Not a Novelist? Make NaNoWriMo Work for You! By Rochelle Melander

October 13, 2015

Note From Rochelle



Dear Writers,

Last week’s newsletter was filled with … broken links! I’m sorry about that! For those of you who’d like to finish a book before the year ends, I’ve created a special Write-A-Thon class. We’ll be focusing on writing short nonfiction books that you can use to boost your business. If you’re interested in attending the class, click here to learn more.

And if you want to learn more about how a book can boost your business, be sure to join us for the Write Now! Mastermind Class: Five Ways a Book Can Attract Clients. Class meets Wednesday, October 28 at 12:00 PM CT.

For those of you who don’t write fiction, today’s tip will help you plan for National Novel Writing Month!

Happy Writing! Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach

Not a

Not a Novelist? Make NaNoWriMo Work for You! By Rochelle Melander

IMG_2250With just two and a half weeks until National Novel Writing Month, I’m in full preparation mode. On Friday, I began planning my project—outlining the small steps I’d need to take this month so I’d be ready to write 1666 words a day in November. On Saturday, I did my pre-NaNo cooking spree so that I wouldn’t have to think about snacks or lunches during the big month. I baked cookies, roasted granola, cooked up a big pot of soup, and made burritos.

For those of you who write fiction, participating in National Novel Writing Month makes sense. Why not join a tribe of people who do exactly what you do? For those of you who prefer writing nonfiction or short pieces, NaNoWriMo probably looks like the LAST thing you’d want to try.

I get it. I was raised to be a rule follower, and the NaNoWriMo rules limit the fun to novelists. But why not break a few rules this year? Here are five ways you can break the rules and still compete in NaNo.

1. Write Nonfiction. I completed my first draft of Write-A-Thon during NaNoWriMo. This year, I’m planning to pen another book on writing during the month. If you’re an expert on violence in American or green businesses, why not take the month to write a book on the topic? Whatever kind of nonfiction you write, this could be your opportunity to capture the NaNoWriMo inspiration and finish that book!

2. Try Poetry. Though National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) does not start until April, I’m all for breaking rules! Why not use November to write a poem a day. One year, a friend of mine wrote a haiku poem a day during November. But don’t be limited by one form of poetry—the goal is to get those ideas on paper, every day, for the entire month.

3. Blog. National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) started in November and now runs all year round. The goal is to post a blog every day for a month. So if you have always wanted to blog, this might be your chance to get into the habit of blogging regularly!

4. Query. If you are a working professional writer, the idea of giving up a whole month to write a book that you may never get paid for sounds ludicrous! So why not use the month to send out queries? What would happen if you wrote a query a day for the entire month? You may just increase your income!

5. Journal. If you are not quite ready to take on a project like writing a book, why not use the month for doing writing practice. Plan to write every single day of the month. If all you get stuck, make a list of:

  • The people, events, and experiences you are grateful for.
  • Your achievements.
  • Your strengths and the stories behind them
  • The best and worst and most embarrassing moments of your life!
  • A list of 50-100 things you want to do before you die.

Now are you ready to NaNoWriMo? You can sign up to participate at the NaNoWriMo site. I’m offering a class geared to helping you plan and write a short business-boosting book. And, of course, there’s always my NaNoWriMo book, Write-A-Thon. Happy NaNoWriMo!






Write Now! Coach Rochelle Melander is an author, a certified professional coach, and a popular speaker. Melander has written ten books including Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It). As the Write Now! Coach, she teaches professionals how to write books fast, get published, and connect with readers through social media. Get your free subscription to her Write Now! Tips Ezine at



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Try this Writing Exercise and Become TWICE as Successful by Rochelle Melander

October 6, 2015

Note From Rochelle

Dear Writers,

WriteAThon_stagedAre you planning to Write-A-Thon this year? Yup—it’s that time of year again. National Novel Writing Month starts November 1, and it’s time to plan your project! If you need help, my book Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It)  can support you in planning your project, creating a writing habit that works, and keeping your butt in the chair.

This year, I’m planning a special Write-A-Thon class for people who want to write an ebook. This class is specifically designed for nonfiction writers who want to use an ebook to boost their business. If you’re in that group, click here to learn more.

Today’s tip provides a simple writing exercise that will help you become a more successful writer. Try it and see what happens!

Happy Writing!
Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach
Try This



IMG_1125Twice a month, I teach writing to children at the public library. Most of the exercises I teach them have a secret motive: to help them become more successful in life. Every summer, I hold a super reader workshop. During the session, I invite students to list the characteristics of super readers. When they’re done, they create small books with titles like: How to Become a Super Reader. Just today, I read that this task is scientifically proven to help them be more successful. WOW! And you can use a similar exercise to increase your success as a writer.


The Exercise: Describe the characteristics of super successful writers. Think of successful writers in general—not one specific writer—and list their behaviors, characteristics, values, lifestyle, and appearance. Take at least two minutes to describe things like: What does their day look like? How do they react in the face of failure? What habits do successful writers have? For the best results, record your answers on paper.

24611964The Science. Jane McGonigal wrote about the study in her book, SuperBetter: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver, and More Resilient. In the original study—conducted at MIT and NYU—researchers invited participants to record the traits of superheroes. Afterwards, they were asked to sign up to tutor youth. When researchers looked at who signed up to volunteer, the participants who thought about superheroes were twice as likely to volunteer as those who didn’t. Three months later when researchers followed up with the study’s participants, they found that these people were “four times as likely to actually show up for a volunteering session.” (Superbetter, p. 101)

Why this works: When we consider the positive traits of a group, we compare ourselves to the group—looking primarily for similarities. Every time we consider the successful behaviors of a group—like professional writers—we become twice as likely to act like they do. (The caveat: This seems to work ONLY when participants thought about an entire group of heroes versus a single one. So, don’t think of a single successful writer, consider a bunch of them!)

Your turn: If you’re game, try this today. Feel free to record your list of traits in the comments below. Watch your behavior over the next week. Stop back next Tuesday and leave a comment about how the exercise impacted your life.


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Writers@Work: How I Self-Published My Children’s Book by Elaine Blanchard

September 29, 2015

Note From Rochelle

Greetings, writers!

My favorite part of my job comes around just twice a month—when I head to the library to teach writing to children as part of my Write Now! Dream Keepers program. Every week I meet children who challenge me to communicate more clearly and teach me about their lives. You can read about our fall writing projects at the Dream Keepers blog.

52879_1590457315041_7113083_oToday’s tip talks about how one writer found success through self-publishing. I met Elaine Blanchard almost ten years ago, when we both attended a writing retreat at Washington National Cathedral. I was immediately drawn to Elaine’s quick wit and wise stories. She’s been a great friend to me ever since! I’m delighted to welcome her to the blog! Enter below to win a copy of Elaine Blanchard’s new book, Maggie Scott’s Head Got Stuck.

Happy Writing!  Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach




My daughter, Jennifer, has worked for many years with children in preschool and public library settings. She shares stories with me, funny quotes, sad things, and crazy experiences. It was nine years ago when Jennifer first told me about Maggie Scott’s head getting stuck. The actual event was quite a crisis and, I’m sure, very frightening to all involved. The emergency medical response team had to be called in order for Maggie’s head to be released! Like so many family crises, the humor in this story was appreciated only after it was all safely resolved.

20150814_140419The story caught my attention because it was so ironic. Maggie Scott was the oldest child of three in a nice family. She considered herself to be an authority on most things. I asked for permission to interview Maggie, to give her a chance to tell the head-stuck story from her own perspective. I am told that Maggie cleaned the house before my arrival for our interview. The seven-year-old girl set up a special place for our interview, two club chairs and a floor lamp. She wore a black, floor-length, velvet dress and met me at the door. I was surprised and delighted by the formality!

After the interview, I stood to leave and simply reflected, “Maggie, you must have been so afraid with your head stuck, and so many people unable to set you free.” She looked me over, from head to foot, and with the air of royalty, she replied, “You might have been afraid, but I was not.” So funny! That line had to be in the story, so I invented a character, Daniel, who could inspire that same response from Maggie after her head was released from the granite towers.

I initially wrote the story in 2008, Maggie Scott’s Head Got Stuck. I submitted it to Dial Books for Young Readers and to Spider Magazine. Neither picked it up. So I chose to self-publish because I think the story begs to be told and shared.

Maggie is now sixteen years old, and she recently got her driver’s license. She has allowed this story to be published along with the permission of her parents. They helped by contributing five hundred dollars to the cost of publication. It is my hope that the book is a delight for all of them, for their extended family and friends.

I teach a course, “The Art of Storytelling,” at Memphis College of Art. One of my students, Robby McElhaney, is an illustrator, and his senior exhibit was so charming and fun that I was inspired to ask Robby if he would enjoy doing a project with me. I wanted to self-publish the Maggie Scott story, and I wanted Robby to illustrate it. We both enjoyed the work and the process. The story is ten pages and Robby created ten illustrations, one for each page of text.

I chose Archway Publishing because the organization seemed professional and helpful. I have had a good experience with them. Every contact I had was friendly. The publishing package I chose cost $1600.00, and that is a lot of money for me and my budget. I do not regret having spent the time and the money on this book. I strengthened my relationships with Maggie and her family. I had the chance to dedicate a book to my daughter. I enjoyed the chance to work with one of my students and to create something new together. I learned a great deal about self-publishing and I really like the look of my new book!

My only complaint about Archway Publishing is the high cost of their marketing package. The $1600.00 I paid for publication did not include marketing the book. When the marketing agent called me, I felt high pressure to purchase the package, and I felt the way I feel when I am at a car dealership, pushed to buy as though not buying would be an unintelligent choice. I did not appreciate that encounter, and I did not buy.

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Elaine UpstanderAbout the author Elaine Blanchard is a storyteller, writer and teacher. She lives in Memphis, Tennessee, where she teaches “The Art of Storytelling” at Memphis College of Art and “The Preacher as Storyteller” at Memphis Theological Seminary. Elaine’s first book, Help Me Remember: Bible Stories for Children, was published and recorded by Pilgrim Press in 2005. Elaine leads storytelling retreats for groups around the country, giving participants the opportunity to find and share their own best stories. Learn more about Elaine on her web site at

Meet the author Burkes Books, a local independent bookseller in Memphis, will host a book signing on Wednesday evening, November 11, 5:30-6:30. I’ll read the book at 6:00. Robby, the illustrator has been invited to join me there, and it would be a real joy if Maggie Scott and her family were able to return to Memphis from where they have moved to be part of that book signing event! The book can be purchased at Archway Publishing.



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Writers@Work: How I Found a Writing Job at a Nonprofit by Ed Makowski


You don't Have to Write For Free FOrever

When I started college I hoped that someday there would be a writing position at one of the nature centers in my city. Two came to mind right away, Urban Ecology Center, which has three locations and is a stunning example of how to immerse oneself in the nature of a post-industrial landscape. The other was Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, a 185 acre sanctuary where 100 years previous Schlitz Brewery horses went to relax. Both are non-profit organizations.

To my surprise, about two weeks into my second semester, a position opened for a Communication Specialist at Schlitz Audubon. They were looking for someone who would write, edit, generate social media content, and help out with any other communication-related needs. The position was part time and could fit in with my school schedule.

I should add, I wasn’t a 19-year-old freshman when applying for this job. It turned out the 10 years of poems I’d sent out in the ether of the internet made a difference. People listened to the public radio internship I did for fun. There were some people who’d read my poetry books. I’d been working in writing for quite awhile, but finding a permanent position doing so was proving difficult without a degree. When you’re toiling away trying to create a resume through internships and publishing credits, all that stuff no one pays you for can eventually provide a cache of legitimacy.

Working at a non-profit hadn’t occurred to me until I went through a 10-month program with an organization called Public Allies. They place candidates with locally based non-profits whose skills and needs provide a good fit. Four days a week you work at your placement and on Fridays you attend non-profit training.

I was placed as a volunteer coordinator at a 90-acre farm which freely donates all of its harvest to the hungry throughout greater Milwaukee. In this new context I was a part of many varieties of communication. In all of those instances my coworkers seemed surprised by my ability to quickly turn around ideas or plans into words. Having this experience gave me the confidence that writing could actually be a career. I became certain that poetry wasn’t going to be a career, I didn’t want to write copy for retail store chains, and wanted to work in a pretty place.

At Schlitz Audubon, I work in a very collaborative environment, and our marketing department consists of only three people. There aren’t several managers who need to approve of our decisions. We come up with an idea, throw it to a few people and see when they think, then run with it. We’re light on our feet and often execute ideas within the same day.

Fall Panorama Cover 2015Prior to my starting with the organization they produced a quarterly report. It had black and white photographs and a couple of random articles, but definitely felt more like a report than a celebration of the location and it’s natural gifts. The marketing team decided to begin creating a small full-color magazine highlighting each season’s bounty, along with descriptions of three months of programs taking place. Panorama, as we call it, has been a big success with our membership and guests.

Working at a non-profit isn’t for everyone, but it can definitely be a great place for a person who is driven by a passion or mission. For me, I just decided I didn’t want to be making buying “stuff” sound good in the retail world. I’m marketing the idea that people should develop a deeper connection with nature- which I believe very strongly.

For writers interested in non-profits, I’d recommend becoming familiar with grant writing. I haven’t written any grants yet, but I’m told the skill is sought after and always desirable. One of my colleagues told me she has used some of my copy in grant proposals already, leading me to suspect that I may have a talent for that direction.

Now when I arrive at work there are different birds to listen to depending upon the time of year. I take a second to notice how tall the prairie grasses have gotten, or if the trees are yet waning from greens to oranges, and gobble at the turkeys (they gobble back—it’s hilarious!).

Working in such a beautiful and unique setting has also influenced my writing outside of work. I’ve started writing poems that often have more of nature flair. Recent topics have included turkey vultures, how males in the animal kingdom are the pretty ones, and the symbiotic relationship between squirrels and oak trees. If I ever feel a little worn out I go for a walk on the six miles of trails. There’s always something worth finding.

by Jennifer Tomaloff

by Jennifer Tomaloff

About the author. Ed Makowski is a writer and poet living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He’s into motorcycles and anything that involves the outdoors. He’s been a bad poet lately, and despite writing lots, rarely sends work out for publishing. He’s got two books of poetry out under the former pen name Eddie Kilowatt. Ed has two books ready for publishing (someday…when there’s time) and is also working on a series of history poems.




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Five Questions to Ask Before Launching Your Blog by Rochelle Melander

September 15, 2015

Note From Rochelle

Dear Writers,

Fabienne Fredrickson

Fabienne Fredrickson

Last week I traveled to Chicago and took part in Fabienne Fredrickson’s The Half-Day Solution workshop. It was helpful to spend a day with other entrepreneurs, visioning and brainstorming together. My big lesson? I can build a business alone, but I learn more and grow faster when I connect with others!

One thing I heard multiple times from the people I met in Chicago was: I know I should start a blog, but I’m overwhelmed by the whole idea of it! I hear that from writers, too. They’ve heard that in order to build a platform, they need a blog. But what should they blog about? Who should they write for—other writers or potential readers?

Today’s tip talks about how to find your blog’s niche. Understanding what your blog is about and who you are writing for is a key step in creating your blog. If you finish the article and feel like you need more help with starting your blog or evaluating it, I can help! Together, we can vision how to make your blog more engaging for your readers.

Happy Writing! Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach




If you want your blog to succeed, you need to find a niche and fill it brilliantly. Great blogs have a distinct point of view and audience. One look at an engaging blog, and readers know who the blog is written for (and who would hate it). Great blogs do not cater to the masses (EVERYONE loves it). Instead, these blogs root themselves in their own niche and then proclaim their message exceedingly well.

Here are five questions to ask before you start a blog. They’ll help you determine if your blog’s niche works—or needs more work:

Can you state your blog’s niche in one sentence or short phrase? Think about the most popular and interesting blogs online—their niche is easily articulated:

Smitten Kitchen: Delicious home cooking from a small kitchen in NYC.

Nir and Far: Behavior and the brain for business.

Terrible Minds: Frank writing advice with bad language and no coddling.  

Can you explain why you are the perfect person to blog on this topic? Most writers are smart enough to blog on lots of stuff, from handbags to hummus. But tell me this: why are you specifically qualified to blog on this topic? Readers today want authenticity. Your blog’s niche and point of view must fit who you really are—or your blog will fail.

Can you describe your ideal reader? We want desperately to write for everyone—to be so popular that we appeal to the masses. But creating a blog that appeals to everyone is rare. It’s better to define who will read your blog and then create a great product for your crowd. Define your reader in great detail. Ask: What is my readers’ age and gender? What do they value? What are their biggest challenges? Where do they shop? What do they buy? Why would they seek out this blog? (Don’t forget: if your blog is going to succeed, NOT everyone will like it!) Pro Tip: Once you’ve identified your ideal reader, list 3-6 places they hang out both on and offline. You’ll need this information to market your blog to potential readers!

Can you articulate how you will meet the needs of your ideal reader? In more traditional marketing language, what will be your unique selling proposition? Let’s go back to one of the blogs mentioned above. Smitten Kitchen teaches readers how to make great food in a small space. It doesn’t require the reader to be a Le Cordon Bleu trained chef to make the dishes. Smitten Kitchen provides readers with step-by-step instructions for making delicious food with photos. Now it’s your turn. How will your blog help readers? In what ways will it inspire, teach, encourage, or nudge?

Can you list (at least) 25 potential blog topics? You will need to have enough unique material to sustain a reader’s interest over a long period of time. Otherwise, what you thought was a great blog idea might be better suited to an article.

Whew! If you can provide detailed answers to each of my five questions, you are well on your way to finding a blogging niche that works!

If you’re still feeling confused, then think about booking a single-session blog brainstorming session. We’ll review your blog’s niche, define your ideal reader, and create a brilliant plan for helping you launch a blog that rocks! I’m offering this 45-minute session at the special price of just $100. Sign up soon—I’ve got just three spots available.


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Is Your Website Missing These Three Essential Elements? by Rochelle Melander

September 8, 2015

Note From Rochelle

Dear Writers,

Last week I wrote about taking time on the balcony to dream and plan. That’s what I’m doing this week. I’ll also be taking a day to travel to Chicago and take part in a business-development workshop. So if you email me and don’t get a quick response—that’s why. Don’t worry—I’ll get back to you soon. And when I do, I’ll have even more good stuff to offer you!

Today’s tip talks about something I’m passionate about—helping authors think about creating websites that engage their readers. Take a look at the article and then consider your own website. Are you missing any of these key elements? If you are, you may want to contact me to help you think about how you can make your site more engaging! (Scroll down to the end of the tip to learn how!)

Happy Writing!

Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach



I frequently invite authors to guest blog at my site or appear at my Write Now! Mastermind class. This fall, I’ll be starting up my Always Write! podcast again—so I’ve been visiting more author websites in search of guests. As I do, I’m often frustrated and disappointed by what I find. Here are three essential elements every author website needs:


1. MIA: Contact information

I usually meet authors through social media and can contact them via Twitter or LinkedIn. But sometimes, I meet authors at conferences. When I get home, I visit their websites to connect with them but guess what? Many of these author websites contain absolutely NO CONTACT INFORMATION. Yup—no way to call, email, text, or connect through social media. Their lack of contact information means that they’re missing opportunities to connect with readers and the media (and presumably editors and agents). I wondered if these were the same authors that whined about their websites not providing any return on their investment (ROI).

PRO TIP: After adding contact information, make sure you respond to fan and media requests! When you ignore the people who want to connect with you, you’re missing a huge opportunity to build reader engagement and connect with new readers. Plus, it makes you look like a jerk.


2. MIA: About you

When I visit a website with a missing or slight “about you” section, I think: Maybe they’re shy. Maybe they’re private people. But then I wonder, Aren’t they qualified to talk about this topic? If you want to build trust with your readers, then sharing information about you is essential. We want to know why you’re qualified to write this book, speak on this information, or help us with our lives. Tell us! Do it in a way that’s appropriate for your audience. So if you’re a comic book writer, make it funny and add pictures. But if you’re an expert on overcoming trauma, then it might be more appropriate to provide your credentials and experience in a more traditional biography statement.

PRO TIP: Offer a separate page for the media with information they can download and use: third-person bios in several lengths, media clips, and several photographs of you.


3. MIA: A way to stay connected

Years ago, I attended a reading by novelist Elizabeth Berg. She passed around a sign-up sheet for her annual newsletter. Once a year, she sent out a letter about her life, her upcoming books and appearances, and a recipe. Many authors today offer readers a chance to sign up for their online newsletter. In exchange for email addresses, they promise to send cool goodies—a free novella or interesting photos from their book research. If you don’t have a sign up form so that your website visitors can stay connected with you, you’re missing a big opportunity to reach your faithful readers with information about speaking gigs and future books.

PRO TIP: After collecting email addresses, connect with readers regularly and share quality information with them! Give them a reason to stay on your list by providing something of value to them.


YOUR TURN: What else do you think an author website needs? Stop by the blog and let me know!

Need help figuring out how you can maximize your website’s effectiveness? Are you wondering what kind of content your readers want? I’m offering single-session website reviews at the special price of just $100. You’ll receive a 45-minute consultation geared to helping you improve your readers’ experience of your website. We’ll consider how you can engage with your specific audience.  I have just five spots open. Claim yours now.

September 21



September 22








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The Key Tool for Writing Success by Rochelle Melander

1 September 2015

Note From Rochelle

Dear Writers,

When I go back-to-school shopping with the kids, it’s tempting to fill the cart with products to help me be a more organized writer! But over the years, I’ve discovered that the perfect notebook, calendar, or pen doesn’t really add to my writing success. As a business owner and freelance writer, one of the best back-to-school gifts I’ve given myself is time away from my desk to dream and plan. Today’s tip talks about that key tool for writing success—balcony space. Enjoy!

Happy Writing!

Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach


Vantage Points

Business leaders have to be able to view patterns as if they were on a balcony. It does them no good to be swept into the field of action. —Ron Heifetz and Donald Laurie, The Work of Leadership in Harvard Business Review (December 2001)

Balcony space happens when we set aside the large and tiny tasks of our day, let go of the emotional dramas that threaten to overwhelm us, and climb up to the metaphoric balcony, where we can get a better view of the whole. From the balcony, we can see the patterns of both our writing and our life. From that view, we can decide what works, what doesn’t work, and how we might make positive changes.

For me, balcony space creates the space and energy I need to ask questions, dream up possibilities, and discover solutions.

As a writer and writing coach, I try to make time for balcony space every quarter. Often, I can only manage to get a way for an afternoon—but spending just two hours on higher ground can teach me something valuable. This time of year is perfect for balcony time because it’s filled with both the energy of new beginnings (School!) and the urgency of endings (Eek! The year’s almost over!).

If you’re a professional writer or wannabe, you will be more successful if you regularly examine your writing career from the balcony. Here’s how:

Step One: Get out of the space where you regularly work. Find a place where you are away from your day-to-day life (and won’t be interrupted)—a coffee shop, library, park, restaurant, art museum, or spa.

Step Two: Get a big-picture view of your work.

+Review goals. Write down or review all of the goals you set for this year and the plans that you made to accomplish them. These questions might help:

*What were your goals for your writing career?

*What writing projects did you hope to finish by the end of the year?

*How much money did you expect to make from your writing this year?

*What other writing related tasks did you plan to take on (e.g., writing workshops, reading, research, and so forth)?

*What sort of a plan did you set up to help you meet your goal?

+Compare your goals with your daily schedule and writing products. Use these questions to reflect:

*How have you been spending your time?

*Do your daily actions match up with your goals?

*What work have you produced so far this year?

*Are you making satisfactory progress on meeting your income and writing project goals?

*If not, what other projects have emerged as priorities for your work?

*Are there any energy drains or unexpected commitments that have taken up your time?

+Reevaluate. For some of you, your actions will match the goals you set at the beginning of the year. Congrats! For many of us, though, we will need to reevaluate our goals and how we spend our time so that we can get back on track. Ask yourself:

*What goals do I want to accomplish before the year ends?

*What am I doing that is working?

*What am I doing that is not working?

*What do I need to do differently in order to meet my goals?

*How will I put this plan into action?

*How will I know if I am achieving my goals?

Step Three: Implement the new practices you created while on the balcony.

In order to benefit from balcony space, we need to let go of our old habits and invest in new practices. That can be tough. Most of us are pretty attached to our daily routine, and it often takes courage and a big kick in the pants to change. Now that you have been to the balcony, you know what you need to do. So do it!

A Final Note I hope your time on the balcony is fruitful for you. If it is, leave a comment below and let us know:

*Where you went for balcony space.

*What helped you get a new view.

*What changes you made or will make because of it.

IMG_0091About the author. Write Now! Coach Rochelle Melander is an author, a certified professional coach, and a popular speaker. Melander has written ten books including Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It). As the Write Now! Coach, she teaches professionals how to write books fast, get published, and connect with readers through social media. Get your free subscription to her Write Now! Tips Ezine at

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Writers@Work: Make Money with your Life Story By Emma V. Webb

25 August 2015

Dear Writers,

I’d like to welcome Emma Webb to the blog. Today and tomorrow, you can get a copy of her new book at no charge at Amazon: Coming To America: How To Use The Three Golden Keys Of The Relationship Formula To Fit In, Get Along, And Get Ahead

Read on to hear how she decided to make money by telling her story!

Happy Writing,

Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach


“Everything that has happened in my life is worth money. Now, say it loud. Three times. Done? Do you believe it? Well, you soon will.” —Dr. Mani, author, “Think, Write, And Retire” and “Passion, Profit & Purpose”

Dr. Mani is one of my favorite mentors. But when I read that, my thoughts were, Oh yeah? Show me the money. A lot of things has happened in my life but my bank account is near zero.

After reading, “Everything that has happened in my life is worth money” a dozen times, I finally realized money will not come unless I got off my couch. I decided to let my fingers do the walking.

I sat down in front of my computer and with my two index fingers stepping over each other, wrote three books. Well, I did not write all three books in a weekend. It took longer.

How it began

When I was seventeen, I dreamed of being a writer. I studied to be a doctor instead.

When I was eighteen, my dream of being a writer was still alive. I got married instead.

At age twenty four, with two young children and a Pharmacy degree, my dream of being a writer was just a flicker, barely alive.

Before I turned twenty five, I moved to the United States of America from the Philippines. Life happened in my medical and business world for the next five decades. My dream of being a writer? What is that? What are you talking about?

Igniting a dream

Year 2014. That’s me on the couch. Older. The body moves in slow motion. The brain still works. I decided to revisit “Everything that has happened in my life is worth money”.

Igniting my dream to be a writer, I sat down in front of my computer and with two nervous fingers set the keyboard and the screen on fire.

If your goal is to write and publish books, here’s a list of suggested steps.

1. Find a quiet place, close your eyes, and breathe (inhale, hold to a count of 4, exhale). With continued practice, you’ll experience clarity of mind.

2. Write down everything you remember about your life. Here are some memory teasers:

+Anecdotes about your family, friends, enemies, jobs, career (s), etc

+Think of all the people who inspired you.

Some of my mentors I personally met and drew inspiration from are:

  • Tony Robbins. If you see Tony coming, watch out! His drive, energy, and strong desire to empower others is highly contagious.
  • Deepak Chopra. From him, I learned that life is an inside job.
  • Robert Cialdini. In his book, ” Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”, he wrote about proven, effective, peaceful, and fun uses of what he refers to as the six weapons of influence.
  • Dr. Tony Alessandra. I follow his Platinum Rule which in essence says, “You                                   can please all the people all the time. Allow them to tell you how.”

3. Categorize the information. Place each category in separate folders.

4. Research.

+Who is looking for the information?

+What kind of information are they looking for?

+Where can you find those that need and want the information?

+How can you reach them?

+Are they willing and able to pay for the information?

+How are you going to sell to them?

5. Crack the marketing door wide open. Tempt their curiosity so they’ll want to see, hear, and feel your virtual product (s).

6. Set a deadline. Organize the information. Stroke the details. How much time do you need to get your book done?

7. Write

+Keep writing. Do not read and reread. Do not edit until your first draft is finished.

+Polish, polish, polish, and polish.

+Do a final check of the manuscript.

+Wow! Deadline!

8. Stop writing. Time to hand your baby to the editors. Let the editors have a go at it. Get out of their way.

9. Publish.

I self-published. It’s cheaper, faster, and rejections didn’t even get a chance. I was in control of every aspect of the publication process. And, kept most of the money made in sales.

10. Start on your next book.

A final word

It took me almost two years to write and publish the three books. The first two were written for readers searching for a way out of their emotional and physical bondage. The books were based on this belief: Meditate. Look within yourself to find the magnificent center of your personal power. We all look outside ourselves for peace and happiness but the real source is locked inside our inner psyche waiting to be discovered and released.

The third book is intended for the people coming from other countries who caved in to the pull of the mighty, magnetic force of the American lifestyle. It is filled with stories, as well as content on communication and relationships, designed to help readers make their way around the maze of challenges, changes, and opportunities.


Copy of EmmaAbout the author.  Emma V. Webb is a writer and an author with enlightening experiences drawn from a life span of more than seven decades. She was a Philippine board certified registered pharmacist when she arrived in America, worked in the medical field as a registered medical technologist and later transitioned to the business world as an owner/partner of a multimillion dollar real estate company, and as a vice president of a results-oriented marketing corporation.

Her funny and entertaining anecdotes about the “behind the scenes” of her life in the medical and business world delight many readers. Her books, Heal Your Pain: How I Use 3 Easy Meditation Steps in 2 Minutes to Reduce Anxiety, Depression, and Other Side Effects of Stress; 3 Easy Meditations Steps in 2 Minutes for the Busy Executive: How You Can Reclaim Your Personal Life and Emotional Power From The Tight Grip Of Your Joband Coming To America: How To Use The Three Golden Keys Of The Relationship Formula To Fit In, Get Along, And Get Ahead, are sold worldwideOn August 25 and 26, you can receive her newest book at no charge from Amazon.


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Writers@Work: An Interview with Lauren Fox

18 August 2015

Note From Rochelle

Dear Writers,

I’m delighted to be back in the office! But, as you may guess, when I opened my email—there were hundreds of messages waiting for my attention. If you sent one of them, don’t fret—I’ll be in touch with you soon!

Today I have a special treat for you—an interview with Lauren Fox, author of Days of Awe, a gripping story and an emotional roller coaster ride through the landscape of loss, love, and loyalty. Read the interview and then enter to win one of five copies of the book!

Happy Writing!

Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach




+I’m delighted to welcome Lauren Fox to the blog to talk about her new novel, Days of Awe. Welcome! Tell us about your new book, Days of Awe.

LaurenFox_DaysofAwe_New2Thanks so much for asking me to do this. These questions were fun to answer, and gave me lots to think about. Days of Awe is the story of a woman whose best friend dies, and then, over the course of the following year, her marriage falls apart, her relationship with her grieving daughter becomes fraught and difficult, and her relationship with her aging mother changes and frays. It’s just a little upbeat beach read! I think this book is about grief, about the inevitable losses we all face as we get older – and about to you put yourself back together in the face of it.



+What books inspired you before and during the writing process?

5941033As I was thinking about the book and the story I wanted to tell, I read Let the Great World Spin, by Colum McCann, which I found absolutely beautiful and mesmerizing. On the surface, it’s quite dissimilar in scope and tone to Days of Awe, but I admired it so much in part of McCann’s ambition, the way he took on disparate timelines and intersecting stories and how delicately they all came together in the end. Reading it, I felt like a world of possibility opened up for me in terms of how to tell a story. It felt serendipitous, reading that novel when I did.

I was also inspired by Falling to Earth, by Kate Southwood, a novel about a devastating 15812219tornado that strikes a small town in Illinois in 1925, and the one family it seems to spare. It’s a complicated and beautiful novel about sorrow and resentment and betrayal.

+One of the reviews praises Isabel’s wonderful voice—especially her use of surprising metaphors. Can you talk a bit about how you developed her voice?

I find so many things challenging about writing novels – plot, pace, setting, character development, to name a few! But voice is the one thing that tends to come fairly easily to me. I find I just get immersed in a character, and she sort of moves into my head. It’s definitely the most fun and magical part of the writing process for me – when a set of ideas and quirks and psychological traits and back stories alchemize into a character. Isabel’s voice fell into place for me when I recognized that the core of her struggle was about how to move through the changes and sadness in her life with the dark sense of humor that was already in place because of how she grew up.

+I write a lot about productivity and writing. One of my biggest challenges is juggling writing and parenting. What are some of your secrets to staying productive while parenting?

Oh, yes, that’s a good… wait, sorry, I had to unwrap a string cheese. What? Yes, juggling writing and parenting. I… oh, sorry, it’s three days later now. Where were we? Yep. It’s a tough one. I recommend having a partner with a flexible schedule, and absolutely devoted parents who live ten minutes away and are willing and eager to take your kids for as long as possible, whenever you want them to. Also, school. Truly, this is a constant juggling act, and I remind myself daily that it’s a good problem to have – a family I love and a job I love. But it’s not easy.

17847097+What books are you reading and/or recommending to others right now?

Some of the books I’ve read and loved over the past few months are Jenny Offil’s Department of Speculation; Time Present and Time Past, by Deirdre Madden; Thunderstruck, by Elizabeth McCracken; and Euphoria, by Lily King. I adored each of these books, and each is really different in tone and style, from an experimental novel to a collection of short stories. I highly recommend them all!



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UnknownAbout the author. Lauren Fox, who earned her MFA from the University of Minnesota, is the author of the novels Still Life with Husband, Friends Like Us, and Days of Awe. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Parenting, Psychology Today, The Rumpus, and Salon. She lives in Milwaukee with her family. Visit her online at:


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WritersRead: Books that have Spoken to Me by Gayle Rosengren

11 August 2015

Note From Rochelle

Dear Writers,

I’m enjoying my time away from work, finally reading some of the books I’ve been collecting all year!

I have a confession to make about the books in the stack. Some of them were written for children. I’m not alone. Adults purchase 55 percent of young adult books. At book groups, in articles, and on Facebook, I’ve heard many adults criticize this practice as part of the decline of adult intellectualism.

Seriously? Remember what Madeleine L’Engle said: “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”

ColdWarMaplewoodStreet_Rev2Far from being childish, children’s literature tackles challenging topics. In these books, I’ve found well-developed characters and brilliant writing. But don’t take my word for it—read these books yourself! Today’s post is filled with delicious reads, hand picked by Gayle Rosengren, author of What the Moon Said and Cold War on Maplewood Street. After you’re done reading the post, enter to win both of her books!

Happy Writing!

Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach



With so many amazing books for children and teens being published every year–not to mention all the titles I’ve read in my lifetime–the prospect of shining a light on a few of my favorites at first seemed almost ridiculously easy. Covers and characters and storylines come rushing to mind. The problem was, they kept on coming. Six became a dozen and a dozen became 24 with more still trickling in. Each one was special, each one had something meaningful to say, a few long-time favorites were particularly dear to my heart (think Little Women). How could I possibly choose just a few out of what seemed to be a growing mountain of titles?

But like diamonds sprinkled among bits of gold and silver, some sparkled just a little brighter than others. One by one I set those to one side. A couple of them I first had to hug. They were that special. My favorites are not all recent publications. For me, the true test of a book’s success is whether or not it stays with me afterward, haunting me (in the nicest possible way), lingering and prompting further thoughts, realizations and admiration in the days, weeks, and months that follow.

11594337One such book is Katherine Applegate’s The One and Only Ivan. If you haven’t already read it, you are missing out on a remarkable experience. Ivan is a gorilla who lives in a cage at a failing shopping mall. He is also the narrator of the story. But instead of this making it more of a simplistic “animal story” his voice and observations elevate the novel to a level of thoughtful awareness and compassion that is lacking in many a human. Through his friendships with the animals around him, and his interactions with humans–especially Julia, a young girl who inspires the artist within him–Ivan’s life changes; and as you read, you will be forever changed too. Published in 2012, this book earned the Newbery medal. The jacket says it’s for ages 8-12, but don’t believe it. There’s no limit on the love this book will find with an audience of all ages.

15942671“Unique” hits a whole new level in Nancy Cavanaugh’s This Journal Belongs to Ratchet. One-of-a-kind main character Ratchet (real name Rachel) captures your imagination and your heart in this wonderfully fresh take on a young girl’s experience growing up with a dad who loves but doesn’t understand her. Ratchet’s quest for a friend and to find her own “style” without the help of a mom is a roller coaster ride of ups, downs and twists that she captures in her home-school journal. Smiles and heartaches abound when you join Ratchet on her unforgettable journey of self-discovery. This is an entertaining and thought-provoking middle grade book. The character of Ratchet and her voice (in this book in diary form) was the best part of this novel.

439288When Laurie Halse Anderson’s YA novel Speak was published in 1999, I was working in the young adult services department of my local library. I read it and immediately wanted to make it required reading for every girl and boy entering high school. Of course, I couldn’t do that, but I did the next best thing and put it at the top of every recommended reading list I created for teens and I told every parent and teacher I knew about it.

The book conveys such a simple message; so obvious. Heck, it’s right there in the title. Nothing subtle about it. But sometimes it is the simplest messages that are most difficult to act on. Caught between fear and anger, high school freshman Melinda is effectively paralyzed and does what many a girl before her has done in her circumstances–absolutely nothing. Instead, she buries a shocking and painful experience deep inside herself and tries to go on. But it is such an enormous and emotionally charged event, by keeping it stuffed inside she prevents herself from doing the very thing she most needs to do in order to heal–speak. This is another highly recommended read for writers because it demonstrates how a painful topic can be made more readable by the judicious use of humor.

64481My final recommendation is A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly. This is a YA novel set in the early 1900’s about a girl who dreams of leaving behind life on her family’s hard scrabble farm, going to New York to attend college on a scholarship, and becoming a writer. But it’s not as simple as that, of course. Mattie has big dreams, but she’s also a big sister to her brother and sisters, and that’s taken on enormous weight since her mother’s recent death. Her father doesn’t understand her longing for an education. He expects her to stay on the farm, mother her siblings and keep house for him. She could accept Royal’s offer of marriage and have some measure of independence while being near enough to watch over the children. After all, how will the little ones get on if she selfishly flees to New York? Still grieving for her mother, she wrestles with these question all through a summer that begins ordinarily enough but is upended by a drowning that will have a surprising impact on Mattie’s decision. The story is compelling, the characters are distinctive and real, and above all, the writing is beautiful. Not to be missed.

Each of these four novels–whether contemporary or historical, middle grade or YA, first person or third–possess the “something extra” that distinguishes these books from their peers. That special something is voice. All of them resonate in a way that pulls the reader into the story immediately, easily, naturally.

Most writers understand that voice is an elusive quality, nearly impossible to pin down with words. We just recognize it when we read it. The books I’ve recommended here are some truly excellent examples, definitely worth a read.


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Gayle Rosengren 100x100About the author. Gayle grew up in Chicago, attended Knox College, and worked first as an advertising copywriter and later as a Young Adult Assistant at Fountaindale Library in Bolingbrook, Illinois, enthusiastically sharing her love of books with young patrons. Eventually, she moved to Wisconsin and worked in children’s publishing. Now she lives just outside of Madison and is thrilled to write full time.

WhatTheMoonSaid_presalesHer debut book, What the Moon Said, historical fiction for ages 8-12, was a Junior Library Guild Selection, a CCBC recommended title; and an Illinois Reads selection. Her second book, Cold War on Maplewood Street, will launch on August 4, 2015. Both are published by GP Putnam’s Sons/Penguin-Random House and both are or will be soon, available as audiobooks. You can follow Gayle on Twitter at @GayleRosengren  and visit her online at




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