Five Ways To Increase Your Writing Productivity

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Sometimes it’s hard to focus as a writer. This blog article is all about ways to increase productivity. If you have any other ideas… please feel free to comment at the bottom of this post! It would be great to hear from you!

Clear Your Writing Path

Before you sit down to write anything, trying asking yourself: Why am I writing? What’s the desired outcome that I want with this particular piece of writing? Am I writing to brighten someone’s morning? Motivate our team to head back into the ring after a crushing defeat? Encourage folks to say “yes” to a new meeting time?

The best writing tends to have one clear, ringing intention. Choose it—and commit.

Writing with a Target

For most people, the longer you fuss over a piece of writing, the worse it gets. When you have a clear reason for writing and feel happy and relaxed, your first draft is usually best. There’s no need to endlessly chew it over. Clearing out your inbox, for example? Give yourself a time limit—say, two minutes per email—to prevent yourself from slipping into analysis paralysis.

You can set up a playlist on YouTube or on iTunes comprised entirely of upbeat songs, to keep yourself moving along. When the song changes, hit “send” and move on!

Simply Does It

Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” Imagine that you’re writing for an audience of little kids—impatient, easily distracted, with zero tolerance for jargon. You have to keep things simple so they grasp things very quickly.

You can practice by having actual conversations with people. If your pitch is clear and intriguing—or not—you will know very quickly, but you have to try to practice with real people.

What Would They Write?

If you’re struggling with a sensitive piece of writing where hitting the right emotional tone is essential, try channeling one of your personal heroes. “What would Stephen King write in this situation?” “What would Dean Koontz say?” “How would Richard Branson handle this business book?”

Read Aloud—You’re a Writer and Proud!

Whenever possible, read your writing out loud. Does it sound like it was written by a human being or a cyborg? Are you stumbling over excessively long sentences? Catch any typos or duplicate words? If so, tweak and read it out loud again.

If reading aloud isn’t possible—because you don’t want to disturb your colleagues—try lightly tapping a finger on your desk or thigh as you silently read each word in your head. It’s bizarre, but it works almost as well as reading out loud.

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5 Things Your Characters Want More Than Millions

bloggingAs writers, we sometimes forget the little things. I wanted to write a blog article that would cover some of the elements readers look for in books. Without these elements, you may find it hard to make your story enjoyable. Let’s take a look…

Secretly…

Some characters have questions, and some characters have answers. Often, characters have answers that they never want to share with anyone. Answers that would be secrets. Dark secrets, scary secrets, weird and odd secrets that they don’t want you, the reader, to find out… until it’s time for you to find out.

A Little Bit of Motivation

Just like living, breathing humans—characters want things. They are motivated by desires and requirements. In many cases, they spend an entire story trying to fulfill a dream or an ambition. This is one of the base requirements of a story. What does your character want? What are his or her motives? If you can’t explain this, then the story will fall apart.

Connections Are Everything

Characters need connections to other characters. These don’t need to be desired connections. They can be connections that the character is actively trying to deny. But they need to be there. They help make the character the character. Without connection to other characters, you will find the story falling pretty flat.

Strengths & Flaws

Characters who have absolutely no skills are dull. Readers really like to find characters who are really good at something. The best doctor? The best zombie hunter? The best detective? But at the same time, characters can’t be perfect. They have to be relatable. So, be sure to give your characters well-rounded skillsets, and make them as realistic and as relatable as possible.

Emotions

Everyone has emotion—even if we don’t like to show it. Characters have to have some kind of emotion to actually exist within the fabric of the book. Love? Desire? Hatred? They don’t have to be shouting these emotions out at the top of their lungs—but the reader has to know how the character feels. Do they feel hungry? Tired? Mentally wiped out? Is the guy in the corner so angry he could punch the wall? Essential.

What do you think?

Categories & Keywords: An Authors Overview

writing1111There are a few things to consider before pressing that “publish” button on your publishing platform of choice. That’s what we are going to talk about this week. The last minute problems that crop up, or get forgotten, as writers rush to get their book onto the market. For example, how often do you think about keywords? Categories? How about author name? These might seem like easy things now—but authors all around the world have forgotten to fill in the metadata before they hit the publish button—and those authors have been cramped by these problems throughout their book publishing run.

 

Keywords

These seem like gobbledygook, meaningless things when you first see a section to select keywords. What is a keyword? Well, take a major publishing platform like Kindle, and you will see that there is space for seven keywords. These keywords are how readers find your book. Many authors just overlook this spot on the page and don’t fill them in. That would be a mistake. Take some time, think about what search terms people will be using to search for your book. Is it a Western? A horror novel? A book about bamboo sticks? What is it? Fill in the space with words that will help you sell books.

Categories

This is a crucially overlooked part of the publication of a book. People tend to find the biggest category that applies to their book, and then just add it to the metadata. But normally, you get to pick two categories. Spend some time going around Amazon and looking at the different category opportunities out there. Look to see where similar books to yours have been placed. It’s a good idea to note that the smaller categories will give you more exposure. Why? Because it will take you less sales to get to number one in a small category, and then once you’ve hit number one, the momentum of being at number one will hopefully keep you there.

A Pre-Publishing Paperback Check List

writing1111Last week we were talking about Createspace, and publishing your paperback through Createspace. I thought it might be helpful if I put together a check list of things to consider before you start the process of publishing your paperback.

This list might seem obvious, but a little planning can go a long way to getting best result for your book. I’m not talking about the actual writing of it – you’ve probably got that under control.

The publishing check list

Open and set up an account with CreateSpace

What size do you want your book to be?

Have you purchased your own ISBN? If you haven’t, don’t worry. CreateSpace will assign an ISBN to your book.

Has your manuscript been formatted for Createspace?

Now take a few minutes to think about what you’re going to need on hand to complete the publication of your book. You will more than likely want to work all of this out before you even start.

Title of the book

Author name

Series title, if applicable.

Publication date

Description: How are you going to describe your book to prospective readers?

Author biography: What are you going to tell readers about yourself?

Category: Which category are you going to assign your book? Is it inspirational? Is it a romance? What is it?

Keywords: 5 terms that you can input that will help people find your book—for example “western.”

Price: How much is your book going to be to purchase?