Ivory Madison isn’t only the RedRoom.com CEO and Editor in Chief, she is an accomplished writer and author coach with numerous years of experience. I was fortunate enough to catch her session at the Writer’s Digest Conference in Los Angeles, where Madison shared her “Red Room Method”, which helps authors blast through writer’s block and quickly develop into razor-sharp writers.
Her opening question to the audience and what you should contemplate while reading this post: is your book as good as it can be already?
A lot of people jump the gun.
One thing learned in teaching writing is that most people are doing it wrong. They are trying to do too many things at once…worrying about marketing, if the structure is correct, do they need an agent, etc.
The Red Room method separates what you are doing into different buckets: Writing, Editing, and Marketing and focuses on getting your book done faster, easier, and at a better quality.
Writing (words of wisdom)
- Writing comes from passion and processing. First drafts WILL be bad…they are supposed to be. A writer should focus on the writing ONLY at first. Stop trying to do two things at the same time, “It’s like trying to run a marathon and you keep stopping and saying ‘Oh, I got the first steps wrong’.” Your first draft has to be imperfect so that your can productively edit.
- There is a level of self awareness that is required for writing…it is a shift of self-perspective. Stop trying to write like a writer and write like yourself!
- Ann Rice once said that the great thing about writing is that it can be an expression of you without any special training or access. In other less eloquent words, writing is about yourself and marketing is about everything else.
- If your goal is to finish your book then, schedule your hours with other people. Sit down with the group and dedicate the full hour to writing. People won’t show up for appointments with only themselves. Just remember that you can’t win a Nobel Prize in an hour BUT, you can write about 1,500 words. Relish that accomplishment.
- Quit worrying about the quality. A baby’s first few steps aren’t fantastic but, they are still wonderful.
- Remember to not write. Don’t forget the other things in your life and relax and don’t always worry that you should be writing. Stop torturing yourself. Enjoy the other parts of your life and let your brain process it.
- Some people have “blocks” and only think about all the reasons they aren’t finishing their book: I don’t have enough time, money, knowledge, etc. Bottom line is you make time for what you make time for. Don’t feel like you SHOULD be writing…GO WRITE!
- Some people believe the myths about being a writer. Remember, every brilliant, successful author was told by someone somewhere that they were terrible. Perfectionism is the opposite of high standards. High standards means getting it done, perfectionism means never getting it done.