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!!!

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…..  🙂

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!

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


 

The Book (as we used to know it)…

Okay, so like me you want to be an author. Correct? For whatever reasons of your own – perhaps it was a childhood dream or it is an unfulfilled wish you now have –whatever the reasons and background, you are now madly and passionately in love with the idea of seeing your book in print (although there are other options, too, which we’ll discuss soon) with a glossy cover and your name on it.

I don’t blame you. It is my wish too and I am part way there.  I am still learning though and don’t profess to knowing or doing it all,  (if I had already put it into practice everything I’ve learnt you would be reading these words on a much more ritzy looking author page!!). I am however, more than happy, to share with you, as I learn.

So This Is What I Know

Right now, the publishing industry is going through big changes. Large bricks and mortar stores are closing. Whilst some put this down to the impact of the Global Financial Crisis, there is another phenomenon effecting traditional publishing. It’s called the internet.

New technologies, such as the Ipad, the Iphone, the Kindle and similar e-reading devices are thriving. Predictions from experts in the field, are that the growth of ebook technology will eventually save the book, but not in its original format.

One day not too far away, school children will be using tablets and netbooks, not just in their ‘computer classes’, but as a complete replacement for print textbooks. They will be doing their homework online and emailing it to their teachers. Traditional school classrooms will ‘go global’ and connect with other classes across the world.

A big revolution in the way we read and learn is happening and if we want to be authors, it’s a great idea to get on board now and embrace these new technologies.

You’ve Already Begun

From my own research, one of the most important things for an author using this new technology to do is – start a blog – so, you can tick that one off!! An online presence is important not just for the connections you make and the audience you may begin to develop, but it is also valuable for off line sales as well. It is somewhere to direct a potential buyer or reader to, where they can find out more about you. 

You can also get feedback from your audience sooner this way and improve as you go. This is probably not new information to you, if you have been blogging for a long time, but I mention it here, to give the newbie bloggers a little nudge and let them know that if they want to be published authors, then they are certainly heading in the right direction with blogging. It gives you a platform to build from and although I am still building that platform myself, I am also learning heaps about writing both online and off, at the same time.

Blogging Matters

As I mentioned in my last post, many bloggers have already turned their passion for blogging into a book. An example of this can be seen here. To make the importance of blogging clearer, here are also a few more examples here and here, of famous authors who yes, still blog everyday.

Self Publishing Options

Stay with me now, I’m getting to the good stuff!!  I don’t want to miss or skim over any of the options though, so I have decided to make this a two part (at least) series post. Over this 2 part series, I will cover the following three areas.

#Affordable Self Publishing
#Print On Demand and
#Digital Publishing/Ebooks

Ebook Self Publishing

Since my own experience has been with ebook publishing, specifically with www.smashwords.com, I will talk about it first. 

The ebooks on Smashwords can be read online using our online readers, or they can be downloaded to other reading devices such as the iPhone, iPod Touch, Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader or IRex Iliad, or to other ereading devices. Smashwords also offers generous sampling options to readers so they can try before they buy.

I published about four months ago at Smashwords and this is what my own book page at Smashwords looks like: –

What Smashwords Offers Authors

Smashwords offers distribution to major online ebook retailers such as Barnes & Noble, Sony, Apple iPad iBookstore, Kobo (and Borders) and the Diesel eBook Store, and to all major smart phone platforms via app providers such as Stanza, Aldiko, Kobo and Word-Player.

They also offer free author pages with bios, headshots and lists of works; the industry’s broadest range of sampling options; embedded YouTube videos (I’m working on mine ) for video book trailers and virtual author events; reviews from readers; ebook downloads in multiple ebook formats; a coupon code generator for custom promotions (I’ve used this and it’s great) and more tools in the works. 

Smashwords does some of the marketing for you but, most of the promotion and marketing is up to you and thus, how many sales you make is also, up to you. In effect, being a Smashwords author is no different in this regard to being a mainstream published author. Although traditional publishers will do some of the work for you, most traditionally published authors find that a large part of the book marketing is up to them. This is why you will find so many of them on Twitter and Facebook. Yes, I’m there too.

If you would like to have obtain more information about marketing your Smashwords ebook, then you can do so for free by downloading the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide.

I do thoroughly recommend Smashwords, as any easy (if you use their guides) to follow ebook publishing platform.

However there are also other options such as www.scribd.com.

Part Two of this series….

So that’s about it for Part One of this series on Becoming A First Time Author, Using Web Tools. Stay tuned however…..because I will be back with as much information about the current publishing options open to new authors, as I can find. More links and useful information to come…….

And if I was a real clever bunny like Tristan, from The Blogging Bookshelf, I would also work out how to offer you the entire two posts as a download PDF ebook, but I’m not sure if the functionality of this blog allows that. I’ll let you know next time…..

You Should Comment Because….

1. I’d love you to !!

2. You can let me know if this information is of any help to you and your endeavours.

3. Even though I don’t have that great plug-in called Comment Luv, you can still link to or mention your own blog or latest post!

4. I will drop by your blog and leave a comment too! 🙂

As usual, I really would like your feedback, comments or suggestions. I am open to all thoughts and ideas, I won’t be offended if you didn’t like something I wrote and I am keenly interested to learn from you, too. 🙂

IF YOU LIKED THIS POST, PLEASE RETWEET IT OR SHARE IT.  THANKS. 🙂

How Staying Zen Might Help Your Family This Christmas or How To Find Calm in The Festive Chaos


 

A Story

So I’ve just been daydreaming about lying in a corn field somewhere (oops..better make that sugar cane or bananas …I come from Australia…which could be uncomfortable, now that I think about it…lying there amongst the fruit trees…..darn, daydream) . Anyhow, whilst I can’t actually see myself taking the action to get me to these places,  the mental imagery is helping.

The Feeling

What I’m really after is a feeling. You know that rush of expansion and abundance you get when you sit amidst an open space staring up into the sky or out into the ocean? That’s what I’m looking for. Somewhere peaceful. Calm. Quiet. And still.  With a light breeze soothing my senses.

And the reason I’m escaping into this daydream? Well  it’s simple really. The holidays are here and it’s December – duh, duh, doh!!  Normally I looove this time of year and very soon, I know I will have that feeling again, but at present I am going through a slight ‘adjustment phase’.

It’s December ?

I must say I have been about as prepared for the holidays as someone who has been watching the weather channel for days, perhaps observing the movement of a cyclone (or hurricane) and then calmly changing channels, feeling secure and safe that this event will hit someone else’s town or city.

And then at the very last-minute, when I realise the event is about to hit, after all, I find myself standing outside holding a small fragile looking pink umbrella and realising, as it is being ripped to sheds by 100 kilometre hour winds, that I really should’ve planned this better and at least bought a heavy-duty, all weather coat. Or something.

A Little Attitude Adjustment

So now I need a place to shed all the fraying edges of my pink umbrella so I can throw it away and finally realise that it was not shelter I needed after all, but rather something far more helpful and easily accessible. A peaceful attitude.

With Santa visits to be had, malls to shop in, movies to see, friends to call on and Christmas lights to be awed by I know that I have no reason to be anything other than extremely grateful.

And I am.

A Slight Delay Due To A Change In The Weather

I may not be getting the posts written that I had planned for this week (and I hope you can forgive this minor change to the my blogging ritual), but my time and energy is certainly being used wisely and happily. I have now surrendered to this busy time of year and am fully committed to living more fully in the moment and enjoying it all.

It just took a little tweaking of my thoughts to arrive here, but I now think I have fully embraced the concept of what ekamati108 (the author of www.belongingmatters.wordpress.com ) describes as ‘being here now’.

Before I Go..

Perhaps you too have disruptions to your own personal routine or schedule is a in December . If so, I hope you find your own field to relax in or at least a bench at the Mall, where you can sit and catch your breath, for a while. 🙂

Thanks also for staying with me this week. I’ll be back to my normal blogging program soon…..

Just FYI: I am actually working on a post series about e-book writing and self publishing so stay tuned if you’d like to explore this possibility for yourself!!

There are many authors out there who journeyed from blog to book . Maybe your blog is  already a book half written!!

If so, what comes next? There are loads of possiblities….hope you can pop back to find out what they are!!!

In the meantime, Happy and Peaceful blogging!!

So now over to you. Do you think it’s important for you to be the calm in the storm during the holidays? Is your own personal schedule or routine disrupted or changed unexpectedly come December 1st ? If so, how do you handle the change? 

Do you have a mental practice or technique for living more peacefully? If so, why not share it here? Christmas is, after all – a time for sharing and connection. And staying Zen.

Namaste,

Mon