Challenges (and Solutions) for a Writer in College

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INSOMNUS came out this year on August 10th, right before I went to college. While I went into the year knowing that my writing time might be limited, I wasn’t prepared for a number of other challenges I encountered as a writer in college. Even if your college days are behind (or ahead) of you, I bet you’ve experienced one of these challenges as a writer and wondered how you could fix them.

  1. You will not have a lot of time to write. This has likely been the case the entirety of your writing career. Try to schedule in writing time. Write when you can, even if its only for a short time. Accept that you will not hammer out a manuscript in the short amount of time you initially wanted to. Try anyway.
  2. You might not have a desire to write after finishing your third paper that week. And that’s okay. The key is to try to write both when you are motivated and when you aren’t but not to be too hard on yourself if you don’t. Word count goals or stickers can help, too.
  3. You will not have a lot of time to read. After being at school for over a month, I’ve only read about four chapters of books that weren’t assigned (when I used to read a book almost every day). You can read more by using it as a study break or setting aside time to read before bed. Or just look forward to reading a lot during breaks and during the summer.
  4. You will get sick. A lot. Unfortunately, being packed into lecture halls and classrooms with lots of people is a great way to catch a number of wonderful illnesses. You can use the time you’re confined to your dorm to catch up on writing. If you’re too sick for that, you can continue building your author platform on social media, watch movies to analyze plot, catch up on reading, or plan out the next part of your book. (Also check out my post: How to be a Writer When You’re Too Sick to Write.)
  5. You might be removed from your writing community. Especially if you’re going to college out-of-state or out-of-country, you aren’t going to interact with your writing friends or mentors as much. Just because you’re physically separated, though, doesn’t mean you can’t still reach out to them. Try to schedule skype/facetime/phone meetings regularly.
  6. Your room is no longer a quiet sanctuary where you can crank out manuscripts without distractions. Even if you are in a single dorm room, you’re likely to hear sounds from the hall and other floors which include, but are not limited to, music, talking, bouncing balls from the room above (which, from personal experience, I can say is extremely annoying, especially after thirty straight minutes), and doors slamming. Find a space that’s quiet to work, invest in noise-cancelling headphones, or play music or white noise while you write.
  7. Your schedule will not be the same as it was. This means you might have trouble fitting in all the writing-related activities you used to do. The key is to realize that you have time, especially by prioritizing and taking advantage of time you normally wouldn’t be doing anything (like when you go on Twitter for the tenth time that day or have ten minutes before your next class).
  8. You’re in college. Almost all aspects of your life are different than they were. Remember that you will always be a writer, but won’t always be in college. In other words, writing is an important part of who you are, but not all of who you are. You can always write later, but you won’t be able to have the same experiences later.
  9. As much as you want them to, most of your classes are not about writing. Or at least not creative writing. Let your classes inspire your writing and provide inspiration. For example, you can use myths from a classics course as an outline for your plot, scientific concepts to create a new idea for science fiction, or names from a history textbook as character names. Also, apply what you learn from essay writing into your novel writing (especially in regards to grammar).

If you found this post helpful, subscribe to my blog or share it on social media. 

*Reminder: please leave a review of INSOMNUS on Goodreads or Amazon. In exchange, one of the reviewers will be selected to win a free bookmark! (Must have purchased a copy of the book, either on Kindle or paperback. Reviewer will not be selected based on review, or, in other words, reviews should not be influenced by the potential of winning a bookmark.)

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Praise for InSomnus

InSomnus has sold over 65 copies in less than a month, both in the Unites States and abroad!

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Have you read and enjoyed the book? If so, I would appreciate you leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads (and telling those you know about the book). 

Still haven’t bought your copy? Wondering if you should? Check out these recent reviews: 

One reader calls it A well written, suspenseful, young adult novel. Witty, with insightful descriptions and well developed characters. I enjoyed the unexpected plot twists. I can’t wait for the next book from this talented young author!

Author Kate Motaung says “I had the privilege of reading an advance copy of this debut novel. You’d never tell from the reading, but the author was just 17 years old at the time of writing! Incredible. A compelling YA sci-fi read.

Another reader says “After a few days of non-stop reading and tedious nail biting, I have found my favourite read of 2016… I couldn’t find a single fault with this book. Not one. Every page drew me deeper into Bryn Winters’ world and truth be told, I didn’t want it to end. I adored the characters and their unique abilities. Every one of them stood out to me, a remarkable creation within themselves. If I had to pick a favourite (besides Bryn herself), it would be Cedar Blackthorne. There is something so pure and genuine about his character, that no matter the situation we find him in, I always seem to be rooting for him.

I found the romance element to be written remarkably well. While it was introduced quite early in the novel, it didn’t deter the reader from the plot, as some romances are want to do. Insomnus was fast paced. I found myself turning each page as though my life depended on it.
The emotions that came across to me most were Bryn’s inner conflict with herself and with others. Her triumphs and failures were my own. I felt like I inhabited every scene, figuring out my next move.

As for the main idea of Somnus? This really intrigued me as I have always dreamt of such powers even when I was a small child. I would love to read more about their world and really hope that there will be a sequel one day. This talented young author certainly has me captivated. A well done plot, striking characters, and not a single flaw I could detect.
I would easily give Insomnus 5 stars and recommend it to anyone with a passion for reading.

Insomnus is a rare jewel of a read!

“Fennig is a talented writer and INSOMNUS is by far my new favorite book. There was nothing I didn’t like about INSOMNUS except that it ended. I loved the characters and the fact that I haven’t read a book with a similar premise before. There was a perfect balance of dialogue and description so it was both impossible to put down and satisfying to read. There was also a good balance of humor, suspense, and romance throughout. I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters and loved the relationships they had with each other.”

 

“A wonderful young adult novel that kept me intrigued right through to the end! I think that Molly Fennig did a marvelous job of capturing the awkwardness of high school friendships and romantic interests to a degree that I have rarely encountered.”

If you’d like to read it, you can find it on the links below:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3…
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1…  ”

 

62 Quotes About Writing

I just sold my 40th copy of my book, InSomnus, on its fourth day in publication! (To learn more about it, go to mollyfennig.com/insomnus). If you haven’t yet purchased a copy, you can get your copy on Amazon

Here are 62 inspirational quotes about writing (for other writers, myself as I start writing again, and anyone in need of a little motivation.) 

62 Writing Quotes

  1. “Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.” -Cyril Connolly
  2. “Anyone who is going to be a writer knows enough at 15 to write several novels.” —May Sarton
  3. “The scariest moment is always just before you start.” -Steven King
  4. “A successful book is not made of what is in it, but what is left out of it.” -Mark Twain
  5. “Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.” -Lloyd Alexander
  6. “I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.” -James Michener
  7. “I leave out the parts that people skip.” -Elmore Leonard
  8. “Write something that people may not ‘enjoy’ but will never forget.” -Chuck Palahniuk
  9. “Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it, the writing will be as it should be.” – Mark Twain
  10. “Every book you pick up has its own lesson… Often the bad books have more to teach than the good ones.”-Steven King
  11. “Why not go out on a limb? That’s where the fruit is.” -Mark Twain
  12. “A true piece of writing is a dangerous thing. It can change your life.” -Tobias Wolff
  13. “Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way.” -Ray Bradbury
  14. “Can anything be sadder than work left unfinished? Yes, work never begun.” -Christina Rossetti
  15. “It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly.” – C. J. Cherryh
  16. “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” – Douglas Adams
  17. “The work never matches the dream of perfection the artist has to start with.” –William Faulkner
  18. “All we can do is to write dutifully and day after day, every day, giving our work the very best of what we are capable.” -Madeleine L’engle
  19. “Sometimes it takes years for a person to become an overnight success.” -Prince
  20. “No one can write decently who is distrustful of the reader’s intelligence or whose attitude is patronizing.” – E. B. White
  21. “If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.” -Edgar Rice Burroughs
  22. “Picking five favorite books is like picking the five body parts you’d most like not to lose.” -Neil Gaiman
  23. “There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.” –Joseph Brodsky
  24. “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” -Ben Franklin
  25. “What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.” -Samuel Johnson
  26. “No two persons ever read the same book.” -Edmund Wilson
  27. “I don’t think writers should write about answers, I think writers should write about questions.” -Paul Haggis
  28. “If I waited for perfection I would never write a word.” -Margaret Atwood
  29. “Don’t be ‘a writer’. Be writing.” -William Faulkner
  30. “Every writer I know has trouble writing.” -Joseph Heller
  31. “Fiction writing is the act of weaving a series of lies to arrive at a greater truth.” -Khaled Hosseini
  32. “Fiction is the truth inside the lie.” -Stephen King
  33. “The only thing more tormenting than writing is not writing.” -Cynthia Ozick
  34. “Every character should want something, even if it’s only a glass of water.” -Kurt Vonnegut
  35. “The thing all writers do best is find ways to avoid writing.” Alan Dean Foster
  36. “Work finally begins when the fear of doing nothing exceeds the fear of doing it badly.” -Alain de Botton
  37. “We do not remember days, we remember moments.” Cesare Pavese
  38. “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” -Anton Chekhov
  39. “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” -Mark Twain
  40. “All fiction has to have a certain amount of truth in it to be powerful.” -George R.R. Martin 
  41. “What I don’t write is as important as what I write.” -Jamaica Kincaid
  42. “Even if you only wrote one word, it’s more than those who wrote none.” -Unknown
  43. “One must be ruthless with one’s own writing or someone else will be.” -John Berryman
  44. “Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.” -Erica Jong
  45. “Fairy tales are more than true, not because they tell us that dragons exist, but that dragons can be beaten.” -Unknown
  46. “You can fix anything but a blank page.” -Nora Roberts
  47. “Don’t make your protagonist fight the whole world at once, but make it feel like they are.” -Molly Fennig
  48. “A writer is simply a photographer of thoughts.” -Unknown
  49. “I hate writing, but I love having written.” -Dorthy Parker
  50. “Writing is somewhere between torture and fun.” -Unknown
  51. “Inspiration does exist, but it must find you working.” -Pablo Picasso
  52. “A villain is just a victim whose story hasn’t been told.” -Chris Colfer
  53. “Don’t take anyone’s writing advice too seriously.” Lev Grossman
  54. “I learned to write by reading the kinds of books I wished I’d written.” -Barbara Kingsolver
  55. “Writing seems hard because… It’s one of the hardest things people do.” -William Zinsser
  56. “If you wish to be a writer, write.” -Epictetus
  57. “I love reading. It’s a great way to avoid writing.” -Tony Kushner
  58. “Get your facts first then you may distort them as you please.” -Mark Twain
  59. “You don’t have to say everything to say something.” -Beth Moore
  60. “Writing a book is like telling a joke and having to wait 2 years to know whether or not it was funny.” -Alain de Botton
  61. “The only important thing in a book is the meaning that it has for you.” –W. Somerset Maugham
  62. “The worst thing you write is better than the best thing you did not write.” -Unknown

If you liked this post, follow me on Twitter for more writing quotes and share this post.

What’s your favorite quote? Comment below.

Release of INSOMNUS

I’ve excited to announce the release of my debut novel, INSOMNUS on Amazon (kindle and paperback copies).

Check them out on Amazon and please leave a review!

Other things you can do to support me include sharing the book with people you know, leaving reviews on other sites (like goodreads), viewing the book on Amazon to increase the number of views it has, and sharing the book on social media.

Unfortunately, I had to cancel my book signing event at Eat My Words this Friday. (You can still go to the fabulous bookstore, I just won’t be there to read from INSOMNUS.)

Take a look at the book trailer below and thanks for supporting me as an author. 

 

Exclusive INSOMNUS Interview

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I’ve been lucky to get to know author Stephanie Churchill as I navigated the publishing process with INSOMNUSShe was also kind enough to interview me on her blog. Read it for more information about my writing process and the story behind INSOMNUSIntroducing Molly Fennig.

 

I previously had the pleasure of reading Stephanie’s fabulous novel, The Scribe’s Daughter. (You can buy it here!)

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Here’s the description of The Scribe’s Daughter: Kassia is a thief and a soon-to-be oath breaker. Armed with only a reckless wit and sheer bravado, seventeen-year-old Kassia barely scrapes out a life with her older sister in a back-alley of the market district of the Imperial city of Corium. When a stranger shows up at her market stall, offering her work for which she is utterly unqualified, Kassia cautiously takes him on. Very soon however, she finds herself embroiled in a mystery involving a usurped foreign throne and a vengeful nobleman. Most intriguing of all, she discovers clues to the disappearance of her father three years prior. 

When Kassia is forced to flee her home, suffering extreme hardship, danger and personal trauma along the way, she feels powerless to control what happens around her. Rewarding revelations concerning the mysteries of her family’s past are tempered by the reality of a future she doesn’t want. In the end, Kassia discovers an unyielding inner strength, and that contrary to her prior beliefs, she is not defined by external things — she discovers that she is worthy to be loved.

 

7 Reasons To Do An Author Interview

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You’ve written what you think should be the next best-selling novel. Maybe you’ve written more than one. So why should you take time away from marketing/editing/writing to do an interview as an author, especially if you don’t have a lot of time to write? Here are 7 reasons.

[I was inspired to write this post because author Lincoln Farish graciously offered to interview me on his blog. Check it out here (there is a free excerpt from InSomnus as well!)]

  1. Free publicity. Anyone with a blog is likely to have followers, even if its just their mother or pet or half cousin once removed, which means more people who might buy your books, tell their friends about your books, or follow you on social media.
  2. Readers want to know about you and your story. Have you ever read a book so great you immediately Google searched the author, scouring the internet for information like their cat’s name or their favorite color? (Okay, maybe not those details specifically, but the point is if readers know more about you as a person, the more connected to you they’ll feel and the more likely they are to want to buy your books.)
  3. New content to share. An interview creates content not only for the interviewer’s blog, but also content you can share on your social media. It can be hard to come up with ideas for content, but it’s ultimately what draws people to your website/blog/etc.
  4. It’s an excuse to take a break from writing that scene you’re STILL stuck on. Not only will you maybe get more readers doing interviews, you also get to take a break from actually writing without feeling (quite as) guilty.
  5. It’s free. Any other kind of marketing is likely to cost you either to buy ads or promote social network posts or to pay for book copies to give away. (If you’re looking for marketing ideas, also check out A Teen Writer’s Book Marketing Strategy)
  6. It’s a great way to inform readers of upcoming books. Most interviewers will ask a question about other books you’re working on or planning on, so it can be a great way to start the buzz about your next book (even before you’ve written it).
  7. Why not? The worst case scenario is no one reads your interview and no one new buys your books. This can happen when you try other ways to market, but at least you don’t have to spend money (or too much time) on interviews.

 

Check back soon for my upcoming interview by author Stephanie Churchill, author of The Scribe’s Daughter.

If you found this helpful, please share it on social media. 

 

A Teen Writer’s Book Marketing Strategy

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My debut novel, INSOMNUS, comes out this August (yay!), which means I am in the midst of marketing my book (see updates). The most important thing I’ve discovered is its practically impossible to start too early marketing and platform building. Here are the things I have already done and will do to market my book (that you can do, too).

I have already:

  1. Created a Twitter, Facebook, and InstagramRead more about it on my blog post, A Teen Writer’s Guide to Social Media  and follow me on social media  through my contact page.
  2. Started a blog. You’re reading it.
  3. Created a book trailer (see it here).
  4. Made bookmarks which double as my business cards with the book cover, quote, and my contact information.
  5. Attended the Minneapolis Young Writers Workshop where I met young writers and published authors (yay networking) in addition to learning more about writing.
  6. Created the hashtag for my book (#INSOMNUS)
  7. Been asked to be interviewed on another author’s blog. I will post that interview here, as well.

I will:

  1. Read/sign books at local bookstores.
  2. Write press releases for my book for the newspaper.
  3. Read/sign books at local libraries. (Check back for updates. This will likely be in January or March).
  4. Make posters of my book 
  5. Donate copies to local school libraries (in addition to some aforementioned bookmarks).
  6. Give away free copies of my book (yes, you could win one).

Once resource I loved while making my marketing strategy was Author Media’s 89+ Book Marketing Ideas That Will Change Your Life. 

 

What other marketing strategies do you use? Comment below.

If you found this article helpful, share it on social media!

Cover Reveal for InSomnus

I’m excited to reveal the cover for my book, InSomnus, which will be available for pre-order soon and will be published this August. 

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Also new, here’s a reveal of what the book is about.

Bryony “Bryn” Winters can harm people by dreaming. With no control over whom she hurts, a condition called Somnus, Bryn can’t even be sure she won’t kill her own family. Protecting them means running away and trusting a mysterious company that possesses as much authority as amorality. And when Bryn meets Cedar Blackthorne, a Somnus with captivating eyes, she can feel he’s hiding something. So why can’t Bryn help trusting him? And what if she’s making a deadly mistake?
Check back later for updates and links to buy InSomnus! 

Know someone who would enjoy the book? Tell them about it! 

A Teen Writer’s Guide to Social Media


On any writing website/help book/blog you’re likely to encounter the words “author platform.” Often it is presented as “to be a successful writer, focus on growing your author platform”. However, as you probably already know, doing so is about as straight forward as writing an actual book (which takes years, on average) or creating a five star restaurant (which happens rarely, on average). Some of this has to do with the fact that there are countless social media sites, and some of it to do with the fact that every single author is trying to grow their own platform.

Here’s my guide to tackling social media and your “platform” in a doable manner. 

1. Make your author website. 

The author website is great to have a place to host a blog (which is encouraged although not necessary. If you do blog, you probably only need to post one or two times a week). It’s also a great place to post information about you, your books, and other author-y  information (you can decide what this entails). Also, add links to your other social media sites (yes, you do need separate author accounts).

Setting up a website can be relatively complicated, but doesn’t have to be. Sites like WordPress offer free websites, although they do have the name WordPress in the title (like mollyfennig.wordpress.com) which is less professional. You can buy a web domain later if you decide to, also, without having to worry about making or buying site layouts/templates (making the web address mollyfennig.com without changing anything else, for example).

2. Twitter

I opened my Twitter account 3 months ago and already have about 800 followers (yay!). Initially, I just tweeted quotes (inspirational ones or those about writing) making sure to add a picture when there were enough characters left (22) and adding relevant hashtags (#amwriting, #author, #quote, #inspirationalquote, #writer, etc. you can look these up online or by looking at author accounts). 

Be sure to like/retweet other people’s content and reach out to other authors. Also, if you blog, share links to your blog posts on Twitter. 

One easy way to increase followers is to follow a bunch of people (pretty easy concept). Then, you can download an app to figure out who didn’t follow you back and unfollow them (be sure to wait some time, probably about a week.)

3. Instagram

I just got an Instagram recently (follow me @mollyfennig !) Initially, it was a strange concept to share pictures as an author who normally just deals with words. Here are some things authors can share, though. 

Pictures of books you’re reading, pictures of your book covers/where your speaking/other promotional materials, pictures of inspirational quotes (you can make these with, you guessed it, an app), pictures of things that inspire you, and basically anything else that pertains to you as an author. 

4. Facebook

Create a Facebook page (under the category artists, then choose author). Invite people to like your page, share blog posts, and post updates on upcoming books, etc). You can make an event for each book that comes out and invite people to it, instead of having to make a new page for each book. 

5. Other social media

I tried Pintrest, but found it hard to generate a following while taking a lot of effort, it would be a good one for you to try, but may not work out. 

Goodreads is great when you do go to publish your book or to rate other people’s books. 

Of course, there are countless others, but don’t feel like you have to have an account on every single site. It will be too much, I promise. 

6. A word of caution

It’s easy to get sucked into social media and lose writing time. You have to set aside a fair amount of time to get a return, but don’t try to do it all at once. Pick a site to start with, then slowly add more once you’ve mastered it. Don’t post too often, make sure to help other people out as well, and reference Google when needed. (For example, look up the best times to post and what days to post what kind of content.)
If you found this post helpful, share it on your (possibly new) social media accounts! 

What have you done to “grow your author platform”? Comment below.