Archive | Motivation RSS feed for this section

10 things that keep you from writing

12 Nov

In no particular order…

  1. Fear that you’re not good enough
  2. Too many new ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ trailers
  3. A perceived lack of time
  4. Comparing yourself to others
  5. Facebook
  6. ‘Real’ work during the day
  7. Waiting for the perfect idea to come along
  8. J.K. Rowling is more awesomer than you’ll ever be
  9. I need coffee. I need wine. I need all kinds of other things.
  10. You’re not a morning (or night) (or in-between) person

And a few to get you writing…

  1. Facebook and Star Wars will still be there
  2. J.K. Rowling started somewhere
  3. You can make time
  4. You are you
  5. Your idea is valuable. And it needs to come alive.

Friday Links

24 May

I hope all of you are having a productive week of writing, and that you are looking forward to a long Memorial Day weekend.

To help you finish your writing week off with strength and to guide you into the weekend, I’d like to share some informative and inspirational links. They cover a wide range of writing topics, but all have something good to say.

~ If you want to write a novel (or, perhaps, have already completed one) and are dumbfounded by the process of finding an agent, check out this interview with novelist Cassie Alexander on how it worked for her. Click here for the article from Writer’s Digest magazine…”How I Got My Agent: Cassie Alexander”

~ If you are reading this blog, chances are that you are a lover of all things Web-related. The Internet is a source of great information, but there is SO much to be found online that it can oftentimes be overwhelming. The Webby Awards are given each year by members of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences and focus on such varied categories as Best Political Blog, Best Visual Design, Best Writing, and much, much more. Click here for the list of nominees (and links to them)… “16th Annual Webby Award Nominees and Winners”

~ Are you a poet, or someone who simply loves to read good poetry? It can sometimes be intimidating to read and/or write poetry, especially when you consider all the different stylistic elements that come into play. (from the Academy of American Poets) has a handy list of poetry-related terms in its latest issue. Click here to read it…“Poetry Glossary”

~ Do you ever feel bombarded by a voice inside your head that says you’re not good enough? Or that questions your writing dreams? Every writer has had moments of doubt, but you cannot let the criticism you heap on yourself take over. An editor at Psych Central shares her insights into how to  end such battles with yourself in the latest issue of The Writer magazine. Click here to read this short yet insightful article…“How to Battle Your Inner Critic”

The Joy of Typewriters

22 May

You may have noticed that sweet little pink number in the right-side column of this site. And look at those luscious Corona keys up above.

I love computers.

I love my nifty laptop.

I love the ease and the technology and all the gizmos.

But, I adore typewriters.

I’m proud to be part of a generation that still remembers having to take a required Typewriting class in junior high. (8th grade, Ramay Junior High, Fayetteville, Arkansas.)

I’m proud to be the very last Reporting class at the University of Alabama to use a typewriter (albeit electronic). The next semester, we moved on to the first generation of Macs.

Typewriters, then, hold a special place in my heart…and I’m on a quest to find a few for my own personal collection.

(If you find one for me, I’ll take it in pink please.)

My new book is here!

11 May

I’m so excited to announce the arrival and release of my new book for writers. It’s now in my hot little hands and for sale from the back of my van. (I jest. Well, sort of. But not entirely.)

The book is a practical, how-t0, hands-on, step-by-step guide for getting published today. It’s perfect for anyone who has dreams of getting published, but doesn’t quite know how to get started and where to go.

The entire publishing process is covered in the book, with everything from coming up with marketable ideas, to writing query letters, to writing leads, to working with editors (and everything in between) highlighted.

It also includes a number of “extras”–“Writer Spotlight” interviews with professional writers and editors, “Writing Advantage” sidebars, sample query letters and articles, and learning exercises with every chapter.

The chapters in the book will give you a good idea of what you can expect between its covers:

1: Magazine Writing Today

2: Writing Features for Newspapers

3: Writing for Online Publications

4: Writing for Trade Publications

5: The Magazine Article

6: The Writing Process

7: Generating Ideas

8: Marketing Your Writing

9: Query Letters

10: Research & Interviews

11: Writing a Feature Article: Structure

12: Outlining, Drafting, Revising

13: Writing a Feature Article: Style

14: Final Steps to Publication

15: Business, Legal, & Ethical Practices

The book will be marketed as a textbook to college feature writing and magazine writing courses, but it is also a wonderful resource for aspiring freelance writers (or successful writers who want a jumpstart to their work).

I’m looking forward to talking about the topics in the book to writing groups and at writing conferences in the next months. If you would like to have me as a speaker for your group, let me know and I will get you on my schedule (email me at; comment on this post; or visit me at “Cheryl Sloan Wray” or at “Writing with Cheryl” on Facebook).

If you’d like a copy of the book, let me know and I can mail one off to you. It retails to colleges for $31.95, but I can sell individual copies for $20. (I’ll even autograph it for you!)

A new book is always an exciting thing…and I’m especially excited that my book is designed to help writers find publishing success.

(Look for more things here related to the book soon. I will be posting some excerpts, speaking news, and other items related to it.)

Have a wonderful…and productive…Friday and weekend.

Do something…

2 May


How about that for an inspirational kick-in-the-pants? But, it’s so true. We can’t let the talent we have just sit on a shelf and waste away. We must do something with what we’ve been given.

On a similar note (the writing stars must be aligned this morning, wanting me to get this message loud and clear), I just came across this quote from Mark Twain and it really spoke to me:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

The challenge, then, is to be brave; try something new; dream big; explore the corners of where those writing dreams may take you.




The Only Thing we Have to Fear is…

24 Apr

People have a lot of crazy fears.

I’m deathly afraid of heights and clowns. I have a friend who is scared of bridges and another who is terrified of spiders. And I’m sure you have your share of phobias.

We often have a lot of fear in our writing lives as well. As either published authors or aspiring writers, we let fear get in our way of succeeding…sometimes we let it get in the way of even trying in the first place.

As writers, what are we afraid of?

We are afraid of putting our thoughts into words, onto paper. We are then afraid of putting our words out there for the world to see. We are afraid of not being as good as some other writer. We are afraid of what other people will think of our writing. We are afraid of being rejected by an editor.

We are afraid of too much!

You should always do your very best at your writing. You should strive to be perfect; you should strive to always be professional; and you should always give it your all-and-all.

But…that doesn’t mean you will be perfect, or that your writing will always turn out the way you want it to.

Writing is an avocation that involves “sticking your neck out there.” You must be brave and courageous, not fearful of your feelings, your misplaced commas, your reaction from other people, or your would-be editors.

Remember what FDR said: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” I believe that is so true in regards to our writing aspirations. We cannot wallow in our fear simply for the sake of being fearful. We must face our fears, challenge our fears, have confidence in our abilities, rise up to the occasion, and do everything we can to succeed despite our insecurities.

As you get ready this day to put some words onto paper (or send a story to an editor, or write a query letter, or simply tell someone “I am a writer”), don’t let fear into the equation.

~~ If fear is a problem for you, consider these questions and exercise…

* What is the biggest fear you have about writing?

* Make a list of ways you can try and conquer this fear.

* Write a few paragraphs about your fear in a creative way (such as: in the form of a poem, prayer, or dialogue between two characters.)

10 Apr