The more you write, the better you get at writing. Writing more will cure just about any writing ill, and writing more helps you to achieve your writing goals, whatever those goals may be.
From the archives:
Get lots more writing practice with my ebook: "Top 70 Writing Tips To Help You To Write More".
My favorite book publisher has a blog. Every time I see the Penguin logo I feel all warm and fuzzy. That little penguin has brought me many hours of great reading
Scribble on a cover, and be your own art director
They have a cute new line of blank-cover books, so you can create your own covers:
The covers are art-quality paper, and from internal Penguin efforts we know that they hold ink, paint, pencil and glue (see the first efforts here). Each one comes shrink-wrapped so the paper doesn't get dirty, and I hope people might give them as gifts.Great idea. I hope they sell the line in Australia.
Technorati Tags: books
Here's an excerpt:
You're an aspiring writer. You have some writing skill and talent, and want to develop a writing career. Congratulations! I've been writing for money since the 1970s, and 2006 is a wonderful year to be a writer. You've truly got unlimited options and ways to make money writing.Not a subscriber? The ezine is free in your Inbox each week. Subscribe and receive a free report, plus EXCLUSIVE information to help you to develop a fabulous freelance writing career.
In Part One of this article, I'll cover the fundamentals of freelance writing. Few writers give these fundamentals much consideration, and that leads to unnecessary hiccups in their writing career. Other writers breeze along quite happily, then suddenly smash up against one of the fundamentals, and because they're blissfully unaware, they proceed to destroy their career.
If you understand the fundamentals, these fundamentals form a basis for creativity, money, and confidence, because you will KNOW how freelance writing works, and you will understand how and why you get paid, and how to set your rates.
Next week, I'll cover "modelling" which is an easy way write as a freelancer. When you learn how to model, you'll be able to write anything, for anybody.
When you start out as a writer, it's common to be anxious. I can remember working on my first novel and literally shaking with fear. At the time (over 30 years ago) I'd never heard of writing anxiety and the only way I coped was to force myself to sit in the chair and face the typewriter.
All these years later, I know I missed a bet. Why didn't I keep a JOURNAL of what was going on with me? I'd love to know how long the anxiety persisted and exactly how I felt. I've got a feeling that the fear stayed with me until I completed the book - which makes me very brave, to write in the face of extreme terror, and I'm proud of my younger self.
If you get anxious, please realize that there's nothing wrong with you. It just shows that you care about writing.
Occasionally I still feel anxious, but I've learned how to cope. Here are five tips which help:
1. Journal. You can choose to journal in "morning pages" style - Julia Cameron's Morning Pages are essentially stream of consciousness writing. You just sit down and write whatever words come into your mind. Disconnected thoughts and sentences are fine. You can repeat a single word, if you like.
Or, you can journal about yourself and your life, writing about your concerns.
It's helpful to journal about whatever you're trying to write. Writing about a project objectifies it, and reduces anxiety.
2. Meditate. Meditation is just sitting still, and accepting whatever comes. I've been meditating off and on for many years, so I can quiet my mind much more easily than I could when I started meditating. I recommend Kelly Howell's programs if you're a new meditator.
3. Write in a new place - a restaurant, a coffee shop, or in a park. I've no idea why switching writing places works, but it does.
4. Be willing to write junk. Tell yourself that writing is rewriting (which it is) and give yourself permission to write garbage - and keep on writing garbage if that's what happens. Paradoxically, some of the best writing you will ever do happens on days when you're happy just to string some words together. Having low expectations works. :-)
5. Get a writing buddy, or join a writing class, where the emphasis is on writing, rather than critiquing. When you're writing in a group, there's a group energy which makes it easier to write.
Join a group which doesn't critique. Very few people know how to critique writing, and for a new writer, critiques aren't helpful. In fact a critique may stop you writing for months or years when you're suffering writing anxiety.
Resource: My ebook "Top 70 Writing Tips To Help You To Write More" contains lots of other tips which help you to write, no matter how stressed you are.
Blogging has advanced far beyond online journaling. Many businesses now blog, and Gartner Research predicts that in 2008, 80 per cent of businesses will have blogs.
Therefore, as we zoom into 2007, commercial blogs are THE venues for writers to watch, and to take part in. As I explain on my Blogging For Dollars site:
Blogging is instant publishing. Think about that. You can type 100 or 1000 words, and within a minute or two, those words can be read by anyone with a computer and an Internet connection. This is immensely powerful.Over 2006, I've seen blogs changing. Many blogs are now more like online magazines than humble journals. Many writers have secured publishing contracts because of their blogs, and this year, writers are also creating blogs as publications, and monetizing them.
I'm a blogging evangelist, and strongly believe in blogs for writers. In 2007, I predict that many more blogs will become online publications - and writers will take notice of this, and look on their blog less as a way to just express their thoughts or get publicity, but also as a business which will grow, and from which they can derive an income.
What qualities would you like to develop in your life? Would you like to be kinder, more compassionate, more outgoing, more confident?
Perhaps you want to be more productive: you want to write more. Or, you want a particular skill - you want to learn ballroom dancing, or photography.
You can develop any quality, or skill, that you would like to have, just by paying attention to that quality, or skill.
For this week's journal entry, write about a quality you would like to develop. Describe the quality in around 300 words.
Then, describe how you would like to manifest this quality, and when you would know that you had manifested it. For example, if you'd like to be more confident, describe ways you would know that you were more confident. Perhaps you'd know when you asked your boss for a raise, or when you went to a movie alone, or when you booked a vacation alone.
You can develop whatever qualities and skills you want to have. Your journal is the key, because it helps you to pay attention to what you want. The more you pay attention to something, the more that quality or skill manifests in your life.
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In this week's issue of Fab Freelance Writing Ezine my article "Freelance Writing For Absolute Beginners: How To Get Started As A Freelancer" will give you a broad overview of the current state of play in freelance writing. This issue goes out to subscribers on Wednesday.
If you're not a subscriber (it's free) subscribe now and get the 21-page PDF "Write And Sell Your Writing: The Power-Write Report" to help you to kickstart your new career.
Already making money as a freelancer?
If you're already making money as a freelancer, "Freelance Writing For Absolute Beginners: How To Get Started As A Freelancer" will help you to extend your writing career into new (and profitable) avenues.
Got a blog? If you're a new writer, a blog gives you the experience of instant publishing. Not only does a blog build your confidence as a writer, but it also functions as your writing portfolio. I'm often approached by new writers, asking how to start writing. In 2006, my advice has been three words: GET A BLOG. A blog will do more for your writing than anything else. Whatever your aims are for your writing, a blog helps you to fulfill them.
Find out why you need a blog, what a blog can do for your writing, and how to create your own blog with my ebook: "Writing Success with Blogs by Angela Booth".
In this latest Julian Stockwin novel, former wig-maker turned naval officer Thomas Kydd takes command of his own ship at last. As you expect from every Stockwin novel, it's a real page-turner. I've read most of the books in the Kydd series, they're wonderful.
If you enjoy adventure novels but haven't read Stockwin, you have a treat in store. Note: if you want to read the series in order, the first novel is Kydd. I haven't read them in order, but I intend to. Stockwin is a master storyteller.
Technorati Tags: books
Please get in touch if you're a graduate of my copywriting ecourse "Writing Words that Sell: Freelance Copywriting". I'm creating a "Copywriting Colleagues" page for my primary Angela Booth site. Send me your URL, with a blurb, and I'll add your info to the page, for free, of course.
I've been passing work on to students, and it's simpler for people who want to hire you for copywriting work in your specialty, or in your location, to get in touch with you directly.
(More info on the Fab Freelance Writing Blog.)
Outlines scare many writers. How can you outline before you know what you're going to say?
For many years, I was a faithful no-outline writer. The idea of creating an outline panicked me, and when I desperately needed to create outlines for book proposals, the process was as difficult as doing my own dentistry.
I've made my peace with outlines. Now I do outline - once I know what I want to say. However, the outline may morph many times in the writing process, and this is true for every writer I know.
The American Psychological Association has a fascinating article on writers and outlines, "To outline, or not to outline?":
Rather than following a series of steps—first planning, then writing, then revising—good writers do all three nearly simultaneously, according to Ransdell’s research.Writing is MESSY.
New writers think there's something wrong with them when they make huge messes, and the chaos scares them so much that they think that they're not writers.
You need to make your peace with the chaos of the writing process. Writing is not typing, and if you want your writing to flow from your fingertips like water from a cleft rock, you'll be frustrated when it doesn't - and it often doesn't.
Back to the article:
One common strategy is to plot one’s thoughts in outline form before starting to write. However, Ransdell’s research suggests that encouraging students to embrace the chaos inherent to the writing process can result in better papers...Read the complete article. It may help you to become comfortable with your own writing process, when you realize that not only is it OK to make a mess, it's desirable.
The all-at-once essays earned scores about five points higher than those written in a step-by-step fashion—and this was true for both advanced students writing in their first language and for students writing in a language they were just beginning to learn. The all-at-once strategy may have worked by encouraging students to interact with their own text, Ransdell theorizes.
Write and outline as you go. As long as you have the end firmly in mind, chaos produces great writing.
We're almost at the end of 2006 - the holiday season will soon be upon us, so here are my top writing tips for 2006.
Why only four? Because these strategies are the ones which have had the best effect for me this year.
In no particular order:
1. Writing is thinking on paper, or on the computer screen - write so that you know what you'll write about
You'll often have no idea what you're going to write until you write it. So just start writing. This is a real Mr Micawber "Something will turn up" approach, but what the heck, it works. By the time you've written 250 words you'll know what you want to say.
Now I've found the delightful Scrivener, I'm finding this process easier to implement, because I can create one Scrivener file for each new project - no more mysterious 40 kb text files on my hard drives.
2. Write first, write often
Start your day by writing. I've gone through long periods when I started the day by reading my email, but days when I write FIRST, I write more, and more easily. "Sleep thinking" works.
3. Create a blog
I started my first blog in 2001 with no idea WHY, I just kept receiving nudges from my subconscious mind, which knows more than I do. Blogs are a lot of fun, they're creatively stimulating, and they let you write without pressure. Blogs are the best invention for writers since word processors.
I've got several blogs which I update regularly. Yes, all are work. However I know that the effort that I put into these blogs will have great benefits in the months and years to come.
4. Set goals
I've always set goals, but I've recently started setting goals for the month, as well as the year. Monthly goals make you more accountable. I set process goals (word counts, projects completed), as well as monetary goals.