Updated: Jan 22
Welcome to the first official blog post of my new series #7LessonsLearned, where I will be sharing lessons and tips - in sets of 7 - about the writing and editing world. This is Part 1 of… well, let’s just go with there’s no end point planned yet!
Blog posts for this series will be released monthly (plus the occasional guest post!), and if you think you’ll need a reminder, don’t worry - you can subscribe to my newsletter and you’ll get one in my monthly wrap up!
What else is in my monthly wrap up you may be wondering… you’ll see things like:
Blog updates - #7LessonsLearned, BookTours and Author Interviews, plus book reviews and more
Oh, and because you probably haven’t signed up just yet... I couldn’t resist sharing the news from my September 2019 wrap up:
MY SHORT STORY IS BEING PUBLISHED IN AN ACTUAL BOOK - WOOHOO!
*deep breath to regain composure*
Okay, now onto my first #7LessonsLearned. I thought I’d start with a big-picture list of seven tidbits I have found important on my journey so far (there were so many it was hard to choose!). Each of these will form the topic of the next seven blog posts in this series! Let’s get into it:
One of the first things I learned is that being a writer doesn’t just involve writing books! What!? I jest not - there is so much more to it than that. Popular opinion has it that you need to build your platform, so that one day when you are signing off as ‘author’, you already have an online presence, and hopefully some people in your corner!
Building an author platform involves topics such as deciding on your brand and building it, setting up a website and social media, connecting with readers and the #writingcommunity as well as keeping yourself organised.
When I entered the world of writing, I also became more acquainted with the idea of blogging. I thought, ‘This is a great idea! I’ll make a blog!’. So off I went and set up the blog page on my site and quickly arrived at the realisation of - I have nothing to write about! Starting off with a clear understanding of what is involved will certainly save you some time.
I’ll be discussing topics such as the benefit of blogging, researching, setting up an on-brand blog - including content and layout, and sharing your work.
3. Being Organised
Organisation is life! It can also be really difficult. Writing and building your platform on top of work and/or having a family is a tough gig. You really do have to try to set time aside for each little part that is involved. This organisation, particularly if you can make it a habit, will help you remain productive when you have set aside the time.
Being organised can involve using calendars, planners and lists, having a schedule for platform building and blog releases and even having your hashtag lists ready to go!
4. Staying Motivated
We can do this! Note the ‘we’? This journey can be a long and lonely one without a partner/team/tribe/community. Keeping motivated, whether it be for platform building, getting words on the page or hitting goals, is easier with support. Need to bounce ideas? Ask a critique partner. Want to know if your character is consistent? Send it to your workshopping group. Don’t feel like you know enough? Do a course.
Some of my topics on staying motivated include having a critique partner, being part of a workshopping group, setting SMART goals, taking courses… and sometimes just plain old taking a break!
5. Benefits of a Critique Partner
Get one! No really, go get one! My critique part (CP) has changed my writing life! Writing, while it can be joyful and fulfilling is also riddled with things like self-doubt, writer's block, seemingly insurmountable plot holes, tough feedback, tons of waiting and rejection. Having a CP can be the difference between giving up or powering on.
I’ll talk about topics such as how to find a CP, making the most of having one, methods of communication, useful critiquing and supporting one another.
6. Workshopping Groups
A powerful weapon in your writing arsenal. This is the group of people, usually writers, who will help to take your work to the next level. The ones who see the world/character/plot holes, and sometimes even help you to fix them. When we have focussed so long on our own writing we can lose our objectivity - we know our stories too well. This group can help to give you that back!
I’ll discuss methods of building a workshopping group, setting a schedule, how to get the most out of the experience, platforms for critiquing and giving and accepting feedback.
7. Story Development
You didn’t think I forgot about the actual writing part, did you?! Writing is the best and worst of what we do, depending on a whole lot of circumstances! Some of those will be in our control, and some will be out of it. But really, if you want to be a writer - you need to write! Writing a novel can be a big complicated process that requires drafting, revising, editing and more. I’ll be working my way through all of it!
This post will comment on the use of planners, outlining your story, developing characters, plotting, world building, getting those words down and revising and editing. This post will also form the outline of the next set of #7LessonsLearned blog posts that I’ll be writing (so don’t worry - you’ll get lots more detail!).
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post and that you’ll be back to check out the rest of the series as it arrives. Remember you can sign up for my newsletter (via my Home page) to get a monthly reminder that includes the links to each new post.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments down below. Feel free to share your thoughts on the article and anything you’d love to read about from this series in the future - I’m always open to ideas. You can also catch me on Twitter, Instagram and via my Contact page.
I'm looking forward to hearing from you. Happy reading & writing!