"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
As featured on: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, LifeHack, Technorati, Date My Pet, South 85 Literary Journal and other award-winning sites.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

5 Mental Strategies to Help Complete Writing Projects

I'm so excited to welcome back to Pen & Prosper, author and inspiration coach, Nina Amir. Today she shares expert tips on how to accomplish more of your creative goals with less stress.
And it gets even better: Nina has just released a book to help us to make our creative dreams a reality with the launching of  "Creative Visualization for Writers."
Please feel free to ask questions or provide feedback in the comments section.



You’ve got a list of writing projects you need to complete, but nothing’s happening. You can’t seem to focus your attention on any of one of them for any length of time, and the closer your deadlines loom, the slower you work.

You need to be productive, but you just can’t seem to get the words flowing. What’s stopping your flow, and what can you do to churn out the work with ease?

Sometimes a dislike of deadlines can stop you from writing. The pressure leaves you feeling unmotivated rather than motivated. Other times the problem lies in your head—you are focused on negative thoughts, such as I’m not good enough or smart enough to write this particular article, this piece is too difficult, or I just don’t know how to start (or finish). And sometimes not being able to write makes no sense at all…there seems to be no reason why you can’t be productive.

So how do you get your fingers moving and the project finished quickly?


Try these 5 mental strategies to help you become a productive writer on demand.

1. What’s Your Payoff?
Writing has a payoff for you. So does not writing. If the payoff for not writing is stronger than the payoff for writing, you won’t write.

For example, if you’ve gotten negative feedback from an editor previously, your payoff for not writing is that you avoid her criticism of your work. If you have received a big fat check from an editor previously, your payoff for writing is that you can submit your work and earn some good money for your efforts.

Maybe your payoff for not writing is that you don’t have to face your “I don’t know what to write about” thoughts and feelings. Or your payoff for writing could be that you earn another byline and move closer to your dream of becoming a professional writer.

You send out a query letter to an agent because your desire to get traditionally published (the positive payoff). You don’t send out a query letter to an agent because this allows you to avoid feeling rejected or like a failure (the negative payoff).

Make a list of your payoffs for not writing and for writing.

Each time you sit down to write, remind yourself of what you gain when you complete your project. Focus your mind on the positive payoffs.

2. Know Your “Big Why”
Do you know why you want to write the essay, article, blog, or book that you can’t seem to produce? What do you (or did you) hope to accomplish?

Your answer to that question indicates your reason, purpose, mission, or calling. It’s your Big Why.

If you don’t know your purpose, mission or calling, it is time to find it. That reason keeps you writing day in and day out, no matter what. Your Big Why doesn’t allow you to give up or fail. A Big Why gives you a reason to write and to bring your ideas and career to life.

You could have a Big Why for a particular project that is different than the Big Why related to your writing career. In each case, though, the reason you want to produce the work will help you complete it.

Describe the Big Why for your career and the project at hand, if different. Out of that description, create a purpose statement. For example, I want to write this articles because it will give me expert status in the subject area and promote my forthcoming book. Post that statement on your computer and, whenever you get stuck and find yourself not producing work, read it.

3. Use Your Imagination
When you are stuck and can’t write, you may be imagining negative outcomes from your efforts rather than positive ones. This type of thinking stops you from discovering solutions and answers that help your productivity and creativity.

To counteract this issue, use your imagination—but not directly on your writing project. Instead, imagine what it would look and feel like to produce your best-ever work. Close your eyes and imagine the final product and your experience of producing it.

When you get stuck, creatively visualize the project as successfully completed. This will turn your negative focus to a positive one, which will help you get in the flow.

If you think this is a crazy idea, think again. Runners, and other types of athletes, imagine themselves crossing the finish line as well as moving through a difficult part of a race. Our unconscious minds don’t know the difference between visualization and physically doing something.

You can imagine yourself writing—words flowing fast and furious, getting a letter of acceptance from an editor or agent, or the article or blog post successfully published. With the end in mind, you’re more likely to get there.

4. Define “Done”
Sometimes finishing a project seems impossible. It’s difficult to know when it is officially “done.”
You might even find yourself continually feeling like you need to do more research, write another section or chapter, or tear it all up and start over.

That’s why it’s important for each writing project to define “done.” Of course, “done” can be a difficult—and subjective—call. If you know in advance what “done” looks like, you are more likely to attach your work to an email and hit send.

Write down the criteria that would qualify your project as complete. Make it a regular practice to evaluate your work against this list. When you’ve checked them all off, “ship” that work!

5. Chunk it Down
Overwhelm often keeps the fingers from moving along the keyboard easily and producing useable sentences and paragraphs. It’s that big-picture view of your project that makes you freeze up. You might think, It’s too big a project! I can’t do it. I don’t know where to start.

The solution to this problem is a simple one: Chunk the big project down into smaller projects or pieces.

Every magazine article, blog posts or chapter consists of smaller sections. Think subheadings…These divide up your work.
Also, every project has different tasks, like research, writing, interviewing, editing, fact checking, etc.

To get yourself writing, think of your project like a rock. Break off little chunks you can tackle individually. For instance, write one section. Do the necessary research. Set up your interviews.

Approached in this manner, your project is just a bunch of smaller projects—pebbles—each one much more easily completed than the whole. But as you complete each one, you move closer to producing the whole.

I like to think of these chunks as short-term goals. The long-germ goal is to finish the whole project. The short-term goal is, for example, to write the introductory paragraph.

Consider your project. Make a list of three to five action items. Tackle each one at a time.
When you can’t write, the problem is not always what you think. Deal with the real problem—your mind, and you’ll see an increase in productivity.

About the Author


Nina Amir is an Amazon bestselling author of such books as How to Blog a Book, The Author Training Manual and Creative Visualization for Writers (October 2016). She is known as the Inspiration to Creation Coach because she helps writers, bloggers and other creative people combine their passion and purpose so they move from idea to inspired action and Achieve More Inspired Results. This helps them positively and meaningfully impact the world—with their words or other creations.

Nina is a hybrid author who has self-published 17 books and had as many as nine books on Amazon Top 100 lists and six on the same bestseller list (Authorship) at the same time.

As an Author Coach, Nina supports writers on the journey to successful authorship. Some of her clients have sold 300,000+ copies of their books, landed deals with major publishing houses and created thriving businesses around their books. She is the creator of a proprietary Author Training curriculum for writers and other coaches.

She is an international speaker and award-winning journalist and blogger as well as the founder of National Nonfiction Writing Month and the Nonfiction Writers’ University.

Nina also is one of 300 elite Certified High Performance Coaches working around the world.

For more information, visit
www.ninaamir.com or www.booksbyninaamir.com.

 

 

 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Why Many Bloggers Are Calling it "Quits" And How You Can Help Prevent it...




Imagine, if you will, your disappointment at finding that your favorite TV show has been cancelled. Or a local book store you adored, closed its doors due to poor sales and a lack of support.
Or your political candidate was knocked out of the race due to a lack of votes.
Though these things certainly wouldn't devastate you, you'd probably feel the void in their absence.

Well, a similar fate is brewing in the blogosphere.

HERE'S WHAT'S HAPPENING 

The other day, a blogger I once stalked  followed, announced that she felt that the time she devoted to blogging and maintenance could be better spent writing for paying publications. So she threw in the towel. Though I was saddened, I understood.
As a professional freelancer, I can not argue with her logic; it's simple business math.
And I must confess that there have been times that I have felt that same gravitational "pull."

In fact, over the last few years, I've witnessed a growing number of "successful" blogs close their virtual doors, never to return. And it could very well happen to your favorites too.

LET'S TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT SOME CONTRIBUTING FACTORS HERE


1. A LACK OF COMMENTS OR ENGAGEMENT FROM READERS
2. COMPETING DEMANDS (i.e. family obligations, a 9 to 5 job, clients' work, etc.)
3. BLOG BURN OUT/ FEELING OVERWHELMED AND UNDER-APPRECIATED
4. THE DESIRE TO EARN PAY FOR THEIR SAY

Because there are millions of blogs in the blogosphere, you might mistakenly think that these blogs wouldn't even be missed. You'd be wrong.
Each blog has its own focus, personality, "voice," style, agenda, purpose and reach.
Also worth mentioning, is that the really good ones add value to our collective community, and when they bail out on us, there's truly a deficit.

We lose the blogger's talent, take on life, personal stories, truths, and their unique experiences.
Which is the reason that we as readers, must become more than passive "spectators" if we want more virtual doors to stay open.

With this in mind here are 7 ways to encourage & support your favorite bloggers... 
(Choose 1 or all 7)
 
1. Make a simple comment on their blogs on a regular basis. Even a brief "thank you" goes a long way.
2. Submit a guest post to help ease their workload.
3. Share their blog posts with your social media circle. Tweet your peeps.
4. Buy their books or products (they need to eat and feed their families too.) :-)
5. Support their advertisers.
6. Take out an Ad on their site.
7. Donate money to their site, to help with expenses.

THE WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME? FACTOR... 
 
Good blogging enriches us, entertains us, inspires us, and informs us.
And there's no cost involved.
It's a venue where people of different cultures, countries, perspectives, creeds, and intersections of life, can come together--laugh, learn, debate and share. It's one of the things that makes this country great.
 
Let's not take it for granted. If we do, we all lose.
 
 Thanks for your readership.
 
...A penny for your thoughts
 


Monday, September 12, 2016

September Marks Women's Friendship Month


As many of you are aware, September is Women’s Friendship Month.
A time to embrace, celebrate and cement sisterly bonds.
(And yet another reason that I love the fall season).

With this in mind, I hope you’ll allow me the opportunity to honor and discuss the many friendships and creative associations that have enhanced my Blogging career and my writing journey thus far…
Truth is, no matter what your genre or level, every writer is benefited from having a career “cheerleader”.

You know: the “been there-done that" fellow writer who knows what it’s like to endure the harsh rejection of an editor or agent; or the sister-friend who happily critiques your work, when your eyeballs are too heavy to edit another word.
The “pen pals” that laugh and cry with you about victories and defeats, and money woes and men and general mayhem. The ones that lift your spirits and your sinking self-esteem when the situation dictates.

There’s no better time than Women’s Friendship Month to say thanks for…
 
  • The right words at the right time
  • The Blog “follow”
  • The consistent comments to your blog posts
  • The unexpected card that came in the mail
  • The job leads and links to calls for submissions
  • The guest post submitted that eased your load
  • The Tweet to their “peeps” of your work
  • Their business support
  • The book review posted to Amazon
  • The client referred
  • The private Email F.Y.I. alert that you made a goof in your published post

I find that there’s great validity to the expression: “It takes so little to mean so much.” True?
For this reason, I am sending virtual hugs and high-fives this month to all of my “supporters”--both online and off.

In the words of Tupac Shakur, “You are appreciated!”
(In no particular order)
Karen L.
Susan S.
Linda O.
Maribel from Australia
Stephanie G.
Darlene. G.B.
Red the Poet

Noelle S.
A. Neal
Eve C.
Marcie H.
 
Gail M.
Deborah T.
Bonita B.
 
Here's another excellent post offered by Huffington Post, that I encourage you to read and follow:
 
If you want to continue this love fest, (and I hope that you do) here are a few ways to honor your female friends (writers and non-writers), who add light to your life and joy to your journey, during this special time.

1. Tweet or Email this post to them with a personal note.
2. Submit a quality guest post to their Blog.
3. Mentor them as needed.
4. Interview them.
5. Purchase their products or support their projects.
6. Take them out for coffee at StarBucks.
7. Make a donation to their favorite charity.
8. Honor them with a poem.
9. Have a “girl’s night out.”
10. Post a review of their book on Amazon.
11. Enjoy a movie night together.
12. Recommend/nominate them for a creative award.
13. Share job links or business leads.
14. Uplift them with kind, positive words-- Don’t gossip about them.

15. Purchase them a steamy love novel that allows them to escape.

 
Fellas, this can also apply if you are writers and have supportive wives. Thank them for their "friendship" and understanding.  :-)
In conclusion, I'd like to wish each of you in my personal network, a September that's as sensational and as warm as you are!
A special thanks to all of the fab females that are part of my Blog community as well.
Happy Women's Friendship Month.


Thoughts? Comments? Who would you like to thank?
Let's keep the love flowing...


Image credit: Freedigitalphotos.net

Thursday, September 8, 2016

5 Reasons to Compare Yourself to Other Writers

 
“Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?”
--William Shakespeare

Forget what you’ve been told.
You know: the well-intentioned, widely circulated advice that contends that you should never compare yourself to other writers.
Hogwash. This kind of counsel can stunt your creative growth, limit your horizons, and cause complacency.

In fact, I have encountered this misguided information so often online, I felt compelled to address it here to set the record straight and put you on a more progressive path on the road to success.

Here’s one well-written piece that discourages comparisons for creatives that I came across:
http://tinybuddha.com/blog/creative-types-how-to-stop-comparing-yourself-to-others/

I respectfully disagree.
Comparisons are natural and necessary.
In fact, raise your hand if you can remember Venn Diagrams from back in grade school.
For those that don’t, it was simply a teaching technique that allowed students to understand relationship dynamics; how to look at similarities; and how to classify and contrast things and people.

Even behaviorists compare the actions and habits of different groups in order to establish patterns, identify distinguishing characteristics, and learn from our similarities and differences.
Without really being conscious of it, we do it all the time. At least, if I’m being honest here, I know I do! Whether it’s comparing my home to that of my friends, or my peanut butter cookies to my mom’s, or my ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend, or my blog to yours; comparisons happen each and every day.
In the real estate arena, neighborhood "comps" help to assess property value.

Comparisons are simply a judgment tool; not a measuring stick where you come up short.
And if used properly they can actually work wonders for you both personally and professionally.

Here’s why Comparisons are a Smart Approach to a Better Writing Career:

1. Comparisons help you to understand your U.S.P. or (unique selling proposition).
 For example, when I compare my blog to other blogs, I like the fact that I provide greater variety than the ones I frequent. Some may be better writers, or have bigger audiences, or have a cuter headshot. But, I think that my ability to write and publish over 600 blog posts on everything from how rap songs can help writers to become better, to interviews with other successful writers, to motivational quotes and commentary pieces, to links and bios to other bloggers deserving recognition, to providing actionable tips for busy scribes, makes me a bit different, diverse, and improves my “positioning” in my niche. I hope you would agree. 

2. Comparisons help highlight weaknesses.
Again, using myself here as an example. When I look at other blogs in my niche, I notice that my posts are a bit shorter than many of my peers. But, that’s my style. I can choose to act upon this information or not in the future. No harm, no foul.

3. Knowledge is power.
The more you learn, the more you’ll earn.

4. Because others are comparing you.
Comparisons help others to make more informed decisions. It’s done in dating and mating, in hiring practices, and many others aspects of life. As writers, we should be mindful that we’re being constantly compared to other writers/bloggers too. It’s done by editors, potential advertisers, agents, and busy readers; as we compete for their limited time, dollars, and resources. Don’t be naive, believe!

5. Comparisons keep us grounded.
Awesome talent abounds in the blogosphere. If you’re ever feeling a little “big headed” about your accomplishments, all you need do is to check out the books and bios of hugely successful folks that are raking in the big bucks, garnering a cult-like following, and earning a full-time living, while we‘re still struggling to reach the “big stage.” Writers like Stephen King, John Grisham, Toni Morrison, Joel Osteen.
Can I get an Amen?
The moral of the story here? You can always get better….wherever you are.
This realization helps to “keep the fire in my belly.”

But comparisons can be a slippery slope. 
Here are some general guidelines to consider, when you dare to compare...

Don‘t torture yourself with the results.
The objective of “constructive comparisons” is to get better; not to feel worse.

Refrain from comparing apples to oranges.
Newbies shouldn’t compare themselves to veteran writers, or to scribes with Ph.D. degrees. That’s like comparing a starter home to a celebrity mansion.

Don’t JUST compare yourself to others.
Compare today’s “you” to yesterday’s you.
Is your bottom line bigger? Have you made progress in your goals? Are you increasing in confidence?


I polled a few other successful writers to get their take on this timely topic.

Here are their thoughts as well:

"When I began writing years ago, I'd compare myself to other writers on occasion. And yes, I'd fight a twinge of jealousy now and again. But I knew full well that I had much to learn. So I did my best to  grow and polish my work. I haven't arrived by any means, but now, having more "writing miles" under my belt, I sometimes measure other writers' work with a constructive mindset. I observe what I like (or dislike) about it, what I might do to improve and strengthen my writing, etc. I think observation and comparison with the right perspective can be a good thing to challenge and help us grow. We learn much from other writers' styles, methods, and insight." --Karen Lange

"Yes, just like being back in school, it is natural for me to compare my writing style to that of other writers. I say ‘natural’ because I’ve got a healthy competitive nature that is often motivated by wanting to do the best I can – so in a way, the work of other writers helps me to see the bar and aim that little bit higher.
I’m not envious of other writers though, as I feel proud to be a part of the ‘writing profession’ and embrace everyone’s different talents whatever the genre they excel in. Through comparison, I have looked for my own niche and write with confidence within the area of memoir and nonfiction. I’ve learned to use comparison to boost my confidence rather than see it as a way to crush my feelings."
 --MARIBEL, FROM AUSTRALIA
 
"Yes, I do compare myself to other writers but not in an overt way, because I think we all have different gifts and different voices; thus it's not really right or fair to compare.
But there's a small part of me that, when I read something really good, says 'I wish I'd written that!' Or if I read something that's a piece of crap I think, 'What a waste of perfectly good trees--!
I write better than that! Not sure if it's positive or negative--just human nature to compare, I guess!!!"
--Gail Merriwether
 
" I do have a tendency to compare myself with other authors whose writing I enjoy. This can be overwhelming in a negative way if I allow it to be. For example, when I'm reading Michael Chabon, Jonathan Franzen, or Matthew Quick, I might start thinking about how I will never achieve their breadth of vocabulary or descriptive acumen. So when I catch myself doing this, I try to think about the writing skills that I most admire about myself, things like my uses of playful analogy and humor. And then I remember to admire the other author's skills for a) my personal enjoyment as a reader and b) for my own learning purposes (i.e., appreciate without becoming jealous). I think all writers compare themselves with other writers at times, even if they don't admit to it."
 --Michael Priebe 
 
 "What's important is to try NOT to become discouraged, stay alive, thrive through difficulties, stay on track and keep expressing. Every thing isn't a numbers game.
Writers are not runners. I ran long distance in college. Our coach used to tell us the most important thing is to pace yourself and enjoy the run. You will win if you keep running. This is how I pursue a lot of things. It's negative to compare because every writer starts from a different starting point.
I tell emerging writers (I'm still emerging) that don't follow anyone else's path. So, if you compare yourself with another writer, there's a tendency to try to duplicate that writer with the hope to get the same success results as that compared writer. Things aren't that simple. I believe there's wisdom to learn from other writers --- the do's and don'ts.

So, it's very negative to compare. Envy will slip in. But we each have our own stories to tell and express in our way. The uniqueness makes life more interesting and beautiful like a field of wild flowers."
--Henry Jones 




 
Your turn, readers.

Now that I've given you my take on this topic, what's yours?
Be honest. Do you compare? Do you think it's helpful or hurtful?
Do tell.

Image credit: Freedigitalphotos.net
 

 

Monday, September 5, 2016

3R'S Series Provides New Reads & New Leads ...




RECOMMENDED READS

ARE REMOTE WORKERS MORE PRODUCTIVE?
 
 
10 ESSENTIAL TOOLS YOU NEED TO MAKE MONEY ONLINE
 
LITTLE KNOWN WEBSITES TO FIND FREELANCE WORK
 

6 TIPS TO FINDING WRITING JOBS
 





RESOURCES

THE MORNING NUDGE
--Daily inspiration for your aspirations

http://www.morningnudge.com/
 
GRAMMAR CHECKER
http://www.grammarcheck.me/


COURSES


COFFEEHOUSEFORWRITERS.COM
Hone your craft and increase your cash!
Provides monthly, quality online classes for writers of all levels and genres.
Classes range from 2-day workshops to four-week classes. Learn at your pace, in your space.
Be sure to check out my popular course, “Don’t Query, Be Happy!” if you’d like to make more and pitch less. 
 
CALLS FOR SUBMISSIONS
Dangerous Women Project
 http://dangerouswomenproject.org/about/submissions/
Chicken Soup for the Soul (Various titles)
http://www.chickensoup.com/
 

REVIEW

TEA ANYONE?

20, 000 Secrets of Tea---By Victoria Zak

If you love tea, (like most writers do) you’ll love this great guide on the many ways that tea is not only pleasing to the palate, but contains healing and restorative properties to fight colds, lose weight, lower cholesterol and banish fatigue.

Here are a few “secrets” I found interesting, according to the book.
  • Chamomile in your bath water does wonders to relax the body and improve the skin.
  • Rosemary Tea on the scalp can help to promote hair growth.
  • Peppermint Tea eases pain.




Zak also includes advice on creating your own unique tea blends in this “delicious“ title.
I give it **** stars. You can order it @ Amazon.com













That concludes this month's edition.
Enjoy your holiday. And if you enjoyed this post, I'd love to know. Leave a comment. :-)




 

Friday, September 2, 2016

“Variety is the spice of life” according to a popular adage. Variety is also an important dynamic when it comes to providing quality blog content and cultivating a diverse readership. The more you can offer, typically the more engaged (and faithful) your readers will be.

Still, the information has to be presented in a logical, clever, strategic, orderly fashion.

Here's some food for thought (pun intended).
No matter how appetizing a meal you prepare for others might be, you probably wouldn’t serve the soup, salad, main dish, and dessert in the same sitting, would you?

Allow me to elaborate here…
If I follow a blog that is promoted as being a blog for writing tips, I don’t want to read a post about how to groom my pet, or clean my carpets, or how to start a pet rock collection. That’s not what I’m there for.

Yet, far too often, bloggers try to share an endless array of passions and passing thoughts; integrating them into a boat-load of topics, themes and interests to their site, to the frustration and bewilderment of their readers. Don’t be one of them.

The founder and CEO of “Shout Dreams” Inc. and Shout me Loud Blog, (which boasts close to 1 million subscribers) addresses it this way:

“If you are planning to create a personal blog in which you write about many different topics, then this is fine, as money is not the primary reason you are blogging. If you’re blogging because you love to write and want to write about multiple topics, and any consideration of earning money from the blog is secondary to that, then by all means write about anything and everything you wish.

However, if you are creating a blog from which you wish to earn an income, a multi-topic/multi-niche blog is a bad idea.”

You can read more of this interesting article here on
niche blogging.

Like most things in life, there’s a right and a wrong way to blog about various topics under the same blog umbrella.
 
HERE ARE 4 TIPS FOR OPTIMAL SUCCESS…

1. Have clearly designated tabs for easier navigation and organization.
This allows readers to “choose” when/how/if they want to read about topics outside of your regular theme.

2. Designate a particular day and theme for topics that deviate from your regular offerings. For instance, ‘Free Speech Friday” could be an opportunity to sound-off about current events or your blogging pet peeves. Motivation Monday might be for sharing motivational quotes or tasteful jokes. Get the idea here?

 
3. Try to find a tie-in.
I am a big foodie. Most of my followers here at Pen & Prosper know the scoop.
In fact, my secret ambition (don’t tell anybody) is to be a celebrity chef. For this reason, periodically I’ll entertain readers with lessons on blogging from culinary pursuits. Even though cooking is “off topic” a bit, it stays within focus because of the correlations and connections I make with writing.

4. Consider having multiple Blogs.
Have you ever thought of having a personal blog and a professional blog? Maybe you should. It’s actually a great way to successfully blog about different passions, speak to varied audiences, and maintain different goals. You might even choose different publishing schedules. The recreational blog could be updated once a month; while the professional one could be updated once a week. Whatever works best. You could even have guest contributors to submit articles to take some of the pressure off. The possibilities are endless. Hello?


Keep these timely tips in mind to solidify your brand and establish your expertise in your niche area.

Your turn. Agree or disagree?  Have you ever entertained the thought of having multiple Blogs?

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

5Qs With Author & Instructor Diana Bocco

 
 
 
Q. Can you tell readers a little about who you are and your background?
Growing up, I wanted to be Indiana Jones. I even toyed with the idea of studying anthropology before getting involved in the health and nutrition field. Since then, I've lived in six countries and done a lot of exploring – great for inspiration and a huge perk of writing full time.

I grew up surrounded by books – from Russian literature to fairy tales to horror. When I was 12, my mother had to sign a special form at our local library so I would be allowed to check out any books I wanted. The librarian would not let me borrow anything by Stephen King otherwise.

Q. What would it surprise others to know about you?
I lived in Siberia for three years. It was meant to be a one-year adventure teaching languages but I liked the place and ended up staying a lot longer. Winters are long and cold there (-40 F) and I loved it! After that, I spent time in Southeast Asia before settling in Europe to live among castles and cobblestone streets. Oh, and I've taken my dogs along every step of the way.

Q. What’s your favorite thing about being a writer?
It's never boring. As a freelance writer, I get to research and cover all kinds of topics – from technology to travel to medicine. I've been sent on assignments to Cambodia, Japan and Germany. I've written about meatless meat, breakthroughs in veterinary medicine, ethical clothing, professional cheerleading, and seed banking.

Q. Why do you think writers should take writing classes?
There's so much information out there, it can get overwhelming. If you're just starting out and want to make a living as a writer, the guidance of a professional can be invaluable. There are other benefits to taking writing classes as well: you get to ask questions and you can interact with other students. A good writing coach can point you in the right direction so you don't waste time in your path to becoming a published writer.

Q. What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
I'm big on setting goals, so for me, the best achievement is the one yet to come. I've done a few things I'm proud of, though, such as writing for National Geographic and the Discovery Channel, and publishing a few books. Above all, I love that I'm able to write full-time, which is the one thing I truly always wanted to do.

 
A special thanks to Diana, for sharing her time and advice with Pen & Prosper readers today.


Personal note:
For those writers interested in transitioning to full-time status, Diana teaches a popular class "How to Quit your 9 to 5 and Freelance Full-time" at Coffeehouse for Writers.com.
Pen and Prosper readers are provided a $10.00 discount for CFW "Back 2 School" promotional, for registrations completed before September 5th.

BIO:
 
Diana Bocco is a full-time freelance writer with credits in over 300 magazines, websites and newspapers around the world. Her work has appeared in Yahoo!, the Discovery Channel website, Marie Claire, Popular Mechanic, petMD, and more. She’s also the author of several books (both fiction and nonfiction). Diana is currently living in Prague and researching her next novel. You can find out more about her work on her website at www.dianabocco.com


Thoughts? How do you intend to invest in your educational needs as a writer this year?