Why Writing is So Stressful

Spread Your Wings… Write Your Book!

Think of your First Draft as those Messy Teenage Years

Glenna Mageau, Award Winning Author, Speaker, The Write Success Coach

What is writing?

Let’s consider what writing really is. Simply put, it is putting words down on paper. Well that’s easy enough or at least sounds easy enough but we don’t see it as just that do we?

Nope, we see it as this profession that is only done by professionals who are really good at what they do and they are making money at it. 

Too often we think, well that’s not me. So we don’t call ourselves a writer, even if we are actually writing.

So what makes writing so difficult?

Let’s go back to grade one. Now for many of us, especially if you are older than about 40, I’m not so sure that grade one was all that much fun. The rules were pretty strict and things were taught in a way that you did it their way or got yelled at. Ouch. Sad that the teachers of before were taught there was only one way of learning and only one way of doing.

So guess what? In grade one, you were taught to print out your letters. The letters had to be printed just so which meant you had to keep them between the lines. And to get better at doing this you had to repeat… repeat… repeat. And sometimes miss recess to do so.

Then as you went through school you were taught more rules—sentence structure, punctuation, grammar… some of which has and is actually changing.

Then you were taught how to write reports and essays. There was a specific format that you had to follow and the information had to be in a certain order. 

So before you’ve even tried to write something that interests you, you’re trying to keep track of all the rules you learned. Which means you’re mind is too busy trying to keep it all straight to be creative.

It’s not anyone’s fault, it’s just what was taught and what we interpreted from that.

Can I end a sentence with of?

There has to be a messy stage

There is nothing more exciting than getting an idea to write a story, a message, a book and then find it difficult to start or to keep going.

Too often when we start writing we worry about the end product. But here’s what we forget, back when we were in school we had to do research. We wrote out information that we wanted to include. And then we started to pull that information together, with our understanding of it and our ideas and to write out our report or essay. I don’t know about your first draft or fifth draft, but mine were always a mess. I had information here, there and I was moving information around to make it fit and have it make sense.

The early form of Cut and Paste

My first year of University, I had several papers due, which stressed me a lot. I used to do my research, write some of my paper, do more research and then write out the full essay. But once I’d written it, I’d rearrange the information. This was before the ease of the computer. It was all hand written and then typed up.

I used to cut my pages and tape pieces for where I thought the information should go. When I liked how it read, I’d rewrite it so that I could then type it out. It was very time consuming but there wasn’t the luxury of typing out your information and have it saved so that you could edit it easily. You had to hand write it, yes that was a while ago, and then rewrite it without mistakes to make it look good. And then you’d worry about typing it and pray you didn’t need to use a lot of white out. Well after writing a 10 + page report, 3 to 5 times or more, you figure out a way to take short cuts. So I literally just cut my pages til I had the right order. I call that the early form of cut and paste.

There needs to be this messy stage so that you can get to the final end product, your story or book.  And believe me, getting there is so worth it. In this blog post, What Writing a Book Gives You, I talk about all the benefits of writing a book.

You need to allow yourself to gather, and to write down all of your ideas. It does not matter what order you do this in or how you do it. Gather and then write. Write and then gather. Both are fine. You just need to get the information down, so then you have something to work with. That’s when you worry about putting it in an order so that it looks good… sounds good…

“Think of your first draft as those messy teenage years.”

Drop the Rules

The best gift you can give yourself is to drop the rules. By dropping the rules, you are freeing up your mind to be creative and to just write. It doesn’t have to stop you ever other sentence and remind you about putting a comma, a period, breaking up your long sentence… You just write. That can all be fixed later.

Don’t worry those rules and the formatting is important but not until you are nearing the finish line. You can go back when you are done your story, your book, your message and fix it in the final rewrite and editing phase.


Be Messy… don’t worry you’ll grow out of it… maybe…

The best thing about those teenage messy years is that eventually your child grows out of those years. Well the same will happen with your writing. To get better at writing you need to write. You need to allow your mind to open and the ideas to flow. The more you do this the better you are going to get and the less messy you will be. Or at least that is the goal but it really doesn’t matter if you keep writing your first draft like a messy teenager.

The goal is to write a good story, a good message, a good book. And all of that really comes to life in the rewrites where you reorganize and see what adds and what takes away from the story.

Allow the mess!

Give Yourself Permission to Write

There really is no right or wrong way to write, it’s all about what works for you. But you need to be able to get beyond the hurdles holding you back. 

Unfortunately, we let the final, perfect product be what we are aiming for with our first draft. There are very few people, if any, who can write an amazing first draft. And definitely not when they are starting out.

So aim for the messy teenage years, and just write. Don’t worry, you’ll reach the final, perfect product.

Stick with it!

Self Publishing

What you need to know.

These just might save your writing.

The 3 Mindsets Key to Writing

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Things to Consider when Writing True Life Nonfiction

Write for the Love of it!

Things to Consider when Writing True Life Nonfiction

Glenna Mageau, Award Winning Author, Speaker, Writing Coach


Writing your memoirs or  true life nonfiction or biography or an autobiography is amazing and is something that many people are doing. It really is a great exercise for anyone, however, when you are writing about true life events, situations and people, there are some things to consider. Unfortunately, if you aren’t careful there can be some legal ramifications.

Ask yourself a few questions:

1. Why do you want to write this real life story?

2. Who do you hope will read it?

3. What do you plan to do with it?

There is no right or wrong answer but it is always good to be clear on why you are writing this and what you hope to do with it.


Is what you are going to write potentially going to hurt someone else’s reputation? annoy them? anger them?

Might they take offense to this information being shared?

Stick to the Facts

When you write true life stories you need to make sure to stay to facts (and even that can cause you problems), be careful of inputting your opinion and not sharing something that is defamatory or that someone does not want the public to know.

Which is why it makes it incredibly dicey when writing your memoirs that will include stories about another person(s).

Ask yourself:

1. Do I need to include a lot of information about that person?

2. Is this information public knowledge already?

3. How much do I need to include?

4. Can I mask it enough that someone would not be able to identify that person?

You might need to change names and enough identifying details that the person you’re writing about could not be identified by it.

So instead of writing that it was your boss, you could write a neighbor who had a different profession and appeared differently.

Reasons to Write Your Memoirs 

I think writing your memoirs is a good idea. It can be very cathartic and eye opening for you. It can really be beneficial to you to heal that which maybe you haven’t. It can also be very healing for others who have been through the same things or similar situations.

Nobody wants to be seen in a negative light in the media, in the public eye, well at least not having their dirty laundry aired and definitely not by someone else. Something you will need to understand, it isn’t how you see the situation, it’s how the other person believes it means they will be perceived. It might be something awful that the person did or it might be something that was you saw as funny, heart-warming… but if the person doesn’t want the public to know, you might have a problem.

It can then become a legal situation, which I don’t think any author wants to find themselves in.

But remember if someone doesn’t like what you have written, your fate might be decided by a court of law.

Write it as Fiction

An alternative to writing your true life story as a memoir is to write it as fiction. You can still tell the essence of the story but make it appear as a story rather than fact.

However there are still several things to consider:

1. change names of those involved

2. change the situation that it happened in

3. change the person’s or persons’ occupation

4. you might need to change the location… the age… the sex… what actually happened… who it happened to…

The truth is that even if you are writing it as fiction, you may need to mask it as much as you can. If the person can identify that this is about them and a situation that you are mentioning they were a part of, they can still try to sue you.

It really is a grey area.

As you’ve probably guessed this is a really grey area when it comes to writing memoirs and true life nonfiction. It’s not about how you see it, it’s about  how the other person you are writing about sees it. If it is something they feel puts them in a negative light in the public’s eye or they don’t want others to know about it, you might have a problem. 

Don’t be Discouraged

Writing true life stories is so important and I don’t want to discourage you. My suggestion is to write it for yourself and use it to heal. Write out everything. Every detail. Every event. Everything.  Then go back through your story and see what really needs to be included. Before you publish anything make sure to get at least someone else to read it, someone impartial (I recommend a minimum of 5 people). If you can, show it to the person that you’re writing about in your story. I recognize this isn’t always an option but understand if you can’t talk to them about what you are writing, chances are they aren’t going to like it. If you can talk with them, you might save yourself a few headaches. 

I don’t know if there are truly a lot of lawsuits against authors for memoirs or autobiographies or biographies but I do know that it is something that happens. Most people, never mind authors, do not want to find themselves on the receiving end of a lawsuit.

Use Due Diligence

You need to use due diligence and do what you can before you publish to make sure this won’t come back and bite you.

I am not a lawyer and have never been in this situation but I do want you to be sure to protect yourself. Do some research but find a way to write your story. It truly is important.

Writing is the best gift and an incredible way to heal, the mend and grow. Don’t let this article discourage you, use it to find out more and find a way to make sure that you can share your story in a way you are proud of it but  also won’t land you in hot water.

Plan for writing

Writing memoirs is a grey area.

“Be clear on why you want to write about certain events can you change them and still feel good about what you wrote?”


Start the conversation today.



Taking the time to get your mom's story.

It is the best gift.



Do Creativity and Fear go Hand in Hand?

Glenna Mageau, Award Winning Author, Speaker, Writing Coach

What is it that makes creativity and fear want to hang out together?

When we write or do some other creative craft, or want to, it’s like we go back in time to all that we were taught and wonder if what we are doing is okay? We were taught rules—how things had to be done, how to make it fell within certain guidelines or how to make it perfect.

If you’re a writer you were taught how to write a sentence but not just any sentence, a perfect one—perfect length, perfect spelling, perfect grammar, perfect punctuation, perfectly interesting, perfectly active…

We were taught rules. If you’re an artist what’s one of the first things you were taught? To color inside the lines. We were taught so many rules about how things were supposed to be and if we didn’t there were consequences. Not following those rules, especially if you are older than 40-45ish, might have meant: you got a red pen marking up your English paper or assignment; you might have been ridiculed in class; or you might have been yelled at. Most people I don’t think got the strap or spanked because of not following the rules for creativity but that kind of punishment was a thing. It was given out, sometimes at the whim of a teacher or a parent.

For many of us, I think we have connected not following the rules with judgment and harsh consequences. We were taught things had to be perfect before we let anyone else see them and if they weren’t then something would happen. There could or would be some sort of reprisal – red ink, yelled at… other.

Never given the opportunity?

There are a lot of reasons why we really struggle with our creativity. If you’re in your 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, plus, you were probably never given the opportunity to just be creative. To just let your imagination take you away. To just have fun with it and not worry about what it looked like or sounded like or if it fit in with all the guidelines. There were always the rules and regulations of how you had to do it. If you were fortunate not to have this restriction applied directly your craft, it was generally applied to all other areas of your life. Especially for women. Women were really taught how to do this, how to do that, when to do this, when to do that and be perfect while doing it. Image was everything.  

Plan for writing

Image was everything

We learned it was important to be and do perfect.

As women we learned to do… and be… perfect, but not how to let ourselves just enjoy what we were doing and to let ourselves be free. If we did we had to make sure it was just right before anyone else saw it. And getting to that point is often what stops us from really doing anything with our creative craft. It is a lot of work and stress to make things perfect. Too often we feel like we are failing before we’ve even started.

We are learning and there is a yearning to free that creative, playful side of ourselves. But… with that comes fear—the fear of judgment, the fear of not doing it perfect, the fear of who am I… Just fear. We don’t often even know why we’re feeling it, we just are. We’re scared that there will be some reprisal of some sort – from overwhelm to judgement to failure to success…

Now that we are in our 40 plus years, we are looking to get back in touch with that creative side of ourselves. But it’s scary.

“You can break the rules,

you can step outside of that comfort zone

and be safe.”

I know how tough it is.

Believe me, I know how tough it is but I did it, so I know you can too. I was petrified what other’s would think. And I had this constant thought, ‘who am I…” I realized though that I could just play at my writing, my creative side, or I could take the leap. I took the leap. Why?

In 2008, I lost two people very dear to me and I almost lost a 3rd. The sad truth was that these people left this world with regrets. In fact, that was some of the last words I ever spoke to them was about things they had wished they had done. How sad that they carried that dream with them their whole life and couldn’t find the courage to step forward and do it. Some of the things they shared were small, like I wish I had gone to this place or that place but some were bigger, I wished I had… followed my dream.

It broke my heart but also woke me up to the fact that if I kept on the path I was on, I would be living with regret which means when my day comes, I’d be leaving with regret. I didn’t want that. I wanted to explore and discover all that is possible for me.

So I took the leap.


The truth is

We’ve kept ourselves playing small and safe. We’ve kept ourselves… inside a box. One that was created a long time ago.

Guess what?

You no longer need to stay within it. You are at an age and stage where it is time to break free.


So how do you break free?


  1. Decide what creative venture you want to pursue.
  2. Find someone who can teach you.
  3. Find someone to hold your hand – very much recommend
    this last one. You have probably felt like you have to do it
    alone, you don’t. It is so much funner and easier with a friend.
  4. Start playing with your craft. See what really appeals to you about it. Explore it.
  5. Look for opportunities of what you can do with it. Think outside of the box.
  6. Take the leap, believe me you are safe.
  7. Join a group of like minded women, they will understand your fears and your frustrations.
  8. Know that this is the right journey for you.
  9. Find someone to guide you.
  10. Have fun with it. It truly is okay.


We’ve connected things we shouldn’t have.

I always think of Sesame Street – one of these things is not like the other. One of these things doesn’t belong.

Fear does not belong with writing or any other creativity. It is time to shed the fear and realize that our creativity is our gift. It is perfectly okay to explore them, express them and share them. 


Step into your creativity.

It truly is time for change. Time to let go of fear and embrace joy and fun and peace and connect that to your creativity. Writing is meant to be fun. Step into your creativity, step into the freedom of expression, allow yourself to break the rules… and write, draw, paint… be creative.

Fear and creativity do not need to hang out together any longer. It is your time to shine.

Are you ready to take the leap?

My Interview with Spotlight on Your Business

My Interview with Author Spotlight

Recently I had the honor of being interviewed by Becky Norwood, of Spotlight Your Business.



We discussed my book, Do You Know Your Mom’s Story? 365 Questions You Need to Ask Her.

I share why I wrote it and what my hope is for it.

I had interviewed many women who were in their 80’s, 90’s and 100’s who back in their day had stepped outside the norm – they worked or got educated. That had to have taken a lot of guts. I learned a lot about their journey. The biggest surprise though? Was that they hadn’t shared their journey or their story with their children. That broke my heart. So much lost. 

Women are amazing but especially Moms. Sadly though, many women, especially moms and especially the older moms don’t see their lives as all that important and they carry around guilt and shame and embarrassment and that which they were taught – not to brag. The times were such that women were taught to work, to do for others and to not really talk about it. And emotions weren’t seen as all that useful.

It is so important to get Moms to share their story – it is such a gift, such a legacy. 

Bridge the gap, get to know your mom’s story.

To get your story down on paper, there are several ways to approach it. First thing, stop thinking, just write.

  • get your information down on paper, then you can fix it
  • do an interview, talk to someone and share your story
  • record your information
  • speak to type software

The key is to get it down on paper, then you have something to play with, something to build on.

Interview with Author P.M. Terrell – New Release, Writing and Marketing

Write for the Love of it!

Interview with Author P.M. Terrell – New Release, Writing and Marketing

Glenna Mageau, Award Winning Author, Speaker, Writing Coach

My interview with P.M. Terrell. We talk about her new release, a children’s book – The Adventures of Blade and Rye; writing – what inspires her and keys to writing; and marketing your book. 


Patricia McClelland Terrell, who writes under the pen name p.m. terrell, has had 21 books published in several genres, including her award-winning suspense novels and historical/adventure creative non-fiction. She has been writing full-time since 2002. Prior to that time, she founded and operated two computer companies in the Washington, DC area with a specialty in detecting cybercrime.

She is the co-founder of The Book ‘Em Foundation and the founder of the annual Book ‘Em North Carolina Writers Conference and Book Fair, which raises awareness of the link between high crime rates and high illiteracy rates.

She is also the founder of The Novel Business, which provides information on effective marketing and promotional techniques for the published author.

The Adventures of Blade and Rye is her first children’s book, which will be released on November 22, just in time for the holidays.


Her new book, The Adventures for Blade and Rye, is available for pre-order and is out as of Nov. 22. You can order her books from online or you can order this or any of her other books, from her website – https://pmterrell.com/wp/ – and you will get a signed copy mailed to you, (free shipping in Canada and the US). The signed copies is available only until this Christmas.

Plan for writing

The Adventures of Blade and Rye

“You might need to get out of your own way.”

Some Key Tips from our Chat


If the idea is meant to be there, it will stick around. So when you get an idea, play with it. Where does it go? Does it allow you to grow it?

If the idea is meaning you have to force it, then let it go. If it doesn’t flow, it’s not worth fighting with.

Are you passionate about your idea? Is it something that will stick with you for 5 or 6 months? Is it something you want to step into for that time? 

There is a difference between putting words down on paper and feeling those words as you write.

If you’re not passionate about what you’re writing, it comes through on the page.

If you are just pushing out words, then something will be missing in your writing.

If you force a story, you are missing something.


Be passionate about what you write!


Glenna Mageau, a prolific writer and award-winning suspense/thriller author. Having written most of her life, she is on a quest to inspire women to find their voice through writing. Writing is an amazing gift but it pulls and pushes at the same time. It pulls you to want to write but it also pushes you away. At times, it can feel daunting and you may find you become proficient at procrastination. I can help you to get started and keep going so that you get your story, your message written. Step into your gift of writing, I’ll show you the way.

Write for the Love of it!

Give Proper Meaning to What Others’ Think About Your Writing

Write for the Love of it!

Glenna Mageau, Award Winning Author, Speaker, Writing Coach

I gave a lot of weight to what other’s thought.

I don’t know about you but in my early days of writing, I always gave a lot of weight to what other’s thought about my writing. Don’t get me wrong, it is very important to get feedback from other’s. It is important to listen to what other’s are telling us about our writing.


its how we accept it and what we do with it that matters.

I had held these beliefs that ‘who am I’, ‘how can my writing be any good, I’m not… (name a famous author)’…

When I’d get input from other authors or writers, I’d take it to mean I couldn’t write or that I really wasn’t all that good at it. All I could see was all that was wrong with my writing.


I was truly missing out on what was being suggested.

It wasn’t that I couldn’t write, it was simple input or opinion from someone else. What they were saying probably had helpful tips but I didn’t always hear them. I read into it what I felt they were truly saying—I couldn’t write! I wasn’t good enough to write!

My writing probably did need some work and did need some guidance but not once did they say I couldn’t write. My interpretation did and it kept me small… for far too long.

Don’t take it personally

Too often we take what the person, who is giving feedback says, as truth. Especially when it is negative. If we get positive, it’s nice but we often brush it off as not important. The negative stuff though, often we do choose to take it personally.


It’s time to stop doing that.

Plan for writing

The cool thing is that I now realize how far I have come.

Now when someone gives me feedback, does a review or criticizes, I look at what they are saying.

Is there truth in what is being said? Is there something that needs fixed?

Does it help me write better stories?

Does it help me as a writer or author?

Is it positive and uplifting?

If there is nothing in what they have written that either makes me feel good, gives me tips or helps me with writing a better story, I simply put it down to someone’s opinion. And they are welcome to it. I do not have to buy into it.

Recently I sent out the first chapter of my novel, Split Seconds, to people on my email list. These are some of the reactions I received to it. By the way I don’t know any of these people who wrote these.

“… I will eventually read this book. I haven’t read the second one yet. I say keep on with what you are doing, you do it well…”

“…I hate to say this, this not only did not choke me up, it seemed like a very cliched “set up for doom” with way too much weight being put into forewarning us about something that was going to happen in a spattering of words.  If it has been played without the foreshadowing, if it had sucker punched the reader, then it would bring real power to the emotional base of the action…”

“Excellent !”

“Well, if that isn’t an attention grabber beginning I don’t know what is!…”

“Not all opinions are created equally.”

if you don't writing will be that thing buzzing around your head

I chose not to take the one that I felt was rather negative as personal. I read it, wondered a bit about the person, shrugged and let it go. In the past, I would not have done that. I would have stewed about it for a long time and used it to prove I wasn’t a good writer. Now I just realize that my writing isn’t for that person. Now though, I choose to focus on all the positive comments that I had received. With over 100 reviews on Amazon for Captured Lies with over a 4.4/5 rating, I think I should start listening to the majority. 🙂

In the one negative review, I did take a bit of what I am sure the person meant as criticism as a positive – ‘forewarning that suggests doom’. Because that is exactly what I was doing. There is some doom that happens in the first chapter but it is the basis for what sets up the twists and turns that occur throughout the story. So I thought it was awesome that they got that. Although they didn’t quite see it how I wanted them to. But that’s okay. That person is not my audience.


The important thing is to remember that you are a writer. There are times you will get criticism/feedback that you need to go back and rework a story or work on your writing. And it might even be true. I had needed to work on my story and my plotting and my writing in general. But I stuck with it.

Listen to what others have to say but don’t let the negative feedback be your excuse to quit, let it be the fuel that keeps you writing.


Take what you can learn from other’s opinions and let the rest go!


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