Writing When Your World is Out of Control

 

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Photo courtesy of morguefile

 

I had a dream that my writing time was uninterrupted. No family drama or emergency took me away from my words. I stayed on task. All the items on my checklist from blogs, to edits to marketing were completed. Then the alarm went off and I woke to reality. And I’m not alone in the real world of writing during crisis. Several writer friends requested prayer or shared their own struggles with meeting deadlines while family tragedies formed around them.

 

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Photo courtesy of morguefile

 

Some are dealing with aging parents and Alzheimer, illness, or tough things with their adult children. Others, it’s teens in rebellion, little ones with special needs, spouses in the hospital and the list goes on.

We will have trials

We don’t get to quit our day jobs to deal with most of this stuff, and our writing is just as important. But we can adjust. One author writes only hundreds of words daily rather than thousands as she waits by the bedside of her ailing mother.

Taking the laptop to the library to distance oneself from family drama for a few hours a day is one way we writers cope.  Unfortunate circumstances beyond our control amplify the adage, “there is no perfect time to start writing.”

Jesus reminds us that in this world we will have trials. And as a Christian the second half of the verse rings true for me. He says, “I have overcome the world”. Praying and seeking His peace and clarity is so crucial during family drama.

Keep a journal

No, this is not the time to write about the trial.  You’re too close and your emotions too raw. Keep a journal or open a file on your computer and dump all your emotions there. Someday in the distant future all that angst will be fodder for a novel, article, or how-to-endure-family-drama book.

Keep moving forward

For now, you just put one foot in front of the other. Decide what things you need to let go while you deal with the emotional, physical or legal things associated with your trial. I hired a lawyer to deal with all the paperwork for my aging parents. After my father passed, my mother is happy in her assisted living facility. My son’s family lives with us at present and there are times we are responsible for the granddaughters. Drama at work can drain my energy reducing the number of writerly things I get done at the end of the day.  Individually, these are only mild hiccups, but when they all come at you like a flood it can send your writing schedule out to sea. And you find yourself struggling to catch a breath and regroup.

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Once I established a way to deal with the small stuff the large chaotic surprises have a basic pattern to follow.

  • A few hundred words a day is better than none.
  • Go to the library or a café for a few hours to work
  • Turn off your cell phone if possible
  • Don’t accept a large project during a family drama
  • Have someone double check your work before submitting because your focus may be skewed now.
  • Ask for extensions but keep writing as if you don’t have one.
  • Reach out to family and friends for help. Don’t be a super hero. Not only will your writing suffer, but also those you care about most.

Anyone care to add to this list? I’d love to hear how you cope with big and small potholes along your writing journey.

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How to Throw a Facebook Book Launch Party

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Tomorrow is my Facebook Book Launch party for my newest release, New Duet. This is my second time doing a launch party. I thought I’d share for those who’ve never had one or never participated as a guest in a Facebook Book Launch Party what it’s all about.

What is it

Launch Parties are an opportunity to both celebrate and sell your book. It’s a party without refreshments but full of fun. Like any party it needs planning. Invitations, prizes, decoration (a banner) and games.

 

Invitation-Event page on Facebook and social media announcements on all platforms

Create an event page and share it with all your friends. FB gives you step by step instructions for creating the event. Design a banner to grab attention. There are templates for FB size banners.

New Duet Release Banner

Be sure to send out the invitations to the event at least a week ahead. Then announce it a few more times before the event. Send out ticklers by talking about the prizes and show the cover.

Create a meme for twitter and other social media to announce your party also.

What to do during the Facebook Party

Here are the kind of games that make the party fun: Book trivia questions, drawings, author trivia, and background about the creation of the story. These games get the guest to comment. And comments are what make a Facebook party.

Be sure you have trivia questions or talking points already typed out, so you can cut and paste in comments to create interaction with your guests quickly. Cut and paste eliminates typos due to nerves.  Take pictures of each item that is being given away in advance too. Every fifteen, twenty or thirty minutes (depending on the length of your party) have prize drawings.

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Trivia questions are easy to do. I usually do multiple choice or true/false questions. My guests don’t need to have read my book before they can answer questions. The idea of the party is to pique interest in my book and add followers.

Help

Have someone keep track of all those who commented so their names can be entered in the drawing. At the end of the party or the next day on the party site post the winners. Request the winners send you a PM or email with their address or email (depending on the prize).

Have your street team comment and ask questions during your Q & A in the last portion of your party. This keeps the other guests engaged. Think through possible questions and have answers prepared so you can cut and paste the answers and worry less about typos or foggy brain.

New options

This time I’m planning on using Facebook Live to visit my guests in person and read a portion of New Duet.  We will see how that goes.

I’ll be showing my book trailer as well. It’s is awesome.

Hope to see some of you there tomorrow too.

Those of you who have had experience with Facebook Book Launch parties tell me how you party and engage your guests in all the fun.