Monday, May 19, 2014


Happy Monday, everyone...

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Yesterday we finally warmed up a bit in Chicago and I actually spent most of the day out. It was great not having to a winter coat...IN MAY. Lol.

Today I am part of the "HOW I FOUND THE WRITE PATH," bloghop hosted by the amazing Carrie Butler and co-hosted by PK Hrezo...
It's Carrie's third year blogging... HAPPY BLOGOVERSARY!!!!! So she has decided to create a book to help newbe writers.... Here's the skinny by Carrie...

"I want to compile a free e-book for writers who are just starting on their road to publication, using advice from the most brilliant, up-and-coming voices in the industry: you guys! Here’s what it would involve:


Please write a letter/note to yourself when you first started writing toward publication. The only thing I ask is that you keep it under 800 words, including as many (or as few) of these elements as you like:

   - A lesson you learned the hard way
   - Something you didn’t expect about the industry        (positive/negative)
   - A writing-related resource you could never do without now
   - One thing you’d change about your journey
   - One thing you’re glad you did
   - Your number one tip for pursuing publication
   - Anything else you feel is worth passing on"

Doesn't this sound awesome?! So if you want to hop along you have all week! Drop over to Carrie's to add you name to the linky... Here

So here's my letter to my pre-writer self...

May 19, 2014

Dear Michael,

This is your future self writing to you on behalf of the incredible journey you are about to embark upon into the publishing industry.

First and foremost never give up your dream. At times, frustration will haunt you. Countless hours on the computer will seem never-ending. Keep an open mind and always listen to more experienced writers.

I have a few suggestions to make things MUCH easier for you, tips I have learned through trial and mostly error.

Economize your words. Simply write clear, concise, and to the point sentences. Avoid adverbs at all costs by choosing a stronger verb. Use search to find all LY words and common words, such as LOOK, TOWARD, JUST, REALLY, LIKE, etc. This way you can cut them down without to much difficulty. ALWAYS use your Thesaurus… it will be INVALUABLE to you. Keep it in your bookmarks for easy access.

LEARN your grammar and punctuation. It is ESSENTIAL. Take the time to do so.

LISTEN to your TRUSTED Critique Partners and Betas. You are a beginner, you know very little, and you mustn’t be sensitive to their suggestions. It will hurt, but listen to them anyway and make the necessary changes.

BLOGGING WILL be an essential part of your life. Embrace it. Forge as many friendships as you can because they WILL become your extended family and will ALWAYS be there for you.

This industry is BRUTAL. Don’t expect to be a best selling author right away. You have SOOOO much to learn before you will be anywhere near ready for publication. You are NOT JK Rowling. Even though you believe you are. 

When writing your first m/g, y/a novel don’t allow it to exceed 60,000 words. You will write and write and write and create a novel that is WAY too long and you’ll spend way too many years cutting it down. Once again… ECONOMIZE your words.

Don’t expect of find an agent any time soon. You are not ready. LEARN your craft before wasting precious hours writing queries and sending them to top agents which will reject you, BECAUSE you are NOT READY. POLISH your ms until it’s blinding, then query. This can take years. BE PATIENT.

Your journey will be a very difficult one, but you will forge friendships with amazing people who will be supportive of you and will help you hone your writing skills. This will also give you the ability to pay it back. You will be there for others and the skills you learn will help you achieve this. You will fall many, many times before this, but you will learn. Trust me.

The best thing I did for you was to join the blogging community. I can’t stress this enough…every new writer needs to involve themselves quickly to be a part of something that is beyond rewarding, beyond special.

And always remember, no matter what, never give up the dream you have. You will realize this is your calling. You WILL get frustrated by rejection, but remember you have a gift, never forget this, because you will be tested again and again. 

Don’t let minor achievements seem worthless. Even the smallest works published are a major achievement and will be a closer step to something much greater. Persevere. This is the best advice I can give you.

You’ll get where you need to be…In Time…

ALL the best.

Your future self,

Michael of In Time... Freelance copy/creative writer/illustrator/cover designer

Well there you have it... A few things I've learned along my journey. 

I'd be honored to be part of the Collection, Carrie, so feel free to use it. 

Don't forget to drop in on Carrie and wish her a HAPPY BLOGOVERSARY!!!!

Have a great day everyone!!!


  1. Joining this blogging community is the best thing I ever did, even if I was late to the party.
    And glad you are n longer freezing in Chicago.

  2. I wish I could go back and tell myself the same thing about compacting my words.

  3. My thesaurus and I are inseparable. And blogging has been invaluable to me.

  4. "Economize your words." Now that couldn't be said more perfectly. And yes, never ever give up!

  5. Yes! Joining the blogging community led me to learn so much more than I realized there was to learn!!

  6. Great advice. Very true.
    Look how far you've come! :D

  7. Well, I got one thing wrong or twisted around on this blog hop. It's Carrie Butler's party, not exactly PK's. I embarrass myself sometimes. Really.

    Good letter!

    Hugs and chocate!

  8. I'm loving these...can't wait to post mine later this week. I don't think our younger selves would have listened to us, though!

  9. When I began my writing career in 1980, we didn't have blogging. But I definitely believe in networking, so I appreciate your advice about joining a blogging community, Michael.

  10. Great post! Critique partners and beta readers are invaluable. Excellent tips about economizing your words, too!

  11. This one resonated: "Even the smallest works published are a major achievement..."
    So hopefully my collection will be published... one day...
    I'll just keep at it!

  12. Very wise words, and yay to the great blogging community!

  13. You were to the point and on target. Your past self will appreciate that as will those who are just starting out on their journey.

  14. Wasn't this a novel idea from Carrie Butler and PK? I do not know if I would write to myself -- we grow through the struggle and part of the struggle is not knowing. If you help a butterfly emerge from its cocoon, it is stunted and soon dies.

    Maybe that is why the Oracle of Delphi was always so vaugue?

  15. What a good post and great idea. If I could advise myself, I'd say stop holding back and go for it.


  16. Beautiful. So, so, SO BEAUTIFUL. I absolutely love this. And look where you are! Look what you've achieved and how many people you've helped and how much you've grown. You are extremely talented, Michael, and I can't WAIT to see what comes your way. Good things--nothing but GOOD THINGS!!!

  17. Michael, I loved reading your letter. There is so much both aspiring writers and published authors can learn from the advice you have shared here. I've definitely learned that blogging is one of the most important stepping stones we, as authors, can move forward upon. It helps us to establish amazing friendships and as well as to build a strong foundation for our followers.
    I'm happy to have stumbled by your blog through this event and will be looking forward to getting to know you and your work!

  18. So many good tips here, but best of all, community, community, community! Best to you, Michael!

  19. I like your letter very much. Mostly the last part. Way too often we forget to acknowledge the small victories. It is as important as being patient and work hard, I think. Good for you. Glad temperature is warming up. Seems the dwarves' stoves in your basement worked.

  20. Oh yes definitely celebrate every single achievement not matter how small. Excellent advice all around and I especially appreciate the encouragement to earn the rules of grammar and polish, polish, polish! And editor can do so much for your story if they're not exhausted by cleaning up the small stuff.

    Fun lunch today!

  21. As I read these through these letters, I'm finding all kinds of great advice and inspiration, but two common threads that keep popping up are patience and perseverance.

    I agree, Michael, the online blogging community is amazing! Even though I rarely run into anyone who writes my genre, I still feel like I belong. How awesome is that?

    VR Barkowski

  22. Be patient!

    Best advice ever! Thanks for sharing your journey and your advice with us.

  23. Perfect, Inspiring, and Insightful Post, Michael. I'm definitely learning from these terrific letters! Your last line is right-on--"You’ll get where you need to be…In Time…"

  24. AAACK! Punctuation and grammar....holy haunt me back to my past! Great advice...a seemingly small thing that can save a manuscript from time consuming revisions and rejections.

  25. I've been enjoying these today. Your brutal honesty is much appreciated by one just beginning this long journey...
    Tina @ Life is Good
    On the Open Road! @ Join us for the 4th Annual Post-Challenge Road Trip!

  26. 'If I knew then what I know now'. I agree with that sentiment. I'm also enjoying reading these posts for Carrie's Bloghop! Good Luck Carrie!

  27. What a wonderful idea! Thank you Carrie and PK!!
    Wow, Michael yours was spot on~ I loved all that you shared and know you can do it! Many of your suggestions would be in my note to self and others~ I have so much to learn! Thank you for sharing this bloghop and your beautiful words~ Lovely!

  28. I totally agree about the blogging community - I have a few writer friends who aren't part of it, and I do try to entice them to BECOME part of it, but it never seems to catch on. ;)

  29. It's funny how we learn most from our mistakes.
    And my first novel was too long too--beyond epic! lol.

  30. I think the question is whether your younger writer self would listen to the older, wiser writer self.

    And holy cow, I can't believe it's been that cold!!

  31. Beautifully said, Michael. Writing is a test in patience, isn't it?

  32. I think never giving up on our dream and keeping our patience is the most important thing we can do. There were many times when I was so let down from rejections and never getting anywhere that I considered not continuing. But my dream was so powerful that I couldn't give up. :)

  33. Hi, Michael,
    I think learning the craft is the best advice a writer and give himself or anybody else. It saves soooo much heartache and regrets. You're right. We'll all get to where we should time.

  34. Persistence really is a big part of the equation, along with learning the craft and a finesse with words. It's finally warmed up around here as well, which is glorious in so many ways!

  35. You use a computer for writing? I thought you were the romantic type who uses a quill and ink :))

  36. Good ... patience is so difficult to learn.


  37. I wanted to thank you, for the tips you left on my blurb. It really helped and gave me some ideas to work with.

  38. Hey Michael,

    Dude, yes you've been wondering where the heck Penny or Gary have been. Well, Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar is having yet another doggy nap. This means I get to use the computer and comment to you. Yay and lucky you! LOL

    And there you have it, good sir. Determination, never giving up and the driving force that is your passion that is the magic of the written word. And economising your words is a good idea....

    Nicely done and Penny thinks you are real good for a human.

    Penny's fictional main character,

    Gary :)

  39. This is great, Michael. So many realistic points which I'm sure most of us will agree with or will have experienced first hand.

    I spent a lot of time writing my post for this prompt yesterday and google wouldn't let me publish. Today i lost it all...erk! So I've posted my WEP Paris story and may/may not redo the Write Post. Don't you love it when the computer smacks you in the face~

    Anyway, it's a great blogfest and I'm looking forward to reading more entries and having the e-book when it's done.


  40. Love your new pic...looks familiar. Hmmm. But hey! Love the letter full of golden advice not just to you but all of us!!

  41. That's great advice for anyone to follow, Michael! :)

  42. LOL! I totally laughed at the 60K suggestions. My first novel ended at 140K, later shaved down to 90K. I suppose that's natural with more world building and fantasy, but if I'd tried to stick to the 60K length, I might have committed suicide. :)

    Here's to what the road has taught us!

  43. Boy, does this letter feel familiar! I so recognize myself in this. Economize words? Good lord, yes! Get used to the brutality? Yup, have to do that, too. Find a community? It's the best antidote to the brutality, ever. I loved this, Michael. Thanks for sharing it!

  44. All about perseverance! That's a big one. And yes, streamlining prose. Less is more. Thanks for sharing what you learnt to your younger self and for all of us, too. :)

  45. It is definitely all about perseverance through thick and thin moments. Blogging buddies are an inspiration and a never-ending help! Less is more, and adverbs should be tossed. Although I still keep a few around for blog comments. :) Great letter, Michael!

  46. Wow. What a great letter you wrote to yourself. And I can totally relate to those overused words - every one on your list is on mine, too!

  47. What a great idea! And I had to laugh at some of the things you said. Interesting you mentioned a thesaurus--I'm lazy and use the one Word has (under Review) because it's handy. If it doesn't have what I want, then I look online.

    LOL on you believing you were JK Rowling. And YES--celebrate every achievement, especially since for most writers it takes time to walk down that road to publication. :)

  48. "Don’t let minor achievements seem worthless." Good to remember. It's so easy to discount anything that isn't our ultimate goal.

  49. Excellent letter, Michael, and I truly loved the last paragraph, in particular. It's the so-called minor achievements that sustain us. It's what keeps us all going and pushing. The little stuff is the big stuff. Not having the little stuff is like eating a chocolate chip cookie without the chocolate chips.

  50. Wonderful letter! It is SO important to pick each word with care. It's a hard lesson to learn, but a useful one.

    The blogging community is definitely the best group I've ever joined. So glad I've stuck with it. :)

    Happy Thursday!

    Writing Through College

  51. You really nailed what new writers need to look at. Of the posts I've read for this so far, you're the first one to talk about adverbs.

  52. So much great advice packed into this letter! Thank you so much for sharing, Michael. I know it will help TONS of writers! :D

  53. Loved your letter, Michael! Such inspiring words for all new writers, including myself! Patience is the key and I'm learning it the hard way!

  54. This is a great letter packed with honest, usable advice. I wish we really could go back and talk to our younger selves. I would have saved myself a ton of time.
    Elizabeth Hein - Scribbling in the Storage Room

  55. And one more thing, future Michael... when you're BLOGGING, don't EVER lose YOUR fun USE of throwing a random WORD in all CAPS.

    It IS so YOU and I for ONE wouldn't HAVE IT ANY OTHER WAY :)

  56. Some good advice, Michael. Two pieces are really important: Get to blogging and develop relationships with other writers. You learn so much from them.

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

  57. That was an excellent and uplifting letter. A lot of good advice!

  58. I've learned a lot in this series of posts, and this one is no exception. Patience, hard work and perseverance-- gold for any writer. Wishing you happy, warm months ahead, Michael :)

  59. Awww older Michael is so lovely and sensible! Glad he's there for younger Michael! Take care

  60. Hi Michael, I loved the letter to your pre-writer self. Be patient, keep your expectations low and persevere, that's my mantra.

  61. As always...very wise advice. I especially think it's essential to recognize and appreciate our small wins and achievements. We can't belittle progress just because only the top is good enough.

  62. What an awesome letter! I love how you told your past self about the importance of blogging. I agree with you- the community is amazing and I get so much strength from my fellow bloggers who share many of my same passions and dreams. :)

    Wouldn't it be great to be able to take this advice in the past! I know I could have used the adverb help and still work on it all the time.

    Thanks for sharing!

  63. Great letter, Michael! It's amazing how much we have to learn and how much we keep learning. But I agree, this blogging community is the best!
    I use just and very all the time :-) And if one more character shrugs or smiles...