Do you need encouragement to overcome Summertime blahs?

Time for me to review an oldie but goodie.

Sheet music

I’ve had the post-holiday blues. After returning from Europe and spending time with my daughter and granddaughters, I have no motivation.

Yet, my editor is waiting for my next picture book manuscript and I’m sitting here staring at my half-finished novel.

Sigh, so much to do and so little desire. Although my characters keep me awake every night. Instead of encouraging me, I feel as though these characters are little devils on my shoulder. LOLDevil on my shoulders

So, time to put action to words and take my own advice. Wish me luck.

Hope this review helps you too.

Do you need to overcome Summertime writer’s block?

How about, not 10, but 33 tips to jumpstart your writing?

The long, hot days make me lethargic. I want to play, putter around with my roses, or read a good book. Even my muse, complains it’s too damn hot to sit at a computer. Now, who am I to argue with inspiration?

Summer time fun bitmoji

But, writers must write.

So if you’re searching for something to help, keep reading.

I found a great answer on Quora. Who knows? After you read the article, even during these dog-days of summer, maybe you will find one that suits you.

Here’s my take on his 33 tips. The ones I think will help me are in red.

  1. Not me, I’m a start at the beginning kinda gal.
  2. Jot down the facts, just the facts. Cool idea.
  3. Now take a fact from #2 and turn it on its head. What if it’s a lie.
  4. Prompts? I love prompts.
  5. Free write, hmm might just work. Gonna give it a try. With #4 of course.
  6. Break? Took too many already this Summer.
  7. Get moving. But remember to come back to WIP.
  8. Meditate. Nah, not for me.
  9. Ditto. I don’t like confrontations. Even pleasant ones.
  10. Yay! Learned something new.  Oblique Strategies 
  11. I like it quiet when I write. But I’ll consider it.
  12. This I do, sometimes moving to my back porch.
  13. Write 10 ideas a day? Yikes. Too much pressure.
  14.  Outlandish ideas? Might work.
  15. Swipe File is a great idea. Setting up some today.
  16. Book is a cousin to #15, don’t like to duplicate work.
  17. Journal about feeling blocked. Too whiny.
  18. Timed writing? No, I’ve enough pressure see #13.
  19. Unplugging is something I should do more often.
  20. Pen & Paper, tried and true.
  21. Set a deadline and broadcast it. Geese more pressure.
  22. Make a brag list.
  23. Make a to-do list. I like lists. 
  24. Reread one of your favorites and rewrite for practice. I’ve done this to get juices flowing. Works.
  25. Write down how you feel about your WIP. Nope, see #17.
  26. Which parts of WIP is best and strongest?
  27. Look at which parts are weakest.
  28. Consider different POV. I’ve done this and it does help.
  29. Review annotations in books you’ve enjoyed for inspiration.
  30. Decide on what you’re trying to accomplish.
  31. Lists of single words to identify key themes.
  32. Stop editing. This is my hardest thing to overcome.
  33. Recite the prayer of the Muse? Not into that much Zen, see #8.

For more detailed descriptions and explanations, click and read:

How can an aspiring writer get around writer’s block? by Bryan Collins

Now your turn. Tell me…

Which one of the 33 tips did you relate to?

Is there one that caught your interest?

Are you ready to try something new?

Give me your thoughts on these ideas.

Don’t let the Summertime blues stall your creativity. Get writing!

I love reading your comments. 

Please head over and “like” my Facebook page at Facebook at jeanswriting . Or to connect with me, click the “write me” tab. Don’t forget you can follow me on StumbleUpon,  on Twitter @jeancogdell , and

Please stop by and say “hey!”  I’ll leave a light on. 


What you need to know about best selling books

Every writer dreams of hitting the bestseller list.

Writer dreaming of writing a bestseller novel - Pixabay image

However, there are more books than M&Ms promising to show us the way. So which one do you pick? Well, I’ve got a good one you should consider reading.


I admit I picked up this book with a lot of trepidation. But I wasn’t disappointed and I don’t think you will be either.

The Bestseller Code: Anatomy of the Blockbuster Novel by Jodie Archer dissects best-selling books, explaining why readers devour them and producers gobble them up for the big screen.

In the Bestseller Code, Ms. Archer covers,

  • “Write what you know.” and it doesn’t mean if you were a plumber, to write about plumbing. But to put your experiences with love, anger, joy, loss, etc. into your stories.
  • To write everyday things into the story. Taking kids to school, cooking dinner, gossip at the water cooler. You get the idea. Helps readers relate to the characters, creating realism & relatability.
  • Add human closeness and connection for shared intimacy. Casual moments help readers see the characters as more than caricatures and more of themselves.
  • What will make a character come alive like Pinocchio after Geppetto’s wish comes true?
  • Incorporate nonverbal communication such as smiles, glances and other facial expressions.
  • Readers need to see and feel an emotional connection between your characters. And a story that elicits an emotional response.
  • Why Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James caught fire lighting up the bestseller list. Even with grammatical errors.
  • And what one book in the last 30 years, and hits all points in an algorithm as number one of bestselling novels. The title will surprise you. Click here for a sneak peek at the title- surprise.

If you want to understand the structure and writing tips that make up a bestselling novel, you need to read The Bestseller Code: Anatomy of the Blockbuster Novel by Jodie Archer.

My review: 

The eye-catching coral cover with enticing  subheadings lured this writer to open and read.  I read this book on the recommendation of my daughter. She loaned me her copy during our holiday. After reading, I bought my own copy because this is a must have for a writers library.  The writing style of the authors is engaging, informative and easy to understand. I discovered answers to several perplexing questions. This book delivers what is promised,  explaining the success of some books and the failure of others. The Bestseller Code receives 5 stars from this reader.

Have you ever wondered what makes a bestselling novel click with readers?

Have you scratched your head over books like 50 Shades?

Have you read The Bestseller Code?

Do you have a favorite “How to” book on writing?






How to write a good one-sentence pitch

Don’t you just love how-to writing instructions?

I know I do!

You must admit, DIY is a lot easier with a little help from friends.

Working Men cartoon characters

That’s why I absolutely love an article from Karen Cioffi and Writers On The Move!

I admit, writing a one-sentence pitch is hard and something I’ve yet to completely agree. But I keep working on it. That’s why I was so excited to read this easy explanation of what does and does not work. And why!

When selecting a book to read, the first thing I read is the pitch. If that is too confusing or convoluted I pass. Why? Because that pitch is a good indicator the story inside will be more of the same.

Karen gives examples of how and how not to write a pitch/logline for your book. She explains why one is so important and even gives us a formula. I just love formulas.

Be sure and click on the link below and write your one-sentence pitch.

The One Sentence Pitch for Your Manuscript

Got it?

What did you think?

Did her tips help you write a better pitch?

Now you show me yours and I’ll show you mine. Ha Ha.Me Bitmoji Tee hee Jean M Cogdell

All kidding aside, share your pitch in the comments I’d love to read it.

Here is a one-sentence pitch/logline for my WIP.  Here goes… Me Bitmoji Gulp Jean M Cogdell

An aspiring author is thrilled when she meets a literary agent and mystery buff who agrees to become her mentor; thrills turn to chills when the agent shares a story plot about two women who get away with murder – a fictional plot, the agent plans to become a reality with the writers help.

What do you think? Be gentle, I bruise easily.



What is the focus of your website?

Why do you write what you write?

I’m not asking about writing a book, novel or short story. No, I’m curious about your blog posts. Do you write to share a laugh with friends, experience, knowledge, or…?

What is the purpose of your blog posts?

I don’t know about you but I spend a lot of time writing my blog posts, so understanding why I do that was important to me.

Just what are the reasons for my blog?

Well, there are several, in case you wanted to know.

  • It’s my Fact Book.
    • A great way to keep a notebook of writing tips and tricks in one place.
    • My memory isn’t what it used to be. Need all the help I can get.
    • Who knows, one day I may turn all of these posts into a book.
  • It’s a way for me to share writing tips as I learn them.
    • Old or new, each one is important.
  • It’s a way to connect.
    • Making friends, meeting writers, and reading about their journey.
    • To pass on the information garnered through these new acquaintances.
  • And of course, it’s a way to share books, and stories, I’ve written as well as books I’ve enjoyed reading.

Why am I sharing this with you?

It occurred to me that some of you may wonder why I share so many tips about writing and publishing books because I certainly NOT an expert. But, I share because I enjoy learning every little bit I can about writing.

So, I wondered…

Do you know why you write a blog?

Does your blog serve more than one purpose?

Have you ever considered using your blog as a Fact Book?

Do you consider yourself a writer,  a blogger or both?

Do share! I’d love to know what motivates you to write a blog.

Great reading below! Click on the links.

Keep a Fact Book of Things You Learn Throughout the Day BY Eric Ravenscraft