In today’s guest post, I have the pleasure of welcoming author Tamara Ferguson to the blog. Tamara, best-known for her romance book series THAT UNFORGETTABLE KISS and TALES OF THE DRAGONFLY, offers insightful and helpful advice on writing, and how to make the most of one’s time when sitting down to write. Without any further ado, check out Tamara’s great tips below!
Sometimes I Feel Like I’m In Over My Head.
Q: HOW Do I Find Time To Write?
I’d love to not require sleep!! There never seems to be enough hours in the day for all the things I have to do. But as the mom of an autistic, mentally impaired son – with Type I Diabetes – I’m tied down 24/7. I became my son’s caregiver because of his needs and the cost it would require for others to care for him. Not only am I a former horticulturist who’s continued to arrange flowers – particularly for weddings –I’ve handled my own home improvements; there really hasn’t been much choice. Through the years, I’ve remodeled kitchens and bathrooms, installed floors, added rooms, and even put a new roof on my house and garage.
Unfortunately, since I began writing six years ago, not to mention adding in the 40+ hours I spend each week on twitter, these things don’t seem to get done like they used to. But writing occupies my mind. It keeps me from considering the what if’s moving forward the best that I can. Besides, no matter how difficult my circumstances are, there’s always someone out there who has it much worse than I do.
At the end of last year, when I was asked if I’d like to contribute a story to the Magical Weddings Anthology, of course I had to say yes. Except, I’ve never had to deal with time constraints before. Even though I was only writing a novella, it was definitely a challenge finishing Two Hearts Surrendered in time.
Q: So what did I learn from my experience?
Q: How about some time-saving writing tips?
Write what you know about . . . literally
Locale-subject matter – it stands to reason if you’re familiar with where and what you’re writing about, your story will require less research. Keep this in mind even when you’re inventing characters, as well as their occupations. Do you know someone who has an interesting job? My hero in Two Hearts Surrendered is a pilot. Luckily, I happened to know another author who I was able to consult – since he was a retired pilot – so I wouldn’t have to investigate the question of whether Luke would be able to fly again, after he returned home as a wounded warrior. I saved time with researching details of Luke’s injuries too – since I have a son who’s a licensed athletic trainer and consultant.
But keep in mind, even the most boring jobs can become interesting on paper– or even humorous – if you’re a good writer. And most of the time, I try to invent characters who have similar traits to my own – since my characters tend to do a lot of soul-searching. What I’d really like – and I’m sure my readers would agree – are men in my life who resemble the heroes I’ve created!
Don’t get overly complicated and bog readers down with unnecessary details
If you think about what you’re writing, through the eyes of your target age group, this should save you lots of time. A reader of contemporary women’s romance would probably be more interested in the layout and design of a kitchen and living room, than someone from the new adult age group – not to mention they’d most likely be interested in different activities as well as types of music or movies. In the context of Two Heart Surrendered – why provide additional details, such as a description of Luke’s plane, to readers who are primarily interested in the romance?
Stick to a writing schedule
Whether it’s by word count, or by chapters a day or chapters a week, set goals for yourself and try to write every single day. I write better right when I wake up myself, after a good night’s sleep, whereas writing later at night tends to end up in more corrections and rewrites for me the next day. I ‘ve also invoked a better to write something than nothing policy for myself. What I write when I’m fresh usually makes a heck of a lot more sense than what I write when I’m tired though.
As the mom of a demanding autistic son, it’s my concentration level that’s usually affected after about six to eight hours of interruptions. Oh – and I drink LOTS of coffee!!
Make sure you give yourself adequate time for editing – even if it only means having someone read over your story and make corrections for you
I had a huge problem with editing Two Hearts Surrendered. I was using the old version of MS WORD with my new computer, and apparently, my auto-correct wasn’t working properly. I type in a hurry, when I’m deep into my story, so I count on this feature because I tend to twist letters by typing too fast. These kinds of errors cans sometimes be hard to pick out when you’re doing your own editing. Luckily, I was able to fix my typos before Magical Weddings was released, since I turned the story in exactly at its deadline.
Despite the fact that Two Hearts Surrendered is a novella, the most difficult task for me was making the time to write and edit one of the most complicated stories I’ve ever written. You wouldn’t believe how often I’ve asked myself – is it really worth all of the time I’m putting into writing?
But Magical Weddings has become a bestseller. Even though I’m self-published, the majority of authors in our group are published authors. So when Two Hearts Surrendered was recently singled out for praise by multiple reviewers at both Amazon and Goodreads, I was thrilled!
I want to thank you Marcia for inviting me as a guest at your blog. Did you know – we have a lot in common? Not only do I share your love of chocolate and coffee, I’ve been hooked on classic cinema since I was a kid!! I’m looking forward to reading Mark’s Passionate Heart!
You are so welcome Tammy, both coffee and chocolate are very close to my heart, and I can never get enough of these! Classic cinematic films I would love to revisit when I have some spare moments, they were just luminous films. Please enjoy my book!
A member of the Romance Writers of America, as well as the FTHRW Chapter, Tamara Ferguson is the best-selling and multi-award winning author of the Kissed By Fate Romance Series and the Tales of The Dragonfly Romance Suspense Series.
Tales of the Dragonfly Book II: In Flight was a 2014 WINNER at the Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards. Her latest release, That Unforgettable Kiss was recently a top ten Amazon bestseller in Kindle Saga Fiction, and has just received 3-5★Editorial Reviews from Readers’ Favorite Reviewers.
The military romance novella, Two Hearts Surrendered, is her contribution to the bestselling Magical Weddings Anthology; which includes stories from fifteen USA Today, best-selling, and award-winning authors.
You can usually find Tammy working at home, where she spends a lot of time not completing her numerous home improvement projects because she’s writing or helping indie authors promote their books on twitter.
To Connect With Tamara Ferguson