Monthly Archives: July 2016

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end procrastination

End Procrastination and Write On!

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Want an easy way to end procrastination? Writers are prone to getting behind on their writing due to distractions such as social media, their BuzzFeed addiction, or any other number of chores and challenges. Fact is, we’re a creative bunch, and the creative mind is notably distractible. We need the rush of the new, the interesting, and the sparkly to keep our creative juices at a simmer.

This tendency, while it does provide stimulation for our novelty-craving minds, can grind a promising writing career to a halt. If I’ve described you so far, then you need to find a way to end procrastination so your writing doesn’t suffer.

Much has been written on the pseudo-science of productivity, and with it, reams of material on how to keep yourself focused. I’ve found one simple trick to be key for keeping my eyes on the prize when I’m writing.

End Procrastination with this One Simple Trick

So, you’re cooking along with your novel or article when you get the itch to check your email. Then, you might as well check Twitter, too. Or your Goodreads account. Perhaps your Facebook profile needs updating. Is that a faucet dripping in the bathroom? The dog hasn’t been fed yet. Oh, look — a chicken!

Your natural inclination is to be distracted. It’s who you are. How can you solve that problem?

Simple! Give in to the distraction.

Yes, you heard me. Let it happen. The key is to let it happen in a way that will move you forward. Here’s how:

To end procrastination, you’re going to allow yourself to become distracted whenever you want. The only caviat is that you must choose your distractions from a pre-selected list. To create that list, think of one or two high-priority to-do items that will move your writing career forward. Examples are: research for setting or characters, article or story pitch research, writing exercises or classes, or reading articles or books on writing techniques. This is by no means a complete list, and the list will vary based on the type of writing you’re doing.

Once you have your list, the next time you feel the urge to put your novel aside in favor of a spin around Facebook, think again. You can stop writing, but only to pursue the things on your list.

While technically this doesn’t end procrastination, but substitutes a productive task for a non-productive one, it does solve two problems. First, this method allows your brilliant, creative mind to leapfrog tasks at will, giving it the stimulation it craves. Second, choosing only from your pre-determined choices ensures that stimulation will come from things that will move you toward, rather than away from, your writing goals.

My current list allows me to work on a handout for a writing course I’m preparing or edit my novel. It provides just enough change from my daily writing that I feel focused, even though I’m actually giving in to distraction. It works!

Try it, and let me know how it works for you.

See you on the next page!

Nikki Bee


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free writing infographic

Free Writing Infographic: Ten Commandments of Writing

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I love infographics. I especially love infographics about writing. And there’s nothing better than free writing infographics! Yes, the “F” word — the one I use every chance I get. Free. See how good that sounds? The fricative pressure of the “f” as your teeth press against the tender flesh of your lower lip provides sweet release for pent-up breath. Even the word “fricative”, which sounds a little risqué, can be a pleasure to say. Perhaps it can even give you some ideas.

Yikes! I went off on a tangent there, but I was only following commandment number IV: Honor Your Gut Feeling. While I didn’t know where that train of thought was leading me as I wrote it, it sent me unswervingly toward my point. All I had to do was enjoy the process. What an epiphany!

There are plenty more of these fun and factual commandments that will help you stay on track with your writing career. The free writing infographic, below, outlines the ten biggest, and it’s my gift to you. Print it out, copy it, paste it, put it where you can see it. Take them to heart.

See you on the next page!

Nikki Bee

Free Writing Infographic:
The Ten Commandments of Writing

Free writing infographic:<br> The TEN Commandments of Writing


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write faster with deadline

How to Write Faster Using Deadlines

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Everyone wants to write faster, and with good reason. Learning to speed up your writing can help you by:

  • Getting ideas out while they’re fresh.
  • Keeping several projects in the works at once.
  • Honing your writing technique through constant practice.
  • Helping you produce finished works faster.

There are plenty of ways to pick  up your writing pace, but one really effective way is to give yourself a deadline to beat.

How does it work? This handy graphic says it all:

write faster deadlines

Simple wisdom, but oh, so true. When you have a deadline, a true deadline, all other obligations, distractions, and reasons to goof off seem to slip away. You become driven to work toward completion before the deadline slips away.

You may be thinking: But if I set my own deadline, what keeps me from breaking it? After all, it’s just me. Au contraire, mon frere. There are many ways that “little ‘ol you” can hold “writing you” to a strict deadline — strict enough that you’ll have plenty of encouragement to stick with it. Here’s how:

Write Faster with Self-Imposed Deadlines

First, decide whether you’re motivated more by good consequences or bad ones. For example, would you be more inclined to write faster if doing so would earn you $50 to spend as you please or, if you don’t meet your deadline, cause you to give $50 to your spouse’s charity of choice? I know, I know, giving to a charity isn’t actually bad, but it is, after all, your $50. Or perhaps you’d rather have a day without chores versus a day doing everyone else in your household’s chores? The choice is yours! No one knows you better than you do, so choose something that you know will do the trick.

Next, set incremental deadlines rather than one big, huge, looming deadline. Set a series of them with the reward or consequence you chose earlier offered at the end of the series. Why? Because you get nice hits of dopamine every time you successfully complete even a small task. The more dopamine your brain produces, the faster you work. This way, you’ll find yourself writing even faster as you cruise past your mini-deadlines. This blog talks about this process in detail if you want to understand all the neurological goodness behind it.

What are you waiting for? Make a commitment to write faster beginning this week. Don’t forget to let me know how it goes!

See you on the next page!

Nikki Bee


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how to handle rejection when writing

How to Handle Rejection (for Writers)

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The sooner you create a plan for how to handle rejection, the more successful you’ll be, no matter what type of career or life goal you’re pursuing. Luckily, you’re a writer, so you’ll get lots of practice putting your plan into action.

Writers face rejection in so many aspects of their careers. You are rejected by agents, publishers, publications, editors, and even friends and family. If you’re lucky enough to get published, you can be rejected by the general public as well — yay, you!

Okay, all kidding aside, it’s not fun to be rejected. But it is important. Without rejection, our horizons stay boringly un-broadened. We stick to what we know and miss all the amazing skills, tricks, and tips that might be one criticism away.

So what’s the key to getting the most out of rejection? Let’s take a look:

How to Handle Rejection with Ease

Don’t let it get you down. Easier said than done, I know, but give it a try. Here’s a little quote to remind you what to do when the going gets tough (and, hopefully, help you see the humor in things).

quote about how to handle rejection

Okay, you’ve decided to keep a stiff upper lip. What’s next?

The trick to knowing how to handle rejection is more than just using mind games to keep your attitude positive; it’s actively searching for the elements of the rejection that are going to take your game to the next level. And they’re there. I promise. You can add a new skill or trick to your writer’s arsenal with every rejection, which will help make your writing more powerful next time you put pen to paper.

Examples

Let’s look at some examples that will show you exactly what I mean about this aspect of how to handle rejection:

Example 1: A publication rejects your article query. The editor says,

I was interested in your query until I got to the part about writing for low- and no-pay. We never recommend writers stoop to sweatshop status. Those firms CAN afford to pay more. They don’t because too many writers are willing to work for below minimum wage.”

This one is real, and it belongs to me. I had to work hard to get past the fact that this editor’s site offered jobs for writers at far below the pay I was suggesting, but the rejection showed me something crucial about moving forward with this publication. It also highlighted a thing or two about this editor and the way she sees her website in the larger scheme of things. Through this, I knew I could either revise my query to suit her needs or not waste my time and query elsewhere. (I did the latter. I don’t like hypocrisy.)

Example 2:  A fiction magazine rejects your short story. The editor says,

“Thanks for submitting to our magazine. Unfortunately, your story does not fit the quality our readers expect.”

Also real, also mine. What did I get from this? First, I took comfort that my story was worth a response; sometimes rejection is just silence. Then, I took a look at that magazine to compare and contrast my story with stories they did publish and seek out the differences (and the similarities). When I rewrote the story to reflect my research, a publication accepted it on my very next query. Score!

Next Steps

So now that you have a start, begin planning what you’ll do if you’re rejected in one of the million other ways out there. When deciding how to handle rejection, your job is to determine what useful, helpful, or good things you can take away from the criticism. There’s always at least one, so look carefully for it. Then, use what you’ve learned to make your writing shine. And never, ever give up!

See you on the next page!

Nikki Bee

P.S. Interested in reading about other authors’ rejection experiences? Try one of these links:

BuzzFeed

LitRejections

Mental Floss

 


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