How do I write my novel?
What most people donít know is that the timing has to be right before they sit down to write. If youíre the parent of a young child, caring for an elderly parent, in the middle of a career change , job search or relationship break-up, the timing may not be right for you to be committed to your work. As a single parent, I didnít start writing my novel until my son was older and then I buckled down and made a promise to myself to stick to it. Do your research, keep everything in a folder or notebook. Have a space where you can create, try to stick to a regular writing routine and stay focused. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Take time to think about and to develop your story and characters. Focus on writing one chapter at a time while moving the action forward. Some people may want to share their work with others to get feedback. Others may prefer to keep the work to themselves, like I did for both novels. There is no right or wrong way. Itís totally up to you. Good luck.

How can I market and promote my book?
Now that youíve written your book in total privacy seclusion, you have to get out in public and sell, sell, sell. Be shameless about your self-promotion. You need postcards, book marks, magnets, anything you can give out to potential readers, and/or leave behind. These are future fans and they need to remember you. I take postcards with me wherever I go, give to friends to hand out for me. When I commute on the bus in the mornings and see someone reading, I ask them to read my book, then tell them a little about the book. Smile a lot. Create a little introduction to yourself. People are more inclined to listen and support someone who is open and friendly. They also tend to buy books from authors they have met. Donít be shy, be out there!

What can I do about my writer's block?
Not all days are created equal. Which translates to, not all writing days are going to be equally productive. When it comes to what people call ďwriterís blockĒ, I tend to have blinders on. I donít want to see it or acknowledge that it even exists. I prefer to think that itís just not a good day to write. Sometimes when I sit down at my computer or with my notebook, creativity is abundant and the words just flow. The ideas keep coming and they make sense. Other times I sit down at my computer or with my notebook and creativity is like a leaky faucet, nothing comes out but drip, drip, drip. I canít force ideas to come sitting at the computer for hours on end with nothing to show for it, so I get up and do something else. Not a good writing day, Iíll say to myself. Iíll think about the challenges: how I need to make that transition, how I need to set up this or that action, or how I need to further develop a character or be more clever with a metaphor, or not think about things, and get back to work later. I donít waste time when Iím having a slow day and just put the writing aside. Thereís always laundry to do, phone calls to make, friends to visit, shopping or cooking that needs to be done. You get the picture. Having a Ďpauseí is just a sign to step away from the work and do more research or thinking until you get back on track. Just stay positive and forward thinking. The pauseíll pass. Good luck!

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