• Browsing all articles by Guest Writer, Author at WriteByNight Writers' Service

    Who Wants to Publish Your Short Stuff?

    Posted Posted by Guest Writer in The Submission Process     Comments 18 comments

    TL;DR version: We have a guest writer this week, Windy Lynn Harris, author of the new release Writing & Selling Short Stories & Personal Essays: The Essential Guide to Getting Your Work PublishedWindy has stopped by to share some of her wisdom on the topic, including where to find markets for your short work and how to match your writing to the right publications. In the comments section, she wants to hear about what you’re working on and what sort of target publications you have in mind.


    There’s plenty of information available about how to get a book published, but what about all of the other great things you write? What about those short stories and personal essays? Short pieces get published every single day of the week. How can you get in on the fun? One of the biggest hurdles for writers is answering the question: Who wants to publish a story like mine?

    Let’s start by looking at the whole market. Many types of magazines acquire short stories and essays, including literary, consumer, genre, and small-circulation magazines. Some newspapers print essays, especially travel and lifestyle essays. read more

    Creative Flow: Flowing Body, Flowing Mind

    Posted Posted by Guest Writer in Creative Flow     Comments 14 comments

    Today we offer the first post in a new series, “Creative Flow,” in which writer and creativity coach Sid Kemp will share some tips and tricks for creating and sustaining creative energy. –DD


    You probably know the feeling of creative flow, those times when words fly out of our fingers into the keyboard, or ink just pours out of the pen. Words arrive, we write them down and they feel right. It’s great, isn’t it?

    Creative flow can feel very different for each of us. My wife writes haiku, tanka, and other short-form poetry. Her flow is to write and post at least one poem a day. I also work with songwriters, Hollywood script writers, business writers, copy writers, bloggers, and fiction writers.

    Every one of us feels the flow in a different way.

    Some writers can even feel different kinds of flow based on what they’re working on. I write short stories and novels, and I’ve noticed that, for each one, the creative flow feels different. read more

    The Top 5 Reasons Writers Don’t Want to Pay for Writers’ Services

    Posted Posted by Guest Writer in Dos & Don'ts     Comments 14 comments

    vintage-842337__180It’s uncomfortable to talk about money: who has it, who needs it, how we spend it and why. But in my experience in both writing and life, the uncomfortable conversations are the most important ones to have (the birds and the bees, et al.).

    So, in the spirit of productive discomfort, today we’re going to tackle a crucial issue that comes up daily here at WriteByNight: the cost of writers’ services.

    Let’s be real: services cost money. Whether you’re having your car detailed, your apartment cleaned, your hair cut, or your health checked, you pay to access the expertise of another. This is specialization in action. You know how to do certain things, and don’t know how to do others. Thankfully, there’s someone out there who knows what you don’t.

    Intellectually we all know this, but our emotions are another story, and boy, are our feelings powerful. We can convince ourselves of all kinds of things to avoid spending dough, even when it’s on stuff we need — maybe especially then.

    What follows are the top five reasons writers don’t want to pay for writers’ services and — you guessed it — why it’s so important that you do: read more

    Writing Your First Book: 5 Common Misconceptions

    Posted Posted by Guest Writer in Strategies     Comments 14 comments

    writing your first bookSo you’ve decided it’s time to start writing your first book. You’ve got a story to share with the world and a tall cup of coffee to keep you sharp while you do it.

    You’ve never written a book before, but you’re not worried. You got good grades in high school English and enjoyed writing in college. Often when you read, you think, I can do better than that. You can write a book, you figure. How hard can it be?

    Fast forward a month. You’re stalled, frustrated, on the verge of giving up. You’ve tried and tried to make steady progress, to translate your ideas clearly from your head to the page, but it’s just not working. This book-writing thing is shaping up to be a lot harder than you thought it would be.

    It feels impossible, like traveling through a long, dark tunnel with no end in sight.

    Writing your first book is not impossible, but without the right approach, it can feel that way. read more

    Six Years of Rejection: What I Did When Editors Said No

    Posted Posted by Guest Writer in Inspiration     Comments 16 comments

    Our pal Martin Barkley’s story “W’s Decorum” was published recently at Queen Mob’s Tea House. I knew Martin had been working on — submitting, polishing, submitting, polishing —  that story for many years, and it set me to wondering: after six years of rejection, had he ever felt like giving up on “W’s Decorum”? What kept him from doing so? How did it feel to finally have someone pick it up? i.e., was the pleasure worth the pain? He was kind enough to write about the experience for us below.

    How about you folks? What keeps you submitting a piece of work that gets rejected again and again? How do you keep yourself from giving up? Is the pleasure of publication worth the pain of rejection? Let us know in the comments below or drop us a line. –DD


    By Martin Barkley

    “W’s Decorum” is a story written in the form of a legal deposition (4,962 words), a story that has a bunch of fine cuss words and erudite footnotes, and that disses George W. Bush for making being a dick acceptable.”

    From my cover letter to Queen Mob’s Tea House


    Negativity PositivityI wrote this story that was rejected eight times over the course of six years. In between offering the story and receiving refusals, I was busy writing other things, so that factored into the lengthy timeline to publication, but I kept coming back to the story.

    Because I keep a spreadsheet of my submissions (see below), I know how many times and where the piece got the kibosh. About half the editors responded quickly, perhaps too quickly (In one fucking day, Word Riot — really?) to have actually read the piece. Three of the submissions sat in a slush pile for two months or more, which is fairly standard, but it does drag out the process. As does the stingy “No Simultaneous Submission” policy, which I resentfully obeyed whenever required. read more

    Finding Balance in a Mostly Disordered Life

    Posted Posted by Guest Writer in Strategies     Comments 25 comments

    Here to find the Micro Fiction Challenge results? They’re in the comments section of the post

    Today our pal Yi Shun Lai shares some thoughts on the subject of balance in a writer’s life. Yi Shun’s debut novel is coming out soon from Shade Mountain Press, she has a new novel coming up due, a day job, a volunteer job (or several?), a husband, a dog, a blog, and … and I’m out of breath just typing this. i.e., balance is a continual struggle. Is finding balance a struggle for you, too? What strategies do you employ? Do they work? Let us know below. — DD


    By Yi Shun Lai

    Yi Shun's dog, Sprocket, shows how he achieves balance.

    Yi Shun’s dog, Sprocket, shows how he achieves balance.

    We are not talking yoga.

    Or maybe we are. Because when you’re staring at a to-do list that seems five thousand items long, and the dog needs walking, and your unfinished manuscript is weighing on you, maybe what you really need is to meditate.

    In front of classic Star Trek.

    On the couch.

    With a blanket over your head.

    And a box (two?) of Cheez-Its.

    I can tell you from recent experience that this is not “mindful” or “productive” behavior. And yet, it is highly necessary. read more

    A Writing Coach is … All of These and More

    Posted Posted by Guest Writer in ABCs of Writing     Comments No comments

    I remember my first session as a writing coach. I was nervous. WriteByNight was pretty new. We had been offering creative writing workshops in Florida (you can read our creation story here) and were branching out into the one-on-one services in which we now specialize. This was before the days of our wonderful staff of coaches and consultants, so it was just me and David delivering all of WBN’s services. (We would sometimes even coach together, which is pretty cute if I do say so myself.)

    Marcia Drut-Davis

    Marcia Drut-Davis

    Like I said, I was nervous. I had training, of course, and I had prepared thoroughly, but any way you slice it, this was my first true coaching experience. As I sat across the table from my very first client, Marcia Drut-Davis, author of Confessions of a Childfree Woman: A Life Spent Swimming Against the Mainstream, a beautiful memoir on which we worked together for three years, I wondered, What am I supposed to be doing here? What is a writing coach anyway? read more

    The Writing Coach: Therapy, Training, Editorial Guidance

    Posted Posted by Guest Writer in ABCs of Writing     Comments 1 comment

    In our ongoing series addressing the role and duties of a writing coach, today we present a response from WriteByNighter Sid Kemp. Sid came to us in the throes of a battle with writer’s block, and began working with Justine through our writer’s block counseling service. Mere months later, Sid is once again writing regularly. The post below is his response to the questions we asked y’all about writing coaches: What is a writing coach to you? What role does your coach play in your writing life? What does your coach do that others in your life do not (or vice versa)? 


    Bored at WorkFor a writer with writer’s block as bad as mine, a writing coach is what a lifeguard is to a tired swimmer caught in a rip current. The writing coach is a lifeline who will help me get from where I am to where I want to be, when I can’t seem to get there alone.

    I myself am a spiritual life coach, so I understand coaching pretty well. Justine, as my writing coach, fills a truly unique role. Perhaps some writers can publish and achieve their goals without help – if so, more power to you. But Justine and I agree that, while it is wonderful to be a writer, it is also hard. Writing, as an art, requires sensitivity and incredible honestly. Living in this world, that is painful and often hard. I’m a big one for asking for help when I need it. What kind of help? I’ll answer that to distinguish a writing coach from other types of helpers: read more

    What is a Writing Coach?

    Posted Posted by Guest Writer in ABCs of Writing     Comments 2 comments

    David’s post about what a writing coach isn’t got us thinking about what a writing coach is. A teacher? a trainer? an editor? a therapist? a mentor? a spiritual adviser? a life coach? all of the above? Definitions of “writing coach” are as varied as the writers our coaches work with. No two writing coaches are the same; no two coaching experiences are the same.

    Since the concept of the writing coach means so many different things to so many people, we figured we’d go right to the source. What follows is a roundup of responses from a handful of our coaches to the following questions:

    What is a writing coach to you? What role do you play in your clients’ writing lives? What role do your clients play in yours? read more

    The Benefits of Saying NO

    Posted Posted by Guest Writer in Inspiration     Comments 2 comments

    NOWhen’s the last time you said “no”? To an invitation, an opportunity, a favor. To a family member, a business associate, a friend. How did it feel to say it? What did you do with your time instead?

    I recently read a book excerpt on Medium that got me thinking about saying no. Who does it, who doesn’t, who should, and why.

    This excerpt, called “Creative People Say No,” from Kevin Ashton’s book How to Fly a Horse, tells of a Hungarian psychology professor who requested interviews with creatives (writers, artists, composers, etc.) for a book he was writing. Of the 275 creatives contacted, only a third said “yes”; a third said “no,” citing lack of time as the reason; and a third didn’t respond, presumably due to lack of time.

    That response isn’t so amazing in and of itself, but what is thought-provoking is the care with which these creatives guarded their time. read more

    The Scoop on Our Newest Services for Writers: strategy session and accelerated coaching

    Posted Posted by Guest Writer in WBN News & Events     Comments No comments

    FireworksYup, it’s true. We’ve added two new services to our already impressive selection of coaching, consultation, and editorial offerings. And we’re pretty darn excited about it. We hope this post will get you just as excited as we are.

    What follows is a full description of each new service and some FAQ you’ll find helpful in gaining familiarity with them. So without further ado, here’s the scoop on WriteByNight’s newest services for writers. read more

    Manuscript Preparation: How to Do It Right

    Posted Posted by Guest Writer in Strategies     Comments 7 comments

    Workplace frustrationPicture this.

    You have a great idea for a story. You spend weeks, months, or years writing it, devoting countless hours and immeasurable energy to the project. Finally, you reach those magical words: The End. Now what?

    You know you’re in need of some manuscript preparation, but you’re so exhausted that the prospect feels like cruel torture. The thought of waiting even one more day to share your story with the world is equally unappealing. You want it done and you want it done now. So you tell yourself that your first draft is good enough (you hate revising anyway), and you send your book to print. Or you Google “editor” and hire the first result, crossing your fingers that she’ll perfect the manuscript for you. Or you send out for a proof, thinking grammar is all that needs attention.

    On the day you hold your finished work in your hands, you’re disappointed instead of elated. Your story has plot holes you hadn’t noticed, your main character is flat, and the text is riddled with typos. What happened to the high-quality piece of writing you envisioned? You think, This is what I bent over backwards for?!
    read more