Advice from an Emerging Writer Having Success

26 January, 2020 § Leave a comment

A friend of mine was chuffed to get a guernsey in a UK writing mag. He had an article published about playing to your strengths.

Now, Greg provides great advice from his own experience and you can definitely benefit from that.

But think about the achievement of having an article you wrote being published on a broader stage and subtly promoting your writing and books.

Clever man, our Greg.

Always have a purpose in what you do, while writing for your audience.

Go read his article.

https://www.writers-online.co.uk/how-to-write/how-to-play-to-your-strengths-as-a-self-published-writer/

Work out what you can take away from it.

Note the strategy and emulate it when the time is right.

Image Greg Reed

Making a Writers Challenge Work For You

11 January, 2020 § Leave a comment

Writing challenges are terrific to spark your productivity and focus. It doesn’t matter what kind of challenge – just focused action with butt in chair doingness.

If you want to get the best out of any challenge, here are two key things you need to do.

Schedule the time

That’s right. Drag out your trusty diary – digital or paper – and plug in the times to be allocated to this challenge. Then stick to it! Some challenges will have specific times allocated where everyone in the challenge gets on a call or skype in or whatever.

Check the times and dates, double check any time-zone calculations if needed, and mark those times out in your diary. They are non-negotiable appointments with yourself.

Here’s a tip – sync all your diaries so you don’t miss the time!

Set up a reminder to alert you ahead of time to get ready. You know, grab your coffee, get your papers together, kick start the computer, sharpen the pencil, grab the sign-in details and chocolate (always chocolate).

Be ready.

writing challenge

Decide on your priorities

It helps to know ahead of time what you’ll use this time for.Obviously if you sign up for a 30 day squat challenge, you know exactly what you’ll be doing. But in writing, we have so many choices 🙂 Will you work on your book, your book front matter, your back matter, your author platform pieces, your quarterly planning schedule …?

As soon as you sign up for the challenge, write down what prompted you to do so. Usually, there is something in the back of your mind, prompting you to join, that said ‘this will help me to …’. That. Write that down. And if you can’t remember, write down a  shopping list of the things you need to be getting on with. Then pick which is most important and can be progressed in the time frame you’ve got. Notice I didn’t say completed. It’s about moving forward. If you can complete something, all the better. But don’t overly stress yourself.

Know what you are going to work on before you start the challenge.

30 Writing Challenge Activity Ideas

Here’s a grab-bag of activities and tasks that might inspire you to get underway or done during a challenge.

  1. write a chapter in your book
  2. brainstorm chapter titles and choose the best ones
  3. mock up an idea of your cover design before getting it done professionally
  4. review your book notes and refine any ideas
  5. create a book plan if you don’t have one
  6. outline your blurb
  7. draft your book’s premise
  8. set up your front matter eg dedication, acknowledgement, disclaimer etc
  9. sketch out your characters – protagonist, antagonist, others
  10. make notes about your setting to stay consistent
  11. list a set of questions your non-fiction book will answer for the reader
  12. prepare a speech you plan to give eg at a local library book launch
  13. write up a blog post or ideas for a series of blog posts
  14. write an essay or an article for publication
  15. create a series of social media posts
  16. prepare a publishing calendar including social media, blog, newsletter
  17. think up some swag ideas to sell on Etsy then create them
  18. put together a timeline to finish and publish your book
  19. write a set of course notes and materials
  20. draft a description and keywords for your Amazon listing
  21. compile a book bible including mock cover, and all elements (setting, characters, chapters, messages)
  22. prepare a set of questions you’d want to answer in an interview about your book
  23. create a freebie lead magnet, giveaway, reader/subscriber gift – journal, planner, checklist, quiz, workbook, recipes, extra stories about characters – be imaginative
  24. write a prequel to your book series
  25. generate ideas for a pen name and decide on one
  26. set up digital spaces for your author platform eg website, facebook, etc
  27. draft and finalise your author bio
  28. check your online branding is consistent across platforms
  29. prepare for your book-signing event (include extra pens)
  30. create a calendar of events/activities for the year

Note that a writing challenge doesn’t have to be about the act of writing. It can be, but if you are also a self-publisher then there are lots of moving parts to distribute and market your books. In that case, there are even more activities you could take action on.

Ideally, you are set up with a plan and are working towards an end goal. If not, then any activity that enhances what you are doing is good. Better is when  you select tasks to tie on with your overarching plan. That’s why you need to set your priorities before heading in to a challenge. Work hard on the right things.

Challenge Yourself

Of course, you don’t need a collective writing challenge: do a challenge on your own. Set a specific day and timeframe, say Thursday from 1-3pm. Mark that in your diary. Decide what exactly you will work on, say drafting a table of contents. Note that in your diary too. Decide where you’ll do it and get everything ready before your time starts so you can hit the ground running. Get into the routine of doing a self-challenge a week and you can make progress faster on things that matter.

I challenge you to join a challenge or set your own. DO it now. Your future writing productivity will thank you for it.

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