Archive for October, 2007

Writing Hint #38: Collaborate

Writing can be a lonely pursuit.

One way of overcoming this is to write collaboratively with another writer. I normally do not do this, but I’ve done it enough to know that it can be a very stimulating activity. I love the energy it can create as ideas spark off each of the participants. The collaborative writing I’ve done was largely in the context of when I was a classroom teacher. More recently it has been in the context of writing leadership policies and various other documents for our local church.

It is worth seeking out another like minded person and planning a collaborative writing project with them. An added bonus is that working in this way you not only spark ideas off each other but you are also accountable to each other. You are less likely to procrastinate if the other person is relying upon you.

Another method

I recently heard an interview on local radio featuring two authors who wrote and published a book collaboratively. All the writing was done via email and a few phone calls. The two authors never met until the book was actually launched. Collaboration does not mean you actually have to be in the same room together, though I find that writing in this way to be very intellectually stimulating. The two people in the case just quoted lived in different states here in Australia. The speed of email makes such collaborative efforts so easy these days.

Good writing.

How to motivate the writer within you

This is a HUGE topic.

Whole books have been written about the topic of motivation. I just want to give you one little writing hint today. It works for me but I acknowledge that it may not work for everyone. However, I believe it is worth a try.

Graph the hours written

I keep a daily record of the number of hours I spend on my writing. It is not totally accurate to the minute; it is just a guide. Then I graph the results over a whole year. I can then see if I’m improving, slowing down or not being very productive. If I see my graph going in an upwards direction it encourages me to keep on going. If the graph is declining it spurs me on to get back on track. It keeps me accountable. Matched against my goals for the year I can see at a glance how I’m going.

It works for me. Perhaps it can work for you too.

Bonus Idea:

You could also keep a record of the number of words written and graph that against your weekly, monthly or annual goals.

Good writing.

The Adventures of Nancy – where’s Butch?

Nancy's friend Butch

Nancy's friend Butch

Hi there,

Nancy here again after a little break.

I’ve been busy helping around the house and garden. Grandpa Trevor has been spending too much time on the computer and I haven’t been able to sneak into the office to talk to you, my loyal readers and fans. (Yes – both of you.)

Forgot to tell you what happened last week. Grandpa and Grandma invited Keith and Rose around for dinner. When they got here I barked my usual welcome to them, like I do for all of our visitors. I like to make people feel welcome.

Then I realised that someone was missing. Where’s Butch? I asked them politely but they only made excuses. They said something about Butch having to guard the house. What rubbish. I know that they have a very good alarm system.

Never mind. I might just wander over there and visit him myself. No wait – tomorrow might be too hot. I couldn’t arrive all hot and sweaty now, could I? It just wouldn’t be ladylike. I’ll wait until Grandma Corinne takes me over in style, riding in the front seat of the car.

Talk to you soon.


Are you one of the six per cent?

Last week I attended a two day seminar on leadership. It was the Global Leadership Summit – rather grand name that – sponsored by the Willow Creek church. I attended in order to enhance and develop my leadership skills within my local church. It was a truly inspiring series of presentations. Key speakers included screen writer and director Richard Curtis, former US Secretary of State Colin Powell and former President Jimmy Carter.

One of the facilitators challenged the 700 people present to apply what they had learned at this summit. He stated simply that the information gained over the course of the two day event was enough to significantly change one’s life. And if everyone made one significant change as a result of the summit, whole communities could see enormous change.

Sad fact

The speaker then went on to state the sad statistic that, at best, only six per cent of attendees will do any follow up or make any significant changes. Once the enthusiasm of the event is over, once the musicians stop playing and the dust settles, people drift back into their old ways of operating. Very few make any effort to apply what they have learned. Only six per cent have any impact for change. I think that the percentage is a little generous. I suspect the true figure is much less.

Writers and the six per cent

Many people dream of being writers. Some people actually do something about it and write something. Even less send manuscripts to publishers and very few are actually published. As far as books are concerned, the figure in Australia is less than one per cent. Most larger publishers receive more than a thousand manuscripts annually from would-be authors. Of those, perhaps five to ten will ever be published. Daunting odds. That equates to less than one per cent. This figure is probably very much the same in other countries. Are you determined to be in that six per cent – or that one per cent?

Bloggers and the six per cent

The situation is frighteningly similar for bloggers. Of the 75 million or so blogs out there, perhaps only ten per cent are actively maintained on a regular basis. I’m guessing that figure – I have no hard evidence to back up my claims. Furthermore, less than one per cent, make any money from their blogging. Granted, there are people who choose to blog for the joy of writing with no intention of making money from their writing. That’s fine. But for those who intend to make a living from their writing, the message is clear. You have to be in the top one per cent in order to make even a modest income.

What now?

As in so many fields of endeavour, the learning should never end. Be constantly learning about writing or blogging so that in a year’s time you can look back and see the progress you have made in your chosen pursuit. Don’t be content to be in the 94% who hear or read about what to do – but never apply it to their writing.

Good writing.

The Adventures of Nancy – I just want to play a game

Nancy wanting to play

Nancy wanting to play

Hi there readers,

Nancy here again.

I’m a bit peeved at the moment.

All I want to do is play a game. Grandma Corinne is so busy doing something with her plants that she has no time for a game. And Grandpa Trevor sits at his computer writing on his Travel Blog or putting pictures on his Birding Blog all day. They don’t play any games with me. I give them a little bark to remind them every so often, but they do is growl at me and tell me to be quiet.

It’s just not fair. I need exercise. And playing chasey around the house is a noisy game. I can’t help it, I get so excited.

Oh, I think I’ll just go and have another sleep in my nice soft bed.

Talk to you soon,

Nancy – the Dog with Attitude.