Three Quick Tips: money for writers, writing about mental illness, try this at a stoplight

Once a week I am offering three quick tips that you can take and use right away. For those of us who would rather be writing than reading blogs, this is a place you can grab something useful and get back to work. If you have suggestions, please share them in the comments section.


Looking for funding for your writing career? The PEN America website offers an extensive database of contests, grants and awards for writers. The site also provides all kinds of free information, plus tools for teachers and translators, and news about writing from all over the world.


Are you writing about a character who is mentally ill? Want to give him the right symptoms for the right illness? Want to know what kind of therapy he might have or what drugs he might be prescribed? Are you writing an article about mental illness? Even if you just want to know for yourself, you can get all the facts in The Writer’s Guide to Psychology by Carolyn Kaufman, published in 2010 bv Quill Driver Books.

Try This

You’re sitting at a stoplight with another car in the lane next to you. Take a look at the people in the car. Note as many details as you can. Now, based on what you see, go park somewhere and make up a story about these characters, inventing names, lives, and problems to be solved. Who are they? Where are they going? What are they talking about? What’s playing on the stereo? Are they arguing? What about?

You do have a notebook with you at all times, right? Even better, record it on a portable voice recorder. This will make sitting in traffic much more fun.

Now Go Write

2 Comments on “Three Quick Tips: money for writers, writing about mental illness, try this at a stoplight”

  1. Theresa Hart says:

    Hi Sue, Good post. I will try your prompt. Also the link to the psychology book does not work. I thought you would want to know.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s