#GuestBlog “Six Simple Writing Tips” by Kelli A. Wilkins

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By Author Kelli A. Wilkins

 Hi everyone!

One of the most common questions I’m asked when I do an interview is, “Do you have any writing tips or advice for beginning writers?” Well, I sure do! These six practical tips are based on advice I received in my writing classes when I was just starting out and discoveries I made as I wrote. Enjoy!

Take Writing Classes: I took my first writing class at a local community college “for something to do” and was hooked. Writing classes are an excellent way to learn the basic mechanics of writing, to understand storytelling techniques, and to explore different genres. However, they’re not for people who “think about wanting to write” but never do. Homework and class participation are required.

In most cases, the instructor gives you an assignment (to write a short story or an opening chapter of a novel) and has you share it with the class. This may sound easy, but over the years I saw dozens of people drop out of writing classes because they actually had to write!

Writing classes help you overcome a fear or shyness about sharing your work with others and different readers give you feedback (and critiques) on what you’ve written. Before I took a writing class I never shared my work with anyone, but I quickly learned to move past a personal attachment to the work and be open-minded when it came to suggestions and comments.

Connections you make with other writers can also continue once class has ended—you may form your own writing group or get together to critique each other’s stories. If there are no “in person” writing classes available in your area, consider taking online classes or attending workshops at writing conferences.

Avoid “Bad” Words: Make a list of words you find yourself repeating (or over-using) in your writing. If you belong to a writing group or have a critique partner, ask them to identify words you use too often. (They may be more obvious to an outside reader.) After you’ve finished a story, do a search for each word and either delete it (if it’s not needed) or change it to a different word.

Some of my “bad” words are: glanced, looked, laughed, that, even, just, once, would, could, felt, shook his head, somehow, started to, although, even though, suddenly, a minute later, a few minutes later, after a few minutes…

It’s also a good idea to search for similarly-spelled words and make sure you’re not accidentally using the wrong word. Spellcheck won’t know you meant to say “tried” instead of “tired.” Some to look out for include: gaps/gasp, gong/going, from/form, though/thought/through.

Rejection Really is Subjective: Got rejected? Join the club. Everyone (and I mean everyone) gets rejected. Rejection is probably the only 100% guarantee in writing. If you send your story (or query) out to five people, you’ll get five different responses. Rejection is hard to deal with, but as a writer you have to understand that the editor is rejecting the story, not you.

All editors are not created the same, and sometimes you’ll never know why your story didn’t make the cut. You might get a form letter that tells you nothing, or get no response at all. Other times you might get a cryptic line about “not what we’re looking for” and sometimes you’ll get a paragraph with some explanation (weak plot, characters are not interesting, etc.).

Several years ago I received two rejections in the same day for the same book. Editor A said she loved the story and the characters were fantastic but didn’t see a market for “that type” of romance. Editor B said she despised the characters and hated the clothes the heroine wore, but would consider re-reading it if I changed the entire plot and made the heroine into a perky sexpot.

Who was “right?” Neither of them. I considered their rejections a perfect example of “everyone has his/her own opinion” and moved on. The important thing to remember after you’ve been rejected is to keep going. If the editor made suggestions (change the ending, add more dialogue, make the heroine a blonde with four kids) consider the comments and either make the changes or don’t. No matter what, it’s your story. But keep writing and submitting, because you never know when you’ll get an acceptance.

What’s Where?: Keep a list of when and where you submit your writing. Note the title of the piece (or query subject), date, and publication. This way, you’ll know what’s where and how long ago you sent it. This is handy in case you need to follow up on a wayward query or submission. I also make a list of places to submit to next, (just in case of rejection!) so I’ll know where the story is headed.

Reading Everything is Fundamental!: Writers are usually doing one of two things: reading or writing. Read anything and everything—in your genre and out of your genre—to expand your horizons. The more you read, the more you’re exposed to different styles of writing, tone, voice, and characterization. Read fiction, non-fiction, magazine articles, writing magazines, and the back of cereal boxes. You’ll see how other writers (even famous authors) create setting, mood, and how they tell a great story. (And why not learn from the best?)

Give Yourself Time to Rest: No, this doesn’t mean get lazy and slack off when you don’t feel like writing. A day (or a few hours) off can be a reward for finishing a long project, for completing all the work on your writing “to do” list for the week, or for celebrating a sale. Go for a walk and stretch after sitting in front of the computer and let your mind recharge. Give yourself some freedom and “play” time—you’ve earned it! Taking a mini-break from writing is also helpful if you need to break out of writer’s block. Think about something else besides your story, and in most cases, an idea or a great plot twist will pop into your head when you least expect it.

If you want even more writing advice, why not check out my online writing course, Fiction Writing for Beginners?

 Fiction Writing for Beginners is designed for anyone who is interested in writing and needs practical advice on how to get started, plus motivation and encouragement to keep writing.

Thirteen easy-to-follow classes cover the writing process from start to finish. You’ll learn where writers get ideas, how to create characters, get expert tips on writing your story, and find out how to submit it for publication. Everything you need to know to start writing is wrapped up in this comprehensive and fun course.

Each class is self-contained and self-directed. This way, you can learn about a specific topic at your own pace, and not worry about completing the class by a certain deadline. Short writing exercises at the end of each class highlight the subject matter and get you writing.

If you’ve always wanted to write, Fiction Writing for Beginners will get you started. Visit the course page to learn more and enroll: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com/

 I hope you enjoyed these tips. I welcome comments and questions from readers. You can contact me via the address on the News page of my site, or on social media.

Happy Writing,

Kelli A. Wilkins

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Kelli Wilkins ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, 5 non-fiction books, and 2 online writing courses. Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories.

She published the second half of her flash fiction series, Cupid’s Schemes, in early 2019. These two volumes of lighthearted mini-romances are perfect reads for a quick lunchtime escape or an after-work indulgence.

Kelli released her latest Teachable mini-course, Fiction Basics: Finding Ideas in February 2019. She authored Fiction Writing for Beginners through Teachable in 2018. These courses are perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to write. Visit: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com/ for more details.

If you like horror fiction, don’t miss her latest novella, Nightmare in the North.

Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor.

Visit her website www.KelliWilkins.com and blog http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/ to learn more about all of her writings.

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CATCH UP WITH KELLI

 Here’s a full list of where you can find Kelli on the web.

Website: http://www.KelliWilkins.com

Blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/kelliwilkins

Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins

Facebook Historical Romances: https://www.facebook.com/Historical-Romances-by-Kelli-A-Wilkins-1703805359922371/

Facebook Contemporary Romances: https://www.facebook.com/Contemporary-Romances-by-Kelli-A-Wilkins-1965702023664339/

Facebook Gay Romances: https://www.facebook.com/GayRomancesbyKelliAWilkins/

FREE READS: http://www.manicreaders.com/KelliAWilkins/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kelliwilkins2/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kelli-a-wilkins

Books2Read: https://www.books2read.com/ap/nkvddR/Kelli-A-Wilkins

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/KWilkinsAuthor/

Shutterstock: https://www.shutterstock.com/g/kelli+wilkins

iStock: https://www.istockphoto.com/portfolio/kelliwilkins

Newsletter sign-up: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb

Teachable Online Writing Courses: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com/

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Fibromyalgia and Weighted Blankets


Fibro Cloud

Weighted blankets are getting a lot of attention these days. Fans of weighted blankets claim that they relieve anxiety and insomnia, as well as potentially helping children with autism and sensory integration disorders. But some people with fibromyalgia are exploring the possibility that weighted blankets may provide comfort to them, too. Here is some more background information on whether weighted blankets can work for fibromyalgia relief.

There’s no question that life with fibromyalgia can be challenging. Pain and aches all over your whole body are a constant for most people with fibro, though most people have occasional periods of relative comfort. Looking for the right thing that will relieve pain is usually a long and difficult process. Medication can help some people but it’s usually not sufficient in itself. Relief from pain and discomfort often requires a combination of multiple different therapies.

THE ORIGINS OF WEIGHTED BLANKETS

You may have just started seeing weighted blankets in bed and bath stores in the past couple of years. But the truth is that weighted blankets have actually been around for nearly twenty years already. They began as a tool prescribed by occupational therapists to help children with sensory processing issues, anxiety, and autism spectrum disorders. The weight of the blankets would help kids feel calmer. Back then, it was difficult to find a ready-made weighted blanket, so many therapists and parents would make their own. The first mass-produced blankets were introduced to the market in the late 1990s but were originally only marketed to children.

THE SCIENCE BEHIND WEIGHTED BLANKETS

Believe it or not, weighted blankets aren’t just a trendy meme. There’s actually some science between what makes weighted blankets so calming and comforting. The weight of the blanket provides deep pressure, which can have a relaxing effect on some people. A 2008 study in the journal Occupational Therapy in Mental Health evaluated 33 adults who each rested under 30-pound blankets for five minutes.

At the end of those five minutes, 33 percent of the study participants who used the blankets showed a greater drop in sweat on the skin, which is a measure of stress. Nineteen of the participants said they felt calmer with the blanket than without, and eight said they were comfortable either way. Only three of the study participants felt more anxious with the blanket than without.

Although it’s only a small study, it shows some promising initial results that the weight of a blanket can be soothing, especially when combined with rest.

CAN WEIGHTED BLANKETS HELP FIBROMYALGIA PATIENTS?

Weighted blankets may help you if you have fibromyalgia, especially if you are also prone to anxiety or insomnia. Some people find using a weighted blanket to be very comforting and relaxing, like being wrapped in a snug embrace. Many fibro sufferers also have problems with poor sleep, which can aggravate your pain and make it worse. Having a tool on hand that can help you sleep more deeply can allow you to get the rest that you need.

Many fibro patients also deal with anxiety, which is another condition that weighted blankets can really help. Although considering how difficult it can be to get medical providers to take you seriously, it’s hard to know how much of that anxiety is organic to the illness and how much is caused by insensitive medical staff.

What about pressure points? Pain at the pressure points is a common problem in fibromyalgia, and sometimes it feels like the air hurts your skin. Wouldn’t something that puts more pressure on your body make that sensitivity worse? Not necessarily. A weighted blanket may not take away the sensitivity at the pressure points, but can still be soothing overall, anyway.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT WEIGHTED BLANKETS FOR FIBROMYALGIA

Not everyone finds weighted blankets to be helpful or comfortable. If you’re prone to sweating while you sleep, you may find the blankets to be too hot. In general, if you cover up with a weighted blanket and don’t feel better, it’s not necessary to force the issue. It will either provide symptom relief or it won’t; it’s not the type of issue where you have to build up a tolerance.

It’s also important to note that weighted blankets come in a variety of weights, filled with a variety of materials. Some people advise that the blanket should be proportionately heavier when compared to your body weight. But you may find that a lighter-weight blanket will be more comfortable for you than the one that corresponds to your weight. Or you may prefer a blanket that’s filled with plastic beads instead of metal. When it comes to fibromyalgia relief, it’s important to choose what feels most comfortable for you.

 

The preceding article is from RedOrbit.com and posted here for sharing purposes only. For additional info please visit their website or consult your doctor.