January Writing Roundup: Tools, Tips, and Resources for Writers

January Writing Roundup: Tools, Tips, and Resources for Writers by Diana Tyler


Happy February, inklings!

I hope you and your writing works are doing well! I’m currently working on what I’m calling a “fantasy meets the real world” novel (sort of like the movies Big, 13 Going on 30, and About Time, the latter of which I recently watched on Netflix). It blends my love of Greek mythology with contemporary women’s fiction. I’m about halfway through – hoping to finish the rough draft before our baby boy arrives in March!

Speaking of baby boy, Ben and I just traveled up to my hometown in East Texas for a couples’ baby shower. It was such a blast – adorable, whimsical, beautiful, and best of all, filled with some of our very best friends! Here are a few photos:


Diana Anderson-Tyler baby shower


And now, my lovely logophiles, it’s time for another writing roundup wherein I share the writerly things I’ve found especially inspiring, helpful, encouraging and insightful over the last four weeks! From motivational, New-Year’s-centered podcasts and craft-honing articles, to practical goal-setting guides, I’m positive you’ll find something that piques your curiosity and ups your writing game!

Without further ado, here’s my January roundup!


Round-up of 2018: Writing Goals and Lessons Learned (podcast)

In this info- and motivation-packed episode, novelist, non-fiction author, and writing guru extraordinaire Joanna Penn shares some of the most notable shifts for the indie publishing environment, and then reviews her 2019 goals, reveals what she did and did not achieve, then elaborates on lessons learned.

A few of the topics mentioned:

  • The end of Createspace as Amazon moved their print-book setup to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
  • The widening split between KDP-exclusive authors and authors who publish via multiple platforms
  • The ubiquity of paid ads, and Amazons pay-to-play environment, in particular
  • The effectiveness of content marketing as an alternative to paid ads
  • Advances in technology and upcoming economic shifts that will affect authors


Exercises to Make You a Better Writer (article)

If the concept of “showing versus telling” has you scratching your head at times, this article’s for you! The author explains how both showing and telling help create vivid, relatable stories and characters. In a nutshell, showing helps our readers clearly engage their senses, empathize, and witness what’s happening, and telling helps them clarify key people and events so they don’t get lost.

At the end of the article, the author includes three simple exercises to help ensure you’ve got the difference between showing and telling down pat!


Tim Ferriss’s Resolution Tips (via his weekly 5-Bullet Friday email)

I love receiving Tim Ferriss’s weekly email. It’s always chock-full of interesting insights and resources, from his current favorite health food or supplement to quirky quotes, brainy books, and marvelous music.

In a recent email, he shared a few New Year’s tips I found incredibly useful.


The truth is that I no longer approach [New Year’s resolutions] at all, even though I did for decades. Why the change? I have found “past year reviews” (PYR) more informed, valuable, and actionable than half-blindly looking forward with broad resolutions. I did my first PYR after a mentor’s young daughter died of cancer on December 31st, roughly eight years ago, and I’ve done it every year since. It takes 30-60 minutes and looks like this:

  1. Grab a notepad and create two columns: POSITIVE and NEGATIVE.
  2. Go through your calendar from the last year, looking at every week.
  3. For each week, jot down on the pad any people or activities or commitments that triggered peak positive or negative emotions for that month. Put them in their respective columns.
  4. Once you’ve gone through the past year, look at your notepad list and ask, “What 20% of each column produced the most reliable or powerful peaks?”
  5. Based on the answers, take your “positive” leaders and schedule more of them in the new year. Get them on the calendar now! Book things with friends and prepay for activities/events/commitments that you know work. It’s not real until it’s in the calendar. That’s step one. Step two is to take your “negative” leaders, put “NOT-TO-DO LIST” at the top, and put them somewhere you can see them each morning for the first few weeks of 2019. These are the people and things you *know* make you miserable, so don’t put them on your calendar out of obligation, guilt, FOMO, or other nonsense.

And just remember: it’s not enough to remove the negative. That simply creates a void. Get the positive things on the calendar ASAP, lest they get crowded out by the bullshit and noise that will otherwise fill your days. Good luck and godspeed!



Trends for Authors and Creating Goal Setting 2019 (podcast)

Another podcast from Joanna Penn! (can you tell I’m a fan?) In this episode, Joanna shares her writing- and marketing-related predictions for 2019 and then outlines her own creative goals.

Foreseeable trends include:

  • Audio and voice technology (think Alexa and Google Home)
  • Audiobook publishing
  • Indie authors’ further expansion into print products
  • The coming need for authors, whether indie or traditional, to market even more via paid ads
  • The rise of 5G networks and the need for authors to have mobile-optimized websites



(Bonus) Writing Quote of the Month:

“Write while the heat is in you. … The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with.”
—Henry David Thoreau

That concludes this month’s roundup! Let me know what cool and helpful writing/publishing-related things you’ve learned recently by tweeting me @dandersontyler!

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