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     I absolutely love the articles I find on  They provide great, useful information for everyone.  The best part of these articles is that they offer advice, tips and tricks in layman’s terms so they can be understood by anyone from a novice to a professional.  One such article by James Altucher focuses on how he makes his living writing and how anyone can do the same.  

     I’m not going to just regurgitate the article for you here, so click on the link above to check it out for yourself.  The advice is actually rather simple and Altucher not only tells you what you can do, but offers examples of how he does them.  In a nutshell, here is how you can make a living writing:

  1. You Are a Writer
  2. Read a Ton of Stuff 
  3. Get Rid of Prejudice
  4. Self-Publishing is not E-Books
  5. Bookstores are Evil
  6. Platform is Shit
  7. Blog
  8. Write Everyday
  9. Rewrite Everyday
  10. Can I Make Money Writing Articles?
  11. Write A Lot of Books
     Some of these things are a bit obvious and you will hear them time and time again.  Others may seem a bit contradictory, but that goes to point number 3.  Many of us have preconceived ideas of what it means to be a writer, but the industry has changed and is still changing, so we need to learn to change with it.

     The key to making a living as a writer seems to be volume.  The more you write, the more chance you have of making money and selling your work.  That seems like common sense right?  But many of us have been seduced by the success of authors like EL James and Stephanie Meyers who made it big off the success of a first book or series.  Not everyone will have that same success and so we need to write, write, write… 

     We also need to keep in mind that not everything we write will be written with the intention of publishing and selling.  Like any other art form, the way to improve your writing is to practice.  The more you write, the better you will get.  On days where you don’t seem to be inspired, write anything that comes to mind.  In Altucher’s example, he wrote 1500 words about bowel movements.  No, it was not for a medical journal or other such publication, it was simply because that is what came to mind and so that is what he wrote about.  

     Most of us think that if what we are writing is not awe inspiring, then it isn’t worth writing, but in truth, writing anything is better than not writing anything.  And the more you write, the better your chances of earning money doing what you love.
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     I’ve been doing this writing thing just long enough to notice that any time I encounter another writer for the first time, aside from the usual bio info exchanged, the most common question is, “What genre do you write?”  After a few of these exchanges, I quickly realized that I didn’t know the different genres as well as I thought I did. offers a nice concise list and brief definition of the different genres currently defined*.     

Nonfiction Genres


     Factual writing.  Writings that convey factual information and are not primarily works of the creative imagination.

Example: History of The American Economy (textbook)

Narrative Nonfiction

     Also referred to as creative nonfiction, literary journalism and fact based story telling, adapting some of the features of fiction (creating a narrative persona, setting scenes, presenting interesting characters, creating the look and feel of a setting, telling a story) to the purposes of journalism.

Example: Prince Harry Ending US Visit With Conn Polo Match (news article)


     Short nonfiction prose piece; an short analytic, descriptive or interpretive piece of literary or journalistic prose dealing with a specific topic, especially from a personal and unsystematic viewpoint.

Example: Boyhood Dream Came True A Czech Taxidermists Success Story (Photo Essay)


     An account of somebody’s life written or produced by another person

Example: Audrey In Rome (Audrey Hepburn’s life story as told by Lucca Dotti, Ludovica Damiani and Sciascia Gambaccini)


     An account of somebody’s life written by that person

ExampleMy Beloved World (Sonia Sotomayor’s life story as told by Sonia Sotomayor)


     The ability to speak.  The act of communicating by speaking

ExampleThe Gettysburg Address

Fiction Genres


     Literary works of imagination.  Novels and stories that describe imaginary people and events.

ExampleAdventures of Huckleberry Finn


     A serious play written for performance on stage, television or radio.  

ExampleRomeo and Juliet


    Literary works written in verse, in particular, verse writing in high quality, great beauty, emotional sincerity or intensity or profound insight.

ExampleThe Raven


     The creative power of the imagination.  Commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary plot element, theme or setting.

ExampleThe Princess Bride


     Writings and other material designed to make people laugh.  The quality or content of something that elicits amusement or laughter.

Example:  Sh*t My Dad Says


     A short story with a moral, especially one in which the characters are animals.  A story about supernatural, mythological or legendary characters or events.

ExampleThe Tortoise and the Hare

Fairy Tales

     A story for children about fairies or other imaginary beings and events, often containing a moral message.

ExampleSnow White

Science Fiction

     Fiction based on futuristic science.  Fiction based on science, usually set in the future, that deals with imaginary scientific and technological developments and contact with other worlds.


Short Story

     A work of prose fiction that is shorter than a novel.

ExampleThe Tell-Tale Heart

Realistic Fiction

     Resembling or simulating real life.  Interested in, concerned with or based on what is real or practical.

ExampleBecause of Winn-Dixie


     Traditional stores and explanations passed down in a community or country.

ExamplePaul Bunyan

Historical Fiction

     Narratives that take place in the past and are characterized chiefly by an imaginative reconstruction of historical events and personages.

ExampleJohnny Tremain


     Something that causes a very strong feeling of fear shock or disgust.

ExampleThe Shining

Tall Tale

     An exaggerated, unreliable story.

ExamplePecos Bill


     A story that has been passed down for generations, especially one that is presented as history but is unlikely to be true.

ExampleThe Legend of Sleepy Hollow


     An event or situation that is difficult to fully understand or explain.  Typically a detective or crime novel.

ExampleThe Adventures of Sherlock Holmes


     A group of myths belonging to a particular people or culture that tell about their ancestors, heroes, gods and other supernatural beings and history.

ExampleThe Lightning Thief

Fiction in Verse

     Full length novels with plot, subplots, themes, with major and minor characters.  The narrative is usually presented in blank verse (unrhymed poetry)

ExampleThe Cat in the Hat

     The list provided by is only the tip of the iceberg.  Within each of the genres listed above, are several subgenres that define a work of literature at a more granular level.  It is also possible for a single piece to fall into multiple categories.

     Do you have a favorite genre to write?  How about a favorite genre for reading?  Are they the same?

*Unless otherwise specified by a link, all definitions obtained from Bing Dictionary

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     Karen Woodard’s blog F. Scott Fitzgerald On The Price Of Being A Great Writer opened up a great discussion on whether or not writing can be taught.  And even if you can teach someone the technical skills needed to become a writer, can they be great without digging deep into their emotional well and offering up a little piece of themselves in order to connect with readers on a deeper level?

     Before answering that question, we must stop and ask ourselves, do we even want to be great writers?  Or are we content with just being good?  After all, not everyone can write timeless, classic masterpieces that can withstand the test of time.  But does this mean that there is no place for “lesser” novels in the world?  Of course not! There is an audience for everything; our job as writers is to do the work and provide readers with a choice.  The choice to do the heavy reading that the classics require, prompting us to think and feel.  Or the choice to read something light and fun, solely for entertainment purposes.  Or the choice to read a grand adventure that lets us escape the day to day monotony.  You get the idea.

One of these things just doesn’t belong here…

     Do I think that my name will ever be find a place amongst writers like Jane Austen, Emily Bronte, William Shakespeare, Jules Verne or H.G. Wells?  Absolutely not!  But, you know what,  I’m okay with that.  I’m okay with my work being a “fad” that has it’s moment in the spotlight and then fades away or only appealing to a niche market rather than the masses.  My goal is not to have everlasting fame, it is simply to write the stories that are asking me to write them and to share them with the people that want to hear them.

     My advice to fellow aspiring authors, never use another author’s work as a basis for whether or not you are good enough to pursue writing if that is what you really want to do.  Sure, you can use it as a guide to see where you might be able to improve upon certain things or to learn new tricks of the trade.  But never doubt your own worth simply because you don’t live up to someone else’s standards.  While you may not be a “great” writer and have the appeal of another author, you may find that you are a “good” writer and attract an audience all your own.  And isn’t that what it’s all about, doing our best at what we love and finding people who can appreciate our effort?

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     Reading is FUNdamental.  But what happens when you get a little too enthusiastic and become backlogged with your list of books to be read?  If you are anything like me, for every book you read and take off your “to read” list, you add another two or three in its place.  What do you do when your list gets so long, you think there is no way you will be able to get through them all?  Thorin Klosowski answers this question in an article on ( Can I Learn to Read Faster and Get Through My Backlog of Books? )  

     Thorin offers five suggestions on how to quickly get through that back log of books.  The first suggestion is to increase your reading speed.  Learning how to speed read will ensure that you reduce the time it takes to read a single book, but you will retain less information using this method.  Now, I don’t know about you, but for me, the whole point of reading is to get pulled into the story.  If you are reading so fast that your mind can’t handle all of the information, aren’t you losing some of that magic?

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     The second suggestion Thorin offers is to skip parts or even whole chapters.  He suggests that you accomplish this by reading the preface or introduction, followed by the final chapter or conclusion and then going back to read the first and last paragraphs of each chapter.  For those chapters that you find more interesting than others, feel free to continue reading.  To me, this is like watching the preview for a movie and counting that as having watched the movie itself.  It leaves so much unknown, so why even bother?

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     The third suggestion is to listen to audio books.  While driving in your car, working out or sitting in front of a computer working all day, listen to the book, leaving your hands free to take care of business.  Okay, so I have to admit that this one is not a bad suggestion at all.  I never really saw the benefit of listening to an audio book, maybe because when it comes to reading, I prefer to have something tangible that I can see and feel.  But I can definitely see situations where I would be able to listen to an audio book.

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     The fourth suggestion is to read more than one book at a time.  This one entails the combination of several suggestions.  Listen to an audio book when you can’t read; when you can, skim through the book, skipping parts or even whole chapters.  In order to keep track of the books and differentiate the stories, Thorin advises that it is probably best to read/listen to different genres so the stories are distinct and don’t blend into one another.  Again, I have to say I don’t think this is a tactic that I personally would find useful, but then, I am easily distracted and having too many stories to think about at once means that I’m not focusing on any of them.

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     The fifth and final suggestion is to abandon a book that just isn’t working.  If you can’t get into the story or you can’t connect with the characters to the point that you are not enjoying it, just stop reading.  I’ve had trouble with this one in the past.  No matter how much I don’t like a story, I feel an inane responsibility to see it through to the end.  But Thorin doesn’t suggest that every book you abandon, stay that way.  He reasons that perhaps it isn’t the right book at the right time and there may come a time where it does fit the bill.

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     Although I don’t think I will personally be using many of these tactics to get through my back log, I did find the article to be informative enough to share with you.  I think I have too much of a love affair with my reading to not give it my full attention every chance I get.  But I can definitely say during my earlier years, when I was forced to read books that I hated during school, I would have jumped on each and every one of these suggestions.  So for those of you, trudging through books where it feels more like a chore than an escape, you might want to check out the article to get more in-depth information on each of the suggested tactics and find what works for you.

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     You know those movies where people have studies or home libraries with floor to ceiling bookshelves filled with all kinds of old books?  The ones where someone is trying to piece together a mystery and they turn to some dusty old book on their shelves and find the missing piece of the puzzle?  Or the kinds where the books are actually levers to secret passage ways or hollowed out to conceal some important heirloom.  Well, it’s always been my dream to have a room like that.  A room where I am surrounded by hundreds of books that I can say, yes, I’ve read them all!

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     When I moved last year, one of the biggest perks of my new apartment was an office space lined with built-in book shelves!  The first thing I unpacked was my collection of books and yet, the shelves were still fairly bare.  In this electronic age, I had already started making the shift towards ebooks and no longer purchase paperbacks unless they are part of a series that I already own.  Not to mention that of the many paperbacks I own, only a handful are classics, none are signed/special editions and many are beat up due to wear and tear.  Not exactly the kind of library I envisioned.

    So my goal this past year has been to build my library and fill my shelves.  Barnes and Nobles’ leather bound books were exactly the kind of books I was looking for, but with two kids, bills to pay and still trying to put $ away in savings, I didn’t have the funds to blow in order to fulfill this dream.  Over the course of a year and thanks to gift cards received, I’ve bought myself three and each time, I was so happy to see them take their places on the shelf.

     Yesterday morning, for Christmas, I got four new books to add to my collection!  I get excited about the most random stuff, but yeah you can say I had a great Christmas!  I hope that everyone was blessed to have a happy and healthy Holiday and may you have a joyous New Year!