How to Avoid Burnout as a Writer Part II

How to Avoid Burnout as a Writer Part II

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The first installment of my burnout series was so popular I decided to write a second. As mentioned before, here is my disclaimer that I am not a doctor, psychologist, or otherwise professionally certified to give advice. I’m just a regular person sharing tips on what has worked for me in my writing life.

My additional tips to avoid burnout:

Stop comparing yourself to others – in terms of writing, work, and other aspects of life. There is always going to be a twenty year-old who gets a book deal in one week. There will always be interns who are promoted after two months on the job where it might take four years before anyone recognizes your greatness. Only comparing you to you will help you stay sane.

Related to that, spend even less time on social media. Nothing encourages comparison-itis like having a newsfeed of every great thing that’s happening to everyone you know. Remind yourself that awesome updates are just a small part of someone’s life that they’re blasting out to the world. Everyone has problems, even people who come off as perfect.

Make eating healthy a priority. I love a good pizza as much as the next person, however (as much as I hate to admit it to myself) I feel so much better when I eat lean proteins, veggies, and fruit. I’m less tired and have more energy to focus on the things I care about, i.e. writing.

Make to do lists fun. Having so many things to do–writing, work, chores, family obligations–all the time can be overwhelming. My husband found these slightly inappropriate notepads that make crossing off tasks fun. Chores, projects, work, and all the things will always be there; might as well make it a little more enjoyable.

Over to you. Any tips to share that help you avoid burnout?

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Why You Should Edit Your Novel Backwards Plus Other Possibly Insane Yet Effective Editing Tricks

Why You Should Edit Your Novel Backwards Plus Other Possibly Insane Yet Effective Editing Tricks

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I recently finished a major revision of a novel I’ve been working on since 2015. You read that right. I’ve spent almost three years with this novel, in which I’ve gone to hell and back. And trust me when I say that is not an exaggeration. I used several editing strategies with this novel that I’ve never used before and I’m convinced it has made me a better writer and editor. After 10 years of writing and working on multiple manuscripts here is my best editing advice:

Revise the manuscript backwards. Meaning, if you have thirty chapters in your book start editing Chapter 30 first, then Chapter 29, and on down. I don’t know why I’d never tried this before, but it is my new favorite technique. You see things going backwards that you don’t see when editing in a linear fashion.

Color code the thing if need be. Again, this is something I’d never tried before. My writing mentor said there wasn’t enough body language in my book. So what did I do? I printed the thing out and highlighted all the body language in orange. If there was no orange on a page or the color didn’t appear for several pages I looked at where I could add body language in. This was painful–VERY painful–but man did it work!

Map out chapters in Excel. Chapter length wasn’t something I took a serious look at before. I tracked the length of chapters in Excel as well as charted characters’ feelings to make sure they were changing. If there were too many or too few pages between chapters I looked at where an alternate break could be made.

What about you? What unique editing techniques have you tried? Share in the comments.

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P.S. I also wanted to share that I have an agent 🙂 I’ll write a longer blog post about how I did it, but I’m happy to say I’m now represented by Penny Moore of Aevitas Creative Management.

2017 accomplishments & 2018 goals

2017 accomplishments & 2018 goals

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It’s that time of year again where I assess what I accomplished in 2017. DNC = did not complete. DONE = accomplished.

At the start of 2017 these were my goals:

  • Find a reliable critique partner. DNC
  • Produce an audiobook of One Night. DNC
  • Secure a traditional publishing contract. DNC
  • Finish current work in progress, a new YA novel. DONE
  • Attend at least one writer’s workshop or conference. DNC
  • Start another novel. DONE
  • Accept praise more graciously. KINDA DONE

I met almost half of my goals. I think I accomplished the two most important ones which had to do with writing output. I wrote two novels last year while working full-time, taking care of a house, dog, etc. which I consider a triumph.

This year my goals are:

  • Write two novels
  • Publish a novel
  • Focus on scalable, long-term marketing for my books

What about you? What are your goals?

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What I’m Into This Month

What I’m Into This Month

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It’s that time again to talk about what I’m reading, writing, and watching this month.

What I’m reading:

  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Unabridged, people! This is not my usual read, but my husband ADORES this book and can’t wait until I finish reading it. It is interesting and in general I’m familiar with the story, having seen an adaptation starring one of my favorite actors Jim Caviezel. But it’s much longer than an average book. I just hope I finish by the end of the year.

What I’m watching:

  • The Wolfpack, a documentary about a group of brothers who grew up sheltered in an apartment in New York who have a passion for movies. Completely fascinating and available on Netflix right now.
  • Newtown, another documentary (apparently they are my thing this month) about the town of Newtown, CT and how they’ve dealt with the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. I make it a point to not get political on my web site, but this is really an eye-opener about how we need some reform to gun control laws. You will need tissues for this one.

What I’m writing:

  • A companion to One Night that follows Ronnie and Thompson into college. Tentatively titled The Only Thing. Thompson finds himself in another romantic predicament. More details coming soon.
  • I’m also editing my YA novel that’s set in Serbia. Why set a novel in Serbia you ask? My husband in Serbian and Serbia is a beautiful country that often gets a bad rap in the media.

If you want to be the first to know about new book news and read a preview of One Night, sign up for my email list.

P.S. I am giving away a signed copy of One Night over at my friend Melissa’s blog, So About What I Said. Be sure to enter and check out her great web site!

 

Upcoming events

Upcoming events

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Hey all, I have a lot of events going on next week – an event bonanza as I’ve been calling it LOL. Where you can find me:

To be the first to know about events, sign up for my email list. If you’d like information on my public speaking or booking info go here.