How to Take Your Writing Work Further with Ali Luke @aliventures #VCBuzz

How-to-Take-Your-Writing-Work-Further-with-Ali-Luke-@aliventures-#VCBuzzWriting is definitely art: But can you learn to be good at that? You definitely can!

Becoming a better writer and creating better content is what we’ll talk about today!

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About Ali

Ali writes blog posts, non-fiction ebooks, and fiction: Publishing E-Books for Dummies, and Lycopolis & Oblivion (first two novels in a planned trilogy).

Ali loves writing, but she also loves working with writers to help them take their work further. Please join Ali’s teaching/community site Writers’ Huddle. (It only opens to new members a couple of times per year, so add your name to the waiting list)

Questions we discussed

Q1 How did you become a writer? What was the turning point?

I always wanted to write: attempted a couple of novels in my teens. Turning point was getting into “pro” blogging (late 2007).

I accidentally landed a freelancing gig (a blogger liked my guest post!) early in 2008 and never looked back. ?

Took me 6 months to build emergency fund & enough freelancing gigs to confidently quit day job. Had no kids then, though!

I wrote 3.5 novels and did MA in creative writing before (self)-publishing novel. Fiction is really hard to do well!

My “novel writing time” is 5.15pm – 5.45pm each evening while my husband has the kids (they’re 3 & 1, it’s full-on!)

Confidence is huge issue for so many of us. @thecreativepenn has a fabbook on “Successful Author Mindset”

That’s how I feel about writing. ? Great to hear she went for it & got her work out there.

Q2 What’s your most practical tip to someone who wants to become a better writer?

Schedule writing time into your day / week, pref. in a regular time slot. It won’t happen otherwise. Life is always busy!

Also, don’t spend too much time learning/reading about writing: instead, put into practice what you’ve already learned.

Plus, be open to feedback — and seek it out for any important pieces, e.g. ask a blogger friend to help you edit a guest post.

Absolutely, do keep reading … but don’t let it take the place of writing. You’re more ready than you think. ?

It helps that I’m working on an ongoing novel. It was hard at first, I was used to long writing slots. Gets easier!

Huge hat-tip to all the editors out there (thanks for the reminder, @Websuccess) – my novel editor is the fab @lornafergusson.

Writing faster: break into stages (idea; planning; draft; edit) and batch-create ideas & plans. Set timer while you draft.

Ask around, see who your network recommends. Read editors’ blogs. Look in books’ acknowledgements.

Q3 How does your community teach others to become better writers? What can one expect to find inside?

In Writers’ Huddle, we have monthly seminars on different aspects of writing – covering a broad range of topics.

We also have 6-week Writing Challenges twice a year, where the focus is on meeting writing goals (e.g. writing 2,000 words/week).

Members can get feedback from one another, and from me, through the forums – e.g. by posting work-in-progress.

I know members find it daunting to share work but feedback is best way to grow & improve (& everyone is kind!).

It’s the 5 yr anniversary in Feb ’17 so planning big relaunch (currently surveying members about what’s good/ needs tweaking!).

Q4 You are a published author? How does publishing of a fiction book differ from publishing a non-fiction book? Which is more complicated? Which is a better option if you are willing to make money?

I am! Traditionally published (with Publishing E-Books For Dummies) and self-published (my Lycopolis trilogy of novels).

Fiction is harder to write well, and trickier to market. Non-fiction is tougher to format – e.g. may need illustrations, index.

Yup, it’s a private membership site so members pay a monthly fee (am considering a different fee structure though).

For me, non-fiction has been MUCH easier route for money. Only a tiny percentage of my income is from fiction, currently. But I love writing fiction and can’t imagine stopping. ? (Really enjoy non-fiction too. I think a lot of writers do a bit of both.)

Scrivener for writing, Word to create & upload final manuscript to KDP. I find that KDP handles Word files well now. Also, re. formatting, there are plenty of people / companies that can do it for you pretty cheap.

Ah, the non-fic ebooks are premium .pdfs plus extras that I sell through my own sites, so that hasn’t come up (yet!).

Q5 You are a mom, a writing coach and the author of fiction and non-fiction books… Where do you find time for all of that? What are your productivity tips and tools?

It definitely is a balancing act, but it’s reality for many (probably most) writers/bloggers, so I can’t complain ?

Darren Rowse (@problogger, dad of 3 boys) had a great podcast on this a couple of weeks ago.

I cut back a lot after having each kid (now 3 & 1). Good chance to streamline and ditch things that weren’t working well.

The kids have a part-time nanny (currently for 10.5hrs/week): paying for working time definitely keeps me focused!

Tools-wise, Nozbe (GTD-compatible) for task management, which helps me keep track of lots of different projects and areas.

@michaelhyatt recommends it — good enough for me ? Tried lots of tools in the past, Nozbe’s the one I’ve stuck with.

Our previous writing chats:


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