6 Easy, Revealing Ways You Can Prevent & Overcome Overload

6 Ways to Cope with Writer Overwhelm Natural Writer Podcast

For a writer, writing is the dream. The writer wants to make it in the world and let their words hold their place in it. However, getting to that point can be somewhat overwhelming. So much so, that writer overwhelm can stop some writers from even starting. The goal then is just to reach the finish line of their novel or story, to be able to write “The End.”

But what about when you reach the finish line? What then?

We all know that the rough draft is not the final draft. And no matter how beautiful you think that first draft is, it is not the final draft. Editing and revision is a huge part of the writing journey, and it can seem like a daunting task, but it is a necessary one. This can create overwhelm in itself!

Then you have to consider what you want to do with your book when you’ve completely polished it. Do you want to just keep it for yourself? Make a small batch to give out to friends and family? Publish? Do you want to self-publish, or do you want to traditionally publish? Do you use indie publishers or one of the big 5?

There’s a lot to think about!

The good news is that there are ways to deal with this kind of stress. Let me walk you through the six ways to deal with overwhelm.

Six Ways
to
Combat Writer Overwhelm

Let me first start by saying that this is in no particular order. There are steps which might benefit you to take part in before others, or some steps which might not even be applicable to you. I encourage you to try everything to prevent your writer overwhelm, but I’ll leave the order in which you test them up to your own creative expertise.

ONE
Make a To-Do List
to Prevent & Overcome
Writer Overwhelm

Make a to-do list to combat and prevent writer overwhelm.
This image is to povide a quick glance at how to create your to-do list

When I was in college, I would get overwhelmed by everything on my plate. It didn’t help that I was working three jobs at the time, including my tutoring gig for the college, and not including the private tutoring I was doing on the side, or even working as a class assistant for the ESLA students.

When I had the massive tsunami of to-do’s crashing through my mind, I stressed myself out, to put it mildly. I would sit and stare at the homework I was supposed to be doing and be completely paralyzed and unable to focus on getting anything done.

Finally, I wrote a list and organized it.

It went something like this:

  1. Create a list of everything that needs doing by the end of the week/month
  2. Organize it by what needs doing first
  3. Break down the steps for each item on the list (research, editing, writing, gathering surveys, how long a shift takes, etc.)
  4. Estimate how long each task will take to complete.
  5. Write out how much time I need for daily living (eating, sleeping, transport, exercise, etc.)
  6. Create a schedule for each day to complete each task

I found that when I did this, I realized two things:

  1. I didn’t have as much on my plate as I thought I did
  2. None of my tasks would take as long as I thought they would

Once I had a visual in front of me of what needed doing, by what time, and how long it would take to get each thing done, I was able to make a plan and stick to it.

Breaking the Day Up

I would take this a step further and break my day up by my breaks. So, for example, lunch break, coffee break in the afternoon, and dinner. As a student, you can imagine that I didn’t stop once dinner time hit. I would usually keep working into the evening, only to get up at 3 in the morning (yeah, you read that right). I’m not suggesting you get up at 3 in the morning to start your day, by the way.

When I broke the day up with my breaks, I could section my day into “bite-sized” chunks. I knew that before breakfast I wanted to go back over my math homework. I knew that between breakfast and lunch I had a class, a tutoring shift, and an hour to work on my English paper, during which time I would pull out the quotes I wanted to use, and so on.

The trick was to only look at the section of the day that was coming up next. This meant I could compartmentalize the day, which made my tasks more manageable.

Crossing Items Off

A pen and to-do list with an item crossed off: this can be a visual affirmation that you are getting stuff done.
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

When you have a massive to-do list, it can feel like you’re trying to dig a hole on the beach in the surf. You keep shoveling sand and water out of the hole, but it just keeps filling up.

When you list out your tasks for a day, including the mini tasks to build up to the whole task, you feel a sense of accomplishment. You can see that you’re getting things done, and that you’re not just digging a hole that won’t be dug. This is essential to keeping you going through a daunting mountain of work supporting that writer overwhelm.

When we can visually see what we’ve already done and that we’re making progress, we’re more likely to keep moving forward.

TWO
Get Clear on Your Goals
to Prevent Writer Overwhelm

What do you want to do with your story/book/writing career? Do you want to be the next Stephen King? Do you want to be a travel writer? Do you want to make a passive income? Expand your business with your knowledge? Become a self-help guru?

Do you want to just get your story out there, and then whatever happens, happens? Do you want to be a part of the 20Booksto50k rush to make your living with rapid release self-publishing? Or are you wanting to create something for your loved ones to enjoy?

Knowing your goals can help you decide the path you need to take. Furthermore, when you know what you need to take, then you can prevent unnecessary actions, and thus prevent writer overwhelm.

I want to be very clear with this: your goals must represent what you want, not what you think you should want.

This might take some time and a lot of self-reflection to know what it is that you truly want from your writing life. There are a couple steps you can take to discovering this.

Journal

Your journal is your trusty companion that you should be utilizing throughout your writing journey. It is your conversation with yourself so you can understand what’s going on in your head, what you’re feeling, and so on.

In this instance, you can work through these questions in your journal to understand your goals better. Go through each question one at a time and really spend some time writing on it. Set a timer on your phone or your watch and give yourself at least seven minutes to write on each one, trying not to stop writing even when you’ve run out of things to say. If you do run out of things to say, write “I don’t know what to write” on repeat until something else comes up or your timer runs out.

Get into the “why” of each answer you give. Keep asking yourself until you feel you’ve reached the core of your answer.

Journal Questions

Journal questions to help you understand your version of success so you can effectively navigate you way through writer overwhelm
  1. What does success look like to you?
  2. Where have you been successful in the past, in any area of life, and by whose standards of success? How did it feel?
  3. What does writing success look like to you? How is it measured? In money? Books printed? Books sold? Books written?
  4. What does a writing career look like to you?
  5. What does success look like on a daily basis? As in, what does your writing routine look like, how you fit it in with the rest of your life, etc.? Does this include a possible wordcount goal, chapter goal, hourly goal? Get specific.
  6. What is your writing routine now?
  7. How do you feel after completing your wordcount or hourly writing goal? Are you relieved? Drained? Exhausted? Pleased?
  8. What is your timeline of success?

These questions are meant to help you get real with yourself, to know yourself. Often times, we’re stuck in the story of what we’re told is successful or accomplished.

When I graduated high school and was asked what I wanted to do with my life, I said I wanted to be a starving writer. I had in part being glib, but I was also being real. My version of success at that time was simply to write. I didn’t care if I published (I did care, but that wasn’t the end goal), or if I made money. All that mattered to me was that I was always writing.

Mapping

Map out what your life would look like if you succeeded in your goal. Get as detailed as you can. What does the overall picture look like? What does your living situation look like? Really dig in and look at each area of your life:

  • Lifestyle and livelihood – your housing, your income, how you live your life
  • Body and wellness – how does this affect your physical and mental self?
  • Creativity – you’re a writer, so it feels like you should always be creative, but if you sell your book and become the next J. K. Rowling, how will it affect your creativity? Just ponder this idea.
  • Relationships – how does this affect your romantic life? Your social life? Your family life?
  • Society – how does this affect your role in society? Will you do more in your community? Less?
  • You – how does your success affect who you are?

Go through and examine how you define success for your writing and imagine yourself in that place. Think about how that affects each of these areas in your life. Be as real as possible. If you want to make your living using a rapid-release method of writing, how does that affect your body? Does it mean that you need to move more because you’re sitting for longer periods of time? Does it mean you would need to ask more of your partner while you work to reach this goal?

Once you’ve taken an honest look at each area of your life, ask yourself if you like what you see, if it’s something that you can embrace. If so—excellent. You’re doing this for you.

If not, that’s okay. Ask yourself what you want each area of your life to look like and then see what version of success fits. You can play around with this as much as you want.

This is for you, for your goals, for your life. No one can live your life but you, so make sure that your writing goals are tailored for your idea of writing success.

THREE
Meditation for Writer Overwhelm

Meditation is an extremely useful tool in just about every area of life, but especially when it comes to preventing as well as overcome writer overwhelm. It can calm us, bring us into a state of presence, and put us in touch with our creative sense. When we feel swamped, it can help to bring clarity of mind, which in turn can help us to organize our thoughts and quell our anxiety.

Meditation can also help us delve into ourselves. When we quiet our minds long enough to listen to the voices of our subconscious, or intuition, we can learn what we truly want. This is extremely helpful when considering your goals as a writer, as well as your goals in your daily life.

There are many ways to use meditation, but here are a few that I recommend.

Daily Meditation

meditation can keep the mind calm before stressful situations occur, as well as keep the mind calm when writer overwhelm threatens to strike.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Making meditation a habit can help clear your mind in general. When you create time and space to make meditation a part of your daily routine, your mind is overall calmer. You can read about this more here.

Daily meditation can be as simple as paying attention to your breathing.

Guided Meditation

There are many guided meditations on YouTube that can help you anchor and center yourself. These meditations can also help you delve into yourself specifically to find answers. One might take you on a journey to talk to your future self, another might take you to a path to get in touch with your intuition. Look through what’s available on YouTube and give a couple a try.

For more meditations for writing, you can find Meditations to Overcome Writer’s Block on Audible, which is a compilation of guided meditations from a variety of writers.

Sleep Meditation

Again, on YouTube, you can find meditations which play throughout the night. These are sometimes called subliminal messaging as well, depending on the you choose. If you can hear the words being spoken, they will often guide you into a meditation, or, if you’re like me, into sleep. The words will either play audibly or under the guise of the accompanying music, throughout the night.

I personally have used these for a variety of things including my fear of flying, waking up motivated, overcoming anxiety during this pandemic, and so on.

Spend a week experimenting with these to see how they help you.

FOUR
Delegate Your Tasks
to Overcome Writer Overwhelm

What? Delegate? Delegate what to who?

I used to work in video production. By that I mean that I helped my partner at the time build up his video production business by helping him market himself, learning to film, learning about cameras and audio, and learning to edit.

In return, he wanted to help me with my own writing overwhelm.

I laughed and told him that my writing was a solo project. How on earth could he help me?

At that time, I wasn’t in any position to be helped with my writing projects. I had one book that I had completed and tried to self-publish (which I have since buried and covered the grave with cement), and was barely writing anything else.

Once I began to take my writing more seriously, I could have asked him for help—and lots of it. There was a lot that I wanted to accomplish, and doing the research for detracted from my writing time and added stress.

Here are some tasks you can delegate:

  • Research for your book
  • Research writing competitions
  • Research agents/magazines/journals/anthologies/publishers accepting submissions
  • Writing your cover letter for your submission or query letter.
  • Book cover design/finding quality and affordable designers
  • Finding Beta readers
  • First round of edits
  • Final edits
  • Setting up your author website/social media
  • Social media management

These are just to list a few.

Professionals

Photo by Canva Studio on Pexels.com

There are a few areas where it is essential to hire a professional. Editing and book cover design are two of those areas. You might be able to design your book cover yourself, if you’d like, but unless you specifically have a background in design, you might be better off handing the task over to someone who does design for a living.

With editors, while you might be an editor yourself or have a keen eye for mistakes, you are too close to your project. That is a fact. Your brain will fix mistakes, and no matter how many times you comb over your MS, there will be some tenacious mistakes that get through.

Fun fact: Gone with the Wind has two typos in it. Those suckers get through no matter how big the book.

There are plenty of ways you can get your piece as polished as possible, but you should still hire someone to proofread, to copyedit, and potentially provide a developmental edit.

Freelancers

You don’t necessarily need to go to a big company to get some of these tasks completed. Have a look on freelance websites for people offering their services. Some great websites are:

This is just to name a few.

However, when you hire a freelancer through these websites, be sure that you stick to the website, especially when it comes to sending documents or completing any transactions. It keeps both you and the freelancer safe and above board.

Likewise, be sure that you get a sample of their work before you hire them. There are many wonderful writers, artists, and website designers out there, but they can also be buried by people offering subpar work for a low price. It is better to spend the extra money to get something you will be happy with.

FIVE
Adjusting Your Timeline
to Prevent Writer Overwhelm

When you set yourself a goal, you need to be sure that you set a realistic timeline. A failure to do so can result in writer overwhelm.

Deadlines are wonderful things. They can keep us focused on a task or a project and get us to the finish line. However, sometimes we set unrealistic timelines, which causes stress, which then leads to overwhelm.

Photo by Michaela on Pexels.com

Your Personal Timelines

When you’re writing for yourself, you need to check in with yourself and be sure that you’re not the one contributing to your stress. If the timeline you set yourself is too strict, but you don’t see a way to move it, take some time to examine why you are stuck on this deadline.

When I first decided I needed to make money with my writing, it wasn’t for the love of writing, but because I had student debt to pay off. I wanted to half my debt-paying time. This put a lot of strain on me. It meant that I was going to need to come up with £500 every single month.

When I became overwhelmed with this, I adjusted my timeline. I didn’t need to do it right away. I just needed to eventually work my way up to it, reminding myself that I would some day pay off my debt with my writing, but I couldn’t force those writing jobs instantly.

If, for example, your goal is to use the rapid-release publishing model to quit your job in a year and be a full-time writer, ask yourself why you need to do this within a year? Can you aim to be part time at both within that timeline?

Returning to the journal prompts, spend some time in contemplation with these questions and explore possible solutions.

Writing for Others

I am a ghostwriter along side being a writing coach. I have one client with whom I’m working on three different series. I am capable of completing a book a week for my client, and I did so for a while. But just because I can do it, doesn’t mean I should.

After four weeks of doing this, I burnt myself out and became completely overwhelmed with anything else that was going on in my life. I talked to my client, and we adjusted my timeline to 10 days per book. As a result, I take three days off from writing and still have a full seven days to complete the book, which is more than enough time for me.

If you are in overwhelm, look at what can be adjusted. Be sure to keep your deadlines, but if you can move them around so that they work better for you, then do so.

If you are writing for someone else, be communicative. I assure you that your editor/publisher would rather get a quality piece of work from you as a result of extra time than a subpar piece of work on time.

SIX
Take Time Off
to Prevent Writer Overwhelm

When we have a pile of things to do, it’s easy to keep working until we can’t. We have things that need to get done, and they need to get done now.

But that doesn’t help anyone. It will burn you out and it might stop your progress completely. Burnout is really just another word for writer overwhelm.

When you’re making a list of things to do and scheduling your day out, remember to schedule time for relaxing for you.

More importantly, remember to schedule days off. That’s plural, by the way.

I mentioned that when I readjusted my timeline with my client for her books, that I took three days off from writing. While it’s actually three days off from writing her books, not writing in general, I make sure the very first day off is a day off from everything.

lounging on the couch and reading a book: relaxation and taking time off is essential for preventing and dealing with writer overwhelm

I don’t at my phone, I don’t touch my computer, and the only time I’m allowed to look at my kindle is if I’m listening to a podcast or reading a fiction book. The only work-related things I’m allowed to do are coaching calls, and that’s because I enjoy them so much.

Make sure that you are taking the time off that you need and deserve. No one can work all the time. We all need days off, even from things that we love.

If you can’t take a full day off, just be sure to schedule breaks for yourself. Mealtimes don’t count. During this time, do something completely different that you enjoy: read a chapter of a book, go for a walk, take a nap, watch an episode of something, meditate, journal, fantasize about completing your goal.

Try to avoid scrolling on social media during this time. It might feel relaxing, but sometimes it can trigger some anxiety, sadness, depression, or make you feel like you’re slacking. Sure those uplifting posts are designed to be motivational, but if you’re making yourself take a break when you’re already stressed, motivational posts might trigger some guilt.

Do not feel guilty for needing to take time off. It’s called Self Care, and self care is essential.

Six ways to deal with overwhelm: Make a list, know your goals, meditate, delegate, adjust, and take a break

Your Homework

This is essentially a post about self-care. Self-care is how you keep your candle lit and ever burning. You can’t do that if you’re burning it on both ends.

Your homework has four parts:

  1. Find a guided meditation that works for you on YouTube. There are plenty out there. Find one that works for you, and spend at least 20 minutes meditating. The purpose of this is to help you be centered and clear minded for the following parts.
  2. Go through the Journal Questions above and answer them all. Even if you’ve done something similar in the past, do it again. We are always changing, and sometimes our desires shift. This keeps us in communication with ourselves so that we can adjust our goals accordingly.  
  3. Ask yourself what tasks, if any you can delegate. Are there any friends or family who would be willing to help with any of these things?
  4. Create a self-care plan for when you start to feel like overwhelm might be creeping up. This might be to make a list ahead of time, to schedule time for yourself to relax before you get too anxious, or it could be to take a day or a week off before it gets to be too much. Figure out what works for you and prepare yourself.

Good luck, and happy writing!


What self-care works for you? Share in the comments below to help others discover ways they can look after themselves when things get stressful.


Want to dive deeper into your writing practice and pinpoint where you can improve your writing lifestyle or the blocks that need to be addressed? Fill out the form below to get your free Celtic Cross Spread for Writers Workbook: 75+ pages of tarot and journaling prompts to get in touch with the writer in you.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Book a Free 30-Minute Session with Me

Are you thinking about working with me, but just aren't entirely sure? Fill out the form, schedule a call, let's talk. This is a no-pressure, non-sales-pitch call, where we talk about you and your writing, and whether or not you want to work with me. Let's chat!

Writing Groups: To Join or Not to Join?

One of the most beneficial things a writer can have is feedback. For many, it’s helpful to get that feedback along the process of the writing journey. One of the best ways is with a writing group.

Getting feedback on your writing at some point during the writing journey is essential, whether it’s once you have a draft, or if you work with a writing partner or group along the way. However, you need to make sure that you get an opinion outside of you, and preferably outside your family in order to have a realistic critique of your work.

We’ll break down how to get that critique, what a writing group is, and why it’s important.

Why Your Writing Needs to be Critiqued

Have you ever sent a long text only to have the recipient ask what the hell you’re on about? Then you realized that you forgot to tell them what you were thinking about in order to get to the point of that text?

When we’re creating worlds, characters, and situations, it’s easy to forget that the reader isn’t inside your head. The purpose of writing is to bridge the gap between you and the reader, so they can be inside your head. But a book or a story is only giving a small window. They don’t know what has worked to compile you—your history, your beliefs, your education, your experiences, your social sphere, your work, and so on. They don’t know what you’ve researched or what’s triggered your interests. Therefore, you need to make sure you are giving your readers enough information to be able to understand the story you’re portraying.

For example, I was once writing an urban fantasy. I was quite proud of how the first quarter of it was going. I had someone read it—telling them nothing about the book, I might add—and they told me they had no idea that it was an urban fantasy until the third chapter when I talked about a motorcycle. I thought that mentioning streetlights and buildings was enough, but I had assumed that the reader would just put it together.

Furthermore, once you do make sure everything is clear, a critique partner, writing group, or beta reader will likely catch the things you hadn’t thought of. For example, if you’re writing a scene where someone is carrying their jacket, then a bunch of stuff happens and then they put their jacket on at the end of it—where was the jacket while they were having that action sequence that resulted in a car theft and high-speed chase to another state? OR, it might be that you were too focused on the jacket throughout the whole thing, and it took away from the scene as a whole.

There are several ways you have your writing critiqued, You don’t have to stick to one—in fact, a variety of the following is optimal so that you can get a broader scope of what needs changing, what’s working, or what’s dragging.

Critique Partner

A critique partner is someone who is also a writer who is happy to swap work with you, either along the writing process or at the end. You read their work and they read your work, giving constructive feedback.

Your critique partner can also be an accountability partner. This is when two of you are working on your own pieces, but hold each other accountable for the goals you set forth.

In my Full Monthly and Full 6-Month coaching packages, I play the part of both critique partner and accountability partner. I read up to 5,000 words a week between sessions and give feed back on it all the while helping writers to set their goals and stick to them.

Writing Group

There are several types of writing groups, so you need to evaluate what you want from the group and to make sure that they’re working in your genre as well.

Some writing groups are simply just a handful of people who get together and write during that time. Other writing groups trade writing and give feedback, spending the time discussing a piece. It depends on the group that you find as to how a group is organized and run, but the basic idea of feedback writing groups is that everyone, at some point, has their writing read by everyone in the group, and feedback is given.

Because there is a group of people, it won’t be likely that a whole novel will be read at one time, but a chapter or two at a time, or x-amount of words.

Alpha & Beta Readers

Alpha and Beta readers are those who read your piece after you’ve finished it. This doesn’t mean that you give them the first draft after you’ve finished it, but that you’ve gone through it at least once, but preferably a few more times, before you hand it off for critique.

Your Alpha and Beta readers aren’t reading your piece as a writer, but as a reader. These are people who read in your genre and can tell you how it comes across as someone who just enjoys the art, but doesn’t necessarily take part in it.

Alpha Readers

An Alpha reader will be your first round of critique. These people will most likely be friends or family members. You’re less likely to get the critical feedback that you need, but they’ll tell you if it made sense, or anything else that won’t hurt your feelings, or that they think won’t hurt your feelings. Likewise, they’ll probably tell you if you had any typos or grammatical errors. Not always, but sometimes.

Many writers skip the Alpha reader phase, though they are helpful in that they will likely get your confidence up, which can be the courage you need to get to your Beta reader stage.

Beta Readers

Beta readers are best if they’re not close to you. You might know them, but they’re not people you generally hang out with on a social level. There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. The idea is that you have someone who acts as reader first before friend/brother/cousin/etc.

Knowing specific questions you want answered is helpful as well when it comes to finding Beta readers. If you want someone to look your piece from a more structural and academic standpoint, then finding someone who studied literature might be of importance. If you just want someone to tell you how well the story flows, then educational interests and backgrounds may not be as important.

Why A Writing Group

The reason why a writer may opt for a writing group is simple: more eyes reading their work. The more people you have reading your work, the more able a writer is to find the median of actionable advice.

When you have one person read your writing, you’re only getting one person’s opinion. The key word there is opinion. Opinions aren’t fact, and when it comes to writing, which in an art, all there can be are opinions. Opinions are based on beliefs, experience, education, interests, etc., and because of such, they can vary from person to person. Hence, you can see varied book reviews. When you have more than one opinion you can see a broader picture.

For example, if you’re in a writing group with eight people, and three people say they thought the end was too abrupt whereas four say it was perfect and wouldn’t change a thing, and another person says the ending was perfect, however it could tie back to the beginning a little better, then you know that you’re at least on the right track regarding the ending.

Likewise, you have feedback as you write, which can save you more work in the long run. However, the risk that you run with this is getting stuck in the editing phase of your story before you’ve even finished your story. But the beauty of a writing group is that they also can act as accountability partners, which might help deter you from getting stuck editing one section of your book over and over again.

Where to Find Writing Groups

As I’m writing this, I’m in lockdown in the U.K.. Things are opening up, though it’s up in the air as to say whether or not it’s safe to meet up with a group of people in a public place at the moment. My very first thing I want to say about finding a writing group is to consider an online one where you meet up via Zoom or Skype or whatever else is out there. Always be safe first.

That being said, there are many places where you can find a writing group. There are online writing groups all over the internet, such as

This is just to name a couple to get you started.

However, if you want to meet up with people face to face, then consider looking at the bulletin board of your local library, on Craigslist or Gumtree, or on Meetup.

Be sure that you know what you’re looking for in a writing group, as well as know how much time you can dedicate to a writing group. Do you have enough time to meet up once a week or once a month? Do you have enough time to read everyone’s work and participate in the group between meetings?

Likewise, be prepared to pay a fee. Writing groups aren’t a money-making thing, usually (again, exceptions to every rule), however, a lot of groups rent out the space, or they might require that you be prepared to buy $10 worth of snacks or drinks from the café they’re held in. Your contribution is to make sure that there is always a location.

Main Take-Aways

If you have any ambition to publish or release your writing to the world, it is essential and wise to have at least one person outside your household, close friend-group, and family to read your work and give you constructive feedback.

There are many routes to do this:

Writing groups can be beneficial because there are a few minds providing feedback to help a writer get a broader understanding of how their writing is received. You can find writing groups online, and meet in person, or via video chat.

Your Homework

Think about how you write and when critique would most benefit you. Spend some time journaling on the following questions:

  1. How would I respond to feedback before I’m done writing my first draft?
  2. What is it I want to gain from feedback specifically?
  3. When is it most beneficial to receive that feedback?
  4. How do I feel about just one person working with me along the way versus a group of people?

Consider which option might suit you best—a critique partner and/or writing coach who will work with you along the way, a writing group, or only a Beta reader.

I write “only” a Beta reader because no matter what route you decide to take, Beta readers are essential. You cannot skip that step if you want to publish your work. They are as necessary as having someone other than you edit your work.

Have experience in any of these areas? Tell us about it in the comments below. Your experience can help other writers decide what works well for them.

Happy Writing!

Book a Free 30-Minute Session with Me

Are you thinking about working with me, but just aren’t entirely sure? Fill out the form, schedule a call, let’s talk. This is a no-pressure, non-sales-pitch call, where we talk about you and your writing, and whether or not you want to work with me. Let’s chat!

Why You Need to “How” to Successfully Write

Header: how vs. Why. Why you need to quote how unquote to successfully write. The why is just the beginning. Natural Writer Coaching

Something I really try to drive home is that you need to know why it is you’re writing. Not just why you’re writing your story, but why you’re writing in general. In fact, I can list plenty of posts where I reference how to dive into that, and why you need to find your why.

When you know why you want to write something, it’s easier to generate and ground yourself in taking the steps to get it done. When you why is strong enough, it’s going to carry you through the hard times.

This is just the first step.

The next step is to look at the how. When you know why you want to do something, then you need to work on how you’re going to execute it and cultivate the results you want. The results you want will also be down to how you define success, both as a writer, and for your particular project. Think of that success as your target as you aim your bow upward.

How vs. Why

In a post last week, I talked about how Toni Morrison would look beyond why a character was motivated to do something, but how they got into that position/mentality. How did that character develop that way?

How

The how is a combination of both the macro and the micro in a character or person’s life. It’s the environment in which something or someone developed. Your environment isn’t just present, but is compiled of your past as well. We carry the lessons from our experiences with us, as they create our views of the world and our beliefs. Our world views and beliefs are what inform our decisions and determine how we act upon something.

Consider what your environment consists of:

  • Your personal living space
  • Your personal space within your living space (bedroom, office, etc.)
  • Your neighborhood
  • Your family
  • Your town/city
  • Your State/county/providence
  • Your country
  • The places you choose to be in
  • Your education system
  • Your level of education
  • Your childhood home

This is just a start to your list of the various things that contribute to your environment. And all of these things are what give you a different flavor and view of life. All of these places and situations provide lessons from which you build your personality and understanding from. All of it contributes specifically to you.

When you’re looking to create a successful writing life, you need to understand your environment as well as yourself. When you know these things, then you can learn to work with them in order to develop good habits and practices to get you closer to your goal.

This is the importance of knowing your how. The how of you will help you answer the how to get to your writing goal.

Here’s a small example

I write ghostwrite books regularly. My goal is to get the book done and out of my hands in seven to ten days. My why is that it’s my job to do so. I’m hired to do it. That’s why I write these books on this deadline. Part of my how is to sit down and write the book. Because of my experiences in university, I’m able to sit down and write large quantities at a time.

However, another part of my how is my location. I need to be comfortable where I sit. When I’m not comfortable, I’ll find reasons to get distracted. And getting comfortable can be difficult because, again, a part of my environmental factors in life was an unsafe work environment which led to a back injury that can make sitting for long periods of time difficult.

I can’t sit on the couch because I get sleepy when I write there, despite it being nice for my back. I can’t sit too long at the desk because my back starts to ache.

So, part of my how when it comes to reaching my finished product is that I set timers. I have a treadmill by my desk, and I set my timer for 25 minutes. I write for 35 minutes, and when the timer goes off, I give myself five minutes to walk on the treadmill. When the five minutes are up, I go back to writing.

The break also helps to reset my brain when I do this, so I feel as though I’m coming back to my writing fresh.

So when someone asks me how I write so much in such little time, I tell them my regiment and I tell them about my time in university. Both of which contribute to my how.

How & You

So, when you’re trying to generate how to get through to the end of your project, you first need to know how you work best. You need to know what factors are tugging at you to reach for your phone, or to get up and wander to the fridge, or to decide your dog needs a walk for the tenth time that day.

Knowing yourself is the first step. Knowing your motivation is the first part of the first step, and knowing the factors that make you who you are, what makes you impatient, what makes you lose focus—all of those things are going to influence how you design your writing regiment.

Spend some time getting to know yourself. Really ask yourself how you work best, examine the problems you face, and from there, once you’ve identified them, then you can learn how to problem-solve around those issues.

Your Homework

Create a list of what you find distracts you from your writing. It could be fears, discomforts, noises, people, gadgets, etc.

Once you have your list, write down what it is that compels you to respond to those distractions. Some might be obvious, but others may not be as obvious.

Now, begin to troubleshoot around them. What can you do to ensure they don’t distract you? Are there practices you can put into action so that you in general don’t pick up your phone every five minutes? What about getting a cushion for your chair? What about writing before everyone wakes up or after they go to bed?

See what you can do to help you eliminate your distractions so you can then create an environment in which you write best in. This will help you develop your writing habits more easily, and get to your end goal.

If you want to discuss this further, book a call with me! you get a free 30-minute call with me to see if we can work together to get your project done.

Instagram Photo for the post: New Blog Post. how vs. Why. Why you need to how to successfully write. The why is just the beginning. Natural Writer Coaching
post

NatWriCoChallenge: Week 4-ish

Hey friends. Just a reminder that through April and May of 2020, I am offering coaching sessions at a Pay What Feels Right for You rate. That means that you get a coaching session and you choose the price. Read all about this offer here.

Welcome to the fourth and final-ish week of the Natural Writer Coaching Challenge! I’ve really enjoyed reading your posts this month.

If you’re just getting into this challenge, it’s not too late to join. You can read all about the challenge here, and how to participate for your own enjoyment, or to win 2 FREE writing coaching sessions with me. Though, I will say, at this point, it’s going to be a lot of work to catch up with your Instagram posts at this point. But if you’re willing, my requirement for being entered into the draw on June 1st is for each participant to have 31 Instagram posts sharing their flash fiction piece featuring the designated one-word prompt for each day.

Remember, if you want to be entered into the drawing, the post must tag me using the handle @NaturalWriterCoaching and use the hashtag #NatWriCoChallenge. Otherwise, I won’t see it.

Additional Challenge

Each week I’ve been providing an additional challenge for those who need that extra umph to get their creative brains working. Whether or not you do the challenge won’t be taken into consideration for who wins, but it’s for your own creativity muscle-building.

This creative challenge is to write a poem which uses the word-prompt as the theme.

You can take this a step further and refrain from using the word prompt in the poem, but the poem can summarize or describe the word or a situation outlining the concept of the word.

That’s step 1.

Step 2 is to use each line of the poem in your flash fiction piece.

The lines of the poem can be the start of a paragraph, or they can just be sentences in your piece. Maybe even the dialogue. It’s your piece, have fun with it.

However, remember that in your flash fiction piece, you must use the word. While in the poem, the word is optional, it must actually be present in the flash fiction piece itself.

This Week’s Word Prompts

The month of May has 5 Fridays. So far, each Friday I’ve been posting the following week’s word prompts. This will be the last Friday I do this, and the prompts will extend all the way until Sunday, the 31st of May.

Friday, May 22: Right
Saturday, May 23: Long
Sunday, May 24: Deer
Monday, May 25: Unison
Tuesday, May 26: Hole
Wednesday, May 27: Decision
Thursday, May 28: Rook
Friday, May 29: Tambourine
Saturday, May 30: Balance
Sunday, May 31: Join

On June 1st, I’ll announce the winner of the Challenge on Instagram. Are you excited? I’m excited. I look forward to reading your pieces! Feel free to comment below to share your experience or ask any questions.

Book a Free 30-Minute Session with Me

Are you thinking about working with me, but just aren’t entirely sure? Fill out the form, schedule a call, let’s talk. This is a no-pressure, non-sales-pitch call, where we talk about you and your writing, and whether or not you want to work with me. Let’s chat!

How to Be a Faster Writer and Get Clear on Your Ultimate Writing Life

There are many ways to train yourself to write faster, but none of it is going to work if you don’t have something to work toward.

Header for blog post:
Speed comes with clarity.
Get clear on your ultimate writing life to write faster.
Natural writer coaching

The writing world is changing. Remember the days when all there was to writing was to write the book and submit it to a publisher? From there you would either make money or you wouldn’t? Maybe you’d teach a class on it?

I might be dating myself. Also, I might be going off my very romanticized idea of what the professional writing process was pre-2005.

These days it’s more about speed and frequency of an author’s writing rather than whatever the publisher wants to throw down for promotion. Self-publishing has been a complete game changer to the publishing and marketing world, from how we read books to the plethora of books that are released every day.

Here are some fun statistics and facts for you

In 2015, 700,000 books were self-published. Keep in mind, this is everything, from promotional give-aways to pamphlets, to novels of all genres, poetry collections, children’s books, and the plethora of non-fiction books.
You can bet that as the self-publishing industry has grown more and more populated in the five years since, that there are more published each year.
700,000 books a year is about 1917 books every day, or 79 every hour. That’s just over than a book a minute.

Publishers want you to write more than one book. It’s preferable for a second one to be in the works, if not completed, at the time that you submit the first one. It shows that if your book does well, there’s another already lined up that they can get to print quicker.
Michael Laget of WriterServices (linked above) says, “Publishers want authors who will be able to write additional publishable books or stories or features for them. They prefer an author who continues to write books in the same genre as their first work, rather than one who is a jack-of-all-trades.”

The current rapid release trend is to have a regularly scheduled book release schedule which can range from weekly to quarterly. M. L. Keller of The Manuscript Shredder writes that it’s a method of capitalizing on the Amazon algorithms to make for better sales. What does this mean? Releasing between 4 and 52 books a year.

It’s a lot, right?

Getting out enough words to successfully plow through NaNoWriMo is hard enough, but how in the blue lagoon are you meant to pump out a book, completed and ready to market every three weeks?

The simple answer is, you don’t quite do it like that, but that’s a post for another time.

As a ghostwriter, I write a lot of books. I mean a ton. In the last eight months, I’ve written over 20 books, all but three were fiction, and all were full-length. That isn’t including the short stories and novellas I’ve written as well, and my own work. Oh, and I took a three-week vacation somewhere in there, plus weekly days off—it averages out to be a little over 4,5000 words per day.

I try to make that my minimum word count on the days that I’m ghost-working. On my best days I write 10-13,000 words.

I’m not showing off here. I’m telling you that it’s possible. And I’ll show you how it’s possible.

Know Your Goal and Why

The first thing you need to do is set your word count goal. Are you looking for just a daily word count goal? A goal for the month? The year?

Knowing what you want your word count goal is actually more dependent on what your goal is for your book or your writing career, if that’s the path you’re going down.

Let’s break this down a little bit.

Your Writing Goals

I yammer on about goals a lot. But that’s because they are essential if you want to be successful, no matter how you define success—another thing I won’t shut up about.

Get to the heart of what you want your writing life to look like by spending some time journaling. Here are some questions to get you started:

Image supporting the text:
Designing your Writer goals Journal Questions:
1. Where do I want my writing to take me?
2. Without limitation, what does a day in my ultimate writing life look like?
3. What does my daily writing life look like now?
4. What is success?
5. What is success to me personally?
6. how much writing do I need to produce to feel successful?
7. How do others in my field find writing success and how does that resonate with me?
Natural Writer Coaching
  1. Where do I want my writing to take me?
  2. If there were no limitations, what would a day in the life of my successful writing life look like?
  3. What does my daily writing life look like now?
  4. What is success?
  5. What is success to me personally, as in, what would I need to feel successful?
  6. How many books/collections/articles would I need to publish to feel successful? And by whom?
  7. How do others in my field of writing find success? As in, in the self-published alien romance field? The travel writing field? The Shakespearian mock-sonnet field? The traditionally published epic western space-opera field? Get specific and spend some time researching this.
  8. What do I need to do to find similar success? As in, how many books do I need to write to make a profit? Do I need to traditionally publish or self-publish? What kind of marketing goes into this success?

I know, you just want to write. I get that. But as I’ve said, the publishing world has changed drastically. Even if you are traditionally published, you are still expected to do a lot of heavy lifting to market your book. What’s more, you’re expected to have an online following already cultivated.

Annoying, I know. I was pretty upset when I learned that one.

When you consider all of these things, you need to ask yourself how much work you want to put into your writing end-goal. Do you want to make a living off your writing? Do you just want to get your book out there? Do you want to write to express yourself and then you’ll figure it out later?

Knowing how much work you want to put into your ultimate writing destination is important. It will determine not only your objectives, but your timeline as well. And it can take some research if you really want to hone your goals.

If you’re planning on making a living off your writing, you must treat it like a business, which painfully goes against the fluid creativity we just want to indulge in. I know. I resisted it for a long time, but the unfortunate truth is that it is essential.

Furthermore, depending on your genre, if you want to traditionally publish, or if you want to be successful in the self-publishing world, you need to have more than one book lined up. Repetition will gain followers which increase sales. The easy way of doing this is through a series, but not all genres or topics lend easily to multiple books. Either way, publishers want to see more than one book at the ready or soon to be ready, and self-pub wants all the books, all the time, and fast.

Bottom Line?

  1. Figure out what you want your writing career to look like
  2. Determine what that looks like annually
  3. Set your word count goal from there

Word Count goals

Now that we’ve looked at the big picture goals, let’s look at word-count goals.

Like your career goals, you want to look at the big picture of your ultimate writing life, then move it on down to a smaller goal.

However, this is nowhere near as essential, but is more dependent on how your mind works and deals with numbers.

Annual Word Count Goal

There are a lot of writers out there who set an annual word count goal. This can be beneficial if you like the really big goals to aim toward.

You can set your wordcount goal to be whatever you want, and this can be especially beneficial if your goal is to write your first novel in a year. If you estimate that your first novel should be 75k words, then your annual goal is 75,000 words.

If you want to write your trilogy in a year, then your goal, if each are to be at least 75k words, would be 225,000 words for the year.

Knowing what your overall goal is will help you determine this. If you want to be a full time self-published writer, know what your market demands of you. For romances, for example, most books are between 40- and 55,000 words. It’s also suggested that you release a book every 2 to 3 weeks. This makes about 17-21 books a year to release. I’ve even read of some romance authors aiming for 40 books a year.

With this model, that makes your annual word-count goal anywhere from 680,000 to 2.2 million words a year (if the higher end is 40 books in a year at 55,000 words per book). And it’s possible.

Monthly Word Count

This is a far more common goal, especially with the popularity of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, and it’s sibling, CampNaNoWriMo. If you’re unfamiliar, NaNoWriMo occurs in December and sets the goal for writers to write 50,000 words in a month.

I know, that sounds terrifying. I thought so too when I first heard about it in 2008.

Setting monthly word-count goals can be a short-term enough goal to know that the end is in sight, but long-term enough that you can use it to light the fire under you to get your project done, or at least, mostly done.

You can use this as your starting point for your goal, or you can look at an annual word count and divide that word count into months.

If you’re interested in updates on writing events like NaNoWriMo or CampNaNoWriMo, or other fun writing challenges and events, subscribe to my mail list. I’ll keep you in the loop.

Daily Word Count

Yes, writing for profit is a business, and business owners rarely get to take time off, but mental health is important. Be sure to take in consideration mental health days, as well as family days, too.

Again, as we break things down, those massive annual word-count goals don’t seem so bad. Returning to the high-production self-published romance-writing career goal of 40 books a year, that makes 6,028 words a day. When you learn to up your writing speed, that’s not bad at all.

However, determining your daily word count when comparing to your annual or your monthly word count, you want to ask yourself about days off.

There are writers out there who swear that you must write every single day, religiously, without fail.

In theory, I completely agree. I akin it to working out. When I work out, I have to do it every day. As soon as a miss a day, my habit goes out the window. I feel the urge and the want to do it, but I’ll find an excuse for why I can’t do it once I miss that day. The next missed day might be a week from them, but the third and fourth missed day are likely to be in the same week, and once it gets to the fifth missed day, it’s game over until I can get myself back in the habit again.

Thankfully, writers are unique creatures. Out minds all work differently. So if you can take the days off, then go for it.

Furthermore, you should be allowed to take days off. Yes, writing for profit is a business, and business owners rarely get to take time off, but mental health is important. Be sure to take in consideration mental health days, as well as family days, too.

Knowing yourself can determine how many days a week you want to write.

But know this:

The closer you stick to a schedule, the easier you form the habit. The easier you form the habit, the easier it is to learn to write fast, and thus, the more words you’ll produce.

The Take-Away

As you move through this series, you’ll build on your skills to increase your writing speed. This is looking at more than just literally producing words faster, but also at completing projects faster.

Getting clear on your overall goals for your writing life, whether it’s as a hobby, sharing your story or message with the world, or to make writing a career, knowing exactly what you want is going to make the difference in how you go about setting and achieving your goals.

From there, you can break your goal down into whatever works for you—annual word count or book production, monthly word count, or daily word count.

But knowing the end goal is essential so setting the daily and short-term goal.

In the next post, you’ll read about the planning stages, which are absolutely necessary for streamlining your writing. And as a philosophy major, I don’t use the terms “absolutely” or “necessary” lightly.

Your Homework

Your homework assignment is simple in nature but probably more complex in practice.

You’re going to determine what you want out of your writing career. Explore and expand on these journal prompts. They’re the ones from above, but I’ve expanded on them a little to get you started on your own expansion.  

Image to support text:
Designing Your Writer Goals Homework:
1. Get Clear on your writing goals in your writing career
2. Use this goal to look at your annual goal, your monthly goal, and your daily goal
3. Journal your findings: How does that look? How does it make you feel?
  1. Where do I want my writing to take me?
    Really dig deep into this. If there were no limitations, if you could be the next J. K. Rowling, or George R. R. Martin, what would your life look like? Where would you live? What projects would you have on the go? What would your fans know you for?
    Then take this down to a practical level. What does your life look like on a Tom Clancy level, or a Dan Brown, Janet Evanovich, Judy Blume, Robert Jordan, etc. level?
  2. If there were no limitations, what would a day in the life of my successful writing life look like?
    This is a follow up to the first part of the first question.
    If you were the author who literally everyone knew the name of, what would your daily life look like? Write this all out, from the time you get up, to when you take snack breaks—hell, even look at what you would eat for a snack and in what setting—to the time you go to bed. Have fun with this. What do your workdays look like versus your weekends?
  3. What does my daily writing life look like now?
    Get detailed, again. If one day differs from another, write them each out. The goal here is clarity on all levels.
  4. What is success?
  5. What is success to me personally, as in, what would I need to feel successful?
    often times we have a definition of what success is that’s instilled in us from society. For example, society’s idea that success is the house and family with the 2.75 children and a white picket fence. It sounds nice, but for many, their idea of success is just to not be in debt, or to have a family  that is comfortable. While others need the flash cars. There’s no wrong answers to this, only introspection to find your own answers.
    What we personally define as successful can be observed when we first look at what our ideal writing life looks like. When we know how we feel during writing and after writing, then we can figure out our own personal brand of success.
  6. How many books/collections/stories/poems/articles would I need to publish to feel successful?
  7. How do others in my field of writing find success? As in, in the self-published alien romance field? The travel writing field? The Shakespearian mock-sonnet field? The traditionally published epic western space-opera field? Get specific and spend some time researching this.
  8. What do I need to do to find similar success? As in, how many books do I need to write to make a profit? Do I need to traditionally publish or self-publish? What kind of marketing goes into this success?
    Again, this is an exercise to make sure you’re defining your own success. But, this also is paying attention to what the market demands of you. For example, if you want to be a full time fantasy writer who self-publishes, you need to leverage your idea of success with the market’s demand.

Once you’ve spent a good amount of time—and I do mean quality time—with these prompts, then think about what would be good goals to set for yourself regarding your writing. Do you do best when looking at an annual picture? A daily picture?

Share your experience and how you’ve found this exercise in the comments below. What are your goals and how do you plan on measuring them?

Or send me an email. Tell me what your goals are. I love hearing about writers and their ambitions and where they are on their journey. Use the contact form below or click the button.

 Don’t worry, there are no wrong answers!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

NatWriCoChallenge: Week 3

Hey friends. Just a reminder that through April and May of 2020, I am offering coaching sessions at a Pay What Feels Right for You rate. That means that you get a coaching session and you choose the price. Read all about this offer here.

Welcome to week 3 of the Natural Writer Coaching Challenge! Congratulations to those of you who have participated so far. I’m so pleased to see all your creative minds in action.

If you’re just joining the challenge, you can still participate. I just need to see 31 Instagram posts tagging me using @NaturalWriterCoaching and the hashtag #NatWriCoChallenge at the end of the month. You can read the details of the challenge and how you can win 2 FREE writing coaching sessions with me here.

Additional Challenge

Last week I posed an additional challenge for those of you who are just whizzing through these flash fiction prompts. This week, I have another challenge for you. You can use it however you want, whether it’s to combine with last week’s challenge or to use it on its own. It is up to you.

This week’s challenge is to use one of my favorite tools for generating creative and unique writing ideas: the third option.

You’ll hear me talk about this exercise a lot. I first learned about it through a writing competition put forth by Wonderbox Publishing a few years ago. I have loved it ever since.

When you look at your writing prompt, jot down the first idea that comes to you. Then cross it out. Write down the second idea that comes to you. Then cross it out. Write down the third idea that comes to you, and go with that.

The theory behind this is that usually the first two ideas are something we’ve already seen or heard, though we don’t realize it. By chucking the first two ideas, then we get closer to something we, ourselves, have generated.

If you choose to take on this challenge, feel free to share your first two ideas that you tossed away in your IG post. I’d love to hear them!

This Week’s Word Prompts

Each Friday in May, I’ll provide the daily work prompts for the follow week. If you’re playing catch up, you can read last week’s prompts here.

Friday, May 15: Bulb
Saturday, May 16: Singing Bowl
Sunday, May 17: Fresh
Monday, May 18: Seed
Tuesday, May 19: Starlight
Wednesday, May 20: Cornucopia
Thursday, May 21: Desert

I look forward to reading your pieces! Feel free to comment below to share your experience or ask any questions.

Book a Free 30-Minute Session with Me

Are you thinking about working with me, but just aren’t entirely sure? Fill out the form, schedule a call, let’s talk. This is a no-pressure, non-sales-pitch call, where we talk about you and your writing, and whether or not you want to work with me. Let’s chat!

NatWriCoChallenge: Week 2

Hey friends. Just a reminder that through April and May of 2020, I am offering coaching sessions at a Pay What Feels Right for You rate. That means that you get a coaching session and you choose the price. Read all about this offer here.

If you’ve been participating so far, I want to say congratulations on getting through the first week of the Natural Writer Coaching Challenge! I have enjoyed seeing your posts on Instagram, and reading your wonderful works.

Catching Up

If you’re coming into this late in the game, the #NatWriCoChallenge provides daily writing prompts for your flash fiction pieces. Using the hashtag, post your pieces via Instagram and tag me using the handle @NaturalWriterCoaching to be entered to win 2 Free Coaching sessions. You can read all about it, here.

For those of you who want to get in on the chance to win free coaching sessions, but haven’t been posting each day—you’re not out of luck. So long as by the end of May, you have one post for each of the writing prompts posted onto your Instagram (so, 31 in total), then you’re entered for the chance to win. However, the goal is to get into the habit of writing daily, so if you save up seven posts to do in one day, you’re only doing yourself the disservice.

Additional Challenge

Hopefully you’re having fun with these prompts. For some, it’s easy to come up with a new situation in which these daily word prompts can be used. And thus, I would like to add to the challenge:

Create one story with each writing prompt. Each day, use the designated writing prompt to add to the story that is building throughout the month. At the end of the month, you could have a story between 7,750 and 15,500 words long. This isn’t a novel, but it’s certainly a short story, or even the base of a story that can be filled out to become a novel.

This challenge means that, if you create a story that builds upon itself, the conclusion of the story will contain word prompt for May 31st. You can read a full list of the daily word prompts here if you want to plan.

If You’re Struggling

I just wanted to adress those of you who are awesome, though despite your awesomeness, you’re still struggling to get into that creative place. I see you. I hear you. Sometimes the muse just doesn’t want to behave.

Check out my post on Creativity as an Inner Sense that can be harnessed and directed through Meditation and/or Meditation here. Let me know what you think.

This Week’s Word Prompts

Each Friday in May, I’ll provide the daily work prompts for the follow week. If you’re playing catch up, you can read last week’s prompts here.

Friday, May 8: Radiance
Saturday, May 9: Circle
Sunday, May 10: Guidance
Monday, May 11: Empty
Tuesday, May 12: Prophetic
Wednesday, May 13: Indulgence
Thursday, May 14: Question

You of course can participate on your own, or you can join in on Instagram, posting your flash fiction piece there, or posting a link to your website with your flash fiction piece. Remember to tag me in the post using the handle @NaturalWriterCoaching and to use the hashtag #NatWriCoChallenge. I look forward to reading your pieces! Feel free to comment below to share your experience or ask any questions.

Book a Free 30-Minute Session with Me

Are you thinking about working with me, but just aren’t entirely sure? Fill out the form, schedule a call, let’s talk. This is a no-pressure, non-sales-pitch call, where we talk about you and your writing, and whether or not you want to work with me. Let’s chat!

December 16 Journal Prompt: Inspirational Flaw

What Flaws Does Your Inspirational Person Have?

In a continuation of our look at how to develop a character, and thus how to generate writing prompts, we will build off the journal prompt from yesterday.

Now that you’ve taken the time to learn and write a little bit about the person who inspires you in your life and some of their characteristics, your journal prompt today will be to look at their flaws.

Spend time to really think about flaws. They aren’t always obvious. Sometimes people’s talents can contribute to their greatest downfalls. My example yesterday was Jim Morrison from the Doors. He was a massively gifted individual in my eyes, but part of his gift led to his demise. He was open minded and talented and produced the style of art that he did as a result of the mass quantities of drugs he ingested. More than once he spiraled out of control, and when he was 27, he died in a bathtub in Paris when his heart gave out.

Flaws aren’t just health defects. They’re problems with character. Flaws are some of the best things you can give a character. No one is perfect. Period. Everyone has a flaw. When your characters do too, it makes them more realistic and relatable for the reader. When your reader can connect to your characters, they’ll be more drawn into your story.

Most importantly, where there are flaws, there is room for growth. Perhaps your inspiring person has commitment issues. Maybe they become overly attached. Perhaps they’re overly generous with their money to the point where they can barely make ends meet each month. Maybe they are a chronic promise-breaker.

Spend some time thinking about the person who inspires you and look at what you know of them and see what their flaws are. If you don’t know enough about them, guess. Spend some time brainstorming and supposing what a logical character flaw is that they might have.

After you’ve done this, free write about how this makes your inspirational person more interesting, or how they influence what you think about that person. Do you feel better about them? Do you feel worse about them? Why? Give yourself at least ten minutes to write about this, and really dig deep I not what might be good relatable flaws, or what might potentially put readers off.

Book Your Free 30-Minute Call

Fill out the form below to talk to me about your piece. This is about getting to know you and your work, and deciding if we make a good pair to get you through your project.

Sign up to my mailing list to receive a FREE 3-day mini course on planning and outlining tips to start your novel!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

December 14 Journal Prompt: Know Your Steps

What steps are you going to take toward achieving these goals?

You now have at least some of your goals for the upcoming New Year, with all the steps we’ve taken. You have done some work regarding your fears and how those might influence your success and your goals.

Now we’re going to look at the little tiny steps you can take to achieve your goals.

For some people, making goals for the New Year, or in life, can feel overwhelming. A project might seem HUGE. But when you break it down into smaller bite-sized pieces, it’s not that bad.

A Quick Personal Story

I went back to school nearly 10 years after I graduated from high school. I enrolled in the local community college and set myself the goal of just passing my classes. When I realized I could do that, I jumped and set myself the goal of straight A’s. All the time.

No pressure or anything.

Except it was ALL THE PRESSURE. I did it to myself.

When midterms and finals came around, I was a mess. I was working two jobs while taking four classes (with the way my college was, more than three classes at a time really wasn’t recommended because of their work load), plus an additional pilot program I was helping to design.

I was freaking out a bit.

But when I was swamped with everything, knew that I had school stuff, work stuff, as well as general existing stuff like laundry, grocery shopping, eating, and this weird thing called sleeping, I started making lists.

When I organized my jobs that I needed to get done on a list, and then approximated how much time I thought each thing was going to take, none of it seemed impossible. In fact, it all looked very possible.

I began delegating certain tasks to different days, and I was suddenly able to manage my time that much better. For the projects that were bigger like completing a report on the pilot mentorship project, I broke that down into smaller pieces. Suddenly finding five suitable research papers as my goal for one day was far less daunting than “work on research project.” I had a specific smaller goal to achieve that was manageable.

The Point

The idea is that when you break down your goals into smaller steps that you can assign yourself, then you can achieve them more readily.

Tip: Love NaNoWriMo?
Excited for CampNaNo in April?
You can learn to use Tarot
to plot and develop your story
without even knowing how
to read the card.
Check out my
#30DayTarotWritingChallenge

A great example of this is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). For those of you who don’t know, the goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. That breaks down to 1667 words in a day. For some, that’s a breeze. For others, it’s like writing the length of a school essay every day.

But a really great way of tackling this is to break it down into small parts and litter the small parts throughout your daily schedule. This is short bursts of 417 words four times through the day. You might do this before breakfast, somewhere around lunch, when you get off work, and then before you go to bed. It’s about a page of single-spaced typing, or a page and a half of double-spaced typing. Far less daunting.

Journal Prompt

You might have already guessed what the prompt is, but I’ll tell you anyway. Your prompt is to look at what you want to achieve, what you’ve been journaling toward over the last few days, and break them down into small chunks.

What can you do daily to work toward your goal? What seems daunting about it?

Furthermore, I want you to look at any fears you might have surrounding it think about steps you can take to work through those fears and resolve them. Journal out and brainstorm as much as you can.

The more you know about your fears, your goals, and the steps you can take to be successful, the more equipped you’ll be for a successful 2020.

December Offer

January is a time of starting fresh, of setting up good habits to begin the new you.

Through December, to get excited and ready for January, I’m offering a Free 1-hour session in addition to any monthly package or the 6-month package. This means that if you sign up for either of the monthly packages, you’ll get 5 sessions instead of four. This includes any of the additional bonuses included in the package. For example, if you sign up for the 6-month package, you will get an additional week of partial manuscript reading and critique.

This offer is only if you sign up for my packages through the month of December.Don’t miss out starting your 2020 new year write.

Book Your Free 30-Minute Call

Fill out the form below to talk to me about your piece. This is about getting to know you and your work, and deciding if we make a good pair to get you through your project.

Sign up to my mailing list to receive a FREE 3-day mini course on planning and outlining tips to start your novel!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

December 12 Journal Prompt: What to Write Next Year

What is your writing goal for the whole of 2020?

We’ve spent some time delving into the habits we can create to make our year successful, but now I’m going to switch gears a little bit. Knowing what you now know about yourself, we are going to look at what goals you can set for the whole of 2020.

Writing goals mean different things to different people. For those who write non-fiction, this might be querying a publisher with a book idea. For those who have an idea for a book but haven’t put any time into developing it, it might just be to outline it and get the first chapter done. For some it’s to write a book a month, and for others it might be to write a million words during the year.

All of these goals are set with the idea of what they want to develop in the long run.

Journal Prompt

This is going to be a two-part prompt. We’re going to look at the big picture and then shrink it right on down to the smaller picture.

Step 1: What Do You Want?

Fun Fact: If you want to write 1,000,000 words in 2020

You only need to develop the

right writing habit.

It only take 2,740 words each

day to write 1,000,000 words

in 356 days.

If boundaries were not a thing and wishes were fulfilled as easily as taken a breath, what would you want for your writing?

Do you want to build a career? Do you want to publish? Do you want to create stories for  those who are close to you? Do you have a message to share?

Over the span of the next decade, what do you want to happen with your writing?

Spent ten minutes or more writing everything you want for your writing. Think big, think about a world without limits, and consider everything you would want. Again, give yourself at least ten minutes of constant writing. That means no pausing once you’ve stopped. Let that pen flow, even if it means writing “I don’t know” 14 times before you finally figure out what you do know.

Don’t think about what is practical, don’t think about what is feasible. Think only about what you want.

Step 2: Your Writing Goal

Now you’re going to make your writing goal for 2020. Look at everything you’ve just written. It is possible. You just have to make the right steps.

List out the steps you would need to take in order to get to where you want. Write them out in detail, break them down. If your first step is to write your first book, then what steps do you have to take to make that happen? Break everything down as much as you can.

Now, that you have this list, ask yourself what you think you can get done in the first year. This is the time to be practical. But, at the same time, you want to challenge yourself.

Running with the example of writing your first book, maybe you not only want to write it, but have it completely squeaky polished and ready to send off to publication, or ready for beta readers, or ready to self-publish by the end of 2020.

Or maybe you want to write a million words in 2020. You could write a million words, or, you could really challenge yourself and aim for two million (5480 words a day!).

Bonus Step

When you have fun, you’re promoting joy, and that is what’s going to carry you to your goals.  

When you have yourself a writing goal, break it down, step by step. What do you need to do to write your first book? What do you need to do to write a million words? For each of these steps, create a reward system.

On of my favorite podcast hosts, Sara Werner of the Write Now Podcast, likes to reward herself when she reached word-count goals during her writing sessions with an M&M.

I’ve rewarded myself with cups of coffee. When I’m really struggling to put words on the page, I’ve told myself that when I get to x point, then I can have another cup of coffee (though I do have the fine print that I have to have a pint of water before I have my coffee as well).

Your reward systems should line up with your goal. If it’s something small, have a little—but joyful—reward for yourself. If it’s something bigger, then have a bigger reward. For example, if one of your steps is to read three books on writing, then celebrate each book by purchasing a song download, and when you finish all three, purchase a full album. Or if you want to need to finish your outline, then celebrate by spending a day out doing something you love but rarely get to do.

When you have things to look forward to, then it makes achieving the steps along the way that much more fun. When you have fun, you’re promoting joy, and that is what’s going to carry you to your goals.  

December Offer

January is a time of starting fresh, of setting up good habits to begin the new you.

Through December, to get excited and ready for January, I’m offering a Free 1-hour session in addition to any monthly package or the 6-month package. This means that if you sign up for either of the monthly packages, you’ll get 5 sessions instead of four.

This includes any of the additional bonuses included in the package. For example, if you sign up for the 6-month package, you will get an additional week of partial manuscript reading and critique.

This offer is only if you sign up for my packages through the month of December.Don’t miss out starting your 2020 new year write.

Book Your Free 30-Minute Call

Fill out the form below to talk to me about your piece. This is about getting to know you and your work, and deciding if we make a good pair to get you through your project.

Sign up to my mailing list to receive a FREE 3-day mini course on planning and outlining tips to start your novel!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.