Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Email Ettiquette and Social Media

Email and social media really are elements of our lives that are here to stay. There are certainly a lot of benefits of both. We get immediate feedback, we theoretically save a few trees and we can get news a lot quicker (even if the news is considered "alternative facts). However, lately, I have seen a huge number of people who are really missing the mark when it comes to email and social media. People seem to forget that since we are not seeing you face to face any more, that your digital connection really is your first impression. And frankly, many of you are making a very poor first impression.

I want to spend some time focusing on several different aspects today. For some of you, this may be a reminder. For others, it may be a smack in the face.

Let's start with Email. This is a really big one with me. When you send an email to someone, this needs to be considered BUSINESS CORRESPONDANCE. You are not on a first name basis with this person. You are not spending your time telling me all about your life with your cats. Publishing is a business! So treat it as such. Be professional and show us that you really are serious about your writing career.

Another angle of this would be for those of you who hate the whole form letter response. So many writers complain that "I just got a form letter." OK, that may be the case, but when you send out the same form letter to every editor or agent, or for that matter, you send out one email with everyone cc'd in the message, expect that form letter.

Although there will be a lot of the same information that shows up in each of your letters, you still need to treat each one as an individual.

I want to take a slight side note here and talk about responses to emails. This is really a pet peeve with me. If someone sends you an email, you need to respond. Silence is not an option. Here at the agency, I try to let people know that it may be a while for me to get back to you on a submission, but I will get back to you. Even if someone sends you an email, but you know it may be a while before you get to it, do what I do...send them a "got it" message. It doesn't take much.

Now, back to the submissions. If you do send something to an editor or agent, and they say it will be 3 months for a response, please wait that time. Don't push it. Also, on that note, don't immediately start pushing exactly on that 3 month time. Be flexible.

So, what about social media? Like email, this is a digital first impression so make sure this is what you want us to see. If you want me to see what you are doing on Facebook, keep it professional. If you want me to see what you are doing on professional sites like Linked In, then keep it professional.

I would also add that social media IS NOT a tool for submitting projects to editors or agents. There may be times when we run contests, but other than that, go through the normal routes. Don't look for shortcuts!

Look, I understand that you have heard editors and agents say they don't look at these other things and only focus on the story. Yes, part of that is true. In the end, the only thing we are concerned with is that story, but, when you make a bad impression with that email or social media, expect a no response.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Pet Peeves and Story Ideas I Just Don't Like

Let me first of all say that I am pretty open to a lot of project. There are, however, projects that will always have a harder time getting me to want to read simply because these are storylines or approaches that I just don't like. I figure, every now and then, it is good to give you an insight into what is running through my mind.

Please note, this list is not in any particular order.

  • Stories about bands and the girls who fall for them. Personally, I think these stories tend to be a bit cheesy and most of the time, I just see immature heroes and heroines who could probably do a lot better.
  • The heroine moves to a small town to open a bakery after giving up a 6 figure career in the corporate world. I get that authors are trying to create a conflict here of trying to figure out this new career, but it becomes pretty unbelievable that someone would dive into a business with no backing.
  • A Character must live in a home with another character for a year to get the money Ummm, isn't this nothing more than a knock off of Brewster's Million's? This is a pretty forced way to get the hero and heroine together.
  • Psychic stories Sorry but this always comes across as a way to solve problems without having to really work at it. 
  • Students falling for professors. I don't care if we are talking about grad students here, this is simply not going to work. I have been in education since 1989 and if an instructor, at any level did this, he or she would be fired. 
  • The cop falling for the heroine who is either a victim or a suspect Again, this is one of those cases where the job is going to "pull rank." If there is a personal relationship going on, guess? That will jeopardize the case if and when it makes it to court.
  • A divorce after the heroine finds out the husband was A) having and affair; and B) is gay. Look forget the prior marriage and just start the relationship.
Now, here are some submission things that really get me fired up.
  • Embedding your full story and/or synopsis in the email even though I say not to.
  • Telling me to go look at your website instead of putting it in the query letter. 
  • Telling me you are an amazingly popular author and yet, when we pull up your information on Amazon, you are a self-pub only selling to friends. Sorry, but 100 books is not a best seller. 
  • Submitting a project that is not what I acquire and then telling me I should think outside of the box. 
  • Authors who are university professors, doctors, lawyers or other professionals who should know how to research sending me projects simply because they saw my name somewhere.
  • People who email me from my website asking what I am acquiring or what they want me to send.
  • Proclaiming that major movie producers or publishers have your project and it is "under consideration" when all you did was send it as a slush pile submission.
  • Emailing me after a rejection telling me I need to reconsider the novel even though I said it was not something I wanted. 
  • Swearing in your submission letter 
I think that should float you for a while.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Sometimes Throwing Something Out Is The Best Option

I have had several authors over the years with projects that we just struggled with. The author would write the story. We would revise it. We would get comments from an editor which sent the story in another direction. We would revise again. And then we would end up in a death spiral.

In some cases, we would even attempt to rebuild the story for other lines, or other publishers and then, once again, we would be in that endless loop.

For most of these cases, we finally ended up just trashing the story and going with something else.
What we did is what insurance companies do if repairing your car after an accident is not worth it. We considered it totaled. We had to make the decision to throw it out and start over.

As much as we hate to do this, sometimes this is the only option. I get that it is painful. You have spent hours pushing yourself to get that story right and then you have to give up on it and move on.

The issue here is that we often are so closely attached to a project that we just cannot see the real issues. Going back and reworking the story, revising and so forth will only make the story worse.

Now, I know that some of you might be asking how you would know if you have spent enough time on it. Maybe one more round will fix the problem? The deal is, we really don't know. Yes, one more round of edits might fix the problem. Maybe one more read through will give you that inspiration to find the problem and write that novel that will be amazing. BUT... you have to ask yourself, is it worth it?

If you are currently struggling with a project, it might be time to just let it go and move on. Maybe you will think of the solution as you work on the new story? Maybe not. Just consider this one of those learning moments in your writing career!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

What Do Contest Wins Really Mean?

Today is the day that many romance writers are sitting around anxiously waiting for "THE CALL" from the Romance Writers of America to say they are in the finals for the RITA Award or the Golden Heart Award. According to the Romance Writers of America, this award recognizes "outstanding published romance novels and novellas." Unfortunately, this is not always the case. There are a lot of great stories out there that will be simply overlooked because of the preliminary judging. So the real question is, what do contest awards really mean?

In simple terms, it meant you made it through a gauntlet of subjective readers who may or may not have had a criteria to evaluate the stories. It means that someone liked your story. It does not necessarily mean it is the "best story" or that it is really something that is "outstanding." It simply means it had the points necessary to get to the finals.

Now, please, don't get me wrong. As an agent, it would be completely great to run around and proclaim that my author is a RITA winner. As an author, it is great to be proud of the work you did. But, it is really important to stop and really think of what these accolades really mean. Let's walk through the judging of the RITA for example.

If you enter the RITA, you are required to judge the RITA awards. You cannot judge in the area that you entered, so this means that when you get your box of books, these will likely be in genres that you A) don't write; B) don't read; and C) maybe be genres you fully do not understand. Now, here is where it gets difficult.

The criteria is simply if you like the book or not. It doesn't have a rubric that focuses on character, plot, setting, voice, theme, conflict or anything. It is simply a subjective call.

As these writers read the books, they give it a ranking. Here are the official scoring guidelines:

Scoring Overview

Each preliminary-round entry will be scored individually on a scale of 1.0 to 10.0, with 1.0 being the lowest (poor) and 10.0 being the highest (excellent). Decimals (from .1 to .9) are STRONGLY encouraged to help avoid the possibility of a tie. Judges are encouraged to think of the points system as equivalent to a classroom grading scale:
9.0-10.0: Excellent
8.0-8.9: Good
7.0-7.9: Average
6.0-6.9: Below average
5.0-5.9: Marginal
4.0-4.9: Poor
Below 4.0: Very poor
Preliminary-round judges will be required to answer the following three questions in addition to assigning one overall score:
  • Does the entry contain a central love story?
  • Is the resolution of the romance emotionally satisfying and optimistic?
  • Does the entry fall within the category description? 
If there are three negative responses to any one question, the entry is disqualified.
Preliminary-round scores will be determined using a trimmed mean (the highest and lowest scores will be discarded and the remaining three scores will be averaged).
The top scoring 4% of each category’s entries (based on the number of qualified entries received) will advance to the final round; excepting that no category will have fewer than 4 finalists and no category will have more than 10 finalists. Any fraction will be rounded up to the next whole number, not to exceed 10 finalists.

Numerically, this might look great, but if you really have one judge who just doesn't get your genre, you are pretty much out. I have talked to countless authors who score 9's across the board, and then get a judge who saw their book as simply average.

What makes this even harder is that these books are coming to the readers have the covers still on them and we see who the authors are. These are not blind readings. Human instincts kick. It is hard not to see authors we know and immediately start to think the book will be good. Along the same lines, if we see books that have covers that might not be amazing, or from lines that we already think are "less than quality" we make those judgement calls.

Combine human instinct with subjective and vague criteria and you really don't have much to work with.

I know that as a judge for final rounds, I have often looked at those final projects and thought, "Is this really the best? Or, is this just the best of what was out there? Or, were these people who just got luck with the judges?"

Let me give you another example. I was listening to an NPR program before the Oscars and they were talking with some guy who had been nominated 21 times. This was for Sound Engineering. He noted that to be nominated, these came from people who were in the business. This meant that this was really a group of people who knew what went into the work. BUT, here was the twist. The final round was judged by everyone. Now people were judging who just went off of what they "thought" was going on, but more than likely, were picking the winner based on the movie that they liked, or the movie they thought was worthy.

The point of all of this is simple. Contest winners in publishing are just a snap shot of the industry. If you did not get called, it doesn't mean your book was not worthy. It might simply mean that you got a judge who just didn't get it. I would also add that this is not going to make or break your career. In the end, it all comes down to those book sales. THIS is where we really see who the winners are!

But for those of you who were nominated. Congrats!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Perfect Practice Makes Perfect

We have always heard the expression that "practice makes perfect." For many of us, this is what has driven us to get to the gym, work on improving hobbies and so forth. The problem though, is that this statement isn't exactly true. Practice does not make perfect. PERFECT practice makes perfect!

I do believe a lot of writers out there have really missed this point. I hear people go on and on about getting to be published is about "doing your time." For many, they seem to believe that if they just keep writing, eventually something will stick. Many of these writers even extend this argument by looking at their file folder in their office with all of those rejection letters. They will then reference all of these major authors who were rejected a ton of times:
  • Agatha Christie was rejected for 5 consecutive years before landing a deal.
  • JK Rowling received 12 rejections in a row before landing her deal
  • Louis L' Amour is often cited as having over 200
  • etc., etc., etc...
Now, before I state that these people had other factors at play when it came to getting their stories published, many current writers are not in those situations. They are simply not learning from their mistakes and just doing the same thing over and over again. I see this all of the time with people who submit to me. Many will keep sending me submissions and there is simply no growth in the writing.

Why? They are just practicing and not working for that perfect practice.

Just writing a lot of stories (or even smaller writing activities) is just practicing. Moving to that perfect practice level requires studying what you write, analyzing other writers to see what they do, tweaking and fine-tuning your writing to get that precision. And yes, this takes time.

I am often screaming here on the blog that becoming published takes time. Many seem to think that this time factor is, again, just putting in the hours. But hopefully you can see that it is a lot more than just writing words.

When I work with my authors, we spend a lot of time looking at what the editors want and fine tuning the writing. This is that perfect practice.

So make that a goal. Don't just put in the time. Make it useful time. You may find more success!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Are You Writing With Blinders On?

I have worked with a lot of writers who, when they send in a project to an editor for some comments, or even when they send it to me, respond with comments such as "Wow! I didn't see the story that way?" This is not that they had a different direction to the story and felt the comments from the me or the comments from the editor were wrong. They simply just missed some things when writing.

This is an all too common problem a lot of writers have and this is really one of those benefits many authors have when they are working with critique groups, agents and editors, and not doing it on their own. Having someone on the outside look at your work is one of the most valuable tools a writer has when it comes to improving their careers.

It is crucial that you do not go out and attempt to improve your writing on your own. Sure, there are blogs, articles, books and workshops you can attend, but you are still looking at your writing with blinders on. You will take this information and shape it around your writing, instead of molding your writing in a direction that will truly enhance your writing.

I do have to say a couple of things about this though...

First of all, please note that the feedback editors and agents give you is just one more set of eyes. Does this mean that the answers they provide are 100% perfect? Not necessarily. That is part of the editorial process though. Just because they give you that feedback does not mean you have to take it exactly as it is. If you see things another way, they are more than willing to listen. BUT, with that said, remember that they are more in touch with the market than you are so the odds are, they might be on the right track. Still, listen carefully.

When it comes to critique partners, this is the area where you have to really be careful. There are a lot of people who want to help, but this does not mean that they are the best people. Know their qualifications, listen to what they have to say, but then filter that information. Again, this does not mean they are wrong, but, if they are just as out of the loop as you might be, you may find yourself in the situation of the blind leading the blind.

I think the point of all of this is to find people on the outside who can give you a fresh new perspective. Sometimes, listening to those ideas is a great way to find those holes that you have been overlooking for so long.

Have a great weekend everyone. I am now off to celebrate my birthday being a stable dad for my daughter all weekend. Go Dad and Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!!

Monday, March 13, 2017

What The Self-Publishing Market Has Done To The Publishing Industry

This last weekend, I spent a lot of time reading submissions. I know I have mentioned this in the past, but I had an overwhelming amount of submissions that were far from the genres that I represent. Along the same lines, there were a lot of those submissions that no publisher out there would ever represent. In this second case, it is not because the publishing world is not open to new and unique projects, but it was the fact that these stories were something no one would every buy due to the content. Since starting the industry, I have seen more and more of these projects, and, in all honesty,
the number has risen even faster with the rise of the self-publishing options out there.

Now, before I go any further, let me say that I do not have a problem with self-publishing as a marketing tool. There are times when an author will have a project that is unique, or that it falls outside of what he or she would normally write with their own publisher and self-publishing is the way to go. I write poetry and frankly, that is one of the best approaches for that genre.

But here is where the self-publishing model goes awry. Authors are using self-publishing, either through routes such as Kindle publishing, or even creating their own publishing title, but not really thinking about market research or the quality of the final product. Sure, they may spend time "editing" their stories. Sure, they may pay huge sums of money for a book doctor to edit the project. But knowing the market just does not seem to be part of the equation.

You might be asking, how does this have an effect of traditional publishers or traditional agents? The answer is simple. Many of these authors, who either start out wanting to take the traditional route, or those who started out with the self-publishing route and then want to move to traditional, are learning a lot of bad habits and simply not learning about the business. These authors really seem to lack much of the basic knowledge of market research, knowing their own genre, or even how the entire publishing industry works. For you see, with self-publishing, it is a simple process of: 1) write a books; and 2) upload the book. At that, you are suddenly a published author.

As an agent, I am also seeing numerous authors (I generally range from 30%-50% of the submissions I read) where the person sends projects that are not what I acquire, and still, they try to justify that their project is the exception to the rule. For some reason, I will drop everything I am doing and pick up their collection. Just this last weekend, I had someone who wanted to submit a coffee table book of erotic pictures of couples having sex. Ummmm, A) Not what I represent; and B) are you really going to leave this out on a coffee table?

Look, I don't care what approach you want to take when it comes to publishing, but you need to understand that this is a business. Just because you wrote a series of words on a page and it looks somewhat like a book does not mean it needs to be published. Just because you put those words together does not mean you don't need to learn what the industry is about and how you go about working in the industry as a true professional.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Women's Fiction Does Not Have To Be Depressing

Over the last several days, I have read a ton of submissions of women's fiction manuscripts. I have to say, living in the Pacific Northwest, where it is 40 degrees and cloudy from now until the end of May, reading this stuff is not exactly exciting. It seems that authors have really gone to the extreme here writing some of the most depressing stories I have seen in a long time.

I do think a lot of this comes from authors out there like Nicolas Sparks, or movies like Manchester By The Bay, that seem to promote the idea that the only good story is one where everyone is sick, dying or wanting to die, and that the audience needs to read the book or watch the movie expecting to go through boxes of tissues.

It doesn't have to be this way. You can have women's fiction that is inspirational and is happy. No, I am not saying to go to the extreme end of "chick lit" level of humor, but you don't have to be so over the top depressing.

I do get that many authors, in my humble opinion, seem to believe that only romance ends with a happily ever after, and, if their story doesn't end that way, it must be women's fiction. Please, stomp this idea out of your head.

Let me remind you of something I have spoke of here on this blog time and time again:
  • Romances have the central story arc focusing around the building of the relationship heading toward that happily ever after. This is a relationship and character driven story. This has nothing to do with the level of sensuality or even the focus of the protagonist, although, in the majority of the cases, in the mass market out there, the protagonist will be a woman.
  • Women's fiction is a novel where there may or may not be a romance. The goal of the story is to see the world through the female lens. To understand how women see the world, deal with conflicts and react to things around them. In the case of women's fiction, these stories often deal with universal themes.
  • The not quite romance or women's fiction stories are those where the author has tried to do several of the following:
    • No happily ever after and depressing
    • My protagonist is female
    • The determination is based around how much sex they have
    • It is set in a romantic setting.
    • Women would read this
To tell a great women's fiction story is one that gives us insight into this unique perspective. Authors do not have to create such a level of conflict that we as readers are pushed over the edge. Sure, there is nothing wrong with a  good cry every now and then, but when the whole book focuses on this, then I am sorry to say, you have probably pushed it too far.

Hopefully this clears a few things up for you. Now, I am off to read some more stories in the hopes to find a story that doesn't make me want to jump out of my first story office window.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Being Contracted Doesn't Mean Automatic Contracts Will Follow

Being a published author is a performance based career. Your job depends on not only producing, but being successful with those sales. It means making sure your writing is always equal to or better than your last book. For many authors, however, there seems to be an expectation that if you have a contract, there will always be another one coming. Not always.

Now, I will tell you that there was a time, essentially before the housing crash of 2008 where authors, if they had a contract pretty much were certain that more contracts would follow. These authors also seemed to believe that with every new contract, there would be a guaranteed raise in the advance. Unfortunately, there were many publishers that really "took it in the shorts" on that one, and, needless to say, those publishers went the way of the dodo.

As a writer, you have to produce. You need to show that you are continually getting those projects turned in (and on time), and making sure that the products that you are producing are showing improvement. This might not be in the quality of the writing (although we would hope so), but also we want to see an improvement as you adjust to the times in the publishing world. As we know, this is a business in constant flux and the publishers want to see those changes.

I would also add that agents want to see the same thing. Do not expect to still be "on their list" if you have disappeared off of the face of the Earth for the last year. If you want the resource of having that agent there to help you out, it is up to you to keep that person informed of where you are at and what you are doing.

I stated this above, but this is not just about the contracts, but it is also about those advances. If you want to see those raises, then you not only have to produce, but show that improvement. Show that you are truly working. The time you have spent at the company is not how this works. It is the production.

I hear so many authors complain that their critique partner just got a raise, but they didn't. "That is so unfair." In these cases, the author needs to ask, what have they done to deserve that raise. I think a good example of this would be the authors who write for Harlequin. These are shorter books and the marketing model they have works really well. Name recognition and get those books out in back-to-back months. BUT... if you only produce one or maybe too books each year, you cannot complain that royalties are down and you aren't getting the respect you deserve.

LaBron James wrote in an article for Sports Illustrated a comment that I think really sums this up. "...nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have." While he was talking about a specific city, I do believe this applies to everything out there.

Just something to reflect on.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Celebrating Romance Authors

Today is International Women's Day. As my Facebook post noted it is a chance to "celebrate the amazing contributions women make to our world and our future."

Although romance authors are not all women, the majority of those authors are. These women are writing in a challenging and amazingly competitive market. And yet, these women are providing an enjoyment to so many readers around the world. They are providing that Happily Ever After that, for many readers, just does not happen in their real life.

These women are challenging stereotypes and addressing issues that many in the real world, including politicians, simply do not want to talk about in public. The present real strategies for dealing with huge emotional topics ranging from abuse, abandonment, unwed mothers, and troubled teens. These are tough topics, and yet, these women are able to address the issues in a way that we can truly relate to.

These women are also writing in a market that, for too long, have viewed romance writing as a less than noble profession. I don't know how many times I have heard other authors make comments of "Oh, you write romance?" and it is generally followed with a snort or other non-verbal implying it is "JUST" romance.

I am sorry to say this, but if you have not written romance, you don't realize how difficult it can be. In a limited about of space you have to get a couple through the first 5 phases of the Mark Knapp model of relationships...

...and make it believable and satisfying. For many on the outside, they seem to believe that romance is just about adding sex to the story. In reality, it is so much more.

And these women have figured it out.

Here is my challenge to you:
  1. If you know someone who is a romance author, send them a quick note and congratulate them on what they are doing (published or not).
  2. If you just read romance, email that author (and their publisher) thanking them for the books you have bought and what they have done that is amazing.
  3. Get online and write an AMAZING 5-Star Review for those authors that you read. Post it on EVERY one of those online sites.
And if you have not read a romance, go out, but one today, and appreciate the amazing ability these authors have.

“Do not wait for someone else to come and speak for you. It’s you who can change the world.” – Malala Yousafzai

Monday, March 6, 2017

Is Your Conflict Too Much Or Not Enough?

The conflict in the story is really the driving force of the plot. It is what the readers see as a major obstacle to get to those final pages and the true resolution of the story. This is also one of those points that writers often screw up the most. Either the writers have created a conflict that is nearly impossible to resolve without the help of divine intervention, or there is simply no conflict in the story. Today, we want to spend a few minutes talking about each of these problems, as well as finding that happy medium.

When it comes to romance, there are often two conflicts that are going on in the story. One is the conflict that is between the characters that stands in the way of getting to that happily ever after. The other conflict is often plot based and is the external conflict. In all of these situations, the conflict really stems from the characters' goals and motivations.

One of the first problems writers have when it comes to conflict is making the situation impossible to overcome. This generally comes about from the author believing he or she has to "add more to the story." This also comes from critique partners who keep asking what is driving the character so the author starts adding in a ton of backstory. The end result is a conflict that is simply too hard to overcome. To solve the conflict will require coming up with scenarios where too many things have to be in place just to get through it. In many ways, it starts to sound like the situations in the NFL playoffs: "Team X can get in if they score 10 more points than the opposition, and if Team Y Loses but Team Z wins..."

To get out of these situations, writers will often come up with a plot twist that becomes completely unbelievable for the reader. Money is often one of those solutions. For example, the heroine is about ready to lose the entire property their family has lived on, they are also going to end up homeless and her son, who is deathly ill will likely die without that home... but fortunately, there is a random uncle who is a billionaire who stumbles into town and dies, leaving the entire sum of money to her. Really? We have just worked through the entire story and this surprise fixes it? Not good.

Now, the other side of the story is one where there is little or no conflict. The hero and heroine completely love each other but the only thing standing in the way is that neither wants to commit. There is nothing to stop them, no business venture? All they have to do is say "I do."

So, to find that happy medium is work from the second scenario. Start with nothing in the way of the characters. Then stop and ask what that one thing is that will get in the way of the characters achieving their goals? It doesn't need to be major, but it has to be something they will have to work to achieve. Put it just far enough out of their reach, but certainly believable.

It really is that simple.

So, tell me how you get through the conflict situations in your stories?

Friday, March 3, 2017

Build Your Day Around Your Perfect Writing Time

I am sure many of you have taken those learning style surveys. After you take the test, it determines if you are an audio, visual or kinesthetic. But there is one point that comes up that people often screw up when they take the test. This is the one that tells you whether or not you are an AM or a PM learner.

For many people, they often will say that they are not AM learners because they are simply too tired in the day. The problem is that for many of these people, they are staying up far too late in the evening so they are actually hurting their best time to work. Some also struggle with this answer because of poor scheduling and time management.

I bring this up because I do believe writers can be far more productive if they build their schedules around their optimal writing times. It may take a little work and a little schedule juggling, but it is possible.

I know that for myself, I am an AM learner. I find that I can get much more of my creative type of work done first thing in the morning. This is when I normally blog, when I take care of emails and certainly writing proposals. Later in the day, I find that my brain shifts so that I can focus more on reading and less on the computer work. I also know that by the time we are hitting that 3-5 pm block, my brain is really starting to shut down. I can also guarantee that there is no chance in "you know what" that I would be able to read new proposals for my authors, or certainly submissions. Not going to happen.

As a writer, to be truly productive, finding that optimal time is crucial to your success. If you are an AM learner and your creative brain works better first thing in the morning, then block out that time. Let the family know that you will be writing then. Maybe set the alarm and start working earlier. Now, the trade off here is that you should not be trying to write in the evening. That is not the time for you.

So, what if you are someone who A) works; and B) needs to work in the middle of the day. Now what? That is when you block out that lunch time to get the work done. Find a quiet cafe and use that time. It may not be a lot, but you will be more productive. The other option is to get to it as soon as you can right after work.

Yes, I understand this sounds like a Utopian world. I know there are kids, social activities and so forth. Sure, these can get in the way, but it is possible. Remember, you are a writer and that gives you that creative side to find the answer.

So, how do you work that schedule out to get the writing done? Let me know!