Writing Process: Build Up Your Writing To Write Faster And Better

Writing Process: Build Up Your Writing To Write Faster And Better

Professional writers have a writing process. For everything. For fiction, nonfiction — there’s always a process. Beginning writers write, but pro writers build.

They start by creating the raw material. In my Top 70 Writing Tips, I called creating your raw materials making mud:

Look on all the writing you do as “making mud”. Be exuberant and messy.

You can do a lot with your mud. Just as you can build entire houses with mud bricks, you can write articles, novels, nonfiction books, short stories, essays, memoirs – in short, you can write anything and everything, if you make the basic building material, the “mud” first.

You can relax when you tell yourself that you’re just making mud

Once you realize that you’re just “making mud” when you’re writing, you stop worrying. There’s nothing serious about mud. You just write, and you know that you’ll sort out your creations later.

I’m winding up a long fiction project, and am planning a new trilogy. I’ve started creating the mud:

  • Scene locations
  • Character attributes and descriptions
  • Potential flaws for my main characters
  • And so on…

Usually I write my mud, and never look at it again. Its sole purpose is to kickstart my subconscious mind. At heart, I’m a fiction-writing pantser, but I know the plot points I have to hit, so I plan them in advance. That gives me a rough framework on which to hang my fiction.

By the way, if you’re not a fiction writer, a “pantser” is someone who writes by the seat of their pants, doing minimal plotting

This new project is a trilogy, so I’m planning the overall plot arcs… by making mud.

You need lots of materials to create anything

New authors want to write a project from go to whoa. It’s possible to do that, and sometimes you’ll manage it. However, it’s stressful.

Making mud is easier. It’s faster, too. You’ll also find that your writing inevitably improves, because you’re not insisting that your writing be perfect, at any stage.

The “mud” process is essential when you’re writing marketing materials. I explain my building-blocks process for copywriting in Copywriting for Writers. You create copy blocks, and then you put them together to write a sales page or series of advertisements, or whatever copy you’re writing.

Start a project by asking yourself what you need to create for that project

Write down the answer. “Write for this project I need”… and start thinking on paper.

Please do this.

I encourage my writing students to think on paper (or on the computer screen), because it saves time. Writers get stuck on projects because they haven’t broken down the project into tasks, and then they try to start writing immediately, without any form of pre-writing.

You can look on making mud as a form of prewriting. Essentially, it breaks your inertia, so you get moving on your projects.

Try it yourself. When making mud becomes part of your writing process, you’ll write more, and much more easily.

Make more ebook sales of all your fiction, when you write a serial

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Fiction serials are platform-builders… consider writing at least one. Not only does a serial build your confidence, it also builds readers’ confidence in you. They’ll join your mailing list, and this has huge benefits for ebooks you’ve already published, and ebooks you’ll publish in future.

Write a serial with our new four-week class, Serial Fiction Bonanza: Get Readers, Get Fans — Make A Solid Income From Your Fiction FAST.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Earn while you learn, with Angela’s Writing Classes..

LinkedIn Strategy: 5 Steps to Get Started

LinkedIn Strategy: 5 Steps to Get Started

Should you be using LinkedIn? That depends on what you want to achieve. I’ve been helping a couple of clients to develop a LinkedIn strategy, and in the process, have been creating my own. To date, I’ve spent less time on LinkedIn to focus on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+. LinkedIn is perfect for professional networking, so I’ll be more active there going forward.

LinkedIn shines in that it’s a network for business connections, rather than a purely social networking site; you won’t find the animated GIFs and cat videos that you find on the other sites.

Let’s look at how you could develop your own LinkedIn strategy.

1. Set Up Your Personal Profile

If you’re new to LinkedIn, here’s a good way to get started if you’re active on Twitter. Larry Kim suggests treating LinkedIn more like Twitter:

“… there was a huge opportunity there to network in more meaningful ways with a far larger group of people than those I’ve already met and connected with.”

Here’s an excellent video on setting up your profile page.

2. Set Up Your Company Page

Once you’ve established your profile, and have made some connections, it’s time to set up your company page. To set up a page, choose Companies from the Interests menu. On the left, you’ll see recent updates to company pages, and on the right, a button to create your own.

LinkedIn has a useful best practices page for company pages.

3. Join Relevant LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn has thousands of groups you can join, and allows you to join up to 50. If you don’t have time for even one group, let alone 50, consider that:

  • You can contact people directly in groups even if you’re not one of their connections; and
  • Groups help you to be found — if they’re open, you can be found on the Web too, so you might get a search rankings boost.

Groups can be members-only, or open. On an open group, you can share your updates to Twitter and Facebook. “Open” truly means open, because discussions can be viewed by anyone on the Web. This can benefit your search engine rankings.

4. Integrate LinkedIn With Your Marketing Activities

On LinkedIn, your options for marketing include:

  • Your profile page;
  • Your company page;
  • A blog (yes, you can blog on LinkedIn);
  • Groups.

Blogging on LinkedIn is simple. Go to your home feed, and click the pencil icon in the Share an Update field. You can add an image, and format your text as you can in any blog editor.

Tip: your LinkedIn blog is ideal for sharing and repurposing material you’ve posted on your own blog, or elsewhere.

Monitor LinkedIn Regularly

You can stay up to date with LinkedIn via the Pulse app, and can like and share content,  with your connections via LinkedIn Connected.

As with all social media networking you get out of it what you put into it.

So, is LinkedIn for you? If you’re a writer, certainly. the more contacts you have the better, and if you’re an author, ditto. LinkedIn offers many groups for self-publishers, so you can stay up to date with the latest news, and find connections for cover design, editing, and marketing your books.

Get started on LinkedIn, and check it out; you can form connections with past clients, and new ones.

Let’s connect on LinkedIn.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.

3 Easy Facebook Marketing Tips

3 Easy Facebook Marketing Tips

Oh, the horror. Facebook is changing the way its newsfeed works. If you’re already feeling the pinch: you’re not getting the results from Facebook you want, you’re thinking about your strategy. Let’s look at some easy Facebook marketing tips.

Before we get into that, keep something in mind: Facebook is a walled garden. If your Facebook page is your business’s “website”, you’re digital sharecropping. To some extent we’re all digital sharecroppers of course, but as long as you’re aware of what’s happening, you can minimize the threat to your business.

1. Post Real Content on Facebook

Hootsuite said:

One of the main reasons why Facebook is changing its algorithm is because more and more businesses are posting sales-driven content, as opposed to resourceful content that will provide value to their audience.

Facebook’s aim is to ensure that advertising on Facebook happens on ads, for which you pay.

If you’re not sure who’s following you on Facebook and why, get to know your audience. Your Facebook audience is different from your audience on Twitter, and your audience on other social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram.

Consider ways to get your audience selling for you. Encourage them to post photos of themselves using your products. If you’re looking for a direct sales option on social media, Pinterest may be a better venue than Facebook.

2. Be Social: Engage With Your Audience on Facebook

Some companies do this brilliantly. They ask their audience open-ended questions, and respond to comments.

If you’re not doing it yet, consider this: you can get to know your customers on Facebook. When someone leaves a valuable comment, you can click through to their profile to see who they are. If you do this consistently, you can gather some valuable intelligence.

3. Play the Pided Piper: Lure Your Audience Onto Your Email List

Facebook promises to be more challenging in 2015. So your aim should be to get people onto an email list. Few companies make the best use of an email list. I have a suspicion of why that is: email campaigns take planning. Yes, email open rates are lower than they used to be. However, your best chance of increasing the value of your Facebook page’s visitors is via email.

As this Kissmetrics article points out:

…email allows you to make repeated contact, and that contact is “invasive”. It’s in their mailbox—their inner electronic sanctum. That’s very different from sending out a tweet or posting something on Facebook, where they may or may not see it, because it’s just part of a much larger timeline featuring hundreds of other people.

Bite the bullet. Take your email list seriously. Indeed, prioritize your email list. I subscribe to lots of email lists, both for my interests, and for research. I’ve noticed that some companies send out mailings several times a day. I may not read all their mailings, but I glance at them, and several times a week I click through to their website. These companies are successful. They’re focused on sales, and they know that their best chance of making sales comes via email.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.