The Power of Styles

First Line Indent

First Line Indent

Today, I’m going to wind up the series on creating a Clean Manuscript with some words about Styles.

You may have heard about them. If you’re like me, you have ignored them for way too long.

Styles tie in your manuscript with CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), which in turn are an essential part of ebooks.

Remember I said ebooks are basically websites?

Well, websites use html for content, and CSS for looks.

In other words, you use Styles to determine how your ebook looks. And using them also makes formatting for print easier.

And that’s why I’m suggesting to use Styles in your manuscript even as you write. It’s shockingly simple for a novel manuscript – you need exactly two Styles: Text Body (if you want to get fancy, you can also use First Line Indent, as I do), and Heading 1. That covers the normal text of your manuscript and the chapter headers. Oh, and using Title for your title is kind of obvious, which makes it three.

Every decent word processor uses Styles. And once you define how exactly your First Line Indent and your Headers look, all you need to do is mark the header when you start a new chapter because the First Line Indent becomes the default you get by adding another paragraph. Continue reading

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The Pitfalls of Quotation Marks in Creating a Clean Manuscript

Curly Quote

Curly Quote

If you’re even a bit like me, you like straight quotation marks. I actually loathed the curly ones, and set my word processor to use straight ones. And it felt really good to have those clean characters in my manuscript.

Until I had to format one for print.

Oh, the pain.

Because, you see, curly quotes are the standard in print. And what’s worse, German print uses different quote signs than English print. *rolls eyes*

In other words, you need to be able to find and replace the quotation marks in your manuscript. Because that beats going through a 100k word novel and changing them all by hand. And you need to prevent them from happening again.

Right?

But straight quotes are just ONE character, front and back. A simple Search and Replace doesn’t work!

So go and watch the video – where I demonstrate the problem, as well as the solution, and where I explain the settings for LibreOffice, since that’s what I use. Continue reading

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How to Indent and Add a Page Break for a Clean Manuscript

indent the first line

Indent the first line

Last week, I talked about the importance of a clean manuscript, and why it’s a business asset. Today, I’m sharing the first hands-on video of three.

I’ll show you how to use the paragraph settings of your word processing program, as well as how to add page breaks.

Both are incredibly important for a clean manuscript, and not doing it this way will cause all kinds of trouble in ebook creation. And if you pay someone to format your books, it will drive that person batty – and cost you more.

In the video, I use LibreOffice Writer, so don’t be surprised if it doesn’t look quite like what you might be used to. The concept is still similar in MS Word, and I believe you can find the settings there. (Actually, mastering those is part of learning your craft. Just sayin’) Continue reading

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Why You Should Create a Clean Manuscript

formatting mark

Formatting Mark

As you know, Writers’ Dream Coach is about supporting writers and authors. It’s mostly about mindset, but this year, I am expanding into hands-on craft. And I will write about all those pesky emotions coming up when talking craft.

Craft and emotions…

Now, as authors, we should do our work with the final end product in mind. And our final product are books. We want them to look good and read well.

Most of that is the actual writing, the creation of content, of your story. You’re working on that, I know. And that’s awesome and important.

The other part, however, is craft, and that’s often more difficult. Because it involves tech, and trust me, I know a lot of authors who hate tech with a passion. We’re creatives, after all!

And we can have a lot of resistance to hearing and learning about tech, and we have to drag ourselves to it, and yet… learning that tech and making it a habit will make your life so much easier. I promise that few tweaks on how you use all that awesome tech we now have available for writing and publishing will make a huge difference. And I will teach you.

Let’s start with the most fundamental part of the writing craft: the clean manuscript. Continue reading

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Early Blog Break – Back in January

Love your body

Love your body

On this blog, I often talk about self-care.

Because self-care is really important, especially if we dream of living our dream life – spending all our time writing and pushing with the next deadline or the next release.

And now the time has come for me to model that self-care…

I’ve been ill most of November. First, a nasty cold – worse than anything I had in a long time. Then problems with my elbow. And now… shingles.

It’s a very clear sign to get some rest. To take it easy and to reduce the load. Reduce stress.

Which means that I have decided – with a heavy heart, believe me – to start my blog break early.  Those of you who are familiar with my blogging know that I take a break in December. This year, I’ll start it today.

I know I’m supposed to apologize, but I won’t.

Because this is self-care.

If I don’t take care of myself, I can’t be here for you guys.

So I wish you a wonderful NaNoWriMo (lots of posts to be read with that tag, btw.) and a wonderful time during the holidays.

I love you all.

And I’ll be back in January.

Tapping Phrases:

Even though I hate being sick and out of commission, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to take good care of myself and let my body heal.

Even though I feel like I’m letting my readers down, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now give myself permission to take the time off that I need and let my body heal.

Even though I’m feeling horrible about this, I’m totally okay the way I am, and now I choose to allow myself this break and realign with well-being and healing.

Your Turn:
Have you taken time for a break? How did that feel?
Help to inspire others and share in a comment!

*Image source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive that tapping round plus occasional special offers.

PPS: I can help you overcome self-blame and resistance to self-care. EFT is the fastest way I know to shift limiting beliefs, old thought habits and other kinds of blocks. Click HERE and send me an email. Together, we’ll figure out how I can support you best.

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Three Steps to Silence the Inner Critic

appreciation

Appreciate!

That Inner Critic can be a truly destructive voice in the heads of creative people.

I know. I write, too.

The Inner Critic kills creativity. It extinguishes that inner spark which makes us write or create art. It makes us doubt our abilities and our hopes.

Today, I’m giving you three tools to tame that voice so it becomes less destructive and possibly an ally.

Step 1: Appreciate everything today.

Because appreciation is the very opposite of what that Inner Critic does.  Appreciation builds you up, rather than tears you down.

So I’d like you to do a little experiment: go through your life today and appreciate … everything!

You’re creative, so you can look at every situation, everything in your home or at work and find something to appreciate about it. I guarantee it’ll change your mood. It may even make you laugh.

Step 2: Appreciate your successes as writer.

So maybe you’re not selling as many books as you want to. Or maybe there are a few reviews with some criticism. That’s fodder for your Inner Critic.

Take away that fodder. (Yes, the Inner Critic is a Troll.)

Celebrate every little success that you have, every single sale, every happy reader, every review.

See how far you’ve come already!

Step 3: Use EFT-tapping

As EFT coach, I know this is a great way to work on that inner critic.

You’ll find a demo video at my main website – click here. I really want you to learn the points and the technique, because that empowers you to do quite a bit on your own. I’m here if you need deeper work.

Now watch that video and substitute the following words for the ones I use there:

Even though I’m so used to listening to that inner critic and believe him most of the time, I’m okay the way I am and I now choose to shift into appreciation and enjoy my life.

Even though I’ve listened to my inner critic for so long that I’m almost believing what he says about me, I’m okay the way I am and I now choose to see that I am much, much more than what that critic says – and appreciate that.

Even though I may have almost given up on my creative dreams because that inner critic is so relentless at times, I’m okay the way I am and I now choose to appreciate nourish that creative spark in me.

Your Turn:
So what are you appreciating today? Help to inspire others and share it in a comment!

*Image source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts and the video. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive that tapping round plus occasional special offers.

PPS: I can help you silence that Inner Critic by looking at the origins of that voice and tapping on it. EFT is the fastest way I know to shift limiting beliefs, old thought habits and other kinds of blocks. Click HERE and send me an email. Together, we’ll figure out how I can support you best.

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Release Stress and Sleep Well

Deep Sleep

Deep Sleep

We writers often stress about things.

Deadlines. New releases. Reviews. Dropping sales, and Kindle Unlimited…

And sometimes, that means we can’t sleep at night. Or that sleep isn’t restful.

Or – and this just happened to me – your dentist tells you that you’re clenching your teeth at night, and that this is not good at all.

In fact, I’ll probably get a mouth guard soon (or is there a better term?).  But the truth is, that mouth guard only takes care of a symptom.

The real issue here is stress.

And then I remembered that I actually know this fabulous technique for stress release!

I’ve been tapping every night since then, focusing on releasing stress and allowing peace. My mouth is much less shredded… I think it’s working. And that’s why I want to share this with you.

In the video, I’m talking about some simple techniques, a visualization that might help, and about being aware of the signs and signals your body is sending you.

I would really encourage you to try a quick, simple tapping round before turning off the light – or even after! Test this for a couple of days and see whether your sleep is getting better and you feel more rested.

And here are some tapping phrases for you to play with.

Tapping Suggestions

Even though I am so stressed about everything I have to do, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now give myself permission to let go of all that stress and get a good night’s sleep.

Even though I am so stressed about my writing and everything connected to it, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to let all this stress flow out and away, so I can sleep well.

Even though I feel all that stress in my body and it keeps me awake, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to let that stress flow out and away, so my body can heal while I sleep.

What is stressing you most about your writing?
Can you let go of it?

Please share in a comment. Thank you.

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive my Introduction to EFT as a gift. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

And no. I will never use that email to send you anything other than my newsletter.

PPS: There is a roundabout way to my newsletter that’ll give you something really neat: an email series called “30 Days Daily Writing Habit” which is free. If you sign up for that, you’re automatically added to my newsletter, as well. (And you can always unsubscribe.)

PPPS: For those of you who are curious, you can find my books here: Hannah Steenbock

Image Source: F. Moebius

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Yes, You Can Write

Building Creativity

Building Creativity

This is a very, very basic issue, especially for writers but also for all creatives.

Because very often, deep inside, we believe we can’t. It doesn’t even have to show or be obvious.

But creativity doesn’t exactly get encouraged in schools, colleges and universities.

It gets kids into trouble more often than not.

And deep down inside, we remember. All of that. Those awkward moments. The stares. The punishments. The scolding.

And we doubt ourselves.

I’d like to show you that this doesn’t have to continue. Watch.

 

I want you to know that, yes. You can write. You can be creative. And you can have all the fun in the world doing so.

If you’re even a bit like me, hearing this once is probably not enough. That’s why I offer you tapping phrases – to get that knowing from your head into your heart.

Tapping Phrases

Even though I learned as a kid that being creative leads to trouble, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to know that I’m grown and can be creative as much as I want.

Even though I was scolded as a kid for being creative, for drawing, writing and painting my own stuff, I’m still totally okay the way I am, and I now give myself permission to be just as creative as I want to be.

Even though I created rules for myself that protected me from being scolded and laughed at and getting punished, and I stuffed down my creativity, I’m still totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to let go of that old pain and recover my creative me.

What are your limiting beliefs on writing?
Which one would you like to get rid of first?

Please share in a comment. Thank you.

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive my Introduction to EFT as a gift. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

And no. I will never use that email to send you anything other than my newsletter.

PPS: There is a roundabout way to my newsletter that’ll give you something really neat: an email series called “30 Days Daily Writing Habit” which is free. If you sign up for that, you’re automatically added to my newsletter, as well. (And you can always unsubscribe.)

PPPS: For those of you who are curious, you can find my books here: Hannah Steenbock

Image Source: F. Moebius

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Why Authors have Superpowers

Saving the World one Story at a Time

Saving the World one Story at a Time

That’s big, isn’t it?

It’s stuff for superheroes, right?

But what if you and me could save the world, making it better one little step at a time?

Maybe by simple things: Being kind and caring. Lending a hand. Being aware.

We could change habits. I for one have taking a cotton bag to carry my groceries for decades. I walk to work, because I can.

And then, of course, we are authors. We tell stories.

How do stories save the world?

In many, many ways. I talk about that in my video.

 

So. Do you believe you have superpowers now?

Then sit down and write.

And if you still have doubts and fears, here’s some tapping for you.

Tapping Phrases

Even though I always thought that story-telling wasn’t really important and just entertainment, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I’m now open to the possibility they do something bigger than just entertain people.

Even though it felt wrong to spend time writing stories while the world gets worse and there is so much injustice, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to see how my stories have the potential to change the world.

Even though I’ve always thought that I was just writing books, sitting quietly in my corner, and it felt like I wasn’t contributing much, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now give myself permission to believe that my books can change lives.

What is your personal superpower as author?
Which one would you love to have?

Please share in a comment. Thank you.

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive my Introduction to EFT as a gift. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

And no. I will never use that email to send you anything other than my newsletter.

PPS: There is a roundabout way to my newsletter that’ll give you something really neat: an email series called “30 Days Daily Writing Habit” which is free. If you sign up for that, you’re automatically added to my newsletter, as well. (And you can always unsubscribe.)

PPPS: For those of you who are curious, you can find my books here: Hannah Steenbock

Image Source: F. Moebius

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Why you should get Time-Outs

creative daydreaming

Creative Daydreaming

As you probably noticed, I took time out in the last two weeks. I visited family and friends, went on hikes, enjoyed nature, new views, interesting food and lots of conversations.

And I renewed my mind, body and soul.

Truth is, I needed that after several very stressful weeks.

Now, of course we indie authors, freelancers and entrepreneurs worry about not earning money during those time-outs. We worry about productivity going down. And it is true that we cannot keep up a tight production schedule if we go away for ten days or more.

Here’s the thing.

We live in a time of self-optimization. There are lots of books out there teaching us to be even more productive, to use our time to the fullest. I remember reading the tip of one mother to hit the 1 on the microwave three times because it was faster than entering 100 for one minute of zapping.

I also remember feeling utterly shocked at reading that.

If it is necessary to optimize our time use to a fraction of a second when we reasonably have 16 hours in a day, what are we doing to ourselves?

In the video, I talk about why everyone, but especially we creative types need time-outs. Little ones every day, and even big ones, to travel and to renew ourselves and our minds.

 

Yes, I know. You’re probably still feeling resistance to “doing less”. You don’t want to “waste” 20 minutes on mediation, or a walk. You don’t want to lose any of your productive time.

But honestly? Are you typing during all of your “productive time”? If you’re not, you might profit from stepping away from your desk or laptop and move around. Give yourself space to “not think” and instead to create.

Here’s some tapping to help you shift out of that pressure to be productive.

Tapping Phrases

Even though I can’t imagine taking a vacation or just a regular time-out every day, I’m way too busy, I’m still totally okay the way I am, and I choose to get creative about this idea.

Even though it feels impossible to set aside time to daydream and do nothing, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I’m open to the idea of experimenting with it.

Even though it feels so counter-intuitive to do nothing when I am in such a rush to produce stuff, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to play with new ways of being creative.

What do you do for a time-out?

Please share in a comment. Thank you.

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive my Introduction to EFT as a gift. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

And no. I will never use that email to send you anything other than my newsletter.

PPS: There is a roundabout way to my newsletter that’ll give you something really neat: an email series called “30 Days Daily Writing Habit” which is free. If you sign up for that, you’re automatically added to my newsletter, as well. (And you can always unsubscribe.)

PPPS: For those of you who are curious, you can find my books here: Hannah Steenbock

Image Source: F. Moebius

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