Where To Begin #ROW80 Update

My Goal: Finish revising my friggin’ book already!

The road to my goal: 250-500 words on workdays and 500-1000 on my days off.

The sometimes detour when I get stuck: Plot the next book.

The quick version is I got zero writing done. Read on for the explanation.

Not the break I thought it was going to be. I envisioned a week full of more productivity than ever. Instead it was full of thinking. And no writing. Why? Well, I try to be continuing education guy and while checking in on my fellow ROW80ers, I wandered to some other blogs. In particular, Friday’s post on Kristen Lamb’s blog, Time Management for Writers-Getting More Done in Less Time, spoke to me.

Since this is a ROW80 update, I’m not going heavy into the details of the post (Highly recommend checking it out.) except to talk about a book she referenced called Eat That Frog! 21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time. The title comes from the idea of doing the hardest task FIRST (AKA the one you procrastinate on.) and the positive impact it has on your life. I respect Kristen’s opinion and after reading her post, I added to cart.

But there was another surprise waiting for me in the comments by Kait.

She’s HIGHLY organized, (As if we didn’t know this.) but she used to be a pantser. Then she discovered Larry Brooks and ” . . . this man CHANGED MY WRITING LIFE.” She and Susan clued me in to his storyfix blog (Another high rec.) and I’ve been loving it. Why then wouldn’t I have bought his handy dandy book Story Engineering, which breaks down exactly how to design a successful story? You got me, but the one two punch of Kristen followed by Kait’s comment (This is why Kait’s the shiznit.) got me wanting both books.

So that’s where I’m at. I just got the books in the mail yesterday and I’ll be diving into them while getting back on the writing horse.

And since this post was mostly recs, I’m thinking of turning this into my Wednesday thing. Mandatory Reads. Stuff I read, that I demand you read too. Seriously, I won’t steer you wrong in your continuing writerly ed. Enjoy!

First mandatory read is from Jami Gold called “What’s Your Book About?” Here she’s discussing the all important tagline or blurb that sells your book. Those few sentences will have a huge impact on how readers perceive your book and she warns against misleading them. She invites readers to read her blurb and tell her what they think her book is about and offers up the same for anyone feeling brave. Relax, Jami’s gentle.

If you have any doubts about finding an audience for your book, then I demand you read Writing to a Niche by Susan Bischoff. She’s not asking you to reinvent the wheel, but to find what makes your story unique and embrace it. Her success in dolly dress making irrefutably proves her point. Don’t try to argue. Do as she says.

Last mandatory read is a very thoughtful one by Ellie Soderstrom called Ellie Ann Battles Sex, Violence and Rock n Roll. When it comes to young readers, where is the line for sex and violence? An important question for any YA author and Ellie’s answer is quite the brain churner.

Info stuff- Follow my ROW80 progress every Wednesday and Sunday and be here Tuesdays and Thursdays for new posts on me, writing, superheroes, monsters, comics and any other geeky stuff on my mind.

19 comments on “Where To Begin #ROW80 Update

  1. Aww, thank you for the blog link love. 🙂

    And I can empathize with your lack of getting anything done. I had the day off today and 90% of my time was spent learning and researching instead of writing. *sigh* I hate days like that.

    Good luck with your reading and let us know about any gems of knowledge you find! 🙂

  2. Err. cheers for filling my browser with Amazon tabs! Can’t resist a good recco.

    Procratstination is one hell of a skill… hence why my in-tray continues to grow in volume as I read this!

  3. Love me some, Kristen & Jami ! I haven’t bought “Eat That Frog!” or “Story Engineering” yet. But they are on my list for the next round of book buying. No day spent learning is wasted.

    Good luck!

  4. Sympathies on not getting the words down you wanted, but thinking is progress. All that writing thought and research will pay off – it’s in your blood. This is the second endorsement of ‘Story Engineering’ I’ve read in the last twelve hours, so I’m going to have to check it out.

  5. YES! I would love a weekly mandatory reads post! Since I eliminated the time suck of the zillion blogs I had subscribed to by RSS and only subscribe to a few by email (yours being one of them), I’ve largely relied on recs from others to know what is awesome that I should go read. I think I have to go try this Frog book.

  6. Yeah, maybe the words aren’t there this week for ya…but the story is still growing and developing! Like Ben said, it’s progress!
    Thanks so much for your kind words about my post and for linking it! You da best!

  7. I have a really embarrassing problem. I don’t like reading nonfiction, even books that will help. I know, I should NOT be that way, and I’m trying to do better. It’s just I could be in the middle of reading a nice, helpful book, then suddenly I’m like “Oh, a pretty, shiny mystery!” Yes, it’s a major flaw. *cringes*

  8. Thinking and relevant reading are sometimes just as important to writing, I’m trying to get back into the reference books myself see if I can find a different approach that works better for me. Best of luck keeping up with that writing horse, he’s a frisky one.

  9. I know it sounds like you were unproductive, but you actually got a lot accomplished. Sometimes when I feel like I’ve slacked (which is a lot and this week is no exception), I still managed to do some reading, beta reading and other “writerly” (is that a word or buffyism?) things 🙂 That count’s right?

  10. You know, I saw that Story Engineering book at work and talked myself out of buying it because I have so many books on writing, but now that it’s popped up on my radar again, I’m taking it as a SIGN. Thank you for enabling my obsessive book buying!

    As for ROW80 – nothing wrong with a bit of introspective. You’ve been doing some inner spring cleaning. I’m sure a good week is coming up for you.

  11. @Jami- Aren’t we such geeks that we could spend the whole day learning and call it fun? I’m already thinking of posting more in depth about Eat That Frog, so you’ll be getting your wish.

    @Andy- Your welcome. I’ll have more recs to fill your browser next week. You’ve been warned.

    @Shellie- I agree, learning is always time well spent, I’m just anxious to get my book finished. Patience, Andrew.

    @Ben- Thanks for the kind words. You should check out the storyfix blog. It’s full of good stuff.

    @Kait- So far I’m really enjoying the Frog book. The author writes in the introduction that there will be nothing about the origins or theories on procrastination. Just right to the point with what to do. Action is the key to success.

  12. @Ellie- No, YOU da best!

    @Lauralynn and Claire- Wow, never would’ve guessed, since many of the blogs we read are helpful in that way. Do you find the writing too dry in a “helpful” book, because some read as conversational as a blog.

    @Katy- I really like the storyfix blog, so I’m expecting to equally enjoy Story Engineering. I have a decent understanding of story structure and I think this book will build on that. Then my first drafts won’t need such extensive revising.

    @Claudia- Oh yeah, all that stuff counts. And I wasn’t really upset about not writing, more surprised that of all the weeks, that was the one I didn’t write on.

    Yes, “writerly” could totally be a Buffyism.

    @Serena- Haha, don’t just take my word for it, check out the storyfix blog. I love it.

    • I read blogs for fun mostly; I rarely stick to the “helpful” ones. I read quite a bit of dry nonfiction tbh, just nothing in regards to marketing or social networking or anything helpful – basically nothing I can apply to my life. 🙂 I give it a go, but I find myself turned off by anything that goes along the lines of you must do this and that exactly to succeed. I know that isn’t always how it’s played, I just don’t find it very appealing in general. *Shrugs*

    • Yes, Andrew, most of it is the usual dryness you get from nonfiction. If the author can add a little humor or excitement, it really helps. I liked Zoe Winters’ book “Smart Self Publishing: How to Become an Indie Author”. But she has a snarky sense of humor. The biggest thing is that if I’m reading nonfiction, I’m sitting there wishing I was reading fiction. *looks sheepish*

  13. Thanks for the shout-out and good luck on ur productivity. You have a great extension of community going here. Some excellent resources )other than moi, of course :D). I hope to help all I can. Great job!

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