Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Finishing a Book is Like Selling a House. It's All in the Detail.

It's Insecure Writer's Support Group's Monthly Post Day again, Hooray.

For a time I've been mulling over my house situation. I've lived in my beautiful, old timber house with tongue and groove walls for 8 and a half years. The moment I first walked into it as a prospective buyer I knew it would be mine, and I was the first to view it. But the time has come for us to part ways. I'm here on my own now, in a large house on an even larger block of land, 1/4 acre or 1400 square metres of mostly tropical garden which has become too much for me to care for.

Health issues, and gardening, care and upkeep of my paradise mean my paradise is becoming neglected. The decision has been made to hand it over to others for their enjoyment. 

About a month ago I was browsing the local real estate sites, just out of curiosity only, and what do I see but the perfect little 2 bedroom beach side cottage in my price range. I wasn't really looking, but as things happen, so did this and so I deemed it 'meant to be'. I now have a contract to purchase it.

And what, you may ask, has this to do with finishing a book? 

Having decided to go ahead with selling my house and downsizing, I was faced with the need to do a lot of work on my house to bring it up to scratch before selling. I realised the process would be much like what happens after the first draft of a book is finished. I had the body of the work but fine tuning was now required before I could sell a polished product. 

Suddenly I had many glaring faults I needed to fix and this is how it looked.

BOOK                                                                HOUSE
Review draft(s)                                                    Review what to do
Rewrite                                                                Begin jobs eg. patch, paint, clean, clear yard
Edit                                                                      De-clutter
Review and (get) edit until happy                          Finish jobs
Cover                                                                  Flowers in vase, candles
Finished                                                               Finished
Promote                                                               Present  
Sell                                                                      Sell

Writing a first draft can be likened to having lived in a house for any number of years. The first draft is rough and full of superfluous words, and errors, the emphasis being on superfluous. Over the years we gather stuff and display it in our homes. We're comfortable in our own environments and our stuff lies here and there, with often-used items strewn carelessly about without much thought to their placement. But to prime a house and a book for sale, if you want to make the most of what you have, it's all in the detail. A little effort goes a long way.

On the house front the effort has been put in and advertising is about to begin. On the book front, my latest effort, a memoir, is at the "Reviewing until happy" stage. It was so close "Finished" before I spotted the cottage, but now almost seems a distant memory. I was hoping to have it finished this month, but this is the first time in weeks that I've written anything. So, book on the back burner for the time being, again. 

And this is how writing is for many of us. There is life to live, things to take care of and no matter how burning our desire to write and how frustrated we may be sometimes when we can't, we write when we can. I for one become frustrated with slowness of progress, but as I live on my own I have to attend to everything myself. I have to make big decisions myself, and follow through when doubts and fears take hold. 

It's the same with writing. The doubts and fears will always take hold at some point, but I see this as part of what makes us who we are. If you can get through the hesitations and doubts about buying a house, a car, getting married etc, then you can get through to the "Sell" part of your writing journey.

Looking at it this way when I decided to sell my house made me realise that writing really is no easier or harder than many other actions in life. It's another action you take, and then you get on with it.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Writing is a Journey of Self-Discovery.


A Memoir

Coming Soon


As I near publication next month of "Staying Strong" my memoir of breakdown, I know how relevant the self-discovery journey is to writers. Certainly I've had some big self-discoveries during the writing of this book. Understandable you may say, but isn't all writing about putting a little of your own heart and soul into your story, no matter what that story may be? And in so doing don't we discover truths or other aspects of ourselves previously not conscious?

I believe this is true for all artists, and thinkers . As we pour forth and pick over ourselves and our worlds, we 'allow' for more information to follow through, as the door widens ever more.

As writers and artists we must continue the journey of self-discovery our entire lives or risk becoming stale and boring. We need to hone our writing skills, our craft itself, the nuts and bolts of what we do, how to put together a great book or journal article, and also market, promote and sell etc if we're self-published, like me. But wait, more importantly, we need to uncover and understand more of ourselves.

I get fired up by such possibilities and potential discoveries. I'm a knowledge seeker and lover and can be inspired at any given moment to investigate an unknown thing, to uncover the magic and power of understanding.

I love it when this happens, when answers to questions come, when things unclear attain clarity. Sometimes I can work on a project but sense that in some way for me it is incomplete. It can be so close to completion yet that feeling remains, then as if by magic or design, I come across a piece of information, knowledge, a discovery, that explains everything, and changes me. It's the "aha" moment when the fog lifts and thoughts clear.

Writing a memoir is a mega journey of self-discovery. I knew it would be to some extent, and it has surprised me. It has taken a long time to discover what I wanted to know, 16 years in fact, and maybe I could have found my answers earlier, maybe not. Maybe it was all in the timing. In the end, what I discovered about myself has been life changing; beautiful, special and amazing. Imagine that.

Back in February I wrote a post entitled "Staying Strong" The Changing Names of a Memoir Part of that post described my journey through the book title changes I went through until I came to "Staying Strong" after reading this quote on Facebook. I was nearing the end of the first draft when I saw the quote and it was then that I had the first "aha" moment associated with the book. The title "Staying Strong" perfectly described how I felt before, during and after my experience but also portrayed a person full of inner strength.

Acceptance of myself and of what had happened to me and why had come to me via a very powerful quote. I felt more certain that what I was writing about would be okay. Memoirs after all are very self-exposing and therefore carry inherent risks. Was I really prepared to do this? I was, because I wasn't doing it just for me.

Then in April I had another insight on my journey of self-discovery which brought everything together for "Staying Strong" and for me. Whilst Pinteresting one day -I love Pinterest remember- and during conversations with my daughters, I came across personality information from Myers-Briggs Personality Type that seemed to scream "me". I already knew some of my personality type, don't we all, but the complete picture was very illuminating indeed and provided the second "aha" and explained so much about why I had had a breakdown as well.

Now I could finish my book feeling satisfied I'd put as much as I could into it. I'd covered all my bases, dotted my i's and crossed my t's for the story and as a bonus, for me.

This is why I love writing. It gives me a sense of wholeness and wellness, completion. It's not only from a memoir that I get this, it's from any writing that I do which I've carefully considered and constructed, which has sprung from my heart and been delivered thoughtfully to the page.

This creation is a journey, an inviting journey of self-discovery, one not to be taken for granted, for it is truly amazing and soul inspiring.

STAYING STRONG A Memoir.  Coming soon to Amazon, Barnes and Noble (Nook), Kobo, iTunes, Scribd, and more, many more.......

Have an inspiring week everyone,


Sunday, 13 July 2014

Writers: Get Your Fix, and Feast on Pinterest. 6 Pins to get You through the Week.

27 Delightful Obsolete Words Its High Time We Revived 27 Delightful Obsolete Words It's High Time We Revived.
Buzzfeed and on my Pinterest Board 'Write All About It'. See Sidebar.

I love Pinterest! How many times have you heard that? It's true. I love it because I'm a visual person and so is Pinterest. It's all about images, and initially, they speak to me louder than the words, unless of course the words are the image.

I've had a busy fortnight with little time for writing as other events have taken priority. My laptop has sat idle in this time, but my tablet, which I use for email and social media, has not. 

Every morning I commit writers' mortal sin: I read emails and scan my social media pages over breakfast before I do anything else in my day. I know I'm not supposed to if I want to be a serious writer, but I'm not the sort of person you can tie down to a routine, except for breakfast and social media that is. I like to do things differently, that's all, but therein lies another post I've been thinking about.

This week is about being lazy and taking the easy route, me that is, hence a Pinterest post with lots of images that can speak for themselves with fewer words from me. Incidentally, this serves to illustrate how valuable Pinterest can be as a writing/information/filing/promotion/marketing/business tool. But you probably know this already. If you don't then this is how it works. Sign up at It's free. Follow the instructions and create Boards on which you pin images you like. 

On my 'Write All About It' Board I Pinned several images this week that I wanted to save for future referral. Crapulous above was one of them. I only read it this morning; it was the image that caught me. I didn't want to read it at the time, so I saved it. It's easy to find as I scroll through, and even though it may not be the most obviously useful Pin, it made me laugh but then had me thinking about word choices and their power. So, all power to the image, and therefore Pinterest for their inspiration in setting up the website.

As well as the Crapulous Pin, there was 'How to Use Pinterest As an Author'.
How to Use Pinterest as an Author with Cynthia Sanchez | Author-shift

K.M Weiland's 'Do You Know the Answer to Your Story's Most Important Question?' in which she talks about the "dramatic question" and how "it defines your story".

 Do You Know the Answer to Your Story's Most Important Question? - Helping Writers Become Authors

How about 

100 Ways to Say "Good" These are wonderfullll
and so on and so on. There are many list like this one. Authors'/writers' aids in image form, just how I like them, nice and colourful, rather than boring black and white print. I find these images easier to use, therefore I use Pinterest more as a writing tool than any other medium.

5-5-14 b
8 Tips for Writers Using Pinterest by Frances Caballo

And last but not least...

I try to keep an open mind about everything except grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

Find all these Pins and more on my sidebar, and by searching Pinterest.

Have a great week everyone, 


Saturday, 5 July 2014

Off With a Ducati Roar on Holiday whilst Celebrating, Reminiscing and Researching.

I'm back.

I've been away holidaying, celebrating, reminiscing and researching, hence no post last week. I had no internet access yahoo, sorry for the pun, and mobile (cell) phone coverage was reduced to isolated pockets. It was wonderful.

I took my gadgets with me expecting to use them, indeed need them, but what I found was the glorious opposite. After 24 hours without I was relieved to be living independently of them. How little it takes.

Personally, I could easily live this way, far from the hustle and bustle  and demands of modern day life, if someone else took care of the basics for me. I very much enjoyed living in the technology-free lane if only for 4 days. I glimpsed again how pressured and goal orientated life has become. Give me the 'good old days' like childhood, when now, as a mature adult those days were full of magic, wonder and awe, when everything was slow. Ahhh, nostalgia.

But wait, maybe it's BECAUSE I'm a mature adult that everything seems fast now. Oh dear and sigh, as realisation comes and I shake my head!

And speaking of fast, there are some fast things in life not to be missed. Whilst away, I had the great fortune to ride pillion on a magnificent red Ducati ST4s. For 3 hours last Sunday I sat thrilled and sometimes terrified as 3 of us snaked our way on 2 bikes around some narrow country roads and open highways. What an awesome day and a very special treat, one I wasn't going to miss for anything, except bad weather, of course. We did go very fast.

This week has also seen my eldest daughter move back 'across the ditch' to Dunedin in New Zealand, Aotearoa, Land of the Long White Cloud, land of our birth. We came here to Oz 24 years ago, but home always calls. Those 24 years have passed faster than my childhood.

When it comes to reminiscing, part of my holiday was to do just that, as I wrote in my previous post. My friend Liz and I had travelled Europe in a kombi van during 1975 and 1976 and I needed her memories for my next series of books. Out came the old photo albums and as always, she remembered people, places and events that I didn't. Her information will be invaluable in recreating our story and adventure.

Last but not least amongst all of this I turned 60, a 'mature' adult. A joke really because I believe in fairies. And fast bikes, mostly without me on them but occasionally I'll go along for the ride because that's where you can find something extra, in life, and in yourself.

See you next week, and have a good one,


Saturday, 21 June 2014

How's Your Global Indie Publishing this Year?

Christian Fischer: Wikimedia Commons

I thought I might ask this question because we're now half way through 2014 and each year self-publishing becomes more intense. It seems that more is expected of indie authors with regards to book and self promotion and marketing. Is this good or bad? In my view it depends on whether you put pressure on yourself to keep up with developments, and whether it's easy for you or not.

Personally, I'd love to have my books in every new estore that opens, and there are more by the day. Markets have been opening in Asia, Russia, Africa and Europe where there are many English speaking readers who, through estores, have access to our books like never before.

But here's the rub. It's up to us to place our books in these stores. As if we didn't have enough to do! Sure, we're making ourselves known using social media etc., but if we need to do more and more distribution, promotion and marketing, we're left with less time for writing. How does this work? Ultimately, the pendulum will move from Write 80% Promote 20%, to less than Write 80%. Or, do we employ assistants for covers, editing, promotion and marketing? Oops, that's already happening. Well then, let's all set up our own publishing houses? And here we are back at square one. This is probably how the very first books were written and published methinks.

Please forgive me, I'm not complaining, I'm just wondering where indie publishing might be going. In the recent good ole' days all we had to do was write a book ( a good one of course), upload it to Amazon and leave it to the powers that be to do the rest. As you may have guessed, I don't like promotion and marketing. Let's face it, it's not the most romantic aspect of writing. I'd rather write and upload, sigh.

Then, there was only Amazon, now there's more, much more, so I mustn't grumble. As well as Amazon, I also have my books listed through Draft2Digital where they appear on Kobo, iTunes, B&N's Nook and now this week on Scribd, with more to come. Draft2Digital is more user friendly than Smashwords, and although I haven't used Smashwords yet, I do have an account and will upload books there soon because they have a wider range of stores.

There are a multitude of other estores to upload your books to. I discovered just how global you can be when I subscribed to E Book Bargains UK Blog. Some stores are accessible through Smashwords, some you have to access yourself. That's where my distribution stops.

Because I can't spend a lot of time writing, I spend less time on promotion, so I have to weigh my odds and stick to what I CAN do. I can best use MY time writing and uploading to Amazon, Draft2Digital, and Smashwords, and tell you all about it via this blog, Twitter and Google+.

Everyone has a way which works for them. Thank goodness for the digital age and the ability to self publish. How many of us would never have realised our dream of writing if we'd been born before this time?

I for one wouldn't be on the brink of publishing my 9th book, "Staying Strong". That's right, everything is complete except for my beta reader to finish, and editing. I even have a cover sorted. I'm excited!

My crystal book is "coming along", and I have started preparing for a new series. In September 1975  my girlfriend and I set off in a kombi van from Arnhem in Holland, and spent a year traveling Europe. We were in our early 20's and had "the time of our lives". It was a great adventure. We traveled through Germany, Luxembourg, France, Andorra, Spain, Portugal and Morocco.

My travel buddy and I remain close friends 40 years later, and I shall be seeing her next weekend, partly to celebrate my upcoming 60th birthday Yay!, and partly to reminisce over and garner stories for this series. I've already gone over my old scrap book and photo album, and have begun to plan.

With that it's time to sign off. Wishing you all a great weekend,


Thursday, 12 June 2014


Back garden view from my veranda.

NB: From next week, my posts will appear over the weekend.

About a year ago I wrote a note in Evernote and forgot all about it. As I didn't have anything special lined up for today's post I thought to resurrect that note.

What I wrote then was about finding peace in a world where being different is hard to accept, for me and for others. Me, I'm a serious lone wolf. I prefer my own company in a quiet, secluded environment, away from the demands of the world, to the extreme. I dislike going out, and prefer the company of my 2 fur babies Winnie and Hunny, who you've met, to that of visitors and other people. Mostly all I need is my peaceful, beautiful garden to gaze upon and stroll through. I write, often from my veranda, or from my office/guest bedroom which overlooks the garden. I also read, research and crochet from the veranda, or garden and play with the dogs when I can. I go out only when I must. Now I'm not being rude. It's just how I am. But some people don't understand that about me, and I'm okay with that, now. It wasn't always that way.

Many people would consider my lifestyle unhealthy, weird, sad or worse. Few would think I live an idyllic life in subtropical eastern Australia, by the beach.

My personal experience is that my way of 'being' sits outside the majority way, and other people seem to have a need to rope me in like a stray from the herd. You have to belong or you're an outsider. Being an outsider can be uncomfortable and create issues for all parties, but for some it's our path.

If you're an outsider, different in some way but not necessarily a lone wolf, you've no doubt felt pressure from the masses to fit in at some stage in your life. My mum, bless her, always pressured me when I was a teenager. She tried to get me involved in activities, to 'join in' and be gregarious. I tried for years, believing I 'should', because everyone else was. I hated and resented it, only wanting to be with a good friend or 2. I wasn't okay then.

Teenage years were testing enough and even as a young adult I somehow felt the differentness was a fault, my fault, and I should change it. I set about attempting to change, living out and believing in the life of others yet always searching for me. I looked outside of myself for peace and happiness, but because I couldn't find it, I kept finding it for my nearest and dearest, thinking I'd find mine too.

I knew I wanted and needed space, but how do you achieve that when you have a family? And I wasn't even clear what space meant to me. I'd been brought up to be the same as everyone else but knew I wasn't. On the outside I looked similar to everyone, on the inside there was a power struggle between the real me and the pretend me. Trouble was, even as an adult I couldn't tell which was which.

Then my children grew up and left home. I would be alone. I couldn't wait, and I LOVE it! (I love them too and they know it). These years are heaven and have given me the space to uncover me and my differentness. Maybe I'm a slow learner in that I've not understood myself sooner, but some just don't. Maybe I've got such depth that it takes longer to explore me??? :) I like exploring and excavating all sorts of things including myself and these pursuits take time. That's how I'm most happy, how I'm at peace, when I'm okay. It's my natural state of being.

Accepting being different, i.e being at peace with who I am has not been easy. It's an ongoing and evolving process. Recently my process hit a major roadblock. I've had to stop and take stock of a big chunk of my life, again. It's harder being a lone wolf because I'm more self reliant than other people and have to make important decisions myself more often than not. There's a risk of becoming too alone, so I need to be aware of myself. Currently I'm learning to evolve, learning not to repeat mistakes made in the past. I'm learning more everyday about me, what feels good, what works for me, therefore what's right for me, not what's right for others anymore.

If you're reading this and going "What the...?" then you're OKAY already, HOORAY. If my words gel with you and you feel different, take heart. Being different is okay just as much. If you can accept that, you've got yourself in the right frame of mind. Set about supporting you as that person, loving your uniqueness, and see it as a gift that no-one else has.

Being different often means being a lone wolf and therefore being disinclined to join support groups or clubs or online chat groups for help. It's like knowing that visitors are coming; you've got to be there for them, be responsive and alert, when all you really want to do is ignore everyone and be left alone. Often it's hard to find what you're looking for about yourself but these days the internet offers so much information without ever becoming involved. Personality tests such as Myers-Briggs are excellent and fun, yet serious ways to get insight into yourself. I did it and was blown away by what I discovered.

I also ask myself these questions from time to time. The answers keep my happiness, my differentness on track.

  • What do I like?
  • What makes me happy?
  • What is fun?
  • What is good?
  • Where is good?
  • Who is good?
When I answer these questions honestly I have peace and happiness in my life. I no longer feel different, I realise being different is only a point of view, just like in a scene in a book. What actually counts you see is how YOU feel about being different. In fact, being different is rather cool :)

Maybe there's a book here one day.

At the moment I'm catching up on some leisure-time reading, mostly when I've gone to bed. I've started on R D Brady's The Belial Stone series and am loving it.

That's it from me and Winnie and Hunny for this week, have a great weekend everyone,


Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Blogging's YaYs Outweigh YuKs.

IWSG BadgeIt's Insecure Writers' Support Group Blog Hop day again YaY!

My blog is nothing fancy, I don't have a huge following nor is it my favourite writing occupation. In fact, I never wanted to start one. So why did I?

I decided after I self-published my first book last year that I needed an author platform. You know, visibility. I learned all about it after I signed up with Amazon and bought some ebooks on writing and self-publishing. So I set off on the path of social mediadom - this blog, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ accounts. I had resisted social media before because I didn't think I had anything to contribute and neither did I want to 'engage' all the time. I was a private person after all. 

However, blogging provided many unexpected spin offs which I'm very grateful for. No, it's not the greater visibility, although that has happened. What I've found is this:
  • Improved book writing. Through writing my own and reading other peoples' blogs, I've learned a great deal about honing and cleaning up my skill. For example, my use of adverbs is now almost non-existent YaY! This is a biggie because I'm not a trained writer and I've climbed some steep mountains in the past year to become acquainted with the craft.
  • I'm persistent. I love writing. Sometimes I'm unable to write much for health reasons, but if I keep my blog going I'm still writing and improving my writing. I'm not giving up, and writing a once a week post is do-able.
  • Good discipline. It's a little like being persistent. Blogging is writing, and being disciplined about writing is always a plus.
  • Information. Blogging has opened up a wonderful world of bloggers and their information. If I hadn't started blogging and following other blogs I'd never have discovered so much helpful information on writing.
  • Helps with organisational skills. Blog posts need to be planned and organised. I'm not too good at this one yet, but there's been significant improvement in the past year. I used to have no plan and just write. Now I'm more organised and have a plan which I think of and add to during the week before a post.
  • Communication. I can write in my p.j.'s if I want to. I can write anytime, anywhere and no-one knows. Blogging is a means of remaining private whilst going public.
  • Social media. Social media is wonderful! Now I can communicate my thoughts and ideas across the planet with a click of my mouse button. I can tell the world, via my blog, about progress with upcoming books or how my week's been. If the world wants to know that is. 
As for the Yuks here they are just to balance things out.
  • Time. Blogging takes up way more time than it should. When I think about it I almost shudder. Some say half an hour is all you need per post. I don't. Mine are magnum opi, time wise. I won't tell you how much time I spend each week on a post. Maybe it's because I'm a 2 finger typist?
  • Pantster. There's that word again. Pantster. AKA 'fly by the seat of your pants'. I'd love to have my posts planned before they are written. And even though I'm improving, even though I now prepare before post day and have a draft ready, I often rearrange the post, like today.
  • Not my favourite. Sadly, blogging is not my favourite writing exercise. Despite all the benefits it brings to writers, and I firmly believe it does, remember visibility, I'd rather be doing something else. 
  • But it's growing on me!
Yes, I have to admit it. Blogging is growing on me. I'm liking it more with each post and if anyone new out there in writing world is considering whether it's worth your while I'd say a shouty YES.