Tag Archives: documents

How to Finally Finish Your Writings

Standard

Writing Project

I found this article by Kellie McGann over a subject I’m very familiar with, not finishing a writing project.  I thought it was worth passing on to you.  Enjoy

On my computer I actually have a folder of “Unfinished Blog Posts.”

If you’re like me, finishing projects is always a struggle, especially books, which are the hardest projects to finish.

Recently I’ve buckled down to finish several major writing projects, including my first book, and I’ve learned a few things about how to finish your writing along the way.

Three Secrets to Finishing Your Writing

Here are three secrets I’ve discovered about how to finish a book, blog post, or any other writing project, and some hints to keep you going.

1. Choose Just One

At one point I had five different documents open on my computer, all possible blogs, all different topics.

This is the worst way to finish anything.

The first thing you need to do is pick one project: pick one chapter, one blog post, one book you’re trying to finish. Give it your full attention. If you’re able to keep saying no to every other project, you will have no choice but to finish.

2. Kill Your Darlings

Stephen King said:

Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.

Your darlings are those perfect sentences, the string of words that flows so mellifluously and which you love.

About two-thirds through many of my blog posts or book chapters, I find myself asking, “Wait, what was my point?”

As writers, we tend to sidetrack, or tell other stories, or make points that are good but not always relevant.

Instead, keep your writing focused on your central message.

And if you have any “darlings” or sections that deviate from that central message, don’t delete them. Rather, move them to a separate document and title it, “My Darlings.” Save those darlings for a rainy day when you don’t know what to write about.

Tying up loose ends is essential to finishing strong, and killing your darlings is part of the process.

3. Finish with Questions

One of the best ways to end a writing piece is by asking questions.

Questions are perfect for summing up your point and making sure your readers understand.

It’s a fun, easy way to finish your piece and engage your readers.

Have you ever had trouble trying to finish a book writing project? What is something you use or do to help finish your writings?

PRACTICE

Take fifteen minutes and finish something! Go to your drafts folder or scan through your documents until you find a piece you’ve been meaning to finish. (We all have them!)

A Bad Book Review

Standard

The only way to respond to a bad book review

We All Get There

We All Get There

As a writer when I have received my first bad review I have to admit made me doubt myself. In fact it made me almost quit writing. Then I decided they didn’t know what they were talking about and I didn’t care what was said because to me I do wonderful work 🙂  This article will tell you the right way to handle your bad reviews. Maybe you will be lucky and never receive any.  Enjoy

My first Amazon review included two stars and the words “very disappointing.” The reader had expected a different kind of book, so the review seemed unfair to me, as if the book wasn’t being judged on its own merit but on the reader’s desire for something else. One of my “favorite” GoodReads reviews of my book simply states, “Wasn’t great writing, but I really enjoyed the content.” And yet it was granted four stars.

No writer ever wants to read those kinds of words, and sites like Amazon and GoodReads don’t make it any easier for our egos since they allow authors to reply to their own reviews.

The one time I replied to a review — and a good review at that — was to correct a factual assumption I thought the reviewer had made. To me, the reviewer seemed to say that I had personally conducted interviews for the book. I simply responded that I’d only done research and quoted from already available interviews.

The next day, the reviewer had deleted their review! I learned a hard lesson that day, and I hadn’t even responded to a bad review. While those less-than-stellar reviews still haunt me on some days (I’m writing about them here, after all), I know now what every successful writer understands: you can’t please everybody.

As a writer, you can’t please everybody.

Plus, trying to change someone’s mind who’s already decided against your perspective on life, or who despises your writing style, or who just doesn’t like the fact that you’re a fan of the Oxford comma, is like George Bernard Shaw’s famous illustration: “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.”

A majority of reviewers don’t understand the kind of inner devastation they cause an author when they quickly type and publish two lines of a poor review. What you’ve labored for months on, they’ve minimized in two minutes. From that perspective, it’s enough to make any author’s blood boil.

And an angry author set loose online can be a dangerous thing. This is exactly why an author has to prevent their inner vitriol from spilling over.

7 non-career-destroying ways to deal with bad book reviews

1. Don’t read your reviews

Yes, there are some authors who follow this rule, though I’d hazard a guess that it’s a hard one to stick to for first-time authors. Don’t worry, though — it’s only the first suggestion.

2. Print out your bad reviews, then burn them

It’s a symbolic gesture that releases your inner ire. Alternative disposal methods could include a paper shredder, compost for your garden or turning them into origami.

3. Respond to your bad reviews . . . in a document that’s never made public

You’re a writer, so you’re bound to write. Go ahead and give in to every last cutting remark you’d like to make, but ultimately keep those words to yourself.

4. Talk about it with other writers

Find a writer’s group, whether in real life or online. Every writer gets a bad review from time to time. When you share your bad reviews with other writers and hear their just-as-bad reviews, laughter inevitably erupts.

5. Re-read your good reviews

So long as you keep working at your craft, good reviews will come. Don’t allow one bad review to occupy your mind 90 percent of the time, while letting nine good reviews occupy the remaining 10 percent. (Also, don’t think about your reviews 100 percent of the time).

6. Realize that writing is a journey, not a destination

I know I just went cliché on you, but it’s true. Bad reviews bring growth to authors, and if you’re serious about a career in writing, you’ll work through and past any bad review. Don’t allow a bad review to stop you from taking another step.

7. Start writing your next book

The best way to get over a bad review is to start your next book. Sure, it may garner a bad review as well, but I’m willing to bet that it’ll be better than your last work. Plus, now you know how to better handle bad reviews.

By Blake Atwood