Tuesday, 24 March 2015

5 little ways to find more time to write

I recently spoke at a motivational workshop and a common question was on finding more time to write. We're not all Stephen King or Marian Keyes and have the luxury of being able to write full time. Most of us hold full time or part time jobs and struggle to finish the novel we're working on.

Before we move on you might like to do this little self assessment:  

How much time do I currently spend writing?

How much time would I like to spend writing?

______ hours per week

______ hours per week

How much time do I spend doing non-writing activities?

What are some of these non-writing activities?




______ hours per week


If you want more time to write, you'll need to come up with some strategies, such as these:


“I will write at 8pm for one hour every weeknight.”
Sticking to a writing plan really helps. You form a habit and others see you forming a habit. Plus, the more you write the better and faster you get at it. You might place a limit of one hour or 1,000 words. Turn off social media.

“I won’t go shopping at lunch, I’ll write 500 words instead.”
If you write 500 words for five days you will have 2,500 words. That’s half a short story or quarter of a chapter EACH WEEK. Do that 52 weeks and you will have written 130,000 words. That’s two 60,000 word novels, five 26,000 word novellas, 26 short stories or poems.  Be careful not to edit as you go. Get it written down first, then begin the edits.
"I will get to work 30 minutes earlier or stay later and write 500 words.”
Often, because writing is done at home people think we’re physically there for them. But if you are not in the house, interruptions may be reduced. Also, writing away from home can sometimes provide the focus you need to form that ‘write every day’ habit.

“I’ll take a notebook with me everywhere I go and if I find myself with spare time, I’ll write.”
Doctor waiting rooms, bus trips, getting your hair done, travelling for work, flights and hotels...these are all down time opportunities that can be put to good use but of course, if you need the down time, take it. A key to resilience is looking after the writing machine you'll become.
"I'll skip that TV show I don't really like and write instead."
I enjoy watching certain TV shows (Supernatural being my favourite at the moment), and can't stand others (mainly reality TV). So instead of complaining about there being nothing on TV, I get up and go into my study and write until a show I want to watch comes on.
So these tips are pretty manageable. But if you're still not convinced how important it is to write a goal and stick to it, then here's another way to look at finding time to write:

Think of someone who is studying for a Bachelor of Arts. How do people react when they say they can’t go to dinner because they have an assignment due?
Think of someone who’s on a diet. How do people react when they say no to birthday cake in the office?
The answer is that they usually help push the person studying to reach their goal, and try to pull the dieter away from theirs.
Good luck with your writing. And please let me know if you have any tips to share.

About the author:

Not one to accept being put into a box, D L Richardson writes speculative fiction for anyone who likes a twist in their tale. She now has six books published and is working on an apocalyptic series and a dystopian novel.
You can check out her more about books at her website www.dlrichardson.com




Sunday, 8 March 2015

Writing reviews that help readers find books

As an author, I understand the value of reviews. I need them to help readers find out if other readers enjoyed my book. I often read through reviews of other books I'm interested in. Am I swayed by bad reviews or good reviews? Not really. My mind will be made up by the book description, and sometimes, though not always, by the number of reviews.

Readers are consumers. Writers are consumers. As a reader I need to know that I'm going to invest my time wisely. As a writer, I need to know you feel comfortable telling me that you enjoyed it without having to feel the need to write an essay.

So I'm going to dispel a few myths about what writers are looking for in a review.

Myth number one:

A review is a critique.

BUSTED: I don't want a reader to have to agonize over whether the author captured the notion of belonging, or the character arc, or the three act structure was followed. If you have time to write a critical review, then by all means do so. But if this is what is preventing you from giving a review of a book, then one line or one paragraph is perfectly adequate. it's more than adequate. Anything you have to say is so helpful for authors and readers. Your review doesn't have to be an essay.

This is an actual review received via email from a fan for my spy adventure novel Feedback:

....i thought feedback was so good such an interesting concept and i have to say something i have actually thought about fantastic read fantastic !!!!


Myth number two:

3 or 4 stars is a good rating.

CONFIRMED: If you check the Goodreads ranking scale, 3 stars means you liked it, 4 stars means you really liked it and 5 stars means it was amazing.

We all want 5 star reviews. But with so many 5 star reviews being handed out they are losing their value. Next we'll need to introduce a 6 or 7 star system so we can rate the books we really do love higher than 5.

I'll give an example. My favourite books are The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, Robocalypse by Daniel H Wilson, and To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. these are the books which all books must now be compared to. So why would I give a book I thought was good, or worse just okay, a 5 star rating?

It isn't necessary to pander to an author's ego. In fact, pandering to my ego and telling me everything is great is counter-productive. I received 3.5 stars for The Bird With The Broken Wing from Night Owl Reviews and it's an honest review. I'm over the moon about an honest review, so please feel free to give them, even if the author is your friend.

Myth number three:

A review is your opportunity to take your angst out on the world.

BUSTED: If you hated a book, then you should still make your review professional. If you can't do that then a simple, "I did not like this book and I will not be reading anything else this author writes" will suffice. I have read a few nasty reviews on Amazon, (none or any of my books, thankfully) and I only end up thinking that whoever wrote that review is a tool. Be professional.

Some examples of well-written 1 star reviews:

Could not get into this book.
Very slow and repetitive.

Example of reviews not to write:

I didn't even read it wanted to try another book so skipped to the end of the book thank you

I'm staggered to understand why someone would even leave a review for a book they didn't read. Didn't finish, perhaps, but didn't read???

These are just a few myths busted. If I think of anymore I shall be sure to let you know. How do you go at writing reviews? do you give them verbally to your friends, or do you write them on Goodreads and Amazon and other online sites.

About the author:

Not one to accept being put into a box, D L Richardson writes speculative fiction for anyone who likes a twist in their tale. She now has six books published and is working on an apocalyptic series and a dystopian novel.
You can check out her more about books at her website www.dlrichardson.com