Danielle Hanna

Hearth & Homicide Fiction

How Often Does a Writing How-To Book Leave You Crying?

I’m finishing edits on my current work-in-progress, Journaling to Become a Better Writer. Frankly, while the writing and editing is clipping along well, this book is kicking my ass.

When I sat down to write this book, I figured it would be a short quickie. Just a few tips and tricks I’d picked up from keeping a journal for the past 22 years. I figured I’d pull a few paragraphs from my own journal to give a flavor for what I was talking about. But I quickly realized this wouldn’t do.

One of the most important things your journal can teach you is how to be honest with yourself. Brutally honest. Tear-wrenching honest. Dragon-summoning honest. By including only some light snippets out of my journal here and there, I felt like I was holding a double standard–telling you to be wickedly honest, but holding back the honesty in my own journal.

I felt I needed to lead by example.

So I made a monumental decision half-way through first draft. I was going to tell the whole damn story. Dragons and everything.

Doing so means that I’m reliving the worst days of my life as I select and insert pages from my own journal. Some days, it hurts so bad, I feel like I’ve been through a can crusher. This is definitely not your average writing how-to book.

The good news is, my edits will be done this week, and then it’s off my desk and away to beta readers. (Thanks, crew!)

The bad news is, as soon as Journaling to Become a Better Writer is out of sight, I jump into NaNoWriMo and first draft of my novel Mailboat. Another book that strikes close to home.

What do these two books have in common? Me. My story. My lost childhood, my existence in a love vacuum, my life-long mission to find someone to call “Daddy.”

I’m also writing both of them because of a cop named Sam. Until Journaling to Become a Better Writer comes out, I can’t give away too much. But Sam is all excited that I’m going to make him famous. Lol.

These two books need to be written. I’ve learned from experience that victory over dragons comes from charging them head-on. But I’ll be happy when they’re done.

2014-10-14 I could never be with him


  1. Can I preorder?

  2. Danielle, it took me a a lot longer than planned to finish my book, which I now see as a labor of love. The editing and the iBook layout drove me crazy, and I realized that we independent, self-publishing authors are taking on a lot of responsibilities when working to produce our books. The last few months of my project were the hardest and I simply had to get done no matter what I felt was still missing. Now I’m trying to find room too start another book.

    • Formatting an ebook can be crazy-making! But for all the work that goes into indie publishing, it’s far more rewarding than begging a traditional publisher to give you a break. 🙂 Congrats on your accomplishment!

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