Building Morale for Writing

Yes, it’s true. I will finally admit the one secret that no author wants to admit. Is everyone ready? Here we go.

There are some days when even the best of us don’t feel like writing. Perhaps this is because we are working through a difficult point in our book. Perhaps this is because we are intensely working on some other project in our lives. For whatever the reason, a day comes when we sit down to write, and the words don’t come onto the paper.

How do we build morale? How do we regain interest in the point we are at in our writing?

The answer is that we have other gathered material that can help us to springboard our creativity. We know ahead of time that we will get stuck at some points in the tunnel. Therefore, we prepare for it. Writing preparation is essential to writing. Before you write a story, you must gain reference material: Photos, paintings, real places you visit, stories you read, people you talk to. . .You must gain research: Fact checking for whatever subject matter you are writing about (whether fiction or non-fiction). . .You must write an outline that becomes the schematic and road map of your story. You must compile other lists of the elements of your story.

All this is essential to your writing capability. When your morale is down for the story you are writing, all you have to do is turn to the inspired images and imagined scenes you have created for your story. Remember the vision. Remember why you wanted to write the story in the first place. Lastly, remember that that vision will not be entirely clear until your final edit. Be encouraged with where you’re at in the process of creating the story.

Your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

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Gain Insight in Writing

As in everything, a good writer must learn insight in writing. An author must be able to look at his/her writing and pretty much instinctively be able to know what is wrong with it and how to change it.

Yet, how do authors learn this skill? Are we superhuman? Is there a learning curve?

If you are a new author, then understand this: We have all been where you are at right now. No one can write a perfect first book. What’s more: Not even a professional can write a perfect first draft. However, over time, we learn how to identify our mistakes. We approach writing as a process. Just as an athlete doesn’t do a high dive or a marathon without first warming up his muscles, so also an author doesn’t plunge through a book without warming up his “pen”. We gain inspiration and research. We compile reference material. And, we work through an outline. We recognize that each stage in the writing process is building our final work, yet none of it will be our final vision until the final draft is edited. And even then, we learn to release our work to the public even though we know there is more that could be done with it. Any project can always have more done to it.

Gaining insight is more than just practicing writing. It’s doing something over and over again that we have a love for. Every writer loves to write. Every storyteller (like myself) loves to create a new story and work through all the stages to complete it as we originally envisioned it to be.

Your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

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Prioritize Your Marketing

In order to be effective in your marketing, you have to learn what marketing techniques will be most effective. If you try to dedicate the same amount of time for each marketing action, one of two things will result.

  1. You will spend 100% of your time marketing and still not have enough time to get everything done.

Or

  1. You will not be able to do any marketing task completely because you have not concentrated your efforts for the proper completion of a marketing task.

In order to avoid these mistakes when you market your books, think about what actions will be most effective and which will be least effective. If you don’t know what marketing steps are less effective, then trial and error to find out. Think about long term projections, and research what yields the best increase. For example, YouTube marketing is big now and there are a lot of long term benefits that may result if you stick at it for a long period. Podcasts may generally yield quicker benefits, yet it isn’t as effective as YouTube can be long term.

Once you have determined what marketing techniques are more and less effective, prioritize your time accordingly. Keep on top of the highest priorities every single day. Do middle priorities a few times a week. And, do the least priorities once or at most twice in a week.

Your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

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How to Market Your Books

So. . .most people who begin writing think that they can just write their books, get them published, and watch the cash flow in. However, for most of us, the story is vastly different.

We don’t watch the cash flow in. Our books are difficult to publish. And, if we don’t promote and market our books, then they will not sell.

Therefore, you are going to have to balance the time you spend writing with the time you spend marketing. Here are a couple tips that I’ve learned along the way.

  1. Do something to market every day.

Even if you are in the middle of writing your book, take half an hour to market your books – whether this is a blog post, podcast, YouTube video, telemarketing, emailing, you decide. Yet, make certain you do something to market.

  1. Dedicate 1 day a week to just marketing.

In addition to step one, set a whole day aside to promote your books. If you are writing a first draft to a book, then you will need to spend some time that day writing your book, but only spend 10 minutes or so writing your book. Spend the rest of the time marketing. In this day, plan out the marketing for the coming week. Don’t “pepper spray” your marketing. Create a strategy, and stick to it.

  1. Every now and then, spend a whole week just marketing.

You cannot do this if you are writing the first draft of your book. Spend your time completing that draft. Yet, maybe once every other month, or sometimes once a month, it is best to spend a whole week just concentrating on marketing your books.

Your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

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Learn to Write a Novel for Free!

Welcome to the relaunched website of Conservative Cornerstones! I have decided to give an entire video training course away for free. My Writing Imagination Course, which takes a writer from first conceptualizing a story to having a finished manuscript ready for publication, consists of five modules that you have access to right now on YouTube!

Click here to watch the Writing Imagination Academy Course playlist for free

There is a secret Pre-Module to the course that I only hand out for those who are subscribed to my email list. Not subscribed? Click the button at the bottom of this post!

The five modules of the course are as follows:

Module 1: How to Write an Outline and Block Out Your Book

Module 2: Constructing the First Three Chapters

Module 3: The Theme of Redemption

Module 4: Completing the First Draft

Module 5: How to Revise

In addition to the great WIA free course, I am launching daily YouTube videos that give writing motivational tips. Head on over to my YouTube channel to check them out!

I plan to also be broadcasting a weekly podcast and keeping up with my blogging.

Your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

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How to Eliminate Boredom from Your First Draft?

In my painful experiences, I have learned that the number 1 problem with creating a first draft of a story (more often than not) is pushing away boredom from the actual process of writing. If you’ve done all your homework correctly, then you have a pretty good idea of the scenes you want to write and have even created an outline of your story. You’ve gathered reference material and have dozens of imagined images in your head of various story scenes. You even have stories that stimulate your imagination, schedules that show you don’t have to write everything at once, and you’ve even gone the extra mile in finding a place to write where you will not be distracted.

Yet, when you sit down to write, you want to do anything but write. You check the news first, your email first, your work project first, your book reading first, your marketing work first, your workout first, your house chores first – ANYTHING – just to keep away from drafting your story. When you do start drafting, you write a little bit and then feel tired of it.

For me, the second draft is always MUCH more invigorating. That’s when the excitement really begins. The best part about the first draft is beginning the first chapter. Finding the right beginning is a thrill. Then, the slogging begins from there and only seems to worsen until the very last few pages of your story.

I wish I could give a less glaring solution to this problem, but sometimes, the most glaring solution actually is the right one.

WRITE YOUR FIRST DRAFT QUICKLY

Don’t become discouraged, and don’t edit even one sentence until it is finished. Just write it out. Let your story take whatever form it can from all the material you have gathered previously about it. Then, when you revise it, you can truly make your story better than what you originally envisioned.

Here’s the other clincher tip: Writing a first draft can be a lot like running. When you run, the goal is to think of anything else but running. Let your mind think about the finish line, about the great distance you’ve covered, about the trees or scenery around you, about the story you were reading the previous night, about the comfort of your running shoes, etc. Many times, when you are actually doing the writing, it’s best to be thinking about anything but trying to force the words. You have to think about what’s next in the story, but then let your mind think about the great number of pages you’ve written, the way the ink rolls onto the page or the way the cursor flashes (I write most of my first drafts with pen and paper), about the sounds you can here in the background, etc. Just make certain that all along, more words of your story are being written.

Your fellow writer,
Joshua Reynolds

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Why Don’t Stories Help You Anymore?

Remember when you were little how stories enchanted you? Your parents could read or tell the simplest story to you and you could see it all in your imagination. When you were scared, all you had to do was think about the peaceful scene from the story, and you were no longer frightened.

Do you no longer experience this magical imagination with stories? What has changed over the course of the years?

The elements that create good storytelling should not change from childhood to adulthood. They should only mature. This is one of the fundamental problems with storytelling today. Many stories of the day are not imaginative because they’ve forgotten the innocence of imagination. As a child, your imagination was gripped by the way the light looked as it streamed through a window, or the way your shadow lengthened in the evening time, or the sound of your parents’ pens as they scratched on paper, or the noise of a babbling brook as it flowed over the rocks, or the tossing of a horse’s mane. These elements of storytelling should not change when you become an adult. Only now, you can steer that horse all by yourself . . . you can write with pen and paper yourself . . . you can arrange those rocks at the bottom of the stream however you want.

The point I want to get across to you is this: It is the simple innocent things that best awaken the imagination. You do not need to turn even to other worlds to awaken it. All a story needs is imaginative descriptions around characters having adventures and doing ordinary things.

Your fellow writer,

Joshua Reynolds

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