Just Dance! Keeping Business Out of Creativity (To Write And Have Written)

We’ve talked so much about the business side of things — now let’s review how we keep creating and business separate. It’s critical, even when looking at writing as a career, that we separate these mindsets and be able to switch modes. Let’s talk about why and how.

Video (from Twitch and YouTube):

To Write and Have Written: A Writer's Guide To The Business Side
To Write and Have Written: A Writer's Guide To The Business Side
Laura VanArendonk Baugh

<p>Writing is only part of a writing career -- no one warned us that we would need business acumen and entrepreneurship to be an author. Whether you're traditionally published or an independent self-publisher, it's good to have a leg up on accounting, marketing, time management, and other key skills.</p><br><p>These recordings of live discussion on craft and development, on business best practices, on explorations of fascinating and inspiring real life cool stuff, and more will help you along your writing journey and career development. Join Laura VanArendonk Baugh as she shares what she's learned and what she's learning. (Or join the weekly live discussion with your own questions!)</p><br /><hr><p style='color:grey; font-size:0.75em;'> See <a style='color:grey;' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information.</p>


Just Dance! Keeping Business Out of Creativity (for writers) – powered by Happy Scribe

Good evening

and welcome to To Write And Have Written,I am your host Laura VanArendonk Baugh

Wasn’t that a professional intro?That was a professional intro.

I’m going to get this thing yet.Yeah, it’s going to happen.

All right.So I have to apologize.

I am going to sit here and just weep atyou because there’s something in my eye.

And yeah,

we’re going to start the show with mejust quietly crying on the screen.

It’s great.So.

Thank you, ShyRedFox, very proud.Yes.

I see you waving there.

So we’re going to go back and continueto see as we’re going here,

you know, so moved by tonight’s topic,just so, so important.

It actually is really important.

And I’m actually really gladthat we’re going to do it.

This was a requested topic.

So reminder.

Feel free to make requests becauseI’m happy to address things.

But yeah.

So this one was one thatthat somebody asked for.

And so we’re going to we’re going to dothis real quickly just before we launch in.

As a reminder, I’ve had several peoplesay that they really liked moments and

It still feels weirdto call it the show, guys.

I would love please give mesomething else to call this I.

I don’t think I’m cool enough to have

a show, like, come upwith something to call this.

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for you unless you’re a subscriber,because those are the options I have.

So then let’s jump into tonight’s topic.

Just so moving and I’mgoing to sit here and cry.

All right,

so the question was, how do we keepbusiness out of creativity?

Which is a great question, because,you know, this is,

you know, To Write And Have Writtenthe business side, OK?

Like, The Writer’s Guide to the Business Side, like we specifically are here

to talk about the businessof creative careers.

And that’s something that I wantedto focus on because I don’t think

that’s something that most writers,you know, as I said last week,

nobody starts writing becausethey love accounting.

Right.This is

something that we don’t usually think of.

We get into this because we like story.

We like making things and or

there’s like math involvedand marketing and all of that.

So so that’s why we’re heretalking about that stuff.

And what I what I like to do is breakthings down into smaller pieces.

But we’ve spent a lot of timerecently talking about business.

We had Chris Morris on lastweek talking about accounting.

We talked about spreadsheets.

We’ve talked about marketing,all of these things.

But that can’t be in ourart creation because.

It’s going to get in the way.

OK, let’s talk about this a little bit so

and we’re so I’m going to talkabout how we keep those separate.

But first, let’s talk about whywe should keep those separate.

Sorry, but I’mgoing to quietly weep! Also,

if you don’t know me that well,this eye is largely decorative.

This is the I use for,you know, life seeing things.

And this is the one with the thing in it.

So everything is a littleblurred right now.

So I’m very.

Yeah, just I’ve got notes.

We’ll figure out, okay.

So let’s talk about why we need to keepour business separate from our creativity.

And and let me start with first of all,

this is a case where you needto know what your goals are.

If I as a writer, just want to see my workinto, I just want to see my work in print.

I’m going to come at thiswith a different approach than if I am

doing this with an eye to buyinga new house with the royalties.


And let me say, too, that if your business

plan is, I’m going to write a book sothat I can buy a house,

your business plan is probablygoing to need a few revisions.

You may want to, for example,include a couple of extra bank robberies,

in fact becausewriting is rewarding and it’s wonderful,

but it is not number one on anybody’slist of lucrative careers.

That’s not a reason not to do it.

And in fact, Ithink I could make a pretty passionate

argument that we undervalue writingand don’t pay for it like we should.

But that’s another thing.

I’m just going to say that you needto have your goals set out,

because that’s going to determinehow you approach the rest of it.

Both of those are valid goals –the buying a house with your first book’s

royalties is probably not as valid, butyou can have, “I want to do this for fun,

I want to do this for profit”and make decisions based on that.

OK, so that’s where we’re going to start.

But then even once you’ve decided that,

you’re going to have to break downthe approach.

So and either way,you know, if you purely don’t care about

anything at all, I just want to write somewords self, publish them and I’m done.

I don’t care if they sell.

I just want to say that I did.

It actually don’t have asmany decisions to make.

I’m assuming if that’s where you are,you’re probably not coming to watch me

talk about the businessside of creativity.

So we’re going to leave that aside.

If you have hey, I’m doing this for fun,

but it would be great if I couldalso sell it and make some money.

Sweet.We’re here.

OK, so you’re still going to have to breakthese parts down and make some decisions

about — OK, sorry, I just saw Amy, “we undervalue creativity.”

Oh, I got a soapbox.

We can get on this another time.

Just go, go, go.



focus, focus.Stay here.

All right.

Anyway, when I’m trying to make art,when anybody is trying to work on making

art, nothing paralyzes you like tryingto analyze that as you’re creating it.

The moment of creation is notthe time to be analytical.

And we’ve talked about this beforewith turning off the editing part

of the brain while you’re doingthe writing part of the brain.

These are

these are separate tasks.But we’ve been there.

You’ve been there.

You you know, you’re writing a sceneand you’re like, this is a great scene or

this is so dramatic and thisis so much happened.

What if my mom reads this?

What if my mother in law reads this?

What if my pastor reads this?

What if my friends read thisand think it’s them, right?

Like you, all of this can happenand it just absolutely kills.

There’s a reason we, you know,we talk to about paralysis analysis.

But it is absolutely a thing when you’retrying to write a scene and you’re

trying to evaluate in that moment,guys, writing a scene is hard enough

without you underminingyourself as you’re doing it.

OK, so this is somethingwe need to break apart.

Art and business completely can worktogether and should work together.


writing is an exercise in task switching,and so your art moments and your business

moments are going to happenat different moments.

And when I say business moments,I’m including in that revision,

which is editing it so that itwill be more marketable.

I’m including marketing,

you know, all of those things,anything that’s involving

analyzing this from a viewpointof other people.

But that needs to be done separatelyfrom the creation process.

It can happen early in the process,

but it’s still separatefrom the creation process.

Excuse me.

So I’m going to be a little bitsticky on this point because

don’t be that writer who claims my highart as an excuse for being bad at things.


I was at a book fair once.

You know, we all had tables selling,selling our individual product.

And I had the

specific fortune, I will leave

the qualifying adjective off of that word,to be immediately next to another writer

who was proclaiming loudly to anyonewho would or would not listen

that he refused to use an editor in anyof his projects because

his unique voice should not becensored or quelled and, you know,

should not be edited outof being his unique voice.

And he didn’t sell a lot of work that day.

But also, I didn’t sell a lot of workthat day because while he was,

you know, doing this and going on,

first of all, like, you know,everybody in the room knew that he was

pushing unedited books, but he was soloud about it, nobody would come to me.

Nobody would come in this direction,

which meant he killed allthe traffic to my table as well.

So guys,

a phrase you’ll hear frequentlyin the writing community is “a rising tide

lifts all boats,” like this isa, we’re all into this together.

The more we do good

for the industry, the more wehelp each other and ourselves.

We all benefit from this.

The opposite is also true.

I think if you make uslook bad, we all look bad.

So stop that.Yeah.

“Boo on him.”

Yes, I know it was it was one of thoselike, just sitting there like.



And anyway, so don’tlet’s not be that person.


your unique voice is not more unique than

fill in the blank with whateverhousehold name, big name author.

You know, you know, Stephen King,

Brandon Sanderson, Nora Roberts,pick one for your genre or whatever,

but your unique voice is notmore unique than theirs.

And I guarantee you they have editors.

OK, so

yes, editors are not your enemy.OK,

likewise, I don’t want to compromise myvision, so don’t compromise your vision.

But that’s no reason to not evaluate,refine and improve your vision.

OK, these are not you know,business is not the enemy of art.

Business can be a great supplement to art.

It’s how you approach it.

So there’s that.

Excuse me, I’m really thirsty,so I’m taking a lot of water breaks,

though, probably because I’msitting here weeping, so

crying myself into dehydration here.


So business is notthe antithesis of art, though.

Let me say that at the same time,you don’t want to

number-crunch the catharsis out of your art.

Right.So I, I make art because it does something

for me and it doessomething for other people.

And it is more than just a formula,

you know, it’s more than just a Mad Libsthat I plug character names into.


So if if writing a book had no art,if it was easy and we could all just fill

things, you know, had a spreadsheetof genre, we would all be doing that.

And actually we wouldn’teven need writers.

We can have computers do that for us.

OK, this is this is a thing.

So we absolutely needthe art side of this.

But the business won’t kill that.

OK, but if you try to applythe business part to the art part,

I don’t think I said that very well.

But work with me here again.

You can’t be underminingyourself in the act of creating

do the creating, get the catharsis,

make the aesthetic all of the things,then bring the business in.

Sometimes you can bring the business

in before then do the creationand then do more business stuff.

So let’s talk throughthis as a as a process.


As I said, writing is an exercise in

I’m not going to say it’s not just taskswitching, I’m going to say it’s mode

switching, because actually I wantan entire different mindset,

task switching.

You know, I could be in the same

frame of mind while I’m doing multiple

tasks. When I’m switching from creationto business, which again,

is an umbrella for all the thingsthat are not just raw creation.

I need to be in an entirelydifferent headspace for that.

There’s loads of research out there on whymultitasking is bad,

why fast task switching,which is what multitasking is,

feels productive, but itultimately is less productive.

It’s deceptive.

The same thing is true for writing.

You know, I feel like if I write and editat the same time, it’s more productive.

Probably not.

I feel like if I’m writing and tryingto determine, you know,

the right to market at the same time,it’s more productive — it’s not!

So, again, let’s go back to let’s notundermine ourselves and we need to do

these in completelydifferent frames of mind.

If you’ve ever tried

to brainstorm with that person,you know who is.

“Hey, guys, let’s brainstorm,all ideas on the table.

Give us everything you got.We’ll sort through them.

You know, absolutely everything.Let’s put it on the table.”

“OK, what if we do X?””No, that’s a terrible idea.

It’ll never work.”

Really frustratingto brainstorm with that person.

Don’t do that to yourself.

OK, brainstorming means absolutelyeverything goes on the table.

We will sort them later.

Right now, everything goes on the table.

Same thing is for creating.

Everything goes down.

We’ll sort it later.

Everything goes down.

If you were here when I talkedabout the advantages of NaNoWriMo,


one of the things that I think NaNoWriMo

is good for is forcingpeople into this mindset.

I don’t have time to go backand wonder if this was a good idea.

I need a word count.I’ve got to keep going.

And it’s actually a useful technique

that is, I need so many words

by this time,can be helpful in training yourself to get

just into that creation mode and not allowfor editorial work in that time frame.

It’s not the only way to do it.

That’s one of the things that NaNo isgood for if you need to practice that.

I’m sorry I’m so thirsty right now.


now let’s say I am not approachingthis as a pure hobby,

not saying there’s anything wrongwith hobby writing, please.

I was just talking with my husband,

who does one writing project a yearduring November for NaNoWriMo.

OK, he’s absolutely a hobby writer.Bravo.

He has a good time.It’s good for him.

I am in full support.

But again, if you’re here watching me talk

about business, you probably werethinking, you know, career on some level.

So if you want to make this as some level

of, “I want to sell and I would like to sellmore rather than less, if I can help it,”

then yes, there is a time whenI need to evaluate this for

marketability, and I’m going to sayactually in the same way,

because editing is also part of thisbusiness process,

and if this other mindset,that’s what I’m going to look at editing,

you know, is this story structuredproperly or is this you know,

is there an arc, you know, to my plot formy characters, all of this sort of thing?

And then when it has those things,will they sell?

OK, so


So anyway, so there are that is that isthat is stuff that needs to happen.

Oh my gosh.That needs to happen.

I am a big fan of hobbywriting but craft matters.

OK guys.So that needs to happen.

So that process might be if I’m looking atdoing this more as a career,

it can be very beneficial to dothat evaluation sooner rather than later.

Because if I sit down and Ido that with my outline,

I have spent X amount of time.

And if I sit down and I do that with the85000 words that I’ve written,

I’ve invested a lot of time in a projectthat now I might decide isn’t viable.


these are choices.

There is not one singlebest way to do this.

There are definitely

generally better waysand generally less effective ways.

And I’m just saying that these arechoices that you should think about.

So the the process might look like

and let me let mego back and clarify what I just said.

My process looks differentfor different projects.


So when I say there are multiple,multiple correct ways to do this,

that’s not just me being, like,wishy washy about things.

I myself do this in multiple different

ways, just dependingon what the project is.

So,you know, I’m a firm believer that there

really are multiple ways that willget you where you want to go.

There are some ways that are justnot going to work out for you.

If you sit down,write one hundred and twenty thousand

words or whatever,and then and then decide what genre it is,

how long should it be and what your themeis and all of that sort of thing,

that’s not going to be yourmost efficient process.

Can it be done? Yes.

Is it the right way to maximize your time?Probably not.

OK, anyway, so one waythat I have done this

would be you have your idea storm.

This is where your brainstorming.

Absolutely everythinggoes down on the table.

Do not at this point start filtering.

Oh, this is a terrible idea.

OK, yeah, it might be a terrible idea.

You know what else is a terrible idea?

Tornado full of sharks.

OK, so they put it on the tableand they made money off of it.

So leave it alone.

So idea storm,everything goes down from that.

So that’s your creative mode.

Brain is absolutely everything

anything goes.

Lots of creativity,wide open, no filter.

And then you can go into OK, now I’m goingto select some plausible ideas from this.

What of everything I just put downmight be a marketable concept.


there’s actuallymore than one place to look here.

Is it a marketable concept?is the obvious one.

Is it a concept that I’mcomfortable doing?

I definitely have ideas where I’m like, no,

that’s probably a greatidea for somebody else.

OK, so that happens orthat’s something that I

could, a stretch project for me.

And those are good,

but it’s not my brand.

OK, so that’s a marketable concept,but it’s not marketable for me.

OK, so again, there’s multiplethings to consider here.

If you’re trying to evaluate on at least

three sets of criteria, do not dothat to yourself while you’re creating.

OK, those are you’re going to do is just,you know, make your life more difficult.

Well, hello, Doberman.

Thanks for showing up andvolunteering here.

Would you like to get upon the chair and out of my way?

Can we do that.Thank you.


Yeah.OK, good.



All right.Yeah.

Please, please don’t climb on the chair.

You’re good.

All right.

I have no idea where I was.Oh yes.

So we’ve now filtered our

initial project,and everybody’s like, Yay, Undómiel!

Yes, that’s great.If you notice.

Can you bring your face over here.

OK, your face.Yeah.

Can you step up now?

I just told you not to climbin the chair but can we see you?

See how her nose is a little


Somebody tangled with a raccoon this week.


Because you’re a bad dog.

Bad, ok.

All right, back to work,

see mode shifting,it’s all about mode shifting.

OK, OK, start by me.Thanks.

OK, I got to work now.

So now I’ve selected my ideas that I think

are going to be marketable or that I’mcomfortable doing or that are going

to work within the marketing frameworkthat I have set up for myself.

Now we’re going to go back to creating

and that’s where I’m goingto form an outline and

now we’re back into complete create mode.

So I want to get all my premises down.

I want to get all my characters.

What could these characters,what might their arc be?

What are their motivations,whether what’s going on here?

And just again, everything goes down,all kinds of possibilities.

Then I’m going to go through it.

I’m going to refine that outline

to something that lookslike a marketable project.

So now I’m going to shift modes again.

So will

will this, if my couple does

not end up together, is that going to sellin the romance market that expects

a happily ever after orhappily for now ending?

If I know, this is one of those, know your

genre, know your project,know your brand,

all the things that we have talked aboutpreviously, this is where those come in.

So now I’ve got myself a refined outline.

I think I now I havea marketable project.

Now we write and

I shouldgive you guys the heads up.

I’ve said this before, but I am notgreat about writing to outlines.

If I have an outline, that’s a big deal,but I’m probably not going to stick to it.

Oh, fantastic question.Bridger, hold that thought.

She’s asking, do we do different modesin different locations, programs, etc.

with different antecedents.

Yes, wait for it.

OK, you know, this is a great question

because that’s where we’re going.We’re going to get to with the house.

So when I start writing,

if I’m writing and the outline justdoesn’t feel right in the moment, I’m up —

Personally, I’m a really big “honor

the subconscious” writer.

If something feels better,it’s probably because it is better.

And usually I find out

that my subconscious knowsmore about my story than I do.

That’s another topic we can dealwith another time, but that, you know,

if I’m going somewhere and I findout that actually, you know,

my outline says this, buuuuut this is…Probably we’re going to go there.


So you’ve got again, the writingis where the creativity happens.

So let it go, OK?

If you can’t find yourself,it’s just absolutely not working.

And I believethere’s a fair amount of what we call

writer’s block wherestuff just doesn’t go.

And it’s because the story is not working.

And usually that means I don’tknow enough about my story.

That’s another thing.

We’ll come back to maybe later.

So I get my thing written. Shift modes.

Now we edit this story and as we say,writing is mostly rewriting.

Everything needs revisions.That’s when we come back.

And we do that once Ihave done my revisions.

Now we can sell this.

Excuse me,


so I thought I would talk through reallybriefly about an example that I did

recently with this process,because, again, I do

a variety of approaches to different

projects, but I’ll talk aboutone where I used how this went.

And so a story called Depth Charge,

which is which was just pickedup for the water anthology.

If you guys were on my charity

livestream, Rhonda Parrish was a guest there.

As you know, she’san editor and she picked up

the water story.

And if you remember, she had hundredsof stories submitted for this anthology.

So I was really happy that Imade it into the anthology.

And this is the processthat I used for that story.

So (please stop throwing yourtoys while I’m trying to work.

Good grief.)

OK, so professional over here, guys.So professional.

All right.


because this was the fourth

of the elemental anthologies I’dalready done, Earth, Air and Fire,

I knew that the story hadto revolve around water.

And because I had personally set the first

story in England and one inNorthern Ireland and one in Wales,

this one has to be in Scotland becausethat’s what I had set myself up with.

And it has to take place in World War Two,because even though the anthology didn’t

have to have linked stories,that’s what I had ended up doing.

So I have women discovering elemental

powers during World War Twoin each of the UK countries.

So I need to sit down.

I need to do somethingwith water in Scotland.

So I spent a day

just going crazy with water in Scotland.

So obviously the first place we start,right, is Loch Ness.

So let’s go play what Loch Ness (and I do

not want this dumb tennisball for the love.)

OK, sorry.

So Loch Ness, I just started looking up

all kinds of things about Loch Ness,which is fascinating.

It’s on this

tectonic fault.

So it’s incredibly deep.

There’s more water in Loch Ness than

in all the other lakesof England and Wales combined

because of the thermocline,it never freezes and.

OK, but yeah.

But I want something, like giveme something I can get into.

This is something the otherstories that I’ve done

a lot of history with and a lot of

everything, everything in them is

historical fact except for thesupernatural elements which I put in.

But they’re all veryplausible with history.

So I’m looking at, OK,Loch Ness Monster is connected

to St Columba who founded,I think, Lindisfarne.

I don’t have my notes in front of me,

but I’m pretty sure. That’s when I knewthe Balluderon Stone shows the

Pictish Beastand started writing down like all

the different water monsterswe have in this region.

So we’ve got selkies, glashtyn.

Kelpies, Ceffyl Dŵr, Capaill Uisce.

By the way, anyone who speaks any

of the Gaelic languages, I’m so sorryand I will happily take direction.

I took, I did try to learn

some Irishfor a while and I ended up on the Aran

islands in western Ireland whereEnglish is the second language,

and I was able to order a meal and thatwas the proud accomplishment of my Irish.

So I do not pretend to beon top of my pronunciation.

And then because it’s

U-boats, you know, World War Two.

So we’ve got U boats.

We’ve got the scuttled fleet from WorldWar One, which was scuttled in Scotland.

The German fleet

was seized and they

scuttled their warships rather than

let them be handed out to the otherother countries after World War One.

Rudolf Hess flew into Scotlandduring World War Two.

And there’s a whole collectionof theories on why that happened.

But he flew in and later died. Otto Rahn

who is

basically you could call himthe Nazi Indiana Jones.

He was

an archaeologist and scholar who spent

a lot of time looking for weirdartifacts for the Third Reich.

And there is a theory that he was comingin to Scotland to look for the Holy Grail.

But that was after a year afterhe supposed to have been dead.

So all of these things aregoing on, going in there.

And I’ve just got notes and thingswritten down on all of them.


so get all of that stuff down and thenpicking things out and like, OK,

now let’s pull out thingsthat might be more marketable

and everything that I’d be looking at,like, you know,

the Cairns from four thousand years agothat are near Loch Ness and all all

of these things, I’m like, OK,I’ve got all of these different pieces.

What of these are going to be most saleableto this audience because, again,

I’m trying to sell thisto a specific anthology.

And I ended up, you know,

leaving Loch Ness behind for the most part,set in Clydesbank, which is near Glasgow

that I found there’s a U boat.

That was when it was captured in the firth

there where they pickedup some Enigma wheels.

So that was fascinating.

And there’s some historical

controversy on exactly howthose wheels were collected.

The stories differ.

So that was interestingand Otto Rahn’s pretty, pretty fascinating.

But because he was supposed to havealready been dead by this time, again,

everything I’ve done in these storieshas been very historically plausible.

So let’s let’s not do that.

So, again, starting to filterthrough, pick and choose

and then OK, so now I’ve got a huge hopper

of pieces, fascinating pieces, and I cantake those and work them into my outline.

I’m not going to lie.This was really, really hard.


I probably started this conceptfrom scratch three, maybe four times.

It was it was rough

In fact, I whined aboutit a lot at the time.

You can probably go backand hear it on the show.

And so then I finally started writing, OK,

I hate this, go back outline again,you know, and everything.

But those again, are different modes.

And finally, I got througha draft, did some editing

and actually edited pretty quickly because

I had finally gotten, you know,the pieces that I wanted.

And then I sent it out and it sold.

So again, these are

very distinct modes that if I’m tryingto write and,

you know, I’m trying to write the story,but I don’t know if I’m writing about

U-boats or a woman buried in a cairn that’s4000 years old, you know, those are

I can’t do that to myself.

It’s not really fair.

So “can confirm about whining.” Seeker, I saw that.

So anyway,this is approximately the time

that my chocolate supplyran out, just saying, OK,

so that is a way that, you know,

that I have done that,it’s just very distinct

steps in the process and the stepsrequire different mindsets.

Now, I will be absolutely 100 percent

honest and say there are timeswhen I have no outline whatsoever.

I have a premise,it’s shiny and I load myself up.

I just get high on intense musicand fair trade dark chocolate.

And I go and we’ll see where we end up,OK, that is also an option.

But I don’t do that forprojects that I have a specific

market in mind for.

OK, so if I’m writing to an anthologythat I want to submit for,

if I’m writing for a specific publisher orI have something that I want to get,

I’m going to come at that in a way thatmaximizes my marketing success there.

So, yeah, shinies.

Hey, I’m a big fan of oh, this looks fun.

Whee! Like that happens a lotin my writing and that’s fine.

Again, like all of this is about knowing

what your goals are for thisparticular project.

I’m not even going to say you have to makea decision for a career. Right now

this projectI am writing because it has a deadline.

There’s one I’m working on right now.

It has a deadline of December 31st.

It has a very specific set of criteria.

And I’ve spent the lasttwo days working on that.

And there’s other stuff that I’m like, oh,

this looks fun and it has no deadlineand I can just have a good time with it.

OK, all of these are valid approaches.

I just know what you want to do.

So anyway, so all of that to say when

I sit down to do the actual writing,I need to lock the business brain out.

I cannot be trying to edit while I’m

trying to write and I cannot be thinkingabout marketing while I’m trying to write.

Marketing pre-writing?Absolutely.

That’s another different thing.OK, not not not combining them.

And I can’t be thinking about how will

my audience react to this while I’m tryingto write, because now that’s all about

judgment and shutting thingsdown and that’s not productive.

What I’m trying to be,you know, to create things.


the best way I ever heard,I absolutely love this quote.

Tosca Lee, who is a

New York Times best selling author,has done some absolutely amazing books,

just really, really good stuff.

And she said, Writeas if no one will ever read it.

And I was like, oh, that’s brilliant,

because that is exactlythe best way to do this.

Yeah, exactly.

Kicking the future audience outof the writing room is really hard.

So this is why I love Tosca.

Write as if nobody would ever read it,and I use this. Like there have been a few

times since I’ve heard her say this,that I’m working on a scene and I’ll slow

down and be like, oh, man,how is this going to play?

Does not matter.

Nobody’s ever going to read this, OK?Right.

As if nobody will ever read this,I can sort how it’s going to play later.

That’s not part of the writing process.

If I’m writing something that has

an outline, I already took careof what should be in my outline.

So I need to trust that. if I’m writingsomething that doesn’t have an outline,

then I’m just writingto see where it goes.

Shut up and let it go somewhere.

OK, so I’ve got multipleways I can approach this.

I just need to do the one I have chosen.Right.

Commit to it.


Shard & Shield, which is my current series,

epic fantasy series, was going to bea trilogy, now it’s a tetralogy.

There we go anyway.

No, shut up and let it go somewhere.

Is the t shirt for today.


Shard & Shield would have been a completelydifferent book if I had written it.

I want to say later in time

I started Shard & Shield a long time,a long time ago.

It’s an ancient book.

There’s a fun story on my blog

about how it actually started, I believe,in 2004 while I was training chickens.

So there you go.

It’s now 2020 and it’s finallyhalf published, but.

Because at that time,

publishing was something that was nice,but it wasn’t what I was doing, OK,

and self publishing was not thejuggernaut that it is now.

So which I think is good because it means

that I didn’t self publish a bunch ofdreck when I was getting started,


I was not writing it,thinking about how people would be reading

it, I was writing it becauseit was what I wanted to do.

OK, so I was telling the storythat I was interested in.

And there were a lot of pretty raw momentsin this series that I don’t know that I

would have written that way if I had beenthinking, if I had been a published author.


If I’d been thinking abouthow are people going to be reading this?

And I know this is true because after

the first books came out and I startedgetting feedback on them

now as I’m working on books three and fourwith those reviews in my head and those

comments, you know, in my head,even guys, even the good ones, I have

fantastic feedback, guys.

Authors love hearing about the books.

OK,when people send me messages and say “it’s

3:00 a.m. and I’m so angry that thishappened,” like, yes, OK.

So that’s a thing that happens.

But it means that there’s

I’m going to say pressure, darn it.

And there’s expectations.

And now I am very tempted to thinkabout when I’m getting to those raw

moments in the other books like,OK, how is this going to play?

How are people going to read this?

When I was writing it the first time,

my mom was not reading it,my mother in law was not reading it.

OK, my mother in law buys thesebooks and it’s terrifying.


and so that is something that I haveto make a much more conscious effort now

to separate these,because previously it was easy.

It was all for meand now it is for other people.

And I need to make it still,

“It’s all for me,” OK,

and that’s that’s the other thing I’llgo with, say, I love Tosca’s “write

as if nobody else will ever read it.”

It’s a great line.

But also the other thing I gowith is, I am my first reader.

If I’m not enjoying it, I don’t write it.

The story has to be for me before it’s

for anybody else, because if I don’tlike it, I’m not going to write it.

I don’t want to spend timewith a story that doesn’t fascinate me.

OK,so you can’t think of judging your work

while you’re trying to create the work,that’s never going to

be your best work becauseyou’re shutting yourself down.

So I’m so sorry.

I just saw that Bridger’sseen the chicken video.


There is a music videoof trained chickens.

There we go.OK,

so I’m my first reader, I have to likethe story before anybody else does.

And so that’s why you havesome pretty raw moments.

We that’s why we have menwho are talking about emotions, guys.

It’s in the fantasy genre.

It’s OK.

And sometimes

because I am my first reader,sometimes I write things that I know

aren’t going to bemy best marketing choice.

So I love the chickenvideo is pure joy.

Yay!Thank you.

Yes.It was so much fun



while I was taking the video that became

the chicken training music video, that’swhen I started writing Shard & Shield.

So there’s youryour flashback right there.

So I’m working on a project right now.

It’s not in my Shard of Elan trilogy.

It’s the thing that’sgoing to come after that.

And it has, not as my protagonist,

but there’s a set of side characterswho are basically sex slaves.

And I’m just going todescribe it that way for simplicity.

And I look at this and I’m like, this isthe worst possible marketing decision

because of all my steamy readers who are,you know, not my steamy readers,

but readers who like steamy sex scenesare going to be intensely disappointed

with this because there is nosex on the page. Like it’s not there.

So I’m not meeting that expectation.

By having a bunch of,

you know, people compelledinto into your being sex slaves.

I’m opening the door for cancel culture

and all the people who are going to jumpon something for being problematic without

ever seeing how the storyaddresses the issue.


I just referenced the fact that last

month we raised a bunch of moneyfor International Justice Mission to fight

slavery and sex trafficking, probablythe story is going to address the issue.

But anyway,

so that’s a thing that’s goingto be really difficult to market.

And I have a, not exclusively,

but a chunk of my readership arepeople who prefer clean reads.

And they’re going to be weirdedout by the fact that I have this.

So honestly, I am setting myself up

for a massive marketingfail by doing this project.

But I like the projectand I want to do it.


So because I don’t have to rely on hugesales from this book in order to be able

to eat next month,I have some latitude in doing what I want

and I’m just going to be veryparticular in my marketing.

I’m going to filter out,

if you remember when I talked aboutmarketing episode and I said a huge chunk

of marketing is filtering outpeople who won’t like your book.

So that’s going to be my big project forthat to filter out a lot of potential

buyers and get just the peoplewho are interested in it and

so do it.Yeah, that’s a that’s a thing that,

you know, again, it doesn’t always have tobe about writing specifically to market.

It shouldn’t always be about specificallywriting to market unless you need this

to eat, in which caseby all means write to market.

But also, you know, maybe consider

some supplementary jobs becauseit’s not the most lucrative career.

OK, sorry, there’s stuffin the chat that’s happening.

I want to catch up.

Oh, yes, yeah, yeah,

making the video was absolutelydisplacement activity I had

I was spent like 60 hours in a week doingextremelly — left brain, right brain

is an oversimplification, because that’snot actually how your brain works.

But let’s say left brained scientific

analysis and massive amountsof number crunching.

And so then I would go back to my hotel

room and I desperately neededto do something creative.

So that’s where I startedwriting Shard & Shield.

And I also made a music videoout of chicken training.

So there we go.

Oh, I am my first writer, is that

ShyRedFox, is that something, isthat a link about, I need to be the, I mean

I need to be my firstreader who enjoys myself.

I’m assuming that’s what that link is.

So or

anyway, OK, I’ll check on that.

Sorry, there’s a link here.I don’t know, I’ve.

No, no I don’t know howthat shows up here.

So that’s the clapper option.

Oh I didn’t know it showed up in the chat.

Oh well thank you for clipping that.

I’ve never actuallyseen it in the chat.

At least I haven’t noticed it.So ok.

Right, OK.Where are we going.


all of that to say is sometimes,

sometimes going to writevery specifically to market.

You know, how can I create somethingthat is very definitely going to sell?

Sometimes I’m going to write, darn it,I like the story and I want to do it.

And and it’s going to be harder to sell.

And it’s not going it’sgoing to be much more niche.

It’s not going to sell to as many people.

That’s OK, too.

I just need to know what I’m deciding,OK? And neither of them should I be trying

to make that decisionwhile I am creating it.

OK, so writing is writing, editingis editing, marketing is marketing.

All of that.They happen in different sets of mind.

OK, so all of that comes down to it.

Hey, you know, so you’ve got this,you’ve got this thing.

So just change what’s, change your state

of mind and it will be fine,which is true but not helpful

because it really just doescome down to state of mind.

And some of us are morepracticed at that than others.

I was talking to a friend recently and I

said, oh, no,I can’t go on social media right

now because I’m in thiskind of funky mood.

So I’ll read things in this way and I’ll

respond to things in thisway so I can’t do it.

And she’s like, How do you know that?

And I’m like, do you not knowwhen you’re in a bad mood?

And she’s like, Yeah, but I don’t know.

Like I don’t changemy behavior because of it.

And I’m like, well, I do know that’s.

Or at least sometimes I do.

Sometimes I should, but I don’t.

But yeah, anyway,

a lot of times, you know, being aware ofhow am I thinking at this moment,

what is my mode, what ismy work mode at this moment.

And that’s a skill that is developed.

It is not natural.

So let’s talk about ways to develop it.


and Bridger actuallytouched on this earlier.

So yeah.Because behavior nerds.


So context cues can behugely helpful for this.

So you could have there’s a numberof different ways to do this.

I mean, I’m not going to tellyou the right way to do it.

Find the one that works for your situation

and you might find that that changesaccording to, you know,

what you’re working on or yourliving environment or that sort of thing.

Seasonally, if you’reyou know, whether or not you can go

to your coffee shop because of pandemic,you know, all kinds of things.

So but here are some options to considerhaving different days for different tasks.

This is something I do justin my productivity world.

I have one day that’sfor administrative organization stuff.

I have one day.

That’s when I look atadvertising and marketing things.

I have one day that’s for primarilyfor creating new material.

I have one day that’s for gradinghomework from my instructor position.

I just put everything

in a hopper and deal with it on that dayinstead of dealing with it as it comes in.

So you’ve got a numberof different things.

Me personally, I don’t tellpeople which day is which.

So that way I don’t have somebody who’s

like, well, I know that Mondayis your administrative day.

And I sent this email,so it’s Monday at eight fifty seven.

So I you should be done with it by now.No, no.

That’s not how that works.

These are my secret productivity days so Ican get things done

without having pressure,but because I have different days for it,

it’s very, very easy for meto sort in my brain.

Oh no, that’s not today’s task.

That’s for Thursday.

I will deal with it then.

OK, so

being able to categorize in that waycan be really helpful for that.

And then

so I’m sorry,your physical setup can be another one.

Maybe you do your editing at the deskand you do your creative new material

on the couch or whatever yourparticular setup might be.

But there’s a physical changethat helps you distinguish.

This is for this mode.

This is for this mode.

So you can set moods usingnot just the environment, but props.

So I’m going to write new material.

So I’m going to havemy epic writing music.

I’m going to light a candle.

I’m going to be in my comfy sweatshirt

and the blanket over my legs,and then I’m going to go into editing or

marketing mode and I’m going to put shoeson and I’m going to have, you know,

focus music instead of epic music or I’mgoing to sit in the place and excuse me,

any number of things, again,to help you distinguish,

you’re just providing external clues,clues — providing external cues

for yourself,as well as just trying to change your mind

and making it easierfor the whole picture to shift.

And then I’m going to say, you know,go ahead and catch yourself when I’m

writing and I start going, oh,I don’t know if this is the best thing,

how is this going to playto my existing audience?

How is this going to workagainst that one review?

Or whatever. I’m gonna stop, catch.That’s tomorrow-Laura’s problem.

OK, that’s not for now.

Let me get back to just writing and.You know,

don’t beat yourself up,that’s not going to be helpful either.

Just stop, acknowledge, oh,

I’m in the wrong modeif I need to make a note about that so

that, you know, future Laura candeal with that another time.

Put that down in a note.

Now, get back to creative,as you know, today, last issue.

And just keep yourself on task again.

You know, don’t get angry about it.That’s not useful.

But just remind yourselfwhich task you’re on.

Likewise, if you’re in the middleof creating a bunch of ads, you know,

pushing, you know,promoting some ARCs, whatever,

you’re doing something that’s notmaking new words.

But as you’re writing up something

and you’re like, oh,that would be a really great premise.

Great.That is for creative Laura.

That’s future Laura’s issue.

So make a note of that and then get back

to that. OK, train your brain to stayon task and all of those context cues

and all of those props and everythingthat you can

use to support that in the beginningultimately may not be as necessary.

But in the beginning every little bithelps and crutches are totally legal.

OK, so go ahead and give yourself

whatyou need to succeed.

Give yourself what you need to be on task.

So, OK, so that’s what I have forkeeping business out of creativity and

being focused and stayingin the right mode.

So there we go.

Next week, Connie Swaim is coming to talkto us about search and cadaver dogs.

And that’s going to be awesome.

I’m really excited about that.

So that’s going to be a Learn With Me.

And we’re going to talk about things

that TV shows and books and whatnotget wrong about this topic.


so, yeah, we were we were talking a little

bit about what we were going to coverand it’s going to be so much fun.

So guys definitely come for that.

Bring your questions, please.

And then I just want to mention again,topic requests are welcome.

This was a requested topicand some other requested topics.

Happy to hear whatyou guys want me to cover

or, you know, whatever.

Like, I’m I’m here.Let’s do something fun.

So, OK.

And thanks for throwingthe clip into the chat.

I appreciate that.

And “oh, look, a shiny, never mind, I’m back.”

That’s basically me.Yeah.

That’s, that’s we’ve got it.That’s me.


OK, so yeah I think,I think that’s it guys.

So if I’m going to give let the chat cycle

around at case any questionsget in right at the end.

But I think that’s it.

And then I will see you guys with Connie

here same time, same bat channelnext Tuesday, seven p.m. Eastern live

on the Twitch and thenon replays everywhere else.


All right, thank youguys so much for coming.

Have a great evening.

Oh, if we have suggested requestof topics, where do we put them?

Anywhere that you can reach me.

So I have all the social media going,

you know, you can you canfeel free to tweet me.

You can feel free to hit meon on Facebook, on my author page.

There’s contact, emailcontact on my website.


That’s Laura Victor Alpha Bravo dot com.

Because nobody should haveto spell out my entire name.

That’s not fair to expect.


you can email me with yourideas or requests.

So yeah,

anywhere that you can reach me feelabsolutely free and I will always reply.

So if I don’t reply assume

that for whatever reason it did not reachme and you are authorized to nag me.

So that’s there we go.All right.

And with that I’m going to wrap it.

Everybody have a lovely

December eveningand I will see you next week.

Thanks. Bye.

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