Adventures of a New Writer

15. Now About that Branding…

I like to plan and I like to be prepared. When I don’t know how to do something myself, I like to try and find an expert that can help me. In my career I have spent a lot of time working with brands and I knew building my brand was important to me. I wanted to start early and on the right foot, so when the time came, I would be in a good place to promote myself and my book.

I went back to Reedsy and searched their market place for people that could help with author branding. I found a professional who had a lot of great reviews and decided to work with her. As part of her package she would review what you had posted already and give suggestions on what could be improved. I had to explain that I didn’t have anything, no website, no social media account. I was looking for help getting started.

This was a new experience for her, as she was usually helping clean up other people’s accounts, and hadn’t really been presented with creating a plan from scratch before. Thankfully she thought it was a good opportunity and put together a great packet of information for me, including what kind of content I should consider and what kinds of accounts I should set up. She even gave me great references that helped me get started. I was very happy I invested in this help, because it gave me another roadmap to follow (you know how I love roadmaps!) in getting my brand set up.

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9. Finding the Time

It’s been interesting trying to find a rhythm of incorporating writing into my life. With a full time job, a husband and an active social life, I found it could, at times, be challenging to set aside the time to write. I also knew I didn’t want to pressure myself, as this was supposed to be fun and make me happy. And I didn’t want to feel guilty about not doing something because I felt I should have been writing instead.

The thing I love the most about The Novel Factory is their Roadmap. It’s a very detailed step by step guide that takes you from a sentence describing your story to a full blown novel. By following all the steps/exercises in the roadmap, I always knew my next step. So even when I had to take breaks from writing, I always knew where to pick it up again. And when I say that I was setting aside time to write, my “writing” time was doing all these assignments in the roadmap. By fitting time here and there I was making progress, but I spent over a year just working my way through all the steps without actually starting my first draft. I realized this all could have moved along much faster, but sometimes there would be weeks where I didn’t write at all. I trusted in the process though, because by continuing to build on my work, the basic outline I first started with was turning into very detailed scenes.

And as I started watching tangible progress unfold, I was finding more and more motivation and need to keep going. When I saw long weekends coming up, I would beg my very social husband to leave them open so I could have uninterrupted days to really get in the zone and hit the next milestone of being ready to officially start my first draft. I even took vacation days to bump up against long weekends, to give myself extra time. And it was in those set aside times that plans sometimes changed…friends were in town or had events coming up that we couldn’t miss, and I had to find that balance of feeling this desperation of wanting to do something completely for me and also wanting to be a part of these special life moments.

I think writing will always be a balancing act. I’ll always be trying to steal those extra hours for writing while still making sure I’m present in life. After a year and a half of working through the roadmap, I was so proud that I actually followed all the steps and reached the milestone of officially starting my first draft.

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