Time for Spring Cleaning! Writer’s Edition

Hello Spring! Fresh flowers, some rainy days and the excitement that summer is around the corner! Something else that typically comes along when warmer weather hits is spring cleaning… Some may look forward to it while others run and hide, but today we will be discussing the way writers can benefit from some spring cleaning!

Reorganize work space

First things first, some good old fashion cleaning. Make your work space yours again. This will be a great time to switch up the layout. Have you always wanted to be closer to your window, well make it happen! Think of how you can optimize your space to feel more comfortable. And while you’re at it clean off your bookshelves too! Go through your books and if you don’t see yourself reading it, then give it to someone who will.

Sort through old papers

Have your old papers piled high throughout the year. Now is the perfect time to go through them. Sort, shred and organize all your papers. Create a system that will keep you organized for years to come!

Declutter folders

Now hop on that laptop because we are decluttering all of your folders too. I find that my laptop organization lacks more than the papers sitting on my desk. I save everything on my laptop but never put it in a designated folder. Do it now! And I will too. Color code and use the folders to your advantage.

Clear your email

Next on the list is to clear your email! Are you tired of seeing 800 unread emails on your screen. Take a deep breath and go through them! Start the new season with a fresh email. Update your signature if you want to! Go nuts!

Update your socials

Has it been a while since you updated your social media? Take this time to switch up your profile picture, add more to your bio and go through your instagram highlights. Also, take the time to update your website if you have one. Do a deep dive and see what you’re missing. 

Happy Spring!

The Starving for Southern Collection by Kathryn Andrews – $3.99 on CHIRP BOOKS

We keep running back to Chirp Books for their unbeatable prices! The Starving for Southern Collection (Books 1-3) by Kathryn Andrews is available for only $3.99 until May 10th! And the best part…joining is FREE!

If you are big into enemies to lovers contemporary romance audiobooks this one is for you! Bonus if you are interested in food and wine, because these novels will leave you hungry for more!

Click here for The Starving for Southern Collection!

About Starving for Southern

Book 1: The Sweetness of Life

Shelby Leigh
I love food. I love everything about it.
My dream has always been to land a job with the Food Network channel, and I’ve spent years as a food critic, blogger, and chef, tasting my way across the South to develop recipes that are a twist on the classics and uniquely my own. When a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity comes calling, I’m shocked to discover I’ve been paired with him, the worst blind date ever—bless his heart, and I’m determined not to let anyone get in my way. So, I buckle my designer heels, tighten my apron, and vow to myself there’s nothing in his playbook that’s going to stop me from tasting success.

Zach Wolff
I love wine. It is my life.
What I hate are critics. I hate everything about their dream-killing souls and elitist attitudes. So, when she shows up in the tasting room of my winery in northern Georgia, the devil in disguise wearing a pair of long legs and beautiful hazel eyes, I know just the plan to make and how to use her to get what I want. What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her, because in the end, I will win. I always do.

Pairing wine with food is one thing, but two hearts is another.

Happy Listening!

Synthetic voices anyone?

Technology is fast changing and what once was considered impossible is now possible when it comes to content and content creation. AI content creation is one of those things. It works and it is getting better and better every day (or week, or month…). The utilization of synthetic voices for the recording of audiobooks is also starting to become a possible option. Synthetic voices is something that I have tracked for a while now and they really are getting pretty close to being an acceptable “voice” or sound for audiobooks. In a recent article by WIRED they adressed synthetic voices in the audiobook space and the overall theme was that it is not time quite yet and there is some general resistance due to quality. I generally agree- I think most audiobook listeners pick up on the small nuisances voice actors have that is not yet mastered in the synthetic space. However, we need to all be prepared to adapt since the driving force will be and always will be dollars. I can see the practical and economic value in synthetic voices, but, also see the artistic challenges. Never say never…

What’s Your Writing Ritual?

Do you have a writing ritual? And by that I mean, do you have to follow a set of steps before you can begin your writing? If you are thinking of them share them in the comments! And if you are scared I’ll go first…

I live somewhere cold, so if there are not socks on my feet nothing will get accomplished. The best space to get stuff done is right on my bed, it is the comfiest spot and where the perfect amount of sunlight can shine down on me. A water bottle also needs to be close by because I know I will get thirsty but I also know I will get up for nothing until the task is complete!

So what, if anything do you do before you clear your mind and get to writing. Do you need a cup of tea or your favorite music playing? Is your comfortable space the coffee shop down the street? Your rituals can get you body ready to write and can make the process all that much more enjoyable!

Happy Writing!

Bursts! Do we need to write differently?

How readers consume the written word is constantly evolving. Self reflect for a moment on how you consume text- through what platforms or media? Not only has the process of consuming text changed, but also how we consume text. If you ever try watching a movie from the 90s or 80s you might say to yourself, jeeze these scenes move very slow. Today when we watch a movie it is new scene after new scene, new angle after new angle- all designed to keep our attention. The consumption of the written word is also morphing. The New York Times recently described these changes. In response to these changes the NYT is adding to their website and app tiles with text on them and you swipe left to continue the story. I will say it works. I use the Times daily and I always read the stories that are broken out this way. What does that mean for authors? I think it means that series of short stories might be more effective as we move on. We see novellas are constantly creeping up in sales. It might be time to rethink how the next great American novel should be written, maybe over the course of 3 to 4 books instead of 1 long book. We love content and love burning through it. Write on!!

Go Back to the Basics – Journaling

Whether you are an avid journal writer or you’re starting because of a new year’s resolution…welcome! Every now and then it’s good to go back to the basics. These are in no means an ‘How to’ on journal writing- just more of a way to get you started or to hit refresh. 

You don’t have to put pen to paper. 

More of the traditional way of journaling is to keep a notebook and pen handy and simply write! But now there are so many more options. You can dedicate a notes section on your phone to journaling, a file on your computer, or you can download an app to use on your tablet! Whatever will feel more comfortable and will keep you journaling.

Keep realistic expectations.

The best way to start something new, or keep something going is to establish a routine. Set realistic expectations for when you want to journal. It is also easier when you link it to something you do everyday. For example, on the train ride commute to work, while you’re having your morning coffee, or when you’re getting ready for bed. Create a healthy habit for yourself. 

Write about gratitude. 

When in doubt write about gratitude. It can be life changing for mental health when you take the time to write about what you are grateful for. And you can start small with the things in front of you and go from there. 

Try something new.

Go outside the box and make your journal personal and messy! Add pictures, or scraps that you have found throughout the day, like a good newspaper article for example. Re-read and write in the margins! 

Write for you. 

This may be the most important of the journaling basics. Remember why you started it, and write for yourself. No one has to read it and it will not be graded or criticized. Think about what goals you have for yourself and your journal and work towards that. 

Happy Journaling!

To Write in Bed or Not?

Sometimes my best ideas come to me around bed time- right before I fall asleep or right when I wake up. One thing that I have learned is if I do not write my idea down immediately, I forget it. So, I started keeping a notebook by my bed. If you do not do this, you should. An article in Psychology Today describes how you can put your mind to work before sleep. They suggest that you should think about the scenario you are trying to address before you fall asleep and ask your mind to solve the problem. I have tried this with mix results. Sometimes I am shocked I came up with a certain solution or idea and other times I don’t have that same success and find myself lying in bed most of the night thinking about it. You need to ask yourself if putting your mind to work is worth it (or you just need to make sure you have the skills to put yourself back to sleep).

In the meantime, if you are looking for something by your bed that is small to hold your notebook this is what I use:

BedShelfie Wooden Bedside Shelf for Bed & Bunk Bed Shelf Tray Table Caddy Top Bunk Organizer As Seen On Business Insider College Dorm Room Essentials Clip-On Nightstand (Original Size, Grey Bamboo)

Is AI Good for Content Creation?

From a marketing perspective, AI (artificial intelligence) is often driving the content you see. An article in Entrepreneur highlighted some value to market specific AI content creation. I am sure this is a game changer for the marketing industry, since the type of content they need to generate is quick and easily digestible. At what point are we going to see mass consumer acception of AI content creation in the publishing space and what would that even look like?

My thought is that eventually all content will be driven by the particular individual. Marketers will have enough data on any given individual from all the content that the individual utilizes (how this will be centralized… I am not smart enough to answer that) and then though AI or machine learning will create a book, an audio book, a cartoon, or a script in a matter of seconds that meets the individuals taste. But, what is the difference between all the content currently out there? What turns something into a box office smash hit or a best seller? Is that something AI can replicate? Or does it require human intervention? Or does it matter? If all content is specifically tailored, and all content is being consumed by that specific individual, does it matter whether there are best sellers or smash hits? I think so- if not for the social shared experience of a best seller then simply because people will always keep writing and creating. The thing the author is chasing may change. It may no longer be a human they are writing for, but, the writer will always keep chasing. In the end, we have nothing left to do but- keep writing!

Writers block… again!

I know we have talked numerous times about writer’s block, but I love reading everything I can about it because it is such a timeless issue with little to no immediate cure. This article published in Hendersonville Times-News feels longer than it actual is and, although there were some good nuggets of information, it was relatively similar to lots of the information I have blogged about or thought about in the past. But, it never hurts to revisit good advice. The article highlights some of the best ideas around writers block from some academics/writers who are well versed in the area, like Justin Arnold who is quoted from his book as saying:

“In many cases the reason for the block is a physiological one. If you haven’t slept well recently, or you haven’t eaten for a while, (or) . . . you’ve been worried about a family member in the hospital, then your mind is hardly going to be firing on all cylinders. There’s no doubt at all that writing demands concentration, and concentration demands energy. Without enough sleep, food, and drink you cannot expect to perform as well as you would like.

Rather than thinking about spending 30 minutes writing, try a target of 400 words. By having a manageable and achievable target which is based on the number of words . . . you are much more likely to find that you make productive progress. By having a daily word count target, you also can more accurately schedule how long it will take to complete your writing task.”

Another tip from Justin that is really my favorite- freely writing unhindered by constant editing is often a solution to writers block.

I think at the end of the day, we all know what we need to do, just keep writing! 😉