Most writers have it at one point or another in their writing careers and if they tell you that they don’t, they’re probably lying. Nothing is wrong with writer’s block, as long as you don’t take up residence there. It is okay to visit, but you need to move on.
I hate when I get writer’s block. It usually stays with me for a while and the longer I don’t write, the harder it is for me to get back into the writing groove. Now, I’ve heard some people say that there is no such thing as writer’s block; it’s just our own procrastination and we should stop being lazy and get past it. Well, for some people, writer’s block is real.
Sometimes, I psyche myself out and think my writing is not good enough and then I hit a brick wall in my creativity and just can’t seem to pick up where I left off. It’s very easy to stay in that rut and ignore your need to write and continually wish that one day you’ll finish your manuscript or next project. It takes courage and strength to get out of that rut and take a leap of faith.
There are gifted writers out there who can put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and turn out A+ work with as little effort as possible. However, for most writers, that is not the case. Writing a great novel takes work, but if you have the desire, you need to work at it. Don’t let a fear of failure keep you stuck in the Valley of Writer’s Block and despair.
I’m actually in a good place right now. I am working on my next WIP and am on a roll and loving it. I’m trying to get as much work done as possible, while the creative juices are flowing. One of the most important things you can do is to keep writing every day. Even if you are not working on your WIP, you should blog every day or journal or write articles for posting online. Keep your mind and creativity flowing all the time. Don’t get frustrated if you get writer’s block. Instead, take some simple steps to try to motivate yourself out of the rut.
Listen to music. This usually works for me. I like to listen to instrumental music (like Kenny G) or other love songs when I’m working on my romance novels. Listen to whatever motivates you while you’re at your PC or laptop. Stare at a blank screen for a while, but at least get moving and turn your computer on. Even if you only write a few words or paragraphs, try to write something every day. When your creativity sparks, take advantage of that and write and write and write during those times, so you can get a lot of work done in between the dry spells.
Take out a pad of paper and journal or type on your computer. Just free write about whatever comes to mind. You may surprise yourself with what happens. Maybe you’ll figure out the ending that you couldn’t decide on before or your characters will speak to you. As writers, (even though normal people may think we’re crazy), we know that our characters speak to us. Sit down with your character and let him or her tell the story through you.
Don’t stare at the blank page or screen too long because that could discourage you. Watch some TV or a movie or go outside for a walk. Hang out with friends. Do something to distract yourself for a little while, but don’t wait too long to get back to the writing process. You don’t want to get too comfortable in the Valley of Writer’s Block.
Get connected with a writer’s group, local or online. Surround yourself with other writers who are doing what they love to do: writing! When you see the success they are having in completing writing projects that can spur you on to complete your own works. Don’t give up! If writing is your dream, then make it happen, but remember it will take hard work and determination along with creativity and desire.
Some people have the gift of editing and others have the gift of writing. Some people have both gifts. I find myself somewhere in the middle. I love to write. I feel that I am a better writer, than editor; however, I know that having my work edited by a professional will make me a better writer, if I learn from my mistakes.
Since I started writing in High School, I have grown by leaps and bounds as a writer, but that’s only because I’ve been open to instruction through editing. I went to college and have an English degree. I did well in school and went on to the business of PR. When I finally got around to taking my writing seriously and finished my first book, I searched for a publisher. At the time, I did not have the funds to have my book professionally edited. Of course, I did my own edits and had some other friends (who are pretty good at editing, but not professional), review it as well. The publisher I worked with did not have a good editing system; they really had no system in place at all. I know my book was not polished, but I use that as a stepping stone.
My current book has been through many edits of my own. I submitted it to one publishing company that gave me a contract and they had an awesome editor that opened my eyes to major issues I had. I learned a great deal from that editor. That publishing company went out of business before my book was published. I’m with a great company now and I just finished reviewing the current edits that my publisher did on my book. It was another eye-opening experience. I learned so much more.
After these two major overhauls on my book, I feel that Mr. Shipley’s Governess is finally ready to take on the world! I’m so excited for the release date on Nov. 9th.
During the first major overhaul of my manuscript, I learned that I had an issue with POV. I kept head hopping between characters. Once that was shown to me, I worked hard and made the necessary changes and the book was one more layer towards completion. During that review, I also learned that I was going about my plot line wrong. My book is an inspirational romance and the manuscript was anything but romantic. I was telling the story, but the characters were on two different continents for a good portion of the story. Once I realized that they needed to be in more scenes together, the reader is able to feel their story more; another layer completed. My third problem was that I used passive voice too much instead of active voice. I fixed that problem and ended up with another one.
During the second major overhaul that I just completed, I realized that as I was revising the manuscript to use more active voice, I removed the passive voice, but that meant that I was now starting too many sentences with “he, he, he and she, she, she.” I was so focused on the action verbs that I didn’t realize I was losing the flow of the paragraphs. So, the problem is now solved and I thank my editors at the publishing company for showing me that writing flaw. The other major flaw that I had in my writing was that I used too many “said’s” in the dialogue. For example, Mr. Shipley said, “Wait, I’ll be right there.” I learned that it’s better to rephrase that. Mr. Shipley stood up from his desk. “Wait, I’ll be right there.” The latter definitely makes the dialogue sequences have more action and follows the mantra of show, don’t tell. Once I rephrased my dialogue sequences, it was amazing to me what a difference it made.
If you are a beginning writer, it is so important for you to have a professional editor review your work. If you can’t afford to hire an editor, do your own homework and make sure you have good POV and don’t head hop. You need to use active, rather than passive voice. Steer clear of repeating words and starting sentences with he/she all the time. Make your dialogue into great action sequences. Keep your plot lines strong with characters that change and grow with the story. Don’t let the plot become convoluted.
Always be open to instruction from editors. If they see a problem, address it. Once you’ve taken an open-minded look at their suggestions, if you don’t agree, fine, then walk away from their suggestions. However, if you want to be successful, be open to constructive criticism. That’s the only way to improve your writing and grow in your craft. Your readers will thank you!
BethAnn Buehleris a romance writer based in the heart of the midwest, Indianapolis. Her first novel, Broken Together, the first book in the Rebel Canyon Series, released on September 14th from Wild Horse Press. She is a former teacher turned stay-at-home mom to a very cute nine year old little boy who steals her heart on a daily basis. When she is not writing (or helping with homework, or playing Pokémon), she enjoys reading and playing tennis but can usually be found folding laundry and burning dinner. Visit her website at: http://www.bethannbuehler.com Broken Together is the first in a three part series of novels featuring a small town called Rebel Canyon where readers invest in the lives of three close friends. Bryn Baxter is hugely successful professionally but when it comes to relationships, let me just be candid--she's a mess. When her otherwise orderly life falls apart, Bryn gets help from a hired gun, Beck Reynolds. Bryn wants the fairy tale but she doesn't want to have to think about how to make it all work. So Beck takes control... Broken Destiny, the second novel in the Rebel Canyon Series, is slated for release in February of 2011 (Wild Horse Press) and Broken Identity, the third novel, is slated for the October of 2011. I'm also proud to be included in a paranormal romance anthology that will be released in time for Christmas this year (Wild Horse Press). And, not to spoil anything but my next series involves three best friends who battle their demons (and various addictions) on the path to finding true love. Why did you become a writer…was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life? I've been writing all of my life and many of my oldest friends would say they aren't at all surprised I finally wrote the "big one." Just the other day I pulled out a short story that I wrote in sixth grade and had a good laugh. What was the inspiration for your latest work of fiction? The Rebel Canyon Series was born on a mountain in Utah. I was hanging out and reading in the lodge at Deer Valley (Utah) while my husband and son were out skiing. I took several books to read for the week since I don't ski and honestly, each one I finished left me flat. By the end of the third day (and the fourth dissatisfying book), I ran to the gift shop, bought a notebook, refilled my hot chocolate and decided I could do better. Hence the Utah setting for the series. Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination? My characters are completely a product of my imagination but their stories ring true to issues in the real lives of many people I know, including myself. For example, I have Bryn's standoffish quality and loyalty to the people I love, and I share her hair color. I have Casey's longing to be accepted and her heart for wanting the fairy tale. But honestly, Rachel is the one that's starting to get to me. She's as tough as nails and has a work ethic that reminds me so much of one of my closest friends. When I first created her, she was someone all together different and to say she's changed as the series has grown would be a huge understatement. Wait until you meet her in book three, then we'll have to talk. And no, I don't share the "lifestyle" any of my heroines have! What was the most interesting research you had to do for any of your books? I actually research a fair amount for anything that I write. For The Rebel Canyon Series, I've gone to underground leather clubs and interviewed couples practicing various degrees of the lifestyle. I've consulted a doctor for the medically technical parts, an attorney for all of the legal parts and I have a military consultant for the weapons and communications aspect. I'm my own automobile expert so the wonderful cars my characters drive are all me. How do you go from an idea for a book to the birth of the story? I don't have a magic formula other than to say that I just start writing. Sometimes what I think is going to be the beginning of the story ends up in the middle or nearer the end. Sometimes I write pages that eventually get used somewhere else or cut altogether. Here's a good example: when I was trying to put an ending on Broken Together, I ended up writing the epilogue to the entire series without even realizing it until I was finished and re-read it a day later. Is the process the same for every book you write? For me it is although I have to admit that book three in the series has required me to create an outline of sorts, something which I don't like to do. Outlines feel limiting to me personally but with so much going on with three story lines between three books, there are a lot of loose ends to wrap up as I try to end the series. Do you have any advice for beginning writers on how to write a book? Do you have any advice for them regarding promoting that book once published? Write. Whether it's good or bad or even on topic, you've got to get the words on paper so you have to keep writing. Write something every day. I'm a huge fan of the NaNoWriMo challenge that takes place every November and I highly recommend that if a writer feels they need a jump start, that's a good place to start (www.NaNoWriMo.org). I also think that publishing is one of the hardest processes to navigate and a fair amount of writers get lost before they ever really get started. I was so overwhelmed by query letters, synopsis, submission guidelines... It's crazy! However, it's worth it so I would encourage anyone serious about being published to keep moving forward and stick it out. As for promotion, you've got to put yourself out there and open yourself for critique. It's hard and it feels very counter intuitive to shout "judge me" to the world but reviews and critiques are the heart of honing this craft.
“…an especially suitable place or position…” that’s one way Webster’s defines the word niche. Do you know the most suitable place or position where your writing and specific books fit? If you don’t know that yet, and if you want to be successful in marketing your work, you need to figure out your niche. The complicated part starts now because you have to leave your preconceptions behind and take a look at your work with fresh eyes. When you started writing your book, you may have thought your work fit in one area, but now that you’ve completed it and signed a contract for publication and are starting to market, you’re not so certain if you are in the most suitable place.
So how do you find that niche? You start at the beginning and reaffirm the genre where your book fits into. If you write mysteries, what kind…police procedural, amateur detective, hard boiled, cozies…you get the idea. If you write romance, what kind…inspirational, erotica, historical, regency, contemporary, suspense, fantasy / paranormal, time travel…you get the idea as well.
When you know for sure that you have the correct genre for your work, now you need to figure out how your book fits into that suitable place with an audience. Who is your audience? Of course, anyone can read your book, but success really boils down to finding out who really will read your book and focusing most of your marketing attention on that specific audience. Try to really connect with your readers. Join online forums where your genre is discussed, not only because you are trying to promote your book, but because you are trying to discover the pulse of your specific readers. Always be available to your readers. That doesn’t mean that as you get more successful you’ll be able to respond to every email and fan mail you get, but be open and engaging in your blog posts and status updates in other social media networks so your readers feel that they know you.
You also need to figure out what sets your book apart from the rest of the novels out there in your genre. What’s so special about your book? Why should someone read it? If you are hard pressed to give an answer to that, you will have trouble in marketing your work. You need to believe in your book and share your work with conviction to the world. Remember, as I always say, you are your biggest fan!
If your work is from the historical romance genre, you need to dig deeper into the story and decide if there are any interesting correlations you can make between the time period and setting with the current day setting. Can you somehow connect with the locality of the setting of your book?
My current release is a contemporary, inspirational romance novel. The setting is suburban Philadelphia, as well as England, Ireland, Italy and France. Obviously, my characters did some traveling, but for the first part of the book, they remained in suburban Philadelphia, which is also my own local area. I need to get the wheels turning in my mind to see how I can make some connection between myself and that first setting and market my book to the local suburban Philadelphia area.
If you’re not looking at the location, then do what it takes to find that especially suitable place or position that your book fits into, to make it stand apart from the rest and be successful. My book has a contemporary story line with a classic feel. I love the works of Jane Austen and I translated that devotion to the main character, Sophie. She is a huge Austen fan and gets a chance in the book to visit England and there are many aspects of the book that bring the reader into that classic romantic period. If your book has a similarly interesting twist on the old and the new, figure out a way to market that to both contemporary and classic literature fans as well.
If your book discusses any current hot topics or events, even if it’s only a small part of the novel, milk it for all it’s worth. That is another way to get the attention of the media, thus you will be more in the public eye. So many books are published every year and with the advent of self-publishing and new authors being signed to publishing houses every day, the media doesn’t really care about your book, even if you dutifully send out press releases. Your contact with the media needs to make you stand out from the crowd. Find that connection between your book and current topics or events and you will be a step above the rest when it comes to media coverage.
I like to always think outside the box and in order to make your book stand out from the crowd; you will need to think that way too. Find that uniquely special aspect to your book and make a concerted effort to draw that aspect out into the public eye to make a deeper connection with possible readers. Show them that your book is not just the run of the mill mystery or romance novel. There is something spectacular about your book and they just need to read it. You must create that intensity about your book. You have a product that is unlike any other, so market it with that mindset.
Maintaining an online presence is great and an important factor in promoting you and your work, but how much effort is too much?
There is a fine line between being out there and really being out there. I’ve struggled with this issue. I am not, yet, a NY Times Best Seller, but I want to market myself like I am; however, I don’t have an overabundance of money flowing out to hire a big PR Firm to get me out into the public eye to sell more books. So, like many other authors in the same boat, I am doing my own marketing. But how do I know if I’m hurting myself rather than helping myself in my marketing efforts?
As authors, if we follow some simple guidelines we should be fine. I’m writing about online marketing because that is the wave of the current and the future and it’s the easiest, yet most dangerous, outlet for free marketing. So why is this avenue easy, yet dangerous? Simple…easy because anyone can do it, but dangerous…because anyone can do it and you need to find that balance so you keep people coming back for more content and not scaring them away with too much information that they don’t find valuable.
The easiest way to get an online presence is to have a website and a blog. The second way is to be involved in social media networks like Facebook and Twitter. If you link up your blog to your Facebook and Twitter pages, that is one less step you need to worry about in regard to daily postings. So, you post your blog to your website or your blog site and if you have it linked to NetworkedBlogs on Facebook, the blog posting will be posted on both social media outlets.
Now, I have a Facebook Fan Page, with only 17 fans right now. My Facebook personal profile has more friends, around 310 friends and family members and others I’ve met online. On Twitter, I have about 177 followers and am on 11 lists. My point in mentioning these statistics is that not everyone on my Facebook page and profile is also on my Twitter profile, so since my pages are linked, the majority of people are not getting the same message twice.
The quandary I find myself in comes into play when I’m trying to decide how many times to actively post on Facebook and Twitter. I usually post from tweet deck on my iphone when I’m out, so that it gets posted on Twitter and Facebook and I only have to post from one place. If I’m at my laptop, I still also post from Twitter. I came up with some guidelines for myself that I try to live by so I keep that healthy balance between posting enough and not over posting.
My goal is to write an informative blog post every day, Monday through Friday; I don’t worry about posting blogs on the weekends, unless I have a brilliant idea that I’d like to share, but I do post status updates up to three times a day to keep that online presence going. Keeping in mind that I post the blog, which is linked to Facebook and Twitter, I don’t want people to get tired of hearing from me throughout the day, so I’m frugal with my posts. If I’ve been interviewed, I’ll post a link to that or I’ll post other short thoughts or ideas or tidbits about my day, but I try not to post more than three times in one day. That’s just my preference. Nothing is wrong with posting more, but since my Facebook friends are not just readers of my books, but also my personal friends and family members, I don’t want to always be blabbering about me and my book etc.
Facebook and Twitter are just two avenues you can utilize in online marketing, so don’t overuse them. Think outside the box and look for other ways to still be maintaining that online presence, but speaking to another audience. For example, I just joined a Christian writer’s forum online. I’m able to have a my own profile, have fellow writers and readers follow me there, as well as post blog entries and other articles and participate in their forum discussions and groups.
Also, I am a member of e-zine online and am starting to regularly post informative articles about writing online. They have an approval process before your articles are posted, but this gives you another chance to maintain an online presence, get your name out there and speak to an even different audience.
It’s all about trying to think clearly and have a specific plan that you stick to when utilizing online marketing. You don’t want your efforts to be haphazard. You want your efforts to be fruitful and mean something in the end, which is to get yourself out there to as big an audience as you can get to. Facebook and Twitter are great and I will continue to utilize them, but I don’t want to overuse those avenues and kick myself in the rear, tripping over my own two feet. I want to maintain a stable course and find as many avenues as I can find and utilize all of them to the maximum potential for the greatest good…which is to get out there in the public eye.
Anne Hollyis 32, and has a small child. She is new to publishing contemporary romance, but has published quite a bit in academics. She is branching out into paranormal erotic this term, much to her furious blushing. She is Canadian, originally from the East Coast, but now in Ontario. Mostly, she is just happy to be returning to writing, which was a childhood passion for her. Her mum is the reason she adores romance, being a major reader herself.
Visit her website at http://www.anneholly.webs.com and her author blog at http://anneholly.blogspot.com
Anne’s first full length release comes out in 2011 from Wild Horse Press, and is tentatively scheduled for May 2011. She hopes to have some various shorts come out before then. The novel is a contemporary romance set in Manitoba, Canada, and in Australia. It revolves around the themes of loss and healing, and the risk in having a marriage end badly and deciding to try again; and, of course, about irresistible attraction, and the power of love to force us out of our protective shells. Josie, an optimist, must bring the damaged Theo back to life, and the results are often funny and poignant. Purchase details will be available on her website or the Wild Horse Press site as they become available.
1. Why did you become a writer…was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?
I think I have been story making well before I could actually write. We were not an electronic family when I was a child, so my main entertainments were drawing and making up jokes and stories to go with them. Later, I wrote a lot because it was a sly way to pass time in school when I was bored (while still looking like I was just taking notes). So, basically, story telling and writing started first as entertainment, and then, as I came into myself, a way to explore the world in a safe, creative way. In many ways, these two motivations are still my main reasons for writing.
In addition, I also gained some minor fame in high school for my writing and won a few contests, so that really added to my enthusiasm - from then on, it was big ambition for me to write and publish.
2. What was the inspiration for your latest work of fiction?
My May 2011 release was inspired by reading an article on postpartum depression and psychosis, which is a narrative theme in the book. I wanted to look at the long term impact of the problem. Also, it takes place in two environments I find fascinating - the wilds of northern Canada and the bush of Australia.
3. Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
I am embarrassed to say that every hero I write is basically based on my image of one of my movie star crushes mixed with men I admire in my real life. And every heroine is some version of me. That way, I get to write myself living happily every after with my crushes! However, it is all based on my imaginary versions of all these elements, of course.
4. What was the most interesting research you had to do for any of your books?
Buffalo ranching! I learned way more about buffalo than I ever thought I would.
5. How do you go from an idea for a book to the birth of the story? Is the process the same for every book you write?
I do outlines, character sketches and synopsis first, and then I attack, changing things as need be. This has always been my process, I think. I inhabit my characters for a while before I really hit my stride. They all live in my imagination for a while, like a cast of characters, until I am ready to tell their story. A fanciful way to describe it, I know, but I always love my main characters, and know them very well. In terms of practical process, I aim for at least 1K words a day, come rain or shine, which works well for me.
6. Do you have any advice for beginning writers on how to write a book? Do you have any advice for them regarding promoting that book once published?Advice for new writers: Write. That is the only way to go from an idea to a book. Write, write, write. It will never go past idea if you don’t. Force yourself if you have to on days when it doesn’t flow. Also, there is no such thing as “waiting until a good time” to write your book - do it now, because no “perfect time” really exists. Finally, keep a blog, even if it’s just private. This is a great exercise.
Promoting...Man, I don’t even know that world well myself, yet.Set up your sites/profiles, and start making connections, right away. Be friendly with your fellow writers. Ask them for advice when you can, and watch what others do, and how to make unique headway. And, most importantly, don’t get discouraged - if you can’t afford as much promotion as others, you can still do what you can, so be happy with it. Learn to do things for yourself, and make the most of your resources. Above all, don’t tie your feelings about your book with your sales figure. Your own pride in your book is your best sales asset!
I had all the best intentions today to get a lot of work done, but it seems God had other intentions. My husband and I went out for a walk this morning, having a nice time talking and discussing our prospective days and we saw one of our neighbors outside his house, setting up the sprinkler to water his lawn. We never actually met him before this, but my husband waved, our neighbor seemed friendly and we went over, got introduced and had a conversation for three hours. It was pretty neat, but I did get sunburn on my neck and my husband got sunburn on his face; it was hot in the sun for three hours. ;- )
When we finally got back home, I turned on my laptop and was working online; I needed to print something and wasn’t able to print. I needed the printer and my husband stopped his work (he also works at home), and spent several hours on the phone with HP and then with McAfee trying to fix the problem. Then I got an email from my sister, asking us to meet her at the mall. We ate dinner, went to meet her at the mall, then came home and I got back to work.
Many times we make plans for our day, but things don’t always go as planned. We can either go with the flow or get agitated. I’m not always up for change, so when things don’t go exactly according to my plan, I’m not too happy. I’m learning to make lemonade from lemons, though.
When it comes to making plans for our writing and marketing of our work, always be flexible. We may think we are heading down one direction in our WIP, but our characters lead us down another pathway. When it comes to marketing, what if we are asked to do an interview, but then that falls through? Do we get upset? We may have a right to get upset, but it won’t help us move forward. I have this happen to me in the past and it’s not always easy to let go and move on.
If we make a concerted effort to be persistent and keep up with our goals and know that no matter what comes, we can be successful if we have a good attitude, then we’ll be fine, even though there are bumps and detours along the way.
For the last two weeks, my husband and I have had a pesky little groundhog invading our vegetable garden. Actually, he’s not such a little critter; he’s pretty fat and I don’t think he needs to be eating our tomatoes. Now, I love animals, don’t get me wrong, but I love my tomatoes and other veggies more. But, I do have to give our furry friend some credit because he’s been persistent and doesn’t seem to want to give up.
We have two 8 x 8 raised garden beds and my husband did a great job of setting this garden up and putting wire fencing on the ground underneath the garden beds; he also put 3’ high rabbit fencing all around the garden. We’ve had this garden for two years now and haven’t had much trouble with animals until now. Last year the groundhog was around, but he wasn’t so brazen.
During the last two weeks, the groundhog has been coming around and nibbling on some tomatoes that have overgrown the fencing. Yes, we do have to do some reorganizing next year and plant the Juliet and Grape tomatoes further from the fencing. So, I do understand how our friend came along to each some tomatoes growing through the fence. But, while I was finishing up on work today, my husband called me into the kitchen as he looked out the window and we saw the groundhog literally sitting like a king on top of the wooden gate posts, leaning on the tomato cages eating as if he owned the place. Of course, I charged out on to our deck, with my husband chuckling in the kitchen, as I tried to scare the groundhog away. As he’s done before, he made his way around the other side of the garden and hid there in front of his hole under the fence of the property line, as if he thought I didn’t see him. Yes, I yelled at him again to get away. By the way, we live in a townhouse community and by now after these escapades with me coming out to scare our friendly critter away, they probably think I’m crazy. Maybe that’s why my husband isn’t coming out; either that or I’m providing entertainment for him.
Anyway, the groundhog dutifully goes into his hole under the fence until the next day when he brazenly comes back to our garden to feast. Thinking about this groundhog has made me realize that as authors, we need to be just as tenacious and consistent in our search to reach our goals in writing great stories and marketing our work. Even if we have editors getting back to us saying our work is not good enough, we need to take the good with the bad and keep going. Of course, if their criticisms are legitimate, we should heed them and make corrections. We need to be tenacious like the groundhog and never give up until we reach our goals and find the publishers we are looking for.
When it comes to marketing, we must keep working at it even when it seems like we are the only author, drowning in a sea of other authors and don’t feel like our efforts are making a difference. If we give up, then we won’t be making a difference in our success. However, every step we take in the right direction, even if it’s only baby steps in writing and marketing, is going to make a difference. Whenever we feel like giving up, let’s remember my furry friend, Mr. Groundhog, and keep hanging on. Success is just around the corner.
Does blogging really work or are we insane for continuing to blog? With the advent of blogging in the early 1990’s, today there are hundreds of millions of bloggers pouring out their thoughts on the Internet. In doing some general research for this blog post, I found that since the early 2000’s, bloggers have begun to have an impact on the political world. What started out as young writers and college students blogging about their days, has turned into something infinitely more.
Now, if you are a writer and you don’t have a blog, some might say you are missing out on a great free marketing avenue. If you’re an author and you haven’t yet ventured out into the blogging world, are you thinking about heading there? Do you already have a blog, but don’t have any more ideas on what to write about day in and day out? With the hundreds of millions of bloggers in cyberspace, I’m sure you’re not alone; however, I can only speak with certainty about my own personal experience as a blogger.
I began blogging in the early 2000’s when my first book, Shadowed Remembrances was released and I had a pretty good run and utilized Bravejournal.com and actually had a great following. After a while, life got in the way…you know, with that pesky fulltime job and all and I was not able to blog as much and as the years went by, I stopped blogging. I wasn’t sure that I saw the purpose in it.
I used the ensuing years to work on my current release, Mr. Shipley’s Governess, while I found the time and didn’t even give blogging another thought. I found a publisher for my second book and then after some time, the company closed down and I had to begin my search again for a new publisher. I used that time to re-edit my manuscript and then finally located another great publisher, Wild Horse Press. I signed the contract and got to work on creating my free website through weebly.com and was happy to see that they offered a blog on the actual website.
For the first three months, I really struggled with what to write about. I was working on another WIP, Island Honeymoon and I would share about my writing progress and when I got the book cover design for Mr. Shipley’s Governess and when the book video trailer was done, but I was not too proud of my blog and I was kind of glad I was not getting any followers that I knew of. Of course, people visited my website, but I wasn’t getting any comments on my blog and who would want to comment on that not so earth shattering commentary.
Then one day a few weeks ago, my perspective changed and I started writing posts with fellow authors in mind. I still post status updates and want to keep my readers informed, but I also want to provide content that is worthy of people wanting to read it and come back for more. I’ve written on my experiences with using Google Analytics for my website to thoughts on 9/11, and Why I Write and Do You Need a Press Kit, to name a few.
This change in my blog postings made me proud to share my work and I figured out how to link the posts to NetworkedBlogs on Facebook and I also have the postings linked to my Twitter page. Now, I don’t mind if people follow my blog because I feel good about the content I’m writing about. I am also sharing my blog posts as articles on some free article posting sites, because I’m trying to get my name more well-known and draw traffic back to my website.
So, now, I do see the value in blogging and I hope to continue for a long time. If you’re struggling with what to write about on your blog, think about making a schedule of what you’re going to do on various days. Currently, I only have author interviews scheduled for Mondays, and the rest of the week, (Tuesday through Friday), is pretty much free for whatever thought hits me that day.
I am looking for more authors to interview. I’ve already done a few interviews and as I mentioned in another blog posting, I have two interviews scheduled for the next two Mondays, after that, the schedule is open. If you are a novice writer with unpublished works, I would like to interview you as well. I have not yet decided what day to post those interviews. Contact me for more information if you fall into either of those two categories. If you’d like to interview me, I am always available for interviews as well.
Back to ideas for blogging, write about what you know and what experiences you are having with your writing career and add some facts to help others. For example, when I was trying to figure out what to put in my press kit, I did some research, got ideas, put my press kit together and then did a blog posting on it. It’s as simple as that. You have a wealth of knowledge and life experiences at your fingertips; just tap into that fountain and let the writing flow.
I write because I can even though there will always be critics of my work, but I charge ahead brazenly, trying to freely express myself, my beliefs and my dreams in what I write.
I write because it feels like I’m not breathing if I don’t write. It’s a part of who I am and the characters in my mind and their lives flow freely onto the page and I feel compelled to tell their stories.
I write because I feel that I have something important to say and even if I didn't think that anyone would ever read my work, I would still continue to write, for me.
I write because I have lived and have experiences and want to intertwine those pains and joys and emotional times into stories that can touch peoples’ lives and let them know that someone else out there has felt the same way.
I write because I feel that God has given me a gift; I may not be the best writer in the world, but I want to be the best writer that I can be and glorify God in everything I write.
I write because it’s therapy when I’m going through something in my life and I can tell a story of someone who is struggling, but goes through the journey and comes out the other side a better person and I hope that someday that will also be me.
I write because I love to read and reading has always been a part of my life since I was a young child. I want to create my own stories that encompass the imagination I have.
I write because I want to leave a legacy and hope that my work will, in some small way, make this world a better place and help readers see that God is the answer.
I write because there are some stories that just need to be told and I figure that somebody needs to tell them, so why not me.
Why do you write? Do you have your own Writer’s Declaration?