Kill Your Darlings

As a writer, I’m sure you’ve heard this before. We love killing things and people, (metaphorically of course) so why is it so hard for us to “kill our darlings?”

Easy – We are writers, which means we are lovers. We get attached easily, especially to the most beautiful string of words we think we’ve ever written in our lives. Are you like me? Do you tend to somehow insert real-life scenarios, thoughts, people, feelings, and whatnot into your writing, even if it’s not labeled nonfiction?

You may not, and that makes you a much better writer than me because that’s the exact issue about killing your darlings. It feels good to write out things. You want to share your passions with people who can relate, but that’s not where the best writing comes from, and we all know that.

When writing, it’s easy to get swept up in the process of it and forget why you’re writing. As much as we wish it were true, writing is not for us. Writing is for your readers. I struggle with this constantly. It’s important to remember that the title, “writer” also goes along with “entertainer.”

You are not the only person who is going to read your writing so stop writing it for yourself. Who or what are the darlings that you need to kill? Is it a long lost family member? Maybe a shitty ex-lover who will never read or ever read your writing anyways? Stop writing for them.

This is not to say, don’t use them as inspiration. Absolutely use people. We do it all the time. But don’t pour your heart out in a poem or memoir saying all the things you wish you could say to them.

Instead, maybe try writing a fiction piece about how you hired an evil spirit to haunt them and write from the perspective of the spirit, or even the person being haunted. Try writing outside your own perspective and see what happens.

Kill. Your. Darlings.



When the world gets too exhausting-create.

We’re in the middle of an incredibly turbulent time, both as creators and humans. Historically, we’ve always found ways to cope and rebuild after times of tribulation and destruction. We create beautiful pieces of art, enduring literature, and we leave our legacies in the most artistic, thought provoking ways possible. We don’t want future generations to forget the suffering we went through, as well as how we coped with that suffering.

While in undergrad, I had a teacher tell the class that the world was a cycle: Enlightenment and the Dark Ages. We were currently cycling through the Dark Ages, with humans rejecting science, critical thinking, and human rights. At the same time, I wonder if this isn’t that strange in-between in which we’re coming out of the Dark Ages and we’re entering a period of Enlightenment, fighting to pull ourselves out of this dark hole we’ve created through the creation of new works of literature, new forms of writing, and the amazing art completely accessible to us through social media.

Things really blow right now. There’s no getting around that. Historically, we truly are living within one of the darkest periods of our history as human beings on this earth. We’ve forgotten who our brothers and sisters are. We’ve forgotten how to treat our neighbor with decency and kindness. We’re building new personalities online to separate ourselves from our loved ones. There’s a disconnect between ourselves, as creators, and the world at large. We’re dissociating from all that’s happening in order to preserve and protect our hearts.

It is absolutely exhausting.

We can’t forgot our abilities as creators to bring others together, though. We have to remember that it’s perfectly okay to put a piece of ourselves in our creations (though hopefully not literally, like Velvet Buzzsaw). We need to continue to reach out to those in the community to maintain connections with those like us, those who are fighting to maintain a beautiful world despite all the darkness consuming humanity right now. Not all things are lost, not all things are dead. We’re creators, we rebuild and we bring new life to things once lost.

This turned out a bit more optimistic than I’m currently feeling, as an editor and as a writer. I’m exhausted, writing is a tiresome process that requires more feedback and interaction than I can sometimes handle. But, this was something that not only needed to be written, but I needed to read. There are times where writing, and the writing community, can become so overwhelming I want to give up. Find a new hobby. But, now, more than ever, creating works of art will be what keeps our humanity afloat. It’s how we’ll continue to be the most empathetic and sympathetic creatures on the planet. If we lose this part of ourselves, if we lose our ability to create together, to build each other up, to allow ourselves new places to escape to when things are too much to handle, we’ll lose to this darkness swallowing the world right now.

We can’t let those who would do the world harm win. We can’t give up now. We have to continue to write. We have to continue to share our stories.  We have to continue to create new works of art that make the human mind stop and consider.

It’s imperative. It’s important.

– Lauren

Promoting Yourself Through Social Media

Today’s blog post is a topic near and dear to my heart: Social Media.

Let’s get started.

So you’re a writer, and you’re amazing, I’m sure, but no one will know until you get yourself out there. In our modern day and age, we have been blessed with social media, an underestimated tool that writers, companies, celebrities, and normal people use on a daily basis to reach others all over the world.

Some of the main social media sites include:






WordPress (more of a blogging site, but I’ll get to that)


The first step is creating your image. You may already have these social media sites and now you have to decide if you want to use your personal accounts or make a professional account. There’s no right or wrong answer here as long as you 1.) represent yourself, and 2.) keep it professional, or keep your image consistent.

The benefit of creating a professional account is being able to separate from your personal life. For example, you could be having a bad night and you decide to impulse tweet about your ex or a co-worker. Do you want the public to view you in this light? Or you can also just put it all out there if you like. Some people appreciate the honesty and humanity of personal tweets from authors.

Facebook: Almost everyone has one and in my opinion, for business purposes, it’s becoming the least exciting. On the other hand, Facebook is very vital to your image. Think of it as a dating profile: You need to have an account so people can find you because honestly, that’s probably one of the first places they will look. Here, you need to put all your vital information, links to your other social media accounts and POST REGULARLY, even if it’s not getting as much traffic, post here just as often.

Twitter: My favorite social media! Back in the day, Twitter used to be a place for young people to post random one-liners and “sub-tweet” about others. Now, it is an amazing market for writers and journals, not to mention news outlets, businesses, and celebrities. The key here is to again, have a profile that represents yourself and to share and promote your work. Twitter allows you to share only limited text, so this is a good site to share articles, links and quotes of your work. It’s also an amazing and easy site to network with. You can follow, retweet, like, use hashtags and contribute to trending topics, which is a lot to get into, but easy to grasp once you start.

Instagram: Some writers and journals stray from here because this is a pictures only site. In my experience working with The Ginger Collect, I’ve found that there’s still room for lit mags on Instagram, in fact, it works similarly to Twitter with the hashtag game. This site just requires you to be a little more creative in sharing text, like creating an image with a quote from your work, or you can be more personal with it and still share photos of your everyday life. Again, people like personable people. Just remember to use your hashtags!

Tumblr: I do not use this site professionally, but I wanted to mention it because there is still a market in it. Tumblr is basically a blogging site to share and repost anything: text, pictures, links, GIF’s, videos, music. Whatever you’re promoting, you can always share it here too.

Snapchat: I am only mentioning this because it’s a very popular form of social media, but there’s really no use in it professionally for a writer. A lot of celebrities use it, but in my experience, it seems to be more of a personal interaction among friends.

Lastly, I am mentioning WordPress, not really as a social media site, but rather as a website. If you are a writer and you want to get yourself out there, you need to have a website. WordPress offers a free site that you can customize freely (or you can pay for a private domain). A personal website is important because it’s like a home base for fans. Here you can tell people more about yourself, link all of your social media sites, share to social media sites from here and if desired, run your own blog- which is another way to get yourself out there and connect with others.

Overall: Social media is vital to promoting yourself and getting your work out there for others to read. Be confident! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me or respond below.


Adventures in Writing Plan Land

I think we can all agree- sometimes it’s just hard to find time to write. If you’re like me, I work a normal forty hours a week and writing is the second job that I fit into the spaces between work and socialization, which doesn’t leave much. I decided to read a lot of suggestions from successful writers and ultimately I found that they all agreed- you have to make time to write.

With that being said, I decided to try it for myself and come up with a writing plan that I could fit into my schedule. In a Google search for writing plans, most of them suggested similar ideas: Decide how much time to set aside, write consistently at the same time of day, and keep track of your progress somewhere visible.

Easy enough- here was my writing plan:

Fifteen minutes, every morning for a week.

I should preface that I have to be at work in the mornings by seven-fifteen, so my new writing plan required me to wake up by at least six each morning that I worked, which again, is still doable, but I found I had to make some slight life adjustments.


First of all, I had to go to bed earlier, which was hard for me because I’ve generally been a night owl and will do a lot of writing at night. Some people might ask why I didn’t decide to do my writing at night as part of my writing plan. A large part of the plan is making sure that it’s consistent and I find that my nights are not always consistent. Sometimes you get tired and go to bed early after work, or you socialize with friends or have too many drinks. The evening just wasn’t as promising as first thing in the morning.

The second thing I had to do was upgrade my coffee maker. I had been using a single cup brewer but found with getting up earlier, I was having to make multiple single cups of coffee, and it just made more sense to switch to a pot of coffee. With my upgrade to a pot of coffee, also came the ability to prep my coffee the night before and set a timer for it to brew each morning before I woke up. This was quite the game changer for me, I will admit. It is much easier to roll out of bed with the smell of coffee in the air.

The third thing I did was take the advice of the articles I read and write my progress on the large marker board calendar on my desk. I marked my beginning word count and pages and made a box to check off for each day for a week to make sure I fulfilled the day’s writing. I also kept track of my word count and pages for each day, which was nice to physically see my progress and how far I had gotten from my starting word count. It also felt nice to put a big X in the day’s box to show I did my writing for the day once I was done.

Also, to add some backstory- the writing I have been working on has been a long project of mine- a book I started a few years ago. Since I started, with no writing plan, I would just write in my spare time, between poetry and short stories and I would write at varying times and lengths of times, so there was really no organization. My book had been more of a hobby than an actual book it felt.

With doing all the suggestions, I will say that I am super pleased with the results. For one, I felt so much better going to work after getting my brain started and doing something that I love. I felt more awake, more accomplished and I found myself looking forward to the next day and continuing with my characters and what was going to happen next.

So here are the results of my writing plan:

Starting word count: 21,926 – page 75.

After one week, ending word count: 25,567 – page 87.

Each morning started with a few sips of coffee and reading the last two paragraphs over before starting my fifteen-minute timer. I learned how quickly fifteen minutes goes by the first morning. I realized that each sip of coffee took time away from my word count or if my phone wasn’t on silent and I received a notification it took time from my brain and thought process.

By the third morning, I felt like a pro. When I sat down to my computer, I was only there to write my story. I felt like I was racing my timer and that every second counted. I would look at the previous day’s word count and challenge myself to beat it. I was waking up early and I genuinely wanted to be there; it was a proud feeling.

The only downfall I would include in this plan is the lack of time to think while writing. Previously, I have always been a writer that will dwell, think about one sentence or paragraph, and make sure it was perfect before moving on. But with a timed plan, there is no time at all to sit and dwell. This, of course, is why editing exists. So I didn’t have a hard time not micro-managing my sentences, rather, I was getting to significant moments in the story where I needed to think about how I wanted a character to act or what I wanted to happen next, but I couldn’t just sit there and think it through.

This downfall was good and bad, I think. It was good in the aspect that I felt all my scenes were drawn out and more detailed. I also worked on developing the dialogue among characters because I had the time to write through the scenes while trying to think where I was taking them next. The bad part was the actual progress of the story. I wrote through maybe one vital scene in the book, but most of the writing was spent on character development.

Overall, by starting my writing plan, my book gained 12 pages and 3,641 words in two hours, and that feels like a win to me. I actually enjoyed my writing plan so much that I’ve continued it on a regular basis. I will be honest, I am more relaxed with myself on the weekends, but throughout the week, I still set aside time to meet with my characters before work and I’m continuing to see my word count grow as a result.

From one writer to another, if you find yourself reading this post and consider developing your own writing plan, I would say do it, absolutely. I think each plan should be different and cater to the writer’s lifestyle or else you might find yourself resenting your writing time and develop it into a negative experience. So go forth, stay in love, or fall in love with your craft and get the words out. Just write.


The Magic of Storytelling Podcasts

Anybody who knows me personally knows I love podcasts. I subscribe to several, listen to them weekly, and I try to interact with the creators on Twitter as much as possible just to let them know I’m listening to their work. Kind of like how it’s a good idea to contact writers to let them know you’re reading their work.

There are several different kinds of podcasts, but I’m pretty partial to the storytelling pods that focus on the stranger aspects of life. Or true crime. I absolutely love True Crime Garage). Anything that tells a story in a cohesive (or moderately cohesive) manner and is interesting to me I’ll try out at least once. Some pods can be short and some are long and some are just a few episodes. You can find one for any mood you’re in that day.

Found on Reddit but if you know the origin, let me know.


Podcasts make learning and research interesting for me. I spend a lot of time doing research for various topics when I’m writing because what I know is very limited and I like to learn about and write about new things. Broaden my horizons. Get to know other historical events. It’s really fun. Podcasts introduce me to cryptids, historical events, legends, cold cases, murders, and neat people. I can sit and listen to one while I’m at work or while I’m at home piddling on Sims or cooking. I listen to podcasts with my loved ones when we travel. My sister falls asleep listening to them just about every night.

Podcasts can also be somewhat comforting. When you listen to certain ones long enough their voices become familiar and can also be used as a grounding tool for anxiety and depression. I found podcasts about a year ago when I started to want to know more about Mothman (I luv Mothman) and found Astonishing Legends. It was through Scott and Forrest I learned about my new favorite obsession, the Count of St. Germain. He’s become a pretty big part of my writing for the last year, as well as my research and book purchasing and conversations….

Anyway, it was through podcasts I realized how hard it was to tell stories as well as write them. It’s one thing to actually write the timeline and do the research and then write out the story, and it’s another one entirely when you’ve done all that already and now you’re in front of a microphone and you’re trying not to trip over your words and holy shit, I’ll have to edit at least five minutes of that ramble later, etc. It made me realize that when I write, I need to make sure the voice I use is consistent. Good podcasts have consistent voices. Good books have consistent voices. Good pods and books have well vetted research. Good pods and books work hard to promote themselves and connect with their audience. Good pods and books are full of love and compassion and endearment for the actual project. When it’s obvious that you love and enjoy what you do, your audience will love and enjoy the work.

And you can’t stop just because you’re tired or you’ve got writers block. If you’re putting out work once a week (like most pods do) then you’ve got to really make yourself sit down and work for it, even when you’re not feeling it. There are people dependent on what you do and make. There are people who use your work to calm themselves down or sleep or research or make conversation. There are people who use your work to connect to another human being, even if it’s just your words or your voice. And the same goes for writing and publishing. You can’t stop just because you’re not into it or it’s too hard.

Image result for podcast memes

So, if you’re already into podcasts, hopefully you read this and you feel what I’m saying. If you’re not into podcasts and want to be, I’m always down to talk about which ones I listen to. If you’re not into podcasts and don’t wish to be, that’s alright too. But I definitely recommend them as a means of research, at least.

Oh, and if you find I’m missing for various amounts of time it’s because I actually reached out to Astonishing Legends as a huge fan and asked to join the ARC and now I research for AL as a volunteer and I love it. It gives me the opportunity to research so many interesting topics and the guys are great and my fellow researchers are awesome and it’s just a great community. So, I highly recommend reaching out to your favorite podcasters, because they appreciate it.