Tag Archives: writing

How to Succeed at Writing: Working through Frustration

Hello everyone and happy Presidents’ Day!

While working towards my 2018 goal of editing my novel The Four Crystals from beginning to end, I hit a snag in completing my weekly goal.  Apparently chapters 3-5 heard me say I was going to edit one chapter a week and conspired to detain me longer than that.  If they weren’t essential to the plot, I’d show them who was boss and cut them.

thNeedless to say, feeling stuck is very frustrating.  It’s made me question why I torture myself with writing when there are other things I enjoy that require less effort.  When I get depressed with my own writing journey, I find inspiration from reading about what established writers do.

Below are a few articles which recently helped me.  I hope they also inspire you to keep writing.

In case you don’t have time to read them, here’s a quick summary: 1. Find a writing space, 2. create a writing routine, and 3. make yourself do it.  (They say it much more elegantly than I just did.)

“Mark Ellis – A Writer’s Life” by Mark Ellis

“10 Habits of Highly Effective Writers” by Robert Blake Whitehill

“Ten Ways To Succeed at Writing Without Really Trying” by Ruthy Logan Herne

Happy writing!

Katie

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Speedy Ideas

Hello everyone!

“Do you know what my favorite part of the game is?  The opportunity to play.” – Mike Singletary

When I get in a writing slump, I find writing prompts to be helpful in getting the creative juices flowing.  I also use writing prompts to challenge myself or as a fun activity to do with friends who also enjoy creative writing.

Your writing challenge for the next two weeks is to write a short story that contains all of the words in the featured image.

Scrabble - Speed

An alternate version of the writing challenge is to play your own game of Speed Scrabble and use the words you created to write a short story.

You can add to the fun by getting a group of people together, all using the featured image or playing a round of Speed Scrabble together, and then taking 30 minutes to write a short story. 

Happy writing and go Eagles!

Katie

Establishing Goals: 3 Strategies for Following through with a Resolution

Hello everyone!

At the beginning of a new year, it is customary to make one or more resolutions for the upcoming year.  I have never accomplished anything by just making a resolution.  Consequently, I stopped making resolutions years ago.  Instead, I set achievable goals for the upcoming year.

In my mind, there is a difference between a resolution and a goal.  Merriam-Webster.com lists many definitions for resolution, but the one that best fits my way of viewing it is 1c: “the act of determining.”  My definition of a goal is the second one given by Merriam-Webster.com: “the end toward which effort is directed.”  For me, a resolution is something I mean to do while a goal is something I work to accomplish.  I might resolve to finish writing my novel, but until I make it a goal, I will never bring that desire to fruition.

My writing goal for 2018 is to finish editing The Four Crystals so that it will be ready for target audience beta readers at the start of 2019.  When I look at all the editing that is required, this is a very daunting task.  In order to achieve my writing goal for 2018, I am applying three strategies.  I hope they will help you as well.

  1. puzzle 13Break the Task into Smaller Tasks: Henry Ford said, “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.” Generally, when I feel overwhelmed by the size of a project, I try to avoid it.  To prevent myself from procrastinating my way through 2018, I decided to take Henry Ford’s advice.  I broke my overarching goal of editing The Four Crystals in 2018 into pieces that I could accomplish on a weekly basis.  My smaller, less daunting goal is to edit one chapter a week.

 

  1. checklist 1Track Your Progress: This gives you a visual of your progress. It can be very encouraging.  It can also help you to get back on track if you lose sight of your goal.  For just that purpose, I created a template for the entire year.  Every week, I either write “yes” or “no” in the box that says “Accomplished Goal.”  If I edited an entire chapter, I write the chapter number below the “yes.”  If I fail to meet my weekly goal one week, that is okay.  Maybe I was sick or I was working on a short story and did not have enough time to edit an entire chapter.  There is nothing wrong with failing to meet my goal for one week.  If, however, I notice that I have not accomplished my weekly writing goal for two weeks in a row or that I am only meeting it every other week, I know I have to give myself a kick in the pants and apply more self-discipline.
  1. whisper 5Have an Accountability Partner: I have never been good at holding myself accountable. If I make a plan that only affects me, there is a strong chance that I will change the plan if I don’t feel like doing it.  To make sure that I actually accomplish my 2018 writing goal, I shared my writing goal with one of my writing groups and asked them to check on me every time we meet.  Peer pressure is a wonderful thing when used appropriately.

What are your writing goals for 2018?  If you’re willing to share them with me, I would love to read about them.  You can tell me your wring goals in the comments below or via my “Contact” page.

toasting 1Here’s to a productive year of writing!  I hope that these strategies help you to meet your own writing goals for the new year!

Happy writing!

Katie

True Confessions of an Amateur Blogger: What NOT to Do

Hello everyone!  Happy New Year!

As the second anniversary of my writer’s blog approaches (January 10th), I reflect back on what I have learned about blogging over the past two years.

My very first blog post was truly terrible.  At the time, I did not read blogs and had no clue what I was doing.  Everyone said that to be a writer, you needed to have an online presence, so I was going to have one.  I was going to use my blog to show people that I was reliable and professional.  Someone who was devoted to writing.  The only thing my 2016 blog posts showed was that I had no idea how to be a blogger.

Tip #1: Read extensively in your genre before starting a project.

boring 11 (4)My very first post was published on January 10, 2016.  Its title was so specific, who wouldn’t want to read it?  “First Writing Prompt for 2016.”  No visuals, no tags, no reason to click on it.  And, no one did.  My second blog post, also published on January 10, 2016, was titled “Writing Article for the New Year.”  It did as well as my first post.

Tip #2: Have an interesting title.

Tip #3: Have a featured image in the header.  It might inspire someone to click on your post.

The end of March/beginning of April 2016 was when I started making my titles more interesting.  Still, no one visited my blog.  I didn’t know what I was doing wrong or why no one wanted to read what I wrote.

In October 2016, I started regularly adding images to bodies of my blog posts, still no one outside of my family followed my blog.  And no one ever liked my posts.  It was so depressing.  I would carefully form my blog posts and then, to the best of my knowledge, no one ever read them.  I cannot begin to describe how badly I wanted to stop blogging.  But I didn’t stop.  Instead, I tried to figure out why my blog had been a graveyard for all of 2016.  And there were lots of good reasons.cricket 1From November 2016 through February 2017, I put images in the headers or bodies of my blog posts.  In March 2017, I got frustrated with how time consuming it was and stopped, only to give myself a good kick in the pants in April 2017 and start using images consistently.  In May 2017, I made it my personal goal never to publish a post without having a featured image in the header, and with the exception of “Inspiring Lines” (October 22, 2017), I have met that goal.

“Marketing Children’s Picture Books,” published on February 25, 2017, was the first blog post someone liked, and not just one, but two bloggers liked it.  I was over the moon.

What were some things that I did right in that particular blog post?

–        There was a featured image in the header.

–        The title was clear, but not boring.

–        There were multiple tags.

Tip #4: Use tags.  You have a better chance of coming up in the search engines.

url1Even though “Marketing Children’s Picture Books” got the most positive response I had ever gotten from a blog post, there was something I found visually displeasing about it: the web addresses.

That’s right.  I did not link back to the resources I wanted to share with my readers.  Instead, I stuck the web address into the blog post.  It looked bad.

You might be wondering why I did that if I didn’t like how it looked.  The truth is, I didn’t know how to insert a link, and I didn’t google how to do it.  I didn’t figure out how to insert a link until May 7, 2017 when I published “How to Create a Successful Blog.”

Tip #5: Link things.  Do not put the web address in the post.

Tip #6: Take time to learn about a medium before using it.

Tip #7: If you do not know how to do something, ask someone or search it online.

I hope this post has given you a good laugh.  If you’re new to blogging or are considering starting a blog, let my mistakes and past blog posts serve as an example of what not to do.

blog 4If you’re where I was at the start of 2017, posting without any followers, likes, or comments, don’t give up.  Getting started takes time, so use it to figure out how to make your blog better and more accessible to your target readership.  You have something worth saying.

Happy writing and happy New Year!

Katie

Tip Summary:

Tip #1: Read extensively in your genre before starting a project.

Tip #2: Have an interesting title.

Tip #3: Have a featured image in the header.

Tip #4: Use tags.

Tip #5: Link things.  Do not put the web address in the post.

Tip #6: Take time to learn about a medium before using it.

Tip #7: If you do not know how to do something, ask someone or search it online.

Audiobooks

Hello everyone and merry Christmas!

Have you ever wondered about what goes into creating an audiobook?  Did you ever question whether or how having an audio version of your book could affect its marketability?

Recently, due to the amount of driving I do, I have been listening to more books than I read.  Some audiobooks are narrated by a single reader while others have multiple readers.  Most of the time, the narrator has a pleasant voice, but one reader was so nasal that I almost stopped listening to the book before the intro had ended.  The amount of music used in an audiobook also varies from book to book.

thUL0N0FJQWhether you are considering creating an audio version of your book or just want to learn more about the process, I recommend you read Libby Fisher Hellmann’s blog post, “How to Produce an Audiobook in 7 Steps.”  Hellmann gives advice to authors who want to produce their own audiobook and does a good job of outlining the process.

For a different angle on audiobook production, read “An Insider Look at an Audio Book Production Company: Meet Owner Todd Barselow!” by Donna Galanti.

I hope you learn something new and interesting from these articles.

Happy writing and merry Christmas!

Katie

 

Writing Books with Emotional Savvy

Hello everyone!

Recently, an author friend of mine, Olivia Berrier, recommended I get The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. I followed her advice. At that time, I also purchased The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Psychological Trauma by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi.

Both books help writers to find different ways of showing, rather than telling, how the character feels.

 

Emotional ThesaurusThe Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

The front of the book has a section titled “Writing Nonverbal Emotions: Avoiding Common Problems.” The main portion of the book is the emotions thesaurus.

Each emotion spans two pages of the book and has the following sections:

  • Definition: a brief explanation of what the emotion is
  • Physical Signals: a list of physical manifestations of or reactions to the emotion
  • Internal Sensations: a list of internal manifestations of or reactions to the emotion
  • Mental Responses: a list of mental reactions to the emotion
  • Cues of Acute or Long-term Emotion: a list of different ways people react to feeling that emotion intensely or for an extended period of time
  • May Escalate To: the emotion(s) to which the featured emotion often morphs or intensifies
  • Cues of Suppressed Emotion: physical signals, internal sensations, or mental responses to trying to hide or hold in the featured emotion
  • Writer’s Tip: advice about writing emotions

 

Emotional Wound ThesaurusThe Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Psychological Trauma by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

At the front of the book are several article like entries. These offer advice about caring for oneself as a writer, defining what an emotional wound is, and raising awareness to how to develop and write about a character’s emotional wound.

In the thesaurus section of the book, the types of traumas that cause emotional wounds are broken into seven categories: Crime and Victimization, Disabilities and Disfigurements, Failures and Mistakes, Injustice and Hardship, Misplaced Trust and Betrayals, Specific Childhood Wounds, and Traumatic Events. Beneath each category are more specific events or situations. For example, two of the more specific situations listed under “Misplaced Trust and Betrayals” are “A Sibling’s Betrayal” and “A Toxic Relationship.”

Each event or situation resulting in an emotional wound spans two pages of the book and has the following sections:

  • Notes or Examples:
    • Notes talk about the event or situation and how it could have come about or impacted the character.
    • Examples sometimes contain the same information as a note and always have a list of causes or very specific events or situations. For example, two of the perpetrators/situations listed under “Being Bullied” are “A jealous friend or resentful classmate” and “Co-workers who were threatened by one’s status or prowess.”
  • Basic Needs Often Compromised by This Wound: universal needs that often are not met or not fully met when an individual has the featured emotional wound
  • False Beliefs that Could Be Embraced: a list of erroneous beliefs an individual might have as a result of the featured emotional wound
  • The Character May Fear…: a list of common fears for people who have the featured emotional wound
  • Possible Responses and Results: a list of ways people handle/respond (positively or negatively) to the featured trauma/emotional wound
  • Personality Traits that May Form: attributes and flaws that often develop as a result of the emotional wound
  • Triggers That Might Aggravate This Wound: a list of events, sights, or situations that might trigger the trauma/jab at the emotional wound
  • Opportunities to Face or Overcome This Wound: a list of situations or realizations that are difficult for the person who has the emotional wound

I hope you find these books as helpful as I do.

Happy writing!

Katie

Objects and Inference

Hello everyone!

Have you ever heard the expression, “You can tell a lot about a woman by the contents of her purse?” If you look at what someone carries with them or how they decorate their home, you get an idea about their likes, interests, habits, etc.

Try to describe yourself through things. Go through your house and choose eight objects that represent you as a person. You only get to use eight items to portray yourself, so make each one count. See if you can hint at more than one thing about yourself through your selections. (This skill comes in handy with word choice as well.)

Now that you’ve created your own object character bio, ask someone to choose eight items at random. Your challenge for the next two weeks is to create a character based off of the eight things you were given. If this does not resonate with you or if you finish early, you can also try to write a short story that contains all eight objects in a logical way.

Happy writing!

Katie

P.S.

What were you able to infer about me from the eight objects I shared? I’d love to find out! Feel free to post your inferences in the comments section below.