Wednesday, November 27, 2013
John Kremmer runs a nice site on Book and Ebook Marketing. He answers lots of questions, give some great advice and of course offers his services as a book coach - won't do your publicity work for you but will teach you how to do it yourself effectively.
If you have a quick question he'll answer it free. If you have one that requires a lengthy answer he'll quote you his consulting fees. A very busy man, John, I follow him on twitter as well at
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
We’re coming up on a holiday here in the US – Thanksgiving. So, I thought I’d spend a little time musing about creativity and what it takes to keep that part of us pumped up, nurtured and ready to go. Some suggestions, as it were, to help the blocked, confused and wandering – also the steady writers and artists out there who might need to take a breather or find a new path.
Hopefully some of these ideas will perk you up, give you a new slant or just assure you you’re not alone.
If you’re stuck on a story or whatever you’re attempting to create – and I know you’ve all heard this, but you probably need to hear it again – for heaven’s sakes take a break. Do something mindless or that will force your conscious brain to focus elsewhere and give your subconscious a chance to free range a bit. Take a walk, shovel the drive (in winter), mow the lawn (in summer), do the ironing or maybe cook dinner. Surprise your spouse with that dinner, he or she is no doubt so used to you being so immersed in your creative work that they rarely see a decent meal. Seriously, give yourself a break, give everyone a break, unclench.
Here’s something else you can do to enhance creativity. Just watch people. Really. Watch them. People…the things they do and say. They can be funny, startling, offensive, romantic – you know, all that stuff you want to infuse into your creative endeavors, quirks and happenings you want to put into your stories.
Another ~ Let your mind wander. Unhook the discipline for a bit and let it be what it is, let your thoughts take you where they will.
And how do you keep track of random thoughts that crop up with all this relaxation and subconscious stroking? Well you can easily keep a note pad handy, but if you like you can also think about using your phone to make a record of those thoughts. If your phone has a record feature, use that, if not, call yourself and leave a message in your box. You don’t want to lose those gem ideas.
Another idea? How about going to the place you’re setting your story or where you most associate with the creative work you’re doing. If you’re a writer and the story is set at a beach and one is nearby, head on down and do some jotting there. Airport? Bus Station? Hospital? Mall? Small town? Go on, take a field trip. Might not be practical if you’re planning on writing about Jupiter or the depth of a volcano is your inspiration for your next creative work. But no doubt you’d be able to come up with variations on a theme.
Variety is another great inspiration. The more you have, the more likely you’re going to be successful in generating the ideas so vital to your creativity. Start a garden, get a hobby, play with your dog, take up knitting – do more than one! I garden in the summer, create jewelry all year (want to take a peek – I have a little shop on ETSY, Silverstreak) I also knit, read, make lampwork beads in the flame (that really is focus!) and do some occasional bead weaving.
So the long and short of it is you need to give yourself some time to let the ideas percolate and to come up with fresh one. Deadlines may loom, pressure build, but that doesn’t mean you can skip the creative process in the middle – and that takes some nurturing.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Stumbled across the The Fantasy Title Generator at Fantasy Literature.com and it's a fun one. I really enjoy generators because they help kick-start the juices on a slow day. Might find something you can really use - or might just give the push you need for that one of a kind original title.
Play around with it, have fun - but wait, there's more to the site - when you're done playing, if you enjoy fantasy, check out the home page and explore.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” ~ John Powell
There’s a statement it’s hard to dispute and it can apply to many things in our lives, but I’m going to apply it to writing, and I’m going to take it a step further.
Actually you can’t make a mistake in writing. Yes, you can write poorly, but of course, hopefully you/we will learn from that so it’s not a mistake at all, right? Your grammar or your spelling may be awful, but that’s not unfixable, right? There are tools to help and of course you can, what was that again?, learn.
You can write for the wrong audience for you or you can write in a genre not suitable to your abilities, but again, those can’t be classified as mistakes as from doing those things you’ll learn --- not to do them. Or you’ll learn to change and enhance your abilities or write better/more appropriately for those audiences you want to enthrall.
What I’m saying here is writing, like life, is a learning experience. And, more, the two are intertwined. The more you live, the more you experience, the more you let your curiosity lead the way the more you learn. And if you’re a writer, the more your writing will change, evolve, and improve.
And once we look at it that way, all the little booboos we make in life take on a whole new direction. If you’re focusing and understand the learning process for yourself then learning from mistakes is not that difficult. I mean some are obvious. In the big picture if you slam your thumb with a hammer you learn several things. It hurts, your nail may fall off and you’ll do your best not to do that again (whether you succeed or not, well that’s another question).
The same applies when you narrow your focus from the world at large down to your writing and getting your work out there for folks to read. If you make some big gaffs and the book doesn’t sell you may learn you really DO need to market that thing. Or you may learn HOW to market that thing. Or you might learn you didn’t write that very well and you need to rethink your creation.
All in all you can turn what many might feel to be a mistake or mistakes into something you can learn from and come out even better because of it.
These things are worth pondering at times because frequently we writers tend to beat ourselves up all too often over what we should have done or could have done or what we feel we did poorly.
So get yourself out of that zone and focus on what you did right and well and how you can learn from those other things we aren’t going to call mistakes.
Oh, and apply it to the rest of your life as well.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Hello everyone. Wasn't feeling up to snuff enough yesterday to write a full blog post so this week the website will have to do.
Are you a reader? A Writer? A learner? Then you might want to visit Cornell University's Rare And Manuscript Collection.
It's fun to explore. Go visit!
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
I believe I mentioned Dictionary-dot-com to writers and readers back in 2010, but I'm going to mention it again for those word enthusiasts who may have joined me and haven't had time to comb through all my back posts.
It's an excellent site with dictionary, thesaurus and other word fun that's been around for years now. Go ahead, you know you want to - go check it out. Tell me what you think when you get back.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
You’ve been hearing all about it I’m sure. The Pros and the Cons of sitting vs. standing while you work, and there are a lot of them.
Generally one side says you have more energy, your brain functions better and you feel better if you stand while working. The other side says, but the heart has to pump harder, you’re asking for more varicose veins and other downers. But, in general the more I read, the more it seemed to me that a combination of sitting and standing would be the best solution.
When my husband got a ‘motorized’ adjustable desk at work and began standing for periods during the day I asked him how he liked it and he declared he was loving the ability to change positions; to stand for a while, then sit, then stand.
So I decided to check on what was out there.
Some insanely expensive, others not so much. I settled on the Varidesk to be placed on the desktop and it works just great for me. Just unpacked it, put it on top of my desk (it's very heavy by the way so it's not going to slide around or be unstable) and away I went. Very easy to lift the work top up to enable standing for a while and then to lower when I’m going to sit. Just squeeze the handles on the side and adjust.
Had to adjust my work style and how I keep my papers arranged on my desk, but it was definitely worth it for me. Call it a fad if you want, but I’m spending a good amount of time now standing as well as sitting. Just plain moving. And, it makes me feel much better physically to vary things. I certainly wouldn’t recommend standing all day as I can image how hard that might be, in fact I know how hard that is as I've done it. But, as a writer I spend a heckuva lot of time at a desk, always have. This is definitely an improvement
There are other alternatives out there as well, both less expensive and more expensive. Fit Desk is one of them and seems pretty popular. It’s also very economical at about $99.00. There’s also the full size stand up work station which is a free standing work station instead of a desktop add on. I see the star rating, but that’s about all I know about that particular one. No doubt you can locate a lot more online and locally.
They all have different ways of adjusting and as I said, I’m happy with the choice I made.
If you’re thinking about taking the jump, you might want to read The Dangers of Sitting At Work - And Standing
or Proof Standing Desks Make You More Productive (article posted Sept. 26, 2013) and maybe do a google search on your own to do some more investigating.
If it seems right for you, go for it, but be sure to do your research. Fad? Maybe, but did you know Thomas Jefferson and Winston Churchill used standing desks? I really wouldn’t want to go back to sitting the whole day now that I've tried this. Sitting with legs crossed Indian style on my task chair as I've done in the past isn't easy! I like being able to stand occasionally much better. So, fad or not, I'm in.