Posts Tagged ‘writer’

Hey, writers with day jobs–do you chunk?

Can you write a book by spending a half hour (or less) a day on the project?

Purists will suggest that you need to sit for hours while blood seeps from your forehead to author a worthy piece of work.

It’d be nice to not have the day gig (and for the matter, the night gig, the freelance gig and the other part-time gig) but there’s that silly mortgage thing.

Your fave?

Interesting though, when you talk to those who have made the leap to full-time writerhood many will admit that their productivity hasn’t increased exponentially with their time.

Could it be that the shift in daily focus might help the process?

Could it be that we’re not meant to write more than a couple hours or less a day?

Is not having the time a legit excuse for not getting a book done?

Might it just mean writing in shorter intervals and finding a rhythm that fits?


Should you study what’s getting published and what’s selling and set out to write a book that runs along the same lines?

Yes and no.

You definitely need to know the market you want to write for. Know the lengths of a typical book in that genre, the tone and the usual topics. Then set out to write something with a fresh take on that genre–that is, if that’s what you’re in to.

If you hate fantasy but think you might want a crack at ‘Ol JK’s tax bracket, think again. You have to be passionate about what  you write for it to come across on the page. You can’t just throw in a nerdy looking kid with glasses and give him the power to fly around like one of those Wizard of Oz monkeys and think the royalty checks will start rolling in.

Hey, Nicholas Sparks and I went to same college a few years apart. We’re both black belts in the martial arts and we both like to write. Problem is, I like to write about social workers, basset hounds, boxing, Elvis and suspense. Nicky writes romance that makes women weep and call Barnes and Noble impatiently.

I couldn’t write like him if I wanted to.

My buddy Konrath is always killing victims in his book in sick and twisted ways, probably because Joe is sick and twisted. Me, the gruesome stuff? Not so much.

So what if you like to write 200,000 word paranormal romance Star Trek gay erotic noir? You can, but you may want to compromise a tad to have it fit what’s being bought. Maybe the market wants 75k word Star Trek suspense but they really don’t want the guys falling in love and turning into vampires.

Go ahead and write it and tone down the parts the market isn’t interested in.

‘Course, I’d be curious to see what you do with Spock and Scotty in the hot scenes.

Yesterday, we admitted, that as writers, we often feel insecure. Today, we look at what to do about it.

I got certified as a Rational Emotive Therapist back when I was an addictions counselor. RET focuses on what we tell ourselves and uses some unconventional approaches to get people to feel differently.

One technique is to examine what you’re telling yourself about your writing. If you’re feeling insecure about your work, you are probably running statements like this through your head:

If my work isn’t good, then I’m no good as a person.

This things sucks and is happy about it!

If people think my work stinks, that would be awful and I couldn’t stand it.

I absolutely MUST have everyone’s approval under ALL circumstances!

If my work is not fantastically great, then I shouldn’t write anything.

All of these statements in your head are usually demands and repeated forcefully, no matter how irrational they are. Take time to challenge them by asking yourself:

If a particular piece I write sucks more than an , all that says is I wrote a shitty piece. It doesn’t mean I’m a shit of a person.

If , indeed, I write something shitty would that REALLY be awful? It might suck for a little while, but really only if I tell myself it will. It’s never awful–at most it might be a pain in the ass. There might actually be some good things to learn from writing bad.

Is it realistic to think EVERYONE is going to like your stuff? Getting EVERYONE’S approval and affection really is a weird goal and a huge waste of time, isn’t it?

If you love writing why not write no matter how bad you suck? Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly–if you love doing it. Why deprive yourself because of the need for approval?

You can practice getting over your insecurity by deliberately writing poorly and sharing it with critical friends. It’s called shame-attacking. It works like this: Write something really bad, share it and wait for the criticism. When it comes practice disputing your irrational beliefs.

You’ll find you can live through your fears and that it isn’t awful at all to write something bad.

If you’re not willing to actually be bad, you can visualize being shitty. Instead of visualizing selling more copies than Dan Brown see yourself failing and getting awful reviews. Then, dispute the feeling and beliefs that come from failing. It won’t program you to fail, it will practice your skills at disputing and help you deal with your fears.

Finally, ask yourself why the hell you take this crap so ff’in seriously. Do your best, grow as a writer, but for cripe sake, keep it in perspective. Taking yourself ultra-seriously is really boring.

Today and tomorrow (FREE PSYCHOTHERAPY THURSDAY) we’re going to look at the same issue from two perspectives.

Writers often talk about feeling insecure. Why?

Well, our jobs are to entertain, inspire, motivate etc and handing someone else the written word is asking for their approval. If they don’t respond, then, in a sense,  your work has become insignificant.

That hurts. Some will take that to mean that not only is their work insignificant but THEY are insignificant.

I’m getting close to finishing a new novel outside of my series. I’ve been beleagured with procrastination and bouts of insecurity about my writing.

How do you conquer it? If you know pass it along, willya?

In the meantime I’m following that one cardinal law of writing and completing projects.

“Sit ass on chair, place fingers on keyboard and type.”

Five things to keep in mind all the time.

1. Use the simplest word available that gets the job done. Use of big fancy words make you look like a pretentious ass.

2. Trust the reader. Over explaining is really, really boring.

3. Kill your adverbs and make your verbs do the talking. Adverbs are lazy.

4. Vary sentence length. Reading sentence after sentence with the same number of words is hypnotizing.

5. Show don’t tell. Let action get your point across.