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Ways to Break Those Habits That Keep You From Writing

We all have bad or counterproductive habits, and sometimes we make excuses for them. “I just can’t stop ___” (Fill in the blank with your standby excuse). Well, if some of your habits are getting in the way of being a super-productive writer, then maybe you will have to do away with them.

And the easiest way to do so is to replace them with some new habits.

We’ve been looking at the ABCs to becoming super productive in our writing so we can crank out books. Not just any books but great books. And the way to do that is to “know thyself.” It’s a threefold analysis that gets us looking at our attitudes, biology, and choices.

Though we touched on attitude at the start of the year, we’ll be wrapping up with a key obstacle to productivity: self-sabotage. But before we can go there, we need to look further into the “C” of those ABCs: choices. And while we may feel that habits aren’t about choices (because we either can’t help doing those repeated things that prevent us from being productive or we’re not aware we do them), the sooner we own our pesky habits and set about changing them, the sooner we’ll be cranking out books. Continue Reading…

Blending Genres in Romance: We’re Not in 1980 Anymore

Today’s guest post is by author Elaine Calloway.

Ah, the 1980s. That decade filled with leg warmers, big-hair rock bands, boom boxes (the iPod had not yet been invented), and fluorescent fashion with shoulder pads on every outfit. Fabio-looking airbrushed men were on romance novel covers, and most stories centered on the man-meets-woman-and-rescues-her theme.

But things began to change, and the romance industry was no exception.

In the years following the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) being ratified by most states in the late ’70s, entertainment mediums (including romance novels) went through a transitional period. Women no longer wanted to play the damsel in distress who waits for the magical hero to save the day. Romance novels, along with TV and film, recognized that female characters wanted to be more empowered.

These days, books feature active and independent heroines who work with the hero to solve conflicts. The woman is no longer the helpless victim but an active participant in her destiny. Continue Reading…

Little Hacks Writers Can Use to Be Productive

Last week we talked about hacking. Finding ways to work around ourselves (our own objections or resistance) to get our writing done. This is a kind of metal game we play, and sometimes we gotta do it.

One hack that works for me is clearing out my pressing emails. I just can’t wait till the end of the day to deal with them. If you can’t either, then aiming for In-box Zero is a good objective. If we know we have a pile-up of emails we need to get to, it can prey on our minds when we’re trying to focus on our writing. By creating numerous personal folders in our mail program, we have a place to put them all.

Create one folder labeled “to do today.”

When you take that one minute to glance through your emails (after every half hour of writing, if that’s the schedule you’ve decided upon), see which emails can first be deleted, which ones can be answered in that one minute (sometimes a “hey, thanks!” is all you need to respond with) and then answer those, and then assess which ones need to be answered but will take more than a minute. Stick those in your “to do today” folder. Continue Reading…