New Author Tip: Don’t Just Write More, Improve as You Write

Indie Author Basics

I’ve heard it over and over again: “The more you write, the better you become at it.” I get it. It’s practice. The more you do something, the better you become at it. When it comes to writing though, I think there is more to it than that. You can write and write and write but if you’re not correcting your mistakes as you write, you are not necessarily going to become a better writer.

My new author tip for you today is this:

Learning and applying what you learn as you write makes you a better writer not just writing for the sake of writing. You don’t have to write every day to become better. Understanding what needs to be improved on and correcting it as you write, makes you better. Otherwise, you’ll keep making the same mistakes and thus, produce the same kind of work. This means that if you’ve been producing mediocrity unless you correct yourself, you’ll just continue to write and produce mediocrity. It’s that aged old saying, “insanity is repeating the same thing and expecting different results.”

I have been writing and publishing books for over ten years. In this time, I have remained true to my authenticity, my morals and values. I have sat down to write what I wanted when I wanted. However, my years in publishing doesn’t mean that I am a better writer. What makes me a better writer today compared to ten years ago is if I have been applying what I’ve learned to the skill. I measure my progress not by how many books I’ve published or how many years I’ve been publishing or how many reviews I have. I measure my progress based on how well I’ve been able to correct the mistakes pointed out to me.

With the help of my beta readers and the WordPress blogging community, in general, I’ve been capable of recognizing and understanding so much more about writing than I ever have in the years prior. While I have a long way to go, the books I published in the years I’ve been blogging are noticeably better, in my opinion than the ones I published before starting this blog. I credit this to nothing except for applying many of the things I’ve learned from others who are more knowledgeable and skilled than I am, to my work. I believe that as authors we have to be very intentional about this and very aware of what works for us and what does not work for us. Don’t just assume that people are always hating on you or don’t understand you or don’t like you. Consider all feedback as constructive to the process.

In these past few months (where I’ve had the opportunity to speak with people face to face, consultants, bookstore owners, and their reviewers,) I’ve come to understand that the more aware I am of my strengths and weaknesses, the better I can build on those strengths and improve on those weaknesses. The more aware I am of what needs to be corrected and the more intentional I am to actually correct it, the better I become as a writer. Not just writing alone, but learning and applying that knowledge to my writing and to the publishing process as a whole as I learn and as I grow.

Be sure to check out more Indie Author Basics by visiting the Writer / Tips and resources page!

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I am thankful for my struggles because one thing they have taught me (the one trait I strive to maintain as part of my character) is humility. I understand that I am flawed, that there were a series of awakenings that ultimately led me to the truth, and that freedom didn’t find me whole, but in pieces. I don’t worry what others think of me because YAH is my only judge and I am allowed to be a work-in-progress. For this, I strive to have as much compassion on others as I can because I don’t have it all together and I will never pretend to. I didn’t wake up automatically understanding who I was. There were stepping stones to this. When dealing with people who may not know what I know, I remember that my resurrection happened in stages.

10 Ways to Write an Unforgettable Memoir | Shayla Raquel


Check out this most excellent post from Shayla on writing a memoir. Number One is a most important point. I always wanted to write a memoir but I stopped writing the drafts and deleted the sneak peeks I’d shared with my email list (so embarrassing lol) and decided to start over. I’ve learned so much since then with one of the major things being the difference between a memoir and autobiography.

1. Learn the differences between a memoir and an autobiography.
A common mistake is to pour your heart and soul into a book and market it as the wrong genre. An autobiography is a chronological telling of your life, but a memoir hones in on a specific timeline or event. It doesn’t mean you can’t have flashbacks or backstory; you can. But you must understand the big and subtle differences between the two before you write, publish, and market your story.

Ask yourself:

  • Does my story reflect on my entire life (autobiography), or a key aspect, theme, or event (memoir)?
  • Does my story start at the beginning of my life and progress to the end (autobiography), or does it start anywhere and move around in time and place (memoir)?
  • Does my story require hours of fact-checking (autobiography), or is it more personal, requiring less fact-checking (memoir)?

“A memoir is how one remembers one’s own life, while an autobiography is history, requiring research, dates, facts double-checked.”

—Gore Vidal, Palimpsest

Read more of Shayla’s Guest Post by clicking through to the original post here.

The Power of Preparation – Guest Post by, Yecheilyah Ysrayl…

Join me on The Story Reading Ape Blog with Chris! Tonight, I am talking the power of being prepared using my bookstore journey as an example. Come on over!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Yecheilyah and Nora at The Nubian Bookstore in Morrow, GA. Copyright©2017 Yecheilyah Ysrayl.

If you’ve been following The PBS Blog you know that I have been on a bookstore journey where I am visiting bookstores to see if I can better understand the process. The update is that I’ve been stocked in one store, two are currently reviewing two of my books, and I am hosting a double book signing event this month. Today, I would like to share a few things I’ve learned about the power of being prepared and how it has allowed me to cut through a lot of red tape.

But first, why bookstores? Aren’t brick and mortars over and done with? Not quite. Large stores like Barnes and Noble may be on the decline but Independent Bookstores are making a comeback which can have major positive benefits for Self-Publishers.

“Just take a look at the…

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Why My Blog Name is Weird

You can find some of this same information under the about section of this blog but, let’s be real: How many of you read my about page before following this blog? Exactly. So, welcome newcomers and old comers alike! I am here to answer the question I am sure has been burning on your conscious, why is my blog name so…weird?

To get the full understanding, I should give a little background on what PBS is short for and what it means.

PBS is short for Pearls Before Swine and is a term that comes from Matthew 7:6 of the bible:

Mat 7:6  “Do not give what is set-apart to the dogs, nor throw your pearls before the pigs, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.

In this context, pearls are symbolic of the word, truth. It’s precious, delicate, and priceless. A pig, on the other hand, is a filthy and unclean animal. Anything you put in front of a pig he will either eat it or step over it. When you give a pair of pearls to someone who wants it they will accept it, protect it and value it. But, if you give a pair of pearls to a pig he will tear it apart. Some people are pigs and will not accept what you have to offer. When you give people the truth not everyone will value it or take care of it. Some people will take their disagreements and turn their anger on you. It’s like buying my husband a very costly watch and he rejects it. When this happens, you step back and not allow yourself to be put in a situation in which a pig will trample your pearls.  If he doesn’t want the watch, it’s going back. (No, my husband is not a pig but this was too good of an example to waste lol)

In short, if people don’t want the truth, don’t force it on them because the truth is precious and should be protected. Thus, “don’t cast your pearls before swine.”


It gets a bit heated on this blog sometimes as many of my posts are considered controversial by some. I am the kind of person who, if the majority says the sky is blue, I will say that the sky is really black. That it is only blue because of the sun’s light reflecting off the water and that when the sun sets we see the sky for what it really is, black. Needless to say, very rarely do I agree with the majority. I don’t say much but what I am passionate about I will speak up on. I will not shy away from the truth and bite my tongue on what needs to be said because people’s feelings are hurt or because it makes them uncomfortable. I don’t scratch my head unless it itches and I don’t dance unless I hear music and nine times out of ten, not even then. (because, like, you can be humble and firm at the same time…stand for something or fall for anything.) In the words of Nina Simone, “you can’t help it. An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times”, and here I strive to reflect the times, no matter how ugly that reflection may be.

That said, due to the controversial nature of some of my topics it’s important for me to remember not to “cast my pearls before swine”, that is, not to argue back and forth with people who have already rejected the information. You can’t make people believe anything so I am not here to force anyone to agree with me, see my point or slap me on the back. I am not here for praise or applause. I am here, to tell the truth. Thus, PBS is a reminder to me of why I am here and what I must do.

All of this said, it took me a while to accept this as the name of my blog, to not conform to what others were saying a blog should be and not to change my blog name once I learned more about blogs  (which I am tempted to do at the beginning of every year. To change my blog name, not to change my blog name…that is always the question!)

I chose this name in the beginning without the revelation of what I’ve just told you. In the beginning, I chose it simply because when I started this blog in 2014, I had just published a book by the same name. I didn’t know what this blog would become much less put thought into changing the title to something that sounded more “writerly.” In the end, I decided to keep the name to further set myself apart. I am after-all a bible believer and I also love to write symbolically, objectively, and metaphorically; being able to compare objects or use them as symbols to stand-in for a deeper meaning. Like they say if you want the truth of something it’s always just beneath the surface. I am proud that my blog name reflects that. Like me, this blog is more than what you see on the surface.

The Tagline

“Because Truth is Stranger Than Fiction”

When I first started this blog someone reached out to me. They said that I had made a mistake. They thought I had meant to say that truth is stronger than fiction. No. I did not mean stronger. I meant stranger.

“Truth is Stranger Than Fiction” isn’t just a fancy tagline put together by a writer of fiction; not something I dug up between the inspirations of Mark Twain. What it seeks to communicate is the notion that nothing we can create can be as unusual as what we are bound to find in real life, and speaks metaphorically of the unsettling realness of truth. The “strangeness” of reality. You think something is weird until you find out just how deep the rabbit hole goes. You think my blog name is weird until you understand what it means.

Mission, Purpose Goal


My mission for the existence of this blog is to spread truth by way of the written word and spoken word by any means necessary. Whether we are talking biblical truths, historical truths. Writerly/Authorly truths or my own personal truths. To paint poetic justice against the backdrop of heavy keystrokes. To paint poetic justice means to use my writing as an underground railroad to freedom. If people can’t be liberated in their own lives, I hope that my writing (in whatever form that may be…my books, poetry or this blog) can provide a road-map. Of course, this isn’t easy to do considering the heavy misinformation, deception, and religious ideologies that have enslaved us for so long. These are the heavy keystrokes.

Here you will find:

  • Poetry
  • Articles (various topics)
  • Creative Writing
  • Indie Author / Self-Publishing Tips
  • Blog Tips
  • Inspirational Quotes
  • Biblical Analysis
  • Black History
  • Music / Throwback Jams


So there you have it, that’s why my blog name is weird!


Photo by henri meilhac on Unsplash

They say it’s the ones with the dirtiest hands pointing the finger. That the world is fake on social media, where we hold our masks together long enough to log off. People pointing fingers and laughing at their neighbors while they pretend to be someone else…until no one’s looking. We forget that integrity is less about what you post and more about your heart. Is it in sync? What of our actions behind each others backs? Studying is not for taking pictures of scripture but for showing yourself approved. Bibles are not meant to be in pictures and blamelessness is not a selfie. To be upright for the sake of a post is not integrity. So unless your presence here is a reflection of your true self, that armor you’re carrying is not armor. It is weight. The unnecessary burden of trying to fit in when you were meant to stand out.

All or Nothing

Photo by Oliver Thomas Klein on Unsplash.

I don’t know how to feel half-heartedly
how to passion
how to love raindrops at a time.
I don’t know how to half
So I apologize.
I am sorry if my sun
burned your skin.
If I came in too hot
or if I am sometimes too cold
a forest of ice
and long blades of frozen grass
bowing under the weight
of bitter winds.
A breath of vapor
purple lips
and chattering teeth.
I promise you that this heart of stone
is really just flesh
learning to beat one pulse at a time
just don’t ask me to half
I don’t know how to feel half-heartedly
I cannot promise not to love you
for I am all
or nothing.