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Elizabeth Spann Craig by Elizabeth Spann Craig - 1w ago

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

Twitterific writing links are fed into the Writer’s Knowledge Base search engine (developed by writer and software engineer Mike Fleming) which has over 45,000 free articles on writing related topics. It’s the search engine for writers.

Have you visited the WKB lately?  Check out the new redesign where you can browse by category, and sign up for free writing articles, on topics you choose, delivered to your email inbox!  Sign up for the Hiveword newsletter here.

I’m taking a summer blog break for a couple of weeks. No regular blog posts from me until July 29th, when I’ll return with an especially long Twitterific. Then I’ll be back with posts on writing book endorsements, fixing a short manuscript, and using CafePress for book merchandise. Have a great couple of weeks!

The top writing links from last week are on Twitterific:
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The post Twitterific Writing Links appeared first on Elizabeth Spann Craig.

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Elizabeth Spann Craig by Elizabeth Spann Craig - 1w ago

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

Anyone who regularly reads this blog knows that I’m not a perfectionist.  There are too many typos for that to be the case.

There was a time, however, when I was a perfectionist.  I wasn’t nearly as productive as I am now, and I was extremely adverse to hearing editorial suggestions from editors or even well-meaning beta readers.  The problem was that I wanted to fix my story’s problems myself … and even catch the errors myself.

I’m Type A now, but I’m not a perfectionist.  Usually I’ll do a task, any task, and figure it’s good enough.  It’s just that I’m very compulsive about doing the tasks. Laundry is done every day (the folding isn’t pretty), writing is done every day (sometimes it’s not pretty, either). But I’m extremely productive because I don’t feel the need to deliver something perfect to my editor.

As I mentioned, I wasn’t always this way. As a student, I was actually more like two different students rolled into one.  I was the English student who did very well, but felt pressure to be doing well, too (mostly internal pressure).  To me, hearing ‘do your best’ meant that a completed English assignment needed to be pretty extraordinary.  That’s what having even a modicum of talent does to you.

In math class, I was a horrendous student.  Despite tutors and hours and hours spent studying, I couldn’t grasp or apply concepts that I learned. Hearing ‘do your best’ in that class was actually very comforting.  It meant that it was understood that I might do (very) poorly on the test, but at least I had given it my all…which is all anyone can expect.

As a reformed perfectionist, this is my simple message for today: take ‘do the best you can’ the comforting, encouraging way when you’re writing.  Take ‘do the best you can’ the pushy, driven way when you’re revising your finished story, (if you take it at all).

For further reading on overcoming perfectionism:

17 Signs Perfectionism is Killing Your Writing Dreams by Mandy Wallace

5 Tricks to Sneak Past Perfectionism by Michelle Russell

Perfectionism is Murdering Your Muse by Veronica Sicoe

Do you struggle with perfectionism?  What’s helped you?

Overcoming Perfectionism:
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The post Overcoming Perfectionism appeared first on Elizabeth Spann Craig.

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Elizabeth Spann Craig by Elizabeth Spann Craig - 1w ago

by Caleb Kaiser, @ReedsyHQ

Word count is one of those things you don’t think about when you start writing the first page of your novel. It’s only after your book is completed, when you’re shopping around for agents or thinking of self-publishing, that you think, “Is my book the right length for selling?”

At Reedsy, we’ve connected thousands of authors with editors, proofreaders, designers, and marketers, and as a result, have access to a lot of data on books—particularly, book length.

Below we’ve broken down our insights on how long different genres of books should be.

1. Writing For Middle Grade Or YA Audiences? Keep It Brief

The average young adult manuscript clocks in at between 50,000 and 75,000 words, while the average middle grade manuscript is much shorter, at 20,000-55,000 words.

While these numbers can be a bit skewed by the fantasy genre—which across the board tends to run longer—the trend is clear. If you’re writing for a younger audience, keep your novel shorter. Think about how many books you were assigned in school at that age, and how long the average one was.

2. If You’re Writing Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Shoot Longer

Sci-fi and fantasy are two genres were books, on average, go far longer than normal. The average sci-fi and fantasy books run between 100,000 and 115,000 words—which means that most other genres of books have a maximum length of sci-fi/fantasy’s minimum length.

When you think about it, this makes intuitive sense. Sci-fi and fantasy are both genres where intense world-building is more common, and with the exception of romance, there is probably not a genre where fans become more loyal to the authors they love—and therefore, more willing to read longer works.

3. For Anything Else, You’ve Got An Easy Sweet Spot

For all other genres of writing, a manuscript clocking in between 80,000 and 100,000 words should be perfect length-wise. Really, it’s remarkable how many different genres fall into this neatly:

  • Commercial and literary novels: 80,000 – 100,000 words.
  • Romance: 80,000 – 100,000 words.
  • Mystery: 75,000 – 100,000 words.
  • Thriller: 90,000 – 100,000 words.
  • Memoir: 80,000 – 90,000 words.

The one big exception to this is westerns, which are traditionally shorter (between 45,000 and 75,000 words) and fall into series.

Exceptions To The Rule

Now of course, if you’re writing a phenomenal manuscript that happens to go over these averages (or fall under them), no one is going to refuse to read your book because of its length. Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix clocked in at 257,045 words, and was still an international bestseller.

However, understand that when you do deviate from these norms, you’re asking agents and readers to take a risk on you. There’s a reason the first Harry Potter novel clocked in at 76,944 words—no one was willing to take a risk yet.

If you have a classic on your hands, don’t fret the word count. In general, however, try to fall between these averages if you want a commercially viable book.

Caleb Kaiser runs outreach at Reedsy, a marketplace connecting authors and publishers with top talent in the publishing world.

What’s the word count of your books?  How long are the books you usually choose to read? 

How Many Words Should Your Book Be? The Answer by Genre (by Caleb Kaiser @ReedsyHQ ):
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Photo credit: ♔ Georgie R on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-ND

The post How Many Words Should My Book Be? appeared first on Elizabeth Spann Craig.

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Elizabeth Spann Craig by Elizabeth Spann Craig - 2w ago

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

Twitterific writing links are fed into the Writer’s Knowledge Base search engine (developed by writer and software engineer Mike Fleming) which has over 45,000 free articles on writing related topics. It’s the search engine for writers.

Have you visited the WKB lately?  Check out the new redesign where you can browse by category, and sign up for free writing articles, on topics you choose, delivered to your email inbox!  Sign up for the Hiveword newsletter here.

The top writing links from last week are on Twitterific:
Click To Tweet

The post Twitterific Writing Links appeared first on Elizabeth Spann Craig.

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by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

I’ve always kept a journal…well, since first grade, anyway.  I look back on those childhood diaries and wonder who that person was.  My adult journaling has been a lot more erratic than my childhood and teen journaling and the days usually fly by without my taking the time to make notes on them.

I’ve used online journals before, but the sites ended up going under (I did retrieve my entries before they did).

I’d heard about the free app Daylio (for Apple and Android) a while back, but because it was mostly billed as a mood tracker, I didn’t really take a closer look at it.  My moods are fairly even (and since I’ve been using Daylio, Daylio has backed this up).   But I think this could be incredibly useful to anyone who is trying to track moods because you can report all the activities you participated in on the excellent/good/bad day and see patterns. Maybe you have an especially good day when you fit in exercise and writing, or you have an especially bad day when you didn’t get enough sleep, etc.

I didn’t realize that the app is more than just mood tracking.  And I didn’t realize that it is practically word-free, using icons for activities and moods.  There’s an optional spot to add notes about your day, but nothing suggesting that it’s an important part of the daily tracking.

Like everyone else, I try to maintain some balance in my life, as busy as it is.  To keep from burning out, I try and make room for exercise, rest, reading, eating well, and relaxing with family.  I’m using the app to do this and click on each activity that I’ve been able to accomplish at the end of each day.

Writing is a habit for me (I still track it on the app, but unless I’ve gotten pretty sick, it’s on there).

For anyone who is trying to build up a writing habit (or any other good habit), this would be an incredibly easy way to do it.  You can set the app to remind you when you haven’t made an entry for the day.  And it’s very encouraging to see a string of successes.

For those of you who are into data and statistics, you can get some nice charts to see your progress (from the Daylio website):

You can customize your activities on the app to make it more useful.

And I liked the app’s privacy policy. 

For further reading and ideas on how others use Daylio, read this post by Michael Stoppa. 

Do you journal?  Use Daylio?  Are you into tracking?  What helpful apps do you use?

A Free App for Tracking Habits:
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Photo on Visualhunt.com

The post Easy, Free Tool for Tracking Habits appeared first on Elizabeth Spann Craig.

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Elizabeth Spann Craig by Elizabeth Spann Craig - 2w ago

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

Sometimes dealing with both creative work and the business end can be overwhelming.  On any given day, I’m brainstorming plots, researching a new promo approach, and reading articles about the publishing industry.  It’s a lot to juggle.

The part that probably takes up the most time and energy for me is learning something new.  And I’m always learning something new.  I’m branching into hardcover, I’m reading about new translation platforms, I’m trying a new app, I’m using a new aggregator, I’m reading up on Amazon ads.  There’s rarely a time that I’m not figuring something out.

I’ve discovered a few things that work for me in regards to both balancing the writing and business sides and making myself feel less-frantic in the process.

Write first.  There is so much to learn and apply with the business end of things that it’s easy to get wrapped up in it and lose out on writing time.  By hitting your writing goals first, you know you’re staying on track.  It has always reminded me a little of housework.  If I tackle a large project at home, like clearing out a closet, if I haven’t done my regular housework (loading the dishwasher, making beds, putting away clutter), then despite how much progress I made with the closet, I’m still feeling frustrated and behind.  By writing first, you know that anything else we accomplish that day is above and beyond.

Don’t try to multitask it.  I love using the Pomodoro method for my writing and at one point was interspersing the writing with research or business in 20-minute sessions.  But I found that this wasn’t good for either the creative work or the business work.

Set a time limit.  I usually set a timer for myself when I’m working on business-related stuff or learning something new. Otherwise, one link tends to lead to another and soon I’m lost in a rabbit hole of new information.  I can eat up hours that way if I’m not careful (and usually I don’t have hours to spend).

Keep notes.   I’ve learned that even though I’ve spent hours figuring out how to do something on my website or how to make the best ad, etc, this does not guarantee that I’ll remember how to do it the next time around.  There are tons of ways to keep notes on this stuff: use an old-fashioned notebook, create a folder in Word, or use OneNote (OneNote is my current method for organizing my notes and works really well.  Plus, it’s free).

How do you handle the balance between the writing life and business?  Any tips I’ve missed?

Tips for balancing writing and business:
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The post Balancing Writing and Business appeared first on Elizabeth Spann Craig.

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Elizabeth Spann Craig by Elizabeth Spann Craig - 3w ago

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

Twitterific writing links are fed into the Writer’s Knowledge Base search engine (developed by writer and software engineer Mike Fleming) which has over 45,000 free articles on writing related topics. It’s the search engine for writers.

Have you visited the WKB lately?  Check out the new redesign where you can browse by category, and sign up for free writing articles, on topics you choose, delivered to your email inbox!  Sign up for the Hiveword newsletter here.

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Elizabeth Spann Craig by Elizabeth Spann Craig - 3w ago

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

I was stumped a couple of months ago by a question from a very sharp writer in a high school creative writing class.  He asked me what I do on those days when I didn’t feel inspired to write.  I had to babble out some answer about what I hear that other writers do on days when they don’t feel inspired to write.  The truth is that I’m rarely inspired when I write…I just do it and fix anything that sounds ‘off’ later.

But I know what I wished I’d answered.  Because I do always make a point of filling my creative well.   I may not feel inspired when I write, but I sure as heck don’t want to feel burned out when I write.  I’ve written through burnout several times over the past ten years and it didn’t feel good.  Forcing the words out isn’t fun and the end product will need work.

For me, the answer is two-fold.  It’s surrounding myself with other people’s creativity and giving myself quiet, empty time to think or just be.

Filling the well with others’ creativity: 

Reading. I’ve really ramped up my reading this year and have read 25 books so far this year.  The main reason I increased my reading was because of a bout of burnout in 2017.  I’ve kept a TBR (to be read) list on Goodreads (a private account, since I didn’t want it to be a promo-related thing) and that has helped me to keep my reading eclectic.  I’ve read nonfiction, lit fic, YA, biographies, and mysteries.

Television.  Except I suppose it’s not really TV.   We’re pretty much unplugged here and I’m creating watchlists from Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc.  There again, I’ve been careful to curate what I’m watching and have made it as eclectic as possible.  In particular, I’ve branched out to watch a lot of foreign shows, which has been fun.

Podcasts.  I do listen to industry podcasts, but for filling my well I’m focusing more on fiction/audio drama.  I started out with Limetown and then started searching for others.  It keeps me engaged while I’m doing rote housework or cooking (sometimes too engaged and I mess things up!)  To get you started, here are a few articles with ideas for shows to listen to:  11 Fiction Podcasts Worth a Listen (by Amanda Hess, NY Times),  10 Audio Drama Podcasts to Get You Hooked on Fiction (by Wil Williams), and 10 Fiction Podcasts You Should Totally Get Sucked Into Right Now (by LeeAnn Whittemore.

Music.  I’m one of those who can’t listen to music when I write (unless it’s non-lyrical jazz or classical or new age…but sometimes that’s even distracting), but I enjoy listening to it during non-writing times.  I listen to various stations on Amazon Prime music (my kids are trying to pull me more in a Spotify direction, but I’m not there yet), and then add songs to playlists when they really appeal to me.  The stations are nice because I get to pick a general direction I want to go in with the music but it still allows for some musical serendipity.

Filling the well with quiet time: 

This is the hardest for me, but possibly the thing that gives me the most back in terms of later creativity.

Walking.  This is the best way for me to be quiet and not be restless.  Sometimes I’ll take my corgi, Finn, along and sometimes I’ll go by myself.  While I walk, I’ll usually get ideas for my current story and future stories, which I’ll make sure to record on my phone.  It’s amazing how restorative a walk can be.

How do you fill your creative well?  Have you ever experienced burnout?

Filling Your Creative Well:
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The post Filling the Creative Well appeared first on Elizabeth Spann Craig.

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Elizabeth Spann Craig by Elizabeth Spann Craig - 3w ago

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

I’ve written a few times recently about using Goodreads to better advantage.  If you’ve missed anything (making better use of giveaways and using Goodreads widgets on your website and Facebook page to find new readers), then pop over to The IWSG where I have a guest post today.

Photo on Visual hunt

 

The post Tips for Using Goodreads appeared first on Elizabeth Spann Craig.

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Elizabeth Spann Craig by Elizabeth Spann Craig - 1M ago

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

Twitterific writing links are fed into the Writer’s Knowledge Base search engine (developed by writer and software engineer Mike Fleming) which has over 45,000 free articles on writing related topics. It’s the search engine for writers.

Have you visited the WKB lately?  Check out the new redesign where you can browse by category, and sign up for free writing articles, on topics you choose, delivered to your email inbox!  Sign up for the Hiveword newsletter here.

I’m planning my editorial calendar for August and September.  Is there anything like you’d like to see covered on my blog?  Any publishing-related questions (trade or self-pub?)  Here’s a one-question anonymous form to give me some ideas.

Business / Taxes

The top writing links from last week are on Twitterific:
Click To Tweet

The post Twitterific Writing Links appeared first on Elizabeth Spann Craig.

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