Outlining Your Writing

As a writer I am a very by the seat of my pants person. I don’t always outline my work and when I do it’s one think I really don’t like to do. It takes me a while to do it and I grump the whole time. So why do I outline sometimes then? Well, because sometimes it’s a good idea to know where you want your story to go. It’s helpful to have an idea of what your characters are like. To “meet” them and what their personalities are like. I would like to add that even though I’m taking this from a novelist approach it’s a great idea for bloggers to outline as well. It will help your article to read smoother if you have ideas and info written before writing.

The reason I have such a problem with outline is that I personally feel it kills my creativity most of the time. However, there is a flip side to this and it’s that sometimes I have no idea where to start. There is an upside to outline and that is it can and does help you flow through your writing easier (for most anyway). I know I will have people shaking their heads no and saying I’m with you sister, it kills creativity! 

Still, I am here, a person who cringes at the thought of outlining telling you to have at least a general idea of your characters, plot,  sources, whatever depending on what you are writing. Remember when we did the little web type outlining in school? I tend to start with a simple one and grow from there (when I do outline). I also have an Evernote notebook where I keep articles with info pertaining to the story or article I’m writing. Truthfully for all my grumbling when I do gather info and outline I spend a couple hours on it. 

Make it a habit to outline every now and then I promise you’ll notice some difference in how much work you get done. I suggest researching and trying different outlining methods until you find one that fits your style. I’m still going to be a mostly by the seat of your pants writer but I’m never not going to totally outline. I mostly outline info about the time period I’m writing about in my books and it’s nice to have that info at the tips of my fingers instead of searching all over the web while I’m trying to write. 

I am going to share with you some tools that can help you outline fast and effectively so you can get on with writing 

  • Evernote-with Evernote you can add links, pictures, and notes. I love using this tool because I can usually add everything I need to it and have it all right where I need it in one place
  • Microsoft Word- Word had templates you can use for outlining and I find them easy to use. I love that I can have bulletins and making info easy to find. I can have links directly in the template allowing me to click and go directly where I can find the needed info. I can make the text different colors and easily scan for what I’m looking for. 
  • OneNote- This is another Microsoft tool that is easy to use for outlining. Like Evernote you can have notebook style notes. You can drag and drop info into a new slot. You can use lists and bullets to make finding information easier. It has tabs at the top so you can name each of your notebooks so you can find what you need when you need it. It is very easy on the eyes and easy to navigate

These are the three I use the most and know the most about. I know there are more and would love to hear your suggestions of others so that my readers can have a great list of choices for outlining. Let me know if you use any of these I listed and what you think in the comments! 

Author Interviews

I’m excited to announce that I’m going to be conducting author interviews on my blog soon! I’m hoping to get our first one up within the next couple days! I am hoping to have between 5-10 interviews when we are done! For now, I’m conducting them via blog post but hopefully soon on my up and coming podcast! I’m so excited to learn more about my fellow authors and their books! I hope you all enjoy them as well! My hope is to get my fellow author a little more exposure and maybe find my readers some new books!

Sounds like a win-win to me! I plan on posting one a week on top of my regular blog post! So let’s all get ready to meet some amazing people and hear about them and their books! If you’re an author and you’d like to be interviewed just comment or message me on my Facebook page Crystal Clear Writing! I will get you scheduled in! 

Errors in a Book that has Been Published

This post is going to contain a fear of mine that came true. My biggest fear about my writing is that I would do all the hard work, the actual writing, get some beta readers, an editor and a publisher. Despite that mistakes would get through and they did! I got my first copy of my book today, it was beautiful to behold! I was excited and about ready to cry. I opened it and started scanning and in the first few pages there were, gasp words in sentences that didn’t belong there! I asked myself how, how did those get passed 6-8 pairs of eyes? Where there anymore, if so how many? 

I’m not telling you all this so you would think my work is crappy and make you not want to read it. I’m hoping you will forgive me the mistakes and read it anyway. I’m hoping you’ll say she’s a first-time author and mistakes happen. I’m hoping you’ll say to yourself it was not completely her fault after all it got passed quite a few people. Most of all, however, I hope you know seeing those mistakes in my hard work, my baby crushed me and I felt like a complete failure. I didn’t blame my beta reader, editor or publisher. I blamed myself. I’m the one who wrote it after all.

People are going to see my name on the cover and say wow she missed some things. My fear is they are going to hate my book for some small mistakes. If your not an author it’s hard to imagine how much time, sweat, tears and work it takes to write a book. The time it takes to find beta readers, an editor and most of all a publisher. You put a piece of yourself in every word. I’m not making this post to get pity from all of you. I’m writing this post in the hopes that next time you read a book and find an error you might be a bit forgiving.

My heart literally shattered seeing those errors. I told my husband we needed to cancel the orders I had so it could be fixed. He laughed and said most readers will enjoy the book anyway. Oh, how I hope that is true. Yes, errors may drive you the reader crazy but believe me we don’t do it on purpose. It really disappoints us that some errors got through in our work. Errors hurt us in more ways than one. 

I hated writing this post but it was laying heavily on my heart because well as I said above my fear came true and in the first few pages! I know there are errors in even best-selling author’s books. However, they are best selling authors, of course, people are willing to forgive errors. I ask that you give the same courtesy to smaller time authors. Look past those errors and enjoy the story. I know that there is always going to be people who will complain and nitpick no matter what. That’s okay its life I’m just hoping most of you will think we’re all human they’re only mistakes! 

So I ask you as an author and a reader who looks past errors, don’t pick a writer apart for some errors. Remember they are people too and the odds are those errors slipped passed more than, one person. I really hope despite what I posted here you will still consider reading my book. , of course, was a hard post for me, it makes me feel vulnerable but I shared anyway! I want to share a picture of my book, I took it when it came. I want to share it with you because, despite those errors and my fears, I’m still proud of what I’ve done! 

How my Next Book is Going

I wanted to do a post on how my personal book writing is going for my readers! If you’ve read the book I have put thank you so much! I wanted to let you all know how it’s going with the second book in my series.  Right now I am only two chapters in so pretty slow going. I have been devoting a lot of time to getting my blog up and running. I feel like the story line is coming along however. For those of you who may be interested I will share a small expert from my book. I hope you enjoy.


Malculm shifted his feet and fixed the hood of his robe so it hung over his face more. Rain was coming down hard, he was drenched. The torchlight blurred before his eyes, he wiped them trying to clear his vision. The cobbled stones streets were empty, not surprising who wants to be out in this? He was keeping watch for his brothers who were currently inside a church. It was important he kept people away. He didn’t know how long he’d been sitting on that wall, but he was cold and hungry. He thought he caught movement further down the street. Squinting he strained to see through the downpour. Yes! There a horse was coming towards him. He made his way to the ground and took a position on the steps of the church. As the horse came closer he saw it was a woman riding it. She halted the horse and approached him. “Sanctuary, I need sanctuary please!” She put her hood down and he noted that she was beautiful. Green eyes reflected the torchlight. Her dark hair was pulled to one side. “Who are you Miss?” “I am someone in need, now please let me in!” She made to brush past him but he caught her arm. “No, you cannot enter even if you claim sanctuary, I cannot let you.” She scowled at him, “Are you even a priest? Who are you to deny sanctuary to anyone?” He lifted a sword out of the scabbard at his hip. “The person who will use this to stop anyone trying to get into this church. Even someone like you.” She sniffed and gave him a hard look. “How dare you threaten a high-born lady sir! You will pay for this just wait and see.” Malculm chuckled, “High-born, are you? If it’s true where are your guards? Why are you alone pleading sanctuary? I don’t see many high-born women riding alone in the rain.” She bristled at him, “My men were killed if you must know! There are men after me! Let me go inside now!” She stamped her foot in anger. 

I am proud of where this series is headed so far and can’t wait to see how everyone reacts to it. It’s not easy writing a book. It takes a lot of time, research and in some cases money. I know I have dedicated hours to researching alone. Even fictions books call for a bit of research now and again. Let me know what you think and please keep in mind that my work is copyrighted and I ask that you respect that by not stealing it and using it as your own. 

Free Mini Course coming Soon!

Hello all!

I am excited to announce that I’ll be offering a free mini course on the different ways to publish! I’m currently working on it and will update when it’s ready! As I told you all in a previous post I am moving everything to chimp mail! If you want to sign up for my free course make sure to sign up where it says newsletter at the bottom of my blog! Not only will you be getting great info but I will be including a workbook and printables!

There are so many ways to publish and I always get asked what is the best way? How do I know if this is the right publisher for me? What is traditional publishing? What about vanity publishing? The list goes on and on! My hope is that this course will answer those questions and more so you don’t have to go search all over the internet. I know when I was first starting out I got confused because some people said self-publishing was the only way to go! Others were all about trying to get an agent and getting traditionally published. 

I will give you the pros and cons of each to help you make a more informed decision for when you’re ready to publish your work. So hit that button to sign up for me newsletter and join me on this journey! 

U.S. Copyright and How it Helps you

I think everyone knows that once you write something you own it. It’s yours free and clear.  However, did you know that if someone steals your work without a registered copyright that you will unlikely not be able to bring a lawsuit against them? There is such as thing as a “poor man’s copyright” but it is not the same as a registered one. According to https://www.copyright.gov website, a poor man’s copyright is 


The practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself is sometimes called a “poor man’s copyright.” There is no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration.

Once you have a registered copyright you are protected by the law if someone plagiarizes your work. You will be able to bring a lawsuit against the thief and will get the chance to prove it’s yours.  A U.S. registered copyright is not required but I would highly recommend it for the above-mentioned reason. How bad would it be if someone stole all your hard work and essentially got away with it? Do yourself a favor and get a copyright through the U.S. copyright office. 

I know what you’re probably thinking but what are the odds that my work will be stolen, that’s rare right? That may be but why take the chance? Anything can happen and it’s better safe than sorry. You will have protection for the life of the author plus 70 years if it is published after 1977, if it is a work done for commision it last between 95 to 120 years as per the U.S. Copyright website.


For works published after 1977, the copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years. However, if the work is a work for hire (that is, the work is done in the course of employment or has been specifically commissioned) or is published anonymously or under a pseudonym, the copyright lasts between 95 and 120 years, depending on the date the work is published.

Your work will be protected for your entire life! I think it is more than worth it to get a copyright! Do you know how to go about getting one? I will outline how to do so. Go to https://www.copyright.gov and click register copyright. There will be different categories you can choose from these include literary works, performing arts, visual arts, photographs, motion pictures, and other digital arts. Each of these has subcategories. Pick which one fits what you want to copyright. 

You will be sent to a list showing you what is covered under your choice, to the right of the page you will click register in our case it will say literary work. If you don’t have an account you will need to make one. Once you’re done with that you will be sent to a page called eco. On the left you will see register a work, below that is standard application. Click that and you will be taken a page that explains what you need to register a copyright. at the top it says start registration, click it. 

Fill out the application, when you are done you will need to pay the fee (yes there is a fee). The cost will depend on what you are registering. A single application is $35, this is single author, same claimant, not for hire. A standard application is $55. These are the only two I will list here as this is most likely what most of my readers will be registering with. Check out the U.S. Copyright website for a full list. I truly think this fee is worth being fully protected. I have not fully listed all the laws and suggest going to the U.S. Copyright website to read up on all the laws so you know what all it entails. I hope I have added enough info here to at least give you an idea of why it’s a good reason for you to get one.

Moving over to Chimpmail/Plus Social Widgets are being updated

This not like a post I normally do! I just wanted to drop a quick post to let you all know I’m in the process of moving my email list to chimpmail for a newsletter. If you’d like me to add you to it (thank you for subscribing to my blog already) please let me know. I’m not going to be spammy I promise. It’s only going to be a once per week thing! Also, thinking of getting rid of the email you all receive every time I add a new post. Tell me what you think.

I’m also currently working on changing my social media widgets. I’ve been informed they are hard to find on a mobile device. I’m also going to be adding pins where you can share directly instead of being sent to my social media pages. There will still be a set of widgets for you all to follow me if you choose! Thank you for being patient as we make these changes and for following my little blog here! 

Fall is in the air (free printable)

Fall is one of my favorite seasons! I love the weather, the smells, the food, apple cider, and pumpkin spice are in season. The colors are vibrant and beautiful, the leaves are falling and you get that awesome crunch, crunch when walking! People’s mood just seems to change to one of warm fuzzy feelings. This is the time of year when you know the holidays are coming and excitement is brewing! 

As a writer and blogger Fall is also the time when I can write/blog about so many different things! Things I don’t write about on a daily basis. There are festivals, parades, decorations and more that are just a part of the season. Use these to your advantage and bring in more readers! There is much much you can include! I’m attaching a download for you to print that has some ideas for the Fall season. Of course, there are others but this will at least be a starting point! Enjoy! 

When you sit down to write and just can’t

Have you ever sat down to write be it a short story, poem, or even a blog post and find you can’t think of anything (even though you had a plan)? You stare at the blank paper or computer screen, willing your mind to come to life? 

You had an idea where did it go? It’s frustrating, isn’t it? I can tell you it has happened to all of us at one time or another. Writers everywhere have a story to tell about the dreaded writer’s block. Even the name sounds iffy. No one wants to think about it much less go through it. So what can help you with getting over that state of blankness? I’m going to share with you a list of things that seem to work for me. Hopefully, some of these will keep you from giving up. 

  • Go for a walk! Yes, a walk being out in nature relaxes you. This helps me forget all about writing or gives me some ideas. There’s something about being outdoors that just makes you feel better. 
  • Take a long hot bath or show! I find my mind stops trying to over work when I’m in nice hot water. My body is at peace which helps me concentrate better.  I slow down and stop worrying. Total relaxation moment! 

  • Read! This will not only get your mind off your own writing but it will allow you to step into an entirely new world. As you envision this work you may start getting ideas. I find some of my best ideas come when reading. I never steal or copy anyone else’s ideas but it helps me get my creative juices flowing! 

  • People watching! Yes, I said people watching! You may be wondering why I do this and that is a very good question. This allows me to see different people’s personalities, moods, the way they dress and move. They don’t realize they are being watched and so are themselves. I am then able to build characters from them. This can even help with a blog post because often times we are writing about people in one way or another. People watching is a great way to beat writer’s block!  

  • Watching TV! Many people see watching TV as a waste of time and while it can be mind numbing it can also be useful. Just like reading and people watching you can get ideas from what you are seeing! The way the characters talk, walk and deal with different situations. You can even get inspiration from the sets. The color schemes or lay out of the city etc. Watching TV can be a great inspiration for writers.  

  • I’m sure this one is going to be my least popular suggestion but here goes. Playing video games! You read that right! Playing games can have the exact effect on you as reading or watching TV. If you play a game that has great character development you can glean ideas from them. You might even be inspired by the look of a character and use bits and pieces of their looks in your writing. Give it a try one time and see if it helps! 

  • Last but not least talking! Talking to someone who’supportive of you and you can bounce ideas off of is a great idea! They can help walk you through what you’re having trouble with and give you a fresh set of ideas. Often times it is people outside of a situation that sees things the most clear! Find someone whom you can turn to when you need a set of ears and are willing to throw things out there for you. I find doing this helps me tremendously! 

I hope some of these suggestions can help you next time you have writer’s block and are ready to hit your head against the nearest wall. Often times we have writer’s block from overthinking, at least that is the reason in my case! If you have any suggestions of your own leave a comment!