Maximizing Your Writing Productivity (Part 3) – Rachelle Ayala Webinar #writing #writertip #nanowrimo

Hey fellow writers! I’m back from Florida and had a wonderful time at the Readers’ Favorite Award Ceremony in Miami. Last week, I wrote about how I’m a pantser with a plan and also gave tips on what to do if you get blocked. Hopefully everyone is steaming toward the goal line for a 2015 NaNoWriMo win!

Today, I’ll give you my secret on how I went from writing and publishing two full length novels a year to the range of 10-12. It worked for me to “break the rules.”

That’s it. I revise and edit while writing the first draft. This is supposedly a big “no-no” because conventional wisdom says that you can’t create and edit at the same time, that your right brain (the creative one) has to be given full rein to explore and dazzle and flitter and dance, unhampered by the critical editor brain (left brain). I agree, to some extent, but isn’t it better to use both sides of your brain at the same time? By revising and editing as I go, I’m more efficient. I can let my right brain take off and create, but every day, I review what I did and my left brain figures out if I’m following my plan, or if I’m breaking my plan, I have a chance to remap my direction. If I realize I went the wrong way, I can backtrack easily while my memory is still fresh and go back and fix the work that went before. I don’t delete as many words because I don’t write all the way through, especially if I’ve decided to change the story. Since I fix while I write, I don’t have a big tangled mess of a first draft and this means fewer revision and editing passes.
So, that’s my big secret, and the bonus is that I work longer hours with this method because if my right brain is tired, my left brain takes over. When my left brain retires, my right brain swooshes off on another tangent. It’s great, and I recommend you try this to increase your productivity because truly, you are now working twice as hard by putting both sides of your brain to work.
Finally, I’m a social writer and love to share. The last way of improving my productivity is to chat and share with other writers and readers.
My Romance In A Month Facebook Group practices the principles I describe in my Romance In A Month textbook and the 366 Ways to Know Your Character workbook.

I write faster and better when other people are watching. It’s because I love the reward of having someone read or comment on my story. The way it works at Romance In A Month, if you don’t write, you don’t get to update your thread, so if you want something to talk about, you have to write.

I also have a Readers Club where I share excerpts and we chat about things. It makes writing a spectator sport because I get their reactions to my story while I’m writing it. All the social interaction gets people involved with the story and immerses me into the lives of my characters as I’m answering questions about them, or posting answers about what they would do in this or that situation. It really helps me to know my characters if I’m going to be gossiping about them!

I hope you enjoyed my presentation. Please let me know how you’re doing with your writing or if you have any tips to share. If you’d like to join my Romance In A Month group, we’d love to have you. Finally, here is the recorded video, at https://fwa.adobeconnect.com/p5stdvmmiff/

Many thanks to Jade Kerrion and the Florida Writers Association for having me on the panel of the Maximizing Writer Productivity Webinar.

Join my Private Readers Club to keep up to date with me and my writing!
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Trip Report: My Visit to Miami for Readers’ Favorite Book Awards and the Miami Book Fair 2015

South Florida was a blast. I landed in Miami and was immediately hit by the humidity, palm trees, and friendliness. So much like Puerto Rico. Oh, and for a drought-stricken Californian, there was water everywhere–pools and pools of it between buildings, entire rectangular plots of water, and of course the Everglades.

Excitedly, I made my way to the Regency Hotel in Miami, a stylish, hotel reminiscent of twentieth-century Hollywood with its columns, dark wood trim, marble and funky elevator.
The Annual Readers’ Favorite Award Ceremony is a three-night affair held annually in November in Miami, complete with field trips to the Miami Book Fair. As soon as I unpacked, I went to the meet and greet and met James Ventrillo, the Readers’ Favorite CEO and soon made friends with Sheri Fink, a celebrated children’s book author, and Marylee MacDonald, the gold medal winning literary fiction and dramatic fiction author. We then had dinner and met Darlene Quinn, Steve and Marge Lebel, Garret Blis, Diana Hart, Dete Meserve, Robert Ahanessians, Eddie Price, Danielle Hampson, and James Ventrillo in a comfortable and relaxed setting. What a wonderful way to spend an evening making new friends and talking shop.
The next day, Friday, I was up bright and early to catch the shuttle bus to the one and only Miami Book Fair. Obviously the first stop was the Readers’ Favorite booth where I immediately spotted my book, A Father for Christmas with cute little Bree Kennedy on the cover. Here I am with the Readers’ Favorite emcee, Eddie Price.
I also got to hang out with my friend, Jade Kerrion, a 2013 Readers’ Favorite Gold winner, and her wonderful family: husband and three darling boys. The book fair was full of school children, all wearing brightly colored t-shirts, and an invigorating and palpable atmosphere of LOVE-TO-READ permeated the fairgrounds. An entire city devoted two-weeks to books, reading, and literacy. I’m awed!
After returning from the Miami Book Fair, I got a text message from my friend and fellow author, Cate Beauman, gold and silver winner in Romantic Suspense. She and her family had just arrived! We decided to try Cuban cuisine and walked over to the Latin Cafe. It turned out everything was yummy, especially the Guava Mimosa with Bolo ham and pickle sandwich.
We hung out afterwards and met many more authors, then attended the motivational lectures on marketing and how to get your book optioned for film, as well as advice on building a sustainable writing career. Everyone has a story! What’s yours? It’s never too early to get started.
The next day, we wanted to do something fun for Cate’s husband and son, so we took a cab to the Miami Seaquarium. It was definitely the off season so it wasn’t too crowded and I enjoyed the flamingos, parrots and cockatoo display best as well as the wild birds and lizards walking around the park.
After returning from the Seaquarium, I took a few hours to write (my NaNoWriMo book), before heading downstairs for THE AWARD CEREMONY!!! Woot! Everything was decked out fancy in Le Club, again dark wood trim adorned the area and flowers festooned the stage. We had time to meet and greet, take informal pictures, and mingle before the ceremony began.
Once it got started, it was full of energy, good vibes, and excitement! When was the last time I was the one getting my pictures and videos taken instead of being the parent behind the camera taking pictures and videos of my children? Here, everyone was a star and we all got our moment of glory, walking onto the stage.

Afterwards, I was interviewed by a media consultant–didn’t catch her name, we had a buffet of finger foods, only I told everyone the empanadas were samosas [it wasn’t until I got to the Miami Airport the next day that I realized those fried crescents were empanadas, something Miami is famous for.]

Check out my Facebook Page for more snapshots. It was a super fun experience being around so many energetic and excited authors. Best of all, everyone was genuinely friendly and no one pushed their books on anyone else. Instead, I got a chance to sample books, gather business cards and have bought a few on my own. My kindle full, I headed home on the airplane, a little sad to leave it behind, but mostly enriched from my experience of making new friends and realizing that everyone has a dream, and that the most important thing in life is making those dreams come true.

The paperback makes an excellent stocking stuffer!

Maximizing Your Writing Productivity (Part 2) – Rachelle Ayala Webinar #writing #writertip #nanowrimo

Hi Fellow writers! Yesterday, I talked about the way I approach writing productivity. Today, I’m going to give you some practical tips on how to actually do that, given that November is National Novel Writing Month [NaNoWriMo 2015].

If you’re on schedule with NaNoWriMo, you’re probably smack dab in the middle of the story–sometimes called the sagging middle or the dragging middle. Your characters are still running around trying to figure this “journey” or “thing” out. They haven’t fully transformed to where they need to be at the end, but they are definitely different from their beginning state. This middle stage can be daunting because there are so many possibilities to get to the end, and like a teenager trying to figure out what he or she wants to end up in life, your story and characters could become stuck and you, as the writer, could be blocked.

When you’re in the middle, you have so many possible directions. I know I’m nearing my midpoint reversal or as James Scott Bell calls it, the Mirror Moment, when the character gains some insight that causes everything he or she believes to flip on its head. But there are so many ways to get there. Sometimes if you’re not careful, you get stuck or blocked. The first thing I do is go back and read what I wrote the day before or several days before. Oftentimes, this what-next process naturally leads to the story moving on. If that doesn’t work, then I write throwaway scenes. I ask questions to my characters, some random, others directed at the story. In my Romance In A Month class, we have Daily Character questions that help in brainstorming. I’ve put together 366 questions in a handy book called 366 Ways to Know Your Character [or one for every day of the year, leap-day included]. You don’t necessarily have to look for any particular date, but it’s a place to get started. Often times, answering questions from the character’s point of view is enough to get me going again.
Well, I’m out of time. Tomorrow, I’m on the airplane going to Miami for the Readers’ Favorite Award Ceremony. I wrote A Father for Christmas in six weeks, followed by several weeks of revision and editing using the Romance In A Month method. So I definitely eat my own dog food.
Will be back next week with Part 3, my writing method which was the single reason I went from 2 books a year to over 10. In the meantime, if you’d like to check out the recorded video, it is here at https://fwa.adobeconnect.com/p5stdvmmiff/

Maximizing Your Writing Productivity – Rachelle Ayala Webinar #writing #writertip #selfpublishing

Hey fellow writers, last Saturday, I presented my writing tips to the Florida Writers Association for the “Maximizing Your Writing Productivity” Webinar Seminar Series.

I’ve been self-publishing since 2012 and went from writing and publishing two books a year to more than ten a year, so I was asked to share my writing process and tips on how I increased my writing output while winning awards and bestselling status on my published stories, winning 2015 Readers’ Favorite Gold for A Father for Christmas in Christian Romance, 2015 Angie Ovation Award for best Multicultural Romance for Knowing Vera, and achieving Amazon Author Rank #29 in Genre Fiction with Christmas Lovebirds, with an overall sales rank of #51 in the entire Amazon store with the Christmas Pets and Kisses launch.

The big change for my happened in 2014, when I was invited to join an author group to write a hot, contemporary romance with Filipino characters. Taming Romeo was the result. I wrote and published a full-length novel in 25 days. I had an epiphany on how writing along with other writers and posting my results at the end of the day made me more productive, so I formed my own group of writers, Romance In A Month. I taught the basics of how to write a romance through a series of slides [which is now in the Romance In A Month textbook, the one with the red cover], and the explosion in productivity happened, to me and 20 other writers who have finished about 100 books since May 2014.
I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer, so getting organized and productive in terms of linear motion toward a complete story is not my natural state. I like to meander and smell the flowers, flitting from idea to idea like a busy little bee, do research, read non-fiction books, and generally dabble in many hobbies and interest areas. However, once I decided to be more productive, I became A Panster With A Plan
I’m still disorganized, but I set story structure milestones. Since I’m a romance writer, my hook is the “cute meet.” My call to action is the “Lock-in moment”, my midpoint reversal is the “Oh my, I’m in Love moment”, and my dark moment is the “Big Bad Breakup or this can’t go on moment”. Of course my climax is the “Grand Reunion,” leading to the resolution, or “Happily Ever After.”
I actually don’t know in detail what these moments are. I just know I have to have something like them and at certain intervals. This keeps me from wandering off into the woods, or at least gives me a direction on where to wander. I also structure my story around two flawed characters, what they most need, want, and are trying to achieve, and then give them conflict and opposition.
If you’re writing another genre, take a moment to think about what the structural milestones are for your genre and jot some ideas before getting started. You don’t necessarily have to know each turning point, but just knowing you have one will keep your writing tight and focused without too much meandering.
Next is my writing process. I generally start as soon as I have an idea of who my characters are and what they are about. I don’t spend a lot of time researching BEFORE I start, although I will do research while I’m writing. I get started. I try to show up every day so my story moves, and I don’t set word count goals. Story goes, yes, but not word count. The members of my Romance In A Month group find word count posting demotivating, so instead of word count, we post at the end of the day what happened in our stories. Here is the post describing our results after the first class May 2014.
[Tomorrow, I will talk about Writer’s Block and my tips on how to get unblocked]. In the meantime, if you’d like to check out the recorded video, it is here at https://fwa.adobeconnect.com/p5stdvmmiff/