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From the Pros: Tips for Productivity

*Guest post by Lynnette Bonner*

Let’s face it. We’re all busy. Most of us writers have that disruptive day job that constantly cuts into our writing time. Many of us have children, grandchildren, church, exercise, and other volunteer activities we feel are important to squeeze into our day too. So where does that leave time for writing?

I’ve often been asked how I find the time to write. My answer is almost always the same: “You make time to do the things you love.”

So my first tip for productivity would be for you to assess your passion for writing. You obviously love writing or you wouldn’t be sitting there reading this post. But where is your must-write-or-die level at, right now? We all go through seasons. When I had 3 little boys at home and was homeschooling, I didn’t get a whole lot of writing done. There were nights when all I could do was fall onto the couch and summon the energy to click the power button on the remote. I slowly worked on one book over the course of about 10 years. But now that my kids are older and I’m not their educational teacher, I have more time for writing and have produced 4 books over the last 5 years, or so.


Once you’ve assessed the above realistically, you then have to meld your discovery with actual availability. Look at your schedule. What time slots can you set aside for writing? Do it and mark them on your calendar and guard them like gold. Treat them like any other responsibility. When that friend calls to see if you’d like to go shopping, you can then say, “I’m sorry. I already have an appointment at that time.”

Now it comes down to the actual writing time itself and I want you to think through one more aspect. What motivates you? Your personality will have a lot to do with how to assure your success when you finally sit down at the keyboard. If you take me as an example, I’m extremely goal oriented. So I like to make lists. And I take great satisfaction in crossing items off my list and find great vexation when I can’t cross something off. So it is a real good motivator for me to put “write 1000 words today” on my to-do list because I hate not being able to cross it off for the day. I’ve heard of some writers who demand a certain word-count of themselves before they let themselves eat breakfast. (Just don’t skip the coffee, or you might end up with a garbled mess!) Some writers respond to rewards – ie., “If I get this chapter done I can go shooting at the gun range.” Some may need an accountability partner to keep tabs on them. (Although if that’s you, I would seriously reassess your passion for writing.) Some surround themselves with inspirational pictures that put them in the mood of the piece they are working on. Anyhow, whatever it is that works for you, find it and implement it, and stick with it.

Once you sit down at the keyboard turn off your phone, your email, even your internet access, if you have to, and just WRITE. Feel free to let the words flow from your fingers in as rough a manner as necessary to get them on the page. Editing can come later.

Here is a thought to ponder: 500 words a day for 6 months would result in 90,000 words, which is a full length novel, or one and a half to two devotional books. At that rate you could write 2 full length novels a year. Maybe you can’t do 500 every single day, but I bet you could do 1000 words 3 times a week. Why not challenge yourself?

Assess, meld, get motivated and WRITE! You can do it!

Lynnette Bonner just released her 5th title, a romantic suspense titled: The Unrelenting Tide. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, four children, and one very spoiled PomChi pooch.

Pick up a  copy of Lynnette’s latest book on Amazon here!

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A Productive April


A beautiful spring here in Seattle has beckoned us to explore sunny nooks and relish pre-summer trips. We’ve been busy learning from other writers and stretching our own craft as we’ve pressed forward, reaching and expanding in our own individual niches.

To begin with, we wrapped up a Destination Inspiration: Portland series with a taste of Powell’s City of Books and also visited a great place to catch up as we’d been parted for a while through travel and spring plans.

Powell's Banner

In Writer’s Kitchen, we celebrate food bloggers who had recently released books. Cheers to our fellow authors!


Finally, and possibly most excitingly, we started our “From the Pros” series in which we are fortunate to have guest posts featuring advice and encouragement from successful and inspirational authors. This month we heard from Lesley Ann McDaniel about finding your character’s Achilles Heel.


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From the Pros

The beginning

All writers learn from those who have come before. In my case, I am blessed with a circle of friends who are successful in their writing right now and have books coming out soon. Part of me celebrates with them and the other part wants to learn from them. Lucky for you, we’ll be doing both here at Nooks & Cranberries!

Over the next few months we’ll have guest writers sharing tips and tricks about writing and what’s worked for them. In addition, we’ll fill you in on some of their work and their upcoming books.

First up, next Thursday, Lesley Ann McDaniel, author of “Lights, Cowboy, Action” will share about discovering your character’s Achilles’ Heel.

Here’s looking forward to learning, honing our craft and celebrating success. Cheers and happy writing!

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Destination Inspiration: Powell’s City of Books & World Cup Roasters

World Cup Roasters at Powell's

The one thing better than a cafe bustling with writers and book-lovers is such a cafe located inside the biggest bookstore you can imagine. Think that place only exists in your dreams? Think again–it’s World Cup Roasters located inside Powell’s City of Books in Portland.

Food and Beverages

First things first when you arrive at the cafe ready to write: Fuel up! Order a coffee or tea–any beverage that suits the mood. While you’re at it, don’t forget the food. You might as well come hungry and give one of the individual savory pies from Pacific Pie Company a try. Selections vary from bacon, egg, and cheese to chard, Gruyère, and egg.

Pacific Pie Company Pastry

Location and Atmosphere

Not far from our first-ever Destination Inspiration profile–Pearl Bakery–Powell’s City of Books is located in the Pearl District, amidst all sorts of stores from Anthropologie to kitchen supplies. With Powell’s labrynth of bookshelves, one could happily and willingly get lost for hours. Few things stimulate the brain of a book lover/writer quite like the smell of books, the feeling of the pages shuffling beneath your finger tips and the endless ideas and possibilities contained inside. Walking into Powell’s will surely have your head spinning and your mind bursting with creativity.

Powell's Bookshelves

Writeability and Purchased Presence

One look as you step inside and you’ll see that Powell’s is a sort of black hole for book lovers, and the cafe is no exception. With shelves of romance novels and paranormal young adult fiction on one side, large windows on two sides, and an entrance to the main part of the bookstore on the other, the cafe is obviously a haven for the many people who sit drinking coffee, reading books, and writing on their laptops in the spacious eating area. The question is whether you can grab the open spot before someone else claims it for the next few hours. Obviously, if you’re planning on sticking around at your seat for hours, please live up to the Nooks & Cranberries Code of Conduct and be courteous and place more orders; if it’s particularly busy, consider giving up your seat and taking a break to browse books for a while before returning.

Powell's Pillar

Price: $$

It’s a coffee shop, and prices reflect that. From coffees for a few dollars to individual savory pies from Pacific Pie Company for about $5, you can fuel up on caffeine and food and still have a budget for the books you’ll inevitably want to take home.


You’re in luck: Powell’s has a parking garage!

Powell's Banner

Writer’s Tip

Try a new challenge in this unique bookstore. Explore the section of a genre you are unfamiliar with. For example, if you gravitate toward fiction, check out the travel section. Pick out a book and read a few paragraphs or whatever it takes to get an idea of the voice. With that new tone in mind, try rewriting something of your own, gearing it toward that new genre. You might be surprised at the new spin this gives your work!

Find it:

World Cup Roasters Cafe / Powell’s City of Books

1005 W Burnside
Portland, OR 97209

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Friday Forum: 3/22

Image from
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An author has made major headway for writers on the publishing scene. Hugh Howey has managed to become a millionaire from his science fiction series which is available on Amazon. “Wool” sold more than 400,000 ebooks and was optioned for Hollywood, and all well before the first print edition rolled off the press! What makes this story a special example of hope for writers everywhere is this: the average author gets about 12% of the profits from a book sold through a publisher, with Hugh’s contract with Simon & Schuster he has managed to arrange for 70%. (You can listen to his interview with KIRO radio). Could this be a new trend allowing authors to benefit more from their hard work? Check out what Hugh Howey has been up to with his series Wool.

As a writer have you considered how you are going to get your work into the hands of your readers? Through a publisher? Through independent publishing? Amazon? Here’s hoping this is a new dawn for aspiring authors everywhere.

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Yoga Pants

There are a handful of books I come back to whenever I’m in a writing bind. They are like a lucky shirt or an old pair of jeans – the things I slip into when I feel blah. They are my yoga pants.

I’ve been in a writing pickle lately. Overwhelmed and not sure where to start. So I turned to one of my all time favorite default books, Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott. She is one of my writing heroes and this book has the magical ability to pull me back from the edge of despair and remind me that when you are overwhelmed, just take it one chunk at a time.

Bird by Bird

She says in her book that if when you sit down to write and are bombarded by the mountain of laundry that needs to be done, or the dishes or that thing you needed to take care of last week that you forgot about until just now – when all that stuff comes to the surface, take a breathe and tell yourself all you’re going to do right now is write one small paragraph. One small paragraph of one small scene, perhaps the scene where we first meet your character at the bus stop. Or the moment your character walks into a restaurant and sees the woman he is going to marry, or maybe that moment you decided to quit your job and become – oh, I don’t know – a writer. The point is, take baby steps. Start with these little snapshots and allow the rest of the world to slide off your back as you fall into your groove.

This is where I convince myself that I did buy these yoga pants to work out in, I am working out my writing muscles. I know, bad joke…but it’s the truth. We all need those comfort items to go back to when we feel overwhelmed, those things that steady us in the turbulence and bring clarity in the fog. Consider your writing comforts, do you have a book that inspires you every time you pick it up and read that first sentence? What are your safety defaults in times of writing stagnation?

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Goal Setting Guide

The beginning

Our mission with Nooks & Cranberries has always been to provide inspiration and tools to help you along your writing journey. Sometimes our support comes in the form of photos or destinations, and sometimes in the form of writing gossip and recipes. This time we’d like to share a worksheet put together to help you organize your writing goals.

This guide can be useful for setting goals in all genres and areas of writing, be it a book that’s been brewing in your head for a while, or beginning work as a freelance writer and building your platform. Regardless of where you’d like to take your writing, we’d like to be there to support you all the way in accomplishing your goals. So grab a cup of your favorite coffee or tea and take a peek at this guide. Let the journey begin!

Nooks & Cranberries Goal Setting Guide