What is Writer's Block?
If you are a writer, you probably have had this experience. If not, you are either a really good writer or you probably have no idea what writer’s block is. Just to be sailing in the same boat, I will first briefly explain what the writer’s block is and then we will go further into discussing what causes it and how we can deal with it.
Have you ever at any moment in your writing sat down at your desk to write but all you seem to be doing is staring at blank papers? Or you are at your computer and all you have is an empty monitor having no idea of what to put down into writing or even where to start? This is what we call writer’s block. It happens in most of the writers’ lives in writing. A moment where you momentarily lose the ability to produce new work.
Writer’s block can be caused by so many reasons. Some of these reasons are not so major and are related to the writer’s present attitude. Good examples are reasons like fear, anxiety, frustrations or just a mere change of lifestyle. If I were, however, to decide on the major cause of the writer’s block it would be what I call creative slowdown- running out of inspiration to come up with original content in their work. It is at times that this creative slowdown causes anxiety, fear and frustrations.
For me the most common cause of writer's block is burn out. I write everyday. I know many writer's that write everyday and honestly, it's from exhaustion. It's not writer's block but writer's over load. But if you're thinking, why can't I write...then it could be a clog of too much stimuli at one time.
Overcoming writer’s block.
Having gone through what writer’s block is and what its possible causes are, let me now take you through ways in which you can overcome this condition. At the end of this writing, I will give you my recommendation.
A number of ways and practices can be adopted to overcome writer’s block. Let me list down briefly just a few of these strategies:
In some cases doodling helps. But the 5 suggestions are a good way to power through a spurt where you're mind is just too busy to slow down for writing. If you're not having a writer's exhausted moment and a block from fear, stress or demands, try the above! Good work Minion Troll!
Well, there's always being God to write faster. But while the Ghostbusters might say yes to "Are you a God?" the truth is, not all of us can be a writing God like Larry Correia.
I recently asked Minon Troll to write me the pros and cons of writing fast. At first Minon Troll grumbled. Seems my friend didn't like being taken away from the latest manuscript of Patricia A. Knight's fifth book in the Verdantian series. Which is why the blandness and the slight change of topic and title...but don't worry, I've got my own opinion's in which I'll be integrating for fun! So here it is below.
What Can You Do To Be A Faster Writer?
If you can write faster, you’ll be able to convey your messages quicker, and beat deadlines if there are any. But like any other skill, writing techniques has to be learned, polished or even unlearned before it is refined to a fine taste.
You can learn how to write faster, and write faster, but first you need to understand what it requires. Let’s see what it takes!
Sure thing, Sparky! It's so easy.
Relevant Tips on How to be a Faster Writer
The following tips can help you improve your writing speed:
Research Your Topic
Regardless of your writing skills, techniques, or level of professionalism, you will find it extremely difficult to write faster, if you don’t know what you intend to write about. Simple research is often the answer.
Before you pick up your pen to write or tap your computer keys, conduct some research. Find out more about the topic. See what experts have said; get an insight into the opinions and ideas of others. Make comparisons and pick an angle to cover.
If you did your research quiet well, and pick an angle, you will find it easier to write. Once your writing is easy, ideas flow freely, and speed follows accordingly. If you have little or no knowledge of what you intend to write about, then all you have is often a blank sheet staring at you, as you force yourself to write slowly.
Okay, I have to say that in the beginning, it was easy to write fast. So many ideas, so little time. I'm still like that, but not when it comes to ghostwriting. So, case in point, research actually gives me ideas. Now, I'm a fiction writer, however -- knowing the facts about your characters may require research. Looking up on yahoo answers or googling a topic about my characters line of work helps me collect ideas! Ideas give you plot. Carry on Minon Troll!
Create an Outline
After the research, you can make your writing easier and faster by creating an outline. Your outline should reflect what you intend to cover in your writing, and how you intend to cover it.
If you plan to have four or five paragraphs, indicate that on your outline. Be specific by mentioning the ideas and example you intend to share in each paragraph. You may arrange the paragraphs in the order you want them to appear. Some writings start with an introductory paragraph and ends with a conclusion.
Nonetheless, there are no rules, your outline should be based on how you intend to pass your messages across, and the type of audience it is intended for.
This doesn't apply to those that are not going to write an "outline" anyway. It's like trying to explain infinite chocolate to them. To those who still believe they are "pantsers" (writers who don't call an outline and outline) you actually do outline. It's called a blurb. You have a blurb or a line in your mind, (like Jane screwed Jack, HEA) otherwise, you don't have a story. You have kidnapped words that were taken in the dead of night and forced onto a page.
I usually create an outline because I don't want to get lost as to where I am, writing wise, in the story. I use an outline to know what came before. When I write an outline, all those ideas to take my characters go right out the window once I start writing the long hand. I have a strange process. The outline is the synopsis of the story. When I'm writing a 20K word story, I have 4 paragraphs. These paragraphs represent 5K word scenes. I refer to the outline so that I know what happened. I also strikeout what was the idea and put in what really happened so that I can go back and see what I thought of doing in case it comes in handy later.
Improve Your Typing Skills
Except you still write with pen, you have to work on your typing skill. If you know exactly what you intend to write but cannot type very fast, your writing will still be slow.
Do your best to familiarize yourself with the position of keys on your computer keyboard. Type often, type every day, use a timer, observe your speed, see if you’re improving and don’t give up!
Now wait a minute Sparky!! (For those of you who don't know, I do my first draft with pen and 5X8 flash cards. This is a direct hit on yours truly.) Shakes wild fist at Minon Troll!! Why I...I like my dinosaur ways. I'd rather write slow than not at all.
Really pay Minon no mind if you're like me.
Don’t Push Yourself Too Far
There is no guarantee that anyone will be the next greatest writer of this generation. So calm down, and don’t over expect when you write. You won’t learn how to write a 1000 words article perfectly within twenty minutes in one night.
Learn how to manage your expectations. Personal disappointment can slow you down when you write. Nonetheless, don’t settle for messy write-ups, set a reasonable standard and expectations. Within a short while, you can raise your standard and expectations and be a better and faster writer.
I can't agree more! I've got no wise cracks about this one. Really, burn out is difficult to deal with.
Find a Suitable Writing Time
Writing at any level of speed often requires focus and lack of distractions. You need to find a suitable writing time that can bring out the best in you. Do you find it easier to write faster and better when you are all alone? Or do you write faster when your friend or spouse is around?
At what time of the day do you feel more relaxed and can think better and faster? You need to give yourself an edge and write at the most appropriate time for you. Some writers prefer the early hours of the morning, others prefer daytime, some can write anytime, and most prefer to write while all alone. Only you can find your suitable writing time. Do it!
To this, all I have to say is, find that time and commit!! Treat writing like a date, a marriage, your love affair. Because it is. Don't be afraid to tell other people this is your time to write. Defend the time with your life. Or like you're only happy me time.
If you can write very fast, chances are higher that you’ll require more editing. Speed and accuracy in writing doesn’t often walk hand-in-hand. After you write, you need to edit thoroughly.
Your speed has already saved you enough time for editing. Check for grammar, spelling, vague sentences, repeated ideas in different words, and run-on sentences etc. Speedy writing skills are useless if your final draft is a complete mess. As such, edit ruthlessly!
In my case, writing fast let's me edit. I think you should edit just because it's the professional thing to do.
The more you write, the better and faster you will be at it. Don’t write once in a while, or only when you feel like. Look for a reason to write every day. Write about a sport match you watched, your opinion about a topic on TV or online.
Write about your favorite TV show, and why you love it. Write about your pets, about your spouse, about your kids, siblings and neighbors etc. Write about what inspires you, scares you, and about the things you love and hate. Learn from your mistakes, improve, and you will write better and faster.
How many times have you heard this one? Well, it's because it's #1 on how to write fast. I think Minon was smart to NOT put this first as I'd give Minon the groan and "back to the blackboard with you".
Groan as I may, it works. However, if your schedule doesn't allow it, then you weren't serious about writing anyway. Pft. I'm sure to get a smack for that comment. Really, if you can only write on the full moon of every month, then at least your writing. But if that's your schedule, be patient with yourself. It will take a decade to get a full novel done.
Give Yourself Time to Master Your Speed
Your writing speed will not be constant within few attempts. Sometimes the topic you’re writing on may slow you down or inspire you to write faster. Give yourself time to master your writing speed.
Don’t get discouraged if your speed fluctuates sometimes, it happens to all writers. Give yourself some time for your new skill to sit in. You may use a timer to observe your speed, so you’ll know how well you’re doing or not. In all, speed and accuracy should be your ultimate writing goal.
Well done Minon! The last one is patience. It's the hardest part to be fair with oneself but also be committed. In other words...
You've got your book up on pre-order for Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, B&N & Apple, Congratulations!! This is the time to CELEBRATE! Woot!! Dance Minions!! Dance!!
Then, while your having that wild party your publisher says It's time to market! Hands become waterfalls of sweat. Breathing becomes a lesson in sucking a golf ball through a garden hose. The brain comes to a screeching halt and all you can think to do is run! Run fast!
Yeah, go ahead, try those things. At the very least it will make you feel like you're doing something to market your book. However, if you don't have the nerve to become astranged from your family and friends and you don't want to be arrested for disturbing the peace, I have compiled a few marketing paid and free promotions to help get the word out.
First I would suggest you set your book to be pre-ordered and spend $200 - $300 for the launch. But there are those that might have more time than money so your strategy might change. For those that have set aside some money, look into these advertisements:
AuthorAd $99 Book Ad Promotion
Bargain Kindle Books - for 99cents
Book Reviews Author & Book Promotions
Book Tweeters | We tweet your book! Twitter book promotion!
eBook Promotion Service
Kindle Nation Daily | Author's Corner
NovelRank | Get Featured - Donation Drive
Pikel Scroll - Feature Your Product
The Kindle Book Review
The Kindle Romance Review
The Romance Reviews (TRR) - for the latest Romance, Erotic and GLBT book reviews, news, contests, author interviews and comments
Wanton Reads | Advertising and Features (Accepts Erotic)
Sponsorships | Indie Book of the Day
Indies Unlimited | Services Directory | Promotional Services
Now if you don't have money, I'd advise going the 99¢ route for pre-order and listing your book here:
20 Free Sites Where You Can Promote Your eBook | BookBaby Blog
50 Web Links to Let Your Book Go Viral! | Savvy Writers & e-Books online
Author Services » Steamy Romance Books
BookMarketingBuzzBlog: Book Marketing & Book Publicity Tool Kit
Digital Book Today - Helping Readers Find Authors In A Digital World | Digital Book Today | Helping Readers Find Authors In A Digital World
GBT Author Services Directory | GoodBooksToday.com Reviews
Generate Immediate Exposure for Your Book with a Free BookDaily Author Account
Pixel of Ink
Pretty Hot | Submit Your Book (Takes Erotica)
Promote Your Book on a Budget: 20 Thrifty Ways to Get Your Writing Out There | BookBaby Blog
first chapter of your book out to 1000s for free. | Kindlemojo's Books and Bacon
I recommend new authors go to one of these a day and fill out what's needed. This will hep you quickly learn what people need from you when you do a book blog tour. I would recommend at least doing that even if you have no money.
So as you wait for your book to come out, slow go through the different sites and fill out what you can, and do what you can. If it's your first book and you don't know what to do, it's okay. You'll learn. By the time your third book comes out, you'll know what to expect!
Recently, we've been giving out ARC (Advanced Reader Copies) for Lovely: Elite Domes of Washington and my author was curious as to how she could give the ebook to readers willing to review the novel. Experienced book reviewers already know all this, but some of her friends are not so kindle or e-reader savvy.
Now, I have a kindle, so there is nothing easier for me to upload a PDF or .mobi files directly to my device. I can even convert PDF files to .mobi files during the process of sending it over. All I do is send it to my kindle email address. Below are instructions on how to do this. If you don't have a kindle, there is a video at the end of this post that might help you load into your Nook or Kobo e-reader.
After you set up permissions in the Amazon website you can email the file to your kindle. But first you have to know your kindle email and give your everyday @gmail.com, or whatever email you have, permissions to send to your kindle email. It's so simple there is no doubt in my mind why kindle is the best e-reader. Go to your Amazon account right now and then follow these instructions:
How to send a document to your Kindle:
Now, for those that don't have a kindle, it's going to take a little bit more..elbow grease and technical knowledge. Those that don't know what a thumb drive is should turn to a tech-savvy person to do this. However, I've given a video below that might help.
Streams, Tribes, Bonfires, Campaigns -- Triberr has a language of its own and understanding that language means this blog sharing resource will become easy to navigate.
First I'd like to tell you what Triberr is. Triberr is a blog sharing resource where you can import your RSS feed into Triberr, join groups of other bloggers and then share your content through those other bloggers through facebook, twitter and Linkedin. This system is reciprocal. Meaning, you must share to be shared.
When I signed up, the whole process was easy yet confusing. What was I doing? What were tribes? Who makes Bonfires? What do you mean share content and how?
Thank goodness I understood what an RSS feed was and knew how to copy/paste my RSS feed to my stream. Triberr does make it easy, it's just a different way of connecting. Now, what are streams?
Streams are the same as your Facebook stream. Everybody who has a blog post they want you to share is up on that stream. Yours should be there as well!
Tribes are groups of people who share a common theme. I belong to a few. Some are erotic authors, others are "how to" authors. I can seperate what each shares in the settings so my "how to" authors don't have to share my smut. You must apply and be accepted into Tribes. You simply cruise Bonfires or you search Triberr for your people.
Bonfires are topics that people create. I'll be honest...if anyone can fill in a little more about Bonfires, I would be grateful! I get that they are topics of discussion and people do connect there.
Campaigns are what are great about Triberr. Last year the creators of Triberr said to themselves..."we are innovators, drivers of traffic and influences! We need to get paid dammit!" and so campaigns are a way for bloggers to get paid for blogging.
Since Triberr is very intricate I've created a Google Hangout that might help explain it better!! Please bear with me--I have an explanation on what triberr is at the 40 second mark--after that skip to 4 minutes (4:15 to be exact) while we get our shit together.
I do apologize, I have not done many Goggle hangouts. It took installation of certain applications. I recommend them highly!! They are a wonderful thing :) Hopefully, I will perfect the art of the Google hangout!
I wanted to call this Essentials on hiring a VA, but I find "How to..." more effective for SEO--evil marketer that I am. But I've determined after hiring a few, there are some key elements you might want to think about before hand.
First, do you need a VA?
Silly question because if you're looking for a VA, you've determined you need a VA. However, review your motives for hiring. You'll be able to ask better questions that way and it's possible you can just go to fiverr or mechanical turk for projects.
Next, evaluate yourself. Again, sounds silly, but people don't always express what they are looking for in a VA. If you're a type A personality, you may, or may not, work well with other type A personalities. That needs to be acknowledged and expressed. Type A is difficult to get along with and needs a certain finesse. Here are some things to ask yourself:
Reflect on those answers. Ask your own questions. Manage your expectations and communicate those expectations to your VA.
Next are the questions you should ask the VA to determine if they might fit you well. Based on the answers you give above, ponder on what type of person you want. Here is where that "who is your reader" exercise in writing applies to "who is your VA".
Are they a stay at home mom? Do they work when you're online? Do you want them to report in everyday? Everybody wants a worker who "Pays attention to detail", is "available" at your whim, but lets face reality...unless you pay them a fantastic wage of $50,000 - $150,000/year they have to manage their time with you and other clients. Which means time sensitive projects should be handled by you. Daily work is awesome for VA's. Here are some things to ask your potential VA:
ACTION ITEM: If you're looking for a VA--prepare your questions ahead of time!
Words I never want to hear: "Authors don't sell to other authors. We don't read each others books."
Silent, pregnant pause.
Perhaps. Perhaps not. Granted I don't read often as I'd like, but I still read authors in the genre I write. I read out of the genre I write. I read genres I'm not really interested in until a real storyteller jumps out at me and grabs my attention. Then I have to read it because a storyteller doesn't have a genre. Storytellers have your rapt focus because they are so good at their craft their writing goes beyond genre boundaries. Think Neil Gaiman.
But when authors say this--I don't know what to say. I can't tell you how many authors have read my stories. However, more important is how many authors that have promoted me.
Even if writers don't read your books, there is still the collaboration and sense of belonging when you find a good writing group. These people are your fans. Fans of you. They promote you through word of mouth. They are the ones that understand your triumphs your crazy notions or when you get excited because you figured out what the next plot twist would be. For most, your family doesn't understand--even if they are supportive. If they aren't writers, they will never understand and shouldn't be expected to. *pat, pat, pat* Yes dear, that's nice dear. I'm so glad you managed to get Bob the talking head into your story dear. The type of attention you want like, squeals and round eyes of admiration is not the type of understanding you'd get from anyone other than an author.
Here are some things authors do and why you should collaborate with other authors. Group Blogs, Blog Hops, Virtual book tours, cross promotions, and story ideas are the ones I can fire out right away. But the real truth of the matter is camaraderie. There is nothing like having a group to fall back on, to complain to, to have your back and give you a boost when you need one.
The fact is...authors do read other authors books. They also don't just buy them, they become fans and promote your work. It's what I call author coalescence. Two promoting your book is better than one. Five promoting your book is better than two. A thousand promoting your book is the road to success. Few get there alone.
ACTION ITEM: Before you say "Authors don't sell to other authors..." try buying another book that hasn't been written by an author or a group of authors. Hard--isn't it? Not many books out there written by machines, huh? Only those without a book shelf have the ignorance to deny the special bond writers can have with each other. The main action item here is--don't tell me authors don't read or promote other authors. I see it happen every day.
To Blog or not to Blog: Really? Think about what you just said. You’re basically saying, I don’t know what to write.
Writers spend a lot of time writing stories. Some say, I don’t have time to blog. I don’t know what to blog. Blogging is just so overwhelming.
Let’s take a close look at each of these excuses and determine if they are valid.
1. I don’t have time to blog.
Either you don’t see the value, you don’t know how to write short, sweet and fast or you have the issues of thinking what you have to say isn’t worth reading. Let’s look at subject A:
a) I don’t see the value in blogging.
*Sigh* You might have heard about SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO is one way readers find you. Remember, you write for a variety of reasons, but you PUBLISH for only 3 reasons. Those are:
- To inspire
- To entertain
- To solve a problem
Yes, you PUBLISH for one of those 3 reasons. Guess why I’m writing this post. If you said all 3, you’d be right! Back to "I don't see the value in blogging". The value of blogging is to reach readers. They don’t always search Amazon for your key words or specific title. They may type in “Free stories” or “Free money” or “Free sex” – whatever. If you had a title like that, I wonder how much SEO you’d get. The more eyes on your writing, the better. Sometimes you get people who want your books because you write well.
b) I don’t know how to write short, sweet and fast.
That’s okay. You know the recommended amount of posts are 2 – 3 a month. That’s because you can promote the post everywhere. Sure I do once a day but they are mostly short 300 – 500 word articles. You don’t have to write fast. You don’t even have to make the posts long.
c) What I have to say isn’t worth reading.
Okay. I’ll come out and say, if that’s how you feel, then don’t publish. Stop the bullshit “I’m a horrible writer” crap excuse to prevent from blogging. If your ego is so low that you’re constantly asking for an ego boost by way of compliment, you don’t have thick enough skin yet to publish. If this is the excuse you use for not blogging, don’t publish yet. Get your boot straps laced and pull your pants on first—then blog.
There’s a theme here—there is only one good reason not to blog. If someone tells me they don’t want to—that’s a good reason. They think it’s a waste of time, blogging is dead. Well, I say, it depends. Thirteen year olds aren’t allowed to go on social media yet and therefore, they interact with blogs because it’s the only social thing they can do. Maybe your audience isn’t thirteen year olds. Maybe your audience are people that can’t discuss the kind of things on social media platforms because it’s a hot button. Those adults will find your stuff if you present it on your blog. Politics for instance—for some they don’t want to discuss it with friends on Facebook, but they would on another forum if they felt safe enough to.
Through out this, the point that’s most important is the 3 reasons why you publish. When you don’t know what to write, think about why your write. It’s 1 of the 3, or maybe all of them. So blog about your writing inspiration, blog to entertain people, blog to help other people. But don’t think you have nothing to blog for.
ACTION ITEM: Find your reason to blog: to inspire, to entertain or to solve a problem. Remember that helping a reader find your book is under the "solving a problem" and the "to entertain" category because being bored and not finding the right kind of entertainment is a problem. :)
I have stressed the importance of author landing pages, but I can't help you understand the importance of one if you don't know what an author landing page is, so I'm here to explain.
In the marketing world there is a term called a "Landing Page". I will explain what a landing page is by this:
Have you ever seen a facebook ad that caught your eye--admit it, you clicked on the cute bark box ad--and were routed to another screen that popped up? You laughed at the antics of cuddly puppy picture and then you clicked on the ad. That ad brought you to a landing page! While you were on the landing page you scrolled down a bit and saw a BIG arrow or flashing lights telling you to...subscribe!! Go ahead, click the button--see the landing page...
You laughed so hard or were entertained so much that you said, "Sure!! I'll join! What other funny stuff do you have?"
You just gave that site your well earned, cold hard-email. As a marketer I understand that you're email is worth about $1 of my marketing budget.
Marketers cherish your email, they pet it and name it George, and then--they send you stuff! You may like it, you may not like it and unsubscribe and that's okay!! Because they'd rather spend their money on true fans. True fans will buy everything they have to offer...
You get this part, you understand it because you've been the one giving your email. Now it's time to be on the email-getting side.
That page that had the "Freebie" here or "Sign-up for more laughs" was not the only page on their website. That's right you clicked on the ad and...landed on their landing page. The page that does 3 things:
1. Sets expectations. Meaning it tells you what you get (now and in the future) for signing up.
2. Gives you purpose as to why you should sign up.
3. Has a signup form. Or in other terms...gives you a place to enter in your email (if not your name too).
When someone fills out the form on my site, the name and email goes straight to mailchimp--no fuss for me and you get your free book immediately!! No waiting for the time-pressed author/publisher to get you your PDF. You also get emails from me letting you know about the things going on!!
Some may disagree, but building an email list is part of building fans. Fans want to know what you're up to. They want to read about their authors. Most my authors understand about having an email list. They think, but I put a form on my blog...I put a form on my home page, I put a form on my...
Yes, but do you have a page on your website dedicated to the WHY and WHAT a reader gets for signing up? They will see your form, but they may not realize what they get for giving their dollar to you. Imaging your fan thinking, if I give this man a dollar will he then follow me around--like Google?
So, if you're still scratching your head about what an author landing page is...it is a way to knock out all the distractions and say, this is what I want, this is what you get. Look at Gail Mencini's landing page HERE. It's a good one! Clean, fresh, explains what the book is about, what you get and what you have to do to get the six chapter sample. You're landing page is the new business card. If you want to do business, set out your business card on your online business and let people take your business card with them.
You're trying to get fans, and readers want to know they'll like you before they buy. (Yes, they are buying you--not your book).
If you attach the ad to a book on amazon...it doesn't mean that person is going to buy the book. In fact, no one is going to buy your book if you think your landing page is your amazon link.
Just because they clicked your link on the witty twitter message or facebook ad doesn't mean they are going to invest any money or even time to read your book. It means you hooked them and you better damn well let them know what the hell is going on. An explanation like "Hi! Thank you for coming, I'm going to knock you're socks off for reading this book that I'm going to give you for FREE!"
ACTION ITEM: Create a landing page so that when you put a link on your tweet or Facebook post you're not just sending them to buy your book. Send them to your website so they can decide for themselves if they want to take the time to read you!
In keeping up with my own written stories I look for tools that might help writers collect information, store it and recall it quickly. This weeks Tuesday Tools, I started having a conversation with my amazing life partner about how I could store and keep images, research and bring them up on my computer easily. I recorded our conversation as we sat outside Starbucks sipping on my latte with our dogs for you to listen in! His voice is dreamy and I love listening to him and I know from experience he can use that voice to strip clothes off--but--that's a different topic. Here's his thoughts on Evernote vs. Onenote:
So basically you have a choice between a 3 ring binder and notepads. Onenote is the notebook with different sections. Evernote is the 3 ring binder style. Below he explains more about the features:
ACTION ITEM: What's better for you? Evernote or Onenote?
My efforts are to make this a learning blog where writers can see the flip side of publishing. If you have comments that will improve your experience or have a certain topic you'd like discussed, please contact me through email - HERE.
~ Sincerley, Your Editor
Troll River Publications
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