Writing is such a huge topic–to do it justice will take quite some time.

The first piece of advice I’ll give is common. Write what you know and write from your heart.

And write often. A writer on the writer’s website I belong to, Absolute Write, started a thread where he held himself accountable to writing every single day. He worked his way up to 300-500 new words a day (not counting editing, research, blogs, etc.). That might not sound like much, but it comes out to 146,000 words a year. That could be two novels, which is plenty of productivity for a writer who’s got to hold down a day job, too. He called it Not Letting the Page Win. Every day he wrote, the blank page was not the victor. And it made an enormous difference in his productivity.

Write with joy and passion and persistence. I look forward to reading your stories.


General Interest

A Different Kind of Story Prompt

Advice from a Writers of the Future Contest Judge

The Art of Description–How Much Do You Need?

Backstory Is Not Story

Cliches Can Be Surprising

The Latest, Greatest, Bright, Shiny Idea

Nat Russo on Adverbs and Show, Don’t Tell

Point of View–Which One Should I Use?

The Query Letter–What Not to Do

The Short Story–Making a Comeback

Submitting Short Stories

Synonyms for Look and Walk

Stick to Your Literary Guns

Who Do You Write Like?

Why Readers Stop Reading a Book

Writing What You Know

34 Writing Terms for Serious Writers

Planning Your Story

Story Structure–Important for Both Plotters and Discovery Writers

The Hook

Three Act Structure–An Overview

Three Act Structure–Act One: Inciting Incident

Three Act Structure–Act One: The Point of No Return

Three Act Structure–Act Two

Three Act Structure–Third Act

Three Act Structure–Epilogue


Developing Depth in Your Characters

Does the Sidekick Make the Hero?

Your Protagonist–Don’t Write a Mary Sue

Your Protagonist Must Act

Writing PoC Characters

Antagonist–What Kind Do You Have?


Are You Filtering Your Writing?

Beta Readers

Criticism–Friend or Foe?

Editing for Passive Voice

Editor’s List of Common Mistakes

Kill Your Darlings

The Magic of the Read-Aloud Pass–and the Following One

The Smile and Nod Editing Passes

Watch Out for Homophones

Weasel Words


Facing Fear

Lessons from a Border Collie

What Was I Thinking? Maybe I Should Quit Writing

What Do You Do When You Hit The Wall? (Dealing with Writer’s Block)

Help! I’ve Lost My (Writer’s) Voice! A Remedy For Allegedly Lost Writers

Punctuation and Grammar

Apostrophes–End the Abuse!

How to Use Semicolons

Ten Ways to Use Hyphens with Numbers

Comma Abuse

Commas and Independent Clauses

Commas and Introductory Clauses

Commas and Introductory Phrases

Commas and Introductory Words

Commas and Parenthetical Statements

More Than One Adjective–Comma or No Comma?

The Oxford Comma–Superhero of Punctuation

Split Infinitives

20 comments on “Writing
  1. Matt Rydeen says:

    Thank you for this wonderful post! I will be absolutely be applying the advice from The Editor’s List of Common Mistakes to my next draft.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re very welcome! I wish I could claim credit for it, but I’m happy to share. I found this post a year ago and started making it the basis for one of my editing passes. It’s definitely improved the quality of my writing.


  2. Cathleen, I’ve been perusing your wonderful blog after you stopped by mine to read 7 Reasons Good Authors Need Beta Readers. Thank you for the visit and for liking the post. I’m approaching the end of my memoir manuscript and see many things here I will want to take advantage of reading as I move into the editorial and publishing processes. I look forward to many visits back and have subscribed to your blog so I can get to know you better. Best of luck with your writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! Memoir is a tough gig–I don’t think it’s appreciated enough. The closest I can come is back when I studied art, I took lots of painting and drawing classes before I studied film photography and went into a darkroom. There were times my fingers just itched to hold a brush–it was so much easier to picture it and make it happen on canvas than to capture it in real life for certain images.

      Anyway, memoir is like that. Unlike fiction, you can’t change events to suit the story. Instead you have to craft the story around the events. So I have nothing but the deepest respect for anyone who tries to take on that task. Best of luck to you as well.


  3. Great list of posts you have here. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. paully1965 says:

    Great informative post..

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I see words as color with words adding depth ad new shades off color to each other. I really like this post. I tend to forget about the practical matters that can make the difference between a fair writer and a good one.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. frenchc1955 says:

    I have nominated you for a Blogger’s Appreciation Award. The information follows:


    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a great list of resources, Cathleen. Thanks! I couldn’t figure out where to begin so I favorited.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. that’s it, 500 words a day consistently, is a novel or two a year.
    And if you crank it up to 1k, 2k, 3k etc that’s even better 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The True Light! says:

    This is so much good information! Good post…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks so much. 🙂


  11. Thanks, Cathleen. Just shared this on Twitter and posted on Pinterest as a writing resource go-to! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. […] Cathleen Townsend – Think of writing a book check out this link below, interesting and helpful. https://cathleentownsend.com/writing/ […]


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