Creating A Special Place to Write
Something I do each night before I head to bed is clean my kitchen! My mom always used to say, “If the kitchen is clean, the whole house looks clean”. Depending on the layout of your house, this can ring true. I have an open concept in my house, meaning the kitchen is open to the dining room and the living room. So, if my kitchen is clean, it really does make the rest of my downstairs look clean too!
Why have I gone on this clean kitchen tangent you may ask; it is also true when it comes to our writing environment. If we have a special routine we create when it comes to writing it will help us look forward to it and feel comfortable and at ease when we do it.
Just as waking up to a clean house can make you feel good, creating a special place to write can make you feel good too.
A few things to try:
Create a clean and organized workspace.
Make it comfortable by using a comfortable chair.
Decorate with pictures and items that bring you joy.
Keep it clutter free.
Make a space separate from other spaces in your home.
Take a look at my workspace:
Setting reasonable writing goals
How can an author stay accountable?
Don’t make excuses and share your project.Deanna Matinez-Bey
Do some of the following sound familiar?
Oh, if only I could find time to write. You can!
How do you find time to write books? I make time. I schedule it in.
You must have a lot of free time if you have written sixteen books. I do not have tons of free time on my hands.
You must not be married or have children if you are an author. I am married and have two children.
How in the world can one stay on task when writing? I’ll give you a tip: Tell people what you are doing!
Tell people you trust. Share with those who will encourage you and not hold you back. Tell them that you are writing a book. Make a blog and blog about the process. Post it on Facebook. Just get the word out. By telling people what you are doing, you will be encouraged to keep going and to finish your project. You may even be able to pick up helpful tips along the way. People know people and you never know what types of doors will open for you by sharing your project.
How will telling others keep me accountable?
Eventually, after hearing about your project enough, people will begin to ask you how it is coming along. They will begin to encourage you to keep going, and they will tell you how much you encourage them with your entrepreneurial spirit! The interest that others will take in your project will encourage you, keep you accountable, and help you find your way to completion.
Another way to stay accountable is to join a writer’s group. Many cities have meet-up author groups. Try a couple and stick with one that you like. Other writers will encourage you and help keep you moving forward.
Author organization: Writing down your ideas
Setting Reasonable Writing Goals
Always remember to set reasonable goals for yourself. The keyword in that sentence is, you guessed it: Reasonable!
Writing a two hundred and fifty to a three-hundred-page novel is going to take you more than a week to write.
It is good to have goals, but make sure they are suitable for your life. If after looking at your calendar you feel that you will be able to dedicate three hours a week to writing, set your goals accordingly.
For some, writing every day is a reasonable goal. If this is a possibility for you, decide if you are able to dedicate 30 minutes a day to writing your book or 3 hours a day. Always remember that something is better than nothing. So, 20 minutes a day or every couple of days is better than going 2 weeks without writing at all.
For others, every other day or twice a week may be attainable.
Sit down and take a few minutes to write out your daily schedule. Then, decide when you can fit in time to write.
It is really that simple.
After you set your writing goals, strive to attain them. But do not beat yourself up if sometimes you do not reach the goals you have set for yourself. Just decide to start back up tomorrow and try again.
You’ve got this!
To print off a free daily calendar that you can design yourself, click here
Author Organization: Writing Down Your Ideas
Writing down ideas, what is that? I know most of us rely on electronics to keep up with our ideas, schedules, contacts, basically our lives.
Call me old fashioned, but there is something about writing down ideas that helps me stay organized. I always have a little notebook that I carry with me so that I can write down any ideas I have while I am out and about, pertaining to the book I am writing or project I am working on.
You never know when an idea will come to you. If you don’t have a notebook handy, by all means, make a note on your phone. But be sure to transfer the info to your notebook later. Having all of your book information together in one place will benefit you in the long run. You can refer back to it or add on to it as needed.
I buy a new notebook and a colorful pen each time I start writing a new book. Anything I think of relating to that book goes in that notebook. As I stated, it helps me stay organized and keeps me from having to remember all the details. I don’t know about you, but my brain doesn’t always remember all the details! Some days it is all I can do to remember to wear socks that match!
Tips for writing down ideas and staying organized:
Purchase a notebook (colorful pen optional)
Carry the notebook with you
Keep all of your book information in one place
Keep a special notebook for each book you are writing
This is an article about writing down your book ideas, but as you can see, organization is also important for a writer. They go hand in hand.
Write down your ideas and stay organized!
The first sentence
Picture this: You’re at the book store, doing a little book shopping. You pick up a book with an amazing cover. You read the title and it grabs your attention. You quickly flip to the first page with determination and you read the first sentence… and it sucks. With disappointment, you slowly lower the book back down to the table and with your head hung, you sulk away.
It is imperative that the first two to three sentences of a book grab the reader and draw them in.
I am here to provide you with a few tips to help draw your readers into your book with your opening sentence…
1. Provoke the readers emotions
2. Ask a question or make a claim
3. Tell the reader what they will learn or discover
4. Give character background information that interests the reader
5. Introduce character to the reader in an interesting or surprising way
6. Describe the setting in a unique way
If these 6 ideas fail to help you, read the first sentence of your top 10 favorite books. That should give you a good idea of spectacular opening lines.
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What Is the First Draft?
What is the first draft?
If you are reading this article, it means that you are a writer or want to become one.
Congratulations on following your writing dreams! So many people desire to write and never get around to actually doing it.
Let’s talk about the first draft of your book. What is the first draft? It is the original manuscript. You may be thinking… Now that I have written my book it is ready to be submitted to agents and publishers. Well…hold on just a minute. Before you click send, print out your pages and let them sit on your desk for a day or three. Yup…just let them sit there staring you in the face!
After a few days go back, begin to read your book. Have a red pen handy because there are going to be story, grammatical, and spelling changes that you are going to make.
While reading through your book, mark your changes as you go, and then apply them to your computer document.
After this step is complete you have two choices:
- Move forward with your submissions
- Have someone else proofread it for you
To answer the question that I proposed at the beginning of this article…What is the first draft? It is just that the FIRST draft, not the final copy.
To Outline or Not to Outline
To outline or not to outline, this is an important question for writers.
Should writers write books by following an outline? This seems to be a great debate among writers. Some writers swear by using outlines and others would rather fly by the seat of their pants.
I prefer to make and use an outline when I am writing my books. I like to form a basic outline that lays out the gist of what the book will be about and the character’s names and personalities. I also prefer to lay out the basics of each chapter.
I do feel that if the outline contains too much information, meaning too many details, it will constrict the writer. We still need to have the freedom to add characters and events as we see fit. Often times if an outline contains too many details, it prevents us from being able to be creative with our book.
Let’s compare the two options. Reasons to outline:
- Gives us direction
- Helps us glide through writing the chapters
- Gives us a goal
- Helps us remember character names and details (we can refer back to our written outline)
- Keeps us on track
Reasons not to outline:
- I can’t think of any
- I don’t know
- Oh, here is one: I still don’t know.
The bottom line is I recommend a simple outline. They are helpful to me and I think it would be helpful to you as well. Let me give you an example of what an outline can consist of:
- Basic details of the book (What it is about, the character details)
- Certain points you want to be sure to touch upon
- Chapter titles (this will guide you what to write in each chapter)
- Other details you want to include
Details you may not want to include in the outline:
Every detail as to what the character says, does, and feels.
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Resolutions Vs. Goals
At the beginning of each year, I share a resolution vs. goal post. This year is no different because I refuse to break the tradition.
Let’s resolve to leave 2022 where it belongs…in the past, and create for ourselves a joyful, prosperous, healthy 2023!
Resolution: A promise we make to ourselves and declare to others that we will make a positive change for the new year.
Goal: A plan we put into place to move towards a better life.
Do you see the difference? A resolution is a promise, but a goal is a plan. Let’s set goals for ourselves this year. Make a plan, buy a planner, write a list of steps to get you to where you want to be: financially, physically, emotionally, relationally. Set reasonable goals. Take baby steps towards your new future, your new life.
Let’s turn our dreams into reality for 2023!
Meditate on your goals and the changes you want to make, see and feel yourself living the life you desire. Talk about your dreams and goals with people who will build you up and encourage you. Make your plan and work towards it each day, little by little, taking baby steps. Don’t give up!
Let’s make the changes within ourselves to become the people we want to be this year. It can be done, and WE are the only ones who can make it happen; join a gym, write a book, start a business, change the things we don’t like about ourselves/our lives. Let’s make this our year!
2022 taught me so many beautiful things. I have learned how to create my future by what I say and feel. The law of attraction is real, my friends. It’s time we allowed it to work to our benefit.
Here’s to a prosperous and successful new year!
Maybe my blog post title caught your attention…I’m glad my failure drew you in. Just kidding.
I would however, like to discuss yearly planners.
I have purchased so many over the years. I bought one specifically for authors, one with a pretty floral cover that allowed for daily, weekly, and monthly agendas, a cheapy from Dollar Tree, and even created my own from scratch by purchasing a 3-ring binder, inserts, and pretty stickers.
None of them worked! Not a single one. I’d start using them and in no time, they would end up sitting beneath my TBR pile on my nightstand…which deserves a blog post of its own.
Here’s the kicker… I’m a highly organized individual! I’m a planner and extreme organizer. I’m also not one to hold on to items I haven’t used in months…I’ll toss or give them away in a heartbeat.
Why on earth am I so anti-planner?
Funny little tidbit… I print monthly calendars from calendar.com and utilize them like nobody’s business.
Fall is officially here and winter is upon us! Who’s ready for autumn writing? Check out my cozy fall-inspired tips and ideas to get you into the season.
- Dress for success: Get out your comfy sweaters, pants, and socks, it’s time to write
- Hot drinks: Stock up on coffee, hot cocoa, and teas… these are a must when writing in autumn
- Writing outdoors: Take it outside…write with your laptop on the porch or in the park
- Writing from home: No porch or park available? Open the house windows and enjoy the fresh air while writing
- Reading: Take your book and a blanket outside and enjoy the fresh air
Topics and computer tips:
- Change your background picture on your computer and phone to something fall-related
- Take fall-inspired photos to post on social media
- Start a blog and write fall-related posts: weather, clothing, books, and foods
- If you write articles online, write a few fall-related articles
Now, grab some friends or family and go for an autumn hike! (Take a picture for social media!)