Authors & Speakers Network Blog with Larry James

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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Authors & Speakers Network Blog

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
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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Want to Know How to Start Writing Your Book?

Filed under: Author Tips,Getting Started,Guest Author Articles — Larry James @ 7:00 am
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Cristina Istrati, Guest Author

I am sure that you have grabbed the pen, for many times, being really ready and determined to start writing your book. You were so excited and happy about it but once in front of the white sheet, you stopped. What happened? What went wrong? The thought of not knowing from where to start froze you? I know, it can happen to every writer. As a matter a fact, I bet that only the experienced authors are saved from this unpleasant step in their lives.

writercartoonNevertheless, this does not mean, that we, as “newly arrived” in this field, have to put up with this “phenomenon”. Absolutely not! I did some research, added my own experience to it and… voila! The first steps you need to consider when writing your book are here! Be careful, though! Once you read them, you might want to write not only one book, but two, three, four….! 😉

So you want to write a fiction book, non fiction, a mystery, a fantasy, an autobiography: Whatever you want to write, all you have got to do is sit down and write it but when you do sit down to write, don’t ever worry about editing, don’t worry about misspellings, don’t worry about any of that kind of stuff. We`ll handle that later. Now, first thing is first:

How To Get Started

Often, getting started is the most exciting and interesting part of writing a book. In order not to get stuck on a difficult part, go ahead and skip anything that causes you trouble and write out the easy parts first.

Writing a book is just like any other business: you need a plan. The plan in this case is going to be an outline for your book. A well drawn outline will help you focus on your total project.

“If you want to be a writer. . . you must consistently bang the keys!” ~ Larry James

Outline Your Story Or Information (depending on whether it`s fiction or nonfiction). For fiction book writing, you need an outline of your plot, when to introduce your characters, the narrative path of the story… that is, what’s the beginning of the story, what’s the middle of the story and what’s the ending of the story all placed in the chronological order.

twiceuponatimeFor Non Fiction Book Writing: The same applies! Organize your information into a logical and useful order – and believe me when you put down all your titles, your chapters titles, that is a great way to start and then you just fill in the blanks. It helps keeps it all in order so you don’t have to go back and start searching for where this belongs or where that belongs.
Once these are done, you can go from there. As you get more into the writing, you can go back and revisit the challenging parts. You may also find yourself making changes to the storyline as you write.

Since most people who make a living writing start out doing it as a hobby, it should be something you enjoy. You should be enthusiastic about writing your book. Remember that if you’re not interested in what you’re writing, your readers won’t be either!

Write About What You Know

You should stick to writing about things that you know. If you want to write about a topic that you’re not familiar with, it’s going to take some research. Most writers do extensive research on their books before they begin writing them. This gives the finished work depth and makes it realistic.

It needs to be accurate and factual. You can do your research online using the Web or offline using books and magazines. You may also interview people with firsthand experience or expertise in your book’s subject matter.

Editing, Formatting and Publishing

The tasks that await after your book is finished are not nearly as exciting as writing the book itself. You’ll need to take time and great care to edit. The purpose is to make sure that it flows well and is error-free. You then need to format the book and design the cover. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to publish!

These are, let`s say, the first three steps when it comes about writing your book. Once you apply them correctly, they can be very effective and helpful. Follow them carefully and before you`ll know it, you`ll have your book written and ready to be presented to its readers.

Copyright 2012 by Cristina Istrati. Cristina Istrati is a published author, passionate about helping aspiring authors get their message out by helping them write a book and get published. She lives in Romania (Bucharest). She wrote her first book (a romance novel called Seductive Ambiguity) at age 21 and shortly after, she published it. The book was very well received by the critics and in January 2011, Cristina is rewarded with Mihai Eminescu International Literature Prize. Visit her Website!

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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

Monday, October 10, 2011

Got Book? – When Will it Be Finished? Or… “When Will You Get Started?”

Filed under: Author Tips,Getting Started — Larry James @ 9:00 am
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So, you say, “There’s a book in me, but I can’t seem to find the time to put it all together!”

Excuses, excuses! The most common excuse that people use for not writing is that they can’t find time to write. Thinking about writing a book will not get it written. If you find yourself coming up with a list of reasons why it’s not possible for you to get started on that book you say you’ve been wanting to write, you probably don’t want to write it badly enough. What’s the hold up?

Fear! Most people procrastinate because of fear of failure. If you never do anything then no one can say that you did it poorly. Lack of confidence? You just can’t seem to get started? Maybe you’re too busy to be a writer. It takes discipline, dedication and determination to make a writing life happen, but it can be done.

BestSellingBook“Any book I have written is better that the book you haven’t written yet!” – Larry Winget

Perhaps you don’t know HOW to write a book. It’s not as complicated as you may think.

Here’s the secret: You write a book “one page at a time!” Small bites. It’s that simple. Not easy. Simple.

Writing a book is not that difficult. Just sit down at your computer and start writing. It all begins with the first word.

autobiography“The gap between having the desire to write a book and actually sitting down to write one is quite large, but with some effort, it can be bridged.” ~ Wendy Aron

You really don’t need to know all the intricacies of writing a book, (you can learn about that later), you just need to get started writing. Don’t be concerned about getting it published. That comes later.

First decide what you want to write about. A helpful approach is to break your manuscript down into manageable chunks, rather than putting yourself under pressure to write an entire book. I outline the titles of the chapters or topics I want to write about and – depending upon how I am feeling – I choose one of them and begin writing. If your book will have 10 chapters, create 10 files in your computer and name each one the temporary name that indicates what the chapter or topic will be about. Then, one hour each day write “something” in one of the chapters. You don’t have to start at the beginning of the book or with chapter one. Just start writing.

Don’t worry so much about “getting it right.” Perfection is an unreasonable goal. You can clean it up later. Pick a time each day and write. Don’t worry about quality – just write. That’s right! Just write.

I usually write something. . . let it rest overnight, print it and read it aloud the next day. I then make notes for changes I might make, then go back to my computer, make the changes and read it again. Next I choose another chapter or topic to begin writing something else. For me it helps to begin writing about something in the book that is not to close to the topic I just wrote.

computerIn your spare time go to a book store and look at other books that are in the same gendre as the one you will write – preferably by a better known author. Study how it’s put together. Look at the cover. Look at the back. What goes there? Open the book and look what’s on page one, page two, etc. Are there any dedications? Study the introduction. Look at the copyright page. Are there any famous people’s testimonials? Write the back cover material before you write your book. This gives your book direction and helps you focus only on what’s important to the books theme. These are the things that the writer needs to be aware of because you will need to write about them.

I recommend spending money by having someone design your book cover before you write your book. I highly recommend Jim Weems. Keep a copy of the cover in a frame on your desk to inspire you. Don’t skimp money wise on what you spend on the book cover, spine and back cover. Covers are more important than what is inside. YOU may not think so, but the cover and what’s on it is what sells the book.

Book titles are very important too. I came up with 31 possible titles to one of my relationship books, narrowed it down to 10 of my favorites and contacted some of my author and speaker friends to tell me their favorite and why. The why was important and helped me write the subtitle. Nearly all of my friends zeroed in on one title, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship.”

If you intend to write, I recommend that you carry a small notebook and a cassette recorder with you – everywhere you go. Ideas can come from the strangest places. Be prepared to make a few notes. It’s best to write about something you already know or something you would like to learn more about.

Kill procrastination by acting now. Sign up for a good book writing course at a community college? Read books about book writing. Join an authors club or association. Talk to other authors. Hang out with them. Hire a coach. If you live in Arizona, check out the Arizona Book Publishing Association.

Once you have several chapters written you have the right to begin calling yourself an author. Say it aloud, “I’m an author.” When you have been published, say, “I’m a published author.” Sounds good doesn’t it?

“Remember, you don’t have to be an expert at grammar or spelling or sentence structure, that is what editors are for! It is just up to you to tell your story from the heart and get started and take the time to educate yourself with the many resources available to make the task easy and enjoyable!” ~ Julie Salisbury

The only way to write a book is to sit down and start writing. Dedicate a specific, regular time to write every day. I usually write late at night when there are no interruptions. The key is to write every day. That is what separates writers from those who wannabe writers. Writers write. Those who talk about writing aren’t.

stop-talkingThere is always enough time for writing a book. Always, and that means right now. The only way to start writing is to start writing, not next year, not next week, not after you retire, but right now.

I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you that there are more than 110 articles for authors and speakers at: www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com. Check out the index to this blog for many more articles.

BONUS Articles: Creating Your Chapter Outline
Ten Tips To Get Started Writing Your Book
So You’re Writing a Book, Eh?

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Copyright © 2011 – 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

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