Writing Step #2: Make a Plan

Ten Steps Forward, Three Steps Back

If you need to catch up on this series, you can find prior blogs here:

Mother Muse and Inspired Soup

Okay, so this may be a hard pill to swallow for us creative types. I don't know about you, but in the past I never believed creativity could bow to a time clock. After all, isn't inspiration an in-the-moment kind of thing? Doesn't Mother Muse bestow gifts of inspiration out of the blue, which means we've got to grab her with both hands before she flits away into the darkness, not to be seen or heard from again for who knows how long? 

The surprising answer is a resounding NO. Creativity and inspiration are indeed mysterious in many ways, but also predictable in others. Inspiration is almost always a result of cognitive soup simmering on the back burner, slowly stewing in our tasty creative juices until a savory dish of inspiration is ready to be...

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Writing Step #1: Have a Little Faith

Quick Review: Ten Steps Forward, Three Steps Back

In our previous blog, Ten Steps Forward, Three Steps Back, we talked about the unfortunate fact that many of us have more unfinished writing projects than we do finished ones. However, in the words of one writing instructor, the big problems that writers face are actually few in number and are quite solvable. Since this often doesn't feel true to us at all, what else might be going on?

In this blog series, we'll cover steps of writing to lay down a roadmap, though these particular steps certainly aren't all-encompassing. The steps we cover aren't necessarily new either, but our perspective on them can be.

Here's the 10-step tour:

  • Step #1: Have a Little Faith 
  • Step #2: Make a Plan 
  • Step #3: Narrow Your Focus
  • Step #4: Dig Into the Details
  • Step #5: Put Words on the Page 
  • Step #6: Finish Your Draft
  • Step #7: Profile Your Progress
  • Step #8: Ask for Feedback
  • Step #9: Make Your Revisions
  • Step...
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Ten Steps Forward, Three Steps Back

mindset writing process Aug 21, 2020

A Great Start to a Never Ending

How many writing projects have you started? Now ask yourself how many you've completed? If you are willing to admit that you have abandoned projects hiding in your desk drawer or in a folder on your desktop, the real question is why

I don't know about you, but a lack of good ideas is generally not the problem and after all, who doesn't feel excited by a newly minted notion for improving our business, decorating our house, making money for that dream vacation or writing the next book?

Often the problem isn't in the idea but in the execution. I know I've been guilty of excitedly starting a project, then getting frustrated (or bored) and setting it aside, only to start another project and do the same. Again, why? Well, on some level the problems I'm facing must feel too overwhelming or unsolvable for me to overcome or perhaps self-doubt sneaks in like a thief and steals away my resolve, leaving me to wander...

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Embracing Creative Angst

mindset writing process Aug 17, 2020

A Common Concern

Do you feel stuck in your current writing project? Or maybe you know you want to write and even have a vague idea as to your topic, yet can't seem to move forward. Worst of all, perhaps you've become so frustrated that you just shove your ideas aside and walk away with no idea what to do next.

Despite your frustration, it is important to know that you're not alone and that this is a common problem for most writers at some point during their projects. In fact, I was talking with an accomplished writer only a few days ago -- one who has won accolades for her work and has had multiple books published -- and she expressed this same frustration and self-doubt with her own current project. For the sake of discussion, then, let's give this ubiquitous experience a name: this collective frustration and self-doubt is what I would call creative angst.

Since creative angst is a common (and one could say normative) issue, then...

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Overcoming Your Writing Fears

While most writers love to write, most writers would also admit, if they are being honest with themselves, that some level of fear trails their efforts like an undesirable relative, showing up on the doorstep at the most inopportune moments. So what are these fears?

Common fears include whether their writing or plot is "good enough," whether readers will enjoy their work or whether their ideas are sufficiently unique or their style approachable. Most certainly for debut writers, the added fear of whether they will ever find an agent and get published is thrown in for good measure. Now, how much these fears stops writers from reaching their goals varies widely. Interestingly, whether one has been published or enjoyed success in terms of sales, recognition or positive reader reviews does not seem to deter this wily tag-along.

If such fears keep you from writing, it's important to know you're not alone. For those who completed the survey after our recent...

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The Write Therapy, Right Now

mindset self-care Jun 08, 2020

The therapeutic benefits of writing have been known for some time, though it has been called by several names such as narrative therapy, expressive writing, and journal writing, among others. James Pennebaker pioneered the idea of writing for therapeutic benefits in the 1980s, which was referred to at that time as expressive writing.

In the initial experiments by Pennebaker, he used an experimental group and a control group, both of whom wrote for 15 continuous minutes, repeated over four days. The experimental group was instructed to write about past traumas with emotional expression encouraged while the control group was instructed to write on neutral topics, focusing on factual information as much as possible (i.e., avoiding emotional or upsetting topics that were personally relevant).

One very interesting finding of the study was that the experimental group, relative to the control group, had far fewer physician visits in the months that followed. While they reported being upset...

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Fictional Therapy. It's a Thing.

mindset self-care May 04, 2020

After a long day of work has frayed my nerves and left me exhausted, there are few things I look forward to more than losing myself in a good book. I generally choose fiction for this time of day because I am not tasked with learning new material or reevaluating my shortcomings, neither of which I am well equipped to do when tired. Instead, I have the pleasure of exploring the trials and triumphs of my favorite protagonists or wailing against the evils of insufferable villains. While this, too, may sound too intense, it actually provides a safe avenue for emotional release. This is why I lovingly call it "fictional therapy."

While reading (or listening to a book) is not everyone's favorite pastime, for those who enjoy this activity, it can have genuine psychological benefit. Remember that ruminating on troublesome events (e.g., politics, news of pandemic) or on issues over which we have no control (e.g., the behavior of our boss or our spouse) will create increasing anxiety for most...

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Conquering the Writing Blues Summit

Our summit, Conquering the Writing Blues, is coming April 25th! You will not want to miss this free, online event where you will hear from authors, book coaches, editors and publishers as they discuss the writing craft, how they overcame their own obstacles to complete their writing projects and commentary on the current writing market including debunking myths regarding editing and publishing. Learn tips and techniques from some of the top industry experts!

The summit is intended to encourage writers in their craft because we believe that writers are some of the most important people in society. Powerful ideas change the world and there is no better time-honored method of sharing ideas than the written word.

Our line up of speakers include:

  • Robert Dugoni, Best-Selling Author (e.g., Tracy Crosswhite series), Airing April 25th
  • Rachel Aaron, Sci-Fi and Fantasy Author (e.g., Heartstrikers Series), Airing April 26th
  • Crystal Watanabe, Pikko's House, Editing Services, Airing April...
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