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Where to Get Great Ideas…When Great Ideas Aren’t Coming

October 26, 2018– Content is hard to come by, for me anyways. I often wonder how many other bloggers have this problem, especially those who write daily. I blog three times a week, or twelve times a month and let me tell you, it can become difficult. I know it’s hard to think, but sometimes it feels as though we’ve run out of things to talk about. The truth is, there’s always something to talk about, and there are still lots new ideas for content, we just aren’t being creative enough, and we aren’t thinking outside of the box.

I hate rehashing the same old stuff over and over, so that’s why I try my absolute hardest to come up with new and exciting tips and topics! Here are a few of my personal tips about where to get great ideas:

  1. Shower. A lot. Seriously, some of my best ideas come to me when I’m standing there in the shower with the water beating down on me. Apparently, this is a thing, and there’s even science to support it! Brains give us our best ideas when a lot of dopamine is released, and dopamine is released by, you guessed it, taking a shower! Dopamine equals happiness and the next great idea.
  2. Subconscious. This is a true story; when I was in college, I remember doing some crazy math problem and no matter which way I tried it, I couldn’t figure out the formula. I finally said screw it and went to bed. I swear to you that when I woke up, I had the answer and the formula was as clear as day in my mind. Yep, to this day, I never go to bed without asking my subconscious a question and rarely does it not answer or work out a solution. Try it, it works!
  3. Study. Read everything you can get your hands on. The newspaper, magazines, online, books, tutorials, instruction manuals, and so on. Why? Because this alone will trigger an idea to write about. You can write about the time you were so blocked in your writing that you became desperate and read the instruction manual to your vintage VCR. But seriously, read it all. Especially stuff that is regularly out of your genre. That’s where some of my greatest ideas have come from.

There it is, my ideas for creating content. And remember, when you’re stuck, get unstuck by following the above tips.
X LLB

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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (And how it helps your writing!)

October 1, 2018– Back when I was an official student of Marketing and Business, (I say official because I still consider myself a student of both, just not in a typical classroom setting) we learned about Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs. It was fascinating and captivating to see what humans need and that we are unable to move from one level to the next if there are any gaps in the previous level. Let me explain; as we look at the chart below, we see that the very basics of human need are food, water, and shelter. If we don’t have these needs met, we can’t move on to social stability, achievement, and experiencing our unique purpose.

I know what you’re thinking…umm… thanks for the lesson but what does this have to do with writing? Well, think about the hierarchy below; how does your character fit into this? Does your character lack love and belonging and to they need to resolve this issue before moving on with their life? Is your character dying to be unique? Maybe your character is questioning their morality?

This chart will also make you credible. We know that human nature is to take care of the basics. If we have no food, our first goal is to find food and feed ourselves. Have you ever been so hungry that you can’t even think straight? I’m sure you have, we all have and for various reasons. How are we supposed to think about self-actualization when our stomach is growling so loudly that we can’t hear ourselves think? You get the picture.  Now, I know that some of you may argue the point that someone like Gandhi was able to reach self-actualization because he deprived himself of food, and yes there is merit to that argument. My point is, that with most people, including your characters, we can’t ignore our basic needs and we’ll do whatever it takes to meet them.

Happy Writing! X LLB

 

Maslow Hierarchy of Needs

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The Business of Books…

September 28, 2018– A lot of the time what happens in the book business is that new authors don’t treat it as such. I’m not only talking to our self-published friends, I’m talking to our traditionally published peeps as well. The easiest part of being an author is writing the book, and the hardest part is marketing it, hands down, that’s the absolute truth, and that’s coming from someone who has a marketing and advertising background.

I know what you’re thinking, doesn’t the publisher do all the work while I get to sit behind a table at (insert name of bookstore here) and sign copies of my books for all of my adoring fans while they bask in my genius? The short answer? No. The long answer? F#*& No. Newsflash: You are NOT Stephen King, and no one is here to see you.

Harsh but true. Here’s the thing, traditionally published authors are expected to market themselves alongside the publisher. If you’re not willing to put yourself out there and help with the marketing, promotion, publicity, and you’re not willing to put the work in you’re going down in flames, I would bet my business on that. It’s even more of a challenge for our self-published friends! My advice? Get a strong business background first and go from there, learn as much as you can and then implement the good stuff. And if something doesn’t work, you can always pivot and change directions with your marketing plan. In order to become any kind of successful author, or to be successful at anything for that matter, you’re going to have to do whatever it takes, and it’s going to take everything you’ve got.

One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given when I started all of this was, “When you’re writing a book it’s an art. When the book is finished, it’s business. Never confuse the two.” That piece of advice has been instrumental in me making decisions as a writer and business owner.

Keep your chin up, keep writing, remember that this is a business, and take all of the good advice you can get. Remember, you get what you work for, not what you wish for.

Write that on my tombstone.

X LLB

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I Finished My Manuscript and My Book is in Hand! Now What?

May 16, 2018- My book is here! Now what?

I hear this statement all the time from new authors and although it’s a valid question…it makes me cringe. I know that this might sound a bit harsh, but as your big sis in the writing world, it’s my job to bring the rain…I mean truth.  It makes me shudder because it tells me that the author didn’t put in the work BEFORE finishing their ms and they’re about to have one hell of a rough time. Give me a chance to explain.

I’m focusing on one camp of authors, and that is our self-pub’d friends. So, the author has done the work, their book is completed, printed, and ready for sale! Yay right? Hold on a second…now is where the real work begins.

Too many times our self-published friends end up with a garage full of boxes of their books and that makes me sad because it doesn’t need to be that way! It’s not that the book was sub-par, it’s that they didn’t have a clear plan as to what they’d need to do at the selling stage. It’s an amazing feat to finish writing a book, but the truly incredible achievement is getting them into the hands of readers. A lot of the time there are visions of grandeur where tons of people line up to meet the author at book signings. Let me break it to you gently, this doesn’t happen unless your James Patterson or you’ve marketed the S*&T out of your upcoming event/book signing/book.

How are our friends going to sell their book? Where are they going to sell their books? Are the books available in print only or are they available electronically as well? Do they have a marketing plan? Do they have a solid author platform? And so on. See my point?

Let me pass on the best piece I’ve ever received from my mentor, “When you’re writing the book, it’s art. When the book is completed, it’s business-NEVER confuse the two.” That statement will stay with me for as long as I am in this world of publishing and well beyond.

My advice is to finish the manuscript, and then, before getting to the books in hand stage, craft your marketing plan and answer, at the very least, the questions above. It’s harder than it looks in the self-publishing world! Be prepared and remember that I believe in you! Tell your story-the world needs it.

X LLB

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