Blogging: Achievement Unlocked


I’m so pleased that blogger Sarah nominated me for The Blogger Recognition Award. This is a pretty awesome award, and I’m so happy to be part of a community that celebrates each other so thoughtfully! Sarah has an awesome blog dedicated to discussing all things related to reading, writing, and publishing. She also created a writing service called To Publish Or Not, which gives free advice to writers about story ideas. She’s pretty awesome, so go check her stuff out!

Rules for The Blogger Recognition Award

  1. Select fifteen other blogs you want to give the award to
  2. You cannot nominate yourself or the person who has nominated you
  3. Write a post to show your award
  4. Give a brief story of how your blog started
  5. Give a piece of advice or two to new bloggers
  6. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  7. Attach the award to the post (right-click and save, then upload)
  8. Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them
  9. Provide a link to the award post you created

Pretty simple, right?

How This Blog Came To Be

Well, originally this blog was just a personal collection of stories from my day-to-day life. Longterm followers will remember the blog changing not once but twice throughout it’s little lifetime (this used to be Finding My Voice and then it was Snowed In Scribe). I finally settled on Have Pen, Will Pen, because I finally narrowed down what I wanted to talk about: writing, publishing, editing, and the advice that goes along with it, though I still do occasionally post about life (because who doesn’t right?). I wanted this blog to be a place where writers and editors could come and learn about the (somewhat daunting) world of book publishing. I also wanted to convey the struggles that go along with being a writer and the ups and downs of being an editor. I figured sharing what it was like to have a foot in both those doors and giving advice to help writers navigate those tricky waters would help.

Over the last year, I have gained a new respect for the publishing world, as I’m currently starting my second year as a graduate student in PSU’s Book Publishing program. It’s been an intense ride and working at Ooligan Press has given me new insight that I’d like to share with the world. I’ve also gained a new respect for the writing side of publishing, since I’ve been picked up by Desert Palm Press for my first novel. I’m looking forward to sharing what I learn by going through the process as an author, too!

Advice to New Bloggers

  • Write about something you love. If you love it and are passionate about it, that will shine through in your blogposts. Plus, it’ll give you the opportunity to explore that love and will help you continue to post in a regular fashion.
  • Comment on things you love. If a blogger posted something absolutely amazing, comment on it, like it, reblog it even! The original blogger would be thrilled, and you have a better chance of making connections and building an awesome community of friends by doing so.

Here are my nominations!
(I hope you guys take the torch and pass it on!)

Michelle Magly

Word Nerds Unite

Molly K.B. Hunt

Erika Schnatz

Writer Girl, Lately

Live to Write, Write to Live


Kristin McFarland

Bottled Up Sentiments

A Glimpse of Starlight

Scarring Words

Girls Gone Geek

Grad Mouse

Grace’s Wanderings

Stephanie Flint

Keep writing!

Warm regards,

LifeHacks: Studying Tips

The school year is upon us once again and whether you’re in high school, undergrad, graduate school or beyond, this transition from summer to fall also means the start of what I like to call the “Studying Season.”

And, while my graduate program doesn’t technically restart until September 28, I figured I would share four studying tips that have helped me over the years in the hopes it would help all of you!

Tip #1: Study A Little Bit Every Evening
This is a tip I figured out in high school. I used to have major tests every week and cramming the night before just didn’t do it for me. I couldn’t remember everything all at once and hyperventilated when I couldn’t. Then, I found out that studying a little every night helped me really process the information. It also gave me the freedom to study a little instead of in huge chunks, which helped me not freak out over the testing.

Tip #2: Use Your Resources
Resources are helpful. Resources can be in the form of study sheets, the questions in the back of each chapter if your books contain that kind of thing, the library, or your professor, ex cetera. It can also be things like creating your own study materials, crafting a quiet study area out of your room, or highlighting your textbook. All of these aspects will help round out your studying. Heck, you can even ask to use a fellow classmate’s notes! Which bring me to my next tip…

Tip #3: Quiz Each Other (Or Form Study Groups)
To be fair, I forced my sister and my parents to quiz me, but this can be helpful for friends, too. This could also be known as a study group. I did a few of these in undergrad, and they helped in two ways: a) they allowed us to learn the material in new and different ways since you have different points of view and b) they allowed us to have some fun in the process. Hanging out with friends, even if you’re studying something, is bound to be an enjoyable event. This segues into my to my fourth and final tip.

Tip #4: Have Some Fun
I’m the first one to raise my hand and say that studying is vastly important. Going over information learned in class will help later on, even if you don’t have a test to prepare for. That said, however, it’s really easy to be caught up in the Studying Season kind of lifestyle, where that’s all you do all the time. You should also take some time for yourself. Have some breathing room in your schedule—even just an hour a day would help—and do something fun. Anything fun. It may seem like your blowing off your homework for a little bit, but it’ll be better for you in the long run. Plus, letting off some steam helps ease the tension of test day.

Well, that’s all folks! My four tips to help you study during school. I hope they help you… they certainly helped (and are still helping) me.

Now that I’ve said my piece, I want to hear from you! What are some of your tips for studying in school?

Warm regards,

Writer vs. Editor

So, as some of you know, Desert Palm Press signed me up as an author. I couldn’t be happier. It’s been one of my dreams to get published, and I’m so grateful it’s happening.

One of the things I’m really looking forward to, however, is the journey*.

The journey will be…interesting.

As all of you know by now, I’m an editor. I have my own freelance company, and it’s something I’m specializing in at Portland State University’s graduate program.

But both writing and editing are two facets of my professional life. To be fair, I started writing earlier, but really, editing will probably pay the bills later on in life.

Anyway, inspired by Indigo Editing book designer and publications consultant Vinnie Kinsella’s post, I figured it might be fun to do a back and forth of what a writer would say and what an editor would say.

(And, yes, I’ve thought all of these things at some point in both my writing and editing careers.)

Writer: I’ve worked hard to pick the perfect title for this manuscript. It’s a real eye-catcher and reflects what I want the reader to understand about my story.
Editor: Does the title reflect what’s inside or give too much of something away? Is it too long? Too short? Are there any other titles out there like this one? I need to do some research.

Writer: I’ve slaved over every word of this manuscript, and it’s perfection.
Editor: It’s not perfect. There are thousands of words in this book and chances are there will be some misspellings, misplaced commas, dangling participles, and characters whose hair changes color half way through.

Writer: I’ve edited this draft a few times all ready, why do I need to look at it again? It takes such a long time finish this.
Editor: There are many stages of editing. Developmental. Copyediting. Proofreading. All of these stages help make the work perfect and all of the stages are necessary. Yes, it might take a while, but it’s worth it.

Writer: That time/place/character description isn’t important. I should just move onto the next scene.
Editor: The readers can’t see inside your head. We need those descriptions in order to ground the reader in your world.

Writer: I’m breaking the rules in order to create this really cool sentence structure/paragraph style/grammar thing. The readers will love it!
Editor: I need to make sure that rule-breaking sentence structure/paragraph style/grammar thing is consistent throughout the entire novel. The readers will need that consistency.

Writer: I need to write everything down, everything is necessary, and everything is needed. The readers will want everything, even the tangents.
Editor: I need to cut some of this for clarity, especially the tangents that don’t belong in the novel. The readers will thank me for this.

Writer: This minor character is totally relevant. It’s my baby.
Editor: This minor character has nothing to do with the plotline. We have to cut them. Or figure out a way to incorporate them more.

Writer: I can’t wait to see this in print/ebook/audiobook!
Editor: I can’t wait to send this through up through the chain of publishing and then see this in print/ebook/audiobook!

We’re both going for the same thing—a polished story—but we see it in very different ways.

And with this journey, I’m not going to be on the editing side of things, a side I’m used to being on and have been on for quite some time now, I’m going to be on the writing side of it. I’m going to be the Writer on this equation.

It’s going to be a wild ride.

Warm regards,

*Aside from holding a physical copy of a book I wrote in my hands, of course. What? I’m old school.

Moderating a Panel

This weekend I attended the Willamette Writers Conference as a moderator, representing Ooligan Press. I figured this might not be something people get to do everyday, so I wanted to share my process of how I got ready.

Three months before the conference: Per asked me if I would be interested in doing something for the Willamette Writers Conference. I said yes, then pretty much forget about it until after finals and vacation.

A month and a half before: Per offered me a panel—How to Develop an Author Platform—and asked if I’d like to participate as a moderator. I said “Of course!” and added it to my ToDo list. *looked up what the hell a moderator does on Google* *felt pretty good about myself*

A month before: I researched my panel topic, my panelists, how to moderate things, and brainstormed questions. I sent them to Per, got some feedback, and revised.

Two weeks before: I sent the questions out to my panelists for their feedback. I drafted my talking points and added the timing so I’d know what I’d like to hit. I went over the questions five times a day. (Anyone who knows me, knows this is not excessive… for me.)

A week before: *nervously sweats* I started to freak out. I realized I would be speaking in front people, asking questions, and generally doing something I’ve never done before. I kept going over the questions. And I drank tea. Copious amounts of tea.

Two days before: I created some new business card designs and sent them to the printer. I also went over my questions with Molly, one of my friends here at the Ooligan Press. I had been saying it out loud in front of my cats and it was good to practice in front of a person. I also advertised on Facebook and Twitter.

The day before: I gathered my items—binder with paper, pens, water bottle, coat, folder with my moderator stuff in it, bag, keys, wallet, business cards. I tried on a bunch of different outfits. I was perfectly calm.

The day of – T-6 hours: I got up early and dressed. I wore my orange pretzel socks from one of my best friends, Meredith, because they were awesome and I needed to be awesome. I fed the cats and made breakfast. Then, after hugging my cats for good luck, I left.

The day of – T-4 hours: I hung out with Bess, another Oolie and a friend of mine, for a while, waiting for our turn to start this whole crazy moderating thing. Bess was cool as a cucumber. Oddly, I was, too. We met up with Molly right before Bess’s panel. I watched Bess fly through her moderating business. She did amazing. I was still okay.

The day of – T-1 hour: My coolness vanished around lunchtime. I think the process of sitting down with my own thoughts and eating made me realize just how close this insane thing I was doing actually was.

The day of – T-30 minutes: We had just finished lunch. I was nervous. Super nervous. I’d like to say I hid it well, but I probably didn’t. After heading to the panel room, I met with some of my lovely panelists Mary Bisbee-Beek and Todd Sattersten. I was proud that my hands didn’t shake when I poured and handed out the water glasses. (My peeps from high school will tell you, my hands shake when I get nervous.)

The day of – T-10 minutes: I met my final panelist Karelia Stetz-Waters. I chatted with her a little, getting more anxious about the stream of people trickling in. I made sure my talking points were in easy reach. The venue staff came by and handed us mics. I (internally) freaked, since I had never really used a mic before. I told myself it would be okay. I checked my phone to make sure we started on time.

The day of – T-30 seconds: I took a few deep breaths, gave myself an internal pep talk, and grabbed the mic. I fumbled a bit with it at first. The attendees were nice and mimed how I should hold it. *internally freaked out because I always want everything to start off smoothly… … … got over it and moved on*

The day of – 1:313:00pm: The panel went smoothly after that. And oddly enough, even though I was nervous to begin with, the nerves fell away while I was asking the questions.

The day of – 3:00end of day: Completely relieved, I watched Molly moderate her panel—she did awesome—and hung out for a little while, then went home. I made sure to email (and Tweet) the panelists a thank you and announce on Facebook that I had successfully completed the event and everything went well. Then, I crossed it off my list.

Annnnd that’s my process! Really, it was all about having confidence that I could actually pull this thing off. (I gave myself lots of pep talks.) I also prepared quite a lot beforehand, practicing out loud and such. Remember, the preparation process is different for everyone. Do what’s right for you!

It was also lovely to have my friends there, too, so we could root each other on.

Overall, I’m glad I did it. It was an interesting experience and one I can put on my resume. If you have the chance to do it, I’d say go for it! (And coming from a woman who generally doesn’t like speaking in public, that’s saying a lot.)

Warm regards,
Kellie Doherty

Post Script – I have some super exciting news to share with you all, and, because of that, there might be a Bonus Post sometime later in the week!


Sometimes I like reading my own blog. It’s like a journal, and I like seeing how far I’ve come. Plus, it helps me figure out what I want to write about. This is a post I did on February 22, 2014.

I like it, so I’m sharing it again.

When I was younger and imagined my life as an writer extraordinaire, I figured I’d have creative breakthroughs every single day. Every. Single. Day. That every one of my thoughts would be my next best seller. That I’d be typing happily away on my computer – in my office, in a coffee shop, in the library – many GREAT THOUGHTS would hit me, I’d pick one, write the others down, and be set for that day.

I figured since inspiration is everywhere, the GREAT THOUGHTS would just come to me… easily. Simply. Without stress. Without pain. Without the hours and hours of time dedicated to it or agonizing over it.

I, of course, was wrong.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I have many great thoughts… that one time I figured out how to fix a footer in a pesky Word document that no one could quite figure out all by myself, that brilliant idea for a Full Moon Event involving glow sticks and a Frisbee, that time I paired cottage cheese and eggs and discovered the most amazing breakfast food of all time. Those are great thoughts…but just not the right ones.

Truth be told, GREAT (writing) THOUGHTS don’t come around very often.

Sure we have a pack of GOOD IDEAS sneaking around our ankles, and two or three INTERESTING CHARACTERS tugging at our hair… but GREAT THOUGHTS?

GREAT THOUGHTS tend to travel by themselves. They are rarely seen and, once had, hidden away, locked in a cage in our mind until we nurture them enough to let them see the light. (And by nurture, I mean feed them our souls in little chunks, let them drink our time away, and claw at our imagination for fun.)

GREAT THOUGHTS rattle their cages until they make us uncomfortable enough to share with others – tugging at our creative ropes, wanting to join the fray with the undeniable ARCHES, the handy PLOT TWISTS, and tumble with ALL THE FEELS. Enough to make us share them with OTHER UNKNOWN WRITERS who are just as desperate to find that one GREAT THOUGHT as we once were.

But sometimes it takes… well… time for GREAT THOUGHTS to come around. For a few writers, GREAT THOUGHTS appear regularly – and if you’re one of those writers, I’d love to know your secret – but for most of us, the breakthroughs just won’t come that often. It may not happen for years.

But the secret to writing, I’ve found, is that we can’t wait around until that GREAT THOUGHT shows up. Follow those GOOD IDEAS down the creative path for a bit. Spend some time with the INTERESTING CHARACTERS and ALL THE FEELS to discover what works. Be mindful of the ARCHES in other books and craft some PLOT TWISTS that would make even the smartest of reader fall off their seats in shock.

Just keep writing.

That one GREAT THOUGHT will come sniffing around soon enough.

Somedays I wonder where all my GREAT (writing) THOUGHTS are, but I’ve still been writing, too, so in the end, that’s what counts.

Have a wonderful weekend! Try to stay cool out there.
Warm regards,