How to get into a writing habit (and keep it)

I must be part magpie – I love shiny new things. Unfortunately, this includes collecting shiny new writing projects. So I need help! I reviewed the first journal in this series a while ago and love the way it helps keep me from those oh-so-tempting distractions (you can about read it here). Having not quite finished Book 1, I was interested in what the next 52 weeks would look like, and how a blank journal could possibly be different! Of course, I had to ask the author what the difference would be, so here she is …

Why create a second volume of an undated journal and planner?

That’s an excellent point, and was my thought exactly when I first received a question about ‘next year’s version’. What next year’s version? It’s an undated journal and planner. Something you can buy and use over and over.

‘Right! I thought you might change the cover or something, so we don’t end up with a row of the same journals a few years from now.’

Now that I hadn’t considered. I, who wouldn’t even buy the same notebook twice…

Obviously, I could have taken the easy road after that seed was planted and simply slapped a new cover on the version I already had. That, however, isn’t how I do things (I might have to work on that at some point). So, instead of merely swapping covers, I handpicked fifty-three new writing quotes and came up with as many new writing prompts and exercises. Of course, I also gave the journal and planner a new look, because why not? (I really have to work on that not taking the easy road, don’t I?)

Without further ado, here’s the second volume of the 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating this new version.


P.S. There’s no actual order to the two volumes. If you picked this one up first, you can simply get the other one next year.


Anyway, when I finish my current (blue journal), I’ll definitely get another. And I do love purple, so I think it will be book two. By the way, this is a hefty tome, and you need a paper copy, so it’s well worth the price. But if you want to print at home, you can purchase a printable PDF through: Get 50% off until 31 March 2021 by using the coupon code 52WOW during checkout.

52 Weeks of Writing:

  • makes you plan, track, reflect on, and improve your progress and goals for an entire year;
  • helps you unravel the truth about why you aren’t where you want to be; and
  • keeps you writing through weekly thought-provoking quotes and prompts.

With this second volume of the 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner, writing coach and writer Mariëlle S. Smith brings you the same successful strategies to craft the perfect writing practice as she did in the first journal. The only difference? Fifty-three different writing quotes and prompts and a brand-new look!

Why authors need to use social media, and Clubhouse!

If you’ve followed me a while, you’ll know I’m pretty chatty on social media. Anyway, I’ve followed Lizzie Chantree for several years now having initially stumbled across her when she was doing the launch for “Ninja School Mum“. That book was literally EVERYWHERE I turned on social media! Of course I read it, so clearly the marketing campaign worked. Naturally, when I heard she was publishing “Networking for Writers” I was first in line.

My initial thought was that it’s a pretty slim volume at 98 pages, but each chapter is densely packed and hits you over the head with information. If you’re new to life as a published author, or unsure on social media and some other marketing opportunities, this is a helpful guide which you could use along with the essential BadRedHead Media 30 Day Book Marketing Challenge.

Chapters cover the various social media sites, and other tools that authors can use. I found it very interesting to see that she starts with Twitter. It’s words, so the fit for a writer is obvious. Personally, I’ve found a huge, positive, and supportive, writer community there, as well as many readers. I love Twitter, and agree with everything she suggests in the chapter. I’ve always resisted Pinterest, but having read her tips, you might see me popping up there too.

One issue with writing a book about social media platforms, is new ones keep on popping up. So far I’ve completely dodged TikTok, but was a little disappointed to see it didn’t feature as I’ve heard some writers suggest they have had great success on it.

In my opinion, the bigger gap is Clubhouse. To be fair, this probably wasn’t even in existence when Lizzie sent her book to print, but it definitely merits a new edition of her book. I wonder if this will be the fastest ever second edition release? If you haven’t come across Clubhouse yet, it’s a voice based app that is basically a live chat show where you can pop into rooms and hear an amazing range of speakers and join in. In your pyjamas and without brushing your hair. A total win for me! I said I love Twitter, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE Clubhouse. If you’re not on and you get a chance of an invite, grab it. I’ve been on a while and have taken part in shared writing sprints, joined book club chats, hosted Q&A sessions, and visited a whole heap of other interesting rooms. While you’re there, say hi – I’m @lexirees.

The Blurb

Networking for writers book cover

Are you swamped with book marketing and looking for a way to find new sales? Learn simple and effective networking techniques, to grow your readership and connect with other authors and book lovers, today!

Whether you are a new or experienced writer, self-published or traditionally published, this book will show you how to grow your readership and author network, through some of the most powerful of all marketing tools – word of mouth and recommendation.  

This book will show you:

  • How networking can help you sell more books.
  • Why author branding is important.
  • How networking hours work.
  • Specific Facebook groups for writers
  • How to utilise social media to grow your readership.
  • How not to waste valuable writing time.
  • How to make our marketing more effective.

Throughout Networking for Writers, we will explore running or attending book signings, hosting seminars, finding a writing buddy or mentor, author networking groups, social media planning and so much more. 

Purchase Link –

Author bio

Lizzie Chantree author image

International bestselling author and award-winning inventor, Lizzie Chantree, started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year in 2000. She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now works as a business mentor and runs a popular networking hour on social media, where creatives can support to each other. She writes books full of friendship and laughter, that are about women with unusual and adventurous businesses, who are far stronger than they realise. She lives with her family on the coast in Essex. 

The joy of editing, and an amazing competition

When I do author talks in schools, I always spend a chunk of time talking about editing. I know it’s a popular topic for the teachers as it’s something they can refer back to in subsequent lessons (“Remember how Lexi talked about the importance of editing your work?”). It’s also useful for them to be able to discuss it with the pupil who is absolutely adamant that their first draft is flawless, perfect in every way, how long I spend on the editing phase before publication.

I usually start by asking them to define editing. Most of the pupils leap straight to the grammar, spelling, and punctuation stage, which sets the scene for a discussion around developmental edits (looking at the big-picture), structural edits (looking at the structure of the story), line edits, copy edits (the bit the kids initially latch onto), and finally proof reading.

Some authors struggle with the editing phase, but personally I enjoy it. Editing Your Novel’s Structure: Tips, Tricks, and Checklists to Get You From Start to Finish is a concise guide to the structural editing phase and, whilst there is absolutely no substitute for a professional edit, it’s always good to do a thorough run through yourself to catch as many issues as you can.

Book cover image

The checklists are particularly handy. For example, the one on settings has a very comprehensive 18 separate points! For this reason I prefer a paperback rather than ebook so I can flick through quickly, cover it in post-it notes, and annotate heavily, but that’s partly because I’m an old-school hard-copy girl. I also love the way it covers a wide variety of genres so it has prompts regardless of whether you are writing historical fiction or sci-fi.

I’m actually reading two books on the writing process at the moment, and they couldn’t be more different. This one is blunt and to the point (lots of “you must” rules). The other is a lyrical, philosophical approach. If you’re serious about improving your writing craft, I would recommend you consume as many different approaches as possible as everyone has different issues, and different aspects will resonate with the issues you personally grapple with.


As part of todays blog blitz, I’m ridiculously excited to be hosting this competition to win an introductory editing service, The First Five PackageEntries close on Sunday night, so don’t hang around! Enter here …..

Here’s a description of the service: It’s worth $150. I wish I could enter myself!! #win #editing 


Editing Your Novel’s Structure: Tips, Tricks, and Checklists to Get You From Start to Finish

Before it’s time to check for commas and iron out passive voice, fiction writers need to know that their story is strong. Are your beta readers not finishing? Do they have multiple, conflicting complaints? When you ask them questions about how they experience your story, do they give lukewarm responses? Or have you not even asked anyone to read your story, wondering if it’s ready?

If any of the above is true, you may need to refine the structure of your story. What is structure you ask?  Structure is what holds a story together. Does the character arc entrance the reader? Is the world building comprehensive and believable? These questions and more have to be answered by all of us as we turn our drafts into books. 

In this concise handbook, complete with checklists for each section, let a veteran writer walk you through the process of self-assessing your novel, from characters to pacing with lots of compassion and a dash of humor. In easy to follow directions and using adaptable strategies, she shows you how to check yourself for plot holes, settle timeline confusion, and snap character arcs into place. 

Use this handbook for quick help and quick self-editing checklists on:

– Characters and Character Arcs.
– Plot.
– Backstory.
– Point of View.
– A detailed explanation of nearly free self-editing tools and how to apply them to your book to find your own structural problems.
– Beginnings and Ends.
– Editing for sensitive and specialized subject matter.
– Helpful tips on choosing beta readers, when to seek an editor, and a sample questionnaire to give to your first readers. 

Grab your copy of Edit Your Novel’s Structure today! Now is the time to finish that draft and get your story out into the world.

Author bio

Bethany Tucker is an author and editor located near Seattle, U.S.A. Story has always been a part of her life. With over twenty years of writing and teaching experience, she’s more than ready to take your hand and pull back the curtain on writing craft and mindset. Last year she edited over a million words for aspiring authors. Her YA fantasy series Adelaide is published wide under the pen name Mustang Rabbit and her dark epic fantasy is releasing in 2021 under Ciara Darren. You can find more about her services for authors at 

Author photo

There’s never been a better time to start writing!

Hands up, how many of you are looking at self-isolation and thinking, “I’m actually going to write that book“? We’ve also got Camp Nano coming up in April (a wonderful supportive writers community), so, if I may set aside all the worries and difficulties, perhaps there has never been a better time to pick up your pen. I love a journal, and use a student planner myself because as a kids author that aligns with my planning. This journal is more focussed on creating a strong writing habit, giving you a clear structure and prompts to keep you going and I absolutely LOVE it. It’s a big beast (400 odd pages), so don’t be tempted to get a soft copy – you’re definitely going to need a printed version.

52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner

Are you ready to become the writer you were always meant to be? 52 Weeks of Writing will get you cracking by making you plan, track, reflect on, and check in with your progress and goals an entire year long. It will help you dig deep by offering questions and writing prompts designed to unravel whatever truths about your writing you’re ready for, and keep you inspired by delivering a thought-provoking writing quote every week. 

  • Do you struggle with setting goals that reflect your daily reality? 
  • Do you want to practise breaking goals down into manageable chunks? 
  • Would you like more insight into your writing habit(s) and figure out why you keep getting in your own way? 
  • And do you want to create a sustainable writing practice that honours your needs and desires as a writer? 

Then the 52 Weeks of Writing: Author Journal and Planner is for you. This book brings together every lesson Mariëlle S. Smith has learned as a writing coach and writer. Wary as she is of comparisonitis and unhealthy competition, this author journal and planner was designed to help writers develop and fine-tune a practice that works for them. If you’re ready to get out of your own way and become the writer you’re meant to be, pick up your copy of today. 

Competition time!

  • If that sounds good, wait until you see these prizes – Enter here!
  • THREE paperback copies of the 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner,
  • TWO paperback copies of Tarot for Creatives: 21 Tarot Spreads to (Re)Connect to Your Intuition and Ignite That Creative Spark, and
  • ONE coaching session.

Author Bio

Mariëlle S. Smith is a coach for writers and other creatives, an editor, (ghost) writer, and custom retreat organiser. In 2019, she moved to Cyprus, and island in the Mediterranean Sea, where she organises private writer’s retreats, is inspired 24/7, and feeds more stray cats than she can count. 

How to get started writing fiction

Probably the question I get asked most by keen young authors is where do I get my ideas, which has a very long answer. The children then drill down into the how of writing, which is why I’m so excited to have just published my Creative Writing Skills workbook. As an author, I spend a lot of time thinking about the technical side of writing, and have a long list of books I recommend to other authors including On Writing by Stephen King (the audio version narrated by himself is amazing), Save the Cat Writes a Novel (the title does make sense, honestly!) and The Emotion Thesaurus (the rest of the series is still on my wish list).

Writing Fiction a user-friendly guide (1)

Writing Fiction – a user-friendly guide is a very readable beginners guide, half the length of the hefty On Writing. It sets out some great examples from really well known books (and some films, paralleling Save the Cat in approach) which keeps it highly accessible and I’d recommend it to those getting started in creative writing and looking to hone their skills. Given it’s quite short and covers a lot of ground, I’d also recommend it to GCSE/ A level students to help them understand the tools and techniques used by the authors they are studying.


The twenty-four chapters cover every important matter you need to know about, including: devising a compelling story, creating and developing characters, plotting, ‘plants’, backstory, suspense, dialogue, ‘show’ and ‘tell’, and how to make your novel more real than reality.

Also featuring special guest advice from legendary screenwriter Bob Gale, who wrote the three immortal Back to the Futuremovies (1985, 1989 and 1990), and novelist and screenwriter William Osborne, whose many screen credits include the co-writing of the blockbuster  Twins (1988), this highly entertaining book gives you all the advice and practical guidance you need to make your dream of becoming a published fiction writer come true.

Purchase Links

Author Bio

Writing Fiction a user-friendly guide (2)

James Essinger has been a professional writer since 1988. His non-fiction books include Jacquard’s Web (2004),Ada’s Algorithm(2013), which is to be filmed by Monumental Pictures, and Charles and Ada: the computer’s most passionate partnership (2019).His novels include The Mating Game(2016) and The Ada Lovelace Project(2019).

Social Media Links