Why Journalists Make Great Novelists

Why Journalists Make Great Novelists

why journalists make great novelists

As many of you know, I was a journalist before I became a freelance editor and online course creator. Although I had published a YA book before getting into journalism, my job working for a daily newspaper inspired my first adult novel, Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, about an obit writer and aspiring reporter who becomes obsessed with solving a cold case.

That’s why when Asha Belle Caldwell approached me about a guest post on why journalists make great novelists, I loved the idea. My reporting experience definitely improved my overall fiction-writing and editing skills. I used to handwrite my first drafts until one of my editors caught me writing a School Committee meeting article in a notebook, shook his head vigorously, and said, “There’s no time for that. You have to write on the computer.” That skill quickly transferred to my novels. Journalism also taught me about the importance of hooking the reader with a lead, doing research, meeting deadlines, and much more.

Below, you can read Asha Belle’s article delving into the topic of why journalists make good novelists.   

From the outside, journalists and novelists seem like they belong at the opposite ends of the writing spectrum — one dealing with hard reality and the other with made-up worlds and scenarios. Yet the opposite is true and many of the skills journalists have learned have helped them become novelists. For example, author Sara Goudarzi outlines that her science journalism background helped her cope with the unfamiliar loneliness of writing a novel.

And she is far from being the only journalist- turned author. Some of the most popular authors that we know of today started out as journalists. Mark Twain, the icon of sharp-witted admonishment about racism and slavery, started out as a journalist. Fantasy author Neil Gaiman, whose richly imagined fantasy works have consumed pop culture, also started out as a journalist. Other remarkable novelists belonging to this roster include Joan Didion, Ernest Hemingway, Charles Dickens, and a score of others.

Journalists’ interaction with the real world allows them to scavenge great material for their novels. Here are a couple of reasons why.

Many journalists start with fiction

Writers are often avid readers, and fiction is often the first encounter we have with literature as children. So the most straightforward explanation for why journalists make great novelists is that many of them were already reading or writing fiction. Even renowned fiction authors like Arundhati Roy and Zadie Smith have come to contribute to established publications like The Guardian and The New Yorker to provide critique on culture and current events.

Of course, there is a wide gap between the creative process for journalism and fiction. But working under the pressure of deadlines and having to practice economy of words is sure to enrich journalists’ writing style and discipline, even when applied to writing novels.

Journalists are storytellers

It’s time to break the myth — journalism is never objective. This is because all successful journalists and other formal writing professionals have one common essential communication skill: a commitment to storytelling. Even though the discipline focuses on the facts and upholds truth, at every point in the writing process, journalists will be framing the narrative in a way that gets the readers to empathize with their version of the story.

The Pulitzer Prizes annually award journalists for exceptional reporting. For example, in 2020, Ben Taub of the New Yorker won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing for a deeply perturbing, and yet melodically lyrical, account of a man unjustly kidnapped and detained at the Guantanamo Bay detention center. His works exhibit the skillful crafting of a real-life story to illustrate the emotional depth of what would otherwise be an unheard story.

Journalists have to choose which elements to highlight and whose perspective to prioritize. In a similar manner, these skills of selecting elements and enhancing perspectives are useful in the novel-writing process when writers have to set the scene, drive their theme forward, and get the readers to feel the way they want them to.

Journalists learn about the world

Fiction does not exist in a bubble. It’s important to portray real human emotions and create imaginary settings that are believable to make your story convincing for your readers.

Journalism serves as an incredible resource for learning about the world and acquiring information that can benefit novelists. Journalists are always meeting new people and visiting new places. The late Joan Didion, for instance, wrote about California’s hippie counterculture in the 60s and 70s with unconventional novel-like qualities. She also observed and critiqued Hollywood in all its glamour and horror, and wrote about pivotal events like the Manson murders and the women’s movement.

Ultimately, journalist training offers writers the opportunities to expand their perceptions of reality in ways that can be explored further in fiction.

When it comes to the creative process, writers aren’t that much different from one another. At the heart of telling stories are sensitivity to the world and the impulse to portray it with your words. Journalists-turned-novelists prove that when it comes to the creative process, you can derive endless material from the world around you.

Editing Shortcuts For Writers – Writer’s Tribe Talk Show Interview

Editing Shortcuts For Writers – Writer’s Tribe Talk Show Interview

Writer's Tribe Talk Show

If you could use some editing tips, then I’d love for you to check out my interview on The Writer’s Tribe Talk Show. Host Elsa Kurt asked me lots of insightful questions about my writing journey, how I became an editor and online course creator, and the common mistakes that writers make.

We talked about the ups and downs of the publishing path and why most new authors are flabbergasted when they read their first editorial letter. You’ll hear about the shock I experienced as a teen author receiving editing feedback.

We also shared some helpful advice for busy authors. You can watch the interview on YouTube (see the video below) or listen on your favorite podcast app including Apple Podcasts  and Spotify.

Be sure to check out other episodes of the podcast as well. Elsa talks about all things writing, publishing, and promoting. She has interviewed authors in many genres and has also discussed topics like TikTok for Authors, Imposter Syndrome, your elevator pitch, and roadblocks to writing.

 

 

 

Time Blocking Tips And Princess Trivia – A Tale Of 2 Interviews

Time Blocking Tips And Princess Trivia – A Tale Of 2 Interviews

author your dream

I love doing interviews on podcasts and YouTube channels for readers and writers. Below, you can find out more about my two latest conversations and how to listen in.

Could you use some time management tips? Then be sure to check out my interview on the Author Your Dream podcast.

Time management is something that a lot of authors struggle with. Host Kenny MacKay and I discussed a number of topics, including effective strategies, time blocking, and automating tasks to help you be more productive.

Listen in here or in your favorite podcast app.

Bookterviews

I was recently interviewed on Bookterviews – Meet An Author Show with JB Favour.

I had a fun time talking about my sweet and sassy chick lit novel, Fooling Around With Cinderella, and answering five princess-themed trivia questions.

Here is the blurb for the book: When twenty-five-year-old Jaine Andersen proposes a new marketing role to the local amusement park, general manager Dylan Callahan charms her into filling Cinderella’s glass slippers for the summer. Her reign transforms Jaine’s ordinary life into chaos that would bewilder a fairy godmother. Secretly dating her bad boy boss, running wedding errands for her ungrateful sisters, and defending herself from the park’s resident villain means Jaine needs lots more than a comfy pair of shoes to restore order in her kingdom…

If you enjoy fairy tales and trivia, go watch the interview on YouTube.

New Time Management For Writers Course – Includes Bonuses

New Time Management For Writers Course – Includes Bonuses

I’m so excited! My brand new course, called Time Management Blueprint for Writers: Transform Your Life and Finish Your Book, is now available.

This self-paced, comprehensive course will guide you through the process of organizing your life one step at a time so that you can become healthier and happier while boosting your creativity and productivity.

It can feel impossible to balance your dreams with a day job, family responsibilities, household chores, and a never-ending list of distractions all vying for your attention. Everything seems urgent and you’re pulled in too many directions, which can result in fatigue, stress, irritability, and frustration that you lack the time and energy to pursue your passion.

Manage Your Time

Through a series of engaging written lessons and short video tutorials that get straight to the point, you’ll assess your life in four key areas: Electronic Clutter, External Clutter, Internal Clutter, and the logistics of Getting Things Done.

In Time Management Blueprint, we’ll cover:

Tackling email and social media
Organizing your digital files and bookmarks
Automating routine tasks
Decluttering your home and setting up an inspiring work or writing environment
Unwinding, improving focus, and getting into a flow state
Handling distractions and interruptions
Prioritizing, planning, and breaking down goals into manageable steps
Mastering your calendar
Pushing through creative blocks and setbacks
Nailing your writing or work sessions

finding time to write a book

If you’re ready to stop spinning your wheels and reclaim control, then Time Management Blueprint for Writers: Transform Your Life and Finish Your Book, will give you powerful and practical tools to succeed and find balance.

Many of you know me as a fiction writer and developmental editor. This course is all about editing different aspects of your life. In addition to the lessons and videos, you’ll get extensive cheat sheets recapping all the key points of the course, a workbook, spreadsheets, habit trackers, and more.

Bonuses

The below bonuses are always included with the course.

5-minute meditation – Unwind with the guided meditation, Pressing Pausecontributed by Melanie Steele. This audio is one of her Monday Meditations for the Writer’s Soul.

4 free Trello boards – Start organizing your life with free Trello templates offered by Brit Poe of Thriving Scribes. Brit, creator of the in-depth course Trello 4 Authors, has shared four boards from her paid program. You’ll get her Day Board, Week Board, Year Board, and Goals and Intentions Board.  

Writing productivity spreadsheet – Track your word counts with this user-friendly spreadsheet offered by Rahel Wallace, author brand coach and creator of the Indie Author Support: Prosperity Through Community Facebook group.

Start managing your time better so you can be healthier, happier, and more productive. Enroll here!

My Latest Interviews: 3 Podcasts To Listen To While Driving

My Latest Interviews: 3 Podcasts To Listen To While Driving

I love guesting on podcasts. It’s always so much fun chatting with the host about topics I love. Below are three recent interviews where I discussed everything from online course creation to writing and editing books to turning my hobby into a business. Check out their past episodes also. These are great podcasts to listen to while driving or working around the house.

The Course Creator’s MBA Podcast

Guesting on this podcast was a thrill for me as I’m such a fan girl. I found the podcast invaluable when I was developing my first online course, and I still listen to it regularly. On this episode, Destini Copp interviewed me about expanding my business from writing and editing books to creating online courses for writers. The episode is part of  a series where Destini chats with course creators about their journey in their online course business, how they got started, the challenges they’ve experienced, and how they overcame them. My signature course, Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan to Making Your Novels Publishable, empowers fiction writers to think like an editor so they can save time and money.

Destini and I chatted about how I educated herself on marketing, website development, and sales funnels which has led to success in my online course business.

Undercurrent Stories

I stumbled onto a new podcast favorite in Undercover Stories hosted by Bob Welles. The show explores the interests that people have and seeks to discover more on a wide variety of subjects. Each episode features a guest telling all about their interest, why they do it, and Bob uncovers some fascinating stories in the process.

At some point in their lives many people have thought about writing a book. This desire is sadly often thwarted due to fears about time, commitment, and the technical aspects of editing and publishing. Since I’ve faced all these challenges, I shared with Bob and his listeners how by breaking the writing process into steps, it is possible to both enjoy the creativity of writing and produce a publishable book.

Hustle Like Hannah Podcast

podcasts

I also enjoyed talking with host Hannah Lockwood on another new favorite, the Hustle Like Hannah Podcast, your “how-to” guide and inspiration for turning your creative side into a business opportunity. Hannah, the owner of Hannah Danielle Dance, chats with inspiring people who have turned their creative hobby into a business, sharing their stories and tips to help listeners realize their potential.

Since the second novel in my Storybook Valley chick lit series, Prancing Around With Sleeping Beauty, features a dance teacher who dreams of opening her own studio, it was fun talking with Hannah, someone who has accomplished that goal. I shared about my passions for writing and publishing books, editing, and developing online courses for writers, and we discussed my journey toward making those dreams come true.

Gifts For Friends Who Love Writing, Work From Home, Or Yourself!

Gifts For Friends Who Love Writing, Work From Home, Or Yourself!

gifts for friends who love writing

I’m excited to announce that I have a brand new Amazon Influencer store featuring books and products for writers and entrepreneurs. They make great gifts for friends who love writing or who work from home—or for yourself! You’ll find journals, business planners, writing books, home office supplies and decor, tech gadgets and accessories, video and audio equipment, and products to help with the aches and pains that come from hunching over a computer all day. Headaches, eyestrain, backaches, neck aches, carpal tunnel—you’ll find suggestions for all of those ailments and more. I also shared some of my favorite “fun” products to decompress by myself or with my family.

You can check out the main storefront here. Please note that as an Amazon affiliate, I receive a small commission on sales made through my links.

Below, I’ve included direct links to the various subcategories in my Amazon shop. I also embedded a series of three Show and Tell videos where I hold up some featured products that I own and do short reviews.

Let me know in the comments which products look the most interesting to you, if you’ve ever used any of these, or if you have suggestions for my lists. 

 

Main Storefront

Books for Writers

Home Office

Household Clutter Busters & Organization

Inspiration, Personal Development, & Journals

Technology, Gadgets, & Accessories

Business Books 

Planning & Productivity

Comfort and Health

Video and Audio Equipment

 Relaxing Hobbies & Games

Books I’ve Published

Again, you can find all of the products featured in the videos (and many more) in my Amazon store.  

Let me know what you think in the comments!

 

The Writing Cooperative: A Helpful Website For Writers @WritingCoop

The Writing Cooperative: A Helpful Website For Writers @WritingCoop

Interview On It’s A Nerdy Thing #Booktube Channel #booktubers

Interview On It’s A Nerdy Thing #Booktube Channel #booktubers

It's A Nerdy Thing

I had a great time recently speaking with Ayushi Jaiswal, a book reviewer and host of the show It’s A Nerdy Thing. Ayushi calls herself a book nerd and says her goals are to share her bookish experiences and make viewers laugh.

I’m delighted that my novels have been part of her bookish experiences, and I had such fun sitting down to chat with her. We talked about my Storybook Valley chick lit novel Prancing Around With Sleeping Beauty, my lifelong love of reading, how I got into writing, and my tips for writers.

I hope you enjoy the video. If you love to read, be sure to follow Ayushi on Instagram and YouTube.

Podcast Interview About Being A Mother And A Writer @LaWannMoses

Podcast Interview About Being A Mother And A Writer @LaWannMoses

being a mother and a writer

I love talking about two of my most important roles: being a mother and a writer. Thanks to business and life success strategist LaWann Moses, I recently had the chance to discuss both of those roles.

I was interviewed on LaWann’s podcast More Than A Mother, talking about writing, publishing, and balancing a career with motherhood. I shared about how I almost quit writing because of how my hopes kept crashing down, how I found the will to keep going, and how I learned to become a stronger writer.

We also discussed tips for breaking into freelance writing, branching out into offering an author service, the pros and cons of traditional vs indie publishing, and why my self-paced online course Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan To Making Your Novels Publishable is a steppingstone to hiring an editor.

LaWann’s show reminds moms they can follow their dreams and be a great mother at the same time. I love that philosophy! She provides tips, tools, and strategies to help manage it all. You can listen to our interview here or also find it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and more.

You can learn more about LaWann at:

Website

Podcast

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

 

 

 

Writing Tips From A Successful Author Podcast Episode

Writing Tips From A Successful Author Podcast Episode

successful author
Recently I did an interview on the Women Entrepreneur Success Network Podcast in an episode titled Writing Tips From A Successful Author.

Marketing strategy coach Anna Paszkiet hosts the podcast. In episode 24, I share insight on the pros and cons of indie vs. traditional publishing, tips for creating characters and conflict, and discuss why hiring an editor too early can make you use up your editing budget—fast!

Past episodes focus on topics such as building an email list, choosing your target audience, using Pinterest, making excuses, setting goals, and much more.

Learn more about Anna:

Moms Kicking Ass Podcast – Writing And Motherhood During the Pandemic

Moms Kicking Ass Podcast – Writing And Motherhood During the Pandemic

Moms Kicking Ass Podcast

Oh my gosh, can I just say that I LOVE being called a kick ass mom! I had a great time being interviewed on the podcast Moms Kicking Ass With Rachel Friedman.

We chatted about my online course for writers, Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan to Making Your Novels Publishable, as well as the challenges of juggling working from home and motherhood during the pandemic. One topic that came up was how now is a great time to pursue a passion such as writing. Distraction and stress relief are important at times like this, and writing can help.

Here is the description of Rachel’s show: Are you ready to make some money doing what you love? Rachel is here to guide you through her simple process and teach you everything you will need to know to be hugely successful. All you need is a passion and everything will fall right into place.

Rachel received her undergraduate degree in social work from Syracuse University and her graduate degree in clinical social work from New York University. She is a certified yoga instructor with over 60,000 hours of teaching under her belt.  She leads transformational teacher trainings, and has assisted alongside some of the best in the industry. Rachel currently teaches yoga in Atlanta, GA and leads retreats for yoga and personal transformations around the world. Through her coaching program, she helps clients to shift out of overwhelm.

Listen to our interview on Apple Podcasts or visit the episode webpage.

Visit Rachel’s website and Instagram account.

 

 

 

 

6 Ways To Write While The World Is Stressing You Out By @alliepleiter

6 Ways To Write While The World Is Stressing You Out By @alliepleiter

I know that many writers are having trouble tapping into their creativity during the pandemic. Thankfully, Allie Pleiter has a book that can help with this problem, and I asked her to share some tips about writing under stress. Read on for some helpful advice from Allie. You’ll also learn more about her valuable book, How to WRITE When Everything Goes WRONGA Practical Guide to Writing Through Tough Times.

Allie’s Tips For Writing Under Stress

As the author of How to WRITE When Everything Goes WRONGA Practical Guide to Writing Through Tough Times, Ive been getting a lot of cries for help from writers these days. The crisis we find ourselves in right now can squelch any writers creative energy. New words can feel impossible, the focus to revise eludes us, and were just plain stressed.

How to writeright now? Believe it or not, there are several things you can do to help yourself. Here are a few of my favorite tips:

#1: Try Small Batches In New Formats.

The trick is to pick a word count that feels doable–even if it must be tiny. One hundred words, for example, can fit on an index card. I suspect even the most traumatized of writers could manage six imperfect sentences that can be edited later. That work, once accomplished, can become the foothold for more. Can you tuck three or four cards into your pocket and set yourself the challenge to fill them? Your smartphone, a small notebook, or even email can help a small task feel small. All you need at first–maybe all you need at all–are baby steps.

#2: Change Locations.

Give yourself time in a different location in order to compartmentalize your brain space. You may not be able to go farmaybe only to the next roombut even that shift can make a difference. Ritualize it if it helps, saying: At two p.m. I go out on the balcony with a cup of coffee and do my writing,or After lunch I make myself a cup of tea and write.Remind yourself this is your time to work, and you can be fully present to whatever problems are facing you when you are done with your writing.

#3: When You Feel You Cant Escape Your Situation, Start By Describing It.

Many booksfiction and nonfictionhave been born of personal difficulties. Writing about where you are right now can prime the pump,proving to your creative self that writing is possible. As a bonus, you may also discover the seeds of a new project in the process.

Creativity is possible. You are just going to have to go about it in different ways for a while. @alliepleiter #writingtips #writingcommunity Click To Tweet

#4: Embrace The Lousy First Draft.

Brilliance is likely beyond your reacheven if you discover you work great under pressure. Tell yourself: It doesnt have to be perfect; it just has to be written.You can revise and polish your draft at another time once you get through the difficult stage of putting the words down on paper no matter how inelegant they feel. As best-selling author Nora Roberts famously said, You cant fix a blank page.

 

#5: Set A Timer.

Pick whatever span of time feels possibleeven fifteen minutes. Most of us can stand fifteen minutes of almost anything. Once or twice a day, set the timer and have at it. During those minutes, give yourself permission to be a writerrather than someone ill, caring, or coping. Starting is often the hardest part, and you may discover you can work longer than you think.

 

#6: Try Dictation.

Chances are you wont need any special equipment for dictation because most computers and nearly every smartphone comes preloaded with some form of basic dictation software. If typing feels beyond youor if you have a physical limitation such as carpal tunnel syndrome, eyesight issues, a bad back, or a broken wristclose your eyes and dictate a scene, a setting, or even a character description to get you started. Carry on dictating as long as you can. An added benefit of dictation: You cant edit or see mistakes, so theres nothing to impede your progress.

Creativity is possible. You are just going to have to go about it in different ways for a while. The gift of writing God has given you hasnt gone awayit may just be in hiding. I hope these tips will give you help to go find it. The world needs your stories!

As the author of The Chunky Method Handbook, Im passionate about creative people be more productive. If youd like to join my Chunky Method mailing list and get many more writing productivity tips, simply text the word CHUNKY to 22828.

how to write when everything goes wrong

Buy The Book

How to Write When Everything is Going Wrong: A Practical Guide to W riting Through Tough Times by Allie Pleiter – Is your muse yelling “SOS”? How do you keep the words pouring onto the page when your real life feels like it’s under attack? Every writer knows how stress and personal crises can strangle your creativity. Help is on the way in this brilliantly practical guide. Inside, you’ll find advice that:
– Gets you through the thick of your crisis
– Gives you tactics that will energize you to keep writing
– Teaches you to use your stress to inspire your writing
– And much more! As the author of over 30 books and the creator of The Chunky Method of time management for writers, Pleiter has met deadlines in the midst of some imposing traumas. With candor, insight, and the wisdom of experience, she shares practical and inventive strategies for how to stay afloat and creative amid life’s stormiest seas.

 

writing in difficult times

More About Allie

Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and non-fiction working on as many as four books at a time. She is the bestselling author of over fifty titles with a twenty-year career of over 1.5 million books sold. Allie also coaches on productivity and speaks on the creative process. Visit www.alliepleiter.com. 

Get a free download of her 15 tips for writing under stress!

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