Routine Writing Habits For Every Writer

They say it takes at least twenty-one days to start a new habit and the same is true for getting into a routine writing habit. I know it’s not going to happen overnight and I also know it won’t stick if I’m only doing it for a week. However, in order to make sure it happens, I’m going to have to take some initiative. My previous post explained how to write everyday, but this post explains how to make sure it sticks and stays as a habit.

routine writing habits

Planning

In order to start developing routine writing habits, you have to plan. If you read my previous post on planning, you will understand how easy it is to write quickly when you have a one. The prior post will help you plan for the month. Once you have a plan you are able to write more effectively, more focus, and write better quality information. Planning is an important part of writing as well as research. In order to research you have to know what you are hoping to write about.

Timing

Ever heard someone say that timing is everything? Well, it is the same thing for writing, especially if you’re creating routine writing habits.  If you’ve ever taken medicine you’ll notice that the doctor tells you to take it every day at the same time. This is because it allows the medicine to stay in your system at a similar dosage. It’s more effective to have a consistent dosage of medicine in your body while trying to fight off an infection or whatever else the medicine needs to do. Writing is similar. If you choose a time everyday to write, you will get your brain into the habit of oozing creative juices that will flow at the same time everyday. When you’re writing at the same time everyday and you’re used to coming up with good information at the same time daily, you will find that it is easier for you to focus and easier for you to write.

Preparation

My last tip for routine writing habits is preparation. Never end your day of writing at the end of your blog post. Always right at least the first paragraph of the next day’s article. Some advice suggest writing the first paragraph, however I believe that you can write any part of your article and then the next day pick up where you left off. This allows you to pick up on the train of thought from the day before and makes it easier to write. The idea is that you are already writing a post and you have already taken the time to get into a creative flow, so writing the next part of your blog post should be easier than having to start all over the next day.

That’s it. Those are my three suggestions for getting into the routine of writing daily.  This should allow you and me to start our twenty-one day journey to developing routine writing habits. I’m sure this will supply me with the greatest content since I’ll become more organized and focused. I can’t wait until I merge both of my posts together and become the ultimate content machine. Let me know if you’ve decided to take the 21 routine writing habits challenge.

Writing Every Day

Every blog writer has a goal of writing every day, but it’s challenging. Writing every day can be difficult when you’re not focused, but even when you are focused it still can be frustrating. It is my goal to start writing every day, but in order to do so, I had to take some initiative to make sure that I would achieve my goal. As I thought about how I’ve been writing every day, I found that I have advice to share. Here are the tips I discovered for writing every day.

Figure Out Your Topic

The best way to start writing daily is to decide on a topic and stick to it. You can’t plan your ideas or your writing material if you are all over the place in thought. Figuring out your topic will help you to focus on what you’re writing. Not only will it help you focus on what you’re writing, but it will also help you focus on your audience. The key to writing daily is to figure out what your audience wants to read and give it to them. Overall, when you know your topic you are better focused to write. You can even divide your topic into subtopics. This will give you more to plan, but also give you a wider, yet more organized range of information to pull from.

writing every dayPlan Your Writing Material

Once you have figure out your topic and/or your subtopics, now you can plan on what to write. This part of the process is all about what you actually want to write about. I imagine the topic you chose interests you, in fact, if it doesn’t then you should start over. Once you have a topic that you like, then you can start with ideas that interest you or ideas that led you to choose the topic. Then you can choose popular ideas or things that most people write about. I know most people don’t want to be like the crowd, but just because you’re writing on the latest fitness craze doesn’t mean you have to take the same stance as everyone else.

To truly write every day, it’s probably best to think of about 30 ideas for your topic. If you have subtopics, here is where they come in handy. Instead of having to think of thirty ideas about your topic, when you split it up into, let’s say 3 subtopics, you will only have to think of 10 ideas per subtopic. For example, if your topic is nutrition, then maybe you could have subtopics about supplements, diets, and healthy lifestyles. You would then choose ten ideas. For supplements, you could choose vitamin deficiencies, FDA regulations, and popular vitamins. These ideas would become the basis for your blog title.

Summarize Your Ideas

Once you have your topic, subtopics, and ideas you can then start writing. However, it’s not time to fully write a post. In this section, what you want to do is write one to two sentences about each idea. If you’ve ever seen or written an annotated bibliography, then you know what to do. The sentences are a summary of what you’re planning on writing about. More than likely you will have forgotten what each topic was about or why you decided to write about it in the first place. This will help you later in the month to quickly remember and not waste time writing your blog post.

Stay Alert

After all that is done, go ahead and start writing, but stay alert. There are things that you are writing that will help other posts. Perhaps you need to research information about vitamin deficiencies and find out that most people are deficient in vitamin D and therefore it’s a popular vitamin. That information will help another post since one of your ideas is about popular vitamins. Stay alert when watching television or listening to the radio, there may be information that you could use when writing your blog post. When you’re reading online journals or magazines, see there is any information related to your ideas. Doing so will help you to write faster and free up your time to plan for the next month.

Hopefully, these tips will help make it easier to start writing every day.

If you have any ideas that could help you write every day, let me know. Write your suggestions in the comments below.

How Reading Makes You a Better Writer

It’s a statement recited multiple times to young children; reading is fundamental. Many writers hear something similar. It is said that reading makes you a better writer. In a previous post, I detail why reading is important and how it took me a while to figure it out. However, does it matter what you read? I could understand if you were reading academic journals or textbooks, but what about other genres? What if you’re reading comedy or horror? How does it really help you improve? These are the questions I sought after.

Originally, my thoughts were that the flow of the book would act as an example for authors when organizing their material. I also thought the authors could learn more vocabulary when reading other works. I did some research and I found out it doesn’t matter what you’re reading. As long as you’re reading, it improves your writing. Here’s how reading improves an author’s writing.

Vocabulary

I was right about one thing, reading does improve vocabulary. It exposes the reader to more words than a television show or even a conversation between peers. When you have a better vocabulary you can better explain scenarios and paint better imagery within your books. Your newfound adjectives and verbs will deepen your reader’s overall view of the setting and plots you’re writing.

Healthy Brain

In my search, I found that reading helps improve the health of the brain. This article says it’s just as good as jogging or exercising. It also improves the blood flow to the brain. Reading improves brain functions like memory and decreases the brain’s decline that comes with age. Also according to the article,

“Those who engage their brains through activities such as reading, chess, or puzzles could be 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who spend their down time on less stimulating activities.”

Relating to Others

Some writers hang around people that are similar to their characters and they have a hard time relating to other people that are dissimilar to them. Reading helps writers relate to other ethnic groups and socioeconomic statuses. If you’re Black and don’t hang around present-day Native Americans, how would you know how they would respond to certain situations?

Relaxation

The article cites a scientific study that says losing yourself in a book is truly relaxing. I believe relaxation is the key to writing. When I’m relaxing, I feel at ease and my creative juices flow better than when I’m stressing over the material I plan to write. The concept is also backed by a cognitive neuropsychologist.

Where to Find Books

Although the article prefers traditional softcover or hardcover books to ebooks, as long as you’re reading, I think you’re writing will still improve. I came across a site that tailors books to your preferred genres. It sends an email with book suggestions and also has a daily list of free and discounted ebook titles. Their discounted titles are usually $0.99 to $2.99. Here’s what their website says.

“BookBub features limited-time offers for the best free books in over twenty genres, from both top-tier publishers and critically-acclaimed independent authors. These free ebooks are available on all devices, including Kindle, Nook, iPad, and Android”.

Reading Makes You a Better WriterClick here for their free ebook list and don’t forget to check them out for great titles to read. The only thing is that you have to join their mailing list. In order to view their site, you have to sign up using your email, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I get their daily emails and they give their customers a choice of how to purchase books (free or paid). You can purchase through Amazon or Google. Lastly, they will also send you a list of articles to read. This can give you great ideas when looking for writing ideas for blog posts.

I hope this list will motivate you to improve your writing by reading more books. I also hope that the resource given will help you to find books you love to read, therefore making it easier to improve your writing skills.

Get Inspired: 7 Everyday Writing Prompts

writing promptsInspiration can come by the simplest things in life. If we take the time to truly observe all that is around us our situations will become our own writing prompts. Instead of searching for lists of prompts and saving them to your writer’s block file, take a look around you and relax. I’m sure you will find something that will spark your imagination and get your hands to writing. If you somehow aren’t able to open your mind to see all the possibilities, try my list below for 7 writing prompts. Many of these suggestions are for novelists and storytellers, but other writers can use these too.

Artwork Stories

Have you ever looked at a piece of art and wondered what was the artist trying to convey? Maybe you’ve wondered what made them decide to draw or paint this? These simple questions can open your imagination to a world of wonder, insight, and inventiveness. Let your mind run free as you imagine the life they led or the experiences they’ve encountered that caused them to create that particular piece. Think about what was happening in their time period and how you can put a twist on it or just write a story about a fictional character that painted a similar piece of art as the one you’re looking at.

Write your Dreams

I’m sure you’ve heard of the Twilight series and how the author, Stephanie Meyer, wrote the first book based on a dream she had. I don’t have to tell you that she made millions of dollars and even had her books turned into a series of movies. Even if your dreams are weird you can still use them. If you write about romance and you had a dream about aliens, put a spin on it and write from the perspective of a loving couple that has to work together during an alien invasion. You don’t really have to focus on the aliens, but you can use what happened as the reason the couple falls in love. Another way to spin your alien dream would be to make the two lovebirds into aliens, but never tell the audience until the climax or as an end of the story twist.

People Watch

Have you watched this scene from the movie Date Night?

Some people may say it’s mean, but if you look at it from a different perspective then you would be able to turn your idle people watching moments into active writing sessions. It could make your book more personable and your dialogue more believable. Also, write down their actions and reactions. Then observe their facial expressions and gestures. Maybe she flips her hair and maybe he scrunched his nose a lot. Those types of idiosyncrasies make characters stand out. I bet all that happens in one people watching session is too hard to even write down; you’d definitely won’t be able to capture it all. In fact, I believe this would work so well, I may do a 7 day people watching challenge. Anyone care to join?

Retell Conversations

Get together with your friends and family to see what they’ve heard lately or what conversations they’ve had with others. The conversation doesn’t have to be about your writing genre. As a writer, you should be inventive and abundant in imagination that you could merge two genres and lean heavily on the genre you prefer. However, I feel like retelling conversations would be suited towards self-help or religion/spirituality genres. You could gather what you hear, hold onto it and compile a “retell list”. You don’t have to use one conversation to write one book, mix and match conversations.

Pet & Nature Watch

This will help children’s writers. Watch how a bird builds its nest or how a squirrel gathers acorns and write a story about it. Try giving the animals or insects a name. If you watch long enough, you’ll see things that go wrong and how they have to fix it. Use it as a learning lesson for children to never give up or to be patient. It’s sort of like the “Bee Movie”. The writers used the drone like actions of bees to write about a rebel bee who wanted to choose his own profession. This method could also be used for those that write poetry.

Use Your Real Life Problems

Everyone has struggles and situations in life that can be turned into a great book. All books are centered around problems the characters must overcome or solve before the book is over. It’s much easier to write about your issues and what you would like to do about them even if you aren’t able to actually do it. If you’d rather not write about your personal issues, you could try writing about your children’s issues. Do you have a kid that seems to find trouble? Perhaps you have a child that overthinks and analyzes everything; use it as the basis for a character.

Spin-off a TV Show or Movie

In 1996, a movie called “A Time to Kill” was shown in theaters. It featured a young Mississippi lawyer representing an older Mississippi, Black man who murdered his ten year old daughter’s assailants. At the end of the trial, the lawyer, who was very new to the courtroom, ended his defense by having the jurors close their eyes and imagine the brutal beating, raping, failed hanging attempt and overall violation of the young black victim. It caused the jurors to shed tears knowing that this happened, but then, as a twist in the story, the lawyer asked them to imagine that the young girl was white. Due to the time period that was a huge statement that ultimately caused him to win the case.

You can do the same thing. Imagine your favorite show and change or expand the characters. Here’s the thing – if it’s a really good movie, chances are, a lot of other people like it too. For example, The Predator series is a popular franchise which Jeff Vandermeer took advantage of and wrote a spin-off book about it, and it flourished. He went on to write 6 more novels! Here are more authors that wrote spin-off books.

There’s inspiration all around you. Just tap into your everyday life, stop and smell the roses – and then write a book about it. Let your imagination run wild and leave the editing for another day. Don’t forget to make writing fun, if you don’t, why do it?

If these suggestions don’t get you out of writer’s block, click here to try this.

Writing Better with Lifelong Learning

There are many professions that require lifelong learning in order to maximize their skills and previous educational knowledge. As times change, their professions must stay updated on things like new laws, new policies, and new scientific discoveries. A continuous education is needed for writers too. Although writing doesn’t have aspects that change, authors can forget basics or confuse tricky grammar and punctuation. A lot of writers also suffer from writer’s block. I’ll be honest, I always get mixed up with dialogue quotes and parentheses versus period placements. It’s good to know there are books and courses that you can take or read to write better – even better these are all free! Here are my suggestions for writing better with lifelong learning.

 

FREE Online Courses

Class Central

Class Central periodically updates a variety of online classes that are aimed at all types of writers, even new ones. They are sharing course information from real colleges and universities that have programs called Mass Open Online Course or MOOC. While most MOOCs aren’t free, the list on Class Central’s website are. You can find courses from prestigious institutions like Stanford University, to universities such as the University of California or Michigan State University, to online institutions such as Skillshare. Some of the topics are applied writing, basic writing, journalistic writing, and essay writing. What I like most are the names of the courses. Of course you have your basic English Composition, but there are courses on creative writing, grammar and style, thinking like a writer, content writing, blogging, storytelling, fiction, poetry, business, and scientific writing. I’m sure you’ll be able to find a course that you NEED to take.

The Crafty Writers Creative Writing Course

This free course is taught by a prolific author who has written and sold multiple novels, children series, and magazine articles. Fiona Veitch Smith, the editor of Plain Truth magazine, has created an online course with eight fun and powerful writing modules. Although the course doesn’t give you feedback on your writing, it does push you to start writing. (She offers critiquing at paid rate). Her courses teach on releasing your creativity, writing a short story, writing from certain points of view, and more. She also gives helpful resources and other literature that will aid you in your lifelong learning journey.

DIY MFA

If you’ve ever wanted to get your MFA in writing, here’s your chance and guess what? It’s free. The owner graduated with a MFA and noticed how others were struggling to feel like they were professionals because of their lack of education. She decided to create a free course that focuses on writing, reading, and building a community of writers.

More Free Online Courses

There are lots more free online courses compiled on TCK Publishing’s website. Scroll through the site and find the free course that best fits you.

writing

FREE Books 

If you want to know why you should read books to improve your writing, follow this link and read my blog post on why it’s so important. I challenge any writer to read at least one book per month and analyze the results.

Book Marketing Guide by Smashwords

This 2018 edition written by Smashwords founder and CEO, Mark Coker, introduces authors to important tips for book marketing. I mean what’s the point of writing if no one ever buys your products? This free e-book presents 65 marketing ideas and also gives advice for social media marketing as well. He even talks about how to get free press for your material.

How to Write a Good Query Letter by Noah Lukeman

This book is ranked 29th on Amazon’s website for Publishing. Noah Lukeman is a literary agent who receives hundreds, no thousands of query letters daily. His book details why he rejects letters and why he accepts letters and how to get your letter accepted. Isn’t that the goal of writing? Don’t you want to have your book published? This book also explains how to get and keep a literary agent. All of this piqued my interest, so I downloaded the free book from Amazon.

More Free Books on Writing

Smashwords has a full list of books that are free to download as pdf’s. They are all for writers looking to enhance their skills with lifelong learning. The first book is the most downloaded book on their website. Read through the list and download what you need or just download them all, they’re free.

I hope this article helps you to believe in lifelong learning and also helps you become a better writer.

Unmotivated To Write

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As I get older I realize that my lack of productivity or lack of motivation isn’t always because I’m lazy. Sometimes I’m unmotivated to write because my room is dirty or because I need new equipment. Other times, it’s because I don’t have a clear focus as to what I want to do or I don’t trust the vision I’ve laid out for myself.

Not having a clear vision is a result of not being sure of what I want. I know on my days off I’m struggling between trying to find a second job, write more blogs, and trying to enjoy my day off.  It’s like I spend the whole 16 hours of that day trying to figure out what to do first. When I finally figure it out, I have an hour before I go to bed, so I do nothing because I don’t have time.

My current solution to this is to create a daily schedule that maps out everything I need to do for that type of day. I divided the days of my week into off days and work days. On my off days, I would try to do more writing and researching for business ideas. On my work days, I’ll do just enough writing because I want to maximize my rest for the next day. The next thing I’ll add is a daily schedule to where I have specific tasks that need to get done on certain days of the week. For example, I’ll add my Toastmasters meetings on Thursdays, because I go to them weekly.

The next thing I’m working on is reevaluating my writing strategy. I’ll start by figuring out why I am writing. I know I love and enjoy the freedom it brings, but I don’t need to write for 9 hours a day. What, besides freedom and enjoyment, would I get out of it if I did? As I thought about it, I realized my answers change based on my financial stability. When I’m broke, I don’t see a point, but when I have money, then I want to do more writing. Then I wonder if I’m writing for the money or am I stressing over money which prevents me from writing at the level I want to be on. Financial stability is the reason I chose to work a regular job. I wanted to assure myself that I wouldn’t stress over money, thus increasing my productivity. August 2015 has been very stressful, but I managed to write twice. I want to get to the point in my life where I’m writing daily or even multiple times a day. Hopefully this gives me the urge to say, do and feel a need to blog more.

Now that I have financial stability, I still need to figure out why I am writing. I want a business explanation for it because, let’s be honest, if I just wanted to write and release, then I wouldn’t be taking acting classes, going to Toastmasters meetings, and seriously considering taking more writing classes. Clearly I have a desire to do so much more. Doing anything else less is unacceptable to me.

To motivate myself, I decided to start writing down my goals for becoming a writer and work backwards. My goal is to make money as a writer, and I want to make a living telling unique stories about the African American lifestyle that isn’t always talked about or discussed. This is an attempt to increase dialogue about who we really are as a people. Now, how do I get there?

As I’m writing this I realized I don’t have an answer to my question above. I think it’s fair to say that the reason I have a lack of motivation is because I don’t know how to get there. I have a book in the editing process and I’m working on the second one. Outside of that, I have really good ideas with nothing connecting them.

I think my next step in this journey to be a writer who earns a decent salary while learning to put these ideas together. The next step is to put a team together who can take these ideas and turn them into productive solutions to get my career going.

Cleaning my room helped improve my writing

messy room doesnt always help me think

As a writer, I am always looking for two things; a way to improve my writing and a way to produce more blog posts. During my search I’ve learned that many of my writing issues are right in front of me – meaning my work space (my room is dirty as hell!).

It’s a horrible habit to let your room clutter up with various things. My bad habit comes from poor time management, an overwhelmed mind and let’s face it, laziness. None of these are good excuses, but they are legitimate reasons for a messy room.

One day, I had a wonderful writing session; my thoughts were organized, and my creativity easily flowed. What changed? I had just deep cleaned my entire room! Writing became a simple task since my subconscious wasn’t repeatedly saying, ‘Damn, I have to clean my room, so hurry up’. Who knew cleaning my room would make me feel better?

Well, Michael J Formica MS, MA, EdM did and he says,

“The environment with which we surround ourselves is very often a direct expression of where we are emotionally and psycho-spiritually – our global state of mind. If we are distracted, we tend to lose things. If we are disorganized, the piles begin to collect. If we are feeling disconnected, the emails pile up, and the voice mails remain unanswered.”

According to WebMD, “…the sheer stress of a cluttered life means we may miss deadlines, work longer hours, and lose important stuff. Clutter equals stress.”

They are both right and I’m also learning that a clean room is more than just the ability to write freely, keep up on my reading, exercising and taking breaks. All of those things are part of the writing process because they give you the fuel to write while giving my mind and body a rest. It’s like my mom would say, “You can’t cook in a dirty kitchen.” It’s also true for writing in a sloppy and messy place.

I can’t hide the mess in the closet, it only adds more responsibility. A clean working environment means getting rid of all the garbage, vacuuming the floors, dusting and reorganizing clutter. This seemingly daunting task only takes about fifteen minutes. I feel so stress free after cleaning up. I’m unsure why I feel like I never have time to clean. Now that I’ve actually cleaned and timed myself, the length of time is evidence enough to eliminate my excuses and procrastination

The Natural Ergonomic 4000 by Microsoft Review

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For a while, I was having wrist and shoulder problems while typing. It felt as if I was squeezing my shoulders and my chest just to type on a traditional keyboard. The problems were so bad, I had to stop blogging on a regular basis.  However, blogging and writing are my passions. Plus, my dream is to make this my regular income. I can’t allow a little pain stop my dreams, right?

I went to Best Buy and decided to try out a few keyboards. I didn’t want to order it online because I wanted to really feel how they felt when I typed. I also didn’t want to worry about shipping.  I tried about three of them and The Natural Ergonomic 4000 felt the most natural to my body frame. I didn’t have sharp pains going through my wrist and I was able to type for hours in comfort. This is truly a godsend because I don’t feel the pain I usually feel when typing. This has increased my quantity of writing.

The only issue I have is getting the buttons to work properly. The silver buttons at the top of the keyboard haven’t worked for me and I have yet to find the solution online. Also, I’ve had this keyboard for two months, I just figured out how to get the F-Lock button to come on. Apparently, you have to push the button down very hard for it to work. I can’t turn the button off, but I really don’t need it off as of now.

That being said, those buttons are not the reason I bought the keyboard. I bought it for the comfortable ergonomic feel, which is totally worth my money. The keyboard also came raised about two inches from the table, which made it comfortable for me immediately because of the odd shape of my desk.  If you don’t like it raised, you can remove it.

 

What keyboards do you have that work well for you?

 

Two Monitor Productivity Myth

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It seems I’m always looking for a way to increase my productivity. I’ve tried going to libraries, getting a new keyboard, and using to television trays for my computer.  These ideas have worked out great, but I still didn’t get the productivity I wanted. There is a saying that states having two monitors improves productivity for a writer. However, I’m unsure if this is a myth.

When I came home from the halfway house, I figured I didn’t need a television because I could just use two monitors. I could work on my laptop and use the external monitor as a substitute for television. Three years later, I realized that having these two monitors going at the same time actually kills my focus and attention span.

Two days ago, I decided to shut off my laptop’s monitor and read articles on my external monitor. I realized I was more focused on the task at hand, this case it was job hunting.  At first, I didn’t really care as to why I was more focused, I was just going to roll with it. However, I remembered that a few years ago I was never productive with two monitors unless I was teaching myself animation or stock trading. When I’m writing using two monitors, I’m lucky to get a few lines down at best.

My theory is that because I have two monitors, I’m trying to focus on both monitors resulting in an information overload. My second theory is that I’m really trying to look at both but end up focusing on the monitor that requires the less amount of attention, which is usually my YouTube shows or Facebook games.

As a writer, I only need to focus on one thing at a time, which is the article I’m writing. I can deal with a quick song change or a reread of that article. However, I can do those things with one monitor. Plus, I wouldn’t be distracted by the ads and recommendations on the other monitor.

So I’ll try this for a few more days and see if I could get to my goal of having five blog posts a day.

Why You Should Follow Your Passions and Be A Writer

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After reading an article about Why you should be a writer, I thought to myself, “If you know why you love doing what you do, you’ll never allow anything negative to come between you and your passions.”

I try to remember this when I’m making myself write. I admit it’s hard to get up in the morning and WANT to write. At the same time, because I’m focused on trying to make money from my book and other projects, I can’t focus on what I really want. When I don’t get what I want, I get frustrated and second guess my entire writing career.

Sometimes, I have to remember why I love writing. Even though things might not go the way I want them to go, at least I can’t enjoy the simple pleasures writing gives me. Maybe those simple pleasures will give me the strength I need to keep pushing on.

What are my reasons for writing?

  1. I Enjoy Learning About Myself
    A lot of my writing is about self discovery, meaning I learn more about myself when I write. The more I learn about myself, the more I’ll learn how to prevent problems and issues in my life and in my future. Plus, it’s the best way for me to learn how to show a woman to love me in the future.
  2. I Really Enjoy Expressing Myself
    I don’t express myself enough. I’m actually pretty quiet and I keep to myself. However, with a pen and paper, I can tell you exactly how I feel, without prejudice or holding back. It’s freeing and liberating. It feels like all my drama is put out in front of me and is gone or fixed. It’s also a sense of accomplishment because I was able to get over my issues and share something with someone else.
  3. Other People are Learning from My Journey
    I think people are looking for writers to express themselves so that others can learn from their mistakes.  I think for some people, I could be this person. I don’t like to put myself on a pedestal, but what if someone is having the same problems I’ve experienced and just can’t get over it.  What if what I write helps that person? I have a lot of little problems in my life, some of which I just can’t figure out on my own. Yet with the help of family, friends, or Google, I find my solutions.  What if me posting my problems, helps someone overcome a minor problem, which leads them to being the best version of himself. If that happens, I did an amazing job as a writer.

My normal, everyday job is being a dishwasher or server, depending on where the temp agency places me. I’m not a big fan of my job because it’s just a job to me, nothing else.  It’s a means to an end, and hopefully the end is when I finally publish my book. My book represents freedom and a new source of income. However, when I’m writing, I don’t feel like I’m working for some man who is getting rich off my hard work and giving me something minimum in return. I feel like I’m connected to something bigger when I write. I feel as if I’m doing something for the greater good. It’s a feeling I’ll never get by doing any other job. Now the trick is to remember this while I’m working on making a career change to writing full time.

How I broke out of my current writing slump.

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Have you ever committed to doing something you loved, but once you’ve done it for a while you’re uninterested? Although you still have a heart to pursue your passions, you may find yourself in a slump when it comes to enjoying it. As you try to partake in the activity you get bogged down and suddenly have ideas to do something else. Huh? I thought you loved doing this though? If you’re like me then you’ve started to panic, just a little.

I love writing and made the decision to use my writing as my income. I initially was excited to begin a new career, but I recently started to feel a lot less enthusiastic about it. Then I started to stress because of my writing slump. I realized I didn’t have the motivation needed to write even though I was on my computer daily. One day I figured out what to do.

Here are 3 ways to get your writing passion back.

Change Your Workstation
I decided to make sure the area that I do most of my work in was comfortable. I purchased a new chair that had a mesh backing and super comfortable bottom. I also bought a new mouse and traditional keyboard so that I didn’t have to use my laptop. Then I elevated my main monitor to eye level. This prevented me from having to look down at a screen which was damaging to my neck and shoulders.

Clean Your Room
Next, I cleaned my room. A clean room helped me to focus on writing because it helped to clear my mind. I guess a clean room equals a clean mind. Before I cleaned it, I never realized that the clutter in my room contributed to the clutter in my head. It only makes sense that the organization of my room contributes to the coordination of thoughts in my head. I also noticed that I breathe better – but that’s probably because I cleaned up some smelly stuff in the room. However, I will remind myself to clean my room weekly.

Exercise Your Wrists
My final step to getting out of my writing slump was doing exercises for my arms and wrists. My hands were getting sore with every minute of typing when I was in a slump. To solve this problem, I found some good exercises that worked out and stretched the muscles in my wrists, hands, and shoulders. When you’re a writer, they tend to get stiff and sore when typing and sitting.

I hope the things that helped me get my passion for writing back will help you do the same. Even if it’s not writing that you love, some of these things will help you too. If you’ve ever been in a slump, tell me what you did to change your life and increase motivation.

 

Here are the exercises I’ve done for my wrist and hands.

These are the exercises I do for my shoulder:

Why I HATE writing a first draft on my computer

images (3)If you read my post about first drafts, you may understand this post a little more. I’m a bit sentimental about writing my first draft with pen and paper. There’s just something special about it. It feels as if I can think better when I write with pen and paper as opposed to typing on my laptop. It feels as if ideas come more organically on paper. I’m not sure what it is, but I don’t like writing my first draft on the computer.

Some writers are able to type on their computers, but here are my top three reasons why I think it’s better to just write with a pen and plain paper.

  1. Error Marks
    I hate that error marks that appear on WordPress and Word. I know I can disable them, but they are just annoying when I type my first draft because I like to free write. Seeing the error marks distract me and mess up my concentration. All of the green or red lines and marks all over my screen aren’t helping me when I write my first draft because I’m not supposed to be concerned with them just yet. Seeing them forces an urgency upon me that makes me have to clear them in order to get my train of thought back. They are fine when I’m editing my first draft, but not before.
  2. Mousepad Sensitivity
    I hate typing on my laptop because my hand touches the mouse pad and it makes the cursor move to different places on the computer screen. So as I’m typing the word “allowing,” I happen to look up at the screen and see gibberish. The cursor moved three lines up or it suddenly clicked something else on screen and I’ve typed nothing. Then I have to go back and hit ctrl+z to undo what I’ve just done and try to figure where I left off.
  3. Creative Block
    I think it so hard to be creative with all of the distractions associated with a laptop. It’s hard to concentrate or think and focus on what I’m typing when I’m on my laptop. I always feel like Facebook and Instagram are one click away. Then I remember the sensitivity of my mousepad and that makes me nervous. I have to constantly wonder if I’m really typing or did I just lose everything I tried to type. With all of the things I have to think about, there’s no room for creativity.

Can you relate to any of these issues? Maybe you have your own remedies for writing on a laptop or computer, share them with me below in the comment area.

Three Habits To Help You Be A Better Entrepreneur

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When most people think about being an entrepreneur, they think about owning their own business, long hours and being their own boss. They could also think about being up late hours of the night working on finances and marketing plans/, but most people fail to realize is that being an entrepreneur means you have to be social.

As I strive to be an entrepreneur, I’m learning that I have to be a people’s person. By that I mean I have to enjoy people and I have to love being around people. If this is what I want to be, then I have to live that type of lifestyle. I read more about the lifestyle and I came across YFS’s post titled 10 Habits of Highly Connected Entrepreneurs.

From that list, here are three things I will improve on to be a better entrepreneur.

  1. Smile More
    I admit that I can look hella grumpy. I don’t even realize it to be honest. That could be the reason people would see me as unapproachable. YFS suggests that smiling is “also a powerful show of confidence, which people respect and are drawn to. Smiles are contagious and the simple act makes people feel better.”
  2. Visualize Friends
    I have to start viewing everyone as friends and not strangers. I have a habit of thinking that because someone doesn’t know me or I don’t know them, then maybe I shouldn’t talk to them. If that type of thinking continues I could push or keep people away from me. That person could be a sale or an opportunity for a huge break. Even better, that person could just make my experience at the event much more pleasant and enjoyable. We all need that, especially me since I usually go to mixers alone.
  3. Be Myself
    This is always the most important thing. It’s one of those things that could apply to all walks of life. In business, I’m learning there’s a LOT of copycats. Uniqueness is something people fear because they want to focus on what works in order to maximize their ROI or to guarantee an error-free experience. That’s fine, except people don’t like copycats. People like people who are unique and can bring something new to their lives. My uniqueness could be the reason some new “hit thing” breaks into the market and makes millions. We’ll never know if I just focus on being like everyone else.

Can you relate to these suggestions? What suggestions do you have to be a better skilled entrepreneur?

OVERCOME CREATIVE WRITING BLOCKS

Writers block

It seems as if writer’s think that writer’s block is some inevitable obstacle that lurks behind them until it’s ready to pounce, stopping them from doing everything they wish to do in the writing world. That’s only true if you say it’s true.

I have a problem with writer’s block, but I think of it like I do any other obstacle, it’s just a challenge I need to get over! If we are able to set our minds with positive thinking, we are more likely to overcome the challenge. The best way to avoid writer’s block is to create a flow or momentum when you write.

Here are some ways I create a flow and get over writer’s block.

  1. Free Write
    Just write and write and write. It doesn’t matter if it makes sense, no one is going to read the first draft anyway. Just keep writing. I remind myself every time I write that in editing everything will make sense. I’ll either delete it or keep it in some form or fashion.
  2. Don’t Edit While Creating
    Okay I still hit the backspace more than I want to, and yes, it drives me crazy when I see an “hte” error. So yes I’ll backspace that and correct it. HOWEVER, when it comes to getting the ideas down, I don’t correct those ideas. The more I type the more likely the ideas will work themselves out. Also, as I said above, editing will work everything out. A suggestion if you want to avoid using the backspace button is to type your correction next to your mistake. That also keeps me flowing.
  3. Create an Outline
    Sometimes the reason I get writer’s block is because I have no idea where to go next. If I create an outline, even if it’s for my poetry or short stories, I give myself some guidelines on where to go next.
  4. Don’t Answer the Phone
    I’ll ignore calls to focus on writing. I just don’t want to break the momentum once I get it going.
  5. Change My Location
    Sometimes writing on the computer sucks because I’m on it all day. To mix it up, I’ll jump on my bed and use pen and paper to create my ideas. Another idea is to go to a library or coffee shop to mix it up.
  6. Take a Walk
    Maybe my writer’s block is because I’m tired. That means it’s time to stop working on writing. I’ll go for a walk, work out, or read a book.

 

I hope that helps some people. Let me know what you do to get over writer’s block.

How I Minimized Procrastination

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You know you should be doing more important things, but here you are, playing a game, watching YouTube or TV or talking in the phone. It’s a huge issue for many people including myself. It’s like me taking forever just to type the word, procrastination.

One of my biggest problems is overcoming procrastination.  I like to sit around and focus on Facebook games and YouTube videos before I start a project. As you can guess, it’ll be hours before I even get to the actual project and nothing gets done. This drives me crazy. What I’ve done is create a system that would help me stop procrastinating. Well to be honest, everything I’ve done to stop procrastinating has only caused me to relapse and procrastinate even more.

Instead of focusing on eliminating procrastination, I tried understanding why I procrastinate.

Understanding

  1. I found out that I feared my possible outcome. When it comes to writing, my fear is that I’d suck. Most of the time, however, my fear wastes my time and money.
  2. I also found that I was working in an unhealthy state. Sometimes I’ll try to write all day long without properly eating or sleeping. This causes me to lack the energy to do what I need.
  3. Location is everything to a writer, even me. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m just in the wrong location. I always try to write while sitting in my house all day long without ever leaving. This rarely works.

Now that I have that understanding, it’s just a matter of correcting my mistakes. Here’s what I’ve done to minimize this issue.

  1. Free Myself From Opinions
    I stopped looking for approval for everything I do. I was always concerned that people would hate what I wrote, so I would stop writing or leave something unpublished until all was good. Also I’m concerned that I could be alienated for what I’ve written. Well as a writer, that’s likely to happen anyway. Though I treasure and value constructive criticism and advice, I will not write or do something for someone’s overall approval or favor towards me. Once I dealt with this, I found a new sense of freedom. I felt that I could do anything I wanted when I wanted, so I did and still do. I don’t have any fear of someone’s opinion because their opinion isn’t needed for my success.
  2. Energize
    I exercise thirty minutes a day, drink at least 2 liters of water a day, and eat a minimum of two meals a day.  This change gave me the necessary energy to not only correct the list below, but it helped me from burning out and having daily mental drains.
  3. Goal Setting
    Once I completed the first two steps, then I created realistic goals. Fifteen blog posts a day is NOT a realistic goal for me. Though my goal is five posts a day, I strive for two daily. However, if I only come up with one post, I’m not going to beat myself up over it.
  4. Work on My Own Schedule
    In addition to the above point, I don’t give myself more than I WANT to do. I can work 12 hours a day on any project, but I don’t want to. I only want to work two hours on a project. So I make plans to do two hours of work. Now I’ve solved my problem of wasting my time and money, well at least my time.
  5. Location
    For my place of operations, I like to work in areas that are similar to what I’m doing. I also like to write in public library–ideally before the high school kids get there.  By writing in the library, I can feed off everyone else who is writing and reading. In the library, there are no distractions like there are in my house. Getting everything done in a timely manner is simple.
  6. List It
    Lastly, I create a to-do list.  One reason I procrastinate is because I have too many things to do first or too many things that are top priority. Since I don’t know what to do first, I do nothing at all. By prioritizing my day and projects, I find that I get more done and at a faster pace. Now I can sit around and play my FB games or sleep, or whatever I want to do because my work is done.

 

What has helped you with your procrastination? Let me know in the comments.

My Opinion On A Writer’s Money From His Book Deal

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Picture a sad and pitiful man who’s poorly groomed, has no social skills, and is living off his girlfriend who’s about to break with him. Not to mention his parents are extremely disappointed in his chosen lifestyle. Out of frustration, he begs the cosmos for a book deal to help him get on his feet even though he’s been working obtaining one for ten years.

Do you know someone like this; someone that has a dream and has put everything aside in order to accomplish it? They refuse to work a real job to bring in income to pay bills and handle responsibilities. They spend their time putting hopeless efforts into a book that they think won’t be rejected (this time). This is their everyday norm and part of their self-fulfilling prophecy.

I wanted to be a writer – I am a writer and I love it. However, people would always tell me that writers make very little money, if at all, compared to other professions. They tell me, “you can’t live off writing alone, you have to keep your day job.” They’d tell me, “don’t become a writer!” They hoped I’d steer clear of the above scenario. Well what would happen if this sad man actually obtained a deal.

Let’s say he finally gets a $100,000 deal with quarterly royalty checks (minus agent fees and taxes). He does the math and finds that he has made $6,666 per year. After paying his debts to his ex-girlfriend (who’s now with a more financially stable man), he pays off his creditors and is now left with $30,000. He has no ideas for a future book! Now he’s in a state of self-hatred and self-rejection.

Let’s see what his life would look life if he actually got a job and worked on his book at the same time. If he worked enough hours to cover his bills then his girlfriend would have probably never left him. Then he could have chosen to spend $10,000 for editing, supplies, and obtaining the query letters that are needed for agents. When he gets his five year, $100,000 deal, he gets to keep the majority of it. That means his money matured 1000%. Why? Because he chose to work at a restaurant or a temp service agency to cover his bills and now he isn’t in debt.

Now $10,000 is a lot for editing and supplies. Usually you can get it done for about $5,000 which would make the maturity of your money increase to 2000%. I know for a fact that books can be edited for less than $1,000. My perspective on writing as a career is to view a book deal as an investment like mutual funds, stocks or bonds; it’s just money, time, and effort I put aside until it matures, grows, or increases.

If writing is your passion and you MUST become a writer, then find a job so that you can take care of your responsibilities and pay your own bills. Find a job that allows you to write and work. You can do this until you get your writer’s payday.

Writers: STOP Marketing Your Blog!

“The art of blogging involves thinking up great topics and blog titles, performing research where required, then authoring great work.” –Nicholas Whitmore.

 

I’m a writer, like most of you reading this blog.  Also like most you, I want tons of traffic — millions of visitors, if possible. Here’s the problem; the more I market, the less I blog. So now I have spent all my time marketing instead of writing content. Even funnier: I have no visitors. I mean, I’ll be honest, I suck at driving traffic to my site. Until I realized the more I just blog and produce content, the more visitors I’ll get. I don’t mean to make it seem like magic, but just focusing on content increased my traffic about 20%.

Here’s how (I think!)

  • The more I blog the more Google bots come to my site. This increases the chances of me appearing on search engines.
  • Content gives my readers a reason to come back. They’ll have a reason to visit continuously and that increases the chances of them sharing my material.

 

As far as marketing goes, I’ll take the advice from Nicholas Whitmore: “If you publish blog content that’s truly awesome, everyone else will market your blog for you.”

I’ve spent tons of money on SEO, backlinks and PPC. Some of them actually worked, but only for the short term. I’m now going to try to stop marketing my blog altogether.

I’m not saying forego announcing it on Facebook or Twitter. Just don’t make marketing more important than your content. Remember, people come to your site to see you or get the information, not because you have a great marketing plan.

Of course, I’m going to blog the results as I go along.

My Random Thoughts: Poor Audience Interaction.

When your audience isn’t responding to your work, don’t assume it’s your audience that’s the problem. Today I learned that if your craft sucks, then you can’t be mad at your audience.

If you start things late, offer poor quality items, or are unprofessional, then you have plenty of reasons why your audience doesn’t come to your events, buy your music, or purchase your books. It has nothing to do with the venue, time, or audience personality. I doubt it even has to do with your audience’s spending habits. I wholeheartedly believe that it has to do with quality.

Review your products and go through them with a fine-toothed comb.  Ask yourself what your product is like. If you have a book, what are you talking about? Are you writing about the same tired subjects? Do you write about stereotypes or things that don’t fit your audience’s taste? Do you write on things that are irrelevant? Are you trying to make a point but come off as hateful or ranting?

All of that isn’t your audience’s fault, as the author, it’s your fault. As a writer, you most likely haven’t followed the rules of storytelling. You haven’t come up with clever ways to engage your audience and I think that makes you lazy — straight up.

The best way to fix the problem of poor audience engagement is to fix the problem of poor craftsmanship. A carpenter can’t blame his tools, just like a writer can’t (or shouldn’t) blame their audience for lacking education. That’s foolishness.

How to Critique Creative Writing

Imagine writing a piece that you think is just pure gold. Maybe it took you a long time to write it or maybe it was a piece that just flowed from your mind to your hand to the paper/computer. It’s the best you’ve ever written and you’re super proud. Off to the editing department, whether it’s a friendly fellow writer or your English class peers. You’re hoping they see a masterpiece just as you do, but they don’t — and they intently and passionately let you know. You’ve just been critiqued without sympathy.

Many of my English classes were critiquing sessions where the students would read over other student’s work. In doing so, students would butcher essays and other literary assignments. Their criticisms were more so what they would have written if it was their words. Their critiques would always come out extremely harsh and instead of giving advice to make the writer and their work much better, they would actually end up doing the opposite. Their opinions would cut down the writer’s confidence and their piece would never improve. Thus, another writer who will never see his true potential because their ego and emotions were shot to hell.

As a community we have to do better. We should empower one another and offer constructive criticism. Everyone doesn’t write like you, nor should they. Below I offer my suggestions of how to prevent a blow to someone’s self-esteem. I hope these next steps could prevent those things from happening and making sure you use your critiques to uplift the writer, not tear him down.

  1. Read the Entire Piece First
    Read over the whole piece before marking anything. I’m actually a slow reader at times and I have a bad attention span. At times I’ll have to read a piece twice. Also, I’ll make notes as I go along just to keep my interest in the story. Taking notes is a great way to keep my attention span going.
  2. Summarize It
    After reading I’ll make a summary of everything I’ve read along with my opinion of the work. I’ll point out the parts that kept my interest and the parts that lost my attention.
  3. Offer Suggestions, Not Opinions
    I’ll make additional marks if needed to make the dialogue stronger and the plot thicker. I’ll also suggest keywords or give ideas to help move the story along faster.
  4. Stay Positive
    Above all stay as positive as possible. People put their entire emotions into their writing. Any glimpse of harshness will be seen as an attack on the writer’s emotions. Remember, you’re just giving a suggestion. Your goal is not to attack them personally, but to give him the best advice possible. Staying positive is the best way to improve their writing and avoid emotional attacks.
  5. Be Open for Growth
    Lastly, find ways to improve your writing. Sometimes when I look at a person’s writing as a way to improve my own writing, I grow and learn from it.

 

I hope that helps you in your future critiques. Please leave a comment below and share with your friends. Let me know in the discussion area if you’ve had any horror critiques.

How To Free Write And Why It’s Important For Writers

Free writing is the simplest form of writing.  It’s also the most private form if you do it in journal format. What I like to tell people is that free writing is something no one would ever see. To me, free writing is like a man’s wife in the morning, the only person who’s going to see her is her husband. So it doesn’t matter how jacked up she looks. To get you started, let me tell you the advantages of free writing and then below, I’ll list the steps I use when I free write. Just put your pen on the paper and allow yourself to flow.

Now here are some advantages of free writing.

  1. It’s a great way to solve your personal problems. In prison, I found this method more effective than talking to other people about my problems.  It allowed me to understand the situation that made me mad and allowed me to understand why it made me mad. It gave me an avenue to solving my own problems.
  2. Free writing clears your mind for what you really want to write. Sometimes your mind is so overwhelmed with the events of the day.  You can put that behind you with free writing.
  3. Free writing can give you great ideas. Maybe you’re fishing for ideas and you couldn’t think of any good ones, yet after minutes of free writing, you come up with a masterpiece. It has happened to me several times.

Here are my steps to free writing. Whatever comes to mind, allow it to come to paper, but here are a few pointers.

  1. Find a quiet place or at least a place in which you can concentrate. I suggest libraries or coffee shops.
  2. Grab a pen and paper. You can free write on the computer, but I find that pen an paper allow you to flow easier. It also helps you to avoid the pitfalls of correcting, as explained below.
  3. Make sure your pen is full, the pencil is sharp, and have two of either one. You don’t want to run out and have to look for another pen. You also want plenty of paper.
  4. Write the first thing that comes to mind. Even if it is a thought like, “I need to clean this wall” or “I need to eat something.”  Just write it down. This could result in you flowing from there.
  5. DON’T CORRECT YOUR GRAMMAR. Correcting your grammar during a free write could cause you to have a writer’s block. It does for me all the time. In a free write, all you are trying to do is get the idea out of your head. If you like what you’re writing you can edit it later.
  6. If you run out of words or get writer’s block, write anything thing down. Even if it’s Um… or Huh… or even scribbles. Just keep your pen moving.
  7. Lastly, don’t stop until your hand hurts. The best ideas come when you get over your writer’s block.

I hope that helps some of you. If it did please leave a comment below.