Writers psyche themselves out constantly. Maybe you’re about to write your first book and don’t even think you can call yourself a writer yet. Or, maybe you envy another writer’s style and don’t think you can measure up. Or, maybe you’re feeling so stuck and uninspired lately that you can’t complete your projects.
Whatever it is, it’s time to get over it. It’s zapping your creativity, output, and…your wallet.
It’s time to go outside of yourself a little bit. It’s time to think of yourself as a character. That might sound strange, but it really can help. Just as you would create a character sketch for someone in your books, create a character sketch for yourself as a writer. There are three steps to this:
This process helps you come into your own as a writer. It gives you the confidence and assurance you need to produce outstanding work, more quickly.
What came to mind when you read that word? How did you feel? What was your body language?
If you’re like many people, you cringed. You made a face and felt a knot in your stomach. That’s because so many of us are taught (and experience) that research has to be this difficult, boring, time-consuming thing.
Okay, maybe it used to be those things, but it doesn’t have to be anymore. This is the best time in history to be a writer. Not only can you publish anything you want to (within reason) on Kindle, but you can access anything you need to make it happen.
You can use Google Earth to visit faraway lands. You can access untold numbers of public domain books. You can Google anything you want to know. You can ask people from all over the world whatever you’d like to ask them. You can find experts to interview on any topic, with a few clicks of the mouse.
Everything you need is out there and it’s easily accessible. You just have to know how to find it and organize it. Sometimes, having too much information can be just as scary as not having enough.
Here are three tips you need to know to take away most of your struggle with research before you write:
Scholar.google.com is a great starting place as is books.google.com. Use those databases to spark additional research in the right places. Go to the right spots the first time around and you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches.
It’s impossible to become a good writer if you aren’t an avid reader. There are so many amazing writers out there. Their books will change your life as you’re reading.
Some writers, however, get so caught up in getting their own work out there that they neglect to feed their mind with the words of others.
Right now, you’re studying a book about writing better and writing more efficiently so you can cash in more by writing amazing Kindle books. I’ve given you some great tips so far, but this is absolutely the most important one.
Read. Read. Read. READ.
It’s amazing what happens when you read. Ideas will come to you. You’ll be infinitely more creative. Words will flow easily, and in the perfect order. You’ll be inspired, alive, and changed.
Read fiction and nonfiction. Read spy novels, romance novels, and horror novels. Read historical fiction and nonfiction, biographies and self-help books. Read everything.
Figure out how to get Kindle books from your local library and fill your Kindle with everything you can get your hands on. That is the best writing course on the planet.
Do you write haphazardly? I know some writers who “write” all day long. I know some business owners who “work” all day. They’ll claim to spend 16 hour days working or writing and are at their breaking point. They definitely give their blood, sweat, and tears to the craft.
If you’re that type of writer or worker, I want you to look hard at what you’re actually doing.
I’ll be the first to say that I work long days. But, my days are pretty tightly focused. I frequently check in on my forum members and my Facebook group members. You’ll rarely find me flittering my days away doing nothing. It takes dedication to get to this point and I won’t say it’s always easy– the Internet is an endlessly distracting place with any number of rabbit holes.
I want you to give yourself a maximum of 3 hours a day to work at your computer over the next three days. That’s it. You’re not allowed to be on your computer, for any reason, longer than three hours.
These 3 challenge hours will include the following activities:
Yes, you have big projects to complete. You have goals and deadlines.
You still have those goals and deadlines…but you now have much less time to work on them for three days.
Don’t worry– I’ll wager that you’ll get a lot more done than you usually do. There are two things at work here:
You’ll neither have the time nor the inclination to check out time wasting sites. You only have 3 hours– those dancing cats aren’t that interesting. You also won’t feel the pull to do something fun while you work so hard because
Do a self-evaluation after the experiment. Did you get more done than normal? You probably did– working a fraction of the time. Adjust your work day from there and think about what you have to do and what you really want to do. Those low-value time wasting websites are sucking away your productivity and time away from activities you really want to do.
Writers are creatures of habit. They do the same things the same way. Sometimes, this works well– maybe you have a lucky chair or desk you write in. Sometimes, though, this sameness causes things to go stale– and it shows up in your writing.
If you’re feeling stuck, bland, or uninspired, you need a change of scenery. Here are some ideas of things you can do to jumpstart you physically, mentally, and emotionally:
… you get the idea. It’s time to break out and do something completely unexpected. You may have heard this advice before, but you likely haven’t seen anything like this list before. One or more of those ideas stood out to you. Now, do them.
You’ll come back to your writing with a new perspective, a new jolt of creativity, and total freedom to write something awesome much more quickly than you would have had you just stared at the blinking cursor for hours on end.
Some writers try to write with only a vague notion of what they are going to write about. That can work for some writers, but you might not be one of them if you struggle with writer’s block, inconsistency, plot holes, and a number of other issues that will sink your Kindle book.
Many writers “interview” their characters before they sit down to write. They pretend to have their characters tell them about their lives, past, present, and future. This is a really great technique, but let’s take it a step further. You are going to ask your characters how they feel about everything that happens in the story.
At this point, you likely have your major plot points figured out. But, every writer has experienced the frustration that comes along when they just don’t know how to move the plot forward or how to solve a plot hole that doesn’t make sense. Stewing about these problems can put a giant kink in the works. It’s almost impossible to move forward if these questions are hovering over you, unanswered.
Here’s what you can do instead– answer these questions ahead of time. No, you can’t predict every question or issue you’ll have. But, you can be way ahead of the game and can be prepared to solve any issue that comes your way.
List the major plot points you have planned. Then, interview every character who will be affected or even present at the time of the event. “Ask” your characters what they saw, who they saw, what they felt, what happened (for them) before and after the major plot point. Remember to do this for each character in turn-even minor ones. This helps you see the plot from all angles so you can plug up any holes. This can be as quick or as detailed as you want to make it.
Now, when you run into questions or aren’t sure what to write next, you can just look at what your characters told you. You’ll never get stuck and your writing will be even more powerful and creative.
You can also do this with non-fiction, to some extent. It depends on your topic and your goal.
No, I’m not saying you should get out there and write a screenplay. I’m saying you should feel and know your characters as deeply as you would if you were directing them in a movie. You should know what they look like, what their background is, what their physical and emotional flaws are, and more.
Many writers struggle to get to know their characters. They get frustrated and experience writer’s block because they don’t have a clear enough picture of who their characters are. It’s one thing to “direct” people you can see and hear. It’s another to try to “direct” characters who don’t yet exist and haven’t come alive in your mind.
You need to make your characters live before you get started writing so they are easier to direct. If they are alive, it’s much easier to take them in unexpected and magical places because you don’t have to spend any energy wondering who they are.
How do you do this?
You create them.
Flip through a magazine and find people who represent each character. Find and cut out objects, travel destinations, homes, and other photos and graphics that represent who your character is and what they love, hate, do, and feel. Paste your character and the other images to a poster board so you can glance up and see your character whenever you need to. Do this for each major character and you’ll be surrounded by “people” who have actual lives instead of a few lines of flat, typed characteristics. Alternatively, create this “poster” on your computer using digital images for easy access.
It will be so much easier to write compelling scenes, dialogue, and descriptions once you do this. Make your characters live and you’ll write more quickly, write better, and write more productively. Have fun with this– it sincerely will banish writer’s block and anxiety in writing fiction.
You have the end in mind after cheat #1. Found at: http://writerssecrets.com/writing-cheats-1-see-the-end-before-the-beginning/
You know how to create a traditional outline. Now I want you to try something that isn’t as traditional– create a backwards outline.
Outlines usually consist of major talking points and sub points. That’s a great method and works very well for a lot of people. But outlines sometimes become too focused on “me, me, me” the author, instead of on the readers.
Great writers are supposed to pay attention to their audience. They are supposed to be able to reach their audience on an emotional level, delivering on the very thing the reader hoped to gain from reading the book, and more.
Too many writers get bogged down on the mechanics of the outline instead of on the expected outcome of the outline. I hope that makes sense. Emotions, feelings, and the power of words get lost in the mechanics of writing and outlining.
Let’s take a different approach. This approach gets the very best writing out of you while also giving the very best to your reader. Best of all, this method will help you write more quickly and become more excited about your writing.
This exercise is all about emotions and feelings. Go ahead and get a general idea of what each chapter will be about. For fiction, which scenes will each chapter contain? For non-fiction, what information will be in each chapter? This should be a very rough, quick outline with few details-there is plenty of time to fill that out later.
Now that you have your list of chapters and a general idea of what they will contain, it’s time to think about the result of those chapters. When the book is written, what will the reader feel or think after reading chapter one? How about chapter two? Chapter 3? Go through each chapter in turn and use this method of backwards outlining. It’s “backwards” because you’re thinking about desired results and feelings instead of facts, figures, and structure.
Here is a fiction example:
General idea: Princess hates her posh life and wants to escape from the castle.
Reader should feel: Skeptical about this spoiled girl, yet intrigued at the same time because they see a little of themselves in her desire for something more.
Do you see how easy it will now be to fill out the rest of the outline for chapter one? You’ve started with your desired result, which got your brain working with possibilities. Now will take just a few minutes to sketch the details for chapter one. You may have just stared at your outline, baffled, for hours before this trick.
Here is a non-fiction example:
General idea: Writing great books for Kindle is actually easier than most people think.
Reader should feel: Like I understand them. They should feel hope and excitement about learning new methods to write faster and better. Possibly skeptical and unsure, but anxious and excited to move past the first chapter.
Did I capture some of what you felt as you read the first chapter? I hope so– it helped me figure out what to write and which emotional hot points to hit on. It then became very easy to write the introduction.
Do this with each chapter you’re going to write and the book will practically write itself… Partially because you’ve hyper focused on the reader. Everything comes into focus when you do that. It’s so much easier to write and to feel excited about your writing when you do this. No more writer’s block and no more hesitation to sit down and write– I dare say, this method makes it fun to write.
Not really cheats but it’s more fun to think of them that way. Really it’s tips and methods for efficiency and ease in writing.
Writing Cheat #1 – See the end before the beginning.
You’ve been told to create outlines before you get started writing. You’ve been told that this takes away writer’s block and gives you a smooth path as you write. All of that is true…there’s just one problem. Your writer’s block and uncertainty can be so severe that you can’t even get that far. What do you do then? If you’re like most writers, you sit around feeling anxious with your fingers motionlessly poised over the keyboard. You waste minutes, if not hours, with this uncertainty. It zaps your creativity and your best ideas.
This problem (I think we all go through it) got me thinking about what I know about success. Masters of productivity and goal setting tell us to create vision boards, mind movies, and things like that to become more successful. We’re supposed to use these visuals to motivate ourselves to drop the weight, boost our incomes, or whatever will lead us to our goal.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized the same thing can apply to writing a book. We
can think about the smaller pieces (the outline) all we want. But it doesn’t mean anything unless we know what the result will be. Where is the story going? What is the point?
We know that we can be more successful if we have a vision in mind of what success looks like. By the same token, we can be more successful if we have a vision of what our book looks like. What’s the ending? What’s the purpose?
I’ve written about this quite a bit recently, and I call it “visualizing Point B”. In other words, if you have a destination in mind, whether a trip, a goal, or in this case a completed book, before you start on your journey, you need to know where you’re going… getting from Point A (where you are now) to Point B (where you want to end up).
Now, I want you to think about the book you need to write.
If fiction: Set a timer for 10 minutes and brainstorm your ending. Where will your characters be by the end? You may know how the book will start or who will be in it, but how will it end? Have fun as you brainstorm. No idea is too crazy.
Then, go through and choose the ideal ending from what you’ve brainstormed– choose the one that stands out to you the most.
The pieces of your outline should now fall into place when you go to create the rest of the outline and start to write. You know where you’re going, so it’s much easier to map your course for getting there.
If nonfiction: The process is a bit different with non-fiction, of course, because you’re not really coming up with an ending. In a non-fiction book, the ending generally summarizes everything the book contained. You try to inspire people and get them thinking, caught up in what they’ve just learned or felt.
Go ahead and write that ending section now (it only has to be a few paragraphs for this exercise) You have your ending, so now you can easily work toward it– it’s a more freeing way of outlining. Sure, you may not know everything that will go into your book yet and you may never actually use this “ending.” But, it will relieve your mind of the duty of thinking as you write, leaving room for creativity and solid writing.
This is a mind trick as much as an organizational trick. We all want to get to the end, right? Writers don’t like to write; they like to have written (a spin-off of Michael Kanin’s, “I don’t like to write, but I love to have written”). Well, you’re at the end already. Your mind is at ease and you’re ready to put the rest of the pieces in place.
This isn’t to say that you can never change your ending. Your story will tell you where to go. The point is that you now have direction and you don’t have to think about it. You can be as creative and free because the pressure of “the perfect ending” is gone.
Find all 10 Writing Cheats at: http://bringoutthepotential.com/2017/10/03/writing-amazing-kindle-books-with-these-10-easy-cheats/