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Build Your Best Writing Life: Essential Strategies for Personal Writing Success

4.71  ·  Rating details ·  45 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Is there a gap between where you are and where you want to be in your writing life?

Maybe you have a drawer full of unfinished manuscripts or a story idea you’re struggling to develop. Maybe you’re frustrated with your writing progress or overwhelmed by creative doubt, burnout, or writer’s block. Maybe you just can’t seem to sit down and write.

No matter the roadblock

Kindle Edition, 200 pages
Published December 26th 2019 by She's Novel Press
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Kristen Kieffer
Dec 29, 2019 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
I think this book is pretty handy. But then again, I'm biased. *wink*

In all seriousness, this book is the culmination of my years-long journey toward building a writing life I love—one that no longer sees me buried under the weight of creative overwhelm and frustration. If this sounds familiar, if you're in any way struggling to find joy in your own writing life, let this book serve as your guide to personal writing success.
Lila Diller
I recommend this, especially for beginning writers or writers struggling to finish their projects. Though there were a few worldview things I didn't agree with – including a couple of swear words – overall, it was freeing and helpful.

I especially like the practical activities to do at the end of every chapter. I highly recommend not skimming through quickly or in a line at the checkout where you don't have access to your journal. The helpfulness, which to me is the main goal and achievement if
Finally! My first read of 2020! And what a great book to start the new year and the new decade!

I have been following Kristen since 2016, when I started off on my writing journey. And since that moment, Kristen has been a part of my life and has been a great support to my writing journey. Now, I get to support her by reading and reviewing her first published book! (Congratulations Kristen!!!)

After taking a break from writing in 2019, I knew I wanted to get back on the ride in 2020. And when
Naomi Lisa Shippen
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Build Your Best Writing Life is a very timely read as we enter the new year and the new decade. It has certainly made me examine my priorities as a writer and to work out what I want from my writing life.

This is a very comprehensive guide for writers, whether you are picking up your pen for the first time or wanting to review and consolidate your current writing practices. Build Your Best Writing Life takes you through the initial doubts and fears that can stop you writing before you even begin
Michelle Stockard Miller (True Book Addict)
I didn't make any strong new year's resolutions for 2020. What I did do was make a promise to myself to really put the work in on my novel in 2020. This book couldn't have come around at a better time. The first part focuses on the creative mindset and how it can be achieved, realizing there really is no right or wrong way to do things. The key is to recognizing what works, but also remembering it is hard work.

Later in the book, the focus is on publishing and marketing. Essential tools and tips
Pâmela da Silva Lima
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I could say this book is two years late in my life, because I could surely used it when I was writing and publishing my first novel. I know Kristen from Well Storied even before the site gained this name (I can't remember the old name), so I knew I could expect good things from her. I wasn't disappointed. The book is practical, exciting, full of not just motivation, but activities to improve our writing lives. If you love writing and want it to be a part of your life, you should totally pick ...more
Kate Johnston
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As a writing coach and editor, I’m always on the lookout for resources to help me up my game and I certainly found a wonderful one in Kristen Kieffer’s Build Your Best Writing Life.

The author writes with a conversational and genuine voice. From page one, the reader is drawn in through the common thread of “I know what you’re going through, I’ve struggled myself.”

Build Your Best Writing Life is tight, focused, well-organized, and well-written. Kieffer’s mission and audience are clear from the
Barbara Hawley
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
I've followed the Well-Storied blog for a long while and was excited to read this book, especially after getting to know the author through her posts. A wonderful resource for aspiring authors, it offers affirmations, business models, and road maps for writing success. What I really like is the concrete action-steps I can follow to build my writing life.
Anid Harker
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As someone who is terrible with baby steps and often in denial during self-reflection exercises, this is exactly the kind of advice book I needed in my life. I needed my action steps spoon-fed and Kristen delivered.
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As someone that has spent the past few years struggling with the writing life and mentality and considered calling it quits several times, Kristen Kieffer’s guidebook to building a writing life that you will be satisfied with was much needed. While I’ve read other motivation based books in the past few years, Build Your Best Writing Life lays down the enemy of writing, resistance (in terms of the negative voices) and how it destroys writers lives. It then goes into how to fight resistance with a ...more
Jessica C
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book puts all the best writing advice in one handy resource. I’ve followed Kristen’s blog/website for a long time now, and her posts have guided me through two manuscripts and a general leveling-up of my writing craft, practice, and creative mindset. In Build Your Best Writing Life, Kristen effortlessly weaves together principles about the importance of mindset and its impact on your creative work, as well as ways to push
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I found Kristen's Well-Storied Podcast last year. It was one of the few survivors of my podcast purge of '19. When she offered an ARC preview of Build Your Best Writing Life, I suspected I'd enjoy it, based on her podcast content and web articles.

She didn't disappoint.

Build Your Best Writing Life: Essential Strategies For Personal Writing Success is equal parts motivation, inspiration, and practical tips for getting the work done. It's like having your own writing coach on call 24/7. If you're
Marina Ferreira
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: newbie writers, established writers, aspiring writers
I've been a long-time follower of Kristen Kieffer's blog ( and the Facebook group (Your Write Dream) and the advice I've picked up over the years have been invaluable. Now imagine my excitement when I heard about this book. "Build Your Best Writing Life" is a collection of Ms. Kieffer's best advice for tackling the most prevalent issues faced by novice (and even professional) writers. It's clear from the first chapter that Ms. Kieffer writes from experience - she has been in ...more
Tony Tkach
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The title ‘Build Your Best Writing Life’ is certainly relevant for this book. It represents a journey, from starting with remedies for the symptoms of creative skepticism and procrastination, through the discovery of what drives your writing, and finally to making the goals and a road-map to achieve personal success. The word ‘build’ in the title is the key. A foundation for writing is prepared, and each subsequent chapter adds information to construct the mindset and decision one needs to make ...more
Whitney McGruder
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
I know the author enough to expect this, but it was refreshing to see mental health championed in this guide. I’ve always felt repelled by the “blood, sweat, and tears” types of writing books—the kinds that essentially suggest that if you aren’t going hard every day on your writing, you might as well give up. Conversely, Kristen guides her fellow writers on how to set reasonable, achievable goals that will help avoid burnout, frustration, and quitting.

Also, Kieffer’s chapters (I’m sure every
Mel Lee-Smith
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Kristen Kieffer thought of everything.

This book is an invaluable resource for writers of all genres and skill levels at every stage of the journey. No writer is left behind — BYBWL caters to newbie writers who lack the confidence to call themselves writers as well as experienced novelists on the path to publication. The activities offer endless opportunities for self-discovery. As someone who's been writing creatively since I was old enough to hold a pencil (and telling stories before that), I
Bonnie Beardsley
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Having been made fun of for having the highest grade on a writing assignment, in college the grade on the assignment was lower because I didn't follow what others wrote, and then when I shared with some ladies friends about a book I had started writing, they told me not to bother because there was a book on that subject which nothing I could write would outdo that book. I stopped writing for years.
Now that I have started writing again the past has been messing with my thoughts in that I'm not
Jen Elliott
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Having followed Kristen's blog for some time I was excited to read her first full book on the writing life. I would recommend this to any aspiring or new writers out there. This is not a guide on how to write a novel, although character, setting and story structure are touched upon briefly, you will find more detailed resources on these subjects elsewhere. This is however, a great guide on becoming the writer you want to be and helping you carve out a space to be just that. Full of inspiration ...more
Tracy Fox
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Build Your Best Writing Life: Essential Strategies for Personal Writing Success is an altogether different and refreshing kind of writer’s craft book. It focuses on helping the writer create their own process through personal exploration to develop the ideal writing life that works on an individual basis. In addition to the introspective prompts and exercises, Kristen offers practical advice about the business of writing, from choosing a publishing path to building an author platform and ...more
Andrea Prescott
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Build Your Best Writing Life is true to its title. Kristen guides you as a writer to help you find the time and confidence to be the writer she knows you can become. Every chapter is geared to move you along with your writing and keep you inspired to actually finish your book. It is not only for those writing a novel but for any writer who needs to really become the writer that they were meant to me. Kristen has taken her amazing talent as a writer to a whole new level and provided the help we ...more
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the most encouraging read about writing I have done this year. The entire first part of the book encourages writers and points out all of the negative self-talk we give ourselves. The rest of the book is filled with helpful information on how to write successfully. The author even goes into how to publish your book and keep yourself on track with lists and deadlines. There are examples throughout the book. If you need encouragement in your writing, feel alone, or doubt yourself, you must ...more
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is very encouraging to writers who feel stuck or lack confidence. It encourages writers to look deeply at what they really want for their own writing lives and work toward that, instead of burning themselves out trying to emulate successful authors with different goals and values. It's fine if you'd rather keep a day job than crank out a book every month, if you want to self-publish your work, or if you don't want to publish at all. Highly recommended.
Full disclose: I received an
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I have a LOT of writing craft books in my library. A lot. I've read most of them, started some and have finished the rest halfway. I finished Build Your Best Writing Life. This book is what I really needed after all the rest. Path of Hope, principles, overcoming resistance, validation, originality, and affirmations are tools I can use. Over and over. These tools combat the rest. Inner criticism, inner editor, imposter syndrome, and so on. Thank you, Kristen, for taking the time to write about ...more
Michelle Cornish
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An honest and thoughtful book full of inspiration!

There are lots of gems within these pages to help you shape your best writing life. With its inspirational author quotes, thoughtful creative affirmations, and step-by-step guidance, I have no doubt this book will help you on your writing journey. I've read many books on writing, but this one is different in that it warns you the life of a writer is not an easy one and shows you how to prepare for the long haul.
Pacelli Torres
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
My favorite quote from this book: “If you’re new to writing or haven’t yet developed a healthy creative mindset, you might assume you have no strengths as a writer. This couldn’t be further from the truth. What defines a strength isn’t knowledge or developed skill. It’s energy. Passion. An excitement for the work at hand.”

Excerpt From: Kieffer, Kristen. “Build Your Best Writing Life.” iBooks.
This material may be protected by copyright.
Tyler Hyde
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was the perfect writing book to start off the year! Kieffer tackles every aspect of a writer’s life, from overcoming doubts and recognizing strengths and weaknesses to determining what success looks like and creating a step-by-step plan to get there.

I would recommend this book for writers at all levels. There are actionable tips for whatever step of a writer’s life you find yourself in at any given moment.
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was really the perfect read to close off 2019/start off a new year. It touches on a lot of writer’s pain that I’m sure a lot of people feel, and it really motivated me when it came to setting up a writing a habit.

Also, it covers a bunch of different areas of the writing/publishing journey, and I’m sure I will come back to it for tips and tricks whenever I need the extra help.
Phoebe Fox
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A positive, practical, wide-ranging overview of the craft, business, and life of a writer. Author Kristen Kieffer, creator of the Well-Storied blog, offers realistic but hopeful and encouraging advice, insights, and affirmations. If you're called to the writing path, this book is a wonderful place to start your journey.
Maria Jimenez
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved how the strategies portrayed by the author are very open to be personalized and applied to any writing style. It helped me to get to know my current limitations and difficulties.. and provided tools to identify the best option to overcome them. It's not just about enhancing your writing life but also to keep on the habits to do so.
Chelsea Pennington
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There are some writing books that don't just teach you about writing; they widen your perspective about life and infuse your creativity with a sense of purpose. This is one of those books. I loved it and found it so useful. Especially as I began to plan out where I want my author platform and writing life to go, this was my guidebook.
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Kristen Kieffer is a fantasy fiction writer and an author of creative writing resources. At, she helps writers craft sensational novels and build their best writing lives. Her website is frequently voted among the top sites for writers.
“Your stories won’t appeal to all readers. But if you’re writing a story you want to read, it’s likely that others will want to read it too.” 0 likes
“But in truth, what greater fear is there for a writer than to leave their stories unwritten? To never pursue the creative work that brings them so much joy?” 0 likes
More quotes…