Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Managing Your Expectations

As some of you may know, I am engaged and in the process of planning a wedding! In that process, my fiance and I are also underwent pre-marriage counseling (which was been a lot of fun as well as insightful and I recommend it for anyone thinking about getting married). Did you know that recently it has been announced that what kills marriages faster than anything else is unmet expectations?

Now, my blog is not about marriage, however, I could not help thinking how this applies directly to our writing. How often to we come up with grandiose ideas for our novels that will sell a billion copies and make us millions of dollars? Ever catch yourself day dreaming about which actors and actresses would star in your film once that adapt your book into movie formatting? (No one, just me? Anyhoo . . .)

The point is, in our writing too we must manage our expectations. 

Writing is hard and making a break through in the industry is even harder, some might say that it is nearly impossible. So I am encouraging you to “make resolutions” (without the need for a New Year) and to set goals for your writing, but in doing so, make them realistic!

  • Set yourself real goals that you truly can accomplish!Here are some examples:
      • Write Every Day (even if it’s just for 5 minutes)
      • Try to hit a word count every day (even if it’s 20 words).
      • Try to finish as much as that book as possible (even if it’s not the whole thing.)
      • Send out queries to multiple publication houses (but don’t stop writing, waiting to hear back)
  • Don’t give yourself unrealistic expectations.Here are some examples:
      • Starting and Finishing that new idea for a book and having it picked up within the year (yes it can happen, but it doesn’t often)
      • Becoming a millionaire with your first book (Suzanne Collins wrote amazing books for YEARS and was not known until her latest series).

Be kind to yourself and be honest with your writing. Expect that some days will be more productive than others and set realistic expectations so that you do not cause unnecessary hardship.

Happy Writing Everyone!

***If you enjoyed today’s tip, be sure to check out more under the “Writing Tip” tab on my main menu. Have any questions about writing? Feel free to ask in the comment section!

Derek Harvey has a great article expectations in marriage if any of you are interested in reading the article.

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Waiting Out the Waiting Period

Any author or poet who has attempted to go the route of traditional publishing is familiar with that dreaded “waiting period.” You know which one I’m talking about. You spend all your time and effort into creating an amazing story, editing and revising until your eyes are bloodshot and your fingertips are raw.

Then you hit send.

And you wait.

And you wait.

And you wait.

If you are very lucky or very talented (and often a combination of both), you will hear back from the publishers 6-12 months later as they express interest in you or your book. You think, Huzzah! The waiting is over and my book will be published immediately!

Sorry to burst your bubble, but that is not how it works. After that initial waiting period and the good news, you’re in for more waiting periods. Your book will most likely go through several editing phrases and after that you have visual decisions such as cover and formatting. Your book will most likely not be published until a year or two after you hear back.

That is a LOT of waiting.

As someone intimately engulfed within this dreaded waiting period, let me give you some tips on how to survive it:

  1. Take a deep breath and stop opening up your email every single hour of every single day (Seriously, Kayla Ann, stop doing this.) It only makes you more antsy when you fixate on their response.
  2. Get outside and do something. I don’t care if it’s the gym (which is my favorite as it’s a great way to release pent up energy) or a walk with your pup, or minigolf, or going to the beach, or biking, or going to the mall. In some way, get out and do something physical.
  3. Get back inside and do something. (But you just said go outside! Yes, I did, keep reading.) After you have gotten rid of some of that nervous energy and you can actually focus, start working on a different project. Write your next book or create some blogging posts and schedule them for the future.
  4. Take another breath and repeat the steps above. Trust me, you’re going to be waiting for awhile. (I’ve also found that small, but frequent, amounts of chocolate can do wonders for your mood.)

Image result for i'm waiting gif

Anyone else ever been stuck in that waiting period?

How do you pass the time and maintain your flimsy grasp on reality?

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: You are NOT an author, unless you are a writer.

I know yesterday, I spoke all about how important it is to read, but it is equally important to write!

You cannot be an author without first being a writer.

This one may sound redundant but hear me out first.

So often as writers I feel we forget how important it is to sit down every single day and write. Especially for those of us who have family responsibilities, educational distractions, work obligations, you name it. As a college professor, daughter, bride-to-be my time is often split in a million different directions.

Our lives are filled with distractions that can often keep us from our passions. We find ourselves at the end of the day, crawling into bed, exhausted, only to remember that we never got to our writing. We assure ourselves that we will get to it the next day, do even more to make up for the missed time and before we know it a week has passed without writing.

So here’s today’s tip: Write!

Every single day be sure and set aside some time to write. Whether it’s 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 60 minutes or more, be sure to make it a daily habit to put your pen to paper (or your fingers to a keyboard if that’s your thing). Maybe put a reminder in your phone or have a notebook placed by your bed to remind you to write.

Just remember, in order to be writers we need to write!!!

Happy Writing Everyone!

What do you do to make sure you write everyday? Do you do a word count? If so, what?

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: READ

Read? But we are writers, we write!

Yes, but we should also be READING.

Image result for READING GIF

A large part of what we do is based on what we know, what we have experienced, and what we have read. Let’s be honest, most writers are also reading enthusiasts. Reading and writing often goes hand in hand. Through reading we come to learn about this wonderful world of writing.

At one point in your life, a certain book or series truly inspired you. You decided, you want to write something like that. That’s because reading inspires and encourages. For me, that was “The Hunger Games” series by Suzanne Collins. Reading also connects us to others, whether they are fictional characters or real people who share the same interests.

In order to be a successful writer, you want to be a frequent reader. Now of course, you have deadlines to meet and reading every day may not be possible, but in your writing journey don’t forget or underestimate the power of reading.

Reading can be inspirational.
Reading can be an escape.
Reading can be an adventure.
Reading can be connection with others.
Reading can encourage.
Reading can be comforting.

What else, in your experience, can reading be?

In the comment be sure to answer, reading can be ______________.

Happy Writing (and reading) Everyone!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

blogging tips, Blogs / Life, Contests

Going Live! You Won’t Want to Miss This!

 

Hey Everyone!

I am really excited to announce that on September 3rd, I will be going LIVE on Facebook to talk “All About Blogging” AND to announce the winner of the End of Summer Poetry Contest.

And all of you are invited to join me!

Invitations

During this LiveVideo, I will be accepting any question from any viewer about blogging or writing or publishing. However, to help make this run smoother, if you have any questions please leave them in the comments below between now and then so that I have a base to start with. I’m actually a little nervous/excited about going live again (the first time I was completely inexperienced) and I would appreciate your support on that day.

In the hopes that this video will not be unavailable to those in school, I will be hosting the video on September 3rd @4pm PST.

At the end of my LiveStream, I will announce the winner of our End of Summer Poetry Contest (which, let me tell you, it is really heating up! We have got some amazing competitors.)

Don’t forget to follow my facebook page so that you are able to watch on September 3rd:

https://www.facebook.com/KaylaAnnAuthor/

Be sure to leave your questions about blogging, writing, or publishing in the comments below!

Happy Writing Everyone!

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Waiting Out the Waiting Period

Any author or poet who has attempted to go the route of traditional publishing is familiar with that dreaded “waiting period.” You know which one I’m talking about. You spend all your time and effort into creating an amazing story, editing and revising until your eyes are bloodshot and your fingertips are raw.

Then you hit send.

And you wait.

And you wait.

And you wait.

If you are very lucky or very talented (and often a combination of both), you will hear back from the publishers 6-12 months later as they express interest in you or your book. You think, Huzzah! The waiting is over and my book will be published immediately!

Sorry to burst your bubble, but that is not how it works. After that initial waiting period and the good news, you’re in for more waiting periods. Your book will most likely go through several editing phrases and after that you have visual decisions such as cover and formatting. Your book will most likely not be published until a year or two after you hear back.

That is a LOT of waiting.

As someone intimately engulfed within this dreaded waiting period, let me give you some tips on how to survive it:

  1. Take a deep breath and stop opening up your email every single hour of every single day (Seriously, Kayla Ann, stop doing this.) It only makes you more antsy when you fixate on their response.
  2. Get outside and do something. I don’t care if it’s the gym (which is my favorite as it’s a great way to release pent up energy) or a walk with your pup, or minigolf, or going to the beach, or biking, or going to the mall. In some way, get out and do something physical.
  3. Get back inside and do something. (But you just said go outside! Yes, I did, keep reading.) After you have gotten rid of some of that nervous energy and you can actually focus, start working on a different project. Write your next book or create some blogging posts and schedule them for the future.
  4. Take another breath and repeat the steps above. Trust me, you’re going to be waiting for awhile. (I’ve also found that small, but frequent, amounts of chocolate can do wonders for your mood.)

Image result for i'm waiting gif

Anyone else ever been stuck in that waiting period?

How do you pass the time and maintain your flimsy grasp on reality?

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Titling Your Book

I recently saw a debate online. Should you title your book before you start writing or after you are finished? Each options offers you different results and opportunities.

Choosing a Title Before You Start Writing

Some authors may decide to choose the title of their story before actually writing the story itself. Why? They may find it motivating and that it helps set the direction for the entire book. Some people also just find it super satisfying to have a title solidified.

Choosing a Title After You Finish Writing

Some authors wait to choose a title for their story until after finishing writing it because they are uncertain of which direction their story will go. Sometimes, authors do not make a conscientious decision to wait, but rather, they are unable to title something until it is complete because they cannot think of an appropriate title without all the information before their eyes.

Which is better?

Neither.

That’s right. In my opinion, neither option is better than the other as it depends on the type of author that you are. In fact, I think that both can be extremely restrictive. So here is my best advice:

Feel free to choose a working title before you begin. What is a working title? A working title is a temporary place-holder for the real title. For example, my current working title for my book is The Agency Games, but the publishers may choose to change it. Likewise, your real title might be the exact same as your working title, or it may be completely opposite.

The best decision when it comes to titles is flexibility.

A working title gives you that initial sense of direction that many authors crave, plus it gives you something to call it besides just “that-thing-I-spend-all-my-time-agonizing-over.” However, because you know it’s a working title, you are not so reluctant to later part with it if it needs revision.

What do you think? Do you choose your title before or after writing your book?

Leave a comment below!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

The Do’s and Don’t’s of Writing a Review

Reviews are important.

There is no debating this fact, there is no arguing this point, and there is no downplaying their importance. Reviews are crucial, especially if you are an up-and-coming author attempting to establish yourself in the writing community.

This being said, a lot of authors are either craving reviews or writing reviews themselves. It’s a way for authors to give back to their communities. In my own experience, the majority of reviews come from other authors as opposed to readers. By writing reviews, authors support one another. I’m doing so, there are some key tips and tricks to writing a good review that we all can remember.

Image result for book reviews help authors

So, here are Kayla Ann’s Top Do’s and Dont’s of Writing a Review:

Do’s:

Write a review. Yes, it is awesome to receive star ratings on Amazon, Goodreads, etc., but star ratings are not enough. If you can take your time to leave a star rating, please leave a review consisting of at least one comment. Here are some good one-liners that elevate a simple star rating:

  • “I couldn’t put it down!”
  • “The plot was great.”
  • “The characters were so relatable.”

Write a decent summary. People want to know what the book is about. You can do this is 3-6 simple sentences that may paraphrase the book’s blurb or your own summary.

Give a general rating and explain why. It is not enough to just put a rating, you should give your readers an understanding of why you chose to rate it that way; both the good and the bad.

Write an honest review. (Say it with me): WRITE AN HONEST REVIEW. Guys, I cannot stress this enough. Honesty is the best policy.  When you are honest, the author is given a clear understanding of what was liked and what needs improvement. When you are honest, the reader goes in with a clear and realistic understanding of what they are getting. When you are honest, it solidifies the review system. (See further explanation under DONT’S)

Dont’s:

Don’t write a fake review. Don’t encourage services of false reviews. What do I mean by that? Don’t offer to give 5 star reviews in exchange for money and don’t accept that deal either.

Don’t give away too much in the summary. No one wants you to spoil the end of the book. If you give everything away, why should another reader pick it up?

DON’T lie in your review. Maybe you are trying to sugarcoat the truth because the author is your friend or follower. This helps no one. When you write a dishonest review you are negatively impacting both the author and future readers while undermining the whole reviewing system. The author will be given unrealistic expectations, the reader will be frustrated by the biased review, and the reviews on that book will no longer be considered trustworthy. Please. Just, don’t. If you are not going to write an honest review, do not write one at all.

Now that you have some basic guidelines, get out there! Start reading and writing your own reviews to support the community of authors.

Support an Author

Do you have any DO’s or DONT’s that should be added to this list?

Leave a comment below!

Writing Tips

Overcoming Writer’s Block: Fear (6)

Originally, I only intended to do five of these posts. As noted in the introductory blog “5 Reasons Behind Writer’s Block,” there are several reasons why writers are often prevented from writing. I had thought of five:

  • Lack of Time to Write
  • Sickness
  • Work
  • Lack of Creativity
  • Home Responsibilities

However, my friends and followers had pointed out that there is a sixth reason often responsible for writer’s block that I felt needed to be addressed. This is: FEAR.

The first step to overcoming Writer’s Block comes from the need to discover why the writer is blocked in the first place. Once you have establish the why you can work on how to move forward.

Fear = Small Goals & Courage

adult, black-and-white, bodySometimes we feel that we are defined by that empty, blank page. It stares at us and we stare back at it. For one reason or another, we are paralyzed, unable to commit words to paper. Why? According to both Mia and TShaw, fear is a major factor behind Writer’s Block. Mia says,

I think, why writer’s might suffer from writer’s block: fear. Fear of failure. Fear of success (yes, that’s a fairly common fear for writers, especially as most are very introverted). Fear of rejection. Fear of not being good enough.

Tshaw agreed, stating,

Fear that my writing is a waste of time.

Of course, both of these intelligent women were correct. Fear is a huge problem in a successful writing life! Perhaps it is ironic that the same week I am working on this post, my church spent an entire sermon focusing on courage. (You can read all about it here.)

In order to face our fears we must remember what courage is:

Courage is not the absence of fear, it is acting despite the presence of fear.

If you are feeling fearful, the best thing you can do is act regardless. Now, this is easier said than done which is why I suggest that you focus on small goals rather than large ones. When we fear rejection, or success, or failure, or really anything, the only way to fight that fear is to refuse to give it power. Sure, I could tell you to think positively, but that does not always work.

Truly, the only way to fight your fears successfully is to act in spite of them.

Happy Writing!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Overcoming Writer’s Block – “Home/Responsibilities” (5)

As noted in the introductory blog “5 Reasons Behind Writer’s Block,” there are several reasons why writers are often prevented from writing. The six primary reasons include:

  • Lack of Time to Write
  • Sickness
  • Work
  • Lack of Creativity
  • Home Responsibilities
  • ***Fear***

The first step to overcoming Writer’s Block comes from the need to discover why the writer is blocked in the first place. Once you have establish the why you can work on how to move forward.

Home Responsibilities = Setting Priorities

Brown Shell Egg and Silver Hand Whisk

Are you a parent? Trying to juggle cleaning, cooking, taking care of the kids, working, and writing? Are you a college student? Trying to do homework, feed yourself, find a job, tidy up that dorm room (once a semester)? Whoever you are, it is probable that you have more than just one responsibility. The average human does not only work a job, but they maintain some sort of living area (whether that is a dorm, an apartment, or a house.) Many people have children, or siblings, or dorm mates that expect certain things like food and cleanliness. Whatever the reason, there will always be different home responsibilities pulling on your time and reducing your ability to write.

Time to make some priorities:

  • Now, if you are a parent, your children will always come first (and in my opinion, there is nothing wrong with that). However, even as a parent, you still have some room to prioritize.
  • Make a list of all the things you need done in that week (or even over the course of three days). This list will usually include: cooking, surface cleaning, laundry, work, dishes, showers or bath time, etc.
  • Schedule out these priorities and while you’re at it, add in writing. For example, you could schedule a weekend like this:
    • Friday – Focus on the Family Night with Dinner, Dishes, and Games
    • Saturday – Wake up Early before kids to Write, do laundry throughout the day, put in a load of laundry, be with the kids
    • Sunday – Wake up before kids to write, Church, set aside time to shower and bathe the kids, finish hanging laundry, prep for Monday’s lunches

Overall, the best way to work around multiple responsibilities is to intentionally prioritize and schedule what it is you want done and when you want it accomplished.

Happy Writing Everyone!

There you have it, the top 5 reasons why we suffer from “Writer’s Block” and ways to combat it! I hope you found this series both beneficial and entertaining!

What type of series would you like me to do next?

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.