What do you do when the well runs dry? Give up in disgust? Refresh your ideas and ambitions? Learn a lot and start again?
If you can afford it, breaks give you time to rethink what you are doing, start from scratch or carry on regardless. Try answering these three main questions first.
Why am I writing?
Are you writing for love? Or to help others? Is this simply an ego trip or a serious attempt to earn a living? In other words, are you being professional or is this just a glorified hobby?
Writing for your own enjoyment is now seen as a proven way of improving your mental health. Sharing your knowledge to help others was one of the initial ideas behind the Internet. But with rising costs, nowadays we really do need to consider the outgoings to support websites and expenses of hardware, software, subscriptions, paper, books and more books.
Yes, many people are earning good money writing about how rich you can become through books and articles, or giving courses on a hobby or passion. Many more are struggling well below the minimum living wage.
The trick is to write to market. Find a need, find where buyers are, and find how you can fill that need. Easier said than done. You could spend hours writing about grooming a dancing panda, but if no one cares, it does not matter how well you do it.
The research needed to locate your readers is arduous and takes time. A new helpful site on the block when it comes to writing fiction for Kindle is The Genre Report. It analyses this market and produces graphs showing which books are making money, which have a chance of making money, and which lines may fit your niche but have such a small readership, that they will never make more than a minimal part-time income.
It is a new website, it is in beta. And for that reason it is still free to use. If you're into working with Kindle at all, it is a time saver and very useful. A couple of sections are open when you reach the website but you need to sign in with Facebook to release the full menu for the reports. I, at last, found a niche in which I can confidently start work and hopefully make an income. Watch this space.
Have I a list? How am I building it?
My email inbox, and I'm sure yours, is flooded daily by messages promising to increase followers, email lists, income. Much of it is no better than spam and my heart breaks for people who really believe the hype that they could make six figures in a month. Very few of us are going to become the super-rich. Many of us, if we're not too greedy, will earn enough to keep the wolf from the door. But it doesn't happen immediately. Don't be deluded. We're in it for the long haul.
Funnily enough many people have brought the business of email lists to my attention this week. The best piece of writing I have seen on this subject is from Kristine Kathryn Rusch. A writer and editor who has built her reputation over the years. She is, for me, well worth following. The comments are interesting, too.
How do I manage to do everything?
It takes hard work to master Scrivener and Dragon. I hit them with determination on the days when I feel jaded with writing and am making headway. Scrivener's outlining mode helped me batter a new synopsis into submission. An achievement indeed. My word count, using my old Dragon Naturally Speaking, jumped from 20 words a minute yesterday to 40 words a minute today. Yay!
How do I know? Through the joys of using a website called 750words. Initially it seemed wrong to try doing morning pages without actually writing in a notebook. But for those of us who love gimmicks, the little badges for achievement bring their own joy.
I've collected the beginning egg, a turkey for five days in a row, the lovely flamingo for ten days in a row, a hamster for concentration (yep, babyish but it works for me :-)) and help in analysing what I'm doing. The daily statistics even show whether you're using sight, sound, and touch in your writing. Not totally serious but interesting.
This site is free for the first month, then $5 a month. If you find yourself falling behind in your word count, it might be worth a look.
I'd love to know how you'd answer any or all of these questions, so please use the comments box below and let's discuss the best strategies for re-motivating ourselves when we feel worn out.
|Anne Duguid Knol|
A local and national journalist in the U.K., Anne Knol is now a fiction editor for award-winning American and Canadian publishers. As a new author, she shares writing tips and insights at Author Support : http://www.authorsupport.net .
Her Halloween novella, ShriekWeek is published by The Wild Rose Press as e-book and in print included in the Hauntings in the Garden anthology. (Volume Two)