Tag Archives: success

Writing in Multiple Genres Part 1 (Guest Post)

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Summer Series 2021: Writing in Multiple Genres Part 1

by Steph Beth Nickel

Let’s talk about the pros and cons of writing in multiple fiction genres. Later in the blog series, we’ll talk about nonfiction.

Not everyone agrees that it’s a good idea, but there are a number of authors who successfully write in two or more genres.

Before you decide whether you’re going to focus only on one genre or on several, you’ll want to ask yourself a series of questions.

The first …

What does success mean to me?

Will you consider yourself a successful author only if you’re picked up by a traditional publisher?

If so, your publisher will want you to write exclusively in one genre—at least in the beginning. You’ll have more latitude if you go the indie route.

Are you looking forward to developing a devoted fan base?

If your readers love your speculative fiction and then pick up your next book, a cozy mystery or sweet romance, they’ll not only be confused but also disappointed. They’ll be expecting more of the same if your name is on the cover of both books. Writing under different pseudonyms can solve this issue.

Is keeping your fans happy an element of success in your mind?

With so many new books appearing on the market every day, if you don’t release your next book in what readers consider “a timely fashion,” they’re likely to move on to another author and may not pick up your next book if it takes too long to come out. This is especially true if you’re writing a series. Once readers are invested in your characters and storylines, they’ll want more ASAP.

Do you define success as being your readers’ favourite speculative fiction author? Mystery writer? Sweet romance writer?

To develop your storytelling skills to this level requires hours of reading, writing, and research. If you want to become your readers’ go-to author, it’s important to focus on one genre at a time. It’s best to choose a genre you love to read and can see yourself writing in, potentially, for years. Once you become someone’s favourite author, they’re going to want to get their hands on as many books as you can write.

What’s most important to you? How do you define success? Which route makes the most sense to becoming your version of a successful author? Regardless of whether you write in multiple genres or only one, your first responsibility as an author is to write the best book you can.

Happy Writing!

[Come back next month for part 2 of this series on writing in multiple genres.]

Steph Beth Nickel
Steph Beth Nickel

Steph Beth Nickel is an editor, writer, and birth doula. If you would like more information about her services, you can contact her at nurtureandinspire@gmail.com; join her Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2725853534313738; or visit her website-in-progress: nurtureandinspire.com.

Defining Success (Guest Post)

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Defining Success

by Steph Beth Nickel

Thousands of authors all around the globe have participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this November.

To “win” NaNo, the author must write 50K words of a new novel or nonfiction book … although there are NaNo Rebels who combine projects or choose their own word count goal.

So, just what is success?

For some authors, they must achieve a predetermined goal, such as writing 50K words in November, in order to feel successful.

Others need a deadline to keep them on course. When they complete their writing goal by said deadline, they consider it success.

This year, many of us have come to realize, if we’re disciplined enough to spend any time writing, we’ve been successful and “beaten the odds.”

One writer cannot define success for another. One writer should not criticize another for not accomplishing what the first writer defines as successnor should the first writer condemn herself for not being able to write every day, never mind 50K in a month.

How can you set yourself up for success, whatever that means to you?

Determine not to compare yourself to others.

Others’ accomplishments can inspire you and give you something to strive for. However, another writer’s productivity and schedule may not work for you. And that doesn’t mean you’ve “failed.”

Honestly evaluate how much time you can set aside each week to write.

Take into account not only your other responsibilities inside and outside your home but also the physical and mental energy you have “left over.”

It’s true that you may have to get up a little earlier or go to bed a little later to make time for your writing, but don’t neglect your need for adequate sleep.

Consider reallocating some of the time you spend watching Netflix or scrolling social media as writing time.

Look for those “found pockets of time” within your daily schedule.

You may have 10 minutes here and 20 minutes there. It may not be ideal, but it’s likely to help you reach the goal you’ve set for yourself more quickly than if you wait for large chunks of solid writing time.

Keep in mind the age-old advice to carry a notebook with you wherever you go.

These days, that may mean writing in the Notes app on your phone or using an App such as Evernote or Google Docs. There are authors who write entire manuscripts on their phone.

Give yourself grace.

Do you wag your finger at other writers and condemn them for not spending more time writing? Do you think they should simply “suck it up” when life (aka 2020) sends them for a loop? Do you determine your favourite author isn’t a success unless they release at least one new book every year?

Your answers to these questions are likely “No. No. And no.”

You see what I’m driving at …

And in the same vein …

If you don’t meet today’s goal, give yourself permission to try again tomorrow.

It can be discouraging if a writer doesn’t meet their daily goal, especially if they feel the goal is achievable.

Even if this describes you, there are days life will happen and you just won’t get around to it, but that doesn’t mean you have to write off tomorrow and the next day and the next.

Each sunrise marks a new beginning, a new opportunity to achieve SUCCESS.

Tweetables

Determine not to compare yourself to others. (click to tweet)

Honestly evaluate how much time you can set aside each week to write. (click to tweet)

Look for those “found pockets of time” within your daily schedule. (click to tweet)

Give yourself grace. (click to tweet)

If you don’t meet today’s goal, give yourself permission to try again tomorrow. (click to tweet)

Each sunrise marks a new beginning, a new opportunity to achieve SUCCESS. (click to tweet)

Steph Beth Nickel
Steph Beth Nickel

Steph Beth Nickel is an editor, writer, and birth doula. If you would like more information about her services, you can contact her at nurtureandinspire@gmail.com; join her Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2725853534313738; or visit her website-in-progress: nurtureandinspire.com.

Review: Fiercehearted, by Holley Gerth

Fiercehearted, by Holley Gerth

Fiercehearted, by Holley Gerth (Revell, 2017)

I have so many lines in this book highlighted! Some because they’re comforting, encouraging, or challenging, and others because the word pictures are beautiful.

A few favourite lines:

In the introduction, Holley Gerth writes that she wants the book to help women

…feel less alone and more comfortable in our God-sewn skin and a little surer that we are a force to be reckoned with in this world. [Kindle location 189]

It’s in these moments that we carry wonder and fear like twins. [Kindle location 2080]

We’re all just clay on the wheel, which is another way of saying we are dust being sculpted into glory. [Kindle location 2214]

I found author Holley Gerth through Ellen Graf-Martin’s Change Makers Podcast, and have been appreciating her email newsletters and posts ever since. When I saw the digital version of her book, Fiercehearted, discounted recently, I snapped it up.

With short, conversational chapters transparently reflecting the author’s life experiences, Fiercehearted touches on topics common to many women: conflict avoidance, identity, self-worth, insecurity, success, perfectionism, expectations, failure, work, depression, friendship, and more.

Highly recommended for Christian women, and especially for those who appreciate the writing of Emily P. Freeman, Carolyn Watts (Hearing the Heartbeat), and Ann Voskamp.

For more about Holley Gerth and her ministry, visit holleygerth.com.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

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Guest Post: The Spiritual Side of Writing Breaking Free, by Jennifer Slattery

The Spiritual Side of Writing Breaking Free

by Jennifer Slattery

I’m pretty sure every writer has that one story they long to see get published. Perhaps it’s the first one they wrote, or maybe one that touches on a deeply personal subject. Or maybe they sensed God’s hand so strongly as they wrote it, the story took on a deeply spiritual meaning.

Breaking Free was the first purely fiction adult story I wrote, it touched on encounters from my past, and it came about after a long spiritual standoff. I first felt the nudge to write around 2004 but all I did was dabble. As I had time. But then, around 2008, things changed as I sensed a definite call. God wanted me to sever my safety nets and lay it all—my time, dreams, ambitions—my whole self, on the altar.

This terrified me, because I’d been lingering on the outskirts of writing communities enough to know how incredibly hard it was to get published. Shouldn’t I pursue a more rational career? One with a guaranteed paycheck, retirement plan, and insurance benefits?

But honestly, that wasn’t what I feared most. What kept me dragging my feet was the possibility that I could spend decades, potentially the rest of my life, pounding away at my keyboard with nothing to show for it but a bunch of old documents.

You see, I measured my success based on my accomplishments rather than obedience. More than that, I measured my self-worth based on my accomplishments. Therefore, if I wasn’t successful, I wasn’t valuable.

God used Breaking Free to show me how faulty my thinking had become and to remind me of who I was in Him. I suppose this story represents my own freedom journey in a way. And yet, the journey isn’t over. Perhaps it never will be, because I find it’s all too easy to slip back into that “do-to-be” attitude, measuring my worth on temporary things when my real life is hidden with Christ in God. When that happens, God must once again pry my reaching-grasping fingers loose, centering me in His truth and grace, because that is when my creativity truly comes alive.

What about you? Have you ever sensed God calling you to do something you found irrational or irresponsible? What made that nudge so frightening? How did you respond? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Breaking Free, by Jennifer Slattery

Breaking Free:

Sometimes it takes losing everything to grab hold of what really matters.

Women’s ministry leader and Seattle housewife, Alice Goddard, and her successful graphic-designer husband appear to have it all together. Until their credit and debit cards are denied, launching Alice into an investigation that only leads to the discovery of secrets. Meanwhile, her husband is trapped in a downward spiral of lies, shame, and self-destruction. Can they break free from their deception and turn to the only One who can save them? And will it be in time to save their marriage?

 

Read a free, 33-page excerpt here: Free sample of Breaking Free

Buy it:

Connect with Jennifer

Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction Jennifer Slatteryfor New Hope Publishers, Christian living articles for Crosswalk.com, and devotions for Internet Café Devotions, the group blog, Faith-filled Friends, and her personal blog. She also does content editing for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas’ Firefly imprint, and loves working with authors who are serious about pursuing their calling. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.

Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her on Facebook at facebook.com/JenSlatte.