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The Benefits of Reading

Now, I know you read a lot.  Because, you're a writer.  And writers not only write, they read.  It's the way of the world.  Reading is why most of us got into this game in the first place. 

(Brief aside: you'd be surprised how many wannabe writers I've run into who don't read.  When someone comes to me and says, "I've always wanted to be a writer," I say, "What do you like to read?" And then, ahem, when they say "Oh, I don't read, I like to watch TV and movies," I know they are not going to make it as a writer–unless they want to write scripts.)

But there's reading and there's reading, as in reading as a writer.  Once you start doing that, reading is never the same, by the way.   Because, you're constantly looking at how the author handled plot, character, setting, dialogue, theme, style–all the things we strive to add to our stories.  (I've heard some writers complain about this, saying reading is no longer the light, relaxing activity it once was for them, but I like it–I think this way of reading adds a depth that contributes to my enjoyment.)

My approach to reading got rejuvenated when I was in Louisville for the Spalding MFA residency, because that's part of what you do in workshop–pull apart stories and see how they were put together, studying each element.  I was re-inspired to approach reading this way, which happened to coincide with my own work on a couple of short stories. 

I am here to report that my recent reading has had a real, direct impact on my writing, and I want to share that in order to explain how it happens.  (You no doubt already know this.  But being reminded of it, as I was in Louisville, can be a helpful thing.)

Example #1

Before I left Louisville, I downloaded the Best American Short Stories of 2012 and then read it on the plane on the way home.  (I liked having it on my Kindle, because it forced me to read the stories straight through, whereas my usual style would be to pick and choose.  But in picking and choosing, I would miss some gems.) One of the stories was called M&M World.  (That link takes you right to the story–cool.)

I'm not going to ruin the story for you by deconstructing it, but there's a part of the story that looks to an incident in the protagonist's marriage that happened long ago.  And as I read that, I had an epiphany: this is what my story needs, too.  I needed to go briefly (for one paragraph) into the past to show an aspect of my character's marriage.  I added this and presented the rewrite to my writing group–and they loved it.  Said it added a depth and insight that had previously been lacking. Which was my intention.  So, yay.

Example #2

I recently started reading Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter.  Wonderful novel, I recommend it.  Love the story line and I adore his style of writing–the way he puts words together.  He's one of those writers who pulls you into the character's head with the use of the telliing detail, actually, lots of them.  And this got me to thinking–perhaps this was what was missing from my story?  I liked so much of what I had written, but overall, it seemed a bit flat to me.  And so I've been going back through and looking for places I can add more details and it is making a huge difference.  (I have a whole post on this planned for later this week.)

Both of these epiphanies have added a lot to my story (which I'm just about read to send out, by the way). And I never would have gotten them without reading.

So, what about you?  What are you currently reading?  How is it affecting your writing?

Two Crucial Writing Tools

Sometimes the tools I use as a writer are so integral to my work that it doesn't occur to me to write about them.

Even though writing about writing is part of what I do.

Tool Number One: The Book Journal

Case in point: On Saturday, the local writing group I co-lead hied ourselves off to a mountain cabin for a snowy (yay) day-long mini-retreat.  (Thanks, Renee, for the use of your wonderful place.)  In the course of our discussions that day, the idea of keeping a journal or some kind of notebook in which to write about your novel (not on it) came up.

And apparently, I was the only one who did this.  Which flabbergasted me, because I could not live without this tool.  I'm constantly scribbling notes about my characters, plot, setting and so on.  Thoughts I have when I wake up in the middle of the night but don't have time to put into play.  An idea for the end of the story.  And so on.

Let me repeat: I could not live without some kind of notebook to corrall ongoing ideas for my novel. But it's so much a part of my process I never think about mentioning it.  I just thought everyone did this.

If you don't do this, I recommend you start.   You'll find it a wonderful way to get your brilliance out of your mind and onto paper when you don't have time to actually work on your book.  Along the same lines, another thing I sometimes do is open a "notes file" on the computer in which to dump ideas about a project.  This might work as well or better for you.

By the way, John Steinbeck kept journals about his ongoing writing projects. You can read about one of them here on Amazon.

So that's tool number one.

Tool Number Two: The Hold File

This tool also came out in discussion on Saturday: the hold file.   I create one for each project and label it as such: Hold for Blue Sky, Hold for Emma Jean, and so on.  Then, when I delete something I copy and paste it to the hold file.  This is handy in case you want to put something you deleted back in.

Though mostly that never happens.  But what does happen is that the hold file allows you to feel okay about deleting stuff, because you know that should you mourn that fabulous sentence too much, you can always retreive it.  I'm working on revising an old short story and I've cut five pages from it–all of which are safely stored in my hold file so that I can access them when I panic.

So those are my two crucial tools that it never occurs to me to mention.  What are yours?  Tell us about them in the comments–it helps other writers so much.

Interview About Emma Jean

Curves_yellow_reflection_2929_hGood Morning.

How does that cup of coffee you've got clutched in your hand taste?  Wouldn't it be even zestier if you had some scintillating reading material to accompany it?

Yes?

I have just the thing for you.

I've got an interview up today over at Jessica Nottingham's blog, Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile, in which I invent a movie tagline for Emma Jean, talk about my favorite part of being an author, name the one book I always reread, and more!

Check it out here, and be sure to say hi in the comments while you are there.  Then stick around to read more of Jessica's posts, she's got all kinds of good stuff on books and authors.

Photo by Adrian Sampson.

Trust the Reader

I was on the phone with one of my writing coaching clients (who just so happens to be a kick-ass SciFi adventure writer).

"I'm enjoying your book," he said.

I thanked him.

"I think my wife is enjoying it even more.  She keeps stealing it from me."

I allowed as how this didn't surprise me, seeing as how the novel is most definitely women's fiction and my client's book is more of a rough-and-tumble type romp.

"She told me last night that she thinks she's just gotten to a place in the book where she is less irritated with Emma Jean and is beginning to see her change."

I loved hearing this, because it means that my client's wife got Emma Jean.  Yes, Emma Jean is self-absorbed to the point of cluelessness at the start (I believe one reviewer said she "wanted to take her by the shoulders and shake her") but there's also a deep woundedness inside her that makes her act this way.

I've always trusted my readers to get that. To get irritated with her, and want to shake some sense into her but still be willing to go on her journey with her–because they understand that she will transform at the end.

I'm not going to give away the ending by saying how she transforms, but suffice it to say she does transform.  That's what I love about women's fiction–its characters go on journeys of transformation.

The funny thing is, I had numerous agents tell me that Emma Jean was too "unrelatable."  And yet, over and over again, I get comments from people who tell me how much they love her, how they empathize with her, how they know someone just like her.

I'm glad I trusted the reader.

In what ways have you learned to trust the reader?

Making the Magic Happen: Committing to a Writing Schedule

Writing is magic.
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We think up an idea, and put it on the page.  Whole worlds spring to life beneath our fingers.  And all we need to do this, at base, is a pen and paper.  Oh, sure, a typewriter or computer helps, but if worse came to worse you could do without one and still write.

What you do have to come up with is time to make the magic happen.  You have to sit at your desk, or your arm chair, or in the coffee shop, and put words on the page.  And that takes time.

And that is where many of us falter.  Me, too.  I struggle with finding time just like everyone else.  But lately I've realized that all my important non-writing activities stretch to fill the time I allot them.  So, if I give myself all day to read three manuscripts, that's how long it will probably take me.  And if I give myself all day to read said manuscripts, I won't get any writing done.

And therein lies the problem.

With the necessity of doing marketing around my book release, many days this winter I became a writer who didn't write.  Well, there were blog posts.  And there were guest posts and interviews and ariticles, all of which I love.

But in my heart of hearts, its not the same as working on fiction.  And if a fiction writer is how I identify myself, if that is what I truly want to be, then I need to find time to work on it consistently.

I used to get up and work on it first thing in the morning.  But that schedule no longer works for me–I simply have too many emails and other internet chores pulling on me to allow me to focus.  I'd sort of pretend I was writing and actually get about 20 minutes in.  Not conducive to making progress on a WIP.  I was working on it, but in fits and starts–a stolen moment here, a bit of time there.

Last week, in my travels around the web, I read an interview with an author said that she wrote every morning from 9 to noon.  (I wish I knew who this was or where I read it, but I can't remember.)  This struck me like a thunderbolt.  Bad cliche, sorry, but it did.  I realized that if I put myself on a schedule like that, I'd actually get my writing done. 

And so I did.  I'm now writing from 9 to noon every day.  I'm showered and at my desk by 9 AM.  No more stretching internet time until 8 AM, then working on the crossword puzzle for awhile and getting in the shower when I felt like it.  (Hey, its the benefit of working at home.)  Nope, I'm ready to write at 9 AM sharp.  And I'm getting a ton done.

What I wasn't so sure about was getting everything else done, but so far that hasn't been a problem at all.  I've always harped on said that when you make your passion your priority, everything else magically falls into place.  And it is true.  I'm simply much more focused.  Plus, the high that comes from fiction writing follows me all day, allowing me to power through dumb chores and errands with joy. 

I really can't describe how profound this change feels. 

I've got an exciting new ghostwriting job coming up, and a couple other things in the works, so we'll see how I stick to the schedule when those come in.  But in the meantime, don't call me in the morning, because I'll be writing.

Do you schedule writing time?  Are you able to stick to it?  What works for you?

Do You Need to Return to the Basics in Your Writing?

File0001530883609After all the hoopla over the publication of Emma Jean, (which really is ongoing, I'm just still getting used to it being a part of my life) I returned to my WIP with great joy.  Nothing makes me happier than working regularly on fiction.  I may have mentioned this once or twice over the course of this blog's life.

And yet.  When I re-read my WIP, I realized I had some problems.  Like, BIG problems.  Plot and story problems.  Huge holes in the backstory (because, um, I didn't know it).  Characters I didn't get.  And so on.  I had written about 180 pages.  Up to page 70, the work was fairly solid.  But from then on, I was pantsing like crazy, and it showed.

Concurrently, I've been teaching my Get Your Novel Written Now class.One thing I harp on talk about a lot in that class is going back to the basics.  As in, novel writing is a long-haul project, and odds are good you're going to get lost somewhere along the way.  When you do, your best bet is to go back to the basics.

The fundamentals of fiction.

I took my own advice.   Read a book on outlining and thought deep thoughts about plot and story.  Applied those deep thoughts to the loose outline I had partially created.  Watched the story come back to life.  Danced a jig.

All of which reminded me of the benefits of going back to the basics.

Perhaps you need to, also.  Are you stalled in an area of your novel or memoir?  Then turn your attention backwards.  Let's review the fundamentals of fiction and then you can figure out which area you need to return to and focus on.  And, please, bear in mind, mention "fundamentals of fiction" to ten different novelists and you'll get ten different lists of fundamentals.  But, over the years, I've researched and thought and researched some more and boiled them down to these five.  You can quibble if you want.  Go ahead, do it.  I'll be happy to debate it with you.  But these are the five that make sense to me, so I'm going with it.

  • Character
  • Story
  • Setting
  • Theme
  • Style

Let's look at them one by one, and think how paying some more attention to these fundamentals may help boost your WIP.

1.  Character.  The starting point of story, to me, is character, as in characters in conflict.  Characters who have real desires, needs and fears.  There are so many different ways you can get to know your characters through filling out dossiers and histories (a bunch of them are mentioned here.  Do you know your characters?  Did you take time to find out about them in depth before you started writing?  If not, maybe its time to do that now. 

2.  Story.  Story is what happens in your novel.  Plot is how you arrange it for the reader.  Well, anyway, that's one defnition.  There's a ton of others, but for our purposes today, you could do worse than to think about it that way.  Do you know where you're going in your story?  Do you need to? (Some do some don't.) If you're unclear, perhaps you need to do some outlining.

3.  Setting.  Where the novel takes place, duh, and also so much more–weather, time, the things your characters surround themselves with.   Sometimes when I'm writing and something isn't quite right, I look at setting.  It can make an enormous difference if you're in the wrong place. 

4.  Theme.  Broadly, what your story is about.  I'm a fan of the it-will-come-out-as-you-write school of them and premise, because thinking about it makes my head feel like it will explode.  (I find this somewhat hard to believe, but in all the years I've written this blog, I've never written a post about theme.  Can you tell it's not my strong suit?  I think I better put this topic on my future blog post list, just to challenge myself.)

5.  Style.   Breathe a sigh of relief–this fundamental of fiction is not something you need to fuss about too much while you still working on the initial drafts of your novel.  Style is how you put words together on the page, and much of it comes at the end, when you check over you use of commas, choose strong verbs, and so on.  HOWEVER, you can train yourself to make good writing style choices as you write, and this is a good idea.

It is my belief that you have the novel writer's intution and you'll know which fundamental you need to go back to do and ponder if you get stuck.  I know and love my characters well, for instance, but I knew I needed some crucial parts of their backstory that would tie directly to my plot.  It can feel like you're wasting time when you take time to go back to the basics, but it will pay off for you in the end.

I promise.

So, tell me–which basic do you need to focus on ? Or is everything going along swimmingly for you? Either way, please share in the comments.

***Struggling with a writer's block that feels deep and scary and not something that can be dealt with by going back to the basics?  I love helping writers get back on track.  Go here to read about my services. 

Photo by mconnors.

Adventures with Book Reviews

In my continuing effort to be as transparent as possible about the publishing process, today our topic is book reviews.
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As in, how to get some.

This will be a short post, because I'm not yet adept at this skill, apparently.  Kidding, at least about the short post part.

But book reviews are important because they sell books.  There are several places to get your book reviewed:

  • Amazon
  • Goodreads
  • Other book sites such as Shelfari and a gazillion I don't know
  • Book review bloggers

And, yeah, I know there's more places, like sites where you can buy reviews, but I'm not going to focus on them today.  I'm going to focus on book blogger reviewers.  Who are, as far as I can tell, very overworked and under appreciated.  They get inundated with requests to review books, probably mostly from people they've never heard of, and once they agree, they have to read the book and then write a review.

I don't know about you, but I think writing reviews is hard.  I ran a book review blog for awhile and took it down when it got overwhelming, which happened in about three months.  The minute I put that baby up (and bear in mind, it had like, 2 readers) I was bowled over by how publicists, authors and others hit me up for reviews.  Actually, I thought it was great and said yes to nearly every request, because–free books!  What's not to like?  But then you have to read them, and think about them, and write about them in a coherent way.  And give your opinion.  And this all takes time.  I always felt like I was behind with my reading, and half the time I was reading because I had to for the blog, not because I wanted to.

(By the way, every once in awhile publishers find me on this blog and ask me to review a book.  I've got a really good one coming up soon.  Well, I think its going to be good, I don't actually have the book yet.)

And my experience in running a book review site was a few years ago, before the current self publishing boom.  Which I gather has increased requests for book reviews exponentially, given the number of book review sites which will not consider self-published novels.  (Most of them are very clear that they have nothing against self-published novels, they just have to draw the line somewhere.)

I have to tell you, this process reminds me a lot of the process of submitting the book in the first place.  Yeah, bad news.  You have to go through it all again.  For real.  Not kidding.

So here's the process I'm going through:

1.  Research sites.  My publisher sent me a list of over 700 sites, and I've come up with lists through my own research.  This is a time-consuming part of the process.  You have to go to the blog and check it out.  Is it still current?  Does it cover your genre?  What is their review policy? I'm finding many, many blogs that are no longer accepting books for review, most temporarily, because they are so inundated.  And often I land on one that hasn't published in months.  I get this, because it happened with my book review site.  I just couldn't handle it anymore.

2.  Query them.  There's that dreaded word–query, the one you thought you'd never ever hear again once you were published.  Ha! I have a standard letter I use which I personalize for each blogger I write.  Part of this, for me, is to try to feel okay about asking complete strangers to do something for you–read your book and review it.   Of course, they get a free book, but they have to do a fair amount of work for that book.  In terms of man-hours, they'd probably be better off just to buy it.

3.  Wait for the replies to inundate your inbox.  Um, this part hasn't happened for me yet.  I've probably sent out 15 requests and gotten back….wait for it…one reply.  (Which was a yes, and its a good site.  This blogger is overwhelmed with review requests, but is going to interview me.  I will promote the hell out of her interview, I can tell you that!)

So that's the process, and as you can tell, I've not mastered it.  I think I feel more comfortable with guest posts, in that I take on part of the work–the writing of the post itself.  But I'm going to keep going with this review process in spare moments and see what happens.

What's your experience with reviews–both getting them and giving them?  Also, do book reviews influence what you read?  Where do you read most of your reviews?

**Are you struggling with even getting to the point of publishing, i.e., with your writing?  The best way to improve your writing skills is to work one on one with a mentor.  Like me!  I offer a variety of services around coaching writers, and you can check them out here.

Photo by austinevan.

7 Tips for a Fabulous Book Reading

School-person-literature-15648-lI did my first in-person reading of Emma Jean's Bad Behavior last night (I did one on the telephone, which was a bit trippy, for the virtual release party).  It was at at local coffee shop and I'm happy to report that it went really well.   People laughed in all the right places and after the initial rush you get when you stand up in front of a group, I relaxed and settled into it.

I've done a lot of public speaking, presenting workshops on various aspects of writing, and yet reading my own work is a bit of a different beast.  While I've read pieces in manuscript form through the years, now I'm getting used to reading from an actual book.  I thought you might like a few tips.  (I'm probably writing these nearly as much for myself, as a reminder, as for you.)  Because once you are published, and maybe even before, you will get asked to read.

1.  Plan your reading.  Figure out what you are going to read.  I've gone to lovely readings where the author read in an organized flow, segueing from a piece of chapter one, to chapter three and further in, which can give a good idea of a book.  When I tried to do this, it was a disaster–I got confused, and I wrote the book.  So I settled with several passages with chapter one and that worked great.  If you are reading in chunks, be sure to provide connecting information to your audience–and plan it out ahead of time.

2.  Plan your attire.  This sounds vain, but it isn't, really, because you are going to have a roomful of eyes on you and you don't want to be fussing with pulling your shirt down while they watch.  Last night I chose one of those cardigans with long tails in the front precisely so that I didn't have to worry if my stomach was hanging out.  (I thought if I wore my Spanx I wouldn't be able to breathe.  See #5.)

3.  Suss out the location.  Check it out ahead of time.  The coffee shop where I read has a regular Thursday evening reading series and I'd been there a couple times to hear friends read.  I knew there was no podium and that I'd be speaking into a standing microphone.  And I knew this meant that I was going to have do practice reading with my book held in front of my face.   See next tip.

4.  Practice, practice, practice.  This is far and away my most important advice.  Practicing will give you confidence, the confidence that comes from familiarity with your material. It will alert you to potential minefields–the word you've never been sure exactly how to pronounce, the swear word that might not be appropriate for your audience, the sex scene you might want to save for another venue.  Your work sounds different when you read it aloud–do it ahead of time to find potential problems.

5.  Breathe.  Once you've walked onstage, try to remember to take a deep breath.  As mentioned early, there is a rush of energy that comes in the act of getting yourself up in front of others and it can make it hard to catch your breath.  Nerves make you breathe faster, too.  This didn't happen to me last night, but it has in the past, and then I struggled to overcome my shallow breathing.

6.  Make eye contact.  Look up at your audience once in awhile, instead of keeping your nose buried in the book or manuscript.  This was something I could have done better last night, but since I was reading from my book with no podium, I had to wear reading glasses and it was awkward to peer over them.

7.  Enjoy.  You might not be able to actually utilize this tip until you've done a few readings and gotten used to them.  But you will feel the rush of relief when you are done, and people are applauding.  Soak it in!

 Your turn.  Do you have any tips for readings?  Do you enjoy them, or dread them?

(And by the way, if you feel so moved to buy a copy of Emma Jean you can find info on online outlets here.)

 Photo by svilen001.

True Confessions: I’m a Plotter, Not a Pantser

It has come to my attention recently that I am a plotter, not a pantser.
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In case you're not familiar with these terms, here's a rundown:

A plotter is someone who, well, plots.  He figures out the story ahead of time, outlining plot, designing characters, making copious notes.

A pantser flies by the seat of her pants, getting an idea for a story and flying with it.

It pains me to admit that I fall squarely into the plotter category.  Why does it pain me?  Because of my romantic image of writing, which I must admit is pure romance and very little reality.  It goes something like this: you get an idea one day.  Eureka!  It's brilliant!  Has the makings of a bestseller! And then you sit down at your computer, which is in your office overlooking a white sand beach, of course.  And you start typing.  Out pops the novel, which is then sent to a publisher post haste and voila, it becomes a bestseller, while you loll on the afore-mentioned beach.

I know.  I've been a professional writer forever, and I still fall prey in my mind to this fairy tale image of the writing life.  (If I'm still victimized by it, imagine how many others, newbies and pros alike are too.) The reality is that writing is hard work.  Wonderful work but hard work. 

And for me, if I allow myself to waft about and follow an idea anywhere I take it, i.e., the pantsing model of writing, there's no bestseller at the end.  Rather, disaster ensues and I get a lot of loose ends that go nowhere and a stalled novel.  Case in point: my WIP. It is strong for 70 pages, which happen to coincide with the 70 pages I had vaguely outlined.  After that, it all goes to hell.  And it's the after that part that I've lately been shoring up with a real outline.

Okay, let's be clear.  When I say "real outline" I'm not talking about the formal outline you learned to create in school.  (Are they still teaching that?) I never could figure out how those worked.  What I'm talking about is a document that reflects the fact that you have a firm idea where you are going.  This document could be a loose list, as it is so often to me.  It could be an elaborate road map complete with pictures.  I don't care.  I just think you'll do better at writing your novel with some kind of guide.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for magic happening in a novel, such as when a character walks on.  An example of that happened as I was writing Emma Jean's Bad Behavior.  One of my favorite characters, a young girl named Ava, appeared one day and started talking.  But, for me, this is more likely to happen when I know where I am, when I have a framework to bump up against.

I'm also much more likely to make forward progress when I know where I'm going next. The best way to make forward progress on a novel is to always have a place to go next.  Ernest Hemingway was famous for stopping his work sessions in the middle of a sentence so he'd have a good starting point the next session.  The reason this story is told so often is because it's useful advice.

Besides my loose outline, I also write up character dossiers of varying degrees of complexity.   I'm currently going back to the well with this one in my WIP as well.  There were bits and pieces of backstory that I knew were important but hadn't figured out yet.  Once I figured them out, they changed not only the story but the character's motivations as well. 

And all this work got me VERY excited about my novel again.  I've got a bit more outlining and planning to do, and then I'll be back at very soon, which makes me very happy. 

So, there.  That's my confession.  I'm a plotter.  And proud of it.

What about you?  Which camp do you fall into?  (And don't worry, if you're a pantser, please let us know why and how it works for you.  I love hearing what works for people.)

**A lot of this is the kind of thing I talk about in my Get Your Novel Written Now class, which is currently underway.  (No link, as we're far enough in I didn't think anyone would want to join, and so I took it down.) The class runs five weeks and covers all the basics of writing a novel.  I'm actually thinking about running it again in June, in an expanded version, in which we'd have two calls a month: one informational, one Q & A, plus we'd actually write and get critiqued throughout the program.  There would also be a forum in which to share ideas, and the ups and downs of the process.  How does that sound?  Email me or leave a comment if you are interested or have ideas about such a program.

Photo by KrzystofB.

Mindset of the Wealthy Writer

Money_cash_coins_261247_lI was going to write about plotting versus pantsing this morning, but then the idea for this post grabbed hold of me and wouldn't let go.  So here we are….(and look for the other post later this week).

Let me be clear at the outset.  I'm not wealthy, at least as far as finances go.  But I am ridiculously wealthy as far as all the other important things in life go.  I've got wonderful friends and family, a house to live in, a car that always starts (knock on wood), access to health care, both traditional and alternative, food in my belly on a regular basis, and more.  That more being two main things: I get to be a creative writer every day of my life and I enjoy freedom and independence.

Yeah, some days I'd like to earn a bit more money.  But if its for me in this life to enjoy wealth in other arenas of my life, so be it.  I know there are many others who don't share my blessings.   Here's the deal, I only enjoy my freedom and independence when I'm actively and energetically writing as regularly as possible.

And so, for me (and I suspect for many others), everything else follows from that one activity, writing.  When we're writing we're wealthy.  When we're not, we're poor.

I like this way of looking at wealth, I realize, because it puts the emphasis where it belongs, on the process rather than the product. 

Are you following me?  Am I making sense?

If all of this does indeed describe the wealthy writer, then it makes sense that the mindset of the wealthy writer is one that enables him or her to write regularly and with ease.  And who knows, that just might lead to financial wealth some day down the road, too.  (It could happen.  And by keeping your mind on the process, it will be more likely to happen.  Because you will be working to master your craft, not focusing on the end result.)

So here are some ideas on maintaining that mindset, in no particular order:

1.  Expect big things.  Decide that its going to happen and maintain that expectation.  Instead of moaning and groaning about how hard it is to find time to write, tell yourself that it's easy.  And while you're at it, remind yourself that when you do make it to the page, you'll write with grace and ease.

2. Trust, that the above will happen.  Writing involves huge buckets of trust.  It just does.  Trust that the words will continue to come.  Trust that is you have a bad writing session, the next one will be good.  Trust that your story will come together in shining glory.

3.  Be grateful.  Thank the lord or whomever you prefer every damn day that you get to be a writer.  It's the best job in the world, even if you're only practicing it a few minutes a day.

4.  Banish negative thoughts.  Yeah, I sound like Pollyanna.  So what?  Negative thoughts are creativity killers, period, and it takes discipline and diligence to pay attention to them and turn them around.  It is especially difficult after a lousy writing session like the one I had earlier this morning.  But do it anyway.  Nobody said writing was going to be easy.

5.  Give it all up and get it all back.  That's one of my favorite sayings, from Alan Cohen, and it's true.  You find yourself in a ball of worry–about where the next check is coming from, about where the next words for your WIP are coming from, about everything.  Give it up.  Release it.  And see what happens.  Just do it.  When you really, truly release your worries, magic happens.

6.  Words in, words out.  I swear to God this is true for me.  When I'm disgorging words onto the page, it is as if I need to inhale tons of them inside me.  The more I read, the more I write.  And the better I write, because as I read I'm learning the tropes of writing.  This is true for wherever you are along the writing road.

7.  Enjoy it already.  Writing is too hard not to be enjoyed, period.  Quit getting all angsty over it and relax and write.

How do you create a wealthy writer mindset?  Is being wealthy all about money for you, or is it something else?  Please leave a comment and let us know.

Photo by ctoocheck.