Tuesday, April 2, 2019

#Hashtags for #Writers

If you’re on any form of social media, then there is zero chance that you’re managed to avoid hashtags. These are words (or phrases all mashed together) with a hash sign (or number sign - #) stuck on the front.

Hashtags are a great way of finding posts, pictures, articles, or just about anything else because they give you keywords to search on. Looking for writing prompts? Search on the #writingprompt tag, and bam, you’ll find tons of them.

But there are gazillions of hashtags out there, and finding the ones you want aren’t always easy. To help you out, here’s a list of some of the most common and useful hashtags for writers.

Writing Motivation

Looking for ways to get motivated to write? Check these out:

#1K1H – Can you write 1000 words in one hour? Of course you can!
#CampNaNoWriMo – A laid back camping retreat (all online, of course)
#MondayMotivation – Start your week off right
#NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month (November)
#sixwordstory – Write a story using six or fewer words
#vss365 – Write a Very Short Story, 365 days a year
#wordsprints – How many words can you cram into just a few minutes?
#WritingPrompt – For when you can’t think of anything to write

Show Off Your Writing (or Someone Else’s)

Ready to share your writing with the world? Want to give a shout out to a great book you just read? Looking for ideas on what to read next? Take a look:

#99c – Buy books for only 99 cents (usually Kindle or other eBooks)


Everyone has their own personal favorites when it comes to genres. Find yours here:

#MGLit – Middle grade
#PBLitChat – Picture books
#YA – Young Adult

Writing Communities

Find other authors with the same interests as you, and get to know them in a laid back, informal setting:

#teenauthors – One of my favorites! I just wish it got used more
#WriterWednesday – Also #WW
#writingcommunity – This one has really exploded recently
#youngauthors – Another one of my favorites!

Independent and Self-Publishing

Here are some great hashtags for those who want to go the self-publishing route:

#IndiePub (or #IndiePublishing)

Traditional Publishing

These hashtags aren’t exclusive to traditional publishing, but you’ll find a lot of professional authors, agents, and editors hanging out here:

#MSWL – Manuscript Wish List, where agents and editors post what they want
#RWA – Romance Writers of America
#SCBWI – Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators

Odds and Ends


This is far from a complete list of all the hashtags floating around out there for authors, but it should be plenty to get you started.

If you have any other favorite hashtags you want to add to the list, please leave a comment. I’d love to see them!

C. Wombat

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Weekend Writing Prompt 5

Describe a walk through the woods (or other setting) from the viewpoints of three radically different characters.

If you come up with a good response, please consider sharing it. Complete THIS FORM with your description and some basic info no later than Friday, April 5. I’ll pick my favorite response and share it on the blog on the following Friday, April 12.

C. Wombat

Friday, March 29, 2019

Writing Prompt 3 Winner

Writing Prompt 3 was:

Write a poem about Spring which does not include any of these words: warm, rain, flower, sun, grass.

Bonus challenge: also avoid using the word “the” or any word ending in -ly

Congratulations to Jenny S., age 12, of Bloomington, Indiana, for composing this very creative poem.

C'mon, Summer

A chill yet lingers in soil and air,
As yet unbanished despite solar rays
Washing across them.

Fragments of color
Erupt from muddy graves,
Winter's sleep dispelled.

Tiny buds form, unfurl, explode
Into vibrant green.

My eyelids glow pink
As I stare through them
At Apollo's chariot,
A silent promise that summer will arrive
But not soon enough for me.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Roadrunner Review Call for Submissions

The Roadrunner Review, an online literary journal that is run by the students at La Sierra University, is accepting submissions for its second issue. They are looking for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry pieces up to 1,000 words.

Deadline is April 7.

Submissions are open to any college undergraduate or graduate student.

In addition, they are also running a writing contest for high school students with a $200 prize. The winning entry will also be printed in their upcoming issue.

Deadline for the high school writing contest is May 5.

All entries must be previously unpublished. All rights revert to the author after publication.

See the Roadrunner Review submissions page for more details and to submit.

C. Wombat

Monday, March 25, 2019

6 Tips for Handling Rejection

If you’re an author, unless you’re the most brilliant author in the history of the universe (and perhaps even then), you are going to get rejected. Disappointing? Yes, but not the end of the world. Here is some advice on how to deal with it.

Don’t Take It Personally

Rejection happens. It is an absolute fact of life, not only in writing but in everything we do. Nobody is going to like what you have to say or the way you say it every single time. Some people may never like it. But others will. You just have to find the right person.

One of the most difficult pieces of rejection to get is when an agent or editor tells you they liked—or even loved—your writing, but they still don’t accept it. They’ll explain that it just isn’t the right fit for them, or not what they want right now, or too similar to something else they have already accepted.

While those may seem like brush offs, chances are what they are saying is 100% percent true. Agents and editors won’t tell you they liked your story if they didn’t. They don’t have time to waste on that. A positive rejection means you are very close to success. You just have to keep trying.

Consider Criticism with an Open Mind

If you are lucky enough to receive specific criticism, don’t get offended, and don’t ignore it. The person who sent you those comments took time out of their extremely busy schedule because they felt your writing was good enough to merit it.

Look carefully at what the rejection says. Don’t take it as an attack on you or your work, but as a suggestion, just like you would from a critique partner or beta reader. Consider it with an open mind. And then decide if you agree. If you do agree, make some changes. If you don’t agree, don’t. The next editor or agent may like your story exactly the way it is now.

Take a Short Break

Take a few minutes, a few hours, even a few days to do anything other than writing, or stewing over the latest rejection. Go for a walk. Go out to dinner with friends or your family. Take in the latest moving or binge watch past episodes of your favorite show. Get out of the house for the weekend and go somewhere.

Take a little bit of time to recharge your batteries, and to let the sting of rejection fade. Then take a deep breath, and dive right back in. If the rejection included a personal note, reread it and see if it’s worth addressing. If not, move on. Identify your next set of targets, and set out another round of queries.

A short break can help a lot, but keep it short. It is far too easy for a few days off to turn into weeks, months, even years. Don’t let that happen.

Write Something New

You may think the story or book that just got rejected is the best thing you have ever written. And it may be. But that doesn’t mean it is the best thing you will ever write.

Always have another project in progress, or waiting to be started. You should already be writing something new while you’re waiting to hear back on your last set of queries anyway. Use the power and energy of creation, of crafting an even better story, to help get you past the disappointment of rejection.

Don’t be afraid to send different works out to the same agents and editors, either. The first story might not have resonated with them, but they may absolutely adore the second.

Silence Your Biggest Critic

Even the most brilliant, egotistical, bombastic blowhard harbors self-doubt. For those of us mere mortals, we live our lives surrounded by doubt on every side. Receiving a rejection is just one more excuse for us to think the least of ourselves and our abilities.

Don’t fall into that trap. Take your self-doubt, slap it around a little bit, and kick it to the wayside. It isn’t doing you any good. A rejection does not mean you are a bad writer—some of the best and most prolific writers racked up hundreds of rejections before making their first sale.

And even famous, extensively published authors get rejected. Jane Yolen, award-winning author of more than 370 books for children, still receives rejections. Here’s what she has to say about it:1

Some rejections I curse the editor for being dense, uncaring, lying, or incompetent. Some I curse publishing in general, its emphasis on bestsellerdom, its attention to bottom line, its incapacity for surprise. Occasionally I curse myself: I’m not good enough for the idea. I was too facile. I sent it to the wrong editor. I am too demanding, not demanding enough. 
But I did the only thing possible, given a rejection. I turned right around and sent the little picture books off again, by email, to someone else.

A Rejection is a Win

It may not seem like it, but being rejected is not the worst thing that could happen to you as a writer. Not receiving rejections is.

If you never receive a rejection, it almost certainly means you never submitted your work in the first place. You never sent a query. You never even tried.

The only sure way to guarantee that you will never be published is to never try. Accept rejections for what they are: proof that you are trying, and will keep trying, until you succeed.

C. Wombat

Taken from Jane Yolen’s For Writers: Frequently Asked Questions.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Weekend Writing Prompt 4

While fighting off a horde of zombies/vampires/werewolves/whatever, your hero discovers a way of killing/defeating them that no one else knows.

If you come up with a good response, please consider sharing it. Complete THIS FORM with your story and some basic info no later than Friday, March 29. I’ll pick my favorite response and share it on the blog on Friday, April 5.

C. Wombat