Showing posts with label choosing a writing topic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label choosing a writing topic. Show all posts

Never Ignore Your Dream


Never Ignore Your Dream

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Author of the multi award-winning #HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers

I once read an article/editorial in the late, great Dan Poynter’s newsletter. It was by Jeff Rivers, an expert in writing query letters titled “What I Learned from Janet Evanovich: Write for your Audience.” It is hard to argue with experts like Jeff and Janet. But I do disagree-or at least mostly disagree.

Certainly authors like Evanovich and James Patterson have done very well for themselves and for their readers by “Writing for Your Audience.” And maybe they followed their hearts and gathered their audience along the way. When that’s the case, it is a risk to take a path going in a different direction from the one an audience expects. John Grisham did that with A Painted House and his courtroom drama readers weren’t much taken with it.

I was, though. Very taken.

I became a stronger fan of his work. And it’s my theory that Painted House was the novel that had been lying inside his little writers’ soul all the time. That it brought him pleasure to write it. Maybe that it kept his writing passion alive. Maybe that brought more readers into his circle of avid fans.

So, maybe sticking to your audience’s tastes too long is also a risk. Or maybe starting out with a project designed only to please others and not your creative self would doom you to be a short-lived author. Maybe an author needs to occasionally open new door and let the beam of passion light the work they are doing.

I do a bit of acting and learned from a dedicated actor who taught new actors that new actors to give to the director not what they think he or she wants, but to give of themselves—to give what they feel is best to give. But life has thrown me mixed messages. When I was a retailer, I certainly learned that one couldn’t “buy for oneself” when it came to selecting merchandise for my store. When I did, I very often brought whatever I bought home because my customers wouldn’t buy it.  See my books on retailing at http://howtodoitfrugally.com.

But back to writing!

That same balanced note is a good one for writers to follow, too. They must keep their audience in mind. As an example, they must trust their audience to be readers. They, after all, have been reading their whole lives. So we authors don’t want to insult them. And certainly authors should do the research necessary to avoid writing the same book someone else has written.

Still, there is another side of the coin and here it is:

When you write for yourself, your audience will follow. Do not mistake this for advice that writers go off willy-nilly with no training in craft, no awareness of rules (which we may then choose to break). But we must love what we do to be successful. Find your voice and your passion. Keep at it. Keep learning more about both writing and the publishing industry as a whole.  Market your work.  Do all that and an audience will find you. Your audience will find you.

You can do that once and you can do it all over again if you don’t mind risk. Risk of getting less income than you’re used to getting with whatever you wrote when you garnered that first audience. Risk of teeing off some of your original readers who came to you with preconceived expectations.

I’m an eternal optimist. I believe we can balance the two philosophies. But I also see some real danger for the author (or beginning writer who still feels uncomfortable calling herself an “author”) who denies his or her dream and considers only what she figures someone else wants of him or her or—worse—what she has been told will “sell.”

Carolyn Howard-Johnson is an award-winning novelist, poet, and writer of short stories. A many-genered author, if you will. She is also the author of the multi award-winning series of HowToDoItFrugally series of book for writers including The Frugal Editor, How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career and the much applauded The Frugal Book Promoter, now in its third edition and published by Modern History Press. Learn more about all of her work at http://howtodoitfrugally.com. and come tweet with her @frugalbookpromo. When you add that moniker to your book-related tweet, she will retweet it to her 39,000 plus followers, most all of them publishing industry people.




Let Passion Fuel Your Writing Career


The Four Levels of Engagement & How to Use Them To Fuel Your Work

When you are looking to start a new writing project, here are some things to consider:

Level 1 Engagement: Lack of Enthusiasm: When you find you are lacking enthusiasm for your current writing project, many times this is because you are not following your passion, but that of another person. As a writer, we can all write a variety of things from non-fiction to short stories to novels, and we can choose from a wide range of topics. But when you find yourself writing something that doesn't seem to drive you toward your own goals, this lack of enthusiasm may cause you to stumble. Write what fuels your passion.

Level 2 Engagement: Inspired: Inspiration occurs when an idea manifests. Inspired people are more engaged in their project and may think and speak about the 'great idea' they have. Inspiration is important to fueling your writing, but inspiration alone is not enough. Talking about and thinking about what to write will not get words on a page.

Level 3 Engagement: Motivated: Motivation is an idea you can't put down. It won't let go of you, following you to the grocery store and to bed at night. But its more than just an idea, it's an idea that must, and I mean must, be acted on. Motivation means you will sit down at your desk and write. Being motivated will fuel your writing and provide you with a body of work.

Level 4 Engagement: Passion: Passion is when you have an idea, and it's one that won't let go of you and you writing this particular article or longer piece is part of your destiny, your path. This project will take you where you want to go with your writing career. It is the work you were meant to write to share with the world and it will show in your final product. Let passion fuel your work.

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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, Flight from the Water Planet, Book 1 of The Exodus Series was 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

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