Tag Archives: time management

Staying Relevant As An Author

For many writers, the day comes when you think, hey, this is more than a hobby. More time goes by and you decide, you know what? This writing thing is serious business.

You put yourself on some kind of schedule and you decide you’re gonna be disciplined if it kills you. You might get close to all out catatonia as you balance work, family and your writing regimen, but you stay the course and begin to release books.

Without a promotion drive, those books will sputter and sales fizzle. Exposure is critical when you’re unknown and trying to build a readership.

The internet provides unlimited research material that helps us to decide what to do and how to find the best deals.

  • Say you need book covers? Fiverr has a host of cover artists that provide service starting at – you guessed it – five dollars. Be warned, that you’re hardly likely to get anything for that price, so be prepared to spend more.
  • Need a blog tour host? Google is your go-to unit and if you want to get close and personal, Facebook is a great place to find people who provide this kind of service. Type in book promotion or cover art and potential sellers will pop up.
  • Looking for someone to run your promotions or host a book release party? Use any search engine or Facebook. Your writing buddies are also a source for checking out service providers.
  • Want to find book clubs to expand your base of readers? Facebook is a good source as well.
  • Have people who like reading your books? Start a group on whatever platform you like best and encourage them to share your work and add others to the team.
  • Include a free book as a gift for joining your mailing list.
  • Last, but by no means least, this website is a powerhouse of materials on every aspect of the publishing world, so make use of it.

Gone are the days when we can afford to keep our nose to the grindstone and ignore the reading public until we have a new book for sale. It’s not necessarily the best writers who have repeat readers, but those who find a way to keep themselves relevant and in front of those who are buying books.

Have you made the decision to take your publishing efforts to the next level? Are doing enough marketing? What has worked well for you in selling books?

Source: insecurewriterssupportgroup.com

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How to Get Past Excuses and Finish Your Writing!

Do you struggle with finishing? Believe me, I’ve been there.

Perseverance has never really been my thing.

I was the one in school that could easily write papers, finish assignments, and obtain excellent grades with very little effort.

But as soon as something difficult came along, I would give up. Any iota of resistance would stop me in my tracks.

Sound familiar?

In 2008, I decided to write a book.

I was fairly young and had absolutely no clue what I was doing, but I managed to eke out a completed manuscript. It took me about a year to figure out what I wanted to write about and get past the first page, then another year to complete the first draft. It was hard, but fun-hard, and I loved it.

Then the editing began.

And it was just plain hard-hard. I didn’t want to do it. I wanted to crawl in a hole, pay someone vast sums of money to edit it for me, then have a bunch of people pay me thousands of dollars to read my perfect words.

Sounds like a dream, right?

But here’s the thing: it’s not that easy.

Though I labored over the manuscript for eight years (eight years!) through multiple revisions and changes and got absolutely frustrated with how long it seemed to be taking, the time spent was absolutely necessary to the process. I was honing my manuscript, discovering what it was meant to be, similar to Michelangelo sculpting David:

“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” Michelangelo

My book was inside me; I just needed to write it. Even though it wasn’t what I first wrote (or even what I wrote second or third), eventually the story was exactly what it was supposed to be.

I had people telling me I wouldn’t ever finish it, had my own voice inside my head telling me it wasn’t worth the hard work, had family who wouldn’t read a single word.

Yet I managed to keep going—the person who would never stick with anything—and somehow ended up with a completed manuscript.

But it wasn’t by accident, and it doesn’t have to be for you, either.

So how did I get past all the excuses I made up in my head and the doubts others threw my way to stick with it until it was done?

I stopped letting the negativity and the doubts take hold in my mind, taught myself to follow these five excuse-eliminating tenets, and finally stepped into the writer I was meant to be.

  1. Believe in Yourself and the Work Only You Can Do

Even though it sounds cheesy, a strong belief that I was given this story and needed to get it out into the world helped me through many hard days. If you have a passion for writing, don’t let other people or excuses you make up rob you and the world of your voice. Somewhere, someone needs to hear what you have to say in the way only you can say it.

Be brave, and believe in yourself and your work.

  1. Let Go of What Others Think About You

I know this is a hard one, but too often we give in to the opinions that others speak into our lives. When we do this, when we let this poison enter our minds, we eventually find ourselves living lives we don’t recognize. Show love to others, but don’t let their opinions of who you should be dig roots in your mind.

Only you truly know who you should be. So live YOUR best life.

  1. Give Up Your Feelings of Inadequacy

You are enough. Just you. Hone your craft, develop it like any other muscle, but you are a writer the moment you write a single word. Don’t let anyone—most importantly, yourself—convince you otherwise.

  1. Write Even When You Don’t Feel Like It

There will be minutes, hours, days, weeks, and months you won’t feel like writing. Do it anyway. You won’t get any better by not writing. The book won’t get done any quicker, either. I wish I would’ve taken this to heart sooner!

  1. Learn as Much as You Can

Writing may feel like a lonely profession, but there are scores of writers on social media and in your community who you can connect with to develop a network of like-minded people. Learn as much as you can from each other. Learn the craft, the community, the best practices, take the courses and then… learn how to break the rules. That’s my favorite part.

Have you let the excuses you make up in your head hold you back from completing that blog post, that manuscript, that series? Have you listened to the voices of others telling you you’ll never finish?

Resolve today to give up that mindset, ignore those lies, and step into the truth that you are a writer, you are enough, and you have a story that the world needs to hear.

By Bryan Hutchinson
Source: positivewriter.com

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How to Write Mythology for Fantasy and Science Fiction

Most writers probably don’t appreciate enough how much of an impact mythology has on our modern-day storytelling. No matter what genre you write in, mythology has played some role in shaping it, even if you don’t realise it.

It stems all the way back to ancient times before written language was even invented when myths formed the first stories told around campfires. Each of the basic story types listed in Christopher Booker’s The Seven Basic Plots can trace their origin back to ancient myths somehow. Homer’s Odyssey is a literal ‘voyage and return’ story. Most of the Arthurian legends center on a knight going out on a quest then returning to Camelot for their reward. In a sense, we are still adapting and building upon the stories invented by our ancestors.

But mythology does much more than just inspiring stories. It also gives books more substance and expands the fictional worlds of speculative fiction.

Why mythology in stories is important

Myths have inspired much more than just stories. They have influenced everything from the names we give to planets to the morals we pass down to children.

It makes sense that since mythology makes up an important part of our real-world culture, it should also be an important part of world-building or fiction writing as well. Adding in a fictional mythology makes a created world more believable and makes a fictional story in a real-world setting more realistic.

Other genres won’t rely upon it quite as much, especially contemporary fiction, but it can be useful there too. Ancient stories which stand the test of time can provide writing prompts or inspiration. Modern-day adaptations of old fairy tales or folk legends may have been done a lot, but there is still a lot of original ideas you can get from them, particularly if you choose a story that isn’t quite as well known. The Golem and the Djinni did this well by taking two completely unrelated and lesser-seen mythological creatures and placing them together in late 19th-century New York.

It is probably even more important in science-fiction than it is in fantasy. A story taking place across multiple planets means there will be even more cultures with their own mythologies to explore, and even more which have shaped and influenced the world and the species which inhabit it. If an alien race seems bland or unrealistic, it might well be because they don’t have any mythology or sense of history.

Good and bad examples

Terry Brook’s Shannara series is an example of mythology handled poorly. The world in this series has an interesting backstory; it is not a make-believe fantasy world but a post-apocalyptic future of our own world in which society has devolved to pre-modern life.

Yet the author doesn’t go nearly as far enough as he could have done with this concept. It could have had modern day stories become a part of the post-apocalyptic mythology, altered slightly to show how stories change as they are re-told over generations.

The Lord of the Rings would be a good example, probably because Tolkien extensively studied mythology and understood how it worked. In fact, he wrote his Middle Earth stories to give England its own mythology to rival the Greek or Roman myths. Not only are his works heavily inspired by many different works of mythology, they have their own sets of legends to expand upon the world, which makes Middle Earth feel incredibly old. There are already historical events so old that they have become myth. There are statues lying half-crumbled in the ground. The characters sing songs and tell each other stories of their own race’s folklore. It is all part of what makes Middle Earth seem so real and inviting, and a major reason why his books are so beloved and influential decades after they were written.

How to work mythology into your writing

In speculative fiction, mythology doesn’t need to be on the forefront of your make-believed world, but it should be at least partially important in some way.

There are many creative ways that you can work it in:

  • An old legend might hold a clue to the main character’s quest or motivate the hero when they need it.
  • Finding out that a myth is actually true.
  • Solving the mystery of an old story.
  • Discovering ancient ruins.
  • Characters telling stories from their homelands to each other.

Stories set in the far future can greatly benefit from having their own mythology, perhaps even using modern-day stories or real-life figures distorted over time to become legends. This can really help to give the futuristic setting a sense of place and time and make the futuristic setting more believable.

Even in contemporary fiction, mythology can be used to great effect. Your main character’s favorite fairy tale or the story they loved most in childhood can say a lot about them and might have influenced their personality or moral character. Or your character’s own favorite story can give them inspiration when they need it, just as they do to us in real life.

No matter what genre you are writing, the way you exposit these myths will be important. If it is a widely known myth such as Hercules or King Arthur then the readers will need little if any explanation, since they are already such an integral part of our culture that most people at least know the basics about them. If you choose a story or figure which isn’t quite as well known then you will need some exposition, so long as it doesn’t go overboard.

Writing your own mythology

If you are writing a speculative fiction story, one of the best parts of worldbuilding isn’t just crafting the world of your story but also inventing an entirely new set of myths and legends for however many races or cultures exist in the world of your book. Essentially, you can write stories within stories.

But it is difficult, especially when you are putting so much time and energy into constructing the main story, so many authors skip it and leave their fictional world feeling empty.

This doesn’t mean that you have to spend hours on it or devote pages of exposition to explaining these myths. But the more attention you do give to worldbuilding, the more realistic and tangible your fictional world will feel, especially if you have given attention to its mythology.

Expositing fictional myths should be done like the example given above – only when it is needed without going overboard. An entire chapter of characters sitting around a campfire and telling stories can provide an important moment of character and relationship building, but the stories they tell should become relevant at some point later in the story.

But how exactly do you write mythology in a world which is already fantastical? Just as with most other parts of world-building, taking clues from real world mythologies is an excellent starting point.

This goes far beyond copy-pasting the Greek or Roman myths and changing the names around. It means looking at the types of stories and characters that make up mythology and their significance in the real world.

To make up your own myths, ask yourselves these questions:

  • What is the creation myth?
  • Is there a pantheon of Gods or just one?
  • Who are the key figures and inspirational heroes in these stories?
  • What are your world’s constellations?
  • What do they think causes phenomena such as the Aurora Beorialis?
  • What role does magic play in these myths?
  • Are there any people who still worship the mythological pantheon, the way neo-pagans do?

Don’t take your clues only from the most popular myths. Look into less common mythologies or stories which aren’t talked about as often outside of their own cultures, such as Aboriginal mythology or the Finnish Kalevala. Fantasy races such as elves and dwarves stem from European mythology, but races inspired by other continent’s myths would be entirely different, and much more original and creative.

Again, like real myths, fictional myths might play by different rules. Our own myths often include magic or direct divine intervention which don’t exist in reality, so your fictional myths might also bend the rules of the universe you are creating. You could even turn this into a plot point, such as characters discovering that the magic in their old stories isn’t fictional like they previously thought.

Writing mythology into a story, especially a work of speculative fiction, may be a headache, but it will be one of the most valuable pieces of worldbuilding and characterization in your entire story. You may well become just as fascinated with writing your fictional world’s mythology as you are with creating the world and story itself, or find yourself with a set of mythology you never previously knew about for inspiration.

By Jessica Wood
Source: refiction.com

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How to Write When You Work Full Time

I love that today’s theme comes from a newsletter subscriber who responded when I asked for ideas to address on the podcast or in articles. So this is a real writer with a real struggle—a reality for many writers.

This person wants to know:

How to write when you work full time?

That’s a tough one. It’s hard to have any kind of hobby or side hustle when you work full-time. When you put in the hours at work and come home exhausted, how can you possibly devote your depleted brain and energy to a creative project?

Don’t Ignore the Ache

I stayed home to raise our four children and we chose to home educate, so while I didn’t work full-time in a traditional sense, I had my hands full most hours of the day. Writing was extremely challenging during those years.

My dream was to have an entire day at my disposal, no interruptions, no diapers to change, no activities to organize. But that wasn’t the overall lifestyle we’d chosen. I thought if I couldn’t have the day to write—and if, in fact, my reality felt like I had NO time to write—why bother?

But I couldn’t ignore the ache. I ached to write.

Some days I felt hopeless. Some days I felt sorry for myself and didn’t bother even trying. Most days I wanted that all-or-nothing writing life.

So a lot of days I didn’t write. After all, I didn’t feel like I had the energy; or if I started, I’d only be interrupted. Why try?

But that ache wore on.

Address the Ache

I couldn’t go on like that. I had to address the ache. I suspect that’s where a lot of writers are—maybe the person who sent in this idea for a podcast.

You’re feeling the ache, that soul-ulcer chewing away at your creative impulse. You’re losing hope.

How do you write when you work full time?

Assuming you can’t quit, I hope you’re feeling something else rise up in you—something louder and stronger than the ache.

Voice It

It’s a voice, a determination within. A resolve.

You have something inside of you that must be voiced.

A barbaric yawp you’re ready to sound over the roofs of the world.

I. Must. Write.

That’s it.

You must write.

Yes, there’s writing in you, ready for the page. You can’t wait any longer.

There’s a writer in you, ready to yawp, and you know it. You can’t wait for the perfect conditions. You can’t wait until you inherit some distant relative’s fortune so you can quit your job.

No more waiting.

You must sound your yawp over the roofs of the world.

You must write.

Today.

Look for slivers of time and the occasional chunk of time here or there. Settle for less than the dream of a cabin in the woods. Whatever you can, grab it and write a few lines.

Where Will You Write?

Let me tell you a story.

Joseph Michael developed a Scrivener training course while he was working full time at another job. Scrivener is writing software, also an app, that many authors use because with it, you can manage longer, larger, more complex projects more easily than you can using Word or Google docs.

But Scrivener is a little confusing to most newbies; at least it was for me. So I grabbed his training course years ago when it was on sale and started watching, hoping to avoid bumbling around, losing important pieces of projects. I felt frustrated because I didn’t understand the system, so I walked through his short training lectures and made sense of Scrivener.

Years later, because of the success of his Scrivener course, Joseph Michael came out with some additional training on how to build courses—a course about courses. I didn’t buy the course about courses, but I signed up for a free introductory webinar, where he told how he recorded that early version of the Scrivener course.

He said he’d drive to work. On his lunch break, he’d head to the parking garage and record some of the Scrivener lessons—right there in the front seat of his car, wedged behind the steering wheel. In short sessions, hidden away in the parking garage of his workplace, he grabbed the only free time he had to himself and, over time, created the course.

He did that for as long as it took, lesson after lesson.

Would it have been more efficient if he’d recorded them all at once in one week in a studio?

Sure.

Did he have the time and money to invest in creating or renting a studio at that time?

No.

He realized he had a few minutes at lunch time, and instead of feeling sorry for himself or waiting for perfect conditions, he fit in those tiny recording sessions and trusted they would stack up over time. And they did.

Just as paragraphs will add up for any writer who realizes he or she has a few minutes at lunch in the parking garage.

I hope that picture of a man driven to create something, using the open time slot he found in his schedule, inspires you to find your own slot of time to do your work, to write—to yawp! Even if it takes ten times longer than you’d like, eventually you’ll get it done.

Find Your Quiet Writing Space

In an interview on The Creative Nonfiction Podcast with Brendan O’Meara, Andre Dubus III said years ago, when his kids were little, he was working on a novel. They had a tiny apartment, he was teaching at four or five campuses as an adjunct writing professor, remodeling houses as a carpenter, and sleeping only four or five hours a night.

Determined to write that novel, he’d wake up at five in the morning, drive to a graveyard not far from his house, park there, and write. He wrote longhand in an notebook.

After about 17 minutes, he had to stop and drive to work as a teacher and carpenter. On the way back, he’d stop at the graveyard once more and write for another 17 minutes. Longhand. In a notebook.

That’s it. All he could find was a total of 34 minutes of writing time per day, split into two 17-minute sessions.

He decided not to wish for ideal circumstances and wait. Instead, he decided to write. And day after day, he drove to the graveyard and wrote.

“After three years,” he said, “I had 22 notebooks, filled.”

In those twice-a-day 17-minute writing sessions, he crafted the beginning, middle, and end of a novel that would become The House of Sand and Fog, the novel that put him on the map.

“So at the height of our young, struggling family life, I was able to write an entire novel,” he said. “Anyone can do it. You don’t need all day.”

Audit Your Schedule: Where, When, How Long, How Often

Audit your current schedule. Find a time, no matter how tiny, you can commit to becoming your writing session.

Figure out where you’re going to write, when you’re going to write, how long and how often.

Where? Find your parking lot or your graveyard. Maybe it’s a back porch or a cafe or a library.

When? Carve out your lunch hour to create or write before heading off to work all day.

How long? Will it be 30 minutes on that lunch break? Seventeen minutes before you head to work? Can you find an hour slot in the evening when you’re currently watching a TV show?

How often or how frequently will you pull it off? Will you write every day of the work week? Or are your weekends more free and every Saturday you can commit to a writing session?

Find where you’re going to write, when you’re going to write, how long and how often.

Then do it.

To write when you work full time, you embrace the limitations and stop looking at the time not available and find time that is available.

Do an audit of your weekly schedule, find some bits and snatches—if you’re lucky, you’ll find a chunk of time here and there.

Devote those time slots to writing.

Two-Month Experiment

Try it for two months. When you first begin, it’ll feel like the entire universe is conspiring to keep you from getting to the library with your notebook and pen.

Eventually, though, the universe will adjust. And most Saturdays when you get to your cubicle in the back, over by the biographies, where it’s quiet, you’ll be able to write. Whether it’s ten minutes, two hours, or an entire morning, you’ll write.

Do that as often as possible, and you will be a writer. You will chip away at your work in progress. You will sound your yawp over the roofs of the world.

You must write. No more waiting.

There’s a writer in you ready to yawp, and you know it. So don’t wait. You must write.

Source:annkroeker.com

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How to Identify your Book’s Target Audience in 3 Easy Steps

“I’ve written a book with a capable heroine main character that my little sister would like… with a villain my crazy uncle would relate to… with a sci-fi setting my science teacher would get lost in… with a love interest my bff would ship… so who is my book actually for? Everyone? Or just one of these people??”

Oh yeah. We’ve all been here. Our books- like ogres- have layers. And that means they’re beautiful, complex works of art with aspects that many different people would like.

Although all those people may like your book, you can’t cast such a wide net. You need to fish with one niche lure and target that exact “perfect buyer.” So how do you do it? How do you figure out who your perfect buyer is/identify your book’s target audience?

 

Easy, friend. You simply follow these three steps:

 

  • Compare your book to similar books
  • Create your perfect buyer avatar
  • Be where your people are (and sell, baby!)

 

 

What does all this sparkly stuff mean? Let’s find out.

 

 

1. Compare Your Book to Similar Books

Now when I say “compare your book to similar books” I don’t mean the terrible thing we all do where we read an amazing book written by a best-selling author with years of experience, compare it to our own work of fiction, then immediately use our books for kindling.

 

Nah, bruh. That’s straight up unhealthy. What I mean is, dissect your book and make connections from your story to other popular novels out there. See how your work is similar to another popular work or series out there.

 

So for example, let’s say that your main character is a she-elf who lives in a magical forest. Let’s say her best bud is a morphing dragon and the two travel the world in search of lost treasure. What other books would this story most relate to?

Perhaps you thought of:

 

The Hobbit

 

The Lord of the Rings

 

Or even Eragon

 

That means the readers who loved those books would also enjoy your novel!

 

Now what if your novel has more complex elements than this? What if your book is a morph of two genres? Like a sci-fi/fantasy or a contemporary/fantasy mix? Again, always consider similarities between your book and another popular series out there. Even if your story relates to books in various genres, you are still narrowing in on a smaller audience than you might think.

 

So take a moment to write down two to three books that are similar to yoursno matter how small the similarity! What’s the point? The readership for these books are your readership too!

 

So what do you do with this information? Find forums, Facebook groups, Twitter hashtags and otherwise celebrating these books and join them! Discover why these books are so celebrated amongst your potential audience. Likewise, read one or two of these books yourself so you know what your reader expects from your story too.

 

So now that we’ve cast a smaller net and figured out a readership that is similar to your own, it’s time to think even smaller. Yep, I’m talking about one perfect reader.

 

 

2. Create your Ideal Reader Avatar

Your ideal reader is out there. But before you hunt for them, you must create them. What in the heck do I mean by that?

 

Consider right now who your ideal buyer would be: What do they do for fun? What are their favorite books? What social networks do they use? How old are they? What do they drink at Starbucks? What brands do they wear?

 

(Does any of this info really matter Rae??)

 

Believe it or not it does, precocious petunia. See, by figuring out these seemingly insignificant details about your perfect reader, you’re also figuring out who your real-life ideal buyer is too– someone who would looooove your book as much as they love playing RPGs or watching Black Panther on loop. You write for this *ONE* particular person, and you are going to sell to this sort of person as well.

 

More importantly, once you have that ideal reader avatar figured out, you can start honing in on where to find them and how to market YOUR BOOK to them in a way that will interest them. So how do you mold your ideal reader from the raw clay of imagination?? You take this free download and fill it in accordingly, friend!:

There are no right or wrong answers here. This worksheet asks the questions that matter to you as a teen-bean writer. Answer the questions based on what YOU want most in a perfect potential reader– not what you think matters most, or what you think your potential reader might be like. The more details you add, the more you’ll start to figure out who your real-life ideal reader is, where they can be found, and how you can sell your book to them!

 

Yeah, this avatar may be imaginary and yeah you may never find an exact living replica of this avatar, but you will start to figure out who your target audience is, what they generally look like, do for fun, and most importantly- what they READ!

 

 

3. Hang Where They Hang and Sell your Book, Baby!

Where are your readers gathering? What social networks are they on? If your audience is more teen based, then you’ll want to forgo networks like Facebook or Pinterest. Pay more attention to networks like Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram instead. There are marvelous ways to connect with potential readers on these sites and pitch your book in creative ways.

 

But don’t limit yourself to just an online presence. Check out local cafes, bookstores and any other relevant shops your ideal reader might be at and ask to hang posters promoting your book. Or take it a step further and ask to display some of your books (signed) in their storefront. I know many small bookstores will support local authors so be sure to emphasize that you are a local, self-published author.

 

Take it a step further by joining book fairs, cons that your ideal reader would be at and get a booth for yourself. And don’t limit yourself to just book fairs. This is where figuring out your ideal reader’s other interests come in handy. If your ideal reader also loves Pokemon, Mega Man and Spiderman, then try to get a booth at comic con and sell your books there too. Or simply bring business cards with you to these cons, a few free books to hand out and get to know potential readers face to face in this super awesome environment! Heck, even farmer’s markets are a fantastic (and fairly cheap) way to set up a booth and get the word out there to your ideal potential reader, if that’s where they’d be found!

By Rae Elliott
Source: barelyharebooks.com

Visit us at First Edition Design Publishing

 

Writing Sleuths – Pet Detectives

In a recent fiction novel, a neophyte private investigator (PI) grudgingly took on pet cases, from finding an African Helmeted Turtle to looking for her neighbor’s nasty-tempered dog. Tracking down these lost pets provided funny subplots, although a writer could also build a more serious story starring a PI who specializes in finding animals. This article defines the role of a pet detective, their skill set and tools, and techniques writers can apply to develop such a character.

What Is a Pet Detective?

Pet detectives are trained to find (or enhance the chances of finding) lost or missing pets. They use a mix of profiling, search-and-rescue, surveillance, even grief counseling techniques. They often use high-tech tools, from night-vision binoculars to motion-activated surveillance cameras. Their strategies have reunited thousands of lost pets with their human companions. There are even professional organizations, such as Pet Hunters International and Pet Detective University, that train PIs to become certified pet detectives.

Bloodhounds and other dogs can also be trained to assist pet PIs. Just as trailing dogs like German Shepherds, bloodhounds, and Border Collies can follow a human scent, they can also follow the scent of a pet from something like the cat’s bed or a dog’s favorite chew toy. Also, some search dogs are trained to detect specific animals, such as cats, while others
serve to attract other canines.

Tips for Writing a Pet Detective

If you’re writing a story with a sleuth who finds lost pets, think about the following questions:

  • Does he/she own a search dog?
  • What tools does your pet PI use? For example, night-vision binoculars, motion-activated surveillance cameras, a bionic ear to amplify sounds?
  • In real-life, a pet PI can make a lucrative living, from set fees of $300 to $1,000 a day. Does your character charge similarly? If so, his/her lifestyle will reflect a high income (unless they’re not very good with money or they have other financial obligations).
  • What investigative traits does your fictional pet PI use? As with other PIs, they might rely on their reasoning, analysis of physical evidence, interview and interrogation, and surveillance techniques to recover lost pets.
  • Where did your fictional pet PI learn about animal behavior-for example, in college, in a veterinarian’s office, or while growing up on a farm?

There’s one last point about writing a pet detective: he/she probably has a big heart. After all, animals possess all that is best in humans.

About the Author:

Colleen Collins-Kaufman is a professional PI and multi-published author. She and her business partner also teach online classes for writers developing sleuths and detective fiction. For more information, go to http://www.writingprivateinvestigators.com

Source: freelancewriting.com

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Are You Meeting Your Writing Goals? Try These Productivity Tips For Writers

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Publisher – Aggregator – Master Distributor

from JOANNA PENN at The Creative Penn

Time seems to fly by and our writing goals can sometimes fall behind in the craziness of the day to day.

manage day to dayBalancing writing with ‘real life’ and business tasks as well as family and other commitments can become a strain.

But we need to step back now and then, assess the situation and reset our behaviors in order to achieve our goals.

I’m not a productivity geek, but I do have processes and systems and I love to learn about new ways to optimize my workflow. I recently read ‘Manage Your Day To Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus and Sharpen Your Creative Mind‘ from 99U, one of my favorite blogs.

It gave me plenty of pages of notes, but the significant changes for me are:

Do not check email or social before I have done my first creation block of the day

e.g. 1500 words on latest WIP. In order to achieve this, I have removed my email app from my mobile phone and am using Antisocial software to block access to those while still allowing me on the internet for research (which I often need as I write). I started doing this at the beginning of the year, but I fell off the wagon. Not firmly back on it.

Look strategically at personal and business goals and decide what I can get rid of and what I can streamline.

I’m still looking at this but I will be restructuring this site somehow, and making the process flow easier so I have more creation time. But don’t worry, it won’t be going anywhere!

have you made artI asked my email list about their tips for productivity

Here are some of the responses I received back (some paraphrasing). Perhaps they will help you, or you can add yours in the comment section below.

[By the way, you can join the email list by signing up and ownloading the Author 2.0 Blueprint here]

Benjamin Tiller: I get my writing done first thing in the morning before work – with no TV, no phone, no wifi on the laptop. Word count goals have been great. I utilize the full screen feature in Scrivener to limit other distractions.

Annemarie Slee: Try www.workflowy.com. Easy for list making, but also very useful for outlining your ToC. You can set times and dates easily too.

Attention management, not time management

Grace Marshall: It might help to think of it as attention management rather than time management – gets you noticing and tracking the thing that you can actually manage – your attention, rather than time itself. And here’s how to beat writer’s procrastination.
Jon Jefferson: I use three things as a crutch to help me stay focused: The times I write, doing pre-writingto get all the extraneous out of my mind, and timed writing for set blocks of time to focus in.

Word count chart

My daily word count chart

Jean Reinhardt: I found that when I was stuck on my YA book, I could write if I switched genres (to a short story, now a novella). This means I am writing two books at the same time, but switching genres works for me and keeps things flowing.

Find what works for you – even if it is in the bathroom!

Stacie Whitney: I’m a mother of a young child who gets up and wants attention as soon as she hears me come out of the bathroom in the morning.  So on that first morning to get my book written, I went into the bathroom with my computer, locked the door, and got to work.  I wrote the entire outline and two chapters before breakfast!
After a week of early morning bathroom writing sessions, I was somehow able to sneak into the living room, and the rest of the book was written (mainly) in early morning hours before the rest of my family was awake.Basically, my tip is to find whatever space and rhythm work best for you and DO that! And be willing to alter it if circumstances change.

Jason Lewis: the only way that I can write effectively is to completely lock myself away (metaphorically) from social media. The best way I’ve found so far is to take a long train journey; get the netbook out and just write like there’s no tomorrow. Racked up six thousand words the other day (my single most productive day by a long distance) on a five hour journey. The reason being I cannot get a signal on my phone and I refuse to pay to access the internet on the train.

Karlene Cameron: When I write, I keep the computer turned off. That does it for me.

Lyle Nicholson: Set a block of time, and then use it.  If it’s one hour or three hours, close your door, or your external senses and write.  Even if you don’t write, and you just doodle on a pad, or write silly things for the hour or three hours, use that as your creative process time. The mind is an amazing instrument, if you give it space and time, it will take you in marvelous directions.

Write by hand – away from the computer

writing coffeeCarlie Van Amerongan: I’ve just started doing my writing by hand. I used to do everything on the computer, and I would easily get distracted, by all the other things I could do on the computer… and no amount of willpower would help! Since I’ve started doing it this way, I’m much more productive, even if the rate of words to page is a little slower. I’m enjoying the process more, and I think in the end I get more words out. Far from a productivity tip, this is a brand new practice for me… but so far it seems to be working.

Kathleen Heady: I carry an old-fashioned legal pad with me, or a notebook would do, and when I have time throughout the day, I work on whatever my current writing project is — longhand. I substitute teach so I often have downtime to do this, but sometimes it is easier to pick up a pad of paper than go on the computer with all the distractions it offers. Then later I can type up my work when I am in a less creative mood.

Sally Chippendale: 1000 words per day and don’t start later than 10am. If you are blocked move straight on to the next scene. If you have children put their favorite tv show on and neglect them for an hour and a half. I make one decent coffee beforehand; that is my only set up requirement/custom that I allow myself. I printed out and pinned above my desk one long excel spreadsheet detailing each scene in one sentence, headings included  day, characters, action, reason. Then highlight each line when complete, for satisfaction value.

Tom Evans:
1. Breathe in through alternate nostrils five times (use a finger to close each nostril off in turn)
2. Doodle or mind map what you are about to write about
3. Then meditate or go for a walk before you start writing
4. Resist the temptation to edit while writing
5. Have a treat lined up for when you finish each session (e.g. a cup of tea and digestive biscuit)
Tom is an author, bookwright and creative catalyst. His latest book is called The Zone and is an exploration of how to get in and stay in it. More details here …  http://www.tomevans.co/books/the-zone/

Find a few good writing website/blogs and stick to them.

Don’t be distracted by a hundred updates inboxing you each day. This happened to me, for a few days I spent more time reading than writing.

Betty Halsey: disable the internet on my computer and leave my phone in a different room.

Francis Wade, author of Bill’s Im-Perfect Time Management Adventure: In our age, improving your time management skills continually is a must, and it’s best done by slowly adapting new habits, practices and rituals, rather than chasing down the latest gadget, shortcut or trick. Deliberate practice anyone?
There are clearly a lot of similarities, and yes, I know the irony of blogging about this topic and distracting you from writing at the same time!