Showing posts with label accountability. Show all posts
Showing posts with label accountability. Show all posts

Monday, October 22, 2018

Five Ways to Get Your Writing Unstuck


By W. Terry Whalin

Throughout my day, writers will email me for help with their writing. One of the key reasons is because of the words in my Twitter profile: “I love to help writers. Let me know how I can help YOU!”  I include my email in my twitter profile to encourage such correspondence.

As an acquisitions editor at a New York publisher, I get a lot of email every day. Yet I make a point to answer each one of the emails from writers who are asking for help. From my 20+ years in publishing, I know it is hard to navigate the publishing world. I've sent my share of emails and letters into the system which have gone into a void—or so they seem because nothing came back from my careful shaping and sending them. It can be discouraging.

Recently a ministry leader wrote me about being stuck. He had started writing a book but gotten stuck at the second chapter. What actions should this leader take to move forward on his dream of writing a book?

Many times writers are stuck and unsure how to move forward. It happens with book projects because they are not simple 30 minute or an hour in length. To write a book takes a great deal of consistent effort and energy. When it comes to writing a book, one of the best tools is to first, write a book proposal. The key portion of the proposal that will keep you writing and moving ahead is the chapter-by-chapter outline. This simple outline is the structure for your book. You can even print it out then cross off the chapters as you write them. 

If you are stuck in your writing, here's five ways to get unstuck:

1. Evaluate Your Goal. Are you committed to this writing project? I've always found if I've made a commitment, then the writing will get handled. OK. I've committed to write a book or a magazine article or an online article or a press release. Think about the type of consistent effort will it take to accomplish your goal. For example, books are not produced overnight but will take a consistent effort.

2. Set a Goal You Can Accomplish. Be reasonable with yourself and set a writing goal that you can achieve. From my experience it is often a certain number of words such as 500 words a day or 5,000 words a day (which is a lot of intense writing to reach 5,000 words a day but it can be done). 

3. Move Consistently toward Your Goal. To accomplish any goal you have to move forward. I like what one of my writers friends told me about creating a 400+ page novel, “No little elves come out at night and write my pages.” No one else can do the work for you. You have to find the time and simply do it. If it means getting up an hour or two earlier or staying up late at night or skipping some television, then you have to work at it to meet your goal.

4. Periodically Evaluate Your Goal. If you are having success, then take moments to celebrate. Each of us will celebrate differently. It is important to evaluate and celebrate if you are moving toward your goal. If you measure how you are doing with your goal and you are not making progress, then possibly it is time to readjust your goal and make it more reasonable or something that you can actually accomplish. Don't beat yourself up that you have to readjust. Simply acknowledge it and keep moving forward.

5. Get an Accountability Partner. Yes maybe you could accomplish your goal on your own. From my experience, it is better if you have someone else asking you periodically about your goal and how you are moving toward it. This person can be someone that you speak with periodically on the phone or email or best physically see often. 

I know I was only going to write five ways to get your writing unstuck. I'm throwing in a bonus sixth method. Maybe you are stuck in your writing because you have been trying to accomplish a long piece of writing such as a book or a novel or a workbook. If you have been chipping away at completing a longer work, here's something to consider in this process:

6. Diversify Your Writing. While many people want to write a book, there are many ways to get published—outside of books. Often books take a long time to get into the market—especially if you go through a traditional publisher. 

Magazine articles are short and fun to write plus you can get them published a lot quicker than a book and it will reach many more people than the average book.

People like me who are in publishing want to see that you have been published. Your magazine publishing credits will help you attract the attention of a literary agent or book editor. My updated version of Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams has a great deal of information about publishing to help you get unstuck.

Use these five methods to get unstuck and move forward with your writing. Take action today. 

When you are stuck in your writing, how to you get unstuck? Let me know in the comments below and I look forward to reading your tips.

Tweetable:

Are you stuck in your writing? Read five tips from this prolific writer and editor. (Click to Tweet)

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W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. His work contact information is on the bottom of the second page (follow this link).  One of his books for writers is Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams, Insider Secrets to Skyrocket Your Success.  He lives in Colorado and has over 210,000 twitter followers.
 




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Sunday, April 22, 2018

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

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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.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Midsummer's Nightmare



Yes, you heard me right - write! As I'm putting together this post I'm realizing that the summer is at a midpoint, and my writing goals for the year are not.

While under the best of circumstances summer is a distraction - vacations, visitors and all, this summer has undermined me in an unexpected way. I rise each morning, eager to begin the day, only to find the minutes and hours creeping by without me sitting my behind in the chair - which we all know is the secret to getting the job done. So what to do when this occurs?

1. Join an accountability or critique group: Becoming accountable to others can help with keeping you on track with your goals. In the past I've belonged to critique groups who have encouraged me to submit pages weekly, bi-monthly or monthly. An accountability group may be more diverse in its makeup - some will be attending hoping to improve their home business, while others may be looking to just improve their marketing skills. Either type of group can be beneficial depending upon where you are finding the challenge currently.

2. Set strick limits with family & friends: Writing time may need to be scheduled and committed to by not only you, but by those you love as well. Schedule yourself "out" as you would if you had an important commitment, because it is important.

3. Turn off the phone, don't check Facebook or your email: Internet distractions can undermine your ability to be creative and productive. Telephone calls are really only an excuse to not do the job needing to be done.

Midsummer, mid year 2015 - now is the time to review your yearly goals and gain control over your writing.


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D. Jean Quarles is a writer of Women's Fiction and a co-author of a Young Adult Science Fiction Series. Her latest book, House of Glass, Book 2 of The Exodus Serieswas written with coauthor, Austine Etcheverry.

D. Jean loves to tell stories of personal growth – where success has nothing to do with money or fame, but of living life to the fullest. She is also the author of the novels: Rocky's Mountains, Fire in the Hole, and Perception.The Mermaid, an award winning short story was published in the anthology, Tales from a Sweltering City.

She is a wife, mother, grandmother and business coach. In her free time . . . ha! ha! ha! Anyway, you can find more about D. Jean Quarles, her writing and her books at her website at www.djeanquarles.com

You can also follower her at www.djeanquarles.blogspot.com or on Facebook.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

4 Ways Writers Can Replace Procrastination With Action

I am a procrastinator. That's not a great trait for a writer. So for my fellow procrastinators out there, here are some things you can try to replace procrastination with action.


  1. Stop trying to find time to write and make time I work a full-time job. After that job ends (and sometimes during) I'm responsible for the care, keeping and schedules of two non-licensed teenagers. Oh, did I mention I'm married, so there's also husband's needs in the mix too? Finding a consistent time is difficult. So I decided that when I have 15-20 minutes, I'll write. I can't always wait for an hour, but that's okay. I write when the time presents itself. 
  2. Just write it down Sometimes I avoid writing because I'm just not enjoying the words in my head. Consequently, I avoid writing them down. One day I read somewhere that those words were blocking the good ones. If we write down the words we don't like, it opens up our mind for better words to pour forth. So write them down and get them out of the way.
  3. Give yourself a prize Who doesn't love a treat? Motivate yourself with a small treat for each day you actually put words on paper. It works for me. Try it!
  4. Be accountable I let my accountability partner know when I'm supposed to be writing. She then has the right to quiz me to see if I stuck with my commitment. I don't want to lie to her or disappoint her, so  I make myself write. If you don't have an accountability partner, I urge you to find one.
My last piece of advice is this: Don't fail prey to the procrastination bug and not implement any of these tips. They are easy and worthwhile. You'll be glad you took action.


Marietta Taylor is an author and speaker. She is the author ofSurviving Unemployment:Devotions to Go. Marietta is a monthly blogger at the Go ask Mom Blog at www.wral.com. Her tagline is Mom of Teens. She was also a contributing author to Penned From The Heart Vol XV. Marietta has a bachelor's degree in Biology from the University of Illinois-Chicago. Visit Marietta at www.mariettataylor.net or www.marismorningroom.blogspot.com or email her at maritaylor@mariettataylor.net.

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