We as authors always hear how it’s hard to be truly successful at writing. Getting on the best sellers list is really hard. Most of us write because we love it, the numbers don’t matter, being on a bestseller list doesn’t really matter. We write for the love of it but still, there is a part of us who dreams about being successful, wants people to know our names. If you’ve ever felt like giving up don’t! Here are some author success stories that will have you believing anything possible.
Amanda Hocking has an amazing success story. She was working full time while writing. She self-published all of her books, 17 of them. Hocking went on to sell more then a million copies of her ebooks. I think what made her story stick out to me was the fact she did that while working full time. She was one dedicated woman who had a passion for what she wanted to do. To me, she is to be admired and her story is unbelievable.
Irma Rombauer wrote “The Joy of Cooking” with her daughter in 1931 with her daughter. It was an illustrated book that included recipes. I’m pretty sure most of you of you have heard of it. Irma paid half of her life savings to pay a local printing company to print her book. It was a total of 3,000 dollars. That was a lot of money back then and she must have really believed it would be a success. It sold for a dollar a book, still a pretty good price for that day and age. Five years after it was originally printed Bob-Merrill Company acquired the rights to it. It has since sold 18 million copies worldwide. How many of your grandmothers had this book in their kitchen? I love this story because it shows love, perseverance and faith can do anything!
John Grisham may be a well-known author now but that wasn’t always the case. He was once a Southern lawyer when he wrote his first book “A Time To Kill” in 1979 after being inspired by “To Kill A Mockingbird.” He received 28 rejections before going to a small publishing house and printing off 5,000 copies of his book. He sold enough that he got picked up by Doubleday publishing and has since gone on to sell millions of copies of his books as a bestselling author.
You may know Beatrix Potter as the author of “Peter Rabbit” but what you may not know is she was rejected several times before getting success. She self-published in 1901 and Frederick Warne &Co decided to pick it up after rejecting it at first. They also published 22 more of her books. Each year 2 million copies of her books are sold. This is proof that if you don’t give up and put in the work you can succeed as well.
There are of course other success stories that are pretty unbelievable but these were my favorite. It’s true that not every author gets huge success but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t believe you can or shouldn’t try. Keep writing and have faith, one day you may be one of these stories.
I am a natural panster, I just write and see where the story takes me. I love not necessarily knowing what will become of my characters. I have found the need to outline more and it goes against my natural inclination to just write. I never imagined it would be this hard. Going with the flow takes little effort sitting down to outline is so tough. I have figured out some way to help me get through the grueling task (grueling for me anyway).
There are a ton of ready-made templates you can use for free online. I have found that by using one it makes it easier to get my thought on paper. I have a visual to guide me instead of staring at a blank page. I have always been the type of person that if something doesn’t come naturally I need some direction. Having a template that already has things broken down in chunks gets me moving. There are a ton of options available to use.
Every author I have spoken with that outlines says they plot every bit of their novel. Characters, locations, geography, every small detail. Most of the time I try to do this I find I only give myself a head, plus keeping up with all that information is a nuisance sometimes. If I find outlining the entire thing is too much I will only do one part of my story. Maybe it’s my characters or part of the plot itself. Whatever I choose it still helpful without being overwhelming. Try this next time and see if it helps you.
You can find many articles and interviews where authors talk about how they outline. Look up your favorites and see how they do it. I have gotten many ideas from reading how Stephen King or JK Rowling outline all their novels. It brings about a new perspective and many times there are things I never thought of. I have come up with many outlining ideas by doing this.
Get with someone who supports you and talk out your plot. Bouncing ideas off of someone else can be a huge help and they may have ideas you never thought of. Having someone that’s not close to the story is beneficial because they can look at it from a readers point of view and will tell you what they’d like to read in that particular situation. If you don’t have anyone you know that you can do that with find a critique group and share with them. You’ll be amazed by the ways talking to someone can help you!
If you tried all the things above and still feel like outlining is more of a pain then it worth. Don’t outline! There are times when my natural habit of just writing wins no matter how hard I try. I usually only outline when I’m absolutely stuck or writing for NanoWriMo (this is challenge done once a year in November. Authors try to write a novel in 30 days.) Sometimes it doesn’t work out despite my best efforts. It’s okay not to outline even if you feel like you need to. If writing without one is more your style just write! Many people say outlining is a must to write, I say it’s only a must if you need an outline! Don’t frustrate yourself by trying to outline if you do better without one!
Get out there and write outline or no outline! Good luck!
I’m on Twitter a lot and I like to follow things that interest me. Being a writer I naturally gravitate toward authors or writing-related things. I have a lot of blogging friends on there as well and plan on doing a future post about the 7 best blogger Twitter feeds to follow. Until then here are my top 7 Author feeds to follow.
Besides the fact that he is one of my favorite authors, he is also entertaining on Twitter. King likes to share some political stuff and that can be controversial but for the most part he is just an all around cool guy to follow on Twitter. He does give some writing tips now and then and talks about his own writing. I love that he is sarcastic and in your face. King holds nothing back and that to me makes it all the more fun to follow him. I promise you’ll never be bored when reading his Tweets.
2. J.K. Rowling
She is funny, talented and to me a bit quirky. Some people have recently been complaining that she tries to hard by changing things about her world every time someone asks a question on Twitter. Recently she’s gotten a bit more political but I think that’s par for the course. I like that she is pretty open to fans and will answer their questions. She posts a lot and I love seeing her name pop up in my feed. I think it goes back to being a bit controversial but I also love the books so it’s kind of a no brainer for me to follow her.
3. Terry Goodkind
I know a lot of people don’t like him but he is one of my favorites. He mostly sticks to writing and loves to interact with his fans. I enjoy how awkward but open he is. He is forever saying he appreciates his fans and enjoys signing books. Terry ran into a bit of trouble when he complained about his book cover art but doesn’t seem to have fared too badly for it. Not as controversial as the others on this list Terry Goodkind is an awesome author to follow.
4. Anne Rice
She has been the queen of vampire horror for a very long time. “Interview With a Vampire” and “Queen of the Damned” are some of my favorite books. She keeps her feed pretty clean and loves to talk books. I’ve never seen a whole lot about politics from her (the reason I keep mentioning this is because for some people this is a deal breaker so I think it’s important to mention it). If you love horror and books Anne is a great one to follow.
5. Laurel K. Hamilton
She writes some amazing books and some of her scenes can make you blush. I love her Merry Gentry Series. She is entertaining and loves to talk books and writing. She makes announcements of upcoming books and shares others work. She is wonderful to follow and will forever be one of my favorites.
6. Terry Pratchett
Terry Pratchett is a super cooky guy. He can make you laugh and fall in love with his characters at the same time. I think his books are very well done and particularly love “The Wee Free Men”. His Twitter feed is full of weird, quirky and just plain fun. I think he is pretty underrated and wish more of my friends read him. If you want someone who is super fun to follow he is your guy.
7. Justina Ireland
Justina Ireland is the author of “Dead Nation”. She is smart, passionate, and loves writing. Her feed is full of books, writing, promoting, fans and all together just goodness! She is a great one to follow if you love seeing an author who enjoys what she does and loves being with her fans! I thoroughly enjoy her!
Is there someone you love to follow that I missed let us know in the comments. Do you already follow any of these authors? Tell us what you think if them and their feed!
I like having resources at my fingertips. All I have to do is pull it up and I have help right away. There are so many resources out there that it can be overwhelming. Today I’m going to tell you about 10 awesome resources that can help you with your writing! Get ready to add these to your list!
. 1. Canva
I cannot get enough of Canva! With this website, you can create your own book cover, invitations, presentations, flyers, social media graphics and more! This is where I make most of my pictures for my blog and even made my book cover for my homeschooling book. It is user-friendly and has hundreds of options for you to choose from. Many are free but you can purchase some graphics for a small fee! If your looking to make any of your images cheap and easy this is the resource for you!
This is a word-processing software. This is a one-stop shop for writers since you can write and keep your outlines, research, concepts, chapters, and notes all in one place. It keeps you organized and you don’t have to go crazy hunting all over the place for your notes and outlines while trying to keep your story going. This resource gets lots of love from many writers. It does cost money but is well worth the cost. A standard license will run you $45 and an educational license will run you $38.25
If your looking for formatting templates Vellum may be what you’re looking for. These are beautiful and customizable. This will allow you to have an amazing formatted book without having to research and hire an editor. The cost for Vellum will run you $199-$249.
With BookBoast you get a newsletter swap for cross-promotion with other authors. The whole idea of this is that authors will share others books with their email and newsletter lists. You get to read others work and they read yours. If you like any books you promote it and they do the same with yours. This is a great way to grow your list but one set back could be that no one promotes your work. I think it’s worth that little risk and besides, you may find a new favorite book. It is free to sign up or you can pick a plan from $10-$20 a month.
This is a platform that lets you set up giveaways to help you promote your book. You can also use this to build your mailing list and even promote your book before it’s released. It has a huge community meaning your book can be in the hands of a lot of people depending on how many giveaways you do. Yes, your giving your work away for free but you’re also getting it read, reviewed and shared! I think it is absolutely worth using if you’re a new author and need exposure. It is free to sign up.
MailChimp is a marketing automation system that helps you grow your email list. You can create campaigns and schedule those emails to go out as often as you like. This is a very popular resource for authors, bloggers and business. You can customize each email however you want and can even add images and links. This is by far the best way to grow your list. It is free as long as you’re below 1200 subscribers.
Reedsy offers courses for writers and they are free. I have taken a couple and they are great. Packed with a lot of info and you go away feeling like you learned something. Reedsy also offers the best publishing talent out there to help you on your writing journey. They have editors, designers, marketers, publicists, ghostwriters, and web designers. If you are looking for something related to your writing odds are they have it! Prices vary so you will need to check the website for what you are looking for!
Fiverr is a website that offers many services. It’s not just authors who use it but many, many do! They have graphics and design, digital marketing, writing and translation, video and animation, music and audio, programming and tech, business, and fun and lifestyle. Each category is broken down into subcategories. You can find book cover designers, book trailer designers, ghostwriters and more! Each person is allowed to decide what they charge so you’re going to have to search for the one who you think will fit for you! This is an amazing resource and so many ways to make your book the best it can be!
BookBub is for you to be able to reach millions of readers for your ebook. They are very selective about the books they promote so you will need to read their guidelines thoroughly to give you the best chance for your book to be seen. The pricing varies depending on genre and can run you from $113-$738. The price may seem steep but considering they only take the best and you can gain a ton of readers it is well worth it!
10. Scribe Writing
This website offers a full team of writers, publishers, and editors. When your done the team at Scribe Writing will help you put on the finishing touches so you aren’t alone while doing so. They help you keep your focus while giving you an interview to help draw out your best ideas, in the most meaningful way so that you can gain more readers. Throughout the entire process they are with you side by side making sure you do your best work!
These are just a few of the many resources for writers. Hopefully, you can use this list to help amplify your writing. I do want to point out I’m not affiliated in any way with these companies and will not make any money if you click the links included!
I love podcasts! I love listening to others writers talk about their experiences, give interviews, tips and advice. I think no matter how long you’ve been writing that you could always learn more and one good way to do that is listen to podcasts! There are so many out there that it’s hard to know which ones are good and which ones aren’t. I’m going to share with you 15 podcast that I think are awesome and you should check out.
Helping Writers Become AuthorsThis podcast talks about self-publishing which is big the writing community right now. They talk about the changes and updates to self-publishing as it’s always changing and growing. They are for all writers no matter where you are on your journey and they give you inside tips on KDP, social media sharing and more. If you are an independent author or want to be this is a great podcast for you!
2. Grammar Girl.
This is a short but fun podcast. This podcast gives tips and tricks for writing including memory tricks. The host gives tips for grammar rules, how to avoid using embarrassing grammar, tools for spell check and words of origin. No matter how long you’ve been writing you can learn from this podcast and get entertained.
3. Fully Booked By Kirkus
You can find out all about new books and hear awesome interviews with this podcast. This one is more about what is new and in trend with books but it is you’re and fun. The author interviews are always entertaining! Overall a fun and engaging podcast!
4. ProBlogger: Blog Tips To Help You Make Money Blogging
This one is great for my blogging and author friends. If you are looking for tips on blogging and how to make money blogging this podcast is you’re! They do case studies and challenges to help you build a better blog. You will learn a lot of tips from the host of this great podcast.
5. The Creative Penn
This one is actually one of my favorites on this list. The host talks about self- publishing, inspiration for stories, how to make a living with writing, interviews, and more! She is you’re and gracious host and a lot can be learned from listening. It is engaging, informative and fun to listen to.
6. Writing Excuses
This podcast is short only about 15-20 minutes but they do a lot in the time they are on. They have a book of the week, craft advice and give their listeners a writing exercise. It’s short, fun and to the point. Their website included a 101 best websites for authors as well.
This one too is a short podcast but it is jam-packed full of tips, advice on forming a writing routine that will keep you going. Lasting only 10-20 minutes you’re going to be begging for more since it is so engaging and helpful.
8. So You Want to Be a Writer
This podcast covers so much in the writing world. Writing opportunities, publishing trends, gossip, and blogging. It is co-hosted so you get to hear different opinions about each topic and it keeps you engaged the whole time. So much info is shared that this may fast become one of your favorites!
9. I Should Be Writing
This podcast last anywhere from 5-90 minutes depending on what is being talked about, It has been running for ten years and has a lot of elements to it. From interviews, business, writing as a career and more. You are sure to find something you want to hear about from this blog! It is easily a favorite among authors!
10. Dead Robots Society
This podcast was inspired by I Should Be Writing. The host describe themselves as a gathering of aspiring writers, podcasting to other aspiring writers. Each episode is all full of insights about fiction writing and novel writing. If you are an aspiring writer looking to hang with other aspiring writers welcome to your new home!
11. The Writing University
This podcast is said to be one of the best there is! It is likened to the famous Iowas Writers’ Workshop. So if you’ve ever wanted to enroll here is the next best thing. This podcast offers a library of events that are affiliated with the aforementioned workshop. They have craft talk, author readings, and different events hosted while the Iowa Summer Writing Festival is going on. Highly educational and lots of fun.
12. First Draft: A Dialog on Writing
This podcast has a lot of guests like Ann Patchett and Elizabeth Gilbert. They talk about the excitement, energy and pitfalls of writing a first draft. I think a lot of novice and aspiring writers would really enjoy this one because it focuses so much on the first draft!
13. Creative Writing Career Podcast
Designed for aspiring writers in all genres this podcast is all about writing tips, the host experiences, books movies and video games. If you’re just starting out in the writing world and love an array of topics that can help you on your way, this blog may become an old familiar friend.
14. A Way With Words
This is a national radio podcast. They explore language through history, culture, and family. It is often times funny and the host have light-hearted banter with each other. They accept callers from all around the world and cover questions like slang, riddles, jokes, grammar, word origins dialectic and much more. I think this podcast will become many people’s favorite!
15. 10 Minute Writer’s Workshop
This podcast is all about authors sharing how they manage to get all the words in their heads onto paper. They talk about routines, schedules and more all in 10 minutes or less. If you looking for an informative, smart podcast that doesn’t take up much time you will enjoy this one!
There you have it 15 podcasts I think authors will enjoy! Each of these bring their own style and flavor to the writing world. They are informative, fun and engaging! Add these to your list and you will be entertained and educated for hours!
When I was writing my first book I didn’t know a lot about filler words. When my editor mentioned filler word my reaction was huh? Filler words what the heck? She went on to explain that they are words that aren’t needed, the sentence will still make sense if you take those particular words away. She marked a few in my book to show me what she meant and some articles to read. I didn’t realize this was a thing in writing! I mean did it really matter if I through in a like or seriously into my writing? Was it really that big of a deal? Would my readers truly care? Turns out it is a big deal and they do care! It takes them out of the story and often leads to telling instead of showing.
Look at how I am able to take the word like out of the following sentence and it still works, “Charity opened the door and it felt like a breeze moved past her.” “Charity opened and the door and a breeze moved past her” Now, here I am still telling instead of showing but the point is to show you that the word like wasn’t needed. It was simply a filler word. I’m going to share with you a list of words that aren’t really needed in a sentence. What you still write will make sense without them, really these words are used to add to word count. I have found myself doing it and having to go back to eliminate them.
Like- we just talked about this one. If I said, “There are like ten chickens over there!” I’m sure many people would wonder why I even added it. I could easily say “There are ten chickens over there!” It would still mean the same thing and I won’t have an added unnecessary word. I dislike when like is overused when someone is speaking. It pulls me from the conversation and I start thinking about other things. I wouldn’t want to read it over and over when it’s not needed.
Very- is used to express the quality of something. Example, “That milkshake was very good.” I could easily say “That milkshake was good.” My point would still be made right? It doesn’t add anything to the sentence, the reader is going to know something is good, fine, tasty etc without it. I’m not going to lie the word very still made it into my first book and I’m sure it might slip in once or twice in my other books but I’m going to make an effort to eliminate it as much as I can. It is pretty just a useless word!
Pretty- So I hope this one is kind of self-explanatory but I will give an example just to show why it’s a filler word. “We were pretty close to the fire when it started.” This to me is one of the worst filler words. I use it when speaking and now it drives me nuts when I catch myself doing it! Seriously, how can you be pretty close to something? You are either close or far not pretty close or pretty far. Lets, try that sentence without pretty. “We were close to the fire when it started.” See, makes sense. I know a lot of people use pretty the way it was in the sentence but it is by far the most unnecessary word! It really doesn’t make sense if you think about it!
Just- You don’t need it! Literally don’t even need it! “I was just going to the store to by milk.” I was going to the store to by milk.” Just is a word that rarely ever needs to be used in the above context. I know people use it a lot when speaking but remember we are talking about writing here. Most of your readers are going to see it for what it is, a word that never needed to be added. Almost every sentence is going to make sense without the word just. I find myself adding it when I want to up my word count when I’m close to finishing. That is bad very bad, I am working on omitting it from my writing list. Avoid using it at all cost.
These are only a few of the many filler words that can hurt your writing, you would be doing yourself a huge favor by learning all the fillers words and working on using them sparingly or not at all. This will help your writing and make your story more enjoyable to read. I can hear the question now, but aren’t we suppose to have our characters talk like we actually do? Yes, your dialog should seem believable but you can do that without overusing filler words. I don’t know a lot of people who go around saying like, literally, totally or very too many times in a row. There’s nothing wrong if you use these word a lot but don’t do it in your writing. It gets repetitive and weakens your writing. Go read a book by your favorite author and you’ll see they don’t have these use these word very often if at all.
I hope this short list is helpful to you and you take the time to learn the other filler words. It should help you write better. I keep a list handy for times I get the urge to use one, it’s my own way of reminding myself not to.
is simply not enough to be a good writer in today’s market. In
order to sell your books you also have to be a marketing guru. (Yes,
even if you’re publishing traditionally.)
may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. This blog
shares and explains the various tricks and techniques I’ve
used/researched on marketing your book through Social Media. As
always, some of these techniques will not work for you personally,
others may be exactly what you need. Try them, test them and do what
works best for you. (Please comment and share your own tricks and
ideas that I may have missed or don’t know about )
1; Choose your weapon.
Social media platforms work best for you?
you good at photography? Get on Instagram.
love talking on camera and give great book reviews or writing tips?
Upload to Youtube.
like to create polls and have discussions about writing related
topics? Facebook and Twitter are the platforms for you.
of these sites are interchangeable and you can advertise one of your
sites on the other.
there is something else you have to take into account. Who are your
you have a young audience then Pin interest and Tumblr may be for
you. An older audience may prefer Instagram or Facebook. Youtube is
mixed and therefore a good all rounder. (If you can make it work.
Don’t force yourself into something you hate or will give up.)
not forget, you can also create your own blog or website.
need a website, and if you’re not good at talking in front of a
camera but can give great advice then blogging is your way forward.
People need something to do on their way to work. One thing that they
do is read articles. Make it your article that they read.
a final option… Podcasts.
have great writing tips and voice but hate seeing your face on a
screen? Record yourself giving writing advice, book reviews,
motivational talks, etc.
2; What defines you?
three categories that define you as a writer, or your book, and stick
to them. (By categories I don’t mean the genre of your book.)
matter which Social Media outlet you’re planning to use, there has
to be a reason people go to your channel, and it won’t just be to
see what you’re working on.
An example of three categories could be Short Stories, Writing Tips and Book Reviews.
could be Author Diaries, Productivity and Organisation.
of the best-known Author Bloggers do this terrifically.
Moreci –Author, Vlogger and cyborg.
Brock- How to, Q&A and Requests
most important thing here is being true to yourself. Never go into
something, which you wouldn’t naturally have an interest in doing.
It will make you hate your work and eventually stop, losing you your
audience and potential readers.
categories you choose also effects the type of audience you will get.
And they will want to see what they originally chose you for. Don’t
deviate too far from your choice or you risk losing your audience.
You can expand, edit the way you produce your work, but unless one
category is failing you, don’t drop it without prior warning.
keep people tuning in. Jenna Moreci and Vivien Reis post Youtube
videos every Wednesday. Why do I know this? Because it happens every
week without fail and their faces pop up on my computer screen. EVERY
consistency means I know what to expect. I can plan that on my lunch
break I will watch one of their videos, or read their blogs on the
bus home from work. Because I know it’s going to happen, I look
forward to it.
isn’t just good to keep yourself relevant and in the public eye. It
helps you as a writer. If you know you’re going to post three
Instagram pictures every week, you can keep a backlog of photos ready
to post so you’re never caught short. You can plan 15 minutes free
on Monday afternoon post your weekly blog.
better, you can schedule blogs and posts to automatically upload at a
specific time and date. You just have to prep it and tell your
computer when to hit go. (Yay for technology!)
why do they post on a Wednesday? Kristen Martin posts on a Monday.
consistent is all well and good, but how do you choose when to post?
is vitally important and one of the most painstakingly annoying
things about Social Media. Some hours are not as good as others to
thought, right? But think about it.
do you always look at your phone?
friend and myself discovered that in the UK the best time to post
(for both of us,) was between 8:00-8:30 a.m. Not 7:50. Not 8:45. It
has to be in that 30-minute slot.
are looking at their phones on public transport, checking their
messages at work or having a browse with breakfast.
also triggers two other phenomenons.
Your post is now there all day. Later posts can overtake it, yes.
But, if you got a lot of notice at the start, you’ll be kept at the
top of the news feed because you’re getting hits.
go into another time zone. I am now living in Australia. A great time
to post here is 5:00pm. Why? That’s currently 8:00am for my UK
audience and my Australian peeps are on public transport coming home
from work. (This is before the recent daylight savings, the new
posting time will be 6:00pm.)
in the UK is evening in parts of America. Perfect. People are
relaxing in bed or browsing the web whilst waiting for their partner
to finish doing their teeth. Three countries hit at once! (Oh my
your stats to see where your audience are from and cater to them.
You’re like a romance novelist’s lover, finding the most perfect
moment to plant the kiss.
wait. It’s not just the time.
the question at the end of consistency? Why do Jenna Moreci and
Vivien Reis post on a Wednesday? Kristen Martin on a Monday?
is hump day. People aren’t too exhausted like on Tuesday, but are
in the mid week slump. They want to relax for a short time and watch
a Youtube video, read an article, browse through Instagram.
Martin posts every Monday because people are energised and ready to
See what works best for your audience. Websites such as Wix allow you to keep track of when you get the most hits and from where. My best day is Thursday and Sunday. This is because I post new blogs on Wednesdays and share it on social media. My UK peeps read it on Australian Thursday Morning. I post a link to it on a Saturday or Sunday and people read on a lazy Sunday morning.
reads anything. It’s Friday. Going out and binge watching Netflix
read P-02 on content, sharing, hash tags and fun, follow the link
I am so happy to be able to interview Amanda Crozier! This is going to be the first in a series of interviews with authors I’m going to be doing! I hope to do an interview a week for the next two months! If you’d like to be interview please let me know! Now on with the interview!
Can you tell us your name? My name is Lou Page and I write under the pen name ‘Amanda Crozier’ which also happens to be my birth name. I was adopted from birth so only had the name for about 3 months as a baby. What is your genre? Fantasy/adventure How many books do you have published? The first book of the Dragonlore Trilogy was published in April this year. The second book of the Trilogy will be called “Weather the Storm and will be available, either later this year or early next year (2019). A short story called “The Inheritance” was published in an anthology called “Life’s Like That!” in 2014 and a Nativity poem in “Anthology 2013”. What is the best thing about being a writer? Two things! Holding the first physical copy of a book that you have written and edited. Also reading my own book on my Kindle as a reader rather than an author editing.. What is your least favorite thing about being a writer? The frustration of either people not giving a review, or being told “I don’t read that genre without even finding out what the book is about. Who if you have any are your influences? My love for dragons was instilled when a friend bought me two of Anne McCaffrey’s books (Dragon Riders of Pern Series) whilst I had to lie flat following a back injury. So Anne and Todd McCaffrey, Robin Hobb and Christopher Paolini have all had their influence as they write about dragons. A certain well known online dictionary is a constant companion when I write, for when I am not happy with a word, or want to find an archaic version of a word, so that is an influence on the language I use. Have you ever gotten writer’s block? I have been lucky in that I have never experienced it. But then, I only ever write because I want to, not because I have to. If you could tell your younger writing self-anything, what would it be? I cannot think of anything. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing? It has not changed the process of writing, other than I am, perhaps, more confident in myself. However, it does mean that I have less time to write as I have to give some of my time now to promoting the first book. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? I don’t know about quirk, but I keep a timeline as I write so that I don’t add or lose a day for any character. I see what I write, as I write, in my head, as if I am watching a film. Sometimes a scene will come to me before I have got that far and have to get it written; ready for when it will be needed. Do you aim to complete a set number of pages or words each day? No. I write as it flows until there are other calls on my time such as feeding my family, visitors, appointments, work etc. How long does it take you to write a book? No idea. I have never timed it. The first book was written over several years with long breaks between writing. It was only when a very good friend, who is a creative writing teacher, encouraged me that I really started putting in the time in to finish the project. What does literary success look like to you? In some ways, it is holding that first hard copy and seeing my book on my Kindle nestled amongst all my favorite authors. And yet, also, the ultimate dream is to write a best seller and have it either televised or made into a film. What is your favorite childhood book? As a very young child, my father used to read to me at bedtime from a series of little books about Blackberry Farm and the animals who lived there. (Author: Jane Pilgrim) As an independent reader, I loved Enid Blyton’s “Famous Five” books. As a teenager, I read Agatha Christie’s books and westerns. If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? Lord of the Rings. It is fantasy at its best and has stood the test of time. What inspired you to start writing? I used to love writing at school and never had any trouble achieving the required number of pages or words – it was more the opposite, having trouble keeping down to near the number required. Since the year 2000, I have been a volunteer at the local Primary School, listening to children read and working with those who require extra support for reading. One day, whilst sitting in the school library at lunchtime an idea came to me for a children’s story. I did not do anything about it for a long while, but the idea kept nagging at me until I eventually began to write. Just when I got to the ending where the dragon egg hatched, I realized that this was no ending, but merely the beginning of something far larger. A rewrite of the start and four hundred pages later it was obvious that it would not all fit one book so then the idea for the Dragonlore Trilogy was hatched. The Nativity in verse was something we needed at the Pre-School, where I used to work, for the children’s Christmas performance. I was unanimously volunteered at a staff meeting by my colleagues to write it. Cue one evening during the autumn half term, trying to cook tea with one hand and scribble the words down with the other before they disappeared from my head. Somehow, I got it all down along with words for a new simple song and the evening meal was actually still edible! When did you start writing? In school, but then did not start again until more recent years. Although in the interim years I did end up as secretary for various committees so ended up having to pen minutes for an assortment of meetings. What is the most surprising thing you described about yourself since you started writing? As an author, I think I have grown in confidence and I am surprised at how easy I find it when talking about my work. Three years ago, I knew virtually nothing about social media platforms, and in that time I have learned so much – it has been a steep learning curve and I am still learning. If someone had told me, even a year ago, that I would have my own website, I would have just laughed at the idea and not believed a word! (A room full of manual typewriters was ‘cutting edge technology’ when I was at school). What do you like to do when you’re not writing? So many things! Obviously, I am an avid reader. I stitch cross-stitch, tapestry, and embroidery that go to customers worldwide. I make bead woven and wirework jewelry. I enjoy photography and gardening. I love rock music, dancing and enjoy live theatre, especially musicals. I enjoy jigsaw puzzles, word puzzles and computer games too. What advice would you give to new and aspiring authors? Don’t give up! Do not rush to get to the end – let the story flow naturally to its conclusion. If it is rushed the reader will sense it and be disappointed with the ending.
I sometimes need to find inspiration, even when I’m already writing! I get stuck on something and can’t think. It’s not writer’s block just more that for one particular part I can’t figure out what I want to write. I can’t stand when this happens and to me it’s worse then writer’s block. I turn to different sources when this happens. I talk to my husband (he has some great ideas), read articles related to my topic, or read history books (for my current book this works out very well.)
I will also read inspirational quotes not so much because it helps with my writing but because it makes me feel good about myself. There are so many out there that make me think and feel better. One of my favorites is by Lewis Carroll author of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”.
Have I gone mad? I’m afraid so, you’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret all the best people are.
I know that made seem like an odd one but for me it let’s me know I’m going to be okay, that I am not alone! That I am capable and others have felt the same as I. Another I keep close by is a quote by Holley Gerth.
Be courageous and try to write in a way that scares you a little.
This one is a favorite because it shows me to jump out of my comfort zone and write things that I may have never written before. I am not good with sarcasm but I’m giving it a whirl with one of my characters. This is going to be hard and scary but it fits my characters personality so why hide from it and change who my character wants to be?
A quote that really drives me is one by Maya Angelou
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.
I am reminded that there is a story inside of me, waiting to be told and I and that story deserve to get it out. I find when I don’t have writer’s block but I’m stuck on a certain part it is really helpful to turn to things that can help. Look for your inspiration and see if it can help you get the juices flowing. You may even be surprised at where you find that inspiration! If you find yourself stuck quite a few times like I have written the things that inspire you down and go straight to them. I’m going to admit in a small moment of panic I sometimes forget where I get my biggest inspiration from. Tell me in the comments what inspires you most when you’re stuck!
As a writer I am a very by the seat of my pants person. I don’t always outline my work and when I do it’s one think I really don’t like to do. It takes me a while to do it and I grump the whole time. So why do I outline sometimes then? Well, because sometimes it’s a good idea to know where you want your story to go. It’s helpful to have an idea of what your characters are like. To “meet” them and what their personalities are like. I would like to add that even though I’m taking this from a novelist approach it’s a great idea for bloggers to outline as well. It will help your article to read smoother if you have ideas and info written before writing.
The reason I have such a problem with outline is that I personally feel it kills my creativity most of the time. However, there is a flip side to this and it’s that sometimes I have no idea where to start. There is an upside to outline and that is it can and does help you flow through your writing easier (for most anyway). I know I will have people shaking their heads no and saying I’m with you sister, it kills creativity!
Still, I am here, a person who cringes at the thought of outlining telling you to have at least a general idea of your characters, plot, sources, whatever depending on what you are writing. Remember when we did the little web type outlining in school? I tend to start with a simple one and grow from there (when I do outline). I also have an Evernote notebook where I keep articles with info pertaining to the story or article I’m writing. Truthfully for all my grumbling when I do gather info and outline I spend a couple hours on it.
Make it a habit to outline every now and then I promise you’ll notice some difference in how much work you get done. I suggest researching and trying different outlining methods until you find one that fits your style. I’m still going to be a mostly by the seat of your pants writer but I’m never not going to totally outline. I mostly outline info about the time period I’m writing about in my books and it’s nice to have that info at the tips of my fingers instead of searching all over the web while I’m trying to write.
I am going to share with you some tools that can help you outline fast and effectively so you can get on with writing
Evernote-with Evernote you can add links, pictures, and notes. I love using this tool because I can usually add everything I need to it and have it all right where I need it in one place
Microsoft Word- Word had templates you can use for outlining and I find them easy to use. I love that I can have bulletins and making info easy to find. I can have links directly in the template allowing me to click and go directly where I can find the needed info. I can make the text different colors and easily scan for what I’m looking for.
OneNote- This is another Microsoft tool that is easy to use for outlining. Like Evernote you can have notebook style notes. You can drag and drop info into a new slot. You can use lists and bullets to make finding information easier. It has tabs at the top so you can name each of your notebooks so you can find what you need when you need it. It is very easy on the eyes and easy to navigate
These are the three I use the most and know the most about. I know there are more and would love to hear your suggestions of others so that my readers can have a great list of choices for outlining. Let me know if you use any of these I listed and what you think in the comments!