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Forgiveness: A Journey of Lifelong Learning

Forgiveness: it’s a lifelong process. I had not given forgiveness much of a thought before I left life as a nun in a protective religious community; a life I had been living for more than two decades. I only began to think about the difficulty of forgiveness when I returned home to a family that I thought would respect me and welcome me back with open arms. Instead, they disowned me after a short time back, for reasons too troubling to put down into print. I became instead what felt like an orphan, someone who was shunned from family events for years.

lizupton happiness

I struggled to overcome my resentment and anger. I sought in vain for ways to embrace forgiveness and find happiness, without success. I prayed. I paid visit to counselors and spiritual advisors. I did not realize that my efforts to release my anger made a significant impact in my emotional and spiritual healing. I did not accept the fact that forgiveness is a lifelong process that cannot be hurried.

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Writers Resources: A Guide to the Best

Where do you turn for writing help? If you’re like me, I enjoy making the most of available resources and using them to get inspired for my novels. There are countless ways writers can learn to hone their craft, including websites, meetup groups, workbooks, writing prompts and more. Read on for the definitive guide to the best resources for writers.


Great Resources for Writers

Online Resources

Websites are great, free resources for budding authors. Here are some of the best.

  • National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) Reference Desk: A forum for writers, and by writers. Topics range from penning fantasy genres to crafting a plot map. Check it out here.
  • Daily Writing Tips: With a new tip each day, you’ll never run out of new advice to incorporate into your next novel. Learn more here.
  • Copyblogger: Not sure how to create engaging content? Copyblogger is a site that can help writers learn about marketing, Search Engine Optimization, blogging and more. Click here for more info.
  • Reference for Writers: An engaging Tumblr account for authors, Reference for Writers helps with character development, tense, editing and more. Check it out here.
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3 Tips for Naming Fiction Characters

“Names have power.” ― Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief

How do you decide what your characters will be called when writing a new novel? Although Shakespeare may have suggested names don’t make the person or object what it is, the names of people acting in your novel do make a difference and you should focus on giving them good ones. However, naming fiction characters doesn’t have to be hard; read on for three tips to help with your selection.

What's in a name-

3 Tips for Naming Fiction Characters

  1. Make Sure it Matches the Era

Naming fiction characters may be pressure-filled, but making sure the name matches the era or time period your novel is set in can help simplify the decision. If your novel takes place in the past, it won’t make sense to have a character with a unique or highly modern name, or the book won’t feel authentic. Browse through your public library or other famous novels from the era to get some ideas.

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How to Hook Your Reader: 4 Tips for Fiction Writers

“Make ’em laugh; make ’em cry; make ’em wait.” –Charles Reade

Many readers pick up a new book and begin with the first couple of pages to see if they want to continue; your task as a writer is to figure out how to hook your reader in these first moments. From exciting action to a teasing puzzle waiting to be solved, there are many ways to begin your story to ensure your audience will be interested. Here are four tips to master when learning how to hook your reader.


How to Hook Your Reader: 4 Tips for Fiction Writers

  1. Begin with an Important Moment

“High, high above the North Pole, on the first day of 1969, two professors of English Literature approached each other at a combined velocity of 1200 miles per hour.” –David Lodge, Changing Places

If you start your novel at a pivotal moment in the story, your reader will likely want to read on so they can find out what happens afterward. You are always welcome to add backstory later in the story to help set the scene, so feel free to begin at a very important moment and backtrack later. Beginning the novel near the end is a great tactic for building suspense and hooking your reader.

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How to Cut “Fluff” [4 Writing Tips]

“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.” –Elmore Leonard

This post shares writing tips for removing “fluff” for your work. When you first learned how to write, likely you were faced with assignments with lofty word counts; adding some unnecessary and “fluffy” words helped to fill the requirement. When penning a novel or working as a writer, unfortunately “fluff” is no longer going to cut it. Here are four writing tips for removing this dreaded tactic from your pages.


4 Writing Tips for Removing “Fluff”

  1. Plan Ahead

Often when writers begin, they pen their article or chapters as they go, without careful planning. Planning ahead is an essential writing tip that can help you write stronger and tighter copy, free from “fluff.” Plot maps can be very helpful for this; create a loose structure or outline and follow it as you go.

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4 Ways to Love Yourself

“Before you can honestly love yourself you need to be clear about what love feels like to you.” – Exuberant Women Don’t Age – No Time To Waste

If you’re experiencing problems in your close relationships, friendships or your love life, consider taking a look inside to think about how the way you treat yourself may play a role. Before you can truly love another person, you must first love yourself. Here are four tips for learning how to appreciate yourself and feel more confident.46371931_l


4 Ways to Love Yourself

  1. Focus on Self-Love

“Self-love is deeper than self-esteem. Self-love is steady and long-lasting but self-esteem changes from moment to moment.” – Exuberant Women Don’t Age – No Time To Waste

You may think your self-esteem qualifies as self-love, but the love of yourself goes much deeper than just your current view of happiness. Identify the reasons you are proud to be who you are and internalize them. It can help to write lists or keep a journal of things, special moments and personality traits you are proud to call your own.

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5 Basic Writing Prompts for Creative Writing

Writing every day is a great way to exercise your brain and improve your abilities. While you may not be able to tackle your novel or come up with new ideas each time you sit down with a pen, there are several benefits of using writing prompts to get inspired. While prompts may remind you of elementary school writing, they are actually a simple way to improve your tone and style. Writing prompts can cover all topics, so here are five basic ones to get started.


5 Basic Writing Prompts

  1. The Time Capsule Prompt

Imagine you are tasked with the job of filling a time capsule for your place of work or neighborhood. Think about what items you would put into the capsule and what they represent. Detail the objects including a physical description; be sure to include more meaningful details like why you chose to include each item.

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[Become a Better Writer] When’s the Best Time of Day to Write?

Many authors may be looking for ways to become a better writer, and learning what times of the day are most conducive to creative thought can help. Finding the writing sweet spot where words and ideas flow easily from your head to your pen can be a challenge, and although it differs for every person (famous writers included), generally certain types of writing can be done best at each time of day.


[Become a Better Writer] What Time of Day Should I Write?

Writing in the Morning

Studies show most people tend to make more moral decisions and have greater willpower as soon as they wake up. Use this to your advantage to tackle a big project, brain-dump your ideas and get your thoughts down on paper. The morning is not a good time to be editing, however, since the analytical portions of your brain are better harnessed later in the day; the morning can help you be the most creative.

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[Achieving Happiness] 4 Tips for Clearing Your Mind

Sometimes your brain can become jumbled and locked in a state of stress or overload, preventing you from achieving happiness. Whether you’re a writer or not, nearly everyone can benefit from learning these four simple techniques designed to clear your mind. By unleashing this stress and negative energy, you will become happier, healthier and able to perform better, no matter what you do.


[Achieving Happiness] 4 Tips for Clearing Your Mind

  1. Let Yourself Daydream

Sometimes when your brain is on overload and the stresses of everyday life seem overwhelming, you may find yourself beginning to get distracted more easily. When your mind becomes focused on other things, this can be a sign that you need to slow down and take a break. Let yourself stare off into space for a few minutes and stop thinking about your responsibilities; even a few minutes of quiet thought can do wonders for achieving happiness.

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[4 Writing Tips] How to Use Symbolism in Fiction

“Symbolism is no mere idle fancy…it is inherent in the very texture of human life.” –Alfred Whitehead

This post shares writing tips for using symbolism in your work. Fiction can benefit from symbols which add meaning and aid in your readers’ understanding of the text. Whether this comes in the form of a word, place, character or item, it will represent more than an idea, creating multiple layers of meaning for your audience. Here are four writing tips for inserting symbolism into your novel.


Using Symbolism in Fiction [4 Writing Tips]

  1. Focus on Your Theme

Symbolism is about sharing new meanings with your readers that help weave together the overall theme of the book with the storyline. Start by creating a plot map, character web and list of themes for the book. Ask yourself what you want your audience to take away from reading your novel.

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