How a Writer Writes a Bio

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Every writer needs a short bio for introductions and a longer bio for that dreaded “about me” tab on the website. At the bottom of this post is a link that will help you create a personal and easy-to-read bio. I had LOADS of fun creating mine.

About Stacey

I am from the play-until-the-streetlights-turn-on and come-when-your-father-whistles generation. I’m a cool-off-in-the-sprinkler, drink-straight-from-the-hose, and fish-off-the-pier kind of girl. I’m loyal even when others are not.

I’ve wrestled with brothers, played Barbie with neighbors, and stayed up too late reading just one more chapter. I’m from BIG Sunday dinners, steaming hot tea, and Saturday morning coin-sized pancakes. I grew up with Tupperware, paper bag lunches, Yorkshire pudding, and mashed potatoes.

Lots of mashed potatoes.

My family is a finish-what-you-start, bargain shopping, home cooking, and respect-your-elders kind of family. I am one of four children framed in memories on a wall. I jumped off docks, endured eight-hour trips that took twelve, and sat in the middle bench seat of the family sedan.

I am a wait until you enter the house before driving away kind of mom. I boil the kettle in a crisis, and I know that a job worth doing is worth doing right.

I am a fixer of old things, painter of everything, cleansed and forgiven child of God. I believe that nothing matters more than the Lord Jesus Christ and who I believe He is.

Who are you?

Visit this link and use the template to write your own bio. Every writer needs an ‘about me’ page on their website. http://www.swva.net/fred1st/wif.htm

3 Fantastic Tools for Writers

UNLOCKING THE MYSTERIES OF PRODUCTIVITY. HOW ONE MAN MADE THE MOST OUT OF HIS 24 HOURS.-2

Writers need to do more than write to succeed. Today, writing involves maintaining an online presence which can include updating blog posts, websites, and social media accounts. The problem is that most writers want to write, not spend hours online marketing their work.

Good News

Fortunately, there are several available resources online that can aid the writer in crafting professional, quick, and EASY graphics and videos. Below are three of my go-to tools in my writing toolkit.

Three Must-haves for Marketing

Grammarly: Before you publish any graphic or video, you must ensure the grammar is correct. When I first tried Grammarly, I began with the free program. I was so impressed that I immediately downloaded it to my daughter’s computer for school use.

I upgraded to their paid services, and I LOVE it. Grammarly not only highlights my mistakes, but it also explains why the error is wrong. Like any program that checks for spelling and grammar, you are still required to engage your brain. Occasionally, like many other proof-reading programs, Grammarly has suggested an incorrect change. Visit: http://www.grammarly.com

Canva: I am relatively new to Canva, and I already love it. In fact, I made the graphic at the top of this page in less than five minutes. It offers several templates for marketing, social media, book, and magazine covers. Visit: http://www.canva.com

Lumen5: I’ve used Lumen5 to create a few videos, and I love how easy it is. After you create an account, you have the option to upload your own images or search their database for free photos and graphics. I used this blog post to create the short promotional video below. I copied and pasted the text, arranged the wording, uploaded images and/or chose images from Lumen5’s selection, and added music from their free options. DONE.

It doesn’t get much easier than this, which gives this writer more time to write.

Can a Writer Over Plan?

Writing coach Brian Henry once said that it takes three things to publish a book traditionally.

  1. A well-written manuscript.
  2. Perseverance.
  3. Dumb luck.

And you only need two out of three to succeed.

The only two items on that list that an author can control are numbers one and two. So how do you craft that stellar manuscript?

Many people look for the solution in worksheets, how-to books, and writers’ manuals. These are great things. I use many and have benefitted from the instruction of more experienced and successful authors. But, as I procrastinate starting my fourth novel, I can’t help but wonder if it is possible to over plan and if all those charts and worksheets can morph into a hindrance instead of help?

A Writer has Options

I am a firm believer in the fact that there is more than one way to write a book. There are probably as many ways to write a novel as there are writers, and the way that is right is the way that works for you.

I happen to blend a few methods, and I am a planner. The more books I write, the more detailed I plan. For me, plotting results in a cleaner first draft that requires fewer edits later.

But I had to question my motive when I downloaded a guide over 100 pages long on developing characters when I already had copious notes on said characters. It turns out that I had begun using charts and planning to avoid the hard work of writing that first draft.

You may think it gets easier with every published book, but for me, the reality is that the first draft is agony NO MATTER WHAT. It requires hours and hours of butt-in-chair writing that cannot be avoided by filling in the blanks on a chart.

NaNoWriMo

The right method to write is the method that works for you. But whatever you do, don’t use planning as a way to avoid writing. You eventually have to get the words on the page, and there is no better time than NaNoWriMo!

National Novel Writing Month begins November 1st. It might be the motivation you need to jump over the hurdle of planning and get that story on paper. Hop on over the website and check it out. If you sign up, let me know! Maybe we can cheer on one another.

 

Be a teachable writer

Funny story.

After publishing Write Every Day in the for writers category, I had to go back and edit out a mistake. Thirteen mistakes. I used the word everyday wrong every time. Thirteen times. All incorrect.

Quick tip:

Everyday – ordinary. Not special.

Every day – doing something daily.

Boy, is my face red.

Why am I telling you this?

Eventually, someone will tell you that you’ve made a mistake. You’ll learn a new grammar rule or an old grammar rule and recognize the dozens of ways you’ve mishandled the English language. You can be embarrassed. You can get angry (at yourself). You can run and hide and vow never to publish again. Or, you can be teachable. You can hear, apply, learn, and grow.

Being teachable might be more important than being perfect

I am not a perfect writer. If you’ve read this blog for any length of time you already know that. But, I continually learn and apply new knowledge so I can improve. I lean less on editors today than I did yesterday, but I still require LOADS of instruction.

I’ve discovered that most other writers will share their knowledge with a student eager to learn. Many editors will graciously explain tricky grammar rules when the student responds to their correction and advice with a teachable spirit. It’s not always about being perfect. It’s about being teachable.

Being teachable involves learning

When I learn something new, I write it down on the white board near my desk so I can refer to it easily. My editor or writer friends do not want to continually correct the same mistakes over and over again. They want me to improve. So when someone is teaching, LISTEN. Then, APPLY their advice to all drafts before sending them back for another critique.

It takes multiple passes and multiple eyes

I don’t catch every POV slip in one edit. I don’t correct every telling scene on a first pass. However, there should be a marked improvement with each pass and it is helpful to organize your edits.

I do multiple edits, each one focusing on something different. The first edit focuses on the big picture/main plot line/ does it make sense/and do I answer all the questions. The next is an edit in the heroine’s POV. I focus on her emotional/spiritual growth and her story arc. The next edit is in the hero’s POV and I focus on his emotional/spiritual growth and his story arc. I devote an entire edit to the romance, making sure the pacing is right. I take my time, addressing things one at a time. Finally, the last edit is grammar and punctuation. My weakest area.

I do my best to ensure I send my editor the cleanest draft possible. I have friends, further along in this writing world, who graciously look over my work at various points to help me see the story with fresh eyes. They always see things that I have missed. Always.

Slow down and enjoy the journey 

After completing a first draft, I take a long break and celebrate the victory of having the bones of a book on paper. Then, after a rest, I start the long stretch of edits. If you give yourself some distance from the story, you may find yourself enjoying the edits rather than hating them.

You’ll send your best work to the publisher. You’ll send it after rounds and rounds of edits. You’ll send it after it has been critiqued by others in the writing community. You’ll send it when it is the best you can make it.

Then, be teachable when it sells and the publisher begins the editing process afresh.

 

 

Fear: Its role in the writer’s life

Before I start, I want to address my non-writing readers. You will want to read to the end of this post and learn how you can win a $20 Amazon gift card from me!

Now, to those who write, want to write, are afraid to write, or are just curious about the mind of a writer…most of us battle fear. But what exactly do writers fear? Are all fears the same? How can we overcome fear and succeed?

First, there are different kinds of fear.

Fear of failure

Fear of Failure Questions:

  • What if I try my very best and it still isn’t good enough?
  • What if I pour myself into this dream and I never publish more than a blog post?
  • What if the stack of rejection letters don’t pave the road to traditional contracts but are, in fact, just rejections upon rejections that declare I am not good enough?

The Fear of Failure Lie:

  • If I never try—if I never put myself out there—I’ll not fail.

Fear of Failure Truth:

  • If you never try, you’ve already failed.

Fear of success

Fear of Success Questions:

  • If I do my best, battle the fear of failure, actually sell a book, will anyone read it?
  • If they do read it, what if the reviews are bad?
  • Can I handle criticism of my work?
  • Can I handle not being liked?

Fear of Success Lies:

  • I can protect myself from hurt by closing myself off from others.
  • I can control all aspects of life.

Fear of Success Truth:

  • Putting yourself out there is always a risk, but sharing your work helps you become a better writer.
  • Not all feedback is negative. Weed through it, apply the truth, and discard the rest.
  • If you’re looking for praise and adoration, you’re in the wrong career/hobby. Everyone has an opinion and the popularity of social media has made it easier to share those opinions.
  • Learn to differentiate between a criticism of your writing and a criticism of you. Comments are often not as personal as we make them.

Fear of self promotion

Fear of Self Promotion Questions:

  • How do I get the word out about my book without sounding prideful?
  • How do I spread the news beyond a repeated request for everyone who knows me to: Buy my book! Because that gets old. Quickly.
  • How do I, as a believer in the Lord, a person committed to the pursuit of making less of me and more of God, do something as self-promoting as talk about me? My book? My work? My yada-yada-yada?

Fear of Self Promoting Lies:

  • A grass-roots word-of-mouth publicity plan is enough.
  • Promoting my book and promoting me are the same thing.

Fear of Self Promoting Truths:

  • Word of mouth is GREAT. But sometimes, I have to speak first.
  • If I don’t care how my book is received, why will anyone else?
  • I am NOT promoting me. I am promoting a product or message that I believe can help/encourage/instruct someone else and ultimately draw them closer to the Lord.

One core fear

All the above sub-fears share one core fear: Fear of man. What will people think of me, my work, my message? But I am not called to fear man. I am called to fear God.

Do I fear the Lord?

The bigger question is: Do I fear the Lord? Because if I do, than I know my life isn’t about me. It’s about Him. The truth is, I will get some things wrong. I won’t always say it right, write it right, or be right. But God hasn’t called me to perfection. He has called me to repentance and obedience. He has called me to develop and use my gifts for His glory.

glorious-surrender-hr_finalI’ve battled all three of these fears in the weeks leading up to this Friday. This Friday, I am celebrating the release of Glorious Surrender. Getting to this point has forced me to surrender even more to the Lord.

  • I’ve surrendered my privacy by sharing some deeply personal illustrations with the desire that my experience will point you to the answers found only in Christ.
  • I’ve surrendered my writing preferences, because in many ways, fiction feels so much safer. This book is real. It’s raw. Sharing it has put me into an uncomfortable and vulnerable position. But if being in this spot helps you in your walk with the Lord, it is worth it. Because that’s what matters. More than comfort, more than preference, I want to see you deepening your faith and seeking the Lord.

Come on back Friday, Nov 4th to this blog and celebrate a social media book launch party! I will be hosting in three places: my Facebook writer page, twitter, and on my blog. Visit any of those places and comment about surrender between 10:00am and 9:00pm EST for your chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card. See full contest rules here.

Watch this short video for a glimpse into my heart for Glorious Surrender.

Glorious Surrender from Stacey Weeks on Vimeo.

Write Every Day

Write every day. Those two words were the most repeated advice offered to me as a new writer. However, there was a huge discrepancy between what was said to me and what I actually heard.

Said: “Write every day.”

Heard: “Write novel material every day.”

Said: “Write every day.”

Heard: “It only counts if the writing is on your major writing project.”

Said: “Write every day.”

Heard: “If it doesn’t benefit the novel, it is a waste of time.”

Why Write Every Day

A new writer writes every day because it is through the practise of writing that improvement is achieved. A new writer writes every day because it develops a habit that increases ones chances of reaching success. A new writer writes every day because no one masters a craft in which they half-heartedly invest. So yes, write every day.

What I’m Not Saying

It’s amazing that two simple words could be misunderstood for so long. To prevent you from repeating my mistake from years ago, let me clarify. Write every day means write something. Anything. Novel project? Sure. Brainstorm a new project? Sure. Work on a blog post? Sure. Trade your fiction for non-fiction? Sure. Simply write.

Something.

Anything.

Write.

As you string words together it contributes to your ability to write well. You learn to tighten your thoughts. You learn to structure your sentences. You learn to present information in a logical fashion. These are all necessary skills for every kind of writing.

Enjoy it!

My best advice to a new author? Love what you do, but don’t so tightly define what you do that you fail to recognize the value in all others styles and genres of writing. Love your fiction work (if publishing a novel is your dream). But don’t devalue non-fiction, poetry, research, blogs, articles, or newspaper work. Sometimes, dipping your toe into a different pond sends out ripples of creativity.

Credit

Publishing my first novel was my dream. However, I took a break that stretched over a few years and worked for a magazine, freelanced for various small publications, and worked on writing classes. I wrote every day for years and misbelieved I was failing because it wasn’t on my novel. What wasted years beating myself up! I would not have been able to rework that novel without those years of writing non-fiction. Those years schooled me in the art of writing. Those years—those writing classes—sharpened my skills.

Write on, my friend. And don’t fear taking a break from your major project. All writing is profitable when you are doing your best to write better today than you did yesterday.