Drawing Inspiration from Dreams

D76EB3F1-B447-4E18-A927-398319F2A838Inspiration can strike at the most inconvenient of times. Often, I find myself drifting off to sleep and then an idea pops into my head, for a story or novel and I just have to write it down before I forget.

Other times, I’ll wake up in the morning or the middle of the night after the most interesting dream, and again I just have to write it down.

Why the hell wouldn’t you?

I know, I know. Drawing inspiration from a dream… It’s cliche, right? But what if it’s not? What if you have a really kick arse dream that is just the right fit for a story? With all it’s untapped potential, you should totally use it. It would be a shame not to.

Now, I’m not talking about making a full blown novel out of one teeny tiny dream , that might not be feasible but maybe you can get some mileage out of it to create a really cool short story.

You won’t know until you try.

I’ve done just that in the past, actually. Other times my dreams have been weaved into a single scene.

That’s the thing about inspiration. It can be found in the most unlikeliest of places. So, don’t go discounting or discrediting your dreams just yet. You might just be lucky enough to find that rare gem.

I have, a few times. So, I’ve written them down, stored for later use. Ready for when, I finally get around to expanding upon them.

Just last night I had a dream where some of my extended family all gathered together on my front lawn awaiting my return. I thought it was weird (and slightly annoying) that they’d come to my house without any prior warning. Upon waking, I still find it weird. But also curious. I can’t quite shake the feeling that there’s a message in this dream, as it was all just a little too real. But I’ll dwell on that aspect of it all tomorrow when I have a clearer head.

 

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.

 

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.