Getting Organized






Writers’ come in many shapes and sizes, so are writing spaces. Some are neat and tidy, or chaotic with papers spread on every surface.  My writing friend is so proud and liberated when his desk and office are organized that you’d think it was always that way. However, in the middle of a project, files and papers are scattered in disarray—but not so for him—he knows what is where.

No matter what your style, we need some kind of order to free our thoughts and stimulate our creativity.

We aspire to write daily and need “our space” to do so productively. But, we have a lot of stuff we need to keep where we can find it, and not forget it exists: our research, our reference and reading library, our notebooks and journals, our article clippings, and our inspiration photos.

I’ll admit that when I’m overloaded and need a break, I like to futz around re-organizing and freshening-up my office. The trouble is sometimes I forget where I filed the book, the folder, or the research I need for a project. So, a digital and paper filing plan is essential.

Tips you might find helpful:

•    Make the plan simple, one that’s easy to maintain, and adjustable when you discover something is not efficient.
•    Make a practice of uncluttering your writing area often.
•    Designate a space for pending items—bills, memos, etc., to handle later. Vertical trays, hung on a wall next to your desk might be a workable solution.
•    Set-up a Waiting for Response folder to follow-up on outstanding correspondence.
•    The tools you use every day are for the surface of your desk, but use drawers or closet space for supplies not used daily.
•    The bookcase is not the catchall. Group books by category for ease in locating.

The Bullet Journal: Is a great for organizing your do list and appointment, today and in the future 4-6 months out.  http://bulletjournal.com/get-started/

Great Tips to Organize Your Office Space  https://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/21-tips-to-organize-your-office-and-get-more-done.htmlhttps://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/21-tips-to-organize-your-office-and-get-more-done.html

How to Organize Your Office and Boost Your Productivity  https://www.cio.com/article/boost-your-productivity.html 


Deborah Lyn Stanley is a writer of Creative Non-Fiction. She writes articles, essays and stories. She is passionate about caring for the mentally impaired through creative arts. Visit her web-blog: Deborah Lyn Stanley : MyWriter's Life .  “Write your best, in your voice, your way!

Publishing Takes More Than Good Intentions


By W. Terry Whalin

Through the years, I've met face to face with many writers. I know they have big dreams and good intentions. Maybe they want to write a novel or a nonfiction book. Or they want to get published in a magazine and understand the value of perfecting their craft in a shorter form of writing before they try a longer book project.

During our brief meeting together, I listen to their pitch. I often give them some input or direction from my experience. Often I will encourage them saying, “That sounds like a good idea. Write that up and send it to me.” As an acquisitions editor, I only asked for the manuscripts that were a fit for my publishing house. My encouragement to send their manuscript was sincere.

Yet I never heard from them again. I believe there is a chronic challenge among writers. To get published takes more than good intentions. You must follow through with your intention and get your writing into the marketplace.

Here's five tips on how to have more than good intentions and follow through:

1. Divide the Work. Every task needs to get broken into bite size parts. If you are writing a magazine article, then set a word count goal for your production. If you are trying to get more magazine writing, then decide how many queries you are going to send this week. Or if you are writing a book proposal, then tackle the sections one at a time. Or if you are writing a novel, set a number of words you want to produce each day. Make the work or task specific and then move forward and get it done.

2. Make a check list and cross it off. Take your planned writing and write it down every day. Often I will make a list the night for the next day. Then I cross it off when it is completed. It feels good to complete something and mark it off the list—and I know I'm moving ahead with my intentions.

3. Keep taking action. Without a doubt, you will have interruptions and other things which enter your life to cause delays and capture your attention. Recognize these interruptions ahead of time and make an internal commitment to continue moving forward. It will take on-going commitment to achieve what you want with your writing.

4. Create your own deadlines. Editors give writers deadlines for their writing—whether magazines or books. I encourage you to create your own deadlines for your writing and commit to making those deadlines. It will keep your writing moving forward. And if you don't make your deadline for some reason? Set a new deadline and push forward.

5. Get an accountability partner. Verbalize your goal to some other person. It could be a friend, a writer friend, a family member or whoever. Ask that person to hold your feet to the fire and check with you about whether you are accomplishing your intentions or not.

If you follow through with excellent writing, you will stand out in the publishing world. Many people dream and the ones that get it done, follow-through with their good intentions.

Tweetable:

Successful publishing is more than good intentions. Discover some action steps here. (ClickToTweet)

References:

Getting a Novel Published
Publishing Nonfiction
Magazine Writing Leads to a Published Book
Guide to Freelance Writing

----
W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 books for traditional publishers including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams, Insider Secrets To Skyrocket Your Success. Also Terry has written for more than 50 magazines. He lives in Colorado.

Where does your story really start?


I recently went to a writing program where the instructor, writer Amy K Nichols, talked about her first book. She polished and polished the first chapter, as we all do. She got an agent, then sold the book. But after the editor started working on it, she told Amy, "You know, I think your story starts in Chapter 8."

Since then, she's noticed that many people don't start in the right place. Often it's not as drastic as 8 chapters too early. Sometimes it's only a couple of paragraphs.

Now Nichols does a workshop where people get up and read their first couple of pages aloud and the listeners decide where the story should really start. They try to cut out backstory and get right into the meat--or to a killer hook line.

The workshop was really interesting. It made me re-evaluate a short story I wrote that I really like, that I think is better than some the stories I've sold to magazines, yet I just can't find a taker. And you know what? I think Nichols was right. I think the real beginning is about three paragraphs down.

I challenge you to take your current work in progress and read it aloud--to a group of trusted critiquers, to friends who like to read and will be honest, or even just to yourself. This works with non-fiction too. As one travel magazine said in its general guidelines, your article doesn't start the moment you wake up to go to the airport.


Melinda Brasher can't resist photos of teddy bears, animals, and small children reading books (who were perhaps hooked because the author started the story in the right place).  

Her most recent sale is a twist on Rumpelstiltskin, appearing in Timeless Tales. You can also find her fiction in NousElectric SpecIntergalactic Medicine Show, and others. If you're dreaming about traveling to Alaska, check out her guide book, Cruising Alaska on a Budget; a Cruise and Port Guide. Visit her online at http://www.melindabrasher.com

Facts in Fiction




Contributed by Valerie Allen

Not all fiction is fictitious.

There will be readers who know more than you do about a person, place, object or procedure. Criticism will be quick and negative if you get factual information wrong in your writing.

Using the Names of Real People

The answer is both, yes and no. Yes, if it is a public figure with a known and accepted reputation. This would include: Jesus Christ, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., Bill Gates, Princess Diana, Mother Theresa, and similar persons living or dead.

The answer is no, if it is your mother, brother, neighbor, coworker, classmate, etc. You need written permission to use names of these private people in your writing.

Names of Places

Again, if it is well known or a generic place, you are probably safe to use the exact name. Such places as Las Vegas, The Big Apple, The Grand Canyon, The Rocky Mountains, and so on. Be careful when using trademarked or copyrighted names.

If the place named is specific or you are using it in a negative sense, it may be better to create a totally different name.

For example, you may use Ft. Lauderdale in your murder mystery, depicting it as a high crime city. However, the citizens, Chamber of Commerce, local media, and state governing bodies may take offense. They may discourage readership with boycotts, or limit it from their libraries, protest to the publisher, or bring a lawsuit.

Likewise, do not use the name of your hometown if it has a population under 50,000. The people in small towns may claim your story is libelous, your fictionalized characters are too similar to real people, and your plot too close to reality.

Names of Companies or Agencies

If you are going to write a story about insider trading, do not use the name of a real financial planning firm. If you are going to write about deliberate medical malpractice, do not use the name of a real hospital, medical company, or physician.

If you create a new name, be sure it is significantly different from the original. The words, spelling, and phonics must not be confused with the actual name.

For example, do not use American Air Lines, America Air Lines, or American Aero Lines. Do not use Raymond James Stadium, Ray James Stadium, R. James Stadium, or Raymond James Sports Arena.

There are specific names, which are so common they have become generic, and are usually safe to use.

For example, there are likely hundreds of George Washington High Schools throughout the United States. The same is true of Main Street, Riverfront Park, the First Baptist Church, and The First National Bank.

Names of Things

Careful here. Most objects and brands are trademarked and you must use a general descriptor instead of the band name.

We all know the following items have specific brand names: cola soft drinks, cotton ear swabs, facial tissue, inline skates, copy machine, an American made motor cycle, and so on. Check all of the logos and trademarks before using their specific names in your work.

Check your Facts

When including directions, landmarks, distance or time check for accuracy.

New Hampshire is west of Maine. Palm Beach is about 50 miles north of Ft. Lauderdale. Disney World and Disney Land are two different places, in two different states.

To write good fiction, you must have your facts right. This will educate your reader and give credibility to your work.

Valerie Allen writes fiction, nonfiction, short stories and children's books. She assists writers with marketing via Authors For Authors  with two major annual events in warm and sunny Florida. Meet the Authors Book Fair in the Fall and the Writers' Conference: Write, Publish, Sell! in the Spring. Vendor tables and presentations encourage networking and marketing to increase book sales. Book Display options are available for authors throughout the USA. Valerie loves to hear from readers and writers! Contact her at: VAllenWriter@gmail.com  and AuthorsForAuthors.com



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So You Want to Write a Book - Now What?


If you're like most freelance writers, small business owners, and other solopreneurs, you want to write a book because you know that having your own published book will boost your business.

Yet, for many reasons, writing a book seems like an impossible task.

Well, it doesn't have to be.

Writing a book is like anything else.

You just need to learn all the parts to the process and then get started.

And you can learn the process and actually write your book in much less time than you probably realize.

Yet, there is more to it than simply sitting down and writing your book.

You'll also need to:

1. Learn how to write a book that people will want to buy—not simply write a book you wish to sell.

2. Take steps to generate interest in your book even before it is published.

3. Learn a variety of ways to use your book to provide additional streams of income.

4. Quickly determine a focus for your book.

5. Learn to create a simple structure for your book so it's much easier to write (and to read).

6. Learn ways to avoid getting "stuck" in the middle of writing your book so you actually finish writing it within a relatively short period of time (this is where so many people have trouble).

7. Learn how to determine if self-publishing or traditional publishing is the best route to take with your book.

8. Learn how to determine the specific market(s) for your book.

9. Learn how to market your book to an agent or publisher even before you write it.

And much more.

Each step needs to be taken at just the right time, in just the right manner, if you're going to successfully write and sell your book.

So - if you're thinking of writing a book to boost your business, take the time to learn all the steps you need to know before you get started.

Try it!

Suzanne Lieurance is a freelance writer, the author of 35 published books, and a writing coach.

Register for her 4-part free e-course, How to Write, Publish, and Launch Your Best Selling Book now at Writebythesea.com.

Shake it Up: A Creative Writing Activity


Are you itching to start a new project? Want to work on something different? Stuck in a rut? Shake things up.

Here's a fun exercise that will get you out of your normal writing routine and will hopefully help you embark on a fun, creative journey.

 Take a piece of paper and write out at least 50 possibilities. Anything goes. This can range from story ideas, genres, and formats to marketing initiatives (create a contest, start a newsletter, plan an event) and social media options (go live on Facebook, post a quote graphic, update your LinkedIn).

Note: If you prefer, you can type up your list - double-spaced - and print it out.

Now, cut these out into individual strips. Put them in a hat or box. Then, when you have some downtime or scheduled writing time, "shake it up," and choose one. Whatever you choose, you must do.

Here are a few optional rules/variations:

1. You have the option to put the first item back, but you have to do the second thing you pick. And then next three times, you are not allowed to choose an alternate.

2. Divide your ideas into different boxes, based on the amount of time the activity will take, and choose based on your schedule.

3. Separate them into different boxes. One for ideas and another for formats. Pick one from each box, and then you have to write whatever idea you pick into whichever format. For instance, if you choose "blue" and "social media post," you must find a way to write a post on that topic, however you interpret blue. Could be the color or emotion. It's up to you.

No matter what you are working on as your primary project, it never hurts to explore a different genre or format. You never know where new ideas may lead! Good luck and have fun.

What items are going on your list? How do you plan to shake things up? Please share in the comments.

* * *

Debra Eckerling is a writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group. Like the Write On Online Facebook Page and join the Facebook Group.  She is author of Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog and Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages, and host of the Guided Goals Podcast and the #GoalChat Twitter Chat. Debra is an editor at Social Media Examiner and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

Point of View and Children’s Storytelling


Point-of-view (POV) is the narrator's view of what's going on.

The POV is who's telling the story. This will determine what the reader 'hears' and 'sees' in regard to the story. And, it determines the ‘personal pronouns’ that will be used.

Having this element of the story consistent throughout is essential.

There are three main POVs in young children’s storytelling: first person, second person, and third person (limited). And, in each of these POVs, the protagonist (main character) must be in each scene – the story is told through his five-senses. If he doesn’t see, hear, smell, taste, or touch it, it doesn’t exist in the story.

1. First person.

This POV has the protagonist personally telling the story. Pronouns, such as “I,” “my,” “me,” “I’m,” are used.

Example from “Because of Winn-Dixie:”

That summer I found Winn-Dixie was also the summer me and the preacher moved to Naomi, Florida, so he could be the new preacher . . .  (The protagonist, Opal, is talking to the reader – italics are mine for clarity.)

Notice the above isn’t in quotation marks for dialog. Dialog would be used if the protagonist talks to another character in the story or another character talks. See examples below:

“But you know what?” I told Winn-Dixie. (Opal is talking to her dog.)

“Well, I don’t know,” said Miss Franny. “Dogs are not allowed in the Herman W. Block Memorial Library.” (The librarian in the story is talking to Opal.)

Children’s books in first person POV:

“Because of Winn-Dixie (Kate DiCamillo)
“Green Eggs and Ham” (Dr. Suess)
“The Polar Express” (Chris Van Allsburg)
“Fly Away Home” (Eve Bunting)

2. Second person.

This POV uses “you” as the pronoun, referring to the reader and isn’t used that often in young children’s writing. But, there are some authors who pull it off very well.

An example of this POV from “How to Babysit Grandpa:”

Babysitting a grandpa is fun. If you know how. (The protagonist is talking to the reader, involving him. Italics are mine.)

Children’s books in second person POV:

"How to Babysit Grandpa" (Jean Reagan)
"Secret Pizza Party" (Adam Rubin)
"The Book That Eats People" (John Perry)

3. Third person (limited).

This POV is probably the most popular in young children’s writing. Pronouns, such as “he,” “she,” “its,” “they,” and “their” are used.

While this is similar to the other two POVs, in that they’re all told from the protagonist’s point-of-view, in third party, the narrator, is telling the story. He’s privy to all the senses and emotions of the protagonist.

Here’s an example from “Walking Through Walls:”

“You will practice by walking through this brick wall. You must repeat the magic formula over and over as you go through it.”
Wang looked at the wall. He tightened his fists, clenched his jaw, and wrinkled his forehead. This is sure to hurt.

“Uh,” he paused, “Master, what will happen if I do say the words to the magic formula out loud?”

“Wang, you are trying to delay your task. It is a good question though. Your tongue will cease its movement if you speak the words to the formula.”
Wang's eyes opened wide and he flung his hands on top of his head. Never to talk again! I am sorry I asked for the formula. What if I slip?

The narrator is telling the reader what’s going on. Again, he’s privy to the protagonist’s thoughts, senses, and feelings.

Children’s books in third person POV:

Walking Through Walls” (Karen Cioffi)
"Owen" (Kevin Henkes)
"Tops and Bottoms" (Janet Stevens)
“Stephanie’s Ponytail” (Robert Munsch)

Be consistent.

When writing for young children, it’s the author’s job to make sure the story is engaging and CLEAR (easy to understand). One quick way to lose the reader is to mix and match point-of-views within the story. Even if you slip just once, you may very well throw the reader off.

One easy error is to slip in a second person POV within a third person story. How this might happen:

The third-party narrator is explaining what the protagonist did then throws in something like, Can you believe it?

That one little sentence has switched POVs and can cause confusion.

Remember to choose one POV and stick with it throughout your story.

There you have it, the three main points-of-view in young children’s storytelling. Which do you prefer?

Sources:

http://literarydevices.net/point-of-view/
http://www.childrensbookacademy.com/mondays-with-mandy-or-mira/second-person-point-of-view-in-picture-books

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author, successful children’s ghostwriter, and author/writer online platform instructor with WOW! Women on Writing. She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Writers on the Move.

For more on writing, stop by Writing for Children with Karen Cioffi. And, be sure to sign up for her newsletter and check out the DIY Page.


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