Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Bactine for Writer's Burnout Part 3 (Writers Meetings) / IWSG

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a safe place for insecure writers of all kinds.

What is writer’s burnout?

Burnout is very different from writer’s block. It’s worse. Writer’s burnout is something you feel deep down…bone-deep. It’s just like when athletes burnout from working themselves too hard and too much for too long. They can lose their love of the sport, physically and mentally.

To read my story and the 3 tips I previously shared check out: 

More Tips to Help You START Reversing Writer’s Burnout:

When we’re burned out, blocked, or otherwise struggling to write, the best thing may not be to force ourselves to sit at our desks and stare at the blank page. That can be paralyzing. Sometimes, the best thing can be to get away from our desk and escape the pressure to fill that page by seeking company with individuals who understand.

Writers do the initial work of writing alone. But we do have critique partners, beta readers, editors, proofreaders, publishers…the list goes on and on. And yet, writers are the ones sitting at the desk (or wherever you prefer), putting down words, day in and day out. Occasionally, it can be a lonely job, especially if you don’t have someone close to you to share it with.

That’s where writers groups and meetings come in.


At the peak of my burnout, when I finally admitted to myself I was indeed burned out, I took the first step by voicing my problem on social media. I received wonderful support from many writers and even some people who don’t write. But I craved a deeper connection.

A dear friend and fellow IWSGer (yes, I’m talking about you again, M.J. Fifield) had been giving me monthly emails for a local writers group that meets at a library right down the road from where I live. For months, I had wanted to go but something always fell on the same day as the meeting. Then on the first Saturday, after I spoke my truth they were having a gathering and I didn’t have another commitment. The topic that would be presented that day was about storyboarding, which sounded like just the topic for a writer in my position. Better yet, I found out the day before that M.J. herself was the presenter.

The meeting was great. Everyone was so kind, and I felt right at home. I also loved the layout of the meeting: writing-related presentation, critiques, and a writing exercise at the end. Just the perfect balance for me.

As an introvert, it is tough for me to get out and speak up, but I got out and I forced myself to speak up, give advice, add to the conversation, and I’m glad I did.

I left rejuvenated.

Being around other writers inspired me. It was just what I needed after feeling disconnected from writing and the world for so long.

BACTINE #9: Check your local libraries.

Go to the reference desk of your local library or give them a call and ask if a group of writers get together there once a month for a meeting. If the closest library doesn’t have a meeting, go further. There are several libraries within a thirty-minute driving distance from where I live, so try them all.

BACTINE #10: Facebook Groups and

Maybe your local libraries don’t host writers meetings. Don’t worry! Do a search on Facebook for groups in your area for writers, join them, and see if they meet. is another great source. Groups who meet weekly or monthly and are open to new additions are listed on Search for a writing group in your area, check out the listing and information provided on when the next meet up will be. If it sounds good to you, join it. You never know what’ll happen.

BACTINE #11: Create your own group.

If you can’t find a group to join, create your own. Announce it on Create a flyer and ask your local libraries if you can pin it up somewhere. Heck, leave a flyer on some tables when no one is looking. Set up a Facebook Group, share your intentions to all of your social media and blog followers and see if people want to join.

Even if you get just one writer attending your meetings, that’s one writer you can connect with, learn from, and one day lean on.

TIP: Make sure to have a way they can signup so you can receive their email address and send out notices for the next meeting. If you have fliers, provide your email address for interested people to contact you.

Take a chance.





More Bactine posts for Writer’s Burnout coming soon!

QUESTIONS: Have you ever gone to a writers meeting? What was your experience?

Monday, October 15, 2018

Organization Tip: Agent Lists #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop


Submitting to agents and publishers is time-consuming. When you’re doing this process, you need to be organized. You don’t want to send to the same publisher twice in one month or send to multiple agents in the same agency. (Many say if it’s a no from one agent, it’s a no from all.) And most agents want the right to say yes or no before you give it to another agent in their house.

Something to keep you orderly during this process is a simple notebook or binder with loose leaf paper and dividers.

Create a list of agents you want to send to. Include the agent's name, the agency’s name, the submission email address, and what is required for the submission (query, # of manuscript pages, synopsis, etc.).

Whenever you submit to an agent, cross that agent off your Submit To list and move the agent’s name and agency to your Submitted list. Next to their name, write the date you sent the query letter. I do this in red.

If I receive a rejection, I write “REJECTED” in bold letters cross the agent’s info on the Submitted list.

I also have lists of small publishers to try.

That’s it. Just lists of info to remind you of where you submitted, when, and who responded.

I keep this notebook on my desk at all times. Whenever I look for more agents to send to, I add them to my Submit To list. And when I get into a submitting kick, I have this notebook opened to keep track of my efforts.

TIP: If you're tech-savvy and love spreadsheets, you can create Submit To, Submitted, and Rejected spreadsheets to stay organized on your submission journey.

QUESTION: How do you keep track of your submissions?

Friday, October 12, 2018

Terracotta Warriors Facts / Guest Post by Sherry Ellis / Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China

It’s a pleasure to be participating in author Sherry Ellis’ BUBBA AND SQUIRT’S BIG DIG TO CHINA Blog Tour through MC Book Tours today.

Sherry Ellis is offering a tour-wide international giveaway featuring five autographed copies of her book. More information on the giveaway is listed below.

Welcome, Sherry!

The Terracotta Warriors


Sherry Ellis

Thanks for having me as a guest on your blog today! I thought I’d share some information about the Terracotta warriors that are featured in my book, Bubba and Squirt’s Big Dig to China.

When Bubba and Squirt arrive in Xi’an, China, they discover they are in the pit of the Terracotta warriors. These clay soldiers were discovered in 1974 by local farmers digging for a well. To date, more than 8,000 have been found and pieced together by archaeologists. 

Here are more facts about them:

            - They were buried with the first Emperor of China, Ch’in Shi Huang-ti.

            - Their purpose was to help the emperor rule another empire in the afterlife.
            - No two are the same.

            - The statues found include warriors, chariots, horses, officials, acrobats, and musicians.

            - The hairstyles indicate rank in the army. Officers usually wear hats. Warriors have their hair pinned in a knot. Those with knots on the left side are kneeling archers.

            - Construction of the army began when Ch’in Shi Huang-ti was 13 years old and lasted until his death 37 years later.

by Sherry Ellis

Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Publisher: Dancing Lemur Press
◊ Print & eBooks
Paperback: 94 pages
◊ Grades 3-5

Squirt doesn't believe Bubba can dig a hole to China. But when the hole swallows them, the kids find themselves in Xi'an, China, surrounded by Terracotta Warriors.

          It gets worse when the ghost of the first emperor of China appears. He tells them they can't go home until they find his missing pi. The kids don't know where to begin until they meet a girl and her grandmother who promise to help find the pendant.

          Soon they realize they are being followed. And they are no closer to finding the missing pi. Will Bubba and Squirt ever make it back home?

Book Links:

About the Author: 

Sherry Ellis is an award-winning author and professional musician who plays and teaches the violin, viola, and piano.

When she is not writing or engaged in musical activities, she can be found doing household chores, hiking, or exploring the world. Sherry, her husband, and their two children live in Atlanta, Georgia. 

For more on Sherry and her writing, you can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, her blog, her website and her Amazon Author Page.

This tour-wide giveaway is for five (5) autographed copies of BUBBA AND SQUIRT’S BIG DIG TO CHINA. The giveaway is open internationally.

To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. If the widget doesn’t show up, just click HERE and you’ll be directed to the widget.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to follow Sherry on her month-long tour HERE. You never know what you might find out.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Bactine for Writer’s Burnout Part 2 (Write YOU) / IWSG

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a safe place for insecure writers of all kinds.

What is writer’s burnout?

Burnout is very different from writer’s block. It’s worse. Writer’s burnout is something you feel deep down…bone-deep. It’s just like when athletes burnout from working themselves too hard and too much for too long. They can lose their love of the sport, physically and mentally.

To read my story and the 3 tips I previously shared check out: 

More Tips to Help You START Reversing Writer’s Burnout:

BACTINE #4: Write about yourself.

I know many people hate the rule “write what you know” for how restrictive it is, and I write about things I have to research all the time, but in this case…writing what you know really does help.

When you write about yourself, things you know and have experienced, you don’t have to worry about being vivid or creating good dialogue. You don’t have to worry about hooks, passive voice, slipping tenses, or all the “rules” that are floating around. Just write what you remember. You can add all the details you want, though, including what you saw, smelled, tasted, felt, and all of the emotions you had then, but there’s no pressure to be perfect. And you don’t have to worry about revising what you wrote. This is for you.


To get yourself writing again, don’t push yourself to write your current WIP.

I did this. A lot. And it just made my burnout worse.

Don’t try to write another project.

I did this, too. I would be positive about it for a couple of days and then plummet, which would make me feel even more worse about myself.

Don’t even try to write flash fiction.

It may work for some time, but if you have writer’s burnout, forcing yourself to write flash fiction, especially if you have a goal to write one flash fiction piece a week or a month, it can burn you out even more than before you started.


Start slow.

Start small.

Start with YOU.

After I shared my truth and my struggle on Facebook (see Part 1), I started to write about me. Young me. Elementary school, middle school, and high school me. It was cathartic and revealing. I wrote about being bullied by my siblings and by other kids in school. I wrote about growing into a little woman. I got to explore lessons I learned and my hardships and how things from my past have shaped me.

I wrote these memories into essay form. Some were a single page. Others were a few pages long. Length doesn’t matter as long as you write.

BACTINE #5: Write essays or journal entries. There’s no pressure with this simple format as there is to write a novel or short story.


- Memories. Those memories that pop into your head at random about your childhood, school life, or work life. Things that you have maybe even said you should write down for yourself or your children or grandchildren.

- Lessons. What were some tough lessons you learned as a child, teen, young adult, man, woman, parent?

- Experiences. What are things you’ve done?

- Thoughts. What do you think?

- Your writing journey. Start from the beginning and write about your hopes, dreams, and struggles all the way to where you are now. Yes, even write about your burnout, your struggle, and how much it sucks.

BACTINE #6: Create a meaty list of topics/memories you can write about and work your way down the list one essay at a time. No pressure.

I had a list, and when I would write one essay on a similar topic/memory, I would then want to write another. This is how I wrote 7 essays on my first attempt to reverse my burnout.

BACTINE #7: If possible, write at least one memory a day. Remember, the length doesn’t matter. Just write what you remember.

BACTINE #8: And, again…reward yourself. Always.

More Bactine posts for Writer’s Burnout coming soon!

QUESTIONS: Have you ever written down your childhood memories? Or wanted to?

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Legend of the Pumpkin-Head Costume - Halloween Ride by Elaine Kaye

You can find my Author Toolbox Blog Hop post here


Please welcome my mom Elaine Kaye to Write with Fey!

The pumpkin-head costume is legendary in my family…

It all began on one Halloween night many years ago when my son wore the pumpkin-head costume. There were many tears. And screaming. And flat-out refusal. My son did not want to be a pumpkin! I don’t know why. I handmade the costume. It’s silky-soft and adorable. But my son wasn’t having any part of it.

My son in the pumpkin-head costume.

Having five kids, it’s tough to get a new costume for each of them every year, so many Halloweens they wore the same costume or a costume was handed down from one to the next.

And that is how the pumpkin-head costume struck again…

This time, my youngest daughter was the victim. There were many tears and the saddest face you ever saw. I couldn’t even get her to smile when I was putting red lipstick on her. Just imagine that smeared work! My daughter did not want to be the pumpkin. She wanted to be the princess, the costume my oldest daughter wore that was too big for her. So, she was stuck, trapped, destined to be the pumpkin.

Chrys Fey in the pumpkin-head costume.

As a matter of fact, my youngest daughter still has that pumpkin-head costume. Now, she thinks it’s adorable. Will the pumpkin-head strike again…?

Well, in Halloween Ride, Sammy wears a pumpkin costume, inspired by this legendary outfit. There were no tears, no screams, no flat-out refusal, just a happy little bear in a pumpkin costume.


BLURB: One Halloween night, Gregory and his teddy bear Sammy go trick-or-treating, hoping for lots and lots of candy. But Sammy is scared of everything and is constantly asking, “What’s that?” Gregory gets annoyed until one of those things turns out to be a flying broomstick. And this broom wants them to go for a ride. Where will it take them? 

*Story picture book Ages 4-8.




Pea Soup Disaster: Amazon / Nook / Kobo

Doctor Mom: Amazon / Nook / Kobo

Elaine Kaye is the author of A Gregory Green Adventure series. She first created Gregory Green after her son, who loved her homemade pea soup.
Kaye has worked as a library assistant and teacher's assistant in elementary schools in the Sunshine State. She currently lives in Florida, but she has called Michigan; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Okinawa, Japan home.
She is a grandmother of three boys.


Enter here to win a signed paperback copy of Pea Soup Disaster, a hand-stitched bookmark, and a pea pod key chain! Open to all from September 16, 2018 – October 1, 2018!

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Monday, September 17, 2018

Organization Tip: Email Folders #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop


I like to be organized. It’s true, especially when it comes to being a writer/author. I am my boss. I am the manager of my business. Organization is key when you’re running a business, and that’s precisely what you’re doing.

Previously I mentioned how I keep track of my expenses and earnings. I’ve also hinted at how I use email folders to save receipts and blog tour emails.

Well, I have a lot more email folders than that.

As a matter of fact, I have email folders for each of my published works. Whenever I send or receive an email regarding one of my books, I move it into that book’s email folder. Every email from my editor and publisher is put into these folders. Emails for promos that are in the works, including blog tours, are also added.

I also have folders for the works I am querying. The emails I send out are moved to these folders. When I receive a rejection, I have a folder marked as “Rejections.”

What other folders do I have?

-      Book Club (emails to the moderators for the IWSG book club)
-      Comments (lovely emails or blog comments I’ve received)
-      Editing (client emails)
-      Fey’s Sparklers (my street team)
-      Giveaways (emails I send to giveaway winners)
-      Guest Posts (for guests of my blog)
-      IWSG
-      Mom (these are the emails regarding my mom’s children’s books)
-      My Newsletter (my newsletters that go out)
-      Promo Info
-      Receipts (online receipts and PayPal emails)
-      Rejections
-      Reviews
-      SAVE (works-in-progress I have put on the back burner)

Once or twice a year, I delete emails I don’t need anymore, such as for completed blog tours and review requests that weren’t answered.

I return to these emails a lot if I need to recall or double-check something, find a document I received or sent, and make sure I sent an email. These emails also make a great record and can provide "proof" of a conversation or confirmation if you ever need it. 

I love my email folders, and I add to them every day.

QUESTION: Do you organize your email folders? How?

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Bactine for Writer’s Burnout Part 1 (Speak) / IWSG

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a safe place for insecure writers of all kinds.

Flaming Crimes (Disaster Crimes #4) is on sale for 99 cents!

Amidst a criminal mind game, a fire ignites next to their home. They battle the flames and fight to keep their house safe from the blaze pressing in on all sides, but neither of them expects to confront a psychotic adversary in the middle of the inferno.

Their lives may just go up in flames…

Sale ends on September 14th!


Long Post Alert! 
***I broke this article up to help you skim if you don’t have time to read it all.***

What is writer’s burnout?

Burnout is very different from writer’s block. It’s worse. Many years ago, I experienced a bad case of writer’s block that stopped my writing for 2 or 3 months. I’ve also experienced the normal day-to-day writer’s block, as well as weeks of writer’s block. And, yes, writer’s block can last a year.

But writer’s burnout is not writer’s block. Writer’s burnout is something you feel deep down…bone-deep. It’s just like when athletes burnout from working themselves too hard and too much for too long. They can lose their love of the sport, physically and mentally.

My Story:

I had been writing since I was twelve, and I mean seriously writing with the goal of publication. I wrote nearly every single day. Of course, as I got older and started publishing, I couldn’t write every day, but I still wrote most of the time.

September 2016, I fell headfirst into a spiraling abyss of depression. This depression went on for nine months. I couldn’t write. I struggled to even want to blog. In the beginning, I could hardly eat. April 2017, I finally felt like my old self, but something was still wrong…I wasn’t writing.

I did experience one week of great writing in August. And I did write during the last few days of 2017 and the first two days of 2018, but then…nothing. I tried. I did everything I could possibly do, but I couldn’t focus on a single project longer than a day or two. Writing a paragraph was a mental and physical challenge. For months I had a scary thought but didn’t want to admit it. And then, one night, I knew it was true…I was burned out as a writer.

The next day, I took to Facebook to confess the struggle I’ve had for so long. I got lovely support from many writer friends.

I ended up having to add an update to my post saying I wasn’t looking for advice. I just wanted to be honest and to share my problem with writers who may also be facing burnout. And all the advice I was getting, I had tried. Several times. I did all the things I tell others who suffer from writer’s block to do, but again…I didn’t have writer’s block. The normal tricks were falling. Although the advice was given out of love, they were given by writers who didn’t quite understand, which is not their fault. It was their support that really boosted me, and I did get messages from a couple of writers who did know just what I was talking about and also dealt with extreme depression. It was nice to know I wasn't alone.

3 Tips to START Reversing Burnout:

It was thanks to all of the comments I got that I realized a big step to hopefully reversing my burnout was what I had just done and didn’t realize…

I spoke my truth.

I shared my personal struggle.

I let others in.

BACTINE #1: If you are afraid you’re facing writer’s burnout, or if you have writer’s block, or even if you’re not sure…share your struggle with others.

A lightbulb went off in my head. From then on, I shared my journey back to writing on my author Facebook page.


1. Accountability

Sharing each and every day how I did was a great way to be accountable, to at least try so I had share something with my supporters. And knowing that made me want to try harder.

2. It’s a journey.

I may be doing the journey alone, but by sharing it I am including others…I’m not alone anymore.

3. Daily Log/Progress Meter

I posted in the evening to share how I did that day, like a daily log. It was an update for the people who wanted to know how I was fairing, but it was also a journal for me, something I could look back on to see my progress. That in itself was motivating.

BACTINE #2: Post daily progress reports on a social media platform of your choice. In my updates, I shared my word count, if I wrote that day, or what I did that was writing related that was a step out of my comfort zone or was new and inspiring. I also shared how I reward myself each day, even on the days I didn't write.

BACTINE #3: Reward yourself, too. Whatever you accomplish that day, whatever you do, reward yourself.

Did you write? Reward!

Did you go to a writer’s meeting? Reward!

Did you start reading a writing book? Reward!

Did you do things on your to-do list that prevented you from writing? Reward!

I’ve talked about rewarding yourself in two other blog posts (for submitting stories/queries and seeing rejections as badges of honor), so I really do believe in this practice.

I’ve rewarded myself with hot baths, chocolate, and binge-watching Charmed. It can be anything, and it helps me to relax, which is a big reason why I burned out in the first place. I was working myself too hard and not rewarding myself enough. Don’t make my mistake.

More Bactine posts for Writer’s Burnout coming soon!

QUESTIONS: Have you ever been burned out? How'd you get over it?


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