Tag Archives: mental focus

You know it's true.

#MondayBlogs for the writers

Readers, especially mine, I love you.  I do.  Even the readers who find I’m not their cup o’ tea, thank you.  You’ve invested time and money in my work and that is amazing and humbling to me.  The readers who love or even just like me?  I make sure every work is better than the one before and that’s totally due to you.

But, alas, this post isn’t for you, it’s for my writing friends.  Here’s my lecture for you.

I’ve read everything I can get my hands on about being a successful author.  Everything.  All the lists have a few things in common, like write the best book possible, have a great cover, get the professional edits, and write the next book.

Let’s go over the last item again.  Write the next book.  I could tell you about SEO and Amazon’s algorithms, how they want to see you publish something, anything, in a 30-90 day time frame.  When you do that, it makes you and your work more visible.

Why do you want visibility? I think that’s obvious.  The more visibility an author has from automations like the algorithms and SEO’s, the less they have to self-promote.  Time spent posting over and over in Facebook forums, tweets, or Google+ posts is time NOT spent on your next novel.

Time for the tough love part.  Are you wanting your writing to pay the bills?  If you answer no, then keep doing what you’re doing by posting links to your only book.  Some people only have one novel in them and there’s NOTHING wrong with that.  Just like there’s nothing wrong with people who have an entire library in their head.  For the people walking around with an untyped opus, this is for you.  Stop telling us about your first book published a year ago.  Do you and your sales a HUGE favor by finishing your next book and publishing it as soon as it’s polished to near perfect.  Not only that, but have your next idea ready to write even after that.  It’s called feeding the beast and if you want a living wage, get the chum bucket ready and start scooping out the words.

Why do you want to listen to small potatoes like me?  Because I’ve seen the results that come with publishing within the 90 days Amazon seems to loves.  My first book had tiny sales until I published my second in the series.  When that happened, the second book had a good run in sales and took the first along for the ride.  Now, three months later, they’re still selling neck and neck.  Essentially, I’ve doubled my sales in the historical romance genre.  Sure, the sales are still small, but they’re double and I’m good with that.  Check them out for yourself on The Oregon Trail tab above.  Free samples are out there and who can say no to that?

Bottom line to my beloved author friends in a handy bullet list?

I’ve done the research and have a summary for career writers.

  1. Write more and make it great.
  2. Publish.
  3. Promote everywhere.
  4. Repeat step 1.

It takes a lot of time and work to be an overnight success.  When it happens for you, have those books written and ready for your adoring public to buy.

This is not the MondayBlog you are looking for.

Yes, I had plans for this post.  Maybe.  Sort of.

Ok, I’ll ‘fess up.  I’ve been so focused on Undesirable, wanting to finish the last chapter and a half already.  Some authors experience grief when typing ‘The End’ to their books.  Not me.  When this is done, I’m moving on to Uncivilized, which has its bare bones typed in already.  Even after that, there’s the Santa Fe Trail, Orphan Trains, and either the Pony Express or the Mormon Trail.

Then too, I may take it in a totally different direction and go all science fiction on everyone.  I know, logically, that I’ll be more likely to see superstar success if I stick to and build up one genre of my work.  Emotionally and as a reader, I never read just one genre.  How can I write only one?

So my question is, if anyone chooses to answer, are you a laser focused reader or writer?  Or are you more of a shotgun, reading or writing everything and anything?  Answer in the comments and don’t be shy!

“You guys are being too noisy for me to hear the voices in my head.”

Yeah, I said it. Voices in the head.

It’s an occupational hazard for a writer to hear others’ conversations in your mind. Hearing these people created by an imagination, overactive or not, is something a lot of fiction writers will only admit to in closed circles. Creating a true three dimensional character is something like creating a child. After a certain point, you have no control over anything they do.

Some writers start with character. Others start with a setting or conflict and see what character best fits. I tend to be in the characters first, situations second. I also close my eyes and ‘watch’ the book in my imagination, like recalling a memorized movie. Often this movie will have deleted scenes inserted in places that just work. Like, I didn’t plan for this secondary character to be run over by a wheel. It just happened. I have to admit, accidental scenes tend to happen when I’m bored with writing description. Dialogue is my strong suit, not details. That’s ok, too. Somewhere there’s a writer needing me to read over their dialogue to see why the words aren’t flowing.  Just as much as I need someone to tell me they need to know more about what’s happening.

But, back to writers and their mentality. I can imagine living with a writer can be difficult. It’s their nature to extrapolate everything. It’s also their nature to tell you to look up extrapolate if you don’t know what it means. They also say weird things like, “I wonder what would happen if we found a dead body in there” when stopped at an interstate rest stop. Not comforting, no. Something I’m not sure my husband loves is how I can have an entire silent argument with him without us saying a word. He also doesn’t know we’re having one until I tell him, “Fine. You’re right. Whatever.” Though he likes being right, he has no idea how I had a thought, imagined his response, responded to that, and back and forth until one of us won. I know, not normal, but somewhat typical of fiction writers.

What’s the take away from all this? For me, the best part of writing is creating everything in my mind or on paper and then giving my imagination free reign. Second best part? Rereading and completely enjoying what I wrote.  No, that doesn’t happen every time.  Feeling odd because your characters have minds and voices of their own?  Don’t.  It just means you did a great job in creating them.

Boredom and Writer’s Block.

First of all, I could do links in all this to substantiate my words.  But I’m not.  I’ve had migraines off an on for the past six days and am not up to it mentally.  So, google for yourself and if I’m wrong, please comment.  Otherwise, come along and read something fun.

We live in a world of constant mental stimulation. Or maybe it’s just me.  With internet, TV, books, video games, being outside, work, gym, kid, cats, husband, friends, and crafts, I am only  bored in one place, bed.  I was, anyway, until my family teamed up and bought me an iPod touch for Christmas.  Now, even just before sleep, I’m not bored.  It’s my Words with Friends/self-improvement hypnosis time.  Which is both good and bad.

Why both?  Because electronics are infringing upon my “I’m bored but am fretting too much to sleep” time.  It was the one uninterrupted part of my day where I could imagine what if’s based on the day’s information.  Like, what if a couple made a deathbed promise to be married?  What if the one time a bride thought her sister would leave her guy alone, she doesn’t? My latest is what if someone could literally buy the sun?  How would that impact the world’s population?  Another is what if there was a world where eyes evolved in air? And another, how would we communicate with a species who lives in a place where we’d freeze solid? Or instantly burn into vapor?

All of these are fun ideas to ponder.  A few are already books.  What I think a lot of people call writer’s block is actually a lack of being bored.  Lives are so full of distractions, it takes away the time to just daydream and speculate.  We need that time to fill in our own blanks, not let others putty it in for us.

Bottom line? Boredom is not something to be feared.  Instead, it’s a good time to use the quiet to bust up that writer’s block.  There’s not a lot of chances to be bored in a world where even the stores’ checkout lines have televisions. So do yourself a favor and schedule in some daydreaming time and see how much fun your mind can have on its own.

Procrastination and #MondayBlogs

I try to use procrastination to my advantage.  Like, I can eat an entire chocolate cake tomorrow.  I can also skip my workout, goof off, lay in bed all day…tomorrow.

The problem with such little mind games is, as my daughter said to me when I use them on her, they’ve not worked since any of us turned seven years old.

Do I have any suggestions?  I wish!  It’s a constant battle for me, as I suspect it is for a lot of other people.  I even have a to do list titled “Things I Don’t Want to Do.”  There’s a lot of ideas and solutions out there, but the only one that’s truly worked for me is the 15 minutes from Flylady.net.  She says you/I can stand anything for 15 minutes.  After applying that to tasks I thought would take all day, or at least the afternoon, I found a lot of my tasks didn’t even take that long to complete.  The dreading lasted far longer than the doing.  Amazing how that works.

Back to the novel….