Tag Archives: Tips

Writing Cheats #9 You’re a Character

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:

  1. Invent yourself– Brainstorm who you are as a writer. What you look like, think about, and talk about as a writer. Now brainstorm who you ideally are as a writer. What is your process? What do people say about your work? Where do you work?
  2. Picture yourself– Next, close your eyes and picture yourself writing. See yourself smiling with confidence as you type away. See yourself finishing the piece. See yourself publishing it on Kindle, happy all the while. See the praise rush in as people read the words. Get a very clear picture in mind– create a vision board to really cement the images.
  3. Interview yourself– Finally, interview yourself. Create a list of questions you’d ask any writer you were interested in. Then, answer the questions, honestly and completely. Your answers may surprise you. They will also give you deeper insight into who you are as a writer.

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.

Writing Cheats # 8 Zippy research is within reach.

Research.

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:

  1. Learn how to read only what you need to-This is the biggest trick to research there is. Be very specific with your research and read only what you need to. Use the ctrl+f function to drill down and find specific words and sections. Be very specific with Google and database searches. Don’t waste time taking notes or even reading things you don’t really need to know. You aren’t hoarding information– you’re reading and using only what you need.
  2. Organize your research as you go– Be very specific about what you need to know. Create notes files for specific topics. Organize yourself now and you won’t have to spend hours doing it later. Don’t just have a giant file for a topic-have many smaller, very specific files that you can access in a stress-free way while writing.
  3. Know exactly where to get the best information– Don’t waste time using sources that can’t back themselves up. Look for primary sources and scholarly sources. Use more than one source to verify information.

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.

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Writing Cheats #7 Reading is the answer.

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.

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Writing Cheat # 6 – Know exactly what you’re doing, and when.

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.

  • How often do you check your email?
  • How often do you visit news sites?
  • How much time do you spend on Facebook?
  • How often do you find yourself getting into debates on Internet forums?
  • Do you check celebrity gossip sites?
  • Do you find yourself getting up for a drink, to use the bathroom, to get a snack, to check on the cat dozens of times in your work day?
  • Do you find yourself at the end of a work day, wondering what in the world you did all day and why you don’t have more of your project done?

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:

  • Writing
  • Marketing your Kindle books
  • Checking email
  • Spending time checking news outlets, gossip, and funny cat pictures

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 naturally work better, faster, and more efficiently when you’re crunched for time. You don’t have 16 hours a day to work during this challenge, so your conscious and subconscious will find ways for you to work smarter.

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

  • you won’t feel like you’re missing out. You have 21 hours to do whatever else you’d like to do (assuming you don’t have an outside job– even then, your “free” hours truly become your own). Read a book, go for a walk, or watch tons of trashy TV if you want. The rest of the day belongs to you.

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.

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Writing Cheats #5 Change where you are.

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:

  • Do something you’ve never done before.
  • Go to the beach and brainstorm or write there.
  • Go to a busy Starbucks or local cafe and write there.
  • Go for a walk through the woods by yourself with no electronics.
  • Take an entire week off with no access to electronics.
  • People watch for an entire afternoon
  • Read something in a genre you’ve never read before
  • Re-read your favorite book from childhood
  • Call someone you haven’t called in a while
  • Apologize to someone you need to apologize to
  • Pay the toll for someone behind you
  • Spend the day on a farm
  • Visit the “poor” section of town
  • Volunteer in a homeless shelter for an afternoon
  • Visit the ritzy section of town
  • Dress up like someone you admire
  • Read about the life of a writer from two centuries ago

… 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.

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Writing Cheat # 4 Take away all questions before you start

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.

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Writing Cheats #3 Write a movie instead of a book.

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.

5 Things Writers Can Easily Re-purpose, Getting More Mileage From Your Work.

How to get more mileage out of that good stuff you know is good…

Your work doesn’t have to be used just for one thing. Re-purpose.

Your blog post could be recombined into articles.

Take your articles and combine them into new books,

Take fragments of your books and use them for posts or articles.

Those articles could be turned into podcasts.

Out of print books can be scanned ( I used Bound Book Scanning but do a search for book scanning) and put into digital copy to publish on Amazon etc,

Other things to look at for re-purposing is interviews you may have done, power points you created.

Get the idea?

Share some of the things you re-purpose in the comment box below. We’d love to hear your ideas.

For more tips like this go to our tip page at: http://writerssecrets.com/writers-secrets-tips/

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Telling a Good Story – Making a Strong Ending

Any type of narrative writing will be telling a story. When telling and writing your story tell about something that has meaning to you. That will make it much easier to make your story interesting.

So your off to a whiz bang start then you start to fizzle out to a point that you end your story simply with writing – The end. How lame is that.

Luckily  Kristine Nannini from Young Teacher Love shared some wonderful tips for writing narrative endings and shared a helpful chart  found at: youngteacherlove.com

Here’s to better endings!

Narrative_endings

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