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Writers: Develop Your Ideas & Polish Your Manuscript with Ease

Game-changing Tips for Writers

As an impassioned writer, I love the learning aspects of our craft. In the past year, I've learned how to make my different writing outlets work for me to generate and enrich my writing ideas. I've also utilized my diverse network to help polish my manuscripts.

For context, I reconnected with my teenage passion for writing after retiring a few years back. Since then, I dove into my memoir which helped me identify my common life thread of introversion. I've learned so much about myself through this introspective process. I connected many dots from my youth and work career to understand why I struggled to embrace my introversion and related strengths, instead opting for often unhealthy paths to deal with the mysterious stress.
Throughout my memoir, I put (most of) those demons to rest. From this theme was borne Beyond Introversion, my website championing the exciting path forward for introverts. I'm now in the editing phase for my second book pairing introversion and my 30-years of corporate work in a leadership book for introverts.

Now let's dive in to discover how you can nurture more writing ideas and make editing more diverse and efficient.

Nurturing Writing Ideas

I've always been forwarned of writer's block but have thankfully never been confronted with this force, perhaps because I'm new at writing and have lots of ideas swirling around in my head. Or maybe my determination to publish has kept me driving forward, or perhaps it's just a matter of time.

Lately, I've also leveraged my many writing tools to brainstorm and develop ideas:

  • Journaling: I started journaling for the solitude and introspection, but I also use it as a source for writing topics that fly through my head. Sometimes it's just a note and other times I rapidly scribble fleeting thoughts before they pass.

  • Social media: I often share some of those journaling topics through my regular social media blurbs on Facebook (Top 100: Ask an Introvert) and LinkedIn (Tools for Introverts that Work). Here, I further develop ideas without spending much time and I get some instant, direct comments. Some topics (Men Aren't in Touch with Their Inner Self) spark surprisingly contentious comments and others (Patience at Work) generate hundreds of comments.

  • Blog: I may opt to write about some of these social media topics further in one of my weekly five-minute introvert blogs on my website. I don't get as much instant feedback but I can monitor views and shares. More importantly, I explore the topic further, adding a little research, doing some editing, and testing my own energy for the topic. Some topics end here and others may progress.

  • Book: If the blog topic aligns with my objectives for my leadership for introverts book (or future writings), I may work the topics into my book. Conversely, sometimes I'm struggling with a book chapter and opt to flush it out through social media or a blog and then return it to the book.

I love how all four writing media interact and intertwine. This method also helps me to repurpose some writing along the way. I would encourage writers to develop several complementary ways to express themselves.

More Diverse & Efficient Editing

While editing for this second book, I'm using my network of support to improve my manuscript.

I wrote most of my new manuscript in late summer 2020. As with many writers, my manuscript was about 30% complete and definitely screaming for new eyes and many edits. I've discovered a four-tier process that has worked quite well thus far:

  • Writing Circle: After drafting, I presented my very rough draft chapters to our Writing Circle consisting of myself and five lovely ladies with a broad span of writing genres, styles, and experiences. I get very candid critiques and challenges each week.

  • Beta Contributors: For my first book I enlisted several friends and family to read my full manuscript. I got back a wide range of feedback. This time I decided to share my manuscript chapter-by-chapter to a broader range of business introverts. After getting my Writing Circle feedback, I incorporated those comments and sent one chapter to my Beta contributors with three questions for them to focus on. Most also opted to redline my draft with comments, checkmarks, questions, and ideas (bonus!). A treasure trove of stuff! I highly recommend the chapter-by-chapter approach.

  • Heavy edit: A couple of weeks after receiving the Beta feedback, I conducted a pretty heavy edit of each chapter addressing the Beta suggestions and my own thoughts on the subject which I've collected since writing the initial manuscript.

  • Going forward: I estimate the 30% manuscript is now about 60-70% developed as I work through a cover-to-cover light edit. Just recently, I've lined up a professional developmental editor to turf up more flow and style issues and ideas. I intend to polish up my edits this spring 2021, on track to publish in late summer 2021.

The many eyes on my book have certainly helped. Last time I spent months re-editing my manuscript 4-6 times before sending to an editor. As you can imagine, after a few reads the words start to flow together and my adjustments may be doing more harm than good. Now I've gotten 11 other people's comments before I send off to my professional editor. I feel much more confident about my manuscript and the prospects for publishing.

So when you get through with your initial manuscript draft, consider how you can incorporate others to improve your book and lighten your load.

I always love to hear new tips. Please share my blog and share your tips via email or Facebook.

Write on dude!



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