An announcement about WritingStrides

October is here, and in the mountains where I live, the leaves have turned and snow is in the forecast (really!). It's a time of transition, and I'm embarking on a transition of my own that will affect the WritingStrides community.

After six years of coaching, I've decided to take a sabbatical from WritingStrides. Over the past several months, I've been reflecting on my priorities (it might have something to do with a certain birthday). I gradually saw that every single one of my long-term, professional priorities related to writing but that wasn't reflected in my short-term goals and everyday actions to the degree that I wanted.

As a result, I'm making several shifts in my day-to-day life. Among them, I'll be closing the Inspired Writers Studio at the end of October and transitioning out of coaching between now and the end of the year. I plan to take all of 2019 off from WritingStrides and then reevaluate.

What does that mean for you and the rest of the awesome WritingStrides community? I will no longer be sending out emails with writing inspiration or videos, nor do I plan to host workshops or writing challenges. I may teach some classes in the local community, but will otherwise be directing my energy to writing projects during 2019. And while I will be making changes to the website in coming weeks, I will leave the blog up so you can go through it at any time for a little inspiration.

Many of you have been with me from the beginning of WritingStrides, attending online or in-person workshops, working with me one on one, or following along on the blog. Many of you have sent me notes, letting me know that a particular blog post or writing experience helped you unlock your creativity, and I am so grateful that you've been part of my writing journey.

They say that we teach what we need to learn, and I wholeheartedly believe that. You've all helped me learn how to make space for writing, how to find the most meaningful projects, and how to find the courage to pursue them. Thank you.

I wish you all the best in the coming year as you continue to write!
Alissa

One way to know you're ready for feedback to your writing.

One way to know you're ready for feedback to your writing.

I recently hosted a live Q&A. Writers from across the country—North Carolina, Minnesota, Colorado, even Washington—joined me on the Facebook page to talk about critique groups, getting feedback to your writing, and the Inspired Writers Master Track. And you know what? Minds were blown. Mine included.

Read More

Critique groups are not all created equal.

Critique groups are not all created equal.

Writers often ask me how to find readers—not the final audience, per se, but people to read an early draft and give feedback. They often ask about critique groups in particular, and one of the first things I suggest is to choose carefully.

Critique groups are not all created equal.

When I signed up for my first critique group, I didn't even realize that's what I was doing. I was a freshman in college and had simply signed up for what I saw as my first "real" writing class.

Read More

Top 5 Ways to Actually Show Up at the Page

Top 5 Ways to Actually Show Up at the Page

I've been working with writers (and writing long enough myself) to know that there are all kinds of hurdles to sitting down to write. You probably don't need me to elaborate. If you've ever struggled to make time, make use of the time you have, or create more space for writing in your life, then you know what I'm talking about.

The truth is, making time to write doesn't have to be that complicated.

Read More

It's official: you can write however you darn well please.

It's official: you can write however you darn well please.

You might be able to relate to this story. I met a friend for coffee and the conversation turned to writing (as you can imagine, this happens a lot). She was in a tough spot: she wanted to write but didn't know what to write.

Now, this friend has already published two books, but when she started a third, she stalled out. The magic wasn't there, and she's gone quite a while without writing. Now she had to decide, if she didn't write that third book, what should she write?

Read More

Traveling soon? Here are 5 tips to consider for your writing.

 Traveling soon? Here are 5 tips to consider for your writing.

Life is full of ironies. Like starting a blog post on writing and travel while sitting in the airport, going on hour three of my delay.

But I've wanted to write about this topic for a while, and summer feels like the appropriate time. There are summer road trips, visits to the cabin, camping, and if you're not traveling, other travelers arriving at your door (especially if you live in the mountains). Talk about writing disruptions.

Read More

Are your habits making or breaking your writing?

Are your habits making or breaking your writing?

A writer and friend of mine will openly tell you that, sometimes, she doesn't write because she gets sucked into Netflix or solitaire. 

I love her honesty, because let's face it, we all have our vices

Mine also begins with N followed by etflix, yet if you were to ask me what I'd rather do—write or watch TV—I'd say writing every time. So why do I so often choose TV?

Read More

How I know you can trust the writing process and yourself to follow through.

How I know you can trust the writing process and yourself to follow through.

As a coach, I often find myself making suggestions that go against the grain of conventional writing advice.

You don't have to write every day.
Write the book you want to write, not the one you think will sell.
Write to find out what happens, not because you know what happens.


Yet as unconventional as these ideas might be, I trust them wholeheartedly.

Read More

One of my favorite tools to write more and feel better about writing.

One of my favorite tools to write more and feel better about writing.

When I was in graduate school, I sometimes sat in front of my lap top (usually in bed because I never could write at a desk) and felt the frustration build. I didn't know what happened next and I needed to know so I could turn in my assignment!

In those days, the way I felt about my writing dictated how it went. If I felt clear and focused, I got things done without a hitch. When I wasn't so sure or doubted my abilities, the only thing that kept me going was a good deadline. 

Read More

How I keep disappointment in perspective.

How I keep disappointment in perspective.

As a writing coach, I've seen the heartbreak of writing up close. 

I know. We don't talk about that part of the process very often, but here's what it can look like:

  • You share your manuscript with a friend and they return it, saying they couldn't get past the first three chapters and failing to offer any helpful advice

  • Your award-winning manuscript gets rejected by agents

  • You feel like you've been writing forever, and you STILL haven't finished your book or landed an assignment

Read More