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Ann Kroeker
Writing Coach providing you with resources and inspiration to be more curious, creative, and productive. More at
Writing Coach providing you with resources and inspiration to be more curious, creative, and productive. More at

Ann's posts

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The Long-Term Results of a Faithful Writing Life
The world praises quick results and discourages long obedience in the same direction. Someone or some message will try to convince you it’s not worth it to stick with this writing life over the long haul.

They’ll point you to a shortcut that leads to a dead end.

They’ll tell you to hang up your pen if you don’t see fast results.

Stop dreaming, they’ll say. You’re not experienced enough or talented enough or clever enough or savvy enough. Stop wasting your time, they’ll say.

But you’ll know.

You’ll know that writing is worth sticking with, day after day—that “there thereby results something which has made life worth living.”

Ann Patchett says, “Writing is a miserable, awful business. Stay with it. It is better than anything in the world.”

A long obedience in the same direction, for a writer, is hard work. And at times it can be a miserable, awful business.

Stay with it.

And you can join with Ann Patchett and countless others, and attest that writing is better than anything in the world.

You’ll find that faithfully showing up today, tomorrow, and the next day and the next week and the next month and the next year to write and share what’s written . . . was never, ever a waste of time. It was, instead, worth every minute, and gave you a life worth living.

[excerpt from podcast episode 90]

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Facebook Plans to Rewire Your Life. Be Afraid. (via Bloomberg)

Using phrases like "Be afraid," "algorithms for social engineering," and "social dystopia," the author may be trying to shake us awake. Is he right? Here's an excerpt:

"He's willing to allow some democracy and 'referendums,' but the company will make the ultimate decision on the types of content people should see based on their behavior on Facebook. Ultimately, this kind of social engineering affects people's moods and behaviors. It can drive them toward commercial interactions or stimulate giving to good causes but it can also spill out into the real world in more troubling ways.

"It's absurd to expect humility from Silicon Valley heroes. But Zuckerberg should realize that by trying to shape how people use Facebook, he may be creating a monster."

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A writer may welcome specific, insightful, kind critique. This can be gleaned from a healthy writing group, a trusted writing partner or colleague, a writing coach, or a gentle editor.

The cry for gentle, kind, constructive input comes from so many of us. Even Emily Dickinson:

This is my letter to the world,
That never wrote to me,
—The simple news that Nature told,
With tender majesty.
Her message is committed
To hands I cannot see;
For love of her, sweet countrymen,
Judge tenderly of me!

Writers have to develop a thick skin and deal with criticism, even that which is destructive. But when we are dealing with someone else’s words, whether in the form of a poem, post or story, we would do well to assume that they would like our input followed up by a “hug line” and that their heart’s cry is: “Judge tenderly of me!”

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The Rush to Publish - How to Pace Your Career (podcast episode 89: Ann Kroeker, Writing Coach)
Some writers bypass the 15 years of small-scale writing +L.L. Barkat talks about in Rumors of Water. You may plunge directly into writing for larger audiences. But most of us put in our time. Most of us are showing up to write faithfully in smaller outlets for modest-sized audiences.

If that’s you, don’t rush your desire to publish. Find your small audience and take joy in producing your best work on that stage. It’ll give you time to grow as a writer and help you solve problems and develop your voice in a more relaxed setting.

During this season of your writing life, you can learn new techniques and apply them in the next installment of your memoir published once a week on Google+. You can improve your use of dialogue in the short story you’re tossing out scene by scene on Facebook. You can try a cinquain or haiku on Instagram or Twitter.

Don’t try to speed up the process too much. During this era, you’re growing your audience and, more importantly, you’re growing as a writer. One day you’ll publish something for a larger venue with a larger audience.

You will have waited until the timing is right—you’ll have put in your time and realize that, yes, you’re ready. After five, ten, or fifteen years, your writing is truly ready for prime time.

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Narrative writer Neil Shea, a contributor to National Geographic, began telling stories through images and words on Instagram…and he’s loving it. He says, "Over time I realized that beneath the selfie surface, Instagram provided a powerful, unexpected, and mostly underutilized storytelling tool…slowly I came to enjoy the creative constraint of Instagram, how it asked me to strip things down, pay attention to basics."

The responses have been overwhelming, he says, with a post sometimes being shared, liked, or re-posted over a thousand times. It’s interactive. Immediate. And addicting.

Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Connecting directly with people. Helping them. Impacting them. Right now.

No middle-man. No two-year wait for a book release.

Oh, and guess what? You’ll probably build a platform in the process.

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Writers, this is your world—one of taking in words and sending them out. As you read and write, you’ll find that style still matters. Ideas and stories still matter. Words still matter.

Your words matter.

Take pleasure in that. Take pride in that.

Take joy in that.

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Your Writing Platform: First Steps to Launching Your Social Media Presence
It’s tempting to jump into several at once—either we resolve to learn it all or we’re pressured to do so by industry experts who insist we’ve got to have a presence here and there, on this and that platform.

Fight overwhelm. Don't feel rushed. For starters, establish a bare-minimum presence at several social media platforms by simply setting up your username and profile at the places you think sound fun or useful and where you think your readers will hang out.

For now, that’s enough. You’re positioning yourself for phase two.

And by all means, continue engaging with people in the places you already enjoy and understand. That’s why they call it social media. Get social in the year ahead! Just don’t sweat it when you set these up. “Set it and forget it” for now.

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Do People Expect Writers to Be Speakers?
Ann Kroeker, Writing Coach Podcast Episode 84
People love getting information or story through the spoken word not instead of but in addition to the written word—if it’s a podcast, for example, people have the option of listening as they exercise or drive. If it’s a video on YouTube, people can watch facial expressions and see gestures.

Give it a try.

You may panic. You may hate it. You may have an awkward first attempt. In fact, you probably will if you’re inexperienced in speaking. Just as your first writing attempts weren’t the smoothest, clearest pieces you ever penned, your first speaking engagements or YouTube videos won’t be your best. But they’ll be the beginning of something new.

As you grow more confident and keep trying, you may find you have a powerful new outlet to share your words—your message—spoken.

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Let nouns and verbs do the heavy lifting, instead, as writing teachers like to say. To minimize the need for clarifying adjectives, use specific nouns like Tesla instead of car, and terrier instead of dog. Turn to strong, active verbs like punch, fling, and waltz, which may not need an adverb to clarify the mood of a character or the tone of a scene.

No one is ordering us to leave out all adverbs or cut all adjectives. Only to keep a “watchful attitude” as we choose from all possible words to convey our ideas and tell our stories.

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Wonderful workshop from +Tweetspeak Poetry​ led by Megan Willome!
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