Category Archives: Writing

Are You Neglecting Your Most Important Blogging Asset or How To Take Care Of A Creative Mind


 

 

 

This post is something different. I hope it adds some value to your day.

I can’t say it belongs in any traditional ‘Top Tips For Bloggers’ category, that’s for sure.  However, I kind of like dabbling in the alternative, outside of the box slant to blogging and writing, so here it goes…let us know what you think.

Okay, so I could have called this post, Stay Happy and Create or something to that effect. Or perhaps smile, be positive and the writing will flow, but let’s be honest about this – sometimes you may not be feeling 100% energy plus/ soda pop bubbly happy  but you still want to write something (possibly a blog post!).

Your head is telling you – go lay on the couch, read a book, eat something, call a  friend or if those distractions don’t work, why not google something (for fun, not research) or just sit and stare at your computer screen.

Well, doesn’t that sound lazy fazy. Non-productive. Wishy washy. Mediocre. Non action taking.

Maybe, but I don’t need to be a psychologist to know that it is also okay to do it. Good even.

And why? Well, here’s what I think…..

Whilst being the really busy, action taking, self motivated, opportunity grabbing entrepreneurial bloggers that we are is great; sometimes, keeping that level of process and predictability going can be also be draining, destructive and negative. 

Counterproductive even.

Power Vs Force

Creativity is a funny thing. It needs silence. It needs time. It needs to be allowed to take form in our consciousness at whatever pace it decides. Slowly but steadily.

Truth is, creative thinking is not something to take for granted.

It is however something that can be nurtured through silence, rest and time out. 

These words below, from William Penn, aptly illustrate what I am referring to.

True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.  ~William Penn 

 

And in a world where silence has all but been annihilated, making a conscious choice to find some space and quiet is something worth writing about.

So I did.

Was this blog post helpful?

What enhances your productivity?

What do you think – am I over analysing creativity here?

How do you nurture yourself and your creative side? 

 

PS Coming soon….(next time I blog) I share my experiences at the most amazing, wonderful, incredible, fantastic weekend seminar with Rachael Bermingham (Australia’s No 1 top-selling author!!). What a power packed weekend it was – I even got to have some private, one on one, time with Rachael as part of the VIP dinner!!! 

Has this weekend changed my life or what?! There were so many fabulously creative, talented and wonderful people there (hello to any of you, who might be reading this!!) and now, new opportunities are knocking on the door, for all of us who attended!!! Woo – hoo!!!

This was one incredibly productive and creative weekend!!!

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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?

Seven Surprising Reasons You Should Keep Blogging or How To Get A Positive Blogging Mindset


“I believe the term “blog” means more than an online journal. I believe a blog is a conversation. People go to blogs to read AND write, not just consume.” (Michael Arrington)

Do you still love to blog? Yes, yes?? Ahhh, good, then you need read no further.

If however, you are amongst the many who (after a certain time frame) start thinking about quitting their blog or maybe trying something else, then this post is for you!

Reasons You Should Keep Going

1. You're good at it and you have learnt so much!!

Aside from what others may tell you from time to time or maybe what they don’t tell you (not enough of us share our positive thoughts sometimes) if you’ve been working hard and learning lots about your niche, then you probably know what you’re talking about it!!  The very fact that you are a unique individual means that you also have a totally unique ‘take’ on your subject matter. This means you have something very valuable to share!

2. Every blogger is a teacher, too.

 I like to think along the lines that every blogging connection and cyberfriend I make along my blogging journey is someone sent to teach me something. Not only do you gain skills as a writer by blogging, you also gain knowledge by reading what others have to share with you.

3. Blogging itself teaches you to be resilient.

My young children are learning this skill at school. They are taught to interpret their experiences in such a way as to ensure that they always bounce back and are often reminded of Rule Number 6, which simply states “Don’t take yourself too seriously!”

I think these are great thoughts to keep in mind, if you ever feel let down or disheartened in your blogging or marketing endeavours. Just keep on going, you’ll get there!!

4. Everyone is listening.

 Despite that at times we don’t get 100% feedback, I think bloggers have to keep the fact in mind that other people are listening. I have spoken (in the real world) to people who have read blogs (and loved them!) for years and never ever left a comment (personally I couldn’t do that as I love to talk/comment!!).

5. By starting and maintaining a blog, you are leaving a legacy.

Think about this for a minute:- everything you have ever said in cyberspace stays there forever!!

6. Not everyone can do it!!

Despite the fact that there are millions of blogs in the world, not everyone on the planet will write one. For many people even the very idea of writing and being out in a public arena is way too scary. Some could never do it, so appreciate the fact that you can and keep on doing it!! Nurture your own awesomeness!!

7. You're discovering new things about yourself.

At least I think you are. Let me know in the comments if you agree or disagree about that one! Whilst I have spoken to many who say they have grown, learnt and changed as people all through blogging and still others who have cherished blogging friendships, I would love to hear what blogging has taught you!

Can you add a number 8 or 9 to this list?

Apart from your own marketing or business success with blogging, what have you gained through blogging from a personal perspective?

Do you see yourself as a teacher or mentor to others?

If so, does this motivate you to keep on blogging?

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?

 

Blogging In The Next Decade or Is Blogging Being Reshaped By Something New


 

Hey there. Before I begin with today’s topic I just wanted to say a heartfelt thanks to anyone who commented or shared my last post about the Queensland floods. It will be a long haul before our state recovers completely, but the clean up has begun. Whilst this revival begins it means a lot to know that other people world-wide are empathizing and thinking of my fellow Queenslanders. So thank you for your support. 🙂

Want To Be A Magazine Columnist?

Okay so on today’s post which is about something which has caught my attention recently and got me thinking. Since I said I’d write about it a couple of weeks ago, I thought it was about time I did!  I would also love to know what you guys think about this new vehicle for having a web presence. Would you embrace it? Do you think you’ll use it?

Maybe, I hear you say, but for goodness sake Monica, what is it?

Well, it’s a whole new distribution model called Newsgrape that (so it’s founders, Austrian  residents and media and communication experts, Leo and Felix say) will allow you to reach to a greater audience than ever.

And from what I’ve read and heard, I think it just might.

The web-platform that these guys are building could actually revolutionize the way people share and experience text on the web – just like YouTube has done for videos.

One of the interesting claims (and one that caught my attention) being made by these visionaries it that the time of unconnected, individual blogs is over!  Eeek, I thought, I’d better read this!

What they are building and about to launch is a central place for sharing articles and literary contributions,  whereby people can publish information in a group  under a shared name or  co-create Magazines together.

Different, huh?

What Else Can You Do With Newsgrape?

Well apart from publishing being done collaboratively, by using the magazine system, aspiring bloggers ( like us!) can also join hundreds of magazines as a columnist or editor. Or, we can simply start your own magazine and invite other writers to contribute – both apparently is really easy!

The system they have designed has many other new and different features. They will (as WordPress already does) finds connections within content and also link the best-matching items together.

Unlike current platforms however they will also enable readers to search for  opposite types of posts so they can discover articles of related, yet different content, to be presented as interesting add-ons.

I don’t know about you, but I myself will be checking out Newsgrape when it launches in it’s restricted Pre Beta Phase (no, I have no idea what that means either) in just 16 days!

With more and more people discovering blogging and having fun writing articles on what ever possible topic and even professional journalists, who make their living from writing now appearing on the net (most often on WordPress or Blogger) I am sure the next generation in blogging is set to make an appearance.

Maybe Newsgrape is it?

It might not replace individual blogs, as they say it will but who knows? It has certainly peaked my curiosity though and I am looking forward to finding out more about it as it makes its debut on the web.

I would love to know what others think of this.

Do you think you would use a new platform such as Newsgrape?

What are your experiences with blogging and the different platforms currently available?

Do you have a favourite or a preference for a certain blogging platform?

And lastly, would you prefer still to have your own individual blog or does the idea of collaborative writing appeal to you more?

A Live, Learn, Achieve, Grow Update or Something A Little Different From Me


 

Well, that crept up on us didn’t it ? One minute I was busy planning blog post ideas and enjoying myself in cyberspace;  the next I have people asking me am I making rum balls this year and have I finished my Christmas shopping yet?

The answer to both those questions, in case you’re wondering, is yes.

Don’t be alarmed though, just because I’m talking about Christmas, does not mean I’m going to ask what you’re getting me. No way.  But whatever it is, could you please keep the receipt so I can take it back and get a refund and then spend it on wine and chocolates new plug-ins for my 2011 blog upgrade? Thank you. 🙂

On A Serious Note

Actually, if you’re hoping for something like that, you might like to come back in a week or so. 🙂

I am not blogging anything highly significant or informative today, but I do have one very important thing to say, so keep reading….I’m getting to it…. 

Did I mention by the way, that I’m blogging from the balcony of our holiday unit, with a glistening view of the Pacific Ocean in front on me ? I must say it is rather different from where I usually blog (my study), but I’m liking it….

To The Point

So, what I want to say to you is this – THANK YOU. Thank you if you have been reading here, thank you if you’ve commented, subscribed, emailed or followed me on Twitter,  And thank you if you’ve taught me something or replied to my comments or questions on your own blog.

It is a pleasure sharing and learning with your guys and I am looking forward to doing more of it in 2011. 

For now however, I am ON HOLIDAYS! And you know that view I mentioned ?  It includes a beach – one that stretches for miles and miles – and for the next week or so, that’s where you’ll find me. 🙂

I will also, of course, be spending a little wind down time with my close family and friends.

But I’ll be thinking of you guys 🙂 

And if I can work out how to, I might tweet a photo of this beautiful spot I find myself in.

Another Thought

A special thought also to any of you who may be snow bound. I’ve been watching on the tele and it looks beautiful, but a little extreme. I hope it doesn’t disrupt any of your Christmas plans.

The Last Word

And finally I wish you a  Merry Christmas! I hope you have a lovely time with the people lucky enough to be sharing it with you.

Stay peaceful and I hope you can rejoin me in the New Year. 🙂

Mon

You guys rock! 🙂

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…..  🙂