The DIY Series is *FREE* on Amazon! 10/10 – 10/14

Hi friends!

To celebrate the wonderful month of October…and my birthday, I’m giving away DIY Writing Retreat and DIY Chick Lit for free on Amazon 10/10 – 10/14.

Both are *excellent* for preparing for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and both are super fun. They are only currently available as Kindle ebooks, but you can read them on a computer, tablet, or phone if you don’t have a Kindle!

About DIY Writing Retreat:

DIY Writing Retreat - free all weekendDIY Writing Retreat: A Guide to Getting Away is a guide to making time and space for you to do exactly one thing: write. With step-by-step instructions to planning and running your own escape, DIY Writing Retreat will show you how to schedule time for your retreat, find a cabin or cabin-equivalent to stay in, and separate yourself from the rest of the world. Then, it will guide you through the entire retreat, from writing prompts to relaxing activities.

Written by the acclaimed author of DIY Chick Lit, this fun guide is sure to motivate writers at every stage, from aspiring authors to experienced novelists. Time to write alternates with fun activities that will energize you and keep you going. A worksheet guides you to reflect on your writing process and set goals for when you return home. There are even (super easy) recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Download it now!

 

About DIY Chick Lit:

a pink cover with a cupcake in the center, title: DIY Chick Lit/A Writing GuideDIY Chick Lit: A Writing Guide is a beginner’s guide to writing funny, snappy, sucks-you-into-the-story prose about modern women, life and love. Designed for the aspiring novelist, it’s full of tips and techniques, prompts and pep talks that will spark your imagination and inspire you to put pen to paper.

Originally published in 2013 as The Chick Lit Cookbook, this fun, cupcake-themed writer’s road map has been updated as part of acclaimed writing teacher Alicia de los Reyes’ DIY writing series.

DIY Chick Lit will take you from start to finish of your first draft in just 13 chapters, each with a short exercise that will get you writing now. Whether you’ve been wishing for years that you could write chick lit or are a brand-new fan of Bridget Jones and Becky Bloomwood, you owe it to yourself to pick up this guide.

DIY Chick Lit will prove to you that writing a novel can be fun and easy—it’s just like baking cupcakes!

Download it here!

Ends Saturday, October 14! Get them while you can!

Continue Reading

DIY Chick Lit & DIY Writing Retreat PDFs!

Great news! If you are tired of looking at your Kindle/device screen but still want to read DIY Writing Retreat and DIY Chick Lit, they are now available as PDFs…on Etsy!

etsy screenshot

There is a brand new Scratch Paper Shop and I’ve already made my first sale (thanks, Sonia!).

Why would you want a PDF of my handy ebooks?

  • So you can print them out and write in them
  • So that you don’t have to take the internet with you on a writing retreat
  • So that you can flip the pages
  • So that you can put them in a sparkly binder!

And great news–through the end of March, you can buy one of my books and get the other free. Just use the code STPAT17 and add both of my ebooks to your cart.

Enjoy!

 

Continue Reading

How to make an e-course (using MailChimp)

I just launched an e-course version of DIY Writing Retreat–Your DIY Writing Retreat–and it’s been a lot of fun. I’ve taught before and I’ve taken online ecourses before–both emailed and not–so I had a pretty good idea of what I should make it look like. But actually making this course took longer than expected.How to Make an Ecourse in Mailchimp - Alicia de los Reyes

I thought I’d share a quick guide to how to make an e-course using MailChimp, my automated email service of choice.

If you follow these steps and add your own content, you’ll have an e-course that works like this:

  • People sign up to take your e-course on a MailChimp sign-up form (in other words, by joining a MailChimp list).
  • They receive an email that starts the course. Emails = lessons.
  • By clicking or waiting a certain amount of time, they get another email lesson.
  • The course sends automatically whenever someone joins the list.

If you’ve ever signed up to get a free mini-course from someone’s website, this is likely what you got–automated emails in a sequence that makes sense.

Here’s how to do it:

Step 1. Outline your e-course by breaking up an idea or a lesson into roughly half-page-long chunks. If you’ve ever planned out a syllabus or a lesson plan unit, this is a lot like that. Think of each email as a lesson that gives the reader one thing to take away. For example, when I was working on Your DIY Writing Retreat, I made one day “Pick a date” and focused on how to find time to get away.

How to Make an Ecourse in Mailchimp - Alicia de los ReyesStep 2. Add assignments to each day. For each day of Your DIY Writing Retreat, I wanted there to be a clear takeaway. The best way to do this is make that takeaway into a concrete task. So, for example, on the “Go shopping” day of Your DIY Writing Retreat, I made a printable grocery shopping list and gave the reader the assignment of printing it out and buying the supplies on it.

Step 3. If you have a free MailChimp account, upgrade it. You only need to sign up for the cheapest level of service ($10/month) to get access to “Automation,” or the ability to make emails that send themselves.

Step 4. Make a MailChimp List for your e-course. You don’t want everyone on your regular email list (if you have one) How to Make an Ecourse in Mailchimp - Alicia de los Reyesto get your course–just the few who sign up (unless you’re making an intro-to-you course–then this list can be your newsletter list!). So, make a separate list for these folks and design a sign-up form.

Step 5. In MailChimp, go to “Automation” and click on the “Create Automation Workflow” button. Set it to send to the list you just created and choose the type of workflow that you want to send–I used “Educate Subscribers.” Your list should be empty, so this won’t actually send to anyone–yet.

Step 6. Design your first email, then click “Add new email” and design the next one. Repeat.

Step 7. Making any printables? Create them in the program of your choice and save them as PDFs. Then, upload to Dropbox (another free service–isn’t the Internet great?) and click on the “Share” button to get a link you can put in your emails/lessons.

Step 8. Decide on the trigger for each email. If you want the emails to send automatically (so that once someone signs up, they get one email per day or one email per week), then change the settings for each email so that it sends periodically after the last email has been sent (or opened). If you want the e-course to be self-paced (so that the reader controls when to get the next email), change the settings for each email so that it sends after the last email Capturehas been clicked. (You get to choose what they click–I made a button for each of mine that sent them to a page on my website that just says “Thanks for clicking! Your next lesson is on its way.”)

Step 9. Test the e-course! Add yourself to the list you made and make sure everything works: links, downloads, triggers. Look for typos. Have someone else try it out and ask them for feedback.

Step 10. Confirm! Add start sharing the sign-up form on your website. (Like this: Are you interested in running Your DIY Writing Retreat? Buy the course here!) If you want to offer it for sale, keep the link hidden and send the code to customers who buy it–if you buy my course, you’ll get the link in a spiffy PDF so you can sign up and take the course at your leisure.

Have you thought about making an e-course? Please share in the comments what’s stopping you if you have!

 

Continue Reading

Want to take your *own* writing retreat?

The days are finally longer than 4.5 hours and your cat has stopped permanently hibernating on the top of the couch. You have that itchy springtime feeling that makes you want to DO stuff: hike a mountain, take up kayaking, go for a bike ride.

Your DIY Writing Retreat - A Guide to Getting Away E-courseBack in the day, this time of year meant summer time! No more school, the chance to do something fun and/or money-earning. For me, it meant babysitting or trying something new: working in a bakery, taking a summer class, teaching math. Whatever I was doing, there was none of the pressure I felt during the school year to make important choices: all I had to do in the summer was earn enough to buy books for the next year, and perhaps add a line to my resume.

Now that school is over (sniff) and summer doesn’t mean the same thing, I still want some time to do things without the pressure to succeed. I want to finish a project that I care about without having anyone looking over my shoulder and asking how it’s going. I want to sneak away into a tent in the mountains and fill up a notebook with things no one will ever see. I want to write things I never write: poetry! textbooks! whatever!

I’ve been lucky enough to do this before: when I was between jobs, I camped out at a family friend’s farmhouse and spent my mornings writing and my afternoons walking on the beach. It was amazing. I got things done.

The key was making a plan and sticking to it. A few months later, it dawned on me that this isn’t easy–it wasn’t easy for me, and it would have been a lot easier if someone had given me a plan and told me to stick to it. So, I wrote DIY Writing Retreat.

But always in the back of my mind, I knew that an ebook wasn’t necessarily the best medium for this type of thing. I wanted to make something people could print and fill in–a way to plan a retreat that would be more tangible and, to my mind, fun. I wanted to add more to DIY Writing Retreat and make it something people would be more likely to actually use–instead of just read and think, “Oh, that sounds nice.”

And that is how Your DIY Writing Retreat, the DIY Writing Retreat e-course, was born. I broke down DIY Writing Retreat, added in printable worksheets for almost every chapter, and expanded the schedules to accommodate folks who only have time for an afternoon or a day-long writing retreat. I added in more concrete suggestions for how to make a writing retreat work for your life, whether you’re a mom, a just-graduated student who misses writing, a teacher, a self-employed person who can’t get a break (high five), or someone who’s always wanted to try writing something but never found the time.

For $39 (and maybe a train ticket), you can buy yourself a fun, no-pressure-to-succeed getaway experience that will (in my experience) make you more productive, more relaxed, and better able to write. You’ll enjoy trying something new. You’ll learn about your writing style: when and where you work best, what you write when you don’t have cat videos to distract you. You’ll probably put more words down on paper than you ever have before (I did).

Interested? Your DIY Writing Retreat e-course is on sale now–read more here.

Continue Reading