The Importance of Social Media

Those of us living the writer’s life or any form of a creative arts existence should understand the importance of the Internet and the availability of social media; something I am still learning about.

On Twitter this last week I went from forty followers to over two-hundred just by interacting with the other writers, following them, reading their posts, liking and retweeting. I am thrilled about this and my list of followers continues to grow.

There are so many different writers groups to explore and become a part of and in them you will find writers who are not there to judge you but are always willing to help you hone your skills.

I am also on Instagram and Facebook.

Marketing and self promotion is time consuming so it is always best to do a bit of time management, something I am terrible at! I do have retirement on my side but for those of you still in the workforce, make a schedule to keep yourself on track.

I also have a blog; I prefer it to a website (for now). I have them all linked so when I blog, it is shared across the mediaverse (is this even a word?).

You don’t have to wait until your book is finished/published; start working on marketing and promotion now so you will have increased media presence and your platform it will be ready when you need it.

All my best to you,

Naiobi

Thankful

Today is a holiday for my friends and family south of the border; in Canada, we celebrated in October. No matter when, I have many things to be thankful for this year.

  • manuscript accepted by Austin Macauley Publishers in NYC
  • bought a house near the beach and filled it with new appliances
  • my Mom is still with us…she is 93 years young!
  • a new addition to the family will make her appearance any day now
  • my family and all of its extensions are healthy and doing well
  • my granddaughter survived hurricane Dorian
  • Maija, my two-year-old Yorkie, is healthy and happy

Happy Thanksgiving!

All my best,

Naiobi

Story Ideas and Where to Find Them

One question that most writers get asked is “how did you come up with the idea for that story?” Some get ideas from dreams, some from an incident they experienced or witnessed. Others struggle in front of a blank page until something comes to them.

One very good source is the news, either in print or on TV. Look at the title of the stories in the paper or listen to your favorite broadcast. Below are some article titles from a local paper:

  • Bad Storm Cripples City: you could write about someone stuck in the storm who rushed out on a argument. They skid on black ice, land in a ditch on a deserted stretch of back country road.
  • Managers Lose Jobs: you could write about corruption uncovered, embezzlement discovered, revenge, wrongful conviction.
  • Major Drug Bust: you can write about the apprehension of an elusive drug boss who turns out to be the guy next door.

These are just a few of the headlines from the paper. Listen to the news on TV and draw ideas from the stories that interest you. Make up characters, build a new world for them then answer these questions as you create your story outline.

  • What will happen?
  • When will it happen?
  • Where will it happen?
  • Why will it happen?
  • Who will it happen to?
  • How does it happen?

Let your imagination fly; even it it makes no sense, write it down. Turn off your inner editor and get the first draft done. I find the news to be a treasure trove of story starters since I lean towards the murder/mystery/romantic/suspense blend of genres.

To your writing sucess,

Naiobi

Write Tight

When we write, we tend to embellish and add a lot of filler words that increase the word count and add pages to our wip. This is not a good thing!

Word count and the number of pages we spread them across is not what’s important; it’s the story we weave and how it’s presented.

Think of ways to say the same thing using less words. I found a website that describes how to eliminate the word ‘very’ (scroll down the page), a word we use when we try to emphasize or stress size and intensity.

All my best,

Naiobi

Writer or Author: Which One Are You?

As I finished some paperwork for my publisher, I began to wonder about these two titles and how I use them to describe myself. I never gave it much thought as I use them interchangeably. It was not until I did a little research that I descovered there is qute a difference.

A writer knows how to use words and string them together to turn sentences into text. Some writers earn a living this way e.g. copy writers, speech writers, public service announcements; they use research and ideas developed by someone else.

An author comes up with the ideas and knows how to transform text into book-length projects. In fiction they know how to plot, how to develop the story arc, how to build worlds and develope characters.

After reading through several articles, I can say I am both a writer and an author. I come up with my own ideas and develop them into book-length stories. I plot and also use the pantser method. I put in the time and energy to get the story from brain to publisher.

So, are you a writer, an author or both? While you ponder your answer, ask yourself:

-do you consider writing to be a chore, a hobby or do you genuinely like to write?

-are you in it for the money?

-does you name have to be on the bookcover; would you be okay with a mention or acknowledgement?

-do you strive to get something published consistently or do you let time lag for years between books?

I am both a writer and an author though procrastination prevents me from publishing more prolifically than I’d like.

Think about you now; how do you fit in?

Have a fabulous weekend,

Naiobi

Creative Work Spaces

My new project is to create a workspace. I live in a bungalow and there is a fireplace in the dining room area with a nook on either side; the dining room table will be relocated. This will be where I set up my office.

My plan is to have two cabinets made to fit the nooks so there is someplace for my paperwork and stuff (all writers have stuff)! I will add floating shelves above the cabinets for books.

I want to find a small roll-top desk to place under the window and a stand of sorts for the printer.

I am an avid indoor gardener, so I am not without greenery. I will add a hanging basket of mixed plants near the window.

This is the before photo. I have no timeframe for when the project will be completed but when it is, I will link this post to the after photo.

There are many images and DIY articles for creating work spaces in the home; some I’ve found on Pinterest and others by random searches.

One thing is key for me; I must have an uncluttered work area, soft colors and plants. I will use candles and of course, the fireplace when I work in the evening or are inspired to write well into the night.

To be continued…

Naiobi

Short and Sweet: The One Page Synopsis

You should be able to summarize your book in three paragraphs.

Paragraph One: Introduce your protagonist and antagonist; what the inciting incident that starts the story. Give the location, time and what their actions are.

Paragraph Two: What, where, when and why happen in this paragraph. What do they do, where do they do it, when will they do it and why do they do it? Describe actions for both your protagonist and antagonist.

Paragraph Three: Tie the end of the story back to the beginning and the inciting incident. A potential agent or publisher always wants to know how the story will end.

There are many methods used for crafting a synopsis; this is one of them and I hope you find it useful.

All my best,

Naiobi

Creative Writing Is Not Just For Books

When you tell someone you are a writer, in some cases, they conjuer up images of you toiling over your manuscript while drowning in copious cups of stale coffee in some hidey hole in the city.

Not all writers write books.

There are many types of writing that you can do and below, I’ve listed a few examples. I do not endorse these sites, merely listed the links to get you started; you’ll have to do your research to find what is right for you.

Video Game Writer : these writers work on developing the plot, settings, and characters in the game.

Copywriter : these writers help with advertising and marketing by creating taglines and content for the web.

Business Writer : these writers create content for billboards, catalogs, and the web; to present logical information in informative ways.

Ghostwriter : these writers are hired to do writing that is officially credited to another person e.g. a celebrity or public figure.

Freelance Writer : these writers focus their writing on topics that interest them and know the most about (write what you know).

Technical Writer : these writers create handbooks, suer guides, manuals for products and services.

Grant Writer : these writers help to find funding for non-profit and charitable agencies; they fill out and submit grant applications.

I hope this list is of some help to you; happy writing.

Have a wonderful weekend,

Naiobi

Writing and S.A.D

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is real; I am one of it’s sufferers. It’s caused by a lack of natural sunlight and affects my mood. It usually rears its ugly head in mid winter although it can strike me at any time; dark, stormy days are just as hard.

When I struggle through an episode, it is hard for me to concentrate. I can’t transfer words to paper or string two sentences together; all I want to do is sleep. My energy level bottoms out and I binge on junk food for extra endorphins.

My muse is no help at all; she packs a bag and goes on vacation.

I am a procrastinator and will find things that need to be done as an excuse to keep me from my desk. SAD gives me another reason to avoid the pen. My remedy is to force myself to keep butt in chair until I get something written. I don’t strive for huge daily word counts during these times; fifty words works as well as five-hundred.

It is a battle but I love to write so even if they are incoherent, nonsensical words, I put them down. Who knows; they may come in useful when I try to develop a language for an alien being in one of my wips.

Today is not a SAD one; we got a snow-dump during the night, the sun is out and I have coffee. I am a writer!

Cheers!

Naiobi

Authors and Self-Doubt

Self doubt is a staple in the lives of most creatives; for authors, it takes root as soon as we decide to write. It is a definite plague on new writers and in many cases, tanks their career before it begins.

You have a story to tell and as you begin to put it down on paper, your inner editor takes over. You delete, correct, redo, rewrite and this furthers the self-doubt. In the end, you throw your work away before the first draft is completed.

Many authors in various stages of their careers still suffer this feeling; it comes from the anxiety of having your book read and reviewed. You worry about how your book compares to others which can further intimidate and overwhelm.

If you attend a conference or book signings or any number of venues where authors are showcased, you’ll see authors who find it hard to engage, are withdrawn. They are the self-doubters.

I find journaling helps to dispel my self doubt. I scream onto the pages; get it all off my chest. I feel better and can concentrate on my current wip instead of worrying about it’s reception.

I also realize that I cannot please everyone so I don’t try to. I do my best, throw it out there and hope it finds a home.

So learn to accept self-doubt as a part of your writer’s life; it will teach you to always strive to do better.

All my best,

Naiobi