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Writing and Publishing

What is the Ideal Writing Process?

What works for one writer may not work for other writers and that’s okay

Every writer has a different method of writing. I know that because many of you tell me.

Schedule

Some write every day (like me) and others do not.

Motivation

Others wait for inspiration and some sit down and write regardless of how they feel (like me).

Target Date

Some need a deadline to spur them on and others do not (like me—though a deadline does amp up my motivation).

Writing Mode

Others spew out a quick rough draft and fix it later, while some write with more intention to produce a reasonably good first draft (my goal).

Time of Day

Some write in the morning (like me) and others at night or random times (I occasionally do that, too).

Planning

Next are those who strategize before they write (like me) versus those who figure it out as they go.

Many people call these two modes plotters and pantsers (writing by the seat of your pants), but I prefer the labels of outliners and discovery writers. They sound nicer.

Length of First Draft

Another consideration is writing long or writing short. That is, some writers write long first drafts and then edit them down. Others write shorter first drafts and then add to it. I’m neither. I have a target length in mind and aim to hit it.

The point is we all go about our writing differently.

My Approach

I write every day in the morning, even if I don’t feel like it, work to produce a good first draft from an outline (be it written or in my head), write to hit a target length, and most don’t need deadlines. But that doesn’t mean you have to follow my example.

It simply means this is what works for me – in this season of my career. If this works for you, too, then great. But if it doesn’t, then figure out what does work and then follow it, adjusting as needed along the way.

There is no one correct way to write; we can all learn from each other’s processes. The only error is trying to force ourselves into a mold that doesn’t fit us.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

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Writing and Publishing

Celebrate Being a Writer

Even though it took me a while to call myself a writer, I’ve been writing most of my life. In high school, I learned I had a knack for it, and it’s been part of almost every job I’ve had. Although I’ve had some great jobs, my work as a full-time writer is the most rewarding of anything I’ve ever done.

Using words to educate and entertain others is an art form that I cherish. Being an author and writing every day is a job so wonderful that it doesn’t even feel like work. I get to influence and encourage others with my words. How amazing is that?

I don’t plan on ever retiring. I like writing too much to stop. My prayer is that I will be able to write—and write well—until the day I die, which I hope is a long way off.

Until then, I will persist in my goal to change the world one word at a time.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

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Writing and Publishing

Reading Goals for Writers

It’s important for writers to read, and many writers make an annual reading list of what books to read.

But because I need to push myself to read, my overarching requirement is that the book interests me. This limits the range of what I read, which is not a good thing, but it’s better than not reading at all. So my first goal is to read what entertains me, or sometimes, what educates me.

My second goal is to identify what I like—so I can apply it to my own work—and don’t like—so that I can avoid it.

Third, I look at what keeps me turning pages and what tempts me to skim—or stop reading altogether. Again, this informs my own writing.

Fourth, I look for writing that confuses me. How would I edit that section?

Last, I listen to my editor’s internal commentary. Since I do a lot of editing as a periodical publisher, I can’t just turn off that part of my brain when I read—even though I try. Despite this, I remain mindful of the big issues: the flow of the work, the beginning, the end, the order of the chapters, and so forth.

As I do this, I’m vigilant about not emulating the author’s style or voice.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

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Writing and Publishing

How Do You Find Time to Write?

Writers struggle to find time to write, but the solution is simple

I commonly hear writers complain that they don’t have time to write. Some say “no time” and others say “not enough time.” Time, it seems, stands as the enemy of writing.

Yet the fact remains that everyone has twenty-four hours in their day. From the busiest person to the least active, we each have twenty-four hours to use—one way or another. Some of this time goes for eating and sleeping. And if you work, that takes up about a quarter of the week (forty out of 168 hours). But the rest of our hours are discretionary.

Yes, some of our discretionary time goes to extremely important things. Caring for children, paying bills, and grocery shopping come to mind. Yet even with these essentials, we exercise a degree of control over when we do them and how much time we spend.

If we intend to write, we need to make it happen. We must carve out time if we expect writing to occur. This requires sacrifice.

What will you give up so you can write?

I suspect everyone can scale back on watching TV and the social media time suck. We might socialize less, not be so worried about work around the house, or eliminate non-essential tasks.

Depending on where you are in your life and the scope of your responsibilities, you may only be able to free up a little bit of time for writing or maybe you can find more.

The worst thing, however, is to put your writing on hold. I can guarantee you that if you’re too busy to write now, you’ll be too busy to write next week, next month, and next year. And don’t put writing off until retirement. I hear retirees become even busier, which is one reason I don’t plan on retiring.

I am a writer. Writing is a priority. I make sacrifices so that I have time to write. I do this every day, every week, every month, every year. And as I do, my word count grows.

Finding time to write is simple. Implementation is hard. We make sacrifices and give up other things so we can write.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.


Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

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Writing and Publishing

Was 2016 Your Best Year Ever or an Epic Fail?

We need a realistic view of our history to plan a reasonable vision for our future

My wife sometimes says I view things as though my glass is only half-full, that I’m pessimistic. I counter that I’m simply being a realist, but the truth is I’m not sure who’s right. Perhaps a bit of reality resides in both perspectives. So it is in viewing my past year as a writer.

As such, I share two perspectives:

Best Year Ever:

  • After years of talk, I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time. What a great experience.
  • I wrote two novels, the second one in about three weeks. (I’m still editing them both.)
  • My work as a commercial freelance writer really took off this year, with more clients, more work, and more income—all new records.
  • I grew my Twitter followers from 2,400 to 11,500, surpassing my year-end goal of 10,000. I’m enjoying good connections and engagement there.
  • I took LinkedIn seriously and made 100 posts to a growing audience of 2,300, which more than doubled in 2016.

Epic Fail:

  • I didn’t publish a book this year.
  • I didn’t win any writing contests.
  • I wasn’t published in any anthologies.
  • I didn’t accomplish my number one goal for 2016. (Which is now my number one goal for 2017.)
  • Work/life balance continues to elude me. (It’s even harder to achieve when you work at home.)

I could reasonably adopt either of these two perspectives as my primary view of 2016. While it’s easy to dwell on disappointments, missed goals, and wasted opportunities, a better outlook is to focus on what went great this year. Though I might need to reread this post to remind myself, I can truly say that 2016 was my best year ever, and I look forward to 2017 being even better.

As you review 2016, I encourage you to celebrate the mountains and not allow yourself to wallow in the valleys. Though everyone is at a different place as a writer, no one had a flawless year and everyone has something to celebrate. Focus on these things as you move into 2017.

May it be your best year ever.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.