12 Titles in 12 Months: An Interview with Tracy Reed

WriteNowWorkshop Podcast is brand new and has some amazing information and fabulous interviews already. It’s hosted by one of my very good friends and author buddies, Kitty Bucholtz.  This particular interview plays along with the productivity stuff we talk about here on Confused and Terrified Writer. And it’s an amazing story.

12 Titles in 12 Months

In 2016 Tracy Reed wrote 12 titles in 12 months. Wow. Here I was thinking my 36k was impressive. Nope Tracy wrote and published 12 books. In 12 months.  Listen to the podcast and hear all about how she did it! Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast. If you’re not listening to podcasts you should be! Some of the best information out there about writing and publishing is on podcasts!!!!



Best Gifts For The Writer In Your Life

The word is I’m hard to buy a gift for. And maybe all writers are. I’m told that normal people have no idea what goes on in our heads.

I decided to spend some time thinking about why no one seems to know how to give a writer a gift.  What would make buying for us creative types easy?

Of course, research was called for. I checked with my writer friends, my readers and asked in my Facebook groups. This list, while of course, not complete,  is a list of things I heard over and over again.

So here you go normal-not-writer-types, this by category is what I came up with for you to get that very special writer in your life…

**Some of the links in the following article are affiliate links for which I’m paid a small commission but costs you nothing additional. For my full disclosure statement click here.**

First up? Software…


So far the most versatile writing software available for writers.  This software makes it possible to plot, plan, research and format all in one place. This one piece of, very reasonably priced, software has upped my productivity and made the whole novel writing experience so much easier than using Word or some other word processing software.  I love it so much that I’ve created a free class for it for my readers.

Scrivener Basics

There is a learning curve to Scrivener so if you are buying this for the writer in your life feel free to send them to my class so they can get started quick and easy with short video lessons, learning only the skills they need at there own pace for FREE.


If your writer is getting ready to indie publish and owns a Mac, this is a lifesaver. Vellum formats print and ebooks in all the needed formats and makes the entire process so easy. I want to kiss the guys that created Vellum. (I won’t of course, even if I meet them at a conference but I will probably gush like a fangirl)  This software is an indie authors dream.  It’s a bit more pricey than Scrivener but it is a powerful tool and pays for itself by the time you’ve published a book or two.


I’m really into productivity and streamlining my writing process so these two books by Chris Fox, in particular, have been extremely helpful.

Lifelong Writing Habit    and    5000 Words Per Hour

These books were amazing for my productivity and helped me to develop better writing habits. Chris is the real deal. Look him up here to see the kind of amazingness he’s accomplished and shared with his readers. Your writer will love him!

On Writing by Stephen King


This was the first book I read about writing that wasn’t assigned for a class in school. The first half is his autobiography where he talks about his childhood,  how he became a writer, and his harrowing accident that almost killed him.  The second half is his advice on writing. When I read this book I felt like I was sitting in a room with Stephen King while he shared with me his story and his writing secrets. I recommend buying this one in print for your writer because if they’re a nerdy learner like me they will want to make notes.

This next book is by a writer who also teaches other writers. She has a fabulous podcast and has published numerous nonfiction books on the craft of writing. This one, in particular, is all about characters

Creating Character Arcs by KM Weiland and (Nerd Alert we authors love these!) the Workbook to go with it!  Books on the craft of writing are always welcome. I find most writers to be lifelong learners and we’re always looking for ways to improve so these kinds of gifts are perfect, trust me.

To go along with these I’ve picked out some stuff to go with the books that all writers love:

Bullet Journal

Happy Planner


Generally speaking, all writers love paper,  pens, and ways to organize their time. The way to a writers heart is through office supplies and these are easy and good quality.

Conventions and Writing Groups…

These are always welcome to any writer. Writing is a solitary job so we love to get together with other writers and learn more about our craft and the business of writing. Honestly just being with other people who don’t look at you like you’re a nut when you tell them about the voices in your head is a gift in itself.

I always start with my peeps.

Romance Writers of America. Even if your writer doesn’t write romance RWA has an unequaled educational program. Romance writers are some of the hardest working writers out there and they love to share their knowledge with other writers.

They have a huge convention every year that is full of amazing authors and teachers and tons of people in the business. Your writer will come home from the RWA conference with a head full of knowledge and you will be the one that sent them there. That’s got to be good for some ‘you’re the best’ points for you!

RWA National Conference

List of Chapter Conferences these are smaller and more affordable so if there is one close to you these are really good options for a first conference so as not to be overwhelmed by National, which is huge!

Writer’s Digest also puts on a good conference. I haven’t attended this one but friends have recommended it and it appeals to all genres of writing.

RWA has local chapters and other events for your writer to attend throughout the year and Writer’s Digest has a publication that is available as well.

Writing Classes…

One of the classes I’ve found to be incredibly helpful and fun is MasterClass. They have a selection of video-based writing classes given by famous writers and this year they are offering an All Access Pass to all their classes for a very reasonable price.

I’ve personally taken the Shonda Rhimes Television Writing class and loved it.

Book Marketing Class…

I’m  offering 40% off to the readers of this post for my Visual Content Marketing for Authors class. If your writer is struggling with book marketing my class can help with that. Along with a private Facebook group for questions and critique.

I love to help other authors move forward in their career and visual content marketing is a great way to do that.

Here is a quick video

Any of those writing classes will be a hit with your writer. And giving all of them? Big points for you!

One of the biggest topics in writing circles now is mentoring and coaching. Individual and group coaching to bring your writing to the next level.

Is your writer having trouble getting to ‘The End’? Coaching can be really affordable and incredibly helpful to keep your writer on track.

WriteNowWorkshops offers one on one coaching to get that book finished! Your writer will be over the moon.

The last two are gifts that when I posted my question to my writer peeps about what they wanted, popped up the most.


Dedicated writing space. I understand that everyone has limitations on space in their homes but if as a gift you could give your writer space or better yet a room to write you would be in. If your writer doesn’t have that now I guarantee that is on the top of their gift list!

Here are some ideas from my Writing Space Pinterest Board

And last but not least?


For the modern writer who most likely has to work a day job and/or is busy raising children, running a household or just having a life, carving time out to write is difficult.  If you can think of a time in your writer’s schedule that they could consistently have that time just for their writing, give it to them.

Create a coupon book or a gift certificate that says Writing Time – 4 hours a week on Saturday mornings or whatever works for your family schedule. Encourage them to make time and to keep it. Don’t allow other family members to interrupt unless it’s life-threatening. Make sure they know what’s important to them is important to you. That would be the best gift of all!

Happy Gifting!






Using Scrivener For #NaNoWriMo #ScrivenerBasics

We’re coming up on NaNoWriMo like a freight train and I know everyone is getting nervous and excited. I’ve launched a free Scrivener class to help get your first document either set up or exported into Scrivener along with tips and tricks on that make Scrivener a powerful productivity tool.

Along with this if you sign up for the class you will have access to my free Confused and  Terrified Writer Facebook Group where you can ask questions and get help with your writing projects.

Here’s a quick video overview of the free class! And here is the link to sign up:

Scrivener Basics

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5 Reasons To Love Scrivener


I love Scrivener.  If the subject comes up I turn into a ridiculous gushing fangirl when describing how much I love it and why. I’d been trying to explain my nerdy love of this particular writing software to a group of writers a while back and they finally broke down and let me show them why. I taught a whole class on the reasons why I love it and how to use it. Shortly after it dawned on me that I should share this information with you, my readers.

Of course, there are way more than five reasons but these are my top five.

1. Setting up your book into individual scenes.  When I wrote my first book I did what most new writers do. I wrote it in Microsoft Word. That meant one long running document that made finding what I was looking for difficult and screwing up my document easy. When I discovered Scrivener before starting my second book I was amazed. There was a learning curve but just the idea of being able to break up my novel into scenes and being able to move them around and put them all back together was AWESOME!

2. Importing an existing document.  Most times by the time writers find Scrivener they’ve already started a manuscript.  Once I figured out how easy this was I was sold. The figuring it out took a little while but now that I know, I’m sold! Easy peasy.

3. Compiling a document.  This is one of the best features of Scrivener. You can save your work in many different formats and in many different places. You can put different parts of your document together, add notes, print, and format it all with one little button.  I use this for the many ways I back up my manuscript daily. I cannot say enough how many times this has been a saving grace. No joke.

4.  Project Targets.  Keeping track of your word count, project count and daily session count. This feature is a whiz of a productivity tool. Set your deadline for your project and you can see exactly how many words a day you must write to accomplish your goal. Deadlines are incredibly motivating for me so I adore this feature. And it’s sooooooo easy!

5. Corkboard/Outline View.  Putting each scene onto a virtual index card and being able to move them around however you want? Seriously cool. Being able to see a list of your outline with a touch of a button? This feature makes plotting simple, easy to move, add information, change and color code.

These features are only the beginning of what you can do in Scrivener. Can you tell I’m a fan?

A solution to the learning curve

If you’re put off by Scrivener because it’s one more piece of software to learn I  have a  solution for you. I’ve put together a Free course called Scrivener Basics.  The course teaches the bare bones of Scrivener with short videos and in a way that will make it easy to learn. You can choose what you want to know and get started quickly.

Sign up in the box below to get Scrivener Basics for free!









How I Wrote 36,000 Words in Six (and a half) Days

**This post contains affiliate links which cost you nothing additional but make me a small commission to keep the blog going. For my full disclosure statement click here**

I make money on some products and services that I talk about on this website through affiliate relationships with the merchants in question. I get a small commission on sales of those products.

That in no way affects my opinion of those products and services.

When I started hearing about writing fast or fast drafting a novel, as some call it, it never occurred to me that I could be one of those people. I mean sure other authors could write like that and they were crazy productive but me? No way. Being that I’m somewhere between a plotter and a pantser (what I call a plantser) when it comes to plotting that meant that getting the words on the page wasn’t exactly fast.

At the start of every day, I would read through and tediously go back over everything I’d written the day before. Worrying over every word choice, picking each sentence apart before I would even think about moving on to new writing for the day.

What I didn’t know was that this was killing my productivity. Because the editing brain and the writing brain exist on different sides, I had a terrible time switching between the two. The more conferences I went to and the more author friends I spoke to, the more I realized if I wanted to get the books done faster I needed to write faster and stop worrying about editing what had been written the day before. All that editing would need to be done at the end anyway so why bother with it while you’re writing new words?

I know some of you swear by editing as you go and I’m glad it works for you. For me, it was an excuse not to move forward.

So I stopped. (Okay sometimes I cheated but only a little) And it worked. I wrote new words every day.

Next, plotting.  My plotting process was slow. I knew the beginning and the end (vaguely) but what came in between was somewhat unclear and tedious to get through. I needed to know what was going to happen in the sagging middles. And they needed to not sag so much. More excitement, more twists, more turns. More.

While I was on the lookout for the more, Jessica Brody  spoke about the        Save the Cat plotting method at my local RWA meeting. Intrigued,  I took her two-day, in-person workshop. It was fantastic.  Eight people sitting around a table, throwing out ideas for their books, brain-storming. If you ever have the chance, go. I plotted all of Shimmer in two days and we had a great time.

But even without the workshop, Save the Cat worked for me. Short beats that gave me a direction for each scene. And story structure to make sure I was on the right track.

Just learning that system helped my productivity. Planning what I was going to write for the next beats either the night before or that morning meant I could sit down and write without trying to figure out what came next.

But I still needed to get faster. Even though I knew what came next some days I would spend all my writing hours staring at a flashing cursor. Ugh.

Then I met Chris Fox. He writes successfully in many genres, Men’s Adventure (The Ganog Wars Series), Science Fiction (The Void Wraith Trilogy)), Paranormal (Vampires Don’t Sparkle), but he is also a nonfiction writer.

We met in an online author networking group right around the time he started promoting his nonfiction books that were helping authors become more productive. I read his book 5,000 Words Per Hour and Lifelong Writing Habit. Both amazing books that turned my productivity around.

I learned how to organize my time and force my writing brain to cooperate even when I wasn’t in the mood. I practiced until I got into a rhythm of writing every day. I set timers, got faster, stayed accountable, wrote more and accomplished my goals. Woo hoo! It was working.

Then I went on a writing retreat with a friend. Peace and quiet for six and a half days of writing.  We focused, put headphones in, set timers, and got to work. When we got stuck we hung upside down to get the blood flowing to our brains, jumped up and down or did yoga when we were tired. We went for walks and brainstormed. We took breaks and gave ourselves rewards for finishing a goal.

And I finished a book. I wrote 36,000 words in six and a half days. I finished a book I’d been trying to write for a year. And it was so much fun.

Now I know that isn’t possible for all of you to go away for a week but you can do most of this stuff at home and figure out what works for you. Try different things, get together on Skype with other authors, be accountable for your word count, set up online writing sprints with your author friends, plan a weekend or even a one day retreat to get your words down.

And if all else fails, listen to Nora Roberts,

“You can’t fix a blank page.”

Make the time, butt in the chair, fingers on the keys, write.


P.S. There are some affiliate links in this post that earn a small commission to offset the costs associated with producing the blog! =)

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