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There's so much more that goes into being an "author" than just writing. There's also rewriting, researching, editing, proofreading, etc. Then there's the marketing side of things, which is a completely different beast. Social media alone can feel like a bottomless well of "things I should be doing."


My proclivity is to bounce around between various functions, a habit I'm trying to get away from because I'm much more productive when I focus on one thing at a time. For example, I've learned that if I'm writing a scene about a dinner party and stop to look up a lasagna recipe to make sure I get it right, BOOM! Suddenly I'm checking my email, looking at my Twitter feed, checking flights to go visit my parents, making a snack, etc. My momentum is lost, and I didn't even do it out of procrastination.


Does this happen to you?


One trick I've learned to keep myself focused is to use ALL CAPS to remind myself that I need to look something up later. For example, my pages might be sprinkled with the following:


  • INSERT SOMETHING ABOUT HOW TO PREPARE A LASAGNA.
  • HAVE I USED THIS DESCRIPTION BEFORE?
  • WHICH HOTEL IS ACROSS FROM CAESARS ON THE LAS VEGAS STRIP?
  • DID SHE ALREADY WEAR THE PINK DRESS?
  • HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO FLY TO PARIS?


In each of the above examples, if I'd stopped to look things up, I'd have fallen down the rabbit hole, guaranteed. By using the ALL CAPS technique, I can wear my writing hat now and exercise my creativity without interruption. Then later, when I'm ready to move to a new function, I can put on my research or editing hat, revisit those caps, and get back to work.


-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


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Three writing tips for aspiring authors

Writing tip: Start before you're ready

453 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, writing, book_marketing, productivity
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The New Year has come and gone, which means you've probably made some New Year's resolutions. Since you're a writer, a pledge to complete that unfinished novel is probably somewhere on your list. Or perhaps you want to finally start writing that idea for a novel you've had for a long time. Or maybe you've simply made an oath to write more.


If writing is one of your resolutions, let me share an accelerated writing method I've been experimenting with in order to complete a book by the end of the year. On December 2, 2011, I had 18,010 words written on a planned sixty thousand-word novel. I had had those 18,010 words since August 11, 2011. In other words I was stuck, and frankly I needed some motivation to get back on track.


Late night on December 1, I turned on the TV and saw an infomercial for an exercise program that centered on an interval training system. You do twenty to thirty seconds of cardio at full speed and then you do twenty to thirty seconds at a relaxed speed. You repeat that cycle over and over again. Believe it or not, I started thinking about this process in relation to my writing sessions. Normally, I would sit and write until I couldn't write anymore. Sometimes it was hard to enter my office because I knew I would be sitting there for hours trying to reach a respectable daily word count. I ended up forcing myself to write, which isn't exactly fertile ground for creativity.


The next day, I applied the interval concept to my daily writing. I sat down and wrote five hundred words, then I got up and distracted myself with another activity for thirty to forty-five minutes. I came back and wrote another five hundred words. After typing the five hundredth word, I did another activity for thirty to forty-five minutes. When all was said and done, I had easily tripled the number of words I usually write in a day. What's more, I found that I was much more focused on my story during those five hundred-word sessions. On December 17, I finished the first draft of the novel I had been stuck on for months. I missed one day of writing during that fifteen day period. On my most productive day, I typed a total of six thousand words (That included a couple of writing assignments apart from the novel). On my least productive day, I typed a total of 2,700 words.


I invite you to try the interval writing program for yourself. It doesn't have to be five hundred-word sessions. You can customize it to fit your lifestyle and free time. I chose five hundred words because I found that without the pressure of reaching an inflated word count for the day, I could comfortably produce about five hundred words in around thirty minutes. The key is to relieve yourself from the pressure that normally comes from marathon writing sessions. I'm confident you'll be more focused during short bursts of writing and as a consequence you'll be more productive. Who knows, you may even finish more than one novel in 2012 using this method.


Happy New Year and happy writing!


-      Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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How to Set SMART Writing Goals

Oh, Those Random Thoughts

4,194 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, authors, authors, author, author, author, writers, writers, writers, writing, writing, writing, creativity, creativity, creativity


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