How To Boost Your Writing Mojo!
Writing is more than just putting words on the page, or the screen.
Often, before that happens, there is a whole lot of mental and emotional preparation to get in ‘the zone’, or to get that writing mojo flowing.
Sometimes it flows, sometimes it doesn’t.
Sometimes we have to make ourselves write to get it flowing, but one key to help the writing flow time and time again, is passion. For writing itself, for your story, and for the big picture of ‘why’ you write. If you’re lacking in passion and enthusiasm for any of these, your writing can suffer.
You can be enthusiastic and passionate about writing, but have trouble getting words written because your story doesn’t feel alive or fresh enough to you… you can be passionate about your story but find writing challenging and difficult, or you can love writing and your story but get sidetracked and distracted because you don’t have a clear vision or passion for the big picture of what you want to achieve. Making sure these elements all work together is vital to boosting your mojo.
If you’ve lost some passion for writing itself, one of the best ways to get it back is to read. Read something for the enjoyment of it, and remember how powerful writing can be. You can also try writing for the sake of writing, without pressure or judgement, just write something without censoring yourself and watch how much lighter you start to feel when thoughts and emotions become words and are released from your mind.
If your story isn’t making you excited to get at the computer each day, then you need to boost your story mojo by clarifying your story hook (a succinct summary of main premise and plot) and making sure it stands out enough and is as unique as can be, deepen your characters’ goals, motivations, and conflicts, and get into the ‘feeling’ of the story and discover why it will be enjoyable and satisfying for a reader to read. A few tweaks and improvements can get you more excited about your book which makes the writing process a whole lot easier. Or, start a new story.
And do you actually know why you write? For many, it’s mainly a case of: “I can’t NOT write”. It can be like part of our DNA, something we feel born to do. Yet this doesn’t always compel us to write and to enjoy the process. Go deeper, think about how you feel when you write or after you have written… what does it bring to you and to others? Hold onto that joy, that bliss, that meaning and purpose, and bring it onto your day to day writing life. Keep reminders of your ‘why’ in the form of post-it note messages or affirmations to yourself, a collage of inspiring images, a picture resembling a goal stuck on your fridge, or simply a feeling in your mind. Remembering the big picture can help to keep the writing mojo going. You can also create a mission statement for your writing or career, for example, mine is: “Entertaining and inspiring myself and others through stories, art, and self empowerment.” I have this stuck on my whiteboard above where my laptop charges. If I get caught up with deadlines, overwork, or disappointments like bad reviews or less than expected sales, this helps bring me back to the big picture, to my “why”, to my passion for what I do.
The new year is a perfect time to think about what you want to achieve for the year ahead, and to get off to a great start with enthusiasm and passion… which is why I’ve created a fun and interactive online course called WRITING MOJO, to help you do just that! And even though I’m the teacher, I’ll be doing the lessons too, along with you, in the private group for course participants.
The course will start in January 2017 and contain 7 detailed lessons over approximately 2 weeks, but can be started at any time and done at your own pace. A downloadable version will also be made available. It is for all types of writers, beginners to advanced, and doesn’t matter if you write (or want to write) fiction, non-fiction, memoir, self help, health & fitness, or ‘how to’ books… it’s all about getting yourself ready for a year of success, creating and achieving your goals, and enjoying your writing life. And I’ll be there to help you along the way.
During December, pre-bookings for the course are $50 off the full price, and I’m also giving a free chapter critique to the first few students, so to secure your spot head over to the COURSES page where you can book easily online.
Hope to see you there, and I wish you a magical year of motivation, magnificence, and mojo! 🙂
A Recap of 2014 and What’s Ahead for 2015!
2014 – what a year! Both professionally and personally, my life went through some major changes. On New Years Eve I wrote a list of 100 things (yes, 100!) that I was grateful for and appreciated about my life in 2014. I thought I’d just do about 20, but then I kept going and thought, ‘okay, maybe I’ll do 50’, but then I wrote 51, and 52 and kept going and thought, ‘what the heck – 100 here I come!’ 🙂 Appreciation brings more appreciation, it’s like a domino effect. Why not try it and see what makes it onto your list? It’s a great way to lift your spirits and feel good. 🙂
Here’s a brief summary of what happened in 2014, both on the blog, and with my writing…
- Most viewed blog post with over 2000 views: How I Write Fast (AKA: How I Wrote 70ks in 20 Days).
- Most people found my blog via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
- Most blog visitors came from the USA. Followed by Australia and the UK.
- My top 5 commenters were: Nancy Goldberg Levine, Kerrie Paterson, Linda Lee Williams, Jenn J McLeod, and Margareta. Thanks guys! 🙂
- Search terms people used which led them to my blog (some normal, some weird and funny!): johnny castle making out, how to come up with a pen name, magical books, spit free birthday cake, rude characters, women looking for romanic (did they mean a romaniac?!), big bang theory, marketing tips, is sarah belle wealthy, romantic excerpts… and a few other things that I won’t mention!
- Wrote 4 complete books and 2 partials (a few chapters and synopsis): Complete: Haunted Ever After, 12 Daves of Christmas, Miracle in March, Sound (The Delta Girls book 2). Partials: Vintage Secret, You Know you Want To.
- 4 Books published: The January Wish, February or Forever, Haunted Ever After, 12 Daves of Christmas.
- First book in print: The January Wish was included in the 3-in-1 coastal compilation called Time For The Beach, available in Australian stores now.
- Signed a 5 book deal (ebook & print) with Diversion Books for my Young Adult supernatural mystery series The Delta Girls!
- My first novel, Fast Forward became an Amazon.com Top 100 bestseller
- Attended the ARRA Awards Dinner as a finalist in the favourite New Author category
- Attended my first ARRA book signing as an author (I signed postcards!), while at the RWA annual conference in Sydney.
And now for 2015! What’s next, and what my plans and goals are…
>>Book Releases (this will be updated as things progress):
- March 8th, 2015: MIRACLE IN MARCH (Tarrin’s Bay series book 3)
- May 12th, 2015: SIGHT (The Delta Girls series* book 1)
- *There should be a couple more books in The Delta Girls series released later in the year but I don’t have a schedule yet)
As you can see, the majority of the year will be taken up with the launch of my Young Adult 5 book series!
- Write the remaining 3 books in The Delta Girls series by end of August 2015 (I have deadlines!).
- Write April’s Glow, the 4th book in my Tarrin’s Bay series by around end of October 2015.
- Do further work on my women’s fiction project, Vintage Secret.
- And if I get superhero powers and have more time available I will work further on my fun and flirty romcom You Know You Want To, or a short novella, and speaking of superpowers… at some stage down the track I will be writing a superhero romantic comedy and it’s going to be so much FUN 😉
I’d like to thank my readers for supporting my books, and I’m looking forward to having a wonderful year of writing!
To keep updated, I’ve created a new Facebook Readers group… If you’d like to join, HERE is the link.
Wishing you a happy, healthy and joyful 2015!! 🙂
My Goals for 2014 (and what happened in 2013)
I always like to take a look back at the past year and see how far I’ve come, and plan for the year ahead to give myself something to aim for. Though I think it’s important to be flexible and allow for plans to change as life unfolds, it’s good to have a basic guide to propel you forward.
So first of all, let’s look back on 2013, a huge year for me as it was my first year as a published author…
There were many firsts: seeing my first cover (I can’t tell you how exciting and surreal that was!), taking part in my first book club as author guest, seeing my book advertised on websites and in catalogues, getting reviews for my book, getting my First Sale ribbon at the RWA conference (and dancing like a lunatic at the awards dinner). Overall it was a great year, though there were some challenges and sadness too: my amazing Nanna passed away at age 94, and we lost our old home that my son grew up in, in the Blue Mountains bushfires (my parents had only just sold the place and moved out). Life is a rollercoaster, as they say.
Here are my writing and publishing achievements for last year:
Overall I wrote 3 complete manuscripts, did 1 intensive revision, wrote 2 partials, and 4 outlines.
Here is the breakdown:
- Wrote I Dream of Johnny – 15k words
- Wrote The Delta Girls book #1: SIGHT – 52k words
- Wrote February or Forever (Tarrin’s Bay book #2) – 84k words
- Wrote partial (3 chapters & synopsis) of secret NA/YA project set in Salem
- Wrote partial (3 chapters & synopsis) of You Know You Want To
- Revised existing outline for The Bucket List Club
- Wrote brief outline for Christmas novella
- Wrote brief outline for Lovestruck in London
- Wrote brief outline for a New Adult dance-themed novella
- Revised The Life Makeover Club intensively (twice).
- The January Wish was contracted (didn’t release till recently, 1st Jan 2014)
- Debut novel Fast Forward was released in Feb.
- I Dream of Johnny was contracted and released in Sept.
- Starstruck in Seattle was contracted and released in Oct.
- February or Forever was contracted.
- Signing with a literary agent after querying The Life Makeover Club to 70 agents.
2013 BLOG HIGHLIGHTS:
- Views: 13,000 views in 2013 (over 5000 more than last year!)
- Top 3 posts for 2013:
1. How To Choose A Pen Name (same top post as last year)
2. Editing Tip: 10 Words To Search For In Your Manuscript
3. I Dream of Johnny, & Johnny, & Johnny (3 Wishes Blog Blitz)
- Top / interesting / funny search terms:
1. Most popular search term that brought people to my blog: ‘How to come up with a pen name”
2. Other popular search terms were: romantic comedies 2013, contemporary women’s fiction, pen name generator, setting the scene in a story.
3. The interesting, funny, and bizarre: Cooking novels, Johnny Castle, tango, covered in spit (I actually did have a blog post with a similar title so I’m not that surprised, but why would someone search for it?), Mexican table decorations, me affair with Trisha, birthday cake too many candles, spiritual experience post 9/11, great halls in medieval castles, Help I‘m haunted, Miss chatterbox, raunchy birthday for woman, the neverending sentence, Eat Pray Love dinner party (that’s actually a cool idea!), Juliet is spit on by stranger full length (???), hopjulikit (????),what happened at the end of the fast forward by juliet madison (um, read it & find out!), please don’t disturb.
- Top 3 commentors:
2. Iris B
3. Mary Preston
- Top visitors from:
2. United States
3. United Kingdom
- Top referrers to my blog:
1. Search engines
So yes, it was a big year! What’s in store for 2014? Hopefully more contracts and books out!
Here are my goals for this year:
Overall I aim to write 4 complete manuscripts, of varying lengths:
- Write Haunted Housewives, a romagic comedy novel.
- Write a romagic novella, haven’t decided which one yet out of a choice of three.
- Write Miracle in March, the third book in my Tarrin’s Bay series.
- Write The Delta Girls book #2: SOUND, the next in my YA supernatural series.
- Write a partial of The Bucket List Club (and as much more of it as possible!).
- Read more books! (See my TBR list here). I won’t try to read a certain amount as I want reading to be relaxing and fun, not another deadline. But I will aim to make reading more of a priority and read at other times during the week, not just at bedtime.
What are your goals for the year ahead?
I read an interesting article recently that said goals can simply be things like: write for one hour a day, five days a week, rather than: I’ll complete a book by June. Sometimes people do better when their goal is more of a system to follow than a defined outcome. In my case though, I know I need to have certain books finished by certain times, so personally I need the specific outcome as a goal. Then I break it down to figure out how much time I need to devote to achieving it.
Hope you have a happy and successful 2014 everyone! 🙂
This Time Last Year…
Happy new year! I just love January 1st and the feeling of a fresh start, and today is even more exciting… This very day one year ago I started writing a new story. I opened a word document, began typing, and before I knew it three chapters had been written. This story was FAST FORWARD. Now, one year later, it is not only finished but about to be published with Harlequin’s Escape Publishing. My first published book. The scheduled release date is February 1st 2013 and I cannot wait! So if you’ve been thinking of writing a novel, or have an idea for a new one – get writing! You never know, this time next year you could be celebrating a publishing contract. 🙂
So much can happen in a year. I think it’s nice to take a look back and celebrate progress, achievements, and good times…
In terms of writing, in 2012 I… edited a manuscript, did extensive revisions on another manuscript (which I’m still revising), wrote FAST FORWARD, wrote my first novella STARSTRUCK IN SEATTLE, wrote and self-published a short story SISTERS AT HEART, started writing my next romantic comedy HAUNTED HOUSEWIVES, received my first publishing contract, and made the finals in Choc Lit Publishing’s Search for an Australian Star contest with my manuscript THE JANUARY WISH. The events I attended were the ARRA awards dinner in Sydney and the RWA annual conference on the Gold Coast. I connected with a wonderful critique partner who is now a dear friend, and formed an online writing goals group. I also spent way too much time on Facebook and Twitter but we won’t go into that.
Out of all that, the only things I’d planned for at the start of the year were to complete Fast Forward and attend the RWA conference. Everything else ‘just happened’. My main goal for 2012 was to get a contract for one of my books, and I still smile when I think about how that goal came true. 🙂
So what’s the plan for 2013?? I’m still working that out, but I’d like to increase the amount of time I spend writing (or at least, write faster), and at a minimum, complete two full length books. Because I tend to shoot for the stars I’d also like to write another one or two novellas (the next one in my ‘Love Angel’ series to follow Starstruck in Seattle, and a brand new stand-alone one called ‘I Dream of Johnny’), complete a rough (or clean, whatever) draft of the first book in my young adult series The Delta Girls, and write a short story for a Christmas anthology I’ve agreed to participate in. I’d also like to find a way to survive without sleep.
Will I achieve all that? Who knows, but it’s worth a shot! I think the main thing is to keep moving forward, keep learning about writing and publishing, and keep getting those words down. Progress is an achievement in itself.
As for my blog, wordpress has created an annual report for me and I’ll share some of the stats with you:
- May was my busiest month which coincided with my first ‘themed month’ on the blog; Mouthwatering May.
- The busiest day was May 27th and the post on that day was Sunday Lunch with Jenn J McLeod.
- The top five posts that received the most views throughout 2012 were:
1. How to choose a pen name / pseudonym
2. Setting the scene – bringing the story to life through a sense of place
3. Anita Heiss answers Juliet’s Awkward Questions
4. How to use the new Facebook page timeline & How to run a Facebook chat
5. Survey results – what do you like to see on author blogs?
- I had visitors from 110 different countries! Most of my visitors came from Australia, followed by the United States and the United Kingdom.
- Most visitors were referred to my blog via Facebook, twitter, my website, Google reader, and Survey Monkey.
- The most popular words/phrases people typed into a search engine to end up at my blog were:
1. List of awkward questions
2. How to choose a pen name
3. Juliet Madison
4. How to come up with a pen name
5. How to set the scene in a story
- The most interesting, unique, weird, funny, or non-relevant things people typed into a search engine which led them to my blog were: Little Miss Bossy (me?), plastic surgery Florida (not a chance), luxury hotel foyer, where is Sticklepond (I don’t know, I wonder if they found out?), chatterbox characters, I work at the post office, It was a dark and stormy night (how original), in bed with Juliet (umm…), extreme sport reading (that’s my kind of extreme sport!), Santa Claus hat cookie, and starting fresh.
- The top five people who left the most comments on my blog (and are now my new best friends) were:
1. Rachael Johns (who has a new book out today in Aus/NZ, Man Drought – check it out!)
2. Jenn J McLeod (whose debut novel, House For All Seasons releases March 1st.)
3. Juliana (any person whose name starts with Juli has to be awesome ;))
4. Rebecca Raisin (a talented writer and winner of short story awards!)
5. Imelda Evans (whose novel, Rules Are For Breaking was released recently)
Thanks guys! And congrats to Rachael for coming first (it was a close one, Jenn) 🙂
What’s in store for my blog in 2013? Lots of author interviews, including my new segment ‘Past, Present, and Future’, posts about writing, reading, life, publishing, and marketing for authors. And I’m sure there’ll be more competitions! Speaking of competitions, I’m giving away some goodies each week until the day of my book release, but exclusively to subscribers of my email newsletter. To subscribe, head over to my website and fill in the subscription form (you’ll also get my free Triple Treat with two short stories and an e-guide for living a life you love).
So that’s it for this New Year’s Day post. Here’s to an awesome, exciting, magical, spellbinding, successful, prosperous, entertaining, happy, fulfilling (and various other adjectives) new year!!
~ Juliet xo
The Power Of Accountability For Writers
A gourmet dinner at the hotel buffet after the recent RWA conference led to more than just a full stomach. It led to the birth of a new writers club for me and my fellow dining companions. We decided we were committed to being up on the conference stage to collect our First Sale Ribbons as soon as possible, and created a club to help each other achieve that goal – the goal of our first publishing contract.
Our desired outcome comes down to several factors of course, some of which are outside our direct control, but we believe that through commitment to our craft, consistency in action, support of each other, and confidence in our work we can achieve that outcome. And when the time is right for us, we believe we will be on that stage celebrating our first sale.
The club is now in its third week, and already I have achieved more than I would have without the club. Each Monday we state our weekly goals to the group, and share what we achieved from the week before. Doing this makes us focus on the little steps needed to lead towards our bigger goals, and helps us to be more productive.
For writers, life often gets in the way of being consistent with writing, especially when you’re not yet contracted and you feel like you should be doing something else. But having a few like-minded people around you who share your goals is a huge help, and helps you to prioritise your writing and take action towards your dreams.
There is something exciting about writing down your goals and ticking them off as they are completed, even more so when you share these goals with others. Having a writing buddy or a small writing group gives you the power of accountability. No one wants to check in with the group and say they didn’t achieve their goals, so knowing you have to share your progress with the group acts as a strong motivator to get things done, and to stay on the path you have chosen.
If you don’t have a writing buddy or group, I strongly recommend joining or starting one. First of all, join RWA (The Romance Writers of Australia), as they are such a supportive organisation for writers and I have learned so much through them and made great new friends. You don’t even have to be a romance writer to join, we have writers of many different genres in RWA. Then, hook up with a suitable critique partner so you can provide feedback on each other’s work. RWA has a critique partner match-up scheme, or you can find one by asking around online and sharing a few samples of work to see who you click with. I found mine rather organically… we began a conversation on facebook earlier this year and never stopped, and after sharing a sample of work we decided we would like to work together and have been critiquing happily ever since (and our facebook chat is still continuing to this day!). Now through my new writers club I have an additional CP, as it can be good to get two different opinions on your work (plus, I have found the processing of critiquing another writer’s work helps me with my own writing).
So if you find yourself getting to the end of the week and wishing you had written more, learned more, or read more, then consider starting an ‘accountability group’; a group that doesn’t necessarily have to read each other’s work, but exists for the main purpose of helping each other achieve weekly or monthly goals. It makes a huge difference! 🙂