Self Publishing Guide
Being a writer might seem like the ideal job: you are your own boss and you, for the most part, keep your own schedule. But there is a common affliction: the dreaded writer’s block. The block might not be in your mind though; rather, it could be the work space you’ve cultivated for writing. To counter that, there are a few techniques to ensure the thing never sets in to begin with.
The first thing you need to do, and this might sound easy, is create a distraction free workspace. If you’re unstructured, undisciplined and prone to a wandering mind, this might prove difficult since anything might set you off on another tangent. To counter that, make sure that you writing room or office is absolutely free of anything that serves as procrastinatory devices: electronic gadgets should be the first things to go. Loud artwork, books not related to your work, TV, non-necessary internet devices, radios, iPods, down to the clock that ticks on your desk should go.
Never be too comfortable when you’re writing or elect for writing on a bed or comfy couch because more often than not, you’re going to end up drifting off into a nap instead of writing. Writing shouldn’t be any different from a regular job: set a schedule and a dedicated work ethic and you’ll notice you’ve stopped wasting as much time as before. You can take breaks but make them constructive: have a snack, stretch out, maybe take a walk to re-energize your gray cells.
There is a lot to be said about "breaking the mold", although it is not a common phrase among writers it implies the same thing, that is Do Something Different. How many times have you heard writers talk about "writers block" or maybe you have even experienced it yourself. It is common and it is real and if you haven't been afflicted, you likely will.
So ... what can you do? Well lot of things. Most experts will tell you to simply walk away from your work for a while, and this normally means overnight at a minimum, sometimes an extended "vacation" from your work is needed. The reason that the overnight break is so important is that your brain has a chance to rejuvenate itself overnight, the same way muscles do. Any athlete knows that muscle builds when it is at rest, it appears that so too does the brain.
But just like athletes that have learned that other forms of exercise of different muscles can still keep them moving ahead while resting other muscles, the same is true for writers. In writers case, moving away from a current piece and moving, at least temporarily to another piece gives that part of the brain a rest while it fires up another side.
Many authors who experience writers block agonize that if they walk away from their work that they are now becoming unproductive, but this too can be overcome. The way to do this is to have more than one piece of work on the go at the same time. If you are writing non fiction, the best therapy is to actually write fiction, any fiction, whatever appeals to you, pick any topic, children's stories, romance, western, contemporary, historical ... anything. Once you immerse your brain into a different mode of thinking it allows your brain to process whatever was causing the writers block, but it still allows you to be productive.
Practice the same exercises that athlete's do ... rest some parts of your body while still exercising others and remain productive, it's a win-win exercise.
Copyright Colin Knecht
The secret to writing has long been known: constant practice, and yet despite this seeming common logical notion, maintaining consistency has been the challenge of many of today’s writers. And while many people suggest “the one” strategy that will have you writing all the time, the truth is different things work for different writers.
That said, we’ve listed a set of different suggestions on what might work.
Write here. Write now.
Stop beating yourself up over what you didn’t do yesterday and start working on what you need to do right now.
Try changing things up; if before you wrote on the computer, try going back to basics and write with a pen and paper. You’ll be surprised how liberating that can be. Alternatively, you could try printing your work onto flash cards to organize your process of thought.
Temptations: take yourself out of the equation, which means disconnecting from the Internet and turning your back to your ringing cellphone. And if you combine this tip with the one above, you’ll find yourself being a bit more productive too.
Nothing sets your creative juices flowing than a time limit. Put yourself on the clock and you know you can’t give in to temptations during the timer’s duration. Of course when it buzzes, you can stop and start doing something else. If you start with 30 minutes of writing and 10 minutes of break, that’s a great way to set things up.
These days there’s a podcast for everything and writing is no exception. It seems that some writers are taking a break from the pen and picking up the microphone instead. This is great news for the rest of us, as podcasts are great way to stay informed on a specific area while on the go.
Below are 6 great podcasts related to writing that we’ve enjoyed:
Writing Excuses: This podcast covers a wide range of writing related themes. This is a weekly podcast brought to you by Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells and Howard Tayler.
The podcast episodes are available in mp3 format for downloading and can also be playing online via Writing Excuses website.
Grammar Girl - Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing: The title says it all. Brought to you by Mignon Fogarty, this is a regularly updated podcast that can only be played online.
I Should Be Writing: Focusing on fiction based writing topics; Mur Lafferty provides new podcast episodes about once a week. Podcast episodes are available for download, online streaming and via iTunes.
Mur also has recorded a popular podiobook called Playing for Keeps, which is available for free download.
Writers on Writing: Brought to you by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett and Marrie Stone, this weekly show is actually a radio program that is later released as a podcast. You can download the podcast via their website, listen to them live at kuci.org or even listen to it on your radio if you happen to live in Orange County, CA, at 88.9.
The Creative Penn: This podcast concentrates on book marketing and self publishing. It’s available for download or can be played online. If you’re new to self publishing, this definitely a great podcast to help you learn the ropes.
The Writing Show: One of the longest running podcasts on writing, Paula Berinstein has been producing this show since 2005. It’s available for download or via itunes.
Do you know of any other good podcast not listed here? If you do, please leave a comment and lets us know.
Conventional wisdom tells you it’s impossible to make money from writing but here’s something you don’t hear every day: You Can. Not only that, but a lot of so-so writers out there are actually profiting from their work and the reason some are getting it wrong is because
a) They lack appropriate training
b) They just don’t want it badly enough
c) They have unrealistic expectations and are living beyond their means
It’s important to realize that your articles won’t necessarily sell the moment you write them and on average, you need to resend them roughly three to four times before they are accepted for publication. In some cases you won’t even hear back from the publisher until at least three months, so that’s nine months (to three different magazines) right there. Should you be lucky enough to get published, it takes another 3-6 months of waiting to get paid. So it’s safe to say that magazines on their own aren’t enough of an income stream.