31 Days to Becoming an Author

UPDATE: When I set out to write this series of posts, I NEVER imagined it would be as popular as it has become. But in the almost year since I published this series, it’s gotten consistent traffic, and remains my highest trafficked post via Pinterest to date. So…

I have decided to publish this series as an ebook. 30 Days to Becoming a Writer will release on Amazon on August 25, 2014.

Click here to purchase your copy today! 

No, that’s not a typo – The book is a 30 Day Guide, not 31 Day Guide. I condensed the material into readable chapters, and organized it in a way that gives readers a comprehensive guide to writing and publishing in an easily digestible format. 

I will be removing the posts from this space in an effort to preserve the integrity of the book, but as soon as the book goes live, I will include the link where you can purchase these posts for your online library.

My hope and desire it that people will be inspired to continue to create, to write, and ultimately, to author the words that float in their heads and hearts. I’m so honored to have you all on this journey with me. I hope that you will benefit in your career as a writer from the tips offered in 30 Days to Becoming an Author. For more information on the book, and for more Pinterest-worthy images to promote it, go to KelliStuart.com.

Thanks for taking this journey with me!



*Ask and Ye Shall Receive! Several people asked me if they could subscribe to the blog to have it delivered to email and I finally figured out how to do that! (And by “figured out” I mean that I had someone set it up for me.) Enter your email in the box to the left to have posts sent straight to your inbox. 

Yay technology! And Yay people who know how to use it better than I do!

Carry on, then…


I am not a planner. I’m not really sure how it is that the personality cards fell as they did given that my mom is a planner times fifteen. She plans when she’s going to plan. It’s something to behold.

I’m assuming I got the fly-by-my-seatedness from my dad. Maybe? Dad, am I right?

(I’m pretty sure I’m right.)

Because I generally tend not to plan very far in advance, I always feel like I should get some sort of recognition or medal on the rare occasions when I am super prepared. Those moments are few and far between and quite frankly, I find it exhausting to organize for the future. It’s a wonder I get anything done at all.

I have been in a noticeable blogging funk lately. The blogging world has evolved and changed quite a bit in the last five years. People want their information faster, shorter, and much more visually than they did before. Niche blogs are the focus right now – Foodies, decorators, DIY-ers, and coupon-ers. Blogs that offer a short burst of information, helpful to every day life, and complete with pretty pictures are what the masses want when they open their computers.

It’s hard for the story tellers to keep up.


This year, between fighting depression, finishing my novel, editing my novel and now pitching my novel, I haven’t really been able to fuel the flame of successful blogging – particularly because I’m one of the story tellers who feels like she’s swimming outside the niche.

(SIDE NOTE: I’d like someone to create a band and name it Swimming Outside the Niche. Then make really cool, funky jazz with just a hint of coffee shop flare. And if you do, please send me one of your CD’s for free. Thankyouverymuch.)

Alright, so where am I headed with all this? For the past three years, my friend Myquilin, better known as The Nester, has done a 31 Days challenge. The idea is to stretch yourself and write one post a day throughout October on one topic.

I tried to do this last year, but I literally decided to jump in on October 1 without any clue of what I would write about. (Please reference the opening paragraph regarding my lack of planning ahead.) 

Needless to say, I didn’t do a great job. My topic was difficult to define, a bit ambiguous, and I had no idea how to generate 31 posts out of it. By the end of the month, I chalked myself up as a failing 31 Day writer.

But time heals all failures, and it’s another year so I’m going after it again, and do you know what I did last night?

I outlined my entire 31 Day series!


Someone give me a medal, quick!

Now for some, I fear my topic may be a little dry. You might not be interested, but I hope you’ll still follow along because I think you’ll enjoy learning the ins and outs and tricks of the trade I plan to share. What is the topic?


At first I worried that it would be pretentious of me to write an entire series on becoming an author, but then I quit shaming myself for the skills and experience I’ve gathered on this topic and embraced the fact that I am indeed qualified to write these posts.

So write them I will, and I am ridiculously excited to do so. At this point in my blogging, I need something a little more concrete to write about. I need to focus less on trying to think of funny stories, and more about the business and art of creating story (although plenty of humor will be thrown in, because you know I can’t help myself…). I would love it if you’d follow along as we cover such topics as:

– What makes a writer a writer? And what makes a writer an author?

– Writing with Purpose

– The Mechanics of Fiction

– The Mechanics of Non-Fiction

– Character Development

– Setting Fees

– What To Do When You Hit the Inevitable Plateau

And there will be so much more. We’ll cover how to find an agent and how to find a publisher, manuscript lengths, and how to write a book proposal that publishers will want to read.

I was at this writing gig long before blogging became popular. Before I finished my own novel, I helped others develop and sell their novels. I’ve written book proposals that sold, and book proposals that got thrown into the mush pile because they stunk. I’ve ghost-written several books and co-authored a book, and I made countless mistakes along the way.

I love writing, and I love to see others reach their dreams of publication. So for 31 Days, we’re going to explore this topic together.

Well, what do you know…I think I just found my niche. 

I’ll link up each 31 Day post as I put them up. I reserve full rights to change, edit or move these posts around because there’s a solid chance I’ll have to do that!

31 Days to Becoming an Author:

Writer vs. Author

Creating a Space to Create

What Do I Write?

When Do I Write?

Inspired Writing

To Outline or Not to outline?

The Mechanics of Great Non-Fiction

The Mechanics of Great Fiction

Character Development: Creating Layered Characters

Developing a Killer Storyline

Don’t be a Passive Polly

Come and Ride the Grammar Train

The Process of Writing a Book

When You Hit the Inevitable Plateau

The Dreaded First Draft

What if I Write and No One Reads?

The Benefits of Ghostwriting

How Editing Makes You Better

A Writer is a Reader who Reads all the Books

The Power of Words

Setting Your Fees

The Art of Being Published in a Cut Throat World

Finding Representation

The Query Letter

The Book Proposal

I Am A Writer

Communities to Enhance Your Writing

Write for Yourself…And Also for Them

You Can Write A Book

Time to Dream


  1. Love it! I’ve been querying agents with my novel, and I can’t wait to see what useful tidbits you have for me! (Oh, and never fear, there are still people like me out there who love a good storyteller, and you definitely qualify!)

  2. Erin Ytterberg says

    I’m in! I am trying to make my writing dream come true while driving my minivan around too.
    Thank you for taking on this topic! Kelli, do you remember giving me the book “A Woman After God’s Own Heart” right before I got married? You made such an impact on my life and marriage. I am SO thankful for you. Lead on!

    • Sweet Erin! I do NOT remember giving you that book, but it is still a book that blesses me, so I’m glad it blessed you as well. And I’m so glad you left me this comment because you made my day! Big hugs to you my long lost friend! 🙂

  3. Awesome! When you are done educating the masses I have a ten year old who would love to interview you (for homeschool credit, of course) and get the scoop on what she should do now to realize her own dreams of writing and illustrating children’s books.

    • I would love to talk to your fabulous ten year old about writing and illustrating. I love that she’s interested in it!

  4. I look forward to following along 🙂

  5. I’m looking forward to reading your posts this month, especially the one about crafting a proposal.

    • Ah the lovely proposal. They’re not terribly difficult to put together, but they are dreadfully intimidating. Hopefully I can help. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Heidi!

  6. Delish!
    I’m not a (physical space) planner like my (times fifteen) mom either, but I’m a mental neat-nick. I outlined my month, too, also for the first time (31 Days of NaNo Prep. I almost thought it was October 31 last night, I was so excited!)

    Do you have a way to add an email-to-me feature to your blog? I’d love to keep up and I’m horrible at checking RSS readers.

    • Thanks, Amy! I’m working on getting the email thing installed. I’m not really sure how to do it, but I have a meeting with someone tomorrow who’s going to help. I hope to have it set up by the end of the week! 🙂

  7. Okay, I’m totally with you, because right now I’m just in the writing-the-novel stage and attempting to keep blogging at the same time, and I find I can either think of one or the other but not both… so KUDOS to you for coming up with this. Seriously, when I saw all my blogger friends starting 31-day series I thought HOW do you write on the SAME thing for 31 DAYS??? Maybe next year I’ll have an idea. 🙂 Looking forward to reading your thoughts in this series!!! Thanks so much. 🙂

  8. Cheryl Bohlen says

    I don’t know Kelly, this sounds like another book to me. I’m tuning in to see what I can learn, because I love to learn and I’ll live vicariously through the success your success for now. One day, however, I believe the day is coming that I will provide that experience for others through my own writing. Although, sometimes my ADD gets the better of me. I love, love, love this and hope to learn some good stuff! Thanks for sharing!


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