Category Archives: authors

Review of My New Book – check it out! www.theweightlossmindset.com.au


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Merry Christmas From Lifestyle Design With Monica. New Book and New Website!!


Well, Hello to all the special people/ blog readers of Lifestyle Design With Monica!! Long time, no talk, huh??!! 

I can hardly believe how long it’s been since I’ve written a post here, but as you will see, there have been may reasons I haven’t, not one of them being that I’ve stopped writing. At all!! In fact…..

I am just about to release my book, The Weight Loss Mindset!! Promotions and marketing are running high here in the real world and lots of exciting things are happening, which is why I decided it’s about time I returned to my blogging roots and to thank ALL you wonderful people who have read and subscribed to my blog some time ago. So, THANK YOU!!! Without the support of people like you who took the time to read, comment and encourage my writing I may have come as far a I have (so to speak!!).

If you would like to continue to follow my journey (and I would sincerely LOVE you to!!), please drop by my new site, www.theweightlossmindset.com.au to find out more.

My new site will soon have a blog on it too, but even now you can sign up and I will stay in touch via my bulk email service. This will be a great opportunity to learn more about my book and also the newly associated products and services that will eventually be available on my site.

Because YOU are one of my early blog readers, YOU’LL BE THE FIRST TO HEAR!!

In the meantime, I would also like to wish you and your family a beautiful, safe and happy Christmas and New Year. There is so much untapped potential in us all and I wish for YOU, this festive seasons, your own feeling of abundance, success, joy and awakening possiblities in the NEW YEAR.  It truly can be a great one for all of us, if we choose to make it so, no matter what else happens in our lives.

With Much Love, Peace and Happiness,

Monica xxoo

PS To reply to this post, please just leave a comment. I WOUL LOVE TO HEAR WHAT YOU’VE BEEN UP TO, AS WELL. Any successes or recent triumphs you have experienced with you blog or life?  PLEASE SHARE!!

Goal Setting Skills In Action, A Little Revision or The Surprising Power Of Mini Goals


This past week I have been using my time to work toward my BIG goal of getting my book into print. This is no small task and without some sort of plan, realised, I would not find it easy to mobilise myself into action.

So, I set about creating one and now have, what I believe to be, a blueprint for making this book a physical reality.

Along the way however I realised I needed to do a bit of revision in the goal setting area. How had I achieved things in the past, I began to ask? What stratergies had I used when I was losing weight or writing my first ebook?

Since I had actually written extensively about this subject in my ebook, I thought that taking another look at what I had already written about goal setting (in relation to losing weight) might be helpful.

I then thought I might also share this revision with you, so below is a brief extract (edited and reshaped) from Reframe Weight Loss. It is from Chapter 6, Gaining Your Goal Setting Skills. NB The emphasis in the extract is on weight loss goals, but you can substitute your own goals for the weight loss ones and I hope still find some relevance for you.

Start of Extract

Prelude: After discussing my own strategy and then emphasizing the importance  of a goal achieving strategy, I then continue with the following:-

 Chiefly, these strategies were and should be for you:

1. State and express your goal in a positive way. 

2. Be exact!! State exactly when, using a specific date and time that you want to achieve your goal by. A good adage to keep in mind with this strategy is:

3. IT IS IMPORTANT TO TIME YOUR PLAN, BUT ALSO TO PLAN YOUR TIME!

4. Next, write all your goals down on a piece of paper.

5. Place them somewhere where you will see (and review them) often!!

Bite-sized Tasks 

 Okay, so that’s a simple approach to the BIG GOAL. Now, to the real ‘magic’ of goal setting – breaking it down.

It is my belief that no one has ever gotten anything done by sitting and looking only at the BIG PICTURE. That’s not the thing to focus on.

Although it is always important to have that vision alive and vibrant in your mind, it is actually in achieving the many mini goals along the way that is going to get you there. Similar to the BIG GOAL, your mini goals should also have a ‘to be completed by’ date and time. Once again, be precise and be specific.

For  example, your first mini goal may be ‘to lose two kg by the first day of the next month this year. (As I don’t know the exact date that you’re reading this, I’ll let you fill in the more specific month names and year!) After you have a list of all your mini goals, it’s now time to set some even smaller mini goals.

Staying with our mini goal of losing two kg by the first day of the next month, let’s break it down even further. First, two kg in one month is approximately 0.5kg a week.

Great, a much more achievable outcome and one you can ‘see’ clearly and work toward!

From here, the next step is to define the actions and steps you are going to take daily that will get you to that 0.5kg. If you’ve read the preceding chapters of this book, then I think you already know how to do that.

Now however, is the time to get specific. You may end up with about 10 mini tasks that you are going to perform this week, or perhaps a daily ‘to do list’.

Achieving and crossing off these daily tasks will get you to that weekly goal of 0.5kg weight loss.

A review of some of the work we have done so far may assist you in writing these mini tasks. I can set out an example for you of what the first five might look like (they may be familiar to you, as we’ve already touched on them earlier), but it will be up to you to write your own personal and relevant ones. Okay, so maybe something like this:

1. This week, I will continue the exercises I have begun in ‘The Seven-day Plan.’ If I have joined a gym, I will attend three times this week!!

2. For this week, I will only home cook. No takeaway food (this includes snacks and meals).

3.My home cooking will be from my own low-fat recipe book or from my own personal eating plan.

 4. I will replace all my between-meal snacks with fruit, low-fat yoghurt or a low-fat protein smoothie.

 5. I will stay within my calculated ‘calories for weight loss’ and keep an accurate record of everything I eat and drink.

 Important: stay mindful of your mini tasks and remind yourself of them frequently throughout the week.

Setting weekly mini goals is the way to continue, and if at any point even these seem too hard, then take a step back, be realistic and reset some smaller goals; ones that you KNOW without a doubt that you wil.l achieve.

 Gently Raising The Bar

I would like to quickly share with you a simple short story about ‘raising the bar’ that may help clarify for you the effectiveness of ‘mini goals’. It is about a method used in Japan to train children into ‘Ninja Warriors’, and is similar to one that many high jumpers also use to gradually improve their performance. 

For each Ninja child in training a bamboo shoot is planted, and from the very first day that child must jump over it. As it grows and gets higher, the children continue to jump over it on a daily basis. At first, when the bamboo shoot is very low, the task is simple. Then as the canes get a fraction higher each day, the children have to stretch themselves and jump a little higher to succeed. The result however is that they all end up jumping over quite tall canes with surprising ease.

The metaphor for us is clear. Doing just a little bit more, pushing ourselves just a little bit further each day, can amount to huge achievements in our lives, achievements that may not have been possible to attain without a commitment to some smaller daily improvements.

From little things, big things grow!!

I would also just like to add that I have faith that you can find the inspiration (indeed I hope you already have, in this book!!) to achieve each new behaviour, each new habit and each new way to be that you set your mind to. Just like the little Ninja Warriors.”

End Of Extract

That is the extract that I re-read this week and it has helped me to make some progress toward the mini tasks required to achieve my BIG task of publishing my book in print. Just like when I was working toward reaching my weight loss goal (which was a big number of kilos to lose) I am trying not to get overwhelmed with the BIG PICTURE, but rather to focus on the bite sized tasks that are easy and achievable for me on a daily basis.
 But what do you think?
Is this a good way to go about achieving BIG goals?
 
What goal achieving strategies have you employed?
 
Are they effective and do they  make the project (what ever it is) more manageable and achievable for you?
 
Are you working toward some BIG GOAL in your life?
Are there any tips or strategies of your own you can teach us about or add to my list of goal setting strategies?

Networking, Cyclones and Fiction Writing or Why I Committed A Caridinal Blogging Sin


As most of you would know, there are a lot of other “cyber tasks” (apart from actually writing blog posts) that fill up a busy bloggers day ie visiting other blogs, editing and emailing guest posts (my first to go up soon at WriteAnything), researching ideas, cyber networking and leaving comments on other blogs.

What can I say, I like to keep busy!

Anyhow, due to all of the above (and a few other things that I will go into in a moment) last week I happily committed the venial sin (I just downgraded it!) of ‘reposting’ a previous post.

Personally I don’t think there is anything greatly wrong with that.

After all readerships may grow over time and what’s wrong with a little resharing of some relevant and perhaps interesting facts about a particular topic?

Nothing Monica, except I’d read it before, I hear you say. 

Inside The Confessional Box

Yes, well, as I am now in the confessional box, I may as well mention to you another significant factor that affected my (blogging and all other aspects of) life last week. It was called CYCLONE YASI.

You’d have thought that the weather gods may have had enough fun with us Queenslanders lately (with the recent floods and all) but apparently that was just a test run. Just weeks later we found ourselves again under threat, this time from a category 5 cyclone (which had the dubious honour of being the most severe cyclone in our country’s history) . 

I don’t wish to turn this post into a news report about the event as I’m sure there have been plenty of them, worldwide. Suffice to say however that this second disaster did once again, hit heart and home quite badly.

Our relatives in North Queensland experienced a horrendous night (but all are safe) and are now enduring a second week of no electricity and a diminishing city water supply.

Hardship and adversity also hit the many  (sugar cane, banana and dairy) farming communities for the second time in just a few years, so these guys are all doing it tough.

They are all in our thoughts and prayers here in Queensland and please keep them in yours, as well.  I know from my previous post about the Queensland floods, that there are some very compassionate and caring people out there in cyberspace and I thank you in advance for remembering us in this part of the globe.  🙂

Writing Opportunities

Okay, well, moving on to something different now as I also wanted to mention to you a few great writing sites and projects I have recently become aware of. This also involves sharing with you:-

Some Stuff You Didn’t Know About Me

I’ll make these points briefly (because there’s only a few of them!) :-

1) Apart from my own e-book, I also love to write non-fiction.

2) I am always on the lookout for magazine’s and other places, to submit my short stories to.

Anyhow, this all leads me to explain why I was so excited to discover a project called #FridayFlash, which as you might have guessed by the hashtag is a fantastic, twitter born, opportunity for writers. Basically, this project involves uploading your own fiction each Friday and participating in the online community of writers bought together by Jon Strother.

Jon has already published a ‘Best Of #Fridayflash” and is currently considering producing a volume 2. If you yourself are interested in joining in with this project you can do so here.

I myself will be uploading stories  (the stories are already written and on my computer files) as soon as a few hitches with my Microsoft office program are fixed!!

So there you have it friends – a confession, a heartache and some new writing ventures, shared.

How’s your week been?

Have you any writing opportunities or publishing stories of your own to share?

 

Networking, Fiction Writing and Why I Committed A Cardinal Blogging Sin


As most of you would know, there are a lot of other “cyber tasks” (apart from actually writing blog posts) that fill up a busy bloggers day ie visiting other blogs, editing and emailing guest posts ( my first soon to go up at WriteAnything ), researching ideas, cyber networking and leaving comments on other blogs.

What can I say, I like to keep busy!

Anyhow, due to all of the above, and a few other things I will go into in a moment, this week I happily committed (perhaps not a cardinal, but rather just a venial sin) of ‘reposting’ a previous post.

Personally I don’t think there is anything greatly wrong with that.

After all your readership may have grown over time and what’s wrong with a little resharing of some relevant and perhaps interesting facts about a particular topic?

Nothing Monica, except I’d read it before, I hear you say.

Yes, well, as I am now in the confessional box, I may as well mention to you another significant factor that affected my (blogging and all other aspects of) life last week. It was called CYCLONE YASI.

You’d have thought that the weather gods may have had enough fun with us Queenslanders lately (with the recent floods and all) but apparently that was just a test run. For just weeks later a category 5 cyclone, which had the dubious honour of being the most severe cyclone in our country’s history, began approaching off the coast. 

I don’t wish to turn this post into a news report about the event. I’m sure there have been plenty of them, worldwide. Suffice to say that this second disaster did once again, hit heart and home.

Our relatives in North Queensland experienced a horendous night (but are all safe) and are now enduring the second week of living with no electricity and a diminishing city water supply. Hardship and adversity has also hit the many  (sugar cane, banana and dairy) farming communities for the second time in just a few years, so these guys are all doing it tough. So please keep them all in yours thoughts and prayers. Thank you.

Okay, well apart from sharing this event with you from my own personal perspective, I also wanted to mention a few great writing sites and projects I have recently become aware of. This also involves sharing with you:-

Some Stuff You Didn’t Know About Me

I’ll make these points briefly (because there’s only a few of them!) :-

1) Apart from my own ebook, I also love to write non-fiction.

2) I have written a 50,000 word romance novel (that currently sits at the bottom of my filing cabinet) that one day, I will dust off and send to a publisher!

3) I am always on the lookout for magazine’s and other places, to submit my short stories to.

4) Last year, I had a story accepted for publication in a national parenting magazine;

5) Then, after a few months of back and forth email contact with the magazine’s editor, it was er….non-accepted (with many sincere and genuine apologies from the very lovely editor. I learnt two things from this experience. One was that  these people all work in editorial teams and as such, what one says, doesn’t always go. And two, they are very busy people and subject to constant changing circumstances about which content is appropriate to produce and which isn’t.

Arghh, all a big learning curve for aspiring writers!! Still, I am an optimist and can not feel anything but gratitude for the little bit of ‘foot in the door’ I was permitted (even if that foot is still just a little bruised and sore from it’s experience!!)

Anyhow, this all leads me to explain why I was so excited to discover a project called #FridayFlash, which as you might have guessed by the hashtag usage, is a fantastic, twitter born, opportunity for writers. Basically, this project involves uploading your own fiction each Friday and participating in the online community of writers bought together by @JMStoth.

If you yourself are intersted in joining in with this project you can do so here.

I myself will be uploading stories  (the stories are already written and on my computer files) as soon as a few hitches with my Microsoft office program are fixed!!

So there you have it friends – a confession, a heartache and some new writing ventures, shared. 

 

  

7 Ways To Overcome Writer’s Block (A Collaborative Approach)


 

Do you sometimes wish there was a magic spell you could cast over your yourself, just to get yourself to write? Something quick and easy to motivate you, to stop you procrastinating and just get you writing?

Writers block is something that some people say doesn’t exist. However, if you’re a writer you know it does.  

And whilst we could go the long route and spend time balancing our chakras or meditating (I actually don’t think doing those things is such a bad idea, but that’s for another post….) today I thought I’d offer you my own  top 7 tips for overcoming writer’s block . They may not be absolute magic, but I do find they help. They are also not a complete list and that is why at the end of this post I hope you will also share your own methods or solutions……

1. Keep it simple.

If you don’t feel like or just don’t have the time to sit down and write 1000 words on your novel or non-fiction project, just make notes. Chapter headings can be jotted down, followed by 2 or 3 simple scene descriptions or if it is non fiction, a few simple paragraph headings will do. This sort of exercise gets your brain ready for the next part of the task and often before long you may find yourself wanting to ‘fill in the gaps’.

2. Get Yourself on Twitter!  

Now before you argue with this one (because we all know the reputation twitter has for being a time waster) let me explain – there are ways to make it work for you. During a recent bout of ‘I just can’t sit down and writitis’ I signed into my twitter account and using the hash tag,  #amwriting, I found several people writing, editing or otherwise creatively producing. I read their tweets, replied to one who I knew as a local author and before long, I was ‘cured’ and busting to get a few things down on the page.

Twitter has worked for me in other ways too, mainly by giving me ideas by  checking out what others are writing or tweeting about. Whilst this might not work every time for you, why not give it a go, next time you’re stuck? You can follow me, if you like – I’m here or do a search for other authors you might know.

3. Utilise Writing Software

Whilst I have not used them myself, I have met several people who swear by the use of certain software programs both in helping them become more organised and also in enhancing their creativity. This is one you can check out for yourself, here. 

I haven’t got a lot to say on this one, as I’ve not used them myself however, if you have had any experience with these type of programs or similar, I would love to hear.

4. Do Something Else

Huh? How can this be helpful? Okay, well, I definitely find that inactivity decreases creative energies. Sitting around ‘thinking’ sometimes leads nowhere, so…. take a walk, get some sunshine and fresh air or if you’re keen enough, hit the gym for an hour or so.

I have so much more energy (for writing or anything else) when I stick with regular exercise, myself. I think there’s probably some science in there in somewhere that could back this up (such as exercise produces serotonin levels, etc….), but I just go on my gut instinct and know that it helps me.

5. Jump Start Your Imagination - Read.

Getting ‘stuck’ with your writing is sometimes a matter of not having your imagination stimulated enough.  To get the juices flowing again, try reading!!! Read your favorite author, read your own work, read a friend’s work, read a blog, join a writer’s group or participate in writing activities in other ways.

So, Now It’s Your Turn….

Okay, so these have been my own top tips for overcoming writers block, but now it’s your turn to come up with numbers six and seven!!

I was going to write seven tips myself when I started this post, but half way through I came up with the idea of inviting you all to add your own ideas . 🙂

 I love reading the mental processes that others apply to their own writing and I think it is a great way for us all to learn and grow as writers.

So, how about it? Love to hear your own thoughts….just click comment and join in!!  Hope to hear from you…..  🙂

Becoming A First Time Author Using Web Tools or The How’s and Why’s Of The New Publishing Model (Part Two)


 

Writing your book is a fantastic goal and the prospect of actually finishing it and getting it out there is pretty exciting. At least I think it is!

In my last post we looked at some of the fantastic options for doing just that, specifically digital publishing or creating ebooks. Today we will look at the self publishing print options, something that many authors prefer, although I think it is probably necessary to go down both paths, if possible.

Self Publishing in Print

If you really want to, of course, the traditional route to publishing is still available for you to pursue. That is if you’re happy to wait several years, read many rejection letters, possibly pay half or more of the publishing costs yourself (I have met authors who have been offered these sort of ‘deals’ from publishers), are prepared to wait months and months to hear back from editors and are lucky enough to find an agent who will return your calls.

Okay, I paint a dim picture. However, I am not about to argue with the thousands who have gone before me and had these experiences.

Especially since we right now have several viable alternatives to traditional publishing. I am also encouraged by the stories of authors who have already gone down the self publishing path and in time, gone on to get traditional book deals, after achieving sales success with their originally self published books. Two examples of people who have done this are Christopher Paolini and Lis Genova. So it can happen!

Making Your Book A Reality

Okay, so now that you’re jumping up and down with excitement (at least I hope you are !), how can you do this?

Well, there are several online companies who specialise in making this happen and here’s a list of them: –

www.lulu.com

www.createspace.com

www.booksurge.com

www.wordclay.com

www.fiverainbows.com

and

www.blurb.com

Check them all out if you want to, but the two that I think offer the best options for first time authors are Lulu and Createspace and these are the two that I will be looking at in the new year. Having not long ago reformatted my manuscript for Smashwords, I now have a little more work to do to produce print ready files for uploading to these sites.

Print On Demand

One of the great services offered by these companies (at least most of them) is Print On Demand, where books are printed as they are ordered. Someone puts in an order, they print it and ship it to the customer!

This saves us authors from having to store hundreds of books in our garages and also means no up front costs for printing, storage or distribution.

Learning The Trade

One of the main aspects of being an independent author is that you take charge of the marketing and promotion yourself. Luckily these are skills we can all learn and indeed for many of you reading this, you probably already have some experience with this.

I am still investigating and learning about things like creating press releases and marketing and reaching an audience. It’s a learning curve but one I am happy to be taking. The journey so far has been fun, interesting, stimulating and extremely self satisfying to have reached some of the writing goals I have set for myself.

I can’t begin to tell you, after all those months of working hard on my manuscript, how excited I was the day my book went ‘live’ on Smashwords!!

I know you too can also experience this feeling and I hope that the information I have shared here enables you to. Thanks for coming back for Part Two and I would love to hear from any of you who are currently working on manuscripts or who hope to in the future.

Wishing you all the best with your writing,

Mon

Before You Go….

Why not leave a comment? I would love to hear how your own manuscript is progressing, if you have one. Or perhaps you have thoughts about writing a book, but aren’t sure where to start ?

Also, was this information helpful for you or if there is something else that you are interested in reading about in relation to writing or any of the other topics discussed here?

Have you had any experiences with writing and publishing?

Love to hear…..

P.S. I have had some technical difficulties with my internet service lately (it keeps dropping out) so I have not gotten to visit everyone’s blogs for a few days. I have been trying!! I’m hoping it works long enough today for me to publish this post! Darn internet!