Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Dedicated Website

Okay, so I haven't had a dedicated website for myself in years. If you typed in elanajohnson.com, the magic monkeys behind the Interwebz would redirect you to...this blog!

But, over the past couple of weeks, I've decided to buy web hosting and make some websites. This is mostly because I have two personas now, and I'm publishing a lot of books, and I feel like I need a more permanent landing page for my fans.

While I was doing all that (which is actually kind of fun for my right and left brains!), I contemplated what to do with this blog.

See, I've been here for years. Eight to be exact. I've loved interacting with all of you. I have scads and scads of (I think) helpful articles about publishing, marketing, querying, and yes, losing weight. Ha!

At first, I thought I'd migrate them all over to WordPress, one post at a time. I was actually getting on today to redirect people over to the new blog site!

But I just can't do it. I've loved this little corner of blogdom, and I don't want to leave it. I have neglected it for a few months, but hey, writing and publishing a new book every 11 weeks can cause some virtual neglect.

I am determined to get back to blogging. I love doing it, and I've been learning lots of new things. And I'm going to do it here. I'm just going to link from my new website back to this blog. I think that will actually make things easier, and things won't get lost.

But, if you want to check out my new website, please do! And if you're interested in my adult romances, you'll have to check out Liz Isaacson's website. She's me. But with a different name. :)

What have you been doing this summer? I hope it's been better than building websites while your kids swim with their friends. Just sayin'. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Summer Writing

Okay, so I've heard some people say they don't get any writing done during the summer. But it's my most productive time of the year! I know, I know. I don't have little children at home, and the one I do dances 16 hours a week. Even if I wrote 1000 words per hour of her dance, I could write 16,000 words per week.

And still have all her free time to spend with her.

So I get it. Everyone is in a different stage of life. But I do work during the other times of the year, serve on my community's library board, and hold a demanding job in my church. I have times where I feel like I can't write too.

So how do we do it?

Some tips, garnered from the last 9 years since I started writing.

1. Make those 15 minutes count. Sometimes I literally have 15 minutes in my schedule. I tell myself I'm going to write one scene in that 15 minutes. It could be 400 - 500 words, and that's more than I had before.

Don't let those little windows of time get away from you. If you have four of them spaced throughout the day, you've written 2000 words.

2. Micromanage. Yes! Finally a way to satisfy my micromanaging tendencies. If I'm having a particularly busy day of teaching, running errands, taxi-ing people everywhere, meetings at night, etc. I learn to micromanage my time. I tell myself, "You'll have one hour from 9:00 - 10:00 pm tonight. Write 1000 words then."

Then I don't have to think about writing all day. I don't have to have this well of anxiety in my stomach that "I haven't written yet!" I don't have to be impatient with the people and situations I'm in and how they're cutting into my writing time.

Trust me, I've had all of that over the years. And it doesn't help the creative process to be under stress about trying to be creative.

3. Outline. I used to be a complete pantser. The thought of outlining gave me hives, and I thought I'd never do it. But now that I'm trying to produce more as a way of promoting my work, I find that I can't just keep pantsing my way through a book. The revision process is just too hard. And sometimes, if I can't think of anything, I'm not productive during writing time either.

But if I outline -- at least a little bit -- I find that I don't have long stretches of staring at the blank screen. My revision process is much smoother, allowing me to get to publication or submission faster -- and onto the next project faster too.

4. Schedule days off. When I first started writing, I thought I had to write everyday or I wasn't a real author. That is totally false. Some people are full-time writers, and they "go to work" everyday and write. That's great for them. Works for them. Some people are binge writers and purge all their words in a weekend or a few days each month. They're real writers too.

If you write words on a page, you're a real writer. Everyone will give you advice on how to be a real writer, but the only person who can determine that is you. Even if you don't write everyday.

I schedule my writing time by project and week. So I look at my week and I see what days I have what activities, and sometimes I just say, "I will not be writing on Thursday." And that's okay. And it's freeing. And I still make my writing goals without feeling like a failure. And the last part of that sentence is key.

Anyway, I know these tips have worked for me during my busy times (hello September, October, April and May). Using them, I've managed to keep my productivity up and still live a balanced life.

What helps you stay productive, even when you've got kids at home or other distractions? 

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