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Writing Resolutions: Finding Time To Write by Teri Barnett (paranormal romance author)

imagesLet me start by saying, I’m a huge procrastinator. Major league. If it weren’t for the last minute, I’d never accomplish anything and I’ve been this way my entire life.

Okay. I’m sure you get the idea. But I felt compelled to lay this out first thing so you’d know I’m not a super organized being who floats to her desk and writes every day, non-stop. Unless you’re a full time writer – which many of us aren’t – you’re probably like me and struggle to fit writing into your everyday schedule. A dear author friend once told me the only way to get my book done was to apply my behind to my chair and my fingers to the keyboard. I knew she was right but, you know, there’s social media and online games and email and laundry and the list goes on and on. So many shiny (and not so shiny) objects to distract us from our calling to put words onto paper.

3716450So, how do we tame the easily distractible beast within so we have more time to hone our craft? I’ve found several options which work for me. Hopefully, some of them will work for you as well:

  1. Fool the beast with research. There’s always something to look up and verify, right? Especially if you’re writing in the historical genre. Researching feeds the beast’s need for surfing the interwebs and leaves you guilt-free because you’re actually working. Just don’t get so lost in the researching that you forget to do the writing.
  1. x10xfWork when you’re on. Figure out when you’re most productive and take advantage of it, whether it’s two in the morning or eight at night. I’m a morning person who works best between six and ten, so I block out a good portion of that time to work on my story. Whether I’m outlining or drafting my next chapter, I feel better because I’ve accomplished something and I’m that much closer to typing The End. When I do this consistently, I find the gremlins who whisper their nagging, “You should be writing,” in my ear are appeased.
  1. 3716545Let other things go. It might be obvious but really, the laundry will wait and the dust bunnies will still be there. You’ll have to feed the cats or other four-leggeds, of course, but let everyone else fend for themselves. I speak from experience when I say the world will not fall apart if you remove yourself from it for a bit. When I first started writing seriously, I had two young children, a husband, and worked a full time job. I carved out time on the weekends to hide in the basement and craft my stories. Everyone survived and I like to think I was better at the other life stuff because I took time out to pursue my dream.
  1. images-3To Do Lists. Before you sit down to write, make a list of everything on your mind at the moment which needs doing – writing and non-writing. When you’re not preoccupied with making sure you remember to go to the bank or drop in that one red herring, your brain is freed for the creative process and you’ll be more productive.
  1. Image: Gypsy Rose Lee 1941
    Image: Gypsy Rose Lee 1941

    Dedicate a space to your craft. This is essential. Having a dedicated space tells your subconscious you’re serious about writing. And, when you’re feeling serious about your calling, you’re more likely to honor the time you’ve set aside to work on your story. Having your own area also leaves you more time to write because you’re not burdened with getting all your notes, drafts, etc. out when you sit down. This option comes with a warning, though. It’s easy to become lost in getting your area ‘just right.’ Start with the basics and let it evolve as you do, otherwise it can become one of those shiny points of procrastination.

  1. Prioritize. If we’re honest with ourselves, we all have plenty of time, it’s more an issue of how we choose to spend it. Writing has to become a priority if you want to make it in this business. The old adage, “Writers Write,” is a true one.

So, turn off the TV, silence your phone, close your email. Feed the Beast of Shiny Objects with things relative to your story. Take a deep breath and put self-doubt aside (this is one of those reasons we procrastinate no one really wants to talk about). Decide that you are, indeed, a writer and get to work. You got this. And the world will be a better place because you created the time to tell your story.

SHADOW-DREAMS-COVER-300x484Teri Barnett writes historical, paranormal, and time travel romance. You can purchase her books  Through the Mists of Time, Shadow Dreams, and Pagan Fire at Lachesis Publishing. or you can purchase Teri’s books on amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

Connect with Teri Barnett online via facebook and twitter, and check out her web site.

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8 Ways to Inspire Your Writing Ideas by Joanna D’Angelo #amwriting

News stories about babies being accidentally switched at birth can inspire a book idea. :)
News stories can inspire compelling books

Some writers can seemingly pluck inspiration from thin air, while others must work a little harder to get the ideas flowing. The following is a list of suggestions to help you get your thoughts percolating for your future bestsellers.

1. Stop the presses! I am always coming across very cool stories on social media or on the news or various blogs or on satellite radio. Heck, even the community bulletin board at your local grocery store. Craig’s List. Angie’s List. Classifieds. Dear Abby or other advice columns.  I recently heard a national news story on CBC Radio that sparked a fun idea that I hope to pursue.

Image: musicis4lovers.com
Image: musicis4lovers.com

2. Doh! a deer/a female deer…Music. Music. Music.

Image: weightlosstipsinurdupic.blogspot.com
Image: weightlosstipsinurdupic.blogspot.com

3. Take a hike buddy (or a walk). I love to take really long walks and I will often ruminate while I am walking (with some great tunes playing on my Ipod). Great way to work out your body as well as your mind – maybe even a sticky issue in your WIP. (Work in Progress).

4. Brainstorm. I work with creative people all day online and via email. But physically being in the same room with a bunch of creative types will always inspire me.  If you have friends that you can trust not to steal your ideas (LOL)  – then try doing some brainstorming sessions over a cup of tea or glass of vino. I expect many of you already have writing groups where you do that – but sometimes pitching an idea raw and seeing what someone thinks of it – might be fun too. I used to do that all the time when I was working in TV and film. The idea is to distill your idea to 25 words or less. Just throw it out there and see where it lands.

image: www.besthometownnews.com
image: www.besthometownnews.com

5. If you’re struggling with writing in a particular genre or switching genres think about the genre that you most love to read. Who are some of the most successful authors in that genre? Check out their books and see how they’ve done in their chosen path. Try contacting an author you admire and asking him/her a few questions. Who knows, you might get some great advice. We have an archive of terrific interviews with bestselling authors right here at the Lachesis Publishing Daily Blog – which are certainly inspiring.

6. y648While we all know that writers need to connect to what they are writing about in some way – we still have to keep in mind what the market is and wants. Check out amazon reviews for some popular bestselling authors in a particular genre. Or peruse some popular reader blogs. It will give you a sense of what readers like. The idea is to get your own thoughts whirring, not to tie yourself in knots trying to make every reader happy. At the end of the day you still need to be true to yourself. For example many readers HATE books where the hero starts out as a big jerk. Personally, I love them.  One of my fave books is Lisa Kleypas’ The Devil in Winter, book 3 in her Wallflower series. I love that book. The hero is the villain from the second book in the series. He actually kidnaps the heroine in book 2 to force a marriage on her. Now you may ask, how the heck was Kleypas able to turn a villain into a hero? By putting him through hell! And by creating a heroine that challenged his “bad guy” persona at every turn. And by using lots of humour. And by making him fall completely and utterly in love. Now, what has this to do with giving the reader what she/he wants? Well, readers might be turned off by a hero who starts out being a “jerk”. But that’s what good writing is all about. And that’s what life is all about too. We all have dark and light inside us. And sometimes the antagonist can become the protagonist and even more so – a hero we can root for.

Image: moviewallpaperpics.com
Image: moviewallpaperpics.com

7. TV or not TV (or movies). Seriously. Writers sometimes look to what’s a hit on TV or at the movie theatre for their own book series. Audiences who follow a hit TV show might also be interested in books that tell similar stories. Even if the show was based on a book series. I’m sure after Sons of Anarchy became a hit we saw a spike in “biker romances” or any genre with “bikers” in it. And you can bet that after the Harry Potter movies came out there was a rise in books about kids or young people with magical powers. After The Hunger Games made Jennifer Lawrence a household name, it also made a name for dystopian YA fiction.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

8. Er . . . could you speak up please? I’m having trouble overhearing  your conversation. Yup! We all do it. So why not turn it into an artform? Hang out at your local coffee shop, diner, or chichi bistro, set up your laptop, and work it baby! People watch. Listen to to snatches of conversations and write everything down! Imagine who you might “overhear”.

Cheers and Happy Writing!

Joanna

Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing. She loves chai tea, social media, and good writing. 

Connect with Joanna on twitter@JoannaDangelo, on facebook and on pinterest.

Her facebook page is: Love Romance Novels (on facebook)

Her other blogs are: thepopculturedivas and therevolvingbook

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Writer’s block during the Holidays – It’s not what you think! by Lindy S. Hudis (erotica and mystery author)

Lindy, her son, daughter and the other  beautiful Miss Amazing California Queens at the  beautiful Miss Amazing California Queens Granada Hills Christmas Parade.
Lindy, her son, daughter and the other beautiful Miss Amazing California Queens at the beautiful Miss Amazing California Queens Granada Hills Christmas Parade.

I am going through a nasty bout of writer’s block right now. I am pretty certain it’s because of the Holiday season. I just can’t concentrate on anything erotic and sensual when I have to take the kids to see Santa Claus and fight my way into a parking space at the local Walmart! I am not saying that the Holiday season is negative, mind you. It is, however, taxing and demanding when you have millions of things to do and you don’t seem to have enough hours in the day to do them. That is when my muse seems to go into hibernation.

Looks like Elf on a Shelf has some naughty ideas of his own. :) Image: mommysavers.com
Looks like Elf on a Shelf has some naughty ideas of his own. 🙂 Image: mommysavers.com

If you are an erotica author, it’s especially challenging. Sometimes I feel like I’m trapped in a Christmas movie with all these adorable elves and reindeer with shiny noses, glaring at me and saying, “I know what’s in that head of yours! It’s Christmas! Stop with all the sexy stuff!” I can’t even look at that Elf on a Shelf without feeling guilty and blushing.

It’s problematic being an erotica author during the holidays. I am often asked if I get “turned on” during the writing process. How does one answer a question like that? Do I say “yes” then have that person stalk me on Facebook, sending me private messages wanting me to “talk dirty” to him? What am I? An online sex operator? Hate to break it to you, buddy, but an erotica author is an artist and a writer, not your own personal sexting service. However, to answer that question, no. I don’t get turned on, not in the “bedroom sense”, because I’m in professional author mode.

I try to do my writing when the kids are at school. But when they’re home for the Holiday break, it’s just not possible. As far as writer’s block goes, I will deal with it the same way I deal with it at any other time of the year: Ignore it! Keep writing. My creative muse will eventually return when she’s had enough of lying around on the beach and working on her winter tan.

la-cage-logoI do think that taking a little “brain break” during the holidays is a good way to recharge batteries. I am going to take advantage of this time to relax, and enjoy myself so I can start the new year fresh and focused. To all of my creative comrades out there, I suggest you do the same. You deserve it!

So, I will be busy doing mom/Christmas stuff until the New Year. It’s all good, and I am gearing up to write some sequels! Hopefully with 2016 I will be bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and ready to get in gear with the next installments of my erotica series. Until then, have a safe and wonderful holiday. Have fun, and enjoy the goodies and the good times.

Lindy is fabulous all year long.
Lindy is fabulous all year long.

I will leave you with a few lines from the song The Best of Times from one of my favorite musicals, La Cage Aux Folles:

So hold this moment fast 
And live and love
As hard as you know how
And make this moment last
Because the best of times is now
Is now, is now

You can get Lindy’s books at Lachesis Publishing or on amazon, and kobo and iBooks

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Fun Friday: What’s your cure for writer’s block?

Well, it might not help, but it sure can’t hurt. What’s your cure?

Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 1.28.54 AMHave a great weekend! And keep writing and reading.

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Image courtesy of http://naturesdelighticecream.wordpress.com/
Image courtesy of http://naturesdelighticecream.wordpress.com/