How to…Write a Nonfiction Book in Ten Days (While crossing the writer’s block)

 Guest Blog by M. C. Simon

 

You have a blank page on your desk, a blank screen on your laptop, or whatever blank object you want to have in front of your eyes. You stare at it wondering how you will manage to fill it with words; wise, interesting, amazing words that will teleport the reader into a magical parallel world. While staring, you suddenly have a revelation; a deep one. And this revelation says that You, the Writer, are in the middle of a powerful and stubborn phase called a “writer’s block.”

The panic attack is nearing. The deadline for your book awaits you behind the next corner of time. Your brain starts to fight like a real ninja who is suddenly attacked by an army of mosquitoes. The writer’s block bites you from all directions at the same time. The white page becomes even whiter. It almost shines.

How can you overcome all these sensations?

Listen! I found such a simple method. It is so simple that even my two super-smart cerebral hemispheres wondered how this could be possible. It was a miracle. And I realized that… miracles are, in fact, in our hands. We can handle them if we use our knowledge and we trust in our passion.

Not too long ago, I found myself in front of a shiny blank page while writing my first novel; wanting to give the reader tools to help their own life on this planet, I decided that my first novel will be a combination of Fiction, Romance, and Spiritual. It has roots in old manuscripts written by humans who have reached high spiritual levels, and though it I wrap the information into a romantic adventurous garment—the intention is to awaken the incarnated souls who are now on this planet to seek the hidden meaning of all that is said.

I was left completely bewildered in my chair, near my desk, when the writer’s block hit me. Whatever I was doing to bring my inspiration back, did not return any positive results. During the moments when I was crying on my own shoulder, like a super yogi who can twist any member of her body, I was looking with lost eyes around me.

The next revelation invaded my whole human being (I have to mention here that in my case, the revelations are coming like trains in a railway station…when they are needed, and never missing). I understood what was happening.

The problem was my desk. Yes, you heard it well. My desk was positioned in such a way, that all the creative energy was being blocked. Even if this creativity would come in huge waves surrounding me, the energy created by my desk would block everything. Do I need to mention the so-called “poisoned arrows” headed for me from several directions?

Having many fields of interests in this life, and most of them becoming passions, I started to apply my knowledge about Feng Shui. I changed the position of the desk, I improved sectors needed in a writer’s prolific life, and after this, I started writing again.

The words were flowing in my head like a mountain river in its channel. The ideas were coming in such an intense way that I almost couldn’t follow all because of their speed.

Unexpectedly, in those moments of total bliss, I felt something I could compare with guilt.

I asked myself: “What are you doing? Do you really want to keep these only for yourself? There are so many writers who need to know how they can influence the energy around them!”

I cannot stand any feelings of guilt; so instantly, a decision was made. I will write a book about handling the energies that affect a writer. And I started to write.

The completed steps are as follows:

(1)  At the end of the first day, I already had written 20 pages. I was doing this with such a passion that nothing could stop me.

(2)  The second day found me in the position of wondering how to organize all the information—if I am using a Word document. For a novel, it is easy to handle the plot, but for a non-fiction book, the situation is somehow harder. You need to have control over what you are writing in each moment. At that point, I was losing a lot of time scrolling up and down inside the pages.

I remembered hearing about the miraculous software used by the writers, called Scrivener. I made some online researches, but I was not prepared to buy the program. Therefore, I spent the rest of the day researching other options that could help my organizational process. I chose a free software also used by writers for its ease and efficiency. It is called yWriter and I never regretted using it.

(3)  The third day I spent studying what the software can offer my needs.

(4)  The fourth day was occupied with the book’s plot. I decided to split the ideas in 15 chapters, some of them having multiple subchapters.

(5)  I practically started to write on the fifth day. The chosen title for my non-fiction book is “Feng Shui for Writers.”

The next ten days kept me stitched to my chair. The ideas didn’t let me go too far away from my desk; they were practically invading my brain, so I had to rapidly take them out to fill the page in front of my eyes – a page that was looking like anything else, except a shiny blank page. I admit that I didn’t even sleep the regular eight hours, which I used to spend in my bed until that moment.

I noticed that during the ten days, my sleeping habits had changed, and what before was eight, now became six or even five from time to time. I will not develop the theme here of what is necessity for the human body, nor will I talk about passion and desires. My goal was only to talk about “How to write a Non-Fiction Book in Ten days.” The main idea was already said.

To make it short, because you probably already want to go and write, I will then conclude with a personal advice, which I will split here in several parts:

(1)  While having a writer’s block, forget about your novel.

(2)  Remember that you have knowledge from so many fields of interests.

(3)  Look around you and find such a field.

(4)  Develop ideas.

(5)  Put them on the paper, like a novel’s plot.

(6)  Use the proper software to help you organize all the information.

(7)  Do research based on your ideas.

(8)  Collect information and organize them.

(9)  Start to talk about your knowledge, about your passion.

(10)  Add your heart there, powder on some soul, and mix it with some love for the reader who needs that information.

Now… Start to write the best non-fiction book that you ever wrote. You can do it!

 

Meet our Guest Blogger, M. C. Simon:

 

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“Writer, translator, researcher, engineer, happy mother, and beloved wife. What more can I want? :)”

To read M. C. Simon’s full bio, click here.

 

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How to Organize and Develop Your Writing Ideas

 Guest Blog by J. D. Scott

 

You may have had ideas come to you in a flood, or you may labor over them until they’re fully delivered, but they all have one thing in common: they need to be developed into literature. So let’s go over some techniques to help you make the transition from a great idea into a great piece of writing!

ORGANIZING YOUR IDEAS:

  • Do you have a lot of creative ideas for writing?
  • Have you thought of more than you have time to develop?
  • So what do you do with them all?

~ Write them down: An outline or a paragraph for the more complicated ideas, or a sentence describing the simpler ones, will help you retain your thoughts later.

~ Keep them organized: Index cards, filing cabinet, files on your computer, a binder. If you have multiple categories, you may want to divide them by color-coding the subject files.

~ Choose a subject: Now you have to pick! Consider the big ideas first. You may be able to combine a few into one story, but too many will confuse your reader. More is not always better! Consider your target audience, and focus in on that one idea. I would not recommend starting several writing projects at once. You could bounce from story to story, never finishing anything—or worse, get discouraged and give up all together.

DEVELOPING YOUR IDEA:

Now that you have your idea, it’s time to get writing! But how can this small seed develop into a thriving story? Here are some ideas…

Find a Writers Group: In person, or online.

Talk it out: One of the best ways I’ve found to develop a story is to talk it over, then talk it over again, and then some more! Have lunch with a friend or spouse, and share your ideas with them. Call another writer; you could be a sounding board for each other’s work. Using a tape or digital recorder can also be helpful. The idea is that sometimes listening to your thoughts out loud can be enough to get you moving forward in your plot.

Try Visualization: Play your story out in your mind like a movie. This is a powerful and creative processing tool. Picture your characters—what they look like, the environment they’re in, and what your senses are hearing, seeing, touching, smelling, and tasting. If you can picture it, it will be much easier to write. Photographs that represent settings or characters that you’re working on can also inspire you.

Sketch or Doodle: Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist, this can be very helpful. You could draw anything from a character, a setting, such as a castle or house, or even an aerial view of the land your work is set in. They don’t have to be worthy of publication; they’re simply to help you “see” your story better.

Charts and Graphs: This could come in many forms, from: a family tree showing genealogy, a timeline with a sequence of events, a chart with the climactic moments of your story, or a graph of your characters’s personality traits. The point is, it has to make sense to you and help your writing to move forward.

Storyboarding: This is simply using still pictures (photographs or drawings) to tell a story. Screenwriters and cartoonists commonly storyboard, however, it can be a very effective tool to lay out the storyline of a book. This could also be done in small sections on a dry-erase board. You don’t have to be great at sketching; you are simply creating images that are significant to you, or using words or word groups to keep track of where you are in your story. Including character descriptions, geology, dialog, or location can also be helpful.

Puzzle-making: This method consists of writing down storylines on strips of paper so that you can shuffle events around until you’re happy with the sequence. It can also be used to arrange a family tree, show relationships between characters, or just to keep track of your ideas. This can be time-consuming, however, it’s a great way to show the flexibility in your plot.

In writing, the hardest obstacle to overcome by far—is SITTING DOWN AND DOING IT! Our lives are busy, and we have many demands on our time, but if you are able to carve out a time each day—or even a couple times through the week—you will be pleasantly surprised with the outcome. I hope these ideas have been helpful to you, and have sparked your creativity.

 

Meet our Guest Blogger, J. D. Scott:

 

1398565_625686540810471_203956950_oJ. D. Scott is the organizing member of Abba’s Writers in Phoenix, Arizona. She leads, instructs, and teaches critiquing and story development to its members.

In 2013, J. D. Scott became part of the team at A Book’s Mind as a Publishing Consultant. She enjoys working alongside writers, helping them fulfill their dreams of becoming published authors.

Before being bit by the writing bug, J. D. Scott spent 20 years working with children as a nanny, mentor, camp counselor, and youth-group leader. With a heart for today’s youth, she set out to write books that both entertain and inspire them to rise above the current culture and see their true value.

She continues to live out her life’s passions of writing, publishing, and counseling/mentoring women and children.

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Bound by Fear

 Guest Blog by H. Squires

 

I am a writer, an author, and storyteller. It took me a long time before I could utter those words either on paper or in conversation. I was bound by fear—afraid of being judged, ridiculed, laughed at, or simply disregarded. My voice climbed only as high as the paper stacked.

From the time I was a child, I enjoyed writing. Rarely, did I share my work with others—or even let people know my love of words. I only allowed family members to read my stories.

After I wrote my first novel, I fantasized about being published—which actor(s) could star in the movie, and the potential revenue it could generate—but I didn’t spend too much time in “La-la-land”. Instead, I got busy writing the second novel, and by the third, I felt my work should be published. I was ready to share it with the world. However, I wasn’t sure if it was good enough to move forward.

I knew my husband and daughters enjoyed the stories, but I felt their opinions were biased. After all, they were my family. I needed others to give me their honest opinions. I had many unanswered questions pertaining to grammar, continuity, and the lack of clarity when it came to editing. Even though I considered myself [somewhat] good at grammar, I wasn’t sure if I remembered everything from school. Does the story make sense, flow right, and keep the reader engaged? You can do only so much research from the privacy of your home. I needed help—actual, human, face-to-face support.

One of the first things I did was join a writing group. It was an all-women’s group, so the tension seemed less nerve-racking. The group meets three times a month—one of which is a teaching class on grammar and other helpful tips. The second meeting, we are instructed to read our latest work out loud to the others. This was the most difficult thing I’ve had to do in a long while. Reading to a bunch of strangers—a story that I concocted—sent me into a shaking-fit, so much so that I decided to hand my pages to another lady to read for me. I was astonished by all the positive feedback, something I hadn’t expected. They helped, reassured, and gave me honest advice. It propelled me farther.

Last year, I accomplished my goal. My third novel was published, and, for the first time, people were reading my work. It made me realize that others struggle with the very same issues as I did—not willing to share their stories. Some people are satisfied letting close friends and family read their work. For example, Emily Dickinson—a world-renowned poet—wasn’t discovered until after her death. Her younger sister found a lifetime of collective poems in Emily’s attic. Later, she sought the publication for her sister’s work. Imagine how different Emily’s life could have been if she had become published?

If you are a writer and have written poetry, short stories, or novels that serve as dust-bunny habitats, it’s time to consider sharing beyond family. Trust me, I know how hard it is, like bearing your soul to the world. Research local writing groups or go to online writer’s forums. You will get a lot of advice, constructiveness, and learn a lot. Who knows, you could be considered as the next Hemingway, Rowling, or Dickens?

Take care, my friends.

How to Find a Writer’s Group
Online Writer’s Community


Meet our Guest Blogger, H. Squires:

 

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Heather Squires’ life calling to be an author began in 1989 in Phoenix, Arizona. As an editorial writer on staff at the Utopian Newspaper, she decided to seek further review and publishing. The first project to be completed outside of the journaling world was To Desecrate Man, an action novel; completed in 2005, it became over shadowed by the second project: Rogue, a young adult fiction-adventure novel.

Upon completion of Rogue in 2009, Squires’ place in the young adult fiction world became clear. The Sphere of Archimedes began to take shape, and was finished in 2011. Currently working on the sequel, The Omphalos of Delphi, she continues to create anticipation for the future of young adult fiction.

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[See what H. Squires had to say about our editor!]

 

Featured Writing Addict: David Rich

David Rich

David Rich is a most intrepid writer—braving blizzards, monsoons, desert heat, and State Department travel advisories—to visit the world’s most out-of-the-way places, primarily by RV, from the Karakoram Mountains in Pakistan to the wilds of Borneo.

David retired in his forties to become a full-time international traveler, an occupation he found preferable to former professions of law professor and trial lawyer with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office (from which he says he’s now mostly recovered). He pursued freelance travel writing and exotic full-time international travel for eighteen years, living in almost every country on the planet. Until buying a home near Deer Valley Airport, AZ in 2009 (where he later obtained his private pilot’s license in 2011), he and his wife Mary had sold everything and were classically homeless.

Travel highlights include: climbing Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and Roraima Tepui—where Brazil, Guyana and Venezuela intersect; the Annapurna and Everest Base Camp treks in Nepal; the Karakorum’s in NW Pakistan, hosting six of the world’s 14 highest peaks; the exotic Stans (particularly Tajikistan and Uzbekistan); Mali and Ethiopia; the national parks of Patagonia, and Petra in Jordan. The highlights comprise hundreds of incredible sights and far-reaching adventures, including a minor hostage situation in Serbia.

David and Mary RVed Europe, Scandinavia, Northern Africa, and the Middle East for three years; they RVed Australia for over a year, New Zealand during two visits totaling a year, and South America for two years. Along with the extensive RV and other independent travel throughout Africa and Asia, they interspersed sailing trips all over the globe from Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines to Venezuela, Panama and Columbia.

What’s David’s Genre?

Travel, philosophy, economics, government, religion, and ethics

What’s  David’s Passion For Writing?

“An addiction to travel has taken me around the world many times. I inherited the passion from my parents, who traveled every available moment. My travels have ranged from sailboats and Cessnas to RVs and backpacks—all over the world. We understand that you can’t know a place, country, people, or culture until you go experience them firsthand. My curiosity and thirst for knowledge of other places, peoples, and cultures have—with a few exceptions—found me living in every country on the planet. I love to travel, a passion reflected in my books, stories, and photos. I also write books on philosophy, specifically economics, government, ethics, and religion and have two works in process for completion by the end of 2014.”

What are David’s books about?

RV the World

“Traveling the world by RV is the least expensive, most interesting and convenient means to see the world in its entirety, up close and cosy. Anyone can do it. RV the World explains how, and takes the reader on a three-year RV trip through Europe, North Africa, Scandinavia, and the Middle East.”

Amazon.com Book Description:

“The easiest, most comfortable, safest and least expensive way to see the entire world is by RV, which the author has done on every continent save Antarctica. When people learn the author and his wife have traveled the world continuously for 18 years, living in 147 countries, everyone is curious. The questions are always the same: Does it cost a lot to travel full time all over the world? How much? How are you able to navigate all those foreign countries? What’s the best way to do it? Then comes, I wish I could do that, to which the author always says, Anyone can do it if they really want to. It’s easy and inexpensive.

The book answers all these questions and takes the reader on a tour of Europe, Scandinavia, North Africa and the Middle East, further answering where to go, what to do and exactly how to do it. The sights include all the Seven Wonders and much more, from fantastic cities, national parks, sprawling antiquities and incredible mountains to exotic shopping, fine dining and pristine beaches. Here’s how to ship your own RV all over the world or go wherever you’d like and buy an RV there, obtain insurance, deal with foreign languages, the requirements of the proper RV and how to sell it locally before moving onto the next continent. Full-time international travel is easy when you know how to deal with the necessary details from mail, inoculations, documents, weather, costs, airfare, investments and healthcare.

 
Myths of the Tribe

“The relationships among government, economics, ethics, and religion are explored in Myths of the Tribe: When Religion, Ethics, Government and Economics Converge. The relationships are many, recognition of which, would improve the efficacy of all four.”

Amazon.com Book Description:

“David Rich examines the pervasive influence of organized religion on three vital areas of human behavior — ethics, government, and economics — and argues that the belief systems of all major religions have become a detriment to clear thinking, rational conduct, and wise public policy.

Despite the fact that modern society is an outgrowth of the Enlightenment, most of our “tribe” continues to operate on the basis of assumptions and attitudes that have their origin in ancient myths. These myths, still propagated by organized religion, not only hamper efforts to apply reason to our problems, but they can foster violent conflicts that threaten global security, as witnessed today in the former Yugoslavia, the Middle East, Northern Ireland, and many regions of Africa and Asia.”
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To reach David Rich, buy his books, or schedule a book-signing event:

Tell him you heard about him on editingaddict.com!

Featured Writing Addict: Hayley Rose

Hayley Rose

hayley rose pic

Multi-award-winning author, Hayley Rose, released her first children’s book in 2002, Fifo When I Grow Up, about a six-year-old bear starting school. That book was followed by the wildly popular geography book and #1 best-seller, Fifo 50 States, published in 2010.  In 2012 Hayley was selected as one of “The Top 50 Writers You Should Be Reading” by AuthorsShow.com. In 2013 she branched out with a new series, featuring a new set of characters, Zach, Chloe, and Louis the Manner Monster. Her new book, The Do’s and Don’ts, was released in September 2013, and has already been honored by the Mom’s Choice Awards, along with a Readers Favorite bronze medal.

What’s Hayley’s Genre?

Children’s Picture Books

What is  Hayley’s Inspiration?

“My life experiences are really my main inspiration for writing, along with my goddaughter and godson.  I had a great childhood, full of adventure and support.  Writing is my way of giving back, to be able to share great stories that inspire and educate.”

What are Hayley’s books about?

The Do’s and Don’ts

Dos_book_coverThe Do’s and Don’ts is a whimsical lesson book aimed at teaching young readers the difference between good and bad behavior, or etiquette.  In the book, Zack and Chloe go from being manner monsters, to well-behaved children, as they provide samples of typical scenarios that not only young children encounter, but can relate to.  For example, Zack becomes a Manner Monster when he loses a game, kicking and pouting like a poor sport.  In contrast, good behavior is then modeled depicting Zack congratulating the winning team.

Unlike other etiquette books for children—that tell a story or just communicate positive behavior—The Do’s and Don’ts compares and contrasts between good and bad behavior.  Simply, yet colorfully displayed, are examples of inappropriate behavior and decisions young children may display, followed by behavior and decisions that are more socially accepted.  Each compare-and-contrast anecdote is set in the same scene, so that young readers can instantly see the differences between good and poor behavior.

Fifo “When I Grow Up”

wiguFifo “When I Grow Up is about Fifo, a brown bear from Denali National Park. He is six years old, and in the first grade. Today is the first day of school, and Fifo is a bit scared.

Mama comforts him with his favorite breakfast, and they talk about what he wants to be when he grows up. By the end of breakfast, Fifo’s been a doctor, a fireman, a pilot, a policeman, a teacher, and even the president. Now he’s ready for anything—even the first day of school.

Fifo “50 States”

Fifo 50 States - Book CoverFifo “50 States” is a delightful rhyming story where Fifo, a warm and lovable brown bear, is bitten by the travel bug. Fifo dreams of digging up diamonds in Arkansas, looking for fossils in Kansas, enjoying a delicious bowl of gumbo in Louisiana, and even seeing a Broadway show in New York. Yes, America is an exciting place!

Fifo’s second book is full of adventure. A colorful reference-like geography book, Fifo discovers the wonders each state has to offer. Along the way, he learns each state’s capital, shape, flag, motto, and much, much more. The possibilities are endless!

So, come along with Fifo, and you’ll soon discover the beauty of America one state to another. A positive experience for both Fifo and the reader. Learning should always be this much fun.

To reach Hayley Rose, buy her books, or schedule a book-signing event: