Writing- surprisingly social.

The other day I was scrolling through Tumblr and saw the phrase “Writing can be a surprisingly social activity” in a post by wordsnstuff, and the idea of it stuck in my head. While I don’t consider myself a writer, as an editor, I spend a large part of every day working with books and authors and writers, and so, SO much of my job is about connections and communication. Writing itself is a means of communication, a way to tell stories and share ideas. And sure, a large part of that is sitting in a chair typing away, but that’s where the story begins, not where it ends. Especially not in today’s world.

Writing communities are incredibly important.

Even if you are the kind of writer who needs to be in a room of their own locked away from the world in perfect silence for the words to flow, eventually you are going to reach a point where you will need to involve other people. Sometimes you’ll get stuck and need someone to talk things over and brainstorm with. Or maybe you need a new perspective, or insight into some aspect of the human experience that you aren’t personally familiar with. Maybe you are feeling discouraged and you need someone around to listen to you vent and encourage you that you really CAN do this, and that it’s okay to get it wrong the first time, because as long as you keep writing you’ll get there eventually.

Or maybe you’ve finished the book, which means it’s time to start revising and editing. That’s a place where new readers are almost always helpful. It can be hard to find the places where the scene that is so clear in your own head might not be translating to the page quite the way you wanted. Sometimes you might have looked at something too many times and need a fresh pair of eyes. Hearing what other people think of your work is one of the best ways of finding which parts are working and which parts might still need a bit more thought to really shine. It’s really, really hard to grow and change in an isolated bubble.

And eventually, after you’ve finished revising and editing, the next step is to share your work with people. Whether it’s with agents and editors as you pursue being published, an online community, or people you’ve never met who found your book in a store or library and decided to pick it up because it sounds so awesome, you are going to want a community of readers to enjoy your work, and to help inspire you to get started on the next project.

I know the idea of joining a writing community and putting your work and opinions out there can be scary, but I really think it’s worth it. Being part of that community, making connections with wonderful creative people, finding books I can fall in love with and helping to make them the best that they can be is why I became an editor in the first place, and why I LOVE working at Swoon Reads so much. As of September 2017, Swoon Reads has 40 fantastic authors on our list, with 33 published books, and over 40 more already acquired and in progress, and an ever growing community of readers and book lovers who challenge, support, encourage, and inspire us every day. If you are interested in coming and hanging out with us (and possibly working with us to publish your book), check out swoonreads.com. Hope to see you there!

Become a Pacemaker VIP!

Hi all! In a few weeks we’ll be launching our Pacemaker VIP newsletter! It’ll be a one-stop-shop for all things Pacemaker- exclusive discounts, new features, betas and launches, and blog posts, along with helpful resources from Community members like you!  Becoming a Pacemaker VIP is easy, simply subscribe below!

Perks of being a Pacemaker VIP:

  • Exclusive discounts on existing services and special promotional pricing for new feature launches!
  • Early access to limited seats on beta tests for new tools (along with the ability to directly influence the functionality through discussion groups and feature voting)
  • A platform to share your content with other Pacemaker users. We’ve got the users, you’ve got the content, and we don’t mind being the middle man! We’re always excited to share helpful resources with our users, and Pacemaker VIPs can submit their content for our community feature spots in each issue! (As our list grows, there may even be some ad space, and we’ll keep a few heavily discounted slots exclusively for Pacemaker VIPs)

Get on board! 🙂

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Let’s Talk About the Writer’s Games- Group challenge!

As Round 1 of the Writer’s Games- the Individual Portion, simmers to a close tonight, the flames of friendly competition are already being fanned for Round 2- the Group Portion!

In case you blinked and missed it, over the past 7 weeks, hundreds of individual participants have written 7 short stories in 72 hrs as part of the Writer’s Games! If you can believe it, they each received personalized feedback from multiple judges, on each of their 7 short stories! Winning entries will be featured in the Writer’s Games anthology, to be published and sold later this year!

In this round, however, participants will work in Groups to conceive an idea for the weekly prompt, then plan, write, and edit their entry. An elected Team Leader will submit the entry on behalf of the team, and then the judging begins. Just as with the Individual portion, each Group will get personalized feedback on each entry from multiple judges, and the winning Team’s entry will be published in the Writer’s Workout Anthology later this year!

I know what you’re thinking, “I really want to join but I don’t have a group of my own!”. No Team? No problem! Here are three ways you can get on board:

  • Join an open team
  • Create your own team (of 7-12 members)
  • Leave it up to chance by selecting the “I NEED a team!” option. Balanced groups are carefully curated by the Writer’s Workout team based on participants’ strengths/weaknesses.  (Insider scoop: the two-time reigning Group champs, The Red Herrings, were one of these chance teams!)
Although Groups can have as many as 12 members, there is absolutely no room for spectators! Each team member is expected to pull his/her weight to produce consistent, on-theme submissions which read with one voice!
Here’s some important information to keep in mind:

The Who: The Writer’s Workout

The What: The Writer’s Games 2017- Team Portion

The When: Group Games Registration begins: July 1

Group Games begin: August 4

Anthology published: exact date tbd Fall/Winter 2017!

The How: Visit the Website or Follow the Writer’s Workout and the Writer’s Games on Twitter. Their Facebook page is very active, and the admin are incredibly responsive!

Watch this space to register from July 1! Who’s in?!

Pacemaker goes to the Bank!

A few months ago Pacemaker went to the Gym! This week, we’re going to the Bank!

If you can use Pacemaker to track how much you write or read, or even run or train, why not how much you can save or even spend as well?!

Here are 3 ways to save, let’s say, $1000 in 3 months:

With the Rising to the Challenge strategy, I’ll save anywhere between $1 on the low end, and $21 on the high end, each day for 3 months, while Oscillating will have me saving between $6 and $17 daily. With Steadily though, I’ll tuck away about $11 each day.

You can play around with it yourself, here.

But then, of course, I’m me and not someone else who’s particularly diligent at saving! So it may not be realistic for me to accept a schedule which asks me to put something aside every single day for 3 months. This isn’t impossible, but it is improbable, at least for me because, you know: birthdays, bakeries, general indiscipline… bakeries). SO here’s that plan another 3 ways, this time, more realistically for me:

This Rising to the Challenge plan, starts me off easy with very low daily saving amounts, and allows me to skip my birthday week, and weekends. The most I ever have to save on any day is $35. I think I can manage that for 3 months.


Meanwhile this Oscillating plan will allow me to once again skip saving during my birthday week and on weekends, but I only have to set aside between $9 and $25 on saving days, to reach the same 1K goal in 3 months.


On the other hand, this plan allows me to Steadily work towards my savings goal by setting aside roughly the same amount every day. Even with skipping my birthday week and weekends again, with about $17/saving day, I can still hit that 1K goal in 3 months.


As usual, Pacemaker is showing me that whether little by little, or a lot by a lot, getting to my goal is possible!

So! Do you think Pacemaker can help you create savings plans? Or maybe you’ve thought of other quantitative goals you’d like to see incorporated, or even a write-in option? Just let us know! If there’s enough interest, we just might do it!

Through the Looking Glass- We Are Outsiders

My sister and I have been working on Pacemaker for over 4 years now. What started as a very basic way to manage a Masters thesis word count has become so much more!  Over the years, diverse groups of people have discovered the tool and, through their feedback and support, Pacemaker has metamorphosed into what it is today! We’re seeing authors, translators, students, professors, hobbyists, to name a few, using the Pacemaker tool to track everything from their software coding, Duolingo lessons and school assignments, to NaNoWriMo novels, comic strips and even prayers!

However, as much as we fashioned Pacemaker from our own academic experiences, we recognize that we are outsiders to the literary professional world. We couldn’t tell you how to publish a book or how to edit a magazine article. Learning a new language? We’re no experts! We couldn’t even tell you the best way to get from point A to point B in your process. What we can do though, is show you a couple googol ways to get there!

Sometimes it feels very much like peering through the looking glass, and stepping into a fantastical world of creativity that we would never have access to on our own. Lucky for us, the natives in this world have been exceptionally friendly, and have guided us through the creative terrain to help us create a tool which is both proactive and reactive! And we see tangible possibilities for other developments on the horizon- fitness tracking, money tracking etc. We are so grateful that: Pacemaker is being molded by YOUR experience and desires. Click To Tweet

That doesn’t mean we come to the looking glass empty-handed though! Outside perspectives can be healthy, and help shine some light on certain things to which familiarity may have blinded insiders. So don’t worry, we’ll never journey with you empty-handed. We’ll strive to bring the following to the looking glass with us every time:

  • Fresh Eyes – connections with other issues, fields and domains. Together, we have backgrounds in international law, software development, public administration, communications, international relations and more.
  • Willingness to listen – we know we aren’t experts in your craft. We listen carefully and then ask “What if?” and “Why not?”. We don’t know what’s a stupid question yet 🙂 so we’ll ask it anyway.
  • Willingness to spend hours understanding everything you may take for granted in your industry – sprints, timers, publicizing your book, the importance of NaNoWriMo and camp NaNoWriMo, the translation industry, the life of a freelance literary professional etc. These are all new and fascinating to us, and we’re eager to learn more!
  • Critique! – This may make some folks uncomfortable but we hate waste, and when we see it, we’ll call it out nicely 🙂 but we will listen to learn when we are way off.

Thank you for being our looking glass guides over these years! We hope that at the end of each foray, you can say you’ve helped us help you!

Remember, User suggestions drive Pacemaker updates! So, if you see something you'd like added, say something! Click To Tweet If it’s feasible to do so, we’ll implement it right away, other suggestions take more time, and others need a bit more refining before we can commit. But we take every suggestion seriously! E-mail us, get in touch on Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr (we try as much as possible to be where you are on the internet), or contact us directly using any of the options on our Contact bar at the bottom of each Pacemaker page.