Blake Atwood, Dallas, Texas NFAA Chapter LeaderName: Blake Atwood

Business Name: BA Writing Solutions LLC

Website URL

Social Media Links:

Book Titles:

Don’t Fear the Reaper: Why Every Author Needs an Editor

The Gospel According to Breaking Bad

Mr. & Mrs.: How to Thrive in a Perfectly Imperfect Marriage

Stuck: When You Want to Forgive but Don’t Know How

NFAA Chapter Location:

Dallas, Texas

NFAA Meetup Group Link:

Tell us a bit about you. What kinds of writing do you do and what do you do for work? 

My earnest writing journey began in 2013 when I wrote and published The Gospel According to Breaking Bad, a specifically Christian take on a seemingly unchristian show. In time, the process of writing, releasing, and selling that book gave me the confidence to pursue more writing work. Less than a year later, I began writing, editing, and ghostwriting full-time.

In looking at the kinds of clients I attracted, I realized that I enjoy helping people who are helping people. I’ve since had the sincere pleasure to work with counselors, pastors, nonprofit leaders, businesspeople, a documentary filmmaker, and even a loan officer who wrote a business-oriented novel for other loan officers. I also released Don’t Fear the Reaper: Why Every Author Needs an Editor, a short guide for first-time authors on seeking and working with an editor.

Currently, I write for others and try as best I can to make their words superb. Although hazy visions of being a novelist sometimes dance through my head, I’m firmly a nonfiction author who will remain a student of story for the rest of his days.

What are your publishing-related goals?

Mostly, I hope to continue to help my clients pursue their publishing goals. Personally, I’m anxiously awaiting my byline on a wide release by a traditional publisher, which may not be too far into the future. However, as a big fan of self-publishing done right, I’m also excited to begin a new project from the vantage point of all I’ve learned—but I have no idea what that project will be.

Why motivated you to want to run a local chapter for NFAA and what do you hope to accomplish with your chapter?

At the end of 2016, NFAA Founder Stephanie Chandler took part in the Publishing Success Summit. I also had the glad opportunity to be interviewed as part of that online Summit. Listening to Stephanie’s interview was the first time I’d heard of the NFAA.

After perusing the NFAA website for far too long and discovering that they were seeking chapter leaders across the US, including Dallas, I thought I could be of service. More than that, I thought I could also stand to gain more insight into this crazy business of writing and publishing just by taking part in any group that may form, regardless of whether I was chosen to lead. I know and believe that connecting with other writers is so vital to success (and staying sane) in this business that I was more than happy to help facilitate such a group. For as much as I may be able to give, I know I’ll receive more in return.

For the Dallas chapter, I hope to spur its members to seek excellence in their writing, success in their marketing, income through sales, and, above all, constant encouragement of one another to keep pressing on despite inevitable setbacks. My favorite writing quote from Hemingway speaks to what I believe about the writing life: “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” So long as we remember that, we’ll always have much to learn from each other.

What advice would you offer to fellow writers?

Stop reading about writing and write! Writers write. Paid writers write a lot. They put in the practice to hone their craft. Certainly, they still read books about writing and attend conferences and writers groups, but they don’t allow those helpful activities to stand in for the actual work of writing. If you’re not already disciplined to write something every day, start there. Who cares if it’s good? The point is to keep writing and producing. Eventually, you’ll get to that point where you hesitantly believe, “This might just be good enough for someone else to read . . . or even pay for.”

Please list any favorite books, tools, or resources you would recommend for fellow writers.

Of course, I’d heartily recommend Don’t Fear the Reaper: Why Every Author Needs an Editor, closely followed by what I consider the necessities of any writer’s library:

  • The Elements of Style, Strunk and White
  • On Writing, Stephen King
  • The War of Art, Steven Pressfield
  • Journal of a Novel, John Steinbeck
  • Story, Robert McKee
  • Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott
  • On Writing Well, William Zinsser
  • The Chicago Manual of Style

As for the tools and software I use and recommend, I’ve compiled a lengthy list on my website.

What do you do for fun?

I fill out blog interview questionnaires.

Actually, my wife and I have our hands full with our toddler. When I’m not spending time with them, I’m usually reading or watching too much TV (a.k.a. Research and Development). When I need a break from my writing and editing work, I play an electronic drum set in my office. When we need a break from everything, we like to travel, though toddlerhood has placed those plans on a temporary hold.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I’m grateful that an organization like the NFAA exists, and I’m truly excited about how it will benefit authors in Dallas and throughout the US. If you’re in Dallas, please attend a meeting. If you’re not, find a chapter in your area. If a chapter needs a leader, consider leading a chapter, even if it’s outside of your comfort zone. You’ll be surrounded by writers, and they’re not all that fearsome.