Five Tips To Combat A Writer’s Worst Enemy – Procrastination

No, you don’t have ADHD, you’re just a writer…

Seriously though, giving into procrastination is one of the worst habits a writer can have, and sadly, it’s quite common.

If your goal is to get your manuscript published, to have people read your work, to be financially free to make writing a full-time job – in short, to move beyond the label of “aspiring writer” – then you need to get cracking.

Throughout the time that I’ve operated The Literary Game, I keep referring to the 10,000 hours rule espoused by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers because it’s true. If you want to be a writer, you need to put the work in. The question then becomes how do you fight procrastination? It’s simple – realize what’s at stake. If you make excuses to not write, you won’t be a writer.

I certainly don’t expect my readers to be wholly devoid of any other responsibilities aside from writing. I expect that the vast majority have at least a few of the following in their lives: jobs; significant others; school; familial responsibilities; health issues; or a social life. Yes, it may seem like there’s simply no time to actually move forward in your writing career. That’s a lie.

If writing is your passion, surely, you probably want to be recognized for it. You probably would love to have people read your writing. You probably would love to do it full-time. You can’t do any of those if you don’t actually write on a consistent basis.

But again, aside from sheer willpower and understanding the larger picture, how do you fight procrastination? Here are a few tips:

1. Embrace Love. If you’re not married or in a relationship, find love with someone who complements you. If you are married or in a relationship, and it’s not providing you that spark, then fix your problems or move on. Love is a vitalizing force that can stir anyone past their natural limitations.

2. Sleep. This one’s simple. If you’re exhausted, your thinking will be muddled, and your writing will be subpar. Try to get at least seven hours of sleep every night to keep yourself focused and positive.

3. Exercise. This one’s NOT a time waster. The energy you will receive from consistent exercising will offset the time spent. An added bonus of better health isn’t too bad either!

4. Realize That It’s A Process. Even if you work consistently to write while balancing all your other responsibilities, it may be a while before you move forward. Understand that and accept that anything worth it takes time to develop, and becoming a successful writer is no exception.

5. Eliminate Your Vices. Regardless of whether it’s something as serious as drug abuse, or something seemingly innocuous like spending too much time on Facebook, take action to eliminate your vices. If you can’t do it alone, make sure to contact a friend, family member, loved one, or trained professional to help you along. The time saved from giving in to your vice can easily be transferred to your writing.

Thank you for reading. If you would be so kind, please help me publicize my blog by sharing this post on social media if you found my advice helpful. Also, I would also love to assist any aspiring writer who needs help in getting their writing published, or could benefit from a skilled editor to look over their work. If you would like my assistance in these endeavors, simply email me. Thanks!

-Alfonso

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Five Ways to Effectively Market Your Self-Published Book

In previous posts, I’ve been quite critical of self-published books. The reason for my reluctance to advocate that writers go that route is that quite often self-publishing is a complete dead end. Virtually no one ends up reading the average self-published book. Of course, there are many exceptions, but truthfully, this is the case for the vast majority of books published with vanity presses.

Self-published books have a bad reputation because many self-published works could have seriously benefited from a massive edit on content, and oftentimes even on basics like spelling and grammar; however, there are quite a number of incredible books that deserve to be read that have been self-published.

So, how do you keep your self-published book from getting lost in the sea of anonymity? Here are a few helpful suggestions:

1. Tell Your Friends and Family. By tell your friends and family, I don’t mean just your closest friends, your partner, and your mom and dad – tell EVERYONE in your network. Find appropriate, non-awkward ways to pitch your book to everyone you know. Explain that you would deeply appreciate it if they read your book, and if they tell others about it afterwards. If you go the traditional route and just plaster social media, very few of your contacts will actually proceed with reading it, much less helping you publicize your book; however, if you treat your contacts respectfully by approaching them individually, you’ll get much better results.

2. Leverage Your Life. Whatever passions, work, and undertakings you are a part of, find an appropriate way to connect your book to them. Whatever base you have in your area of expertise, find a way to connect it with your book in a way that’s respectful of that world.

3. Become An Internet Player. The Internet is democratic. If people like your ideas and your presence, and most especially, if you’re helpful to others, people will respond. The best way is to start a blog, frequent message boards, become a beta reader, of find other ways to help writers via the Internet. The more writers you help, the more people will be open to reading your work and helping you promote it.

4. Make a YouTube Promo. YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine after Google. Try making a captivating video to promote your book in a way that it might go viral. If it’s just a direct pitch to buy the book, few viewers will care, but if the video itself will stick in people’s minds, you’ll get many new readers.

5. Have a Website for the Book. If you’re good with technology, develop an aesthetically pleasing, content-rich search engine optimized website to promote your book. If not, hire a web designer and SEO expert. Either way, you need a website for your book. If possible, try to make the website as interactive as possible. If you simply ask people to buy your book, yet you don’t really help others or interact with them, few people will take you up on your offer.

I hope these ideas are helpful if you choose to go the self-publishing route. Of course, if you need any help with publishing consultancy, editing, or need a skilled book doctor, just email me. I’d love to help you achieve your literary dreams!

-Alfonso