Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Does Lots of Writing Time Guarantee Productivity?

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I managed to get a fair amount of writing done back during the holidays. I suspect the biggest reason for this increased output had to do with my having large swatches of time in which to write. I don’t just mean lots of time, I mean large contiguous blocks of time, where I could write interrupted for several hours at a sitting. 

Life usually forces me to sneak my writing in whenever I can, which often means writing in fifteen to thirty minute increments. That kind of piecemeal writing isn’t so bad when I’m tweaking sentences, but it’s not so great when I’m fighting my way through a difficult scene. I scarcely have the chance to figure out where I previously left off before it’s time to quit again. 

With that in mind, sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I won the lottery, quit my job, and could spend all day writing. I’d like to think my productivity would skyrocket, but I suspect it wouldn’t quite work out that way in real life. I believe one of the reasons I enjoy writing is because I have to work so hard just to find the time to write. Would I enjoy writing as much if I had all the time I wanted? If I spent four to eight hours writing every day, would it start to seem like work? Would my passion for writing fizzle after a couple of books? 

I don’t play the lottery, so I guess I’ll never know the answer. 

(Unless my wife inherits a fortune. Then all bets are off.)


Friday, January 26, 2018

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 181

Well, this week was pretty much a disaster writing-wise. Instead of making up for last week's lack of production, I doubled down and managed to write even less this week. 

I left work on Friday with good attentions, determined to spend the late evening hours writing up a storm, but then decided I was too tired to be creative and headed off to bed. The plan was to rise early the next morning and write, but that's when I discovered the family (including me) was spending the day at the North American Auto show down in Detroit. 

So much for writing. 

(Side note: The Ford exhibit featured a virtual reality simulator that made you feel as though you were diving off a skyscraper. Whoa!)

On Sunday I realized I had a beta read due for another author, so no writing on my manuscript that day either. 

Monday through Thursday was then ruined by a bout of bad intestinal flu, so I missed my Wednesday blog post--again. 

At least I managed to post these links today. Enjoy them and have a great weekend! 

Oh, and stay healthy too!


An Agent or Editor is Interested! What Next?!

Cut Your Fiction to Pump Up the Jam

What Kinds of Social Media Go Viral?

What Does Your Protagonist Want BEFORE the Story Starts?

Says The Editor: Dialogue Tags

Overcoming Adversity Through Adverbs

The Secret of a Successful Mystery: Making the Reader a Participator

Friday, January 19, 2018

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 180

If you recall from last Friday's post: 

I've had good writing weeks before, but they were usually followed by a week or two of almost non-existent progress, mostly because I allowed myself to ease off the writing. But not this time! One of my resolutions this year is to keep pushing forward, no matter what. Wish me luck! 

Sigh... I'm already falling off the wagon.

Hides face in shame...

Well, that's not entirely true. I did write a fair amount over the three day weekend (we get MLK day off where I work), but I haven't touched my story since. Three days without writing isn't the most horrible thing, but that's only if I don't allow that behavior to drag on for another week or so. 

So I'm determined to work on my story tonight. No matter what! 

Enjoy the links and have a great weekend! 


The Long Con: Ten Things You Need to Know About Going to Conventions as a Writer

5 Key Ways to Balance Internal Monologue with Pitfalls to Avoid

Internal Monologue

How to think laterally about editor feedback

The One Thing That Will Kill Book Sales Dead—And 10 Ways to Avoid it.

5 Ways That Playing with Pricing Can Sell More Books

Blogging as a Writer

Friday, January 12, 2018

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 179

It's less than two weeks into the new year, and I'm already happy with my writing progress. I finally worked out how to extricate my character from the dire situation I put her in last year, and based on the positive comments I received from my critique group last night, they approved of my solution too. 

I've had good writing weeks before, but they were usually followed by a week or two of minimal progress, mostly because I allowed myself to ease off on the writing. But not this time! One of my resolutions this year is to keep pushing forward, no matter what. 

Wish me luck! 

Enjoy the links and have a great weekend! 


11 Creative Ways to Boost Reader Engagement

So What? Making Readers Care About Your Story

Understanding Your Print Book Formatting Options

Author Platform Cheat Sheet

Publishing Wide: Selling Ebooks And Print Books Direct From Your Author Website

Writing five minutes a day for a year equals a book

How to Stand Out in the Slush Pile 101

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Being Where the Readers Are

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Last week I posted that I had no plans to schedule anything as far as my writing was concerned. However, I’m already rethinking that position. Let me preface this by saying my number one goal for 2018 is to (finally) finish a story. To be honest, I had that same goal last year, but was so far off the mark I knew I was in trouble by June. Fortunately, I made enough progress in 2017 I think it’s a realistic goal for 2018. Crosses fingers! 

In any case, it’s time to start thinking about marketing, and this is where the scheduling aspect enters the picture. One of my secondary goals for 2018 is to visit blogs with a fantasy/sci-fi focus. Up until now, most of the blogs I visit either discuss the craft of writing or belong to IWSG members. Not that the support from my fellow IWSG members hasn’t been great, but if I expect to be a successful seller of fantasy books, I need to expand my horizons a little. 

One of the things I’ve learned about book marketing is that you need to be where your readers are. The IWSG is full of great and supportive people, but the writers cover a wide range of genres. Thrillers, romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery. This diversity in genres gives me a great perspective on the industry, but it's not where most of my readers are.   

One of the most important items that show up on your Amazon book page is the “Customers who bought this item also bought…” list. Amazon’s algorithms track the buying habits of the people who buy your book and use that information to decide who else they should show your book to. It’s one of Amazon’s primary techniques for promoting our books. Unfortunately, these algorithms can be pretty touchy. 

For example, if I sent out a general broadcast about my new book to everyone in the IWSG, and everyone bought the book, Amazon’s algorithms wouldn’t know what to do with the data. Instead of finding that fantasy readers are buying my book, Amazon would see an eclectic mix of genres and reader buying preferences. And if there's one thing I’ve learned about book marketing, it's that you definitely do not want to confuse the Amazon algorithms. 

So my plan is to visit and interact with at least one new fantasy or scifi blog every week. This doesn’t strike me as overly ambitious, but I kind of slacked off on my blog visitations during the final months of 2017, so this new habit may require more diligence on my part. We’ll see. 

What new thing are you trying this year in regards to your writing or book marketing endeavors?


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Insecure Writer and Starting Out In 2018

Today is January's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.

Why am I an Insecure Writer this month?

The answer is: I'm not.

It's not that I don't have writing insecurities lurking in the back of my mind, but who cares, it's January.  And along with the new year comes the completely unjustified euphoria that promises all my writing dreams will come true.  There's nothing quite like naive optimism to banish those nasty insecurities.  At least for a month.  I'll probably be moaning in February, but I'll worry about that later.

Isn't being a writer great?

Seriously, part of my good cheer stems from the fact that I made lots of progress on the writing front over the holidays.  We'll see if I can keep the momentum going throughout 2018.

Let's move on to this month's IWSG question:

What steps have you taken or plan to take to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?

I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I don’t have any sort of plan to schedule my writing activities and I don’t expect to have one for the rest of 2018.

It's not that I don’t want to succeed, but scheduling has never been my strong point, whether we're talking writing related projects or not. Back in college I learned how to juggle classes freestyle, working on whichever class my intuition told me focus on.  A rather chaotic technique to be sure, but it served me well and it's a habit I still follow to this day.  And even if I was the scheduling type, there's way too many things going on in my life for me to plan when I'm going to write.  I write whenever I can find a few minutes to spare.

Marketing is probably one of those areas where scheduling is important, but as I don't have a book out yet, the point is moot.

With that said, I admit that social media is one area where I should be scheduling. My social media forays are chaotic at best, and as a writer, that's something I need to fix.  Hopefully I'll get the hang of social media before my first book is published.

I hope you all have a great new year!