Author Toolbox Blog Hop

To Print or Not to Print?(Author Toolbox Blog Hop)

I am now back in my full editing swing, and I have been chatting to a writer friend about our editing processes. We got onto the conversation of printing out the draft, and this is where we differ. I don’t ever print mine out. She was shocked by this.

I’m not here to say there is a right way for any part of the writing process, I just want to share my process and why it works for me.

Why I Don’t Print My Draft

There is a very simple reason why I don’t print my drafts and that is the amount of paper used. I understand if I was traditionally published, I would be sent a whopping amount of papers during the editing process, but I have the option and chose not to.

Secondly, I have a system that works for me. The main reason for printing out your manuscript to edit is to see it in a different way. I totally agree with this. We can all make errors when we’re looking at the same thing on screen for hours on end, but for me, this works by changing the font, size, and colour. I can simply do this for every draft I need to edit and it works well for me.

I do make handwritten notes in a small notebook, but 95% off my editing is done on the screen.

Finally, and this is a ‘Mum’ reason… my kids are into everything and it wouldn’t take long for my toddler to find and misplace my work. I’m not much better because I’m not always on the ball for putting things away safely and that is a recipe for editing disaster.


Do you edit on screen or prefer to print your work? Like I said, no judgement here just our own preferred methods.


You can check out the other #authortoolboxbloghop participants and their posts here.


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Author Toolbox Blog Hop

Write for You (Author Toolbox Blog Hop)

This post is more of a motivational, encouraging pick-me-up for anyone who needs it. I wanted to share the one thing that I have learnt in my time as a self published author, and that is to write for you.

Why did you start writing? Passion, a creative outlet? Has that changed over the course of your journey and are you asking yourself ‘what is the popular genre of the moment? Do people want to read this? Should I change something I like because statistics say my target audience won’t buy it?’

I’m here to tell you that the only person you need to impress is you. Yes, it is great to get sales and amazing reviews, but at the end of the day, you need to be happy with your process and your work.

I believe that your best writing comes when you stay true to yourself, your beliefs, and your style.

I just wanted to put this thought out there today, and if you are writing today, remember to make yourself happy.


You can check out the other #authortoolboxbloghop participants and their posts here.


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Author Toolbox Blog Hop

Finding Routine After a Hiatus (Author Toolbox Blog Hop)

As you know, I have taken a long hiatus from writing, partly due to being a full time Mum, and partly because I let other things get in the way of my writing time i.e setting myself too much work for this blog and social media.

Now, I have set my priorities straight for 2020 and want to dive back in with editing my novella, Zombies and Budgie Smugglers. However, I am finding it harder than I thought I would.

I have now set myself some rules to get back into a writing routine and wanted to share them with you.

Chose a time of day and stick to it.

The mornings are best for me. My kids are early risers, so getting in a writing session when they’re eating breakfast and watching TV is best for me. If I get it done and dusted, then the rest of my day is free and I don’t feel guilty for not having written or for writing instead of family time etc.

Set low word count goals for the first few weeks.

I work best by hitting word counts rather than time limits. Ideally, 500 words a day would be perfect, but it is a daunting number coming back after a break, so I am setting small word count goals for a while of just 150 words a day. The sense of accomplishment motivates me each day.

Accountability is important.

Having someone ask ,what was your word count this morning?’ or ‘did you sit down and edit today?’ really helps me stay on track. Let people know what your plans and goals are and ask them to encourage you to stay on track every once in a while. My 9 year is best at this as she enjoys writing herself.

Mini deadlines over big ones.

When I was a mother of 1 school age child, I would happily set deadlines for editing and publication etc. Now, I have a toddler with me 24/7 a deadline seems scary. Deadlines used to motivate me, so I enjoy a mini deadline without the big stress of looming dates. For example, getting 15 pages edited in 5 days is doable and an extra push.


Do you have any tips to help me jump back on the writing wagon?


You can check out the other #authortoolboxbloghop participants and their posts here.


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Author Toolbox Blog Hop

Writing by Hand #authortoolboxbloghop

Today’s #authortoolboxbloghop post is all about writing by hand, and why I feel it can be beneficial to the drafting process.

I primarily write on my laptop, but I tend to write by hand when I need to refocus:

1. Slows Down Thought Process

Writing by hand takes longer than typing. In turn, this slows down our thought processes, allowing us to not only take in what we are writing on a deeper level, but to take our time on the fundamentals of the craft.

2. Minimises Distraction

If I am on the laptop, I tend to flit between writing and social media. This break in flow is not good for my creativity. Writing by hand cuts out the distraction.

3. Always to Hand

I can easily slip a notepad and pen into my bag/ pocket. I rarely take my laptop out of the house. If inspiration strikes, I am always ready to hand write it down.

4. Prevents Editing as You Go

This may sound like a bad thing, but editing as you go can inhibit creative flow and be time consuming. If I edited as I drafted, I’d never get a story finished.

5. Beats Writer’s Block

Hand writing uses a different part of the brain than typing, so if I have writer’s block, I write by hand to see if accessing that part of the brain triggers new ideas.


You can check out the other #authortoolboxbloghop participants and their posts here.


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Author Toolbox Blog Hop, first draft

First Draft: Leave It Be

This #authortoolboxbloghop coincides with the final episode of my First Draft series. This final instalment is all about what to do with your first draft when you write those monumental words… The End.

My advice is to leave it be. By that, I mean to put it away out of sight and forget about it (well, almost).

Some writers head straight into the editing process, but this doesn’t work for me. I have compiled some reasons why leaving your manuscript to brew for a little can be so beneficial.

A Well Earned Break

Writing is hard. If it wasn’t, everyone would be doing it. When I have finished an entire first draft, I know I have earned a breather.

Besides, writing the last part of your manuscript can feel like being on a runaway train; getting absorbed by the ending and ploughing ahead with momentum. We could all do with getting back to reality with family, friends, and our own thoughts.

Fresh Perspective

Coming back to your manuscript with fresh eyes is a brilliant thing. It helps with editing (knowing what the sentence should say and what it actually says are two different things), and you can critique yourself easier when you have detached yourself a little from your work.

A Chance to Start Something New

I don’t mean to dive head first into another story (unless that is your process, of course). I simply mean that it is useful to start thinking/note taking about a new story. A little bit of distraction is good for me. I feel like a month or so of a new story seems to help when I go back to my old one. It also breaks the monotomy.


You can check out the other #authortoolboxbloghop participants and their posts here.


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First Draft: The Ending

This post has been on the back burner a long while. I actually wrote tips for a satisfying ending when I did the vote to ask my readers what series they’d like to see on Writerly Bookish Stuff. When the First Draft idea came out on top, I put it on the aside to include in the series… finally, here it is.

Tie Up Loose Ends

There needs to be some sort of conclusion to the conflicts that presented themselves during the narrative. Unresolved conflicts is highly unsatisfying for the reader.

Believability

The ending has to arrive naturally as a result of the story arc. You must not force the ending you want on your narrative or you will have unsatisfied readers.

Cliffhanger After Conclusion

A cliffhanger is not a conclusion. A cliffhanger is another story spur that carries the reader further on with the narrative i.e. into the next book. It cannot take the place of concluding certain conflicts to the story so far, even if the main arc is still ongoing.

Know When to Stop

This can be tough. Knowing when to start the beginning of the end is ultimately a gut instinct. Be aware if starting new conflicts that you have time to resolve them or if they can be part of the longer arc into subsequent books.


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First Draft: Beating Procrastination

Midway through the first draft is when I start to procrastinate. It doesn’t mean my story bores me, it means I’ve been at the same slog, pouring over the same story for a long time, and other stories start screaming at me to be written. Pinterest calls me, Youtube calls me, and I fall into the black hole that is social media.

Thankfully, I can recognise the signs now and try to nip them in the bud. Here are my tips to beat Procrastination.

Time schedule

The best way to beat procrastination is to have a writing schedule. If you only have thirty minutes to write, you are more likely to sit and write as much as you can in that time slot. If you don’t set a time limit, you may feel like you have all the time in the world to procrastinate a little, and then voila… your time is gone.

Disconnect the Internet

Social media, music sites, and Pinterest can be huge distractions. Try disconnecting the wifi, so you can do nothing but write your story.

Take a Break

Sometimes, procrastination is due to lack of inspiration or tiredness. Take a walk, go meet friends for a coffee, watch that episode on Netflix. A step away from your work may be just what you need to go back at it afresh.

Change Up Your Drafting Process

Are you procrastinating because your scene is particularly tough to write, or because you have you been focussing on one scene all week? Shake up your drafting process for a few hours and write out of sequence. The change of pace and scene may be just the ticket.


I hope these tips help you cut down on procrastination and get the words written.


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