Category Archives: Motivation and the Writing Life

Writing Conferences and Festivals

A room of empty blue chairs demonstrates the size of a writing conference or festival

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

I’ve been to a variety of different conferences over the years and tried to get the most out of each experience. Sometimes I had a better time than others, but I invariably learned something.

Types of conferences:

In-person writing conferences are where I’m usually in my element. There I meet and talk with different writers, learn more about the craft, and hear more about the latest promo techniques.

Online writing conferences can also be incredibly useful. What’s more, you don’t even have to leave your house (which is wonderful! I’ve even been speaker at some of these events from the comfort of my own home).  My favorite is the Indie Author Fringe conference, which runs online at several points throughout the year.  This year it will be held March 18, June 3rd,  and October 14th.  The best part is that it’s free and has experts in a variety of different writing-related areas.  More information here and see the event archives here:

For the first time, I’m actually part of reader-facing online mystery conference this week (which is why this topic was on my mind when I wrote the post).  It’s Mystery Thriller Week: If you’re a mystery writer or reader or are just interested in seeing how a fan festival could work online, take a look here. It’s designed to bring readers, book bloggers, and mystery writers together online.  I’ve got a few posts scheduled to run this week (they’ll show up in my Twitterific this Sunday), but here are a couple of links in advance:  My interview with Michelle Dragalin and   “Three Ways for Writers to Use Deadlines” (which will go live at noon EST today).  My books are also getting reviewed by different bloggers. This will be a yearly event, so if you’re a mystery writer, make a note to contact the organizers so that you can participate next year.

Book Festivals: The ones that probably make me the most uncomfortable are the ones that have me sitting at a table, hawking my books. I’m not much of a hawker. In fact, the last time I was at an event like this, I left my table and wandered around the building to see everyone else’s books and to meet other writers. Although I’m not really a shy person, I can be very shy around readers.  I know…leaving my table wasn’t the right way to sell books. Now I’m aware that this is not the kind of event I need to attend.  That’s also something important for writers to know–what is the type of conference or festival that’s more valuable for them? Continue reading Writing Conferences and Festivals

Top Time Savers for Writing

Alarm clock in foreground demonstrates that time savers are important to writers.

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

I rely on a lot of time savers to help me stay productive. I’ve spoken to writers before who’ve asked me how long I spend writing each day.  I usually spend no more than thirty minutes writing, but that thirty minutes is enough for me to publish 2-3 books a year and get a head start on another.

I think it’s because of these time saving tricks. Not everyone wants to be a faster writer or needs to be a faster writer.  If you’re someone who is already trying to increase your writing speed, here are the things that work for me. Some of them help me stay on track and fight distraction. Some of them are memory crutches that help cut my revision times dramatically.  Continue reading Top Time Savers for Writing

Creative Challenges for Better Productivity

A wet paintbrush lies on a colorfully streaked canvas

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

Sometimes I think that we need something to spur us on and get us going.

We need something different to help us either grow or keep ourselves engaged. Maybe we’ve been working on one book for a long period of time. Maybe we’ve been working on a particular series so long that we feel we’re getting stale. Maybe it’s that we’ve been writing a single genre.

Sometimes we’re just weighed down by our story.

For me, the best thing I can do is to shake things up a little bit. 

Write at a different time of day.

Write in a different place (my favorite is the library).

Read something really good. For me, this is usually something in a genre I’m not writing. Or, maybe, I’m reading a mystery, but it’s not the same subgenre. Or I’ll read an inspiring autobiography or biography on an artist. Continue reading Creative Challenges for Better Productivity

Resolutions of a Self-Publisher

Digital tablet and Apple Computer on a Desk.

by David Wogahn, @wogahn

Self-publishing is a humbling experience. When I started, I was in fear of my work being ripped off, good friends didn’t review my book, blog readers and subscribers didn’t flock to my website, I was (still am!) frazzled by all the social media and marketing options. On top of that, Amazon takes a huge slice of my sales.

Who among us have not had these thoughts? Heck, I admit to still having them. It’s not productive.

To begin this New Year, I’ve written down 5 resolutions to help me stay on track. At least one is easier than the others—in fact I have little choice. But keeping them all in mind will make for a healthier, and more productive mindset for 2017. I hope they help you too.

*  *  *  *  *

Think: Reciprocity.

How often have I uttered the phrase, “I write blog posts but no one reads them. Why should I bother?” Continue reading Resolutions of a Self-Publisher

Focusing for Better Productivity

Close up of a woman's face with a brown eye.

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

Just a year or two ago, I had so much that I was trying to multi-task that I got easily overwhelmed.

What’s more, I felt really scattered.  There were so many different things to work on that I’d work a bit on one thing (maybe adding my books to a publishing platform) and then start working a few minutes later on something else that seemed equally important and pressing (maybe the book that I needed to finish).

The biggest problem was the very fact that everything seemed equally pressing.  This feeling that I needed to really scurry to get things done spurred the multitasking.  I felt as if everything were an emergency.   I considered all of my tasks equally important…personal and professional.  And if I thought of something that needed to be done (buy a birthday present for a friend whose birthday was in a week), then I felt as if I immediately wanted to check the task off my list.

A couple of things got me to reevaluate how I was handling my priorizing of tasks. Continue reading Focusing for Better Productivity