It’s mostly just about putting in the work

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This is not a “get followers quick” article. I am no queen of social media, self-marketing, or networking. But I started in January 2020 on Medium with no followers and no major social media presence on other platforms to drive followers to me. Now a little over a year and a half in of steady posting, while never creating anything near viral, I have broken the 500 followers landmark.

Showing up

The first part of any success story is showing up. You have to put yourself and your work out there. Sometimes that will mean being rejected and ignored. …

Making sure your writing benchmarks align with your actual goals

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Tracking your word count output is one solid, measurable way to quantify what is often a very unquantifiable art form — writing. Especially creative writing. Especially if you are still trudging away in the writing trenches with little publishing record or monetary benefit or other means to track “success.”

I’ve written a lot about writing productivity, writing every day, and setting measurable goals. And in all that a common theme emerges about having word count goals, both short-term (daily) goals that build up to long-term (yearly) goals. And I’ve written so much about it because that was the exact method…

And why

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On Medium, I primarily write about writing, specifically fiction. I occasionally dabble in other topics, like libraries, tidiness strategies, and opinion pieces. I always try to write from a genuine place of ‘I want to share this, teach this, connect with this.’ I have a personal line in the sand over things I plan to never write and publish hear, ranging from ‘I just don’t care’ to ‘moral opposition.’

Celebrity gossip and social commentary hot takes

I just don’t care enough. Yeah, sometimes the drama that happens on Twitter or elsewhere sparks some important conversations in our culture. But I don’t want or need to keep on…

The Short Of It

The alternative to traditional dialogue tags fiction writer’s need to know

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Action tags are an alternative to traditional dialogue tags. They can be a great way to liven up your fiction and do some more showing rather than telling… as long as you use them correctly.

Dialogue tag versus action tags

The traditional dialogue tag is tacked onto the line of dialogue with a comma. It is one sentence together.

“Blah, blah, blah,” Brian said.

But always give them a fighting chance

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On the sliding scale of ‘you should finish every book you pick up’ and ‘don’t finish books you don’t like’… I’m solidly on the side of ‘don’t finish books you don’t like.’ With some caveats.

Of course, ‘like’ is a subjective term and broad in each person’s definition. But as a passionate reader and a librarian surrounded by tempting new titles every day… my to-read list is exponentially growing. There are so many books I want to read and not infinite lifetimes to read them. So, yeah, I got to like it. It may not be an easy read or…

Three elements of storytelling needed to keep fiction of any genre engaging

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In the Daniel Radcliffe-starring indie flick “Kill Your Darlings” in which he plays Beat poet Alan Ginsburg, there is a moment near the end of the film in which he is being scolded by his college professors about his vulgar and salacious story submission for his final project. Ginsburg/Radcliffe responds, “But you finished it.”

This struck my young, malleable writer brain like a bolt of lightning. Is the worst thing your writing can be is something readers don’t want to finish? Is the worst sin of writing being boring?

Boring is in the eye of the beholder

“Boring” is a subjective measure. One person’s boring is another person’s…

How to cycle back in your creative writing projects to edit as you go

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One of the great lies of creative writing is the idea that we should — or that most writers do — write a story from a to z — from beginning to end — neatly and cleanly. Conversely, one of the great advantages of word processors is that you don’t have to. You can skip back and forth in a story, in a scene, or in a sentence, easy-peasy.

Maybe this is something you are already doing naturally. Good on you. …

Four types of books not to donate to your library and four surprising things to donate

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Your average public library is not an archive with special collections. They are not a museum. They do not have infinite storage space. And everyone and their mom who is spring cleaning want to donate their old books, magazines, and the like to their library. As a culture we just have a thing against throwing away books — and that is understandable and even admirable. But libraries are not the dumping grounds for old books.

Yes, some will gladly take your donations. Some will ask you to hold off or redirect you to another community program in need. While it…

Getting through the fog of writer self-doubt

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I had a degree in creative writing, wrote weekly if not daily, and had a number of short stories published in literary magazines… and yet none of my coworkers knew I was a writer. Because I didn’t feel like a real-enough, bona fide writer yet. A writerly writer. An authorly author.

Yeah, I had a big dose of imposter syndrome.

Imposter syndrome runs rampant in the writing community. …

Public libraries aren’t as calm and quiet as you think

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We are all volunteers

A surprising number of people who visit public libraries presume that library workers are volunteers. Yes, there are volunteers who work at libraries. Often volunteers with regular schedules who help with some crucial work of processing books (such as returns, transfers, or holds). There are volunteers who help with library events, with fundraising, with summer reading programs. There are student volunteers getting service hours.

But the majority of the library workers are paid employees. Paid employees in positions that require bachelors and masters degrees.

I mean, you probably know that. And it’s not like a large percentage of people think…

Margery Bayne

Margery is a librarian by day and a writer by night; a published short story author and an aspiring novelist. Find more at or @themargerybayne.

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