Tag Archives: platform-building campaign

Weekly Writing Workout: Get Your Purpose Straight

How many times have you heard the phrase “I have to get my priorities straight”?

I worked off of that idea for years without consistent success. I had trouble discerning through the daze of “to do” what exactly my priorities should be, especially when it came to social media. I thought maybe if I only had more discipline I would be able to prioritize action items more effectively. I was the QUEEN of To Do Lists, but every action swam in front of me with no clear purpose attached.

I eventually realized that I can’t get my priorities straight if I don’t have my purpose straight first. How can I even make priorities without purpose? I learned that getting my purpose straight practically wrote my priorities for me, and that it was perfectly fine to drop actions that didn’t serve this purpose.

For instance, this idea of “rethinking social media” came from going back to what my purpose is around social media. If my purpose is to build an audience, then I need to think of actions to build that audience. Should I hang out in online forums? Many forums are great places to exchange information, but not really audience builders. Perhaps I should limit how much time I spend in them.

If my time is really limited, it would serve me better to simply find the one thing I can do that best serves this purpose and focus my energy on that one thing rather than using a scattershot approach.


by Gizem Vural

On a grander scale, I can create purpose for my entire life. My purpose on that scale might be: to be joyful in my creative endeavors or to share my creative expression with others. If that’s the case, perhaps I decide to spend less time on social media in general and more time expressing myself creatively, since that brings more joy into my life. Or, simply become more creative in my expression thru social media.

It doesn’t matter if my purpose is to “sell books” or “have fun.” It’s MY purpose. It’s just that my actions will look different accordingly, and I can prioritize by asking myself if that action serves my purpose. Whenever I go to a conference now, for instance, I create a purpose around it. I might decide my purpose is to have fun. I might decide it’s to have meaningful dialogue. I might decide it’s simply to sit back, listen, and learn.

In the book The One Thing by Gary Keller (with Jay Papasan) “The most productive people start with purpose and use it like a compass. They allow purpose to be the guiding force in determining the priority that drives their actions . . . The prescription for extraordinary results is knowing what matters to you and taking daily doses of actions in alignment with it.”

“Purpose provides the ultimate glue that can help you stick to the path you’ve set.” ~Gary Keller, The One Thing

Note that doing something because you think it will make you happy is different than doing something because it serves your purpose, which, ironically, will help you find happiness.



Several weeks ago I wrote about what a character “needs” vs. what a character “wants.” On the other side of need is where the “better self” lies. I think the same thing goes for purpose.

When your character’s purpose becomes clear, it becomes a driving force. Through the trials and tribulations of your character doing what she “must” and going after what she “wants” her purpose eventually becomes clear.

At the beginning of your story, your character might think a specific thing will make her happy. But what she thinks will make her happy might not be what she needs to actually live a more fulfilled life. If along the way she finds purpose, this will lead to what she needs. It will also drive her actions. As her actions are thwarted and things get in her way, she reacts in order to stay on purpose.

And presto, your story moves forward.

1) SET YOUR TIMER for 7-10 minutes.

Start with the line: At the beginning of my story, My Character thinks she’ll only be happy once…

Write without stopping, crossing out, rereading, or editing.

2) SET YOUR TIMER for 10-12 minutes.

Start with the line: My Character realizes her purpose on her life journey is really…

3) SET YOUR TIMER for 12-15 minutes.

Start with the line:  Driven by this purpose, she can now confront…

Write without stopping, crossing out, rereading, or editing.

And have a great week!

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Filed under weekly workout, writing exercises, writing life

No MGM; Campaign Tag; 50 First Lines by Midnight!

My regular blog schedule is out the window. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t expect any more Middle Grade Monday posts from me until after The Campaign and the Bologna Children’s Book Fair are over. So at least March 26.

The 50 First Line Challenge is STILL ON!

You have until midnight tonight (that’s PST – my time – so 3 AM to those in NYC and 8 AM to those in Bologna, Italy) to submit your Top Five. There’s been interest and reposting and lots of hurrah’s, but only a few brave writers have posted theirs so far.

Even if you miss this round, you can still participate in the next.

This is only the First Round of the exercise/challenge/contest. You can still participate in the Second Round. Instructions will be posted on Wednesday. The more rounds you participate in, the more chances you have to win.

Kudos to 4 AM Writer to be the first to post her entire list of 50 first lines on her blog.

I have been triple-tagged

For those of you who missed getting into The Campaign, I will tell you that to make it worthwhile takes a lot of time and energy. But that means, if you give it enough time and energy, it’s worthwhile. With so many writers participating, you’re bound to find some like minds, some interesting work, and some new fans.

One of the things these crazy peeps love to do is play TAG. They post 11 questions on their blogs and those “tagged” have to retrieve the questions an answer them. I have been tagged 3 times and have yet to answer one of those 33 questions. I mean, really, does anyone out there really want to know 33 things about me?

I don’t think I’ll get to them all, but here are the people who tagged me so you can see ALL of the questions (if you really want). And I’ll just answer a few here and there as I get to them.

Here are a few questions each from Playful Creative; Traci Kenworth; Colleen’s Write Brain

Which children’s/young adult book did you only read and LOVE as an adult? I had never read any Kate DiCamillo until I was in my late 30’s because she wasn’t around when I was a kid. I’m not sure that counts, but I adore her writing as an adult, and I’m sure I would have as a kid.

What genre is your current wip? It’s a “pop space opera” – and I bet you can’t wait to find out what that is.

Do you have someone in your live who keeps you on track with your stories? Give them a shout out! My dear friend Yvette has made the most difference in the past few months keeping me focused on my writing career, and I have in turn kept her focused on her acting career. Having a support team is essential.

Do you ever feel over-exposed on your blog? But of course, but that’s the chance I’m taking. Love the dork that I am, or not.


Filed under 2012 Platform Building Campaign, 50 First Lines, writing exercises, writing life

Campaign Kickoff – Building Platforms

For the first year, I have decided to join the blogger writers, or writer bloggers, in Rachel Harrie’s Writers’ Platform Building Campaign.

From Rachel’s site:

The Campaign is a way to link those of us in the writing community together with the aim of helping to build our online platforms. The Campaigners are all bloggers in a similar position, who genuinely want to pay it forward, make connections and friends within the writing community, and help build each others’ online platforms while at the same time building theirs.

The campaign lists are conveniently divided into genres and age demographic. This way we can zero in on like-minded people and see what they’re up to.

I’m sure there are many writers out there whose eyes glaze over when they hear the words “you’ve got to build your platform” or “you need to build your brand.” I’m sure most of us would rather spend our time writing. But we must face the truth: that we are being asked, as writers, to do more and more in terms of self-promotion, and it’s pretty noise out there and tough to be heard.

After listening in on a panel of established fantasy writers at FaerieCon this past weekend, I feel a little more motivated and inspired to do so. Instead of thinking of it as (whine) something I HAVE to do, I’m doing what Steampunker Deborah Schneider calls “Taking Responsibility” for my writing career.

What I like about this campaign is that it’s a community and it’s collaborative. Something that novice bloggers need to consider when they start blogging and don’t understand why people aren’t coming to visit their blog.

In Jeff VanderMeer’s excellent book BOOKLIFE: Strategies and Survival Tips for the 21st Century Writer he talks about the need to participate. Being a blogger is having an extended conversation OUT THERE. Because, really, who wants to hang out at a party with a person who simply talks just to hear herself talk?

If you write post after post about your struggling writerly life, but don’t reach out to connect with others, you’ll most likely be ignored. (Unless you’re already a famous writer. I doubt Neil Gaiman has to worry about people reading his posts and tweets.) And I’ll probably be one of the ones ignoring you. I’m not saying that to be mean, I’m saying that it’s tough to have a relationship someone who has no interest in participating in that relationship.


Filed under 2012 Platform Building Campaign, writing life