Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Multi-Tasked Businesswoman: Surviving and Thriving! -Part 1

Businesswomen are a unique by virtue of the role women play in the corporate world as well as at home. Women function as significant others, mothers and are caregivers to senior adults. Add operating a business on top of that and it you may wonder when a woman has time to even breathe! With all that a businesswoman has to do, it's not impossible to "survive and thrive"! 

So, who is this multi-tasked businesswoman or the "sandwiched entrepreneur" (a term some use)? Whatever term you wish to coin, the definition is: The business woman who manages to juggle the responsibilities of owning and running a business AND carrying out the responsibilities as a significant other, mother and caregiver.

The Multi-Tasked Businesswoman – Surviving and Thriving!- Part 2

By Fairy Hayes-Scott

As I wrote in my previous blog post, the multi-tasked businesswoman is also known as the  "sandwiched entrepreneur" and this is because women sometimes find themselves "sandwiched" in between taking care of their children and their parents or other senior family members. 

If you're a businesswoman and believe that you will be the primary caregiver of a senior loved one, strongly urge your loved one to set up a living will trust with your being the Executer; this will save you a lot of time by not having to deal with Probate Court. 

Now, if your loved one refuses this air-tight legal method, try to convince him or her at least to set up a basic will. Is this really necessary? Yes, indeed. Whenever assets or money are involved, everything needs to be clearly specified. 

The Multi-Tasked Businesswoman: Surviving and Thriving– Part 3

In my last post, I wrote about how important it is for the multi-tasked businesswoman to take care of her family and make sure her children remain a priority. In this post, I want to  discuss the importance of staying competitive. 
Like everything else in business, this will take some effort. If you are a businesswoman and enjoying some level of success, don't rest on your laurels. Make sure you keep moving forward and learn about the latest changes in your industry. Also, find out what you will need – and who you will need – to help your business. Here are 5 suggestions:

Friday, December 9, 2016

A Q&A With Cavis Adams, Author of "Granddaddy"

Cavis Adams (MANA) welcomes Cavis Adams to the MANA Family. A Minneapolis firefighter and medical interpreter, Adams has released his first book titled, Granddaddy. The story details the dashed hopes of a young African American couple from the South who move to Minneapolis, and their son, who experiences a “spiritual rebirth” after visiting his grandfather in Birmingham, Alabama. His grandfather is granted a lifetime of memories after fearing he would forever be a mere memory herself. 

MANA: Briefly describe to readers what Granddaddy is all about. 
Cavis Adams (CA):  Granddaddy is a story about a young “Negro” couple who leaves the South during racial unrest and hostility (during the onset or blooming of the Civil Rights era). 

The couple goes North, like so many blacks of that era, in hopes of escaping the hardship and hostility and to search for a better quality of life in the form of job opportunities. The couple becomes disillusioned after discovering that the North has its own branding of hardship, and life in the city is affecting them and their Northern-born son in negative ways. 

The decision is made to send the child back down South to spend part of the summer with his grandfather, a sharecropper, very humble and dated in material progress, but without limit in life and lesson. The child has a real “spiritual rebirth” here in this enriching bosom of nature and fundamental values.  
Even as the child has grown from this experience; for both parent and child alike there are lessons to be learned. Problems do surface, but the deepest solutions can be rediscovered through traditional roots. Above all this, there is the miracle of Granddaddy himself, who is granted a lifetime of memories with his grandson, even after fearing he would forever be a mere memory himself. The moral of the story could be said of looking to traditional values and morals as a source of deep-rooted solutions to the increasing superficial problems that come with modernity.    

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

3 Tips On Revising Your Work Before Unleashing It To The World!

NOTE: This is a reprint from The MANA Sunset Newsletter of October 2015. The article is helpful for all writers, but especially those participating in National Novel Writer's Month

by Holly Taylor
The MANA Sunset Newsletter

Dear Readers, 

This month I offer you practical wisdom for revising. I remain fixated with this topic because it’s my biggest struggle as a writer. The other day I had a friend read through a story I’d just written. I was shocked with myself for how defensive I became as the friend offered me his insights into making the story better. We share common interests in literature and writing style--needless to say, I was astonished at my own deference. 

Don’t guard your words like a protective mother. Heed the advice of what others tell you and take your writing to the next level. Don’t be blinded by illusions of grandeur. Remain humble abour your writing. Keep yourself open and your mind willing to bend. However, keep your readership in mind. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Winning the Procrastination Battle Over Writing Your Book

Do you often find yourself putting off writing your book even though you know this is a major goal you want to accomplish?
While you may want to become a published author, don’t be surprised if you become frustrated with yourself because it hasn’t yet happened. You may see other writers making progress and wonder why you can’t. Well, you don’t have to wonder any more. 
It’s time to stop the procrastination and get down to writing your book! Easier said than done, right? Well, before you get started, ask yourself these questions:
1.Do you really want to take on this project? 
2. Is there a common thread running through writing and other tasks you are putting off? 
3. Are you afraid to fail?

Thursday, October 6, 2016

MANA Offers Educational Resource Package For Teachers

If you are a teacher, you're frequently looking for new resources to use for your students.

 If you are interested in finding something new, then look no further than (MANA). 

We support educators and strive to help them in any way we can, whether it’s assisting them in their self-publishing efforts through MANA, or their traditional publishing efforts through MANA's parent company, Robbie Dean Press, or donating a percentage to the author's school, college or organization, and other endeavors. 

With that in mind, MANA is now offering Online Resources For All Teachers whether seasoned or new, elementary or secondary, college or university. We have something for everyone. MANA’s Online Resources For All Teachers contains photos, podcasts, grammar exercises, poetry readings, a literary journal, book excerpts, and much, much more!

These online resources are not based on theory, but were selected–and have been used–by a college professor who has taught middle school, community college and four-year college students as well as functioned as a supervisor of student teachers. So these resources are the type of materials that can be used many times for various purposes.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Get "Recipes For Life" This October

October is National Cook Book Month and (MANA) has just the book to celebration this annual event. Recipes for Life by Cindy Nicholls is more than just a cookbook. This book not only has recipes but also adds a dash of motivation and a pinch of encouragement on every page. Recipes for Life provides "physical food" for its readers, but it also has "positive inner food for thought and guidelines to help feed-stimulate the body, mind and spirit," according to Ms. Nicholls.

The first part of the book has basic recipes and the "how to" of buying, storing, and cooking foods, basic kitchen tools and food safety rules to start cooking and eating healthier. Recipes range from hot chicken dip and hummus appetizers; to cheesy garlic bread, to Portuguese Soup. Ms. Nicholls describes the second part of this book as having "Spiritual-inner food ideas for healthier thoughts, less stress, and positive growth. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Newly Released Book Provides Writing Strategies To English Students

Dr. Erin Knoche Laverick’s new book, Learning to Write for Academic Success in Undergraduate and Graduate Schools, provides a roadmap for students to follow while in higher education English courses. 

English language instructors will find the textbook user-friendly in regard to planning their daily lessons because it includes useful activities that can easily be completed in a traditional fifty-minute class period. This book helps students to write a wide range of writing assignments, from article reviews and literature reviews, to annotated bibliographies, and argumentative research papers.

“Using the writing process and the graphic organizers provided in the textbook, students are taken step-by-step through the process of writing different genres of essays,” Dr. Laverick says. “With a heavy research component, reading strategies are also included, so students can best learn how to read academic writing and implement it into their research writing."

Sunday, August 28, 2016

MANA's Dr. Fairy Hayes-Scott, Featured Speaker At Women's Virtual Success Summit

Are you an author, businesswoman or entrepreneur and want to learn more secrets of success? Then, see and learn from the best-in-their-class speakers and teachers from around the world, including MANA’s Own, Dr. Fairy Hayes-Scott, featured at the 2016 Women’s Virtual Success Summit this Labor Day weekend. 

The Women’s Virtual Success Summit runs from Friday, September 2 to Monday, September 5 and boasts more than 40  speakers from six continents. Dr. Hayes-Scott, owner of and its parent company, Robbie Dean Press, will speak twice on Saturday, September 3 at:

• 7:00 a.m. Pacific/10:00 a.m. Eastern on: “The Multi-tasked Businesswoman–Significant Other, Mother, and a Senior's Caregiver– Surviving & Thriving!” 

• 3:00 p.m. Pacific/6:00 p.m. Eastern, on: “How to Run a Company on a Shoestring Budget with No Shoes and A Lot of Home Responsibilities, Too!”

The Women’s Virtual Success Summit is hosted by Iolande V. Argent, an award-winning author and poet, international speaker and radio talk show personality who can be heard weekly in Sacramento, California on KUBU 96.5 FM on the “Iolande Argent Show.”

This is free event hosted entirely online and features interactive sessions as well as prerecorded workshops for women who want to start a business, write a book; grow an existing business; or find their true calling as an entrepreneur.

Attendees can claim their free ticket by registering at or by visiting the event website at

DR. C’s Tip #3: It's Up To Authors To Promote Their Books

You've written and published your first book, now what? 

It's now time to promote it! However, when it comes to marketing, authors sometimes find it hard to do on their own. So, it's not uncommon for authors to hire marketing companies to promote their books. 

However, it does not matter which marketing company you work with to advertise your book because you – the author –  definitely need to “push” your book, too. 

You, as the author, need to let people know when your book will make its debut. And once published, you and the marketing agency need to discuss a strategy to promote the work and develop steps to carry out the promotion.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

DR. C’s Tip #2: Know What Traditional Publishers Expect

One of the most important decisions authors have to make is deciding on whether to self-publish their work or find a traditional publisher.

In many cases, new authors want a traditional publisher because of the numerous services they can provide to their customers. However, what authors may not know is traditional publishers want more than just a manuscript.

So, here is my tip: Make sure you read (and re-read) a publishing company's submission guidelines before sending your manuscript.

This may take some time, but it will help you to narrow the list of companies that are willing to accept your work. Please understand that publishers have certain requirements because they want to make sure your work will be a good fit for them and most importantly, whether they can sell your book.

While each traditional publishing company has different requirements, here are just a few of the most common ones you will find:

Monday, July 25, 2016

Five-Minute Podcast For Aspiring or Seasoned Authors

Editor's Note: To find out more about the "Five, Fast, Five-Minute Podcasts From RDP/MANA's Dr. C, click HERE

Dr. C, writing coach for provides tips and advice on today's podcast for aspiring and seasoned authors.

Friday, July 22, 2016

MANA's FYI Fridays Podcast

Editor's Note: To find out more about the "Five, Fast, Five-Minute Podcasts" From RDP/MANA's Dr. C, click HERE. 

MANA's Dr. C. answers your questions about authors, sandwiched entrepreneurs, online educators, or people who are stomped over grammar or punctuation and may be too shy to ask.

Listen to Dr. C's podcasts on Monday through Friday over the next five weeks. If you have questions about these topics, ask Dr. C. and she will answer your question in MANA's FYI Friday's' Podcast. Email Dr. C. with your questions:

Be sure to check the MANA Sunriser Blog to listen to the 5-minute podcasts that you missed this week. In the meantime, listen to MANA's FYI Fridays podcast below: 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

MANA's Grammar/Punctuation Gotcha Corner

Editor's Note: To find out more about the "Five, Fast, Five-Minute Podcasts" From RDP/MANA's Dr. C, click HERE. 

Do you have problems with grammar? Do you wonder where to place commas, semicolons, and other punctuation marks? In this podcast, MANA's Dr. C. offers tips to help you resolve your issues with grammar.

Listen every Thursday for the next five weeks to "MANA's Grammar/Punctuation Gotcha Corner

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

MANA's Podcast For Online Educators: Keeping Students On-the-Line

Editor's Note: To find out more about the "Five, Fast, Five-Minute Podcasts" From RDP/MANA's Dr. C, click HERE. 

Are you an educator who teaches course online? Are you having trouble keeping your students interested? In this podcast, MANA's Dr. C. offers tips to help you keep your online students interested and "on-the-line.

Listen every Wednesday for the next five weeks to "MANA's Podcast For Online Educators: Keeping Students On-the-Line" 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

MANA's Five-Minute Podcast for the Striving Sandwiched Entrepreneur

Editor's Note: To find out more about the "Five, Fast, Five-Minute Podcasts" From RDP/MANA's Dr. C, click HERE

Are you an entrepreneur and find yourself "sandwiched" into taking care of your children and your aging parents, all while carrying on your business? Then MANA's Dr. C. has some advice for you in this podcast.

Listen every Tuesday for "MANA's Method of Madness for the Successful Sandwiched Entrepreneur." 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Introducing the Free, Fast, Five-Minute Podcasts!

If you are an author, entrepreneur, educator or interested in grammar, our “Free, Fast, Five-Minute Podcasts” are just for you. Visit our MANA Sunriser Blog over the next five weeks to hear advice, tips, and insights from Dr. Fairy C. Hayes-Scott, also known as Dr. C, MANA's writing coach. 

Dr. C. is an author, editor, college professor, and owner of Robbie Dean Press (RDP), which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. RDP is the parent company of (MANA). The podcast series is  one of many ways the companies are celebrating RDP's anniversary this year. 

The podcasts are aimed at aspiring and seasoned authors, entrepreneurs who find themselves “sandwiched” in between taking care of their children and their parents, online educators, grammarians, an anyone with questions about the above topics.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Robbie Dean Press Celebrating 25th Anniversary With Free Consultation

Robbie Dean Press (RDP) continues to celebrate its 25th anniversary with a free 25-minute consultation with writers and small publishers who are seemingly hitting roadblocks. 

RDP, the parent company of and a traditional textbook publishing company, began on July 13, 1991. No company lasts for 25 years or even 14 without you, the customers. So, we want to give back to you! 

Click HERE to check out a previous blog to find out about the year-long specials in honor of RDP. From now until July 13, take advantage of FREE consultation (a $125 value).

• Are you a writer, stuck or facing writer's block? MANA can help!

• Are you a college professor wanting to get a work published that will benefit your 
  students and key textbook publishers tell you "your market is too small"? RDP can help!

• Are you a writer who wants to know how to become published? MANA can help!

• Are you frustrated by contacting so many publishers? MANA can help!

• Are you a small publisher that needs a little support? MANA can help! 

Then take advantage of our free consultation. Read more to find out how RDA and MANA can help:

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Dr. C's Tip: It's Important To Follow Your Publisher's Advice

If you’re having your worked published by a traditional publisher, in many cases, you’re placed in the position where you must adhere to the publisher's suggestions for change. However, when you choose to self publish your work, there is much more leeway. 

The old saying by musical legend, James Brown, comes into play: “I paid the cost to be the boss." With self publishing, it’s very common for you to feel that you’re the boss! After all, it’s your money and as the author, you have the right to have the final say. While this is true, it can prove to be costly, in more ways than one! 

If you are just starting out, be open to suggestions from your publisher. If you have a self publisher that gives you suggestions, it is wise to consider them, particularly if this is your first time self publishing a book. 

Yes, as author, you may be the boss but not necessarily the expert in publishing. An established self-publishing company has published many books. So, if a representative makes a suggestion, it would be beneficial for you to listen and implement that suggestion. 

Friday, July 1, 2016

It's Time To Clear Your Roadblock!

If you’re an author, what is the biggest self-imposed roadblock that you face? It’s that small voice that whispers in your ear and says, “Who are you to think that you can write a book?”
Most authors have heard that familiar voice. However, those words can and should be ignored. Why? Because you have an important message that only you can share. No one has a story exactly like yours. So, it’s important that you, the author, tell your unique story and write your book from your own perspective. 
When you fully understand this, you’ll free yourself of your self-imposed roadblock. You’ll also attract your perfect audience—those readers who “get” you because they can relate to the words that you have written. Your readers will take your work and help spread your message far and wide. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

So, What's the Plan?

When it comes to writing books, there’s so much to focus on, such as coming up with a story idea, developing the plot, and creating characters, just to name a few things. However, there’s one important feature writers sometimes overlook but is crucial to the success of a book, and that is having a plan for the book.

So, why is a plan important? Simply put, a plan helps writers with organizing their book. A book plan is similar to designing a building. Architects, for instance, ask their clients how large a house they want to build, how many rooms, and how much space they would like to have in each room.  Similarly, writers need to make several determinations before they start writing or “building” their book. 

Dr. Willard Grosvenor Bleyer, an author and journalism professor in the early 1900s, wrote extensively about how to plan newspaper articles and books. What’s so amazing is that even though Dr. Bleyer produced his works over 100 years ago, the points he makes about writing are still relevant today! According to Dr. Bleyer, writers need to consider: 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

What's Your Book-Writing Goal?

If you are considering writing a book, one of the most important questions you should ask yourself is: “What is my goal for writing this book?” While making money off of your work is important, it should not be your only goal for writing a book.
Setting a book-writing goal is the step that most new authors seem to skip. Without establishing a goal, it may be difficult for you to stay focused and motivated to continue writing your book. 
A book-writing goal can be personal (“because I want to be able to say ‘I wrote a book!’”) or it can be all business (“because I want to give it to my clients at my next live event”). Sometimes authors dream of being on the New York Times’ Best Sellers’ list. Or you might want to pen your memoirs only for your family members. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Having Their Say: Veteran Authors Share Military And Life Experiences

I am a poet by life experience and Army Officer by trade. Captain Adrian Massey wrote this on his blog in 2008 during his second tour in Iraq. While there, Captain Massey shared with his readers life “as I know it” in Baghdad: “The good, the bad, and the ugly.” 

Veterans and service members who are authors have stories to tell and they are sharing them in their own special way, whether at home or on active duty as Captain Massey, who also penned a book of poetry titled, A Soldier’s Poetic Response: A Slice of His Life. (To read his poem, “The Bugle Calls” in tribute of those who gave their lives for our country, click HERE)

Some veterans receive help with their writing, thanks to major supporters such as The Veterans Writing Project. The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization, funded by veterans and their family members, offers writing seminars and workshops for veterans, service members, and their adult family members. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

5 Research Tips For Authors

If you’ve started writing your book, you may already have the title, plot, characters, and chapter outlines. However, there’s one more thing that you will need to do during the writing process, and that’s research.  

Research is necessary if you want an authentic and well-written book. Nothing is worse than having your readers tell you that your book contains incorrect facts, dates and other information.  (To read our other blog post, "Before You Write – Research!", click HERE

A good book has three dimensional, believable characters, conflict, a climax, and a resolution to the conflict. Research will help you fulfill these and other elements needed to develop a successful page-turner.

So, what exactly should you research? Where do you find information? Here are 5 tips to help you get started:  

Saturday, April 9, 2016

"Story Of A Heartache" By Doris A. Zarzycki

Editor's Note: In honor of April as National Poetry Month, we are highlighting poetry from MANA authors.

You think you can't get over a heartache.
Somehow you do survive,
Even if you made a mistake,
Be glad you got out of it alive.

Remember the part that was good.
Don't berate yourself the blame
You tried the best that you could.
In the end, you lost
It seems such a shame.

For every heartache,
There's a lesson to be learned.
Don't make the same mistake again.
Why do you want to keep getting burned?

One thing about a heartache,
You may think you are going to die.
But you don't, you keep on living.
You are not sure why.

From the book, God's Gift to Me,  I Share With You–Book 1 by Doris Zarzycki
CLICK HERE to find out more information on the book. 

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Introducing MANA's Online Publishing Course: "From Writer’s Block to Conference Exhibitor "

While a sunset is a beautiful sight to behold, looking at the sunrise won’t get your manuscript published! 

Do you want to publish a book but you’re procrastinating because you don’t know where to start? Writing a manuscript is only part of the publishing process. There’s so much more involved in publishing a book that goes beyond writing a quality manuscript. 

If you want to become a published author someday, and believe that you need more guidance before setting out on your publishing journey, then consider MarketingNewAuthor’s (MANA) new online publishing and marketing course, From Writer’s Block to Conference ExhibitorNo, you will not become rich overnight. However, this course will provide you with the information and guidance you'll need to hone your skills as a writer and take a step from being a skilled author to becoming a savvy marketer of your work. 

Dr. Fairy C. Hayes-Scott, owner of Robbie Dean Press, the parent company of MANA, is representing MANA as instructor of the online publishing course. The comprehensive online course is for beginners who want to become published, for published authors, and for authors who are interested in marketing themselves and their short stories, novels, poetry, textbooks or other publications. 

The online course of 15 video lessons provides:

• Specific strategies for those experiencing writer's block
• Improving methods for developing setting, characters, and plot
• Editing techniques
• Opportunity to have excerpts of work published on MANA's website
• One-on-one response to your work by the instructor to work
• Clear explanation of the publishing processes of self-publishing and traditional publishing
• Methods to choose artists and graphic designers for book covers and interiors
• Specific marketing strategies
• Methods to prepare for marketing and presenting at major book conferences

To find out  more about the online course, click on this link to MANA's email address and, within 24 hours, you will be sent the introductory video and Lesson One for FREE!

To view the full outline for the online video course, From Writer’s Block to Conference Exhibitor, and for a FREE preview of Lesson One, click HERE to visit MANA's website. 

Have questions? Contact MANA at

Friday, April 1, 2016

April is National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month is the largest literary celebration in the world. Established by the American Academy of American Poets in 1996, the celebration is celebrating its 20th anniversary of bringing public awareness to the art of poetry. 

The goals of National Poetry Month include:

• Encourage the reading of poems

• Assist teachers in bringing poetry into their classrooms

• Increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media

• Encourage increased publication, distribution, and sales of poetry books

• Encourage support for poets and poetry

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

What's Your Genre?

If you have always dreamed of being a writer, you can live your dreams by writing and self-publishing your book. The first thing that you need to do is to know your genre. A genre is the class or category of written works, of which the most popular include science fiction, romance, and mystery and suspense.
The one rule of writing is that you should write what you know. If you have a specific genre that you read, such as women’s fiction or legal thrillers, chances are this is what you will want to write about. Review your interests and the type of books that you read before deciding on your genre. 
Since there are many different genres available in both fiction and non-fiction, have a plan of what it will be about and the genre it will fill. If you are not sure of your book’s genre, take a trip to your local bookstore, find the books that you like to read and see in what genre the store places the books.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

5 Ways To Silence Your Inner Writing Critic

Have you heard the adage, “Everyone is a critic?" It’s true. And, when it comes to writing a book, the biggest critic of all is staring right back at you through the mirror. 

As an author, no one has to come down hard on you because you are already putting yourself into a vicious head lock as it is. “I have writer’s block,” “I don’t know how to develop my characters,” “How do I end this story?” These and other questions can plague writers so much that they can become paralyzed and fail to finish their manuscript.

They say that you can talk to yourself as long as you don’t answer back. If you don’t answer back, however, the potentially negative thoughts will continue unchallenged. And this is not a good thing for authors. Allowing negative self-talk to dominate your mind can stop your creativity from flowing. When this happens, the momentum stops for creating a masterpiece. 

This doesn’t have to happen. There are things you can do to send that cynical noisemaker packing, finish your manuscript and publish your book. Here are 5 ways that will help you to get over yourself:

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Contribute to MANA's Blog Continuous Short Story And Help The Flint Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (MANA) presents its annual fundraiser that we call, "MANA's Blog Continuous Short Story." We would like to thank each and every one of you who took the time to contribute your comments to the 2015 short story fundraiser that benefited the Alzheimer's Foundation of America. (Click HERE to view our 2015 short story.)

MANA and its parent company, Robbie Dean Press, have supported different scholarship funds and charities for years. "MANA's Blog Continuous Short Story" is yet another way of supporting charitable causes and organizations. The designated charity for 2016 is the Flint Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a public service sorority in Flint, Michigan. 

The Flint Alumnae Chapter is currently involved in helping to provide water to citizens in Flint, Michigan where the drinking water has been contaminated by lead from aging water pipes. There are many people who have and will be donating bottled water. However, Flint residents will continue to need bottled water as well as water filters. To find out more about the Flint Water Crisis, click HERE

The Chapter serves the community by partnering with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, the North End Soup Kitchen, the League of Women Voters, the Flint Public Library, the Flint Institute of Music, and the Flint Institute of Arts, to name a few. 

This is how "MANA's Blog Continuous Short Story" works: 

1. The photo in this blog post serves as a prompt. The first person to post can write five sentences or more based on the photo prompt. 

2. The next writer should add to the story of the first post. After that, every writer should add to the story of the previous writer.

3. For every 20 posts of five sentences or more, MANA will donate $10 to the Flint Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

This activity is twofold: It will provide money to purchase water filters for Flint residents and will allow an opportunity for you to be a part of a creative experience. 

So, be the first one to post your comment below and encourage others to post so that we can   get our 2016 campaign started!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Advice To Writers: Stop Complaining!

Find ways to move past your frustrations to complete
and publish your manuscript.
"I have writer's block!" "I don't know where I'm going with this story (or character)" "I've lost my inspiration, I can't finish this story!"  "Who's going to buy this book anyway?" 

How many times have you heard these statements from a writer or if you are a writer, have said these things yourself? When it comes to being successful in completing your manuscript – or for accomplishing any goal – the best place to start is by making a commitment to yourself to stop complaining!  

Of course, it is perfectly fine to question your decisions to write a character a certain way, to revise your entire storyline, and to remain thoughtful and analytical at all times. However, you can't move forward when you're complaining or consistently doubting yourself and your writing abilities. Berating yourself is counterproductive and takes your eyes off of your goal, which is to complete and publish your manuscript. 

If you find yourself in this situation, here are three tips to keep your fingers humming along on the keyboard until you have completed your manuscript:

1. Do more research. Whether it's a fiction or nonfiction book, it's important that writers research the subject of their stories. For instance, if your story is a historical romance set in the American West in the mid-1800s, find out about the culture, customs, politics and personalities of the people who lived during that time. Was there a major event that occurred during that time? Let that become  a turning point in your story for one or more of your characters. 

2. Skip to the next chapter. If you find yourself hitting a snag with a character or a scene or developing the next chapter, move on, don't stop. For instance, insert the information you found in your research into another part of the story, or create another scene, or expand the role of an already established character. The point is not to stop because you hit a bump in the road, keep on going. 

3. Generate ideas to add to your story. It's amazing how many ideas you can generate on your own by talking with others. Is your friend going to physical therapy because of a sore shoulder? Are your cousins planning a family reunion? Is your co-worker having repair work done on her home? You can use all of these examples in some way in your story. Your readers will relate to the details you insert about everyday life. 

4. Review and your revise you work. If you need to take a breather, review what you have written so far. If something is not working, revise your work and take another approach. 

5. Talk with other writers. Writers are willing to share their successes and concerns with each other. If you do not know any writers personally, there are many writers forums you can join and find people who are willing to help you move forward. 

One important difference between successful writers and those who are not is that the successful writers do not discourage themselves easily by complaining. Rather than complain, they focus on solving problems that are keeping them stuck. So, if you find yourself getting frustrated over your manuscript, find ways to develop a stick-to-it-tiveness that will help you achieve your goal of completing and publishing your manuscript!