Betty's Tips

Happy New Year, dear readers!

As we start a new year, I am reflecting a bit on what this writing journey is all about. It seems to me that writing is more than an art; it is a way of life. However, writers find challenges from a lot of internal and external obstacles.

An issue that some people do not consider is the effects of the negative attitudes that their family and friends have about their work. For some reason, some non-authors believe that writing is a code word for "mid-life crisis" or "unemployed." On the other hand, they might overblow the reality of being a writer into something that means instant success and might be disappointed when they learn you are still revising the book you started last Christmas.

Nevertheless, the most important thing to do is to ignore the comments and physically show all the skeptics that you are the real thing. Showing and not telling is essential in real life as well as in fiction. Writing is for you and not for anyone else. The only way anyone can become a great writer is from practice and finding the strength from deep inside.

However, that is when the real work starts. Motivation becomes less of a word and more of a survival technique and a code of discipline and routine.

This requires writers to take their usual habits and put them into overdrive. It becomes a matter of making the daily schedule fit your needs and finding any free time to work, even at 1 a.m. Setting boundaries socially and mentally can make things easier. Know that you can manage to write three pages and that you do not have to go to every single social event. 

However, what is the good of all work and no play? Award system, the pat on the back for finishing a chapter, is good reinforcement. No one works hard without expecting something in return. And how better to celebrate your hard work and accomplishment than with a reward? 

The dawn of a new year is the perfect time to take a step back and regroup. Think about the past year and all of the goals you did or did not achieve. What went wrong or what did you do right? Resolutions are finicky ideas that have the success rate of a holey parachute. I think people expect way too much, but put in too little effort. You are the only person who can reach the goals you set every year. What you put into your work determines if you will make it or not. Reinventing yourself does not stop there. Incorporating literacy into your life can give you new perspectives. It means soaking up other types of material and getting back to reading for fun, for example. Plus this could also be a time for organizing and using all those holiday gift cards to do a bit of shopping and redecorate the old writing nook.

As a member of a terrific writers group, I always recommend looking to your fellow writers and seasoned veterans, because they nearly always have the right thing to say.  Remember, they have experienced everything you are going through right now--including a lack of confidence, writers block, and rejection. Also, seek out friends and family because sometimes, at the end of the day, they are all you have. 

Persevere and enjoy yourself during the new year, and start off 2018 right!

Betty Wryte-Goode

Betty Wryte-Goode is a writer and mother who lives in the Lehigh Valley. Her passions include writing, reading, shopping, gardening, and exploring the internet. Betty is always looking for writing tips, so if you have any you would like to share, please send them to her through our Submissions/Contacts page.

Mixed Up Words of the Month...


It doesn't take a grammar scholar to figure out that the word "hopeful" means "full of hope." We use it in such sentences as, "The students were hopeful that the predicted storm would give them a snow day." 

The word "hopefully," however, is often incorrectly used as a synonym for "we (I, you, he, she) hope(s) in  such sentences as,  "Hopefully, we will all stick to our New Year's resolutions." 

But if we look at the -ly suffix on hopefully, we will understand that it is, in fact, an adverb. Adverbs tell us how something is done (e.g. the ketchup poured out slowly.) Slowly is the adverb in that sentence.

The adverb hopefully means that something is done in a hopeful manner. Clearly, using the example above, it does not make sense to say that, "In a hopeful manner, we will have a snow day tomorrow."

Rather, hopefully tells a reader how hope is expressed or felt. For example, it is correctly used in: "We might have a snow day tomorrow," Jane said hopefully. 

Putting them together: We are hopeful that this will help you to use hopefully as an adverb!