Fire up your commitment to your writing
with these exercises and worksheets.
Most of this content comes from courses
that students pay for, but, since you’re here…
I can’t let you leave empty-handed.
I’ve been a professional copy-writer for over 25 years, and it still took me 10 years to get my first novel published.
I’ve worked with hundreds of writers over the last 6 years. And, in 2017, I surveyed 204 writers in my Book On Fire course and over 60% had been working on their books for more than 5 years. Thirty-five percent for 10 years or longer!
What does that tell you? Two things —
1. Writing a book is hard work and it can take a long time — especially that first one since there’s a lot of ‘author chops’ to develop and inner critic whispers to shush. Once you have the chops, and you’ve proven to yourself that your inner critic’s fears are misguided, the writing only gets easier! That’s the good news.
2. If your story idea has been haunting you for five years or more — it won’t stop talking to you until you share it. In the long run, holding a story inside you takes a whole lot more energy than doing the work to tell it. That’s also good news!
If you’ve been struggling, working on your book for more than a couple of years, then the odds are pretty darned high that from time-to-time you’ve lost perspective about how good your writing is, how interesting your characters are, how clear their motivations are, and whether readers will care about or connect to your story.
Entering your story into a contest can give you fabulous feedback on all kinds of important areas about your story that can help boost your confidence and make your story even better.
But, if you’re still in the editing stage, you may not be ready to enter real contests. So, creating a contest situation just for your book is a perfect solution!
Although you could absolutely use the questions in this mock contest evaluation to review your own manuscript, it really will work better of you find two or three trusted readers to “judge” your first 25 pages.
By ‘trusted’ I mean a few specific things:
- Your ‘judges’ read and love the genre you’re writing in.
- They have an appreciation for the fact that books do not fall from fingertips in their final form and know how to offer constructive feedback.
- They are people whose opinions you trust.
If you send your pages to three judges you may get back three very different scores and comments. So, when your judges send back your scoresheets, it’s often helpful to review their comments and then set them aside for a couple of days to see what resonates and what you can ignore.
And make a conscious point to celebrate all of the high scores and positive comments!
My author pals and I didn’t get where we are today without help. Our resource room is where we give back to the writing and publishing community. You’ll find over a dozen free, how-to guides and tutorials, as well as tips on the writing and publishing tools we’ve learned and love that help us get our creative projects done and shared with minimum hustle or hassle.
Some of what you’ll find right now:
- A daily word count tracking spreadsheet (in both .xls and .numbers)
- Strategic author project budget worksheet
- Writer self-evaluation tool
- Dialogue infographic
- Conflict infographic
- Revisions checklist
- 16 week indie publishing timeline
- Pre-launch book marketing steps
- and at least 8 more resources (since we add more every month)
The Path to Publication
This Path to Publication is the general process that most successful and traditionally published authors follow — at least while they’re developing their skills as professional writers.
And this is the process I suggest you consider following for your book to reach the highest quality, regardless of whether you choose to find an agent and publisher or to self-publish.
That said, I would be devastated if you read this document and walked away with a feeling that your book goal is suddenly too big, too scary, too expensive, too anything to achieve.
That is the exact opposite of what I want you to leave with. You have a book in your heart that needs to be written. And getting that first draft onto the page is the first and the most important step of this whole process. In fact, it is the only step that cannot be taken out. Every other step is recommended, but optional.
So if anything in this document dissuades you from writing your story, then tear it up, delete it from your computer, send me an email telling me to go fly a kite — whatever it takes to get your head and heart into the game to finish your first draft.
With those caveats in mind, take a deep breath — no really, breathe in…. hold it… breathe out — and let’s take a walk along the path to publication together.
If you’ve been struggling, working on your book for more than a couple of years, then sitting down to create a Writer’ Manifesto may be exactly the cure you need to get your butt-in-chair to write the words your story has been begging you to write.
Manifestos have been used by creatives and thought-leaders — which you, as a writer, are! — for centuries (some argue millennia since the Christian Bible is considered one of the first written manifestos).
Creating your own, personal manifesto will force you, in a fun way, to examine your motivations as a writer. Knowing what’s at stake, both when you succeed or if you fail, is just the kind of mindset adjustment that can make all the difference between doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result, and approaching your writing just a little bit differently and being able to finally write, ‘The End.’
I encourage you to set aside one hour — just one hour! — to play with the exercises here in this Guidebook. Print the pages or write the questions in your notebook, grab a timer and your favourite pen, and start manifesting your completed book!
If you’ve been struggling, working on your book for more than a couple of years, then sitting down to figure out your own, personal, must-be-done-by milestone date may be exactly what you need to get your butt-in-chair to write the words your story has been whispering in your ear.
Milestone dates — both those that have broad cultural meaning and those that have specific meaning to individuals — have been proven to help people achieve goals in all areas of life, from the classic (dare I say, cliché!) losing weight before a wedding, to what is mistakenly referred to as mid-life crisis acts (like buying a red Ferrari), to finishing a book that was started years earlier.
Figuring out your own, personal milestone ‘D-Day’ will force you, in a strategic way, to examine your motivations as a writer. Knowing what’s at stake, both when you succeed or if you fail, is just the kind of mindset adjustment that can make all the difference between doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result, and approaching your writing just a little bit differently and being able to finally write, ‘The End.’
I encourage you to set aside one hour — just one hour! — to work with the exercises in this Guidebook. Print the pages or write the questions in your notebook, grab a timer and your favourite pen, and set a meaningful milestone date to complete your book!
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