Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Finding Your Writing Groove, by Melissa Foster

I'm delighted to welcome award-winning author Melissa Foster to my site. I recently enjoyed reading and posting a review of her novel, Chasing Amanda. That review appears immediately following Melissa's blog. I've also posted a link to Melissa's Summer Blog Tour. Welcome Melissa!
Thanks for having me here James. Let's get right to it.

I am often asked about the process of writing; how to do it, when to do it, what ifs, motivation, etc. I’m not an expert on writing by any means, but I am happy to offer my two cents of advice.

If you are writing, you are already a writer! Whether you are writing for a magazine, local newsletter, corporate handbook, or creating your first novel, makes no difference. Writers write. Period. You should think about yourself in those terms, and begin calling yourself a writer, if it is appropriate. Once you have faith in your work, the rest will follow.

Some people feel that books should be written based on outlines, while others use index cards, timelines, and other types of “visual” assistants. I believe you should do what comes naturally to you, and what you are most comfortable with. When I wrote Megan’s Way, I did not use an outline, index cards, or formal timeline. Megan presented herself very forcefully and guided me through the story. After Megan’s Way was complete, I created a timeline—insuring that the story flowed in a smooth, true-to-life fashion. When writing Come Back to Me, I had a rough outline for the entire story, because that’s what felt right while writing that book. No one single way to write is the best way to write. That’s how I write. You might find that creating an outline keeps your thoughts organized, rather than letting the story evolve in its own direction during the writing process, and that works for many authors. Do what feels right when you are writing.

The time of day or night that you write is completely personal. My writing schedule revolves around my children’s schedules. When I was editing Megan’s Way, I often worked at night, and sometimes until two o’clock in the morning. That’s what worked for me. You’ll find a schedule that works for you, too.

What if nobody likes my book? That is a question that I am often asked. I think every author has that fear. I’m not sure that the fear of failure will go away with the number of books that you have published. I believe it lingers just below the surface. Life is fluid, and so are people’s interests, therefore, someone who likes your writing style today, may not like it tomorrow. Writing a book, I’ve often said, is like standing on the corner naked—you’re not sure if people will whistle or throw tomatoes! Every writer should have beta readers; people who will read your early manuscripts and give you solid, unabashed, criticism and reviews. We learn from constructive criticism, and often times we, as authors, need to step back from what we’ve written and have fresh eyes read and provide feedback. I also believe that if you do the best that you are capable of, then what ifs should not come into play. Go with your gut feelings. If you feel that your work is ready for publication, go for it!

My motivation is derived from my characters coming to life and my desire for readers to connect with them. If your goal is to write—you have a story bouncing around in your head—then sit down and write. Don’t put it off. Don’t wait for someone else to validate your desire. As Nike says, “Just Do It!”

 Melissa Foster is the award-winning author of three International bestselling novels, Megan's Way, Chasing Amanda, and Come Back to Me. She has also been published in Indie Chicks, an anthology. Melissa is on the advisory board for the Alliance of Independent Authors and is a touchstone in the indie publishing arena. When she’s not writing, Melissa teaches authors how to navigate the book marketing world, build their platforms, and leverage the power of social media, through her author-training programs on Fostering Success. Melissa is the founder of the World Literary Café, Fostering Success, and the Women’s Nest. She has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine. Melissa is currently collaborating on the film adaption of Megan’s Way. 

Melissa hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children, she's written for Calgary's Child Magazine and Women Business Owners Magazine, and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa lives in Maryland with her family. Melissa's interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping women see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod.

Twitter: @Melissa_Foster
The Women’s Nest, women’s social network:
World Literary Café:
Facebook Melissa Foster:  (Fanpage)





  1. Very insightful Melissa. You are a true inspiration to oldies and newbies alike!
    Congratulations on all you many successes!

  2. Thank you so much, Penny! That means a lot to me.

    James, thanks for allowing me to be a guest on your wonderful site today. I truly appreciate chatting with you!

    Remember, readers, I'm giving away books for my blog tour today.
    Details here:

  3. Wonderful interview Melissa. I am halfway through Chasing Amanda and am having a hard time putting it down long enough to write and take care of my blog etc., it's a great read. Your advice was very positive and I can relate to the standing on the corner comment. I'm taking your advice and am writing, but I am not sure I could stop. Thanks for the advice and please you keep writing, too.
    Thanks James for having Melissa. It was a great post.

  4. Hi Marianne, thank you so much for coming to visit! I'm so glad you are enjoying Chasing Amanda! YAY!!! What do you write? Whatever it is, please do keep on writing!! xox