Category Archives: Articles

Writing Motivators and the Muse

You can rev up your writing ability with some simple writing tweaks. Your inner muse needs exercise to stay in shape — but writing sprints don’t need to be tiresome. They can be quick and exhilarating as you see how much you can turn out in a short period of time.

muse

These muse-tweakers should be practiced without self-critique, interior limitations, or worries about what someone else might think about your writing. The purpose is to allow your creativity the freedom to relax and create. You don’t have to show this piece to anyone if you don’t want to, it will be just for YOU!

Try a different tweaker every week to see what moves your imagination and awakens your inner muse.

1. Write about your desk/writing table.

Simply write a paragraph or two about your writing spot. You can write in first person (the “I am” point of view), or write in third person, where you describe what you see as the narrator.

2. Tell a story from your recollection.

This is my fav to do when I am short on ideas. I will just sit down and start writing something about my own life experience and voila! I am off and running.

3. Use writing motivators – or generators

There are a lot of online idea generators, but I can also recommend a book for you to get that will encourage your writing muse to write. It is Ten Tips for Getting that Book Written.

It has a bunch of writing motivators, or muse-tweakers in it and I believe it will help you with getting your writing kick-started.

I also have a Facebook group called “Writing Motivators” and in it I post lists of items to use in a story or book. (Usually these are posted on Friday) So check it out!

No matter how knowledgeable you are, you can always improve your creativity. You can always learn new ways to unburden yourself of your creativity and/or excite a reader.

If you are a writer and have anything to add to this, please leave a comment below.

Be sure to check out the new podcast coming next Tuesday!

is this book doa

What can I do for writer’s block?

Have you ever gone through a dry spell as a writer? Some call it writer’s block, and recently a friend of mine called it being “out of sync” – but whatever the name, we do sometimes hit the bottom of the proverbial barrel with our creativity.

block

So,

Here are some thoughts and my response to them:

  • Force yourself/allow yourself to write crap

This oftentimes is a good way to get started when we are just not in the mood. If we sit down and tool around the WIP, usually we will dive back in. Start out editing the last thing you wrote. Read what you have written out loud. It will give you the idea/feeling you had when last you wrote and start the idea treadmill. And it is OKAY to write something that we know that we will delete later. The idea is just to get STARTED.

  • Take a break

You cannot always follow that strict routine that you have been keeping. Sometimes our bodies undergo periods of rebellion. We need to stretch, eat, and sleep. If you have been writing thousands of words for days on end, you will burn out sometimes. It’s okay to take a break.

Here is a little list of things you can do to use that time away from writing creatively.

1. Play games. Board games, card games, or video games. The change in using your brain for a different problem-solving skill can help freshen the other side, that writing brain.

2. Read. It is a proven fact that when we read good books, books that we enjoy and value, we get inspired to write. Or maybe you get inspired from reading really badly written books? (grin) Either way, reading is good for dry spells.

3. Draw. There is a very good reason why the adult coloring books are so popular. We can release creativity in a new and fun way. And it gives us a chance to focus on something else and let our mind come up with new ideas.

4. Watch movies. This one usually always does it for me. Something about relaxing with a good meal, some popcorn, and a movie releases my tensed mind muscles and I can imagine again.

Once the ideas are flowing once again, you can pick back up and write like you always have. Resume that production schedule, fly across the plains on your writing horse.

Do you have other suggestions for breaking a block?

When you want to quit writing…

Can you quit writing?

Indie publishing can be tough.

quit

Uphill Climb

This past week, I had a new release, and helped a fellow author through hers. There are a lot of resources out there to help authors, I have found. Yes, resources on craft, editing, revising, publishing, marketing, promotions, etc. are in abundance.

But sometimes, learning all you can learn is not enough to be successful. Sometimes you have to have a bit of luck, and a lot of thick skin. And you always have to not only absorb all that information, but you also have to digest it and put it into action.

And believe me, there is a lot of information to consume!

When we are unprepared for the onslaught of reader comments, typo-finders, and other helpful folks who contact you POST-release to update you on their input, suddenly, being a writer isn’t so much fun anymore. Suddenly, you might want to crawl into a hole and drag the dirt in over you.

It takes SO much time getting a book ready for publication, and your efforts are only welcomed with well-meaning people who tell you it could be better. A lot of authors at this point in their career sit over a steaming cup of coffee and threaten to quit.

Yes, that’s right, QUIT.

A few reasons:

1. You’re getting a lot of negative comments, or reviews, about content issues (ie. formatting, typos, grammar, etc.)
2. You are not getting reviews.
3. You have low sales and an abysmal Amazon ranking.

And there are a few things you can do to develop a writer’s attitude toward this stuff. Well, toward your work anyway.

  • Develop the skin of a rhino. Don’t let this stuff throw you. It’s a business now. The art side of writing is gone when you post it up for readers to get at.
  • Remember: your book is NOT your baby. It is NOT. Repeat over and over. This is not my child, this is not my blood. This is my book. MY BOOK. People are not always going to like it.
  • Go back to the drawing board. Maybe you DO need a refresher course on grammar, spelling, and punctuation. There is nothing wrong with that. Do it, and quit stressing over your lack.
  • Writing a book is easy, editing it is hard, publishing it and putting it out for the general public to gawk at it is the hardest. This business is not for the faint-hearted. But you can do it!

    Quit? No way. Quitting is not an option.

    Self-Publishing into Indie Publishing

    Indie publishing has come a long way, baby. Heck, even the name indie publishing is new.

    In recent times, even in the last fifteen years (which is recent in the industry), self-publishing was considered to be a sideways effort to get your work into print. Self-publishers were considered poor writers who couldn’t break into traditional publishing.

    And don’t even get me started on the print versus digital argument.

    Those were the old days.

    indie

    Now, move ahead fifteen years, and tada! Self-publishing is the most popular form of publishing for EVERYONE. Trad pub authors are moving to a hybrid model where they see a lot of their work published by their own hand. And the rest of us, the original self-published authors, we are seeing some of the best years of all for our work. Because self-publishing had SUCH a negative start in its life, in the last few years, the moniker self-publishing has been transitioned over to a new term : INDIE PUBLISHING.

    Aren’t you SO glad????

    Indie publishing today

    Today, I thought I would break indie publishing down into its parts. Good and bad. Let’s check out the negative side first, and get it out of the way.

    What’s wrong with indie publishing?

    ***All the costs of editing, formatting, and cover design fall squarely on your shoulders.

    ***There are a lot of people in the industry that can help you but there are far more scammers and you may not know the difference. A wolf in sheep’s clothing never looked better.

    ***You may lose heart over the fact that your book doesn’t sell well at first.

    What’s right with indie publishing?

    ***It’s fast-you can upload a book to Amazon or other distributors and within 48 hours have it on the digital shelf.

    ***You get to have all the control of the book from writing to cover art. You can literally DIY a book today.

    ***You can keep all the MONEY. This getting 70% of the total sales of the book and now we get it monthly is just the BOMB.

    There are many many wonderful books out there in the indie pub world today as well. No longer can it be said that the indie published book is a bad book.

    And in my opinion, the best of the reasons to be indie publishing your work is this:

    Sometimes traditional publishers will find you. When you’ve done the right things, and marketing has worked. Sometimes if you build it, they will come.

    _____

    Writer Groupie Podcast is looking for all types of authors and industry pros for interviews. Leave a comment below or drop a contact form to get booked.

    How do I get traffic to my writing site?

    One of the most common questions of authors who keep a blog has to be “how do I get TRAFFIC?”
    traffic
    Well, first I think you have to understand what getting traffic means.

    • First of all, getting traffic means having readers
    • Having readers means frequent posting
    • Frequent posting means having good content
    • Having good content means having good quality design in your posts

    You get blog readers over time. It takes a while before people start seeking you out at your site. You should always send them to your site whenever possible. Posting frequently will give you plenty for the readers to find and read when they come to visit. Having good content will keep them on the site LONGER. And a nice appealing presentation (website) will make them want to come back time and time again.

    And truthfully, that’s it in a nutshell. Unless you are one of those people who have a trickle and you want a flood.

    What can I do to get MORE traffic?

    You can do a few other things to insure that you get readers who will be the traffic of which you seek.

    1. Visit other blogs and leave comments
    2. Respond to commenters
    3. Give things away. I know some of you are groaning, but there is a very good reason for this.
    4. Be consistent, comfortable, and friendly. Readers are really wanting to connect with YOU not just your site, so make it easy for them.

    That’s really a very small list, but a very important one. You have to be the person out there making friends and influencing people in order to build your site’s readership. And sometimes, I know, it’s hard.

    So, why don’t you post up some of your ideas to bring traffic to your site and let’s have a discussion about it?

    Blogging in 2016: Five Reasons to Blog

    Happy New Year and welcome to 2016! This year would be a good time for you to re-evaluate your blog and your blogging life, and I am here to help.
    blogging
    Blogging is the only something that I can think of that helps us build our platform and define our brand as authors. Social media helps, but getting people to even read your post on FB or Twitter is really hard with all the other posts flying through their feeds.

    But if they read your work, like what you have produced, the next stop (before or just after social media) is your website. Wouldn’t it be great if you had a blog they could read and be entertained?

    So, here are my top five reasons why you should be blogging.

    Five reasons for blogging

    • Blogging IS writing

    It is. If you are a ritualistic word count fanatic as I am, you will be thrilled to note that you probably write a lot more when you blog than you realize. I normally get in 1000 words a week JUST from blogs. Having said that, I blog almost every day. Either here or at http://www.kimsmithauthor.com and so word count adds up like magic. If you are not only struggling with one blog (let alone two!) don’t worry.

    • It builds your writing ability

    Since blogging is writing, then you get better at writing through blogging. A=B and B=C therefore A=C. Simple. As long as you do not do as I did and blog about everything and the kitchen sink on your blog. Keep it specific. KISS=keep it specific, silly. If your blog is about your writing, then keep it focused. If it is about losing weight, then keep it specific. No one wants to visit a writer’s site and see a bunch of stuff about weight loss. And food addicts don’t want to go to a lose weight quick site and see a blog about writing and the writing life. Now, if your book is about losing weight…well, just remember to keep a good focus in the right spot.

    • Blogging gives us support for what we do

    I mean I love love love comments! When people comment on my blog it gives me the feeling that people really do listen. They really do care. They are really interested in what I do. Blogging gives us a little feeling of validity and prestige (especially when people respond to us!)

    • Blogging regularly, and well, will lend the appearance of pro status

    Most authors do not believe in themselves. They have a deep feeling of “I’m a hack” nearly all the time. But when we blog, we present ourselves as authorities. Well, because when we blog we ARE an authority on that subject or we wouldn’t be blogging about it, right? Even NY agents have struck up relationships and built clientele through blogging. It really is a case of build it and they will come. It might take a little while, but it has happened.

    • Blogging is a benchmark

    I really didn’t understand this until I started working on my end of the year posts. It allows us to go back and see what we have accomplished over the course of a year. We all need a yardstick to measure life by. Blogging really does do that.

    OK, so I hope you are fully convinced on the matter of blogging. It is STILL a viable method of reaching an audience in 2016. It is even better for us personally because we all need some place to write and get our words out.

    Leave a comment or question below

    Five things writers need to make money

    How does a writer make money?

    Now that we are heading toward the end of 2015 and people are beginning to think about new year goals, I thought I would share a few thoughts about things that writers need to make a living. If you have a writer in your life, or if you are considering jumping on the wagon in 2016, this post is for you.

    money

    In no certain order, here are a few things writers need to help them make money at their craft:

    1. Give them support

    It is no secret that writers don’t make a lot of money. We don’t. The only one really making a lot of money are the ones who have been at this for a long time and have a good following. Some of those are published by a NY publisher. Some of those are self-published. All of them didn’t start writing in 2014 and now are wealthy, retired authors. Today’s writer needs support from family and friends to make their art. That may be just a meal once in a while that they didn’t have to cook. It may be more like paying their rent one month. And for some of us, it just means give us space to breathe and be a writer. Let us lock ourselves in our room and write and not come down for hours.

    2. Learn to market

    There is just no way around this. You have to go out in the wide world web and tell people about your book. Marketing yourself and your work cannot be accomplished by others. They do not understand it the way you do. Now, others can tell their cadre about your work. They can share the love, absolutely. But when you are trying to get a readership, you just have to go out there and get your hands dirty doing it yourself. No one knows your story or book as well as you do. Your love for your work will bring more readers to you than anything else. Share it!

    3. Create a routine

    No secret in this either, but you need to develop a writing habit.  Find a time to write every day, create a writing site where you can do what you do comfortably, and do it without fail. The main reason NANOWRIMO is so successful is that it makes wannabe writers sit down and write. Putting out legible words every day with a goal to turn them into a story is not for the faint-hearted. Don’t  it worse by not having goals and setting deadlines.

    4. Get some grit

    Writers are pretty popular in today’s world. There are an awful lot of us. And the fact that dang near every one of us is a bundle of nerves, uncertainty, and doubt does nothing to give a good image to today’s writer’s portrait.

    But it’s true.

    We are some of the least confident people out there. We worry endlessly and have more disbelief in our ability than any one out there. Well an actor may be close, and an artist too. But writers are notorious for being dubious creatures. We just do not believe in ourselves. So, this is your wake up call, writer. Believe in yourself! You DO have talent!

    5. Love what you do

    This is a big one. Writing is hard. Crafting words that work is the hardest thing I have ever done. Rewriting them and editing them is equally cruel. But I do it because I love it. And you will have to love it too. You cannot be a good writer if you are only doing this for money. See number one. There is NOT a lot of money in this venture, at least not in the beginning. And even after a lot of years at the craft of writing, you may not make a living at it.  But your love of the written word, the love of doing what you do, will carry you through the years. And if money comes down the pike, well good. But it is much more satisfying to write something that you HAD to write and to be happy with the work that came from your efforts than buying a coffee with the proceeds it nets.

    __________

    writer groupie

    So, in conclusion, Writer Groupie is here to help. This platform is for writers by writers. Use it to build your career. Get booked on the podcast.  WG cares about you and your work!

    Who is my book buyer/reader?

    Recently, while listening to many varied podcasts, I discovered something that we don’t think nearly enough about. Our book buyers. Who the heck are these people buying our books?

    We can no longer just say, oh, my book buyer is twenty something and reads romance or a 45 year old man who loves thrillers. Now we have to know more specifics. We have to know WHO they really are and WHY they are buying OUR book.
    So who is today’s book buyer? And how can we harness that information into creating content that they REALLY want?book buyer

    Four ways to know these book buyers

    1. First and foremost, where are they spending all their online time? Are they prone to stay on Facebook, or Twitter? Or are they more the website surfer-type, preferring instead Stumbleupon or Digg?

    2. While they are online, what are they getting? Do they patrol ezines? Blogs? Or maybe it’s more like the forum boards?

    3. Do they actively seek out these places and read the posts listed or do they prefer it to be given to them from a different media, such as video (Youtube, Vimeo) or audio, (podcasts, radio shows)

    4. And finally, but certainly not least in importance, what sort of materials are they interested in? Are they book buyers, or short story readers? How about poetry? Maybe it has to do with tech articles? Are they writers too? That may put a whole nother twist to the tale.

    If you will ask these sorts of questions and seek out the same spots that your potential book buyers visit, you may find buying habits that you can incorporate into your product. If a romance writer has a character that is into race cars and said writer is over at the race car forums, and suddenly they have a ton of new friends, well, it’s because they’ve just found a niche market to learn more from. This may be for the (a) research of the book or (b) the selling of the book, but at any rate they can now use this connection to some of these new friends in a great way.

    Tell me what you think about when you envision your reader in the comments below.

    When is it time to quit writing that book?

    So what do you do when brainstorming is an utter #fail? What happens when the outline does nothing to help you see your way clear to the end of a book that just isn’t working? What do you do when a book JUST ISN’T working?

    is this book doa

    At what point do you say, I want out of this disastrous book relationship?

    Here are a few points to give you a bit of insight:

    1. When the book relationship turns sour and you feel like you are hurting yourself when you open the manuscript. When it physically, mentally, and especially emotionally hurts to try to work on the book, it’s time to quit.

    2. When you have all the time in the world to dive right in but you just can’t. It’s like dragging a kid to the dentist. Just. Cannot. Do. It.

    3. You no longer see the beauty in what you have done thus far. You can no longer say, “When I wrote the first draft, I was in heaven.”

    4. You find yourself asking the same stupid questions of all of your writer friends, and you already know the answers. “Should I rewrite it?” being chief among them all.

    5. You do ugly things to it. You highlight words to change them into other words that mean exactly the same thing.

    These things and about ten more are all good reasons to say adios to the book. Some books are not fixable. Some books were never meant to be written and read. Maybe written but not read by anyone but your mother. Maybe not even her. It’s OKAY to say no to the book. But it is not okay to say no to your creative drive to write one. There will be other books. You can always tear it up and use bits and pieces in another one. Don’t lose sight of the fact that you are a writer, though

    Articles and Blog Writing Tips

    Do you write articles?

    articles
    Used to be authors could get traction in the writing world by writing articles. There are still a number of good articles sites out there, but I think most authors don’t do this anymore. Maybe it is due to all of us having a mailing list and sharing that way, or maybe it is just another time suck which takes us away from our true calling, writing books.

    Whatever it is, if you are still one who writes articles for the reading public, here are ten tips for writing articles. Maybe you can use this on your blog, also, as it certainly would be good things to ask yourself for that as well.

    Ten Writing Tips for Writers

    Everyone’s process is certainly different, but here are a few things that belong on everyone’s list.

    1. Pick a topic, or genre, or subject.
    Some authorities call this finding a niche. Depends on where you are putting the info.
    2. Who will be your reader?
    Always focus on your reader. Willy nilly sorts of posts don’t get much traffic.
    3. Where can you get more info on this topic?
    The Internet is a great resource, but be careful to check the info for accuracy.
    4. Will you need to research anything for it?
    Most articles, and informative pieces need to be researched.
    5. Where can you be best served for research?
    Again, Internet is a great resource, but maybe your local library might have more accurate info.
    6. Gather your research, or other info and put it into an outline.
    Outlines are great and so are beat lists. Those help me when putting together a piece for publication.
    7. Write a tidbit about each part of it under each outline heading.
    Look up research articles on outlining for more info.
    8. Read it over and see how you can enlarge it.
    This is what I did for this post!
    9. Make it longer.
    It needs to be no less than 300 words.
    10. Proofread it.
    Errors creep into written pieces as easily as ice melts. Be sure to double-check!

    I hope this has been helpful. Feel free to leave a comment below.
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