Writing Journal 73: Free Content Library Available Now

Writing Journal 73: Free Content Library Available Now

My writing journal for Friday, October 24, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

The mystery novel went well, as usual, with 2,200 words. Then on to the two nonfiction books, with 1,800 words.

Honey’s breakfast, and my own, while catching up with email. It’s predicted to be warm today, with showers later, so I left for my walk.

As soon as I got back, I caught up with client phone calls and messages. Friday’s my day to update clients on their projects’ progress.

Next, I analyzed traffic, and brainstormed content for clients’ websites and blogs. This afternoon, I’ll need to fit in some more blog content research.

Julia and I left for an early lunch, just in case someone called and we got caught up again. We’ve missed our Friday lunches. Hummingbird cake for dessert, of course. :-)

Back again to work on the copywriting projects I developed concepts for, and brainstormed, yesterday. The drafting went quickly. I’ve learned never to worry about projects at the draft stage. It’s essential to get something written, no matter how useless the writing appears. Then you can work with what you have.

Writers tend to struggle with getting stuff down. The solution is to write something. Once you have something, you can revise it, or trash it completely. Even if you trash it, you’ll find that the effort you put in isn’t wasted. You may well come up with a brilliant idea, sparked by your rubbishy drafts.

Angela Booth's EASY-WRITE Process 4 for 2015

If you want more information on how all this works, I cover it in great detail — with exercises — in the Easy-Write Process.

I developed the strategies in the Easy-Write Process over many years, and of course, I use them myself.

Writers love the Easy-Write Process, because it helps you to write, rather than worry, and it eliminates procrastination completely.

 

 

 

 

Writing Genii launches, with the Free Content Library

Writing Genii

Writing Genii has finally launched. I hope you enjoy the Free Content Library. I wrote about the site relaunch on my freelance writing blog. I said:

Today, 30 MILLION pieces of content flow onto the Web, each and every day. That’s a LOT of content. You, I, and every other writer has to compete with that for attention. As we said in Professional Writing Going Forward to 2015, professional writing is changing. If you want to make a great income from your writing, you need to become much more entrepreneurial.

The Free Content Library helps new writers to get up to speed on the world of writing as it is in 2014, and in 2015 and beyond. Eventually, we’ll have many ebooks in the library for you to download, and put to use. You can download the first two ebooks now. My hope is that they’ll arm you to develop a real writing business.

Basically, Writing Genii is for anyone who wants to turn their creativity into a business.

Onward…

With the copywriting material drafted, I drafted some blog posts for clients’ blogs. I’ll complete the posts, and scheduled them for publication next week. I always like to have a collection of draft posts ready to go, otherwise you can fall behind on your blogging very easily.

And that’s it for the day. My daily review is done, and so’s the writing week.

Check out Writing Genii

Check out Writing Genii; we’ll be publishing more content to our Free Content Library. Enjoy the resource. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 72: Easy Time Management Tips

Writing Journal 72: Easy Time Management Tips

My writing journal for Thursday, October 23, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

No meetings today, thank goodness. That means that I can focus on catching up with my schedule. Lots to do.

I started with the mystery novel, as usual. It’s still going well. Although I’ve always thought that the expression: “the book wrote itself” was ridiculous, this book seems so easy. Maybe I should write a few mysteries under my own name. If they they all turn out to be this this much fun, it would be amazing. Words: 2,200.

Onward with the two nonfiction books. I send off more material to the designer; this will be the final batch of graphics. Words: 2,600.

Honey’s in a happy mood today. She can’t wait for her breakfast. I feed her, then eat while reading email.

I add most of the messages to which I need to respond at length to the “Today” folder in my email. I tap out brief replies to others, following the “two minute rule”.

Read that article, it’s excellent: if it takes less than two minutes, do it NOW. I tend to stretch two minutes  to ten minutes occasionally. If something takes less time to do right now, and more time to enter into my schedule, and track, I do it immediately, if it’s practical to do it. Sometimes it isn’t, of course: you may be out and about, and all you can do is make a note of the task.

Writers always ask me how to get stuff done faster, and for processes to manage their writing time. Scroll down for some easy time management tips.

Next, it’s time for my walk. We’re heading into the warmer months, so I need to walk earlier. The temperature’s predicted to be 30 degrees today; that’s 86 in Fahrenheit.

Back again. I’ve got some copywriting projects to work on, for holiday sales. I like to create in batches. On one day I’ll plan, develop concepts and make notes for several projects. The next day, I’ll draft them. So I set my timer, and get to work.

Lunch at my computer, while reading social media. The challenge with social media is that it can get away from you. I’ve started to track everything I do, because if you don’t track, you have no idea about what’s useful, and what isn’t. I use a combination of Omnioutliner outlines, and spreadsheets to track.

Next, back to the copywriting projects. I work on them for another couple of timer sessions, then it’s on to blogging.

I’ve received a collection of images from a client. I open Photoshop to tidy them up, and get them ready for scheduling.

The afternoon’s flown by; it’s time to deal with email again, and catch up with phone calls. I do my daily review, and the day’s done.

Now, those time management tips.

Three easy time management tips for writers

We’ve all got the same 24 hours in our day. In the time you have for writing, you need to be as efficient as possible. Here are three easy tips.

1. Write it DOWN!

You’re a writer, so write everything down. At first blush, what seems like a silly aside can trigger powerful ideas for your novel, your Web writing project, or an exciting copywriting concept.

Writers think on paper. It has to be that way, because you can only keep a limited amount of information in your mind at any one time.

If you’re a slow writer, it’s because you’ve failed to acquire the habit of writing EVERYTHING down, and that’s unproductive in two ways:

  • You’re not keeping up with the speed of your thoughts;
  • You’re allowing your logical left brain to take over. Your left brain is not creative; it’s your inner editor, if you like. It complains too much, and hates your creative right brain — your left brain wants to be in control, and is power mad.

I know the left brain/ right brain theory has been debunked, but it’s a good way of thinking about complex brain functions.

The only way to calm your left brain is to write, even if you think you have nothing to say.

2. Use a timer: it forces you to concentrate

A timer sets a time limit. Even if you hate a project (and if you’re writing for others, you will hate some projects) you can stand anything for 25 minutes.

I usually work on somewhere between five and 12 projects concurrently. Without a timer, I’d choose the projects I love, and procrastinate on the rest. With a timer, I know that even if I’d rather be mowing the lawn, I’ve only got 25 minutes, and then it’s on to the next project.

Most importantly of all, a timer forces you to write. You’ll find that as soon as you set your timer, you start writing. Ideally, we wouldn’t need a crutch like a timer. I don’t always use a timer, but I often do, because it’s an efficient way to get stuff written.

3. Trust yourself. You know what you’re doing even when you think you don’t

It’s hard to learn to trust yourself.. Partly this is because your logical left brain wants to KNOW. Its primary aim is your survival, so it watches for threats constantly. If your intuition says “no”, your logical brain wants to argue about it. It doesn’t trust intuition, or creativity.

I know that trusting your creative self is difficult. No one achieves it completely — witness the fact that I’m kvetching about the mystery novel “writing itself”. All I can tell you is that if you trust your intuitions, you’ll be glad you did.

Trust is a huge time-saver. For example, over the years I’ve learned that if I get a “no” feeling about a client or a project, it’s in my interests to say no. Yes, I may miss out on some work. But if I persist anyway, because I want the money or the credit, or whatever, at some stage I’ll bitterly regret it.

Anytime I get a “no!” intuition from my subconscious, I pay attention. As we’ve said, it saves time. Always go with your gut.

Tip: a real intuition isn’t connected to any particular emotion. If you think “no!” and you’re scared, that’s just fear. Real intuition has been called the “still small voice”, because that’s what it is.

Try these three tips. You’ll get more writing done. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 71: Reading On The Go

Writing Journal 71: Reading On The Go

My writing journal for Wednesday, October 22, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

More meetings today; with luck, they’ll be the final ones for this week. Everyone’s just realized that the holiday sales season is upon us. No complaints… I love being busy, so this is an exciting time of the year for me, and for you too, I hope. Things won’t settle down on the marketing front until after Valentine’s Day.

As usual, my writing day starts with work on the mystery novel. I didn’t get much written this morning; just 600 words. I was planning out several scenes. It’s still going well. :-)

Then, the two nonfiction books. I’m focusing on the print book at the moment. I create some notes for the graphic designer, so that he can develop a couple of charts. Words: 1,800.

Honey’s lazy this morning, but gobbles her breakfast, and then settles down on her bed. I eat my breakfast while checking over the morning’s email messages, and respond to several. Email’s building up a backlog again. I schedule “email time” in my bullet journal, and prepare for the two meetings.

A couple of writers asked about how to get more reading done. I suggested reading on the go; it’s how I manage it. There are always minutes during the day that you could be spending reading. If you prepare for those minutes, you can read much more, without affecting your family time, or your schedule.

Reading on go: keep up with yourself, and everyone else

I wrote about social media writing on my freelance blog.

Mostly, I read on my iPad. I use Flipboard, and if I find something I want to post to social media, I can do it right away. Alternatively, I can save an item to Pocket, and read it and share it later.

If I’m having lunch at my computer (yep, bad habit), I read social media on my iPad. It’s relaxing. Later, in Pocket on my Mac, I can tag items, send them to any social media network I choose, or I can send articles to Evernote. Of course, I can just delete an article too.

To read my own and clients’ material for editing, I use Send to Kindle. I just downloaded a PDF from a marketing company on repurposing content, for example. At a glance, I can see that the PDF contains some great ideas. I drag it into the Send to Kindle icon on my Dock. (I’m a Mac user.) I can read the PDF on my phone, or on my tablet.

Send to Kindle is excellent, obviously, for long material. My first step in editing a book is always to read it in the Kindle app. I can read on my phone anywhere — while waiting for a meetings to start, while in the queue at the bank… Try it. You’ll find that reading in the Kindle app gives you a fresh perspective on material.

Back again…

After two days of running around, I’m way behind on everything, even though I scheduled as well as I could. I spend an hour typing up notes from the meetings, and scheduling new projects and tasks. Most are short, thank heavens.

With that done, it’s time to deal with email again, and then, phone calls.

The day isn’t over yet; I’ve got a rush copywriting job to do for a client tonight. I do my daily review, and I’m ready to relax for a few hours.

The Easy-Write Process has been updated for 2015

The Easy-Write Process has long been our most popular writing program. If you’re struggling with your writing, it will help you to discover how to write easily and well. Check it out now.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 70: My 3 Best Novel-Writing Tips

Writing Journal 70: My 3 Best Novel-Writing Tips

My writing journal for Tuesday, October 21, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Today will be a short writing day. I have three meetings this morning. I’ll get my fiction and nonfiction ghostwriting commitments out of the way, then I’ll need to prepare for my meetings.

The mystery novel flows. Again. I manage another 2,400 words. I have no idea what’s going on. It may seem odd to quibble when a book’s going so well. However, it’s so unusual, that I can’t trust it. What if I suddenly realize that my sleuth is an idiot, and that a child could pick the murderer in the first chapter? Maybe I’ve just got to stop looking a gift horse in the mouth. :-)

Onward with nonfiction: 1,400 words.

With those out of the way, it’s time for Honey’s breakfast. She’s a good eater, but she’s also fussy. She prefers her meat without vegetables, and she’d eat kibble all day long – but it has to be her favorite brand. I eat my own breakfast, while skimming through email.

Then a short timer session on the holiday copywriting projects for my client, before I prepare for my meetings.

Back again: mid-afternoon

I’m back. The meetings ran long again, as they always seem to do.

It takes me a couple of hours to write up my notes from the meetings, and add the projects and tasks which emerged from them to my schedule for the next three months. This is the busiest time of the year for some of my clients – this means it’s a busy time for me too.

I’ll be subcontracting some of the projects, so I spend an hour on the phone, discussing briefs and schedules with my subcontractors. I make some notes for the briefs, and send them off.

Then I return phone calls, check clients’ blogs to make sure that scheduled posts have been published, and the working day is over.

With NaNoWriMo coming up in just over a week, readers have asked for some tips.

OK… :-)

My 3 best novel-writing tips

1. Summarize the story as soon as possible

Over the years, I’ve learned how to outline fiction. However, I’m still a pantser by nature. (That is, a person who wings the story, discovering it with the reader.)

Ideally, you’ll outline the bare bones of the story in a paragraph before you start writing.

Something like this:

newly married Sarah witnesses a murder. Her new husband is one of the killers. He threatens to murder her parents and sister if she talks. Sarah knows that her husband wants her dead. Can she escape him and bring him to justice?

That’s not enough to start writing. You need to know the kind of person Sarah is. Over the course of the story, Sarah will grow as a character, from ____ (fill in the blank) to _______ (fill in the blank.)

Once you’ve got that, you can go deeper into developing the characters and plot.

If you’re a real pantser, and your brain freezes when you try to outline, just start writing. I talked about story-starters here.

Big tip: even if you’re a pantser, outline as soon as you can. I’ve found that if I hit 10,000 words, without an outline in sight, the book’s going nowhere. This happened to me a lot in my early years, and dead-end stories are one of the reasons that I force myself to outline, whether I want to or not.

2. Keep writing! Think, right in the project

Once you start your novel, keep going. Write every day. And by WRITE, I mean exactly that. Start tapping the keyboard as soon as you sit down. Keep going, until your writing time runs out.

Talk to yourself about the novel as you’re writing, if the words won’t flow.

Something like this:

OK, now Sarah realizes that one of the men in the group is her husband Ben. How does she react? What’s her first thought? Maybe it’s disbelief — maybe she has to stop herself from calling his name. Etc.

Keep writing.

3. Watch your characters’ arcs: novels are about change

Novels are about people. We read fiction to learn more about ourselves, and others. So, your people are more important than the plot, and in fiction, your characters change. Try to get a handle on your characters as soon as you can.

If I decided to write the novel about Sarah and her murderous husband, I’d think about Sarah. What kind of person is she when the story starts? How does she change over the course of the novel?

Viz:

Maybe Sarah is the baby in her family. She’s always been protected by her parents and older siblings. She’s never had to think for herself. She’s naive, in a word. Over the course of the novel, Sarah learns to think for herself. She’s much tougher than she ever imagined. How will we show Sarah changing? We need one incident to show naive Sarah early on, and then a similar incident at the end of the book, to show that Sarah’s experiences changed her. She’s tougher, and less trusting, She no longer takes people and situations at face value.

Hmmm…. Sarah’s growing on me. Maybe she’s a widow, with a six-year-old son. Ben’s he second husband, the polar opposite of her first. The child could make the story much more dramatic…

Enough. If I don’t stop now, I’ll end up outlining the novel. :-)

You don’t need to know all the details of a character’s arc. As long as you have an idea of the kind of person a character is at the start of your novel, and how the character ends up, you’re good to go.

If you’re doing NaNoWriMo this year, good luck. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 69: Favorite Content Creation Tools

Writing Journal 69: Favorite Content Creation Tools

My writing journal for Monday, October 20, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

As usual, I started the day writing fiction. The mystery novel is still steaming along. Happy days; 2,300 words. Then nonfiction, working on the two business books: 1,800.

Next, Honey’s breakfast. Over the past few days, the weather’s been cooler, so her arthritis is bothering her. However, she’s still up for a game, and over-eats if she gets the chance.

Then, my own breakfast, while working through email. Monday tends to be a slower day for general email: just clients requesting quotes, and students sending me material. I handle most of it; Julia can deal with the quotes.

Next, it’s time to remind clients that we need images for their content. As I said in a post on Fab Freelance Writing Blog, the Web is all about images now. I’ve been looking at digital cameras; years ago, I had a photography hobby. It might be time to get back to it… when I find the time. :-)

My primary focus today is some “holiday” content for copywriting clients. We’re building up to the hot (pun intended, since it’s summer in Australia) content season. Clients suddenly realize that their website needs updating with their holiday offerings. And they need to plan and create promotional campaigns.

Time for my walk. I haven’t walked in a couple of days; I need it to clear my mind. Cold wind, so I wear my favorite beanie. :-)

Back again, and back to the holiday content. Work on that takes me up to lunch.

Lunch in front of my computer. It’s becoming a habit. However, I’ll be out most of tomorrow, so I need to get as much done as I can today. I browse through clients’ blog archives and Web content, and make notes, so that I can link the fresh holiday content back to previous content.

A reader asked about my favorite content creation tools.

My favorite content creation tools

I create a lot of content, of many different types, every day. So I tend to jump on any tool which might make creation easier. Your mileage will vary. I test and discard lots of tools, but that’s OK. Creating content consistently is a real challenge, so any tool which helps with that is a worthwhile investment.

Currently, my favorite tools include…

Evernote. Always. It’s always open, and I do a lot of writing in Evernote. It means I can write on my phone or tablet, and add ideas as they come to me.

Scrivener. Invaluable. Don’t know where I’d be without it.

Ember. (Mac) A recent acquisition. For research, as well as to check what assets have been created, and need to be created for a project.

MultiMarkdown Composer, and Ulysses (Mac.) Most of my content starts in Evernote, then makes its way to one of these programs: I use Marked as the viewer for both of them.

Marked (Mac). Wonderful for viewing and repurposing Markdown documents.

Adobe Creative Cloud. I use Photoshop and Bridge mostly.

Curio. Indispensable, both to collect assets for projects, and to keep archives of past projects. It’s amazing how often clients will return months and years later – and they’ve lost the assets we used. Curio is a huge time saver, because all the previously used assets are there, and are instantly available.

OmniOutliner (Mac.) I resisted upgrading to version 4, but finally pulled the trigger.

Inspiration. An app I adore, because you can create HUGE cluster diagrams to spark, and to reignite, creativity for a project.

Onward with the holiday content for copywriting clients

Back to developing the holiday content. Finally I’m done with the initial drafts; I send them off with relief. I’m still waiting for some product shots, so I can create product descriptions; I send a reminder to the photographer.

More emails, and phone calls to return. My daily review, and that’s it for another day.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 68: Manage Your Social Media Images

Writing Journal 68: Manage Your Social Media Images

My writing journal for Sunday October 19, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

It’s Sunday, a short writing day for me. The mystery novel is still chugging along like the little engine that could. I managed 2,500 words. A lot of first-draft junk content, but some good. (Even if I say so myself.)

Then on to nonfiction; just 1,200 words, but that’s OK.

Honey’s breakfast, and then my own. I eat my toast while responding to students’ exercises.

Which reminds me: today is the final day of the special offering on 8-Hour Wins; check it out before the offering ends.

8-Hour Wins: Create and Sell Products in Just 8 HoursThe 2015 version of the Easy-Write Process went live today, too.

Mac OS X Yosemite is powering along. Only one minor hiccup. Dropbox wouldn’t load until I installed a new version. I’m sure that’s my fault. It doesn’t have an in-app notification for new versions, so I forget to update.

One thing I’ve noticed with Yosemite; it’s speedier. Very nice. I’d still recommend waiting before you upgrade; that’s the sensible thing to do.

No time to walk this morning. Today’s my big blogging day, so I spend the rest of the morning organizing blog content and social media postings.

Manage Your Social Media Images

I’m always looking for ways to improve my workflow, especially with social media. Denise Wakeman posted about MavSocial. It’s a social media management tool specifically for images.

To manage images, I use Creative Cloud, but even with Adobe Bridge to help, I still get into a tangle. I’ve got text content, images for dozens of social media campaigns, promotional materials and heaven knows what else. Keeping it all straight is not only frustrating, it’s next to impossible.

Currently I use spreadsheets, Curio and OmniOutliner to keep things going, but it’s still migraine-inducing.

So I tried MavSocial out immediately. Within a few minutes, I’d uploaded some images, edited one, posted a tweet, and scheduled another one. Very impressive. Usually it takes forever to figure out a new tool, but MavSocial is well laid out. I like the idea of creating campaigns, and checking the results in one dashboard.

I’ll spend more time reviewing it, but at first glance, it’s well worth incorporating into my workflow.

A couple of days ago, I mentioned Canva for iPad. I installed it last night. If you’re familiar with the Web app, you’ll be creating with the iPad app soon as you install it. You can even access all the images you’ve created on Web Canva from the app.

Time for my Sunday commitments.

Sunday blogging

I’m back, and it’s more Sunday blogging. I like to do as much preparation as I can on Sunday, so that the week’s blogging flows smoothly.

By the time I’ve brainstormed and researched posts, and have created draft posts for each blog, it’s time for my general weekly plan and review session.

With that done, everything’s ready for another week.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.