Essentialism for Writers

The creative work of writing often requires writers to focus on numerous aspects of the job at once. From developing a daily writing habit to honing your voice, identifying your audience, executing a marketing strategy, and connecting with publishers . . . it can feel overwhelming, especially for writers who are new to publishing their work.

One of the keys to success as a writer can be found in applying the principles of essentialism, a word coined by Greg McKeown, the bestselling author of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. 

 

What is essentialism?

Greg defines essentialism for hope*writers, saying, “For so many of us, modern life produces the undisciplined pursuit of more . . . Essentialism is the disciplined pursuit of less, but better.” 

How does this apply to writers? At hope*writers, we believe essentialism means doing the right things in the right order.

Why does it matter?

Every writer is at a different stage of their development, and...

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Member Spotlight :: hope*writer Erica D. Welch

To learn more about Erica’s writing, you can visit her website, check out her podcast, or find her on Instagram.

 

When hope*writer Erica D. Welch planned her first live online workshop on self-publishing, she wasn’t expecting that everything would go wrong all at once. Even after she lost her internet connection, had to move locations, forgot her microphone, and had family members drop in unexpectedly, she decided to view the experience not as a failure, but as valuable feedback for her next live event.

 

"Yesterday was as bad as it could get,” Erica wrote in our hope*writers Facebook group. “If you’ve recently experienced a ‘fail,’ look at it as valuable feedback for your next attempt. Press into the disappointment . . . then show up again." 

 

Erica has been showing up to write since she was a child, and she’s never given up. She’s always taken her writing seriously, and her family supported her writing...

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Are You a Writer Looking for Clarity?

clarity ideal reader Jan 18, 2021

Many writers struggle with a lack of clarity about their writing. Writers often believe a lack of clarity is the result of not having enough material to write about, but in reality, most writers have countless ideas swimming around in their heads or written on random scraps of paper. 

It’s not a lack of ideas that presents a problem for most writers. More often than not, the problem is that we don’t know which idea is worth pursuing or who will want to read about it once the piece is written. 

One of the most effective ways to gain clarity in your writing is to consider the needs of your audience. This means you need to spend significant time and energy determining who your audience is before you can write to them in a meaningful way. 

At hope*writers, we believe every writer has a reader to serve, and we help writers uncover their ideal reader so their message matches the needs of their audience. Once you spend time identifying your ideal reader,...

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What Is hope*writers?

community support Jan 11, 2021

What is hope*writers? We’re so glad you asked! If you’ve found yourself here, it’s probably because you’re a writer looking for help on the internet. Maybe frustration with your progress has led you on endless Google searches, or you’ve followed rabbit trails all over cyberspace and come up either overwhelmed or empty-handed.

We’re here to help. 

We are a community of working writers dedicated to helping you make progress as you learn to balance the art of writing with the business of publishing. We help smart, creative writers do their work forever without losing their minds today. 

Here’s what you need to know about hope*writers to decide if we’re a good fit for your writing life.

 

We are a writing community.

We take seriously the creative, social, and spiritual call to the deep work of sharing our stories and ideas with the people who need them the most. We help writers find and follow the path to sharing their words...

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What’s Your Writing Stage?

At hope*writers, we’ve found that one of the main reasons writers struggle to make progress in their writing is not that they lack ideas, but that they’re doing all the right things in the wrong order. It can be difficult for writers to figure out their next steps when they’re lost in random advice found on the internet. 

In our work supporting writers, we’ve found that there is a six-stage path to making progress in your writing life. The good news is, you’re already on it!  

The purpose of the six-stage hope*writer path is to help you pause, take inventory of where you are, and give yourself permission to ignore all the other stuff for now. Do you recognize yourself in one of the following stages?

Stage 1: Writer

In this stage, you’ve begun to call yourself a writer. You’re focused on establishing a daily writing routine so you can write with confidence. In Stage 1, your goal is to practice your craft.

 

Stage 2:...

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How to Set Attainable Writing Goals

Goal-setting guru Lara Casey recently joined hope*writers to offer words of wisdom and grace for the writer with big dreams and a fuzzy idea of how to make them happen. Lara is a three-time author, the creator of the PowerSheets Intentional Goal Planner, and the founder and CEO of Cultivate What Matters.

She’s both a writer and an expert in grace-filled goal-setting of all kinds, so we asked her how we can apply her grace-filled goal-setting techniques to the writing life. 

 Lara shared three key tools that we can stick in our toolbox and use to structure our writing goals in a way that is both kind to ourselves and productive.

 

Believe in the Power of Little-by-Little Progress

When she set out to write her first book, Make It Happen, Lara planned to write as much as one chapter a day. She soon realized this goal wasn’t realistic for her writing habits. Instead, she decided to embrace the power of little-by-little progress and adjusted her daily word...

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From Bestseller to Hallmark Movie: 3 Tips from Robin Jones Gunn

fiction story Dec 21, 2020

When novelist Robin Jones Gunn began writing her second Christmas novella, she had already published fifty books in her decades-long career as a fiction writer. When Robin’s editor asked her to rewrite the book to include an element of romance, she leaned into the skills she’d honed as a professional writer and produced a fresh manuscript. 

Robin rewrote the book four times before it finally went to publication, and she jokingly says she hoped to never see the book again after spending so much time developing the story. She moved on to her next project and didn’t think about the novella again until the Hallmark Channel showed interest in developing her Christmas novellas into a movie for the holiday season. 

Over the next few years, Hallmark filmed three Christmas movies based on Robin’s books, and each movie became the most-watched and highest-rated film that year.

Hope*writers spoke with Robin specifically about writing fiction, and she shared her...

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How To Develop a Daily Habit of Writing

Allison Fallon, author and writing coach, believes a daily practice of writing is beneficial for everyone, whether or not they consider themselves a writer.

 

“Writing is not an elite activity. Writing is communication and self-discovery, writing is spirituality, writing is curiosity, writing is exploration. Writing is a human instinct.” Allison Fallon

 

Based on her experience working with writers, Allison offers a tried-and-true method for developing a daily writing habit. It applies to those of us in the early stages of exploration as well as seasoned writers who struggle with creating and clarifying content. 

Allison sat down with hope*writers to share her thoughts on writing, plus her favorite prompt to help writers get writing on a regular basis. 

Who Should Write Daily

Research shows that all of us can benefit from a daily writing practice, whether or not we call ourselves writers. Writing regularly for twenty minutes a day has been...

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Soul Care for Writers

soul care writing habits Dec 07, 2020

How do we live a soulful life in a world of media overwhelm, hustle, and increasing complexity? This is the question author John Eldredge answers for hope*writers in our conversation about how to care for the soul of a writer. An author of multiple books, John discovered that his writing suffered when he didn’t pay attention to his own needs during the writing process. He realized how easy it is to live in the shallows of life, moving from one thing to the next, while forgetting to care for his heart. 

As writers, we have to be especially intentional and deliberate about soul care so that we have something to offer the world out of the wellsprings of our own lives. John recommends three practices for healing your writer’s heart if you’ve been swept up in the hustle of life.

 

Seek Beauty 

When the pace of life and the constant barrage of information overwhelm us, beauty is good medicine. It heals, nourishes, and calms the soul, while also awakening...

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3 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block

Author Felicity Hayes-McCoy's latest novel, The Transatlantic Book Club released in November 2020. 

When writer Felicity Hayes-McCoy senses a block in her focus while writing, she checks in with her body by asking herself, “What are my toes doing?” If she discovers her toes are tense or clenched, she realizes she is writing from a place of fight-or-flight. Tense toes indicate that a writer has given too much power to the rules of writing. 

A strict adherence to the rules of writing without the freedom to explore may contribute to a case of writer’s block. Writing isn’t about getting it right or trying harder. Instead, Felicity recommends writers try soft instead. 

 

Be Generous With Yourself

Trying soft, or being kind to yourself as a writer, is an act of generosity to your inner artist. Being kind to ourselves allows us to approach our work with reverence for ourselves and for the work by eliminating the pressure we may feel as we...

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