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Month: January 2018

A Non Ideal Start to the New Year But Hope Remains

This new year’s start may be one of the more frustrating starts that I have had in quite a long while. It will get better. No doubt.

But what all has happened?

Well, I am leading into a book release, one that I have been excited and preparing for a long time. I have been working on a version of Identity Revealed (Tue-Rah Chronicles) for approximately twenty-six years. It’s been a long journey with so much learning. But our finances took a hit and required shrinking the budgeting plan significantly (in all seriousness, this is not a big deal because, as I am publishing independently, I can build on the marketing, and this will strongly encourage me to explore free options and create my own solutions).

Then on Christmas Eve’s Eve, my poor dear husband fell sick. We weren’t sure whether it was tonsillitis or strep throat. I joked that we would find out which it was based on whether I got it. It was strep. I got it. I also found out firsthand that nausea and vomiting can accompany a robust case of strep. On the bright side, at least now, once I get over this secondary infection, I will be through with being sick for awhile. I hope.

Follow that up with two key clients deciding they were not going to pay us, and the season got a little tighter.  (More opportunities for creative solutions.) Then we found out that paperwork we had filed four years ago was not perfectly accepted. It was mostly accepted. There was enough of a holdover with the government to trigger additional fees.

Heater problems, leaks, and an unfortunate incident with cats and an overdry Christmas tree later, and the Internet also decided to stop working. Intermittently. During business hours and at night. Which put plans and work further behind but gave us some stories that will hopefully, in retrospect, be amusing.

This and so much more has made the start of the year and the past few days rather frustrating. But I still believe it’s going to be a good year. Partially because I plan to try to make each day better if I can.

There are lots of rough points that show up. And feeling frustrated isn’t the problem. I know that a lot of you are also going through rough times. I think half my friends are sick between strep and flu and some upper respiratory, not to mention chronic illnesses, and some have had tragedies that will take quite some time to recover from.

But each day is a new opportunity. Each moment is a new opportunity. No matter how hard it is, if you can pick yourself up and keep trying, you are winning more than you stopped. And if you need to stop for a bit, regroup and regain your strength, that’s all right too. Not everything has to be done today (thank goodness!). So do what you can. Look for and celebrate the good. And rest.

May your year get better and better from here on out, regardless of how it started.

Pushing On Through the Discomfort

One of the key points that Jeff Goins makes in his book, Real Artists Don’t Starve, is that practicing in public is essential. He uses Picasso as his primary example, featuring his association with the esteemed Gertrude Stein and other magnificent creators of the time. While I don’t seriously want to live in another time period (pretty sure, I’d get myself killed in record time), I would have loved to be around such creativity and expression. (If I ever get to time travel and go meet people, I have a ranked list. Come on, science! I have the best adventure planned!)

Anyway practicing in public has been one of the hardest elements for me. Part of it is because I struggle with marketing. I am getting better with it. In fact, I am miles ahead of where I once was.

For the most part, this is a head struggle. An unfortunate belief that I have to be invited to participate as well as exposure to individuals who are exceptionally annoying with their self-promotion hangs on. My mind went to extremes in its assessment of what an author had to do, even though I had examples of creators who did it well. I suspect that the desire to be asked (because that means one is wanted) is the most deeply rooted.

Ultimately that is rooted in fear or pride. I suspect mine is a mix. I mean, it’s nice to be asked and wanted, but it also means that there isn’t as much risk.

So yes, I have been pushing forward with addressing this fear, unease, and discomfort. It’s annoying that it has taken this long. I would like to see faster progress. But, for anyone who is still in the early stages of the journey, it does get better. It’s not a fast process. And it requires intentionality.

That’s probably the most frustrating and yet encouraging part of all this. It’s a process. It doesn’t get overcome with a single win, but neither is it destroyed with a single loss. Each day, it has to be addressed (or at least most days; it is a faster process if you do it more regularly). One of my tools is a to do list that breaks down what all needs to happen with set deadlines.

In addition to this, I am doing the “write 500, practice in public” challenge.

Now, as I mentioned, I’ve been writing every single day for years now. Over twenty-five years at this point. It’s almost always been in a fairly quiet way. A lot of days, no one sees anything I write. But for a time, I wrote and posted every day on Wattpad. Some good did come from that, but I need to do better about focused practicing in public.

See, where I always dropped the ball (often knowingly) was in not advertising what I was doing. I’d promote other people, but not my own stories. And it literally only takes seconds to customize a link and prep a tweet or post for the various social media platforms. Writing the chapter or blog post takes far more time.

So to get better in this regard, these are the simple tasks that I am going to take to make my practicing in public more meaningful.

  • Post at least once a day
  • Promote at least one piece I have completed
  • Invest time in choosing good keywords
  • Correct my categories (blog specific)
  • Choose tags for better focus (includes research)
  • Use the customized hashtags I started branding

There is more that I can do and will do in the future to make this more meaningful and effective. It will also be in conjunction with my other advertising and marketing journeys as I continue to learn more about Facebook and AMS and so forth.

So what about you? What is your most persistent challenge with succeeding in your writing dream?

Jeff Goins’s Challenge for 500 Words a Day in Public

Every month brings with it new challenges, some intentional, some not. In November, I intended to participate in Jeff Goins’s Practice in Public for a month challenge. It’s a fantastic idea, and it is certainly one that I need to improve on.

But, some serious problems developed within the course of the month that led to my being able to compete the writing with ease but not all the posting.

So when Jeff Goins posted a new challenge, which is the 500 Words a Day Writing Challenge. The goal is simple. Write at least 500 words a day, and do it publicly.

Now technically, I have been writing every day for years. Ever since I was a little girl actually. When I was a kid, my grandfather, father, and mother all told me that the only way to get better was to do it every day. And, for whatever reason, that but not flossing connected. In fact, if I don’t write, I start to get nervous. Hitting 10,000 words a day is not nearly the challenge it used to be. It’s something of an addiction.

What I do struggle with is doing my art in public and talking more freely about my projects.

I tend to write and write and write, do some editing, and then put off the marketing and audience building because it is the part I am least comfortable with. Over the years, I have become more comfortable with the various aspects of this. Releasing multiple books and allowing for a slow marketing build has worked to my advantage. I’ve made enough to pay some bills, read a lot, and tried out some techniques. But I haven’t sunk a great deal into it because, well, financial challenges and because most of the stories I am releasing are directly connected (the other series with a couple exceptions are indirectly related and will come together). I have told myself that I will significantly increase all marketing activities once I have more stories published. On January 11, I reach the critical point for the marketing push, and actually things have shifted already. All of the remaining head baggage and excuses have to be jettisoned.

So my primary reason for accepting the 500 Word a Day Challenge is for the public practicing. And also because I love discovering new writers, and where better to find them than when they are just starting off and could especially use that little bit of extra encouragement and love?

It’s going to be a great event. I really do want to see what would happen if I became significantly more regular in posting online. I used to post daily on Wattpad, but, after Wattpad’s handling of certain situations relating to author protection as well as miscommunication and arguable lies from the HQ, I chose to step down and away. Whether I will return, I don’t know.

However, I am going to make sure that I practice in public and do it in a more targeted fashion. I’ll share more about my plan for that tomorrow.

Now if you’re also a writer and you’re interested in this challenge, definitely stop on by. You can find more information here: https://goinswriter.com/my500words-ty/?inf_contact_key=2c819b6f31e6aa896f8bad86b3eef06f4682ec067d2b28e10a3202d6dc070e39

Until the next time, have a great day and much love!

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