Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2020 – #AuthorToolboxBlogHop: 12 Survival Tips for #Writers by Jacqui Murray

Welcome to the new series of Posts from Your Archives in 2020 and if you would like to participate with two of your posts from 2019, you will find all the details in this post: New series of Posts from Your Archives 2020

This is the second post from author Jacqui Murray and you can find her post from last week on effective similes

This week survival tips for writers, something we will all find useful… and if you have others to add then please do, the more the merrier. This post from February 2019 as Jacqui prepared to launch an earlier book in her series, Survival of the Fittest (I can highly recommend)

 #AuthorToolboxBlogHop: 12 Survival Tips for Writers by Jacqui Murray

I’m excited to join Raimey Gallant’s #AuthorToolbox monthly blog hop (third Wednesday of each month) with the theme of resources/learning for authors. Post are related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful. We share our experiences as it relates to these topics. Interviews are also permitted as long as they provide valuable knowledge for authors (i.e. advice.) Straight book reviews are not permitted unless they are reviews of books about writing/publishing/etc.

As I get ready to launch my next fiction book, Survival of the Fittest, I can’t help but wonder how we-writers survive–keep publishing one book after another, hoping for that blockbuster but settling for whatever fate doles out. Clearly, it’s not about getting famous or rich. It’s something else I can’t quite quantify.

Having said that, what keeps me going? Here are twelve tricks I use when I get stuck, blocked, discouraged, or f****** p****** off that nothing is going as planned:

  • I HODL which is nothing like Yodel. It’s my husband’s acronym for Hold On for Dear Life. If I hang a sign around my neck saying, I’m HODLing. Leave me alone, he avoids me.
  • I remind myself that writing is like a race car with blinkers. I must move the plot quickly and aggressively but with purpose. Every once in a while, I must alert the reader (that’s where the blinkers come in) to what’s coming next.
  • Every book needs a Goldilocks character–one that is not too smart ( so s/he doesn’t overshadow the main character), not too dumb (so s/he doesn’t bore the reader), but extremely effective in keeping the plot going.
  • When coloring between the lines doesn’t work, I try a bigger paintbrush. What I mean is, when those multitudinous rules about genre writing bog my story down, it’s time to try breaking the rules.

  • I never forget  Mark Twain’s Critique of the famous James Fenimore Cooper: “A tale should accomplish something and arrive somewhere. But the “Deerslayer” tale accomplishes nothing and arrives in air.” Good reminder–I’m not talking about the writing criticism. I mean that one of the most accomplished writers ever still fell short in at least one reader’s eyes.
  • My husband used to kill flies by snapping them with his fingers. Then he got old(er), tired of his miss rate, and switched to a dishrag. Here’s what that metaphor means to me: If something that used to work no longer does, change it.
  • Every once in a while, I sit in a hard chair and reflect. I don’t do this one often.
  • Before I read reviews, I don my body armor. If it’s nasty, I dismiss it with, “Well there it is, the stupidest thing I’ll read all day.” Or, here’s a solution from one of my Tweeple: “Wisdom is difficult to define but I think I know it when I see it. I ain’t seeing it here.” Umm, if you wrote that, please tell me so I can give you credit.
  • I pick carefully who I trust about my writing. That’s also my attitude toward trusting boneless fish. Or (as another efriend once wrote), gas station sushi.
  • Few care whether I overcome or succumb. I just need to pick one and move on.
  • Writing is entertainment. It doesn’t make me famous, sell books, or make people like me better. Well, maybe that last…
  • For difficult days, I don my I Am a Writer t-shirt, take half a baby aspirin, and howl at the detractors.

©Jacqui Murray

About Jacqui Murray

Jacqui Murray is the webmaster for Worddreams, her blog about all things writing. She is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the upcoming prehistoric fiction, Born in a Treacherous Time. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for Ask a Tech Teacher an Amazon Vine Voice  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics.

Books by Jacqui Murray

One of the recent reviews for The Quest for Home

Jacqui Murray has released another book in her prehistoric man series: The Quest for Home. With this volume she’s managed an extremely difficult trick—a sequel that picks up where the last book left off, and yet a reader who’s new to the series can start with this story and be totally engaged. If you’re not an author, maybe you don’t know how hard this is, but picture me bowing very low in homage. This constitutes a real writing victory. Trust me on this.

I call it a prehistoric man series, but the tale actually focuses on a woman—Xhosa, a strong female protagonist if there ever was one. When the story opens, Xhosa is yanked back to awareness by sheer blinding pain. She had no idea it was possible to hurt this much. And when she recalls the events that led to her torment, it only gets worse. Hawk, the warrior and leader who was going to be her mate, is gone, lost in the battle that led to her wounding. And as she tries to pick up the pieces of what her life has become and carry on, it becomes clear that she doesn’t know who she can trust now.

Meticulously researched and so vividly portrayed, The Quest for Home chronicles the Homo Erectus tribes as they spread across Eurasia in search of a new place that they can make theirs and theirs alone. We might tend to root for Homo Sapiens since that’s what we are, but our direct ancestors were relentless persecutors of Home Erectus. And that’s not even counting to formidable difficulties of weather, predators, treachery from within, and simply finding enough to eat. Our prehistoric ancestors were tough, facing challenges that would overwhelm most of us. I developed a serious sense of respect for these long-ago characters. That’s how real their portrayal is.

All lovers of the bestselling Clan of the Cave Bear should check out this book. You can thank me later.

Read all the reviews and buy the books:   Amazon Author Page US

And: Amazon UK

 Read more reviews and follow Jacqui: goodreads

Connect to Jacqui Murray

Blog: Worddreams,
Twitter: @WordDreams
PinterestAsk a Tech Teacher
Writing website:

My thanks to Jacqui to sharing her survival tricks with us and if you have some that you have developed then please share with us… you can never have too many….

If you would like to participate in the series, check out the link: New series of Posts from Your Archives 2020

29 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2020 – #AuthorToolboxBlogHop: 12 Survival Tips for #Writers by Jacqui Murray

  1. Oh, that was great fun. I think I missed this one the first time around. I love Jacqui’s sense of humor. And great advice. I hadn’t heard of the Goldilocks character before. How interesting. Thanks, Jacqui, and thanks for sharing, Sally. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – January 19th – 25th 2020 – Music, Food, Guests and Humour – Enjoy the Party. | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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