36: Five Things Authors Should Quit Doing

Time is our most precious commodity, but we spend too much effort and thought–too much time–on stuff that actually holds us back. We also avoid a couple of things that make all the difference.

Get your free copy of the First Chapter Rubric.

Links:

WritingPursuits.com

Instagram: @WritingPursuitsPodcast

Three Story Method Certified Editor

KathreseMcKee.com

Mailerlite (affiliate link)

YourFirstChapter.com

Transcript
Unknown:

Time is our most precious commodity. But we spend

Unknown:

too much effort and thought too much time on stuff that actually

Unknown:

holds us back. We also avoid a couple of things that make all

Unknown:

the difference. Today I'm going to name five things authors

Unknown:

should quit doing in writing pursuits, Episode 36. Let's get

Unknown:

to it. Welcome to the writing pursuits podcast where authors

Unknown:

like you discuss writing craft, author, life and book marketing

Unknown:

strategies. I'm your host Kathrese. McKee. I own writing

Unknown:

pursuits and write and produce the weekly newsletter writing

Unknown:

pursuits, tips for authors. In addition, I am a speculative

Unknown:

fiction author, writing procedures for authors who drink

Unknown:

too much coffee, endure judgemental looks from their

Unknown:

furry writing, convenience and struggle for words. If you are a

Unknown:

writer seeking encouragement, information and inspiration,

Unknown:

this podcast is for you. Let's get to it. Hey, writing precedes

Unknown:

authors. Welcome back to the podcast. To those of you who are

Unknown:

new, I want to extend a special welcome. My name is Kathrese.

Unknown:

McKee and I help authors write great stories. Please leave a

Unknown:

comment a star rating and follow the show to help others find

Unknown:writing pursuits. This year.:Unknown:

this Flag Day is coming up as well as Father's Day in the US.

Unknown:

This Sunday with a special shout out to Juneteenth, which for

Unknown:

those of you outside the US is June the 19th. Y'all, time is

Unknown:

our most precious commodity. We can't slow it down or get it

Unknown:

back. The only thing we can do is be mindful of how we use it.

Unknown:

So do I mean you need to be busy and working and hustling?

Unknown:

24/7 365? No, not not at all. rest and rejuvenation are

Unknown:

essential ways to use our time. However, there are ways authors

Unknown:

can safeguard writing time and make the most of it. Some of

Unknown:

these might surprise you. I'm especially concerned for new

Unknown:

authors. Because I have personally made every one of

Unknown:

these mistakes much to my regret. Here are five things

Unknown:

authors should quit doing.

Unknown:

Number one, quit comparing yourself to experienced best

Unknown:

selling authors I mean it stop comparing your beginning to

Unknown:

someone else's middle or ending. Does that make sense?

Unknown:

Experienced best selling authors have been at this business for a

Unknown:

while their sales tactics and writing strategies won't

Unknown:

necessarily work for newer authors, and author with a

Unknown:

backlist of seven to 10 books is going to have a different, more

Unknown:

refined set of skills than an author with 02 or even four

Unknown:

books. New writers need to be focused on spinning the hours

Unknown:

and writing the words to achieve mastery on getting to the end on

Unknown:

seeking critique on revising their work and on publishing,

Unknown:

rinse and repeat. Also, tactics change over time, and the things

Unknown:

your idols did when they were getting started. Don't

Unknown:

necessarily work anymore. For example, a few weeks ago, I

Unknown:

talked about whether or not authors should spend time

Unknown:

blogging. That was episode 33. The answer isn't black and

Unknown:

white, of course, but don't blindly follow in someone's

Unknown:

footsteps trying to imitate everything they did back then,

Unknown:

including blogging. We all start at page zero. We all begin with

Unknown:

no published work. Learn from more experienced authors. But

Unknown:

stop comparing your results to theirs and blindly copying what

Unknown:

they do or did. That's a terrible waste of time. Number

Unknown:

two quit abandoning projects. Oh, yeah, this one kind of

Unknown:

bites. If we had $100. For every project we abandoned after the

Unknown:

first five chapters, we could go on a really nice vacation,

Unknown:

right? This is your coach speaking it's okay to stop

Unknown:

writing a project you just can't figure out I know, it seems so

Unknown:

promising you loved the main character. The world building

Unknown:

was thrilling, but something just wasn't right. You lost

Unknown:

confidence in the idea and you decided to put it away. Here's

Unknown:

the problem you need to practice finishing manuscripts. So I'm

Unknown:

going to give you a strategy to use from now on, you're going to

Unknown:

say I'm crazy. But hear me out. This will make the time you

Unknown:

quote unquote wasted on a project. count for something

Unknown:

ready, skip the middle and write an ending. Maybe it won't be the

Unknown:

ending. Maybe it won't be a great ending. It doesn't have to

Unknown:

be super long. Just kind of brainstorm a conclusion to the

Unknown:

story based on what you've written so far. Write a pie in

Unknown:

the sky happily ever after.

Unknown:

Adding or destroy the universe, write an ending to the story. As

Unknown:

you know it, the content of the ending doesn't matter as much as

Unknown:

getting to the end. And who says you can't write two or more

Unknown:

endings. Now put the project aside. If you want carefully

Unknown:

store it in an archive of potential ideas you never know,

Unknown:

when something will click about an old story idea, getting to

Unknown:

the end.

Unknown:

No matter how frustrating that is, is a valuable use of time.

Unknown:

It's a valuable experience. So stop abandoning projects and

Unknown:

tossing them in file 13. Practice getting to the end and

Unknown:

kind of hoard those ideas in a certain spot store them away.

Unknown:

Number three, quit creating your own covers. If you are a trained

Unknown:

designer, then knock yourself out. Obviously this tip doesn't

Unknown:

apply to you. Yes, I have created a book cover on my own.

Unknown:

And it even turned out okay, but I spent days learning Photoshop

Unknown:

to turn out an okay cover when I should have hired a cover

Unknown:

designer to create a fantastic cover. Do I remember what I

Unknown:

learned in Photoshop? Not a bit, I can hear you saying Canva is

Unknown:

easier. But Canva is not Illustrator or Photoshop. Just

Unknown:

stop it stop. Your book cover is the first thing a buyer sees and

Unknown:

its importance cannot be exaggerated. readers see

Unknown:

hundreds of covers in a single buying session. And you don't

Unknown:

want your cover to stand out for the wrong reasons. Your cover

Unknown:

has a fraction of a second on Amazon, or on a bookshelf to be

Unknown:

evaluated. Save your nickels, dimes and dollars, stop going to

Unknown:

Starbucks, do whatever you have to do to hire a good cover

Unknown:

designer, and save your time for writing the next book. If you

Unknown:

just really really cannot afford to hire a cover designer, get a

Unknown:

premade cover, it's probably going to be better than you can

Unknown:

produce yourself. And it's certainly a better use of time.

Unknown:

Number four, quit avoiding critique. Um, that's another one

Unknown:

that applies to me. But every time every time I sought

Unknown:

critique my work improved by miles, and swiftly to So how's

Unknown:

that going to save me time you ask? It takes time to garner

Unknown:

critiques. Often you need to take the time to critique

Unknown:

someone else's work while you wait for them to critique.

Unknown:

Here's how does that save time two ways you learn from someone

Unknown:

else's mistakes, and you get help spotting your weaknesses.

Unknown:

So you become a better writer sooner. The trick is to be

Unknown:

choosy about your critique partners to find that person you

Unknown:

can trust to tell you the truth in a way you can respect. Most

Unknown:

often this is not your mother or your sister or brother. But a

Unknown:

good critique partner will save you time. Buckets of time in the

Unknown:

long run. Your writing can improve much sooner if you seek

Unknown:

out critique. Your work will be ready for primetime much sooner.

Unknown:

If you stop avoiding thoughtful criticism. Get out there and

Unknown:

beat the bushes to find a partner or small group of

Unknown:

authors willing to swap critiques. grow a thick skin and

Unknown:

bite the bullet. This is a good way to use your time to save

Unknown:

time. In the end. What is the fifth thing to quit doing? The

Unknown:

answer in a moment? First, a word from our sponsor. Writing

Unknown:

pursuits is run by Kathrese. McKee who has been trusted by

Unknown:fiction authors since:Unknown:

level of excellence. Guthrie's is a three story methods

Unknown:

certified editor who specializes in story diagnostics, coaching,

Unknown:

and line editing to help you prepare your story for the

Unknown:

journey ahead. For more information, go to writing

Unknown:

pursuits.com. The link is in the show notes. And now back to the

Unknown:

podcast. So far, we have covered four things you should quit

Unknown:

doing. Comparing yourself to experienced best selling

Unknown:

authors. Your beginning is not the same as their middle or end.

Unknown:

Abandoning projects before you write an ending, creating your

Unknown:

own covers and avoiding critique. Number five, quit

Unknown:

waiting to create an email list. You knew I was going to say that

Unknown:

I've been telling my authors to create an email list since long

Unknown:

before writing pursuit started. Neglecting to build an email

Unknown:

list is the biggest mistake I made as a new author and it

Unknown:

continues to be something I regret make building a list your

Unknown:

priority and it's easy write a short story in format it on

Unknown:

drafted digital, put it on book funnel and create a landing

Unknown:

page. Share your landing page link and continue to share it

Unknown:

when you have one subscriber

Unknown:

To start sending out a newsletter every month, if you

Unknown:

don't know how to communicate with your subscribers, or even

Unknown:

if you think you do retangular bricks newsletter NINJA book,

Unknown:

building a reader community is supposed to be fun. Don't

Unknown:

overcomplicate having an email list, sign up for free mailer

Unknown:

light or ConvertKit account and get started building your list.

Unknown:

Spending time on your list is never time wasted. And when your

Unknown:

book launches, at least someone who has downloaded your short

Unknown:

story and stayed on your email list will know who you are and

Unknown:

buy your book. Every mailing lists starts at zero, you must

Unknown:

earn your readers. That's the truth. So stop waiting to create

Unknown:

your mailing list. As I said before, I have made all of these

Unknown:

mistakes, all of them, and I want to help you avoid making

Unknown:

the same mistakes. What are some things you need to quit doing to

Unknown:

succeed as an author? I'd be interested to know your thoughts

Unknown:

on this this topic. That's the question of the week. What are

Unknown:

some things you need to quit doing to succeed as an author?

Unknown:

Leave your answer at writing pursuits.com forward slash

Unknown:

podcast forward slash 36. That's all I have for today. Until next

Unknown:

time, keep writing. Thank you for joining us today. If you

Unknown:

enjoyed this episode, please leave a comment and follow the

Unknown:

podcast. If you're new around here. I hope you will sign up

Unknown:

for the weekly newsletter writing pursuits. Tips for

Unknown:

authors that link and all the links mentioned in today's

Unknown:

episode are in the shownotes at writing pursuits.com Please join

Unknown:

us on Wednesdays for new episodes and keep writing my

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.