Writers, don't get discouraged!

As a writer, do you ever get discouraged? Feel like giving up? Ever wonder why their book made it, but yours didn’t?

These are all valid questions, but they aren’t valid reasons to give up on your writing.

We were all given certain gifts and talents in order to enhance this world and make it a better place. Now that’s not to say that signing a million dollar book deal or seeing our book on every shelf in America wouldn’t be great, but you must find success in the small things that you do.

Try to think about the small victories that your book has had and think about the good it has done. Has it encouraged someone? Maybe it put a smile on someone’s face or maybe it brought you closer to your family or to God. Remember, every positive thing that we do in this world will bring some sort of positive change to our lives.

It took me a very long time to appreciate the journey of my book. After winning three literary awards, I assumed the next step meant getting published in a major newspaper company or possibly getting into every bookstore in the world. It was hard for me to accept that quick success didn’t happen for everyone and particularly, it didn’t happen for me.

Sometimes it’s a slow process and at times it can get frustrating and even discouraging, but at the end of the day, the waiting period is where we mature as human beings as well as writers.

Now…I’m not saying that financial success isn’t important or that you shouldn’t strive for it, but what I’m saying is that you shouldn’t live for it. I like to believe that writers change the world and so if all of us stopped writing just because we experienced a little bit of failure then there wouldn’t be any future for our kids.

So again, don’t ever give up on what you love regardless of what the odds look like. Us writers must stick together and encourage one another. #WritersChangeTheWorld

About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Advice for writers: Find a quiet room to write part 2

Almost a year ago, I wrote the article Advice for Writers: Find a Quiet Room to Write. At first, I was on fire to write at least one article per week. I made sure that everyone in the house was asleep and then I would go into my office and simply write. My writing time would include: poems, articles, and even chapters from my upcoming book.

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But over the past few months or so, I have noticed that my writing time had dwindled. Instead of one article per week, I can barely squeeze in one per month. I don’t believe that my fire has died, but that my day-to-day life has taken priority over my writing career. That’s why it is extremely important that we stay organized and find balance in our lives. Of course, our family, job, and household responsibilities will take up most of our time and energy, but finding those quiet and solitude moments to just let our creativeness flow through our pores is actually priceless.

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Recently, several people have approached me seeking writing advice and tips on how to balance their family life with their writing career. It’s weird because they see me as an expert, although at times I feel like I’m in the same boat as they are. I normally just share with them some of the things that have worked for me and then encourage them to carve out at least a few hours a week to devote to their writing.

I know it seems hard or at times impossible, but we all have the same 24 hours in the day. Now most of that time is pretty much taken up by family, work, and of course sleep, but there must be at least a few minutes per day or a few hours a week just to let our pen and paper do its magic…write, and revise, and edit, and write, and more writing…the good stuff, right?


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I hope that this article has inspired you somehow, but if you’re still not convinced, here are six tips:

TIPS FOR WRITING
1. Find a quiet room in your home or office to write
2. Try to find a space that’s dedicated to just writing
3. Be responsible – notify your friends and family that you will be unavailable during that time
4. Disconnect your home phone, cell phone, iPad, iPod, or any device that you’re not using to write with
5. Don’t start writing until you have all of the supplies that you need
6. Make sure that you relax, stay calm, and just write

Feel free to share your experiences. We can all learn from each other!

About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


How to become a successful author?

You wake up in the morning with a plan to tackle your day. Whether you’re looking for your car keys, grabbing your shoes from the dog, or eating blueberry pancakes, your goal is usually to have a productive and successful day. If you’re an overachiever like myself, you’re probably asking yourself: What can I do differently in order to improve my writing career?

“Action is the foundational key to all success” was a quote written by Pablo Picasso. At the end of the day, you will not have success if you don’t take action and fight for what you want. Just like boxers do in a boxing rink, they fight their opponent. You must pretend that failure is your opponent and fight it until you win.

Well, how do you win? What are some things that you can do? How do you adjust your life and your way of thinking? The answer is simple: you must master these 3 tips in order to become a successful writer.

1. Don’t fear your opponent

Fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. There is no need to fear your opponent when you do not see the opponent as a threat.

Some people see themselves as the opponent because they are always getting in their own way of success. They don’t seem to understand how to remove their old way of thinking so that they can embrace the new culture of writing. Whether your opponent is yourself or failure, don’t fear it. Look it in the eye and believe that you’ve already won!

2. Be creative

One of the worst things that you can do in your writing career is to continue down a path that doesn’t work. If it’s broke, fix it!

Try to be creative. Be willing to try something different. Interview other successful authors and observe what they are doing. For holidays, give out gift baskets with an autographed copy of your book along with flyers and business cards. Most likely, people will pass them out to their friends and family members as a courtesy to you. Design customized Christmas cards using the cover of your book. As visitors come over to their home, they will see the cover of your book sitting on their fireplace which becomes free advertisement.

3. Establish an online presence

Make sure that your readers can contact you, follow you, and purchase your book online. You want your readers to easily find you once they’ve heard about you through a friend. You also want to build a following through social media, through your blog, and from your website. It’s also a good idea to create an Amazon Author Page if your book is currently sold through Amazon.

Let’s recap!

1. Don’t fear your opponent even if you feel that you are your biggest obstacle.

2. Be creative, think outside of the box, and embrace new ideas.

3. Establish an online presence by creating a website and publish articles through your blog.

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About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Tips for maintaining a healthy balance in your writing career

In this current society, everyone wants to be successful regardless of the cost and toll it takes on their family and health. People are willing to work long hours with no breaks, no leisure activity or without the proper exercise. Writers spend most of their day building their brand, networking with customers, marketing their product, and so forth. It is important to maintain a healthy balance in your writing career especially if you’re expecting to keep up with this line of work for the long haul.

WHY SHOULD WE MAINTAIN A HEALTHY BALANCE?
1. To prevent burnout
2. To maintain your sanity
3. To maintain stability and longevity
4. To keep the creative juices flowing
5. To think clearly and logically

Making sure that you have a clear thought process and preventing physical and mental burnout will help you keep a positive balance in your writing career.

THINGS WE SHOULD STOP DOING?
1. Wearing too many hats without having the proper systems in place.
2. Neglecting time throughout the day to relax and reflect.
3. Putting your career before your family and your health.
4. Not surrounding yourself around the right people and support system.
5. Trying to achieve success too quickly.

It’s not healthy to put all of your energy into your work and never have anytime for family or to do fun and relaxing things with your friends. Also, you should hang around people or go places that inspire your writing.

TIPS FOR MAINTAINING BALANCE!
1. Exercise frequently
2. Take breaks
3. Spend time with family
4. Find a quiet and relaxing place to write
5. Prioritize the major events
6. Learn to say no
7. Learn that success takes time
8. Become a lifelong learner
9. Study your craft
10. Pace yourself
11. Don’t damage your brand
12. Take refresher writing courses
13. Develop a healthy diet
14. Join a writing group
15. Have balance in your home
16. Don’t let stress build up
17. Relax and rest
18. Work on you

It’s impossible to help others when you’re not able to help yourself. Therefore, put the following tips into practice and start this new journey filled with balance and healthy life choices.

About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Useful tips for authors to leap further in their career

In the Northern Hemisphere, March 1st is the beginning of the spring season which is associated with growth, rebirth, and new beginnings. This is the time of year when people feel rejuvenated and renewed and are willing to rededicate themselves to their true passion. So how can we apply this to our writing? Take a look at the quote below.

“Creativity is always a leap of faith. You’re faced with a blank page, blank easel, or an empty stage.”–Julia Cameron

To me, this quote means that we are given another opportunity to start over from the beginning and we owe it to ourselves to believe in our inner abilities in order for greatness to come forward. What does it mean to you? Please share your comments.

January and March are two very important months for writers. January allows us to write new goals and resolutions for the year and March allows us to renew and spring forward our ideas. If you didn’t take your new year’s resolution seriously, then March provides you with a blank canvas so that you can start over. Here are 4 tips to redirect your writing:

1. Understand your calling:
If you know without a reasonable doubt that you’re meant to be a writer, then stop fighting it. Use your talent to change the world.

2. Do your research:
Don’t jump into binding contracts with your blinders on. Either hire an attorney, a literary agent, or do extensive research on traditional publishing, self-publishing, vanity presses, subsidy presses, and royalty contracts.

3. Embrace your new canvas:
You were given a blank canvas so that you can start over. Embrace your new canvas, but try not to get stuck again. Keep moving forward.

4. Revisit your goals:

Reread your writing goals at least once a month so that you will stay on track. Use these goals as a reference point to hold yourself accountable and keep you focused.

If you’ve gotten off track, will you take that leap of faith and start over? Will you wipe your slate clean and recommit yourself? Use March as your second chance to leap into becoming a better writer.

About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Goals That Every Writer Should Have

The writing profession is one that requires self-discipline. In order to be successful, you must write specific goals that help you make it to the finish line. Having a stagnate writing regime will only hinder your chances of supporting yourself as a full-time writer. Here are 3 goals to keep in mind:

1. Write fervently – Some people say that it’s important for a writer to write something even if it is of no value. It’s just like speaking another language, if you don’t use it, you lose it. So therefore, put your writing into gear and take off!

I’m a firm believer that the things we love the most, we should embrace and approach with a certain amount of urgency and intensity. But be very careful of burnout and exhaustion. My suggestion, find a quiet room in your house and just write with every ounce of passion. Tap into the deepest place inside of your heart and let your pencil do the rest.

2. Market yourself – I used to tell my students that every moment is a teachable moment. As a writer, use every opportunity as a way to market yourself. Whether it’s at the grocery store, at the bank, or even at the car wash, be ready to pass out business cards and speak with people about your book or blog. Now, don’t become too pushy or annoying, but try to find a way to gently weave it into the conversation. You’d be surprised at how powerful personal interactions and word of mouth can be.

3. Capitalize on your talent – Many writers get paid to do other things aside from writing books. Some writers blog, guest blog, teach at writing conferences, and others have become advocates for writers, all of which are substantial ways to supplement your income. If you have a gift for writing, editing, or networking, then use those talents to your advantage. Try to identify at least three streams of revenue and center your career around that. It’s not a good idea to spread yourself too thin although it is said that writers must wear multiple hats and juggle hectic schedules in order to make it in this business.

Before you do anything else, reread these goals and apply them to your life! Think about how you can benefit from them and how you can incorporate them into your writing career.

About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Here are the mistakes that new authors make

Writers make tons of mistakes early on in their writing career. Some mistakes result from a lack of dedication and persistence, but most arise when there is no plan put in place. Here are the top 3 mistakes that writers often make.

1. Not having a marketing plan
Not having a clear marketing plan or not having one at all can cause total havoc on your writing career. It forces you to make impromptu decisions versus calculated one’s which ultimately can be devastating for your book. A marketing plan should be a guide to help you achieve success. It should help you determine your target audience, provide you with selling tips on how to reach that audience, and supply you with ways to gain even more customers. If you don’t already have a plan in place, it’s time for you to write one. Here are a few things to include:

• Description of your book
• Goals and objectives
• Target audience
• Marketing budget
• Marketing analysis
• Marketing strategy

2. Expecting your book to sell itself
Authors make the terrible mistake of thinking that their book will actually sell itself. Books are not people and therefore cannot advocate for themselves. They are incapable of holding up a ‘buy me’ sign or calling local bookstores asking if they can be shelved. As the author, you are responsible for networking with bookstores and sustaining your online and in-person presence in order to market yourself and sell your books.

3. Expecting overnight success
Many authors expect the ‘J.K. Rowling success’ overnight. It normally takes a lot of perseverance, dedication, and commitment before that happens (if it ever does). Many authors are eager to quit their day jobs in hopes of earning a full-time salary as a writer. Truth is…few authors are able to support themselves on a writer’s salary. Many must get part-time teaching jobs or contract work on the side in order to support their families. Understand that good things take time and most likely it will take a lot of marketing, networking, tweeting, blogging, etc before your book becomes a hit.

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About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Things to do after your finish writing your first book

Congratulations on finishing your first book; now what? Before you lose your momentum, here are five things to do after writing your book.

1. Hire key staff members. Trying to juggle everything on your own can be very overwhelming and can actually backfire on you especially if you don’t have the right experience in that area. Consider hiring an editor, book designer, web developer, and even a publicist to help you with the development and marketing stages of your book. Having the right people on your team can yield the advice and skill set that you need in order to take your book to the next level.

2. Determine your printing/publishing needs. There are many ways to publish your book so therefore you need to determine what printing and publishing options are right for you. Do your research and make decisions that will benefit you in the long run. You don’t want to sign your rights away if you don’t have to.

3. Network. Look for opportunities to reach out to people in your community or in the writing field. Join writing groups, connect with librarians, visit local bookstores, and join publishing associations, all of which are great ways to promote your book and develop your audience.

4. Advertise. Set aside crucial time to design your marketing plan, create a press release, and utilize free resources such as word of mouth and social media. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr are very helpful to new and veteran authors who want to advertise their books. Advertisement is a powerful way to connect your book with readers nationwide.

5. Schedule author appearances. Author appearances (speaking events, book signings) are where you get the chance to build your platform, sell books, and connect with your readers. You’d be surprised at how many readers love the face to face interaction with their authors.

About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Improve your writing with this new year's resolution

Every writer should have a New Year’s Resolution. Whether you want to sell more books or strengthen your writing abilities, here are five suggestions to improve your writing for this year!

1. Make time to write – Just like you would schedule a doctor’s appointment or pencil in a dinner date with a friend, it is extremely important that you set aside a specific time throughout the day to write. It’s best that you locate a quiet space in your house or office, and donate that portion of the day to write your next novel.

2. Research your craft – Every writer should spend a portion of their time researching their genre and craft. Whether you check out books at the library or read current blog articles, it is important that you stay abreast of your field. Doctors put in grueling hours a day to research the medical field, so why shouldn’t a writer put in the necessary time to research their field of study?

3. Utilize writing tools – Items such as the dictionary, a thesaurus, or word processor are rarely used because word searches can quickly be done on the internet. Our world is constantly changing and although we want to change with it, there are some old school tools that writers should still use. In my opinion, nothing can substitute the pages of a book.

4. Expand your writing abilities – One of the major things that stifles our writing career is our inability to get out of our comfort zone. We are seldom interested in learning about another genre or type of writing style usually because of fear or a lack of confidence. We must learn how to push ourselves into greatness even when it gets a little uncomfortable. For example, if you are a children’s writer, try writing a non-fiction piece or even a memoir. You’d be surprised at how the challenge could strengthen your confidence as well as your writing skills.

5. Join a writing group – Even published or established authors can benefit from joining a writing group. It might sound juvenile to an advanced writer who has already hit the bestsellers list, but actually a writing group is simply for people who are seeking feedback and constructive criticism. No one gives better feedback than a complete stranger.

These New Year’s Resolutions serve as a guide for you in your writing career. They are merely suggestions and can be tweaked based upon your needs. This is a new year and you want to start it off on the right note by setting yourself some goals and guidelines.

Have fun writing and learning!

This article can also be viewed on The Children’s Writer’s Guild website!

About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Aspiring writers need to build their audience

Many writers make the mistake of building their author platform at the last-minute instead of starting the process prior to the books publication date. In order for this to work, your timing and understanding of “platform” must be in tack.

Platform has less to do with self-promotion and more to do with building your audience, authority, exposure, and consistency. Many authors are concerned with recognition and popularity, but forget to focus on building long-lasting relationships with their readers and becoming an expert in their field through research and experience.

Take a look at the following questions. They should serve as a guide for you in building your own platform in the future.

1. What communities, writing groups or memberships are you apart of?
THIS SHOWS YOUR COMMITMENT TO YOUR CRAFT.

2. How many Facebook or Twitter followers do you have?
THIS SHOWS THE SUPPORT FROM YOUR COMMUNITY AND READERS.

3. Do you blog or guest blog? How many subscribers do you have?
THIS SHOWS YOUR ABILITY TO CREATE NEW CONTENT.

4. Where has your work been published or seen?
THIS SHOWS YOUR WRITING AND PUBLISHING ABILITIES.

5. What are your credentials and qualifications?
THIS SHOWS YOUR CREDIBILITY AND EXPERTISE.

6. Have you been invited to speak at a conference or convention?
THIS SHOWS YOUR AUTHORITY ON THE SUBJECT.

7. How much website traffic do you get?
THIS SHOWS YOUR ABILITY TO REACH AND KEEP NEW READERS.

Suggestions on how to build your author platform
1. Speak at conferences
2. Network with publishers
3. Join writing groups
4. Obtain a MFA in writing
5. Create a blog
6. Publish articles in magazines
7. Attend ALA and other book conferences
8. Gain blog and email newsletter subscribers
9. Take courses through UCLA Extension

Tips to remember
1. Blog weekly and tweet daily.
2. Remember that people buy books so try to connect with your readers.
3. Don’t chase money, chase the vision. The money will come.

RELATED ARTICLES:
Advice for Writers: Find a Quiet Room to Write
Advice for Writers: Find the Right Editor

About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


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