Monday, August 19, 2013

The Key To Making It As A Writer!

Everybody wants to know the key to success!

Well I've been listening to a few people lately...messages I've heard before but sometimes I need a reminder.

Will Smith-
"There's no reason to have a Plan B because it distracts from Plan A."

My Plan A: Ultimately, to live a life of freedom working from home full-time supporting myself easily and effortlessly as an author  & if I can add "New York Times Best-Selling Author" after my name that will be a bonus!

Every step I take today and the many days after will lead to my ultimate plan. 

Tyler Perry (I love this dude he's a true inspiration to me)-

With my 100% commitment to being the best storyteller I can be and by God's grace and favor I will succeed!

Hugh Howey- My Advice To Aspiring Writers

"The key to making it as a writer is to write a lot, write great stories, publish them yourself, spend more time writing, study the industry, act like a pro, network, be nice, invest in yourself and your craft, and be patient. If you can do all of these things, you’ll earn some money. Maybe enough to pay a bill every month. Maybe enough to get out of debt. Maybe enough to quit your job. Thousands of writers are doing this, and we are welcoming all comers with open arms."

Stay Blessed...Stay Tuned!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Focus On Becoming A Better Storyteller!

So I mentioned that I started a new year in my writing career. I've decided that I need to focus on improving my craft and creating content. I need to spend less time on promoting because that's a major distraction that takes away from my writing. Especially for a new writer like myself who don't have a lot of product and who needs to create better writing habits. When I released my last novella I was so focused on spreading the word that I haven't even started writing my next book yet.

This may not be an issue for most people but I recognize my shortcomings and weaknesses so I need to work on perfecting my craft and building a better work ethic and getting more inventory. I honestly think that I get better with each story that I write.

So my ultimate goal for the next 12 months is to focus on becoming a better storyteller!

I follow the blogs of Dean Wesley Smith and Hugh Howey. They both suggest doing what I'm going to focus on for the next year.

Hugh Howey- My Advice to Aspiring Writers

"When I finished my first novel, I was on a complete high. This is when you think your book is the shit and you wonder why Oprah hasn’t called. You’re gonna be rich!
This feeling lasted a few days. That’s when I started writing my next work. My father at the time wondered why I wasn’t spending all of my time promoting that first book. I told him I had my entire life to promote my works. I only had now to write. I stuck to that principle for years, writing and publishing several novels or short stories a year. 
....My father now agrees with this approach and sees the value of having a dozen titles available. This is going to sound strange, but you are MUCH better off with your 10th work exploding than your 1st work. You’ll never have quiet time to crank out quality material ever again. And when your backlist matches the growth of your first breakout, you’ll do very well for yourself. Be patient. It’s been said by many others, but I’ll repeat it here: self-publishing is a marathon."

Dean Wesley Smith- Maybe You Wrote A Good Book

"It really is that simple.But putting the responsibility squarely back on the writer’s shoulders to write better stories is scary. Especially to new writers who really don’t understand what it takes to write a quality story that hundreds or thousands or millions will want to read. New writers don’t even know what they don’t know. They just don’t have the study or the practice or the words under their fingers yet.Writing good stories is a skill that takes time to learn. It can be learned. It’s not a talent, it’s a craft that can be studied and learned with enough effort and drive and practice.But writing and learning need to be the focus.So if you are out promoting your third novel and wondering why it’s not selling, maybe your time would be better served to learn how to write a better story. Just maybe.Just saying…"

So other than announcing on my blogs, Facebook, and uploading to my different author platforms, I won't be going hard in promoting. I'll focus on producing great content  and building relationships with my readers and other authors (which I'll do on Sundays). I started a small group on Facebook where we help each other promote our books so of course I'm always going to help my fellow authors promote their work and they will do the same for me but once I make that initial announcement.....I'm off to writing my next book!

Stay Blessed...Stay Tuned!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year!!

Well to me it's a new year!

Back in June I was talking to a friend of mine and I mentioned that I wish it was the new year already....this year hasn't gone as well as I expected it to go so I was ready for a new year already. So she told me, "Why wait for the calendar to say that is can start your new year whenever you want."

So as of July 1, 2013, it is now a new year for me. Whenever we start a new year it's like a chance to start start anew. In my case, that's with a new mindset and starting anew in my writing career.

My goal for 2013 was to produce a new novella per month. If I had stuck to that goal I would have 7 novellas produced instead of only 2! So I decided to just start fresh. Start a new year! I can't go back and change what I haven't done and I can only go forward.

I'm not setting a publication goal but a production goal. If I produce 12 novellas in a 12 month period or 6 novels in a 12 month period then I have reach my goal for that year.

The reason I say production instead of publishing is because I use beta readers to read my work before I publish. I like to have two other people read over my work so when I publish will depend on when I can have two betas read them for me.

I'm not setting a sales goal....lord knows if I could control that I would be selling millions of copies right now! ha!

I'm choosing to focus on what I can control and that's production.

So I mentioned mindset as well. Well that is a work in progress and my mindset right now is mainly centered around my career or lack thereof. If it was up to me I would be a writer full-time right now but I have to pay the bills so I work a regular 9-5. Because I work a 9-5 and have a steady income coming in every two weeks I have not been treating writing like a career but more so like a hobby. Since it's not producing the same salary as (or better than) my current "bread & butter" job, it's been easy to put it off if I'm not "feeling" it, or not meet deadlines that I set for myself or to go months without writing at all.

I have to change my mindset to look at writing as my career, my job, my way of life, my bread & butter. If I keep treating it like a hobby I won't take it serious enough to reach my ultimate goal of becoming an author who makes a living telling stories easily and effortlessly on a full-time basis.

I have to get disciplined....create a strong work ethic. I have to write to quota as suggested on the Kill Authors Zone blog.

My goals for the new year (I've faulted on these goals this month but I did really well in July when I created the goal so I did start my new year off right :-D)

1. Write to a quota
I learned that I can produce 4K words a day if I give myself at least 4 hours of writing time and if I know what I'm going to write. Minimum goal per writing day is 1K words. I plan to keep a spreadsheet to track my word count per week.

2. Write six days a week
I plan to take Sundays off to catch up on networking, blog reading, reading books, hanging out with friends, watching movies, promotion etc. (I slacked off this past week so I will be working this Sunday)

3. Produce a new novella once a month or a new novel once every two months
I met that goal for July. I can meet that goal for August even though I slacked off for an ENTIRE week...smh there are no excuses I just didn't make it a priority. But that has to change.

4. Read a new fiction book once every month (or every two months)
I love reading. Reading also helps with writing. So I have to make sure that I'm getting that in as well. I've been reading some non-fiction too. Currently I'm reading Think & Grow Rich. (look for future posts on that too)

5. Don't compare myself to others and trust the process
I've read countless stories about authors hitting best-sellers list with their very first book....I'm not that author although when I first started writing I hoped to be that author. But God has mapped out my road to success a little different. Although I'm not that breakout novelist with instant stardom it doesn't mean that I should stop writing. My path is my path and I have to trust the process. Everything happens at an appointed time. Which leads me to point number six....

6. Never give up!
I've tried giving I'm not lying when I say I tried to give up on this journey. I didn't write for four months. I wanted to give up. I didn't want to want to be a writer. I didn't want to like telling stories. I wanted to give up because the journey hasn't been as smooth sailing as I wanted it to be. I wanted EASY...I wanted Instant Stardom....I wanted to quit my day job like yesterday....LOL well that didn't happen and when it didn't, I was like that means that I must not be meant to be a writer so let's just put this to the side.

I've published to two novellas since then. Something inside of me won't let me give up. What does that mean? I don't know exactly what it means. I just know I choose to not give up. No matter how many books I don't sell or how many negative reviews I get....I'm going to continue on until the Lord says that it's time to quit.

I have a certain lifestyle that I want to live and working for myself has always been one of my goals. Having a creative job has always been one of my goals. I started writing poetry when I was 14 and love to do it...but life got in the way and I stopped. One thing I have to work on and overcome is ALLOWING life to get in the way. 

I'm determined to live the life of my dreams. There are plenty of people in this world living the life of their dreams and some of them looks a little like what I've described my ideal life to be so that tells me it's not impossible. I have proof that it's possible. If it can happen for them/to them, then it can do the same for me!

It's okay to start over whenever you feel you've gone too far in the wrong's never too late as long as you are alive and in perfect Happy New Year to me and to anyone else that just need a fresh start!!!

Stay Blessed and Stay Tuned!