5 Habits of a Successful Writer

by DiAnn Mills, @diannmills

Emulating those whose writing careers have soared into bestseller status provides us with amazing role models. We look for a roadmap with precise steps and no detours. But every writer is different, and the destination isn’t always reached the same way.

We can accomplish the same goals as those writers who inspire us. It’s a matter of determining the practices that most fit our personalities. The following is what I feel makes a notable difference in a writer’s career.

5 Habits of a Successful Writer

  1. Begin every day with God.
    He knows where we’re supposed to be and how to get there. Fuel your heart and mind with God before engaging in the writing life.
  2. Write five days a week.
    Commit to write on a regular basis. Find the time and stick to it. Establish a word count that is attainable. Sometimes a writer needs an accountability partner. If this is you, enlist the help of someone you respect.
  3. Read. Read. Read.
    Read the craft books.
    Read a marketing book.
    Read the bestsellers.
    Read in your genre.
    Repeat. 
  4. Stay active on social media.
    The appropriate platform is a writer’s main source of marketing, promotion, and branding. Research and develop your social media skills.
  5. Be aware of the outside world.
    It’s impossible to write to heartfelt needs if we have no idea what is going on in our community, state, country, and world. Choose awareness. Take a daily detour to the media.

Five simple tasks can make the difference between a ho-hum writer who dabbles and dreams about writing success and a writer who practices the traits of bestselling writers.

Are you fueled up and ready to take the scenic route to publication?

TWEETABLES

5 Habits of a Successful Writer by DiAnn Mills (Click to Tweet)

Commit to write on a regular basis.~ DiAnn Mills (Click to Tweet)

Five simple tasks that can make the difference~ DiAnn Mills (Click to Tweet)

DEEP EXTRACTIONS
A SUSPICIOUS DEATH, A SECRET PLOT, A BUDDING ROMANCE. A pacemaker should have saved oil and gas magnate Nathan Moore’s life. Instead, it provided his killer with a perfect means of execution. Special Agent Tori Templeton teams up with US Marshall Cole Jeffers to investigate Nathan’s murder and whether it’s connected to a recent bombing at one of Nathan’s oil rigs. The closer they get to finding the killer, and to each other, the more intent someone is in silencing them for good.

DiAnn Mills is an award winning writer who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She currently has more than fifty-five books published. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists and have won placements through the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Carol Awards and Inspirational Reader’s Choice awards. DiAnn won the Christy Award in 2010 and 2011. DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Romance Writers of America, and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn is also a Craftsman mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas. Find her on the web at www.diannmills.com.

The Power of Pinterest

By DiAnn Mills, @diannmills

Pinterest claims to have 100 million active monthly users while noting 176 million registered users. Those stats are amazing, especially when writers are geared up to market and promote a new book.

Using Pinterest for promoting novels allows writers to expand their creativity. An easy way to entice a reader to check out our work involves pulling out special sections of the novel that can be translated into a picture or meme.
Story symbols and products and services have the ability to represent key aspects of the book and urge the reader to investigate further. For example: is your character a Starbucks, Coke, or McDonalds fan? Does the character thrive on baseball or tennis? Does your character take long walks by the ocean to ease her mind?

Snippets of the setting make the story come alive.

Photos of the writer engaged in the writing process or involved in something fun links the passion of the writer for the story.

Quotes from the story—those witty comments that can be humorous, insightful, or way deep. (In fact, we writers often wonder where they came from.)

Now that you have an idea what to use for your novel’s Pinterest board, stir up your creative juices and let the writer’s uniqueness shine.

  1. Create a new board for your novel. If the book hasn’t been released, make sure this is a “secret” board.
  2. Study the psychology of color. Use what attracts readers to your books.
  3. Organize what you want to pin on your story’s board.
  4. Create memes for setting and symbols. PicMonkey is an easy way to personalize and make your designs powerful. Use free stock photos from such sites as Pixabay, Unsplash, Negative Space, or Stock Snap.
  5. Use a plain canvas background or a pic to focus on a quote. Again PicMonkey is an amazing tool.
  6. Include your url on each pic. This brings traffic to your website and invites repins.
  7. Use keywords to organize and complete the necessary description for your pins. This ensure your story and brand are easy to find.
  8. Add the Pinterest button to your website.
  9. Make your board public on the day before your book’s official release date.
  10. Share your board and pins via social media with friends and readers. Others are excited to see a new perspective on the story.
  11. Follow others on Pinterest and they will follow you.

I love this simple and easy way to show readers the fun and exciting parts of my book. How do you use Pinterest to market and promote your work?

TWEETABLES

The Power of Pinterest by DiAnn Mills (Click to Tweet)

Writers using Pinterest allows them to expand their creativity.~ DiAnn Mills (Click to Tweet)

How do you use Pinterest to market and promote your work? ~ DiAnn Mills (Click to Tweet)

DEEP EXTRACTIONS
A SUSPICIOUS DEATH, A SECRET PLOT, A BUDDING ROMANCE. A pacemaker should have saved oil and gas magnate Nathan Moore’s life. Instead, it provided his killer with a perfect means of execution. Special Agent Tori Templeton teams up with US Marshall Cole Jeffers to investigate Nathan’s murder and whether it’s connected to a recent bombing at one of Nathan’s oil rigs. The closer they get to finding the killer, and to each other, the more intent someone is in silencing them for good.


DiAnn Mills
 is an award winning writer who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She currently has more than fifty-five books published. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists and have won placements through the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Carol Awards and Inspirational Reader’s Choice awards. DiAnn won the Christy Award in 2010 and 2011. DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Romance Writers of America, and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn is also a Craftsman mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas. Find her on the web at www.diannmills.com.

Story Foundations for the Serious Writer

by DiAnn Mills @DiAnn Mills

Story ideas can be like fireworks. They soar and explode in beautiful colors…then their dance fizzles to the ground and we turn our attention to the next one. But story ideas don’t have to fade away. A writer can take those wild moments of inspiration and build a credible, colorful, creative, and compelling story.

Where do story ideas come from when we’ve spent hours brainstorming and feel like giving up? Buster Moon from the movie Sing says: “When you’ve reached rock bottom, there’s only one way to go, and that’s up!”
Here are suggestions to give your story idea bestseller (up) status.

  1. Pieces of a conversation…juicy tidbits that move us to explore story and character
  2. An article in the news that grasps our attention
  3. Books we’ve read—fiction or non-fiction
  4. Music—including lyrics
  5. Poetry
  6. Nature—with all its beauty and danger
  7. A movie you’d have written differently
  8. The behavior of family or friends
  9. Historic events about people and places
  10. Genealogy
  11. Personal experiences
  12. Dreams – Deep within our subconscious activity lies this realm where plot problems find answers, character situations resolve, and new characters are born.

I know you have a story idea. It’s banging against your head and heart, keeping you awake at night. You’re not sure what to do with all the information, and you fear you may lose it. So, let’s turn your burning thoughts into a book project.

Ready? Are your fingers poised on your keyboard? The exercises below will take a little time but so worth the effort.

Step One
 
Write your story idea in one sentence. Don’t concern yourself with character names, setting, and genre.
 
A few examples:
1. A young mother confesses to her police officer husband she is not only addicted to drugs, but she also deals them.
2. A businessman discovers the owner of his company is smuggling assault rifles into the country.
3. A newly married couple is left behind on a wagon train when the husband is suspected of carrying a terrible disease.
4. A young woman travels west to marry a man she’s never met—only to discover he doesn’t exist.
5. A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s means a middle-aged woman must become the caretaker for her mother, with whom she already has a strained relationship.
6. A couple is awakened by thieves in their home. While the husband attempts to overpower the intruders, the wife is killed.
7. During wartime, a prince is forced to take the throne for his ailing father. Then the prince learns he’s not the real heir, but the son of the warring king.
8. The inhabitants of a planet wracked by pollution face extinction. Their only solution is to exterminate half of the population.

Take a deep breath and congratulate yourself. You’ve given your story life.

Now perfect your one-sentence storyline. Tweak it until you’re satisfied. Do you envision your protagonist(s) and antagonist(s)?

Step Two
 
Take your one-sentence idea and write at least one paragraph about your story. Extend the idea to include what you know about your characters and the storyline. Don’t worry about grammar and punctuation. Simply envision the story. When you’re finished, save and edit your paragraph(s).

Step Three 
 
What is your story’s genre? Consider the list below and find a home for your idea.
1. Contemporary
2. Historical
3. Romance
4. Suspense/Thriller
5. Mystery
6. Western
7. Women’s Fiction
8. Speculative (includes science fiction, fantasy, allegory, etc.)
9. Young Adult

Story ideas often mix genres with romance, such as:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Historical Romance
  • Romantic Suspense

By including a thread of romance, writers increase their readership. It’s been said that 80 percent of book buyers are women. Half of them buy romance. Do the math and consider adding a spark of love to your project.

Where do you find the foundation for your story ideas?

TWEETABLES

Story Foundations for the Serious Writer by DiAnn Mills (Click to Tweet)

Three Steps to Turn Your Story Idea into Book Project~ DiAnn Mills (Click to Tweet)

Story ideas can be like fireworks.~ DiAnn Mills (Click to Tweet)

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers

should expect an adventure. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Firewall, the first book in her Houston: FBI series, was listed by Library Journal as one of the best Christian Fiction books of 2014.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Suspense Sister, and International Thriller Writers. She is co-director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference with social media specialist Edie Melson. She teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn is active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at www.diannmills.com.

7 Mistakes Authors Make

By DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Every writer wants to be viewed as professional, intelligent, and bestselling. Nothing wrong with those goals, and they are worthy and attainable. But when a writer consistently makes dumb mistakes, her credibility takes a nose dive as well as her career.

Take a look at the following mistakes. Are there changes on your horizon?

1.  Practicing poor grammar and punctuation
Work smart! Invest in a grammar guide or take a college English course. Most publishers use the Chicago Manual of Style. An online help is www.grammarly.com.

2.  Failure to invest time and effort in social media
Work smart! Today’s readers are online and active in social media. How can we reach them when we fail to learn how and where they are spending time?

3.  Condescending remarks posted online about those in the publishing world
Work smart! Not only are critical marks about others inappropriate and unprofessional, but also every word written online can be retrieved.

4.  Lack of demonstrating sincere concern for readers
Work smart! Take time to discover and meet reader needs. Life is about relationships, and when we are genuinely interested in our followers, they become our friends.

5.  Refusal to understand genre and the guidelines
Work smart! Be an expert in your writing niche(s). Know the distinguishing characteristics of your subject matter. A professional writer knows where she fits and strives to meet those criteria.

6.  Practicing pride that comes before a fall
Work smart! Rejections and a request to edit make us better writers. Grow a tougher skin and understand it’s not about us but about the writing project. Humility molds us into better people.

7.  Neglecting to learn the writing craft

Work smart! A writer may have the gift of communicating through the written word, but unless she commits to learning how to write and practices the techniques, she may never sell. Learning is ongoing, a means of always being at the top of our game. Wrap your writing in emotion—the reader’s, the characters, and your own.

If any of the above 7 items have slipped into your work habits, now is the time to make changes. Your career, relationships, and reputation are on the line.

We all need to be professional. Have you ever made a writing mistake?



TWEETABLES


7 Mistakes Authors Make by Diann Mills (Click to Tweet)

When a writer consistently makes mistakes, her credibility takes a nose dive~ Diann Mills (Click to Tweet)

Your career, relationships, and reputation are on the line.~ Diann Mills (Click to Tweet)

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Firewall, the first book in her Houston: FBI series, was listed by Library Journal as one of the best Christian Fiction books of 2014.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Suspense Sister, and International Thriller Writers. She is co-director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and The Author Roadmap with social media specialist Edie Melson. She teaches writing workshops around the country.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on Facebook: www.facebook.com/diannmills, Twitter: https://twitter.com/diannmills or any of the social media platforms listed at www.diannmills.com.

Title Photo Copyright: scyther5 / 123RF Stock Photo