Writing Journal 64: Create and Sell with 8-Hour Wins

Writing Journal 64: Create and Sell with 8-Hour Wins

My writing journal for Wednesday, October 15, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

A very slow start this morning. I got up to write at 5AM as usual, but found myself dithering. Thunderstorms kept waking me up, so I had a restless night. Honey hates storms; she’s a quivering wreck. I eventually got going on the mystery novel, and managed 1,200 words. I’m quite pleased, considering that I wasn’t focused.

Then, on to the two nonfiction books. I created a couple of graphics for the print version, and sent them off to the contract designer. My design skills are minimal; they’ll look good when he’s finished with them. I only managed 300 words, but at least the graphics were done.

A quick rush through email. Most will have to wait until tonight and tomorrow. I’ve got some errands this morning, then I need to do some research at the library. I won’t be back until after lunch.

Poor Honey. She’s sulking this morning, because of the storms last night, but she finally ate her breakfast after some coaxing. I ate my toast while working through client email messages.

It’s time to run my errands. I could leave it until later in the morning, and do an hour of writing now, but I’m hoping that by the time I get back, I’ll feel more focused.

I’m back. Everything always takes longer than you think. I met a friend while I was out, and the time just few by.

Everyone’s talking about last night’s storm. It wasn’t too bad where we are; I couldn’t see any major damage. My friend’s street was flooded. She said there were tree branches down everywhere; no trees down though, thank goodness.

So, onward with my client’s blog launch. I need to revise the initial content marketing plan, because they’ve decided on a couple of splashy promotions in November and in early December.

I’ve had some questions about our new program, 8-Hour Wins: Create and Sell Products in Just 8 Hours.

Create and Sell with 8-Hour Wins

8-Hour Wins: Create and Sell Products in Just 8 HoursIf you’ve been reading these writing journal entries, you know that I’m a big fan of planning and scheduling.

Everything I do is scheduled, otherwise I’d never get anything done. Left to myself, I’d dither around, reading books on my Kindle app, and messing around on social media.

Scheduling is vital, no matter what kind of business you’re in. Creative people tend to fight the idea of scheduling, until they experiment with it. It’s usually a revelation. We like to think that we can’t access our creativity on demand. We can.

You can tell yourself that you’re going to write an ebook, whether fiction or nonfiction, or create a website, and just get it DONE. In eight hours.

In 8-Hour Wins, we set a schedule: you’ve got an hour to come up with an idea, five hours to create your product, an hour to edit it, and another hour to sell it. You can create anything you like with 8-Hour Wins. You can even write a novel, or a nonfiction book. All you do is extend the basic schedule. Kind of like making meatballs and noodles for 20 people rather than four. :-)

With my client’s new content marketing plan done, it’s time to do my daily review. I need to reschedule the things I missed doing today. I also need to catch up on email tonight… then that’s it for another writing day. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Writing Journal 58: Stop Thinking, Keep Doing

Writing Journal 58: Stop Thinking, Keep Doing

My writing journal for Thursday, October 9, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Got a great start this morning. The mystery novel is gathering steam, and I managed 2,200 words. I had to force myself to stop. I’m very pleased, but I try to avoid getting too excited, and telling myself that this novel will be EASY. Huh. You can have a run of great days, and then a run of horrible days, in which the words come slowly.

I try to convince myself that easy or horrible, it’s just another writing day — but I can’t help smiling.

On to the two nonfiction books. I manage 1,200 words. I’ve got the books planned in Scrivener, with complete outlines. I’m not writing them straight through. I write whatever I want to write. I’ve no idea why some books get themselves written this way, but they do.

Sometimes you can write from go to whoa, starting with the introduction, and writing each chapter as it comes. Other books insist on being written in little pieces. Part of one chapter, and then part of another. It’s not my preferred method of working, but I’ll take whatever comes, as long as the book — or books, in this case — get written.

After giving Honey her breakfast, I skim through email, and write a few responses while I eat my toast. Then I look at my schedule for the day. I managed to get a little writing done last night, but I’m still behind on what I wanted to do this week. Firstly, there was Monday’s rush copywriting project, and then yesterday the meetings ran longer than they should have done.

Next, I outline a couple of content marketing projects which developed from the meetings. There’s more content than I can manage on my own, so I need to tee up a couple of writers. I write a project brief, and send out a slew of messages to colleagues to gauge interest. I’d like to get these two projects out the door within a couple of weeks, but that depends on how many writers I can find who can handle the material, and slot it into their schedules.

Next, a couple of blog posts completed, and published. One of my own, on an easy exercise for story beginnings, and the other a post on a client’s blog.

Time for my walk.

Back again. More client blogging, then it’s time for lunch, while browsing social media.

I’ve got a mile of phone calls to return, so I do that. Next, a stream of email messages from clients and students.

Stop thinking, keep doing

One of the most common things I tell students is: “you’re over-thinking this.”

Many (all) of my students could be doing better if they’d stop second-guessing themselves and started deciding. And would charge more. We talked about procrastination.

Indecision is form of procrastination. Some of my students have a mile of unfinished work on their hard drives – they just can’t “ship.” This is one of the reasons I developed Your Creative Business: Coaching to Turn Your Creativity into Profits.

Some writers can’t/ won’t ship because they want to be guaranteed success. I can guarantee this: you need to fail your way to success. If you’re unlucky enough to be successful (yes, I said unlucky) instantly, you’re in big trouble. Instant success teaches you nothing. Failure, on the other hand, teaches you plenty. No one likes failure — and yet, failure is inevitable. It’s more valuable than success, because you’ll learn from it — the most valuable thing you’ll learn is that failure is OK.

Some words of wisdom on failure from Business Week:

“The only barrier to failing fast and failing cheap is your ego. You must be willing to fail, fail, and fail again if you are going to win in today’s competitive marketplace. Remember, even if you’re falling flat on your face, at least you’re still moving forward.”

Stop thinking. Decide. Create. Move forward. Whatever you’re doing, do it. Worry later — for ten minutes — then get back to doing and creating.

Enough advice… :-)

Onward with a full afternoon of on-going copywriting projects for clients, as well as working on my new website. I’m starting to see daylight, thank heavens. I’ve created a plan, and need to carry it out.

More phone calls before the end of business, then my daily review, and the day is done.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Writing Journal 51: Scheduling and Planners

Writing Journal 51: Scheduling and Planners

My writing journal for Thursday, October 2, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Another meeting this morning, so I need to prepare for that. I’m still working on the mystery novel. I’ve developed the crime, as I mentioned yesterday. I’m still undecided about the sleuth. I’ve created three prospects; none make me want to jump up and down and scream: YES! All rather blah, and uninspired. Not to worry, there’s a few days left in this week.

I managed 2,100 words on the two book I’m writing for a client. I’m pleased with the progress, and so is the client. I need to develop the sales copy for it, so I’ve jotted down a few thoughts, and sent them to the client.

It’s cold this morning. Poor Honey’s feeling her arthritis. We had a couple of warm days earlier this week, but this morning it’s cold again. She gobbles her breakfast anyway. Lots of email to deal with, so I write some messages while having breakfast.

Then it’s time to prepare for the meeting. I created a presentation last night, mainly cobbled together with slides from previous presentations. I need to rehearse that, and then deal with scheduling issues before I leave.

I’m back… I had lunch while out, and ran a few errands.

Now it’s time for the company history I’m ghostwriting. I manage a good 3,000 words on that… whew. That was an excellent push. I didn’t mean to write so much. I just got into the zone. It’s great when that happens, but it’s seriously thrown out my schedule. I’ll need to put in another couple of hours of writing tonight, but that’s OK.

I reschedule everything, and wish I had a better way to do it. Currently, I use a large Oasis pad page per week. I fold the pages up and slip them into a folder. Everything’s written in pencil, except for a flutter of flag-sized stickies. The flags are deadlines, things I need to remember, and so on.

Planning — do I need a Filofax-style planner?

Every year I buy a “calendar” notebook, with a day per page, and then never use it, because I prefer pads and notebooks. I haven’t owned a Filofax-style planner in a couple of decades. However, times change. I’ve been looking at 2015 diaries for the planning benefits. My bullet journal lets me know what I have going on monthly, but not so much weekly. I’d like to be able to see a week’s tasks — in pencil — so I can move things around.

However, I’ve been hesitating. I hate buying things I never use, and if I decide to buy a planner, what size? A pocket size is too small, and besides, I don’t want to carry it around with me.

If you’ve got a scheduling/ planning system that works for you, please share. I’m open to suggestions. I’d like a planner, but have zero idea what I should get.

OK; time for my daily review, and word counts. Tonight I’ll need strong coffee and music while I write, to keep me awake. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Writing Journal 49: Your Book Proposal

Writing Journal 49: Your Book Proposal

My writing journal for Tuesday, September 30, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Busy, busy… Just when you think things are under control, they get busier. :-) I’ve just taken on a new ghostwriting client, who wants a business book. Two books, in fact. A short Kindle version, plus an advanced book on the same topic. The “advanced” book will be published on KDP and on Createspace.

Unfortunately, I can’t discuss the topic, but it’s fascinating. That’s the big benefit of ghostwriting; you cover many different topics, industries and areas.

I started the day writing notes for the mystery novel I’m ghostwriting for a client; I still haven’t settled on a sleuth. Not to worry. I’ve got great faith in the boys in the basement.

Then, preliminary notes on the business books. I need to schedule some research time for that. Julia can work out where and when.

Breakfast, for Honey. And for me, while reading email, and responding to the “two minute” messages. I’ll need to deal with the longer messages tonight.

24 hours: enroll for Team Up

While I think of it, we’ve got 24 hours remaining for Team Up enrollments — this is the final program for the year.

Onward with the book proposal for the client; it’s coming along well. I’ve got to do the competitive analysis, which is always fun. Of course, this is the most important part of the proposal. I’ve done a little research on it, but I need to do more. And I need to speak to a couple of friends to get their take on the environment for this kind of book.

I haven’t been walking every day, which is BAD. I can always tell too, because my RSI starts to get annoying. It’s a warm morning. Apparently the temperature’s headed for 33 today, which is 91 in Fahrenheit. Not hot by Sydney standards, but you can tell that summer’s on its way.

Lunchtime. In front of the computer again, watching YouTube videos. I rarely get time to watch, so it’s a little break in a busy day.

“Will you do my book proposal?” Please do your research first

I get enquiries about writing book proposals every week. I can’t do many of them, because I don’t have the time. I do them for people I know, either because they’re clients, or because they have a presence, somewhere. Perhaps online, or perhaps they’re a celebrity, or a coach, or a speaker.

Every book needs a hook. That’s the first thing a ghostwriter considers, and so should you. Publishers expect a book to have a hook of some kind, and an audience. If you don’t have this, finding someone to publish your book is an uphill slog. I’m not going to take your money if I think that your book will have no chance at all.

Let’s look at some book proposal tips.

You don’t need to write your book first if you’re proposing nonfiction. In fact, you should NOT. Editors like to have input on the direction you’re taking with the book.

With a fiction proposal, write your novel first. Then you create a query letter, which you send to agents – this letter gives a very brief overview of your novel.

When an agent agrees to take a look, you send along your fiction proposal, which is similar to a nonfiction proposal, in that you need to do your research into the competition for your book.

And, as with nonfiction, it REALLY helps if you have some kind of platform: a built-in audience.

Big tip: be smart. The first thing I do when someone hires me to write a book, or a proposal, is create some sales copy for the book. I’ve talked about this before, many times. Your sales copy acts as a mini-outline for the book, whether it’s fiction, or nonfiction.

(This is where having a writing coach comes in useful– you learn effective shortcuts which not only save you time, but also ensure that you’ll actually complete the book.)

Vital: research the competition for your book BEFORE you start writing

Fiction or nonfiction, your book will be one among millions. Therefore, do a little research. If you’re writing nonfiction, check out your topic. Amazon makes it easy to see how many copies (roughly) books are selling.

You don’t need to be put off by lots of competition; it’s a good thing, because you know that books in that area are selling.

Competitive research is important with fiction, too. You need to know where Amazon will “shelve” your novel. Check out how your genre’s selling. Fiction authors usually just want to write what they want to write, however, if you want to sell, pay attention, especially if you want to be traditionally published, and see your book in bookstores.

A busy afternoon. Firstly I work on the new fiction writing program we’re developing. It’s a workshop; which should be online soon. I’d hoped to have it online by the end of September, but obviously that hasn’t happened.

Next, more work on the company history. A chat with the client, and then onward with the writing.

Mid-afternoon, there’s a mini-crisis with a client who needs PR material in a hurry, so I work on some product descriptions, and create some content for his email newsletter.

That throws out the schedule, so I need to redo the schedule for the rest of the week.

Finally, it’s time for the daily review. With my word counts totaled, that’s it for another day.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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