Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Write a Book in Record Time

Do you have a great idea for a novel but can't seem to get it written? Sure, there are some people who say their stories “just flow out of them.” This enviable lot seems to have little trouble cranking out one manuscript after another, but for the rest of us, it's a lot of hard work. Here are some tips I recently used to get a big project done in record time.

The Cloister
Cloistering isn't just for monks! You can create your own special place of seclusion to help you shut out the distractions that keep you from your work. When I first explored this idea, I spent some time looking at pictures of cloistered structures to give myself a visual image of this idea.

There are lots of stories about writers who cloister themselves in exotic locations while they hammer out their next bestseller. Oftentimes, they conveniently solve a mystery or fall in love during this process. Here in the real world, most writers don't have that opportunity, but they can still create the feeling of engaging in a short period of isolation while they work.

My advice is to start with the simple things: turn off the phone. Shut down your e-mail and instant messaging. If possible, close the door to your workspace. The more distractions you can eliminate, the better!

The Dreaded Outline
Odd as this may sound, I wrote three books without the guidance of an outline. There were times when I found it necessary to create one mid-way through, but I never had an actual road map to begin with. It comes as no surprise that I floundered throughout the entire process, perpetually asking myself, “What happens next?”

I've wasted enough time now to realize that writing outlines saves time. It doesn't hinder the creative process as I once suspected. If an idea comes to me that wasn't part of the original outline, I just add it in.

Reward Yourself
I've talked about this before, but it is worth mentioning again. Rather than scold myself for not working on my manuscript, I reward myself for the days I do write. This shifts my thinking from a negative position to a positive one. On my latest project, I pasted a gold star on each calendar day that I wrote. I found those little aluminum stickers became an incentive for me to show up every day.

One miraculous thing I discovered was that it was easier to get my manuscript done when I worked on it every day. I started my latest project more than a year ago, but got the bulk of it done in about four months time. Back in the days when I wrote sporadically, I wasted a lot of time refreshing my memory on what I had previously written. By working on my manuscript every day, I was able to eliminate the review process.

Anyone who dedicates time and effort in creating a story for others to enjoy should be commended. Writing is lonely business, so my hope for the authors of the world is that they enjoy the journey!   

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Yikes! Wins Readers Choice Award

Thanks to everyone who voted for Yikes! Another Quirky Audio Book in the Reader's Choice sponsored by the Book Blogger Fair. It's always nice to be recognized, especially in the humor/satire category, but this contest featured more than just “atta boys.” Winners from the Reader's Choice Awards each receive a “badge” with their Amazon link posted to the website for the Book Blogger Fair http://bloggerbookfair.wordpress.com/blogger-book-fair/bbf-readers-choice-awards/winners-july-2013/

This year's Book Blogger Fair brought 150 writers together to promote more than 400 books. I had the opportunity to share content with several interesting people including Doug Ten Rose, author of Fearless Puppy http://www.fearlesspuppy.org, and Tom Lucas, author of Leather to the Corinthians http://readtomlucas.com/about-tom/about-leather-to-the-corinthians/.

The Book Blogger Fair was coordinated by an exceptionally organized writer named Kayla Curry. Check out Kayla's Mystic Stone Series http://www.mysticstonesseries.blogspot.com/

Book Blogger Fair will be expanding in 2014. A Writing and Marketing Workshop is slated for next February. Thirty authors have already signed up to host live and pre-recorded video presentations. To learn more, visit http://bloggerbookfair.wordpress.com/.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Leveraging the Universe and Engaging the Magic

Have you ever contemplated why things seem to come so easily to certain people? Would you like to become one of those people? Mike Dooley, creator of Notes from the Universe, explains how you can do that in his audio book, Leveraging the Universe and Engaging the Magic http://www.tut.com/about/mikedooley/.

Dooley is fond of saying, “thoughts become things.” In Leveraging the Universe and Engaging the Magic, Dooley goes into detail about how it all works. Boiled down to it's basic message, Dooley says if we think and speak in positive terms, we'll get positive results. Conversely, negative thinking will net negative outcomes. Sounds simple, right? Yet it's so easy to slip into “stinkin' thinkin'.” That's because it takes more energy to think positive thoughts than negative ones. The irony is, when we think on a positive level, we actually have more energy!

I became acquainted with Dooley's work though his internet service called Notes from the Universe
http://www.tut.com/ This is a free service which sends a note of encouragement to my e-mail box every weekday. I've been so inspired by the Notes from the Universe, I actually look forward to checking my e-mail at the start of the work day. Here's the message I received this morning:
Adele Park, when it comes to pursing the life of your dreams, you can look at it like this: Best case scenario . . . the sun, the moon and the stars. Worst case scenario . . . the sun, the moon and the stars. Tallyho, The Universe. P.S. Adele Park, it is written. You will prevail, thrive and arrive.

I listen to a lot of audio books from life coaches and wellness advocates, but the main thing I've found lacking in these productions is humor. Mike Dooley's got that covered in Leveraging the Universe and Engaging the Magic. This audio book appears to be a taping of a lecture that Dooley did at a church. Dooley has such an engaging, funny personality, I can only hope he'll some day lecture in a venue near where I live. In the meantime, I'm planning to order more of Dooley's products http://www.audible.com/search?searchNarrator=Mike+Dooley&bp_ua=yes&mkwid=IDBJvGBZ&pmt=b&pkw=_inurl:searchNarrator&source_code=GO1GB907KSH060513&gclid=COWjyvO9vrkCFY9xQgodnkIA8g

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Writing Innovations Interview

This interview is posted on the Writing Innovations Website http://writinginnovations.blogspot.com

WI: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I have been a story teller all my life. When I was in Junior High School, I started writing funny little novellas for my friends. After graduating from college, I went on to become a radio and television reporter and anchor. My job required me to write stories every day, although my style was restricted to news copy. In my free time, I wrote the manuscripts that I eventually turned into audio books called Jitters – A Quirky Little Audio Book and Yikes! Another Quirky Audio Book.

WI: What inspired you to pen this particular novel/book?
I wanted to write something which reflected the quirky things unique to Utah. Both of my audio books address the subject of polygamy. My definition of satire is to exploit the absurd, so I use humor to explore sticky topics like marijuana, Gay Rights, bullying and discrimination.

WI: What road blocks did you come across while writing this story?
One of the other problems I have encountered is answering the question, “What happens next?” I have learned that writing an outline is very helpful. If I don't have to worry about plot lines, I can concentrate on making the content interesting and funny.

I've also noticed it is easy to get wrapped up in my regular work, so setting aside time to write has always been a challenge. I have to be disciplined when the nice weather beckons me to go for a ride on my bicycle or ATV.

WI: What do you do if a story just doesn't seem to flow the way you were hoping it would?
Sometimes I have to settle for just getting something down on paper. I can always go back and fix things that are awkward. I believe that stagnation kills, so it's better to write something that isn't up to par than it is to write nothing at all. Besides, I've always heard, “the write is in the re-write!”

WI: What has been the hardest thing about marketing this story?
My writing style is very unusual so the challenge has been to find people who are interested in my quirky brand of humor. Both Jitters – A Quirky Little Audio Book and Yikes! Another Quirky Audio Book use a full cast of characters who speak in first person narratives, so my products are vastly different than mainstream audio books. When marketing my products, I have to find listeners who are open to audio books which color way outside the lines.

WI: What is one thing you wished you knew before, that you now know about marketing?
I have learned to do more research on the people I ask to review my work. In the past, I thought that blasting out a bunch of generic requests was all that was required. I have since discovered that my work doesn't meet the needs and tastes of every reviewer, so I try not to waste people's time by pitching them a genre that isn't of interest to them.

WI: What is one piece of advice that you received to help your writing that you still carry with you today?
Because I worked as a radio and TV reporter for so many years, the scripts for my audio books started sounding like news reports. My Mom is a former English teacher who suggested I try writing in first person so that I could stop “telling people” the story and start engaging them in it instead. This piece of advice led me to produce my products using first person narratives which is a huge departure from mainstream audio books. Although my style is very different, I'm happy I arrived at it nonetheless.

WI: Tell us what a day in your writing life is like, do you have any writing quirks?
Like many authors, I have numerous obligations which make it so that I have to carve out time to write. However, I don't think I could spend a whole day working on my manuscripts even if I wanted to. I tend to work in concentrated blocks of two to three hours at a time.

As for writing “quirks,” I'm a neat freak. Also, I like my office and recording studio to feel friendly and inviting. I decorate my work space to reflect the changing seasons. Because it is spring, my office is now filled with bright floral swags and colored glass pieces with butterflies and flowers.

WI: Where do you hope to take your writing in the future?
I am currently working on the next installment of the Quirky Audio Book Series. I'm also interested in writing some audio books for young adults. These stories will involve two cousins who solve mysteries together in a variety of locations including Navel, Utah.

WI: Are you currently working on any new projects?
I'm working on the script for a new audio book I'm calling Quirky Three until I'm ready to release the actual title. This audio book will feature characters from both Jitters – A Quirky Little Audio Book and Yikes! Another Quirky Audio Book. This is part of the Quirky Audio Book Series, but each audio book is a “stand alone” project. My audio books are in chronological order and all take place in the fictitious town of Navel, Utah. However, listeners don't have to hear all the stories in order to understand whichever audio book in the series they are listening to.

WI: Do you have any upcoming events or special news you would like to share with our readers? (Any contests, giveaways, book signings, upcoming/new releases, or author appearances, please let us know.)
I have some upcoming radio interviews that people can listen to online. On April 22, I will be a guest on “January Jones Sharing Success Stories” http://www.blogtalkradio.com/januaryjones. On April 25th, listeners can hear a pre-recorded interview with “Book That Author” with Linda Leon http://www.blogtalkradio.com/book-that-author. Also on April 25th, I will be doing an interview on Eunice Nisbett's show, “Book Marketing in Five” http://www.blogtalkradio.com/savvybestsellers/2013/03/14/book-marketing-in-five.

WI: Where can readers find you?
Both of my websites feature funny YouTube videos, cast bios, sound samples, links to purchase the audio books at Amazon.com and Audible.com and information about Straight to Audio Productions, LLC.

WI: Where can your book be purchased?
Both of my audio books are available on Amazon.com and Audible.com. Links to these sites can be found on the Yikes! website http://www.yikesaudiobook.com and the Jitters website http://www.jittersaudiobook.com.