Tuesday, July 21, 2015

10 Remedies For The Horrible Things Writers Tell Themselves

10 Remedies For The Horrible Things Writers Tell Themselves
Writers are horrible people. Think about it. We create characters, we love them and then we do the most horrible things to them all in the name of tension and conflict. Weird, right? 
But that doesn’t compare to how we treat ourselves. I see it week in and week out in class - how we beat ourselves up. When someone writes a beautiful piece, there is always this choir of voices saying, “I could never write that” or “I’ll never be that good.” 

And yes, they are right. You will never be able to write ‘that’ exactly as the other person did, because you are a different kind of writer. That is what makes us unique. That is what allows us to write our own stories. 
Writing is hard enough without bashing ourselves over the head about it. This is what I tell my students (and myself) when the going gets tough: 
  1. Stop comparing your work: Don’t compare your first draft to a best-selling author’s seventh prize winning novel. It too was once a sucky first draft and has subsequently been through numerous rewrites, editor suggestions and beta-readers. Not fair to compare.  
  2. Every writer is unique: We all have different strengths and weaknesses. Figure out what they are; work on your weaknesses and celebrate your strengths. If you struggle with dialogue, practise writing it. Study good dialogue, complete dialogue prompts, and read up about dialogue. You get the idea.
  3. Trust the timing: Malcolm Gladwell says you need 10 000 hours before you are good at anything. We all start at different times. Some writers are just starting out, others have 3 000 hours under their belt already. Others are accomplished, but they still have to fight their demons. Keep practising; you’ll be too busy to listen to critics.
  4. Set realistic goals: Some writers can write 6 000 words a day, others are happy if they manage 500. Some write full time, others squeeze in pages between meetings and kids. Some writers write three times a week in big blocks, others write for twenty minutes every day. It is up to you to find what works for you.
  5. Be kind to yourself: Writers are also very ambitious. Often I teach first time authors who have big ideas for books. Multiple plotlines, hundreds of characters and it’s great, but it might be bit ambitious for your current skillset. You might want to try something simpler first. Stephen King said he had the idea for The Dome early on in his career, but he realised he wasn’t ready. He saved the idea until he could do it justice.
  6. Take care of yourself: Writing is both fulfilling and draining. You need good people around you, people who look after you. Not people who drain you. Try surrounding yourself with positive people. Misery loves company. 
  1. Fire your inner critic: One of the first exercises we do at Writers Write is to write a letter to our Internal Critic. We fire the poor soul and thank them for his or her service. A liberating experience.
  2. Create a creative environment: If you have an office that is great. Make it a space where you can work and have fun. If you don’t have space for an office, try using the corner of a room or converting a cupboard. The internet is full of ideas for adapting small places. 
  3. Take time out to nurture your creativity: Go for a walk, watch a new movie, and build a sandcastle. Do something you enjoy, other than writing. 
  4. Mostly be kind to your writing self: There are enough critics out there. Be your own champion for a change.
by Mia Botha
Mia Botha is a a novelist, a ghost writer, and the winner of the Mills&Boon Voice of Africa Competition. When she isn’t writing, she is the mother of two children and the wife of a very lucky man.

Monday, July 13, 2015

How To Write A Book Foreword

How To Write A Book Foreword

A book foreword is an appetizer that invites the reader to proceed towards the main course, while he is still hungry. It is a short piece of writing found at the beginning of a book, preceding the introduction. It is mainly used to introduce the reader to the author as well as the book. Moreover, it focuses on the interaction between the writer of the foreword and the author of the book. These days, book forewords have become more of a marketing tool that is used to market both the author and the foreword writer. Occupation as a foreword author is gaining importance day by day. Most publishers, today, place the foreword author’s name on the cover of the book, sometimes more prominently than the book author’s name, thereby helping the foreword writer to promote his services for other professionals as well. If you too want to be a foreword writer and want to know how to write a perfect book foreword, this article is definitely worth browsing. Glance through the following lines to find tips on writing the foreword of a book.

Tips For Writing A Foreword For A Book

·         Know the format for writing a foreword. Usually, a foreword lasts for one or two pages, but can exceed if the book is being introduced for the first time and has a long history to tell. The foreword is usually divided into three general sections: the opening, the closing and the middle. Your name and title are included at the end of the foreword.
·         The foreword should always have a personal touch in the beginning, that is, the opening lines. Let your readers know how the author of the foreword knows the author of the book. Doing so increases the credibility of the book.

·         While writing the middle of the foreword, include anecdotes. You can illustrate an example that represents the theme presented in the book. This will enable the reader to relate to the author. It would also portray the author in the right light, showcasing him as a realistic writer who knows his subject matter well.

·         Mention the good points about the book and what the readers will be expecting in it. Be sure to give a brief synopsis of the book. In case the book deals with solving problems or offering unique points of view, mention the same in the middle of the foreword.

·         Write the closing of the foreword by mentioning your reasons for writing the foreword and why it mattered to you in the first place. Writing this is vital for your career as well the author’s. It is this text that would boost the reliability and credibility of the book. This will also induce the readers to continue reading the book, since it has been recommended by the foreword writer.

·         Finally, bring the foreword to an end by mentioning a reference from the first paragraph into your final paragraph to add cohesiveness.

·         After you have completed with writing the foreword, sign at the end mentioning your name, qualifications, title and location.


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Tips by Famous Authors on Writing a book

Rudy Simone, Author of Aspergirls: Empowering Women with Asperger Syndrome and Asperger’s On the Job
"I had the easiest time of my life writing my three Asperger books. I just ran like Secretariat once I got going. But, I did learn that questionnaires make good research tools. I had three levels of questionnaires, each expanding on the one before it, so I didn’t have to individually interview each person. I did that by email or phone if and when it was warranted. By the time I wrote Aspergirls I had it streamlined: The questionnaires were posted on my site, the first one visible to the public so anyone could use it, then the 2nd and third were on hidden pages that I gave my participants the URL to. The data was compiled and I received email alerts whenever there was a new entry. So while I was researching certain elements of my book, the questionnaires and the people who used them were doing a lot of the legwork. Being that I’m fairly uneducated, I think I did a pretty good job with it.