The Practice of Creativity

Posts Tagged ‘fiction

Hi Writing Peeps!

During the past six weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of listening to and working with writers through my free training ‘Savvy Submission Strategies for Writers’ and those who enrolled in my new online course ‘Chart Your Path to Publication’.

The work has been deep, heart-filled and energizing. Writers came eager to learn and share their experiences navigating the submission process.

Some writers, if they are very lucky, have mentors that guide them, most learn through painful trial and error. I want to provide a shortcut for YOU in submitting your work and navigating your way through the volatile landscape of publishing.

Imagine what getting better writing results in 2022 might feel like.

For a short time, I’m opening enrollment to my online course Chart Your Path to Publication. My online course provides structure and accountability for YOU—two key things that I know as a successful writer and coach are essential to writing success. You’ll feel less overwhelmed, confused and afraid about submitting your work and publishing after taking my course.

If you sign up NOW, you’ll be able to take part in the live Q&A via Zoom on February 5 at 12pm EST (or send questions that will be answered on the air. Session will be recorded). Charting Your Path to Publication teaches strategies to beat the odds of rejection. You’ll learn how to select markets for your work, track submissions, and find great resources.

We’ll also spend time exploring the role of author mindset as vital to publishing success. There is no one path to publication, but we can follow and replicate the strategies of accomplished writers. By the end of the course you will have an action plan with concrete steps toward publication (or, if already published with a plan about how to become more widely so).

Ready to join me and the other amazing writers who have made the commitment to themselves to get more of their work in the world? All the enrollment details are here.

Happy New Year, all!

The second most important step in becoming a published creative writer, after finishing a piece, is submitting one’s work.  It’s the one thing that most writers don’t know how to do well, don’t do enough of, or don’t do consistently.

I’d like to help you beat the odds of your writing being rejected as we launch into 2022.

Fear of rejection, lack of confidence, and overwhelm topped of the list of challenges writers told me they faced submitting their work. Many writers struggle with submitting their work consistently and finding venues. You may struggle with cover and query letters, writing a great bio or knowing how to manage editorial feedback.

I GOT you.  The wait is over.  And, just in time to get your 2022 off to a productive start.

My FREE mini-training ‘Savvy Submission Strategies for Writers’ is designed to help you shed your ‘invisibility cloak’ and gain the tools you need to send more of your work into the world consistently and with confidence.

It begins on January 5th and includes two videos and an amazing LIVE workshop with me on ‘How to Navigate the Submission Stream’ on January 9th that you don’t want to miss.

And, there will be some surprises along the way!

CLICK HERE to register for the FREE mini-training.

I know the long and challenging journey to publication and I want to create some short cuts for you. There’s so many things I didn’t know about the submission process and also what to do when a work is accepted (intellectual property rights matter!). This will help emerging and established writers (indie or traditional publishing inclined).

Nothing in this training is theoretical or fluff. It’s based on my fifteen year coaching career helping writers become published and my experience as an award-winning writer of fiction, poetry and nonfiction. I guarantee that this training will change the way you think about your writing potential as a writer and how you approach the submission experience.

CLICK HERE to register for the FREE mini-training.

 

Hi writing community! I’m really close to wrapping up my long-awaited comprehensive workshop on “Savvy Submission Strategies for Writers”. Writers often struggle with consistently submitting their work to agents, publishers, journal and anthology editors, etc. and dealing with the fear of rejection. We often don’t have efficient processes in place to keep track of our submissions. This workshop addresses those concerns and provide folks the tools to double their submission rate and feel confident while doing so and MUCH more. I’ll be offering my workshop in Nov. But before I offer it, I have a couple of questions. Can you help me out? You can answer the questions in this super short survey (and get a little more detail about the workshop).https://qfreeaccountssjc1.az1.qualtrics.com/…/SV…

THANKS, I really appreciate it!

P.S. We’re still in a pandemic and we’re still dealing with its impact on our writing habits, routines and motivations. My free guide may be helpful to you. Have you checked it out?: Ten Ways to Keep Connected to Your Writing Self during COVID-19 go to: https://mailchi.mp/creativetickle/tenways

Got inner critics? All creative people I know struggle with inner critics that can interrupt their work. What to do about them? It’s an unlikely but important answer–give them new jobs! In the latest Chatham County Line column I show folks how and even get to talk about Sandra Oh, too.

Give Your Inner Critic a New Job

No matter how lumpy or faded or boring you feel, your creativity is of value.

—SARK

Inner critics can sabotage our creative work. More than a decade ago, I began to study how and why inner critics become unwanted residents in our psyches.

Inner critics are the sharp-tongued internal voices that often prevent us from consistently writing and creating. They speak to us with the seemingly definitive voice of KNOWING ABOUT EVERYTHING CREATIVE. Inner critics usually know how to do just one thing and have long outlived whatever protective role they once had. Inner critics want to protect us from failure, shame and embarrassment. Gentle and honest feedback about our work is important and can be gained from a variety of sources. Inner critics go awry when they enter into the creative process at an early stage. They become destructive when they engage us in black or white thinking that may or not be accurate. Inner critics often drive us to abandon work too early, convince us that our ideas aren’t worthy, or that we will never be successful.

Inner critics can have a personal and also a cultural component to their makeup. Read the rest here.

It’s mid-summer. And my morning writing practice is full of it. 

Full of summer and full of story. 

I don’t know about you, but I love the creativity that summer sparks in me. 

And this summer–I have something special for you: A FREE author event that is heart-centered and is about connecting our bodies, minds and imaginations. Feeling embodied and writing with an awareness of the body can lead us to new insights as Herring notes:

Our cells have memories. Our bodies have stored all of our experiences-those expressed and unexpressed, even those forgotten. They are there waiting for us.

-Larraine Herring, Writing Begins With the Breath

I’m delighted to share with you that I’ve teamed up with 10 other amazing writers and writing coaches to bring you:

Write from the Heart: How to create and nourish your fiction or memoir so you can finally finish the book you were born to write. 

And what’s more? I’m giving you a complimentary ticket! Yay 🙂

You can claim your seat for this FREE 2-day workshop here: traciskuce.com/mtberger

Check out a few of these heart-centric topics we’ll be covering:

  • How to Create a Nurturing Writing Routine
  • Developing Stronger Internal Conflicts in Your Novel
  • Tap into Your Character’s Impossible Longing
  • How to Leverage the Power of Affirmations for Your Writing Life
  • How to Create Your Own DIY Writing Retreats

These roughly twenty minute presentations will be packed with tips, exercises and techniques.

My presentation is on one of my favorite topics—the power of positive self-talk: ‘Brain Hacking: how to leverage the power of affirmations for your writing life’.

If you’re ready to nourish your creative heart and dive deep into your story, then you’ll want to register for this FREE event. It happens LIVE August 5 & 6 at 12 pm PT/ 3 pm ET 

Get your complimentary ticket here: traciskuce.com/mtberger

Feeling stuck in your writing and storytelling? Are you not finishing things because you get overwhelmed with keeping track of your characters and plotlines? Frustrated with how you are plotting your novel or memoir? Are you painting yourself into too many story corners that you don’t know how to get out of?

Want to know how to bring a story full circle, connect the dots and create a fantastic ending? Want to know more about ‘story beats’ and how to effectively employ them?

Want some inspiring writing craft and mindset tips?

Great, my writer friend, Emma Dhesi can help! She is hosting a cool series that you’re going to love.

Emma has brought together 20+ writers, creatives, editors, and publishers for this complimentary training series. 

The Be a Bestseller: Structure Your Story of Success series is guaranteed to ignite your creativity. Many speakers will be sharing their expertise for better plotting and story structure and others will be focused on mindset issues. It is geared for novelists, memoirists and short story writers. She is a fantastic interviewer.

And, I’m ALSO one of the speakers! I’ll be talking about how positive self-talk can supercharge your writing life (as you know one of my favorite topics)!

And it’s totally free. Sign up here and see all the speakers: https://masterclass.beabestseller.net/MicheleTBerger

BTW: If you are struggling with motivation and momentum in your writing, you might like my free guide: Ten Ways to Keep Connected to Your Writing Self during COVID-19.

Happy holidays everyone! I hope you are safe and well!

I wanted to share some EXCELLENT news!

I recently discovered that my novelette “Doll Seed” published last year (in FIYAH: Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction) has won the Carl Brandon Kindred Award from the Carl Brandon Society.

It carries with it a $1,000 cash prize.

The Carl Brandon Society is composed of fans and writers of speculative fiction and their mission is to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the production of and audience for speculative fiction.

I’m thrilled, honored and a little breathless!

My story is about dolls, magic, and civil rights. It even imagines what happened to those black and white dolls that were used in psychology experiments leading up to the famous Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court case.

Persistence and belief in one’s ideas is everything—I worked on and submitted this story for YEARS before it found a fantastic home!

My thanks goes to Marjorie Hudson who gave me great editorial advice on the story, many moons ago, and Val Nieman who was an early and enthusiastic reader.

Congrats to Akwaeke Emezi for winning the Parallax Award for their YA novel Pet (Random House) & all the amazing writers on the Honors Lists!

More about the Carl Brandon Society and the awards here.

“Doll Seed” appeared last summer in FIYAH. I’d love for people to support this wonderful magazine, so if interested, you can purchase the issue here.

 

 

 

Hi folks,

I’ve got a GREAT opportunity for you. Two spaces just opened up for my last RESET, RENEW, RECLAIM virtual writing retreat being held TOMORROW, Saturday, Dec 12, 11-3. And, I want to make it available to you for $39 (originally $69)! My purpose is to support and uplift writers and I’d love for you to experience this retreat at a SWEET price.

Saturday’s topic is Author Mindset/Creating Juicy Goals for 2021. We’ll spend our time reflecting on our writing in 2020 (the ups and downs), how to set up sustainable and favorable conditions for our writing life in 2021. We will align our goals to writing systems and prepare for what might throw us off track.

We’ll dream together about to how to create a writing ‘eco-system’ that is sustainable and fun for you in 2021! This has been one of my most productive writing years (despite the pandemic) and I’m going to share all my writing hacks with YOU.

If you haven’t been writing and miss being in a community of writers, this retreat is for you.

During the retreat there will be writing time, mindfulness exercises for focus, cool writing exercises and group coaching. We’ll have the option for a short lunch break and/or additional writing time.

Now is the perfect time to plan for what you want your writing life to LOOK and FEEL like for 2021. The last weeks of Dec and first weeks of Jan are often the worst time to do this kind of work—we’re usually tired from the holidays.

2021 is guaranteed to bring new challenges and opportunities to our writing lives, so let’s prepare!

I hope you join me tomorrow!

I can accept payment:
-via PayPal: bergermichele2005@yahoo.com
Questions? email me: mtb@creativetickle.com

***this piece was originally published in the October issue of the Chatham County Line for my monthly column. It is the second installment of a multi-part series of columns on writing and publishing in the 2020s. Here I write about discoverability, “whale” readers and the rise of audio as publishing changes that affect both readers and writers.

Think about the last time you read a book. How did you find out about it? Twenty years ago, you might have seen a book review in the pages of a magazine or newspaper. This is less likely to be true now. More likely is that you stumbled upon an author reading their work on YouTube, heard about a book on a podcast or you’re already subscribed to a favorite author’s newsletter and receive their updates. You could be a Goodreads aficionado and seen a recommendation there about a book, or maybe you’re a member of a book club. You might also have typed phrases into Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, or Google and searched for the kind of book you were looking for, finding thousands or even hundreds of thousands of results.

And, of course there is still the wonderful word of mouth recommendation by a friend that shares, “I just read the most amazing book! You have to read it, you’ll love it!”

In the last column I talked about how major shifts in publishing, during the last decade, has created new opportunities and challenges for writers. How people find and read books has also changed, dramatically affecting writers.

Discoverability

If you hang around a group of writers long enough, you’re bound to hear them discuss their use of social media and strategies to both find and engage readers. And, it often isn’t a happy conversation. In an ever growing ocean of content, writers, especially emerging ones, have to work much harder to be discovered by readers.

read the rest of the column here.

*this piece was originally published in the September issue of the Chatham County Line for my monthly column. I’m writing what I think will be a three part series about writing and publishing in this new decade.

***

What makes a successful writer today? That’s a tough question and it depends on who you ask and what metric you use. As a Gen-Xer, when I was growing up, writers held a mysterious allure. On TV and in print culture, popular and literary writers were celebrated, everyone from Steven King and Jackie Collins to Toni Morrison. To me, writers were the most glamorous and intriguing people on the planet and I wanted to be like them.

Although luck and connections always played a role in who got published, until the late 1990s, there were some standardized and taken for granted ways that one became a successful writer. Being discovered in a “slush pile” by an assistant editor was one way. For literary oriented writers, pursuing an MFA was a respected route. Being published in high visibility magazines and having an agent contact you was another. New York was the hub of publishing life. A relatively small number of agents, editors and publishers were gatekeepers and decided what readers wanted. Authors wrote books, went to lunches with their agents and occasionally wrote back to their fans.

This kind of writing culture and ecosystem was imprinted on me and shaped what being a successful writer meant. That eco-system has fundamentally changed. And, consequently I’ve had to revise my notion of success.

With the introduction of the Kindle, in 2007, a shift in publishing and writing was well under way. Publishing, writing and reading would be changed forever. Consolidation in publishing had accelerated, and due to changes in advertising revenue, many magazines and newspapers disappeared (which meant the disappearance of book review columns).

The paths to publishing now (especially for commercial fiction) are multiple, non-linear and fragmented. Writers publish their work and find readers and audiences on a variety of platforms including Medium, Wattpad, Amazon, Instagram, etc. Traditional publishing is no longer the only model. There are writers that will never become household names that happily self-publish or ‘indie publish’ and make six figures a year (some make seven figures). They do this without an MFA, an agent or attending writing conferences and networking with traditional publishing professionals. Many have a direct relationship with their readers and could care less about the New York publishing world. The success stories of well-known indie writers include E.L. James author of Fifty Shades of Grey (originally written as fan fiction) which has sold over 125 million copies and Andy Weir who serialized a novel (on his blog for science enthusiasts) that would become The Martian. Both writers were discovered because of loyal followings on digital platforms.

To publish has become a democratizing practice. Did you know that there are 1 million books in the U.S. alone published every year? As one publisher told me, it’s not about one’s ability to get published anymore, it’s about being found and read. The challenge of discoverability for authors has skyrocketed in the last decade.

So what does success for writers mean given these changes? Does it mean having 10,000 followers on Instagram who love your poetry? Does it mean a publisher sending you on book tour (almost a thing of the past and usually reserved for very famous authors)? Does it mean serializing your book on YouTube? Does it mean writing a novel that is critically acclaimed and read by a few devoted fans?

Some writers who have been wedded to a traditional publishing model of success have criticized the new eco-system. Indie authors have also disparaged traditional publishing. This is folly.

Moving forward, due to technology, changes in publishing and how readers find books, writers will need to embrace a hybrid version of traditional and indie publishing. Writers must become more marketing savvy and view it as part of their creative work. Traditional publishers expect you to know (or be willing to learn) about websites, SEO and marketing. The indie publishing arena is also maturing and it also no longer possible to publish an inferior product and expect it to sell.

The successful and fulfilled writers I model myself after are crafting a hybrid path. They look at a new writing project and ask, would this be better suited for a traditional publisher or do I already have an audience for this work that wants it right now? Many traditionally published authors self-publish their novellas, short stories and other material to their audiences via Patreon and Amazon.

I like the hybrid model. I have been traditionally published through newspapers, magazines and small presses. And, I have truly valued working with a team of editors and publishing professionals that were committed to honing my work. And, I can’t imagine not continuing to take craft classes and meeting folks at a conference (in the future). However, indie publishing offers room for quick experimentation, innovation and enables the flexing of a different set of skills beyond craft. I no longer believe there is only one path to success that holds all the answers. I also know in the end, both indie and traditionally published authors have one thing in common when it comes to success. They keep writing.

***

BTW: Your invitation still stands, click here to get your free guide: ‘Ten Ways to Keep Connected to Your Writing Self during COVID-19’.


Michele Tracy Berger

Michele Tracy Berger

Author, Academic, Creativity Expert I'm an award winning writer.

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