Healthy Writer Week 1!

So I’m not normally a health conscious person. I spend the majority of my time up in my head creating characters, making up crazy stories and in general not paying attention to what the rest of my body is doing.

This is why I have broken toes and bruises on my shins on a fairly regular basis. My family says I’m klutzy but I know it’s just that my head is an interesting place. This inattention to what my body is up to has led to some issues. I need to lose weight (can you say sedentary job?) and I have aches and pains I didn’t use to have so over the next year I’m committed to getting in better shape and taking better care of myself.

Healthy writer weekly posts are born! Ugh.

This week my goal is to move for an hour at least a day. Go to spin, walk, lift some weights or do some HIIT exercise. You’re impressed that I know what HIIT is right? Just so you know, I read blogs. I don’t do what they say but I read them.

I’m changing my diet too. My whole family is, thankfully, on the bandwagon otherwise this would be tough. The goal will be to eat more of a plant-based diet, more healthy fats and change my eating window. More on that in a later post.

Also, I’m reading The Healthy Writer by Joanna Penn and Dr. Euan Lawson. Lots of great information on creating a healthier lifestyle as a writer. I’m getting so much out of it and I’m not even halfway through.

I will report back next Monday with my movement results and with the next Healthy Writer post.

Sigh. I really should have thought this through better…

Let me know in the comments what you’re doing to keep yourself healthy while you spend your days writing. What is your favorite way to get your ‘steps’ in? I’d love to hear about it.

xoxo,

P.S. The affiliate links in this post pay a small commission and cost you nothing. Thanks for supporting Confused and Terrified Writer by using my affiliate links! =)

SaveSave

SaveSave

Best Gifts For The Writer In Your Life

The word is I’m hard to buy a gift for. And maybe all writers are. I’m told that normal people have no idea what goes on in our heads.

I decided to spend some time thinking about why no one seems to know how to give a writer a gift.  What would make buying for us creative types easy?

Of course, research was called for. I checked with my writer friends, my readers and asked in my Facebook groups. This list, while of course, not complete,  is a list of things I heard over and over again.

So here you go normal-not-writer-types, this by category is what I came up with for you to get that very special writer in your life…

**Some of the links in the following article are affiliate links for which I’m paid a small commission but costs you nothing additional. For my full disclosure statement click here.**

First up? Software…

Scrivener 

So far the most versatile writing software available for writers.  This software makes it possible to plot, plan, research and format all in one place. This one piece of, very reasonably priced, software has upped my productivity and made the whole novel writing experience so much easier than using Word or some other word processing software.  I love it so much that I’ve created a free class for it for my readers.

Scrivener Basics

There is a learning curve to Scrivener so if you are buying this for the writer in your life feel free to send them to my class so they can get started quick and easy with short video lessons, learning only the skills they need at there own pace for FREE.

Vellum

If your writer is getting ready to indie publish and owns a Mac, this is a lifesaver. Vellum formats print and ebooks in all the needed formats and makes the entire process so easy. I want to kiss the guys that created Vellum. (I won’t of course, even if I meet them at a conference but I will probably gush like a fangirl)  This software is an indie authors dream.  It’s a bit more pricey than Scrivener but it is a powerful tool and pays for itself by the time you’ve published a book or two.

Books…

I’m really into productivity and streamlining my writing process so these two books by Chris Fox, in particular, have been extremely helpful.

Lifelong Writing Habit    and    5000 Words Per Hour

These books were amazing for my productivity and helped me to develop better writing habits. Chris is the real deal. Look him up here to see the kind of amazingness he’s accomplished and shared with his readers. Your writer will love him!

On Writing by Stephen King

 

This was the first book I read about writing that wasn’t assigned for a class in school. The first half is his autobiography where he talks about his childhood,  how he became a writer, and his harrowing accident that almost killed him.  The second half is his advice on writing. When I read this book I felt like I was sitting in a room with Stephen King while he shared with me his story and his writing secrets. I recommend buying this one in print for your writer because if they’re a nerdy learner like me they will want to make notes.

This next book is by a writer who also teaches other writers. She has a fabulous podcast and has published numerous nonfiction books on the craft of writing. This one, in particular, is all about characters

Creating Character Arcs by KM Weiland and (Nerd Alert we authors love these!) the Workbook to go with it!  Books on the craft of writing are always welcome. I find most writers to be lifelong learners and we’re always looking for ways to improve so these kinds of gifts are perfect, trust me.

To go along with these I’ve picked out some stuff to go with the books that all writers love:

Bullet Journal

Happy Planner

Pens

Generally speaking, all writers love paper,  pens, and ways to organize their time. The way to a writers heart is through office supplies and these are easy and good quality.

Conventions and Writing Groups…

These are always welcome to any writer. Writing is a solitary job so we love to get together with other writers and learn more about our craft and the business of writing. Honestly just being with other people who don’t look at you like you’re a nut when you tell them about the voices in your head is a gift in itself.

I always start with my peeps.

Romance Writers of America. Even if your writer doesn’t write romance RWA has an unequaled educational program. Romance writers are some of the hardest working writers out there and they love to share their knowledge with other writers.

They have a huge convention every year that is full of amazing authors and teachers and tons of people in the business. Your writer will come home from the RWA conference with a head full of knowledge and you will be the one that sent them there. That’s got to be good for some ‘you’re the best’ points for you!

RWA National Conference

List of Chapter Conferences these are smaller and more affordable so if there is one close to you these are really good options for a first conference so as not to be overwhelmed by National, which is huge!

Writer’s Digest also puts on a good conference. I haven’t attended this one but friends have recommended it and it appeals to all genres of writing.

RWA has local chapters and other events for your writer to attend throughout the year and Writer’s Digest has a publication that is available as well.

Writing Classes…

One of the classes I’ve found to be incredibly helpful and fun is MasterClass. They have a selection of video-based writing classes given by famous writers and this year they are offering an All Access Pass to all their classes for a very reasonable price.

I’ve personally taken the Shonda Rhimes Television Writing class and loved it.


Book Marketing Class…

I’m  offering 40% off to the readers of this post for my Visual Content Marketing for Authors class. If your writer is struggling with book marketing my class can help with that. Along with a private Facebook group for questions and critique.

I love to help other authors move forward in their career and visual content marketing is a great way to do that.

Here is a quick video

Any of those writing classes will be a hit with your writer. And giving all of them? Big points for you!

One of the biggest topics in writing circles now is mentoring and coaching. Individual and group coaching to bring your writing to the next level.

Is your writer having trouble getting to ‘The End’? Coaching can be really affordable and incredibly helpful to keep your writer on track.

WriteNowWorkshops offers one on one coaching to get that book finished! Your writer will be over the moon.

The last two are gifts that when I posted my question to my writer peeps about what they wanted, popped up the most.

Space…

Dedicated writing space. I understand that everyone has limitations on space in their homes but if as a gift you could give your writer space or better yet a room to write you would be in. If your writer doesn’t have that now I guarantee that is on the top of their gift list!

Here are some ideas from my Writing Space Pinterest Board

And last but not least?

Time…

For the modern writer who most likely has to work a day job and/or is busy raising children, running a household or just having a life, carving time out to write is difficult.  If you can think of a time in your writer’s schedule that they could consistently have that time just for their writing, give it to them.

Create a coupon book or a gift certificate that says Writing Time – 4 hours a week on Saturday mornings or whatever works for your family schedule. Encourage them to make time and to keep it. Don’t allow other family members to interrupt unless it’s life-threatening. Make sure they know what’s important to them is important to you. That would be the best gift of all!

Happy Gifting!

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Using Scrivener For #NaNoWriMo #ScrivenerBasics

We’re coming up on NaNoWriMo like a freight train and I know everyone is getting nervous and excited. I’ve launched a free Scrivener class to help get your first document either set up or exported into Scrivener along with tips and tricks on that make Scrivener a powerful productivity tool.

Along with this if you sign up for the class you will have access to my free Confused and  Terrified Writer Facebook Group where you can ask questions and get help with your writing projects.

Here’s a quick video overview of the free class! And here is the link to sign up:

Scrivener Basics

Pin this post!

5 Reasons To Love Scrivener

 

I love Scrivener.  If the subject comes up I turn into a ridiculous gushing fangirl when describing how much I love it and why. I’d been trying to explain my nerdy love of this particular writing software to a group of writers a while back and they finally broke down and let me show them why. I taught a whole class on the reasons why I love it and how to use it. Shortly after it dawned on me that I should share this information with you, my readers.

Of course, there are way more than five reasons but these are my top five.

1. Setting up your book into individual scenes.  When I wrote my first book I did what most new writers do. I wrote it in Microsoft Word. That meant one long running document that made finding what I was looking for difficult and screwing up my document easy. When I discovered Scrivener before starting my second book I was amazed. There was a learning curve but just the idea of being able to break up my novel into scenes and being able to move them around and put them all back together was AWESOME!

2. Importing an existing document.  Most times by the time writers find Scrivener they’ve already started a manuscript.  Once I figured out how easy this was I was sold. The figuring it out took a little while but now that I know, I’m sold! Easy peasy.

3. Compiling a document.  This is one of the best features of Scrivener. You can save your work in many different formats and in many different places. You can put different parts of your document together, add notes, print, and format it all with one little button.  I use this for the many ways I back up my manuscript daily. I cannot say enough how many times this has been a saving grace. No joke.

4.  Project Targets.  Keeping track of your word count, project count and daily session count. This feature is a whiz of a productivity tool. Set your deadline for your project and you can see exactly how many words a day you must write to accomplish your goal. Deadlines are incredibly motivating for me so I adore this feature. And it’s sooooooo easy!

5. Corkboard/Outline View.  Putting each scene onto a virtual index card and being able to move them around however you want? Seriously cool. Being able to see a list of your outline with a touch of a button? This feature makes plotting simple, easy to move, add information, change and color code.

These features are only the beginning of what you can do in Scrivener. Can you tell I’m a fan?

A solution to the learning curve

If you’re put off by Scrivener because it’s one more piece of software to learn I  have a  solution for you. I’ve put together a Free course called Scrivener Basics.  The course teaches the bare bones of Scrivener with short videos and in a way that will make it easy to learn. You can choose what you want to know and get started quickly.

Sign up in the box below to get Scrivener Basics for free!

 

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

What A Terrified Writer Should Blog About

So when I decided I wanted to be a published fiction author the one thing I heard over and over again was “You need a blog.” And my first thought after that was always. “Ugh.”

What would I say? How would I build this thing so it looked right? Why would anyone care? All important questions.

If you’re a nonfiction author of course it makes sense to have a place to write all about what you’re writing about. For a fiction author? Hmm. What do you say?

“Here’s my books. Buy them.” Not good. Not what anybody cares about right?

And how many times can you say it before it becomes annoying? About once. Like ever.

But you do need a place to list your books so reader’s can find them and for new releases but blogging? What in the world do you put on there?

Here is a list of things you can put on your blog to keep it interesting, use in your newsletter (yes, you need one) and still make it fun for you.

  • Excerpts of your stories
  • Whole short stories to bring reader’s in.
  • A daily (weekly, monthly, whatever) serial that keeps people coming back
  • Audio recorded author notes talking about how you came up with your story.
  • Interviews with your characters (One at at time. Tell them to get in line. Mine all want to be heard at once)
  • Video yourself in a bookstore, at a book signing, on vacation, on a hike, etc. talking about inspiration or why being an author is amazing or why being there is helping your author life.
  • Your hobbies, your quirks, What you like and don’t like. (I post about being a nerd, my Pinterest addiction and my tv addictions)
  • Pets. People love them and their personalities. I post about my English bulldog and people love him. These make great posts on Social Media as well.

So before you even launch or get your blog up spend some time putting together an editorial calendar (just use a regular calendar, digital or paper) and writing some posts so you’re ready to go when you launch.

Think about themes, colors and what your books are about. How they make you feel and what your branding is going to be. What your covers are going to look like. Spend some time checking out Amazon and what the book covers in your category look like.

Go to their author websites and see what looks good. This will help you decide what you want your site to look like. What you want on there and more importantly what you don’t. I launched my site nine months before I published and all I did was blog on there. It worked very well for me. More about this in a later post.

I use design-seeds.com to choose my color palette. I have to be careful or I look up and two hours have gone by before I’ve even decided. It’s so beautiful!

Don’t worry right away about the technical stuff. First decide what you want. What you need and what you don’t. Start small. Don’t get overwhelmed. The only person you’re in the race with is you.

If you’d like to get more tips about blogging, social media and being a healthy, productive author, sign up for my email list to get a monthly newsletter right to your email box!

Happy Blogging!

l

 

 

6 Reason’s I’m a WordSwag Addict

Let’s just start with the fact that I love apps in general. I love anything that makes my author life faster and easier. Creating graphics, posting on social media, editing photos, cool ways to create short video any of these apps are love, love, love.

WordSwag, in particular, makes it so easy to create graphics in a hurry that it jumped to the top of my list of favorite apps. Sometimes I use it to wish a friend happy birthday on FB but mostly I create fun quotes for my social media when I’m watching TV, standing in line somewhere or waiting for something.

When I first downloaded it, there was no cost except to unlock all the fonts, now there is a fee but it’s minimal. And completely worth it. I’ve gotten more use out of this one app than any other creation tool on my phone.

First reason to love it? It’s connected to Pixabay so there are thousands or royalty-free images to use included! This function alone give it the wow-factor and makes it worth the price of admission.

Second: It’s simple and easy to use.  There is a very low learning curve but the images come out looking amazing.

Third: Images download easily to your camera on your phone for easy use with any other app like collage, gif, animation apps. I use it this way all the time. It would be a great addition to WordSwag if they gave the app these functions as well but one app can’t have everything!

Fourth: Plenty of choices of fonts.  I have my favorites for sure but there isn’t a shortage here.

Fifth: Has a filtering functionality that works well as well as brightness and blur options that make editing quick and easy. No need to use an editing app unless you need something more fancy.

Sixth: Has quotes built into the app so if you have no idea what you want to post you aren’t stuck looking them up on a web page. It’s all there for you! Huge time saver.

Overall this is a fabulous app that makes it easy for you to create a quick graphic to use for your author business. Haven’t posted anything on Instagram or Facebook for a while? Waiting in line for a coffee? Get to work and promote your author business!

Here is the super cool video from WordSwag giving you a preview of what it can do:

P.S. I will be launching my Visual Content Marketing for Authors class in May and I have a whole video dedicated to WordSwag and how to use it for your author business. Plus a whole lot of other apps and tools. If you’re interested sign up below for my email list and you will be notified as soon as it’s ready to go live!

 

 

 

 

The Fear of Social Media

The Fear of Social Media

Social Media. You either love it or hate it right? Or like me, you have a love/hate relationship with it. Like a lot of writers, I’m a bit of an introvert. While you’d think hiding behind my computer would make sharing on social media easier for me, it doesn’t.

I’m not used to sharing my life with total strangers. In real life, I’m really good at talking to people I’ve never met before. My kids would tell you that I never leave a public place without getting, at least, one person’s life story. I’m going to tell you a secret. I’m pretty sneaky. Instead of chatting about me, I ask them about themselves. Everybody loves that. We have a conversation. They’ve told me all kinds of details about their lives, and they never realize I’ve shared almost nothing about mine.

Okay, so I guess I’m more of an ambivert. I like to talk to people. I just don’t like to tell them about me. So sharing on Social Media can be approached a bit like this as well. Once I figured this out I got on many of the different platforms and got to work,  Facebook Personal and Pages, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest (My fave), Instagram and Blab.

Here are some of my best tips to get over the fear of social media and make it work for your writing career:

  1. Take it slow. Do some research. Talk to your author friends about the platforms they like best and why. Decide which one might be the easiest and most intriguing for you.
  2. Lurk. I admit it, I’m a lurker. That sounds bad, I know, but I don’t like to jump in and try something before I know the rules. When I was a kid, I would stand on the sidelines and watch a new game being played before I’d join in. Same rules apply here. I don’t do anything on a new platform until I see how it’s done. Reading rules and articles can help, but nothing works better than actually seeing it.
  3. Follow. Once you’ve joined, follow other authors. Check out what they’re up to on a platform. How are they using it for their business? If that author is in your genre, follow the people that follow them. Look at what they’re doing, what interests them.
  4. Take time. Figure out how to make the platform work. All the little ins and outs. How to post a picture, a video, a quote. Is there a function to help you schedule a post? If you can’t figure something out, check out the help. Search for it. Look on YouTube (there are videos there on how to do everything).
  5. Fight the Overwhelm. The only person you are in a race with is yourself. It doesn’t matter if you’re on one or one hundred social media platforms (It seems like there are that many now). You don’t have to race to keep up. Work at your pace. Push yourself a little but when that little voice pops into your head whispering, “You’ll never catch up”, slap it down and move on to the next thing on your list. Slow and steady gets the job done. Just like writing a book. =)

I started this blog to share what I know about social media, indie publishing, and the writing world with other authors. I get asked a lot of questions, and I love to help, teach and inform. I’m an information junkie so there’s a lot of stuff floating around in my head that might help someone else. Have a question about any of that stuff? I may have an answer. If I don’t, I’ll find someone who does.  Ask it in the comments!

Also, feel free to sign up for my email list below. I have a project in the works that will be free to all my email subscribers.

Write On!

Elena