Writing is just a series of questions and decisions.

Deciding what to write, whether in a blog, a short story, novel, nonfiction article, children’s, YA, or adult is just a simple decision, right? A decision, yes. Simple? No.

Is it just picking up a pen or pencil or turning on a computer and start typing? Not really, though sometimes that’s a start. Sometimes we just need to start. But start where? At the beginning. With individual letters, then words, then phrases, then a sentence. Then what? Yes, you start asking questions. What if? or Why? are the most popular. Then you discover a character or an idea to research. The questions you now get to ask include things like what’s his name, what’s she look like, how is that made, what happened when, what’s oPOV outline 2 for The Balance 1-16-2015ne thing about him that he keeps secret, or she dreams of accomplishing? Should people know about this? What happens to this character? Why?  Okay, now you are getting to the point of writing a story or an article. Have you written these questions and their answers down?

Now you get to choose an audience for your story or article. More decisions. Who is interested in what you want to write about? How are you going to convey your information?

Next decision may be how are you going to get what you’re writing to them? That often leads to a much longer set of decisions such as do you want to learn how to market what you’ve written, or do you need help? Can you afford doing it yourself (less time to concentrate on writing) or paying someone else to do it for you?

Every step in the process demands you answer a new set of questions. All the way to the finish line – publication. Is that the end of the questions? Probably not, because, what are you going to write next?

 

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Thoughts Brought on by Hugh Howey’s Blog

I just read “Writing Insights Part One: Becoming a Writer” on Hugh Howey’s blog,  Hugh Howey, the Wayfinder. The first of a four part series. It has started me thinking, given me support, and inspired different thinking when it comes to marketing. I find much of Howey’s ten things he wished he’d known before he started writing hits directly on me. I understand what he is saying. I have either been there, am there right now, or will be there. It is a relief to know that I am not the only one whose first real attempt at writing something I thought might be publishable was when I was a teenager and that it was more than twenty years later before that particular attempt became a finished product. It is a relief to know that it is okay to want to write and read – to need to write and read. It is a relief to know there are readers out there looking for my books, my stories – I just have to write them first. Then once they are written I can spend the time marketing them to those readers. But I have to write them first.

Howey suggests getting five to six books published before really diving into marketing. I am not quite halfway there. So in the mean time how do I get the word out? How do I build that 1,000 followers who will demand my books, share my books, talk about my books? Do I have to figure out how at the same I should be writing? Can I do multiple things at the same time? Should I spend money on getting someone to help me in this area just as I have hired an editor, book designer,  proofreader, and e-book transformer? I know I am struggling in this marketing portion. I know I can’t do it all. How can I get those readers who seem to like what I’ve written so far to help me?

And I have a several readers who are passionate about what I am writing. Some of them are helping me get the word out by telling their libraries to get copies of my books; by telling their friends to get my books; and they are buying books to give to others because they want to share their excitement and enjoyment for what I am writing. They are demanding the next book. I am learning from them – becoming a better writer. I am filled with energy and ideas that I receive from conversations with them about my books. I still have a long way to go. I know I have to get the third book of the scifi series out. That it has to be better than book number two, which was better than book number one. Each one will be better than the last – at least that is my goal. (see my blog about Another Award Winner!)

I am listening to those readers who talk to me. Their voices are filled with excitement. Their body language is animated. They ask lots of questions. Some I won’t answer. Some I can’t – not yet. They give me ideas, they explain their thoughts on why I wrote something, or what they hope I will include or what they hope will happen. They tell me how much they like my writing style, my author’s voice. Sometimes I wish they would write it all down and post to their Goodreads pages, to Amazon, to my Facebook pages, to LinkedIn, and to my blog page. I wish they would go to my website and write down these comments, questions, etc. I so enjoy seeing them, hearing them and I want to share their enthusiasm. Right now these interactions happen between tips at a dance event, during an interlude at a meeting, late a night after an event while Bob & I are trying to clean up a hall or just before an event is to happen and we are setting up.  I am trying to figure out how to let others hear and see their reactions to what I am writing. And I realize that while I am trying to research and learn how to share that, I am not writing the next chapter of the next book. The few I have so far, already really want the third and fourth books, as soon as possible. So, I am in a quandary. Write? Market? Both?