Self-Paced Writing Workshop: Be a Better Writer, Blogger, Wordcrafter

After several reader requests, a great many discussions, and a good bit of thinking, de-constructing, and planning, I’m ready to launch a “self-paced writing workshop.” This will consist of a series of blog posts, right here, along with exercises you can do on your own. The goal?

To help you become the best writer/blogger/whatever you can be!

Now, some caveats:

I’m not going to assume you want to do technical writing, although this’ll work perfectly well if you do. I’ll try to provide both technical and non-technical examples as I go.

I’m not going to focus on the specifics of the language. That is, I won’t be trying too hard to exhibit perfect grammar, spelling, or punctuation. In professional writing, you tend to have an editor to help with those things, and I also don’t want to assume you’ll be writing in English, which is all I know. What I’ll cover should be applicable in any language.

If you’d like to play along, I suggest logging into your WordPress.com account (or creating one, if you don’t have one), and subscribing to this blog. That way, you can get an email notification each time a new post goes up (which will be roughly weekly, if you’d rather set a reminder to check back manually). You can always un-subscribe once the series is complete.

And a stern warning: like many topics, this will only work if you play along, which means actually doing the exercises. In fact, I’m happy to review as many as I can through the remainder of 2019. So I suggest that you set up a blog, if you don’t have one – Wordpress.com ones are free, and you can take it down when we’re done, if you like. As you complete each exercise, post its URL as a comment to the corresponding article here, and I’ll go through them as best I can. Make sure your blog permits comments, because that’s where I’ll leave my feedback.

And now a request! If you’re a good reader, then I ask that you lurk in the comments on my articles. Grab the URLs as they’re posted, and go have a look. Offer your own feedback to the author. Be polite, be professional, and be constructive – meaning your feedback is actionable. This is how we can all help each other not only get better, but gain more confidence in our work. Confident people produce more, which benefits us all.

The initial articles I post won’t have you creating full blog posts. Oh, no. We’re going to go through the process. So your initial posts will be capturing thoughts, producing short outlines, and so on. Again, you’re welcome to take your blog down, or delete the articles, once you’re done, if you don’t want your “process” to be saved for all time.

Alternate way to participate: perform your work in a public GitHub repo, and post that URL instead when you’re soliciting feedback. Commenters (including me) will open an Issue with feedback. Commenters, please open one Issue for all of your feedback; don’t open one for each comment you make.

Sound good? I’ll see ya next week!

Lessons Learned and Evolution in Writing

I’ve been writing, professionally, since about 2000, when I signed my first book contract for Microsoft .NET E-Commerce Bible. Since then I’ve written literally dozens of books, large and small, and I’ve recently moved into fiction. I feel like I’ve learned a lot along the way – mainly by muddling through – and I thought I’d share, for anyone who might be interested.

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A Prologue for a New Story

One of the ways I “save” story ideas for later is by writing a backgrounder that contains the core details I want to keep in mind. In this case, I literally had a dream of this story so vivid that an entire prologue essentially wrote itself. I’ve no idea if this story will go anywhere, or where it might go if it does, or when I might even figure all that out, but I thought I’d share it and see what you think. This is a kind of Biblical Genesis story for an entirely different World. I’d definitely appreciate any constructive comments you’d care to leave. As a note, this is in Markdown, so read italics as they’re intended ;). 

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Support a New Sci-Fi Author and get Two Novels for $5.

I love writing. It relaxes me, I can do it from anywhere, and it’s fun. Since 2001, I’ve written technology books – literally dozens of them – and thoroughly enjoyed doing so. But I’ve always wanted to branch out and tell stories.

Carpe diem, right? Why wait? I mean, worse case I suck at it, right?

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