Tag Archives: writing

Writing Journal 18: Scrivener and Blogging

Writing Journal 18:  Scrivener and Blogging

My writing journal for Saturday, August 30, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Firstly, thank you for the kind words, if you sent me a message, or called to say that you enjoy the journal entries, and that they inspire you when you see what writing for a living involves. That’s what I hoped the journal entries would do… :-)

Busy: fiction and nonfiction

After yesterday, I was determined to get a flying start on fiction and nonfiction, so I kept going until I had 2,000 words of each.

The novella’s progressing well. However, I needed to introduce one of the characters earlier. It’s a romance, so the sooner you get the romance moving along the better. Ideally that happens on the first page, or at least the first five pages.

I’d written some cute material. but it had to go. Now both main characters appear in the first scene. It’s still cute. :-) When you start a novel, or short story, there’s a lot to set up. Don’t try to get it “right”. Just get something written. You can fix it later.

So I wrote the first scene, then went back to writing the next scene I’d outlined. Usually, I’d wait to fill in scenes until I finished the first draft. Whatever works. :-)

Speaking of drafts.

Second drafts in Scrivener

Nicole Crail asked about “version control” of drafts in the Scrivener Community on Google+.

You don’t need to use versions when you use Scrivener.

Here’s what I said…

I use Snapshots, icon changes, labels and annotations for revisions, rather than saving versions, as such. Pretty much as Gwen Hernandez suggests in her excellent article.

I also use a lot of Collections, to work out character and plot arcs. I use Collections to remove characters too – if I create a search collection for a character’s name, and see that he appears in just a couple of scenes, that’s a clue that he probably isn’t all that important.

Scrivener’s tools are brilliant. And you can use Compile as often as you like. Before the first edit, I compile the material to MOBI, for a read-through, away from my desk. I suppose that’s a version, but I delete it immediately I’ve read it.

I do a lot of ghostwriting, so I often compile chapters to PDF, for clients for feedback.

When Scrivener was in beta, I’d save the entire file under another name, but I haven’t done that in years. Scrivener saves my backups to Dropbox automatically. The backups are there, all zipped and ready, in case disaster happens to the file. I’ve never had it happen, but it could. I look on the backups as versions, too.

Email – student feedback, and projects

Time for email, and Honey’s breakfast, then my own.

As always, there’s a mile of email. Lots of feedback for students. I can’t get to the longer material until this evening, so I use Send to Kindle.

I mentioned Notability yesterday. Now that it’s on Mac too, it makes it easier to grab my notes add them to email. I can make notes on Notability on my iPad, and they appear on my desktop, ready to use. Perfect.

Client blogging — draft posts

My eyes are on the clock, because I need to run errands this afternoon. (Sigh.) So I dive into clients’ blogs, to create a couple more draft posts. I manage to complete three drafts, and schedule them for next week. They’ll go out automatically.

I’ve got a boilerplate “SEND ME MORE STUFF TO BLOG!!” message which I send to three blogging clients. Of course, the boilerplate message is phrased more delicately than that, but it reminds them to send me what they have.

Errands…

Out to lunch, and to run errands.

Back too late to do anything except answer some email. A respectable word count today.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Writing Journal 13: Closing Programs, and Blogging Preparation

Writing Journal 13:  Closing Programs, and Blogging Preparation

My writing journal for Sunday, August 24, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Novella: clustering and outlining

Up at 5AM as usual. Yawning after a late night with student phone coaching.

So, just 1,000 words of fiction this morning. I spent an hour doing cluster diagrams and creating a full outline of the novella. Now that I know the characters, the outline is easy to create.

If you’re a pantser, I encourage you to outline, even if you only outline a few scenes ahead. Fiction is all about emotion. Think about the emotional journey your characters — and readers — will take.

They start in one emotional space, and end in another. You need to show that journey, in scenes. Dig underneath the surface emotions. If your character is sad, what lies underneath that sadness? What images appear in your character’s mind?

You can do a lot of digging in your next draft(s). However, if you think about what you’re doing in your first draft, you’re laying the foundations of a strong book.

Consider your character’s flaws, too. I wrote about character flaws here.

Next, on to nonfiction, another 2, 500 words. I mark the areas in which I need to do research with XXXs.

Email, and Honey’s breakfast.

No time to walk today.

Writing programs closing — 5 close on August 30

We’ve got many writing programs, so we’re withdrawing all those programs we’re not actively promoting.

I chose the programs which will close on August 30, and wrote a short blog post for the freelance writing blog.

Time for my own breakfast, while reviewing student exercises. Lots of email messages, and lots of updates on Trello. I set up boards for students on Trello, because it eliminates the fuss of email.

I downloaded Folia yesterday. It might become more useful than Trello. Here’s a review of Folia on TNW.

I’ve started using it, and hope that I’ll be able to use it for writing courses.

Next, I need to create a couple of short videos for students, so that takes us up to lunchtime. It’s Sunday, so lots of things to do, and no more writing time until late afternoon.

Sunday blogging; drafts and more drafts

It’s Sunday, so it’s blog preparation time. I sort through all the blog post ideas in Evernote, and create draft posts for my own and clients’ blogs.

I didn’t get a chance to read through the third novella last night. I got caught up in reading students’ projects, then phone coaching. Finally, I was just too tired.

I still need to sort out the meta data for the novella, and edit the first two novellas, adding links to the others in the back matter.

I’ve done my daily review, and totted up the word counts, so they’re done, and I’m done for the day too.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Writing Journal 11: Copywriting, Blogs and Clever Traffic Trick

Writing Journal 11: Copywriting, Blogs and Clever Traffic Trick

My writing journal for Friday, August 22, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

The fourth novella is underway; I LIKE these characters

Sometimes you create characters who are fun from the get-go. You know them, and you love them. Sheer happiness. I was right to trash what I’d created originally, to go with this new idea.

Did a cluster diagram for the first scene, then another for the two main characters’ emotional arcs though the book.

Wrote just 1,200 words, but the material’s solid.

A tip: if you cluster before, during, and after a fiction project, you’ll find that it’s easier to get the voice of a character right. You’ll need to tidy up in your second draft, but the voice is there from the start.

Authentic Writing, our new program, helps you to build your clustering skills with lots of how-to and exercises.

Nonfiction, and copywriting…

On to nonfiction. I dug in, and wrote 2,500 words. This book is going to go fast, which is a good thing. More research on the tagline I’m doing for the client, and a cluster diagram, just to see what’s in my head.

Next, Honey’s breakfast, and catching up on email during my own breakfast.

Whew, lots of copywriting, and client blogging to do today. I make a quick cluster on an index card, because I remember visuals more easily than lists.

Which reminds me. I need to get more images. I keep a running list of images I need for current and upcoming projects. The list’s getting too long.

I created a task to explore stock photo libraries on the weekend, to whittle down the list. I also need to email my blogging clients to nag them for PHOTOS. I don’t particularly care what kind of photos, anything will do.

Images are becoming essential for social media. You can’t encourage people to share your content if you ham-string them with image-less content.

Then I make some audio notes in Evernote. It’s often easier just to blurt out my thoughts, rather than write.

Next, my walk, with phone in hand, to make more audio notes, and to check my Reminders in Evernote.

Copywriting and blogging: crack the whip — onward!

I’m back, and it’s a full morning of copywriting projects and blogging.

Get traffic from Slideshare with blog post PDFs

Apropos of blogging, I tried out a little trick that traffic guru Ana Hoffman talked about — turning blog posts into PDFs, and uploading them to Slideshare. I didn’t think it would work as advertised.

It does. It’s EASY. Here’s a link to a slide deck I created from a blog post PDF.

PrintFriendly is an excellent resource too. It creates no-hassle PDFs from Web pages fast. I added the extension to Chrome; very useful.

meerkat

Heh. Simples (in meerkat voice… )

After I uploaded the PDF, I downloaded it from Slideshare to make sure the links survived when people save the PDF, and they did. :-)

Excellent. Ana always has wonderful ideas. I must remember this simple trick; several of my clients will benefit from it. It takes just a couple of minutes — remember to edit the blog post to add a bio, you can remove it later, and you’re done.

 

Out of the office, Friday lunch

Julia and I close up and leave for our usual Friday lunch. Excellent… I can indulge my Hummingbird cake addiction. Julia suggests that I make it at home, and kill the addiction by over-indulging. Good idea. :-)

This recipe looks easy.

More blogging and copywriting projects

I return some phone calls, catch up with students on email and Trello, then focus on blogging for clients. I’ve been blogging since 1999, and blogging for clients since 2004. A decade. The mind boggles. I love blogging because it’s instant publishing — and instant gratification too.

Here’s my process:

  1. Create a content calendar for a blog (after a lot of research;)
  2. Develop goals for the blog;
  3. Create draft posts;
  4. Schedule posts to publish.
  5. Schedule on-going research for each blog, and communication with clients. I get in touch at least once week, and I’m copied on all up-coming marketing campaigns. You can’t write blog posts without raw material.

I do the reading and research in the evening; I don’t have time during the day. Evernote is a godsend, because I can clip research into Evernote, so that by the time I’m ready to draft some posts, I have the materials.

Next, it’s time to finish up as many copywriting projects as I can, so that Julia can proof everything.

And we’re done. Daily review and word count: done. Time for the weekend…

I love the meerkat ad. Here you go, if you haven’t seen it…

 

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Writing Journal 8: Books, and Upcoming Programs

Writing Journal 8: Books, and Upcoming Programs

My writing journal for Tuesday, August 19, 2014. You can find all the entries here.

Fiction and nonfiction: writing and reading

Hooray… final scene of the novella coming up. I’m getting ahead of myself, and realize that the main character’s arc is off by one or two scenes. I wish I could leave it alone, and stop tinkering, until I’ve finished the draft. Then I can read the whole thing.

When I get close to the finish line, my brain starts to fizz like champagne. Just 1,000 words today, because of the tinkering, but that’s fine. I’ll complete the novella tomorrow. I resist the temptation to compile a MOBI file and send it to my Kindle app. I don’t want to read it, until it’s done.

Instead, I look over my material for the new novella. With any luck, I should be able to start the new novella this week, and wrap it up quickly.

On to the new nonfiction book. I managed 1,500 words. Lots of “XXX” marks in places where I need to research. I’m pleased. I’ve made a good start on this.

I’ve talked about researching AFTER you write on the freelance blog. The idea is that you write a quick draft, so you know where you’re headed. Then you know what you need to research. Just put “XXX” where you need to research so you can find those areas when your draft is done.

If you research before you write, you’ll end up with lots of information you won’t need. Not only does this slow you down, it means that you lose focus.

Clustering has many uses

We’ve received some questions about clustering. Clustering is basically mind mapping, and as with mind mapping, you can use it for everything.

My brain feels fuzzy and full this morning. My attention’s snagging on the novella. I need to put it out of my mind and think about everything else I need to do today. So I create a cluster diagram of today’s important things to do, and to remember. When I get pulled back to fiction, I can snap myself out of it by checking the cluster.

If you’re not familiar with clustering, here are a couple of links to help you to use this wonderful tool.

I use clustering many times each day. Yesterday I had a couple of coaching calls, so I clustered what I wanted to chat about with each student before the call. Then I clustered during each call. I photographed all the clusters — they were just on index cards — into each student’s notebook in Evernote. I can refer to the clusters months from now, and I’ll be able to remember what we discussed.

Email: clients and students

Clustering has cleared my mind a little. Lots to get done today. First, email. I need to create some quotes for client projects, and give feedback to students on their exercises.

We’ve got boilerplate templates for everything. I can call up a template with a couple of keystrokes with TextExpander (Mac). Do you use templates? Start creating them. They’ll save you seconds, minutes and hours over the course of a month.

Honey and I have breakfast.

Then a chat with Julia. I’m doing a phone presentation this afternoon, so Julia’s sending the presentation PDF to the client, and doing some research on the company. When you pitch, you need all the insights you can get. I set a reminder for 30 minutes before the call, so that I can clear my mind, rehearse, and prepare.

Off for my walk. There are still showers around, so I’ll take an umbrella.

Next, the program description for Authentic Writing

Back again, and looking at my watch… I need to draft this quickly, because tomorrow morning and most of the afternoon will be spent working on-site for a client.

Lunch at my desk, reading social media.

Then, reviewing the presentation, and preparing for it.

The client calls on time, and we have a good phone meeting. I know they’ve asked other people to pitch for this project, so I’ll mark it as “done” in my calendar, and will add a reminder to follow up with them in a couple of weeks.

Next…

Leap into Copywriting: 3-week online class

The class is in 3 modules, with a total of 15 video and audio lessons with worksheets. As you complete a lesson, you send us your exercises for feedback. We’re estimating that we’ll be running the class once a month.

I’ve planned the modules, and the first week. Just need to record the videos and audios. I spend a couple of timer sessions planning exercises for the modules.

Next up, more paperwork. Ugh. At the end of a couple of hours of paperwork, my brain is mush.

It’s late, so it’s time to do the daily review, and tot up the word counts for the day. It’s been a good day.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Content Marketing Done Cleverly and Well

Content Marketing Done Cleverly and Well

Bored with content marketing? Me too. Then something comes along and gives you fresh inspiration, not only because it’s done so well, but also because it’s so clever.

Mind you, it probably helps that I’m such a big fan of Alice in Wonderland. :-)

In her article, What’s the Formula for E-book Success? Ann Handley says:

One of the tenets of my new book is this: Good writing is like good teaching.

That’s so true. If you want to make anything you’re writing better, ask yourself whether readers are learning anything. And yes, it applies to fiction too. The best fiction takes you on an emotional experience, and you learn from it. In the 1980s, Arthur Hailey wrote blockbuster novels which took readers behind the scenes of an airport, a hotel, and other places they knew, but didn’t understand – and didn’t want to understand. Hailey made them fascinating, and writers have continued that “learning” tradition.

Consider Dan Brown’s books. Or check out the bestseller lists today. THE MAGICIAN’S LAND, by Lev Grossman tops the hardcover fiction list. I’ve no idea what it’s all about, but reading the description, it sounds like Harry Potter-like.

Consider too, the 50 Shades trilogy: erotica for people who don’t read erotica. It’s introduced erotica to a completely new audience, by teaching. At least I think it informs readers on mild BDSM. I haven’t read it, although I do read erotica occasionally.

Content marketing: all teaching, all the time is boring

If you’re bored with your content marketing, your readers will be too. Don’t stop teaching in your content, but do consider teaching in new ways. I’m sharing my writing journals for example.

Ann interviews Lee Odden in the article I’ve linked to above, and here’s Lee’s amazingly clever slide deck on building an audience strategy for content marketing.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Writing Journal 6: Sunday Writing

Writing Journal 6: Sunday Writing

My writing journal for Sunday, August 17, 2014. All the journal entries are here.

An early start with fiction…

It’s Sunday, the day of rest and family commitments. Up at 5AM, as usual however. Straight to the novella, which is now at 40,000 words, and nudging into novel territory.  I was aiming for 25,000 words, but the story took off. That’s OK. I’ll trim it back in revision.

After fixing a few things from yesterday’s scene, I stop for the day at 1,200 words. Only a few scenes left to go, then revisions, while starting the next novella in the series.

On to messages from Julia, and email. There’s less email on weekends. It’s mostly student questions, and exercises. Julia handles what she can. I glance over the responses she sent to clients and students yesterday, then send three long messages to students.

Time for Honey’s breakfast, and mine.

No walking today. Rain’s pouring down, which is wonderful for the garden, but horrible for my bad back — I desperately need exercise.  I scrawl YOGA onto a sticky note and stick it onto my desk.

I did Chi Kung a few years ago; it helped with my RSI. I may go back to that. When I started the exercises, I though “chi” was a metaphor. It’s not. After a while, you can feel the chi in your body. Then you get distracted, and surprised at the sensations. It’s a meditative exercise, so you need to remind yourself to focus on what you’re doing, and not on the chi. :-)

Another nonfiction book.

During breakfast, I make some notes for a new nonfiction book. It’s the fourth book in a series I’ve been ghostwriting for a client.

After breakfast, I publish a post about Kindle self publishing on the freelance blog.

I make some notes on what I still need to do today. Then it’s time to close down my computer, and get ready to deal with Sunday.

Back in the office…

It’s late afternoon, and time to get ready for the upcoming week. I download the Blogo blogging app (Mac), thinking that it may help me with blogging. It has Evernote integration, which is good. However, I soon go back to drafting posts in my usual way. I don’t have any time to tinker with it today.

I’ve made a great start on draft blog posts over the past week. You can never have too many, so I create a cluster diagram to gain some insights, then quickly create a few more drafts.

The drafts are simply a title, and  a few sentences. I make some notes for client blogs in Trello.

Clearing the decks in the online store.

Next, the online store. We’ve got a full calendar of new programs for writers and marketers coming up. We’re clearing the decks, by withdrawing programs we’re not actively promoting. So I need to choose three programs to close.

Onward to Authentic Writing. I need to incorporate ideas from students’ feedback, and revise the lessons.

(Yawn.) It’s been a long day. I’m an introvert by nature, which means that while I happily socialize, and always enjoy it, it’s nevertheless exhausting, and I need time to regain energy. Introverts are social beings, but we’re drained of energy when we socialize. Extroverts gain energy from socialization.

I do some yoga breathing in Mountain Pose; a couple of easy forward bends, and spend three minutes in Cobra.

That’s much better. I’d forgotten that unlike other exercises, gentle yoga stretches are energizing, and they clear your mind.

Finally… that’s it. My daily review, and weekly review are done. Word counts done. And onward to a new week. :-)

Need help with your writing? Check out the Fab Freelance Writing Blog, and/ or subscribe to the ezine. Everyone’s writing more these days. Get in touch, and tell us about your challenges. We’d love to help.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Writing Tips: Specialize With Niches

Writing Tips: Specialize With Niches

I’m working with my personal coaching students on finding their niches as specialist writers. They asked for some writing tips which would help. I  thought they might help other writers too. So here we go. :-)

A huge amount of content is being published today. On one marketing blog, I saw research to suggest that 90 per cent of businesses were investing a third of their marketing budgets into social media in 2014. It’s no surprise then, that around 3.5 MILLION blog posts are published each day.

With so much content pouring onto the Web in a never-ending flood, you need to be able to stand out.

Here’s the solution: specialization. Choosing to specialize puts you into a smaller niche, so that you can quickly become known in that niche.

I should tell you that for many years I avoided specializing. I deliberately tried to be a generalist, covering many topics. I say “tried” because specialization crept up on me. So if you find developing a specialty hard — you’re not sure what you should choose — don’t worry about it too much. Clients will hire you, and when you do more work for them, you’ll turn into a specialist without being aware of it.

An example. A client in heavy industry hired me to create the company’s monthly newsletter. The first few months were a real challenge, because I didn’t know or understand the industry. Over time, I read a lot, and talked to lots of people. Gradually, I got up to speed. Before I knew it, I was writing for a mining company, and a manufacturer of oil rig machinery. I’d developed a specialty despite myself.

Let’s look at some ways in which you can find areas in which you want to specialize.

1. What do you LOVE?

Love trumps everything else. I love writing, and I enjoy teaching. However, neither of these areas pays particularly well. My enjoyment more than makes up for it however. Sometimes a specialty will choose you. You specialize in an area because you spend a lot of time thinking, reading and writing about the area.

What do you spend all your time talking, thinking and reading about? It may turn out to be a specialty, once you start writing about the area.

You can specialize in odd things: things most people wouldn’t dream of. One of my students was a real fan of gossip and celebrity websites. She joined forums to catch up on the latest gossip. A forum owner asked her to become a moderator, and she did. This led to her writing a regular column for a website. Then she was asked to assess manuscripts for a literary agent. When I last contacted her, she was still moderating, and writing regularly for a large website. She managed to turn gossip into a career. Who knew?

2. What do you do in your day job?

One of my students was in human resources. Careers, jobs, and job hunting is a huge area, and it’s a great specialty. However, even though she worked in the area, my student had never considered that she already had a specialty.

What about you? What do you do in your day job? A great specialty may have found you. :-)

3. What are your hobbies?

My favorite hobby is reading. However, if your hobby is sports-related — you’re a tennis player, or golfer, or you’re up to speed on any popular sport — you may have found a great specialty.

Make a list of your hobbies. A writer colleague wrote for technology magazines, and wanted to develop a new career as a travel writer. She loves to travel, and she and her family take trips several times each year. Within six months, she’d established her new career. Now she goes on junkets all over the world, and she’s writing a book on how to travel with small children.

4. What are your dreams?

In our 20s, we have dreams. Our 30s arrive, and real life — a mortgage, and a family — tends to knock our dreams aside.

Think about the dreams you had when you were a child, and a teenager.

A friend wanted to go to art school. However, her family convinced her that she needed to follow the family “trade”. So she became a lawyer. However, she never forgot her dreams, and eventually gave up law, because she found it too stressful. She’s now in her 40s, and she’s about to have her first show of her art work.

What did you dream of, when you were young? If you dreamed of becoming a full-time writer, you can achieve that dream. It’s never too late.

One writer dreamed of living sustainably: having a small farm. The dream was always in the back of her mind. In her 30s, she married a man who came from a farming family. They now own a small farm. They grow their own vegetables, and sell some of them at farmer’s markets. She now writes for many different websites, and is making an excellent career out of her dream.

5. What personal challenges confront you?

Many writers turn their challenges into specialties. You may have a challenge with your health, or with relationships. As you learn more, and discover ways to manage your challenge, you can write about what you discover.

One writer’s mother and aunt both died of breast cancer. She had many tests, and she and her sisters were concerned not only that they might develop the illness, but also that their own daughters might one day be at risk. This writer now works full-time as a marketer for a non-profit group helping women to manage breast cancer.

6. What do you want to learn?

You can write about anything you’re interested in. If you take a course in something, why not write about it?

A teacher who spent a year in France to learn the language and teach it took a course in French cooking. She loved it. When she came home, she took more courses. She also loved to write, so became one of my writing students. When we talked about a specialty, she hadn’t considered food and cooking. Within a year, she was working full-time for an independent TV producer, scripting cooking shows.

7. What pays well?

Some specialties pay more than others. If you enjoy learning and writing about health topics, or business and finance, learn more. Start writing articles for magazines and websites. As you publish more, people will approach you to write about your specialty.

Want more? Check out our online store

Want more help with your writing? Check out our online store. Any programs with “closing” in the title are about to be withdrawn, because we have other programs in the pipeline. You’ll fiction programs on both nonfiction and fiction.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Less Stress: Focus On The NOW

Less Stress: Focus On The NOW

Want less stress, instantly? Here you go. Focus on NOW. Right now. Not tomorrow, or next month or year, or even ten minutes from now.

I’ve found this to be an incredibly useful strategy whenever I feel stressed, and it’s a strategy I teach to my students. You may be thinking that it’s a “very zen” strategy. It’s not zen… To be truly zen, you wouldn’t be thinking at all, but I digress. :-)

It’s VERY hard to stay in the present moment. It helps to have a plan, execute it, and then review at a future date. Once you’ve created the plan, and are executing the plan, just stay in the moment.

Less stress: plan, execute, and review

Once you’ve created your plan, don’t second-guess yourself. Or think too much.

I’ve just been chatting with a writing student who thinks that his writing is going too slowly. He’s written the first draft of a nonfiction book, and is frustrated because he thinks he should be moving through the revision more quickly.

Sadly, he’s lost perspective. In the time we’ve been working together, not only has he planned and written an ebook, he’s planning another one. That’s huge progress.

I suggested that he get a timer, then work at his revision for two or three 25 minute sessions each day. When he’s not working, he should forget about the book, and let his subconscious deal with it.

Another student has just self published an ebook to Amazon. It’s a novella, and he’s priced it at $2.99.  This novella is a prequel to the novel which he published a couple of months ago.

We’d worked out a publishing plan:

  • Publish the novella;
  • Get the next novel written;
  • Make the novella permanently free a month before the second novel is published.

All three ebooks are part of a series, so the novella should work as a marketing tactic for the series. WILL it work? I don’t know. No one knows.

Here’s what I know for sure. If he gets all three ebooks onto Amazon, and the novella is permanently free, he’ll make sales.

We talked about Julie Smith’s publishing company, and that if you’re a self publishing author, you’re a publisher too. Keep it in mind; be business-like in your self publishing business. :-)

Your plan lets you relax: once you’ve created a plan, DON’T change it

When you have a plan, you know where you’re headed. Of course you can change a plan as necessary, but don’t  be too eager to do that.

Your plan is for you. It ensures that you have less stress, so that you can be productive. After a while, you’ll become focused on NOW, doing what you should be doing in the present moment. You’ll worry less, because you know you have a plan.

Try it. Create a plan for a project that’s worrying you. It can be any project in any area of your life, small or large. Then just start working your plan. When you’re distracted, remind yourself to stay focused on the present moment.

It makes for less stress.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Fear of Writing: 3 Tips to Help

Fear of Writing: 3 Tips to Help

Do you have a fear of writing? If you do, you avoid writing tasks. You procrastinate.

In professional writers, “fear” often feels like resistance. This resistance may be a good thing, as I shared on Google+:

Usually, when I wake up in the morning, I make a cup of coffee and start writing fiction immediately. It’s easiest for me to write fiction first, before I start writing “real” stuff – nonfiction. I was a little spooked this morning when I opened my email instead.

Why was I resisting? Why, oh why wasn’t I writing?

But I went with it. When I finally opened my fiction WIP, the story took off in an entirely new direction. I’m thrilled. I didn’t work on any fiction at all yesterday; I had a couple of client deadlines. It seems my subconscious mind was gestating a new (and better) direction for this story during the downtime on it. I’m pleased.

Is resistance fear of writing? In the above instance, it wasn’t. I wanted to write, but felt that I wasn’t ready. I knew I’d work on the fiction project at some point during the day.

What about a real fear of writing? Can you write anyway? Yes you can. Try these three tips.

1. Switch Your Brain: Be Happy.

This exercise sounds weird, but it may work for you – quirk your lips to the right, to trigger your left brain:

If you pull the left lip back repeatedly, it can trigger the right brain. You may feel sad. Pulling back the right lip can trigger the left brain, and a feeling of happiness.

Go on, try it. It works for me, and it may work for you. You should feel a sudden little jolt of happiness which will make your writing task seem a lot less intimidating, and more fun.

Read the LEFT BRAIN RIGHT BRAIN article which explains the exercise; it’s interesting. A lot of brain lateralization theory has been debunked, but it’s still a useful way to think about creativity and your brain.

2. Start Writing – Write Stream-of-Consciousness Material for Ten Minutes.

I’ve been using this little trick for a couple of decades, and I teach it to my writing students. It puts you into “creative” mode; writing triggers more writing.

Here’s all you do. Get a timer, and set it for ten minutes. Now start writing, and keep writing. Write anything you like, whatever words pop into your head. There’s only one rule: KEEP WRITING, no matter what, until the timer goes off.

You can type, or write by hand, it’s up to you.

Writing for ten minutes changes your mood. I discovered this when I started a daily walking regime. For the first ten minutes of the walk, I hated it. At around the eleventh minute, I started to enjoy it.

You can apply this “ten minute” rule to lots of things. Just keep doing the task for ten minutes, and you’ll start to enjoy it.

3. “I’m scared of writing because…”

This exercise works if you have a deep-seated aversion to writing. You may need to repeat it several times. If you do, it will remove your fear of writing completely. One of my students practiced this exercise several times a week for a couple of months. He has no problems with fear of writing now.

As with the stream-of-consciousness exercise, set a timer for ten minutes.

Write “I’m scared of writing because…” and keep writing for ten minutes. Try to write in whole sentences if you can. If you can’t, don’t worry about it. Again, write whatever comes. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar, or censoring yourself.

If you wish, you can try this exercise using your non-dominant hand (that is, if you’re right-handed, write with your left hand.)

As we’ve said: if you keep repeating this exercise, eventually you’ll stop being afraid of writing. I’ve no idea why it works, it just does.

So there you have it; three tips to help you to overcome your fear of writing, and make writing fun. :-)

Got a writing challenge? I’ve been helping writers for 20 years. Get in touch.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Write Kindle Romances: Special Offering

Kindle romances

Kindle romances are hot. Want to try your hand at them?

As I said here:

To sell ebooks, write what’s selling

Romance sells. Readers gobble it up in many different flavors: straight romance (contemporary or historical), erotica, paranormal romance (which includes sub-genres like vampire romance), young adult, and the HOT new flavor, new adult (just out of college)…

Romance is the hottest selling genre in fiction. You can make an unbelievable amount of money if you’re hard-working, and lucky enough to hit a nerve with readers.

We’re having lots of fun with our Hot, Hotter, Hottest: Write Bestselling Kindle Romances writing class. We ran an offering for the class when it was launched, but people missed it. So, in response to many requests, here’s the offering again.

Join us, we’d love to have you. Details here.

Write novels, novellas or short stories, your choice.

We cover writing at any length in class, so you don’t have to write full novels. It’s a great idea to start with short stories if you’re new to writing fiction. If you’re already writing at novel length, consider writing some short stories, they help with promotion.

Speaking of promotion, I know that many authors freak out about it. As I said in Writing Romance Fiction For Fast Promotions and Sales:

There are endless ways to promote your ebooks. The simplest way: don’t bother. Create a mailing list on aweber or similar, and include a little note in the back matter of your ebooks, telling readers how to subscribe, and leave it at that.

See you in class. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.