8 writing tips from powerlifters

400px-RIAN_archive_497570_Weight_lifter_Sultan_Rakhmanov

1. Stay focused

Powerlifting includes three events: squat, bench, and deadlift. The goal is to lift a lot of weight, not to have variety. Unlike body builders, who have multiple forms of exercise for each muscle, powerlifters generally train these three exercises, using others as necessary but not at the expense of these. In this way, they work the entire body and show results without wasted effort.

As a writer, what are your goals? Write 1-3 of them. To be well-rounded, have one about progress on your current book, one about networking, and one about steps to publication or post-publication marketing. Focus on other areas as needed, but never at the expense of these goals.

But what about your daily flash fiction, your blog, revisions, and sending to agents; Facebook, Twitter, and Instamatic; surfing for answers online, reading similar books, and going to conferences? Each of these can be helpful, but only do them if they help with your three goals. Aim for variety in your writing, not your writing habits.

Stop reading — write those goals now.
Continue reading

Advertisements

The Bathroom Reader

bathroom reader

 

During college, a roommate of mine had the perfect book—a paperback specifically designed for bathroom reading. I don’t remember checking it out then, as the thought of reading someone else’s bathroom book did not seem quite right.

 

As a side note, another friend of mine was curious about a thick book of money tips sitting I had on the back of the toilet. When he started to flip through it, my bookmark—an Our Daily Bread pamphletfell out. Into the toilet. He quickly retrieved it and attempted to clean and dry it. Afterwards, he held it out to me and said, “This book fell in the toilet.” No apology, no explanation, but hilarious to me. Not mentioning any names…

 

At a recent yard sale, I found the book my roommate had—Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader, written by none less than the Bathroom Reader’s Institute. It was “especially designed with the needs of bathroom readers in mind: It’s full of brief but interesting articles that can be read in a few seconds, or a few minutes.” (p4) More importantly, it has topics ranging from historical myths to riddles, Mark Twain and Einstein quotes to vocab etymology, little known facts about Barbie to the story behind Louis, Louis. It even has a table of contents.

 

This yard sale version looked unused, so I figured it was safe to buy. I don’t suppose I can ever resell it, as most of the pages are now dogeared. Then again, I may keep it as a reference. There are few things so beneficial for authors as wide reading. Maybe a fact about Gilligan’s Island can strike a thought for a character, or a quote by Nixon could be spoken to add realism.

 

Check it out. The Bathroom Reader is meant to fill your mind as you empty your bladder. It is not meant to be read straight through. Their advice: open a page and “go with the flow.”

Small goals—underchallenge yourself

Neil Armstrong Moon

Under exaggerate.

Sometimes I feel like I cannot be a real author since real authors have huge goals like 1,000 words every day. I’ve done this before, even developing the habit at times.
I feel envious when I hear of some writers, who top this lofty goal by writing several thousand words in a single day. I did that. Once.
But what about when life steps in?
Continue reading

What to do while waiting — Part 1

800px-Jgrisham_novel

So, you’re a writer now. Congratulations!

But you’re waiting to get published.

What do you do, besides starting the process over by writing another book? What can help you get published? What can lead to sales when the publication finally happens?

Part 1: Create a website, but don’t…

Continue reading

Get it done already! Why short-term goals are better than long-term goals

File:Crystal Clear app date.png

What’s the biggest project you have ever given up on?
For me, I wanted to make a polyglot Bible, with Hebrew, Greek, and Latin in three columns, marking all major differences. (Yes, I’m a nerd!) Working full time on this, I could have finished in a couple years. Maybe.
The problem? Nobody else wanted this. Worse, I found a computer program that could do this almost as well, a website that could do this with even more languages, and a scholar who already did my exact idea with two of the languages. Bummer.
I realized the importance of first making sure your goal is worth the cost.

But let’s say you know your goal—you want to write a novel. And publish it. And make money from it.
Let’s start with the first of these.

Continue reading

You’re on Fire—Three Keys to Writing Success

Blender3D_LoopingParticleFire

Fire needs three things—fuel, heat, and oxygen. Without any of these, there is no fire.

 

Success is similar. It needs these three—time, motivation, and a plan.

 

Time

Did you know that you could save over $8,000 for your child’s college by saving $1 each day starting at birth? Wow! Or if you invest $5,000/year for 10 years beginning at age 25, you could have over $600,000 by age 65. (Compare this to the $400,000 earned by investing $5,000 from age 35 to 60.)

Bill Gates said, “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.

Continue reading