There Are No Rules Blog by the Editors of Writer’s Digest

Get on the cutting edge of today’s publishing trends and how authors can succeed in a world of fast-paced technological change, guided by the editors of Writer’s Digest. You’ll get an inside look at the work, play, and passion of the publishing business and find practical tools for success.


Make It Memorable: What Does That Mean?

One my favorite pasttimes these days is pondering the kind of writing advice that can actually hurt writers—usually by becoming a cliche, without offering a deep understanding of a complex issue. Here’s an excellent cliche explained and presented by Lee Martin, in the most recent Glimmer Train bulletin: “Make it memorable,” the editor of...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 1/7/11)

I watch Twitter, so you don’t have to. Visit each Sunday for the week’s best Tweets. If I missed a great Tweet, leave it in the Comments. Want to know about the best stuff I read each week? Click here to subscribe to my shared items. Best of the Best The Top 10 Fiction...

Writing Memoir: Art vs. Confessional

Continuing with the theme of memoir this week, Susan Cushman (pictured above) is today’s guest on NO RULES. Like Darrelyn Saloom, Susan was deeply impacted by the reading of Robert Goolrick at the Oxford Creative Nonfiction Conference. Susan will be a new monthly guest blogger, so please offer her a warm welcome. You can...

Limited Offer: Get Started Writing in 2011

I’m often asked by absolutely new writers: How do I get started? In honor of the new year, Writer’s Digest is offering a comprehensive package of tools, for a limited time, that helps answer that question. This package includes: An independent study writing workshop, based on a best-selling online course offered from Writer’s Digest...

3 Important Privacy Issues in Memoir

Today’s guest post is from author and professor Tracy Seeley. Her memoir, My Ruby Slippers, will soon be available from University of Nebraska Press. Visit her blog, or pre-order the book from Amazon. When we write memoir, we pull back the curtain on our private lives and invite readers in. We willingly give up...

Can You Write Like Jane Austen?

If you’re a Jane Austen fan, you don’t want to miss this. My friends & colleagues over at Adams Media are running a Bad Austen writing competition. In the tradition of the Bulwer-Lytton Contest and the Bad Hemingway and Bad Faulkner contests, here’s your chance pen a scene of a “classic” novel Jane Austen...

A Feast of Days (Part 4): The Last Chapter

Today’s guest post is by emerging writer Darrelyn Saloom, who recently attended the Oxford Creative Nonfiction Writers Conference, and is offering up a 4-part narrative on the experience. Darrelyn is a regular guest here at No Rules. Follow her on Twitter or read her previous posts. (Pictured above: William Faulkner statue on the square,...

To Inspire You in the New Year

One year ago, I spent the holidays in Ireland, more than half of it alone on the island of Inis Meain. (Go see photos.) It wasn’t a digital sabbatical—I had an Internet connection at my cottage—but it was a giant swath of solitude. I’ve been reading a book titled Solitude, and have found a...

If I Write a Book: Your Feedback

About five years ago, I revised a new edition of the Beginning Writer’s Answer Book for Writer’s Digest, which is in Q&A format. A lot has changed since then. Obviously the industry is transforming, but also my beliefs about writers and writing have changed. (See here for my post about the dirty secret about...

Is It Tougher to Get Published These Days?

Over at Writer Unboxed today, I have a guest post that tries to pin down how much “trouble” the book publishing industry is in, and how that affects writers. It’s a highly complex issue, so my answer could be summarized as, “It depends on who you are.” There’s no doubt, though, that the industry...

A Feast of Days (Part 3): Pitch Fest

Photo by Michael L. Stanton Today’s guest post is by emerging writer Darrelyn Saloom, who recently attended the Oxford Creative Nonfiction Writers Conference, and is offering up a 4-part narrative on the experience. Darrelyn is a regular guest here at No Rules. Follow her on Twitter or read her previous posts. On the thirteenth...

Best Tweets on Holiday (Back in 2011)

Best Tweets rests this week and next. We’ll be back on Sunday, January 9! Make sure you didn’t miss these 2 roundups: 10 Best Tweets of 2010 (outside links) My 10 Best Posts From 2010 (NO RULES posts) Looking for more? Want to know about the best stuff I read each week? Click here...

My Best Posts From 2010

Here’s the very best advice I offered here at NO RULES in 2010. This can serve as a handy guide, or share this link with writers who might be new to NO RULES. (What a good Christmas gift, right?) Above: my cat Zelda. She approves of this list. Plus I don’t think I posted...

A lot happening at Poetic Asides

There’s a lot going on at the Poetic Asides blog as far as challenges at the moment (which I’ll dig into below), but I wanted to let everyone here know about my recent decision to self-publish a chapbook of poetry that will include 21 poems, many of which have been previously published in publications...

10 Best Tweets of 2010

In my estimation, here are the best and most helpful tweets (or posts) for writers that I collected in 2010. Craft & Technique Overwriters Anonymous: for fiction writers, how to avoid dreadful prose that gets you rejected[from Editorial Ass, a traditional book publishing editor] Urgency vs action in your writing [from published author Teresa...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 12/17/10)

I watch Twitter, so you don’t have to. Visit each Sunday for the week’s best Tweets. If I missed a great Tweet, leave it in the Comments. Want to know about the best stuff I read each week? Click here to subscribe to my shared items. Best of the Best Self-Promotion With Integrity@jafurtado 10...

8 Easy Things To Do BEFORE You Start Your Novel

1. Buy a timer and place it next to you as you write. This will help you keep track of how long you’ve been working—and how much time you have to go. 2. Place a “Do Not Disturb” note on your office door when you’re writing, if you don’t live alone.      ...

A Feast of Days (Part 2): Agents

Today’s guest post is by emerging writer Darrelyn Saloom, who recently attended the Oxford Creative Nonfiction Writers Conference, and is offering up a 4-part narrative on the experience. Darrelyn is a regular guest here at No Rules. Follow her on Twitter or read her previous posts. Pictured above: Plaque on the wall of the...

Agents & Editors: Take This Quick Survey

Cartoon from Toothpaste for Dinner I’m conducting a bit of formal research for a future blog post. I have a question from a writer that goes something like this: I’d like to know what happened in 2009-2010 in the publishing world. I’ve heard some amazing things (30% of employees laid off, advances down 50%,...

How Valuable Is Second Guessing?

I’ve been holding onto the following quote for a long time, wondering at how true it is, or isn’t. when you feel insecure about something you are doing … that vulnerability means that you are doing the right thing and when you watch that … the part when you started second-guessing … that is...

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7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Catherine Gildiner

This is a recurring column I’m calling “7 Things I’ve Learned So Far,” where writers at any stage of their career can talk about seven things they’ve learned along their writing journey that they wish they knew at the beginning. This installment is from writer Catherine Gildiner. Catherine Gildiner has written two memoirs. Her latest,...

An Agency Offers Paid Services—With Strings Attached

I’ve written frequently on agents and innovation of their model, twice for Writer’s Digest, and twice for Digital Book World: The Evolution of the Literary Agent (Writer’s Digest, August 2010) Agents Need to Develop Alternative Models (DBW, June 2010) The Changing Agent-Author Relationship (DBW, February 2010) The Future Role of Agents (Writer’s Digest, September...

When (or Why) Social Media Fails to Sell Books

There are countless articles/posts out there, by professionals as well as established authors, that claim social media has had no (or marginal) impact on their sales or success. Such posts then get trumpeted by writers everywhere who feel like online marketing and promotion responsibilities have been shoved down their throats (and look for every...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 12/10/10)

I watch Twitter, so you don’t have to. Visit each Sunday for the week’s best Tweets. If I missed a great Tweet, leave it in the Comments. Want to know about the best stuff I read each week? Click here to subscribe to my shared items. Best of the Best The secret ingredient to...

There's No Rule That Says You Get Steadily Better

A guy who once thought he’d be a poet (then realized years later how bad his work was) decided to make a documentary about bad writing. He interviews more than a dozen established writers, including people like Margaret Atwood, Steve Almond, David Sedaris, and Lee Gutkind. (The title of this post is a direct...