Join book coach Stephanie Dethlefs weekly for inspiration, tips, strategies and real talk from one practicing writer to another. Each episode is short and sweet and leaves you with a practical tool you can implement right away.
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#027 We all know that writers should also be avid readers. But do you know what it looks like to actually study a book to see what makes it work? In this episode, we’re exploring what it means to use a “mentor text” to improve our own writing skills. I’ll give you six steps to set yourself up for success as you learn from those who’ve made it work on the page.
#026 Want a strategy that will help you stay focused AND save you time as you write your story? Decide how the story is going to end before you even start writing. In this episode, we’ll be diving in to why this is useful and I’ll give you some tips to do it effectively.
#025 Who supports you in your writing goals? Who is giving you regular feedback? Who is your writing community? In this episode, we are busting the myth that writers need to work in isolation, and building ourselves a team to help us from the first word to the final chapter.
#024 If you can grab your reader by the collar in your first page, first paragraph, or even the first sentence, you are more likely to keep them engaged through the rest of the book. In today’s episode, we’re digging into four strategies with the help of one of my favorite “hooks” ever.
#023 If you want your reader to be invested in and care about what happens next in your story, the best way is to answer these three essential questions about your protagonist.
#022 The concept of “cause and effect” is pretty easy to distinguish in the events of a story. But what about within the emotional, internal story of the protagonist? In this episode, we’ll explore those two cause and effect trajectories, and how to ensure that your reader stays engaged until the very last page.
#021 So you’ve clarified your big idea – you know what you will write next and why. (No? Go back and listen to episode #20!) Now it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of when and what you will write. We’re talking actually putting it on the schedule! Crazy idea? Maybe. But try it and watch the magic happen.
#020 What do you want to write in 2021? In this final episode of 2020 (and the first in a two-part series) we talk about effective goal setting for your next project. Part 1 is to clarify the big picture by digging deep to identify three things: what it’s about, who it’s for, and why you must write it.
#019 There are a million things that you could know before you start writing. Or perhaps you prefer to know nothing, to see where the blank page takes you. In this short but essential episode, I offer a sweet spot in between…two thing that you should know in order to craft an impactful story.
#018 What do you tell yourself about your writing? That it’s fabulous, or that it’s not so great? That you have all the time in the world, or that you never can find enough? That you are the only person who can tell this story, or that you aren’t qualified? What we tell ourselves about our writing makes a huge impact on the actual productivity. In today’s episode, we’re looking at two specific (and very common) thoughts that want-to-be-writers tell themselves that look innocent … but can actually cause some damage to our goals.
#017 If you are feeling unmotivated or uncertain about your current writing project or idea, digging even deeper into why you must write it will unearth reasons you didn’t even know were there and give you the confidence you need to move forward.
#016 Are you a plotter or a pantser? Not sure? A plotter plans out her story in advance, while a pantser flies by the seat of…well, you get it. Today, a life-long pantser tells you why she’s become a convert to planning, but only in a very specific way. We’ll also cover those three reasons why it’s beneficial and one quick exercise that might get you thinking about your current project in a new way.
#015 While having lots of ideas for writing projects seems like a good problem to have, those “shiny objects” can quickly become a distraction from your work-in-progress. In today’s episode, we’re talking about what it really means when we think a new idea sounds better than what we’re working on. We’re also exploring a variety of methods for collecting ideas to save for later, and I share a special mantra for focus that I say many times a day.
#014 Discover Your Best Time to Write We’re back! This year has been difficult, and many of us are finding it challenging to do creative work. In this episode, we’re talking about how to find the best time of day to write given our energy level and our stamina for writing by asking ourselves five key questions.
Note: Episodes below were recorded before hellowriters.net was established. Unfortunately, links are no longer available for these episodes.
#013 When It’s Not Going Well This is where we get real and honest with the circumstances and feelings that are getting you stuck. Whether you’re like me in this moment (spoiler alert!) not writing consistently, or are just having a challenge moving forward with a project, I have a vulnerable but powerful exercise to try to get to the root of it and help you take the next step forward.
#012 What’s It Really About? Have you ever read or heard a story that left you uninterested or unengaged or just plain bored? A trap that narrative writers and storytellers can easily fall into is that of not knowing (or not sharing) what the story is really about. In this episode we are exploring what questions to ask yourself – and when to ask them – in the process of creating a story that will leave your readers with something to think about.
#011 What Are You Waiting For? We all have something we wish could be different, that we think will somehow make our circumstances better for our writing. Maybe it’s more time, a better space, brilliant ideas… If we wait for these things (or anything else), if we keep thinking that “some day” we will get to it, we might miss our chance. Today, we talk about how to stop waiting and start writing.
#010 The 60-Day Plan for Writing Practice (Part 3 of 3) This is the final episode of the three-part series about The 60-Day Plan, and it’s where we get into the nuts and bolts! How do you schedule and plan for writing sessions that will get you to the goal you set for 60 days from now? Let’s dive in!
#009 The 60-Day Plan: Goals and Craft Development (Part 2 of 3) The 60-Day Plan is more than just writing. It also includes setting a goal that produces a specific result, as well as zeroing in on a specific craft skill we’d like to further refine. Today we talk about both of these things, and I give you the four steps to develop your next 60-day plan right now!
#008 The 60-Day Plan Mindset (Part 1 of 3) The 60-Day Plan is a tool that has changed my writing practice and upleveled my productivity. This is the first of three episodes where we dive into the 60-Day Plan and implement it to move toward YOUR writing goals. Today we are talking about why 60 days is the perfect length of time, and why setting short-term goals is the way to make your dreams come true!
#007: How Do You Practice? What does it even mean to “practice” writing? What else is there to do besides, well, write? This is the question we explore in today’s short episode. We look at some examples of practice activities, consider which skills we want to practice, and decide how to fit it into our already busy lives.
#006 The ONE Thing to Stop Doing Right Now To compare ourselves to others is a completely normal and human instinct. But, when it comes to writing and writers, comparison can mean a quick death to our motivation. In this short episode we talk about why comparison happens, why it can be problematic, and how to use other writers’ experiences and writing to actually inspire ourselves.
#005 The ONE Thing That Will Improve Your Writing There are a million opportunities for writers to learn craft skills, but one often overlooked one is right on your bookshelf. Yep; writers write, but writers also read. This is the first of our “craft” episodes, and it’s all about the importance of reading in a writer’s life. Today we discuss why reading is important and, more specifically, why reading in the genre in which you write is critical. At the end, I offer you a quick way to dive in to this crucial practice.
#004 Finding Time to Write We all wish we had more time to dedicate to our writing practice, but the reality is that we have the time we have. So how do we fit writing into our already busy lives? In this episode, we consider what “enough” time means. (Spoiler alert: there is no such thing as “enough.”) I also give you a simple four-step process to find and schedule intentional time in your life each week dedicated to moving you forward in your writing. This episode is originally airing during the COVID-19 pandemic, so the special circumstances we are living in at this time are also acknowledged.
#003 What Is Your Why? In our first episode about our THOUGHTS about writing, we explore the big questions. Why do I want to write? Why do I avoid writing? A deep dive into these questions allows us to figure out exactly what we are telling ourselves, and start to clear the cobwebs in our minds and get to work. We also look at questions we can ask about a specific project which help us get to the roots of the story.
#002 Three Elements of a Writer’s Life When you consider your writing life (real or imagined) what do you see? What is working? What isn’t? There are three interconnected elements of a writer’s life, each of which need to be given time and attention in order to make you a well-balanced, flourishing and productive writer. This episode ends with a 15-minute activity to get you thinking about each of these three areas.
#001 Introducing Hello, Writers! Introducing a brand-new podcast for writers. Whether you’re a novice or experienced, published or unpublished, writing consistently or never quite finding the time, this is the show for you.
In this episode, I introduce myself, the show and give you a 10-minute activity that will generate both ideas and intentions for your writing life.
I hope you enjoy this first episode! Thank you for joining me on this new adventure.
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