5 Reasons Why You Should Write Daily

5 reasons why you should write daily

There is a lot of conflicting advice surrounding this topic of why you should write daily or why you shouldn’t. Some, compare it to exercise by saying that you wouldn’t exercise daily so why would you want to write daily?

Well this is one mum of four who does exercise daily. Yes! And by exercise I don’t mean lifting weights or anything that strenuous… once upon a time I used to be able to do pull ups with absolute ease, but my upper body strength is not what it use to be, but I do walk up to forty-five minutes a day. I listen to music, I clear my head, and I inevitable plan out various scenes in my head.

Then I come home and I sit down and write what’s been flowing through my head for those forty-five minutes.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise. I’ve talked about this topic before. But I think it needs to be mentioned again.

If you don’t write daily, you can’t hope to hone your skills as a writer, can you?

But what about writer’s burnout? Yes, it’s real and its completely different to writer’s block. But here’s the secret to surviving writer’s burnout.

DO NOT STOP WRITING!

I know, you think I’m crazy. I promise you I’m not.

Writing is hard. It’s often slow and painful. You think you’re never going to get to the end of the story or novel you’re writing. But I promise you, you will. If you keep at it. It’s not a race. It’s a marathon and in a marathon you have to pace yourself. If you don’t you won’t be able to keep up. And yes, sometimes I fall into a pit of anxiety worrying over deadlines and if I can actually write those 5,000 words that some anthology calls ask for. It’s scary and mind numbing. I tend to shy away from sci-fi for this very reason.

But at the end of the day, all you can do is try. Strive for those high possibly unattainable goals and maybe, just maybe you might get lucky enough to reach a few of them.

Publishing is harder. Trust me. And you do need a thick skin. I confessed to a friend in the early hours of this morning that I still feel as if my writing isn’t worth a damn. And yes, publishers keep taking a chance on me, and I do – often – pinch myself being able to consider myself a published author. Both in paying and non paying markets.

Self doubt can cripple authors. Old or new. But it’s no reason to give up.

So here’s 5 reasons why you should write daily.

  1. It’s habit-forming. And while I don’t know how true it is, I’ve heard it said that it only takes 21 days to form a habit.
  2. It’s cathartic. Keeping a journal, for instance is a way to release stress and tension. Getting lost in the creation of a fictional world can help take your mind of day-to-day worries because you’re getting involved in someone else’s.
  3. You’re practicing a skill. It’s like learning a language. If you don’t immerse yourself in the language you’ll soon forget it. The same can be said about the technical aspects of writing.
  4. It eliminates writer’s block. After a while you’ll find yourself tapping into that well of ideas because the words just flow and because the words are flowing the ideas do too.
  5. It will make you more organized. You might not think it but once the habit forms you’ll want to write. I actually feel anxious and frustrated if I can’t get even ten minutes to sit and work on a project that isn’t my blog.

Now, I don’t write a lot as I usually aim for 300 new words a day. Not much at all. Take this past week for instance… not a lot of words of fiction written but quite a lot was accomplished on my blog. And let me tell you, when I first decided to pick up my blog a year ago and get serious with active blogging, I sucked at writing lengthy blog posts. I still suck at writing lengthy blog posts sometimes. But I stick with it.

Writing fiction is no different. Now, there was a time where I didn’t write daily. And my heart and soul suffered for it. You see, writing for me is an escape. It’s cathartic and it’s taken a while, but as much as the self-doubt still grips me, I love the feeling of getting that sometimes elusive acceptance email in my inbox.

But it’s not all about the stories I’ve had published. I do more often than not write for myself. I write what I want to read or about topics that resonate. I put my characters through hell because real life isn’t always easy and fiction is no different.

 

 

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Write What You Know

If you’ve been writing for a while, you’ve no doubt heard the phrase write what you know and if you’re new to writing, then this post just might save your sanity.

Write what you know.

It’s one of the most misunderstood pieces of writing advice I’ve ever come across, so what do you do about it?

Do you listen and hang on every word. Every snippet of so-called writing advice that the World Wide Web is inundated with… not to mention every book dedicated to writing. Or do you pick and choose? Using only the advice you think it’s relevant and useful.

Write what you know. Really? But do I have to?

I know, I know. I can hear you thinking: I hardly know anything, or: my experience is limited, or even: I haven’t been anywhere exciting yet.

None of that matters, and you know why? Because I can guarantee you that your life experience is entirely different from any other writer out there. It’s as unique as you are, and that’s what will shine through no matter what you write.

Funny story actually, but a couple of years ago, I was told by an author that I respect, to stick to writing what I know. It was after a conversation led me to share the setting of the book that I was working on at the time. I’ll give you a hint, it wasn’t set in Australia… and it definitely wasn’t set in Perth.

I found myself sitting there, coffee in hand, mulling over what she said and panicking and I thought to myself: I’ll never get to go anywhere as charming as Ireland in my lifetime.

And then it dawned on me… it’s not the setting of the story I should be focusing on, but the experiences my characters go through. It’s the emotions that course through them whenever they feel something so intensely… whether it be joy or sadness. If you as a writer know those emotions inside out, if you experience it as if it were you who was going through it, and not some character you made up, then there’s no doubt in my mind the reader will feel it too.

How to Deal with Rejection

1C4CDA24-390A-47D4-A4FC-A2410B9F55B3I hate to say it, but life has gotten busy. Looking for work has taken up the bulk of my time and I’m still no closer to being employed. So, as a result, August has given way to September and Spring is beginning to leave its mark, ever so slowly.

My story Owl Eyes has yet to be picked up, despite sending it out to a few different anthologies it’s been rejected. I’ll likely add it to the pile of stories I’m collecting to put into an anthology, but even so it doesn’t lessen the sting of rejection.

So, on that note I thought I’d share a few ways to deal with rejection as a writer.

1. Try not to take it personally. I know, it’s hard and you’re first instinct will be to take it personally, but do try not to. I promise good things are just around the corner.

2. Allow yourself time to be disappointed. Let’s face it… rejection hurts. Take a moment, but don’t dwell.

3. Have something on the go. Don’t force the words but have something to throw yourself into. Hope springs eternal and you won’t get published if you don’t keep writing.

4. Let it go. Let it go! (Sorry! I couldn’t resist. Hazards of having a daughter who loved (loves?) Frozen. But it’s true. Patience is a virtue and humility even more so. Don’t get angry. It’s no way to have a writing career.

5. Try to get rejected. I know it sounds crazy but you can’t get published without taking a risk and sending your work out into the world. For every two rejection letters you might receive an acceptance letter. How great would that be? A dream come true, I bet.

I hope this list has inspired you to keep going, even if at times it seems hopeless. If it’s has, drop me a line in the comments. If not, I encourage you to also comment, perhaps with your favourite song. You know, the one you just can’t get out of your head? Inspiration comes from everywhere after all.

 

 

 

 

 

Popular Hashtags For Writers

21A34B13-D7BF-4314-A2AC-BD1996B9A506.jpegDo you ever find yourself wondering what writerly hashtags to use on Instagram and twitter? If the answer is yes, then look no further. 

I’ve compiled a list that might help you navigate the never ending sea of confusion that surrounds hashtags.

Popular Hashtags For Writers

#AmEditing – a short version of “I am editing”

#AmWriting – a short version of “I am writing”

#AmReading – a short version of “I am reading”

#WritersWrite

#WritersRead

#IndieAuthors – independent authors need to use social media in their marketing strategy.

#NaNoWriMo – national novel writing month

#PubTip – publication tips

#SelfPublishing

#StoryStarter – a prompt for starting a story

#WordCount – used by writers who want to share their writing progress

#WIP – work in progress

#WritersBlock – used by writers who are suffering from writers block

#WritersLife  – used by writers to add insight into life as a writer

#WritingPrompt – the perfect hashtag if you’re looking for inspiration

#WritingTip or #WritingTips or #WriteTip – used by writers who want to share tips about writing

#WriterMum or WriterMom – used by female writers who are also parents

#WritersfollowWriters – used for writers to follow other writers

#WritershelpingWriters

#WritingCommunity

There’s plenty more… like for example….

Day of the Week Hashtags

#MotivationMonday

#TeaserTuesday

#WIPWednesday

#ThrowbackThursday

#FollowFriday

#Caturday

#SundayFunday

Keep checking back, as when I come across other hashtags, I’ll update this post, but this is a good start for any writers out there lost in the sea of hashtags.

Writers Block and How to Prevent it

062A0903-0290-4E84-A776-FDB4140EB813.jpegI come across a lot of writers complaining about writers block. They seem to all have one thing in common. How do you overcome it, and even better: How do you prevent it in the first place?

Firstly, some tips to overcome to overcome writers block.

– Go for a walk. A change of scenery and fresh air often brings about new ideas.

– Read a book. Often reading a book written by someone else is enough to trick the mind and get you in the mood to write again.

– Listen to music. Instrumental or songs with lyrics. Either can work.

– Create a routine. I’ve spoken of this before. Writing daily creates a habit, which in turn creates a want to write. A desire to write.

– Journal. Keeping a journal, while not fiction, is still writing and may help banish your creative block. At best, if it doesn’t banish your block, it will help clear your head.

Secondly, some tips on how not to overcome writers block.

– Television. It’s such a mindless activity but I do enjoy several tv shows. So to compensate I watch tv a little less. Or I write while watching tv.

– Refusing to write. While inspiration is one thing, you have to write something. Otherwise the well will just dry up. Don’t just wait around for you muse. Force her to show up.

– Procrastinating. Putting off writing is also not the way to overcome writers block. It’s the way to avoid it completely and counterproductive.

Lastly, the way to prevent writers block is quite simple. Really it is.

Pick up your pen (or go sit at your computer) and write.

And, if you’re still not convinced, try it.

Write about a memory. Write about something you saw while shopping… a person you met. Anything, as long as you write and don’t stop, stick with it. Because  if you love writing, if it’s what truly drives you then it’s better to write something than nothing at all.

 

 

 

Using Instagram as an Indie Author

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Instagram.

It’s a powerful and fun visual tool. It can help you to promote your books and your author brand. While not as fast paced as Twitter it’s still quite active.

I’ve managed to grow my Instagram account quite steadily over the last year.

Some tricks I’ve learnt during my time on Instagram are:

Post to Instagram at least once a day.

I’ve only been posting daily since April but I have seen results.

Don’t be afraid to mix it up. I switch between inspirational writing quotes to inspirational images, writing snippets and character inspiration. Occasionally, I post about my kids. I am a mum after all.

Do keep it on brand and relevant. Of course what’s relevant to you might not be relevant to another writer, but that’s okay.

Share what’s important to you. Your goals and achievements. Big or small. It doesn’t matter.

Don’t be afraid to share yourself with your audience. Whether it be highs or lows. Invite people to know the real you. As much or as little as you want. It’s up to you, but including people in your journey is how you get people to connect because they feel a part of the process and it’s with those connections that you begin to make an impact on somebody else’s life.

Most of all…

Dont forget to have fun!

 

 

It All Starts With Coffee

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Yes, it’s true! I’m a coffee addict. Like you didn’t know.

So, by now, it’s no secret… or at least I hope it’s no secret, that I write every day. Some days not as much as others, but I do write daily.

It’s not something I’ve always done. In fact, it took me two years to make the habit stick and it wasn’t easy.

Now, I’m not going to tell you what to write… that part is up to you. Blog, novel, short story… journal? Whatever. Nor am I going to give you story ideas… although, that might make for an interesting series of blog posts sometime in the future.

For now though, let’s get back to developing daily writing habits.

Decide what you want to work on. Is it a short story or a novel? Does it have a deadline? How many words is it?

Break it down. And keep your daily word count target small. There’s nothing more overwhelming then setting a daily goal of a 1000 words and falling short because you were so caught up in writing ALL THE WORDS. Trust me, small is better.

Take my goal for instance. In January I set a goal to write 275 words a day. Some days I write more, others I write less, but in six months I’ve never missed a day.

I know many writers who churn out upwards of 5,000 words one day and then don’t write for days afterwards. I don’t get it. I mean, each writer’s writing process is different but I’d much rather see the progress on the page, bit my bit, than multiple zeros on a spreadsheet. But then, I also like accountability. I like seeing proof of my progress.

Make time. I cannot stress this enough. Even ten minutes. My biggest time saver when stealing time for writing is my iPhone. I often find I’m more productive if I just use the notes app, but I have MS Word on there too and I save everything to OneDrive, so its all right there waiting for me to pick it up the next day on whichever device I choose to work with.

You’re probably sitting reading this and going but I don’t have time, right? Wrong. Back in April I felt the exact same way. I asked other writers how I could fix it. How I could up my productivity and stop procrastinating. I’m time poor. I have four kids and a husband, along with a house to take care off. Something had to give, and it couldn’t be any of those three big things. Family is important.

So, what did I do? Well I began tracking my time for a whole week. 7 days. It made me accountable to the house, the kids and my husband, and I soon saw a pattern forming and I was able to identify blocks of time where I could write.

Back in May, I posted this about finding time and while it’s not a concise picture of every day of the week, it is a rough idea of what a week day looks like for me. It’ll likely change when I get a part time job, becoming even crazier, I suspect, but I’ll deal.

So, I made time. Two hours at night. And not every night mind you. Some days I blow off writing at night in favour of TV and when I do I make up the words in other ways. By blogging, for instance. Yes, I multitask.

Pick one project. You don’t have to do everything at once. I have… three, no four novels on the go at the moment. I switch between all of them depending on the day and my mood. It helps me to keep the story fresh. And tricks my mind into thinking I’m working on something new, even though I’m clearly not.

And, I could go on, but I won’t. So… if you think there’s something I’ve missed or you have a question, pop it in a comment and I’ll be sure to reply.

 

 

Using Twitter as an Indie Author

twitter-2048133_960_720Twitter.

It’s a powerful tool. It can help you to promote your books and your author brand. It’s also very fast paced. It’s a world which, despite my decent following, I haven’t managed to crack just yet.

But, don’t let my experience (or lack thereof) prevent you from building something great.

Some tricks I’ve learnt during my time on Twitter are:

Post to Twitter at least 3-5 times a day.

This is actually what lets me down. A lot. I don’t post often enough. But being aware of it, means I can correct my posting habits.

The reason here is that you want to be seen. You want people to interact with you and like and retweet your content.

You also want to space your tweets. Being in Australia, I’m at an automatic disadvantage for those connected with me in the Northern Hemisphere. To correct this, I try to post at a time that works for both Southern Hemisphere folk and those in the North too.

I don’t always get it right, but that’s okay.

Retweet and Like other peoples tweets. It’s the simplest way to build connections with other people. Because they will notice and possibly reciprocate in return. Not always, but sometimes. You won’t know if you don’t try it for yourself.

Take the time to comment and reply to people who’ve commented on a tweet you’ve made. No matter how small, the action goes a long way.

Be professional. Have a picture and header that project your brand. Share things that matter. Getting personal is fine. You want your followers to care about you, and your books.

Retweet your own tweets. I’ve found some success with this. Given how face paced Twitter is, tweets do have a tendency to get lost along the way. New followers cross your path daily so it’s definitely something worth doing.

Lastly, don’t give up. Your brand won’t be built in a day. But as long as you commit, even if all you can commit to is one tweet a day.

Social media may seem like a race at times, but it’s really not. As long as your prepared to put in the work. It will pay off.

 

Affirmations

FD2CEF27-D321-408C-8DBE-3AD9005F1A30My husband and I were having a conversation about a book he’d just finished reading when he turned to me and said: “Don’t take this the wrong way but if that’s published why aren’t you?”

My answer was a one word response. “Editing.”

It’s expensive. So, I’ve been putting it off and putting it off.

My book has blossomed into six books, with three more still to write.

But, I can say I’m one step closer to publishing. Having found an editor who just might be the perfect fit for me.

It still doesn’t stop the self doubt and anxieties from creeping in and sometimes that alone is enough to make me pause and consider not publishing because I’m scared.

Of course then I have to remind myself that it’s okay to be scared. That the reason I put pen to paper in the first place when I was fourteen hasn’t changed. I still want to share my words with the world. My dream of being publishedhasnt gone anywhere and all this is just a bump in the road that I will get over.

It’s okay.

Being scared, is okay. In fact, it would be a little remiss if you weren’t. Writing. The entire process is huge. It’s sharing a part of yourself with strangers. What’s not scary about that?

The trick?

Breathe. And let go.

Focus on getting the words down. It’s not a sprint. You don’t have to compare yourself to any other writer.

Just do you. Be accountable. Show up and put in the effort. The words on the page will speak for themselves.

Using Facebook as an Indie Author

facebook-3391214_960_720Facebook.

It’s a powerful tool. It can help you to promote your books and your author brand.

I find it one of the best ways to connect to other people in the writing community.

But knowing how to reach out to your audience on your Facebook page can be a little daunting at first.

So, here’s a few things you might like to think about when creating and growing your own Facebook page.

Know Your Audience

You have to know your audience. Who are your books aimed at? Genre? Age bracket? What makes your brand unique? All of these things matter. Don’t neglect them.

Be Responsive

It’s not just about writing posts it’s about engaging with the people who take the time to comment on those posts. You have to make connections.

Be Consistent

There’s no real secret formula to posting on Facebook pages. Although, I do suggest posting no more than three times a day. Anymore than that and you risk annoying those who have taken the time to like your page.

It’s not rocket science, but these are definitely the best ways to build your brand. I don’t personally pay to boost content on my Facebook author page, but through networking with Facebook groups, and other indie authors who’s pages interest me, I’ve managed to build a page with over 2,500 likes.

What’s up with Social Media?

social-1710317_960_720I came across an interesting post about the pros and cons of social media in a Facebook group earlier that caught my attention. It’s actually what prompted me to write this blog.

Social Media. It’s huge and often daunting.  And sometimes when you’re an indie author and you’re having to do it all, such things can seem a little overwhelming.

But let’s face it, you need a web presence. So you need to be active on some of the social media platforms.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and Google. And that’s only the first six off the top of my head.

You might think that you need to have them all. Right? Wrong! But you do need a web presence. Readers need to be able to find you and connect, not just with your books, but with you, the author.

The trick? Start small.

Start with Facebook. Why Facebook and not a website? Simple. Almost everyone already has a Facebook profile.  Setting up a Facebook page, when you already have a Facebook profile is easy. People either love Facebook or hate it. I personally love it.

Limit yourself.

Stick to two social media platforms to start with. That way you don’t get overwhelmed.

If you’ve already got Facebook you’re half way there. As a second I’d suggest Twitter or Instagram. Both have huge followings and are easy to learn the ropes of.

Be present.

There’s no point having a Facebook page, twitter or Instagram if they’re going to sit idle. I suggest posting at least once per day on each platform. It’ll take some time but you’ll eventually learn what works, when your followers are active and what content they enjoy seeing the most.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. And use hashtags. How else are you going to be seen without them?

Interact.

Don’t just post content and expect it to do well. It needs to be engaging. Something other’s will want to click on, and you’ll need to interact with others and comment on their posts. This will also help you to grow your audience and gain a decent following.

There’s a lot more I could write, but I’ll expand on what I’ve written here later. For now, the best course of action would be to think about what social media platforms you deem necessary as an indie author or writer and pick your favourites. Remember, the goal here is to not get overwhelmed, less is more. Later, when you have the hang of it, you can increase your viewership, by adding other platforms.

If you want to see what I’ve done with my social media profiles check out the tips and tricks here:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Time to Write with Four Kids

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I started my author journey in 2012. Many people didn’t understand why I wanted to write or how I could enjoy it. Writing can be a very solitary pursuit. One that could take you away from more, dare I say it, mundane tasks.

So, naturally if writing takes me away from every day mundane tasks, one would assume that it could quite easily take me away from my children. Not so. And, it doesn’t have to. It took me quite a few years, early on in my writing journey, before I even got published – when my kids were babies – to find the balance. However, I can successfully say, with the utmost confidence, that I have found a way to both write and be present in my kids lives. Now if only I could find a way to both write and keep on top of all those mundane household tasks that often fall to the way side while I be mum to my kids, I think I’d be set.

Now my kids are twelve, ten, nine and seven and parenting is a bit more challenging now than when they were babies, but I found some things that work for me, and keep me from feeling too overwhelmed.

Here’s five tips I employ in order to write around household chores and FOUR children.

  1. You have to make time for yourself and your writing. Write when the kids are in bed at night. Or get up early and write while every else is still asleep.
  2. Write everyday. I cannot stress this enough. Even if it’s only 10 words. Write!
  3. Get your kids involved with the household chores. That way you’ll have time to write.
  4. Use a schedule, and stick to it!
  5. Get enough sleep! A grumpy mum is no good to anybody, let alone your kids.

I hope you find these tips as helpful as I have!