Month: February 2022
Do You Have a Writer’s Mindset? (Revisited)
I really enjoy reading Jerry Jenkin’s blog. Some of you may know him and others may not. He has published more novels than any author in history and was the co-author of the Left Behind series. Needless to say, he knows what he is talking about and is more than willing to share that with you, me, or anyone who chooses to visit his site.
Jerry Jenkins says you are a writer when you say you are a writer. It all comes down to mindset. Do you have the mindset of a writer? Do you take your writing seriously? Are you investing time and energy into learning your craft? Are you doing what professional writers do even when you don’t feel like it and haven’t been published? I hope your answer to all of these questions was yes. If you’re planning on writing a novel and succeeding in your venture, you are going to have to develop a writer’s mindset.
How Do I Develop a Writer’s Mindset?
- Read books specific to your genre. That’s what authors do. It helps them to know their competition and keep up with what’s selling in the industry.
- Read blogs. Research and learn your craft. I really like Michael Hyatt and Jerry Jenkins. These people are in the industry and can help you to get up to speed. I also subscribe to Writers Digest magazine. They have great articles and information that will help you in your journey.
- Build your platform. Start that Blog. Michael Hyatt said he sat at many board publication meetings at Thomas Nelson. When reviewing a potential author, one question always came up. “What’s the authors platform?” If the answer was there is none, then the book was usually rejected. They pushed it to the side and moved on to the next one. The publisher doesn’t have the resources to market your book. You need an audience-period. As I stated in a previous blog, my Novel was rejected not because of content, but because of my lack of a platform.
- Attend writing conferences if possible. You will get the opportunity to connect with Literary Agents, Publishers, and other Aspiring Authors, as well as attend classes that will help you improve your writing skills.
- Write! Write! Write!
- Consider joining writing critique groups (Scribophile.com).
- Have fun and DON’T GIVE UP!
Something to think about.
Are You Sure You Want to Write a Novel?
If all you want to do is write, go for it. You don’t have to get permission or a license. All you need is a pencil and paper, or maybe a computer, depending on how serious you take your endeavor. If writing a novel is a future goal, then this is one way to hone your skills.
Many professionals recommend that you start out small. You could write an article for the local paper, a magazine, or even consider a blog. This would not only improve your writing skills but build up the resume you will need later when approaching an agent/publisher.
If you do want to write a novel, you should know it’s hard work. Those people who say, “Anybody can write a book, how hard can it be?” They’ve never written a novel and most definitely never had one published. You have to research, outline, draft and redraft, not to mention the countless revisions.
I completed revisions of my first novel 4-5 times. I lost count to be honest, and these revisions didn’t include the numerous times I reworked scenes or random sentences that didn’t read quite right. Did I mention combing it for grammatical and structural errors. That’s a lot of fun, especially if you aren’t an English major. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to stop writing to google simple questions on grammar. I would recommend you purchase a copy of Eats Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss. I found mine at a used book sale for $1.00.
Another thing to keep in mind, your first novel probably won’t be a masterpiece. This is true of every writer of every first novel. That does include Nicholas Spark and J.K. Rowling. Remember, you are learning the craft as your write.
You will need to understand how to work dialogue, pace your book, construct a plot that is plausible and cohesive, build tension, and create characters that your reader likes and can relate to. Experts say it takes about 10,000 hours of writing to prepare you to write a publishable novel.
I don’t mean to discourage anyone. I just want to make sure you know what you are getting in to. Most books take 5-10 years to get published. Hopefully you’ll be on the 5 side :-).
Just remember every author had a beginning. Every writer is facing the same challenges that you are. The trick if there is one: Don’t Give Up!
Your future isn’t set. Something to think about.
Editing/Where Do I Begin? (Revisited)
Being a first time Author, I had no idea how complex the editing process was. My idea of editing included spell check, making sure punctuation was used appropriately, and everything was in the right tense (past, present…).
As I stated in an earlier blog, my novel was rejected the first time for having grammatical and structural errors, as well as dragging dialogue. Keep in mind this wasn’t the complete manuscript. The agent would have probably found far worse, if she had read the entire manuscript.
When you begin editing, and you will, you’ll want to take a closer look at everything. You may need to do some research, take classes, or do tutorial type seminars online. Below is a sample of the types of questions you should be asking as you read through your work.
- How’s the flow of your dialogue? Is it necessary? Does it move your story forward or just sit like a rock taking up space and killing the moment?
- How is the pacing? I like novels that move at a faster pace, however I know you have to slow them down occasionaly so the reader can catch their breath.
- Does your plot make sense, does it flow throughout the story with smooth transitions from chapter to chapter?
- What about your character development? Have you created real, likable Characters? Can your reader identify with them?
- Word choice-is there a better way to say something?
- Are you showing and not telling?
- Have you mastered emotions you are trying to convey? Can you feel the tension rising?
Ask others to read your work as well. If you would prefer not to do that, then join a group online (Scribophile.com) and have fellow writers read and critique what you have written. There is a large community of aspiring authors out there that would love the opportunity to interface and exchange information.
Something to think about.