Renee Writes

Posts in category IWSG

#ISWG – One Step Forward, Two Steps Back (But It’s All Good)!

 

I missed last months post, and nearly missed this month as well, thanks to the flu. It’s that time of year here in Australia, and I get sick so easily at the best of times. Of course, I scheduled to get the flu shot the day before I got sick, but thankfully by the time I went in my fever had broken, so I was able to get it. I seriously hope I can avoid getting that sick again. I end of falling so far behind.

I still haven’t finished writing Episode 20 of my Shadow Stalker serial and Episode 21 is due out tomorrow… guess what’s not happening?

At least I’ve been writing little bits at a time though, and Episode 20 is nearly done. I’ll just release stuff as I finish it until I’m all caught up. Thankfully, I have a great group of readers who seem to be very supportive when I get sick like this. Happens to us all, I suppose.

Writing for me is always slow between March and August, so I think in the future I need to plan for that…and that’s what I wanted to talk about today.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the stress and anxiety of keeping up with a schedule, especially when you have a chronic illness. For those who don’t know, I have Hashimoto’s Disease, which is an autoimmune disease which affects the thyroid. I’m one of the lucky ones who doesn’t respond well to the treatment, so most days I feel like I haven’t slept for days, my brain almost always feels like mush, and I won’t even get started on the pain.

I used to get very stressed out and feel like a failure when I couldn’t keep up with writing schedules like other authors, but it was very counterproductive. So I started talking about my illness and my setbacks with others, and it was the best thing I could have done. People are quite supportive, which gave me the push I needed to keep going.

It’s important to recognize your limitations and work with them, rather than trying to force yourself to keep up with everyone else. Instead of worrying whether or not I’m keeping up with my schedule, I rearrange my schedule when I need to, and instead I focus on following a routine. Even when I’m not well, I try to write a little every day. I’ve had days where all I could manage was a few sentences, but every little bit brings me closer to finishing my project.

Some days I can’t write at all, but that’s okay too. I use those days to catch up on other things like emails and promotional stuff. If I can’t get out of bed, I’ll even work from my phone (thank goodness for smartphones, right?). Eventually, I always catch up. It helps that I schedule time off from writing during my daughter’s school holidays, so I can use that time for catching up.

Do you have trouble sticking to a schedule? Do you have an illness or injury that makes it seem impossible? What do you do to keep going? I’d love to hear your story.

Check out some other great #IWSG posts by other great authors!

 

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#IWSG – Learning to use Twitter

I know social media isn’t the best way to promote your work, but it is great for networking. Learning to use it properly, so you don’t waste a lot of time is the trick though, and it’s what I’ve been working on lately (when I’m not writing). The hardest part for me is knowing what to say…

I schedule basic tweets to go out, like promotional stuff, my blog posts, author spotlights that I do and things of that nature. But it’s not enough. You need to connect with other authors. It’s easy to just reply to people who reply to one of your tweets, or even to reply to someone else’s if you have something (hopefully nice) to say. It’s another to know what to tweet that doesn’t involve promoting something.

When I see what others talk about, I think… oh this is easy. I can do this. Then when the time comes, I sit there looking at the screen thinking, “I have no idea what I’m supposed to type.”

I try to talk about what I’m doing, especially when I’m writing or editing, but most of the time I forget. Lately I’ve been leaving Twitter open so every time I get the urge to say something about what I’m doing, I just have to click over to my browser and start typing. I even have a list of hashtags to choose from so I can reach others through my tweets.

Hashtags, I’ve learned in the last several months, are extremely important. They’re how others on Twitter find topics they want to engage in. So learning which hashtags to use has been the second hardest thing for me.

At first I would start typing in different keywords with the # symbol to see if it came up on the list. I figured if it came up, it was a hashtag that was used often, and this is mostly true. The problem is, there could be keywords I’m not even thinking of that are better. So my search began for the hashtags everyone’s using.

One way is to just watch which hashtags other authors are using. Check out those searches and see what is being shared so you have an idea of where and when to use that particular hashtag. I did this for a while, but it still seemed to be taking up so much of my time. I could spend hours researching popular hashtags for authors.

Then Joshua Robertson gave me a link to a site that listed some popular ones that authors use: 44 Essential Twitter Hashtags Every Author Should Know

From there I’ve made three lists. One is hashtags used for connecting with readers, one is for connecting with other authors, and the other is general indie publishing type hashtags. I’ve since done occasional searches for other lists, and I keep updating it, since hashtag popularity changes and new ones are always being used.

It’s so much easier now that I have the lists though. Sometimes, I even read through my hashtags for inspiration on what to talk about.

Here are my lists for those who are interested:

To reach readers:

#MustRead
#BookGiveaway
#GoodRead
#FridayReads
#AmReading
#Fantasy
#YA
#StoryFriday
#TeaserTues
#FreeBook
#FreeDownload
#Kindle
#InstaFreebie
#FantasyArt
#FreebieFriday
#SneakPeek
#HeadTalker
#Thunderclap

Industry Tags:

#IndiePub
#SelfPub
#SelfPublishing
#BookMarketing
#Ebooks
#Publishing
#GetPublished
#Digital
#IndiePubChat
#IndieAuthors
#PromoTip
#AskAuthor
#IARTG
#SupportIA

Writing Tags:

#AmWriting
#Grammar
#WritingTips
#WritingTip
#Writing
#1K1H (1000 words in 1 hour)
#WriteTip
#WritingPrompt
#WriteChat
#NaNoWriMo
#AmEditing
#WordCount
#WriterWednesday #WW
#WritersLife
#WritingParty
#WANA (We Are Not Alone)
#WIP
#Creativity
#WordAThon
#StoryStarter
#ISWG

Are there any hashtags you use (not listed here) that work for you? I’d love to add them to my list! Please share them in the comments and have a great month! Happy writing (and reading)!

Oh, and don’t forget to read some other great #IWSG posts here!

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#IWSG – How Being a Writer Has Changed My Experience as a Reader!

Since this is my first time, I think I’ll make it simple and use the suggested question of the month. Well, that and it’s a really good question. I might even add it to my author interview form for my author spotlights!

How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?

I’ve always had a bad habit of seeing every little error in books I’ve read. Now that my proofreading and grammar skills have improved, it’s gotten worse. I’m not one of those who gets upset over every error I find in a book. After all, everyone makes mistakes and none of us are perfect (and I’ve had plenty of them in my own books, so who am I to complain), but when I read a book that’s littered with dozens of obvious errors on every page, it does get hard to read now, when it’s something I’d easily overlook.

On the plus side, I notice other aspects more too, and I learn a lot about different techniques that can be used to make a story more engaging. When I find a book that really captures my interest, I’ll read it a few times to determine what it is about that book that makes it hard to put down. Then I’ll try to apply that to my own writing.

It really has helped me appreciate what authors go through to bring me the book I’m reading as well. When I get a good story to read, I find the whole experience is just more enjoyable because I understand the process (if that makes sense).

If you’re a writer, I’d love to share how being a writer has changed your reading experiences. And if you’re a reader, what do you get from your reading experiences?

Read more posts from the IWSG authors!

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