Use CreateSpace to Bring Your Book to Life (31DBBB Day 28)


So you’ve finally finished writing that monster of a book, huh? Well that accomplishment deserves a reward, my friend. Sure, you’ll need to move on to revisions and query letters and all that jazz if you’re serious about seeing your work go to print “for real.” But you don’t have to wait to hold a proof copy of your finished novel in your hands.

Even if you aren’t planning on self-publishing your book—that is, making digital and print copies available online for anyone to purchase—tools like CreateSpace can still help you take your project to the next level.

Proof copies of your book can not only make you feel pretty good about yourself for 15 minutes; they can also make the revisions process a little easier by giving you a different medium to reread what you’ve already written. It’s a worthwhile step to take before going any further, whether you want to officially self-publish or not.

CreateSpace makes it easy to format and design your pages and book cover

You don’t have to know much about graphic design or typography to set up the literal ins and outs of your book. Free built-in tools take you right through the process and help you design the book you’ve always dreamed of. It takes a little time to align the format to a set of standards and play around with cover templates, but it’s worth the effort. And if you do know a thing or two about design, you’re allowed to upload your own work, too.

Ordering a proof on CreateSpace is so, so cheap

And that’s without a NaNo-courtesy discount (if you needed a push to write just a little faster this November). You can order a proof copy of your book for less than the cost of a book you’d get from Barnes & Noble, plus shipping … unless your book is ridiculously long with color pictures. Price is dependent, obviously, on what gets printed (there’s no set predetermined cost).

Oh … and you can also order more than one

If you have a few close friends who wouldn’t mind reviewing your work, CreateSpace allows you to order up to five proof copies before you have to choose whether or not to approve it and move forward with the publishing process. This way, you can reserve one copy to keep on your shelf (because, why not?) and use the rest for marking and dog-earing, if your’e into that sort of thing.

I have used CreateSpace to print proof copies of all the finished first drafts of my books. I have never gone past the proof copy step—nothing against self-publishing or those who do, it’s just not for me—but I’ve always been impressed with the results nonetheless.

If you need some reassurance that all this writing nonsense isn’t all for nothing, holding that first copy of your book, you know, that thing you wrote all by yourself? It’s a pretty amazing feeling. It’s cheap and it’s YOURS.

You can thank Problogger’s 31 Days to Build a Better Blog challenge for prompting this review. What did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts or your past experiences with CreateSpace or other similar platforms!

Love&hugs, your readers<3

Image courtesy of

A recent graduate with a B.A. in English and a completed major in nutrition, currently seeking a graduate degree in health communication, Meg is a twenty-something workaholic with a passion for writing, coffee and dietetics. In addition to her status as an aspiring novelist and Grammar Nazi (and the mastermind behind this site), Meg is an editor for College Lifestyles magazine and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine’s Stone Soup.  She is a seven-time NaNoWriMo winner and has written several creative pieces for Teen Ink magazine. Follow Meg on Twitter. 

Share Your Story Ideas with Other Writers Today (31DBBB Day 23)


Your friends call you the mysterious poet. You’re constantly typing away, but rarely breathe a single audible word about what you’re writing. It’s a secret, you say. It’s not ready for the world yet, you say. Your ideas are password-protected—literally—and no one’s allowed in.

Does this describe you? Good. Because today, we’re going to throw you so far off your comfy writing chair, you won’t know what … threw you.

Some writers take the sneaky introvert lifestyle to the extreme. Which is relatively understandable: after all, your ideas, and the words you’re writing, don’t have to go public for everyone else to pick through. Or does it?

Finding someone you trust to share your ideas with can be a challenge. And online, who knows what could happen? We want you to take a risk today, though. We want you to take that idea you’ve been holding so close to your heart, and share it.

It could help you more than you think.

Others might be able to identify the element you’re missing

It’s easy, and common, to get so caught up in your own head that you can’t separate yourself from your story idea to give it a good big-picture assessment. Sometimes you have a good idea, but there’s something missing—something you’ve tried, but consistently failed, to uncover and resolve.

Sharing your ideas in any kind of online writing community, even just bits and pieces or your basic elevator pitch, gives a new, outside-in perspective on your story, allowing you to identify any barriers that might be preventing you from taking your idea and turning it into a literary masterpiece.

No one is going to take your idea away from you … usually

An idea to one person never looks the exact same to someone else. Maybe a lot of people are hesitant to talk about their ideas because they’re afraid someone else will try to use them before they get the chance. This isn’t a fear worth crippling your productivity. Sometimes, we need to talk it out.

Because inspiration sprouts from others’ ideas, any idea you come up with is always going to be partially based on someone else’s idea. As long as you don’t take that idea and copy it detail by detail, it’s not going to hurt you. If someone else “takes” your idea, maybe in too much detail, they’re just proving to you they can’t rely on their own creativity to come up with something new. That makes you the better writer. But honestly, there aren’t too many writers who poke around on random blogs just to find story ideas to steal.

So let’s start today. Let’s be brave. Go ahead! Share the ideas behind the project you’re working on right now, or the idea you haven’t quite gotten around to putting into words yet. It’s okay to share. Inspiration comes from all sorts of hidden places. Have a problem? Stuck in the same scene day after day? You’re probably not the only one.

Leave a comment. Share this post. Start a conversation. You don’t have to go through this alone.

Image courtesy of bykst [pixabay].

How I Really Feel About WriMos (31DBBB Day 19)


Each November, April and July, and maybe some months between here and there, writers gather in a virtual space to do one thing: write a certain number of words in a cramped, month-long time span. In 30 days or less, stories come to life faster than the average set of hands can type.

WriMos, or “writing months” aren’t new to me. I decided on a whim to try my first one back in 2008 and, because I’m addicted to writing and don’t get along with the slumber gods, have won every consecutive year since. I don’t like admitting that. I only do it for credibility reasons, so when I talk about WriMos, readers don’t think I’m just some random blogger writing about writing.

I mean, I am just some random blogger writing about writing. But I don’t have any major publications to my name (anyone can blog). So I need something to show for all the work I’ve done. Something that maybe might impress someone.

The problem is, WriMos don’t impress too many people these days. I don’t write to impress. But I’m a big advocate for being on the Internet for a good cause, not just to post random things with my name on them. Everything I do, there’s a reason I do it. I dish out writing advice because I know what it’s like to be a writer and feel like my art isn’t worth anything. I started Novelty Revisions to give writers new opportunities to take their ideas and make beautiful words out of them—no matter what they write, no matter how fast or slow they want to go.

Tomorrow marks the end of my first summer Camp NaNoWriMo, and this November I’ll attempt and maybe even finish my eighth consecutive National Novel Writing Month (50,000 words in 30 days). I do it for motivation and to keep my larger writing projects on track. But honestly, I could probably do without.

I want to do 10 consecutive years of NaNo and then re-evaluate whether or not to continue. More likely than not, 2017 will be my last year. Even though the few books I have finished have all at least started during a WriMo.

Why WriMos Don’t Impress Me Anymore

Your first year doing a WriMo is new and exciting. 50,000 words seems like a lot—and it is, if you’ve never paid attention to your word count all that much before. And finishing, if you do, is even more exciting. That is, if you pace yourself, play by the rules and actually end the month with something worth your effort.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people claim to write 10,000 words a day for a week straight. I don’t care who you are, that’s not possible. I’ve written over 10,000 words in one day before, but you can’t keep up that pace for long. You just can’t. If you’re going to fudge your numbers, why bother participating in the first place?

You could argue here that we shouldn’t worry so much about what other people do, but isn’t the whole point of a writing community supposed to be, I don’t know, working together? Not specifically on projects, but as support? Something fun? Everyone in my cabin this month disappeared after about a week. Writing itself is an individual effort, but I don’t know a lot of other writers, and for some reason I always start off every WriMo thinking I’ll actually “meet” some.

So Why Don’t I Just Stop?

Because I’m stubborn. Because I look forward to those few months out of the year I can make writing my main focus. Because the project I’m working on right now, a YA sci-fi something-or-other, has been through multiple WriMos and has survived multiple complete reconstructions. I’m so busy and overwhelmed these days, I honestly don’t know if I would have made as much progress as I have over the past few months without the promise of a WriMo always lurking in the shadows.

I don’t use WriMos for word count, honestly. I use them to keep me on track, to give me a measurable goal to reach. If you’re the kind of person that needs that kind of motivation, then you understand what I mean. So even though I could do without them, even though I get really tired of writers making a huge deal about how much they can write in so little time (myself included), I’m sorry to admit that because WriMos are sort of where I first started writing longer stories, I’m almost dependent on them to keep my work flow steady.

I’m sure some of you reading probably have different views on the subject, and I’d really love to hear from you in the comments. I’m not saying WriMos are good or that they’re bad. We just have a love-hate relationship, and half the time I don’t even know if I should keep putting them on my calendar.

So, fellow former or current WriMo participants. How do you feel?

Love&hugs, Meg<3

Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.

A recent graduate with a B.A. in English and a completed major in nutrition, currently seeking a graduate degree in health communication, Meg is a twenty-something workaholic with a passion for writing, coffee and dietetics. In addition to her status as an aspiring novelist and Grammar Nazi (and the mastermind behind this site), Meg is an editor for College Lifestyles magazine and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine’s Stone Soup.  She is a seven-time NaNoWriMo winner and has written several creative pieces for Teen Ink magazine. Follow Meg on Twitter. 

A Writer’s Guide to Bouncing Back from Rejection (31DBBB Day 16)


You spend all your free time writing. You’re so proud of all the work you’ve accomplished. So proud, in fact—as you should be—that you gather up enough confidence to submit your work somewhere. A query letter to an agent. A pitch to a magazine. Etcetera, etcetera.

It feels good! Until you get rejected.

Sometimes it’s an email. Sometimes it’s silence. Whatever the format, it hurts. It leaves dents in our confidence and makes us question why we should keep writing, even when no one else seems to think it’s worth anything.

Stop right there. This is your guide to bouncing back, before you start doubting yourself.

Adopt the “it’s not me, it’s them” mindset

A rejection letter—or no response at all—often has less to do with you, your query letter and/or your story itself and more to do with timing and fit. Sometimes a story just won’t fit in with what an agent, publication or organization is looking for at your chosen time of submission. You might submit a great story—but they just can’t work with it.

Does this mean you should give up on that piece you worked so hard on? Of course not. You can look for other places to submit it, or do some revisions if you think they’re necessary. But don’t dwell on it, either. Focusing all your energy and attention on a story no one will take will only hurt you.

So what do you do in the meantime, while seeing if any other leads play out?

Pick up other projects to keep up your momentum

Whether you hunt for some freelance work, return to a project you put aside at an earlier date or start something completely new, sometimes it’s healthy to file away your rejected work for a little while.

It doesn’t mean you’re giving up on it—it just means you care about it enough to want to take the time to decide what to do with it … while still doing what you can to, you know, make enough money to feed, clothe and house the body that supports the brain that comes up with all your ideas.

Moving on from one rejected project, whether temporarily or permanently, doesn’t mean you wasted your time creating it. The exact opposite, in fact.

Realize everything you write has a purpose, even if it never gets published

Every single thing you write has just as much value as every single minute a musician practices her instrument: it matters. It makes a difference. It’s harder to measure your own improvement as a writer than it is to hear your flute playing suck a little less every week, but it’s the same concept. Not a single ounce of effort is wasted.

So that short story you spent weeks of your time on, writing, revising, sharing with a few close friends, revising some more … only to have it ignored? It’s not the last short story you’re ever going to write. Every story you write following that one will be, overall, a little bit better than the one before it. You won’t always write masterpieces. But the more you write, the better you perform. Even if no one ever reads what you’ve written, it’s part of your journey to refining your voice. It. Is. Worth. It.

Rejection teaches us to accept that not everyone likes the same things we dol. Not everyone agrees with us. Not everyone has the same opinions. It’s a life skill. When it comes to writing, rejection is the ultimate motivator. Yes, it’s devastating at first. But after a awhile, you might start treating each “no” as a challenge. They didn’t like it. Maybe someone else will. Maybe it just needs a little tweaking.

As long as you never give up on your passion, you will make it through this.

Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.