Category Archives: Writing techniques

Writing Goals: One Word To Help You To Achieve Your Dreams

Writing Goals: One Word To Help You To Achieve Your Dreams

Do you want to write a book, but hesitate? You need writing goals, and they revolve around a single word.

Several weeks ago a writer contacted me who confided: “I’ve tried to write. But after I write a couple of chapters of a book, I give up. Please don’t ask me to set set writing goals. Clearly they don’t work for me.”

Perhaps you’re like this writer. You start more books than you finish. You feel that writing goals don’t work for you.

Here’s a secret. You need to set two kinds of goals.

Writing goals: set process goals, as well as achievement goals

You need both process goals as well as achievement goals.

Process goals involve what you do, daily, or weekly.

Achievement goals (sometimes termed “outcome” goals) are what you hope to achieve via your process goals.

An example: you want to write a bestselling book.

Your process goal: I will write every day.

Achievement goal: I will write a bestselling book by January 1, 2021.

Process goals are under your control. If you set a goal to write every day, you either do (succeed), or you don’t (fail.)

Unfortunately, achievement goals usually aren’t under your control. You set achievement goals, realizing that events may derail you. Then you’ll rely on process goals to get you back on track.

The one word that will help you to achieve your writing goals

So, what’s the single word that helps you to achieve your writing goals? Here it is: write. You might add to that: without expectation.

Consider that writing is writing. It’s not:

  • Doing research;
  • Worrying about your plot;
  • Joining writers’ groups to talk about writing;
  • Going to writers’ conferences…

Only writing is writing, and you can’t achieve your writing goals without it. “Thinking” won’t help either, unless you write down your thoughts.

Overthinking: the biggest pitfall standing between you and your writing goals

All my writing students over-think writing. I do too. That’s why I keep my DDT acronym (Do, Don’t Think) on sticky notes where I can see them.

Write. Here’s why. From Beginning Writer: 2 Strategies To Remove All Your Roadblocks:

Writing is thinking. Ideas won’t come to you in words. They come as insights, impulses, or compulsions. Often they’ll arrive as images (if you’re writing fiction.)

Write down the words which arise from those insights and images.

Then hey presto — you’re thinking. And writing:-)

Achieve your dreams: start writing

You can’t achieve your writing goals without writing. Try to get into the habit of thinking with a pen in your hand, or at the keyboard. You’ll discover that when you do, you become more confident, and your concerns about writing fade away.

Please don’t equate “writing” only with working on a current project.

I love this Flannery O’Connor quote:

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”

Writing helps you to solve your problems and make decisions. So write your thoughts. Questions? Write them down. Consider your goals, and write about them. Keep a journal or a bullet journal.

Write.

Write Your Bestseller: Write HOT Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

Word for word, mystery authors earn more than authors of most other genres, including romance.

Check out our new report, “Write Your Bestseller: Write HOT Mystery, Thriller & Suspense”. You’ll discover how, why, and what types of mystery fiction are selling today, and how to develop a mystery writing career.

Planning And Writing A Hot-Selling Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 7

Planning And Writing A Hot-Selling Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 7

eBook: $4.99

When you write in series, you're giving yourself more chances to sell with every novel you write.

More info →
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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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Resources to build your writing career

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

Writing A Book: 3 Tips To Help When You Have No Time

Writing A Book: 3 Tips To Help When You Have No Time

If I only had a dollar for every writer who’s ever said to me: “I know writing a book makes sense, but I have no time. I have kids/ two jobs/ a chronic illness/ (fill in the blank) ”.

Let’s assume that no matter how busy we are, we can find ten to 20 minutes a day, somehow. If all else fails, we may need cut back on sleep, but we can do it.

You need more than time, however. While managing your hours can be done easily enough, managing yourself isn’t as simple. You need to deal with fear.

Writing a book can be scary

When I started writing, I’d sit at my green Olivetti typewriter, and later at my IBM Selectric, with tears rolling down my face. This misery went on for a couple of years, but I sat anyway.

The sitting was key. It never occurred to me to leave my desk. I sat at my typewriter and wrote. The tears stopped eventually. I didn’t face my fears; I out-sat them.

You can do this too. No matter how anxious you are, stay at your desk.

Now let’s look at some tips.

1. Start by estimating the hours needed (guess!)

How long does it take to write the first draft of a book?

That depends on many things, but all you need is a rough guess for this book. If you’ve been writing for a while, you know that a thousand words takes you an hour or two, for example.

Guess how long your novel or nonfiction book will take. Let’s say that you’re writing a 60,000 word novel. A thousand words takes you two hours, so the novel will take 180 hours. Please remember it’s only a guess. You don’t need to know precisely.

Why estimate? So that you can create a self-imposed deadline. You need a deadline (feel free to alter it when you must), because open-ended projects never end well. Projects expand. When you have forever, because there’s no deadline, it will take forever.

2. You can’t avoid distractions, so schedule your writing time

This video, Indistractable: How to Master the Skill of the Century, is worth the time you spend watching it. Nir Eyal makes the point that if you don’t schedule your day, someone else will.

A schedule sounds… uncreative, I know. Aren’t writers supposed to be creative? Just as you need a self-imposed deadline, you also need a schedule.

It’s not enough to decide that: “I’ll work on my book every night after dinner.” With such a loose schedule, you’re leaving yourself open to 1001 distractions.

You’ll become distracted, by:

  • A phone call;
  • A discussion with your child, or your partner;
  • Email or social media…

3. Avoid judging your book while you’re writing it

This is a challenge. You’re writing a book. You want your book to be good. It’s hard to avoid judging what you’re writing, and what you’ve written.

Do it anyway. Commit to writing without judgment. Here’s why. Everyone has moods, which change daily; sometimes hourly.

Sometimes you’ll finish a chapter, and think: drivel. Nothing can save this… A day later, you’ll read that chapter and you’ll think, hey, it’s not so bad. It might be good, and I can make it better…

When you judge your book while you’re writing it, you’ll get into tangled messes, which waste time. Trust yourself. You’re better at writing than you think.

So — what are you waiting for? Start writing a book. 🙂

NEW, “Write Your Bestseller: Write HOT Mystery, Thriller & Suspense”

Word for word, mystery authors earn more than authors of most other genres, including romance.

Check out our new report, “Write Your Bestseller: Write HOT Mystery, Thriller & Suspense”. You’ll discover how, why, and what types of mystery fiction are selling today, and how to develop a mystery writing career.

Planning And Writing A Hot-Selling Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 7

Planning And Writing A Hot-Selling Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 7

eBook: $4.99

When you write in series, you're giving yourself more chances to sell with every novel you write.

More info →
Buy from Scribd
Buy from Apple Books
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Amazon Kindle
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.

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

Resources to build your writing career

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

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.

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

Resources to build your writing career

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