Thursday, May 23, 2013

Tips for Productivity

Terry Odell, Mark L. Lefevbre of Kobo, David Boop
I had the great fortune of winning one of two Kobo scholarships to a local writing seminar that took place last week. I'm sharing tidbits I picked up—the conference was focused on the publishing business, and inspiring aspiring authors. (I'm sure there's an editorial term for that last phrase.) I'm also recapping more sessions at my blog, which will be ongoing.

For me, the experience was especially eye-opening because although a writer is a writer, we're not running in the same circles, and there are different approaches. These seminars were organized by a group of Science Fiction and Fantasy authors (with one romance author as a speaker), and their roads to success take different paths than mystery and romance authors. We tend to measure our success by our Amazon rankings, or royalty checks, so meeting these "successful" people whom I'd never heard of (nor had they heard of me), was fascinating.

At any rate, the organizer of the three-day series of seminars was author Kevin J. Anderson, and I thought I'd share his Eleven Tips for Productivity with you. After all, no matter what genre we write in, we have to write the book.

And, as always with tips—use the ones that work for you. We're all different.

1. Shut up and write.

2. Defy the empty page.

3. Dare to be bad. (at first)

4. Know the difference between writing and editing. One's left brain, one's right brain. Do one or the other, not both at the same time.

5. Use every minute. Give yourself permission to write three sentences if that's all the time you have.

6. Set goals and stick to them.

7. Work on different projects at the same time. (My note: Anderson writes a tremendous number of books, in many series, often with co-authors. He also edits anthologies, so he'll have projects at various stages to bounce between if he gets stuck with one. I can't do this. One book at a time is my method)

8. Create your best writing environment.

9. Think outside the keyboard. Pens still exist. Anderson uses a digital recorder to dictate while he hikes. (My note: I use post-its for tracking and my very limited "plotting.")

10. Get inspired. Do stuff. Learn stuff. Since "write what you know" is what we're told, the more you know, the more you can write about.

11. Know when to stop. Don't keep polishing when the book is finished. Submit!


Terry Odell
is the author of numerous romantic suspense novels, mystery novels, as well as contemporary romance short stories. Most of her books are available in both print and digital formats. She’s the author of the Blackthorne, Inc. series, steamy romantic suspense novels featuring a team of covert ops specialists, the Pine Hills Police series, set in a small Oregon town, and the Mapleton Mystery series, featuring a reluctant police chief in a small Colorado town. To see all her books, visit her website. You can also find her at her blog, Terry's Place, as well as follow her on Twitter, or visit her Facebook page.

17 comments :

  1. Thanks for sharing this, Terry. I was always a one-book-at-a-time writer until this year, when two stories demanded to be written, both new genre for me. I finished the first chapters of both in a rush, then tossed a mental coin and focused on one but kept being pulled back to the other. This bothered me, as if it were a kind of literary infidelity, but it worked. Now I have my first mystery novel and my first don't-know-what-to-call-it-but-it's-scary novella finished at the same time. A heady trip, this.

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  2. Larry, I admire you. Even if I'm writing a book, and I get the edits back for another, I have to stop and focus entirely on the editing. I have to immerse myself in that world or I start getting characters sneaking into one who belong in another. But some people can do it. Robert B. Parker used to work on one series in the morning, and another in the afternoon.

    Terry
    Terry's Place

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  3. The only time I have been able to work on two projects at the same time is if one is non-fiction. Then I can work on fiction in the morning and the other in the afternoon.

    Larry, I loved your phrase "literary infidelity." And, like Terry, I admire you for being able to have two stories running at the same time.

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  4. Terry:
    re:
    4. Know the difference between writing and editing. One's left brain, one's right brain. Do one or the other, not both at the same time.

    Please give any more info you have on this.
    thank you

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  5. Good on you, Terry ... and I'm relieved that the conference wasn't focused on inspiring expiring authors.

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  6. Anonymous - you'll have to be more specific.

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  7. Chris - or expiring aspiring authors.

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  8. I can write nonfiction and fiction at the same time, but two fictional fantasy worlds would be a stretch. It's hard enough coming up with one. Contemporary settings might be easier to pull off, especially if you have a series and the characters are consistent.

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  9. Diana -- I can write blog posts. :-)

    Terry
    Terry's Place

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  10. Thanks for sharing what you learned and experienced at this conference. Attending something like that IS always inspiring and gets the creative juices flowing again!

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  11. Possibly because I edit 1-3 books at the same time, I can write different stories simultaneously. The reason for this, I believe, is the lack of similarity in the stories. (My daughter might suggest it is, instead, that I suffer from adult attention deficit disorder. Hmmm.)

    Back to the list. Number 1 has my name on it. Turn off the phone; don't respond to e-mails; and focus, focus, focus on what I'm writing. Thank you for sharing, Terry. A sound kick in the appropriate portion of the anatomy is needed from time to time -- and this is the time. :-)

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  12. Terry:

    re:
    4. Know the difference between writing and editing. One's left brain, one's right brain. Do one or the other, not both at the same time.

    Guess I'm wondering where rewriting falls in the above equation. Usually write a couple pages, then rewrite. Months later complete first draft. Rewrite that.
    I never really edit.

    What process do you use?



    thank you

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  13. Thanks for clarifying, Anon. I also edit as I go, but when I finish, I'm still going to do a complete read-through. When I edit my daily output, I do it from hard copy, because that puts me in edit mode. Also, when I do my final edits (which I always do from hard copy), I print it out in a different font. If you write in a serif font, try editing in a sans serif font. I also print it in two columns so it looks totally different.

    Terry

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  14. Could I create a guest post for your blog, about ghost writing and being a ghost writer? I've been one since 2003, and I've serviced some 300 clients through my team of active ghost writers. karen@rainbowriting.com

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  15. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/brain-myths/201206/why-the-left-brain-right-brain-myth-will-probably-never-die

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  16. Karen, watch for an email from me.

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  17. Terry:
    Thank you for expanding on #4 from the article.

    ReplyDelete

The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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