My Writing Routine – Anthony St. Clair

Anthony St Clair

Welcome to the forth article in our My Writing Routine series. Each week, we bring you the writing routine of a different author, delving deep into their processes, tips, thoughts, and techniques for getting their words onto the page.

Today we peer into the writing routine of author Anthony St. Clair.

1. Can you give us a bit of a background about yourself as a writer? 

Two events growing up told me that words and expression would be the core around which I would build my life, values, and career.

In middle school I was part of a creative writing program, and while working on short stories I realized that my future would always involve the written word. Then, in college, I spent a couple of years as editor of the student newspaper. Someone told me that I was able to express ideas they had, but couldn’t find the words for. That told me I had a useful skill that people could find beneficial.

read more

Katie Newingham – My Writing Routine

Katie Newingham

Welcome to the second of our My Writing Routine articles. Each week, we bring you the writing routine of a different author, delving deep into their processes, tips, thoughts, and techniques for getting their words onto the page.

Today we peer into the writing routine of author Katie Newingham.

1. Can you give us a bit of a background about yourself as a writer?

Raised in a household of boys, I often received messages that my emotions were wrong. I was too sensitive, cried too much, and needed to get over it (my mom’s leaving). I seemed to feel and sense more deeply than others, but learned to repress my thoughts and emotions – the page is where I found freedom.
  When I was seven, my grandmother gave me a journal and encouraged me to write. By middle school the pages were filled, so I began writing poetry on notebook paper, and by high school, I had a selection of favorite poems I kept hidden in plastic sleeves. Throughout college I wrote non-fiction and then had a career as a producer for web and television news. It wasn’t until my second child was born that I wrote my first novel, THE LOST STORY. You can find ramblings on StoriesUnderFriction and my day-to-day antics on Twitter @KatieNewingham.

2. When you’re in the midst of writing a book, what does your routine typically look like? 

My day starts like any other parent, corralling the kids into a carpool line and seeing them off on their daily adventure in school. When I get home, I warm my cup of inevitably cold coffee and slowly transform from mommy mode to writer mode. I rest in silence, and infuse my brain with caffeine. I may tweet a bit after that, read a motivating article – generally procrastinate – till about nine or so, and then I dive into the scene of the day. Four hours goes by in what feels like minutes and my stomach lets me know it’s time to eat. After lunch, I read for about an hour, sometimes my work, but usually another author’s. Then I do random chores and go pick up the kids. Occasionally, I write at night after the kids are asleep, and most days I read for another half hour to an hour before the night tucks me in.

3. How does your routine change when you stop writing and start editing? 

My routine doesn’t change much whether I’m writing or editing. I probably read more when I’m editing because I hit upon issues I’m having trouble solving, and I want to learn how the “greats” develop their characters or plots, or even be reminded how to change up my sentence structure.    I also have a lot more anxiety with editing, so I tend to take more breaks for snacks, or Twitter, or when I’m really frustrated, my garden. Pulling weeds seems to help me figure out what darlings to kill.  

4. Do you have any quirky rituals or specific writing goals to help you to focus?

When I’m really having trouble believing in myself as a writer, I put on this particular paint splattered sweatshirt. It’s soft cotton on the inside, and collegiate on the outside, with the initials of my college on it, CNU (Christopher Newport University). When I attended this school, I never felt like I fit in, and struggled through a full time schedule and 30 hours of work in the university book shop. But I made it and I did well. The sweatshirt reminds me of this period. Of how I finished what I started and was more capable than I thought.   As far as writing goals, mine is simple, to finish well – each story. Sometimes I write 500 words, but they’re good ones and I’m satisfied, then there are crazy days when I write 3,500 words. It’s more about getting through the scene then it is word count for me.

5.  Can you describe the space in which you usually write?

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 12.19.37

A decluttered space with a comfortable seat and natural light are key for me when I write. So my room is my favorite spot to draft. On my bed, I sit with a host of pillows supporting my back, and when I look up from my computer, I’m staring out at oaks, pines, and maples. When editing, I choose a chair and table, either the desk in our office, or the dining table – whichever is cleaner!

6. Which software and apps help you to write? Which tools do you use?

I wrote most of the first draft of THE LOST STORY in Pages on my iPad, and then realized the editing functions were limited in this program, and switched everything over to Word. I’ve heard a lot about Scrivener and am considering getting this program.

7. What music or sounds help you to better focus?

My soundtrack is based on the scene of the day. I have a writing playlist that includes jazz, pop, alternative, gospel, and blues. All music is inspiring! Often I write in silence.

8. What kind of things completely take your focus away? 

My husband and children are my greatest distraction and inspiration. It’s difficult for me to write with loud, unexpected sounds in the background, but I’m able to zone into my writing with white noise. Flexibility in writing is key to perseverance and finishing the novel. Our work environments are often filled with flames, so its no wonder our first drafts are often burnable.

9. How do you get back on track when your writing routine bas broken down for a few days or more?

Author Tayari Jones wrote a blog on this and suggested journaling, which has been a passion of mine. In my greatest, most discouraged time, I took her advice, and penned a personal page. It got me on track. And still to this day, if I miss a day of “work writing,” I turn to my journal to cope with the backup of words. That’s what it feels like for me when I don’t write, I get word constipation. 

10. If you could change anything about your routine, what would it be?

If I could change anything about my writing routine it would be the unexpected interruptions, which often wind up in my work. I’m learning to take life as it comes and embrace flexibility in my writing. Neighbors, friends, household appointments, school book fairs, bring new experiences to my books.

Don’t forget, you can learn more about Katie at her website.

If you would like to be featured in a future My Writing Routine article, please email marketing [at] scarlettrugers [dot] com

read more

Tim Yearneau – My Writing Routine

My Writing Routine

Welcome to the second of our My Writing Routine articles. Each week, we bring you the writing routine of a different author, delving deep into their processes, tips, thoughts, and techniques for getting their words onto the page.

Today we peer into the writing routine of author Tim Yearneau

Can you give us a bit of a background about yourself as a writer?

The truth is I never set out to be a writer. To make a short story long, I got a Masters degree in communications at the University of St. Thomas way back in the late 90s. At that time I did a Masters project on trademarks, which I was very passionate about. In fact, the length of my project thesis was the longest they had every seen to date for that program. My advisor suggested that I turn that project into a book. After teaching a few survey classes in Intellectual Property for another university that book idea, which had been percolating in my brain all those years, came to the surface and I decided to write a beginner’s guide to Intellectual Property. It took me a couple years, but I finished the book. But my writing ambitions didn’t go beyond that book.

read more

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 14.44.17

Toni Gallagher – My Writing Routine

Welcome to the first in our weekly series of My Writing Routine articles. Each week, we’ll be bringing you the writing routine of a different author, delving deep into their processes, tips, thoughts, and techniques for getting their words onto the page.

First up is storyteller and author Toni Gallagher (follow on Twitter)

Can you give us a bit of a background about yourself as a writer?

I’ve written all kinds of things since I was a kid, and majored in journalism at Northwestern University. I’ve been working in reality TV (which is not writing exactly, but storytelling) for over 20 years. Recently I’ve entered the children’s book world by writing a middle grade novel (ages 8-12) called Twist My Charm: The Popularity Spell. It’s published by Random House and will be followed in 2016 by a sequel, Twist My Charm: Love Potion #11. And of course I’m hoping Random House will want a third book!

read more

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 11.47.20

Lesser Known Pieces Of Editing Advice From 14 Publishing Pros

In the spirit of helping you write the best book possible, we’ve gathered a list of lesser-known editing tips from 14 experienced editors and authors. Between them, these ladies and gents have been through the editing wringer hundreds of times, and house worlds of wisdom we should heed.

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 11.50.02

Beth:, a low-cost editing and consulting service

In short, don’t do it [editing your own work]! It is a huge mistake that can cost an author time and money, as well as cause some embarrassment. Whether the writer is seeking to publish traditionally or to self-publish, there are certain guidelines, rules of grammar, and formatting requirements that are best left to an experienced editor. For example, many of the smaller “boutique” publishers that have popped up on the Internet require use of Chicago Manual of Style formatting for submissions. Many authors do not know what to look for regarding this style (e.g., how to write numbers, titles, and abbreviations, or indent paragraphs) and should use an editor that is familiar with it. The placement of commas is another frequent issue for authors (The serial comma is a killer!), and don’t even get me started on semi-colons (Okay, I will get started—it is necessary punctuation and it cannot just be thrown out of writing because the author doesn’t believe in it! That is punctuation-discrimination at its worst.).

read more

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 12.40.47

16 New Year’s Resolutions For Writers

When we look back on a year of writing, we can be filled with a feeling of guilt for not having done as much as we set out to do. Or we can be overcome with pride and gratitude for everything we’ve managed to accomplish. But with each new year comes a fresh press of the reset button, enabling us to turn to those things we’ve not yet tackled.

Here are 16 new year resolutions for writers to help you choose yours. Please leave a comment letting me know which you’re taking on, and how you’re going to tackle them. Good luck!

read more

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 16.12.25

NaNoWriMo- Dealing With The Aftermath

Congratulations! You survived the month! With the immediate NaNoWriMo challenge out of the way for many the question remaining is what now? This blog is going to give you some options on what to do with your hard written efforts and getting back to a regular writing routine.

The Proof Read and Preliminary Edit

With any luck you now have a draft of a novel, even if it’s just a shadow of one. This is great! You can’t edit a blank page, and one of the great things about NaNoWriMo is that it provides you with a building block to start constructing your novel.

read more


Three Tips for Surviving NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo is a writer’s version of blood sport. Fifty thousand words in a month, take no prisoners, a first draft heaven where anything goes. The goal is to get a novel together in a month and writers have a tendency to form a love-hate relationship with their manuscript and everything around them. This blog is going to touch on the top three things to do while preparing for NaNo so you get the most of it and not end up a wreck by the end of November.



Writing a book is like being dropped into the wildness, so it’s important to have a map and a compass. Finishing a first draft in a month is a huge and daunting task so it doesn’t matter if you are a plotter or a pantser, having a plan is essential. You are going to want to focus 100% on getting words on the page. Having a rough map will make sure you don’t waffle yourself into a corner and burn out. Here are some quick ideas, whether you are a strict planner or not:

read more

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 13.53.31

Make Your Self-Published Book Look Professionally-Published With These 5 Tips

The goal for any self-published author is not only write an amazing book, but to create a product that can stand out and endure the critical eye of a traditional system.

Your competition are not only other writers but other publishers too. Naturally then, you want to make sure that what you produce is nothing but as good as you can make it. This article will go through five things you must do to ensure your book looks professionally published.

Print Your Manuscript

You might see this as extra time and a waste of paper, but you would be surprised how many additional mistakes you will be able to find. Printing your manuscript out in paperback format (using a recommended type face) will give you the opportunity to view your book in “real life”.

read more

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 22.11.22

Gaining And Dealing With Book Reviews For Self-Published Authors

It’s well-known that self-published authors need reviews in order to be successful. These reviews activate algorithms on sites like Amazon and Goodreads, which in turn helps to get your book noticed. They also inform readers on what to expect, while using word-of-mouth marketing to increase your overall reach. Today, we’re going to look at the dos and donts of reviews for self-published authors.

How To Find Book Reviewers 

If you’re lucky enough to have an email list, this is a great way to ask for reviews. In her new release, How to Market a Book, Joanna Penn recommends a soft pitch to your readers with no pressure. Offer them a free digital copy of your book with a prompt to “please leave a review if you enjoyed the book”. Many of the places you can find reviewers can be found on our article about sending out Advanced Reading Copiesbut below is a bullet-point summary:

read more