Tuesday, September 30, 2014

8 Ways to Carve out Writing Time

If you’re a writer (notice I’m not saying ‘aspiring’ writer - a writer writes, if you write you’re a writer) it’s more than possible you’re at a time in your writing career where you have all kinds of obligations and responsibilities like putting food on the table, paying rent, maintaining a car or maybe going to school or a whole lot of other things.

It may be a novel you’re writing or a screenplay or articles for magazines or non-fiction instructional books to help others. Whatever it is it could be you’re juggling like mad and trying to figure out how to write a novel or script or whatever while you’re holding down a full time job or going to school full time. 

Every writer no doubt has his or her own method of coping. I’m a full time writer now, but I’ll pass along a few things I did along the way. Some you probably won’t like to hear (there can be sacrifice involved in being a writer), others will seem more workable. Still others might just jump-start an idea that will work for you while you’re madly juggling. 

First and foremost, think this through. Do you really want to be a professional writer or is it just a whim or a hobby? I’m not kidding. This has a strong bearing on how much time you carve out and how much time you need to carve out. Those possibilities equal very different goals and needs.

Okay, let’s say you’re aiming at carving out a writing career. Then here are 8 suggestions for finding the time to do just that. Remember you don’t necessarily have to have a LOT of time just regular time. 

  • You can get up a hour earlier – of course this may well mean hitting the hay an hour earlier as well so you actually get some sleep. But the very quiet wee hours of the morning can be a great time for writing.

  • Writing on a bus or a train while commuting to work can be a great time adder for your work. Just make sure you don’t sit next to a ‘chatty Cathy’ who won’t let you work. 

  • There was a time when I arranged with my employer to come in to work an hour earlier so I could take a two hour lunch – during which time I ate while I worked on my latest novel.

  • Weekends can be precious, but if you’re serious and you can get spouse and family to understand you can carve out a few hours each weekend to get serious and put words to computer screen and write.

  • Holidays are a great time to write and I spent many of them doing just that. It works very well when you’re single. I did it a lot when I was in school. You’ll have to be the judge for when you’ve got a family. Anyway, there are many of them throughout the year for the worker who has some benefits. Among them are the usual, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, but there’s also Veteran’s day, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Columbus Day, President’s Day, Martin Luther King Day as well as some local holidays.

  • Write in the evenings. It can be every week night that you write or it might just be some. Perhaps you have to work out a deal with your spouse for a number of nights when you come home from work, eat dinner early and have the evening to write uninterrupted. It means less TV and you might have to sacrifice “Thursday night Football” but that’s the way of it. Which is more important?

  • Those 15 minute breaks at work can be a great time to jot thoughts and ideas and just let them evolve further if you think of writing instead of hanging out in the coffee room or at the water cooler every day.

  • See if you can do compacted work days (i.e. 10 hour days at work) with one day off from regular work where you can use the time writing all day.

Be creative, give it some thought. There are lots of ways to carve out writing time here and there without giving in to panic and despair. If you really work at it you’ll make it, just don’t let the time you carve out for writing get frittered away on social media and you’ll do great.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Writers And Readers Websites Wednesday - Virtual Reality for Book Lovers

 Heads up Writers and Readers - there's a new website about to launch - a wonderful virtual reality book display where you can wander author's and publisher's book rooms, check out what's new and check back on books you may have missed. 

Yes, launching soon is Inkflash from FingerPress. Watch the short video to see what's in store. There's a lot of great potential here and it looks like great folks are working hard to bring it to fruition. 

And Yes! I'll have my books there soon.  Launch is close! Bookmark Inflash's page and be sure to check back often.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Time for Writer's Introspection

Time for some introspection. 

Writers, do you always finish what you start? Most of the time? Or instead, when something isn’t working do you give up rather than finding a way to solve whatever is in your way? Do you pitch it and come up with a new, bright, shiny idea?

The plain truth of the matter is writing isn’t as straight-forward as it might first appear. Some writing projects need a lot of work. When reading through you may well find areas that just don’t work and need to be tossed or totally rewritten. Some may need just a bit of smoothing. Other scripts or novels, a very few I’ll admit, are such that everything about them is easy and flows and just rolls out from the beginning. Love it when the writing flows with the vigor and simplicity of a stream bouncing downhill over rocks.  Got a bit poetic there, but writers will get what I mean. 

There’s a whole lot more to writing than slapping black type onto white background whether on computer or printed page.  There’s an investment the writer makes, a part of him or herself that goes into it. And that fact alone can make a writer a bit shy about his or her work, tempted to say, “that’s no good, that’s not working, I’ll just toss it and start again.”

And that leads us to the inability to finish mentioned above. The first question is do you, as a writer, frequently find you can’t or simply don’t want to finish a writing project? Do you have a hard time finishing ANY project? If this is something deep-seated within you, if you go through life finding it difficult to complete any undertaking, then it’s a much broader issue than just your writing. It might be time for some serious self-evaluation or even counseling.

However I’m going to assume that’s not the case and it’s just your writing that  gives you bumps you must negotiate. Or hives, or whatever.

That being the case, the best advice I can give is apply seat of pants to chair (or glue yourself to standing desk) and get on with it. Read it with a clear eye and reread it. Work with it. Take a break. Come back. Just finishing can be an exercise in itself.

Then let the writer soul within you recognize that there are some projects that really should just be allowed to drift off to sea on their own. Sad but true. It is a fact that applies to the occasional stinker of a project, one that should never have taken root anyway. Yep, there are times to just let it go.

Aside from that rare occasion, refer to paragraph above and follow simple instructions. Apply seat of pants to chair and rewrite or stand before your computer and do the same (standing, by the way, can be stimulating to the thought process!).

You might just surprise yourself – and the rest of the world at the same time.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Writers And Readers Websites Wednesday - Blog News

Discover a new world!

Taking today's Writers and Readers Websites Wednesday to bring TV Writer - and in case the link doesn't work that's - to your attention - where I am, yes, a Contributing Editor.

An excellent site for those interested in TV Writing and writing in general. Resources, contests, workshops, articles, yep, it's all there!  Consider this a personal invitation from me to come on over and visit - really - now!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Writers And The Learning Curve

Writers; we’re by necessity much more than that these days. The world of writing and everything associated with it has changed amazingly in the past few years and continues to change every day. Think about it. The internet with it’s amazing resources for writers; research at our fingertips, social media to get out there and meet our readers and promote, videos and so much more.

It’s all a bit of a whirlwind, but if you’re a writer you’re already all too aware that what it means to be a writer is changing on a daily basis. How we can be successful at it is changing even faster. You have to grab the brass ring of what our culture is throwing at us, move forward rapidly, build new skills with alacrity and stay on top of stuff you previously didn’t even know existed (well, actually you didn’t know it existed because a short time ago it didn’t!).

So here are three of those skills I mentioned above to consider:

   1.    Network with other writers. Seriously. We used to believe writers were lone wolves, working in a quiet little room of his or her own. It wasn’t altogether true then, just partially. Yes, a certain amount of isolation and quiet is needed to do the work of writing. That’s just the way it is. Writers need peace. But, on the other hand when you read about historic writers frequently you read about them hanging out in cafes with other writers and artists. They created communities for themselves and that community creation in our times still extends to hanging out with other like-minded writers. However it has expanded to include the social network online. You know, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and the like. Reach out to other writers and editors. If you spread the word about their work they’ll spread the word about yours. Nurture friendships that can grow and spread over years.

    2.     Now’s the time you have to learn to be an editor in addition to a writer. You must edit your own work. Nobody is going to accept sloppily written work. Not publishers or editors, magazines or book publishers or script readers or agents. And, not readers if you self- publish and get your work out there on your own. Gone are the days of dumping a box of pages on an editor’s desk and being met with a smile. Competition is much fiercer these days than twenty or even ten years ago. Don’t give any reader the opportunity to toss your work aside because it’s just too messed up to read. You can hire an editor, there are lots of them out there, if you need to. But polish! Learn little tips for editing such as changing the font temporarily to give yourself a new angle. Let your work sit a few days or a week or whatever you need before you re-read and polish. Ask a friend for a quick read-through. Whatever it takes. Make your work worth reading. And if you’re self-publishing learn to format to Amazon or whatever venue you’re publishing to.

  3.  Create your persona and presence online. Start a YouTube channel if you want to put videos out there to promote your work. Create fab pins to pin on your Pinterest boards. Post on twitter and Facebook. Add photos of book covers and yourself. Maybe create a blog or your own webpage. Gain followers who want to share your work. Do it by creating relationships between yourself and your readers. Tell them about your process, why you write, what’s the next big thing you’re working on, anything that will get and hold their attention. Tell them your thoughts on what you might be writing next and ask their opinions. Engage.

What new skills beyond these have you already cultivated and absorbed? Toss them into the comment box and let others know what’s moving your career forward.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Writers and Readers Websites Wednesday - Get Your Free Images!
Hi folks - yep, you noticed - no blog post yesterday as is my custom - kind of got swept up in business and writing, but have no fear it will return next week. 

Meanwhile, enjoy this week's great site Where Writers Win - it's a blog for writers, but on it is the link to resources for free and nearly free images Wow! writer or not - what a great resource for free images. Check carefully to see if there are any restrictions on use and enjoy. 

Read, research and dig around - there are great resources out there for images for writers, folks who just love great pics, blog creators, website designers, pretty much everything under the sun!

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