Reminder of Danika’s New Site

Hello Writing to Support My Teaching Habit Fans and Subscribers!

This is just a reminder that if you were subscribed to my old blog (meaning this one), I have now fully moved over to my sparkly new blog at:

At some point over the summer, this old site will disappear and the url will be forwarded to my new site (if that’s possible, I’m actually not sure with free wordpress sites, lol).

If you would like to keep getting my writing workouts, creative essays, giveaway news, and various tidbits about writing/life, you can subscribe in the righthand sidebar of my new site. I do hope you’ll join me over there and share your own views.



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RenovaLaunch: Tuesday, April 15

Tomorrow’s the BIG DAY!
(and I’m not talking about your taxes)

Tomorrow, April 15, Book Three (Ondelle of Grioth) will officially launch and all the major renovations to my new website will be over.

I will be hosting a PARTY on my blog with entertainment, special guests, general merriment, and a giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift certificate (you don’t even have to buy my book with the money). I may even give away some other things. I’m feeling grateful and generous.

I’m still vacuuming up over there and shoving things into closets, but who wants to postpone a party?

Oh, and if you want to be in the know about Party Happenings tomorrow (or future happenings), SUBSCRIBE to my new site. Once everything I need is moved over there, this one will be redirected.

Thanks for your love and support over the years. We’ve had some good times at Writing to Support my Teaching Habit.




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Weekly Workout: Creating Suspense

I’ve posted my first post on my new website here: We’re still tweaking that site, but it’s up and running.

I will eventually stop posting to this site.

If you want to keep getting my posts, and I hope you do, you’ll have to subscribe to THAT site.



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We’re Launching . . . and We’re Moving!


Ondelle hardcover copy

Exciting times around here as we launch BOOK THREE in the Faerie Tales from the White Forest series (April 15) AND rebrand with a spanking new website. Coming soon to

How can you help? So glad you asked!

REVIEWS! Yes, we love reviews. On blogs. On GoodReads. On Amazon. If you’d like to review an ebook copy of Book Three, contact me through my new CONTACT PAGE on my soon-so-be-fully-functional website. If you haven’t read the first two books, we can arrange for you to acquire them as well.

BLOG TOURS! If you have space on your blog this month for an interview, guest post, or giveaway, let me know through my CONTACT PAGE and I’d be happy to oblige. I love touring, virtual and otherwise.


For you: There’s something like 12 hours left to enter the GOODREADS giveaway for a FREE signed print book.

For your classroom/school/library: 

    Win a signed class set of ALL THREE books PLUS a White Forest MAP to hang in your classroom.

    How to play?

  • Invite your students to draw pictures of their favorite WINGED FANTASY CREATURES. Send Danika any of the photos you’d like and she, an artist, and her publisher will pick a winner.

    Open to grades 1-6.  DEADLINE: APRIL 15th.

    Send photos to info(at)danikadinsmore(dot)com with the SUBJECT LINE: Creature Contest

    The winner will be posted on her new blog at







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Rethinking Social Media Part Two


As mentioned in a previous post, I have been rethinking how I use social media to meet my my professional goals. To that end I am relaunching (and rebranding) this blog to match my other social media platforms.

I had a bout of the creeping crud and was down for the count for several days, so I’ve pushed my blog relaunch. I will send out official invitations next week. Wahoo.


hors d’ oeuvres, giveaways, special guests, party games


wooden hashtags brought to you by Pine Nuts


I was recently in a panel/roundtable discussion for CWILL BC about social media for writers. I was asked to type up some of my notes. A bit of what I shared is below, plus I’ve added a few things I’ve thought about since that discussion:


A few years ago I read Jeff Vandemeer’s excellent book Book Life: Strategies and Survival Tips for the 21st Century Writer. One of the things I took away from it is that I DON’T have to do it all! When I streamlined my marketing and social media efforts to keep from getting overwhelmed, I asked myself, what few tools can I focus on and do WELL? I picked blogging and Tweeting. I’d rather have fun and use fewer tools than juggle so many that I can’t keep up. Find what works for you and do that.



Not so many years ago, THREE was the magic number when it came to how many blog posts to write per week. Everywhere I turned bloggers were telling me that if I wanted repeat readers, I had to post 3 times per week. But the blogway is over-congested these days and who can come up with that much interesting material? If you can write one good post per week, you’re keeping up.

I think one really interesting posts is worth 3 mediocre ones. I also think it’s more important to be consistent then to post frequently. As a friend pointed out, the really fun blog waitbutwhy says right in the header “posts every Tuesday.” Great! Now I know to come back every Tuesday for awesome new content. (If you’ve got the goods and can post several times per week, more power to you. But don’t panic if you can’t.)

Participate in blogging communities you enjoy. Don’t expect others to hang out on your blog if you don’t take the time to hang our in theirs. USE to aggregate and organize your blogs. In a matter of minutes you can cruise down an organized list of new articles in all your favourite blogs for tidbits of interest and the latest news. Feedly has brought the joy back into my blog reading.



During the last NaNoWriMo I finally discovered the joy of hashtags. I wrote with strangers during #nanosprints as we cheered each other on. Now, when I’m at a conference and hear a great piece of advice, I #hashtag the name of the conference (#AWP2014, #GeekGirlCon) and share the info (or photos!) with others. With hashtags, you can be part of a larger conversation. For example, searching #amwriting on Twitter is a great way to meet other writers.

Also, if you ever mention anyone else’s name on twitter, USE their @name Twitter handle. That way they know you’re acknowledging them. Everyone likes to be acknowledged. For example, if you tweet this blog post, you might tweet: @danika_dinsmore nails it with her post on social media – then add a truncated link (you can use to the post and the hashtag #socialmediaforwriters. It will alert me and make me smile.

Use Hootsuite (or something like it) to manage your tweets. Use Hootsuite’s widget “hootlet” to tweet the blog posts you read on feedly! (You can also manage other social media tools on hootsuite like Facebook and linked-in)


Writers! Take advantage of the GoodReads author page and widgets. THESE ARE YOUR PEOPLE! THEY READ BOOKS AND TALK ABOUT THEM! Fill out your author profile, link your blog, link any other pertinent information about yourself, enter your book for giveaways, and use their widgets to promote your giveaway and your books on your blog. Take a look at my sidebar and you will see some GoodReads widgets. It’s all really simply and not much at all to maintain.

If you’re not sure how to use the author program, START HERE.


5) FACEBOOK. Many people are grumbling about the recent changes on facebook, especially how you now need to PAY to get your page posts seen by people who have ALREADY LIKED your page. I think the lesson for companies is this: don’t give people something for free, and then make them pay for the service later. They will grumble.

I use Facebook both personally and professionally. While some writers elect to keep one Facebook profile for all their “friends,” I chose to have a personal profile, an author page, and a white forest series page. In hindsight, I might have stuck with just a professional page because it’s a little too much upkeep, I think. But I would never merge my personal profile with my professional one. Yes, it has been pointed out to me that Facebook has made it so you can target who your posts are seen by, but I want my headers and graphics to reflect different things. I put images of my family on my personal profile and book or author related ones on my professional page.



The above is just a short list of social media tips I’ve picked up. There is no way to cover it all in one post, which is why many people blog about this sort of thing every week!

There’s an overwhelming amount of advice online about how to use social media tools efficiently and effectively. But if you only have time to read one blog about how to get social media right, I recommend Anne R. Allen‘s. This week, she really nailed it with this one:

What Most Writers are Getting Wrong – where she talks about the fallacy of follower numbers

and the week before:

How to Comment on a Blog – so that you’re actually a participant in this realm


If there are any blogs on social media for writers that you use frequently and want to recommend, please do in the comment section below.

Have a Great Week and Come Back for the Party!


***NOTE on Twittering: Resist the urge to set up an “auto respond” that sends new followers a link asking them to CHECK OUT your FREE ebook. The 3 marketing consultants I asked about it said, “Just don’t.” I liken it to introducing yourself to someone at a party and the first thing they do is hand you their book. It puts people off.


Filed under Social Media, Tips for Indie Authors, writing life

Weekly Writing Workout: Get Your Purpose Straight

How many times have you heard the phrase “I have to get my priorities straight”?

I worked off of that idea for years without consistent success. I had trouble discerning through the daze of “to do” what exactly my priorities should be, especially when it came to social media. I thought maybe if I only had more discipline I would be able to prioritize action items more effectively. I was the QUEEN of To Do Lists, but every action swam in front of me with no clear purpose attached.

I eventually realized that I can’t get my priorities straight if I don’t have my purpose straight first. How can I even make priorities without purpose? I learned that getting my purpose straight practically wrote my priorities for me, and that it was perfectly fine to drop actions that didn’t serve this purpose.

For instance, this idea of “rethinking social media” came from going back to what my purpose is around social media. If my purpose is to build an audience, then I need to think of actions to build that audience. Should I hang out in online forums? Many forums are great places to exchange information, but not really audience builders. Perhaps I should limit how much time I spend in them.

If my time is really limited, it would serve me better to simply find the one thing I can do that best serves this purpose and focus my energy on that one thing rather than using a scattershot approach.


by Gizem Vural

On a grander scale, I can create purpose for my entire life. My purpose on that scale might be: to be joyful in my creative endeavors or to share my creative expression with others. If that’s the case, perhaps I decide to spend less time on social media in general and more time expressing myself creatively, since that brings more joy into my life. Or, simply become more creative in my expression thru social media.

It doesn’t matter if my purpose is to “sell books” or “have fun.” It’s MY purpose. It’s just that my actions will look different accordingly, and I can prioritize by asking myself if that action serves my purpose. Whenever I go to a conference now, for instance, I create a purpose around it. I might decide my purpose is to have fun. I might decide it’s to have meaningful dialogue. I might decide it’s simply to sit back, listen, and learn.

In the book The One Thing by Gary Keller (with Jay Papasan) “The most productive people start with purpose and use it like a compass. They allow purpose to be the guiding force in determining the priority that drives their actions . . . The prescription for extraordinary results is knowing what matters to you and taking daily doses of actions in alignment with it.”

“Purpose provides the ultimate glue that can help you stick to the path you’ve set.” ~Gary Keller, The One Thing

Note that doing something because you think it will make you happy is different than doing something because it serves your purpose, which, ironically, will help you find happiness.



Several weeks ago I wrote about what a character “needs” vs. what a character “wants.” On the other side of need is where the “better self” lies. I think the same thing goes for purpose.

When your character’s purpose becomes clear, it becomes a driving force. Through the trials and tribulations of your character doing what she “must” and going after what she “wants” her purpose eventually becomes clear.

At the beginning of your story, your character might think a specific thing will make her happy. But what she thinks will make her happy might not be what she needs to actually live a more fulfilled life. If along the way she finds purpose, this will lead to what she needs. It will also drive her actions. As her actions are thwarted and things get in her way, she reacts in order to stay on purpose.

And presto, your story moves forward.

1) SET YOUR TIMER for 7-10 minutes.

Start with the line: At the beginning of my story, My Character thinks she’ll only be happy once…

Write without stopping, crossing out, rereading, or editing.

2) SET YOUR TIMER for 10-12 minutes.

Start with the line: My Character realizes her purpose on her life journey is really…

3) SET YOUR TIMER for 12-15 minutes.

Start with the line:  Driven by this purpose, she can now confront…

Write without stopping, crossing out, rereading, or editing.

And have a great week!

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Twitter for Writers

And, along the theme of Rethinking Social Media, here’s a great post on how to effectively use Twitter. Which equals having more fun doing it.


A few folks have asked me about Twitter over the years and how such a terse medium can be helpful for writers. What content can one even get communicated in so few characters?

The answer is: a lot. If we stop thinking about Twitter as the site of traditional content that takes eight hundred or more words to convey, and start thinking of it as a touchpoint and springboard or longer form pieces, then the possibilities open up. There are scads of great posts out there on growing followers, how to identify good accounts to follow, and so on, so I’m not going to reinvent the wheel. Here are a few of those, as introductory Twitterverse items.

The thing for writers (or anyone, really) to do to get started on Twitter is to set up a profile, find people…

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