Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Just keep writing, just keep writing...

The end of the year is always a time for reflection. Sometimes when we reflect on our past, we don't always like what we see. Maybe we're going through a rough time or maybe we just didn't accomplish what we wanted to. This can color the future for us. It can change our rose colored glasses into dingy grey glasses.

This is especially true for those who might be prone to depression, have seasonal affected disorder or maybe even expectations that are too high. Note I'm not talking about anyone in particular here, though I could be referencing myself. I'm not really a depressive-type of person, but I am definitely prone to some hormonally induced mood swings!

I was looking for some uplifting material to post here at the end of 2008 when I came across a guest blogger, Jeanette Hanscome, who was blogging at Tricia Goyer's site. Jeanette has had some health issues and has had to pray and re-evaluate some of her goals.

Her decision? Just keep writing. It helps if you say it like Dori would. :)

Go ahead and click on that link above and I hope you find some encouragement there!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Writing Goals for 2009

Well, it's that time again, isn't it? The time when we sit down and gather our thoughts . . . reflect over what we have done in the past year and set goals for the coming year. I can't say that they are resolutions, I don't know if I like that word or not, I much prefer the term "goals".

I try to set business goals that are specific. Like $1000 per month. But since I have sold these two books, I have to look at my goals differently. I can't hit the $1000 a month because I don't have the time to write the extra articles. But with my book proposals I can average $1000 a month, it's just paid in lump sums.

Also, I have goals to set at my full time sales job. I'm a sales manager and I work with a team of 9 salespeople. My portfolio does about $1,000,000 in sales per year and it definitely takes some planning to accomplish.

We do something called KSS. Something you are going to Keep/Start/Stop. But it's too vague for my writing.

I need something specific, a goal to hit each week. Or even goals. I've long since stopped querying (not enough time, too much to do!) and I worry that I won't have time to actually write the articles I query.

What about you? Do you have specific writing related goals? Care to share?

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Red Penis Your Friend

I could hardly stop laughing!

The Return of the To Do List

Recently I blogged about having a lot of things on the go ... specifically related to my book's pending release. For the past year I've gotten away from doing a "to do" list, but now I feel compelled to start up again. Now excuse the yucky colouring in the picture... silly yellowish lighting in my office (didn't seem that yellow!) but this is the list... due by Christmas.

I try to put an inspirational quote up on the list and this time I'm going for some tough love. It says "It is not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what is required." (Churchill)

This reminds me to just shut up and write.

So I'm going to do that now.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

To-Do, To-Do, To-Do

With the upcoming release of my book, The Green Guide for Horse Owners and Riders, I have a few things on the "to do" list of my writing duties:

- figure out a good domain name (I'm considering
- decide on what prize to offer for the "pre-order" contest
- get a logo done up for the book for t-shirts and such (suppose I could choose the domain name!)

I'm really fortunate that I work in a day job that does logo and embroidery application, but I need to find a designer to create the logo.... and I'm sure I should run it by the publisher as well.

Because this is the first book that I'm going to have published, I am doing everything for the first time. I need to find a balance between spending money to make money and just waiting for money to roll in. (hahaha) Because this publishing thing is NOT quick. Every publisher is different, mind you... they have their own way of doing things, their own schedule and processes. When you sell a book and when it's published are SO different!

My other question is how one throws a "book launch" ... I know you can have more than one... one in your hometown, one somewhere else (maybe!)... so many things to do.

Oh crap and it's almost time to do my taxes again!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Driving home for X-mas

We're heading home for Christmas, as usual - since moving to a new home in 2006, we commute six hours to our family home - and we leave on Saturday.
I've written an article about handling the holidays in a stressless way, but I know that I'm going to spend the whole week running around - visiting family members in hospital - my father and his grandfather are both sick - so we're spending our time between families - and fitting in whatever we can around the rest of our time at home. It's odd to think that I lived there for so long and it feels like a different world now.
I'm finally coming to terms with our move - and I'm hoping that as soon as we've gotten settled in when we come back that I can continue to rebuild the work I've started putting foundations in place for.
I do have a question for everyone though.
one of the traditions my partner and I started after moving here was curling up in front of the fire and talking about our year - usually as close to New Year as we can manage. We set up our resolutions, and discuss goals and work out what, as a family, we want to achieve.
Do you have a ritual - or goals already? Are you looking forward to 2009 and what you can achieve?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Woot! Woot! My Book is UP!

It's not out yet, but it's UP..... on Amazon! (And Chapters in Canada! Which is like B&N or Borders.... oh look it's also up at Borders)

What do you think of the cover? I love it, love, love, love it! From what I understand, the cover illustrator entered in into the annual for the Society of Illustrators and was accepted.... now I don't know much about that but my publisher seemed really excited!

Unfortunately it won't be out in time for Christmas as it has a Spring release date, but I'm thoroughly excited to see it OUT THERE.

What I still find kind of funny is that this was the second book I sold to a publisher. The first is still with its publisher and getting ready. The second one just moved faster, not sure why! But after speaking with the editor on the Green Guide, she said that the book was going into production this coming week. Wow! It's, like, really, really real!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"I" is Interesting

My gentle high school English teacher Mrs. Callaway spent the first several months of my senior year striking all of the "I"s out of my literature essays. She was one of my favorite teachers of all time - she was strict but encouraging. (I can still see her face, stricken with the joy of epiphany, whenever she read one of my essays. It wasn't that I was really that awesome, I suspect. She was just thrilled anytime one of her students showed genuine interest.)

After a year in her class, basking in her praise and sweating under her tutelage, I finally managed to write something without the word "I" in it.

But Mrs. Callaway couldn't have predicted the breakout trend of blogging. And that's why I don't feel any tremendous amount of guilt for rejoicing like a heathen when I read How Freelance Writing Almost Destroyed My Blog. Rebecca Laffar-Smith, an Australian freelance writer and author of the Writer's Round-About blog, explains how site stats finally convinced her to make her posts more personal. And that means using "I" once in a while.

"I" couldn't be happier. And "I" didn't need more convincing. But if you want more proof - complete with graphs and bullet-points - check out's post: The One Word That Helped My Blog Grow to 800 Subscribers in 17 Weeks

Obviously, there are blogs that do quite well by giving readers useful, helpful information without a lot of navel-gazing. But you know, when I think about the blogs in my feed-reader, I can't think of ONE - even technical ones - that isn't written in first-person.

"I" is interesting. And I really don't think Mrs. Callaway, if she were alive and reading blogs today, would disagree.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Can you step back from your online life?

Interessaaaaante!Image by uomoelettrico via FlickrI'll be honest with you, I've spent the last two weeks soul searching and wondering what I'm supposed to do with myself because of an accident that occured this last September.
I've always been a fairly independant, sharp articulate woman. I could always spell just about anything (other than my i before e's - and when my fingers go slightly faster than my brain) but at the moment, I'm finding it difficult.
My memory is shot - and there are definitive gaps where stories, characters, and plotlines used to reside - I think. The only reason I *know* the stories are missing are because I have notes that otherwise make no sense.

So the soul searching is kinda hard. I know that I have some sort of brain damage - though, I have to say, it fees really bad to say that. Like I'm belittling that kind of injury, because I'm almost as functional as I was. But I've been going looking for a lot of approval lately.
My partner noticed it first. I stopped writing and wouldn't continue till he told me it was 'all right'. Normally I have to beat him and other freinds off with metaphorical crowbars and they have to distract me to read anything that isn't second to last draft.
I did it again later in the week. I wouldn't continue with the story I was narrating till someone told me to and got REALLY frustrated, because I couldn't say what I was waiting for.

And that brings me full circle. I AM waaaay reliant on other people's opinions - and to be honest, I think that many writers and bloggers are. We seek approval all over the place, and when we don't get it, some of us start to wilt. I never used to 'need' approval, or at least, so I thought, but reading back some of the stuff that I've said and done this last year, because a freind said that I wasn't doing as 'they' expected, or because someon had attacked one of my principles, I'm beginning to wonder if that's part of the deeper problem that's taking hold. I wonder if I'm being 'wierd' like this because I've got nothing left to relate to and need to restart with *just* writing.
So I put my websites on 'dark'. It'll give me a chance to write, and find myself again, as a gift for Christmas. And to be honest, from some of the emails I've had, I think some of you need to do the same.
Give yourself the gift of joy this year and don't keep putting 'it' off. I did and I'm not REALLY regretting it. I might get a second chance, and just watch me, I'm already just itching to grab it with both hands and never let go.