Sunday, March 16, 2014

How the...do you write?

Honestly, I don't know!  If I knew that, I could probably teach writi...wait, I do- to 3rd graders anyway :)

I haven't written consistently for a month.  My main focus of late has been writing children's book manuscripts, of which I've written four in the past six weeks, along with a poem.  But, I haven't been writing everyday.

The poem was about a child with writer's block.  That idea came from a FB message from the mom of my daughter's friend.  It just kind of spewed forth.  She gave me the idea of what to write about and I just started writing.  It came out very nicely, I might add.

The other stories just kind of come to me.  I think about the kind of stories I like to read- fantasy, adventure- and go from there.  I love dragons.  Dragons popped up in three of the manuscripts I'm working on.  One of the MS's had an image pop into my head of a tree and the story evolved from there.

I got the idea for my Demon Hunter series (only book 1 is out: Why He Runs From the Basement) because my cat, whose litter box is in the basement, always bolts up the stairs and around the house whenever he poops.  We always joke about it when it happens and it always brings a laugh.  Well, I used that cat pooping inspiration for the book/ series!  Another kindle short I wrote came from an odd, freaky occurrence on a trail run.  You never know where an idea will come from (so always carry a journal!!).

When I start writing, kids or adult, ideas come to me.  Sometimes I can just write/ type as I think the story through.  A lot of the time, I write an outline of what I want to happen in the story (beats) and I fill in the events as I go.  When I write for adults, I'll end up writing 500-1000+ words at a time following along with the beats.

Writing is not easy.  A lot of the time, what I write will never get published/ self published.  But, it is important to try to write everyday.  When you write consistently, your quality of writing will get better.  Set time aside every day, whether at a consistent time or place or not, for you to write.  This is a very important practice to follow.

Why is it important?  Well, I started the second novella in a Kindle series in January.  I wrote consistently for a couple weeks, then formatting for The Rabbit Who Wished He Could Fly took over.  When that happened, and I so happy it did, writing daily for the Demon Hunter series took a hit.  Now, I have the time to get back into it, but that requires taking the time to reread what I have so far (about 1/3 of the MS), going over my beats, and hitting the keys.

Reading is also important.  Read, read, read!  Read a variety of books in a variety of genres.  Focus on the genre you want to write in, but expand as well.  Reading will help increase your vocabulary and help your writing style.  It may also help with writer's block.  You may come up with an idea to move your book forward while reading (no, I don't mean plagiarize- but something might *click*).

When you write your first draft remember it's just that- your first draft!  Get those words out.  Don't edit as you go as that may hinder your creative flow.  Just get the words down while your words and ideas are fresh- and before you forget them!

Do you have any writing advice?
This was just a tad, there's plenty more out there...

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Where do you write?

Well?  Where do you write?

Me?  That depends...

On the computer, I write either at my "desk", a converted kitchen table, or right where I am now, on the couch.

In a journal, I will write anywhere- the floor, coffee shops, anywhere I bring it, but those are my two favorites with a journal.

I love writing in a journal, but I don't enjoy trying to read my own writing retyping it onto my computer.

When I first started writing, I hated using word and wrote solely in a journal.  Once in a while I'd write something on word, but not often at all.  Then, along came this miraculous writing program called Scrivener!  Since I discovered Scrivener, I have really enjoyed writing on my computer.  But, still not as much as in a journal.

My desk, as much as I enjoy having a space for my writing, has some drawback.  First, it's in the kitchen.  It's high traffic: it's right next to the main door leading in and out of our house, right near the bathroom, and, sometimes, people (two little ones...) tend to leave stuff on it- though not as much as in the past.  Being in a high traffic area at times can be a little distracting for me.  Especially when they talk to me :)

Other drawback: Old plastic containers for storage/cubbies.  I love natural wood and would love to have a 'real' desk someday.  Plus, where the desk is, I want to turn that part of the kitchen into a mini cafe.  We loves us some coffee in this house!  I'm not sure if my wife likes the idea, but ttthhhhppppttttt (just don't tell her I said that).

So, back to my original question, Where do you love to write?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Promoting yourself

Being a self-published writer, I am solely responsible for marketing my book.  They include, but are not limited to:

1. Facebook: You need something besides your own personal profile, whether it's for a book, character, series and/ or author page.

2. Twitter: I'm failing in this department.  I piggybacked on my own running account (my only one) and now use it for everything!  If you have one, branch out- create an author one and if you have a series you love, why not create one for that!  But, beware the time suck...

3. instagram: Again, I piggyback off of my running instagram.  I may need to create an author profile, or maybe watch the language on what I repost- I do love the HTFU brand!

4. Pinterest: And, again, this was created for my athletic endeavors, but it's easy to create multiple boards for multiple topics, books, characters, etc.  This is a great way to get images out to many people!

5. linkdin: Yet another way to branch out in social networking!  Having that, yet again, running account set-up/ head start really helps.  This is another way to get your name out to many people with minimal work.

Those are the social networks!  5 easy ways to reach many people!!  You just have to manage your time properly.  Take a few minutes each day to do the rundown for the main one or two you want to focus on, but take a few minutes each week for the others.

6. Bookstores: Head to your bookstores!  Check out any and all local, independent bookstores- used and new- and talk with them about your book and how to get it into their store.  Do some research first- they may have info on-line.  Check for and ask about author days and the possibilities of readings and signings.

7. Libraries: This is another great resource!  Stop in with your book to the local libraries.  Being an author, you have (I really hope!) been spending time at your local libraries reading and writing!  Talk with the librarians about having an author day, signing, etc.  Let them know you're willing to donate a portion of the proceeds to them.  Many libraries have had their budgets cut significantly.

8. School and daycares: Here's another great resource.  Contact schools around you about author days, in school author readings, and even donating books to classrooms/libraries to get your book on more eyes.  For me, being a teacher and having many teacher friends has been a huge help (thank peeps!!).  Don't stop at the end of the school year either!  Ask daycares, summer camps, too!!

9. Local papers: Having an event?  Contact your local papers!  You never know- they may be willing to promote it or even stop at the event!  Especially if you can get a day with a couple other authors in one place at one time :)

10.  Web sites:  Create a web site!  If you haven't already, do it now!  I have mine right here, along with a running one (though I've been on the shelf for 6 of the past 12 months...) and I promote a bit on there as well as, obviously, on here.

So, indies and other professionals, what are some ways you promote yourself and your work?  Did I miss anything??