Tag Archives: writer

Five tips to get started with that book you always wanted to write

2016-05-19

Everyone who has ever written a book, or even tried to write one, knows how much hard work it is. Sure, writing requires creativity, talent, and ability to play with words and grammar, but perhaps perseverance is the most important element in a writer’s toolbox.
 thinking and watching laptop computer screen
Especially, writers who are planning or writing their first book may regard the task too big to handle. That’s right, it is a huge task. That’s why it is important to prepare for it well by learning what kind of working method is the best for each personality, making sure that all the writing and research tools are in place, and learning to focus on the work even though distractions are constantly tempting online.

Bec Evans and Chris Smith have developed methods that help aspiring writers to establish habits that promote writing. They regard writing a book such a demanding work that individuals who are seriously pursuing it, should develop habits that support it. They have listed five tips that help you to build the motivation to write :

1. Scale down your goal.

A book (it doesn’t matter if it is a non-fiction or fiction book) must be planned before you can begin writing. This way, you know you goal and you have divided the big task into small pieces. It is easier to start working on a chapter that is about the same length as a long article than to start working on a 300-page book.

2. Slowly crank up the time.

In the beginning, it maybe difficult to sit down and type for eight hours or even two hours a day. Once you get started and words begin to flow, time goes quickly. Start small, and slowly extend the time spent by a keyboard.

3. Stretch yourself.

In the beginning of the project, goals should be achievable, but you should enhance your goals as the work progresses. From personal experience, I can add that even though I have never set an explicit goal, like one or two pages a day for myself, there are days when it feels that nothing was achieved after eight hours of hard work. Then, the next day, I realize that I have suddenly completed 10 pages. The things is that those days that felt like nothing was achieved were groundwork for those 10 pages that magically were completed in one day.

4. Track, monitor and adjust.

Tracking and monitoring helps you learn how you really work. Adjust your ways in order develop habits that support your writing.

5. Use other people.

Most writers don’t like to talk about the book they are working on. I completely understand this: plans may change, another project may take priority over the current one, or even the intended content of the book may change. Yet, Evans and Smith suggest that it is important tell other people about your goal and update them on your progress. Peer-pressure and accountability can do wonders for writers.

My tip is to use Table of Contents as the key planning tool for a nonfiction book. For a fiction book, many writers have character cards and maps that show how the story flows.
Smiling woman holding books

Free personality analysis for writers shows if they are missing key characteristics from their narrative

2015-08-04

It shouldn’t be surprising how much your writing tells about your personality. Yet, it is pretty exciting to discover what an artificial intelligence software can tell about yourself. Simply submit a blog post, a page or two from your book or other writing to a computer program and wait for an answer. IBM Watson provides a free online service where you can run a personality test for yourself or for your favorite author.
writers, cartoon characters
The IBM Watson Personality Insights must have 100 words at minimum in order to analyze someone’s personality. The computer algorithm makes a better job if it has more text to work with.

In order to try out how Watson works, we submitted book extracts to the service that included about thousand words each. Then, we asked Watson to review blog posts about 250 words in length from the same author. The results were slightly different between book extracts and blog posts.

It could be that the writing in a book has gone through several phases and several edits (and perhaps editors), whereas a blog post typically is drafted pretty quickly and published without help from other people.

Nonetheless, Watson gave clues which characteristics are strong in a text and which are missing.

You don’t have to enter text from Harry Potter into the IBM Watson to analyze J.K. Rowling’s personality, because Quartz already did it. In addition to Rowling, Watson assessed other popular authors, like Hemingway, E.L. James, Thomas Piketty, Harper Lee and Arthur Conan Doyle.

IBM describes its computer algorithm as follows: “The IBM Watson Personality Insights service uses linguistic analytics to extract a spectrum of cognitive and social characteristics from the text data that a person generates through blogs, tweets, forum posts, and more.”

The Personality Analysis service doesn’t request any personal information, Twitter-name or blog address. The algorithm only examines the text you submit to the online form.

In Addition to Writing Well, It Doesn’t Hurt to Master These Skills

2015-02-10

It is true that published authors have other skills besides their ability to write well. The important thing is that getting published is not black magic – if you approach it like a business or a large project at work where you really want to succeed, you see the big picture and pay attention to multiple elements that come into play.

A published book or a whole writing career, however, is built on writing skills. Some authors learn the craft at work as they write instructions, product descriptions, web pages, or anything that requires planning for an audience and creating a structure for the piece. Other writers begin by taking writing lessons – if you do, it is highly recommended to take a course that includes multiple genres, such as non-fiction, theater, fiction, travel and articles for magazines.

Woman using watching laptop computer screen

With this in mind, let me summarize Lifehacker’s excellent article on starting a writing career. Here are the skills Lifehacker considers to be important for a writer to succeed.

Social Skills

– Network with other writers and professionals in the business.
– Use social media as your networking platform and to build follow-up.
– Ask around for writing opportunities and what book publishers are looking for.

Resourcefulness

– Use the experience and skills you already have to find your own place in the world of writing. For instance, if you like the great outdoors and photography, have you ever considered travel writing?
– Adapt to the changing world and new requirements. For instance, today it is becoming common that publishers expect writers to take their own photographs and video clips for an article and for a book manuscript.

Marketing Skills

– Brand yourself. Branding is often a misunderstood concept, but in this context it is important to be professional and consistent within the chosen brand.
– Learn about search engine optimization (SEO).
– Market your articles and posts to web publications (both paying and non-paying guest posts).

Thick Skin

– Show your work, you never know who’ll see it.
– Welcome criticism – both good and bad.

Persistence

– Typically, it takes time to learn the craft of writing, but it also takes time to break through.