Authors & Speakers Network Blog with Larry James

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

When a Writer Becomes a Target

Filed under: Author Tips — Larry James @ 7:30 am
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Rachelle Gardner, Guest Author

Once you’re a published author, you’re going to have a target on your back. You will offer up your words to strangers, and not everyone will like what you write. You’ll be naked and vulnerable in front of the world. You’ll make mistakes, you may offend people. And you may not feel safe.

They will write things publicly about you, on their blogs, on your blog, on book review sites, or on Amazon. One of my friends recently received this review online: “I couldn’t even finish this book… Confusing and in my humble opinion, pointless.” Ouch.

target-on-your-backEveryone has a right to their opinion. In fact, diversity of opinions is something that makes book publishing so dynamic and interesting. But sometimes those opinions hit us like flaming arrows.

I’ve had this happen numerous times on the blog. I’ll write something with which some folks disagree, or something that gets peoples’ hackles up. I may be intending to float an idea and solicit input, spur thinking or spark conversation. Whether I succeed or fail is completely up to the reader.

And that’s the point. Your intent doesn’t matter to readers. What matters is what they perceive as your intent, and whether they like what you’ve written, period. If they don’t, their response can be brutal.

Anyone in the “public eye” – and if you have any online presence, that means you – is a target for criticism. People can and will say anything they want. They will misinterpret what you’ve written, they will assign motives, and they’ll make judgments about you as a human being.

So what can we do about this? Here are three things.

1. Don’t engage with those who criticize you.

There are few good exceptions to this guideline. I’ve rarely seen an author’s public response to criticism turn out well. Your attempts to engage in a conversation with your detractors won’t likely do any more than add fuel to the fire. Let people say what they will.

2. Listen and learn.

Sometimes there’s helpful criticism wrapped in a harshly worded comment or critique. It’s possible that your interpretation of someone’s apparently hurtful intent may be wrong, too. If the comment is simply mean-spirited or self-serving, let it bounce off, but don’t be so Teflon-coated that even helpful advice can’t get through.

3. Be careful with your own words.

As you offer your criticism to other writers, bloggers, agents or anyone else in cyberspace, think before you hit “send.” Treat others as you’d like to be treated. Offer grace. Offer constructive criticism intended to build up rather than harsh judgment intended to tear down. Remember there is a real live person behind the written words. If you have a particularly scathing piece of feedback, send it in private (via email?) rather than airing it in public. You may discover you’re reading the person’s motives all wrong and she might (gasp) thank you for pointing out how they could have been misread. You could even find a new friend.

Regardless of who you are or how kindhearted your intent, if you’re a writer in pursuit of publication, eventually you’re going to be judged.

Carry a shield. And treat other authors as if they don’t have one.

RachelleGardnerCopyright © 2013 Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent. Rachelle Gardner is an agent with Books and Such Literary Agency, representing both fiction and non-fiction. She’s looking for mainstream commercial projects for both the Christian and general markets. In non-fiction and memoirs, she looks for authors with established platforms, strong marketing hooks and an understanding of how to use social media. Non-fiction authors must have a book proposal and three sample chapters to be considered. She’s also seeking all kinds of fiction, and authors must have a completed manuscript to be considered.

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Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. CelebrateLove@cox.net – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at: www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationships” BLOG at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking” BLOG at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Weddings” BLOG at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Authors: Maintain a “Thought Starter” File

Today I’m going point you in the direction of an article by Henneke Duistermaat from Enchanting Marketing. Henneke lives in the UK. She shows you when originality is good and when it’s bad, and she also gives you a strategy for exactly how to do it right. Enjoy.

First read: The Sin of Originality (and the Truth about Building a Popular Blog). Note: This article opens in a new browser window so can easily come back here to read the rest of this article.

ThoughtStarter1I use a similar technique. Henneke calls it a “Swipe File,” I call it a “Thought Starter” file. It’s a great place to gather your thoughts. That is where I store my good and not-so-good ideas. It’s one of the ways to overcome what some people call writers block. I rarely have this dis-ease. It’s fun to polish a not-so-good idea into something refreshing and new.

Where do ideas come from? Everywhere! They are everywhere. To find them, you must be receptive to recognize them when they show up. When they do… immediately write the compelling ideas down or they will most likely disappear.

“You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.” ~ Neil Gaiman

When an idea comes and you automatically discard it as not good enough or think that no one would be interested in it, that is a mistake. A good writer can make it interesting. I write down some of the most silly things thinking that perhaps later – in a different frame of mind – I might be able to reshape the idea to fit what I am writing about currently. Sometimes that idea reveals itself in a totally different way and from it springs a totally different idea. Therefore a long-dormant idea inspires a totally new one.

“People struggling with writer’s block aren’t at a loss for ideas. Many are merely dismissing their own good ideas (often because they aren’t perceived as original enough) or they don’t want to put a lot of effort into looking for ideas.” ~ Melissa Donovan

In my “Thought Starter” file, I write (in my own words) my impression of what Henneke says she puts in her “Swipe File.” That way I can never be accused of plagiarism. On occasion you may see similarities, but never a direct quote unless I credit the author. I may not use these ideas until – at some point in the future – the thought reoccurs, however the ideas are always there until I need them.

ThoughtStarter2I write something every day. I have 5 Websites and 4 blogs. Something new goes up on each of my blogs every 4th day, so I must write something everyday. Sometimes I may sit and wonder what to write about. That’s when I look over the ideas that I started in my “thought starter” file but never finished. That file kick-starts my thinking and creativity. I often cannot wait for inspiration. I have to get inspired.

I especially like what Henneke says: “No treasure of blogging jewels lies waiting to be heisted. You need to know where to look.” And you have to stop reading purely for pleasure. I agree. Instead you need to begin to “study” content. Studying refreshing content is one of the keys! So is originality! Authors need to learn to use their creative imagination more often. That’s where new, fresh and exciting ideas come from. Sometime deadlines are quite enough inspiration. 😉 Other times the proverbial “aha moment” just happens. That’s when something clicks and I must quickly return to my keyboard.

“For me, a combination of two words on a billboard, or even two colors together, or a photo, or a comment overheard in the grocery checkout aisle – all fodder for blogging. Seriously, I’ve gotten more ideas from tacky casino ads as I drive across the bridge from PA to NJ… the blog never has anything to do with the billboard itself, just a couple of the words on it. It’s odd how the strangest combination of things can turn into a new blog post. But I have to write it down quickly, ideas are ‘easy come, easy go!'” ~ Nancy

Inspiration often comes from people watching. Leo Babauta once said, “People watching. This is an interesting activity for any writer. Go to a busy public place and just sit and watch people. They’ll amuse you, inspire you, fascinate you. There’s nothing more inspiring than humanity.”

“Prodigious writers aren’t simply lucky writers. They’re active writers. They search, they think long and hard, and they write their way through dead-ends in order to arrive at promising starts.” ~ Aaron Gilbreath

Some writers write their ideas for their thought starter. I have a file in my computer labeled, “Thought Starters” and refer to it often sometimes to write a new thought and other times to retrieve an old one. I got the idea for this article after I read Henneke’s article (Hmmm, studying content again). Hope this was helpful.

BONUS Article: Scribble, Scribble, Write, Write

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Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. CelebrateLove@cox.net – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at: www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationships” BLOG at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking” BLOG at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Weddings” BLOG at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com

Monday, November 4, 2013

10 Tips for Writing Your Book

Filed under: Author Tips — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: ,

Dawn Goldberg, Guest Author

I say over and over about how beginning, and even experienced writers can get bogged down by the idea that a “real” writer lets the words flow, a beautiful, uninterrupted, constant flow of words.

We all get stuck. The flow stops. And if we don’t have the experience of writing several books under our belts, just the thought of trying to get started overwhelms us.

Write-Your-Book-TodayIt’s a bit like that saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” When we think of an entire, unwritten book ahead of us, we’re almost paralyzed by the idea of starting. “How in the heck can I write an entire book? One step at a time, or perhaps 10.

1. Do as much research and brainstorming ahead of time that you can. Fill up the pantry, and you’ll find plenty of ingredients to cook a meal with. It does count as writing. It’s gathering details, descriptions, stories, illustrations, statistics all the things you’ll use to build your book.

2. Honor each part of the writing process. When you’re creating, create; don’t try to edit at the same time. I’ve talked about this before, ad nauseum for some of you, I’m sure. You don’t just sit down and write the whole thing in one sitting. There’s creating, writing, revision, editing, more creating, more writing, more revision. And each of those stages is its own. Respect that.

3. Write on a regular basis (at least 3-4 times a week). You get into a rhythm, and the writing flows. You don’t want to spend time figuring out where you were the last time you sat down and wrote a week (or two, or three) ago. The best thing about this is that you build momentum with regular activity.

4. Just write. Don’t worry about making it perfect. Perfect can come in the editing and revision phase. Right now, you just want to get your ideas down and start putting them in some sort of order and structure. If you try to make it perfect from the get-go, you’ll be frustrated.

5. Along the same lines as #4, tell your inner critic to shut up. He’s never going to be objective, and his main goal is to keep you right where you arewith no book. Find ways to shut him up: tell him to go to Cleveland (as long as you don’t live there), promise him he can come back later, thank him for his thoughts and tell him you’re going in a different direction.

6. There are very few brand-new ideas (even Post-It notes were based on paper and tape). They’re just presented in a different way. Find out what differentiates your message and what makes it uniquely you. It may be that your target market will get your message when they couldn’t get it from someone else because of the way you, and only you, have presented it.

7. Find a writing support group. Share with them your work in progress. Get feedback. Even Tiger Woods has a coach. Since you’ll have readers reading your book, get reader feedback througout the process. They’ll tell you what makes sense, what doesn’t, what sticks out for them in a powerful way, and what lands flat.

8. Know that you’ll be revising and editing. You may eventually write four (or more) drafts of your book. And that’s okay. Once again, you don’t have to be perfect right out the gate.

9. Give yourself time and space between writing and the editing process. Don’t turn around and start editing and revising right after you finish writing. You need fresh eyes. Some writers take at least a month off after they’ve written a draft. That way they can approach the book a little closer to how a new reader would.

10. Take care of yourself. What you’re doing is hard, whether you’re writing a book on the current financial crisis or a fiction novel about a dysfunctional family. Be gentle on yourself. Treat yourself as something precious. Surround yourself with supportive champions, not naysayers. Get lots of sleep. Let the dishes sit dirty in the sink for a day or two. Get out and exercise. A healthy, happy you makes for a better book.

And here’s a bonus tip #11. Celebrate what you’ve done. Each step along the way. Take some time to look back at how far you’ve come. Give yourself a pat on the back. Reward yourself.

After a while, that elephant doesn’t look so big because you’re not really looking at the whole elephant. One day, one step, at a time. And you’ll write your book.

Dawn_pic_chin_diagonalCopyright © 2013 – Dawn Goldberg. – Reprinted with permission. Dawn Goldberg brings life to words and writing – and helps others through their writing and publishing journey. Sign up for “Fuel For Your Writing Journey” at www.WriteWellU.com.

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Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. CelebrateLove@cox.net – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at: www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationships” BLOG at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking” BLOG at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Weddings” BLOG at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com

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