Tag : writing

Debbie Downer vs. Positive Paul – Don’t Be That Guy

Your Own Book CriticThe mind can be a writer’s harshest critic, and it never seems to shut up. You don’t need to pay attention to everything it says. In this post, we introduce three techniques to help you cope with self-criticism.
Best-selling thriller writer Ian Rankin writes a book a year. At a certain point, usually at the end of the first month, he is struck by “the fear.” He becomes convinced that all the work he’s done so far has been a waste of time, that this new book won’t be any good.

When he mentions this to his wife, she usually asks, “Are you on page 65?” He then realizes that he goes through this phase with every novel, always at the same point. Always around page 65.

Many writers, if not all, experience this kind of doubt about their work at some stage. And, as writing is such a lonely profession, they don’t all have someone with whom they can share their frustrations.

As an editor, some authors even come to me at these times. They’re looking for someone who can give them feedback, someone with experience who can reassure them that their work is worth pursuing after all and they’re not wasting their time.

To be honest, there’s not much I can do for them, but over the years I’ve come across some techniques that can help authors deal with that inner critic and get back to writing.

1. Choose which thoughts you listen to

It’s your mind’s job to keep questioning your actions. That worked well when we lived in caves. “Don’t go around that corner,” the mind would say, “you’ll get your head chewed off by a saber-toothed tiger.”.

Even now, when we no longer have saber-toothed tigers to worry about, the mind continues to look out for us. “Hmm,” it might ask, “are you sure you really want write this story?

In short, you can not control your thoughts, you can not stop them from entering your mind. You can decide which thoughts deserve your attention.

When your mind raises these doubts– your writing is terrible, no one will be interested in this story, or you should give up and find a job where you don’t even have to write your name– try to recognize this thought as nothing more than that: a thought. It’s just words. It’s just your mind doing its job.

Ask yourself, “Is this is a helpful thought?” If it’s not helpful, you can decide not to take this thought seriously and move on to the next one. Don’t worry, another one will be along again soon enough. Your mind likes to keep busy.

Novelist Dani Shapiro put it like this in an interview with Salon.com: “It helps to think of that inner censor as an annoying but beloved friend who has moved in for the duration. That friend is never going away. So you make peace with your inner censor. You say some version of, thanks very much for sharing, and then move on, past that censoring voice, and into your work.”.

2. Give your critical thoughts a name.

When your mind takes its job a little too seriously, there are times. It won’t shut up, and those thoughts become difficult to ignore. When that happens, it helps to take a little distance from them, and one way to do that is to give these unhelpful thoughts a name.

When Ian Rankin gets to the stage where he starts to doubt his story, he could say, “Oh, there are those Page 65 Thoughts again. Hi, Page 65 Thoughts, I’m only on page 62, you’ve arrived early this year.”.

You could also treat these thoughts like a character, and give it a voice. The Whiny Inner Critic, for example, who always shows up at the most inappropriate moment. Try to hear those thoughts in the voice of the character. A little too high-pitched perhaps, a bit nasal maybe, annoying.debbiedowner

Or you could imagine these thoughts as a story. The Tale of Self Doubt, where the basic premise appears engaging but becomes repetitive and tiresome after a while. It’s the kind of daytime movie that might first attract your attention as you flick through the TV channels, but only ends up a disappointment. Try another channel.

Giving these thoughts a name helps you to become aware of how often they occur and how much they distract you from your writing. Just recognizing your self-doubt will help you regain your focus.
Feel free to pick your own name for your critical thoughts, you’re a writer after all (regardless of what your mind says).

3. Realize how important writing is to you.

Sometimes, just sometimes, your mind is right. Your writing is bad. There will be days when you will write badly, very badly. You might even write a whole book that’s terrible.

But that shouldn’t stop you from writing.

Think about why you write, why it’s important to you, and try to remember these reasons when your mind is being overly critical, telling you that you’ll fail, that you’ll be rejected.

Love to writeDon’t let those thoughts of failure stop you. Because you might get hurt some time, you don’t give up on love just. And you shouldn’t give up on something you love. Keep writing. It takes a lot of work, and some of it might be terrible, but if you stop, no one will ever get a chance to see the good stuff.

In short, you can not control your thoughts, you can not stop them from entering your mind. When your mind raises these doubts– your writing is terrible, no one will be interested in this story, or you should give up and find a job where you don’t even have to write your name– try to recognize this thought as nothing more than that: a thought. If it’s not helpful, you can decide not to take this thought seriously and move on to the next one. When that happens, it helps to take a little distance from them, and one way to do that is to give these unhelpful thoughts a name.

You could also treat these thoughts like a character, and give it a voice. 🙂

 

 

Here’s to Your Book!

Alex, MPeMG

(412) 374-1558

[We answer our own phones!]

First Book Image

Congrats On Your First Book, Big Payoff

Writing a book is a BIG deal. 

Great, now that that’s out of the way, we can get started. Many aspiring authors (and people who don’t know that they have a story) have one great big thing in common…they are afraid that they don’t know how to write their book! This becomes a HUGE elephant on their back, so most authors tend to “put their book on the back burner” & that back burner gets shut off and eventually starts to look like a shelf to collect dust.

We want better things for you!  In 2011, over 200 Million Americans stated that they wish to write a book, but that they don’t know how or where to begin. That’s over 200 Million messages and stories that were never told. Or 200 Million “How To” books that were never able to teach people seeking that message.

The point is that publishing is 100% easier than it used to be. You’re probably thinking that, “We’re full of it,” but I can assure you that we’re not! 

We have published and promoted SEVERAL authors from scraps and thoughts all the way to #1 Best Sellers!Best Seller Red Carpet Image

You used to have to sit down at a type writer of computer for hours upon hours & years upon years write your content…not anymore! You used to have to go through countless editorial phases and departments, which would take months and sometimes years…not anymore! Once you got your content written & your book edited and formatted, you then had to wait for a publishing company to accept your manuscript, which could take years!

That sounds like A TON of work and waiting around when all you wanted to do was educate/help people…

My question to you is, “Why wait years when you could wait months?” Or, “Why sit and write for years when you just have to tell us your story and then be published?” The point is why wait? All you need to do is tell your story and we will take care of the rest! Just think, in a few months, you could not only have your dream book sitting in your hands, but also possibly be a Best Seller or a #1 Best Seller!! Pretty cool, huh?

Here are 11 Steps to get you started to writing your first Best Selling Book!

Writing a book is a big deal - frustrated baby1. Make a bullet-point list in Word / Pages of everything you can think of that you wish to include in the book. Don’t worry about organizing at  this point, just brainstorm.

2. Once you have a list of ideas or topics, you’ll probably find you have no idea how to organize them into any sort of order. This is normal.

3. Now drag and drop all your bullet points so they are listed under a heading called “Topics.”

4. Use multi-colored 3 x 5 cards and dedicate a separate color to each topic.

5. Lay all of the cards on a table and move the cards around, grouping by like-colors, until you’re satisfied with the order of topics. The different- colored cards will allow you to see where you have too much material in one topic or not enough in another. You’ll probably find that you have some cards that could be combined into one topic. Remember, you don’t need to have every topic point down at this  time, just the Core Points.Writing a book is a big deal - Index cards image

6. Once you’ve got your cards organized, figure out your chapter breaks and write the chapter and topic number on each card.

7. Stack your cards in sequence and go back to your computer. Drag and drop everything in the document into the proper order, adding chapter headings.

8. When you’ve got everything in order, you may recognize holes in topics that need more development. Better to learn this now, rather than later!

9. Once you’ve updated each individual topic document, be sure to cut and paste the changes into the main outline. 

10. At this point, you should have a solid, working outline. Depending upon your subject matter….you may gather bits of dialog, quotes, or images that you feel would be appropriate for your audience. You may consider creating a separate digital file where these “pieces” can be stored. If they were important enough to store, they may be valuable for your readers as well. 

11. Create a calendar to help keep track of your timeline. Consider formatting in a spreadsheet program (Excel or Numbers) because it allows you to create larger blocks that allow for writing notes & updates.

DigiPUB Solutions Image1Your book is a series of statements & inquiries leading the reader to a particular point that you are trying to convey. Many aspiring authors assume that you have to sit down and type for countless hours only to find that you have to start over again because your message does not make sense.

This discourages most authors and, sadly, they never realize their dream. This outline will not only speed the process along, but it will also help you stay focused and not veer away from your point.

Check Us Out, Couldn’t Hurt!

See Your At The Best Seller’s Ball!

Alex

MatchPLUS eMarketing Group, LLC

(412) 215-3650

(We Answer Our Phones!)