Mar 26, 2011

How to Find the Time to Write

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I'm sure if you are like me there always seems to be something from the real world that seems to want to get in the way of and distract you from writing.

Life happens. The phone will ring, you have emails that you want to respond to, you really need to check your Facebook page or your Twitter account, you need to finish researching that one topic that is going to tie your plot together, your family and friends want you to hang out with them, your house needs cleaning, your favorite television show is featuring your favorite actor/actress as a guest star and you don't want to miss it...any of these sound familiar?

It is especially difficult to find the time to write in the beginning stages when maybe you also have a real world J-O-B that requires so much of your time and drains you of your energy. So where do you find the time to write? Well, you simply have to have to make time for yourself and your goals and make your writing a priority.

I know, easier said than done, right? Listed below are a few things that I found really helped me and inspired me to find the time to write:

1. Create an inspiring writing space: 

  • Find a space and dedicate it to your writing. It can be a corner or an entire room, but you want to try to limit its use to writing and idea generation only. When you are in this space, you will know that you are there to write! 
2. Fill your writing space with things that inspire you:
  • Photographs of scenery (like that castle in Scotland that you are using as the setting for your novel).
  • Photographs of your intended protagonists, and maybe even your antagonists. Nothing inspires me more that looking up at a handsome hero or intriguingly evil bad guy.
  • Photographs of your favorite authors and others who inspire you.
  • Idea journals. These are those little notebooks that you carry around with you so you can jot down story ideas wherever you may be. (Don't have an idea journal? Get one! These are great for recording fleeting ideas that pop into your head between your scheduled writing times that you want to incorporate into your story, but may forget if not recorded when they occur.) 
  • Inspirational quotes.  
3. Set your priorities and stop giving time to unproductive activities:
  • Have you ever heard yourself say that I don't have time to write? Look at how you actually spend your time each day. Are these activities really benefiting you and helping you to achieve your personal goals? 
  • Try keeping a daily activity log for a week where you record how much time you spend doing various activities, then figure out where you can whittle out some time for yourself and your writing. Do you really need to watch three hours of television every evening? Could you get up thirty minutes to an hour earlier on specified mornings? Do you really need to Tweet or check Facebook four times a day? If the answer is no, then give these activities the ax and replace them with more productive and imaginative ones, like writing.
4. Set daily writing goals:
  • Commit yourself to writing on certain days of the week (remember we all need days off and some down time to rejuvenate). You may only have the weekends or other days off from your current job available to write, or you may have to work in your writing schedule around other commitments. That is OK! Figure out what works and is reasonable for you and commit to that
  • On whichever days you commit to, decide on a certain number of words, paragraphs or pages that you can reasonably complete, or commit to writing for a certain amount of time on those days. Stay in your writing space until you have reached your set number of words, paragraphs or pages, or until your allotted time is up.
  • Use this allotted time ONLY for writing! If you need to do research or want to network, set additional time for that.
5. Make an appointment with yourself for yourself and keep it:
  • Once you have decided which days and times you are going to commit to writing, schedule it in your appointment book just like you would any other appointment, and keep it!
  • Let others know that you will be unavailable during that time period. Don't be afraid to say, "I'm sorry but I have an appointment." Honor your commitment to yourself. You deserve this time.
  • Look at this appointment as a job interview. Be on time, be prepared, and don't reschedule.  
6. Stop distractions before you get started:
  • Turn off the television, radio, and especially the telephone before you sit down to write. 
  • If other people are in the house with you, make sure that they know that this is your writing time and that you are not to be disturbed during the time limit that you have set for yourself.
  • Prepare your coffee, soda, snacks, ahead of time. Bring them to your desk with you before you begin writing. 
  • Although most of us write on our computers, if you write long-hand, then sharpen your pencils and have extra pens available. 
  • Anticipate any needs that you may have during your allotted writing time, and be prepared for them, so you do not stop writing once you begin.
7. Write freely:
  • During our carved out writing time, just write. Let the words freely flow from you. Don't worry about spelling or punctuation errors, don't even worry about sequence at this point; just get your words and ideas onto paper (or screen). 
  • Don't stop to edit while you are writing. There will plenty of time for editing after your rough draft is complete. 
  • If you decide that you want or need to to change something in your story that you have written in an earlier chapter, place a note into your manuscript where you are writing at that moment and go back during the editing phase and add or correct whatever issue you noted. 
As you can see, it is possible to find the time to write, but it requires making a commitment to yourself and allowing yourself to keep it. Using the above tips can help you do just that, they certainly help me.

Mar 25, 2011

Forensics Interview

Today I invite everyone to head over to author Sandra Crowley's blog where Sandra is featuring an interview that she did in which I provide some insight into the real life world of Crime Scene Investigations (better known as Forensics). Check it out to see what CSI is really like and feel free to join in the conversation by leaving a comment and asking any questions that you may have. I will be checking her page regularly Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and answering as many questions as I can.

Mar 23, 2011

A Writer's Place

I finally got my writing space set up and and I love it! I have my vision board, my story boards, my journals, and my reference books all within an arm's reach. Also by rearranging some furniture, I also now have a beautiful mountain view that I can enjoy while I am writing or contemplating. It is amazing how something as simple having a dedicated writing space can change your perspective and the way you feel about writing. I am a writer in a writer's place. 

Mar 19, 2011

Rechelle's Diary: 3/19/11 - Back in the Saddle

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What a long, crazy few weeks it has been. I visited our state's capital for three weeks of law enforcement related training, followed by a much needed and well deserved four-day mini vacation with my wonderful husband! During these 3 1/2 weeks, my writing had to take a backseat to real world stuff, but now I am back in the saddle writing furiously!

There must be something in the air because now my husband, who apparently also harbored a secret desire to become a published author, decided that this is the perfect time to jump on the writing bandwagon and tackle his first novel. In the last five days he has cranked out around 6000 words and has a great storyline. I can't wait to read the rest!

Be sure and say hello to him and welcome him to the writing world at @waynemize. He'd love to hear from you and I would appreciate any encouragement that you can give him.

Mar 9, 2011

Building your Author Platform

Image Source: Writer's Digest

In their current print issue (Mar/Apr 2011), Writer's Digest featured an article by Christina Katz entitled, "50 Simple Ways to Build Your Platform in 5 Minutes a Day." I highly recommend this article to every writer, especially those upcoming authors not yet published. So snag a copy of the magazine and learn simple steps every author can take to develop their personal brand and build a loyal following long before it is time to find an agent or publish that first manuscript.

A few of my favorite suggestions from the article include:

02 - Start Surveillance: As a writer/author it is important to connect with readers, reviewers, and fellow authors. The best way to know if others are aware of your existence, and perhaps even following your progress, is by setting up a Google Alert on yourself. After doing this, Google will notify you every time your name, article, blog, twitter handle, website, etc. is mentioned anywhere on the world wide web. When you are notified that someone else is promoting you, be sure to pop over and say thanks.

03 - Poll for Solutions: Use social media outlets to ask questions and get answers from others already in the business, or from potential readers. Twitter and Facebook are great for connecting with fellow authors and asking them questions. Most authors are very willing to help once they know you need it, and this also can be the start of a long-lasting friendship and can snowball into multiple new contacts.

15 - Review Worthy Writers: Anytime you come across an author or work that you feel was exceptional in some way, share it with others. You can mention them on your own blog or on review sites like, GoodReads, and Red Room. Not only are you helping to promote other authors, which will more than likely cause them to notice you and your work as well, but you are also helping to bring more attention to yourself and your own work.

17 - Take Time To Interact: With the multitude of blogs available on the web, it is sometimes a small miracle that your posts get read at all. Be sure to show your appreciation to those who have taken the time to read your posts and leave comments by commenting back and answering any questions that readers have. This is a great way to build a rapport with your readers and assure that they will continue to follow your posts.

20 - Create a Quickie Blogroll: Include writers and other blogs that you read regularly. This serves two purposes. First you are providing additional resources for your blog readers, and secondly, you are making other authors aware of your blog as well when they notice your link.

23 - Get Together: If you are participating in events, be sure to let people know where you will be and what you will be doing. Facebook has a great event application so you can also invite your friends/fans and get an RSVP. Also follow other author's events and support those whom you admire and respect by attending their events as well.

24 - Spark Conversations: With the infinite number of blogs, websites, social networks, forums, and chats out there today, find someone talking about a topic you are interested in and join the conversation! Not only can you learn something new, but you might also pick up a new fan or two, or find another networking partner.

25 - Friend and Follow Media Pros: Find out who the movers and shakers are in your genre (ie: well known authors/writers, literary agents, publishers, book reviewers, etc.) and interact with them (DON'T stalk them!!). They can be valuable resources and can help point you in the right direction.

30 - Shake Things Up: Don't be afraid to shake things up on hot button topics where you have a strong opion. If you disagree with something, tactfully rebut it. If you can think of a new and interesting angle about a topic, share it.

31: Capture Email Addresses: Start a newsletter to keep your fans informed of your progress, upcoming events, causes you support, book releases, and more. This is the easiest way to keep in contact with a multitude of people and keep them informed, and to market your books. There are several great services that make newletter production quick and easy and most have a free trial period: Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, Aweber, and Get Repsonse. Also be sure to include an RSS Feed on your blog so readers can get each and every post.

35 - Share This: Be sure to utilize social networking buttons from Facebook and Twitter on your posts so that your readers can share your content with others. Also if you come across some great content, be sure to share or tweet the post or article to your readers. I guarantee you will make lots of new friends who will appreciate you promoting their work.

37 - Grow Your List: Be sure to include an email sign up link on your site, in your Bio signature, your business cards, and anywhere else you have a media presence. Also make sure to take an email sign up sheet with you to each event you attend so that people can receive updated information from you on a regular basis. Remeber the people on your list are the most likely people to purchase your work when it is ready.

41 - Round Up Resources: Include a resource page for your readers or other authors and share helpful content with them that they can share with others. This will also help generate traffic back to your pages when your content is shared by others.

For more great ideas on ways to build your author platform, check out the full article in Writer's Digest or visit Christina's website. She has tons of helpful and free resource info there for you to peruse at your leisure.

She also has a great book available for purchase that gives lots more tips and tricks about how you can become a well known author way before you land that first book deal. Click the image to the left to find out more about Christina's book and begin building your platform right now!

Mar 6, 2011

Rechelle's Diary: 3/6/11 - Life Happens! Just go with it!

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Is it just me or does life kinda rear it's ugly head at the most inopportune times?

A few months ago, I decided that I was finally at the point in my life where I am ready to actively pursue my life long dream of becoming a published best-selling author. I pulled out all of my old unfinished manuscripts, blew off the cobwebs, and thoughtfully reviewed each one. After several days of pensive review, I finally selected one of my older manuscripts to focus on, and began writing furiously. I discovered renewed inspiration and was actively writing again. It felt wonderful!

Additionally, I decided to establish a Facebook account and author page as well as a Twitter account, and began networking with other authors, agents, publishers and book reviewers. I established a blog where I could write about my journey and the authoring process, and share musings of the author within with anyone who cared to visit. It has been so wonderful meeting and chatting with other literary personas and I am so looking forward to continuing along this chosen path.

Unfortunately however, life happened and my writing come across a small temporary bump in the road that has managed to severely interfere with my writing, blogging, chatting, and tweeting for a few weeks.

My (real life) employer decided to send me to a very demanding three-week law enforcement training course in our lovely state capital. The days are long and grueling and the nights demand heavy studying as the content is testable for certification purposes. There has been very little time to write, blog, tweet or anything else during the last two weeks.

Fortunately, I am beginning the final week of training tomorrow, so hopefully, I will be able to easily transition back into a regular writing and blogging routine soon. My husband and I have rented a lake front villa for the following week and I am definitely taking my laptop along and am planning on doing some major catching up. I'm not certain whether or not the villa has wireless Internet, but I will be back bloging as soon as possible.