By Indie Authors for Indie Authors.

Tag: indie writer

Stuck in Your Head & 7 Other Bad Places for Writers to Get Stuck

Bad writing habits

by Sondi Warner

 

 

writer's block1. Stuck In Your Head

That brilliant book idea will never make it out of your dreams without careful planning and execution. That’s right, it’s a two-step. Whatever is holding you back—whether inexperience, under-confidence or a busy schedule—can be overcome when you plan how, what and when you will write.

For newbies, an outline will be your best friend, helping you answer the how and what, but you need to get acquainted with a calendar so you can pin down an exact ‘when.’ Pencil in dates and times for writing because writing is work. After all, if you didn’t have a scheduled shift at your regular 9-5, would you ever really clock in?

Here’s a tip:

Join Book-In-A-Week for a tiny donation of $3 by PayPal to set and tackle goals alongside other motivated writers. Become a part of a community where you can set word count goals, check-in with your progress and win prizes when you participate. Sometimes all it takes is a deadline to take a book from idea to start.

 

Sometimes all it takes is a deadline to take a book from idea to start.Click To Tweet

 

Internet writers2. Stuck On the Internet

It happens to the best of us. Chances are, you’re writing on a desktop or laptop with the internet constantly at your fingertips, and sometimes you can’t avoid going there. You might search the web for your book. You might hop on to do some platform building or to handle marketing. Whatever the lure, once you’re sucked into the world wide web, getting out can be tough. Therefore, you need help to kick your internet addiction. Luckily, there’s an app for that.


Here’s a tip
:

Author Jane Friedman curated a list of 10 Apps to Help You Stay Focused on Your Writing. Some of her top choices include Anti-Social, an app you can set to block you from social sites for a prescribed amount of time, as well as the diabolical Write or Die, which will either gently prompt you to keep writing, play an annoying sound if you stop writing or unwrite what you’ve written if you pause for too long. If that doesn’t motivate you to get to work, then I don’t know what will.

 

 

Writing a draft3. Stuck On Your Draft

It’s been said you should ‘write fast, edit slow.’ What that means from one writer to the next varies. According to “The Daily Word Counts of 39 Famous Authors” from WritersWrite.com, Anne Rice of Interview with the Vampire reportedly wrote about 3000 words a day, while Ernest Hemingway of The Old Man and the Sea only cleared about 500 words in the same timeframe. Whatever your numbers, what will definitely slow you down is trying write, rewrite and edit all at once. It’s a common mistake, but there’s a way to avoid it.


Here’s a tip:

Get in the zone and go with the flow state. When you achieve flow, your productivity increases and you tap into almost superhuman abilities with an influx of norepinephrine, dopamine, anandamide, serotonin and endorphins. This practice teaches you to leave the editing for later as you hammer out your word count goals. I tell you how to induce this miracle state in my article, “The Ultimate Guide to Addictive Flow,” including how to create an environment free of distractions with the right conditions for writing.

 

Don't try to write, rewrite and edit all at once. It’s a common mistake, but avoid it.Click To Tweet

 

 

Editing4. Stuck Editing

Although some of us mull over a draft for what feels like forever, others breeze through the writing only to get stalled editing. We add a word, take a word out, change a name, reconsider the murder weapon, delete a kiss, add a description—but the heavy lifting of content and line editing gets put off in favor of nitpicking with minor details. Editing involves correcting grammar, punctuation, spelling and formatting, as well as fact-checking. However, it also involves checking for plot inconsistencies, weak characterization, stilted voice and under-developed setting. Sounds like a lot of work, right? It is. So, you don’t have time to get hung up on the words instead of the story.

Here’s a tip:

Whether you’re an indie author or publish traditionally, while your final draft will likely head off to a professional editor, you should make sure your manuscript is as clean as possible with a good self-edit. Writer’s Digest guest columnist Mike Nappa provides this helpful advice, “How to Edit Your Book in 4 Steps.” Thank you, Mike. You’re welcome, writers everywhere.

 

 

self publish5. Stuck Unpublished

As hard as it is to write a book, the work isn’t over after you type The End. It’s only beginning. You either have to search out an agent or shop your book around to publishing houses that accept unagented open submissions. You could self-publish. All you have to do is click publish, right? Wrong. You need a professional book cover and a catchy book blurb, and you have to choose a platform: CreateSpace, Amazon, Smashwords, IngramSpark? Being swamped with options isn’t necessarily a good thing. If you’re having trouble getting your newly written book published, there’s hope.

Here are some tips:

 

It's hard to write a book, but the work isn’t over after you type The End. It’s only beginning.Click To Tweet

 

Marketing your book6. Stuck With No Marketing Plan 

Be you self-published or traditionally released, these days every single one of us needs an author platform, and we each have to take a hands-on approach to promoting our books. However, few writers double as marketing gurus. When I became an indie author and released Jonquille, I had no idea I should start promoting my book well before hitting publish and continue advertising it for the long haul. I didn’t know having an email list was a best practice or that getting reviews to boost my visibility would be a lot like pulling teeth. If this is where you’re stuck, too, you have to come out of obscurity and sell your book.

Here’s a tip:

89 Book Marketing Ideas in a comprehensive list that covers writers with and without a platform, although none of the tips are extensively explained. In short, in order to learn the ins and outs of marketing your book, you’ll have to do your homework. But, you’ve gotta start somewhere, and this is a great place to start.

 

 

indie author7. Stuck On Your First Book

Well, did you know that the best way to sell your book is to have more books to sell? Over at the Author Marketing Institute, at the top of the list of “5 Things You Can Do to Sell More Books on Amazon” is Publish More Often. Although writers should market, market, market, sometimes the best marketing is having more than one book under your belt to increase your visibility and credibility as an author. So before you settle in for the long haul of promoting your one great book for the next twelve months after you hit publish, remember most books have a “90-Day Cliff,” meaning you have about 90 days before your sales begin to taper off, no matter how much marketing you pour into it.

Here’s a tip:

This one’s simple. Do what you do best. Write another book.

 

 

Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.

About the Author

Sondi Warner of Wrought Iron Reads is author of indie published contemporary romance, Jonquille. Please feel free to follow her blog Writer People Problems, where she delivers quality content covering all things #LifeAsWriter. When she’s not writing, she enjoys family time with her four children and partner in picturesque Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Sondi welcomes readers who want to connect on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Interview with P. Zoro

Indie AuthorI am very pleased to have P. Zoro joining us. In the short history of Nothing Any Good, we have had the privilege of interviewing wonderful authors from the UK, Texas, and Australia. Now we can Africa to our list.

P. is the author of The Sleeping Pool and Shadows, Darkness and Light. She is our first African author interviewed at Nothing Any Good and she hails from wonderful Zimbabwe.

The lovely Ms. Zoro once told me that my book (Pieces Like Pottery) would have been something she would have written if she were on this side of the world, and Shadows, Darkness and Light would have been something I had written if I were on her side of the world. I found this to be such a beautiful sentiment.

Welcome P.!

Thank you so much Dan. I feel honoured.

 

Since I have Engineering and Law degrees, I have to ask: How in the world is someone with a degree in Electrical Engineering and a Masters in Business Studies writing such beautiful literature?

Aah. You’re too kind. If I had the opportunity I would have done something in Creative Writing or filming. But back then when we were choosing careers, and I think even up to today, in our country one couldn’t really think of writing as a career. It was something that you did as a hobby. I started writing poems and plays at a tender age and never stopped. At some point I even won the Commonwealth Essay Writing Competition, then I forgot all about it to concentrate on my ‘acceptable’ career. But there comes a point in life when the real you cannot be kept in prison anymore and you just have to be yourself. Writing is something I love to do. During the day I run a family owned ICT business. So it is a workable compromise.

 

I suspect that many of my readers have not read many (any?) African authors. Help us understand what the climate for writing is like for you in Zimbabwe. Is there a large writer community? Do you find a lot of author resources available to you in your local communities?

I have had limited opportunities to meet other local writers but I intend to join the local Writers’ Association and remedy that. However, I meet writers from all over the world through social media, writing groups and Goodreads and have made some lifetime friendships with people I would never have known.

There is support by some international organisations for literature and other forms of art. However there is a huge piracy conspiracy by street vendors that make publishing in print a mockery. One remains a writer for the love of writing.

We have learnt to open up to the world and interact with the global writing community so that we take our writing to another level. You will find Zimbabweans winning international awards, writing on online journals and taking advantage of self-publishing.

Most of what I have learnt about writing, marketing , social media and social media has done on the web.

 

“There is a huge piracy conspiracy by street vendors [in Africa] that make publishing in print a mockery. One remains a writer for the love of writing.”

You say that writing is not considered a career there locally. Do people in your community or the larger country look down on writers? Is it something that is shunned?

The monetary rewards are not something that can make somebody leave her day job, unless they are living in the diaspora and they are published by an international publisher or win one of the awards that make their work more visible.
But people appreciate literary and other forms of art very well. They celebrate any author who scores some form of success. That is why we know who got what awards and who has launched a new book. Even our local papers reserve space for literary review and highlights. It’s just that it is not a paying hobby if you haven’t made it big. 

 

You talk a lot about the “mystical world” we live in. What do you mean when you refer to this?

Africa inspires a lot of spiritual mystery, fascination and awe. One cannot help but be mesmerised by its wildness, its wonderful people of diverse cultures and languages and the natural wonders all around us. It is enough inspiration for a writer to put pen to paper and attempt to capture some of this forever before is disappears like a mist. I have no doubt a visit to Zimbabwe and a tour of some of our famous tourist destinations would do wonders to any author with a writer’s block.

Our mystical world is just inspirational. It begs for you to tell a story about it. This has inspired the Destination Series of which The Sleeping Pool is the first book. The Sleeping Pool II will be out in May. The third called The Blinking Eye will be out by the end of the year. It is set in Mauritania. Then I will go to the next African country until there is a book on the series for every African country.

 

“I have no doubt a visit to Zimbabwe and a tour of some of our famous tourist destinations would do wonders to any author with a writer’s block.”

In your stories you tend to focus on female protagonists. I tend to think that we have far too few female authors and just as few female protagonists. Where do you think the state of female authors and heroines is right now?

From my part of the world, female authors have their share of international success. Talk of Tsitsi Dangarembga, NoViolet Bulawayo, Alexandra Fuller, Yvonne Vera, Petinah Gappah, Catherine Buckle, Lauren Liebenberg, J. Nozipo Maraire, Elinor Sisulu and many more who are linked to Zimbabwe one way or the other. But their number is far too limited.

There is a general tendency to feature men as protagonists in books but the rise of the strong female character is unstoppable. Female authors and heroines are making progress towards acceptance and recognition, although the female author’s acceptance started off earlier than the female protagonist. The latter will eventually catch up.

 

This still strikes me as odd in the current environment of indie publishing, though, particularly because women purchase 60%–65% of all books. Why do you think this is? Is it just another ramification of patriarchal society?

I think to an extent that might be true. Society has imprinted it on our minds the hero must be a man. In a romantic setting he has to be a billionaire, drive a limo and be ruthless. In an action and adventure he has to be a clever survivor. In a war film he is the soldier at the battle front. But like I said the woman is being recognised for her part that has been ignored but is increasingly being recognised for what it is – an immense contribution to the existence of humanity. Be it in the home, taking care of the sick, managing the family’s finances and so forth. There is a hero in every women who deserves to be sung abut and celebrated as such.

 

Speaking of patriarchal society, a lot of your writing focuses on the pain women endure, often times at the hands of, or due to the ignorance of, men. One reviewer even commented that he thought you were writing anti-male propaganda pieces. How have you found your stories to be received? Do you find a lot of males insulted by your stories?

Shadows, Darkness and Light is a collection with women’s daily emotional struggles as the main theme. I might do a collection with a different theme altogether one day. But as it is, this collection focuses on women in different circumstances. The stories are as close to real life as one can get in fiction. They have happened and are still happening to some woman in this country. My reviewer enjoyed the stories but wished I could include more stories that showed women’s problems as coming from another source besides men. I am currently writing three more stories that will eventually be added to that collection and I have taken into consideration his wishes in two of them. But he did enjoy my stories and I am grateful for a happy reader.

The book has been well received by both sexes and the reviews are quite encouraging.

 

I admire you and I am grateful that you have shared some of your life experiences with us in the form of fictional narratives.

Thank you Dan. I hope everyone who reads the stories goes through the emotional journey with my protagonists and understands them better. There is a hero in every woman and this is just her time to shine.

 

Thank you for your time, P.! It has been a pleasure. If you have a question for P., put it in the comments section below. 

 

 

Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.

Indie authorAuthor Bio

Author of The Destination Series, an ambitious project aiming to have one book on every African country. The first book is the series, The Sleeping Pool, is set in Zimbabwe. Her short story collection Shadows, Darkness and Light is an expository of the heroic emotional struggles faced by women in Africa. The first story in the collection titled Shadows In The Darkness will appear in the acclaimed Kalahari Review of South Africa this February.

She is currently finishing the second book in the series The Sleeping Pool II and working on The Blinking Eye, the third book in the series set in Mauritania. Besides writing and reading, not necessarily in that order, she loves cooking and baking. She lives in Zimbabwe with her husband Simbarashe and their five sons.

 

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PURCHASE A COPY OF P ZORO’S BOOKS NOW

Shadows, Darkness and Light

The Sleeping Pool

 

 

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