Writing Advice Archives | Write Brilliant
12 Month Payment is here CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
Background Image

Writing Advice

May 10, 2017
What to Do When Your Topic Rankles Your Readers
By: Jonathan Merritt

Every day, I’m in the business of navigating the murky waters of tough topics. I’ve made a lot of mistakes and learned many lessons the hard way.

Here are two words that are essential to writing well on tough topics:


Ever sit to write but the words feel flat and the style feels indistinguishable?

You’re not alone. I do too.

Every writer must take time to develop a unique writing style that will set them apart from others like them.

Which is why I decided to ask one of the most unique writers I know to share her secrets to writing with flare.

When I read Ann Voskamp’s writing, I have to remind myself to breathe.

When I read One Thousand Gifts, my tears drenched the pages. I called friends and family members to read it aloud to them, pausing to wipe my cheeks on each call.Read More

March 3, 2017
Quotes Can Kill You: Here’s How to Use Them Well
By: Margaret Feinberg

Hey! It’s Margaret here, and I’m excited to share a super-duper practical quick tip with you this week.

I made a big bad boo-boo a few years ago that taught me a tough lesson about when and how to use quotes.

Watch this so you don’t have to make the same mistake I did.

Check out the video below and I’ll share the easy rules I’ve learned to live by.

Read More


After studying the Write Brilliant strategy, I have been lucky enough to have a few blog posts go viral. One post even attracted nearly a million views in 18 months.

Whether in written word, video, or still imagery, viral posts have the power to move people to laughter, to tears, and even to action. Deep down, each blogger and every author or creator of online content probably has dreams of virtually hitting it big.

Thrilled by the increase of traffic and expansion of your platform, it’s fun to see your content capture the hearts and eyes of new readers. My experience has taught me that you must take a few vital steps before that big moment arrives. Most writers miss them, and this is why their posts fall flat. Here are 3 mistakes that will prevent your posts from going viral:

Read More

February 22, 2017
How to Know if You’re Ready to Publish Your Pain
By: September Vaudrey

You’ve experienced a tragic loss or deep pain, but are you ready to write about it? How soon is too soon?

Five years after my daughter passed away, my literary agent asked me why I thought now was the time to publish my memoir about her death.

“I had to finish living my story first,” I replied. “I had to discover my ending.”

Though my grief won’t find its full ending until heaven, I knew I needed resolution with God before I had anything helpful to share with readers.Read More

February 14, 2017
How Eavesdropping Will Increase Your Blog Traffic
By: Jonathan Merritt

More than a decade ago, I considered calling it quits as a writer. I struggled to build a platform, and allure readers to my blog. Four book proposals had been rejected by every publisher in the industry. Each night, my hands pounded my keyboard long after the sun set, but my career felt glued to the pavement.

Read More

December 27, 2016
4 Words Every Writer Should Repeat at Least Once Per Day
By: Laura Dingman



The email timestamp read 6:38 AM, and the first lines aroused a bit of suspicion in me: “From Jesus, via me.”

I’m a bit of a skeptic when I’m told someone has a “message from God” for me. Call me skeptical, but it seems there might be a little room for interpretive error.

This time the sender was a dear friend. The kind of friend you can trust with these sorts of emails. Her words altered my life’s trajectory.

I’m a recovering perfectionist, and I’d been struggling with writing. Perfectionism doesn’t mix well with writing. No matter how good our work may be, perfectionism tells us that it isn’t good enough.

Most of the time I would stare at the blinking cursor on a blank screen unable to move my fingers. How would I ever write anything that anyone would want to read?

I knew the kind of content capable authors penned, and I couldn’t create anything close to the quality of their work. But God kept nudging me onward.

As I scrolled through my friend’s email, four words marked the beginning of a change in my thinking. Four words I needed to believe and own. Four words every writer should speak out loud at least once per day.





Just 13 letters, but a boatload of power contained within.

If you feel a sacred calling to put words on paper—and you follow it—then you are a writer. Not should be, might be, or will be. You are.

These words encourage us to step out in courage, fighting the fear of not being smart enough or capable enough.  

If you feel a sacred calling to put words on paper and follow it—then you ARE a writer. Click To Tweet

The first time I read this phrase, belief sparked inside me. My fingers started moving, and I wrote. And wrote. And wrote.

It was terrible. But I kept writing and kept learning and growing. I listened to tough criticism about my writing (which proves exceptionally difficult as a recovering perfectionist, but is vital if you want to improve). And, most importantly, I registered for training with great people like Margaret and Jonathan, soaking in as much wisdom as I could.

Image courtesy of Moody Publishers

Image courtesy of Moody Publishers

Today, I’m not as good a writer as I will be tomorrow. But I’m better than I was. And I’ve published my first book!

So give it a try. Look yourself in the mirror and speak those four words. Make yourself write them out. Don’t just believe you can be a writer. Believe you already are.

After you believe, then start to evaluate. Take an honest assessment of where your work can be stronger. What habits do you have that need broken? What grammar skills need tightening? How can you make your stories more captivating?

Having a brilliant writer critique your work may be the most painful and most helpful step you can take. It stings, but it’s worth it.

Be encouraged today. You have a story. Something to share. Press through the fear and get started.

After all, you are a writer.

For even more writing tips, sign up for our FREE 3-part mini course designed to help you start writing, sustain your writing, and share your writing.

Click here to jumpstart your writing now.

Laura Dingman is a writer, minister, blogger, and proud Write Brilliant alum. She is also author of I Am Found: Quitting the Game of Hide and Seek with God and Others.

December 19, 2016
5 Words that Will Lull Your Readers to Sleep Faster than Ambien
By: Margaret Feinberg


Some people fall asleep in bed with a good book.

Maybe their job left them exhausted. Or perhaps the author’s prose lulled them into dreamland.

I’m all for sweet sleep and a good night’s rest, but your writing should captivate, inspire, and challenge your readers. We want your readers to stay up until the sun rises because your writing is that intoxicating.


But what if your words are causing your readers to nod off, lose interest, or—gasp!stop reading?

At Write Brilliant, we have reviewed writers’ work and (because we are honest to a fault) have to inform the client that their writing is a total snoozefest.

Often they can’t contain their shock. And we’re surprised that they are surprised.

The prose is dull and flat. The stories are overloaded with unnecessary description. They take too long to make a point–if they even have one.

If you’re afraid that your writing might as well be a lullaby, don’t worry. You can eliminate sleep-inducing words from your writing once you learn them.

We share many of these words in our Write Brilliant course, but here’s is a list of five to start with. These words will lull your readers to Lala-land faster than Ambien. Avoid them and you’ll take one more step toward becoming a brilliant writer.

This tiny word presents a big problem for many writers. Little is so nondescript that it fails to spark a reader’s imagination. If you find this word in your writing, don’t worry. I, too, struggling with overusing it. Zip-up this little word by replacing it with micro, mini, petite, small-fry. Or tiny, which I used five sentences earlier.

Many of your readers will be, well, rather annoyed with this word. Delete this one, and you’ll find usage is often unnecessary. Remove rather and your sentences will be tighter, your prose will read smoother, and you’ll hold readers’ attention longer.

READ ALSO: 3 Painless Ways to Grow Your Platform

Writers often insert unnecessary words for emphasis. But what you’re saying can be absolutely clear without the use of this word. Slash absolutely and help readers avoid a temporary coma.

If you’re looking for an drowsy-word, you’ve found it with nice. Brilliant writers should replace this common, hollow adjective with a sparkly and more descriptive alternative. Ask yourself what you’re really trying to communicate with that word and then pull our your trusty thesaurus.

 Click To Tweet

Besides being a naughty adverb, nothing is truly truly. Delete this word from your writing and no one will ever notice. Promise.

These words will slip into your writing from time to time, and there’s no need to freak out when they do. Be gentle with yourself. Focus on reducing usage overtime so that instead of giving your reader a siesta, you’ll make your writing sizzle.

Want more tips to making writing more captivating and contagious?

Sign up for our FREE 3-part mini course designed to help you start writing, sustain your writing, and share your writing.

Click here to jumpstart your writing now.

December 16, 2016
How to Know if Your Stories are Packing a Punch
By: Jonathan Merritt


“I’ll write what no one else wants to write.”

This was the plea I made to editors at dozens of publications in early 2006. To my surprise, many agreed. For years, I had spun my wheels in the mud of rejection but now I was writing film reviews, book reviews, sidebars, newsletters.

The best part? I was getting paid.

In money, no less.

By late 2007, I had won over my editor’s trusts and asked for bigger assignments. I wanted to write short columns, or better yet, feature articles. But when the opportunity arrived, I felt unprepared.

Womp. Womp.

I had spent so much time writing short pieces devoid of any kind of style or voice that I my storytelling abilities were rusty. Luckily, I had a writing mentor who knew how to spin a knock-em-dead tale.

I emailed Margaret and asked for advice. Her response has never left me:

Telling a captivating story is a matter of trying to make the reader shout one simple word: “Aha!” Your stories should usher in a moment in which readers feel that they have actually discovered the main idea for themselves. 

Think of it this way: Imagine yourself standing on the shore with the reader, staring at the horizon. You gasp and say, “Hey, something looks strange out there, doesn’t it? Why are the waves breaking that way?” 

They don’t know and neither do you. So you decide to explore the phenomenon. 

“Oh, look, there’s a reef,” you say. “Ooooh–it’s beautiful, but oh, it’s also dangerous. If boat captains don’t know its here, this could cause a catastrophe.” 

By exploring with your reader and allowing them to have an epiphany, you create an “Aha moment.”

It has taken me years to master this trick, and I often revert back to my old ways. When I find myself slipping, I read the story and try to locate the moment when my reader would shout “Aha!”

READ ALSO: 5 Words that Will Lull Your Readers to Sleep Faster than Ambien

Too many writers are pushy storytellers. They force their readers forward at a lightning pace because they are eager to make their point.

But the story is part of the point. It demonstrates your main idea and illustrates the point you want to make.

No one wants to be pushed—in real life or while reading.

Rather than pushing your reader through a narrative, pull them. Draw them in. Beckon them with strong writing and engaging details to a clear moment where the main idea is unveiled.

Rather than pushing your reader through a narrative, pull them. Click To Tweet

Are you struggling to write an engaging tale? Stop writing and start reading. Did you give the narrative time to unfold? Did you rush through to declare your point? Can you locate the “aha moment?”

Get your readers to shout Aha and you’ll find they’ll come back again and again to explore the water with you.

For even more writing tips, sign up for our FREE 3-part mini course designed to help you start writing, sustain your writing, and share your writing.

Click here to jumpstart your writing now.

November 17, 2016
3 Painless Ways to Grow Your Platform
By: The Write Brilliant Team


If silent hours sculpting savory sentences energizes you, tweeting yet another request for friends to like your Facebook page may feel like drudgery.

Or maybe you’re the person who’s fueled by sharing your message to a live audience and feels drained by sitting to write an obligatory blog post. Most writers know the tricks to growing their platforms, but they dread these actions.

If you’re proposing to put together a powerful platform but you’re feeling pooped, we have good news. Building a platform doesn’t have to drive you crazy.

Here are four painless ways to grow your platform:

  1. Be you.

Your platform will be the strongest when your strategy is consistent with your wiring, gifts and resources. Repeat these three words: I. Am. Enough. That’s right.

The best writer you can be is the unique writer you already are.

Do you hyperventilate when you’re handed a microphone? Hitting the speaking circuit may not have your name on it. But maybe you’re tech savvy, and you can lean into social media. Are you energized by speaking, but you drag your feet trying to write a downloadable manifesto as a free giveaway? Try pitching your gifts to local events.

The best writer you can be is the unique writer you already are. Click To Tweet

You won’t be able to overlook the necessary parts of platform growth, but notice how you’re made and choose a strategy that matches your DNA.


  • Pitch an article.
  • Guest post at a friend’s blog.
  • Offer a short free guide at your site.


  • Carry business cards and start conversations with strangers.
  • Alert local organizations to your skills as a speaker.
  • Network with those who can help teach you the ropes.
  1. Use what you’ve got.

Closely related to your personality makeup is your unique gift mix. Did you perform in a comedy club after college? Are you a culinary genius? Has your poetry won awards? Because audiences want to connect with you, draw on your gifts and talents and passions. Use what you most enjoy to reach a wider audience.

  • Post a video of you doing comedy sketches with your toddler
  • Stream a spoken word piece online.
  • Share a photo of your most recent Haiku, written in ketchup on the sidewalk. (Sounds silly, but don’t be afraid to experiment.)
  1. Respect your limitations.

If you’re home diapering an infant, cross-country speaking travel might prove unwieldy. But if you’re traveling regularly to two or three cities for your day job, you might seek out evening speaking gigs as add-ons. If your marriage is on the rocks, we don’t advise spending every hour of your free time at your keyboard.

Don’t use the pressures of your life as an excuse to avoid the hard work of writing—we’re all crazy busy—but take a realistic inventory of your limitations.


  • Write for your campus newspaper.
  • Offer to lead a workshop for alumni at Homecoming.


  • Host a lunchtime discussion group for other writers to brainstorm ways to champion one another.
  • Network with coworkers about opportunities to share with their civic and religious groups.

Full-time parent?

  • Pitch article after article to magazine editors.
  • Study best practices and create a social media strategy.

In addition to these strategies, don’t be afraid to phone a friend. Others can help you do what you despise. They may even enjoy those actions. When in doubt, ask.

And at the end of each day, inhale all the air you can hold and repeat it one more time: I. Am. Enough. After you’ve done all you can, rest in knowing that it is enough.

Write Brilliant is designed to make growing your platform as painless as possible. 

Sign up for our FREE 3-part mini course designed to help you start writing, sustain your writing, and share your writing.

Click here to jumpstart your writing now.

Twitter Updates

#WriteBriliant Instagram

© Copyright 2017