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Posts Tagged ‘Ray Bradbury’

Get out of your own way and Do. It. Now.

Day 31 of the 5-Week Author Blog Challenge asks about advice, giving and receiving. All 35 posts for this Challenge will be focused on writing, publishing, and book marketing. I hope you’ll stick around through all 35 posts. And if you want to take part, come on in – the water is great! You can register here.

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Day 31 writing prompt:

What is the single best piece of advice you’ve ever received about the publishing process and/or what advice would you offer to a first-time author?

I’ve received so much advice over the years, it’s difficult to narrow it down to just one thing. I supposed Ray Bradbury’s constant mantra of “Writers write every day” is pretty important, even though I haven’t always lived up to that standard.

fail if stop writing

I think just about everything in Steven Pressfield’s amazing book, The War of Art, is impactful. Just get out of your own way. Perfectionism is the surest road to insanity and never finishing your book.

My advice to first-time authors is always the same: the physical making of the book is easy. Editing, book design, even marketing are not rocket science and are things for which you can generally hire, even on a meager budget. The Web – this blog ­– contains more marketing ideas than you could accomplish if you worked on it full-time. Sure, you’ve got to make a plan – a cohesive plan that you stick to and the steps of which you take toward your goal. The best-knit plan in the world won’t benefit you in the least if it doesn’t get used. But the one thing you cannot hire out – the one thing only YOU can bring to the table – is the story or message that you want to share with the world. No one else can give you a story or message. You, alone, have to figure out how to get it on paper.

There are many methods by which to do this:fear-has-a-job

  • Dictate your story and have the recordings transcribed.
  • Use mind-mapping to plot your story or chapters.
  • Write it on sticky notes and napkins and hand the whole bloody mess over to a ghost writer.
  • Write one looooonnnnnnggggg paragraph and hire an editor who can make it into a book.
  • Write bullet points and find someone to help you flesh them out.
  • Turn your blog posts into a book.
  • Turn the notes from your speeches and presentations into a book.
  • Record every meeting you have with clients and use the conversations as an idea-generator.

You get the idea!

Just get started. Write. Write every day. Write even if you don’t think it’s any good. Write without filtering, just to get your ideas down. Stop waiting; start writing. That’s it – best advice I could offer you. Do. It. Now.

Please make sure to check in again tomorrow, when I will be sending out some well-deserved “thank you’s”.

And for the record, I’d love your feedback on my Author Blog Challenge posts! And, of course, would really love to have you support all of the bloggers in the Challenge. Find their links here.

Here’s to just getting started!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________SM for authors COVER

If you’re new to social media, my book Social Media for Authors goes into much greater detail about when, how, and where to post for the greatest chances at succeeding with your specific goals. Get your copy today! It’s never too early to begin planning!

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Best writing instruction? Write every day!

So we’re at Day 3 of the 5-Week Author Blog Challenge. Since I’m committed to writing every day, the least you can do is commit to reading every day, doncha think? OK, OK. No pressure. Read if it interests you; “like” it if you really like it; and “share” this post if you think other people will like it, too. This is the third of 35 consecutive days’ posts, all on the topic of writing, publishing, and book marketing. I hope you’ll stick around through all 35 posts. And if you want to take part, come on in – the water is great! You can register here.

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Day 3 writing prompt:

What kinds of classes, programs, or workshops have you taken to hone your skill as a writer? What sorts of exercises did/do you use to improve? Have you ever taught a writing class or workshop?

One might infer a certain arrogance from the fact that I’ve taken very few writing classes since majoring in Nonfiction Creative Writing in college. It’s less the fact that I think that I know it all than it is that I believe the best way to hone one’s skill as a writer is to write. Regularly. And I do a lot of writing.

bradbury for ABC

I was fortunate to hear Ray Bradbury speak to a packed auditorium at the University of Arizona, back in the late 80s. The one thing I still remember him saying – and something he repeated again and again throughout his life – is that a writer must write EVERY day.

Yes, there is definitely something to be said for getting technical training. I highly advise it. And I seek it, in small doses, through blogs and YouTubes created by other authors of varying skill and experience. That’s one place where I differ from many: I believe I can learn something from just about anyone, whether they’re a first-time novelist or a veteran, published author. It’s also why I love running the Phoenix Publishing & Book Promotion Meetup. I facilitate two meetings a month where I teach seminars on – well duh, right? – many aspects of publishing and book marketing. I teach the things I know and feel confident teaching, from book production to creating an author one sheet. But I bring in local experts to cover the things I don’t know as well: legal issues for writers, designing a website, video book trailers, ebook production, etc. Of most fun, though, is the spontaneous conversation that erupts wherein the authors share their various experiences.

What I don’t teach is writing. I’m not sure why, but I find teaching writing boring, so I don’t think I’m the person for the job. Not to mention that there are myriad other places an aspiring writer can go – from online courses to Meetups to critique groups to community colleges to writers’ conferences and workshops. Opportunities abound for writing instruction. One reason I think our Meetup does so well, however, is that there don’t seem to be too many people teaching self-publishing authors how to put together high-quality books and how to market those books to their ideal readers. That’s what we focus on, as well as networking and author opportunities.

Over the years, I have learned a few things from various teachers that have stuck with me:

  • One of my college professors abhorred the word lifestyle. “There’s no such thing as a ‘lifestyle,’” he used to rant. “It’s just LIFE!” You’ll probably never see the word lifestyle in my writing, other than this paragraph.
  • An early editor of my book, 1001 Real Life Questions for Women, insisted that on be used only for an object laying atop another object and, similarly, that over/under be used only with regard to spatial placement. So she corrected any instances of “over age 10” to “older than age 10.” Although our language has evolved to allow for these less precise uses of prepositions (how could it not, if nu-kyuh-ler is now an accepted pronunciation for nuclear?!), I nearly always correct these uses when I see them.

oxford comma

  • And the bedrock of grammar battles around the world: to use or omit the Oxford comma. At a business writing class I took in NYC, the instructor cured me of ever desiring to leave out the comma before and or but.

EXAMPLE: Chris, Dana, and Kelly can be either men’s or women’s names.

The instructor cited an example where Chris, Dana, and Kelly were siblings who inherited a large sum of money from a wealthy relative. However, the Oxford comma was omitted in the will, so they went to COURT over it, and the judge determined that Chris would inherit half of the money, while Dana and Kelly would split the other half. All because of one missing comma.

  • Most recently, I’ve learned – and am now trying to master – the concept of single-perspective narration. My novel, Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World, is told in alternating present and past-tense third person. One section is told from Stan’s present-tense perspective; the next is from Paula’s. The flashbacks work similarly. For consistency’s sake, however, when the story is told from Stan’s perspective, we can know what Stan’s thinking, but we cannot know what Paula is thinking. She must speak anything she thinks, or otherwise convey it through body language or some external means that Stan can infer and comment on or describe to us. Just as Stan can’t be in Paula’s head, neither can the reader who is reading a third-person description told from Stan’s perspective. I’m now in the process of re-reading the manuscript to make sure I observe this common-sense writing rule.

Interestingly, the more I write anything, the more I can see improvement in my fiction writing. One of the benefits of this Challenge is the chance to practice for 35 days in a row. If I keep writing, as planned, I hope you’ll keep reading! Tune in tomorrow when I’ll be discussing my writing mentors.

And for the record, I’d love your feedback on my Author Blog Challenge posts! And, of course, would really love to have you support all of the bloggers in the Challenge. Find their links here.

Here’s to continuing to hone and improve your writing skills!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Anatomy of a Book Launch

If you’re getting ready to launch your book and would like help to put together a successful event, download my free special report: Anatomy of a Book Launch. Then CALL me at 602.518.5376 to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation. It’s never too early to begin planning!

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SUNDAY INSPIRATIONS: I wish you a wrestling match with your creative muse…

Sunday Inspirations. Send us your favorite quote, image, poem, idea … anything that has been helpful or inspirational to your writing process. If we love it, we may use it as is, or take the inspiration and modify it in some way. Give us a link to your website or blog and we’ll be sure to give you credit! Email inspiration@writemarketdesign.com or post your suggestion in the comment section below!

Here’s today’s inspiration: “I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories – science fiction or otherwise – which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days.

“And out of that love, remake a world..”

watercolor background

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Anatomy of a Book Launch

If you’re getting ready to launch your book and would like help to put together a successful event, download my free special report: Anatomy of a Book Launch. Then CALL me at 602.518.5376 to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation. It’s never too early to begin planning!

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SUNDAY INSPIRATIONS: You must wear books like crazy hats…

Sunday Inspirations. Send us your favorite quote, image, poem, idea … anything that has been helpful or inspirational to your writing process. If we love it, we may use it as is, or take the inspiration and modify it in some way. Give us a link to your website or blog and we’ll be sure to give you credit! Email inspiration@writemarketdesign.com or post your suggestion in the comment section below!

Here’s today’s inspiration: “You must write every single day of your life… You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads… may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”

Ray Bradbury

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________3d cover

A DRAFT of my first novel, Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World, is in print! If you have an interest in reading to review, please email me. I’ll send you a hard copy or PDF.

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SUNDAY INSPIRATIONS: Drunk on writing…

Sunday Inspirations. Send us your favorite quote, image, poem, idea … anything that has been helpful or inspirational to your writing process. If we love it, we may use it as is, or take the inspiration and modify it in some way. Give us a link to your website or blog and we’ll be sure to give you credit! Email inspiration@writemarketdesign.com or post your suggestion in the comment section below!

Here’s today’s inspiration: “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”

Bradbury

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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2015 is RIGHT around the corner — are  you READY? If you haven’t begun 2015 Goalsmapping out your book marketing efforts for the New Year, it’s time to get started! Sit down with Laura – in person or via Skype – and review your book marketing plan. We’ll evaluate: what’s working, what isn’t working, and which new strategies you may want to implement for the new year (or your newest book). Regularly $150 for a 45-minute session. Marcie Brock special: $99 for the first five who respond. mktg@WriteMarketDesign.com

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