So, you’ve been staring at a notebook or computer screen, waiting for divine writing inspiration to strike. You’ve tried to think of something, anything, to put down on paper, but it all seems wrong. You’re in a writing slump. Luckily for you, you’re not alone. Many writers go through the exact same experience, and we’re here to give you a couple tips that could help you out. Write, Write, Write As you’ve probably heard before, writing is a process—a messy one. The first step? “Fart it out,” as one of our authors, Caley Cantrell, would say. Seriously though, to get out of a slump, just start writing. Put anything on the page. Make yourself do a ten-minute free write, and don’t let yourself stop to think or edit. Betty Flowers, a professor at University of Texas, says that to start writing, you need to let loose your “madman.” Your madman is the creative voice in your head that is full of passionate, fun ideas that are the heart and soul of your work. If allowed, your madman could let you go on for pages and pages on the same topic without any judgement or restraint. As a result, your work may seem a bit messy to begin with, but that's okay. When you let your madman take center stage, your own unique voice is able to finally emerge through your writing. So, worry about structure or cleaning up your masterpiece later. The key here is to let out all of your built-up creativity without tearing yourself down or calling your work “not good enough.” Of course, not all of the content your madman creates will end up in your final draft. However, writing with your madman in mind allows you to start somewhere by finally getting your thoughts down on paper and bringing life and playfulness back into your work. And hey, you might just end up surprising yourself. So, let your inner creativity loose and come back to patch up your work later! Write Writing Into Your Schedule If you’re in a writing slump, chances are you’ve consistently pushed off working on your latest project. While you make promises to yourself that you’ll work on it tomorrow or sometime in the near future, you find other things to consume your time to avoid feelings of frustration regarding your craft. It’s okay, we’ve been there too. With a mentality like this, we recommend that you start scheduling writing sessions into your everyday routine. Of course, setting aside large portions of time each day for writing isn’t always realistic on a day-to-day basis, however even on the busiest days, writing for an hour or two can make a big difference. Scheduling time for your craft will not only make you feel obligated to sit down and write, but it will give your latest project the time and attention it deserves. Phone a Friend When writing, you’re often flying solo. Because of this, being a writer can seem like one of the loneliest jobs out there. Though there are benefits to being your own boss, sometimes it may be hard to find the motivation to sit down and write. With this in mind, we recommend that you find someone to talk to about your craft. Discussing your work with a trusted friend or community member can give you helpful feedback, inspire you with new ideas, and give you the encouragement you need to keep writing. You could even go a step further by setting deadlines with them—send them a couple of chapters a week, or more! This will not only provide you with consistent, constructive feedback on your latest novel, but it will also help compel you to stick to your writing schedule. Discussing your work with someone can also allow you an outlet to express any concerns, frustrations, or anxieties that have prevented you from feeling enthusiastic about writing. Finding the root cause of your lack of motivation can hopefully prevent it from happening in the future and allow you to easily jump over any mental hurdles in your way. Do Your Research If you find yourself scratching your head and coming up blank on who to send your work to, don’t fret. There are helpful resources online and in your local community that can also motivate you on your writing journey. For example, try enrolling in a writing class. If you’re currently in high school or college, fill one of your elective slots with a writing course the next time you’re able to sign up for classes. If you’re not a student, a quick Google search can show you community centers, or writing centers, near you that provide helpful writing courses, tutors, or workshops you can use to your benefit. By researching the resources in your local community, you can still have that one-on-one experience to discuss your craft. If you don’t have the means to enroll in a class, try joining an online community for some writing inspiration, such as The Isolation Journals created and hosted by Suleika Jaouad. By signing up with your email, you’ll receive a fresh writing prompt in your inbox every morning. Online resources like this exercise your imagination and allow you to free write to your heart's content. Who knows, maybe one day one of these prompts will surprise you and end up contributing to the latest novel you’re writing. For other online writing resources, check out this article by NY Book Editors titled “11 Top Writing Communities You Should Join and Why.” Don’t Mentally Beat Yourself Down This one is perhaps the most important tip of all. We know that writing is a very personal and emotional experience. Your work is your baby, and because of this, you want it to be perfect. However, remember that you also need to take care of yourself and your mental health. Even if you’re unable to produce much during your scheduled writing time, that’s okay. Walk away from your work and try to come back to it tomorrow after a little TLC. Who knows? Instead of your writing desk, you may actually find the divine inspiration you seek in the most random of places. Because of this, always keep a notebook handy for when your brain randomly gifts you good ideas. (Did you know that waterproof notepads actually exist for your shower thoughts? Something to think about…) All jokes aside, it’s good to be critical of your work, but don’t become your own worst enemy. Remember that consistently associating your craft with negative feelings and emotions is not good for you or your work. Too much stress could possibly cause your passion for writing to slowly slip away from you, and we don’t want that to happen!
In these times of uncertainty and constant readjustment, digital marketing has never been more important. Quarantine and stay-at-home orders may have affected your event plans, but there are countless ways to market your book online and on social media. Read on for some helpful and creative tips for marketing your book from home! Social Media Social media is crucial for promoting your book. Though platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook might seem intimidating at first, they are a great way to grow your audience, boost publicity for your book, and further establish you as an author. Social media is a space where you can be as creative as you want, and invite your readers along for the ride. Here are some ideas to get your readers engaged and your book selling! Using the “Live” Feature Most social media platforms, like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, have an option to “go live”, or livestream. This feature allows you to broadcast from your phone. Your livestream will be available for your followers to watch in real time, or to watch later if you choose to keep the livestream up on your profile page. This allows you to connect with your readers and supporters directly and personally. There are so many ways you can use this feature! Virtual Events Virtual events are an amazing way to actively promote your book through quarantine. Maybe you were planning a reading at a local bookstore, but it was canceled. No worries -- just set up your phone and you can host your very own event right from your living room! Looking for a fun way to show off your amazing book cover? Throw a virtual cover reveal party! Not only is this a great way to get your readers excited, it’s a wonderful tool to get your readers engaged. Let them join in on the fun! Virtual events can be accessed any time anywhere in the world. Without geographic barriers, so many more people will be able to attend your virtual event and hear all about your new book. Virtual Book Club Another way to keep your readers engaged is starting a virtual book club! You could even choose your own book, hosting a discussion where you can get feedback from your readers and even answer their questions. Not only does this encourage followers to buy and read your book, but it asks them to think critically and connect with the book on a deeper level. What better way to promote a book club than a Q&A with the author? Giveaways and Contests Hosting games like giveaways and contests is a great way to engage your followers and drum up excitement for the grand prize -- your book! There are so many ways you can get creative thinking of different rules and reveals. Maybe all your followers need to enter the contest is to use a special hashtag, or post a photo promoting your book, or simply follow your profile page. Giveaways and contests work well across all social media platforms, though Instagram encourages more direct communication and visual marketing. Collaboration Collaboration in quarantine? It’s easier than you think! Let’s go back to our earlier scenario -- a canceled reading at a local bookstore. You could host a reading on your own, or you could collaborate with that bookstore’s social media pages. You could “go live” on the live feature with the bookstore, take over their “story” feature for the day, or even just collaborate on a post for their profile that promotes your event and your book. Do you have a few writer friends? Throw a virtual festival! Have everyone read their latest story or poem, again on the “live” feature. Strengthening connections will not only help you promote your book, but develop a great network of fellow writers. Maximize Your Online Presence Right now is the perfect time to work on developing your online presence. Platforms like social media and a personal website will help readers find you and your book online. Check out our previous blog post, “A Guide to Starting Your Author Website” to walk you through creating a website and all the online services Brandylane Publishers provides. Blogging Blogging is a valuable way to communicate with your readers and start building a community. There are countless ways to make blogging work for you. You could update your readers about any book news, milestones in the publishing process, and ways they can support you and your book. If you have a website, regularly posting on a blog will incentivize readers to continue visiting your site. This will give your website more traffic, which will boost the site in search engines. Newsletters If you have lots of information or fun things to share, a newsletter is a creative and direct way to ensure your readers keep up to date with any news and events. Your newsletters don’t have to be purely informative however, you can get as creative as you want! Whether you send out a monthly wrap-up of writing, book news, and publicity or you send out a poem every day of the week, a newsletter allows you to solidify a subscriber base of readers and keep them engaged with you and your book. There are plenty of platforms where you can design, write, and send out your newsletter for free, like Mailchimp. You can also see the analytics of each newsletter, meaning you can see how many people sign up for your newsletter and read your emails. Reaching out to reviewers and publications Digital networking is so important right now, and a great way to grow your network is reaching out to reviewers and publications. There are countless reviewers, bloggers, and social media influencers in the book world. Reaching out to these reviewers will grow your network, boost publicity, and gain access to new audiences. While you’re at it, reach out to a few small publications as well. These publications could review your book, feature your submitted work, or interview you about your book. Marketing your book from home has never been more important. Luckily, it’s also never been easier. Marketing online and on social media can be daunting, but we hope these tips will inspire you to get creative and get posting!
View this post on Instagram It seems only fitting that I enjoy a cup of hot coffee while we read this delightful story about the Ethiopian tradition of a Buna Celebration (Buna=coffee in Ethiopia) . . Through the story of Almaz, kids will learn how to be respectful of other’s differences and how wonderful it can be to learn about another culture. . . . #gifted #booksforkids #childrensbooks #newchildrensbook #bunaceremony #ethiopianculture #learnaboutothercultures #teachingkids #thebigbunabash #smithpublicity #storytimeforkids #importanceofreading #homeschoolmama A post shared by Katelynne E (@thedisguisedsupermom) on Mar 4, 2020 at 6:10pm PST
I love books that allow us to learn about new cultures. Did you know that buna means coffee in Ethiopia? I didn’t. At least, I didn’t until I read the book. It is a beautifully illustrated story that is both sweet and educational. I love how the story is a great way to discuss differences in families and cultures. https://www.justabxmom.com/2020/02/24/february-bookshelf/
The Big Buna Bash is a delightful new children’s book that reminds readers that our differences are what make us special. https://booktrib.com/2020/02/building-bridges-with-coffee-in-the-big-buna-bash/
I like how the book didn’t shy away from hard topics like bullying or feeling left out ; but showed how to overcome and educate people on differences. http://all-our-colors.com/multicultural-childrens-book-day/
The message of the book is positive as a buna party extends kindness, friendship and inclusiveness to all. I like how the family turns a sad, hurtful situation into a happy, heartwarming one. The illustrations are lovely and enrich the storyline greatly. They are, vibrant and colourful and express the emotions that Almaz is feeling. Lastly, the book points out that kids can be proud of their heritage and uniquenss in a world that is so diverse. I like the book a lot and highly recommend it. https://toppsta.com/books/details/686363/the-big-buna-bash#reviews
Check out this video about Sara Arnold's The Big Buna Bash: https://ethiopianege.com/archives/11155