A pessimist sees…

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

― Winston Churchill

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The Blog – 2014 In Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,400 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 23 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Reflections on 2014

Picture by i k o

Picture by i k o

Hi everyone,

I thought for this post, I would take a moment to reflect on what I have done over the last 12 months. I feel like I haven’t done much writing this year. I feel like I could have done so much more. But when I look back I can see just how much I have achieved and you know what… I am proud of myself.

So here are some of my highlights:

1. I started this blog and maintained regular posts (an achievement on its own).
2. I published a short story titled ‘Low Life’ in ’18’, an anthology by Vision Writers.
3. I attended the Brisbane Writer’s festival as a contributor.
4. I have had chapters of my work critiqued.
5. I have edited my work (over and over and over again).
6. I’ve had my novel beta read.
7. I’ve commenced the final edit of my novel.
8. I have attempted cover designs (and realized I probably need a professional to do it).
9. I have learned grammar rules I wasn’t aware of.
10. I’ve read a stack of books on Writing, Publishing and Marketing.
11. I’ve listened to pod casts and read articles on blogging.
12. I created an e-book test version of my novel and identified formatting issues.
13. I have read up on formatting using HTML code.
14. I have beta read 3 novels for fellow authors.
15. I have read numerous published novels from a selection of authors.
16. I’ve created a Facebook page.
17. I’ve set up a Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) account.
18. I’ve created author pages on Goodreads and Amazon.
19. I have tried my hand at listening to audio-books.
20. I have grown as an author and increased my knowledge.

I encourage you all to take a step back and look at what you have achieved over the last 12 months. Be proud of what you have accomplished, even if you did not meet all of your goals. Stop beating yourselves up over the things you didn’t do and pat yourselves on the back for what you have done.

I did, now I’m looking forward to what can be achieved in 2015.

Merry Christmas Everyone.

Picture by Victor Bezrukov

Picture by Victor Bezrukov

I just wanted to say a great big ‘Thank You’ to everyone who has followed my blog this year. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and hope you all have an amazing New Year. I’ll see you all back here in 2015, let’s see if we can make it a great year for writing, creating, blogging or whatever else it is you want to achieve.

Maybe I know something you don’t know?

Picture by Greg Westfall

Picture by Greg Westfall

I have been studying a lot to become a ‘quality’ writer, not at Uni or from taking courses, but through books and online info, podcasts and writings that cover all sorts of topics from developing characters to formatting e-books and building a platform. On my learning journey I have discovered many things and one that comes up again and again is that us bloggers should build a mailing list. I’ve been putting this off for some time now, thinking I will do that when I’m ready to publish my novel.

The mailing list topic came up again recently on a podcast I was listening to, so I thought maybe I should get it going sooner rather than later. Much to my surprise, while I was familiarizing myself with the new features on Wordpress, I discovered that it allows you to add a contact form to a blog page that will do this. You may in fact have noticed that I have set one up, and so far it seems to work a treat.

I thought I would share this info in case some of you have been looking at doing this yourselves and are not aware of this feature on WordPress. You’ll find my mailing list at the top right of my blog if you wish to check out how it looks. The plan is to use the mailing list to send free short stories, a newsletter or info about any new releases I have. I’d like to do this on a monthly basis at most, but more likely bi-monthly or quarterly. So if you wish to sign up, feel free to fill out the form and I promise not to spam you.

If you have tried this already and have anything to add, I’d be interested to hear from you.

A Life Spent Making Mistakes…

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”
― George Bernard Shaw

Ever Feel Like Having Your Teeth Pulled Out, Is More Fun Than Editing?

Picture by Jason Eppink

Picture by Jason Eppink

In my last post regarding the novel I am writing, I advised I had put it out for beta reading and the feedback had started coming in. I also mentioned I might jump on the NaNoWriMo wagon to get a start on book 2. To give you an update, I didn’t end up writing in NaNo, all the feedback came back that weekend and decided I would get stuck into it. I’m currently still working through what I hope will be my final edit. The process has highlighted just how much I have missed within the editing process. Simple things that I would never believe I would do, like using “there” instead of “their” or writing ‘the guards’ in place of “the guard’s”. I have been through this manuscript so many times now that my eyes bleed when I look at it… and still people manage to find errors! It just goes to show how important this step of the editing process is.

I am truly grateful to those that have spent their precious time reading and commenting on my work. They have selflessly donated a part of their life so that I can improve my writing. But it is a double edged sword, for while the feedback is valid, sought after and greatly appreciated, it doesn’t make me feel great when I read through the criticisms. It hurts! Not physically, but emotionally there is a sting in the tail of some of their sentences. It’s not intentional, they haven’t written them that way to scorn me, but that’s how it makes me feel. I have to endure I tell myself… suck it up, grow a pair, drink a cup of concrete and harden the f@#k up. So I do, because I know I have to go through this pain to become a better writer. I have, however, created a little technique that I believe assists me.

The technique is quite simple really. I read through the feedback in the word document or on the printed paper, and if one of the comments strikes a nerve, I write a reply. It goes something like this:-

Beta Reader: Where did they get that watch from, it hasn’t ever been mentioned in the story before?

Me: Who cares, they’ve always had it, hasn’t everyone got a watch? They don’t always roll their sleeves up and wave it under your nose, do they!

Beta Reader: There is too much description in here, why are you telling us all this? If the old diamond mine isn’t important to the story, we don’t need to know about it.

Me: Duh, it’s called world building, it creates atmosphere, it’s only half a paragraph, not a whole bloody chapter! Pull your head in.

This method seems to help me get over the comment so I can read it again with less ‘pain’ and consider it with a more open mind.

Do you have a method of getting passed the pain? If you do, I’d love to hear it.

If you liked this blog post, please feel free to share it with your friends.

 

Bucket List of a Writer.

Picture by Clint McMahon

Picture by Clint McMahon

At some point our lives will come to an end. That’s right, we all have an expiry date and personally I think we should embrace the fact that we are aware of this. Acknowledging and being aware of this is a key factor to making the most of the time we have. I guess what I want to say is ‘live your life, so that when the time comes around you don’t have any regrets.’

One way people try to achieve this is to make a bucket list and cross off the things on the list as they do them. I have one, it’s not written down anywhere, but it is real and the details reside in my head. I thought I would share a few of the things on my list with you, so here they are:-

  • Visit Machu Picchu,
  • Visit the Great Wall of China
  • Go scuba diving
  • Ride a Motor bike
  • Skydive
  • Write a Novel
  • Publish a Novel
  • Publish a short story
  • Learn a martial art
  • Visit Canada
  • Learn French
  • Live in France
  • Drive a V8 Buggy
  • Ride a Jet-ski
  • See the Northern Lights
  • Visit New Zealand
  • Visit Tasmania
  • Take a helicopter flight
  • Do a lap in a rally car
  • Visit Spain
  • Visit Germany
  • Go to Amsterdam
  • Go deep sea fishing
  • Learn to play the guitar
  • Go to Japan for the Cherry Blossom Festival

Have you got a bucket list? If so what’s on the top of your list?