Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

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5 Secrets for Surviving the Social Media Apocalypse

by Lisa Norman

people staring at falling social media icons

Every day, authors ask me how to survive the current social media meltdown.

The bad news:

Here is some of the bad news authors are focusing on:

  • Twitter laid off 3,700 employees
  • Meta (Facebook) laid off 11,000 employees
  • Amazon is planning to lay off 10,000 employees
  • Alphabet (Google) is discussing layoffs
  • Preliminary statistics for book sales in 2022 are not great unless you are Colleen Hoover

There’s no denying it: these statistics are concerning. If you are an author who has built their entire platform on Twitter or Facebook, you may feel lost as to how to proceed.

There are some statistics out there that make it seem like very few people read anymore.

But there’s hope! Let’s dig just a bit into some options that can break our dependence on specific platforms and empower our marketing at the same time.

The good news:

  • New social media platforms are being created every day
  • Niche forums and interest groups are making a comeback
  • Authors are finding new ways to market and sell books
  • The future is bright for stories

I’m a chronic optimist, and I’ve been teaching authors creative ways of dealing with social media for years now. So, let’s change our focus! Allow me to share some tips to help you weather changes in the social media environment.

Secret #1: Social Media is about being social, not about having the biggest follower count.

Studies show that social media following alone is terrible at driving book sales.

Yes, TikTok is a current exception to that trend. Publishers and authors are rushing to build platforms on TikTok, to move their marketing dollars to TikTok, and to struggle to replicate the success that some authors have had there.

The problem is, they’re missing the point of TikTok and how those successes came about.

I don’t want to say that authors and publishers can’t have a powerful presence on TikTok, because some certainly are doing it. But the big success stories that we see were not driven by the authors! The big successes were driven by fans sharing books that they loved.

There’s a wholesome, grass-roots sort of feel to some of these book recommendations that drives sales in powerful ways.

Now yes, this has become a moneymaking business for some of these TikTok influencers. They’ll feature your book on their platform, for a price. I don’t have a lot of faith that these financial transactions will have as much power as a 16-year-old girl crying over the ending of her favorite book.

The most powerful TikTok sales are driven by fans recommending books they love, not by authors saying “buy my book!” This is the way of social media.

Size doesn't matter as much as we think.

I’m not saying that you can’t sell books through social media. What I am saying, though, is that the size of a person’s following does not translate to number of books sold.

There’s a difference between followers and super-fans.

Super-fans don’t just buy books, they sell them.

Social media is a great place to meet people and get to know them. It is a place to make friends and connections with people you might not meet otherwise. Social media is a place to meet and cultivate new fans.

Followers are just potential fans. Don’t show me your follower numbers. Show me your super-fans, the ones who can’t wait to buy your books and who can’t wait to tell others about them.

Give me 10 super-fans over 10,000 followers any day.

Want to dive deeper into this? Check out my marketing wheel analogy in a previous WITS article.

Secret #2: You can be a big fish in a little pond.

When you are in an enormous space with millions of people vying for attention, it is easy to get lost in the noise. You may be able to buy your way to a bit of notice, but when the money dries up, so does the attention.

Instead, if you find a small space filled with potential super-fans who love topics you are passionate about, you can meet amazing people, form lasting friendships, and make connections that can change a career.

One author I know has a tiny following, but among her devoted followers is an influential blogger in her niche. That one contact could open up connections with other bloggers in her niche and get her book a lot of exposure.

A super-fan with a marketing background contacted another author I know. When the fan realized the publicity challenges authors deal with, they took over marketing the book so the author could focus on writing the sequel. Don’t we all want to have a super-fan like that?

When you are in a small space, you can build connections with people who care about your success and want to help. We call these people our street-team. I’ve worked with marketing pros, and they tell me you can’t buy the power of a committed group of super-fans functioning as your street-team.

Look at any highly productive, successful author. I bet you’ll find a tight-knit group of super-fans.

Secret #3: People love to be around people who are having fun.

If you’re dealing with marketing stress and forcing yourself into a toxic environment that is bad for your mental health, you may be wasting your time.

Here’s what I hear often: “Social media doesn’t work!” and then there’s a sigh... and a pause... and then a confession. “I hate it.”

And we wonder why social media isn’t working for them? Often this is followed by “shoulds” or “have tos” that they’ve heard, often from marketing advice intended for corporations rather than creatives. Here’s the good news: you don’t HAVE to be on any platform you don’t want to be on!

Find a space you love. Go there for the fun. If you need to set a timer and limit your time on social media so that you get your writing done, you’re on the right track.

Secret #4: Build your own space.

I remember a time before social media. Actually, I remember a time before the internet, but we won’t go there. I’ve watched social media platforms rise and fall. I’ve seen massive platforms that I adored (anyone remember Compuserve?) rise and fall.

You don’t want to build your business in someone else’s store.

Social media is great for meeting people, but in the perfect marketing scenario for writers, you’re going to bring them home to a place that you control.

If you are bringing your ideal fans back to your special space, it doesn’t matter when the platform you met on goes away. You can stay in touch via your email list!

Some authors are even building special gathering spaces for their fans. I was in a discussion recently with a group of authors who were wondering if maybe private forums were going to make a comeback.

I don’t know, but it is interesting.

Secret #5: Readers are hungrier than ever for stories.

Yes, the economy is looking pretty bleak. The BookScan (official sales) statistics for most genres these days are concerning. Note: books sold through author websites don’t show up on BookScan. Neither do ePub sales. Neither do library sales. There are vast swaths of the industry that are not always reflected in statistics.

Digital reading is growing!

Some people are even cutting down on their doom-scrolling through social media platforms and replacing that time with digital story reading. Much better for mental health.

In the past, I’ve mentioned the warning given by an Ingram representative to a group of publishers back in 2021. He warned that digital reading was a trend the industry must pay attention to. We don’t want to miss the trend towards transmedia-centered, fandom-centered, online digital reading.

Venues like:

... and many other fiction platforms are seeing growth.

People still want stories, but they aren’t always consuming them the way they used to.

We talk about the way people skim when reading these days. Especially, young professionals in our modern world want content that is available to them whenever they have a moment.

In the past, you would read a book and turn the last page and feel sad. You wanted the book to go on. Maybe you’d reach out to that author, try to find more books. But we accepted that losing the story world was a part of reading the book.

That is not how modern readers want to experience a story. They want to turn that last page and then have discussions with others who have read the book. They want to delve deeper into the characters and the topics of the book. Give them an opportunity to engage with the author and the story world, and they become devoted super-fans.

As we go into 2023, it looks like budgets may be tight. People may not be going on fancy vacations or spending money on expensive physical books as much as they have at other times, especially not with the increase in printing costs. But that doesn’t mean people aren’t looking for adventure and escape! People need an escape from the everyday onslaught of bad news.

What better way to escape than with a story?

cat saying Please give me money
Image by Nnie - Buy Nnie a Ko-fi

Ah, but many of these newer venues don’t pay authors very well. Many super-fans are deeply aware of this problem, and they are happy to support their favorite authors. Fans are supporting their favorite authors through platforms like Patreon, Ko-Fi, and Kickstarter in exchange for stories.

In a discussion on Discord, an artist made this cat picture as a joke because I'd said that cat pictures rule the internet and we were talking about learning to ask fans for support. If you like it, maybe go throw a dollar at Nnie. Because that's how creatives stick together! That's how Ko-fi works.

Authors who have learned to embrace their super-fans, cultivate them, give them what they want, are seeing potential new opportunities where others are seeing disaster. I’m a big believer in author experimentation. It can be all too easy to do things “the way they have always been done.” But we often forget that even those ways were experimental at one time.

I grew up before social media. I remember a time before the internet. Go back into history and think about the revolution caused by the printing press. Look at the way committing stories to paper changed the forms storytellers used to craft stories.

Story is vital to human life. Story isn’t going away. But there are shifts in how people are choosing to interact with those stories.

As authors, we are especially prone to losing our creative energy when surrounded by negativity. Let’s share some positivity!

What are your secrets for success in the current social media environment?

About Lisa

head shot of smiling Lisa Norman

Lisa Norman's passion has been writing since she could hold a pencil. While that is a cliché, she is unique in that she wrote her first novel on gum wrappers. As a young woman, she learned to program and discovered she has a talent for helping people and computers learn to work together and play nice. When she's not playing with her daughter, writing, or designing for the web, you can find her wandering the local beaches.

Lisa writes as Deleyna Marr and is the owner of Deleyna's Dynamic Designs, a web development company focused on helping writers, and Heart Ally Books, LLC, an indie publishing firm. She teaches for Lawson Writer's Academy.

Interested in learning more from Lisa? Sign up for her newsletter to see upcoming classes!

Top Image by Deleyna via Midjourney

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9 Things Writers Need To Know About Trauma And Mental Health

by Lisa Hall-Wilson

trauma - a destroyed apple cart with mashed apples spilled

Trauma and mental health issues can be uncomfortable to discuss, but there’s no denying the internal conflict these storylines intrinsically create. We live in a society that prioritizes politeness, civility, predictability, and generally keeping a lid on things. Disclosures of trauma and evidence of mental health issues upend the cart—so to speak. But fiction shines a light on the inner workings of a character. Understanding and portraying mental health and trauma with authenticity, compassion, and realism is super important.

Everyone probably knows someone, works with someone, is related to someone, was in a relationship with someone who struggles with trauma and/or mental health issues. And in this pandemic/post-pandemic season, the public awareness of mental health and trauma makes these issues, including these types of scenarios, in fiction not only more attractive, but more realistic.

As someone who daily manages my mental health (with varying degrees of success), here are 9 things writers should be aware of, or learn more about, when writing about mental health and trauma.

Everyone's Journey Is Unique and Subject to Change

I can’t give you a roadmap or a set of do’s and don’ts on writing about these issues. The severity of mental health issues and symptoms varies widely, and symptoms and coping mechanisms can change. The events and scenarios that cause these issues are very individual, as is each person’s ability to cope with the symptoms or changes.

Spend time crafting your character’s mental strength and emotional intelligence. These guideposts will help you navigate the emotional ups and downs the story journey will bring to your character. For example, do they mask their symptoms day to day, seek professional help, self-medicate, self-harm, self-destruct, etc.?

It's unfair to assume that everyone with mental health issues or past trauma is a danger to themselves or insane. When you consider the number of people living with these issues, the percentage who make the news is very small.

What must be clear to the reader is the WHY. Why does the character makes the decisions they do? Why are certain things hard? Why do emotions get the best of them at the worst times? The writer must show the emotional context behind everything.

  • Why does this seem like the best thing to do right now?
  • What’s behind that decision?
  • Are they avoiding something or are they taking a stand to prevent what happened before from happening again?

Writing about mental health and trauma requires that you, as the writer, are intentional. Know why your character is saying and doing everything.

Every Situation and Encounter Has an Energy Price

Trauma and mental health issues are exhausting. Every situation, encounter, action and reaction, comes at a price: emotional, mental, and physical. The theory of spoons is something worth exploring. Spoon Theory equates spoons to units of energy. Experts originally used Spoon Theory for those who have chronic illness, but it’s helpful in understanding and communicating the toll of daily life on energy resources for those living with trauma and mental health issues. Fiction rarely conveys this well.

Mental Health and Trauma Reactions Are Not Irrational

To an outsider not privy to the inner workings of the mind, the actions and emotions of those with past trauma or mental health issues appear to be irrational or disproportionate. These reactions can be loud, disruptive, and involve physicality that can be dangerous.

But as a writer, it’s your job to show that this reaction is not irrational, based on what is going on inside your character. They may have survived their trauma by fighting back, or by compliance. When they feel threatened, that reaction makes sense because that’s what saved them last time. Choose the emotional tools, vocabulary, or trust in a relationship to help readers understand why a character stays silent or can’t keep a polite lid on their emotions anymore. And then show the consequences!

Juxtapose the Inner and Outer World

Those with past trauma and mental health do not, generally, share what’s going on inside. There’s too much risk, too much vulnerability, too much stigma, for that to happen most of the time (see section on stigma and bad reactions). However, your reader gets to see into thoughts and feelings the character doesn’t show anyone else.

Showing the juxtaposition of what’s going on inside vs what’s visible outwardly is crucial to showing mental health and trauma realistically. Don't just show what’s spoken aloud to other characters. Your character needs to FEEL things, not just think about they feel.

How is your character perceived while they’re simply doing their best to survive or regain control of overwhelming emotions? The emotional outbursts are not irrational. But they are most likely inconvenient and embarrassing, avoided at all costs, and may leave a path of destruction internally and externally.

Anger!!!

angry person

Anger is just a fact for every human, but for those who struggle to contain overwhelming emotions it can be very destructive. At the expense of personal relationships and self worth, anger is used to regain a sense of control. Anger can be part of the fight response when we feel threatened. And for the person who is constantly alert and vigilant for danger, this response will often simmer just under the surface, ready to be called up at a moment’s notice.

Additionally, anger can be a real sign of healing. Those who had no voice, no autonomy, no escape, had to comply or become perfect. They needed this response to survive. Anger wasn't allowed. Anger is a demonstration of healing in that they acknowledge long ignored and suppressed emotions. Now these emotions have a voice.

Managing Mental Health and Trauma

Most people must go to work every day. They must go to the grocery store, get in the car or hop on a bus. They must continue to interact with society in various ways. Most of us need that interaction with society (as the pandemic taught us). Everyone manages their mental health and trauma symptoms. That may look like lying in bed til noon, it may look like always keeping their hands busy, it may mean never being without something creating noise—a tv, headphones, music, it may mean vodka for breakfast—whatever helps them silence or distract from the emotions that just. Won’t. Shut. Up.

It may look like zealously guarding their peace and staying inside their window of tolerance, even if it makes them appear flaky or distant. Managing symptoms may look like substance abuse, excessive exercise, therapy, isolation, or avoidance. Your character will strive to manage the symptoms they find intolerant or inconvenient (at least situationally), and the key is for the reader to understand WHY they seek this behaviour, and how it helps. Why is this behaviour worth the social or personal cost to the character?

Everyone has good days and bad days and it’s important to be honest about that. Some task or situation that may be fun or tolerable one day, is avoided at all costs the next. People usually carry the weight of mental health issues silently, which creates a strength that’s impressive and often generates immense compassion for others.

Relationships Are Hard

Now, you’re going to say relationships in general are hard. And that’s fair. But those with trauma and mental health issues often keep thoughts and feelings and urges locked down and hidden until they can’t keep a lid on things anymore and explode. For instance, sharing that you spent six hours researching the best/most effective OTC medication to kill yourself with will get you formed and incarcerated in a hospital. Not many are willing to live with the consequences of sharing that.

How many times is it said of someone who committed suicide: no one knew they were struggling?

But this is info the reader needs to have.

There are thoughts and feelings that if shared would have too high a social cost, etc. But that constant guardedness, vigilance, and secrecy is not conducive to close intimate relationships. In addition, those closest to us are often the very ones who bear the brunt of the emotions we’re no longer able to keep a lid on.

PTSD and Bipolar forums are full of people sharing about marriages that have disintegrated, jobs lost, time in jail/court, and relationships destroyed. Those with depression and anxiety are simply difficult to spend a lot of time with and may push you away (even if connection is what they most desperately seek), especially if we strive to maintain our own peace (through politeness, civility, etc.).

Don’t shortchange the additional struggles the person with mental health issues or trauma faces.

Mental health and trauma issues permeate into every aspect of life. Don't isolate PTSD flashbacks without other accompanying symptoms and disruption, for instance.

I recently tried to write a romance with a female protag with PTSD, and my crit partners found her difficult to relate to and a bit neurotic. And they were right. I could tone down the severity of the PTSD, or change up the symptoms this character lives with—both valid options. Or I may plough through and see how it goes. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but to do it well adds enormous complexity and will/should force you to explore your emotions in a way that’s uncomfortable.

A Constant Internal Battle

Most people with mental health issues and trauma understand that their behaviour (at times) isn’t logical to the situation at hand. The reaction is often disproportionate. It’s often not really about what’s going on in that moment, but about something else (past trauma, exhaustion, frustration, vulnerability, fear) that was triggered. There’s this internal acknowledgement that how you feel doesn’t match what’s going on around you, and the accompanying reality that at times you have no control over how you’re reacting. (Which is why those with panic disorder, for instance, go to extreme lengths to avoid any situation that may cause the panic to take over.)

People who are Bipolar may be aware they’re on the high swing, or a low swing, but that may not mitigate their ability to react to that internal situation. You rarely will yourself out of depression. You may explode over something really trivial, but your reaction wasn’t about what was happening, but about the emotion overwhelming you inside.

Capturing this battle authentically, in a way that creates emotional connection and sympathy with the reader, is vital.

Stigma, Bad Reactions, and Poor Counseling

I do not know many struggling to manage and heal from trauma and mental health issues, who haven’t encountered professional counselor or lay-person that caused harm. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of a bad fit personality wise, sometimes a layperson doesn’t refer to a professional when they should. Sometimes professionals misdiagnose or lack specialized knowledge for complex mental health issues. Sometimes people aren’t up front or fully disclose what’s going on and receive counseling that consequently isn't appropriate.

Most have experienced poor reactions from others upon disclosing trauma or mental health issues. People look at you differently. They treat you differently. Friends stop inviting you places or exclude you. Finally, they kick you out of families or marriages. Most have been told at some point to “just get over it”, “just snap out of it”, or “move on”. Some counselors recommend not taking medication that would make symptoms easier/bearable. Some patients refuse, for a variety of reasons, to take medication. Many don’t require any medication to manage their symptoms in a healthy way.

The bad reactions, very often, outnumber the good. So keep this in mind when writing these characters. This mistrust of society, of doctors, of family, friends or coworkers, is often well-earned. How would that change things for your character? How would that make their life more difficult?

Society Can Affect How Mental Health and Trauma Manifests

If you’re writing about another time or place, how mental health issues and trauma manifest themselves may change. The prevalence of various mental health issues can vary by time and place. Those struggling with PTSD after WW1 showed many different symptoms than those who struggle to manage PTSD after combat in Vietnam or Afghanistan, for instance. Hysteria was a catch-all term for decades. It prompted a variety of different responses from family and professionals in various time periods. I often look to novels written in the period I’m writing about.

  • What terminology did they use?
  • What were the character’s symptoms?
  • What was the treatment, or was there any at all?

Do you/will you include some aspect of trauma or mental health issue in your writing? What do you struggle with most in writing it?

About Lisa

Lisa Hall-Wilson is a writing teacher and award-winning writer and author. She’s the author of Method Acting For Writers: Learn Deep Point Of View Using Emotional Layers. Her blog, Beyond Basics For Writers, explores all facets of the popular writing style deep point of view and offers practical tips for writers. 

She runs the free Facebook group Going Deeper With Emotions where she shares tips and videos on writing in deep point of view. 

Top image by Deleyna via Midjourney.

Angry woman image by Robin Higgins from Pixabay

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Managing Multiple Projects: Writer Magic or Mayhem?

By Kris Maze

Writers have opinions about how many manuscripts they should work on at a time, but are there benefits or drawbacks to having multiple projects in play? If you are a multitasker or a focused loyalist to finishing one writing task at a time, there are strengths to each method and pitfalls to avoid. Take a look at these reasons and see which type of writer you are in referring to how many projects make you a happy and productive writer.

The Mayhem of Writing on More Than One Manuscript

There are many ways that can detract from your writing productivity when you write many different things. Your attention can be split and draw focus away from more critical, detailed work. Perhaps you are writing on different genres or nonfiction, the tone and voice can suffer as you shift your writing from one style to another. There may be a difficult overload that bogs down the mind and you may feel distant from all of your projects, keeping you from finishing anything. Which of these mayhem causing writing pitfalls have you experienced?

Writing at Different Stages

Writing tasks come with their own levels of difficulty. One problem writers may have when working on multiple projects is to have a creative divide. If one starts the outline a concept of three different novels, the ideas can converge and get messy. Then when you flesh out these stories simultaneously could lead to heavy creative writing on three different stories. The stories may suffer from spreading your creative juices too thin.

Editing, outlining, writing a draft, and subsequent rewrites each take a different level of creative energy. One way to manage more than one writing project is to mix up the projects and write in different stages of each. Some writers will outline the next novel while rewriting the previous one in the series, for example. Editing a novel is different from getting the first draft on paper for most writers. Consider getting a pattern of writing in different stages on your projects to become more productive.

Task Switching Downfalls

Everyone has felt the rush of a productive day, perhaps it was making progress on your novel or just cleaning up a bunch of items on your to-do list, but there is science that suggests that multitasking is just a myth. The process of switching from one task to another takes a mental reset each time when start something new. Even if it is just a microsecond, the switch taxes the brain and the mental energy you have.

Acknowledging the risk of being less productive, it could be better to block of long chunks of time for various projects to avoid losing mental energy when we switch tasks. Here are some options for breaking up one’s writing time:

  • Some writers work on creative fiction in the mornings when their mind is most fresh.
  • Others work on more structured writing like blog posts or editing tasks in the afternoons or evenings.
  • Work on the complex story lines of your novel at night if that’s when you are most alert and create social media posts during the day.
  • Try writing short stories or a scene from your book at break times at work.

Finding a time that works for each writing project could keep writers from eroding their focus by switching between them too quickly.

I Never Finish Anything

One problem writers face is the possibility of getting into writers’ block. Having many projects can become overwhelming. It’s difficult to finish a project when you spend only a fraction of your time on it and share your mind-space with multiple manuscripts.

To avoid this, try blocking off time for each project. Use a calendar system that you prefer and keep a writing routine. This may be a time to check in with your muse and follow the project that is most interesting to you at the moment. Making visual progress can keep a writer motivated and productive.

If you are still not finishing projects, read articles like this one from Tiffany Yates-Martin on getting unstuck in writing.

Fixing Tone and Voice Issues

A potential issue an author could have when writing in various genres is mixing up the tone of a novel or the voice of a character. Switching between a dark noir to a rom-com may not be likely, but writing in both could carry over into some interesting blends. If you have an academic style in writing and you are trying to make a YA novel work, you may be hurting your writing style by doing both at the same time.

Consider separating these projects with something that brings you into that mindset before writing. Perhaps turn on some teeny-bopping music or watch TikTok for a few minutes before beginning the YA work. It can help reset your voice and writing style between these projects.

Can you relate to any of these writing situations? These common pitfalls can occur for various reasons, but it could be due to overextending oneself. If you are struggling with productivity, maybe taking a more focused approach could help you finish your next novel.

The Magic of Multiple Writing Projects

Writing on more than one story at a time can help a writer grow and make their career blossom. Whether it cultivates their creative juices, develops their skills in more than one style of writing, or simply builds stamina, keeping multiple writing projects in play can also benefit a writer.

Creative Outlets

Writers tend to find a genre that works for them and will write exclusively in that market for a majority of their career. It makes marketing sense. Readers know what to expect from an author and keep coming back to what they want. A savvy writer will give their readers what they want from their novels.

But it can lead to boring, dry writing if the writer doesn’t challenge their creativity and craft. One way writers can keep their writing fresh is to work on a different projects. This can keep the writing interesting. An author who is bored with their story or genre is most likely going to put readers into a snooze-zone.

Writing on various projects can also cross-pollinate ideas and add to depth to each of the storylines. New ideas on the characters and how the setting can play into the plot, for example, are possible outcomes for writing on various projects at once. The time between projects can also allow the mind to work out tricky spots in the dialogue or resolution of difficult parts in your book to write.

Builds a Routine, Stamina, and Productivity

Writing on multiple writing projects is tough without a routine. This is one motivator to keep a regular writing schedule. The time spent writing can be on any of the projects. Consider the stages you are at for each and build a routine that works with the difficulty of each writing stage.

Writers know what works for their process and should work with that knowledge. Build a writing schedule that will help you become more productive. Write more and write better with more projects. Or limit them to just one. Only you will know what works best for your writing life.

Builds a Writing Portfolio

Writers can build a work of writing that they can showcase their skills. Being able to provide writing in that show the depth of their writing chops is useful when looking for writing jobs.

Having several works ready can motivate a writer to send them out to magazines or contests. Putting your work into the world helps keep a writer productive.

The various types of writing can also challenge the writer to grow in their craft. They can learn how to put together a mystery or find the elements that work in mainstream fiction. Learning more about all genres can build your writing knowledge and influence your skills.

Honor the Elusive Muse

Sometimes you have to follow the muse.

Sometimes you have to yank that lady from bed and feed her coffee.

Sometimes if you have multiple projects going on, you can entice her to join you easier when you have options.

Final Thoughts on Multitasking with Writing Projects

My inspiration for this post was in part from my current writing situation. In the past I have been more structured to finish one project before spending too much time on another. But at times you have a project that lures you to work on it.

This is NaNoWriMo month and I decided to join at the last minute. I had a project in mind and a clear outline that structured well into a novel. It’s outside my usual teen horror and suspense genres that I enjoy writing in, but the story seems to work so well I had to pause to write it. Because the project was distracting me by not working on it, I listened when my muse grabbed my elbow and said, “write.”

And so I am. My plan to is to have a first draft NaNoWriMo style on paper this November. Because I have such a clear idea already formed the story is easy to write. The editing projects and readers (novels intended for classrooms) I was working on will have to wait a little longer, but my writing life is happier and more fulfilling.

Be flexible with your writing projects and find what works for you. Perhaps try a new approach if what you are doing isn’t productive for you right now. Keep your muse happy and let him or her play with the projects that interest you most. It may turn out to be your best work yet.

Are you a single-project-person or do you work on multiple manuscripts at once?  Why does that work for you?  Share a tip on how you keep many projects moving forward if that’s how you roll.

About Kris

Kris Maze is an author, writing coach, and teacher. She has worked in education for many years and writes for various publications including Practical Advice for Teachers of Heritage Learners of Spanish and the award-winning blog Writers in the Storm where she is also a host. You can find her horror stories and young adult writing at her website. Keep up with future projects and events by subscribing to her newsletter.

A recovering grammarian and hopeless wanderer, Kris enjoys reading, playing violin and piano, and spending time outdoors.

And occasionally, she knits.

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