Thursday, August 25, 2022

A Few Tips for Choosing the Best Business Model to Make Money Writing

by Suzanne Lieurance


If you want to make money writing, but you’re just getting started, you’re probably wondering—what is a business model?

 

Well, for a writer, a business model is simply the way you will earn money writing.

 

There are many models to choose from to create a lucrative freelance writing business.  

 

Yet not all business models are a good fit for every writer.

 

So, here are a few tips that will help you choose the business model that's right for you!

 

Tip #1. Write down all the types of writing that you LOVE to do.

 

Many writers never stop to fully consider the type of writing they like to do—and all that it entails—before deciding on a model to follow.

 

So, if they end up with a writing career, it's often a career they don't enjoy because they are usually working on writing projects that don’t interest them very much (if at all).

 

Then, they aren't very successful at freelance writing because they don’t enjoy it, so they give up fairly quickly and move on to something else. 

 

To be sure this doesn’t happen to you, make your list of all the types of writing you love to do, then pare down the list to just a few niches or areas of interest. 

 

Think of it like this, what niche or topic could you write about for months, years, even decades, without getting sick of it?

 

Also, note that it’s usually a good idea to focus on only one or two niches, so you can become known as an expert in those one or two niches, instead of being regarded as a “generalist” in all sorts of niches. 

 

That’s because specialists tend to earn more money than generalists.

 

And, since things change so often in today’s world, it’s easier to keep up with the latest innovations, discoveries, etc. in only one or two niches than it is to be well informed in dozens of niches.

 

Note, though, that you can become known as a specialist in either nonfiction or fiction.

 

Think of it like this, Stephen King is an expert in horror fiction, that is his niche or specialty.

 

But another writer might focus on travel writing and write only about travel related topics.

 

Another writer might decide to write for children and further specialize in writing nonfiction books (on assignment) for children’s educational publishers.

 

Tip #2. Do some online research to locate other writers who successfully follow the model(s) you'd like to follow.

 

You can get tips just from reading these writers' websites or blogs and articles they post in their newsletters and ezines (if they have them).

 

Also, look for workshops or courses that show you how to earn money writing the types of things you like to write. 

 

For example, don't simply take a course in how to write ad copy if you wish to become a successful copywriter. 

 

Take a course in how to market yourself as a copywriter, too. 

 

And, even though you will want to pay for some of the courses and other resources that will help you build your writing business/career, also look for free ways to learn more about the writing you wish to do. 

 

There are thousands of free online resources, so take advantage of them.


Tip #3. Stick to just one or two models at the beginning.

 

For example, if you want to become a business-to-business writer, you might start out blogging for other businesses in your niche.

 

If you want to make money as a novelist, you will get busy writing novels as opposed to nonfiction articles for magazines, etc. 

 

When you stick to only one model at the start, you will find it easier to focus on the work that comes in (and the constant marketing you’ll need to do to continue to get new work) since you won’t be pulled in too many directions.


Tip #4. Add additional models to your overall business plan as you get the first model working successfully.

 

Eventually, adding other models to your overall business will allow you to create additional streams of freelance income.

 

For example, if you have a niche blog of your own, once you have created enough content for this site so you are attracting readers (and even have a mailing list of these readers), you can start blogging about the products and services of other businesses as an affiliate, so you earn a commission any time a reader uses your affiliate link to make a purchase.

 

Or, if you’ve successfully promoted your own blog through social media, eventually you might decide to offer your services as a social media marketer to other businesses.

 

If you’ve written a how-to book or self-help book, you might decide to create courses based on your book or earn money speaking about the content of your book (and sell books on the side at your speaking gigs).


Tip #5. Periodically step back and evaluate the models you're following.

 

If your business is not as successful as you would like, chances are, you're trying to follow too many models, so you're following none of them very well.

 

It can be a delicate balance at first—between trying to do too much or doing too little.

 

Often, at this point, a coach can be particularly helpful in keeping you focused so you don't get overwhelmed.

 

Consider working with a coach if your career gets stalled or you just can't seem to get it off to a good start.


Tip #6. Keep thinking BIGGER and BIGGER.

 

Some people figure "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", so they never expand their business.

 

Don't get stuck following just one or two models forever. 

 

As your business grows, add additional business models to the mix.

 

This will keep your business fresh and exciting—for you and for your clients and customers!

 

Try it!


And, if you'd like to learn more about business models, get your free subscription to The Morning Nudge.You'll also to get access to our private resource library, where you'll find A Short Guide to Business Models for Writers.



Suzanne Lieurance is an award-winning author with over 40 published books, a freelance writer, a writing coach, and founder and CEO of writebythesea.com.

 

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Why First Impressions Matter


By Terry Whalin
@terrywhalin

As an editor, it is no exaggeration to say I’ve reviewed thousands of submissions during my years in publishing. As a writer, you have one opportunity to make a good first impression. While it may sound simplistic to say it, your impression is made in a matter of seconds. A key piece of advice is to lead with your strongest material and work hard on the subject line of your email, the first sentence and paragraph of your submission and all of the overall details.

 

Several years ago, I interviewed another acquisitions editor and asked him how he knows if he’s found a good submission. He said, “Terry, I read the title and if it is a good title, I read the first sentence. If it is a good sentence, I read the first paragraph. If it is a good paragraph, I read the first page. If it is a good page, I read the next page…” I hope this helps you see why you have seconds in this important process. The typical editor or agent reviews many pitches and can easily tell a good one. Don’t bury your good information on page five or six because they may not reach it.

 

How To Make A Good Impression

 

While these guidelines may be common sense, you’d be surprised how often writers make poor impressions when they neglect the basics. Make sure your pitch is well-crafted and appropriate to that person or editor. Use the right name. Personalize the pitch and don’t write “Dear Sir” or “Editor/Agent” which looks like it went to thousands of people at the same time—whether it did or not.

 

Check and double check to make sure all of the details are there. For example, at Morgan James Publishing, we acknowledge every submission with a letter in the mail. We receive over 5,000 submissions a year and only publish about 200 books so that is a lot of physical correspondence. If your address is not on your pitch, then I have to ask for it in order to get your submission into our internal system. If you include your address from the beginning, then you eliminate one extra time-consuming email I have to send to you.

 

Take a few minutes and make one final check of their publishing guidelines before you send your submission. Re-read the pitch and make any final adjustments.

 

Insights for Writers

 

Producing an excellent book proposal or query letter is an acquired skill—something you have to learn. Yet every writer knows these tools are a critical part of the publishing industry. I understand excellent book proposals require a great deal of energy. I’ve written two proposals which received six-figure advances from traditional publishers. My Book Proposals That Sell has over 130 Five Star reviews. I have a free book proposal checklist to give you some ideas. (Follow the link). Also, I have a free teleseminar at: AskAboutProposals.com. Finally, I created an online course with detailed information at: WriteABookProposal.com.

 

Remember Your Audience: Editors and Agents

 

While the process takes some work and planning, I’ve been inside some of the top literary agencies and publishers’ offices in New York City. Each of these professionals is actively looking for the next bestseller—even if they don’t respond or send you a form rejection. Every writer (whether brand new or much published) has to pitch to get a book deal. Learn the process and pitch with excellence which is spotted in seconds.

 

Tweetable:

 

Why do first impressions matter? This prolific writer and editor provides the details here. (ClickToTweet)

________________________________________

W. Terry Whalin, a writer and acquisitions editor lives in Colorado. A former magazine editor and former literary agent, Terry is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 nonfiction books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams and Billy Graham. Get Terry’s newest book, 10 Publishing Myths for only $10, free shipping and bonuses worth over $200. To help writers catch the attention of editors and agents, Terry wrote his bestselling Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success. The revised and updated edition will be out later this year. Check out his free Ebook, Platform Building Ideas for Every Author. His website is located at: www.terrywhalin.com. Connect with Terry on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Time Management for Writers

 

Time Management for Writers by Deborah Lyn Stanley

Time Management is a frequent topic among writers. We juggle meetings and deadlines, step-out goal plans, and handle a myriad of correspondence tasks each day. How do we keep track of all of this? We need a flexible system, because most systems require modification to work well, and it takes testing until we find the system that fits.

Though we might want to create a most aggressive plan that causes our production to soar, “life happens”. Be flexible with yourself and relax your plan for a time if needed.

A writing friend mentioned her scheduling strategy—The Bullet Journal. She showed me how she was successful in using the Bullet Journal over several months. So, I tried it. I set up my Index, Future Log for 6 months, Monthly Log and Daily logs. I liked how it flowed for a month and continued. It worked, but I found it tedious, taking too much time noting here and there constantly. I needed to keep track of goals and schedule, BUT I needed to get to work first!
Check out the Bullet Journal: http://bulletjournal.com/.

Then, I set up a color highlighted Goal Plan Schedule on Excel to list:
•    Year End Completion Goals
•    Monthly Deadlines
•    Meeting Commitments
•    Weekly Progress
•    Notes
It worked well as a bird's-eye view for the year by week and month. I keep it open on my desk. Did it help guide my work day by day? No. I needed something more.

Finally, I have settled on a day/month/year planner. Daily I make entries that review the activities/accomplishments of the day briefly, similar to a diary. I use a journal for resolving issues and planning. Plus a digital calendar to schedule meetings & appointments with pop-up reminders.

Why does managing our time well matter to us?
It’s all about productivity, meeting deadlines & goals, and gaining a footing for our writing endeavors.

So, what does it take? It takes a careful review of what is working for us and what is taking us off track. Some questions to ask ourselves:
    *Do I need to limit email tasks? Would scheduling an hour each day avoid these interruptions?
    *What distracts me? Phone calls? Meetings? Schedule in blocks of time?
    *How can I reduce daily stress?
    *How can I improve my work flow and meet deadlines more effectively?
    *What is my goal and my destination?
    *Do I have milestones in place?
Katie Forrest, a guest for The Creative Penn, posted a helpful article here: https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2020/02/13/9-time-management-tips-for-writers/

Since time management is a constant concern, and writers would appreciate some useful tips, the post was designed as a step-by-step guide through the journey. I appreciate Katie starts at where we are right now, analyzing what’s working and what’s not.


Are you looking for a writer’s community, with more tools and help?
Check out Good Story Company by Mary Kole
https://www.goodstorycompany.com/  
Mastermind / blog / community


Deborah Lyn Stanley is an author of Creative Non-Fiction. She writes articles, essays and stories. She is passionate about caring for the mentally impaired through creative arts.
Visit her My Writer’s Life website at: https://deborahlynwriter.com/   
Visit her caregiver’s website: https://deborahlyncaregiver.com/

Mom & Me: A Story of Dementia and the Power of God’s Love is available:
https://www.amazon.com/Deborah-Lyn-Stanley/
& https://books2read.com/b/valuestories


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Saturday, August 13, 2022

Writers: Awards are Worth Pursuing


By Linda Wilson  @LinWilsonauthor

Recently, as a self-published author I set two goals for myself: publish multiple books, and become an award-winning author. Gladly, I have reached both goals. After publishing my first chapter book, Secret in the Stars: An Abi Wunder Mystery, for 7-10-year-olds, the writing was on the wall. And I was right—it’s taken over two years to write the second in the series—Secret in the Mist: An Abi Wunder Mystery—and it’s still not finished! The answer? Write a bunch of picture books!

Goal #1: Write multiple books

Luckily, picture books are faster to self-publish than they are to go the the traditional publishing route. Three stories emerged from my files and blossomed into the picture books I have now published on Amazon: A Packrat’s Holiday: Thistletoe’s Gift, Tall Boots, and Waddles the Duck: Hey, Wait for Me! My fourth picture book, Cradle in the Wild, will be available soon. All done while plugging away at the second Abi Wunder mystery.

Goal #2: Become an Award-Winning Author

I have become a multi-award-winning author. But this didn’t come about by magic. I applied for each and every award my books have won. There is a cost to apply, and often it takes months for the award to be announced. But the effort is well worth it. Here’s why:

As in the case of the National Federation of Press Women’s Communication Contest, first place winners are invited to attend the organization’s award ceremony, held this year in Fargo, North Dakota.

Stickers announcing each award can be placed on book covers. Other goodies include ribbons and plaques to show off at book fairs.

You earn the distinction of being an award winner among your readers and peers.

Your office wall fills up with certificates for you to admire and gaze at while writing your next book.

Awards my books have won, and yours can, too!

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/ -- Secret in the Stars: An Abi Wunder Mystery, illustrated by Tiffany Tutti, is a Kirkus Review Recommended Book.

https://newmexicopresswomen.org/ -- A Packrat’s Holiday: Thistletoe’s Gift, illustrated by Nancy Batra won first place in the 2022 New Mexico Press women’s Communications Contest. First place winners are automatically included in the national contest. Thistletoe won first place in the 2022 National Federal of Press Women’s Communication Contest as well!

https://www.momschoiceawards.com/ --Tall Boots, illustrated by 1000 Storybooks, is a Silver Award Recipient for the Mom’s Choice Awards Honoring Excellence. Mom’s Choice offers a deep discount to authors.

https://www.storymonsters.com/  -- Story Monsters is such a fun organization. The cost to apply for an award is low, and SM offers several types of awards. Tall Boots won two SM awards: 2021 Certificate of Excellence in Literature, Picture Book: Fiction (3-8), and Honorable Mention for the 2022 Purple Dragonfly Book Award, Animals/Pets.

Other Contests to Shoot For—Check Them Out!

https://www.instituteforwriters.com/

https://www.narrativemagazine.com 

https://www.writermag.com 

https://www.ippyawards.com 

https://cipabooks.com 

https://www.searchlightawards.com.uk 

https://www.pnwa.org

https://moonbeamawards.com 

https://winningwriters.com 

Cradle in the Wild will be available soon!

Linda Wilson writes stories for young children. Visit Linda at https://bit.ly/3AOM98L. Click the links for free coloring pages and a puppet show starring Thistletoe Q. Packrat. While you’re there, get all the latest news by signing up for Linda’s newsletter. 

Find Linda’s books at  Amazon Author Page.

Connect with Linda: FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram  







Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Featured Productivity Tool: Go Out on an Adventure




As writers, we are always on the lookout for new material for our non-fiction projects and fictional stories. One of the best things we can do to stay productive is to go out on adventures. That way, we always have material to share with our readers and fans.

To kick off August, I talked about Adventure with Christopher Cherian, Founder & CEO, Gatherly; Rob DeCou, CEO, Lux Virtual; and Kate Paine, Standing Out Online. All three are adventurous, driven, entrepreneurs, which made for a fun and engaging conversation.

 

What Adventure Means to Them

Adventure is:
  • Rob: Getting outside of your comfort zone
  • Chris: About the unknown
  • Kate: Energy; purpose, joy, and playfulness

Goals for Adventure

  • Rob: Set and achieve a goal per month; also make a goal to do something for others
  • Chris: Look back, meditate, and reflect on a recent adventure; write down the takeaways
  • Kate: Take a risk. Try something new this month, personal of professional, that’s fun, and see it through a different lens
  • Bonus goal from me: Keep a win list
Whether your business is actually a business or consultancy and/or the business of writing, having adventures keeps you creatively fueled and on alert for your next great article or story idea! 

Read the complete recap.


* * * 

For more inspiration and motivation, follow @TheDEBMethod on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin! 

* * *

What adventures do you have planned for the summer? Please share in the comments. 

* * *

Debra Eckerling is the award-winning author of Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals and founder of the D*E*B METHOD, which is her system for goal-setting simplified. A goal-strategist, corporate consultant, and project catalyst, Debra offers personal and professional planning, event strategy, and team building for individuals, businesses, and teams. She is also the author of Write On Blogging and Purple Pencil Adventures; founder of Write On Online; Vice President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Women's National Book Association; host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat, #GoalChatLive on Facebook and LinkedIn, and The DEB Show podcast. She speaks on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.


Friday, August 5, 2022

How to Jumpstart Book Sales with Reviews and Excerpts

August 5, 2022, #2 in Carolyn's Guestpost Series for #WritersontheMove Blog

How to Use Your Reviews and Excerpts

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

This is the second in Carolyn’s guest post series with excerpts from her 
Feel free to retrieve the first entry for this series from this blog’s July 5, 2022 entry, 
and follow the four-part series through to October 5, 2022.

“Very simply put, reviews are the gift that keeps giving.” ~ CHJ

This is the second in my guest post series on getting and using credible reviews and on making them into forever reviews to launch a book or to jumpstart the sales of a book that has been around for a while. It is always my pleasure to share excerpts from my multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers when I can reach (and help!) more authors with that information. Do go back to the first in this series of posts published on this blog on July 5, 2022, or read the entire book, How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career, to get a more complete story on the magic of reviews and blurbs. You’ll benefit from all 300 pages of it, including how to get and use mail order catalogs and why you should.

Using Your Reviews and Excerpts Now and Forever

The beauty of reviews and the praise extracted from them is that you can continue to use them as long as you want, and some can be used for more than just the book that is being reviewed. An example of that is a review or excerpt from a review that praises your writing style as opposed to the specific title. With that in mind, you are ready to go to work making your new reviews (and your old ones) into marketing workhorses for your entire writing career.

§   Post full reviews on your blog. The post works best if you introduce it with a little information about the reviewer, the journal, or your personal response to having received it. You can use excerpts in the sidebar of your blog, too.

To extend the exposure of your review, submit it to my The New Book Review blog (thenewbookreview.blogspot.com). I started it to help authors when I realized it would be a physical impossibility to say yes to review requests from my many readers and students. If you use it, please follow the submission guidelines in the tabs on the home page of the blog exactly. Because I am frugal with time, I try to make this process a copy-and-paste operation.

Use both full reviews and excerpts on your web site.

o   Put your favorite review on your book’s page within your web site. You should have one complete review for every book you publish (and a separate page on your web site for each book you publish).

o   Use short excerpts from reviews on almost every page of your web site: In the footer of each page, in a sidebar, and in a table or cell to help break up copy. You may find other places to install an excerpt/blurb/endorsement as your web site grows.

o   Should you get a review in a prestigious journal, use a phrase like “As seen in Publisher’s Weekly” on your homepage, on other appropriate spots on your site, and in your general marketing campaign.

Announce any new reviews you get on your social networks. When you do this, use a light voice to avoid appearing braggadocio like a Donald-Trump-Running-for-President. He may be able to get away with it, but you probably won’t. Instead, frame it as a thank you to the person who gave you the review, the medium where it appeared, or both. Link to the review (that’s doing the reviewer a favor) and tag her using the little @ sign so she is aware that you cared enough to promote her web site or journal. By doing so, you are paving the way to assure she more easily accepts your next book for review.

Send out media releases (also called—less accurately—press releases) to the local press when you get a review in a prestigious review journal. Use the filter on your contact list to pull out media that might be interested. If you live in a metropolitan area with a major newspaper, they may view this kind of release as clutter, but your local throw-away paper or subsidiary news or feature editor may love it.

Use an excerpt from your review in any one or all of these places where an endorsement will make people more aware of your book:

o   Use quotations excerpted from reviews as part of your signature.

o   Put the crème de la crème excerpts from your reviews on the Praise Page in your media kit. For media kits, use short blurbs rather than long ones. Bullets help each excerpt (blurb) stand out and indicates to gatekeepers who read it that you cared enough to make it easy for them. Get step-by-step instructions for writing and assembling a professional media kit in the third edition of my The Frugal Book Promoter (bit.ly/FrugalBookPromoIII) now published by Modern History Press.

o   Use an excerpt on your preprinted mailing labels as part of your branding.

o   Use them the same way on your checks.

o   Feature them on your return-address labels. Your return labels can be much larger than the ones charity organizations send you. I use Vistaprint.com for these. I try to find room for my book cover image and sometimes an excerpt from a review as well.

o   Use them on the back cover of your book, of course.

o   In How To Get Great Book Reviews I talk about how you can use excerpts on a page of praise just inside the front cover of you next book or future editions of the book you are working on.

o   Send the excerpt from your review to event planners at bookstores in your hometown or cities you’ll be visiting. Encourage them to post it near the display of your book when you read or do a workshop for them.

o   Make a short excerpt praising your book part of your query letter for a book signing or workshop.

o   Use praise in the header or footer of your stationery.

o   When appropriate, use or adapt something someone has said about your book as a motto.

o   Use excerpts from your reviews (credited, of course!) in handouts you distribute when you speak or present at conferences or tradeshows. Use them like this:

Examples you share in the body of your handout.

o   In the header or footer of your handout.

o   Near your contact information.

o   Use excerpts on your business cards or bookmarks.

o   The U.S. postal service now offers specially printed postage stamps. Did you ever dream your picture might someday land on a postage stamp? Now you can do it (for a fee). Include your book’s cover and a brief excerpt from a review. Sometimes you can take a cue from the movie industry and excerpt just one word like this:

“ . . .  Scandalous!” ~ Publishers Weekly

o  Don’t forget to use excerpts (blurbs) as endorsements in your newsletter.

o   A thank-you feature in the #SharingwithWriters Newsletter I am about to reinstate served (and will serve) several purposes. Yes, gratitude. But it also extends the exposure of my reviews or other promotions. It’s about networking. It acts as a resource for my subscribers with links they will find valuable for getting reviews for their own books or to find books for their own reading pleasure. Subscribers who choose to submit their successes also get a little extra publicity.

o   Use excerpts from reviews judiciously in the footers, backmatter, or frontmatter of other books you publish, or new editions of the book that was originally reviewed.


Note: “Books you publish” might include whitepapers, e-books, or booklets you give away as promotions. Read the case study of my most successful cross-promotional booklets of this e-cookbook in The Frugal Book Promoter (bit.ly/FrugalBookPromoIII). The idea can be adapted to most genres.

Use one of your pithiest excerpts on the signs you take to book fairs, book signings, conferences, and tradeshows.

Tip: Kinko’s/FedEx is a good place to get a poster made and laminated. Floor- and table-standing retractable canvas banners (as seen in photo) are expensive but worth it if you frequently choose these kinds of events because they are sturdy enough to use over and over and easy to roll and fold for travel.



Circle September 5, 2022, on your calendar for the next post in this series of four excerpted from How To Get Great Reviews Frugally and Ethically. Earlier posts in this series start on July 5, 2022, and cover topics that help you make your reviews into marketing magic that pretty much lasts forever.


More on Guest Blogger and Regular WritersOnTheMove Contributor 


Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and founder and owner of a retail chain to the advice she gives in her multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. All her books for writers are multi award winners including both the first and second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter,now in its third edition from Modern History Press, and her winningest book, The Frugal Editor, won awards from USA Book News, Readers’ Views Literary Award, the marketing award from Next Generation Indie Books and others including the coveted Irwin award. The third full book in the HowToDoItFrugally series for writers is How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically.

Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of “Fourteen San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts.

The author loves to travel. She has visited ninety one countries before her travels were so rudely interrupted by Covid and has studied writing at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom; Herzen University in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Charles University, Prague. She admits to carrying a pen and journal wherever she goes. Her Web site is www.howtodoitfrugally.com.


Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Benefits of Using a Content Planner for Your Novel


 

 Contributed by Christina Queen

Raise your hand if your writing is unorganized!

Sometimes unorganized writing happens, and that is ok. The good news is you can learn from it, don’t worry, I have a plan.
 
I began my novel, please don’t judge, a few years ago, and I’m still working on it. The sad part is that I have it finished in my head, but I can’t submit my thoughts.
 
A couple of months ago, I realized I needed to do something. I needed to create a plan.
During my day job, I am a freelance writer, and of course, like any writer, I contribute to my blog.
 
I have a content calendar and planning guide to keep me organized and on top of what I need to do.
 
Which got me thinking.
 
Why do I not have a content planning calendar for my novel?
 
After mentally slapping myself, I immediately went to the interwebs and tried to research this. After all, my job is to research, but I found nothing: Nit, rein, zero. I found template after template that I could download for nine different things, such as character profiles, story planners, etc.
 
This inspired me, the self-proclaimed queen of researching and spreadsheets, to create a spreadsheet for my novel.
 
And guess what?
 
I am now two weeks away from finishing my novel.
 
What the heck did I include in that novel content planner?
 
1.     Goals
My very first page was to outline my goals. I needed my goals in a place where I could see them daily and hold myself accountable.
There are no unique formulas for this page, so don’t flip out! I only created two columns, one for the title and topic and the other for a short description of my goals.
 
2.     Weekly Planner
Now what kind of newly founded organized writer would I be if I didn’t have a weekly planner. While this may seem much, the weekly planner holds me accountable for my tasks. For instance, I plan out time for my Mind Mapping, planning ideas for each scene or chapter. I block out specific times for this to feel relaxed and not stressed about finding the time or completing other things.
 
3.     Story Structure
This tab is a little more detailed. But this is the fun, creative part! Here are the questions I include that help me to put the plot together.
 
•      A plot point is the worst thing to happen to the story and characters. Your characters’ desires, loves, and fears should drive and dictate your plot.
•      What does your character want the most, and why can’t they have it? What is the external goal of the character?
•      Who/what do they love most? What do they have to lose?
•      What is their fatal character flaw?
•      Ally?
•      What are they afraid of?
•      What is the best thing that could happen to them?
•      Relative to the answers above, what is the worst thing that could happen?
•      Ending
 
When I mapped out my story like this, I organically discovered the antagonist and enemy. The book practically built itself-ok that may be stretching the truth a little.
 
4.     Character cheat sheets and backstories.
I love love this part of writing. I love creating backstories and building a character. Having all this in a spreadsheet makes it convenient and helps me see what I need to call upon instantly and not dig through my memory.
 
The best part of having this spreadsheet “workbook” is the ease of having everything in one place, ready for me to reference.
 
But the other best reason I feel these spreadsheets are helpful is they give me the organization and efficient time management I desperately needed to get this monster of a novel out.
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 


Christina is the Friends-obsessed creative behind Christina Q Writes. As a full-time freelance writer, she helps clients in need of fantastic content. Christina Q Writes is where she shares tips and advice on freelance writing, blogging, and creative entrepreneurship to help people just like you pursue your dreams of working from home!
 
Instagram:@Christina_Write
LinkedIn: Christina-Queen-Writes
Website: https://www.christinaqwrites.com


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