting that one must first know the rules to break them, this classic reference book is a must-have for any student and conscientious writer. Intended for use in which the practice of composition is combined with the study of literature, it gives in brief space the principal requirements of plain English style and concentrates attention on the rules of usage and principles of composition most commonly violated.

Associated Press Stylebook
Newspapers and magazines have their own set of rules to follow in writing. Knowing those rules will enable you to sell an article or write a press release.

The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style
An essential tool for writers, editors, proofreaders, designers, copywriters, production managers, and marketers too. The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style is an essential tool not only for writers of religious materials, but for their editors, proofreaders, designers, copywriters, production managers, and even marketers.

The Writer’s Market
This has been an invaluable tool for writers for many years. They have a market book for songwriting, children’s books, poetry, and book publishing. Great resource.

Writing the story is easy, but mastering the elements of writing takes great work and knowledge. These books should either be on a shelf in your home office or available to you as an app. Do you have a resource to share? Please do in the comments.

15 Snacks for Focus, Concentration and Energy to Write

Eating heavy foods while trying to write or do something requiring our rapt attention can be counterproductive. There a few snacks you can nosh on while writing that are nutritious, tasty, and good for your brain (focus, concentration, and energy).

  1. Almonds
  2. Bananas
  3. Beets
  4. Blueberries
  5. Broccoli
  6. Celery
  7. Dark Chocolate
  8. Green Tea
  9. Kale Chips
  10. Pumpkin Seeds
  11. Spinach
  12. Sunflower Seeds
  13. Turmeric Tea
  14. Walnuts
  15. Water

The beauty of these snacks is that you can eat them individually or together. Try to eat the veggies raw as in a light salad with an oil dressing (no sugar), and lemon. All contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. And they all boost energy, focus and concentration.

Most importantly, they are low in calories, which is great for those of us who sit for long hours.

Books for Creatives You Should Read Now

Are you a creative who needs some inspiration? Instead of picking up a novel, pick up one or more of the following books to stir those juices and unleash your creative energy.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield identifies the enemy that every one of us must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer this internal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success. [Excerpt]

It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again by Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way) In It’s Never Too Late To Begin Again, she turns her eye to a segment of the population that, ironically, while they have more time to be creative, are often reluctant or intimidated by the creative process. Cameron shows readers that retirement can, in fact, be the most rich, fulfilling, and creative time of their lives.

Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon is a (book) list of the 10 things the author wishes he’d learned about being creative when he was younger. The things no one tells you.

Evil Plans & Ignore Everybody by Hugh MacLeod – two books that are about not only being creative but being successful at it.

Make it Mighty Ugly by Kim Werker –  It’s filled with essays, exercises, anecdotes, links, quotes and a bibliography to help you fight the demons that keep you from being creative and making stuff. 

The Little Spark by Carrie Bloomston – The book is chock-full of concrete, hands-on tips that can help the newbie develop habits of creativity by making things and then making some more things, the principle of repetition (spark #23).

Press into becoming the creative you long to be or once were by reading one of the above books. If you’ve already read any of the above, please leave a comment below.

 

Is Your Website Ready for Publicity?

Your author or personality website should contain a few things that make it easy for media to learn about you quickly. Moreover, those items should be of easy access to you in the event someone wants to interview you or feature your work.

  1. Hi-resolution photographs (over 1,000 pixels) of you and your book cover or product. The higher the resolution, the better. You will need a portrait, head shot, and a shot that shows you speaking or working. Update them regularly.
  2. Your bio in three forms: A brief 100 words or less boilerplate bio; a short 300-500 word bio; and your bio in long form.
  3. A list of notable projects and affiliations.
  4. Links to previous media.
  5. All of your social links, including LinkedIn.

These five things will save you time, and make it easy for media to find everything they need to write about you or feature you.

Yet, there is one last thing you need. You will need a clean site that contains a minimal of typographical errors and grammatical errors. You can go to Fiverr.com to hire help in editing and proofreading your site’s copy. Don’t hire a cousin and avoid doing it yourself.

Are you ready?

Describing the Taste and Smell with Your Writing

Words can and should make an emotional connection with readers. To simply say something smells or tastes good and bad is not sufficient. You want to be more descriptive using words that get right to the heart of the matter. Below are two categories of words: good and bad. Imagine using some of the words below to describe two primary senses in your writing.

GOOD

  • Words for good-smelling: Perfumed, scented, fragrant, aromatic, delightful, savory
  • Words for good-tasting: Savory, delectable, delicious, ambrosial, full-flavored, zesty

BAD

  • Words for bad-smelling: Acrid, pungent, stinking, foul, sharp, putrid, rancid
  • Words for bad-tasting: Acrid, pungent, blah, bland, putrid, gamey,

Sometimes it is a matter of habit to use good or bad to describe taste and smell, but that’s why we have the thesaurus, which provides both synonyms and antonyms.

We can even use a string of words in a sentence to convey both, but the point is to describe it in a way that grabs and holds a reader’s attention while inciting their senses.

A Few Good Reasons to Write Your Book Now

Every author on the planet has been applauded by someone for their first published work. Many of us are approached regularly by people who say, “One day I hope to write a book.” Hope is often delayed, however, and many let time pass without taking the necessary steps to make that dream a reality. Below are a few good reasons to write your book now.

  1. Fear fuels those who actually succeed at writing a book. Most people think it’s fear that stops a person from writing, but actually it propels most of us to finish a book. The fear of not doing it is stronger. Let your fear be your guide. Be afraid but do it anyway.
  2. Writing is freedom. You can write in a journal that no one reads, or you can write a novel or memoir that not only liberates you but someone else. Be free.
  3. There is never a good time to write a book, which is why many people fail at writing their first books. Inconvenience is a part of the process, so write now. A page a day for a year is over 300 pages. Write because it is inconvenient.
  4. Finishing a book makes all of your other goals appear more attainable. Most goals appear daunting until they are completed. Think of everything else you’ve accomplished and completed; small and big. Writing that book now will be a courageous act.
  5. Writing a book now will solve a major mystery. The mystery? That you can actually complete a book, publish it, and be an author. Until you do it, it will always be a mystery.

There are many other reasons to write a book now, including setting an example of inspiration for others. Do you have a special reason for writing? Share it in the comments.