Jun 12

Writing Productivity: The $25,000 Question and Meditation

Writers' Focus and Productivity
Sometimes the moons and stars align and information that is relevant to your life bombards your week, directing you onto paths you should take.

Well, this happened to me.

Time management is one of my ongoing struggles, as with probably most of you reading this.

So, what do you do?

How do you create more hours in the day?

How do you accomplish all the writing and marketing tasks you must, aside from keeping up with everything else in your life?

Ah, the $25,000 question.

Here’s how to keep your writers’ focus and boost you writing productivity:

Productivity Strategy Number One – Keep a List and Stick to It

I found a great site (JamesWedmore.com) that offers some very useful content.

Interestingly, the post I read on this site pertained to being productive.

This was the fourth article I came across within a few days dealing with time management, prioritizing, and productivity.

Part of the content discussed a $25,000 lesson by public relations and efficiency expert Ivy Lee.

The story (true, just not sure of the exact account) goes that Charles Schwab, steel magnate, wanted to increase his company’s efficiency, so he contacted Lee.

Lee requested 15 minutes with each of Schwab’s managers.

Schwab asked how much would it cost.

Lee told him that after three months, if he saw productivity improvement, he could send Lee whatever he thought the training was worth.

Three months later, Schwab sent Lee a $25,000 check.

This was back around 100 years ago. According to DollarTimes.com, that would now be worth a little over $500,000.

So, the $25,000 lesson?

It’s reported that Lee said to write a list of six must-do items that each manager needed to accomplish the next day, in order of importance.

Whatever wasn’t completed that day would go over onto the next day’s list of six must-do items.

According to JamesClear.com, Lee instructed:

-At the end of each day, write down the most important things you have to do the next day.

-Number them in the order of their true importance.

-The first thing the next morning, start working on an item Number 1, and stay with it until completed.

-Move on to item Number 2 until this task is completed, do the same with the remaining four.

-At the end of the day, move any items not completed to the next day’s six must-do items.

Don’t worry if you don’t complete everything on the schedule. At least you will have completed the most important projects before getting to the less important ones. 

Pretty simple, right?

Simple and powerful.

Having a list of what you need to do gives you focus and that focus helps clear your mind, which in turn boosts productivity, allowing you to get the job done.

One thing James Wedmore said that I thought is also a good idea is to have a “brain dump” folder or notebook.

If something pops into your head that you don’t want to forget, put in in the ‘brain dump file.’

This too helps keep your mind clear of clutter.

I call my ‘brain dump file’ My To Do List.

If anything pops into my head, I open the file and type it in, leaving my mind free of the worry of remembering it.
Productivity Strategy Number Two – Meditate

If you make time for meditation, you’ll have more time.

I read this or something like it recently, but forgot where or who wrote it (if you know the author, please let me know, so I can give attribution). A case in point of information overload.

But, how can you have more time if you take time out of your already hectic day to meditate?

An article at HealthyBrains.org, noted that the average person has 70,000 thoughts per day.

Since there are 1,440 minutes in a day and 86,400 seconds, this means you’re having thoughts almost every second of every day.

Is it any wonder many of us have trouble focusing?

Meditation is another mind-clearing tool that allows the brain to take a breather.

It helps create a calmer you, thus leading to a more focused and productive you.

My acupuncturist, who was a neurologist in China and has been practicing Chinese medicine for over 40 years, says that the number one thing you can do for your health is to meditate.

Give it a Shot – Incorporate these two productivity strategies into your writing and marketing work week.

Every Sunday, make a list of the top six must-do items for Monday.

Don’t just breeze through your list of to-dos, take the time to think whether a particular item is REALLY needed.

Will it move your goals forward? Will it earn you money?

At the bottom of your to-do list for each day, add: TAKE 15-30 MINUTES TO MEDITATE. Even five minutes a day is better than none.

Do this for 90 days, as Lee instructed, and see what happens.

Then let us know – leave a comment!

Note: I also read that Lee sought Schwab out to propose he could increase his company’s productivity. Whether Lee sought out Schwab or Schwab sought out Lee, it worked.

This article was first published at: https://www.articlewritingdoctor.com/2015/10/are-your-writing-and-marketing-efforts-productive-2-productivity-tips/

References:
-http://www.jameswedmore.com/how-to-be-productive/ (link no longer works)
-https://www.fastcompany.com/3062946/this-100-year-old-to-do-list-hack-still-works-like-a-charm 
-https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/shahilla-barok/did-you-knowyou-have-betw_b_11819532.html
-http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/meditation/HQ01070
-https://in-housestaff.org/dont-time-meditate-hour-761

Need help with your story?
I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach. I can help turn your story into a book you’ll be proud to be author of, one that’s publishable and marketable.

Contact me at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Or, you can give me a call at 834---347---6700

Or, if you’d rather do-it-yourself, check out my book, How to Write a Children’s Fiction Book.

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Mar 06

Words Can Influence Your Writing Career

Contributed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Did you know that habits increase our chance at success--or not?

Habits are influenced by thought patterns which are in turn influenced by the seeds of our subconscious. Those seeds are words. So reaching for success by changing how we think about words as they relate to our progress in life are often espoused by leaders like psychologists and business leaders like Elle Kaplan, CEO and founder of Lexion Capital, an investment management firm.
 
To use our talents more effectively we want habits that nurture our better selves. We want our best habits to dominate our world view, but we can also turn habits we consider destructive into positives. We can do that with the power of words; we substitute words that influence us negatively for those that move us forward. It occurs to me that the process may be easier for writers who already aware of and accept the power of words in our lives. We can make a few words (and habits!) that work against us into words (and habits) that work for us—both consciously and subconsciously.
 
Defensiveness can become curiosity. Curiosity nurtures new ideas, new successes. Curiosity helps in our endeavors to observe details more creatively. Generally speaking, writers have already honed that skill. But curious people also listen more acutely. The asking of questions and the listening to answers are important skills for authors who do public speaking or teaching. Asking questions can get you out of a whole lot of hot water. You may even discover that you have common ground with a heckler!
 
Envy or jealousy are similar to admiration. When we use the “a” word—admire—instead of letting the little green monster take control of our thought patterns, we begin to see how we easy it is to emulate what we admire. That simple change is a positive pattern for growth.
 
Turn procrastination into achievement. Tasks, jobs, assignments sometimes feel like burdens. When you focus on hating them, they are destructive. Instead, rearrange your thinking. Think of them as opportunities for learning. Maybe for learning another skill. Maybe that skill will be organizing our time better. You’ll think of others that might be particularly useful to you as you tackle each of your projects with a different attitude.
 
Turn gut or knee-jerk reactions into level-headed thinking. One way to do this is to avoid making decisions when you are upset, disgruntled, feeling jealous, angry, sad . . . or even overly excited or enthusiastic. This rule has been with most of us since our parents told us not to act until after we have counted to ten. When we substitute the new term for the old, it becomes easier to do. Besides, we now have maturity on our side.
 
Here’s the most important change. And perhaps the most difficult. How many celebrities have we seen get themselves into trouble because they haven’t turned their success into humility? Success follows as your life-skills improve. Why not tape the word “humility” to your bathroom mirror as a reminder of how to handle success. It will happen. Success fosters more success. And you have the power of words on your side.
This post was first published at: https://www.writersonthemove.com/2020/12/new-years-resolution-five-ways-to-let.html

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Author and Book Marketer
Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. 
 
Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of “Fourteen San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts.
                           
Need help with your story?
Whether you need help with ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347---834---6700.

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable and marketable story today!

Or, if you'd rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN'S FICTION BOOK.
  
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Dec 05

Want to Write For Anthologies?

Writing for an anthology.
Thinking of writing for an anthology? I have been for quite a while now, but just can’t seem to find the time to do the research and submit.

Well, if you have been thinking about it, I have a guest post by Sharon Blumberg, who’s been there and done that.

Here it goes:

If you are not familiar with writing for anthologies, we will discuss more about this topic. An anthology is a completed work of writings that are submitted and accepted into a book by the editor and publisher. It is always based around a given theme, so it is important to follow the guidelines when writing for them, including the writing genre. 

One of the advantages of writing for anthologies is that your story contribution is generally longer lasting than that of a magazine, and the anthology fills a hole within the writing market. I have contributed my writings to a number of anthologies. Please see them on my Publications page: https://sharonoblumbergauthor.com/publications/

When writing submissions are being offered and announced by the editor, they come in many forms. Among these forms are open, closed, mixed, or open/closed. It is important to make note when these are listed, because these conditions state who may apply. 

For example:

Open means a wider range of writers may submit.
Closed means that the prospective contributor is invited only by the editor. 
Mixed means that it may be open or closed at different points in time. 
Open/Closed means the editor will let writers know if submissions are open, when they are open, or closed when they are closed.

Some anthologies have already secured publishers, where in some cases, a publisher may not yet be secured. Self-publishing is also an option for the editor to consider after editing and compiling the story collections.

Anthologies and Writer Rights

There are a number of rights anthology writers receive such as First Rights, First Anthology Rights, Anthology Rights, and etc. You should make sure you understand what the rights mean upon signing your acceptance contract to the themed collection. In this way, you will know how to proceed in using your published contribution as a reprint to future publications.

If you are interested in writing for anthologies, how do you find them? 

The easiest way to find them is by doing research. You may use various search engines to look up writing anthologies looking for writers, anthologies searching for contributors, etc.

Other great places to research writing markets looking for anthology writers would be social media platforms, writing organizations, Funds for Writers, who offer informative articles for writers, along with writing markets, including, anthologies. 

Another good one is Chicken Soup for the Soul book series. They always offer new upcoming books as they ask for contributors, so watch for the dates and themes. Poets & Writers Magazine’s classified sections, always list anthologies asking for writers.
 
Please find the websites below. 
https://www.pw.org
https://www.fundsforwriters.com
https://www.chickensoup.com 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sharon O. Blumberg is a recently retired school teacher, having taught seventh grade Spanish and Language Arts for over 20 years. In addition, she is a writer and voiceover artist. She is married with two grown children and young, twin grandchildren. She currently resides in the Austin area of Texas with her husband. When she is not reading or writing, she loves spending time with her family and friends, and going on long walks.

Need help with your story?
Whether you need help with ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347---834---6700.

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable and marketable story today!

Or, if you'd rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN'S FICTION BOOK.
 
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Jul 18

Hitch Your Wagon to a Star

Shoot for the Stars

“Hitch your wagon to a star!”
~ Ralph Wald Emerson

When I looked this quote up, I was surprised to find that there are two different attitudes toward it or meanings for it.

The first reference is to set your goals high. Another adage for it is “shoot for the stars.”

With this meaning, it’s referring to setting high goals and strive toward them. Or, you might already have high goals, but the likelihood of reaching them are slim. Don’t let that stop you. Go for it. Even if you’re told it’s not probable. Do your very best to become whatever it is you want to become.

This is the meaning I always thought of for this quote. And according to my research, this is what Ralph Waldo Emerson had in mind.

The second meaning is more modern and more cynical. It refers to attaching yourself to successful people, even famous people in order to reach your goals through them, through your association with them.

It figures the more modern meaning is cynical. Instead of being inspirational, it’s negative: use others to your own advantage.

Which do you think it refers to?

Source:
https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/Hitch+your+wagon+to+a+star

NEED HELP WITH YOUR STORY?

Whether you need help with children’s ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700.

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable and marketable story today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

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Writing – Do Not Worry About Failures


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Dec 13

Writing and the Imposter Syndrome

How confident of your writing skills are you?

I watched an amazing Zoom webinar with Carolyn Howard-Johnson and her publisher Victor Volkman. It was from the Upper Peninsula Publishers and Authors Association Writing Conference – they did it virtually rather than in-person.

Carolyn is an award-winning author and an expert book marketer, so when she has something to share, I listen.

A small part of her talk was about the imposter syndrome.

Making it easier to understand, it’s the ‘I’m not good enough,’ syndrome.

According to Wikipedia, the “imposter syndrome is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a ‘fraud’.”

So, what has this to do with writers?

Well, once we feel we’re not really a good writer, we begin to underestimate our ability and our value.

Unfortunately, this syndrome seeps its way into new and even seasoned writers and it can cause consequences.

The ‘I’m not a good enough writer’ syndrome or I’m a fraud and sooner or later everyone will know.

Have you ever felt like this?

Once a writer has these feelings, it can stop her from moving forward.

Maybe she’s been thinking of seeking an agent’s representation.

Maybe he’s thought of submitting to traditional publishers.

Maybe he’s wanted to get article published in magazines, like Writer’s Digest or the Writer. Or, maybe there’s another magazine they’d love to write for.

BUT …

She doesn’t think she’s good enough so doesn’t even try.

There’s an expression I love: Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

You don’t have to be the best writer on Earth.

It’s not the best writer who succeeds, it’s the write who perseveres. Part of perseverance is to actually submit your work.

It’s about writing the book you want to write and self-publishing if that’s the route you want to go.

It’s about submitting your manuscript to agents and publishers.

With that said, it is important to make sure you at least know how to write.

  • Read a lot.
  • Read books the agent has represented if that’s what you want to do.
  • Read books that the publisher has published if that your dream.
  • Read ‘good’ books in the genre you want to write.
  • And, take the time to learn how to write, if you haven’t yet. There are amazing online classes that can help you with this.

Another problem is if a writer with this syndrome offers services, like editing or ghostwriting.

If you’re offering writing services and don’t really believe you’re qualified enough to offer these services, you’re in trouble.

  • The first thing that will happen is you won’t charge what you’re worth. This can cause a domino effect.
  • Your lower prices will have some potential clients believing you’re not as good as other services are charging more.
  • You may let clients tell you how to write. Or, you may not be confident to explain to your client that what he has done or wants to do won’t work.
  • You’ll second guess most everything you do.

If you have these feelings, it might be helpful to create a vision board.

Put a few quotes or saying that will help you believe in yourself. Be sure to keep it where you’ll see it every day!

And another good idea is to keep learning your craft.

This also goes for wannabe authors. Learn about write by reading books in the genre you want to write and then go for it.

If you’re not sure how to go about it and need some help, I’ll be happy to jump in. Whether you need ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, just send me an email and we can discuss your project.

To watch Carolyn’s talk, which has lots of book marketing tips, CLICK BELOW:

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need help with ghostwriting or rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable story today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

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Nov 29

Don’t Give Up – Seek Inspiration

Don't Give Up

Contributed by Linda Wilson

All writers experience it: low times. A low time can rear its ugly head after a particularly painful rejection, a bad case of writer’s block, or in my current challenge, a serious case of lack of writing time. At times like these there is only one thing to do: Seek inspiration.

So before you make those New Year’s resolutions, spend a little time filling your well with inspiration. Jot down inspirational sayings and thoughts that speak to you—tack them onto your bulletin board and read them periodically throughout the New Year.

Read the Tea Leaves

During a recent visit with one of my daughters, I delighted in sharing a quiet moment with her sipping a cup of tea at the end of the day. Our favorite? Yogi Bedtime Tea (Yogi tea in its many varieties is sold at most major grocery and natural food stores). My daughter would read her saying to me and ask me what mine said, and we would revel in the simple yet profound sayings before taking our first sip.

I keep an envelope with some of my favorite inspirational sayings, many snipped from the strings on my teabags, and am considering using one of the Yogi sayings in the front pages of my WIP book. Enjoy a few from my collection:

“Oneness is achieved by recognizing your self.”
“Happiness comes from contentment.”
“Your intuition is your best friend.”
“Love, compassion and kindness are the anchors of life.”
“Let things come to you.”
“Live from your heart, you will be most effective.”
“I pay no attention whatever to anybody’s praise or blame. I simply follow my own feelings. “ – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) A saying from a Good Earth teabag.

Inspirational sayings Tacked onto My Bulletin Board

“I began to wonder if this was why I’m not afraid of the work it takes to write a novel. For me, writing isn’t work. It’s fun. It’s a creative exploration into my characters, their world, the possible points of view the story could be written in, or the possible scenes that could exist. It’s about exploring how wide and deep and wonderful a story can be, rather than seeing it as a straight shot from beginning to end. It’s not time to work on this revision. It’s time to play with this revision. I’m going to open my manuscript and not work, but play.” – Ingrid’s Notes

A note about Ingrid Sundberg: I’ve been following Ingrid Sundberg’s blog for years and gain a great deal of inspiration from her. She is the author of the YA novel, All We Left Behind, critiques manuscripts, and has recently begun teaching high school. If you don’t know her, I recommend visiting her blog. I think you’ll be glad you did.

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” – Anton Chekhov, known to be one of the greatest short fiction writers in history.

“Art can heal anything and everything. Go and give and give and give. And when you give it all, it comes back to you.” – Ben Vereen

A note about Ben Vereen: Ben Vereen, an “accomplished and versatile” entertainer has appeared on Broadway, performed many one-man shows in the US and abroad, played Chicken George in Roots and Louis Armstrong in Louis Armstrong, has had many appearances on TV and has accomplished much more.

Vereen holds a special place in my heart because of his courage in keeping his terrific attitude after losing his 16-year-old daughter in an auto accident, and suffering critical injuries from three accidents in one day.

“You’re dealt a hand of cards. You can choose to play it out—or not. I think the game is worthwhile, I really do.” Christopher Reeve, the actor who suffered a spinal cord injury after being thrown from a horse.

Do the work. Do the work. Do the work. Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad fame. I’m an audiobook fan and became inspired by Cranston’s story and advice in his autobiography audiobook, read by him,:A Life in Parts.

“Learning never exhausts the mind,” Leonardo daVinci, heard on CNN Fareed Zakaria’s GPS show on Sunday morning.

Benefit from Other Writers’ Wisdom

“Show up, show up, show up, and after a while, the muse shows up too.” – Isabel Allende, the Chilean-American author of The House of the Spirits.

“Kill your darlings. Even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.” Stephen King. One of the main inspirations I draw from Stephen King, and there are many, is how he gave up on his first book, Carrie, and threw it in the trash. His wife found it and advised him that it was good—keep going. When he finally finished it, it was rejected 30 times!

“Start telling the stories that only you can tell.” – Neil Gaiman, celebrated English author of American Gods, Coraline, and Sandman comics.

“Be daring, take on anything. Don’t labor over little cameo works in which every word is to be perfect. Technique holds a reader from sentence to sentence, but only content will stay in his mind.” – Joyce Carol Oates, author of over 40 novels, plays and novellas, and many volumes of poetry, short stories, and nonfiction.

As you begin the New Year, take heart. Inspiration can be found in likely places, and hidden in places you might least expect. You will feel renewed and ready to best any battle that should come along.

Linda Wilson, is a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate. She has published over 150 articles for children and adults, and several short stories for children. Visit Linda at https://www.lindawilsonauthor.com and on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/author/lindawilsonchildrensauthor.

This article was originally posted at: http://www.writersonthemove.com/2017/12/do-not-give-up-seek-inspiration.html

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need help with ghostwriting or rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable story today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

Why Do You Want to Write a Children’s Book?

Self-Publishing a Book (1) – Formatting

When Is It Time to Let Your Manuscript Fly?

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Oct 25

Talking Yourself Into Success or Out of It

I had a client who, after the book was almost complete, began to talk herself out of the project.

Keep in mind this had nothing to do with money – the project was already paid for. The client simply began second-guessing herself.

  • She wondered will there be a market for her story.
  • She wondered if young readers would be interested in the story.
  • She wondered if she was just wasting her time.

I was able to convince her that ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained.’ I told her that you just never know – her book could influence children. Even if a book influences one child, that’s one child you’ve reached.

Before this client, I don’t remember ever having a client try to talk herself out of possible success. But then I came across an email from the Morning Nudge by Suzanne Lieurance.

After reading it, I realized that many people talk themselves out of success, myself included.

For years I tried to make money writing. I tried a number of different arenas, including business writing, academic writing, health writing, and children’s writing. For a long while nothing seemed to click.

And, with the ‘feast or famine’ freelance writing business, it’s easy to get discouraged and feel like packing it in.

Fortunately, I kept plugging away. I didn’t talk myself out of success. I may have done other things to delay it, but now I have a successful children’s ghostwriting business and even have the need to hire subcontractors.

The point is, you never know when or where you’ll find success. You need to keep plugging away and stop talking yourself out of success.

In fact, do the opposite. Talk yourself into success!

Here’s some of what author and writing coach Lieurance says about it:

If you have trouble taking action to reach your goals, ask yourself this question, “Am I talking myself out of success?”

I see people do this all the time.

They say they want something, but in the next breath they start justifying why they can’t (or probably can’t) do, have, or be the very thing they want.

Sound familiar?

We all do this from time to time and most of the time we don’t even realize we’re doing it.

So, write this question on an index card and place it near your computer (or on your kitchen counter) so you can see it throughout the day—Am I talking myself out of success?

Then, if you hesitate to take action toward your goals today, look at this question.

It will help you realize the only thing keeping you from success is that you keep talking yourself out of it.

And once you realize you’re doing this, you can stop doing it.

To get your own daily nudge, subscribe to Suzanne Lieurance’s Morning Nudge!

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need help with ghostwriting or rewriting, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable story today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

Children’s Writing – Creating your Main Character

Secondary Characters – Are They Important?

Be a Successful Writer Even if You Don’t Think You Have Enough Time

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Aug 02

Writing Ideas – 5 Ways to Find Them

6 Ways to Find Writing Ideas

Contributed by Debra Eckerling

While you can use activity to find inspiration and breathe life into your projects, sometimes what you really need is a new idea.

Whether you are writing blog posts, prose, or long-form fiction or non-fiction, sometimes you need to go back to basics and find a kernel of an idea to get you started.

Here are 5 places to find ideas, as well as how to use them for non-fiction or fiction.

  1. Explore Social media. See what’s up on your favorite social media pages and groups.

Non-Fiction: Check out which newbies are doing what in your field. Then, reach out to some of these up-and-comers, and see if they would be interested in being interviewed This could turn out to be a profile for your blog, an article to pitch, or a feature that includes several people doing interesting things in your field.

Fiction: Social media is a great place to seek out character traits, including descriptions, hobbies, and even jobs. Sometimes a great character is all you need for a fabulous story.

  1. Read Books. Writers should be readers.

Non-Fiction: Write a list post of books to recommend your readers. Lump books together on a certain theme or topic. Start with ideas that interest you, because, if you get excited about a topic, it’s likely your readers will too.

Fiction: Pick a page, a paragraph, and a line in a random book on your shelf. Or go to a library and pick something new. That line is the start of your next story or novel. Okay, this may not work for a long-form project, but when you give yourself the mandate to write at least a few pages about any random thing, it will certainly rev up your creativity.

  1. Watch Videos. Dive into someone else’s world.

Non-Fiction: Take a topic you’ve always been curious about or find a person who seems interesting, do a search, and watch some videos. Something within this exploration will make a good topic.

Fiction: This is a great place to people-watch (and find character traits) without leaving the comfort of home. Since this is a visual medium, pay close attention to the way people interact. Look at body language and listen for dialects.

  1. Have a Conversation. Pick up the phone and call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. Or else, strike up a conversation with someone while waiting in line.

Non-Fiction: You never know what you can discover about someone unless you really pay attention when they speak. This person may have a great lead for a post idea …or this person may be that great idea!

Fiction: Take someone’s story and fictionalize it: minimize or exaggerate it! Have fun with this one.

  1. Make a List. Write a list of anything that has ever piqued your curiosity.

Non-Fiction: Pick something at random to learn and then write about it. If it’s a long-term project, write a monthly update on your progress.

Fiction: Challenge yourself to write a story incorporating no fewer than 20 items on the list. Feeling gutsy? Go for 50.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. The more you seek them out, you will see that ideas are everywhere.

Where do you go to find ideas, especially when ideas elude you? Share your recommendations in the comments.

This article was first published at:
http://www.writersonthemove.com/2016/06/5-ways-to-find-new-idea.html

Debra Eckerling is the author of Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals. A writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of the DEB METHOD and Write On Online, Deb works with individuals and businesses to set goals and manage their projects through one-on-one coaching, workshops, and online support. She is also the author of Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog and Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages, host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat and #GoalChatLive on Facebook, and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

Children's ghostwriter

Let me take a look at your notes, outline, or draft. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter and rewriter. I can turn your story into a book that you’ll be proud to be author of.

Shoot me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com (please put Children’s Ghostwriter in the Subject line). Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700

Let’s get your story in publishable shape today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.

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Jun 14

Three Tips on Starting a Book Series

Writing a Series

Contributed by Linda Wilson

Writer Beware: “Series are tricky. Writing series is not for the faint of heart.” So says Janet Lane Walters, award-winning author of series in multiple genres and more; as quoted in my latest find, Writing the Fiction Series: The Complete Guide for Novels and Novellas, by Karen S. Wiesner.

I am living testimony to this fact. My dream has been to expand the one undertaking that has taken heart and soul to write, MY BOOK, into a series. The dream took shape when I realized I didn’t want to part with my characters. Little did I know what the creation of a series would mean. Thank goodness so many authors are willing to share their ideas on writing a series, including how to begin, how to avoid common pitfalls and how to stay on target, whether you’re writing a trilogy or see no end in sight.

In today’s post, I would like to summarize three topics that will help propel you out of the gate, described in Wiesner’s book: Book Groupings, Types of Series and Series Blurbs. If you are looking for good, solid advice on writing a series, I highly recommend Wiesner’s book, which offers a thorough approach with many examples and worksheets that can save time and effort.

Book Groupings are as Familiar as Fiction Itself

Series: Any continuous or interconnected set of stories. The two main types are the books best read sequentially, such as Harry Potter books; and those books read in any order, such as Nancy Drew books.

Trilogy: Continues one long-term story arc or each story stands alone with a loose connection.

Serial: Serial, episode or periodical stories come from a single work and are read in installments, such as Charles Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers, first published in 1836; considered to have established the serial format. A current example is Stephen King’s story, The Plant (2000).

Miniseries: A planned number of stories told within an existing series. A personal favorite of mine on television, such as the six-part Roots and John Adams; Wiesner gives as her example in writing, The Darling Birds, by Johnny Dale.

Other types of groupings include: Prequel, Sequel, Interquel, Spin-off, and Tetralogy (four-book series that can be developed the same as a Trilogy).

What Type is your Series?
The four main types of series Wiesner pins down, summarized here, has helped me turn a fuzzy idea of what I’m attempting to write into a clear vision. She points out that authors often create a combination of these types, a good idea if you want your series to stand out.

Recurring character: Popular in mystery/suspense stories, fantasy, sci fi and paranormal genres. Wiesner's example: Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer.

Your star character appears in each book, often with her trusty sidekick. The stories can be told from one or the other point of view.

I considered doing this in my current series project but was advised by an editor that by switching POVs, some of the reader’s emotional investment in my main character could be lost. I decided for this first series, to stick with the two mc’s who are introduced in Book 1, with one of them the predominant mc. Wiesner advises that in this type of series there’s a large cast of characters with varied importance from story to story.

Central Group of Characters: Popular in romance novels, women's fiction, paranormal, sci fi and fantasy. Example: Redwall Series by Brian Jacques.

Your main group of characters have a loose or specific connection that ties them together, and one or two of the characters become the mc as the series progresses.

Premise/Plot Series: Popular in action/adventure, suspense and thriller, inspirational, paranormal, horror, sci fi and fantasy. Example: Unbidden Magic Series by Marilee Brothers.

The connection in this type of series is the plot or premise that is the underlying theme.

Setting Series: Your setting works in your series' books across the board.

The stories are tied by the setting. Characters can change, but the setting stays the same.

Series Blurbs on Steroids
One of the most difficult tasks of fiction writing, as we know, is encapsulating our novel in a short, concise sentence.

Weisner suggests blurbing your entire series in the early stages of the work, keeping it to one to four sentences; as short as possible and tweaking it as you go along.

Your series blurb should:

– Be an overview of the entire series.
– Tell how the books in the series are connected.
– Inspire readers to want to read not just one book but the entire series.
– Let the genre shine through.
– Give the blurb the same tone as the story.
– Consider adding interest by making the blurb a question or an exclamation.
– Should give you a plan on how your series will end.

Nailing down these preliminary tasks, authors say, will save you much time and effort as you write your series. But the initial planning is not yet complete. This trilogy of posts will conclude next month with various worksheet suggestions, that if started early, can serve as reminders of details that might be forgotten and not easily found once your series gets rolling.

This article was first published at: http://www.writersonthemove.com/2016/10/three-tips-on-starting-series-part-2.html

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, has published over 100 articles for adults and children, and six short stories for children. Recently, she completed Joyce Sweeney’s online fiction courses, picture book course and mystery and suspense course. She has currently finished her first book, a mystery/ghost story for 8-12 year-olds, and is in the process of publishing it. Follow Linda on Facebook.

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need help with ghostwriting or rewriting, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable story today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.
http://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com/diy/

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Jun 07

Writers and Self-Doubt

Contributed by Suzanne Lieurance

Self doubt can creep into your psyche without you even suspecting it’s there until the first niggling thought makes itself clear.

This happens to writers all the time.

If you’re a writer, you must constantly be aware of your thoughts and how you’re reacting to them, so you can weed out thoughts of self-doubt before they grow and take over your creativity and destroy your goals.

Doubts can run wild in your mind, making you question your abilities about anything new or different.

If you’re prepared, you can recognize the doubts for the untrue limiting beliefs they are and let your knowledge and common sense get you through.

When you check in to reality, you’ll realize that the negative thoughts are occurring for various reasons.

For example, you could be lost in comparing yourself with other writers.

This may make you feel inadequate and doubt your ability to succeed.

Make a firm decision and stick to it.

When self doubt about what you’re trying to accomplish creeps into your thoughts, make a decision to either carry through with your goal or trash it and go on with something else you’re more certain of.

If you do decide to go on to something else, don’t think of it as a failure.

It was a learning experience that taught you a lesson and you aren’t wasting any more time on it.

If you decide to go through with the plan, take action immediately.

Making a fast decision may seem impulsive, but most likely the decision is based on intuition and the knowledge that you’ve prepared enough for the journey ahead.

You can always fine tune your plan as you progress.

At least you’re taking action toward your goals.

Replace negative self doubt with positive thoughts. Choose any method that works for you. Meditation, journaling, affirmations, listening to music or reading a good book or simply chatting with positive-minded friends may give you the boost you need to move on.

All of us find ourselves dealing with self doubt at some point in our writing careers.

But if you let self doubt get the best of you, by feeding into it and actually believing the untrue stories you’re telling yourself, it can destroy even the best of intentions for success.

Learn to recognize and weed out the crippling, negative thoughts and get on with achieving the goals you’ve set for yourself.

Begin by becoming aware of your thoughts – check in with them a few times a day.

You’ll soon be able to discern the “keeper” thoughts from the “discard” pile.

Try it!

This post was first published at:
Writing Success- Recognize and Weed Out Self Doubt

For more writing tips and resources delivered to your e-mailbox every weekday morning, get your free subscription to The Morning Nudge from Suzanne Lieurance, the Working Writer’s Coach.

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need help with ghostwriting or rewriting, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable story today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.

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