Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Writing Faster

by Donna K. Weaver

"They" say if you want to be a success at this writing gig that you need to write faster, get more stuff out there, take on more projects and get them done on time. And, of course, produce a quality product.

No pressure there.

I, personally, haven't found that to be particularly easy either. I'm trying though. I doubt I'll ever be a super producer, but I hope to improve the process.

Here are some suggestions:
  1. Write every day. Set an attainable goal for a word count. Stretch yourself to attain it.
  2. Think your stories through when you're not writing. While I'm totally a pantser, I do like to know where the story's generally going. I frequently have scenes going on through my mind long before I write them.
  3. If you're an outliner, your outlining counts toward your word count. But at some point you have to stop planning and, you know, write the dang book.
  4. Time management - you really do have to prioritize your time. If your writing is as important to you as you say it is, choose well what you let get in the way of your writing time.
  5. Set practical, attainable goals.
What do you do to maximize your writing time?

Friday, January 22, 2016

How to be a Better Writer

Just get out there!
While reading an article in Writers Digest about how to be a better writer, I had an Ah, Ha! moment.

Though I had read most of these tips before, in one place or another, I read them this time with new eyes. She talked about how writers are generally a rule loving people. If you are laughing now while shaking your head, saying not me, remember, I said generally. :) We follow the rules, don't cut lines, sneak into movies and certainly don't haggle over baggage fees. All this is well and good but can result in our writing being a bit stale. You need experience to put into your stories to give them life. You may never put in the exact story of the time you jumped a neighbors fence to skinny dip, but the emotions from that experience should lend authenticity to a similar event in a story.

The article included a quote by William Faulkner, "A writer needs three things--experience, observation, and imagination-- any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others."

To become great you must get out of your comfort zone, be brave, risky, and curious. This primes your creative pump and reap the rewards of a well spent life--and well written manuscript.

Here the steps I liked best:

1.  Know thyself.
 What do you fear most? What scared you as a child, or teenager? What makes you laugh every time, with out fail? What are you most passionate about?
Take out a notebook, download 101 questions and write them out, you may surprise yourself even.

2.  Say yes to opportunity.
Make a goal to automatically say yes to all the possible things in your life.

My goal this year is to say yes to all physically active invitations I receive throughout the year.
Come swimming? --yup.
Hike Timpanogos? --For sure!
So on a walk around the neighborhood? -- I'd love to.

It gets easier each time I agree, and the experiences I have because I said yes are mine for story fodder! :)
Your goals will be different than mine, join a critique group, anthology, or craft group. Run a marathon or learn photography or sewing--just go for it!

3.  Go backstage.
Literally or figuratively--both are great. Talk to the actors after a play, talk to police officers about what they see each day.

There's a "backstage" everywhere you look, the grocery store, library, bank, teachers, artists, mail carriers. Go out and expand your knowledge first hand.

4.  Do something that makes your palms sweat.
Try public speaking, playing an instrument in public, or bungee jumping. Just be sure to record how you felt before and after the so your writing can feel true to life.

5.  Eavesdrop.
and after This one can be considered rude--but stick with me for a minute.

A few years back I met up at a popular bakery on a Friday night to get some words written during NaNoWriMo. As our own talked died down, everyone falling into a writing groove, the tables around us started to fill up with teens, college students on dates and mom/dads out with out the kids. Can I just tell y'all, some of those conversations still crack me up! The dates were by far the best, and I do admit we may have worked parts into our stories.

Go places to people watch--airport, park, mall, it doesn't matter. You see and hear things that will crack you up, make you cry or leave you wondering if you heard that right, because surely, you must have misheard.

Just write it down.

I'll leave you with the last words from the article:

Busting out of your comfort zone to seek out unique experiences will not only make you a more complete person and bring authenticity to your writing, it will suggest new ideas and new work. If you extend yourself, you’ll have an advantage over the couch potatoes and Web addicts.
I invite you to share my current motto: Impulse control is overrated.

What steps did you like best? Share in the comments!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Loving to Learn

Nurturing Professional Growth

I thought I'd share a few of the blogs that I follow, other than this one, and that I always get something good from the posts for improving my writing craft or profession. Here they are in no particular order. Click over and check these out.

Which blogs/websites do you go to for learning?

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Book Report . . . My Favorite Friend

Maybe I'm horribly behind the times and you already know about this, but I must share a new-to-me tool that has saved me a ton of time.

If you're a self-published author and you're trying to figure out how to read Amazon's sales reports, you really need to sign up for Book Report. Especially if you're on Kindle Unlimited and you're trying to figure out those pages read.

Book Report will pull up all your data and tell you within seconds how much money you've made so far that day and how much for the month. It shows you on a pie chart which of your books are selling the best that day, and it also shows you on a line chart how your sales today compare with your sales for the rest of the month. And it's only $10 a month.

First, go to You can try it for two weeks to see if you like it, and they won't even take a credit card for the trial period. Sign up and bookmark the site. Then go into your KDP sales chart as always, click on the bookmark, and Book Report will pull up your information. Poof! There you are.

You will need to go into the settings tab on Book Report and give them a figure for pages read. It's been fluctuating between .0047 and .0049 cents per page, so I keep mine set at .048 just to give me an average. That's the only thing you need to adjust - it will pull all the rest of your prices, etc. from Amazon and calculate your royalties from there.

There you have it - one of the coolest gizmos ever. And they didn't even pay me to say it!