Can You Beat a Writer Mom at Multi-tasking?


The Multitasking Author Mom

The Multitasking Author Mom

I met Frederick some time before the Rule of Three Blogfest,  and we’ve become good blog-friends ever since. Today, he talks about Muti-tasking as writer, so I’m going to hand over the post to him. Take it away, Fred!

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If you’re a Mom, you probably thought you had a lock on the multitasking crown.  Don’t even think about it.  Independent authors have to multitask in a major way, too.  Don’t get me wrong.  As a Dad, I know very well that Moms are world-class multitaskers.

Recently I caught my wife scouring the bathtub with one hand while negotiating with the health insurance guy on the phone in her other hand.  In the kitchen she had a cake in the oven.  Because she was on hold, she was also arguing with one of our kids who was refusing to do his homework.  All at the same time.  That’s some pretty good multitasking, I admit.

Multitasking Tip 1: Use both hands.

Still, as an independent author, I can beat that.  Today I’m puzzling over problems with my Main Character.  She’s left-handed, and that’s important, but I still have to help the reader see how it’s important.  I have to develop this quirk all through the book.  This task tops my list of WIP to-dos.

Also on the list:  I want to increase the fireworks in one or two scenes.  I need to add more tension between my Main Character and the Antagonist in some scenes.  I have to make the betrayal more real in two scenes.  And I have to fix a scene left over from an earlier draft which needs an overhaul because of other changes I made.  Writers multitask in high gear when it comes to the writing process alone.

Multitasking Tip 2: Make a list and check things off as you go.

Doing Max Vinyl

Doing Max Vinyl

But what about all the left-brain stuff we do to get our books into the marketplace and noticed by potential readers?

I take a break from writing and send a question to the my designer.  Then I answer a mail from the editor who’s helping me with my WIP.  On my next break I write the first draft for my next blog, due in two days.  While working on the concept, I find something I don’t like on my website and change it.  I say hi to a few friends on Twitter.  I check Goodreads, Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes and Noble to see if anyone has written a new review of Doing Max Vinyl.

Multitasking Tip 3:  Don’t try to use left-brain and right-brain at the same time.

I ambush the kids for a hug as they arrive home from school (not easy with teenaged boys).  I listen to their stories, then I’m pushing them to do homework.  Tonight it’s my turn to cook.  While I chop onions and peppers, I’m thinking about my Main Character again.  My MC is trying to lose 45 pounds.  Part of my research is to lose a little weight myself to know how it feels.  So I’m resisting the urge to nibble even while cooking dinner, with my stomach growling.  Does this count as multitasking?

Multitasking Tip 4:  Give full attention to loved ones. Turn off multitasking.

Multitasking Tip 5: Use down time (chopping onions, jogging, etc.) as thinking/reflection/creative time

Let’s face it, I may be cooking today, but my wife cooks most of the time.  She does all the cleaning, all the laundry, most of the shopping.  While she’s doing one thing, she’s always got three other things on her mind, just as I can cook and work on my MC at the same time.  Moms have the lion’s share of the housework.  My contributions help out, but they pale beside the long list of stuff my wife does every day.

Multitasking Tip 6:  Give credit where credit is due

Hard to imagine doing all the stuff she does and also writing a book.  Yet lots of great writers are Moms.   The best multitaskers in the world would have to be Moms who are writers.  Author Moms.  Don’t you agree?

What was your greatest multitasking feat recently?

Multitasking Mom image credit to Meredith Garrett

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Frederick Lee Brooke

Frederick Lee Brooke

Frederick Lee Brooke has been a teacher, a language school manager and a school owner.  He lives with his family in Switzerland and makes frequent trips to the U.S.A. and other countries.  He loves cooking, walking, reading, and learning languages and speaks English, German, French and Italian and is learning Turkish.  “Doing Max Vinyl” is the first in the series of Annie Ogden mysteries.  It can be purchased on Amazon or on Smashwords.  The sequel to “Doing Max Vinyl” is due in April 2012.

The Best Advice on Writing I’ve Ever Received


Daily (w)rite went on an involuntary hibernation last week due to a WordPress Technical glitch. But thanks to the awesome staff at WordPress, it is back, and so is the Writers’ Guest Post Schedule for November.

Today we have amazing writer, and lovely blog-friend Corinne O’Flynn. She is here to talk to us about how writers ought to treat their writing, so without further ado, I hand over the post to Corinne:

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This might sound strange coming from someone who has yet to have her book published, but bear with me. There are ways to measure the quality of your writing before it is published.

There is so much advice out there about writing and paths to publication, much of it is right on. It runs the gamut from grammar, to character development, world building, and the practice of writing itself.  If you’re like me, a lot of this advice speaks to you relative to your own work.

The best advice I’ve ever read comes from Jane Friedman through an article that was printed in Writer’s Digest Magazine last July/August. For the writer who has publishing aspirations, this is important. You ready? Ok, here it is:

“You have to view your work not as something precious to you, but as a product to be positioned and sold.”  - Jane Friedman

The Best Writing Advice I've Ever Received

The Best Writing Advice I've Ever Received

I will remember forever being on a plane and reading those words. I had a gigantic “aha moment” and sadly was stuck in my seat, alone, with no one to share my epiphany. I must have read the article twenty more times while on that flight. Those words resonated with me and as soon as I could get back to my desk and my work, they found their way into my revisions.

The results were interesting. Once I took to revising my own writing with this outward-facing view in mind, I was able to see the things in my writing that were holding my work back—holding me back.

My ability to identify and therefore cut the junk and improve pacing became sharper. I could locate the places in my work where my own writer’s pride kept me from cutting something I thought was especially fabulous, even though it had no place in my work.

Did I instantly start getting nibbles from publishers and sell my books at auction? No, but responses to my work changed overnight. My critique partners didn’t know what I was doing differently, but they felt that something had changed and the quality of my work had improved. My entries into writing contests started getting positive attention. My confidence in my work skyrocketed.

Approaching your work as something you want to sell and not as a slice of your soul changes what you see when you’re reading it. For the better. The results can be the difference between writing that is genuinely good and writing that grabs hold of your reader and takes them for a ride.

Writer Corinne O'Flynn

Writer Corinne O'Flynn

Bio:
Corinne loves to write about fictional dark and fantastical things. You can find her on her blog and on twitter@CorinneOFlynn

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Thanks Corinne, for the wonderful post, and now I open the floor for questions and comments from readers!

What My Angelfish Pair Taught Me About Writing


As some readers of this blog know, I have a pair of Black Angelfish.

Every two weeks or so, like clockwork, they lay about a 100 eggs, guard them till the babies hatch, hover around the hatchlings still attached to the leaves, try to carry them in their mouths and keep them safe once the babies are free-swimming. Only about 50 babies are left at this stage.

Then for the next three days, they do their best to sustain the babies, which dwindle from 50 to 25 to 10 to 5 to zero. This is because I don’t know what to feed the babies— am both scared of, and don’t know how to, breed mosquito larvae, which is their food.

A day after the last baby has disappeared, the angels are at each other, kissing, fluttering, chasing, back at the mating game. A day later there are eggs again.

I wonder if they remember their babies. I know they are capable of some kind of association/ memory,  because they know when I’m around and come begging for food, and dance around like mad puppies when I have the food box in my hand.

I no longer know how to feel about the regular births and deaths.

But I’ve learned the passion of creation by their example: write like mad, polish them like mad, submit like mad, and even if the babies come to nothing, set about making my writing babies again.

And just like with the angelfish babies, rejoice that they lived and swam free, at least for a while.

Who knows, maybe someday, one of the angelfish babies would survive. It would become more than a tiny tadpole, actually grow fins and swim at large.

In the meanwhile, what I and my angelfish can do is create, with passion and commitment. Results be damned.

Writers, How Do You Advertise Your Book?


The Golden Sky

The Golden Sky

For the months of November and December, Daily (w)rite is being taken over by some talented writers who will dole out advice on writing, publishing and marketing.

Today, Elisa Hirsch talks to you about advertising your book, which is now part of a writer’s job, whether self-published or published traditionally.

So, take it away, Elisa!

How to Advertise Your Book

    Advertising is a huge part of being a successful writer.  Once, when I had a booming sewing business, I had someone ask me, “What are the most important aspects of advertising?”

     I thought for a moment.  “Well, utilizing the internet helps.  Then I’d say, consistency and reciprocity.  But most of all, I think you need to know your audience.”  Of course that doesn’t encompass everything, but those are very important aspects that I would like to write about today.

    In sewing, as long as I listed a new outfit each week and interacted with customers, I was sure people would come back to see my items and spread the word about my products.  I found my audience and joined groups where mothers loved handmade clothes.  I did that for two years straight, and my company became the fifth largest kids’ custom clothing business on ebay.

    The same is true with writing.  

    If you blog, write consistently.  Make it something interesting, whether it’s a snippet about your day, or how things are going with your writing.  When someone comments, go visit them.  Not only will you make friends, but you might end up finding great resources (such as goodreads groups, book blogs and bloggy moms) as well.

    The other things I mentioned are that you need to utilize the internet and know your audience.  

 

Hourglass Memories

Hourglass Memories

  This is a great time to be a writer.  You have free advertising at your fingertips–take advantage of it.  For example, my novel “The Golden Sky” is about my little boy who passed away because of birth defects.  I know my main audience is families who have lost loved ones.  I’ve been able to join online support groups and find people who need reading material to help them through hard times.

    I’ve also researched google keywords to find out what titles I need to use in order to bring the right crowds to my blog.  Key phrases such as “infant loss,” “grief counseling,” “what happens when we die,” have been very helpful for bringing the right people to my blog.

    Several months ago, I worked on a children’s book with a friend.  She needed exposure, and I found out that “Rapunzel and Tangled” were popular search terms.  Since that would pull in the right audience, and I knew she was consistent, I helped her write a blog using those words in the title and the post.  She went from getting 300 hits a day to 1000 hits just from those key words.  

    So, on top of knowing your audience, being consistent and reciprocal, try using your resources, and find out the importance of keywords.

    Remember that the internet is your friend!  If you use it the right way, you can pull in quite a crowd.  Good luck.
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Elisa Hirsch, Author

Elisa Hirsch, Author

Elisa spends most of her time taking care of four rambunctious kids who are better than green eggs and ham.  They’re pretty darn fun, but despite that, after she had kids, her boobs shrunk, she lost hair, but gained a greater sense of humor!
When she’s not scavenging through the vents, which her son (the Zombie Elf) thinks are the best place to hide things, she’s sewing, playing her violin, or writing.