#FlashFiction Challenge for Carrot Ranch Literary Community

This weeks 99 word challenge is Comet…

 

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COMET

When I look at a comet, having been lucky enough to see one, I see a giant snowman, throwing a ball of ice across our night sky, with its tail of dust.

We look upon it with wonder.

Could this giant hand be playing Rounder’s, or maybe Alleygobs with giant marbles? Is there someone on the other side of our dark sky ready to catch them, to hold onto them for too long before we see them again?

Could it be an invisible jockey riding a sky horse or maybe a knight from some forgotten age, looking for Merlin?

The Cup…

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THE CUP

When knights of old

Crossed desert sands

Looking for what was lost.

Did they find the wooden cup?

Was it hidden in plain sight?

Where could fools not see?

Does it heal as legend tells

Or is it just a wooden cup?

Anita Dawes 2018

So, why do we blog?

 

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We are constantly being told that reading more will make us better writers and that we should blog with enthusiasm to build up our presence on the web. But I find that some of the things we need to do seem counterproductive and time-consuming.

Don’t get me wrong, reading does make me think, and it probably improves my vocabulary, but sometimes this can be counterproductive too in that I end up reading too much, taking time away from my writing. When I first started blogging, I read everything I could get my hands on, desperate to learn the secrets of the black magic box of the blogosphere.

And admittedly, I learned a lot.

Just lately though, there has been a change in my attitude to all things blog related. It suddenly dawned on me that as bloggers, we are trying far too hard to be the best at what we do with our constant searching for the golden egg. The one that will magically cause us to become omnipotent.

But because we are so busy running around like headless chickens, we are losing sight of our focus, the real reason we blog in the first place. We might even be missing the plot or choosing all the wrong moves.

I have been concerned of late, that there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to do everything. What with the increasing amount of emails and time spent on social media, there isn’t much left for writing or blogging, come to that. Not to mention any new ideas that need to be explored or any of our other interests.

Apart from the reviews we do, I haven’t read a book simply for the joy of reading it in ages. I have begun to resent some of the demands made of my time too.

It could be time to step away and have a long hard look at what we do. Time to prioritise and cherry pick what we really want to concentrate on.

Life might be different when the dust has settled, but hopefully better. We have to concentrate on what we can do and do well, instead of chasing so many rainbows…

What does everyone else think?

 

 

The Days are Far Too Short…

 

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Writers the world over must be grateful that someone invented Indie Publishing, but I wonder why they didn’t invent a better way of marketing the books we create while they were at it?

By better, I mean a way we can understand and implement, a system that actually works?

Now, I know I have a problem with technology, but I have tried my best to make head or tail out of it, and, overall, I have managed to understand and even utilise some of it.

Most writers are not wired to master marketing.  We want to write, not blow our own trumpets. The mere thought of being more visible than we have ever been in our lives is enough to chill our blood. We understand that we must make meaningful connections on social media, have book trailers on YouTube, for marketing is all about knowing, liking and trusting, but we also know there is so much more to it.

The experts say it is okay, to begin with baby steps, sharing everything, we do, but where do we go from there?

Do we…

Make a plan for our marketing activity?

Get excited about our progress and share the excitement?

Keep pushing the boundaries of our comfort zone?

Learn new techniques?

Try paid advertising, even though it is an expensive nightmare?

Keep changing all of our keywords, hoping to hit on some that work?

Need a newsletter, podcast, more trailers, FB ads?

Have we checked we are doing all we can on all the media sites?

I have tried most of these, but there are simply not enough hours in the day for everything!

There is no easy way we can implement everything we learn.

There is also the writing to consider, as this is the most important part of your marketing campaign.

Somehow, writers must learn to manipulate time, prioritise until our brains bleed, and hope we stumble upon the magic formulae…

(unless someone out there has already discovered it, and if you have, please let us in on the secret!)

 

#Writephoto Thursday Photo Prompt: Summit

We thank Sue Vincent for yet another interesting #Writephoto Prompt.

This week the prompt is ‘Summit’

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‘Summit’  Image by SCVincent

 

I have climbed many mountains in my lifetime and overcome, small victories won. Yet still, I search for that Holy Grail, that one missing piece of the puzzle.

Thing is, the shape of that missing piece keeps changing; the summit grows higher, further out of my reach. There are days when I give up only to be spurred on by a word, a smile from a stranger, someone offering to help carry my load.

When I sleep, my dreams take me all the way to the top. I am holding the missing piece of the puzzle. In my dream, I am reaching towards the table to place the missing piece.

I awake before knowing if it fits. My search goes on…

#Jaye’s Journal 9 – 15 July

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Last week was such a frustrating time for me, as the end of my rope seemed to be getting ever closer.

The backache didn’t want to leave me, fluctuating between good and bad days that I swear would try the patience of a saint. This is something I have never professed to be, so maybe I had it coming. I was to blame for it in the first place, lifting all those couches, so I must take the punishment without moaning.

Despite the pain and frustration, I approached the WIP, only to find an alien pile of scribblings that looked only vaguely familiar. I read the last chapter but nothing occurred to me, no clear direction, nothing. I went back even further, with the same results. My heart sank to the floor as it was beginning to look as though I would have to start again.

At this point, my brain nearly went crazy. I wanted to cry, scream, or leave the building and couldn’t make up my mind which. Fortunately, I have a running storyboard of sorts, with a tenuous thread running to the end, something I have not done before, so I studied it, desperately seeking inspiration.

But my brain wouldn’t budge.

By now, I was beginning to feel as though I had lost whatever writing ability I thought I had, along with my muse. Not that she has ever been a great help to me, more the opposite really. She can argue the hind legs off a donkey and can always find at least three reasons why something won’t work, so I’m not missing her half as much as the contents of my brain.

Right in the middle of all this frustration, the PC started crashing and buffering, something it has been doing a lot of lately. I normally wait patiently until it gets its act together, but after two horrendous days of not being able to get even the simplest of tasks done, I made a decision.

Firefox would have to go. It had crashed on me for the last time.

I downloaded Chrome with my fingers crossed, but so far, it has been fine. Now all I have to do is find out where my writing mind has buggered off to!

 

How Do You Achieve the Impossible?

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I have never been one to back down from a challenge, although there was that one time when we were considering renovating this house, only to find that half of the supporting walls were missing. Or the time when the previous owners had removed all the fireplace walls in the house, but not the chimney stacks on the roof, creating the granddaddy of all disasters, but I digress.

Just let it be said that there are some challenges you just cannot entertain.

Some challenges, however, beg to be taken on.

You know what you need to do. (more or less)  Thousands of people are already doing it, so how hard can it be?

It also helps if you have already mastered stage one…

For a rank beginner, writing a book was hard enough. Then I had to learn how to edit, format and upload it to Amazon. To be fair, once I knew the basics, this turned out to be reasonably easy. Although, knowing I could change anything, was a get out of jail card, as my memory has more holes than a colander.

At that time, I thought that was all I had to do. Over the years since then, the truth has gradually dawned, bit by frustrating bit, pointing out that there was a lot more to it than that if you wanted to be successful. Even now, there are days when the enormity of it all makes my head spin.

What We Have Tried

Paid Book Promotion Sites… most of these do a good job, but they are expensive and the results were disappointing.

Book Tours… fun, but a lot of work. We met many people but didn’t sell many books or get reviews.

KDP promos… very good for putting your books out there and shifting a ton of free copies and that’s about all!

We have recently pulled most of our books out of KDP and placed them with Draft2Digital. Seriously thinking about going back to Smashwords too, as being exclusively on Amazon just doesn’t sound right anymore.

Over the last five years, we have sold a few books and received several reviews. We have established a popular website/blog and a slowly growing list of followers, and the fire of determination still burns bright. Almost every week, I try something new, either to do with books or marketing, something supposedly guaranteed to make our books bestsellers.

The Future?

We are contemplating having a go at Facebook Ads, as they seem to be the way to go. If anyone knows better, please let us know?

We are constantly told that the best way to make it in this business is to keep writing until you create a masterpiece as the more you write the better chance you have of creating something that cannot be ignored.

Surely, there must be a little more to it than that?

 

 

#Write Photo: Wings

Our contribution to Sue Vincent’s #Write Photo Prompt…

#writephoto: Wings

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Mother told me I would never earn my wings in heaven.

“Pull your bootstraps up, son.”

I could not tell her I had wings…

She could not see them, one white, and one black.

They would stay this way until my time on earth is done.

Then my wings will be black or white, depending on whether I go up or down…