Forget protecting your ego — focusing on quantity will get you to your goal faster.

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Recently I wrote an article called “I’m Giving This Book 100 Queries, Then I’m Going to Self-Publish.” It was about giving my latest complete manuscript a fair shot in a very competitive marketplace, where it might take that many queries to get any traction at all.

However, I’ll admit my attitude was not positive about it. I don’t actually want to query a book 100 times. I want someone to love it well before then. It seems ridiculous to think I might need to send out that many queries before someone is willing to take a chance on it.

Then…


Ways to exercise your imagination and keep momentum on your work

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During these “dog days” of summer, it can be hard to find any writing motivation, and even well-established routines are hard to maintain. Sometimes summer is a great time to get big chunks of writing done, but sometimes it becomes even harder to squeeze it in around vacations and upended schedules, to say nothing of trying to write when my brain feels like it’s melting.

If you find yourself struggling with the actual writing, don’t give up altogether! Maintaining a connection to your writing is key. Whether this is a work-in-progress or playing around to find a new project, you…


What I learned might help you too

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This holiday weekend, I had big plans for my writing. I was going to do a writing retreat, with the goal of adding 10,000 words to my manuscript in progress.

Not that daunting, really, since I had 4 days to make it happen: 2500 words a day. More than I’m used to, but not by an outrageous amount.

I should note that the last time I did a 10K marathon long weekend was over Memorial Day. I not only reached my goal, but did several other writing-related things, like revised the first three chapters of my completed novel (is any…


It comes down to where I want to spend my time and energy

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I’ve been querying my latest book since the end of March. Not very long, I know, and since I’ve started another one, I’ve slowed down on sending them out. Querying has become an Olympic-level sport, needing oodles of time, attention to minute detail, and tolerance of a ton of repetitive tasks, to say nothing of emotional resilience.

If you’re going to shoot for traditional publication, there’s not getting around the querying process. It used to be that you did a little research on the kinds of things a certain agent represented, created a compelling query, had maybe a sentence of…


Even a few minutes a day can work wonders on your attitude and productivity

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Many people write about the optimal morning routine of famous people, and how they spring out of bed, ready to Get Stuff Done.

Must be nice, I always thought. But that’s them, not me.

I never had any kind of morning routine other than rolling out of bed with the minimum possible time left to get ready before I had to go to work. In the summer, I usually managed to get up in time to work out in the morning, before the heat of the day made it impossible. …


Some questions to ask so you understand what you really need

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This is a mega-mucking-post because once I started to delve into the questions I’m often asked about book coaching, I found there was a lot I wanted to cover such as: What is a book coach, anyway? What does a book coach do? How is that different from an editor? And more. Read on to see how a book coach can help you achieve your writing goals.

What is a book coach?

Fair warning: this can be a bit of a loaded question. Book coaches have different ways of working, and may focus on…


If you struggle, you’re not alone — but it can get easier

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I am the Master (Mistress?) of Indecision. If there is a decision to be made, I will waffle over it. Small decisions, like what to wear or what to have for breakfast, aren’t as daunting, but anything that resembles a Big Life Decision, well — let me go take a nap.

I always want to do it all, even when I get to the point where trying to do it all is obviously no longer working. Eventually it becomes a recipe for exhaustion and overwhelm. …


And how overcoming this will help you grow as a writer

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Writers have a million reasons why we don’t write as often as we know we should. The #1 reason that usually comes up is time. Sometimes it’s self-doubt or imposter syndrome. Sometimes we fear we have nothing to say.

But even when a long time slot magically opens up, or we have a brilliant idea or a surge of self-confidence, we don’t always sit down and utilize that time or inspiration effectively. Sometimes we sit down, and sudden paralysis hits. Sometimes some other seemingly more urgent matter comes up, and we take care of that instead.

Why do we do…


Better late than never

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I kept thinking all month I was going to write this article, and then I would get distracted and not sit down and compile a list, and then when I did sit down I kept thinking of all the books I could or should include… The ones below obviously represent a tiny fraction of the one that are published, exploring so many different voices and experiences. The list I finally decided on contains fiction and nonfiction, old and new. I’m always up for new reads, so let me know your faves in the comments!

1. Fun HomeAlison Bechtel’s…


Let’s face it, I love any piece of mail that isn’t an ad or a bill or a request for money

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Today I received a letter from my oldest best friend — oldest as in the one I’ve known the longest. Since junior high, in fact. We’ve managed to keep in touch over many years — almost forty years in fact (gulp!) — and many moves and life changes. It’s one of those friendships I treasure because the minute we start talking, we jump in like no time has passed. We knew each other before we were in any way cool, put-together adults so there’s no pretense.

The letter was full of news about her kids, her husband, her job, her…

Jana Van der Veer

Writer and Book Coach at www.setyourmuseonfire.com. I’m all about firing up motivation, accountability, and strategies that keep writers writing.

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