My Writing Process, part 2

In the first part of this series, I talked about the struggles I had initially faced as a writer.  In this part, I want to talk about how my writing process changed and what I am doing differently today.

Forest PathWhen I put aside the project I had been working on (which reached an astounding 200k words and was not done), I knew I needed a different approach.  I wanted to create something that was marketable, and for fantasy, that meant I needed to have a finished product between 80k and 120k words.  In the supermarket format, that comes out to roughly 320 to 480 pages.  Anything too small is not considered worth the investment to readers and anything too large has production costs that make it more risky to produce.  For me, the goal was right in the middle, 100k words. Continue reading

Ooh, ooh … look at me! — advice to writers

In talking with students and other people, I’ve started to share a few bits of advice I’ve learned one way or the other over the years.  I’ll also share that advice here in my blog.

Hampton Court GardensWhen thinking about the different aspects of being an author, there are some parts that are more difficult than others.  To be a writer, one must write, but to be an author with sales, one must also be able to promote their work.  You might have the best story every written, but if you do not let people know about it, no one will ever have a chance to read it.

For most authors, jumping up and down and yelling “Hey, look at me!” is not something we do naturally.  We tend to be introverts, not extroverts.  Writing is often a natural fit for us because it is a fairly solitary activity and while we might work with friends to get feedback and input, generally, the bulk of the work is done alone behind a keyboard and in our heads.

For example, I went looking for a photo of myself being wild and crazy…I had to settle for the impressive gardens at Hampton Court.  I just don’t have many photos of me being ostentatious (oh, I am often silly, there’s just not that much physical evidence of it out there.)

So my advice, if you want to be successful, be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and get in front of people to do some honest self-promotion.  I’m not talking about bragging or nagging, but you have to draw attention to yourself to let everyone know you have something to share.  Most people will be interested in knowing more about what you are doing and will ask questions and become engaged.  I know I am asking you to share something that is often very personal to you, but that is the only way others will know it exists.