Writing and Blogging
“In drawing, nothing is better than the first attempt.”- Pablo Picasso
Tyler Wittkofsky, Author, Blogger, Mental Health Advocate
Based in the Southern coast of North Carolina
My name is Tyler Wittkofsky. I am a multi-genre author, blogger, award-winning marketing and communications professional, and fierce mental health advocate from the southern coast of North Carolina. I have been writing short stories for as long as I can remember, honestly. When I was growing up, my grandmother was an English teacher and principal in the school system. She provided me with constant fuel to my creative fire in his grandmother.
In 2012, I began using poetry to cope with my mental health battles. I suffer from anxiety, bipolar, and depression. Using poetry as an escape, I developed a unique style of poetry that has left readers saying, “Tyler’s voice is compassionate, even while suffering, and I felt the despair and loneliness seeping out through his words.” My first, and so far only, poetry collection, Coffee, Alcohol, and Heartbreak, composed of poems written from 2012 to 2016, was published in March 2020.
I began my first novel in 2019. The novel, (Not) Alone, was a story based on true events surrounding the struggles of living with mental illness. Described by readers as “An Intimate Closure with Mental Illness,” this was where I rediscovered my intense passion for mental health. It was at that point that I decided my writing would have a focus on mental health.
My next novel, The Seeds of Love: Sunflower Kisses Book One, was my debut romance novel and debut series published in 2021. Described as “a great job of relaying the realistic emotions of young love and emotional drama that is particularly difficult for young adults...”, my debut romance novel was met with much success.
In 2020, I began writing short stories. I was accepted into several anthologies in mid-2021 by Creative James Media, expected for publication in early 2022. I also write supernatural horror and historical fantasy for the online magazines In the Pantheon and In the Crescent. I have work published through Five Minute Affairs and The Mighty as well.
I built my website www.TeaButWithCoffee.com in 2021. On this site, I started my blogging journey. I began writing book reviews, interviewing indie authors, and writing on mental health. This passion sparked a new desire to connect with more people. In fact, it was through this initiative that I connected with Kyle. I am currently in the beginning stages of two podcasts that I hope to be live by the end of 2021.
Writing is something that is near and dear to me. I have been writing for as long as I can remember. It freed my soul and helped me to escape the darkness that haunted me in my childhood. It’s a release and freeing to put your thoughts and words down on paper, crafting your own world and stories. Writing is different for everyone and it’s hard to put a solid definition on what it means. Sure, I could tell you that writing is the art of crafting words for people to read, but writing is SO MUCH more than that. Writing is something people use to escape reality when they just can’t stand to deal with reality anymore. Writing is a way to connect with other people and to tell your story to people who may never have heard it otherwise. Writing is a way for one to let go of the pain they hold and put it down on paper. Writing is so many different things to so many different people.
For me, writing is a way to connect with people and tell them a story. To hopefully educate someone with my books is always my goal. I want to be able to open people’s eyes to why mental health is so important. I want to raise mental health awareness so that more people can be helped. I believe that helping people learn what it’s like to live with mental illness and showing them how they can help or be helped is increasingly important. Over a million more people died from suicide in 2020 than did in 2019. The numbers are rising at a scary rate and we need to help those who feel helpless.
For anybody looking to get into writing with the intention of publishing, here are some of my best tips.
Show, Don’t Tell.
Wherever you can, always allow the reader to experience the fine details of the story through the character’s actions, details that rely on the reader’s senses, intentionally using words, or the expression of characters’ emotions. Don’t just tell us someone is tall, show us they are tall with other characters’ actions. For example, “I had to glance up at the man, my eyes only even with his lips. He towered above my tiny 5’6 frame, but he spoke with the voice of a gentle giant.”
You don’t want to inaccurately portray a group of people because you didn’t do your research. If you’re writing about something you aren’t an expert in, you should always be doing your research. As writers, we strive for authenticity in our writing, and that is the number one way to ensure you include that authenticity,
Don’t skip out on an editor if you can.
I get it, editor’s are expensive. However, finding the right editor can help your work soar. Not only does it help that particular book get better, but it also helps you as a writer grow and develop. When you see the mistakes you are making written down, you are more likely to remember them and make conscious efforts to correct them next time. Editors provide a valuable resource in helping make your book as close to perfect as possible. Even if its one round of edits, do your best to get edited.
Decide how you want to publish.
The publishing process looks different for everyone, depending on if you want to traditionally publish or self-publish. Me personally, I chose self-publishing because I prefer to have the ultimate and final say on my product. Researching publishing methods and platforms is crucial to ensuring you see success when you finally go live with your book. There are a ton of publishing platforms for you to choose from if you self-publish. Again, do your research and make sure you are choosing the route that is best for you.
My Creative Process
My writing process, in the beginning, was messy at best. I had no plans, I just wrote. I was what they call a pantser in the writing community. My first book, though, was like my test run. It was a book I knew I didn’t want to make a ton of money off of, but one that I wanted to use as a learning tool to help others in their mental health struggles. I wrote everything on my phone. I did every single word from an iPhone. I did not know what I was doing. I just knew I wanted to write.
After the book was out and published, I started trying to connect with other authors and writing communities across all the social media platforms. I met some really great people that I’m so proud and honored to call my friends now, as well as learned some very important writing tips and tricks.
The odd thing about me starting off as an unorganized pantser, is that I am a VERY organized person. Everything has its place, folder after folder, spreadsheet after spreadsheet. So when I started writing the Sunflower Kisses series, I did what I do best and became a plotter. I created outlines for all five books, built family trees, developed spreadsheets with character profiles, made notes everywhere, tracked ideas for future books, the whole nine yards.
Even my promotional strategies have changed. I have gone from creating promotional material on paint.net and Microsoft publisher to utilizing Camva to create even more compelling content. I learned skills on how to build my own website as well, taking some additional courses to teach myself HTML and CSS. Not only am I a writer, but I also have to be a marketer.
Needless to say, my creative process has changed a lot over the last three years, and it seems to be for the better.
I'm always looking for new and exciting opportunities. Let's connect.