3 Steps Toward Writing Fearlessly

by Michelle Griep, @MichelleGriep

It’s okay to mess up. No, really. Not only am I giving you permission to crash and burn in spectacular glory, but you need to give yourself permission as well. Why? Because studies show when you feel you are allowed to make mistakes, you are less likely to make any.

Sure, that’s easy to say, but how does it play out in the real world of writing? What exactly does it look like to write in a manner that is free from the fear of failure?

3 Steps Toward Writing Fearlessly

  1. Give yourself some time.

When you start a new writing project, don’t expect to whiz-bang it out in a manner of weeks, especially if you’re taking some new risks in your writing (and you should always be taking some kind of risk). Don’t constrain yourself by expecting to create within a certain timeframe. This gets a bit more tricky if you’ve got an actual deadline, but even so, build some wiggle time into that looming date. That gives you space to correct mistakes that you will undoubtedly make.

Example: I need to turn my next manuscript in by Feb. 1st. But I made myself a personal deadline of Nov. 30th. That way I can go back in and fix up the bugaboos without shifting into panic gear.

  1. Ask for help.

Nobody likes to admit they need help. It’s humbling . . . especially if you’ve made a mess of something. But don’t hide your mistakes. Share them with others who can help. Sometimes it really does take a village.

Example: The novel I have coming out in June is set in Colonial America. As a Regency/Victorian author, what the heck do I know about Colonial America? Sure, I’ve researched, but I’ve also got a few historical fiction buddies who are experts in this area. I didn’t just ask them for help…I batted my eyelashes and added a “pretty please with sugar on top.”

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  1. Quit the comparison game.

There are always going to be faster writers out there than you. But if you compare yourself to them, you’ll get all snarled up in feeling worthless. If comparison is a horrible habit you just can’t break, then compare yourself to yourself. Look at your performance this year and compare it to where you were at five years ago, or even a year ago. You might still be making mistakes, but are you making less? Are you improving?

Example: I used to beat myself up for not being able to write more than a page a day. That count is in the rear view mirror. Now I can easily do 1500-2000 a day. That number still doesn’t compare to some of the rockstar authors I know, but I see growth and that frees me up to quit worrying about it.

Don’t stagnate in playing it safe to avoid making mistakes. Successful people take risks, even if it means they fail.


12 Days at Bleakly Manor

Imprisoned unjustly, BENJAMIN LANE wants nothing more than freedom and a second chance to claim the woman he loves—but how can CLARA CHAPMAN possibly believe in the man who stole her family’s fortune and abandoned her at the altar? Brought together under mysterious circumstances for the Twelve Days of Christmas, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters . . . and what matters most is love.

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of historical romances: The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, Undercurrent andGallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.the next level.

5 Ways to Read More books

By Michelle Griep, @MichelleGriep

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”  ~ Stephen King

If you spend any amount of time online you’ll not only notice sales galore, but “Best Of” lists for 2017, most notably the Best Books of 2017. Everyone’s got their list, from Amazon to Goodreads to pretty much every blogger on the face of the earth. There’s no question that reading is good for you in so many ways: educationally, as a stress reliever, inspirationally, and as Stephen King notes it makes for a better writer.

But how can you shoehorn into your schedule more books than you’re currently reading? Never fear, folks. Have I got a list for you . . .

5 Ways to Read More Books

Quit Reading

I know. Sounds counterintuitive, right? But here’s the deal. If you want to read more you have to read what you love. If you start a book and it doesn’t grab you, quit reading it. The more you read what you love, the more you’ll read.

Schedule Time

Face it. Nobody has time to read. There’s dishes to wash and laundry to fold and the back forty to plow. But if reading is important to you, schedule it. Even a simple 15-20 minutes a day will help you plow through more titles than you currently have on your docket.

The Essential Scenes in every best-seller

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Create a powerful story with these essential scenes!

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Track It

Keeping a list of what you read is a big motivator. This can be as easy as jotting titles down on your calendar or something more elaborate such as Goodreads. Just seeing a list makes you want to add one more by the end of the year. It’s like a competition with yourself.

Audiobooks Count

Commuting to and from work or going on a family vacation is a great time to pop in the ol’ ear plugs and make some progress on your TBR pile. Even short spurts such as when you’re mowing the lawn or going for a bike ride can rack up some pages. Audiobooks are a great way to multi-task reading with other activities.

Disconnect

Turn off the TV. Shut down the wifi. Going old school, especially right before bed, is the best way to get some reading done.

There you have it. Try one. Try all. But do try something to increase your reading even if it’s simply fitting in one more book than you would have normally consumed. And if you’re looking for a great Christmas read to get you in the ol’ holiday spirit, check out my latest release, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor…a mix of Dickens and Agatha Christie.


12 Days at Bleakly Manor

Imprisoned unjustly, BENJAMIN LANE wants nothing more than freedom and a second chance to claim the woman he loves—but how can CLARA CHAPMAN possibly believe in the man who stole her family’s fortune and abandoned her at the altar? Brought together under mysterious circumstances for the Twelve Days of Christmas, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters . . . and what matters most is love.

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of historical romances: The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, Undercurrent andGallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.the next level.

5 Types of Rough Drafts

By Michelle Griep, @MichelleGriep

Last week I finished a rough draft of my newest novel. You think you know what I mean, right? Well, maybe not, little cowboy. What a rough draft means to me might mean something totally different to you, and sure as heck is not the same as what Great Aunt Martha thinks it is. So today we’re going to do some defining . . .

5 Types of Rough Drafts

Word Vomit

Sorry for the visual. Think of this one as stream of consciousness type of writing. An amplified version.A type-anything-and-everything-because-hot-dang-something-might-be-great-in-this-mess kind of mindset. Most often this is the type of first draft accomplished by partaking in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

Tighty Whitey

Bare bones. Tight writing. So tight, in fact, that there’s lots of white space because this is only the essence of a story. There will have to be lots of additional information added. Basically, it’s a glorified synopsis.

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Practically Perfect

This puppy takes a long time to write because plot flow, words, and characters are well thought out, not just slapped down willy-nilly. Sure, there will be a few nits to comb out, but overall this rough draft is about as smooth as a baby’s behind.

Screenplay

Some writers pen only dialogue on their first pass of a book. They simply put their characters on stage and let them talk. Settings and character descriptions will be added in later.

Outline on Steroids

This is the opposite of the screenplay approach. Basically, it’s a this-happens-then-that-happens live-action play for the entire story.

The thing to note about all these approaches is that there isn’t any one “right” way to go about penning your first draft. All are valid. As for me, I’m of the Practically Perfect persuasion, and not just because it’s fun to say. I’m just a little OCD that way.

TWEETABLES


12 Days at Bleakly Manor

Imprisoned unjustly, BENJAMIN LANE wants nothing more than freedom and a second chance to claim the woman he loves—but how can CLARA CHAPMAN possibly believe in the man who stole her family’s fortune and abandoned her at the altar? Brought together under mysterious circumstances for the Twelve Days of Christmas, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters . . . and what matters most is love.

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of historical romances: The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, Undercurrent andGallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.the next level.

3 Ingredients of a Great Writer

By Michelle Griep, @MichelleGriep

It’s November. That means thousands of writers are pounding away at their keyboards this month, hoping their manuscript will become the next #1 NY Times Bestseller.

See what I have in my hand, kids? It’s a pin. A sharp, pointy silver rod of death, and I’m stabbing balloon after balloon. Pop. Pop. Pop. Because the ugly truth is there’s only one thing that makes for a great bestseller and that’s a great writer. And there are three ingredients that go into all the greats. Look deep inside, little writer, and see if you have the makings or if you’re short an egg or two . . .

3 Ingredients of a Great Writer

1 – Guts

There’s a fine line between knowing writing rules and being hog-tied by them. It takes courage to cross the line now and then and break those rules. That implies you must first know what the “rules” are, but at some point you need to let go and freefall into your writing. Take risks. Stop caring if your story gets published. Write for the breath-stealing exhilaration of creation.

2-Reading

Great writers read. Excessively. And in all genres. There’s something to be said for osmosis. Reading great writing tends to come out as great writing.

3-Time

This is the ingredient everyone wants to skip, especially all the bright-eyed newbies out there who think their first manuscript is God’s gift to mankind. It takes time to become a great writer. Blood. Sweat. Tears. Lots and lots of chocolate and weeping. Granted, the timeline isn’t the same for all writers, but it’s a rare genius who gallops out of the gate into novel stardom. Most pay their dues one year at a time, critique by critique, workshop by workshop. Slow down, little cowboy, and enjoy the ride.

If you’re missing one of these ingredients, don’t despair. Just work toward the one you need most. Stick with it, because there’s a kingpin of all ingredients inside every great writer: perseverance.


12 Days at Bleakly Manor

Imprisoned unjustly, BENJAMIN LANE wants nothing more than freedom and a second chance to claim the woman he loves—but how can CLARA CHAPMAN possibly believe in the man who stole her family’s fortune and abandoned her at the altar? Brought together under mysterious circumstances for the Twelve Days of Christmas, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters . . . and what matters most is love.

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of historical romances: The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, Undercurrent andGallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.the next level.