Break Out of that Writing Rut: Tell–Don’t Show–Write More of What You Love!

Keep a goal in mind as you write. What is your purpose?

Writing is Hard Work. You are Faced with a Blank Sheet of Paper

Writing is hard work. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Anyone who says it is easy—is delusional—and probably not writing.

“I just sit down at the typewriter and bleed.” – Ernest Hemingway

Let me tell you a story.

I’ve been writing fairly consistently since 2006. Before that time, I wrote strictly in my journal. Nothing fancy. It was one of those marbled composition notebooks you can buy at Walmart for 10 cents around the start of the school year. I wrote to make sense of all the mixed up thoughts in my head and to try to combat the depression that threatened to overtake me. It didn’t go any further than that. I never thought of myself as a ‘true writer’ until probably about a year ago.

What set me on the path of thinking this way?

The Kindle I received for Christmas.

I began searching out all the books I could find to load up my Kindle. Free and not so free. Books on fiction and non-fiction. I realized some of them were pure junk, and I knew I could do better.

I began writing with a goal in mind.

Self-publish to Amazon.

I now had a goal.

A goal to achieve.

A target to hit.

I began with non-fiction, and just this year I’m making the switch to fiction. There is quite a learning curve. Instead of learning everything there was to know about publishing an e-book to Amazon, I made the switch to learning everything there was to know about writing.

This is not a post about learning all the ins and outs of self-publishing. Suffice it to say, that it took about two years of dedicated study before I felt that I knew enough to publish my first book on Amazon. If you are interested in learning self-publishing, promotion and cutting down on the learning curve of writing fiction, these are the courses I recommend:

Kindling Membership Forum

This course is a clearinghouse of practically anything and everything there is to know about writing and publishing to Kindle. Geoff Shaw continues to improve and consistently add more into the course for his members. 

Good Fiction Fast

This course will teach you how to write fiction, and write it fast! I’d been slogging through book after book on writing, and getting more and more confused. This book will cut through the confusion to get you published quickly. You can start with non-fiction, but when you are ready to make the switch–check out Michelle Spiva’s course.

Two Books That Boosted my Writing

After I had learned about publishing to Kindle, then I set a goal to learn how to write better–and faster. There were two books that really stood out, from the crowd of writing books that jammed my Kindle.

These two transformed my writing.

This book, 2K to 10K, by Rachel Aaron was a book about how to write faster. What I gleaned from this book was this: Plan out what you are going to write about BEFORE you set down to type it up on the computer. I went back to my morning pages. I love the free flow of the pen to paper. It seems to help my thought processes to break it down that way first. I tried it. Voila!

Ideas began flowing again.


2K to 10K by Rachel Aaron


Then as I’ve been writing my first romance novel, I found myself stuck at 24,000 words. I was stuck and had to analyze what was happening with my writing.

I stopped writing on this story for a couple of months.

I saw a recommendation from a fellow writer on Facebook for Show, Don’t Tell by James Lofquist. This is a short little book that can be read in one sitting. What did I glean from this one?

Just write!

Just as I have been doing in the morning.

Write, let the ideas come, don’t stop them, and if you don’t know what to write, then make a list! (Tweet)

How freeing was this?



Tell, Don't Show, by James Lofquist


I gained the confidence to begin writing again.

I had to learn to stop being a perfectionist while writing. The time to correct and fix and polish is after a first draft is written. You must first get the story out in whatever means possible.

To make it easy to remember, I’ve summed up what I’ve learned in 11 simple tips:

  1. Don’t let the blank page intimidate you
  2. Write morning pages
  3. Plan out what you’re going to write BEFORE you head to the computer
  4. Make up a quick outline
  5. Show, Don’t Tell
  6. Don’t self-edit as you write
  7. Write everything you know about a scene
  8. List it if you’re not sure what to write
  9. Revise later
  10. Write consistently
  11. Write daily

Remember, it only takes an ant picking up and placing one grain of sand to build an anthill.

To write an entire book, it only takes the first word, then the next, and the next. (Tweet)

Be obedient and set an appointment with yourself to show up with pen in hand to write on the page or the computer. Make your appointment to write consistently, one word at a time, starting with the first one.

What helps you to write faster? What writing goals have you set for yourself?

Leave me a comment and let me know!


Penelope Silvers is founder of,
where “Independent Authors are introduced to the World!”
She is a freelance writer, publisher, and radio host of
Penelope’s Book Chat on Blog Talk Radio.


Filed under Uncategorized

15 Responses to Break Out of that Writing Rut: Tell–Don’t Show–Write More of What You Love!

  1. Again, this is why you are my mentor! Very uplifting, motivational and inspirational! Thank you Penelope!

    • Penelope

      Thanks KJ! I especially wanted to share these two books, because out of the multitudes I’ve read, these quick reads helped me the most. Like a fork in the road. I’m so glad I am able to inspire you. Stop by again!

  2. Pingback: Break Out of that Writing Rut: Tell–Don’t Show–and Write More of What You Love! PHILOSBOOKS | jack & Liz

  3. I sometimes plan what I’m going to write during a brief morning walk. When I get home I write an outline and start writing.

    But sometimes I just let my thoughts flow and re-structure later. Too much outlining can make writing too mechanical, so I like mixing up the process to keep things fresh.

    Like you, I’ve not seen myself as a writer until very recently. And maybe one day I try fiction, too!

    • Penelope

      Hello Henneke! Exercise is a fantastic way to exercise your brain, too. As you say, you start the outline as soon as you get home. It seems if you don’t get those ideas down–and quickly–they fly right out of your head.

      By the way, you are a writer. And a very good one at that. I enjoy your posts and have gleaned so many great ideas. If you can write non-fiction, you can write fiction. I’ll be watching for that book! 😉

  4. Pingback: Break Out of that Writing Rut: Tell--Don't Show...

  5. James Lofquist

    Thank you, Penelope! Your positive words about my little ebook and technique are greatly appreciated. Will be releasing a few more in the months to come. Would you be interested in advanced reading/review copies?

    • Penelope

      Hi James, You are very welcome. I would always be interested in reading advanced copies. Let me know when they’re ready! Keep up the great writing.

  6. I love thinking and poetry. And I love politthrillers. To read or to watch as film. There’s always love in them, in thinking, and in thrillers. And the characters are kind of independent creatures (although built in your mind, but making things you’d never do, that’s what the writer enjoys, the company of personages never existed though fullblood, and love, of course). So if stuck onroad, ‘in a rut’ for a moment, the next instrument I have always aside is a coup-d-etat. Or at least its organizing. This changes the minds of all, incl. my characters (and helps build new, the junta to save the nation with its links to mine of before).
    Just kidding. Penelope, you are wonderful!

  7. Pingback: Break Out of that Writing Rut: Tell,Don't Show,...

  8. christian louboutin uk

    It’s the best time to make some plans for the future and it is
    time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I wish to
    suggest you some interesting things or tips.
    Maybe you can write next articles referring to this article.
    I want to read more things about it!

  9. Pingback: Break Out of that Writing Rut: Tell, Don't Show...

  10. Hello Penelope. I totally agree with you that if you want to be a «writer», you must write everyday. Planning is also essential, after you get the isnpiration, of course.

    • Penelope

      Hi Jacques, I’m so happy to see you over here! I’ve kinda moved over to and started a new blog, but this one’s still open! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

Leave a Reply to KJ Powell Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *