Who doesn’t love a deal, especially a New Year’s deal? Everybody loves deals. Just offer something at a good price and see how fast people come calling.
This week I’ve heard about some great deals for writers and bloggers. In honor of the support and encouragement my followers have given me in 2015, I’m sharing these New Year’s deals with you.
1. FIRST UP IS A GOOD DEAL FROM WEB HOST, BLUEHOST.
I’ve been working with BlueHost going on almost four years. They host this site plus two small business sites my husband and I run. When it comes to support, they are fantastic! When it comes to a great deal for new customers better than fantastic.
Right now BlueHost is offering a great monthly rate. And the reason I know about this discount is because I’m celebrating my first anniversary as a BlueHost affiliate. Yes, that means I get a little something for every new customer I send to BlueHost. If you’re interested in BlueHost as your site host, click on the image below and check things out:
2. LOOKING FOR WRITING BOOKS AND/OR VIDEOS?
Writer’s Digest has some books offered at discount prices. Here is what I found in the store today:
2016 Writer’s Market Deluxe Editionby Robert Lee Brewer is a list of literary agents and publishers curated by Writer’s Digest and now they are offering it for 40% off the regular price, or $29.99, a savings of $20. In addition to the listings, the book includes many tips on the business of writing and a free webinar is offered (a $79 value) on building your audience, marketing, and publishing. It doesn’t sound like you could go wrong.
Under “Bundles and Kits,” a collection under the title Turn Your Blog Into a Successful Book. This bundle includes four books and three webinars on topics like How to Blog a Bookby Nina Amir, Blogging for Writers by Robin Houghton, and one of the webinars is on starting your platform. Regularly the price for this bundle (and you have to see it to believe it!) is $293.95 and you can buy it for only $49.99.
You will find other great offerings at the Writers Digest Shop, so spend some time and see what you can find to help your writing take off in 2016.
Note: I am NOT an affiliate of Writer’s Digest.
3. LOOKING TO SPIFF UP YOUR WEBSITE? LOOK NO FURTHER.
Elegant Themesis currently offering a 10% discount off themes and plugins for a limited time only when you sign up for their newsletter. Elegant Themes does a stellar job designing themes and creates some of the most effective plugins for WordPress I have used. Don’t miss this opportunity!
I am in no way affiliated with Elegant Themes.
4.WRITING SOFTWARE CAN BE EXPENSIVE, BUT LITERATURE & LATTE IS STILL OFFERING A GOOD PRICE FOR SCRIVENER.
I have used Scrivener since I began writing my memoir back in 2009. It has gone through many changes to make it a user-friendly writing tool. I especially appreciate the way I can organize my project within the software as if I were using an old-fashioned filing cabinet, file folders, and lots of paper. I just took a look at the site and was surprised to see you can still buy the software for Windows 10 for $40 and for Mac OSX Version for $45. Literature & Latte also offers a free trial. Check it out, and feel free to ask me questions. (Note: I am not an affiliate of Literature & Latte.)
There are many items helpful and useful for writers and bloggers. Sometimes you have to dig for them, and other times they come to you out of the blue. Keep your eyes and ears open and read up on the craft to see what’s happening with technology and books written to help us along the writing journey.
What writing tools and books have you seen deals on lately? Anything you can pass along to the rest of us today?
If there’s one thing all writers agree on, it’s that writing is TOUGH. The road to publication twists and dips as we learn the craft, hone our abilities, create stories we’re passionate about, fight discouragement, educate ourselves about the industry…and then start the process all over again as we realize there’s room to improve. But you know what? If you are like me, you wouldn’t have it any other way.
Yet, sometimes it’s nice to get a helping hand.
Finding a good writing book, a helpful blog, a mentor or critique partner to share the journey with…these things are gems along the writing path.
And guess what? Maybe there’s another resource waiting just up the road called One Stop For Writers.
One Stop For Writers is not writing software, but rather a powerful online library that contains tools, unique description collections, helpful tutorials and much more, brought to you by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi, the authors of The Emotion Thesaurus and Lee Powell, the creator of Scrivener for Windows.
Could One Stop For Writers be the writing partner you’ve been searching for? Visit Writers Helping Writers this week and see, where Angela, Lee and Becca are celebrating their venture with prizes and some pay-it-forward fun.
Does your desk ever reach what is defined as “insanely messy?”
Mine does, and this week it has reached the end of my tolerance. Although a master at organizing someone else’s desk and keeping it that way, I seem to have absorbed through osmosis the ability my husband has to trash a desk and still work at it. I can’t.
This is not my desk. It is a photo I found via Flickr and gives a clear image of what I’m dealing with. What you can’t see is the disorganization in the rest of the room. That too is niggling away at my creativity.
Solution? Take a few days off from writing for reorganizing and cleaning up my space.
It will only mean a small amount of downtime and since we’re about to hit our third or fourth heat wave since the end of June, I might as well focus on indoor activities.
Yes, writing is an indoor activity but somehow lately I’ve been bogged down with family “schtuff” and interruptions from Life.
However, in spite of it all, I’m getting close to those beautiful words, “The End,” with the manuscript. And then I’ll be seeking some beta readers so watch for the call.
In the meantime, remember this quote attributed to Albert Einstein:
Hmmm, maybe I won’t worry about the mess after all!
Yes, credit is given to Virginia Woolf for this quote. It is obvious to those of us who write these words apply to anyone engaged in the craft of writing. We all need a room to write, one quiet and free of interruption.
Several times lately I’ve mentioned in posts about taking time away from home to write. Lots of writers use coffee shops, libraries, anywhere there’s access to power and maybe even wi-fi to get the peace and quiet they want/need for writing.
I’m fortunate to be a member of Willamette Writers, the largest writer organization in the Pacific Northwest. This year celebrates 50 years of the organization’s support for both aspiring and professional writers. Headquartered in Portland, OR, Willamette Writers’ administrative offices are located in West Linn, OR.
The organization owns a property in West Linn which affords space not only for administration purposes but also provides a library and space for group meetings. Additionally, there are five writing rooms fully equipped for the writer to work at his/her craft in quiet and solitude.
Officially named Cynthia Whitcomb House, the property is more often called The Writing House. This is where I slip away to no interruptions, quiet, and peace to work on my memoir or other projects with a deadline.
It is unbelievable what you can accomplish in 16 hours. Yes, you can rent a room for 16 hours for a mere $10, and write, write, write.
My favorite room to date is The Bloomsbury Room, fashioned after the lives and times of authors associated with The Bloomsbury Group. Images of English writers and other prominent personalities of the time, some of whom were core members of The Bloomsbury Group, adorn the walls: Virginia Woolf, Giles Lytton Strachey, E.M. Forster, Leonard Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell, and others. Bloomsbury is a comfortable and inspirational room pleasantly decorated.
Many times when I go here to write I am the only one on the main floor and even if someone else is in the house, it is quiet and we rarely run into one another.
One of the best features is the Writing House is a mere 10 minutes from my home. Unfortunately, I have to drive by a Starbuck’s on the way so you can imagine I make certain I have plenty of fuel to see me through the morning write.
I won’t deny that I have a lovely writing space at home. However, it comes equipped with interruptions whether from family members or the telephone, the temptation to stop working and do something else, or a neighbor knocking on the door.
At The Writing House, no interruptions, no temptations, no ringing phone, no neighbors. Perfect writing time, and at a great price!
Your Turn ~ Do you have a writing place to call your own? Or a place to which you can escape for quiet and solitude? Share with us how you get away to write or what skills or tricks you use to give your space to craft your writing.
Writers and bloggers need resources to aid in getting their ideas into context attractive to their followers. In order to find these resources, we could spend hours surfing the Internet to find those people most helpful to our brand, blog, or book. The following five individuals and two sites are resources I follow consistently. I hope you find something helpful among them.
“Social Media Just for Writers was named as one of the top 30 websites for independently published authors by Penny Sansevieri of Author Marketing Experts, Inc.”
“This website will help you to get your writing in front of more readers who would love to know about your books. You’ll learn how to use social media efficiently and effectively, and you’ll learn about new applications, best practices, and tips that will help you reach your marketing goals.”
(quoted from About page of Social Media Just for Writers)
“I have had the privilege of working with hundreds of writers, helping them share their stories and connect with readers. Some of these folks are bestselling authors, with millions of books sold, while others are first time authors, and many more are somewhere between those two points.”
“…I’ve worked with hundreds of authors, and some of the most amazing organizations that support writers.”
Gretchen is a treasure trove of tech tips, social media tips, suggestions for maintaining an easy-to-work-with inbox, and more. Read some endorsements I found on her site:
“I like to think I’m fairly computer savvy, but there are some aspects of WordPress that really freak me out! Gretchen took my vision and was able to make anything I wanted happen. All I had to do was ask!”
-Kalyn Brooke, Creative Savings
“I really can’t say enough good things about Gretchen…she is professional, helpful, kind, and a coding superstar! She customized a theme for my site and it looks amazing. I felt completely confident that she would make my site look beautiful and work flawlessly, and I was right! She is a wonder.”
-Kelly, The Pretty Bee
Writers Helping Writers, formerly known as The Bookshelf Muse, is hosted by co-authors and co-bloggers, Angela Ackerman and Rebecca Puglisi. Together they have written “bestselling triplets, The Emotion Thesaurus, The Positive Trait Thesaurus, and The Negative Trait Thesaurus.”
From their About page, “Our mission is simple: offer help and support as much as we can. This site has many different tools and resources for writers, editors and teachers, so poke around and enjoy!”
Joel Friedlander, better known as The Book Designer, offers practical advice to help writers in producing better books. The following quote sums up Joel’s philosophy:
“Writers change the world one reader at a time. But you can’t change the world with a book that’s still on your hard
drive or in a box under your bed.”
Joel’s blog is filled with resources and tools to help you decide how you want to publish your book and to teach you the ins and outs of self-publishing should you choose to follow that route. The author of many books on the subject of publishing and with a background in the field, Joel’s expertise is priceless.
In 2006 aspiring novelists Therese Walsh and Kathleen Bolton collaborated to dissect complex books and movies. After their second rejection, they decided to create a site where they could state their opinions with no possibility of rejection, except possibly from readers. Writer Unboxed was born. With a list of contributors too long to share here, the articles posted in Writer Unboxed always bring something to the reader useful, educational, and resourceful. It is a site I recommend to all aspiring writers.
Writers Digest, the site, is a one-stop shopping experience for the writer. With everything from books, magazines, downloads, conferences, workshops, classes, webinars, tutorials, blogs, competitions and resources, this site is like an online shopping and educational experience rolled into one. Writers of all genre will find something to suit their needs and competitive spirits. With a subscription to the newsletter, you’ll receive a list of 101 websites for writers, more than I’ll ever be able to list here. (That doesn’t mean you won’t need to continue to read my blog! Or subscribe to my newsletter.)
These are some of the folks I rely on for information and leads as I write my book. Of course, there are many others as well. However, I encourage you to take some time to visit each of these if you haven’t already. I think you’ll find something valuable.
What about you? Do you have favorite sources of information online you could share with us?
In a perfect world, our days would be filled with limitless hours of writing time. However, ours is not a perfect world. At least mine isn’t.
Despite living in retirement, my days are still filled with what seem to be unending household chores, yard and gardening chores, errands, maintaining a small business other than my writing, and more.
I am not an expert on increasing writing productivity. Perhaps like you, I struggle every day trying to find the time to write.
If you look around–in books, on the Internet, magazine articles, there is a plethora of advice on how to increase your writing productivity.
Here’s a sampling of what I’ve found:
1. Eliminate Distractions.
As difficult as it may seem, sitting down to write means limiting distractions and interruptions. One easy tip is to close all open tabs on your computer and have only your manuscript or working document open. If you are still tempted to hop over to Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest, perhaps an app like StayFocusd to limit the time you allow yourself to visit social media sites would help. StayFocusd is free to Google Chrome users. Other such apps include: Freedom, Anti-Social, RescueTime (my choice), and ColdTurkey. A search for “social media blocking apps” will offer a longer list.
2. What is Your Process?
Do you have a process for writing? Or do you sit down and just start writing? Are you enjoying the process of writing? Or have you started something that doesn’t please you or feel right?
Remember, you don’t have to be what everyone else is–historical novelist, memoirist, chick lit writer, biographer. You don’t have to write the same way every other writer does. You can be whomever you want to be as a writer.
Look around your space. What books do you see that you’ve kept after reading them? What fills your shelves? If those are the books you’ve enjoyed as a reader, maybe they fall into the genre you will enjoy writing. Take a good look at the process these writers chose. Discover the writer you want to be. Know yourself, and try to forget the critics.
3. Set a Daily Goal
Determine a daily goal, either by number of words or pages or choose a time increment, such as an hour or maybe two. If you choose to follow a time increment system for daily writing, set a timer for the amount of time. Then write until the timer goes off. A handy app for accomplishing this is Pomodairo, a Pomodoro time-based timer and task management app.
4. Give Yourself Breaks
After you’ve accomplished what you sat down to do, give yourself a break. Take a 10-15 minute walk or stretch, have a cup of tea or coffee, do something to move out of your chair and breathe fresh air. Perhaps you have a note or personal card to mail–write it and get it ready to go in the mail. If that load of laundry is ready to be folded, that will only take a few minutes. Do that. Just do something to refresh your mind and body.
5. Devise a Method to Follow Productivity
I did not realize how important this could be until I signed on to Jeff Goins’ Facebook group, My 500 Words. The goal in this group is to write 500 words each day on something you’re working on or using the provided prompt. It provides accountability, support and encouragement. The accountability is what I was searching for when I signed up. In the process of organizing the group, Jeff mentioned the importance of accountability, including following your own productivity. Not long after, I came across a link to a writing progress tracker developed by author Jamie Raintree. Simple to use and handy in an Excel document on my computer, I can easily log in the number of words I’ve written each day and on which blog or project. Jamie has entered all the formulas to calculate the daily, weekly and monthly word count. Thanks, Jamie!
6. Read Less, Write More
This is an area I need to improve on. I lose writing time each day because I think I should ready everything I find on becoming a better writer, how to write memoir, and more. I can’t resist the idea that someone has a better idea about how to write. Slowly I’m learning that I must stop reading what others think and get on with the writing. As I look around my writing space, there are dozens of books and articles on writing that I have yet to read and in that state they aren’t supporting my writing efforts. I’m finding I tend to learn more by doing than reading about how to do it. If I encounter a problem in my writing, then I’ll go look it up and see what I’ve missed in the doing.
7. Read Your Genre
There is one area you’ll want to read, and that is books in the genre you’ve chosen to write. From these writers, you will learn more about your chosen craft. Watch how they open and close chapters. See how they have developed their characters. How do they use dialogue? Then see if you can apply them to your work. This is not plagiarism as you’re not copying what they wrote–you are modeling the principles of writing they used.
8. Set Goals
Some of us are goal setters, and some are not. If you are so inclined, set large goals first. Then work backward from the deadline established for that goal and set smaller goals along the way to help in accomplishing the larger goal on time. For instance, if you want to publish your book after the first of the year, you will need to have it edited and revised in October or November to leave time for edits and rewrites. What this means is that the book needs to be finished in late summer. This is an example of how you need to set your goals in order to timely complete your project.
Accountability needs to be worked into goal setting. Perhaps there is someone you can tell about your goal(s). A critiquing partner, a writing group member, or a close friend or family member. You’ll note on the right sidebar I have a countdown set. Believe me, I see that more often than is comfortable these days. You can also set the dates on your calendar and set up pop-up reminders for each one.
9. Work When No One Else Is and/or When You Feel “On”
How do we know the best time of our 24 hours each day to write? Some writers wake early in the morning before their family members wake up, and they get in an hour or more of quiet writing. Young mothers who are writers wait eagerly for nap time. I read a post recently by Ellis Shurman on how he found an extra hour in his daily schedule of commuting, working fulltime, parenting and more. Others establish blocks of time on a calendar and then tell their family members they are off to write and are not to be bothered. (Sometimes that works; sometimes it doesn’t!). Actually, for you it might be looking at what you have to carry out and doing that during the part of the day when feel your best, really “on.” Suit yourself. You are the writer.
10. Write Now, Edit Later
You have all heard it. Write until the first draft is completed. No stopping for edits, errors, corrections, rewrites–just write. The temptation for some of us who are Type A personalities to make that first draft perfect is overwhelming. I have finally taught myself to write, write, write–don’t stop. It hasn’t been easy but it does go faster when you’re not continuously stopping to make corrections. Once you’re finished with the draft, then you can sit down with a copy, or maybe you like to do your editing on the screen, and make the necessary corrections, perhaps a little rewriting here and there. I think we may all be familiar with Anne Lamott’s quote on this subject.
11. Bottom Line–Write Your Story and No Harpies Allowed
In your writing, be yourself. Be honest. Tell your story. It is after all your story. Yours to tell, and only you know it and can tell it. If you don’t write it down, how will anyone remember it after you’re gone? How will anyone ever read it and gain any perspective from your life experiences?
We mustn’t let the harpies get in our way. When one settles on your shoulder, close your ears to what you hear: “You can’t write.” “Who is going to read this garbage?” “What makes you think anyone wants to now what you think or feel?” “Get over yourself–you’re not a writer.” remember you are the writer, you own the story, and you can write it without any outside help.
This is not an exhaustive list. If you search the Internet, there are so many ideas about what we writers should do or not do in order to be productively producing our books and essays, our poetry and rhyme. Yet it all boils down to how it works best for each of us individually, doesn’t it?
Do you have a process that works for you? Are you willing to share ideas with the rest of us? Leave comments, ideas, questions, criticisms, etc. in the comments below. Let’s discuss!