More questions. More help. Introducing Mastering Table Topics Second Edition.

What do you say when you talk to yourself?

Sometimes, it helps to talk to yourself with a friend. (Photo by Rega Photography)

Photo by Rega Photography

I don’t only talk to myself when I’m writing dialogue. I had to work late in the office one night. I thought I was alone, so I talked to myself as I added some new information to a manual. It turns out that I wasn’t alone in the office that night. The next day, I chatted with the engineer I saw at work. He admitted that he too talks to himself, especially when he’s trying to work though a complicated problem.

Talking to yourself can help you solve problems, but it can also create them. Self-talk can delude us or cause us to tear ourselves down. If we are careful about what we say when we talk to ourselves, it can be a positive and constructive experience. Here are a few tips.

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Why you should write a marketing plan before you write your book

Publish Your Book: Proven Strategies and Resources for the Enterprising Author by Patricia Fry is a must-read for authors. It addresses a challenge we all have: How to write a marketable book that attracts readers. Fry’s book recommends that you write a book proposal and query letter before you start writing.

A book proposal is a must for non-fiction, but it is also beneficial for fiction and self-published books. It provides you with a marketing plan, and it helps you organize your book so it meets the needs of your readers. It helps you prepare for the long marketing efforts ahead of you. It can even save you from wasting months or years writing a book no one wants to read.

Here are several ways writing a marketing plan can help you. Read more »

Leaving Line

Not long ago, I had to end a friendship. I’m not going to name names or divulge details except to say that it was something I needed to do. Still, ending any relationship — whether it is professional or personal — is difficult and painful.

I usually turn to music to cope with situations like this. The song I turned to is “Leaving Line” by Kennedy Rose. If you listen to the song, it beautifully explains why ending relationships is hard even when it is necessary.

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Seven things you may not know about my writing life…

My new favorite writing spot

This post was inspired by an email from Bette Lee Crosby, author of Amazon 5-star rated Memory House and other heart-warming books. She wrote “Seven things you may not know about my writing life.” That got me inspired to write my own list.

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How to offend people

"Easter Pig" cartoon from 1979This cartoon caused a firestorm on a social media site. I drew this cartoon for my high school newspaper, the Regent Review, in 1979. When I posted it recently, someone wrote a comment that offended a lot of people (including me). Someone got so upset, he demanded that I delete the post or he would report it to the administrator. I wound up deleting it.

The situation left me with questions. How do we offend people and can we express ourselves without offending others?

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