I wrote a flash fiction piece for an anthology from Pill Hill Press. It's called Undead Diner and is going to be in the calendar Daily Bites of Flesh. I can't wait to see it! I didn't get paid for it or anything and it's a small piece, but as you can understand it's still very exciting!
I've been looking for ways to become more productive with my time. I started by getting organized. That was a big help, although I will soon need to start organizing again because it is difficult for me to stay organized for very long. Then I thought about setting up a schedule, where I work from this time to this time each day. That fell apart fast. That kind of schedule just doesn't work for me, but I needed to do something to manage my time so that I was being more productive. Instead of having a rigid schedule that I follow, I assign time to my assignments. This is basically what I do. When I go to my computer, or sometimes my desk if I want to write there for a while, I will make a list of what writing projects I need to focus on and then I will assign a certain amount of time to each project. For example, let's say I want to get five articles done and then work on a chapter or two of a book. I'll write down the titles for the articles and put an amount of time next to it, which is how much time I expect to spend on it. This amount of time obviously varies quite a bit. Some articles will take me ten minutes and some will take fifty minutes. It depends on a lot of things. Once I have time allotted to each article, I will decide how much time I'm going to spend on those book chapters. Occasionally I will spend more time on something than I had planned, but it is certainly a much better system than trying to follow the same schedule for writing everyday. This system makes it much easier for me to stay on task and stay focused. Writing schedules might work for other people, but I find it much easier to just assign time to my projects for the day.
I haven't been on this forum in a while. To be honest, not much has happened in the meantime.
I am still on my journey to publication for my book. I kept reading and rereading and all I could think to myself was "Who would want to read this? It's boring!" The writing just wasn't good. Things didn't flow very well and I realized that I wasn't really explaining my arguments and positions very well either. I went back and forth on how to solve the problems for months. I even though of scrapping the project completely, but that would have been so disappointing to me since I had already put so much effort into it. I just knew that something had do change, and more than just a few minor revisions, before I contacted another publisher. And then it just hit me. I came up with a new outline and a new chapter list. The topics I wanted to address were more organized and I realized that it would be easier to write within this new outline. I am very excited about the new direction and more excited than ever about completing and publishing this book project.
I guess the main point of this is to encourage anyone who has put a lot of work into a long term project and feels like it's time to give up and move on to something else. Sometimes you will find that a project is going nowhere and that you just need to scrap it and move on, but be aware that that's not always the case. Sometimes you just need a fresh perspective or something new to give your work some life again. I felt like giving up so many times and if I had I wouldn't have been inspired to make my project better. Now I know exactly what I want to do with this book and I feel confident in myself. That wouldn't have happened if I gave up. If you're thinking about giving up on a book project, just take the time to think about it first. You could still salvage some of your work and inspiration could be right around the corner.
One of the most frustrating things I've experienced in my journey as a writer is getting contradicting advice from people. Someone tells me how to handle a certain situation and I think I'm good to go. Then, suddenly, someone else tells me something totally different. Here are some examples.
-"You always have to send a query letter before submitting a short story or article" It actually depends on where you're submitting my work. Some magazines will prefer a query letter first, and some will allow you to send in what you've written without a query letter. It just annoys me that someone actually told me that query letters were needed before submissions across the board when that's obviously not the case. It's okay to tell someone what you're experience was when you got published, but don't go around telling people that that's the way it always is if that's not true.
-"You can never get an advance or get a publisher to accept your work before your book is complete" Actually, that is possible. I've read a few books on book proposals and I enjoy reading what published writers have to say about the process. You can have your work accepted before it's complete. Most of the people who are able to do this have already made a name for themselves in some way, but they were still able to do it. It's annoying hearing people say that it's impossible when it happens all the time.
Anyone else have any examples of someone giving them advice that later turned out to be false or exaggerated? It drives me crazy!!
Since I'm in the process of revising my book and putting together my book proposal, I recently rented Nonfiction Book Proposals Anyone Can Write and The Art of the Book Proposal from my local library. I haven't actually done much in terms of the book proposal itself yet because I'm focusing on revisions right now. Anyway, in The Art of the book Proposal the author lists several exercises throughout the book to make you really think about your idea. One of them was making a list of questions about the idea you have for your book. I thought it might be helpful to anyone else who might be going through the same process to post my list here.
Questions to be considered on (Insert Book name)
-Can I answer any questions on (Insert Book name) in interviews? What kind of questions might I be asked? What can I do to prepare?
-Is each chapter focused and well-organized? Does each chapter contain information, entertainment, or both?
-Do I use enough facts to back up my statements? Am I presenting my opinions in a way that is both logical and enjoyable to read?
-Does any of the writing make me sound narrow-minded, insincere, or unnecessarily hateful?
-What specifically can I say to make people interested in my book? What can I do to reach the intended audience?
-Is there anything(statement, anecdote, criticism, etc.) in this book that could make me lose my credibility?
-What can I do to convince people that I'm qualified to discuss these issues despite my young age?
-What current books can I compare my book to?
-In what ways can I promote my book on my own?
-Why is this book important? What makes it special, other than the fact that I am passionate about it?
-Is my book relevant only to recent events, or will it still be relevant 50, 60 years down the road?
-Will my book only reach a clearly defined audience, or might I be able to somehow draw people in who are not generally interested in my topic?
Those are the questions I came up with. I just thought it might be interesting to know if anyone else is going through a similar process with something they've written. When I'm finished with both proposal books I'll post my thoughts on them in the forum.
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