Posted on January 30th, 2013 2 comments
Come see what I built!
I’m moving my writing posts over to The Helpful Writer.com! That means the great posts you’ve come to enjoy here will now be found over on The Helpful Writer.com. But don’t worry if you have linked to something here, your link will still work as the archives will still be here, hiding, waiting to be snooped through.
Click here to read the latest post on TheHelpfulWriter.com: How to Write a Killer Scene. And if you have subscribed to the posts on JeanOram.com so you don’t miss one, you can do that over on The Helpful Writer as well!
I look forward to seeing you there!
Thanks for reading.
Tweet the news: Jean Oram’s writing tips blog has moved to The Helpful Writer.com!
Posted on January 16th, 2013 3 comments
Did you know that those ‘pep talks’ where people say to themselves: “I can do it!” is actually less effective than if they were sit themselves down and ask: “Can I do it?”
According to author Dan Pink, people who ask themselves if they can do something opens the door for some serious cognitive engagement. They get the ball rolling in terms of arguing to themselves all the reasons why they can do it. (As well as a few arguments why they can’t.)
For example, say you want to become a popular, best-selling author.
Saying to yourself: “Yeah! I can do it! I can become a bestselling author, woot!” is great. You probably feel pumped up for at least two minutes afterwards. Maybe you even get the courage to stand up in front of a group of high school kids on career day to explain why being an author is the best job ever. But then what?
How about you say to yourself: “Can I become a bestselling author?” Hmmm. Well. That opens the discussion with yourself, doesn’t it? So, can you? You might then list all the reasons to yourself why you this is within your reach by reminding yourself of such positive traits and abilities such as having a wonderful work ethic, the ability to create build characters readers fall in love with, your background in sales, etc. But then you might also identify the reasons why you might not make it. You might identify that you always get caught up on grammar and it takes you too long to get a book out and you can’t seem to get on top of the rollercoaster you need to take to bestsellerdom because of it. And then you realize you need to get yourself a grammar editor or to take a serious grammar course.
Because you identified what you are good at, you can hone it and cherish it–meaning you are less likely to inadvertently destroy it. BUT, you also now realize what some of your pitfalls and hurdles are. By identifying them you can form a plan to overcome them.
The lesson here–Be the skeptic not The Little Train that Could. <–Tweet that.
Go play mind games on yourself and report back on how it worked out. I betcha you get further channeling that inner kiddo by asking yourself all those pesky ‘why’ questions. Good luck! I’m right here rooting for you!
Posted on January 11th, 2013 4 comments
I assume you are a writer if you are reading this and that you want to take your game up to A-Game level. You want to create a writing habit that is efficient, effective, and ultimately successful.
Being within the first few weeks of the new year, some of us have grand and lofty writing goals and resolutions such as: I will write every day. Or: I will finish this story draft by summer holidays.
But how do you create a habit? Or flipping that around, how do you break bad habits in order to form good ones?
I was listening to a podcast on Social Triggers the other day while driving across the frosty prairie and Derek Halpern was interviewing Charles Duhigg, the author of “The Power of Habit.” He had some interesting things to say about habits. Namely that there is a cue that pops us into a reward system that creates a routine or habit.
For me, the cue is my son’s morning nap. He’s in his crib and that is my cue to ‘reward’ myself with a big cup of green tea and sit down and write (also a reward). If I don’t have that big cup of tea I begin thinking about it instead of writing. Drinking tea while I write in the morning while my son naps is my routine. It is a habit that works for me. I have even managed to transform a less efficient time of day into an efficient one with this habit.
But what if you don’t have a good writing habit? How can you make one? Well, I suggest you check out this awesome flowchart of Charles Duhigg’s. (Used with permission.) As well, you can get more background on this by checking out Derek Halpern’s podcast–you can listen to it straight from your computer–or reading Charles’ book “The Power of Habit.”
So how about you? Do you have a cue that signals that it is time to write? Do you have a routine that makes you successful? Think about it. If you do, share what works for you. If not, share what you think you might be able to do. Let’s make 2013 our best writing year yet!
Posted on January 2nd, 2013 7 comments
Happy New Year.
Smack, smack, smack.
What was that? Me smacking the sense back into us.
New Years is a fabulous time to make promises to ourselves we just can’t keep. Instead of grand resolutions and promises to ourselves we know we aren’t going to keep… how about we make some goals?
People who set goals accomplish them. People who set goals accomplish more. As in 80% more according to some sources.
Setting goals also gives us something to work towards. But you have to write them down. This makes them REAL.
Did you know that making a to do list–or a daily goal list–each morning BEFORE you do anything else is the more beneficial than writing it down even an hour later? In other words before you have coffee and check your email, jot down your writing goals for the day. This prioritizes it in your mind.
It also makes it clear to yourself what you hope to accomplish. Where you plan on heading. It gives you a target to move towards.
So? What are your writing goals for the year? What do you need to accomplish them? Where can you find the resources you need?
Posted on December 27th, 2012 6 comments
Last week Calista Taylor asked if I wanted to be a part of this blog hop. Knowing how difficult it is to keep these things going, I said sure. She shared information about her latest series Highlander romances on her blog and… well, I decided to pull on my big girl pants and share a little something I’ve been working on as well.
What is it? A novel, of course. A book I plan to release for free in about a month’s time. (I was going to release it in November but then, of course, quickly realized it needed some major overhauling.) To coincide with some of these big changes, I am also planning to do a little remodeling around here. (Doing a little back-end work on that today.)
Sneak Peek Secret: this blog is going to become The Helpful Writer in the near future. But no need to worry about that now. I still have a lot of work to do to get that all in order.
On to the blog hop!
What is the working title of your book?
Champagne and Lemon Drops.
Ready for another Sneak Peek? Check out this AMAZING cover Calista Taylor made for me:
Where did the idea come from for the book?
This was my first attempt at plotting a novel. Not just having the opening scene and going from there. It wasn’t a flash of an idea like most of my stories; this one was built with method in mind. And no. It didn’t save me edit time. I still ended up slashing this story apart and rebuilding it several times over.
What genre does your book fall under?
Women’s fiction with a splash of chick lit.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Beth wants marriage and kids with her fiancé, Oz, more than anything in the world and figures she has it in the bag–until Oz drives his car off a bridge sending her dreams down river. The question is: will she fall in love with Oz all over again, or will she end up falling in love with someone new?
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
This one will be self-published.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Not that long (maybe a month or two). However, it has taken YEARS to whip this bad boy into shape. (I’ve written several other novels in that time, but this novel I just keep coming back to. Whenever I think it is good enough I learn something more about the craft and go at it again. This is a novel I should have walked away from ages ago. But I just can’t seem to do that.)
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Er. A book on how to write romance. <ducks and winces> I sat down and plotted this novel with the book in hand–I sheepishly borrowed it from the library. (I’m not writing a novel–don’t look at me!–as she sprints out of the library with the book under her arm.)
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I am going to put this book out for free. This is the one I mentioned in my bio in the back of The Fall: Tales From the Apocalypse. It’s also one that I realized needed an overhaul and ripped it down to less than half and then back up to genre word counts again. (I wasn’t planning on doing that, but I am hopeful that it will be a much more enjoyable read now.)
Tagged for next week (Week 31) is the helpful Charlee Vale who answered my plea for someone to pass this hop on to. She is a writer, poet, book blogger, and intern at Entangled Publishing. Check out her blog next Wednesday, January 2nd, when it’s her turn to post answers to these same questions about her works-in-progress.
So? What are you working on? Share it in the comment section. Any big plans up your sleeve that are ready for a big reveal?