Tag Archives: online writing course

The Benefits of Webinars for Writers

The Benefits of Webinars for Writers

Guest Post by Jasmine June Cabanaw

Being a writer in the digital age certainly has both pros and cons. Anyone who used to work in print can attest to the longing for seeing words on the page instead of the screen. As a writer, is there really anything better than seeing your words published in print? And yet writing for digital comes with its own set of perks.

One of the biggest perks of writing digitally is access to learning experiences. Gone are the days of waiting for writing courses to become available. With new platforms, improving your writing practice has never been easier. Webinars, especially, offer amazing benefits for writers, just check out the five main benefits below and you’ll see why writers everywhere are becoming webinar savvy.

Webinars Are Convenient

Convenience is a quality that’s gold for many writers. When you have deadlines to meet, kids to take care of, travel plans to follow, or a job to work in order to support your writing career, being able to attend a class from home in your pajamas is akin to heaven. That’s the beauty of webinars— they’re one of the most convenient ways to learn. Ideally, you can attend the webinar in real time, but many webinars are available as a recording if you miss the date. Webinars also typically only run for an hour or less, so they’re easy to squeeze into a busy schedule.

Another convenience is easy registration. Usually, signing up is as simple as entering your name and email address. You don’t even need to put the webinar into your calendar, because the host will send you helpful reminder emails straight to your inbox. It doesn’t get much easier than that!

An Inexpensive Way to Learn

The term “starving artist” unfortunately often applies to writers. But that’s okay; even best selling authors started their careers from the bottom. But it does mean that many writers are on a budget. Being a writer itself can be expensive once you factor in the cost of degrees, workshops, retreats, writing supplies, and events. These things are well worth their costs, but attending webinars, which are typically free, is a nice change.

Webinars are also an extremely good bargain. All that content with an informed writing professional is valuable, and with webinars, you’re getting it for less than a dime.

Webinars Unlock Discounts

People who host webinars have more to offer than just a one hour learning session. Webinar hosts want to connect with students, and part of that is through discounts to events, books, writing workshops, online writing courses, and more. Often these things are offered at a fraction of their regular price. That free webinar you attended could end up saving you hundreds of dollars (yes, hundreds) on online writing courses and writing events. Writers tend to purchase tickets and access to events, workshops, and online writing courses anyway, so you may as well play your cards right and score yourself a good deal. Here’s a pro tip: discounts are typically offered towards the end of webinars, so try not to duck out early.

Every Writing Topic You Can Think Of

When you have one hour to teach something, you have to narrow down your topic. This means that webinars for writers are highly specialized and targeted to specific writing topics.

“I want to take a generalized writing course even though I’ve completed an MFA,” said no writer ever. Any writer who already has a writing career is looking for specific skills that will compliment their writing practice. Writing itself is also specialized, with writers penning everything from children’s books to memoirs to poetry. There are webinars on every writing topic you can think of. This is good news for newbie writers, too. Think of it like shopping for clothes; you can try on several different sizes before you find the one that fits right. So if you’re a new writer or just starting your writing practice, you might as well attend a variety webinars to see which genres and areas of writing fits you best.

Making Valuable Writing Connections

Webinars aren’t taught by some random Joe Schmoe; usually the hosts are experts or experienced in a certain genre or field of writing. Many are teaching webinars because they’ve had unique writing careers and want to share what they’ve learned with other writers. Connecting with other writers is a big part of being a writer, after all. Before, during, and after a webinar, you’ll have the opportunity to connect one-on-one with the instructor, even if it is just through email. You get to connect with webinar attendees, too, all of whom are writers like yourself. In fact, attending a webinar for writers is one of the best ways to finding a literary agent, since the webinar host and the attendees often have connections to literary agents. A simple ask is sometimes all it takes!

The other valuable connection you can make at a webinar for writers is with yourself. Webinars are designed to teach you something valuable and unlock creative ideas. Maybe you’re stuck on a book title, or sentence, or chapter, or maybe you have the dreaded writer’s block. Attending a webinar for writers can provide insights that will help you overcome these obstacles.

Interested in attending a webinar for writers? (Hopefully you are by now!) A simple search on Google or other search engines will pull up more webinars than you can dream of. If you want to become a successful writer or are looking for marketing ideas, search for topics such as “10 Habits of Highly Successful Writers” or “How to Writer a Book in 30 Days”. If you’re looking to improve your writing craft, search for topics like, “Creating Fictional Characters” or “Writing a Best Selling Memoir”. The choices are virtually endless.

Interested in attending a webinar for writers? Check out this upcoming webinar that will teach you the 10 habits practiced by best selling authors. Click here for details.

Are You a Brilliant Reader

Are You a Brilliant Reader?

“All great writers are great readers.”

I was recently talking to a best-selling author about students we sometimes run across who say they don’t read very often. We both looked at each other and told them, as if they were standing right in front of us, “Then your writing will never improve.”

It’s as simple as that. Every successful writer I know is a voracious and diverse reader. How else do we learn about style and what’s possible with sentence structure, phrase, and tone? Reading inspires— it gets us to the page and reminds us how we would say it (write it) differently. And don’t ever say you don’t have time to read; you need to make time in order to become a better writer.

Reading is critical to your success as a writer. Any kind of quirky, innovative writing can inform your own. To be a great reader, and therefore a great writer, one needs to read at three primary levels:

*The big picture
*Characters
*The sentence

As you’re reading, highlight passages and words that reflect the value of each of these elements. By careful and engaged reading, you will pick up the tricks of the writing trade.

Interested in learning more? Check out the new online writing course The Master Class for Successful Writers.

I also have a free mini training course available here called “Foundations for Writers.”

5 Perfect Gifts for Writers

Guest Post by Jasmine June Cabanaw

Do you have a writer on your holiday shopping list (or are you a writer hoping to receive the perfect gift)? Then this wish list of the perfect gifts for writers is for you.

Choosing a gift for a writer isn’t necessarily all that hard; notebooks, word games, and gift cards to book stores all make easy gifts. But if you’re looking for a truly perfect gift (because go big or go home, right?) then you’ll have to put a little more thought into it.

The key is thinking like a writer. Which is why I’m writing this post. A friend told me that this year, she doesn’t want to give me “yet another notebook.” But since she’s not a writer herself, she has no clue what else to give me. Gifts that seem like commonsense to me don’t even cross her mind.

So here’s a list of five perfect gifts for writers. And if you’re a writer yourself, make sure to put these on your wish list!

An Online Writing Course

Writers are busy people. Even if we’ve achieved the ultimate dream of writing for a living, we usually still have side projects that take up our time after work hours. And yet part of being a writer is continuing our writing education. Full time job, side projects, classes… you see how little time we have, right?

The beauty of an online writing course is that the writer in your life can take the course anytime, anywhere. An online writing course can fit within even the busiest of schedules. There are a variety of courses to choose from, too, so it’s a gift that can be given time and time again. Just be sure to give an online writing course that’s suitable for the writer— you don’t want to give a journalism course to a poet, for example (unless they are trying to be the ultimate multi-tasker, like me).

Writing Retreats

Writers may have busy schedules, but that’s all the more reason to take a vacation that focuses primarily on writing. Writing retreats are amazing. Seriously. You get to just nerd out with a bunch of other writers for days on end. It’s writer heaven. I mean, the last writing retreat I went to made me cry. At one point, all 300+ people in the room were crying, that’s how into we got (thanks, Elizabeth Gilbert).

However, retreats are not cheap. It’s quite the splurge for most writers to spend the time and money on a retreat, which is why a writing retreat is an amazing and perfect gift for any writer. If you’re brave enough, feel free to buy yourself a ticket and tag along.

Writing Tools that are actually Needed

Notebooks, pens, and pencils, oh my! Writers love these things. Send a writer into a bookstore and they’ll return with a new notebook every time (or am I just speaking for myself here?). But these wonderfully delightful items are not things we usually need.

You know what I really need? An ergonomic keyboard. So glamorous, right? I’ll be the fanciest girl in town with that gift. But it’s something I really need and I haven’t gotten around to buying myself one. Or that wireless mouse, or office chair with lumbar support, or new e-reader with a glare-free screen. These items are all tools I should really have in my toolbox, and I bet you have a writer in your life that needs them, too. Sometimes the least fancy gifts are the best ones.

A Therapy Session

Ha ha ha! Kidding! Not an actual therapy session, but something that truly is pure therapy for writers is a consultation with a literary coach or agent. A literary consultation is a crucial part of the book making process and is useful to any writer who has a project in the works. Even writers without a current writing project can benefit from a session with a literary coach, or could schedule the session for when they think they’ll have a writing project on the go.

There are a variety of literary consultations to choose from, including ones with editors, agents, and teachers. This means you’ll have to do a little digging to find out what will be the most beneficial to the writer in your life. But that’s what makes this gift a special one and a perfect gift to give for the holidays.

Re-Gifting a Writer’s Words

One of the most perfect gifts I ever received was a spiral notebook of a short story I wrote when I was ten, with the pages all laminated and typed up nicely (thank goodness, because I doubt I would have been able to read my ten year old handwriting). I had forgotten all about that story, but then there it was, immortalized in laminate and metal coils. That trip down memory lane to my childhood self was a special gift indeed.

There are many ways to turn a writer’s words into a present. Here’s a short list:

*Take a paragraph or striking sentence and put it on canvas. Voilà! Beautiful artwork made from the writer’s own words.

*Publish their writing with a print on demand service, such as Lulu or Blurb. You can choose one story, make a collection of short stories, or even a book of poems.

*Make a bookmark using a sentence from one of the writer’s stories as an inspiring quote. There are bookmark making services online, or you can make one by hand and laminate it.

*Put sentence from one of their stories on an ornament. You can hand paint a glass ornament, have an ornament engraved, or have one created.

*Make a photo book and use the writer’s words to caption the photos. You can use phrases from a single story or multiple pieces of writing.

*Make a scrapbook of things they’ve written (just don’t use their original copies!).

These ideas are just a few of many. If you think of more, let me know! I’ve got writers to shop for, too.

Happy holidays!

How to Persevere as a Writer

“Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.”

One of the biggest challenges I’ve noticed over the years with my students is persistence. Simply sticking with the process. Life happens and grand excuses arise. They feel so real and insurmountable. A death in the family, a divorce, a major move, an illness, a flood, fire, or earthquake— all terrific things to write about and great material for your practice, especially in the specific moments of their happening. Not easy I know, especially if you are feeling weak and overwhelmed.

However, I promise you this— when you muster up the energy to write into and through these difficult life experiences, not only will you gain insight and healing, but you will become a better writer, merely by the fact of your persistence. The truth is, most people give up. They bail. But you won’t. You will write through to the other side.

How to persevere in the face of doubt and confusion

Make this your mantra: “I will not agree to be defeated.” You need to make an agreement with yourself and face the monsters of negative self-talk, fear, and rejection. The first step is to face these things head on- cry, tear up your paper, scream at your screen- and get it out of your system. And then you can move on.

Be severe in your approach

Notice how the word “severe” is in perseverance? You need to be severe in your approach and how you deal with doubt, fear, and rejection. No matter the obstacles in your way, you need to write anyway, even if it is simply for the sake of creativity.

Staying motivated

To persevere, fall in love with the process. Writing isn’t always a glamorous profession. All of the edits, re-writes, book proposals, and rejection letters take their toll. Which is why you need to fall in love with all of it and see the whole process as part of your creativity. Stay committed to the writing practice and foster a belief in yourself and in your work, and you will persevere.

I can tell you so much more about perseverance and the role it plays in the writing practice. It’s one of the ten key success principles I examine in my online writing course. If you’re curious about the course and taking your writing from inspiration to publication click here to find out more.

I also have a free mini training course called Foundations for Writers. In this free online writing course, I examine three of the ten key success principles for writers: Purpose, Passion, and Practice.

Cultivating Passion as a Writer

Once your purpose is clarified and cultivated, passion is right on its heels. Passion is the engine that drives you and your writing forward. An engine needs fuel. Sincere interest and curiosity are that fuel fired up by active reading and exploration both literary and otherwise, by being physically and intellectually engaged with words.

All the successful writers I know have passion for their subjects; they have an unwavering energy about their characters, scenes, subjects, and plots.

Passion is part of the groundwork for establishing a successful writing practice. This principle is essential. It begins with curiosity: What are your interests, desires, hopes, and dreams? What is your energy practice around your writing? Passion is the energy that will allow you to establish longevity with your writing career.

How do you cultivate passion in your writing? This is a two-part answer.

1. Physiologically

The best place to start is with meditation and mindful breathing. In order for you to feel grounded with your passion, your body needs to feel centered and grounded first. Physical exercise builds energy in the body, so it is important to stay active during your day. You can hike, do yoga, dance, play sports, or even simply take a mindful walk.

Psychological or Spiritual

Ask yourself some important questions. What do you see when you look into your heart and ask yourself what you are truly curious about and what you truly want to be and write about? A good way to understand your passion is through journal writing and free writing. Jot down thoughts at the end of the day as a reminder of what keeps you going as a writer.

Cultivating passion as a writer is just one of the many things I touch on in my online writing course The Master Class for Successful Writers. If you’re interested in learning more, CLICK HERE to check out the course!

Discovering Your Purpose as a Writer

Discovering Your Purpose as a Writer

Every successful writer I know comes to writing with a purpose. It may start as an urge, an interest, and then blossom into a need to communicate your experience of the world. It’s a sincere desire to participate, to join the conversation based on your unique take on the world.

Purpose is critical to your success because if it is overshadowed by doubt and distraction, you will never manifest your writing dreams. You must investigate, cultivate, and nourish your purpose for a lifetime of writing success.

Purpose is the first P derived from my 10 Key Success Principles for Writers. These are foundations, really the ground work, for really establishing a writing practice. Some of you may have already started a practice but have fallen off or have gotten distracted, so it is important to start back at the beginning, which is the number one foundation for successful writers: your purpose.

Why do you write? Why do you want to write? The answer is your purpose. As a writer, what gets you to the page? With a million other activities to engage in, why are you investing your time in being a writer? A little bit of soul searching around these questions will help you tap into what your purpose is.

You must investigate, cultivate, and nurture your purpose throughout your lifetime in order to carry on as a successful writer.

If you’re a little confused about your purpose, that’s fine. It can take some time figuring out what the true essence of your purpose is. What are you most inspired by? What activities bring you the most joy? Spend some time with these questions, jot down thoughts in a journal, and you’ll find the wisdom within you.

Discovering your purpose as a writer is just one of the many things I touch on in my online writing course The Master Class for Successful Writers. If you’re interested in learning more, CLICK HERE to check out the course!

Why Summer is the Best Time to be a Brilliant Writer

Why Summer is the Best Time to be a Brilliant Writer

Guest Post By Jasmine June Cabanaw

Summer has always been my favorite season for writing. The nostalgia of sitting against a tree in the sweet smelling grass with a pen and notebook in hand is more delicious than an ice-cream cone on a hot summer day. As a child, I never stopped to wonder why I enjoyed writing the most during summer; I simply relished it and lived in the moment the way children tend to do.

Now that I’m older and have the wisdom of several adult years behind me, I understand why summer is the best time to work on being a brilliant writer. Some of my favorite reasons are below. Can you add anymore to the list?

The Great Outdoors

Growing up in a place that had four seasons meant I had limited time to write outdoors. And while I loved my childhood home, staring at the same walls day after day was not exactly inspiring. But then there was summer!

The brilliant writer Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “The earth laughs in flowers.” In that single sentence he showed us that nature is poetry. The great outdoors is inspiring for all creative types, but especially for writers. And summertime is when nature is in full bloom. So take advantage. Go out, get inspired, and write!

Summer Vacation

As adults, we may not have two months off during the summer like we did when we were kids, but it’s certainly the season when most people take at least a short vacation. I don’t know about you, but as a kid my summer vacation always naturally turned into writing time.

Why not keep with that tradition as an adult? Too often our writing careers start to feel like work. Summer is a great excuse to take a writing vacation and write for pleasure like you used to. Check in with yourself, go back to your roots, and write your days away!

Volunteering

I am so grateful to the adults who spent their precious summer hours volunteering at my local library. There was nothing more exciting to me as a kid than sharpening my pencils, picking out a fresh notebook, and trouncing off to the writing workshops at the library.

Summer is when kids are out of school, so it’s a perfect opportunity to give back to your community while advancing your writing craft at the same time. Teaching is a great way to look at writing from a different angle. It’s a refresher, helps you connect with other writers, and allows you to be a mentor. Your local library is a great place to look for volunteer opportunities, but also ask around at schools and community centers.

Learning

Attending summer writing workshops doesn’t have to end after childhood. There are plenty of options for adults, too, and I’ve found that there are more course offerings during summer than any other time of the year.

If getting out to a workshop or writing retreat isn’t an option, consider taking an online writing course and having your own writing retreat at home. You can even throw a little online writing course party with some of your writer friends and take the course together. Grab your pals, fire up the barbecue, sink your teeth into some juicy watermelon, put your pen to a fresh piece of paper, and write! Sounds like summertime fun to me.

Join the discussion! Do you have a favorite season as a writer? Can you think of other reasons why summer is a perfect season for writers? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

Benefits of taking an online writing course

Guest Post By Jasmine June Cabanaw

All good writers have ways of honing their craft. People who want to write professionally usually obtain degrees which involve some form of writing, whether it be essays, creative writing, or literature analysis. But attending post-secondary school isn’t always an option, especially for people who start writing later in life. When you’ve got an existing career or kids to care for, an online writing course is a great option. Check out the top three benefits below:

Lower Total Costs

Post-secondary courses and writing workshops can be expensive. In addition to the price of the course, you have to factor in transportation costs and any money lost from taking time off work. Traditional writing courses also tend to include registration fees and sometimes pricey textbooks.

In contrast, any online writing course that’s worth taking won’t have any hidden fees associated with it. Many companies will offer a course taster, too, so you can get a feel for what the course will be like before you sign up. You wouldn’t want to purchase a glass of expensive wine without tasting it first, right? With online writing courses, you can sample a few before deciding on the one that best suits your palette.

Convenience and Flexibility

It pretty much goes without saying that taking an online writing course offers you flexibility, but we still want to emphasize how truly great of a benefit this is. With an online writing course, there is never any need to take time off work, find a babysitter, hire someone to walk your dog, or figure out a way to juggle your busy schedule.

Being able to take the course in the comfort of your home also means that you can stay in your pajamas. And that you can sit in your favorite comfy chair. While sipping a cup of tea. Can you see why we love this yet?

Variety

Writing courses and workshops offer limited subjects. Even a writer’s dream city, like San Francisco, will not always have courses on topics you want to study. Your options are even more limited if you don’t live in a city. Commuting two hours just to take a workshop rarely seems worth it (unless it’s by a writing master, of course, and then by all means, do it!)

Oftentimes, writing courses will also require prerequisites. If you missed out on the prerequisite courses, you might be waiting a full year until you can take the course you want. What is a writer to do?

Online writing courses to the rescue! You can study anything your little writer’s heart desires. A quick Google search will reveal courses on everything from writing an e-book to crafting your memoir. In addition to craft courses, you’ll also find courses on how to market your writing, how to publish, and how to generally be a successful writer.

Interested in taking your writing to the next level? Check out the Master Class for Successful Writers at www.brilliantwriter.com.

What is writer’s block?

What is writer’s block?

Writer’s block can be a very real issue for some people. What do you do when you feel your creativity has dried up, you have nothing to say, or you feel everything you do say has already been said? Writer’s block can be paralyzing.

The true antidote is silence. This might sound absurd, but really the only way I’ve ever been able to reinvigorate my writing practice and get the vibrant ideas churning again, is to turn off my chattering brain. Sit down and do nothing. Sit in silence. Or walk contemplatively in silence. Focus on the simple fact of your breathing. Entertain, or glom on to no thoughts, just let them stream on through.

If you have a particularly vexing issue or life challenge, try an hour of vigorous exercise first, and then come to a period of silence. If this is difficult for you, try it in short increments at first, 5-10 minutes, and then extend to 20, 30 or 45 minutes. This is a powerful practice that can change your writing practice and your life forever! I would recommend a class on mindfulness or meditation, or hire a coach who has meditation experience. You will be amazed.

Writer’s block is often a case of “monkey mind,” a mind consumed with memories, obsessions, fears, anxieties, and anticipations. Meditation helps calm the mind, settle out the thoughts, and restore the body to a state of peace and openness. With repeat practice over time you will notice more space in your mind for original creative ideas, and a renewed energy to put those ideas to the page with confidence!

For more writing tips, check out the upcoming online course Brilliant Writer: The Master Class for Successful Writers