Writing Tips for Authors

By Robert W. Lucas

If you must eat an elephant, it is best to do it one bite at a time! What that means is that, rather than tackling an entire writing project and plugging through, create a writing action plan and schedule, and then work on small sections over a period of time. Similarly, rather than tackling all your marketing initiatives at once, space your research, development of materials, and initiatives to get the word out into chunks. Try doing one activity a day to market yourself and your books until you feel comfortable increasing the effort.

Writing Tips for Authors

For example, rather than saying, “I am going to write until I am tired” or “I am going to write two pages or chapters today,” plan to write for an hour or identify a reasonable number of pages or timeframe that you will write. After that, take a break or quit for the day. Using good time management strategies can help keep your mind alert, keeps you focused and will not burn you out on the project or the writing in general. It also helps prevent you from getting blood clots in your legs from sitting too long. Always get up periodically and walk around for five to ten minutes throughout your day.

This strategy should also be employed if you are researching content for your work. Rather than spending eight hours searching the Internet for articles, information and ideas, set aside a short block of time.

Once you decide on a topic, start gathering material over a period of time as you come across things that might add value to what you plan to write. Keep articles and Web links written down and placed in a folder on your computer or in a manila folder. Capturing your thoughts can also be done with writing software designed for authors such as Scrivener. The latter allows you to click and drag research domain names into a research folder in the software to access later and to pin thoughts on an electronic corkboard for future reference.

The key to effective book and article writing is to develop a system and stick with it. Find what works for you related to the best time of day, how long you write, where you write, how you do your research and other strategies that you feel are effective. The more you write, the easier and more innate the system becomes.