Writing Process: 3 Ways To Streamline Your Process And Sell More

Writing Process: 3 Ways To Streamline Your Process And Sell More

Are you a flaky writer? That’s OK; many creative people are flakes. Sadly, flaky writers fail to master their writing process.

Its worth learning to streamline your process, because if you can’t manage your creativity and get stuff done you’ll miss out on great opportunities. You may also find that days and weeks go by when you accomplish zero.

Your writing process: build habits

Your writing success depends on your habits:

Your writing success is mostly a matter of habit. A little luck doesn’t hurt, but without effective habits, any success will be short-lived.

It’s worth reading the above article for the ten most effective habits for writers.

As a commercial writer, your writing process involves three things:

  • Developing ideas;
  • Managing your creativity; and
  • Drafting.

1. Ideas sell, in fiction and nonfiction

Ideas SELL. Ideas aren’t everything. You must execute them efficiently, but without good ideas, your writing won’t sell.

I’m developing a program on writing the Mystery, Thriller & Suspense (MTS) genres. These genres depend on ideas. I did a little research for the program on novels which are bestsellers because of their must-read ideas.

Here’s a tiny excerpt from the program…

Consider bestselling examples of the MTS genres. The novels which hit the bestseller lists ALL have something unique about the plot.

The best example of this which springs readily to mind is Dan Brown’s novel, The Da Vinci Code. A huge bestseller since its April 2003 release, the novel made all Brown’s other books bestsellers too. It featured a weird but irresistible crime. (I’m sure Dan Brown was delighted when he hit on the wonderful idea for the book.)

Also, consider Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. This book was a huge bestseller, and launched a new sub-genre, the domestic thriller.

Both books became movies.

Agatha Christie’s novels are read with pleasure many years after their first publication — because of the crimes. (Ideas, that is.)

Christie spent a lot of time hiding her murderers by creating intricate puzzles. I’m fascinated to see that Agatha Christie’s Death On The Nile is still selling well. Death On The Nile was first published in 1937 and was based on irresistible ideas. (Christie’s husband was an archaeologist.)

Just for the heck of it I checked out current estimated sales for Death On The Nile in Publisher Rocket:

Daily sales: $3,624

Monthly sales: $25,038

Not bad for a novel written in the 1930s. 🙂

I encourage you to make developing ideas a big part of your writing process.

2. Creativity: harness your imagination

Once you’ve captured a wonderful idea, you’ll need to be creative in executing it, so harnessing your imagination forms a big part of your writing process.

When you gain easy access to your imagination, you can be creative on demand.

From Writing Fiction: 3 Simple Ways Access Your Imagination:

An imaginative mind state is focused. But it’s also loose — free wheeling, and dream-like.

Repetitive tasks which don’t require much thinking help to trigger creativity. For example, I go for a drive if I’m stuck on a plot point. Other writers do household chores, or go swimming.

3. Draft your writing: write first, revise and edit later

Can you sit down at your desk (or on the sofa) and write? Do you have a writing process to draft your writing, so that writing is a joy, rather than torture?

From Create Your Own Writing Process: Write Fast, Write More:

We can put immense pressure on ourselves when we write.

This is always a mistake. Just write. Look on all the writing you do as “making mud”. Be exuberant and messy.

You can do a lot with your mud. Just as you can build entire houses with mud bricks, you can write articles, novels, nonfiction books, short stories, essays, memoirs – in short, you can write anything and everything, if you make the basic building material, the “mud” first.

“Mud” is the basis of ALL your writing. You can edit later.

By the way, editing’s much easier when you use an app for the final edits.

When you have a writing process that’s efficient, you’ll be happier, as well as more productive

If you’re a commercial writer, you need an efficient and enjoyable writing process. Use the above tips to develop a process that works for you.

Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

eBook: $5.99

I developed the tactics and strategies in this book to help myself. My students have found them essential to producing both fiction and nonfiction almost effortlessly.

More info →
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Write AND Sell in Just 8 Hours: Create Top-Selling Ebooks FAST

Write AND Sell in Just 8 Hours: Create Top-Selling Ebooks FAST

$4.99

What if you could create AND sell an ebook or other product in just eight hours? The product could be anything: a Kindle ebook, a collection of articles, a short story… a new writing service for your clients. This program will show you how to think outside the box, get creative — and SELL what you create.

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Resources to build your writing career

Check out Angela’s Writing Classes and Angela’s books for writers.

Get Motivated: 3 Powerful Tips To Finish Your Book

Get Motivated: 3 Powerful Tips To Finish Your Book

You’re writing a book, and you’ll finish it one day. You hope. Unfortunately, you can’t get motivated. Although you schedule your writing, you can’t get started.

On bad days, you think about giving up.

Will you ever become sufficiently motivated to finish your book?

Here’s something to keep in mind. Inspiration and motivation build while you’re writing — not when you’re thinking about writing.

Convinced that you’ve tried everything and will never finish?

You’ll get motivated when you build-in consequences

Try creating consequences for yourself. When carrots don’t work, a stick can make all the difference.

Let’s look at how you can build your motivation when you build in some consequences for non-performance.

1. Use pre-orders: sell your book before it’s done

Authors swear that KDP pre-orders get them motivated to finish their book if nothing else will.

Here’s why: Amazon has consequences — it punishes you if you don’t upload your file before the deadline:

You can postpone the release date for your eBook one time for as many as 30 days past the initial release date… If you postpone the release date, you won’t be able to postpone release dates for other existing pre-order eBooks. Also, you won’t be able to set up a pre-order for any eBook for one year.

That’s powerful motivation, right? 🙂

You can create a pre-order up to 90 days before the release date.

2. Never mind the carrot, grab the stick

What’s the most painful thing you can imagine?

When you’re creating a stick to beat yourself if you don’t finish your book, the stick has more power if it affects others as well as yourself.

For example, let’s say that you’re taking your family on vacation this summer. Tell the family that unless you complete your book, you’ll be staying home.

Commitment is all-important when you’re using a stick. Tell others about your commitment to finish, and they’ll help you to get it done.

3. Write rubbish (spoiler alert: you can’t)

My favorite tip: write.

Write anything. Write the biggest rubbish you’ve ever written. Get it done. (You can edit later, of course.)

Here’s why this works. It’s hard to write rubbish consistently and deliberately, because you write the way you write.

A decision to write rubbish will free you to write, and you’ll get motivated to finish your book.

(Bonus strategy) You can get motivated to do anything… in five minutes

During my long writing career I’ve accepted commissions which I hated. Completing these commissions was always a struggle, but I learned that you can write anything — as long as you tell yourself: “it’s only for five minutes.”

When all else fails, and you’re in danger of missing a pre-order deadline, grab a timer. Set it for five minutes. During those five minutes, you MUST write. Write rubbish. Write anything, but WRITE.

Oddly enough, those five minute sessions will help you to get motivated, and you’ll finish your book.

Plan, Write, And Publish Serial Fiction In Four Weeks

Plan, Write, And Publish Serial Fiction In Four Weeks

eBook: $5.99

Why write serial fiction?

Everyone's busy today. A serial is by its nature, faster to write, and publish, than a novel.

It's a quicker read too, and many readers appreciate this. While a reader may hesitate before committing hours to a novel, he can read an episode of your serial in minutes.

If you’re a new author, a serial serves to introduce you to readers. A reader may not be willing to commit to a novel by a new author, but be willing to read an episode of a serial.

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Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

eBook: $5.99

I developed the tactics and strategies in this book to help myself. My students have found them essential to producing both fiction and nonfiction almost effortlessly.

More info →
Buy from Apple Books
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Scribd
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Amazon Kindle

Resources to build your writing career

Check out Angela’s Writing Classes and Angela’s books for writers.

Fiction Writing Tips For Beginners: Discover Your Plot

Fiction Writing Tips For Beginners: Discover Your Plot

Are you new to fiction writing? If so, you may be confused about plotting.

You have questions:

  • What’s a plot?
  • Do you need a plot?
  • What if you’re convinced that you “can’t plot?”

Let’s answer those questions.

Fiction writing: plotting for beginners

Basically a plot in fiction is a series of events which are linked by cause and effect.

And yes, your fiction needs a plot. Plotless fiction isn’t satisfying to readers and it’s not much fun to write either.

If you’re convinced that the plotting fairy failed to bestow her gifts on you, that’s fine. Some authors love plots and outlines. Other authors would rather stick a fork in their eyeball than develop a rigid outline — I belong to this group.

In Fiction Writing Tips For Beginners: Create A Character, I shared my cavalier approach to plotting:

Once I have a main character, a BIG problem for the character, and an antagonist, I start writing. I’m a pantser, pretty much. That said, I rely on my intuition. Should some good ideas magically arrive, I might outline the major plot points (beats) of the novel.

I’ve become competent at plotting over the years. However, I know that I’m a natural pantser. When I force myself to plot I risk losing my inspiration for a novel.

Let’s look at a couple of tips which will help you to discover your plot while you’re writing.

Discovering your plot while you’re writing is easy, and it’s fun too.

1. Focus on your characters: give them lots of problems, and make choices

Plotting starts when you have a character with problems and a goal. This isn’t just any goal — it’s a goal he MUST achieve, or die. He may not die physically, but his life is over.

Many of your characters’ problems stem from who they are — as many of our problems do, too.

In Plotting Fiction Made Easy With Strong Characters: 3 Tips we recommended that you give your story people positive and negative character traits, and:

A suggestion: any positive character trait can become a negative trait (flaw.) Traits, both positive and negative, tend to be on a continuum.

Your plot is what your characters DO — and what they do in response to any event depends on their traits (attributes).

For example, let’s say that your novel’s main character, Bill, is arrested for murdering his ex-wife. Bill has a problem. Bill also has a goal: to prove that he didn’t murder his ex-wife.

You’re the author: you have ultimate power. So you choose Bill’s attributes, and decide that he’s: introverted, self-critical, and witty. Bearing these traits in mind, how will he react to his arrest? Who does he call? What does he do next?

Vital tip: once you’ve decided what kind of personality Bill has, that immediately affects what he does.

Bill is your character — you can give him any personality traits you choose. Perhaps you decide that Bill is honest, intelligent, and attractive to women. Now he’s a different kind of person from introverted, self-critical Bill.

This alternate version of Bill will react in a different way to his arrest for murder.

After you’ve created a main character and have given him certain attributes, your plot begins when you give him a BIG problem. Your character’s step by step actions, and reactions, create your plot.

Major tip — the bigger the problem, the better.

Go to Amazon and read the blurbs of bestselling novels for examples of big problems.

(BTW — speaking of blurbs; here’s how to write blurbs.)

2. Plotting fiction: keep your characters acting and reacting

You’ll give your main character a BIG problem — one that seems overwhelming, given the personality he has. Readers like to see main characters fight for what they want.

Fiction is about change, so your main characters need to change in response to the events of your novel. Remember the cause and effect of your plot: something happens, then your character acts, and as a result of his actions, something else happens… And your PLOT grows.

We talked about your novel’s milestones in this blog post. By the end of the setup phase of your novel (the setup is around 25% of a novel) you need to have everything in place for ongoing fireworks as your main character struggles and grows.

Now your story takes a major twist — you need a major change at the end of the setup point; something readers don’t expect.

For example, if you were writing Bill’s story, by the end of the setup Bill is released from jail. He’s out on bail. Not only has poor Bill lost his job so he needs to find money for a lawyer, his teenage children believe that he’s guilty. They’ve gone to live with their grandparents who hate him…

The twist? Bill discovers that his wife was leading a double life.

As long as you keep cause and effect in mind, you’ll discover your plot when you keep writing. Remember cause and effect, write on, and have fun. 🙂

Blurbs Sell Your Books: Craft Irresistible Blurbs, And Sell More Fiction And Nonfiction Today

Blurbs Sell Your Books: Craft Irresistible Blurbs, And Sell More Fiction And Nonfiction Today

eBook: $5.99

You can, when you discover the secrets of writing blurbs (book descriptions) which sell.

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Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

eBook: $5.99

Your readers want to enter your novel's world. They want to experience your book -- they want to live your book with your main characters.

More info →
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Resources to build your writing career

Check out Angela’s Writing Classes and Angela’s books for writers.