Dear Novelist, Clarify + Simplify Your Writing Life by Beth Barany

show up. be gentle. trust yourself. you can do this. fellowship of the pen with beth barany. 30-day writing challenge to plan your novel #30daywcI’m excited to be teaching our next “30-Day Writing Challenge to Plan Your Novel” that started June 1st. Ezra and I got ready by talking about story. (We’re always talking about story! Check out our YouTube video on that topic.)

In the meantime, I’ve also been writing a new romance novella and sending out book review queries to book reviewers and bloggers.

Clarify + Simplify Your Writing Life

My biggest challenge in writing and marketing my fiction has been feelings of overwhelm and confusion. (Do you know the feeling?)

I didn’t know where to start, and once I started I seemed to lose the threads of what I was doing from one day to the next.

With the writing phase, I figured out a few solutions that have been working for me for years.

I track my work and I set monthly goals for myself. That’s how I help create forward movement.

And now I get clarity on what my story is about and who my characters are by using my “Plan Your Novel” curriculum.

Now, with book marketing, I’ve been experiencing similar feelings of confusion and overwhelm.

I finally realized I was making things difficult for myself. I needed one place to track my book marketing efforts, and I needed only one campaign upon which to focus my attention.

I decided to focus on sending our review requests for my newest book, Touchstone Series: Romance Novella Books 1-4, plus a bonus short story. I arbitrarily decided to aim for sending 100 queries in 6 months.

That was a month and a half ago.

A few things have changed since I set up my spreadsheet and started sending out queries: I’ve only sent out 20 queries, instead of the 25 I should have by now. (But not bad!) And, I’ve also been sending out queries for the first book in my young adult fantasy series, Henrietta The Dragon Slayer.

(Because I’ve been finding those reviewers too. I track it all on the same spreadsheet. And it all counts.)

Another lovely result: I have 2 new reviews of Henrietta The Dragon Slayer, and 1 new review of book 2 in the series, Henrietta and the Dragon Stone. Plus 2 reviews of Touchstone Series.

But the important thing is I’m sending out queries, getting reviews, and even have a guest post coming out soon. (I just wrote one on labyrinths.)

If you’re struggling with overwhelm and confusion in writing or marketing your novel, here are some steps you can take:

  1. What’s not going as you’d like? Get clear on the problem.

    I’m overwhelmed. Or, confused. Or, something else.

  2. What would you like? State what you’d like.

    I want to write more, more often. Or, I want to request reviews for one of my books. or, something else.

  3. When can you complete this? Set a reasonable goal by a reasonable time.

    One month. Or, six months. Etc.

  4. How will you track your progress? Create a simple spreadsheet to track your progress and follow up.

    I’ve created a template you’re welcome to download and adapt as needed.

    Click here to download.

    **Be sure to download to use; don’t start filling it out online.**

The other day a friend of mine said I ask good questions that are gentle and direct. I really appreciated that characterization. Hopefully, my questions here have been gentle and direct and help move you into action.

What is your main challenge with moving forward on your writing, or marketing your novel?

Comment below and let me know.

I’m always interested in hearing from you.

All my best,


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