Stacey D. Atkinson


It's not easy to write a book. It takes incredible determination to type 80,000 words into a manuscript. A true labour of love, your book is an expression of your thoughts and creativity, put out there into the world for everyone to see. So what are you to do when you really want to finish writing your book but you just can't seem to get to the finish line?

For all you authors out there writing books on business, travel, self-help, etc., have you considered adding an index to the end of your book? Maybe you've never given it much thought or ever really noticed an index before, which is fine because in essence, a good index just does its job in a seamless and useful way.

Can. Hardly. Wait. For. Vacation.

In a week, I'll be heading back home to the Maritimes to get my fill of salty air, ocean swimming, family time, really friendly people, and hammock slothing. I've also added a few extra days onto the trip to take the long way home, driving around the Gaspé Peninsula for some Quebec maritime culture, sightseeing and whale watching. Needless to say, it's going to be amazing, and a perfect recharge for the mind and body.

For those of you self-publishing your first e-book, you may be wondering about all the steps involved, from writing the first draft to seeing the book for sale on It's not a complicated process, but it is a process nonetheless, and the steps need to be done in the right order, or else you'll find yourself wasting time and money.

This week I had the great fortune to spend a few days (and nights) at the RBC Bluesfest in Ottawa. Unlike its name, Bluesfest doesn't have much to do with the blues, but everything to do with showcasing great Canadian and international music. I saw some iconic bands perform and learned about some new ones along the way. But above all, seeing those musicians up there, pounding it out on the guitar and singing their hearts out, really inspired me to get off my butt and get back to creative writing.

Over the past year, I've had the pleasure of working with some great travel writers on everything from blogs to books to media Qs&As. It's always a good idea to have an editor review your work before it goes live. An editor can find any sneaky little errors that were missed by your tired eyes, fact check place names and URLs, and in the case of blogs, ensure a consistent style week to week. But for those of you out there who are your own editor, here are some tips on creating your own style sheet, which is guaranteed to make your travel writing and blogging easier. 

Last night I went to Chapters bookstore to see a talk by Josh and Ryan of The Minimalists. They are two young guys from Montana who climbed the corporate ladder only to become unhappy, and then finally found happiness by quitting their jobs and living with less stuff. They now write books and tour the country to spread their message about finding passion and purpose in life and how living with less stuff can make you more happy. So it got me thinking, how could the minimalist mind make me a better writer and editor?

Every book has a story to tell, and every story has a reader. Finding these readers is the challenging part for most indie authors and publishers. Yes, you can stock your book at your local Chapters Indigo bookstore or at online retailers via Kobo Writing Life and Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, but what about the untapped niche market?

Last week I toured Toronto's iconic Coach House Books and learned the art of bookmaking. For a print-on-demand girl, it was a mind-blowing experience. 

Have you ever asked yourself, “What book am I?” I think authors have an easier time answering this question, since they are the books they write. But what about everybody else—readers, bloggers, journalists, teachers, or anyone who loves words?

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