Writing Is a Business!

Writing is a business, especially if you plan to self-publish. You need to start thinking like a business owner as well as a writer. Make time for the various writing tasks the way you would at any other job.That’s if you want to make an income from it, otherwise, write however you want. Or write how you want anyway.

I want to publish my work, but I’m very realistic about how I can’t live on my writing. I love my teaching job and have time for writing, too. It’s like I have two jobs but only get paid for one. Most people who work at home or run a small business from home have the luxury of choosing their hours and managing their own time. But for some, managing their own time is a chore.

Here’s some helpful things to think about when structuring your own schedule to help make the most of your writing and grow it like a business.

  • Writing is your main task, so allow blocks of time to get as much done as possible.
  • Allow time for things like planning, researching, and finding inspiration.
  • Use a calendar to plan and remind yourself of tasks. I use different colours for different tasks.
  • If you use social media or blogs to self-promote, think of that as a presentations for potential clients.
  • Investing in things like writing books or courses or writing software is no different from investing in a startup company. There are things you need from day one, and things you can save up for as you make more progress. See my “Writing on a Budget” post for more on that.
  • Critiquing and sharing your work is like a meeting where you all discuss your current projects and help each other make the best of them.
  • Editing can be fun or boring as hell depending on how you approach it. I like to think of it as making sure everyone else is doing their job properly, and if not, you deal with it. I recommend outsourcing to a professional just as some businesses would with aspects out of their skill set.
  • You could think of querying agents as offering your fantastic services.
  • Then you sell your final product to shops for purchase while keeping up with marketing and designing your next products.

Running a small business can seem like a daunting idea until you realise that it’s just structuring what you enjoy into something you can make money from. Just don’t quit your day job.

Image by fancycrave1 from Pixabay 

Great Writing Advice!

Read more. Read less. Get writing books and learn as much as possible. Plan and outline everything. Just sit down and write. Honestly, even the best writing advice doesn’t work for everyone. 

People regularly ask about the best writing advice on the writing website I’m on. So many people jump in with great thoughts and helpful tips for newbies. Honestly, I wish I’d asked when I first joined the site after drafting a 500+k pentalogy without having a clue. There’s so much information on how to write that it can be overwhelming for newbies.

I think the best advice is to take it one element at a time. 

What newbies tend to forget (me included when I started writing) is that writing is so much more than sitting at a document and typing away. It’s creating interesting characters, having your plot points make sense, considering your genre and target audience. There’s a ton of planning and research that goes into a WIP. Some people do this before they write while others do it as they go. 

I started by just writing and seeing if I came up with a story I wanted to make something of. I wrote a horrible first draft, even by first draft standards. But I considered it a very detailed outline. My next version was from scratch after looking up various writing techniques. But again, it was all too overwhelming with the options. 

After banging my head against my computer screen, I decided to get a couple of books. I started with “Writing Fiction for Dummies” because that’s what I was in relation to writing. It gives some great tips on each aspect of writing without overloading newbies. When I wanted to know more, I looked it up online with the basics already in my head. I then bought “Dialogue” and “Grammar for Fiction Writers” from Mary Kennedy’s “Busy Writer’s Guide” series. I also have “How to Writer Science Fiction & Fantasy” by Orson Scott Card. Between these books, I got more than enough advice to start my journey as a real writer. 

Over time, I found more advice and tips online to build on the basics I’d already learned. The best place I learned is from the critiquing website critiquecircle.com. check it out. You’ll be amazed what you learn by having others critique your work as well as you critiquing theirs.

I discovered some great YouTubers who not only gave great advice, but help writers think about what kind of writer they want to be. For me, this was the best advice I’ve found.

Firstly, Jenna Moreci. She has a variety of writing advice as well as marketing tips for those who want to self-publish. But it’s still helpful to know about these things like creating a social media presence, having a personal website, and being part of online writing communities. Below are some of my favourites from Jenna. 

She’s great with getting people to think about how they want to write rather than telling people how to write. I also just adore her realism over how the writing world works. 

Then there’s Abbie Emmons. She covers many of the topics Jenna covers, but delves deeper into the hows and whys of human behaviour to help build believable characters and plots.

Another favourite of mine is Meg LaTorre. She’s done a couple of collaboration videos with Jenna, which I really enjoyed. Their major books, The Savior’s Champion (dark fantasy) and The Cyborg Tinkerer (space steampunk fantasy) are very different in plot and characters. But they’ve still created really great literature. I’ve read Jenna’s Savior’s Champion and am halfway through Cyborg Tinkerer. So far so good.

I also like Sacha Black. She doesn’t beat around the bush and has a fun podcast.

You need to find a few sources who offer advice suited to you and stick with them. That’s not to say you shouldn’t keep looking for other perspectives. You should never limit your learning. But why change you main teachers if you’re learning what you need from them?

Jenna, Meg, Sacha, Abbie, and my critique partners are my teachers, so I’ll stick with them while seeking an occasional lesson from other authors.


Title image by Geralt at pixabay.com.

Figuring out My Social Media and Scheduling My Blog Posts!

Books, Smartphone, Hand, Keep, Mobile Phone, Computer

Not very exciting news, but I’ve decided to start posting every Saturday and sometimes on Wednesdays if I have a lot to say. But it’s part of my

I keep dipping into future marketing ideas like playing about with quirky logos or getting back on Instagram. I forgot I even had an account. Then there’s my Twitter account. The only activity on there is my WP and Instagram posts. So why do I keep it? No idea. My Facebook is private and purely for friends and family. I’m on Discord, which I’m not sure is classed as social media or not, but I have a writing group on there.

But do I really need all of this right now? I have a day job, which allows me my mornings free to work on making writing a second career. If not, it’s a pretty intense pastime. But I’m serious about making something of my writing, so every morning, I sit at my PC and churn out new scenes and chapters, revise WIPs, critique my writing buddies (although I’ve lacked there lately), blog and plan and plot and do whatever writing related thing I feel needs attention that moment.

I need Discord to rant about writing, and I like this site since it’s a great creative outlet for me. But Twitter and Instagram??? I decided that I do need them, at least for Instagram, which is more suited to me than Twitter. I can’t explain it. But There’s something more comfortable about Instagram. I suppose that if I do become a successful (that’s subjective, of course) writer, then I could simply keep posting on WP and Instagram with the posts sent to Twitter. And I’ll just have to activate my Twitter notifications so I’ don’t miss anything. Right now, I hardly look at it.

Below are a couple of videos from two great author on social media and marketing. I already do some of what Meg and Jenna suggest, but thanks to their advice, I’ll be working on a few things gradually.


So I think for now, I have it sorted. I post one or two pictures a day on Instagram, and at least weekly on WP. I’ve actually started scheduling posts to keep to the same one or two days per week. That way, when I have the time, I can churn out a few posts, schedule them for the next couple of weeks, and then focus on my novel writing. 

Here are some of my Love Fantasy social media images…

It’s never too early to start working on these things if you have the time. Just remember, if you don’t work on your novels, you’ll have nothing to market.

Title image by Geralt at Pixabay.com

New Logo!

I know I’m a long way off publishing and branding. But it doesn’t hurt to ponder these things as I work up to the whole marketing stuff.

I keep dipping into my lapsed graphic design skills and thinking about the general look I want to go for. I’m still deciding, but I have a possible logo to share.

It’s purely experimental and just for my own purposes. But here… enjoy…

And…

I have more ideas that might lead to something completely different. But the whole point of this site is to log my progress. This is my latest progress.

It’s never too early to start thinking about these things. But don’t forget to put your writing first. Logos and websites mean very little without the writing to showcase.

Writing on a Budget!

Before I start, let me be clear that I’m talking about WIPs on their way to being published, not for polishing that final manuscript. Jenna Moreci has a video on Easy Budgeting for Writers for when you reach that stage. Here’s an older video on How Much Does It Cost to Publish a Book?

I’ve recently read a few forums with experienced/published writers giving new/budding writers great advice on creative writing courses, getting an editor to go over their work, and paying for beta readers. But that’s not financially possible for those of us with day jobs that just about cover our existing bills. 

I’d love to take a really good creative writing course and share with fellow writers in person. I’d love to get all the wonderful software that helps me create polished work. I’d love to send some sample chapters to a professional editor for some real feedback and the main things I need to work on. But money doesn’t grow on trees.

I’ve already shared some writing tools and useful software in Let’s Get Technical. But here are some things I use within my budget.

Expanding Your Writing Skills

Joining a critiquing website has been an amazing learning process (see below from more), but it’s good to find other ways to learn that don’t involve expensive courses.

Invest in a good grammar for writers book. I have a few books from “The Busy Writer” series by book editor Marcy Kennedy.

There are some decent online course, according to the forums I follow, but again, they cost money. Masterclass and Skillshare are ones I hear about a lot. However, there are a ton of YouTube videos giving advice. Advice is subjective as I mention in this post, but for writers getting started, they are some great videos for you to think about. 

I typed “writing advice” in YouTube and recognised several of my favourites on the first page. They’re more idea and concept related, but they’re great to get you started with plot ideas, characters, avoiding common mistakes. 

Jenna, obviously.

Meg LaTorre is another one I follow.

A freebee from Margaret Atwood, also on Masterclass.

Organising ideas

Scrivener is pretty cheap and a one-off payment. But I find OneNotes a great free alternative for organising ideas. I created a new notebook for each WIP with tabs for notes and ideas, outlines, feedback, characters, word building etc. Each tab has multiple pages with the different versions of my outlines, different characters with full descriptions and inspiration images, and feedback by chapter or beta version depending on how I have received it.

OneNotes is also available on Windows (obviously), Android, and Apple devices. I haven’t checked if it’s on Linux, but you can access it through most browsers, including Firefox, so you can basically access it anywhere.

Organising Documents

I decided to keep my Office 365, but if I had to, I could use Google Docs. I save my writing to my Gdrive so I can access, share, and edit in Chrome. There are extensions worth flipping to Chrome when editing. You don’t even need to pay for a word processor. Also, you can save offline versions of your work in the Gdrive app and Chrome or get the free Google backup folder for automatic synchronisation on your computer. You can open, save, and edit as a Word .docx or Google document. 

The best thing about using Google Docs is the extensions. Which leads me to…

Editing

Pro Writing Aid and Grammarly have free extensions for Chrome and are super useful to pick up silly writing mistakes. That’s not to say they pick up everything, so you need to do a good run through yourself.

This is where Natural Reader comes in handy. Again, it’s a free TTS extension on Chrome. It uses either Microsoft voices built into Windows or Google voices via Chrome. I personally prefer Google’s voice because it feels more natural. They even offer twenty minutes per day of the premium voices, so if you want to go through a poem, flash fiction, or a short scene, then you get this included.

Sharing Your Writing

I use Critique Circle, which is convenient because it’s all online, and it’s free to join and share in the public queues. This is where any member can submit a story for review and any member can review it. You earn the same credits as everyone else when you critique a story, and you pay the same in credits when you submit a story. 

For the paid version, you get private queues where you can save credits, invite specific people to review your work, and submit as often as possible. I do recommend this version because it really helps with learning and getting more tailored feedback. If there is anything I suggest you invest in early on, it’s a good critique site. 

I can’t rave about this site enough. They have great forums for sharing thoughts and ideas as well as helping with publishing advice when you get to that point. I admit I roll my eyes at some of the things people say on there at times, but I’ve learned what kind of advice best suits my work. For example, I write fantasy, so if everyone said that I need to dial back on the visuals, then I’d be concerned that I’m overdoing it. But if only one person made a big deal of it when I’m trying to describe something unique to that world, that would concern me as to whether they really understood the genre.

Long story short… Writing isn’t cheap, but whether it’s a hobby or leading to a second career, it’s worth investing a little from the start then saving up for the bigger costs as and when you really need them. 

Featured image by Comfreak at Pixabay.

Happy WordPress Birthday to Me!

Birthday, Happy Birthday, Heart, Vintage, Decorative
Image by Darkmoon Art at Pixabay

It might seem silly to celebrate a website birthday, especially a little writing site from an unpublished writer who claims to know what she’s talking about. But I don’t care. It’s my WordPress birthday and I can cry if I want to. Except I don’t. It’s a happy thing,

So thanks to my followers, all 73 of you. Because I started with zero, so I’d call that a win. Also, I’m half Spanish and will use any excuse to celebrate.

Burnout!

Image by Movida Grafica at Pixabay.

In life, we need a break, a holiday, and day on the sofa before we burnout. Why would writing be any different? 

I felt a burn out brewing last week, so I took a three days off writing. It might not sound like much since not everyone writes daily. I do. Between my novels, short stories and blogs, I write every day. 

I tend to balance my primary WIP with my other writing so as not to overload my brain with one project. I’ve been so immersed in mine that I forgot to come up for air. My creative brain was running on fumes while the rest of me was just about doing okay. 

I seemed to have been hit with a bunch of life stuff all at once again. I blame Covid since just about all of it stems back to the virus in some form or another. But I’ve ploughed through as best I can, and things are settling again. 

I took a long weekend to just relax without feeling like I’m missing out. I dabbled in blogging, I played a lot of music, which has taken a back seat to my writing, and I finally watched The Rise of Skywalker having missed it last Christmas because I was ill. Thank you, Disney +. 

Now I’m ready for another stint of edits and whatever life throws at me again. 

Here’s a fun Imagine Dragons track for you.

Don’t forget my Writing Ranting with Others Discord group. Message me SilverLinings#0367 for more information.

Pearlescent

A little poem from my random Bursts of Words collection.

I once had a collection of pearls in an iridescent shell. Each one contained a piece of my heart. Some I wore on a necklace when I needed them while others were safe away from the cruel world.

They shimmered in the sunlight and brought me strength when I doubted myself. With so many, I occasionally gifted one to the people I cared deeply for. Sometimes, they gifted one back.

One day, a man came into my life and shared his heart’s pearls with me, so I shared mine with him. A woman soon joined us, and our pearls glimmered as if from the same shell. They were beautiful together.

That was until I stumbled, and my pearls rolled away. My friends did not reach out to catch them. Instead, they stomped and crushed them to dust until my heart had no joy, no laughter, only emptiness. Once there were no more pearls, the pair left me to pick up the pieces.

I collected all the dust I could and placed it back in the shell. For weeks, months, I stared at that shell with my broken heart, occasionally peeking at the destruction inside. 

Each time I did, I cried until I was out of tears for the day. Begging my friends did nothing, only left more anger and pain within me.

Those who broke my pearls did not take responsibility but blamed me until I blamed myself. 

Eventually, I stopped looking in the shell, but the memory of the cracking pearls haunted my days and nights. I was adrift in this fog with no strength or solace. 

I ached with more pain than I could handle. It drained me, stole the last of my hope. Days, weeks, months passed as my heart remained pearlescent dust. I wandered aimlessly in a fog, going through the motions as one does when they have little to live for.

I cannot recall what made me look in the shell one day. A speck of hope or desperation. But when I looked, a pearl had reformed, and a piece of my heart along with it. 

Now, I open the shell to find more reformed pearls. 

They do not shine the way they once did, but the pieces of my heart come back one by one. 

Image by Myriams-Fotos at Pixabay.com

Let Me Hate You

A little poem from my random Bursts of Words collection.

Tell me you need me and that you care.

Let me hear you say I’m your superstar, your favourite.

Take all I offer and more.

Give me all you are and will be.

Take my passion.

Steal my creativity and inspiration.

Use me, then throw me away.

Don’t say you’re sorry.

Just let me hate you.

Image by Peggychoucair at Pixabay