Creative Exercises to Keep You Going

Whitney Eklof is currently an offline marketing specialist for Author Solutions, the world leader in supported self-publishing. She has a master’s degree in telecommunications from Indiana University, focusing specifically on storytelling across a range of mediums and story world creation.  While at IU, she also served as an associate instructor, educating students about writing, storytelling, and other telecommunications-related subjects, and worked as a writer for Indiana University’s Media Team.

Creativity can be hard to come by. Some days we’re just worn out, or we feel we’ve exhausted our creative juices. Writing, an inherently creative process, is no different. There are days we’re just dog-gone out of the dose of creativity we need to keep pushing our story forward. However, we don’t have to languish in our creative void – there are a whole host of creative exercises we can try to get our writing juices flowing again. Below are just a few suggestions, from the obvious to the obscure.

The obvious

Free write: You are probably familiar with this technique. Simply set aside what you’re working on and write. Write whatever comes to mind; write in full on stream-of-consciousness. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar mistakes or that the paragraphs don’t flow together. Just write. Free what’s in your heart and mind and put it on a page – you never know where it’ll take you.

writing-1209121_960_720Read: We are often inspired by others. In fact, that may be the reason you started writing in the first place. Maybe you read a story that sucked you in completely and charged you up to write something of your own. Take some time to go back to those roots. Read something you really enjoy; even better if it’s in the same genre you’re writing in. See how someone else spins a sentence or brings a character to life. Let someone else inspire you instead of trying to will creativity into existence.

Utilize writing prompts: There are hundreds of books and websites full of writing prompts. Whether or not they relate to your book’s subject-matter, taking on a prompt can let your mind roam free. Don’t be afraid to embrace a genre you don’t normally write in either! Writing prompts give you just enough direction to send you down the path to creativity.

The not so obvious

Exercise: When we think about trying to jog our writing creativity, we often focus on writing-related exercises (the obvious ones mentioned above), but exercises unrelated to writing can also help us find the creativity we need to finish that next chapter. In comes the most straightforward exercise of all: exercise. It gets your heart pumping, gets you out of that hunched-over-your-laptop position, and just flat-out increases creativity. Scientific study even supports it!

Meditate: Mindfulness meditation has exploded in popularity over recent years. Mindfulness is about slowing down, taking in your surroundings (and your body), and simply being. It’s a practice about being present, and not letting the distractions of life in. The process of mindfulness can boost creativity as it helps us focus and frees us from worry or tangential rabbit holes.

The obscure

Play: That’s right, play. Sit down with your children, nieces, nephews, pets, or even by yourself and play. Free your mind from stress and worries and just imagine yourself as a princess, a powerful wizard, or simply be your dog’s favorite ball thrower. Play not only incorporates exercise; it helps expand our thinking in new directions. Instead of thinking linearly all the time, we open ourselves to more lateral thinking and associations. You might be surprised at how creative kids can be, they may end up providing the inspiration you needed. Beyond that, play is simply important, whether you’re a kid or an adult.

Restrict yourself: This one probably seems counter-intuitive. You probably imagine creativity is a product of freedom, and sometimes that’s true. However, there is power in restricting yourself, as the story behind the creation of Dr. Seuss’ classic, “Green Eggs and Ham,” demonstrates. By reigning in your boundaries, you’re forcing your brain to work within confines it may not be used to – giving it a new challenge and forcing you outside of your comfort zone.

Creativity is something we can find in the most unexpected of places, and it’s something essential to writing – no matter if we’re writing a sci-fi saga or a how-to helper. When our creativity wanes, it can bring our writing to a halt, but it doesn’t have to spell the end of our story. There are thousands of creative exercises out there and the ones listed here are but a few. So, please, take some of the ideas listed above and give them a whirl, or share some of your own creative exercises to help a fellow writer out of their creative void.

Write on, fellow writers!

– WBP –

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation, and length. 


Are you a “Pantser” or are you a “Plotter?”

Whitney Eklof is currently an offline marketing specialist for Author Solutions, the world leader in supported self-publishing. She has a master’s degree in telecommunications from Indiana University, focusing specifically on storytelling across a range of mediums and story world creation.  While at IU, she also served as an associate instructor, educating students about writing, storytelling, and other telecommunications-related subjects, and worked as a writer for Indiana University’s Media Team. 

What kind of writer are you?

When we talk about our writing, we often refer to the genre we write or the themes we explore. However, we rarely talk about what kind of writer we are. In comes the concept of “Pantsers” and “Plotters.”

Like the name suggests, a Pantser is someone who writes by the seat of their pants. They go forth and let the words flow without planning or overarching structure already in place.

Then there are the Plotters. As you might guess, a Plotter is someone who sits down to write after carefully plotting the trajectory of their story. They have a structure in place and their writing is about getting from one piece of that structure to the next.

As writers, we generally fall in one of three categories: Pantser, Plotter, or the combination of the two known as the “Plantser.”

Now, it might be easy to categorize yourself as a Plantser off the bat because you feel you do a little of both, and that may be true. But take a moment to stop and really think about your writing process. You might just find that you tend to lean more heavily toward one side, or even that you’re a full-on Pantser or Plotter. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s simply your process. But, as with most things in life, there are pros and cons to each side.

Pantsers

Pros: Pantsers have more flexibility and freedom. They can go wherever the story takes them, which can be great for discovering new directions to take your book in. They’re not tied to a particular outline so they can scrap something that’s not working without having to redo the entire structure.

Cons: Of course, having no structure and no clear direction can lead to those dreaded cases of writer’s block, or even worse, it could lead to entire story derailment. Pantsers often run into more plot holes and logic problems because of the more freewheeling form.

Plotters

Pros: With a solid idea of where the book is going, Plotters can more easily get from Point A to Point B or chapter to chapter. The writing process also tends to move more quickly and smoothly when you know where you’re going.

Cons: Having everything planned out can be confining and Plotters may miss out on the opportunity to see where the story takes them. It also means that if they want to change something, they may have to rethink their entire structure.

Plantser-a combination

There are certainly writers who fall into each of these categories without ever experiencing any of the cons. They are the lucky few. For the rest of us, becoming a Plantser can bring us the best of both worlds. Having a light outline or at least a general idea of what you want to cover in each chapter is certainly helpful, but taking time to simply write and see where the story or characters lead is also equally as powerful.

Where to go from here?

Whichever category you fall into, consider changing up your process and try being a Pantser or Plotter for a day. Even if you consider yourself a little of both – a Plantser – you probably tend to use one process more than the other or may simply be in a place where you’ve become one more so than the other lately.

As writers, we all need to take time away from our work: time to re-energize, regroup, or just to relax away from writing. Be sure to also take some time to try out a different process.

If you’re more of a Pantser, sit down and outline your next chapter and see how the process can give you clearer direction. If you’re a Plotter, take one of the concepts you believe needs more development and just write; don’t plan, just go. When you mix things up, you’ll find that change often leads to increased creativity and helps refresh you and your spirit.

So whether you’re a Pantser, Plotter, or somewhere in-between, don’t be afraid to switch things up once in awhile and embrace the other side. After all, you know what they say … “The grass is always greener.”

Write on, fellow writers.

– WBP –

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation, and length. 


Gary Savage & His Adventurous Nutrition Book

In this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following blog is from Gary Savage, author of “Fletcher McKenzie and the passage to Whole.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

Book Preview

The protagonist of my book, Fletcher McKenzie is no ordinary 14-year-old boy. He will inherit his family’s food business in Western Maine in less than four years. Before this happens though, Fletcher has to save not only his family’s food business, but also his mother and comatose father.

Fletcher’s adventure starts when he discovers a mysterious ancient portrait of Mollyockett, a Pequawket Indian who lived in the 1700s. Mollyockett’s painted eyes seem to come to life and stare into Fletcher. After finding a poem on the back of the painting of Mollyockett, Fletcher’s Uncle lets him in on a family secret, warning; “What I tell you, you mustn’t tell a soul.”

When Fletcher discovers a passage that has been a McKenzie Family secret for generations, the fast-paced, page-turning adventure begins in earnest. The passage leads to another world called Whole, where Fletcher unlocks a secret power and battles an ancient enemy of the McKenzie family. The novel is so adventurous, that you’ll never know you’re reading a nutrition book!

Book Inspiration

  1. Tell us a little bit about your book and what inspired you to write it?

I’ve been involved with health, fitness and nutrition my entire life. Young readers and young adults are not likely to sit down and read a nutrition book. Most nutrition books are tiresome9781512754872_p0_v1_s192x300. It was my goal to make nutrition interesting and exciting.

  1. Where do you find inspiration for your characters?

I find inspiration for my characters in people that I’ve associated with most of my life. Many of my characters are based on true life people who were a part of my early childhood. The main characters in the book are actual historical figures from Maine history.

  1. What do you love most about self-publishing and would you recommend it to other authors?

I’m fortunate enough to have been published even before this book. Fletcher McKenzie and The Passage to the Whole is actually my first self publishing endeavor. Self-publishing gives me the control I had previously been looking for. I have a major say in the layout of the book, the cover and the final product. I would absolutely recommend self-publishing to other aspiring authors.

Writing and Marketing

4. What are you writing goals for next year?

I’m working on a sequel to this book. That in and of itself is a major task. There aeeabd586-a668-47b5-9bb9-21f60be91846re many colorful characters and unexpected twists and turns in this book. The sequel will build on those. It’s a lot of work!

5. What’s your favorite social media outlet for marketing and promotions?

I would have to say my favorite social media outlets are Facebook and Instagram. They both reach different market segments and are hugely popular.

6. What are some of your favorite reviews you’ve gotten of your work?

My favorite reviews are always from my family and friends. They know me and find laughter in the characters.

7.What advice do you have for aspiring author’s?

My advice to aspiring authors is to just do it. I know hundreds of people who tell me they want to write a book. Most of these people do not. Take the plunge and enjoy it.

 

– WBP –

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation, and length. 

 


Patti Greene, Author of Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer

In this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following blog is from Patti Greene, author of Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer. If you would like to learn more about Patti’s life or work, visit her blog Greene Pastures. To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

Childhood Interests

Growing up my family valued books and reading. The bookshelves in my parents’ home were always overflowing with novels, magazines, and encyclopedias. Newspapers were delivered in abundance to every home we owned. My two brothers and I were raised to believe that bookcases were an essential piece of furniture in every room.Patti Greene

Where I lived in the northeast, there weren’t any brick-and-mortar libraries close by. Despite that,  I found much enjoyment going to the bookmobile that showed up weekly at the local shopping center. While my mother was in the grocery store, I would anxiously and excitedly climb the big bookmobile stairs. I was always in search of the perfect books to check out. Every Christmas I looked forward to receiving good books to read.

By the time I went to high school, I was not as interested in reading anymore. I remember one day my father restricted me to the dining room table until I read an article in a Newsweek magazine. Reading was always valued in my family, and it still is.

As I write this article, my 91-year-old mother is sitting at the kitchen table taking notes from her medical books.

A Call to Writing

As a child when we traveled on our vacations, my parents had my brothers and I write diary entries on our days’ adventures. This was my first recollection of enjoying “collections.” When I was seventeen, I began logging my prayer requests in various types of note-books. Basically, I found myself prayer-journaling before prayer-journaling came into vogue.

For many years I worked as a librarian. One day after retirement, I prayed fervently about what the Lord wanted me to do. In his own way during my quiet time, I was impressed to go into my bedroom closet. My first thought was, “Oh no God, you aren’t going to make me sit in my messy closet and pray, are you?”

As I stood in my closet, I was impressed again to, “Look up.” There stood 42-years of prayer journals on my top shelf. It was then I heard the still, small voice saying, “Patti, I want you to write prayer journals. This is what I have been preparing you for all these years.” While I have tinkered with writing articles and stories most of my adult life, I became serious at that point. My mission was to write prayer journals so others could experience joy, comfort, and security. Blessings which I’d experienced throughout my entire adult life.

Prayer Journals

Answer MeMy devotional prayer-journals combine Bible study and prayer. The two cannot be separated. Each journal includes undated date lines, topics and Scripture verses. As well as a suggested Bible reading, prayer request sections and a section to honor God with your thoughts.

My prayer is for others to become serious about prayer and Bible study. I practice my writing skills on my own Christian blog Greene Pastures. While I believe “practicing” a skill is of utmost importance, I believe continuous daily practice in communicating with God is essential. That is why I am honored to have the following three journals published with WestBow Press.

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer – A 365-day devotional incorporating interesting phrases from the Bible.

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer – A 181-day devotional filled with both spiritual and social issues.

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for God – a 90-day devotional prayer journal for those desiring how to have a deeper prayer life. NEW RELEASE.

– WBP –

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation, and length. 


Interview with Jeffrey Donley

In this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following blog is from Jeffrey Donley, author of The Counterfeit Christmas: What the Gospels Really Teach About the Birth of Jesus. To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

  1. Tell us a little bit about your book. What inspired you to write it?

My book is titled The Counterfeit Christmas: What the Gospels Really Teach About the Birth of Jesus.  We all enjoy the Christmas season but lose sight of Jesus among the commercialization of His birth. God wants us to know the real historical truth about Mary, Joseph, and the Virgin conception of Jesus—for our salvation depends upon it.

jeff-donley-official-headshot-2016In my book I deal with three Counterfeit Christmases: the supernatural Santa Claus, a fabricated Jesus and virgin birth story to cover for an adulterous Mary, and lastly the counterfeit Christmas of nativity scenes that have a donkey, an inn or hotel, a mean innkeeper, a blue or white blanket, a warm manger crib with fresh straw, shepherds, angels, and three wise men who were kings. Do these sound familiar?

What’s real? What’s true? How do you know? In my book, I unwrap the real historical birth of Jesus.

  1. What are 5 things you’ve learned about self-publishing?

The first thing I learned about self-publishing is to make sure that you have thoroughly researched your topic. Secondly, make sure that you complete your manuscript before contacting the publishing company. Thirdly, you must find the best picture for your front cover. People do judge books by their covers! A fourth thing I learned, is to make sure that numerous people have read your manuscript for errors. And finally, I learned to be patient during the different stages of production.

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  1. What do you love most about self-publishing and would you recommend it to other authors?

I like the fact that my work will be published to the world. I would recommend WestBow Press’s self-publishing to other authors.

  1. What’s your favorite social media outlet for marketing/promotions?

Amazon has great exposure, but I prefer television and radio to promote my book.

  1. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

My advice to aspiring authors is to write about what YOU know. Do not write about topics that you have no knowledge of, or experience in. When you write about what you know or have experienced not only is your mind in the process, but your heart is there too.

– WBP –

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation, and length. 

 


The Red Stones by Cathy Corley

In this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following blog is from Cathy Corley, author of The Red Stones. To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

One day in January, I found myself searching the web for “how to publish a Christian book”. My father had passed away in October, and I felt compelled to tell his story. They say grieving comes in all shapes and sizes. I happened to find solace and feel closer to my father when I could tell others about him. I came across the 1-800 number on the WestBow Press website and decided to take the plunge and call. Phil Yeager, a WestBow publishing consultant, answered as if he was a long-lost friend. Phil validated my father’s story and gave me the confidence to write it down. God was in the center of it all!

red-stonesMy father was born an optimist, he found the good in everything! During his last four years, my father battled lung cancer, lost a leg from diabetes, and suffered a heart attack. However, none of his many ailments ever prompted complaints. He would grin and say, “I feel great!”

How I Got The Idea For My Book

There are so many interesting and funny stories about my dad, but the story I wanted to share was how he spread the gospel. The tangible gift of a small red stone was given to those my father met along his way. Once he placed a red stone in the new friend’s hand, he would tell them of God’s love and ultimate sacrifice. My dad shared the news of Jesus, proclaiming how He died on the cross for our sins and miraculously rose from the dead to live forever. Although my dad knew his time on this earth was coming to an end, he clung to the hope and joy of living forever with Jesus. He wanted others to know this hope as well!

I had the privilege of witnessing my father share the red stones with others, and I did not want to keep this memory to myself. My desire to write The Red Stones began with wanting my great-nieces to know about their great-grandfather. Throughout the writing process, God showed me that this was not only my dad’s story. This story was a challenge for all of us to share the good news of Jesus Christ.

Thank You WestBow Press!

I am so appreciative for WestBow Press. They gently guided me from my initial call last January to the final proofs. Each representative was patient, kind and helpful through every stage. I would encourage anyone that has a story on their heart to take the time and write it down. God has blessed me through this journey.

– WBP –

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation, and length. 

 


Terita St. Julian, Author of “Training Your Children to Remain in the Vine”

My Story

My name is Terita St. Julian.  My husband and I are blessed to be the parents of two loving children.  They have learned to serve the Lord at early stages of their lives.  I am also the author of a book called Training Your Children to Remain in the Vine which is based on John 15:5 [Jesus states] ‘I am the vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.’  Training Your Children to Remain in the Vine is about raising godly children and is expected to be released in 2017.  Throughout the process of writing my book, I definitely felt unqualified, but the Holy Spirit taught me how to let Him lead my life and parent according to His will.  I make many mistakes, but I am learning Holy Spirit’s desire to intercede, which now provides a lot of peace for me.  Since God sees all, knows all and has all power, I can rest in His direction.

The Day I Met Walt

My 6-year-old daughter, Aleesa St. Julian, is the author of The Day I Met Walt.  When she first mentioned that she wanted to write a book, I thought that she definitely could when she became an adult.  However, God was already demonstrating Himself to her in mighty ways; so, I should have known that He wasn’t about to wait.  We began to journal many of her extraordinary life experiences.  By the time she was 4, she had already been reading for 3 years.  It felt like God spoke to my heart, “She was made to delight people in the Lord.”  I didn’t know what that meant, but I was soon about to find out.  She was persistent about starting her book, and God even led our nephew to send her a kit to get her started.  I later began to see that God was behind the inner workings of her decision.  A year later, God led us to WestBow Press, and we were blessed to have two books published for the price of one!

The true story, The Day I Met Walt, is about a time when Aleesa at the age of 4 accidentally tore tassels off my pillow but denied it.  She wanted to make sure the book used the word “accidentally”.  But, I’m still debating that one.  (Don’t tell her I said that.)  Anyway…Her dad punished her by taking away ALL of her stuffies, which was devastating to our little Aleesa.  Thankfully, she had already learned through life experiences that she needed to ask JESUS for forgiveness and seek Him for guidance.  After she found herself in that “mess” as she stated – She called on JESUS!  The next day, she began her first outreach ministry with the Huntsville Dream Center.  She was still sad from the previous day but chose to serve anyway.  While being a blessing to others, God sent her a new friend and remarkably demonstrated to her that she was forgiven.  You see, this new friend blessed her by singing her favorite song “Amazing Grace “and gave her what her heart was desiring most at the time…a STUFFY!  God is a multi-tasker because her new friend, Mr. Walt, also had a troubled heart.  The book, The Day I Met Walt, tells how God blessed him that day too!

The Day I Met Walt will remind people how much God loves us all.  If He cares about what some may consider the smallest most insignificant things in life, don’t you believe that He cares for your big problems as well?  Never underestimate His love for you and build bridges of hope for others, even while you may be waiting for your prayers to be answered.  We hope you purchase and enjoy reading The Day I Met Walt!  Be blessed!

– WBP –

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation and length. 


Debra Rosen’s Tips on Hosting a Successful Book Signing

In this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following blog is from Debra Rosen, author of Inspiration for Autism, A Pathway to Hope and Resources. For info about Debra visit her websites debrosen.com and inspirationforautism.com. To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

Inspiration for Autism, A Pathway to Hope and Resources was born from my personal experience as the mother of an autistic child.  An educator and school administrator for over two decades, yet clueless on raising a son with such severe special needs, I found myself writing my story in hopes of helping others find inspiration, behavioral management ideas, and resources. sku-001082040

Once the typing was complete and the editing was flawless, the publisher was secured and the layout and design were polished.  Once the printing was complete, the selling of my beloved book was underway.  As a new author, it was important to keep in mind why I wrote the book in the first place.  I wrote this bestseller to be just that…a bestseller.  I wanted to reach the widest audience as possible to help as many people as I could.

I have had to put all apprehensions and fears aside to sell my book.  I began to market myself as well as Inspiration for Autism.  You may be asking by now, how did I do that?  My first step was to prepare a one-page synopsis of my work as well as the qualifications that allowed me to offer advice and benefit others in the world of special needs.  After preparing my literary resume, I researched my local Barnes and Noble retailers to find out who the community representative was in charge of local book signings.  I emailed her my literary summary and my connections in the community.  My focus was to show her that I could indeed bring in a large volume of customers to her retail establishment.

I followed up my email with a personal visit shortly thereafter.  It was immediate, once she saw my enthusiasm and passion for my product that we calendared a date for my first signing.  Passion combined with connections goes a long way in the literary world.  She sent the images of both my book cover and picture that I provided her to the printer and viola I was on the upcoming author book signing poster, B & N social media sites, and her marketing kit.  I immediately requested the marketing materials and blasted all of my social media outlets so I could spread the advertising across a wider audience.  I also sent a personal email blast to every person in my contact list using Constant Contact as to avoid any spam or junk mail issues.  Lastly, I contacted the local newspaper and asked them to publish the event two weeks prior to the signing.  They happily obliged.

auThe day prior to the signing, I made sure a table and my marketing posters were prepared. I brought in extra copies of my book in case we sold out.  Good thing I prepared for that…we sold out!  Barnes and Noble bought them on consignment from me.  The day of the signing, I made sure I had extra pens on hand, business cards for future questions and contacts. I spoke with every person I could as they entered the store.  I shared with them the latest statistics of children being diagnosed with ASD, autism spectrum disorder.  If they knew anybody on the spectrum, I encouraged them to take a look at my book. I sold many copies and the experience was a success.

I followed up my book signing with a personal thank you card and a small gift to the customer service representative who helped calendar my event.

Be passionate. Be prepared. Be grateful.

– WBP –

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation and length. 


The Day I Met Walt by Aleesa St. Julian

In this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following blog is about Aleesa St. Julian’s book, “The Day I Met Walt.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your freeWestBow Press publishing guide today!

Hello, I’m the mother of Aleesa St. Julian.  The six-year-old author of “The Day I Met Walt.”  I was writing a book called, “Training Your Children to Remain in the Vine”, which is based on verse John 16:5 [Jesus states] ‘I am the vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.’  As you likely noticed, the book is about raising godly children.  While I began working on my book, my daughter, who was four at the time, decided that she wanted to write a book.  I told her that she could definitely write a book someday…thinking when she became an adult.  However, God blessed her with an ability to read by the time she was one.  So along with my help, she began to write her true story about a day that God demonstrated His love and forgiveness to her.  As she worked on her story, she also drew her own pictures on paper.  The images were scanned with the computer and before we knew it, her simple but heartfelt book was ready for publishing.  Before mine, I may add…

All I could do was laugh and watch God fulfill His plans for her through this book.  I remembered speaking with a representative at WestBow Press, named Eric Schroeder, when I was previously checking on pricing for my book’s publication.  He was very knowledgeable and took the time to answer all my questions; so, I called him back to inquire about my daughter’s book.  It just so happened that WestBow Press was offering discounted services that month; so, I was able to get two books published for the price of one.  Though my book wasn’t complete, I decided to prepay for the services.

I have learned a great deal through the publishing process of my daughter’s book which should make the process of publishing mine even easier.  The team at WestBow Press has been professional and organized.  God has opened doors like you wouldn’t believe for my daughter.  Less than a month after releasing The Day I Met Walt, my daughter received two television interviews and has another TV station requesting an interview with her soon.  I truly believe in prayer and allowing God to order our steps.  One of the interviews came about because I saw a lady standing alone in the heat one day.  It felt as though God was leading me to approach her.  I thought maybe she didn’t know Jesus but needed to know Him.  It turned out that she knew Jesus, but she also knew a very persuasive executive at a local television channel!  She gave me his cell phone number, and God continued to work it all out from there.  We don’t know what all God has in store for these books, but we just want to serve Him along this journey as we have fun through the process.  Thank you WestBow Press, and may God continue to bless all of you!

– WBP –

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation and length. 


Making Sense of Our Senses – Sight and Sound

The majority of people connect most strongly with visual stimuli. As a self-publishing writer, it is our job to make sure we cater to all our readers’ senses to fully immerse them in the world we are creating for them on the page. But how to best do that?

It’s All in the Details

During your pre-writing phase, consider your five main senses and then decide which ones will best help you set each scene. Try and think of at least one detail for each of the five senses—sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste—that will best place your reader in the story. Then write the scene, including as many specific details as possible. You may decide you don’t need all those details when you edit your work later on, but it’s always better to have too much than too little to start with.

Here are some of the ways you can use each sense to enhance your writing:

Sight

As we’ve already said, most people tend to be visual learners; thus, the majority of your story will be told using visual descriptions. We then use our other senses to add further details, fleshing out the environment. Think of your words as your readers’ eyes that allow them to look through the page and into the world you have created.

Simon de Vos – Allegory of the Five Senses

Here are a few sight words you might find helpful for creating the right atmosphere (but the list is near endless, of course):

• Craggy
• Billowy
• Crystalline
• Globular
• Obtuse
• Translucent

Remember, the use of color also creates atmosphere through emotional triggers and associations.

Sound

Sometimes we are deprived of visual cues. This is probably the scariest situation we can find ourselves in: alone in the dark. So what do you rely on? Your other senses, particularly any sound you can hear to help you piece together some sort of mental image about your surroundings. What am I hearing? Where is it coming from? How far away is it? Is there someone else in here with me? All the elements of a horror story are coming together.

Remember, you can always invent new words to create sounds on paper. Words like whizzing, hoot, and BOO! are called onomatopoeia.

Try to use action words to help convey the intensity or volume of the sound. Are the waves crashing against the rocks or gently lapping at the shore?

– WBP –

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation and length. 


Five Tips to Help You Get Your Manuscript Finished

You were inspired. You started out strong, but you’re starting to run out of gas before the finish line. Not to worry! Here are five surefire tips to help you complete your manuscript and self-publish it. Put them into practice and you’ll holding your first book signing before you know it.

Calendar1. Set a target date when you want to hold a finished copy

Imagine what it will feel like to hold the first copy of your book. Having that goal in mind can be a key motivator to keep you writing. It might be a specific day like your birthday, wedding anniversary, or a date that coincides with an upcoming event (a speaking engagement, conference or convention).

2. Pay attention to your best time/place for writing productively

Most people are more productive at certain times of day than others. When you write, keep track of the time and location when you’re most effective, and try to set aside that time each day for writing. You might be at your most creative in the morning, for example, or at night after the kids have gone to bed.

3. Set a schedule that will allow you to hit your target date

Now that you have a target date for completion, work backwards to establish a schedule to reach your goal. Let’s say you want to have a book signing in six months, but it will likely take you two months to get your book designed, printed and distributed. You need to submit your manuscript for production four months from now. Do you intend to have it copy edited? If so, you’ll probably need to allow another 60 days, leaving you only two months to get your manuscript ready to go.

4. Make yourself accountable to someone for finishing your book

Designate someone who will hold you accountable for sticking to your schedule. It can be a friend, family member, or someone familiar with the process. For example, publishing consultants at AuthorHouse have served in this role for thousands of authors. A firm but gentle hand can be all the encouragement you need to stay on track.

5. Plan an event to celebrate the book’s completion

For many authors, writing and publishing a book is one of the greatest accomplishments of their lives. Celebrate this feat! Throw a launch party at your home for friends and family. Give out copies of your book to those who’ve inspired you. This is more than a book, it’s part of your legacy. Take a few moments to pat yourself on the back and enjoy your achievement.

Millions of people have an idea for a book, but only the disciplined few earn the title of published author. You can be one of them!

– WBP –

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation and length. 


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