Category Archives: Writing

Finding the Best Way to Write

Finding the Best Way to Write

Finding the Best Way to Write with Michael LaRocca

I read voraciously, a habit I recommend to any author who doesn’t already have it. You’ll subconsciously pick up on what does and doesn’t work. Characterization, dialogue, pacing, plot, story, setting, description, etc. But more importantly, someone who doesn’t enjoy reading will never write something that someone else will enjoy reading.

I don’t write ‘for the market.’ I know I can’t, so I just write for me and then try to find readers who like what I like. I’m not trying to whip up the next bestseller and get rich. Not that I’d complain. Nope, I have to write what’s in my heart, then go find a market later. It makes marketing a challenge at times, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

When you write, be a dreamer. Go nuts. Know that you’re writing pure gold. That fire is why we write.

An author who I truly admire, Kurt Vonnegut, sweats out each individual sentence. He writes it, rewrites it, and doesn’t leave it alone until it’s perfect. Then when he’s done, he’s done.

I doubt most of write like that. I don’t. I let it fly as fast as my fingers can move across the paper or keyboard, rushing to capture my ideas before they get away. Later, I change and shuffle and slice.

James Michener claims that he writes the last sentence first, then has his goal before him as he writes his way to it.

Then there’s me. No outline whatsoever. I create characters and conflict, spending days and weeks on that task, until the first chapter really leaves me wondering ‘How will this end?’ Then my characters take over, and I’m as surprised as the reader when I finish my story.

Some authors set aside a certain number of hours every day for writing, or a certain number of words. In short, a writing schedule.

Then there’s me. No writing for three or six months, then a flurry of activity where I forget to eat, sleep, bathe, change the cat’s litter… I’m a walking stereotype. To assuage the guilt, I tell myself that my unconscious is hard at work. As Hemingway would say, long periods of thinking and short periods of writing.

I’ve shown you the extremes in writing styles. I think most authors fall in the middle somewhere. But my point is, find out what works for you. You can read about how other writers do it, and if that works for you, great. But in the end, find your own way. That’s what writers do.

Just don’t do it halfway.

If you’re doing what I do, writing a story that entertains and moves you, then you will find readers who share your tastes. For some of us that means a niche market and for others it means regular appearances on the bestseller list.

Writing is a calling, but publishing is a business. Remember that AFTER you’ve written your manuscript. Not during.

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I’ve been paid to edit since 1991 and still love it, which has made people question my sanity, but they were doing that before I started editing. I got serious about my writing in 1978. Although I’ve retired more times than Brett Favre, I’m revising my 19th book. Learn more about me at MichaelEdits.com.

© Michael LaRocca 2019



Learning How To Write with Michael LaRocca

Michael LaRocca of MichaelEdits.com

Michael LaRocca of MichaelEdits.com

As a student of Spanish, my goal was to think in Spanish. Skip the word-by-word translation so I’d have the necessary speed to speak and listen. I know words in Spanish that I’d be hard pressed to translate. Usually profanity, I confess. Chingow!

For years my students here in China have studied grammar, and know it better than you or I. They read. They write. But speaking involves moving faster than that. In conversation, we don’t have time to write it first and make sure it’s all grammatically flawless, then read it aloud, perhaps after a bit of rehearsal.

So, I try to give them a chance to practice putting words together on the fly, rules be damned. The rules they’ve internalized will kick in and keep them comprehensible, which will build their confidence in their ability to keep creating conversation that way.

This is not unlike what we go through as authors. First we study rulebooks, perhaps take some classes, and conclude just about everything we’re is doing is wrong. So many rules to memorize. We might dread sitting down to write with all those constraints.

But really, it’s not about memorizing rules at all. It’s about internalizing the rules, following them (or not if you prefer) without being consciously aware of what they are. They’re there, but in the background.

The story’s what matters. You’re supposed to be having fun, not “working.” At least not during the creation phase.

We don’t always take the time to say, “I’ve written ten active sentences in a row so maybe I’ll whip in a passive one now” or “I need a beat for every X lines of dialogue.” I published four novels and edited dozens more before I learned what a beat was. (It’s a pause so the reader can catch his/her breath.)

And, of course, since it is writing and not speaking, we can always go back and revise later. Then rely on editors to catch what we missed, or at least make us wonder why we wrote it this way instead of that way.

Some authors aren’t even consciously aware of “the rules.” They’ve never taken a class, never read a book about writing. They’re simply avid readers who one day decided to write. But they’ve internalized the rules. It comes from reading.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you want to write, you must read. If you don’t like reading, maybe writing isn’t for you. It’s not about writing because you want to say, “I am a writer.” It’s about writing because you enjoy writing.

And, it’s really nice when you’ve been writing for a long time to go back and read a book about how to write. You might find one or two things to tweak in your technique, as opposed to a daunting laundry list of flaws. It’s much easier to internalize one or two new rules than 50 or 100.

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I’ve been paid to edit since 1991 and still love it, which has made people question my sanity, but they were doing that before I started editing. I got serious about my writing in 1978. Although I’ve retired more times than Brett Favre, I’m writing my 19th book. Learn more about me at MichaelEdits.com.

© Michael LaRocca 2019

Michael LaRocca Talks Writer School?

Michael LaRocca of MichaelEdits.com

Michael LaRocca Talks Writer School?

Here’s something from my mailbag. “Dear Michael, do you need to do good in school if you want to be a writer? I stink at school and all my friends laugh at me when I tell them I want to write, but I’m serious.” Followed by a sentence or two of “I need your words to encourage me” or some such nonsense.

Fortunately, a writing sample is rarely attached. If it is, either it’s excellent or it stinks like rancid yak butter.

Do you have to be good in school? Given what’s passing for English in some places, I’d certainly like to see more effort given to school. If you’re a student reading this, please try to learn something while you can.

If you aspire to be an author and you did poorly in school, or if you’re just plain uneducated, don’t let it stop you. What we do as authors isn’t taught in school. They teach grammar, and bless them. I can’t teach that subject. If you’re very fortunate, you’ll stumble across some teachers who teach you how to think. But thinking is the beginning of writing, not the end, and grammar can be fixed later if you find some long-suffering editor who’s willing to do it.

In other words, school can help you with the first step or two of your journey to becoming an author. Considering how many steps come after those, don’t be discouraged by test results and report cards.

To distill what you think, feel and believe from all the trash floating around in your head, and then to actually put that on paper the way you mean to put it, is a skill that only comes from years of practice. They don’t teach it in school. At least, no school I’ve ever attended.

Also, remember that you can never learn how to write books. You can only learn how to write the book that you are currently writing.

Our emailer then mentions that her friends laugh at her when she tells them she intends to write. Why does she care? I’ve lost count of how many projects I’ve undertaken despite criticism. Not just writing, either. Life. But let me narrow my focus so I can end this rant.

I shouldn’t have to tell you why you write. You don’t need my vindication or anyone else’s. If those who haven’t even read your work can discourage you, maybe you should give up. Or leave it all in a file cabinet somewhere for people to find after you die.

But I can tell you this. If you’ll let something as silly as your grades in school stop you from even beginning to write in the first place, nothing you have to write is worth finding after you die. And if you’re angry at me for saying it, good. Prove me wrong. Write a book.

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I’ve been paid to edit since 1991 and still love it, which has made people question my sanity, but they were doing that before I started editing. I got serious about my writing in 1978. Although I’ve retired more times than Brett Favre, I’m writing my 19th book. Learn more about me at MichaelEdits.com.

© Michael LaRocca 2019

Sell More Earn More By Writing More. It’s That Simple.

Sell More Earn More By Writing More. It's That Simple.

Sell More Earn More By Writing More. It’s That Simple.

Good news authors—especially the introverts out there. You can sell more earn more simply by writing more. It really is that simple! Here’s how I know…

My shift in thinking began in around mid-to-late 2015. I had been in the book publishing business, in one capacity or another, for close to 25 years. I’d been publishing books under my own label, Polished Publishing Group (PPG), since November 2009. I knew how to produce a truly professional product for my authors, and I had ample experience to be able to teach them all the traditional book sales and marketing methods. I was a best selling author in my own right, and so were many of my authors. So, everything looked great on the surface.

But here was the reality: my company wasn’t generating enough profit to allow me to leave my full-time sales job. My own royalties, and my best authors’ royalties, weren’t all that impressive. All these bestsellers were earning less than $500 per year in royalties. That was the hard truth.

Burnout and Refocus Time

I was burning out. I could no longer maintain my pace of 50+ hours of corporate sales coupled with another 20+ hours of book publishing, sales, and marketing every week. Especially if there was no end in sight to all this work—no definite increase in profits to show me I was on the right track. I felt discouraged. I felt like I was failing my authors, never mind myself.

So, do you know what I did? I quit my full-time job, and I scaled back the publishing work for a little while. There was something I had wanted to do since my early twenties that I allowed myself to do in my forties. I embarked on my very own “Eat, Pray, Love” working holiday in Asia and taught English in Bangkok, Thailand, in 2016. What a blessing this experience was! I was blessed not only by all the people I met and all the life lessons I learned, but also by my renewed sense of purpose when I returned home.

If you’re feeling burned out in any way, I recommend you do something like this for yourself. Walk away from your work for a while. Have fun! Eat! Pray! Love! Then, once you’re fully rejuvenated, get back to work. You’ll be so much more productive if you do. And you may just find the answers to your questions that had eluded you for so long. That’s what happened to me.

Sell More Earn More in the United Kingdom

I didn’t go back to a “real job” straightaway because I wanted to turn off the corporate noise for a while and really focus on my craft. And I found four personal investors to help me cover my expenses while I focused. In early 2017, I started studying and learning all about email marketing. I also Googled things like “successful authors” and “profitable publishing” to figure out how to take things to the next level and start making some real money publishing books.

The first clue came to me in the form of a Forbes article written about a self-published author in the United Kingdom named Mark Dawson: Amazon Pays $450,000 A Year To This Self-Published Writer. I was impressed … but skeptical. I figured maybe he was an anomaly. So, I kept reading and searching for more “realistic” examples of success.

Sell More Earn More in the United States

In May of 2017, I spoke at a writers’ conference in Columbia, Missouri. Because I only presented two break-out sessions of my own, I had the opportunity to attend many other people’s sessions that weekend. One of the most memorable sessions for me was Liz Schulte‘s break-out session. This American was one of only a handful of self-publishers who were allowed to join her local traditional writers’ guild. Why? Because of her proven sales success as an independent author. She was already earning a six-figure annual royalty in her second year of self-publishing.

WHAT??!!

Now it wasn’t just some seemingly “faraway fictional character” speaking to me about his success from a Forbes magazine article. This was a real person standing in front of me, telling me that she was doing many of the same things Mark Dawson was doing. And she was seeing similar success to his. Now I knew I was onto something big!

I went for a glass of wine with Liz that evening, and I soaked in all her knowledge. I also asked her to write a guest post for the PPG Publisher’s Blog and she willingly obliged despite how busy she is (click on her hyperlinked name above to read it). Thank you, Liz!

Sell More Earn More in Australia

Determined to meet even more authors like Mark and Liz, I posted a question on Quora asking authors to share their success stories with me. I received a somewhat cheeky reply from an Aussie, named Timothy Ellis, who said he wasn’t sure if I would consider him a success or not because he only sells around 3,000 books per month after two years as a self-publisher.

WHAT??!!

How?! Give me your success formula! Show me your stats! And he did! Timothy Ellis willingly shared his success formula in this guest post on the PPG Publisher’s Blog. Thank you, Timothy!

Sell More Earn More in Canada … and All Over the World!

Long story short, since that time, I’ve been a student of many more successful authors who are following the same patterns as the above three are. In fact, I’ve studied and put into practice everything I’ve learned from these authors to see some success of my own over the past two years.

Here’s the best part: I have a “real job” again now, and even with this job taking up much of my time during the week, I’m still seeing some real progress with my own personal book sales. So, that tells you that you can do the same. You don’t have to quit your job and focus on writing and publishing alone in order to see success with it. You can easily maintain both … until you don’t have to do both anymore. Does that make sense?

My new “real job” is an added bonus for me, because the industry I’m in completely complements my writing and publishing aspirations: printing. I’ve learned so much more about printing this past year that I can offer even more helpful insights to authors everywhere—in Canada and abroad. I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be right now, and I’m looking very forward to even more success 2019!

A New Focus for PPG in the New Year

In the meantime, I’ve stopped publishing books for other people. For now. There are so many publishers out there, and there are just as many self-publishing tools. But there are very few decent sales coaches for authors who can show you the path to significant success as an author. I’m drawing that roadmap right now. I’m living it as I’m drawing it, and I’ll be sharing it with you in the coming months. It will come complete with real life statistics that prove it’s possible to earn so much more than you ever thought possible by writing and publishing books. Watch for it in early 2019!

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2018 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.



Writer’s Block: What Causes It and How to Overcome It

Writer’s block definition from Dictionary.coma usually temporary condition in which a writer finds it impossible to proceed with the writing of a novel, play, or other work. What causes this temporary condition? And how do you overcome it more quickly so you can get on with the business of writing?

Writer's Block

Writer’s Block

I believe there are three root causes to writer’s block: fear, perfectionism, and exhaustion. And I offer the following remedies to help you overcome each one more quickly.

Writer’s Block Cause #1: Fear

To overcome your fear, you must first acknowledge it: Don’t Call Procrastination Laziness. Call it Fear. What is the root cause behind your procrastination? It’s usually a fear of rejection or criticism in some form, as discussed in the above-linked blog post. Put your fears down on paper. Articulate them to yourself in writing. Read them out loud to yourself. When you do this, you’ll begin to see just how irrational many of your fears really are. That should help you get back to work.

Writer’s Block Cause #2: Perfectionism

Are you someone who finds yourself obsessing over every last little detail, editing the same line over and over again rather than writing a new one? This is another form of procrastination that can slow your writing progress down.

“If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.”
~Margaret Atwood

The best way to overcome perfectionism is to stop overanalyzing everything. Stop nit-picking and editing yourself along the way. Not long ago, I wrote a blog post titled 7 Tips to Help You Write a Book FAST! These same tips can not only help you write more quickly; they can also help you overcome writer’s block in the first place.

Writer’s Block Cause #3: Exhaustion

Are you taking good physical care of yourself, eating healthy, and exercising regularly? Are you getting enough sleep? If not, you may find yourself both physically and mentally exhausted. You’ll most likely experience writer’s block ahead of other writers who are minding their mental and physical health in all these ways. Want some great tips on how to prevent exhaustion? Here they are: How to Stop Feeling Tired All the Time.

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2018 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.



What Does a Publisher Do for a Writer?

Perhaps, even more than “What does a publisher do for a writer?” the true question here is “What do authors want? And will they get that from a publisher?”

What Does a Publisher Do for a Writer?

What Does a Publisher Do for a Writer?

What Do Authors Want?

I came across an article aptly titled What Do Authors Want? the other day. It discussed that what every author truly wants is “discoverability” and that traditional publishers don’t actually offer this:

The two editors did not specify what they thought ‘discoverability’ was. They did, however, say that what publishing firms could offer was not ‘discoverability’ but ‘the professional environment’. This included professional editing to a high standard, high-end book layout and design, a ‘reasonable’ distribution (again, not specified), and publicity in accordance with the allocated budget. This budget, they said, varied, but on average it was between £200 and £300 per book. They also emphasised that authors were now expected to contribute to their own marketing and publicity, especially through social media and blogging.

It seems to me that the discrepancy between what authors want and what the publishing firm might provide must have consequences.

The article goes on to compare three different author experiences: the first traditionally published by a major corporate firm; the second traditionally published by a small independent press; the third self-published with support from an online hybrid publisher. (You can read the differences between these publishing methods by clicking here.) In terms of which of the three authors sold the most books, not surprisingly it was the third self-published author.

What Does a Publisher Do for a Writer?

I’ve mentioned the realities of traditional publishing many times in the past, most recently in this blog post: 2 Important Details About Traditional Publishing. The truth is, it doesn’t matter what publishing method you use. If you want your books to be “discovered” by the masses, it takes time and consistent focus—on your part. You can build your own readership the way many of today’s most successful independent “indie” authors do. As a result, a traditional publisher may just sign you down the road.

The true value of a traditional publisher is the professional support they can provide in terms of editing and graphic design. As well, they can get you into the “bricks and mortar” bookstores more easily than you can on your own. But the rest is up to you alone. It’s always been that way for the majority of authors.

Related reading: Printers and Publishers: What Their Graphic Designers Will and Won’t Do for You

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2018 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.



7 Tips to Help You Write a Book FAST!

What’s the best way to write a book FAST? Should you schedule a chunk of time each day and “force” it out, or is it best to work only when the mood hits? These are common questions that many authors face at the prospect of writing a new book—especially when it comes to “rapid release” publishing. But what if I told you it’s possible to write an ebook in only three weeks?

Write a Book FAST!

Write a Book FAST!

Write a Book FAST With These 7 Tips

The truth is, starting is the easy part. The first few pages and ideas can seem to flow out of your mind faster than your hands can type. This is the most enjoyable stage because it stems from impulsive inspiration, meaning that you’re creating only when the mood hits. Unfortunately, if that mood doesn’t hit on a regular basis, writer’s block can set in.

Creativity is similar to muscularity in that it will begin to atrophy with a lack of regular stimulation. Just as even the finest athletes have those days when they must dig a bit deeper to find the will to carry on, all writers will have the same experience. I’ve found the following tactics effective in getting myself to keep writing on a consistent basis (and QUICKLY!), and I believe they can work for anyone.

Tip 1: Break It Down per Hour

If you already have a full-time job, that means you’ve probably only got two or three hours of writing time available per day during the weekdays; but if you truly want to write a book FAST, then you’ll take at least another six hours per day on the weekends. Over a short three-week period, that will give you 81 writing hours in total.

3 hours X 5 days X 3 weeks = 45 weekday hours
6 hours X 2 days X 3 weeks = 36 weekend hours
45 + 36 = 81 writing hours

Now break it down by hour. How many words can you write in one hour? 100 words per hour will result in an 8,100-word mini ebook at the end of three weeks. 300 words per hour will result in a 24,300-word ebook. 500 words per hour will result in a 40,500-word ebook at the end of three weeks. I don’t want you to get too hung up on the word count because quality is more important to your readers than quantity is. (My mini ebooks, which are equivalent to one chapter of a standard book, are typically from 5,000 to 8,000 words in length whereas my standard, full-length paperback books are generally 40,000+ words in length.)

This simple mathematical exercise has been added here only to demonstrate what you can accomplish in a three-week period. When you break it down like this for yourself, it suddenly appears more achievable, doesn’t it? And when your goal appears more achievable to you, you’ll be more apt to stick with it and see it through to the end.

Tip 2: Schedule Your Time Wisely

Once you’ve planned how many hours per day/week you will commit to writing your ebook, you should actually schedule those hours. Mark them in your calendar just as you would any other important appointment such as client meetings, dental/medical visits, or extra curricular activities.

By scheduling regular writing intervals in this way, you will move past that fleeting, impulsive inspiration toward a more lasting, thoughtful inspiration and finish your book in record speed. Sometimes, when settling down to write, you might have no idea what you’re going to say—and that’s okay. It might take half an hour to get that first awkward sentence out and “unlock the floodgates” of creativity; but most authors are pleasantly surprised with how much they have at the end of each session. It’s because the intention to create is the very thing that attracts the creation. That’s the power of deliberate, thoughtful inspiration.

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
~Louis L’Amour

Tip 3: Just Write for Now; Don’t Edit

Here’s another great tip: resist the urge to edit yourself over and over again while you’re writing each day. In fact, don’t edit yourself at all. Your sole purpose, during these three weeks, is to get your ebook written and designed. Period. So, that’s all you should be doing. The editing process will happen after you’re done writing, so you don’t have to worry about it until then.

Creating a truly professional-quality book—including non-fiction how-to books of any kind—is a team effort. The writing portion is typically done within the solitude of one’s imagination and writing room. And then there is the “polishing” portion of the process, which is equally important to your success and requires an outside team of professionals for best results. So, do your part now, and let them do theirs later. You’ll end up with a better book in the end if you do.

Tip 4: Read Regularly

The writers who spend even as little as half an hour per day reading another person’s work often find that they are more creative during their own writing sessions. It doesn’t even have to be another book or anything related to your topic matter at all; it can be an online article, magazine, newspaper, or blog. Sometimes, the least likely source can inspire the greatest creativity. The most important point here is to keep yourself open and aware of the infinite pool of ideas all around you. Whatever it takes to get that first sentence out, do it. From there, thoughtful inspiration can—and will—take care of the rest. It always does.

Tip 5: Ask Yourself These Six Questions

If you’re still having difficulty getting started with a particular chapter after trying all the tips mentioned earlier, then here’s another great idea generator. Write these six questions down underneath that chapter title: Who? What? Why? When? Where? How? Now begin answering each of them for yourself in relation to the topic matter at hand. That should get your creative juices flowing if all else has failed on a particular day.

Tip 6: Reward Yourself Along the Way

It’s important to reward yourself throughout this process because writing a book is an accomplishment all in itself. It deserves your recognition!

What sort of reward will provide you with the greatest sense of motivation to continue forward with your goals? A ticket to a sporting event, concert, or movie at the end of one full week of writing? A particular food item after a certain number of words is written? A visit to the local market or leisure centre? Or, maybe your idea of a treat is a new pair of shoes once you’ve completed the whole book.

Whatever it is, treat yourself. Reward yourself along the way. This is a great way to keep yourself on track and motivated.

Tip 7: One Particularly Helpful Writing Tip

I’ll start by including one of my absolutely favourite quotes about writing by Gary Provost from his book titled 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing: Proven Professional Techniques for Writing with Style and Power (Mentor Series) (a book I highly recommend you read if you’re serious about writing):

This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety.

Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals—sounds that say listen to this, it is important.

It’s beautiful, isn’t it? It’s like music, as he says. This is the kind of writing that will keep an audience engaged. It not only sings to them; but, with the right combination of vivid adjectives and visceral verbs, it can create such authentic, powerful imagery inside their minds that it keeps them turning the pages for more. That’s really what you’re after whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction. Don’t you think? Try to make your book as “musical” as possible for best results. Motivate your readers to stay with you by relaying stories, examples, and/or descriptions throughout your book that will appeal to their emotions just as music does, and you’ll surely keep them engaged.

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2018 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.



Looking for a Unique Writer’s Retreat in Alberta?

Writer's Retreat in Alberta

Writer’s Retreat in Alberta

Are you looking for a unique writer’s retreat in Alberta? I found the perfect one this week, practically right in my own back yard. It has spawned a new category on this blog aptly titled “Writer’s Retreats” that I plan to add new posts to as often as humanly possible. This is my inaugural post on the topic.

What Made Me Go Looking for a Writer’s Retreat in Alberta?

I founded Polished Publishing Group (PPG) and the PPG Publisher’s Blog almost nine years ago. It will be nine years in November 2018. My dream, from the very start, was to successfully operate this business in a virtual office environment so I could freely travel, write, and work with anyone, anywhere in the world, at any given time. In 2016, I enjoyed a six-month working vacation in Southeast Asia while I continued publishing books for authors back home. The experience proved to me that an online business is viable anywhere in the world where there is an internet connection. But I still had a ways to go in terms of my company’s self-sustainability. I had to return home to my external work and continue building it on the side.

Rockyview Hotel and Texas Gate Bar

Rockyview Hotel and Texas Gate Bar

Luckily, the “work” required to build a sustainable online publishing/blogging business is writing. Along with travelling, writing is my absolute favourite pastime, so this journey continues to be an enjoyable one … and I’m well on my way now, as you know from recent posts. If you want a snapshot of my dream life, all you need to imagine is someone travelling to beautiful locales surrounded by inspirational scenery and containing a living space with all the creature comforts of my cherished writing room back home.

One day, not long ago, I asked myself, “What are you waiting for, Kim? You don’t have to travel overseas again to experience this. You can enjoy a writer’s retreat in Alberta right now. Just look around you. You’ll find it.” And find it, I did!

Rockyview Hotel in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada

Comfy Writing Chair Rockyview Hotel

Comfy Writing Chair Rockyview Hotel

I absolutely love the short drive from NW Calgary to Cochrane on Highway 1A (Bow Valley Trail). It doesn’t matter what season it is, I’m always taken aback by the beauty of this small town nestled deep in the valley, at the bottom of the hill. On a clear day, you can see the majestic Canadian Rockies only 45 minutes to the west and watch the trains as they snake through the valley en route to the mountains. That always gets my creative juices flowing. And tucked right in the middle of Cochrane’s historic downtown is a writer’s perfect haven: the old Rockyview Hotel.

What makes this hotel (and this town, in general) the perfect writer’s retreat? For me, it is the cozy, old-fashioned decor and private rooms along with the kind of peace and quiet you can only find in a small town. When I’m writing, I don’t need to be surrounded by other people. I just need a comfortable chair (or bed) to relax in, a cup of coffee at my side, and my laptop in my lap. That said, an all-day breakfast menu and other home-made comfort foods at the restaurant downstairs is an added bonus.

A Conversation Piece: The Golden Ceiling

The Golden Ceiling

The Golden Ceiling

When you need a break or change in scenery for a little while, you can go for a walk along the picturesque Cochrane streets or relax in the chairs on the hotel’s veranda. I also enjoyed sitting in the window seat of the restaurant and people watching outside while I enjoyed my breakfast. And the golden ceiling in that restaurant is quite the sight to see along with the old wood stove and walls full of pictures from the early 1900s. It really does take you back in time.

In the evening, you can enjoy a beverage at the Texas Gate saloon at the back of the establishment. This has been a popular haunt for locals since the building was first established. And it still has the same old-fashioned decor as the restaurant and hotel does. What a beautiful, historical building in every way. It was such a nice break for me from my usual writing space at home. That definitely helped refresh my enthusiasm along with my creativity. It was the mini-vacation I needed—my dream life realized in a wonderful writer’s retreat in Alberta, right in my own back yard. I feel refreshed once again.

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SEO-Friendly Flesch Reading Ease Score (FRES)

SEO-Friendly Flesch Reading Ease Score (FRES)

SEO-Friendly Flesch Reading Ease Score (FRES)

Yesterday’s advice regarding writing the most SEO-friendly blog posts was pretty simple. Make sure your post is genuinely helpful and contains at least 500 words. Within those 500 words, your main keyword should be repeated at least 10 times. By doing that, search engines like Google should be able to easily find and index the blog entry.

SEO-Friendly Flesch Reading Ease Score (FRES)

Today’s advice is a little bit different. According to SEO 2018 author Adam Clarke and Yoast: SEO for Everyone, an SEO-friendly Flesch Reading Ease Score (FRES) is crucial to your SEO success.

Google’s former head of web spam, Matt Cutts, publicly stated that poorly researched and misspelled content will rank poorly, and clarity should be your focus. And by readability, this means not just avoiding spelling mistakes, but making your content readable for the widest possible audience, with simple language and sentence structures.

…The Searchmetrics rankings report discovered sites appearing in the top 10 showed … content that is fairly easy to read for 13-15 year old students and up.

…By encouraging search results to have content readable to a wide audience, Google maximise their advertising revenues. If Google were to encourage complicated results that mostly appeal to a smaller demographic, such as post-graduates, it would lower Google’s general appeal and their market share. (Clarke, 2018)

Why I Now Use the Yoast SEO WordPress Plug-In

In a nutshell, the Yoast SEO WordPress plug-in helps me to write blog posts that Google will approve and index. That’s why I use it. Because Google is the greatest link between me and my desired reader base.

As I begin writing each and every blog post, the Yoast plug-in continually gives me little notices. It lets me know whether my content is SEO-friendly in various ways. It tells me if my FRES is within the acceptable 60.0 to 70.0 readability range. If not, it will show me which sentences need to be adjusted to improve that score.

Your Blog Post Can Be Less Than 500 Words

So long as your writing style matches Google’s desired FRES score, your post can be 300+ words long. Yoast also has a different way of viewing keywords. Rather than repeating your top keyword at least twice within every 100 words, Yoast wants to see it right upfront. If you include that keyword in your slug (the URL for the blog entry), at least one or more of your headings, and within your first paragraph, Yoast will usually give you a good SEO score. It’s also great to attach the keyword to an image on your blog post, too. That way, Google will certainly understand what keyword you want the post indexed under.

There are additional things you can do to improve your blog post’s SEO. Including internal links to past blog posts and external links to other relevant information will also help. The more posts you write that Yoast awards a good readability and SEO score to, the higher up your blog will land in Google’s search engine ranking.

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2018 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.



Why Do Writers Write? Can They Profit From It?

Why do writers write? There are varying reasons from the basic desire to share ideas with others to the simple joy of the act itself. I’m one of those writers who does it because I enjoy it. I always have. Since the day I learned how to write, I’ve been writing in some way, shape, or form. When my high school friends went off to cheerleading practice or music lessons after school, I went home to write. Every single day. So, this has never been a chore for me; it’s always been my love and passion. If I never earned a dime from it, I would still write every day.

Why Do Writers Write if Most Earn Very Little Money From It?

In his article titled “Why Do Writers Write?” on the Psychology Today website, author Lawrence R. Samuel ponders:

Why do writers write

Why do writers write?

With rejection and criticism so much a part of the literary experience (and the fact that the income of the average American writer hovers around the poverty line), one has to wonder if writers have at least a streak of masochism in their genetic makeup to choose it as their profession.

This belief that most writers are doomed to a life of poverty seems to be the consensus among writers and non-writers everywhere. I think it is one of the top fears that prevent most “closet authors” from coming out to share their work with others. They may wonder, “What’s the point?” and opt for other seemingly more lucrative careers. But what if I told you times are changing? What if I told you that more and more authors are proving you can, indeed, earn a decent living from writing? I’ve done a lot of research on this topic matter over the past two years. You can imagine how thrilled I was to learn that it is possible to actually profit from my lifelong love and passion.

How Are Today’s Authors Earning a Decent Living from Writing?

Organic Web Weaving

Organic Web Weaving

If you’re like most writers, you don’t want to have to sell your books after you write them. You just want to move onto writing the next book. Am I right? Well, here’s some great news for you: writing is selling in the online world. The best way to sell books today is to utilize the power of search engines by feeding them new content on a consistent basis. Here are five simple steps to guide you:

 1. Create a WordPress or Blogger site for yourself (if you don’t already have one).

 2. Research and find the top 156 keywords for your genre/topic matter.

 3. Write and publish at least three new blog posts per week for a year (for a total of 156 posts) related to your genre/topic matter.

 4. Promote your blog posts and books on social media daily to keep the search engines happy.

 5. Publish 12 ebooks per year (one per month) at a minimum of 5,000 words each (equivalent to one chapter of a standard-size book). Then, at the end of the year, combine those 12 ebooks into one paperback and publish it the following month. “Lather, rinse, repeat” each year to build a momentum.

Why do writers write? Maybe the newest reason is because it’s actually possible to earn a profit from doing what you love!

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2018 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.