50 Things A Writer Notices Whilst Procrastinating #SundayBlogShare #AmWriting

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The writer state of procrastinating is an interesting one and worthy of a blog post.

When a writer wants to write they crawl away into their cave and are not seen for hours, days and sometimes even months. The only things they notice are typos, adverbs and their word count.

When a writer is procrastinating they wander out of their cave and almost immediately become very productive. There are so many things a writer will notice when they are doing their best to avoid writing.

Here is a list of 50 things a writer notices whilst procrastinating:

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12 Things Writers Need To Pack For Their 2017 Writing Journey #SundayBlogShare #Writer #NewYear

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Before we all buckle up and head off on our 2017 writing journey, let’s agree on some useful stuff to pack. I don’t want us to get into our journey and discover we forgot some important items. We don’t have time for tears! 

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The Writer’s Facebook Break #MondayBlogs #writerslife #writer

The Writer's Facebook Break

This Writer Break can be time-consuming as there is so much to take in. Not only do you have the photo albums and Facebook (FB) posts of friends, family and distant acquaintances to have a good nose around, but you also have Writer FB Groups and other Author FB pages too. Yes this particular Writer’s Break can go on for some time but it can be both pleasurable and useful.

Let me explain!

There are 5 stages to this special writer break:

  1. Loss of Concentration. The writer starts to lose concentration. This can occur anytime during the creative process. Some writers will find their concentration wavers after a couple of solid hours of writing whilst other writers will struggle to reach eight minutes.
  2. Pre-Facebook Break Cuppa. A tell-tale sign that the writer is about to take a Facebook break will be their desire for a hot drink. To make the most out of a Writer’s Facebook Break the writer will want a fresh cup of tea or coffee in their hand. They cannot trawl Facebook whilst sipping a cold Latte! So, they will be seen shuffling off into the kitchen muttering stuff that you’d expect from a writer; word count targets, plot ideas and adverb issues.
  3. Preparations. After sitting back down at their writing desk with a mug of something warm and sweet they will prepare themselves for their Writer’s Facebook Break. Preparations mainly consist of justifying their writer FB break: it will ONLY last five minutes, the literary competition on FB needs to be checked out and the old writer favourite – literary agents / publishers expect writers to be all over FB like a rash. With a nod and a grin they dive into their Writer’s Facebook Break.
  4. Writer’s Facebook Break. The writer hasn’t surfaced from Facebook for sometime. Their neighbour’s restaurant meal photos (including pics of food from all five courses) proved very interesting, especially the one showing the impressive cheese board. In their FB news feed a family update on a relation’s divorce caught their eye; the party is a week Saturday. The writer then got caught up in their school friend’s holiday snaps. To their surprise their school friend, who they have not seen in person for twenty years, has just lost a shed load of weight from a cabbage only diet, is wearing a skimpy swimsuit and is now frolicking in the sea with someone ten years younger. They met this new love interest whilst using a new dating app. Gasp! Once the writer has got over the shock from seeing their old school friend looking like some glamorous celeb on a beach, the writer will ask themselves whether there is some novel fodder in these holiday snaps. The writer will quickly make some notes about putting their main character on a diet based around one vegetable and transforming them into a beach goddess mid-book. Facebook can be a treasure chest of creative inspiration for a writer. After liking and sharing some motivational quotes the writer checks their watch and groans. It is late in the day and they still haven’t moved onto FB literary stuff. With a writer eye roll they dive straight back into one of their Writer Facebook Groups and immediately pick up on another writer’s post about the same pesky grammar issue that they suffer from. This issue is also making this other writer seek comfort in half a bottle of red after a heavy editing session. Ten FB comments later, a red wine recommendation and a multitude of post likes the writer wipes away a layer of sweat from their brow.
  5. Post Writer’s Facebook Break. The writer yawns, stretches and closes down their equipment. They will shuffle away from their writing desk after another long day at the literary coalface. Their Writer’s Facebook Break proved very useful as they came up with a new storyline for their book and gained some handy tips on how to resolve an irritating grammar issue. Those literary agents and publishers will be proud!

Enjoy your Writer’s Facebook Breaks today readers!

Photo: Stocksnap

Author Interviews @RachaelRitchey #authors #writers #writerslife 

Welcome to my weekly series Author Interviews. 

Over recent months some inspirational and amazing writers have sat in my red chair. They have opened my eyes to the world of being a writer, filled my brain with useful tips and made me want to get a book out there.

This week I am proud to say that the author of one of my favourite books ‘The Beauty Thief‘ is sat in my chair, swinging her legs, with a mug of Yorkshire tea in one hand and nibbling on a virtual ginger snap biscuit with the other…

She also hosts a blog and runs the Blog Battles. Here is Rachael Ritchey!

Rachael, welcome! 

Thanks, Queen Lu! I’m thrilled to be in this big red, super comfy chair! Wow, is it comfy or what?

This is one of those chairs that looks uncomfortable but actually it’s the opposite. The tea and biscuits are fab, too.

Yes…watch the crumbs please!  

Tell my readers about yourself and the book / books you have written?

I’m a North Idaho native, born and bred. And, no North Idaho is not its own state, but we still capitalize the ‘n’ in north!

You could say I’m just a simple girl with a simple life and a simple plan. I’m so lucky to be a stay at home mom and have a family that supports my writing endeavors.

I’ve written two books and am working on the third. These stories are for my Chronicles of the Twelve Realms series which is young adult fantasy fiction.

When did you write your first book?

I started writing the first one two and half years ago.

How long did it take to write your first book?

It took three or four months to write it (March was tough with busy life stuff), and then it took another six months to revise, edit, get feedback, revise, edit and have it edited again, then there was the month and a half of formatting for self-publication. In all, it was just over a year from start to finish for that first one.

What was your motivation to write your first book?

Motivation for writing the first one came from eons, ages, years, months, weeks, days, minutes, and seconds of wanting to write but not knowing where to start.

On a totally unrelated subject, there came a cold December day where I couldn’t take it anymore, and it brought about my motivation. I was emotionally disconnected from my family and friends, I felt ugly on the inside, so one day I found myself silently having a serious conversation with God in the van on the way to church. And as I sat there whining about my ugly insides, not to mention how selfish I was feeling, this story started forming in my mind about a princess, the daughter of king, whose beauty is ripped from her, but not just her outer beauty, everything beautiful about her is taken. She’s left an empty shell of who she was, and though she’s surrounded by loving people it isn’t enough to save her.

After a week the story was still floating around in my head.

It was the straw that broke the camel’s back, the crack in the dam, the little ray of sunshine in a gray world.

The Beauty Thief is a constant reminder to me that true beauty comes from the inside and is worth protecting. That’s pretty good motivation.

What writing issues did you encounter along the way and how did you overcome them?

With the first book you don’t always know what issues you are encountering until you’re up to your neck in them. I had internal issues: letting go of words, sentences, sections, and characters I desperately wanted to keep. I battled against changing the beginning of my book, but did after much internal questioning and feedback from beta readers.

When it came time to get the changes from my editor, she basically told me I needed to rewrite the entire ending, that it was not worthy of the rest of the story. Ugh. She was right. Susan is one smart cookie.

Did you go through any bad writing patches during writing your book – what kept you going?

I mentioned before that March was a tough month because there was a lot going on in life, but it wasn’t really a bad writing patch except that I did almost no writing.

Are you a plotter or do you just write / see what happens?

Plotter vs panster, huh? Oh, I’m a plotter who loves to fly by the seat of my pants.

My process is something like:

Here’s my character, here’s some stuff that will happen along the way, and the ending.

Even though I’ve got a non-standard outline I’m happy to let the characters change my well-laid plans if their choices influences the circumstances. I think it’s a really bad idea to be so married to your plot and outline that you bend the will of your character to match the story instead of letting their personality and background dictate how they handle situations.

The most important part of my plotting is that I keep my mind and writing focused on the end goal of the story, that I don’t lose sight of what the protagonist’s ultimate goal is, and herd the story that direction.

I’m full of metaphorical speak today! I’m not sure if I should apologize about that.

It’s the biscuits! I have a thing for sugar…here let me have some! Carry on..

What is the best thing about being a writer?

It has got to be that I get to imagine and see things in my mind which are unique to me, but then that as a writer I can share it. It’s humbling to make oneself vulnerable by sharing what has been so intimately kept in one’s mind and painstakingly placed on the page.

What is the worst thing about being a writer?

The best is also the worst. It’s humbling to write, to make myself vulnerable by sharing what has been so intimately kept in my mind and painstakingly etched on the page.

Have you ever considered quitting writing, and if so how have you worked through this?

Every few months the thought enters my mind, not because I don’t have a bajillion stories to write, but because I doubt myself and the worthiness of my stories.

Of course, when I consider quitting out loud it makes my stomach ache, Karl scoffs at the idea, and the not-quitter in me rebels against the very image conjured by the words. I guess I just work through it by not giving up just because I’m not 100% always and forever confident. I love writing.

What does a typical writing day look like for you?

On days where I am able to focus on novel writing it will typically start with me dragging myself from bed after being accosted, in rapid succession, by my four children before my alarm goes off.

If I set my alarm earlier I’m afraid it would all just start that much earlier, so I leave it be.

After the morning routine and getting the kids off to school I come home and sigh before taking a big sip of coffee, put on my earphones and type away until it’s time to pick up one child from school.

After lunch it’s almost impossible to get in concerted writing time, so I sneak it in where I can, usually after everyone is in bed and asleep.

Do you suffer from procrastination and if so how do you handle it?

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t, but generally I give myself deadlines and do my darndest to stick to them.

I have a knack for estimating how much time it will take to finish x, y, and z, which helps me procrastinate as long as I can without causing issue.

It’s easier when I’m accountable to someone else, though, so I try to make others aware of my deadlines so that I’m not just ignoring them.

If I didn’t regulate myself I’d never accomplish anything. I guess that’s part of being an adult. Who else here has jumped on the “I don’t want to adult today. Don’t make me adult today” bandwagon? I’m so there. Come join my band.

Which is more important – plot or characters and why?

I’m a character driven writer, but mostly because I subscribe to the idea that the plot is nothing without the characters. I think both are necessary to have a good story, but I make the characters the biggest priority.

What have been your 3 biggest learnings during your writing career?

1) Getting honest critiques of your work is essential

2) Being a writer means wearing many more hats than just “Writer.” You also wear “Brand Rep,” “Marketer,” “Design Lead,” “Editor,” “Blogger,” and a few more titles that mean you have to talk to people and do things that will take you outside your comfort zone.

3) Balance out your time and don’t neglect the real world too much.

How do you manage social media as a writer?

I think more often than not it manages me.

Social media is a tricky one. It’s important to make writerly homes for yourself at several social media hang outs, but if you overdo it you’ll get lost in the constant need to update everything. I think it’s most important to start with a blog or website where you can always be found and branch from there, so that’s what I do.

Do you have any tips or advice for budding aspiring authors?

Have a plan, learn to brand yourself and your work, be present on social media (e.g. Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and/or etc.), save up for editing fees (this even applies to those authors looking for traditional publishing), don’t give up, and keep writing.

When it comes to the writing itself, push yourself beyond the bounds of what you’re comfortable with because it will make you a better writer. It might stink at first, but you’ll grow.

Do you suffer from writer’s block and if so how do you overcome?

Not usually. I have moments of indecision or find certain scenes difficult to write, but I’m not blocked so much as fighting against the story, I suppose.

Do you ever think of the next book whilst writing?

Constantly. I’m writing a series so I am thinking forward and backward as I write. It helps to keep the story’s plot points in line and not veer too far from the beaten path.

What do you wear to write?

Whatever I put on before dropping the kids off at school (i.e. jeans, T-shirt, skirt, blouse…whatever). On occasion jammies. I don’t have a special hat or booties or tie or anything, though the thought is intriguing. Maybe I should get a special something or other to only wear when writing. What do you think? Maybe a feathered cap? Maybe a diamond bracelet? Maybe special underwear or a lucky sock?

Thanks for this fab interview! I could listen to you for hours.

If readers want to get in touch how do they contact you?

I’m happy to answer questions or talk more about just about anything. Look me up on my website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, or elsewhere.

Thanks so much for having me in the big red chair today, my blonde friend. I hope you don’t mind if I close my eyes for a bit while I’m sitting here.

All this talk and tea has been so relaxed and enjoyable that I could use a wee nap. Cheers and all that!

Psst..wake up…I have to do my really important bit now! 

I loved this interview Rachael. I liked how the idea for the ‘Beauty Thief’ came to appear in your mind. Your tips on writing are really useful and I like how with writing a series you are always looking forwards and backwards. I think a feathered cap would be a great writing outfit accessory.

Your book ‘The Beauty Thief’ is fab! 

Chronicles of the Twelve Realms

 

Thank you so much! 

I am just going to grab my virtual hand held vac to hoover up those crumbs…sigh!

Next week Chris Mentzer sits in my red chair!  

I don’t know whether anyone has picked up on this but I have been nominated for Funniest Blogger in the ABBA Awards. I do like to keep things quiet…and not broadcast stuff….like a shy mouse – me!  Sigh! 

If you want to vote please click here. Rachael is also nominated in the Book Reviewer category.


photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/79577679@N00/5448848999″>the chair in the attic</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Tina’s Writer Diary – The Assistant #writers #comedy #Writer

 

 

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Monday

10.56 a.m. It is hard being a successful author. The thing that people don’t understand about my profession is that it is not just about writing stuff.

On Friday I had an emotional breakdown. I was so busy and everything got a bit too much for me. There was so much to do; post quotes on Facebook, tweet motivational stuff on Twitter, pin inspirational affirmations on Pinterest, take photos of a shaft of sunlight from the window, which was shooting across my empty writing desk, for Instagram, browse through all my newsfeeds and make myself endless cups of tea. Writing didn’t even make it onto my ‘to do list’.

Luckily Keith, my partner, phoned home during his lunch break and calmed me down. I was a sobbing mess. There were not enough hours in the day to do everything. It took him a good half hour and the promise of a Chinese takeaway later to get me to come to my senses.

We both came to the conclusion quite quickly that I need an assistant. Sometimes in life you are forced to turn to others for help. I am not afraid to put my hand up and say “I need another pair of hands to help me on Twitter!”

After a bowl of Chicken Soup (Keith’s suggestion, he says it works wonders for troubled souls) and a nap (my suggestion), I sat down and wrote out some ideas on my requirements for an assistant:

  • Cannot afford to pay an assistant so I am looking for someone to do it for free / for the love of literature.
  • Ideally I need someone who is good at tweeting, pinning, posting, browsing, taking photos, writing and who makes an amazing cup of tea.

When I ask the universe for something it delivers most of the time (obviously book sales are an outstanding action for the universe).

During Keith’s mother’s Coffee & Cake Morning yesterday an assistant materialised.

Pamela, Keith’s mother, likes to recruit people for all sorts of things; coffee mornings, cake baking and charity sponsored events. Keith always says that if Pamela decided to join an international terrorist group we would all be in trouble!

So, I was busy consuming a large piece of carrot cake, when Keith informed Pamela that I was looking for a volunteer to help me with my busy literary career.

Pamela certainly has her finger on the volunteer pulse. Without a second thought she turned to Beryl, rumoured to be enjoying the dating scene, to say “Beryl you clearly have time on your hands with all those trips to the seaside with that nice, rich gentleman with the flash sports car. Why don’t you give Tina some help?”  

Beryl made a face, involving a roll of the eyes and a twisted mouth. Pamela took that as a green light. I was struggling to swallow the huge piece of cake in my mouth and could not quiz Beryl on her social media skills.

Pamela kindly made the decision for me. Beryl is my new assistant.

I am currently waiting for Beryl to arrive.

11.09 a.m. Beryl and I are sat on the sofa running through roles and responsibilities.

As Beryl knows next to nothing about social media and has just admitted she won a writing competition, when she was a child, we have agreed that she will work on my book draft. I will take on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and general online browsing.

12.34 p.m. Starting to think I have got the bigger job as Twitter has gone crazy with the #amwritingbestseller hashtag. I can’t stop tweeting about ‘Beautiful and Kidnapped’.

Beryl on the other hand is giving my draft a leisurely read through to get a feel for where she can add value. I have not seen her tap out a single word.

1.05 p.m. I wish Beryl would hurry up and write some of my book. Twitter is hungry for my work.

1.34 p.m. I have gone into social media meltdown. Someone on Instagram liked my photo of the sunlight hitting the writing desk. I am currently frantically snapping away at an old rusty typewriter found in the garage. If readers see that I have an eye for arty shots they will flock to my political thriller on Amazon.

Beryl is still reading my draft.

“I am desperate for a cup of tea!” I exclaim, before wiping my sweaty brow and adorning the typewriter with colourful flowers.

“White with two sugars please Tina love!” coos Beryl, with a smile.

1.56 p.m. My assistant has been gazing longingly at Mr Thompson over the road, attending to his flowers.

“Beryl how are you getting on with my draft?” I ask.

“Still reading through!” murmurs Beryl, with her eyes fixed on Mr Thompson.

“Which part of my book are you up to?” I ask.

“Still reading the first chapter Tina love!” says Beryl, clearly distracted by the man across the street.

I can feel myself getting agitated.

Here am I slaving away over social media whilst my new  assistant seems desperate to nip across the road to help Mr Thompson prune his bushes. I am an author not a matchmaking service.

I am not sure whether Beryl is right for me. She doesn’t make cups of tea or helps me write my book.

14.09 p.m. Beryl has clocked off for the day. She apparently had some urgent business to attend to, which probably involved Mr Thompson.

I am laid on my sofa exhausted and in need of a nap.

As I said earlier it is tough being a successful author.

 

photo credit: Stocksnap

Mermaid Talk #comedy #mermaids #flashfiction

 

Mermaid Talk

Three mermaids swam to their usual rock meeting place, to discuss the highs and lows of mermaid life.

Before they climbed onto their individual rocks they went through their usual greeting ritual which consisted of squealing, air kissing and hugging. 

Once this was over they set about getting themselves into position for their daily update.

“I can’t believe what some mermaids are putting on social media these days!” exclaimed Tracey, climbing onto her rock. “No names mentioned” she said, glancing at her blonde haired mermaid friend, sat on the rock behind her.

“Oh yea I agree!” said Sharon, the brown haired mermaid, hauling herself onto her rock and taking out a shell encrusted phone.

“All these wild claims about saving handsome sailors from drowning are doing my aquatic head in!” exlaimed Tracey. “I have yet to come across a handsome sailor struggling in the water!”

“That’s because handsome sailors don’t view you as a hot looking mermaid!” piped up Melody, the blonde mermaid, sat on the rock behind Tracey. She was busy checking out her reflection, in a shell encrusted mirror. “Sailors only chuck themselves overboard and act like they are drowning for hot looking mermaids” she explained.

Tracey sighed loudly. “I don’t believe you Melody!” she snapped, turning around to face the blonde haired mermaid. “I wasn’t going to say anything but I think I need to tell you now. Your Facebook posts and Tweets from yesterday were pure fantasy!”

“It was true!’ shouted Melody. “A really cute sailor was drowning so I saved his life, took him onto the shore, kissed him like crazy and then tweeted about the whole experience, plus I wrote a lengthy Facebook post on it too!”

“Absolute rubbish Melody!” yelled Tracey, shaking her head in disapproval. “Cute sailors like the one you described on Facebook don’t exist and if by some miracle they do exist they don’t  fall into the water and require life saving!”

“Hang on – I never saw you rescue anyone yesterday Melody!” stated Sharon, head bent over her shell encrusted phone.

“That’s because you were too busy staring at THAT phone Sharon!” hissed Melody.

“Oh yea – good point!” laughed Sharon, with her eyes still fixed on her phone.

“I still don’t believe you Melody!” cried Tracey.  “I did a couple of dives yesterday and I never saw any cute sailors looking like they were about to drown!”

Whatever Mer-Friend!” snapped Melody rolling her eyes and flicking away her long blonde hair.

“It is not all about mermaid looks Melody!” argued Tracey, feeling her Mermaid tail heat up with anger.

Melody glared at Tracey. “Those handsome sailors are not going to chuck themselves into shark infested waters for any old girl!” she snapped. “The only thing that makes their daring deed worthwhile is to be rescued by some young aquatic beauty!”

Tracey shook her head. “I disagree, I think sailors are looking for a mermaid who they can have intellectual conversation with, once they are settled on the beach” she gushed, whilst stretching out her tail. “I cover a range of both interesting and intellectual conversation topics from international fishing politics to fine fish cuisine!” she announced.

Melody threw her head back and squealed with laughter. “Tracey honey – when those sailors are on that beach they do not want to hear about your favourite fish platter dishes!”

“I could talk to them on the beach” said Sharon, scrolling through something on her phone.

Tracey sighed, looked back at Sharon and whispered “I said intellectual conversation  Sharon!”

“Oh yea – good point!” exclaimed Sharon, tapping something into her phone.

“Tracey – you might be not getting any sailor action because you are an older  mermaid!” said Melody, checking her aquatic blue nail varnish.

“Don’t bring age into this Melody!” snapped Tracey.

“Yay! Aquatic Wi-Fi has just come back on! I am now on Twitter!”  announced Sharon, excitedly tapping stuff into her phone.

“What have you been doing then if  Wi-Fi has been down and you have not been on Twitter?” asked Melody, glaring at Sharon.

“Thinking about Twitter” said Sharon, still gawping at her shell encrusted phone.

“Mermaid life is floating by Sharon and you are spending all your time on Twitter!” said Melody.

“Oh yea!” replied Sharon engrossed with her phone.

“Give us a Twitter update then!” demanded Tracey.

“Those pesky mermaids from the other side of the island are claiming that a large boat full of handsome sailors is sailing through right now!” exclaimed Sharon, bobbing up and down excitedly on her rock.

“Liars!” snapped Tracey, raising her head to catch some sun.

“No sailor is going to fling himself into the water for one of those rough looking mermaids?” said Melody shaking her head.

“The sailors won’t get much intellectual conversation from those lot!” laughed Tracey.

“Right I am off, catch you later ladies!” Melody said, getting ready to dive into the water.

“Lovely to catch up with you Melody!” gushed Tracey, giving her friend a big smile.

“Yea – same time tomorrow Melody!” shouted Sharon, still glued to her phone.

“Take care Melody!” said Tracey, giving her friend a wave.

“Love ya!” called Melody, before flicking her diamond encrusted Mermaid tail and disappearing.

A good hour later and the two remaining mermaids; Tracey and Sharon, were still sat on their rocks.

“Melody’s just tweeted about the sailors, from the boat, on the other side of the island!” announced Sharon staring at her phone. “Listen to her tweet Tracey”

‘#cutesailors are #fighting for the chance to be #saved by #Melody #hotmermaid’

Tracey sighed. “As I said earlier Sharon, some mermaids, no names mentioned, are filling social media with utter rubbish!”

“Oh yea!” said Sharon, going back to her phone.

Sharon stopped tapping something on her phone and looked at Tracey. “Can’t you just give me a clue on who it is?” she asked looking puzzled.

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/33364333@N04/4979465160″>Daydream Island</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

 

5 Stages of a Writer Starting a New Form of Social Media #SundayBlogShare #writers

Writer Starting New Social Media

  1. The Buzz. Everyone you know is talking about this form of social media – which you are currently not using. They are like ‘wow – its crazy on here!’ and ‘this is where the literary party is at – woo woo!’  You try to shake them off by saying ‘I have enough forms of social media to manage thank you very much,  I might try it later in the year!’  They don’t listen to you and keep telling you about how great life is on [enter social media of your choice]. As well as listening to this excited chatter, every blog post, tweet or Facebook writing related post that you read is talking about this particular form of social media. It is like the entire online community is pointing you towards it. There is no escape from the buzz. Then you read a game changing literary article online or in a writing magazine which says something along the lines of ‘you must be on this form of social media for a literary agent to consider you’ – gasp! Those pesky literary agents are making you jump through social media hoops again – sigh!
  2. Assess Existing Forms of Social Media. This is the stage where you assess whether you can physically and mentally take on another form of social media. You will already be feeling that managing social media is becoming a juggling act what with posting, tweeting, pinning, tagging and hash tagging everything you write. During this stage you will find yourself doing the obligatory writer’s groan at the prospect of another form of social media to fiddle with. The trouble will be that you can’t get that article out of your head even though adding another form of social media to your literary plate makes you yawn and feel exhausted. In the end the literary agent threat wins and you decide that you might as well join this social media party. You tell yourself that your free writing time was eaten up a long time ago…by social media. Sigh!
  3. Profile Dilemma. As with any form of social media you go through the initial profile dilemma – how should I look in my photo? What should my bio say about me? If I go for this photo do I look like a serious writer or do I look like some crazy amateur? If I wear my hair like this – do you think it screams ‘creative person’ or ‘she is desperate for a book deal’?  In my bio – do I just say I like reading, writing and social media?  This is such a frustrating stage of that process. After getting sick and tired of photo editing yourself and not recognising the person staring back at you it goes live. Cue the obligatory ‘oh what the hell!’
  4. Initial sprint. You hit the ground running; following everyone under the sun, liking stuff and commenting on anything and everything. This is a period of intense activity and the coffee machine will not have seen so much coffee action from you in a long time. You start to attract some followers and some likes. It doesn’t feel like the party zone your writer friends made out it to be but maybe that’s down to your frazzled writer state. Sigh!
  5. Normality. This is the stage where things return to normality. For some writers this can happen quite quickly.  The excitement for this new form of social media wears off in a matter of days and you revert back to your writing. You will have noticed some advantages of being on this form of social media. There are some readers and book reviewers on there and maybe it won’t be so hard to maintain. It goes into your social media management system and is added to your list. Anything at the top of your social media list gets regular attention and the rest….when you are in the mood to play with or looking for an excuse not to write – sigh!

Have a fantastic day writers!

Photo: Shutterstock

Changing Blog Theme & New Hairstyles – 10 Similarities #SundayBlogShare

  1. Build Up. There can be a nervous build up to getting a new hairstyle. When I say a new hairstyle , I am not referring to those hair salon visits where you let out the standard female whimper can you just trim my ends?”  I am talking hair redesign. Your mind will be full of questions  like “am I doing the right thing with my hair?” and “will other people like my new hairstyle?”  The same applies to the redesign of a blog. You will wonder whether you are doing the right thing and you will find yourself sweating over whether your followers will notice your blog’s new look or even care.
  2. Research. In the lead up to a new hairstyle you might feel the need to do some research; read lots of hair magazines and pin images of hair cuts on Pinterest to get some ideas on your brave new cut. You want your new haircut to show the world that you are hip and trendy. The same applies to when you are thinking about changing the look and feel of your blog. You will start anxiously pinning articles on Pinterest about which blog design is used by all the successful bloggers. You want your new design to show the world that you have nailed the art of blogging.
  3. Social Media. In the run up to a new hairstyle you might feel the need to go on Facebook or Twitter and alert close friends and family members to your forthcoming salon visit. Maybe using hashtags like #choppingoffmylocks and #Ihatelonghair. The same happens when you are in blog re-design mode. You might feel the urge to tell your followers on Facebook or Twitter that you are thinking about overhauling your blog design. You might find yourself using hashtags like #GoodriddancePenscratch and #gatewaythemedoesthingsforme.
  4. Stress. The actual haircut will be stressful. Going for a radical haircut is a stressful life moment and going from long hair to a pixie cut  is probably up there with grief, moving house and starting a new job. The blog redesign session will also be stressful. All your blogging hopes and dreams could be wiped out with one simple theme change. Harsh!
  5. Nerves. You may decide to chicken out of the new radical haircut at the last minute and go for something safer – a  tiny trim of ends.  You might also decide not to go through with your blog theme change at the last minute and instead tweet about how the Penscratch theme rocks your blog.
  6. Avoidance. After the haircut has been done you may find yourself sneaking out of the hair salon in the hope that no one notices the new you. The same can happen with a blog redesign, you find yourself sneaking out a couple of posts out in the hope no one notices the new refreshed blog.
  7. Reaction. With a new haircut you will be hoping someone acknowledges it and you hope (pray to God) the reaction will be positive and not something like “OMG what have you done?” and “You look a bit odd “  The applies to getting reaction to your new theme. You hope (pray to God) that the reaction will be positive and not something like “OMG what have you done to your blog?”  and “I can’t read your text properly!”
  8. New Identity. A new haircut takes a bit of getting used too. You might struggle to recognise yourself in shop windows, car mirrors and puddle reflections. The same happens with a blog, you struggle to recognise it when you hit the ‘preview’ button or when you click on someone’s Twitter link and think to yourself “OMG what a peculiar looking blog……Oh its mine…LOL!”
  9. Change. You will never be the same again after a drastic new hairstyle and you will never be the same again after a blog re design.
  10. Reflection. After you get a fab new hairstyle you may find yourself wondering what life would have been like if you still had your long hair. You may start to miss your long hair and start to use hashtags like #shouldneverhavecutmyhair and #hairdepression.  The same can happen with your blog and its new theme. Would blogging life have been different if you had stayed with Penscratch? This normally happens when you are staring miserably at your stats tool and your ‘flat lining’ blog stats. You will find yourself using hashtags like #ComebackPenscratch and #IlovedPenscratch.

Happy Blogging Bloggers!

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/93965477@N02/10176901396″>Behind the Scenes with Aveda™ – Ann Yee SS14 – Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York Spring Summer 2014 – #MBFW #NYFW – September 4, 2013 – Creative Commons (cc) photos distributed by Mainstream via Aveda Corporation</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

The Writer’s Job Description #Writing #AmWriting

 

the-writers-job-description

 

Job Advertisement: Writer

Writer needed to join the millions of other writers around the world.

About The Role

Hours: Can vary each week and are dependent upon number of new ideas for stories, writing confidence levels, social media activity, reading binges and coffee consumption.

Location: Home based, although access to a coffee shop and a book shop will be required.

Key Duties / Responsibilities:

  • Will need to be able to talk to characters in their head a lot.
  • Will need to get carried away with their plot or characters.
  • Will need to be able to write stuff that doesn’t make sense on paper but does in their head.
  • Will need the capacity to stare into space a lot.
  • Will need to be able to give their own work savage criticism and to accept savage criticism from others.
  • Will need to be able to daydream a lot about writing a best seller.
  • Will need to be able to operate across all forms of social media.
  • Will be able to take regular naps. Sleeping on the job is vital.
  • Will need to read a lot.
  • Imaginative use of reasons for not doing any writing is vital.
  • Imaginative use of plots, characters and long words will be needed.
  • Will need to possess a good working understanding of Amazon Book Chart, Reviews and Rankings.
About You
  • You will have known that you are different  to others for many years.
  • You will have a degree in Creative Thoughts and be regarded as a very creative person by family and close friends.
  • You will get strong urges to write every now and then. You will also get strong urges not to write.
  • You will be able to cry over the quality of your writing at a moment’s notice.
  • You will possess a strong desire to reach out to other creative souls on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.
  • You will enjoy working on your own.
  • You will be able to accept brutal feedback on your work from others with a gracious smile.
  • You will be highly experienced in listening in to others conversations in public places and people watching.
  • You will love a bit of drama.
  • Non-writers will perceive you as ‘weird’ and ‘a bit odd’ but you won’t care.
  • You will have an addiction to purchasing notebooks.
  • You will love all forms of literary pain – editing, rewriting and grammar rules.
Package

Salary: It can vary. Most of us do it for free – sigh!

Perks:

  • People will refer to you as the ‘next J.K.Rowling’ a lot.
  • You can hang around in coffee shops for hours under the pretence of being a ‘writer’.
  • You can loiter around book shops sniffing paper backs and pointing out to strangers where your future book will go on the shelf.
  • You can start a writing blog and make out you are a fancy writer.
  • You can use the following hashtags in your tweets #amwriting #writers and #bestsellingauthor.
  • You can spend all day on social media and not feel guilty as you are a writer.

We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Thanks to UnMumsy Mum’s Blogging site for the idea for this post.

Photo: Stocksnap

 

The Diary of Roxy Collins – Part 1 – Office Life #comedy #motherhood #Chicklit

thediaryof

Monday

8.46 a.m. – I am staggering into my office, carrying a gigantic bag of sweets (the obligatory post holiday office gift) and crying out “I’m back everyone…I am back!”

Silence.

No one has acknowledged my return to work after my holiday.

Plonk sweets on desk and notice ladder in my posh glossy tights and seeping blood from a painful blister on my ankle.

This morning I had to totter at speed, in my new stilettos, to catch my bus. I am just asking myself why I didn’t cover my feet in plasters before leaving the house.

Try to block out throbbing pain from foot. I am now regretting getting carried away with an article I found on Facebook, which claimed wearing giant stilettos makes you look slimmer.

8.47 a.m. I have received a text from Matilda, my daughter. Oh…she informs me that hates her school, hates the fact that we now live in, what she calls, a rough area, hates me for not letting her live with her Dad who she thinks is loaded and hates life in general. I am also given a collection of devil faced emojis.

8.49 a.m. Try to ignore the fact that I am bathed in a light sweat from my journey into work and there is pain emanating from my left wrist.

Last week I bought myself a new handbag. I opted for a tiny handbag, as the magazine article about the body slimming stilettos also advised that the fashion trend this season is for minuscule accessories. I went home with my purchase and, what can only be described, as tiny handbag excitement.

In a kind of euphoric high I filled it with everything from my tiny handbag with my large handbag; makeup, headache tablets, hairbrush, tissues, phone, mints, body spray, emergency deodorant, spare knickers, panty liners, book of positive thoughts, my diary, some keepsakes and a toothbrush. Hey presto – a tiny but heavy handbag!

9.08 a.m. Looking around at my office colleagues who have failed to notice my return from a week’s camping holiday. Nobody has looked up from their screens or spoken to me. They are all busy tapping away, or sat sipping coffee.

Ok so I wasn’t expecting:

  • A small crowd waving ‘Welcome Back Roxy’ banners as I emerge from the lift.
  • The Managing Director of the company, clearing her diary and popping by my desk to ask me whether my holiday photos are uploaded on Facebook yet, as she is desperate to browse through them and a thought-provoking comments.

All I want is someone to register that I am back at work. I would be more than happy to accept one of the following greetings:

  • “Hello Roxy!”
  • “Hey Roxy, how was the holiday?”
  • “Hey Roxy what was it like on your own in a tent with your three spirited  (polite term for nightmare) kids?”

I wonder whether this is like the film ‘Sixth Sense’ and I have actually died. Perhaps my kids finished me off in the tent after I forced them to go without wi-fi for 5 days and I am struggling with passing over?

Seriously, this office situation is giving me an early Monday morning complex.

This is the last time I wrestle with a giant bag sweets for this ungrateful office.

9.35 a.m. – I am busy shuffling a few bits of papers and a folder around my desk to give the impression that I am bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on my return to work. In reality I am suffering from extreme physical and mental exhaustion, after a week’s camping holiday with my children. Trying to put up a tent single-handedly, in a violent gale, whilst my kids sit in the car and argue about crisp packet flavours, nearly to sent me to an early grave.

My attention turns to Martin (52 yrs) who sits opposite me. He is busy on the phone to his mother confirming that he would like beef stew with extra dumplings for his tea.

After five minutes of mother trivia, about what he has to collect from the supermarket on his way home from work (toilet bleach, toilet roll, prunes, dates, cabbage and some lavender-scented air freshener), he replaces the phone receiver and looks up at me.

“It’s nice to have you back Roxy.” He gives me a sickly smile and flashes his yellow stained teeth.

I cannot believe Martin is the only person in this office to acknowledge the fact that I have not been here for the last seven days.

“Did you have a nice break?” asks Martin, reaching for his stapler.

“Oh I did, it was lovely thanks!”  I turn away whilst lying through my teeth.

I notice that Martin’s eyes are honed into my orange fake bake arms.

“Did you have Mediterranean weather in Scarborough Roxy?”

“It was warm” I say, once again lying through my teeth and making a mental note of ‘one can of fake tan is more than enough for one arm!’

Martin smiles. “Whilst you were away Marcus asked me to go for promotion, has he said anything to you?” he asks slyly, his beady eyes resembling those of a snake we saw at the zoo on holiday.

I don’t answer him. My blood is boiling.

Martin and I both know the career train is unlikely to be stopping at my station for some time. I am the wrong side of thirty, I have three kids, two useless ex-partners, I regularly have to take time off to cover childcare, I have recently had ‘personal issues’ after a messy relationship breakup, I am considered ‘noisy’ in the office and I….drunkenly snogged Marcus, our Senior Manager, over a photocopier, at a Christmas party.

10.34 a.m. My phone bleeps.  It is a message from Richard, the guy that I have been chatting to on my dating app. He looks amazing on his photo and reminds me of the Ken doll that I used to play Barbie weddings with as a child. Oh no – he doesn’t want to date me as I have three kids and two ex partners. He doesn’t want anything complicated. What is complicated about my situation? I mean we are all talking to each other…well just.

10.35 a.m. I am blinking away hot stinging tears and praying to God that my mascara doesn’t decide to run. I don’t think I will ever find love.

Pop a soothing mint and ask Google to tell me the chances of a thirty something, single mother of three children with two ex-partners finding love again. Google fails to give me an answer.

That’s it I am un-datable. More tears are welling up inside my eyes. I am doing well to contain them as I don’t like the office knowing my business.

10.40 a.m. I watch Martin rise from his chair and creep off to a meeting.
Receive personal call from Great Aunt Vera. She’s eighty nine and getting used to a new nursing home. Her old nursing home asked her to leave. Nobody knows why.

“ROXY!” she yells. Great Aunt Vera hates hearing aids.

“Hello Great Aunt Vera.”

“I was just telling my new friend Ivy about you. I told her you were getting desperate for a man!”

My neck and shoulders stiffen.

“I am not getting desperate for a man Great Aunt Vera!” I snap, noticing a couple of office colleagues raise their heads in my direction.

“Ivy wants to know whether you have tried online dating? Her grandson was desperate like you and he had a few online dates with a woman from the South East. He’s now engaged and they have a baby on the way!”

“I am giving it a try!” I mumble.

“What did you say?” shrieks Great Aunt Vera, making my ears hurt.

“I am giving ONLINE DATING a try!” I snap, noticing more raised heads from my colleagues. I have also just caught sight of Marcus grimacing at me by the office recycling bins.

“How is that wild daughter of yours?” asks Great Aunt Vera.

“Matilda is sixteen and is not wild!” I say, picturing my daughter in a white angel outfit, with huge white wings and a sugary sweet expression on her face. I hear Great Aunt Vera cackle. “You do make your old Aunt laugh Roxy. I have got to go have my meds, good-bye!”

“Goodbye Great Vera!” I replace the receiver and hope no one heard my conversation.

11.02 a.m. Martin returns from his meeting. I try to look busy; this involves stapling some random bits of paper whilst looking thoughtful at something on my computer screen.

“Marcus says that he wants you to work on this project,” instructs Martin, handing me a pile of papers which makes me let out a groan.

“What does he want me to do with it?” I ask, shaking my head in dismay.

“He wants a report on his desk by the end of the day,” informs Martin.

“But its my first day back after holiday?” I whimper.

11.57 a.m. Receive personal call from an upset best friend Shaz.

“He’s dumped me Roxy!” she wails loudly.

“The postman has dumped you?” I watch Martin raise his black monobrow at me.

Martin doesn’t like personal calls in the office. He says ‘every call in the office should be work related and not personal Roxy’. The calls he makes to his mother every morning from his desk are not counted as they are different. I have checked.

Shaz continues. ”Yea, the postman is seeing a girl from that posh new housing estate. How could he do this to me?” I can hear her snivelling.

“Forget him Shaz!” I snap.

“I can’t Roxy!”  Shaz sniffs down the phone.

“Look – walk away and be thankful you have not got carried away with this one. You moved to the other end of the country for the last scumbag and then had to move back when it all went wrong two and half weeks later!”

“Oh Roxy I gave up my job in the bakery so that I could be there for the postman when he was on his parcel delivery shift!” she wails.

“Oh Shaz why did you do that?” I shriek, making Martin drop his pencil on the floor. “Didn’t you learn anything from your last relationship?”

I am waving frantically at Martin. He is rising from his desk with the plastic drinks tray in his hand. I need a coffee. Sometimes I wonder why I get so desperate for a machine generated, bitter tasting coffee which will stain my teeth and ruin my breath for hours.

“I can’t forget about this one” wails Shaz, before snorting loudly down the phone.

My mobile is bleeping.

It’s a text from Matilda apologising for her earlier text outburst. She doesn’t hate me. In fact she loves me very much and has even added a couple of heart emojis. At the end of the text she asks whether she can go out on Saturday night with her new sixth form boyfriend who has a car.

I can’t type ‘NO!’ fast enough. Quickly I press send and try to soothe my thudding heart.

I then realise Shaz is still sobbing down the phone.

“Walk away from the postman and don’t look back” I say, turning away as Martin returns with our coffee.

My phone bleeps again. It’s another text from Matilda. She hates me. No emojis.

Shaz sniffs loudly down the phone before wailing “He made too many deliveries Roxy, I think I am PREGNANT!”

“Oh Shaz!” I say reaching over to my giant bag of sweets which no one has thanked me for. Whilst Shaz sobs I rip it open and stuff a handful in my mouth and give Martin a filthy look as he points at the pile of papers on my desk. Its going to be a long day!

 

For part 2 click here