Tag: writing (page 1 of 2)

Accountability Progress Report

If I was in business, I would say that the first quarter of 2017 has come and gone. In fact, we’re two weeks into the second quarter. But wait… I AM in business. I’m a writer, and I set some pretty lofty goals for myself at the beginning of this year. In fact, my ‘word’ for 2017 is ACCOUNTABILITY, so this post is one way of maintaining that focus one quarter in.

While I’m not one hundred percent up to the mark with all of my writing and publishing goals, I feel like I am making very good progress. In fact, you may already know that Volume 1 in the NEIGHBOURS sequel released on Saturday.

NEIGHBOURHOOD TANGLE – Volume 1 – JED is now available on Amazon. It is the first novella length instalment in the continuing series. (There are seven in all) I shared the blurb in a previous post 

Here is how the rest of the series is shaping up:

NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH – Volume 2 – BO – release date April 30

NEIGHBOURHOOD REBEL – Volume 3 – REBA – release date  May 15

NEIGHBOURHOOD UPSTART – Volume 4 – PIP  – release date May 30

NEIGHBOURHOOD FREEDOM – Volume 5 – WILL – release date June 15

NEIGHBOURHOOD CUPID – Volume 6 – ZEB – release date June 30

NEIGHBOURHOOD WRAP  – Volume 7 – FINALE – July 15

KEEPING UP WITH THE NEIGHBOURS COMPLETE SERIES 2 – release date July 30 (paperback and ebook)

Please stay tuned for more details on the final launch. I am releasing each novella separately, but hope to make the final book launch of the complete series a bit more ‘splashy’.

 

How I Spent My Spring Break – WorDshops!

Steinbach

It was a whirlwind WorDshop tour this past few weeks, with three stops on my schedule. First up, the Steinbach, MB event where I was hosted by the wonderful Barbara Ann Derksen – an amazing mystery writer in her own right. I was the keynote presenter with two sessions on the ‘Call to Authenticity’. I also did a workshop on a marketing model I’ve put together which I call ‘Get Your Platform Moving’ and author Celesta Theissen did a session called “How to Overcome ‘I Can’t'”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regina

The next weekend I attended the Regina, SK WorDshop and did some ‘light duties’ as Inscribe’s VP. I also sat on a panel about ‘Time Management’. There were several awesome sessions by Janice Dick, Sharon Plumb, Alison Lohans, and Sally Meadows.

 

Fast forward another week and it was off to Blackfalds, AB to another WorDshop event with organizer Marcia Laycock who gave some profound keynote addresses along  with poet Susan Plett, who led us in some free writing. It was a deep day with lots to reflect on later… (And I had the privilege of teaching a session on blogging.)

it was a fantastic two weeks of learning,  sharing and re-connecting with other writers. But alas… it is back to reality today and my ‘day job’ teaching – which isn’t so bad since I like what I do!

Plus, I’m looking forward to one more WorDshop in May in Fort St. John, BC.

How To Overcome ‘I Can’t’

Celesta Thiessen

I attended a workshop recently by author Celesta Thiessen with this very title. It was a very practical and worthwhile session, dealing with overcoming the obstacles that many authors feel when it comes to their writing. One of the things I appreciated about the session was how she focused first on the spiritual aspect of things before moving into the more ‘practical’ applications.

She talked about the need to deal with three spiritual areas in our life: unforgiveness, sin , and lies – and even allowed quiet time for reflection to let God speak to each one about what things we might need to ask forgiveness for, confess as sin, or identify as ‘lies’ from the devil. (Example: Your writing is no good; no one will ever want to read what you’ve written; you’re not really a writer etc…) As she so correctly pointed out, these spiritual areas can have a negative affect on our ability to carry out the calling to write.

Then she moved on to some practical  ways writers can gain encouragement, such as finding and connecting with writer friends –  both local and online – and participating in writing challenges like nanowrimo.

I especially liked her list of practical tips for success:

  1. Figure out what time of day is your best for writing and then try to write during that time.
  2. Find out what length of time is optimal for you and add that to your routine.
  3. Be intentional about your writing environment. Some people write in a specific location, have certain inspirational quotes etc. around, or what have you…
  4. Develop a routine and stick to it! Routines become habits and this takes away much of the resistance to write.
  5. Look after yourself – rest, nutrition, and other healthy habits are part of writing success. She talked about using light therapy for depression or getting whatever other kind of help you might need.
  6. Using external deadlines can be a huge motivator for indie authors. Some great examples are: setting up an Amazon ‘pre-order’ – if you don’t get the final copy uploaded by the date, those who pre-ordered will get the rough draft! Another great idea is organizing a book launch date in advance, which forces you to finish it by that date. Another (which I will probably never try!) is ‘Write or Die’ – an app which starts erasing your words if you aren’t meeting your own preset goals.

In all, this was a wonderfully practical workshop. Thank you to Celesta for sharing this valuable information with us at the Steinbach WorDshop.

Favourite Tools For Authors

 

Construction worker/Builder with tools. Isolated on white backgroundThere was a very informative and interesting panel at InScribe’s fall conference in September of last year which asked four different authors to share their favourite writing tools. On the panel were: Linda Hall, Rik Hall, Jane Wheeler, and Janice Dick. (And yours truly as moderator.) Here is a helpful list of tools mentioned:

 

  1. SCRIVENER

By far the most popular tool (no surprise here) was Scrivener. Everyone on the panel – including me – love it. Here are some of the reasons:

– deals with complete projects

– flexible, user-friendly

– compile feature for whatever end result is desired, also for separating character / plotlines

– character / setting templates

– linked research

– notes for scenes, document, project (always visible)

– scene categorization (date, time, POV)

– can be colour-coded

– use for any writing or organization project (blogs, recipe collections…)

if you’re not using Scrivener, yet, you should really give it a try. It is free for first month (non consecutive uses so there is no pressure) and even then it is very affordable. I bought two subscriptions (one for my Mac and one for my PC) long before the trial period was up. It’s just that awesome.

  1. THESAURUS

Some tools just never go out of style. Invest in a good thesaurus or fond one online. It’s a great tool for bridging the gap between the right and left sides of the brain.

  1. GRAMMAR BOOKS

This was a popular one as well. Here are some of the resources suggested:

Elements of Style – Strunk & White

Woe is I – Patricia W. Carr (concise and humorous)

Write! Better – Ray Wiseman (succinct)

Writer’s Digest Books (eg. Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell, Scene & Structure, Characters & Viewpoint, etc.)

  1. SEND TO KINDLE

This is good for checking how your files will look on a kindle device before you go ahead and publish. Just drag and drop word docs and pdfs into this program and send them to your Kindle device. Another option is ‘Kindle Previewer’.

  1. TEXT TO SPEECH SOFTWARE

Any software that reads back to you is very useful when self-editing. It catches those mistakes that your brain skipped over because you knew what you meant to say. Mac’s have a built in ‘text to speech’ which you can check out by going to the system preferences. My Mac will read highlighted text using the ‘Option+Esc’ keys. There are other programs like ‘Natural Reader’ that are popular. The reverse (speech to text) is also useful if you want to ‘write’ while walking or just tired of typing all the time. You can use your computer or your phone for this.

  1. POPULAR ONLINE SITES AND GROUPS

Many different sites were mentioned and I suspect this one is very much about individual preference. However, here is what I managed to jot down:

Livewritethrive by C.S. Lakin

The Creative Penn by Joanna Penn

goodreads – for leaving reviews, getting reviews, creating an author page, and interacting about books

facebook groups – too many to mention or link to!

  1. DOIN’ IT OLD SCHOOL!

A couple of people mentioned that they liked to use some ‘old school’ methods of organizing when they write. For instance, index cards for each scene help one to visually lay out a book to see if it flows. Another mentioned using coloured pens specific to each character, the plot, setting etc. (FYI, Scrivener has both of these functions as well. Bonus!)

  1. AUTOCORRECT

Linda Hall mentioned developing her own shortcuts to increase her productivity. (For instance: chc = church) To do so on a mac, go to Systems Preferences —Text—Shortcuts. (She suggested checking out court reporting for usable shortcuts.) This is very useful when using a phone, too.

  1. FOR FORMATTING AND DESIGN

Rik Hall, Linda’s husband and a professional publisher, mentioned two programs for those who are getting into self publishing:

I certainly found the panel very informative. I hope you have gleaned some useful bits of information here, as well.

Reach Your Readers A Lightbulb Moment

20161016_184230Ever wonder why one person finds a book boring while someone else finds it fascinating? Why a friend raves about a certain author and for you their book falls flat? I just might have the answer…

Dayna Mazzuca’s workshop called ‘Reach Your Readers’ was one of the most fascinating workshops I attended this past September at Inscribe’s fall conference. In it, she attempts to answer these questions and sheds some light on what writers can do to reach their specific audience.

Her premise is that everyone of us perceive the world in a different way. We each have a nonverbal language and because of this we gravitate to people who ‘get’ us. (If you ‘get’ somebody, there is an inherent desire to spend more time with them.) Part of this theory is that we tend to read through our own set of lenses, too. This is your ‘readers style’ if you will, and we all have one. (It reminded me of the ‘Five Love Languages’ only the focus was on reading preferences.)

Usually, we write in the same way that we read. If we can identify our own ‘reader style’, we can more easily find our ideal readers, and therefore we will be more successful. We won’t be grating against the other demands of the other types of readers. People aren’t generic, of course, and it is difficult to slot everyone neatly into a box. However, readers do tend to be extremely consistent. How we read is a reflection of how we see the world. Once we learn to write for our readers (and subsequently market to them as well) the connection will be deeper and easier to make.

Five Types of Readers:

  1. Scholar: Likes to have solid research and trustworthy facts. Trust is the most important thing. Can they trust what is written?
  2. Social Connector: This is not necessarily an extrovert. They ask the question, “Who is involved?” They identify with the characters most and like things to be current.
  3. Change Agent: Wants to move things forward. Asks, “What is the purpose?” Persuasion is key.
  4. Adventurer: these readers like action. What is the next adventure? They are immersed reader and feel deeply during reading.
  5. Mystic: These readers are very analytical and reflective, immersing themselves internally in the writing. They are looking for the deep meaning.

This has less to do with genre and more to do with the style of writing. She gave wonderful examples of each type within one genre. I thought I would be more ‘mystic’ but in fact I think I am more of an ‘adventurer’ with ‘social connector’ tendencies.

Her book CALLED TO WRITE is available on iBooks.

Older posts

© 2017

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑