Creating a Personal War Room
To take over the world (or at least get some writing done)
Writing is hard. I mean, honestly, look at the requirements. An author creates worlds. They create people. They create themes and plots and words. Lots and lots of words. And that’s all warming up.
Next comes revision after revision with at least some self-editing skills. Then professional editing and finding a cover. An author has to sell one’s work, be it to an agent, a publishing house, or the readers directly. Somewhere along the line, there’s that M word. Marketing. Oh, yeah. And don’t forget to keep up a platform of some kind somewhere, not to mention it’s great to have a street team and …
The author’s life is full.
Sometimes it seems the author has to be a little bit of everything and everyone, while still being just one person trying to get words on a page.
This makes for long hours of lonely work. Rewarding, yes. But when an author spends months or years working on a novel, only to bring it to light in one burst of glory, the focus can slip from living and writing to putting out as many books as possible as quick as possible.
Final products are amazing, but it’s in the writing and revising that we spend most of our lives. Which means that, firstly, we need to enjoy and live during those times, not break out of our own world only when we have a new book or story. And, secondly, we should streamline what we do to ensure we are moving forward at the best pace possible for those we want to help with our books.
Everyone has their own way to do this.
I created a war room.
Translation: a personal support group.
The first seeds of the idea came from the 2018 Realm Makers, when one speaker talked about surrounding one’s self with others who could help in areas of life we weren’t strong in alone. To a degree, I already had that with a few friends as well as hiring a cover designer and editor.
But while hiring people was all very well and good, I didn’t have money to keep them at my side all the time.
What I needed was a group, each member having a different strength, to supplement what I did. People I could be friends with. They could help me run marketing. Keep me on track. Help me research. Other authors who could be there for me in my struggles and allow me to return the favor when they needed help.
First, I created positions. A few alpha readers and accountability partners. A director to keep me on track and help with the war room itself and my street team. Someone else to help with marketing. I came up with basic requirements and then sent them out to my street team and newsletter.
In exchange for aid, I offered free books whenever I published one, the ability to be close to me and my writing (which sounds horribly egotistical, I know, but there are many authors who I would love to do something like this for, so maybe it’s not so odd after all), and the promise of marketing abilities through my own platform. Also, I created an exclusive Facebook group where all the action would take place.
The result was exciting.
I had several more applicants than positions open, with the alpha readers and accountability partners claiming the most requests. I also had an applicant to help run my team and another to help me research marketing.
While my war room is still a work in progress, and I might make some changes as the months roll around, it has helped in ways I’d not even expected.
Having dedicated accountability partners alone has been amazing, even if (or maybe because) they decided to take it on themselves to make sure I do normalish things like getting enough sleep. Knowing I have to report back to them has helped me with word counts and life in general.
Alpha readers are great for when I need quick feedback on a project. Though I don’t have a marketing director actively planning marketing campaigns for me (something I’d love to get someday), having someone to discuss problems with has been great. Not to mention the help when it comes to researching things I don’t have time to look into closely myself.
Writing is a long journey, and one I plan to be on my whole life, so I intend to enjoy it alongside other writers. There are many ways to do this, but if you’re stuck, maybe you’ll want to give your own version of a war room a try and see how it goes.
More about Hope Ann
Hope Ann likes to think herself a dragon-riding, griffin-taming founder of worlds and explorer of legends. Using chocolate, she bribes a wide ring of spies, from the realm leapers of Aslaria to the double agents of Elkbend, for their stories. She thrives on frost, steel, and the tears of her readers, which she secretly mixes into iced coffee. Deep in her hobbit hole, her actual life involves staying up too late writing, reading, researching stab wounds, and struggling to remember the difference between effect and affect. Based in Indiana, she is the self-published author of the Legends of Light series. Hope Ann helps other writers as a personal writing coach and is the communications coordinator at Story Embers. You can find out more about her at authorhopeann.com