Something Special Happening at The Write Practice

7 Jul

I don’t usually plug my Write Practice posts over here, but right now this excellent blog for writers has something special going on. Not only am I completely psyched to be a part of it, but I also think that it could hold real value for many of you. So I’m making an exception.

Here’s the scoop: Write Practice is in creating an ebook chock-full of its best writing tips.

And here’s the part that has me really excited: All the funds from this book’s sales will help an exceptional student in Rwanda—his name is Gerald—pursue his writing passion at university, and then return to his community equipped to make a positive difference.

The first step to all of this is that we’re looking for writers to tell us what they want from the ebook. Learn more and have a voice in this process here.

4 Reasons to Use Images for Word Nerds

21 Jun

4 Reasons to Use Images for Word NerdsFlip back through the archived posts here on Creative Juicer and you’ll see images are few and far between.

I’m a word person, thank you very much. It’s how my thoughts take shape and where the force of my meaning naturally settles. Images don’t really resonate for me. So when I started Creative Juicer, I figured, I’ll just put my words out there.

The problem is, the marketer side of me knows better. And if I stop and pay attention, most of the most successful writers’ blogs I know, like The Write Practice, include an image with every post.

Images matter. A lot.

If you’re a writer (or any kind of creative) trying to develop an online platform, integrate images into your content. Because when it comes to content marketing (and that’s exactly what your blog, social media, and creative work are) the more you can integrate images, the better.

Consider these three facts about the power of images:

Images can boost your SEO.

Articles with images get 94% more views than those that don’t. That’s a pretty significant number. I don’t know about you, but if my post visits jumped 94%, I’d be one happy camper.

People are drawn to images.

90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are transmitted 60,000 times faster in the brain than texts. So if you’re looking to engage readers, images give you a serious leg up.

The power of image-driven networks like Pinterest is undeniable.

Pinterest generated more referral traffic for businesses than Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn combined (stat from 2012). Don’t you want that power working for you, not against you?

It’s getting easier and easier to get great images online.

Fortunately, the magic of the Internet is on our side, even if you’re total flop at graphics like me. There’s a number of online tools to make it easy—my favorites are Creative Commons and Canva. Do some searching and find the tool that fits your own needs.

What it all adds up to is this: My excuses for not using images with my posts are running out—and so are yours. So you’re going to start seeing a lot more images with my posts moving forward. Sure, it takes a little more time, but the payoff is definitely worth it.

Like it? Share it!  Twitter  | Facebook

Learn more from my sources here, here, and here.

 

Do you use images in your online platforming? What’s your experience with them? 

Reality Check: Beta Testing Your Art

2 Jun

Before a new technology launches, it’s beta tested—because it’s not enough for the programming to work in theory, you have to have actual human users make sure it functions properly and meets users the way they naturally interact with it. Beta testing.

We need to do the same with our art. Because, really, what good is our art if our audience can’t pick up what we’re putting down? Is that still even art?

Without feedback, we’re operating in a vacuum. I don’t know about you, but my mind can drift pretty far out there. I

That’s why, when you reach close to the end of your creative process, you should pause for a beta test. 

For me, that time is now. I’ve finally finished my manuscript and I’m looking for beta readers to give me some feedback.

And hey, want to be one of them? Because I’d love nothing more than to get feedback from the Creative Juicer community who has shared this process with me.

About the book:

The story is an 80,000-word fantasy novel that combines a gritty antihero in the tradition of Frank Miller’s Sin City, a narrative with the emotive power of Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me, and a world that draws from an amalgam of Judeo-Christian and Greek mythology.

The box has put blood on Adem’s hands more times than he can count. But the Hunters keep finding him, determine to risk everything to fight for it. One they reach for the box, Adem is powerless to stop himself from destroying them.

If only he could walk away from it. If only he knew what was in it. But he’s already tried everything. 

After ages on the run, Adem hides in Epoh’s darkest corner, the holy district, abandoned by both men and the gods since the last Realm War. Just tries to remain unnoticed as he watches life unfold in the forsaken city. To not kill anymore. 

Then an angel comes to him offering this and more: a soul and the chance to be human. But first he must return the angel’s long lost human love to him from the Underworld. 

But under his heartache, the angel hides something much darker. As he pursues his quest, Adem starts a chain of events that will unleash the Third Realm War and turn all of Terath into battlefield for the gods and their First Creatures.

I’m hoping to have all feedback by June 30. If this story sounds interesting and you’re willing to share some of your time and thoughts, here’s what you get from me in return:

  • Inclusion on an email list to get updates related to the book (unless you don’t want to be!)
  • Mention in the thank you’s for the book
  • Copy of the book whenever, however it is finally released
  • My eternal gratitude

If you’re interested, shoot me an email at emily.wenstrom@gmail.com.

Obsession: Ray Bradbury

21 May

For my birthday several weeks ago, my husband got me the most incredible thing: A first edition, first print copy of The Martian Chronicles—with Ray Bradbury’s autograph inside.

The. Most. Incredible. Thing. It’s my very favorite book, even edging out Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre. I simply adore Ray Bradbury, and holding this beautiful first edition in my hands nudged to me a wave of obsession.

Because here’s the thing about Ray Bradbury. He was more than the author who brought literary legitimacy to science fiction—as if that wasn’t enough. Ray Bradbury was an author’s author … and maybe even more specifically, an aspiring author’s author. Here’s why, in three quotes.

“Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.”

This quote is about practice and quantity. To write well, you must write a lot. And read a lot—Bradbury was also a great advocate for libraries. (Tweet this quote!)

“Sometimes you have to just jump out the window and grow wings on the way down.”

i don’t even consider this artist advice. I consider this a life skill. a precursor to ‘fake it til you make it.” If you want to succeed at something, you gotta have the guts to go for it. (Tweet this quote!)

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”

This line is just so close to my heart. After all, life can be rough. There’s commutes, bosses, endless to-dos … not to mention the tragedies and disasters all over the world. I don’t even know if it’s possible to take it all in. But writing gives me somewhere to process, escape, and try to do something about it all. (Tweet this quote!)

These are just a few nuggets of great writing wisdom from the brilliant Ray Bradbury. He’s absolutely my number one literary hero—both for his works and how he practiced his art.

Tell me … what authors do you adore? Why?

The Most Important Part of Art: Finishing

28 Apr

One of my favorite genre authors, Chuck Wendig, talks a lot about writing and art on his blog, Terrible  Minds. One of his cardinal rules of art-ing is Finish Your Shit.

So simple. And so, so hard.

I’ve been in what I’ve thought of as the final editing phase of my manuscript since February. I thought I’d whip through it and shoot it out to some beta readers for feedback my March, April at the latest. And now it’s practically May. And I’ve got about a third of my manuscript to scrub and polish yet.

Sigh.

I’m itching to just get it out the door already. And other ideas are calling to me.  It’s tempting to skip a step or two, or simply stop where i am and call it finished.

That’s the thing about art though, isn’t it? Finishing is even harder than starting … and starting is often a trick in itself. And yet finishing is critical. If we don’t finish—and finish right—all that effort goes to nothing. We don’t have anything to show for the work, we don’t have anything to publish, we don’t grow.

Finishing is where art separates the hobbyists from the pros. The pros stick it out and do it right. Hobbyists, the ones who are just in it for the fun and don’t care about growing their skills or sharing their work with the world (nothing wrong with that) drop it and move on to something else.

In a way, I like that finishing is so hard. Isn’t there enough competing noise out there as it is? Anyone can come up with a spark of an idea. Anyone can start. Various surveys have shown that a majority of people believe they have a story in them. But most never get those stories published. Because the idea isn’t what makes you an artist. What makes you an artist is seeing it through.

Inspiration only gets you so far. Don’t rely on it and don’t trust it. It can feel necessary, but the truth is your creativity is always there, even when the spark isn’t.

Good art makes you earn it. 

How do you stick out your projects to the end?

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