Chicago Writers Association Blog
Chicago Writers Association Blog

May 19, 2020

Beta Readers: Who, When, Why, and So What?

By Barbara Linn Probst

Beta readers, unlike critique partners or editors, are usually unpaid non-professionals who give feedback prior to a book’s publication. There’s no exchange of manuscripts; no expectation of advice about how to fix whatever weaknesses they find. They’re civilians, proxies for our future readers. Typically, they’re people we know, if not personally, then through a friend or writing community. We trust them enough to test our books on them and (presumably)…

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May 12, 2020

Behind the Pen: Meet Board Member Maggie Smith

Interview by Meryl D'Sa

Maggie Smith is a writer and advocate for women fiction writers. In her podcast Hear Us Roar, she shares book recommendations, interviews, writing tips, and more. She recently joined the Board of Directors of the Chicago Writers Association, and is the new managing editor of CWA’s Write…

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May 5, 2020

What Would Help With Your Writing?

by Samantha Hoffman

Is your writing going as well as mine?


One day last week I finished a short story I'd been working on for a few weeks, sent it off for editing, and then (the same day!) I worked on my novel. I bet I worked 6 or 7 hours straight…

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April 28, 2020

The Cold Hard Facts of Being an Author

Previously published on April 9, 2019

We all have our writing fantasies: the New York Times best seller list, people lined up down the block to hear us speak and have us sign our book for them, Oprah picking our book for her book club (does she still do that?)...

In 2015 I was having those…

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April 21, 2020

Can We Call This Thing Off, Already?

by Samantha Hoffman

I've had it. I'm over this pandemic. I've had it up to here with living this history, something to tell my grandchildren which I'll never have because I never had children, and I can't say I feel bad that I didn't bring people into this absurd world.

I've had enough…

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April 14, 2020

Learn About Writing While Binge-Watching Reality TV

by Maggie Smith

Six Things I’ve Learned About Writing While Binge-Watching Reality TV

We writers, along with everyone else, are hunkered down at home with time on our hands and yet many of us are finding it difficult to put words to paper. Instead we're hauling out puzzles, posting pet videos, and inventing…

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April 7, 2020

Behind the Pen: Meet CWA Spirit Award Winners Bill Turck and Kerri Kendall

by Jessica Mack

Winner of this year's Chicago Writers Association Spirit Award, talk-radio show Playtime with Bill Turck & Kerri Kendall takes an irreverent look at the arts and how the arts can change the world. This award-winning show has grown a national and international audience. From music, photography, the visual arts,…

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March 31, 2020

Behind the Pen: Meet Book of the Year Award Winner Angalia Bianca

Interview by Jessica Mack

Angalia Bianca is the winner of the CWA 2020 Book of the Year Award for Traditional Nonfiction. She has received international recognition and a Resolution for Bravery from Chicago due to her efforts on preventing violence. Formerly a criminal and con-artist, she ultimately spent twelve years in prison, and now…

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March 24, 2020

You Always Come Through!

by Samantha Hoffman

Have I told you lately how much I love you, oh writing community? Last week I asked for help getting past my road block (note that I do not consider it writers block) and people came through for me, even though they have their own, decidedly bigger problems. Mine…

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March 17, 2020

The Silver Lining

by Samantha Hoffman

Coronavirus. If it were a beer, we could shove a lime down its little neck and sieze the day. But it's not a beer, it's a pandemic, and it feels as though we're living in a movie. Who writes sci-fi? Here's your next novel.

We at CWA have spent the…

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