Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Practice makes perfect

Drum roll please....you'll notice over in the side bar of my blog there is now a link to my new writer website. Pause for breath here as I begin the next stage of my writing journey.

So of course I'm asking for your opinions. All comments are gladly received (please be gentle though) - what am I missing or what can I improve on? If you had a need for writing or design services would this website be enough for you to want to hire me.

I amaze myself with how far I've come in just 2 short years. In that time I've started this blog, written my first book and created some amazing work. Plus the ideas just keep coming. This is a true indication that if you want to be a writer then you have to just write and the more you write, the better you get. Much like anything, if you want it bad enough and you practice often enough then you can succeed.

It also helps when you have an spectacular support network who push you and encourage you and believe in you. My family and friends are the best there is.

I've mentioned often enough that I still need to work on promoting myself. Putting my work out there makes me step out of my comfort zone. But I write for others to read, I create for others to enjoy - I certainly don't do it for it to sit on my hard drive and gather dust. So stepping out of my comfort zone is essential to move forward.

What have you tried that has worked in selling your work or your ideas? What's the best advice that you've received which has assisted in helping you grow and improve?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Freedom of Speech

I'm all for freedom of speech as long as you're not being rude, abusive or bullying someone. That said and I inadvertently offended someone online the other day, which was never my intention and yet I can't explain nor can I apologise. Their loss though.

I joined a writers group on LinkedIn after some searching for the right group. I was a little dismayed once I was accepted, to read the group leaders' comment that anyone who hadn't commented within a two month period would be automatically removed from the group. Quite simply she didn't want lurkers within the group.

I find it strange because some of the greatest benefit I receive is from lurking I do around other people's blogs or LinkedIn groups. Some I comment on, some I buy their books, some I learn from what they post. Is lurking that wrong? I'm sure I have lurkers who visit here fairly regularly but who never comment. I don't have a problem with that.
Fair call though I guess, it's her group, her decision - I just didn't like the idea myself and said as much - politely and nicely as numerous other people on the site had. Two days as a member and suddenly I'm removed, what - for daring to voice my opinion in a nice, polite way?

I could have been abusive, I could have been rude and obnoxious. I wasn't. I was also not given an opportunity to explain or to 'chat' to the owner about my comments or her reasoning. That bugged me, but you know what - if I can't speak openly and honestly and voice my opinions then you're obviously not a group that I want to be a part of.

Being new to a blog or even a writers group can be quite daunting and I usually won't jump in and comment straight away - nor do I want to be forced to make inane comments just so I won't be removed.

Any of the blogs on my sidebar are ones I visit regularly, I may not comment on them all but they are in that list because I gain value from them in some way. 

I think I've found another group on LinkedIn+, I'll see how that pans out. I do know that I'll probably be a little bit more circumspect about comments I leave for a while.

So are you lurker or commenter? I guess if you're a lurker though then you won't be responding will you? Let it be known that lurkers and commenters are welcome here in equal measure, just be nice and respectful is all I ask.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Normal is nice

A crazy week that I'm glad is done and gone, happy to see the back end of it. I'm holding out for a normal work week - it seems a long time since I had one.

It's been a week of drama and tears and emotions. A good friend lost her father this week and my heart breaks for her pain and loss. Work is still a shamozzle of change and disruption which affects everyone caught in it's wake.

It's hard knowing people will go with the changes happening and to feel any joy that at least your own position is safe for now.

I haven't written nearly enough this week - drama can sap your energy and creativity.

I took another look at my website tonight which has frustrated me for over a week because I couldn't get it to link to my 'purchased' domain name and then all of a sudden it worked. Not sure exactly how I created the magic that made it fall into place but who am I to question it. A little bit more tweaking to do with it and then all is good.

My book has been steadily selling this week, 6 - 7 sales every day since the promotion last weekend. I finished up with 2247 downloads from the promotion as well. So it was definitely a success in getting it out there. While I'm not going to become a millionaire over night at least the first step in getting my work read has been achieved.

Today at least was a day of ordinary, I'm liking ordinary a lot at the moment. Had my grandson last night and he woke up this morning in a gorgeous mood and full of energy. A happy smiling little face and laughter is a lovely way to wake up. Today hubby and I went and bought a new fridge and a television for the kitchen. Spending money is always fun.

Mammoth job cleaning out the old fridge (which isn't really that old, but just a stupid set up) I will never buy a side by side set up fridge again. So that one has gone out to the shed for a drinks fridge and my new one arrives on Monday. So also had to clean out the old, old fridge (the original drinks fridge). Can't believe the dust and grot which accumulates under and behind a fridge.

Then I had a long nanna nap this afternoon which was sorely needed after the week that was. Which is also why at 11.15 tonight I am still wide awake. Woke up from my sleep and did all my housework so the house is spotless and all my washing is done.

A normal, uneventful day is just what I needed. Normal is nice.

Hope your week has been a good one, or at least your weekend is.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Oh wow!

Last night before I went to bed there had been 59 downloads of my book on the first day of the two day promotion and I was rapt with that. This afternoon I've logged on to check my account and there have been 833 downloads. Amazing stuff the power of social media.

Thank you to everyone who shared the link from yesterdays post for me, it's much appreciated. There's still a few hours left for anyone who still wants to grab their free copy.

Today hubby and I took advantage of the spectacular spring weather to go to a country swap meet and then we stopped at the Meadows Country Fair on the way home. Beautiful weather for being outdoors, I bought lots of flowers for my front garden and we also purchased a cherry tree.

I'm amazed at how much stuff people have to sell at these things and I did tell hubby that I could spend at least three weeks at one of these swap meets selling his 'shed junk' and I could probably retire on the income from it all.

Hubby has a passion for cars, motors, tractors, tools and any piece of machinery in existence so I wasn't overly enthusiastic about this mornings' outing but considered it a research activity because I plan on setting my next book in the Adelaide Hills and wanted to look at the area with different eyes.

When we come home from these sort of things without having purchased a tractor or another car I consider it a successful outing. Today was a successful outing, we only came home with another outdoor heater - our fourth, but who's counting?

This afternoon he's fitting roller doors to a mates industrial shed and I'm writing. Doing what we both do best.

Well that's me for today, I have another novel to get underway. My youngest tells me I should be writing more and I should be doing it quicker and then I can give up my day job. He's a clever kid isn't he?

Hope you all have a great week, I'm not sure what my work week will be like given the drama of Friday but I think for now it's a case of sit down, shut up and hold on because I think we're in for a bumpy ride in the coming weeks.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

6WS - Everybody loves something free don't they?

The answer to that question is always a big yes, everyone wants something for nothing. But before I tell you what's free, let me point out that there's two things that I'm absolutely hopeless at.
Patience is one of them, in fact I was one of those kids who shook, poked and prodded my presents under the tree prior to Christmas Day to try and figure out what they were (sorry mum). Not that it made much difference, because I could never figure out what they were anyway.
Have you ever noticed how slow time moves when you’re waiting for something to happen? I swear Christmas Eve used to be 56 hours long when I was a kid (and 2 hours long once I became an adult and had children’s presents to wrap).
In much the same way, this week there has been at least 43 hours in every day and I still haven't found enough time to write a post this week. Work is not a happy place and we are in the midst of restructure with lots of unsettled people. I just want everything done and said and finished.
While I know I'm okay for now (which I'm thankful for), it's not a nice atmosphere when people know that redundancies are coming.

The other thing that I'm really bad at is self promotion, I'm notoriously bad at tooting my own horn or asking for help, which brings me to the something for free.

For today and tomorrow only - Saturday and Sunday, my first ever e-book is available FREE on Amazon as part of the Kindle Direct publishing campaign. If you like lighthearted romances then I have a really big, big favour to ask. Please go and download it, please tweet the link, Facebook the link, share the link and get your friends to download it. All I'm asking is that people provide a review on Amazon if they like it.

All of this helps move my book up the Amazon ranks and gets it noticed and for two days it will cost nothing, zilch, nada. Even if you don't have a Kindle you can download a Kindle reader for your computer.

One thing is for sure, I will have to get better at this self promotion but I don't think I'll ever be good at the patience thing. How 'bout you, what do you need to get better at?

I'm linking up with Cate who gives us all a place to visit and connect. Want to play along with Six Word Saturday, it's easy? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

My vision - one step at a time

So I've been busy this week (yes, as opposed to any other week) and I've finished my website. I'm just waiting on some final domain linking which apparently can take several hours to update and then I can unleash it on the world.

The beauty of the internet today is that you can figure out how to do pretty much anything with a little bit of exploring and reading. I've discovered how to format and publish my own Kindle book (need a little bit of improvement in this area but life is a learning experience after all) and now I've figured out how to purchase my choice of domain and then how to link it to my writer website (assuming the linking works in a couple of hours of course)

But then if it doesn't then I'm sure there's information to tell me how to troubleshoot any problems. All of these are steps to my bigger goal of establishing a freelance career in writing and design - still a ways to go but all of it takes baby steps.

I also discovered new social media sharing buttons which are super easy to install if anyone is interested, directions can be found here Add This. I wanted them for my website but ended up changing what I had here as well because it was so easy. I found it easier to use the add to website option and then just put it in a HTML gadget box, because the Blogger option didn't put them where I wanted them.

I've also been reading two books in conjunction with each other recently because of a strong re-focus on goals and affirmations. I'm still working through the Artists Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, but I'm also reading Mind over Money: How to Program Your Mind to Wealth. They both fit well with writing morning pages and the second one has plenty of appropriate affirmations.

I've put copies of 4 vision boards I created today at the end of this post. They focus on my four key affirmations for my life. Each of these then have their own set of small goals and steps.

The irony of all this, whilst I designed and mapped out my 'perfect life' today, my husband and middle son were agreeing to disagree about life and how they communicate with each other. Oh darn, that could be half my problem - I forgot to include the words calm and serenity on my vision board.

I love living with a houseful of males, I do honest - especially when they're all sleeping!

So what do your vision boards look like and what do you have mapped out for your life?


Monday, October 8, 2012

Something so simple...

There's nothing as frustrating as a brand new computer which doesn't do what it's meant to do, especially when you sound dumb trying to explain what it's doing wrong. Publishing software and MS Office and I'm all over it both what it does and the best way to create something amazing.

Hardware and browsers though and I have no idea. My new computer (which wasn't a cheap version) was not keeping up with my typing speed when online and while I do okay, I'm certainly not the worlds fastest typist. Searching for images meant it moved as slow as a slug and I was ready to hurl it through a window.

A call to my computer guru, more feeling dumb as I tried to explain what my computer was doing, or not doing and then my suggestion of a solution to the problem. He agreed that my suggestion would be what he tried first. Hence bye bye Internet Explorer and hello Mozilla Firefox.

Now suddenly my typing keeps pace with my fingers, half my words don't disappear into cyber space and life is good in my world again. It seems Blogger wasn't much liking the latest version of Internet Explorer with all the other little goodies on my computer.

I've tolerated several weeks of frustration. How dumb am I?

Have you put up with something frustrating for longer than you should have because of cost or effort or not wanting to rock the boat? Mine was more that we'd spent a fortune and I wasn't sure how to explain what it was doing or whether it was simply me taking time to adapt to the 'change'.

Something so simple...

Saturday, October 6, 2012

6WS - I finally achieved my biggest goal

It seems like forever since I did a Six Word Saturday post. In the time that I've been missing in action, my grandson starting walking, my lounge room finally got painted (16 years after I stripped the wallpaper - because there's nothing like rushing things) and I also published my first novel on Kindle.

Okay so two of those things happened this week, the book and the loungeroom - so it's been a week of triumphs. Tonight I'm finally sitting back on my lounge to write, after a week of having to sit at the kitchen table to write. Just doesn't feel the same sitting at the kitchen table.

I look around my beautifully clean, freshly painted loungeroom and I smile because it looks so damn good. Ironic that I stripped the wallpaper when I was pregnant with my youngest son and it's actually him who painted it this week. Amazingly professional job for someone who has never painted before (he has a little bit of his perfectionist mother in him)

I sat on my finished novel for 12 months before I finally gathered up enough nerve this week to publish it and now I'm not sure why I waited so long. I'm really happy with it, the responses so far have been really postive and I guess my only frustration is a few quirks with  the formatting in Kindle.

I never really believed I could write a novel, despite a life long dream to do so. I could never get past the first few chapters before I got bored with it. Then this one spilled out and I was astounded that I actually wrote it, all 81,000 words of it.

Now despite ideas for new stories, that doubt is back again. How many times have I let fear or lack of faith slow me down? Way too many times to count. I think back to me at 20 and my limited confidence and then I look at me now, twenty years later at 40 and I know there's no comparison. Stands to reason that I'm going to be smoking hot by the time I'm 60.

I's all a learning curve though, if we don't learn from what we do then we're wasting our time. So when have you let fear slow you down?

I'm linking up with Cate who gives us all a place to visit and connect. Want to play along with Six Word Saturday, it's easy? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feeel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Say no to Bullying

How many young adults will commit suicide as a way to end their pain?

How many people will be verbally attacked through social media?

How many people will suffer from anxiety and depression because of hurtful comments?

How many people will hide away from the world because they feel like they don't fit in?

How long until we say enough is enough and put an end to bullying?

If you haven't seen this link yet - it's worth a look.


October is No Bullying month and we all need to put a stop to this sort of appalling behaviour. How brave are people when they can hide behind a computer screen, an email or a social media account and attack others.

I know of several blogs I have visited where the owner has been attacked through the comments section for words they have written. Words that have no malice or bad intentions behind them but which earn a barrage of filth from brave 'anonymous' people who feel it's their right to attack another.

What ever happened to freedom of speech and the god given right to simply be ourselves? I was taught if you can't say something nice, then don't say anything.

If you agree that we need to stop bullying then please share this post or write one of your own.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Slip, slop, slap a little paint

I had to clear a space on my kitchen table tonight to be able to write. I normally sit cross legged on the lounge with my laptop in my lap. You only realise just how small your house is when you take everything out of the largest room and spread it through the house.

My youngest son is painting our lounge room during his school holidays and as a result my house looks like a bomb has dropped on it. There's dust over everything from the sanding and there's plastic covering the lounge room floor. No sneaking around my house at the moment.

He's doing an amazing job for a kid who has never painted before, but my kids are a bit like that, super talented at whatever they put their minds to. I stripped the wallpaper off the lounge room walls 16 years ago when I was pregnant with the youngest, it's taken this long for the walls to be painted. Lets face it, anything was going to look better.

Hubby has built a monster shed, put up verandahs and pergolas, remodelled the gardens - but when it comes to painting, well he's not overly keen on that job. Not that I was either, hey we're outdoors people. We sleep and shower in our house and that's about it. Besides when I'm sitting on the lounge writing, I don't much care what the walls look like.

My mother is the master of publicity, I can't believe how many people have bought my book or commented on it because of her sharing the link. I've told her that when I'm rich and famous and the author of numerous books then I'll pay her to be my Publicity Manager.

It's just not the same sitting at the kitchen table to write, I'm definitely a computer in my lap kind of person. Sitting at the table feels like I'm working.

I'm off to do a little bit more blog hopping before bed.



Monday, October 1, 2012

I gave my book wings...and it flew

I spent a weekend in the country and did what I should have done 12 months ago. I published my book on Amazon through Kindle Publishing.

Was I comfortable doing it - no, would I have ever have been comfortable doing it - no. So with a little bit of gentle persuasion from my mum I hit publish and now I can't be concerned about it. What's done is done.

First step is done, now I sit down and do it all again, write another one. I'm learning everything I can about Kindle Direct Publishing which is interesting in the way it works. It's all a learning experience for me at the moment.

My book is now available from Amazon and even if you don't have a Kindle, you can download a reader for your computer. All you need is an Amazon account and a mere 99 cents to read it. I'd love to hear your thoughts and would appreciate all comments which are put on Amazon.