How to adopt the mindset of a writer

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Over three years ago I decided to finally give writing a serious go. I always wrote stories and abandoned about twelve novel projects. I never knew what I was doing. Until I decided to seriously study the craft.

I’ve followed many online (creative) writing courses, read thousands of articles, read a couple of dozen books, and most importantly: I wrote.

People often ask me, which books on writing are a MUST read? Out of everything I read, the following five books will give you that head start you need.

These books improved my craft substantially. The topics range greatly, from…


This submission service for short story writers will guide you through it

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Submitting your short story to publications is still the best way to (start) building your writing career. There are hundreds of journals in the US alone.

Authors like Bukowski and Stephen King started their careers getting their short stories published in magazines like Esquire or Playboy. Their work was noticed and they got the traction they needed to land publishing deals for their future work.

The question is: what is the best way to submit your short story to journals? Finding the right journal for your work is time-consuming, especially if you have no clue about the publication landscape.

You…


Create your best short story yet

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There are countless ways to approach short story writing. The challenge is mainly to finish one that’s engaging, authentically you, well-structured, and inhabited by great characters.

The following ten steps will help you tackle these challenges and publish a well-written gem of a story.

#1: Find your style

Every author has a style. How that style comes across depends on the choices you make, your experiences, and your influences. Don’t worry too much about finding your writing voice yet, it’s going to be an amalgamation of the things you’ve read and what appeals to you in stories.

My style comes from studying the craft…


Lessons in Awareness by Anthony de Mello

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Every once in a while you stumble upon a book that is more than a gem of a read. It’s a compass for life, a roadmap to happiness. A book that decreases anxiety and silences other inner demons. A book you wish everyone would read. Perhaps that’s why Tim Ferriss has recommended the book so many times on his podcast. Past summer I finally read it and there’s so much wisdom in it I might as well have copied the entire book here, but you should read it and experience it for yourself instead.

The book I’m talking about is…


Dive into your ancestral past and discover your history

© RKD, Netherlands. From the archives of Simon Maris. Dutch painter Mondrian painting my great-great-grandmother Elisabeth Sophia Maria Bergman-Cavalini.

Coming up with story ideas is a process that has always fascinated me. I love that feeling when an idea suddenly rushes over you unexpectedly. That jolt of energy that makes you want to create.

Magical moments like these happen serendipitously, which is the beauty of it. That doesn’t mean that you can’t help the universe of ideas a bit to find you.

Towards the end of 2019, an idea for a book found me that has been right under my nose ever since I stepped into my grandparents’ home. …


8 Habits to support the lifestyle of creative people

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“The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.” — Neil Gaiman

What do you experience when you create? I get transported to new worlds and imaginary places. It soothes me when I write. Never before have I found something that makes it so easy for me to get in a flow state. What does creating do for you?

Creating something that didn’t exist before is like magic. It truly makes life interesting. What would we do without art, exhibitions, books, movies, TV-shows, or inventions? It helps us through the good and the bad times…


The technical parts of writing short stories, developing a solid routine and publishing your work

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“A short story is a different thing altogether — a short story is like a quick kiss in the dark from a stranger.” — Stephen King

Stephen King, Charles Bukowski, Ray Bradbury, and Kurt Vonnegut all have one thing in common: they started their careers writing short stories. And with them a whole lot of your favorite writers. How can you start writing short stories if you’re a beginner?

First, what is a short story? Neil Gaiman has a good definition: “Short stories are tiny windows into other worlds and other minds and other dreams. …


Embrace serendipity, connect with people and nature, let go of the past, and determine your mission

© Hugo van Dijke. Author depicted. Glencoe, Scotland.

“You see, the problem in life isn’t in receiving answers. The problem is in identifying your current questions. Once you get the questions right, the answers always come.” — James Redfield

I’ve always believed books find you at the right time. At a second-hand book market in Ghent, mere weeks before the Dutch and Belgian lockdown, I found the book ‘The Celestine Prophecy’ by James Redfield. I’ve always wanted to read it and for two euros it was mine.

The book from 1993 was as impressive and insightful to me as ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho. The nine insights from…


How adopting an us-first instead of a me-first attitude will get us through this crisis and help design life afterwards

© Machu Picchu, photo taken by author

“We’re here on this planet not to build personal empires of control, but to evolve.” — James Redfield

Most of us have been in lockdown for about two months or more. Some countries are slowly coming out of it. How are you holding up? Are you overwhelmed or angry? Or have you been taking this as an opportunity to reflect or work on goals you never had the time for? Everyone’s process is different. Can you mentally cope with this pandemic?

I live in the Netherlands and restrictions are slowly being alleviated. Although it’s become more than clear that society…


The unexpected way I found my agent

Photo taken at the event “Notes of a Dirty Old Man” © Jaap Beyleveld. Permission to use for the author. Author depicted.

For years I dreamed about getting a publishing deal and now I’m as close as I can possibly be.

Some agents scour the internet and approach writers who speak to them. Since that hasn’t happened to me yet, I found creative ways to turn the tables and increase the chance of landing an agent myself.

The first method was a bullseye shot, let’s dive in.

Readings

Let’s start with the unexpected way I found my agent. In September 2019 I participated in my first ever literary reading. …

N.A. Turner

I write Black Mirror-esque short stories and share writing & freelancing tips. Amazon best-selling author. Free eBook with writing tips: bit.ly/TurnerMail

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