Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Take Writing Breaks

This is probably an unnecessary tip. It is take a break when you have nothing to write. 

Over the past few months I've not been inspired to write. I was busy on a new websleuthing project for a group which is always fun, but I don't earn money for that. 

I had worked on a new book I hope to release and sell, and after so many edits, decided to put it aside for a fresh look later. 

I thought I'd go back to article writing, but everytime I sat at the computer felt brain dead. I had no motivation to write. Some old articles have sold but if I'm not putting out anything new, money will dry up. 

I simply want to suggest if this happens to you that you do other things when your writing enthusiasm disappears. There's no point spending time on writing things your heart isn't into. Wait for your inspiration to return and don't feel guilty. 

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Writing a Memoir?

Someone in one of my Facebook writers groups posted a question about how to structure a book about her life experiences. I suppose she was writing a memoir. 

I gave her this response and thought it might be a good blog post:

"I know writing this will be therapeutic for you. 

To actually sell it, you'll need to consider who would read it and why. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

How will your experiences inspire or enhance a reader's life? 

Why would someone want to read it? Is there a hook?

Why would someone pay money to read it? 

If you were going to buy such a book, what would you expect from it? 

Will there be a point to the book aside from you having fun telling your story?"

The Point of the Book

I write non-fiction and often weave life experiences into my writing but I try to only do that if it moves the reader further. My illustrations should have a point that is connected to the theme of the book. 

Sometimes my writing presents a problem and provides some solutions and in the case of a memoir, I'd think the writer would have life examples pointing the way for the reader to find solutions for themselves. 

I went on: 

"If you can find an interesting hook or define a niche topic, you'll have more success. 

Would it appeal to someone the same age you were at the time? Is it geared for others questioning their faith upbringing? What caused you to have one foot in your faith and one foot out? Is that likely to happen with a reader too? Who are the people that might be in a similar situation?

Once you identify the person you want to share your story with, write it as though you are talking to them over coffee. Give your reader points to ponder. Ask them probing questions."

That's my 2 cents.

I cringe when I hear of another memoir being written. I don't particularly want to read another person's life story. There must be something compelling me to read it if the person has no existing platform.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

I Am a Writer

Reprinted from a 2013 blog post.

This is a cover my daughter and I
designed for a competition we
didn't win.
Yesterday I brushed by this blog, read the stats and clicked on to my next blog, checked its stats and moved on.  I had nothing new to write.  I was empty. There was zip, nada, nil, zero.  As the day wore on I wondered how I could possibly be a writer and be word-dry.

As dawn broke this morning(well, dawn didn't exactly break--it was rainy and dark), I headed to the computer with my coffee.  "Oh," I said to myself, "Today will be a good writing day.  It's always good to write in the rain because there is no temptation to play in the sun instead."

So I zipped past my blogs again, hoping to fill them with something to keep them optimized, but nothing profound came.

Instead of doing any actual writing today, I fell back on the old R&R, Read and Research.  

Mid-afternoon I stumbled upon some interesting free downloads and in them was the concept I'm about to explain. The reason I've chosen to add it here is because half an hour prior, the same concept came across my path.

When a concept crosses my path twice in short stead, especially by two distinct individuals who, as far as I know, aren't connected, I pay attention.


The first writer shared that if you make vague "I want" type goals, you merely attract more of the same.  You attract a re-occurring want.  For instance if you state, “I want to be a competitive jockey,” your time and energy will result in that outcome--the wanting to be a jockey.

Instead, you should say, "I am a jockey and will compete competitively in 2014." With this stronger version of the same thought, you will be more likely to take steps to actually fulfill the goal.

Tonight I re-read a free download called You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One), by Jeff Goins http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007YJEIAS?tag=kiq-free-e-20.  In this little ebook, Goins suggests a person needs to believe they are what they want to be and then start acting like it.    

That goes with something I discussed with my diet coach too.  I suggested to her I do some visualization seeing myself as thin and seeing the scale reporting a lower number.

The concept is this:  If you want to be a thin, healthy person, say, "I'm a thin and healthy person."

If you want to be a writer, say, "I'm a writer."

Don't wait for someone to validate the idea.  Don't keep putting it in the future.  Accept your calling now. 

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Creating Your Online Platform

The professionals will tell you that to sell your writing you need a platform or following. That is always helpful. 

But many writers are introverts who love story telling about fictional characters or non-fiction writing about something they feel compelled about. They don't want to go out an meet people. Using online tools will be helpful for them.

Love of Writing

Getting your writing out there feels therapeutic. Most of us are willing to write for free in formats such as this one. Having access to a world-wide audience through the Internet makes the process feel even more powerful. 

Finding Your Niche 

The question becomes: How do you find your target audience? How do you build a following? Who will you ultimately sell to?

I suggest you don't make your focus your church members. I mean don't self-publish a book and try to sell it to your friends. I suggest you don't just write and put it on Amazon hoping it sells either. (Although I've done this too,.

There are probably a number of ways you can gain a following or connect online that I don't have in my arsenal, but I can tell you what I have done. 

When I became a life coach, blogging was becoming popular. I started a blog just to see what would happen. When I received feedback, I was amazed, and a little scared. Someone WAS reading my posts!

Nevertheless, I continued adding posts until I saw a direction forming. Analytics were everything. I could see what someone had put into their search bar to find me, so I saw areas of greatest interest forming. 

It was seeing those statistics that I decided I could write a book putting most of what was in my blog posts into it. I did, and my books continue to sell almost one a week. Somehow, I'd reached an audience. 

If you want to work yourself into a niche, you might want to do something similar. Try blogging as a starting point. 

Social Media

I admit, I still haven't defined what I want my social media to do for me. I know I want it for social interaction--being an introverted writer. 

I DO have my friends divided up into lists. When I post to Facebook, for instance, I decide who I want the audience to be for that specific post. 

A temptation on Facebook is to gather friends as a way of finding buyers. I don't like that at all. I have had friend requests from those who have just published a book. I have never had conversation with some of these people. I know they only want to friend me to try to sell me their book. The same goes for products. What a turnoff. 

Marketing in social media from my standpoint is always relational. If you're never going to visit my post and comment, why do I need you as a friend? I will read your posts and comment in most cases, but your posts had better be about more than what YOU'RE DOING and selling. Relationships are important in any type of sales. 

Well, a writer gets to spew his or her feelings in a blog and that's what's come out today. Hope something in this post is helpful. 

Best wishes in your writing endeavours. 

Saturday, January 5, 2019

2019 Tip List for Writers

So you want to write and perhaps become published. Here is your 2019 kick-off list of suggestions:

  1. Get a computer with a word program as eventually all needs to be entered into the computer (even if you start your writing in a journal).
  2. Set aside time to write and let your family know you're going to be preoccupied.  Perhaps build it into your schedule.
  3. Start writing at your sitting. Let all your ideas pour out. I insist, this is the favorite part of a writer's hobby or craft.
  4. At your next sitting, either choose the "carry on where you left off feature" in Word and continue writing, or read back what you wrote previously to remind yourself of the flow and carry on.
  5. Write simply as though you're talking to someone. Don't use big words if you can get by with a simpler word. The average reader has a grade 8 to 10 comprehension.
  6. Vary your words. Don't use the same one repeatedly. Use the synonym feature to alter your words as I did here with the words vary and alter.
  7. Edit by reading back quietly or aloud. Take out excess words. Fix awkward sentences. Start moving things around so the piece flows better.
  8. Remove extra information that doesn't move the story along or help explain the points. (Being willing to cut large amounts takes bravery because we get attached to our thoughts.)
  9. Research and be mindful not to violate copyright laws. Give references for facts, Bible verses, and quotes no matter how familiar.
  10. Read your piece  back again as though you are the targeted reader, or better still, have it read to you by pasting it into NaturalReader.
  11. You can print your work if you feel it is helpful to do so. This can help when you significantly need to move things around. But you don't HAVE to print it out.
  12. Keep reading and learning. The best writers are readers.
  13. Join Facebook writer groups to gain motivation and free tips.
  14. If you want to self-publish, forget those agencies that make you pay to have your book published. Go to Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and start with a Kindle book. Read their many instructional tutorials to learn just what to do.
  15. If you want to try your hand at selling articles, look into Writing for Dollars, Contant-Content or other freelance content writing opportunities, or look into the guidelines of magazines who accept submissions.
  16. Add balance into your writing days by going for walks, joining an exercise group, finding social outings, and so on, because refreshing your mind and body will help your writing. You may also find fresh material when out with others.

    Well, I could go on. This list should help you for now. 

Finding Words for Your Story

I usually write non-fiction. In non-fiction, especially articles for web content, we need to write concisely. That means, we don'...