How To Legally Protect Your Writing (The Cheap Way)

By Jennifer Blanchard

Writers everywhere have the same question–how do I protect my work? A lot of times writers worry about someone stealing their work, but don’t have the money to officially copyright it.

Good news…according to Brian A. Klems, the Writer’s Digest Newsletter Editor:

“Whenever you put something in a tangible format—written on paper, typed on computer, chiseled on stone tablets—it’s copyrighted and protected under U.S. copyright law. No tricks. No magic. It’s as simple as that.”

Klems added a post to his Questions and Quandaries blog this morning that gives more information about copyrighting your work (in an official capacity).

Also–keeping in mind what Klems just told us about copyrighting our work–since the burden of proof falls on you if someone steals your writing and tries to use it as their own, it’s a good idea to take the most recent copy of all your novels, short stories (that are in final form or have been sent out for publication), put them all in separate envelopes and have them sent certified mail to yourself.

Once you get them in the mail, don’t open them. I repeat: DO NOT OPEN THEM. Set them aside and don’t worry about them again unless you get involved in a copyright claim/lawsuit.

Since stuff you send through the mail has a “sent date” on it, you will now have the proof you need to win your copyright claim/lawsuit.

Another option is to seal each piece of writing in a separate envelope and then get each envelope notorized. Libraries usually have free notary services available.

Now get to copyrighting…I mean, writing. 🙂

17 Ways to Find 10 Minutes to Write


By Jennifer Blanchard

One of the most common excuses many writers give for why they procrastinate is “I don’t have the time to write.”

True, people are busier these days then they ever have been before–we’re multi-tasking machines, filling every second of our days with a task of some kind, always so busy….blah, blah, blah.

If you stop for a second and take a look at your day, I bet you can find at least 10 minutes somewhere that you can write (and you could probably even find a few 10-minute blocks of time).

You don’t have to be writing all day every day in order to get your writing done. You’d be surprised how efficient you can be when you only have ten minutes to write (especially if writing is something you truly love to do).

Inspired by the blog post, 10 Ways to Find 10 Minutes to Write, on DailyWritingTips.com, I am going to give you 17 ways you can find at least 10 minutes to write everyday. So here they are…17 ways to find 10 minutes to write every day:

  • Before you get out of bed in the morning–when you wake up, roll over, turn on your light, grab your notebook and write for 10 minutes (this is an exercise called “Morning Pages“).
  • While you’re waiting for your girlfriend/husband/kids to get out of the shower so you can get in.
  • While you’re waiting for the coffee to finish brewing
  • While you’re waiting for your kid’s school bus to come.
  • While you’re sitting in traffic–I don’t condone you write while you’re driving, but if you are sitting in traffic that is completely stopped (which happens a lot when there’s an accident), it’s ok to grab a notebook and jot a couple ideas down. (Just be sure to watch the road for when the cars start moving again.)
  • As soon as you get to your desk–when you get to the office, instead of spending a half hour checking your e-mails, take a quick glance to see if there are any e-mails that need immediate response, then grab a notebook or bring up a Word document and spend 10 minutes writing. You can always go back to the less-important e-mails later.
  • During your morning coffee/smoke break–bring your notebook with you and write.
  • During a meeting–yes, we all know that most meetings are a waste of time, so if you find yourself in one of these meetings, jot down some notes for your next story or poem.
  • On your lunch break–if you’re not using your lunch break to run errands, grab your laptop or notebook and head outside or to your company’s breakroom (or stay at your desk) and write while you eat (you may even get more than 10 minutes of writing time at lunch).
  • During your afternoon coffee/smoke break.
  • As soon as you walk in the door from work–yes, dinner needs to be made and there is homework to be done and a Girl Scout’s meeting and spending twenty minutes on the treadmill before bed. But before you do all that, take 10 minutes and write. Just getting down on paper those poem ideas or that great opening line to your next short story you came up with in your morning meeting will help you put your focus on the rest of your evening, while also keeping your writing on the back of your mind.
  • While dinner is cooking–unless you’re a beginner, you’ve probably mastered the art of making dinner. That also means you’ve got at least 10 minutes of time–while the rice is cooking, while the burgers are grilling–to write.
  • After dinner before you settle in to watch your favorite TV shows.
  • During the commercial breaks of your TV shows.
  • Before you go to bed–just quickly before you go to sleep, write for 10 minutes.
  • In place of watching a TV show you’ve already seen–you know what I’m talking about because we all do it: watching reruns of a show you like because there’s nothing better on. Instead, write for 10 minutes (or longer!).
  • After you put your kids to bed–once the little ones go to sleep, write!

So as you can see, there are plenty of ways to find 10 minutes in your day to write. No excuses, put pen to paper (or fingers to keys) and write for 10 minutes today.