Interview With My Conscience…

Image by Pixabay.com

It was another Monday morning in front of the computer and I was asking myself the same old question. Why do I  bother with any of it? Anything that could possibly go wrong usually does, and it was getting a bit wearing. Then my inner voice decided to join in the conversation.

Everyone feels like this sometimes, you are not unique you know…

Yes, I know we all have days when we think everything conspires against us, and life seems futile. Doesn’t help though.

You sound like a drama queen, one who is prone to over exaggeration…

I don’t think I have imagined the succession of near disasters that have played havoc with my life this year?

Okay, I will admit there have been one or two, but nothing to write home about…

How about my inability to successfully market anything. You have to admit I am hopeless?

Could be you’re just not smart enough, for it’s not exactly rocket science…

I can buy that one, for the results of my efforts speak for themselves.

You seem to be forgetting that you are OLD. That feeling of circling the drain is quite normal at your age you know…

There are days when I would agree, but others when I still feel competent enough for the job in hand.

But which of these days are the real ones, and not the ones that are the result of your own stupidity?

I know I have a few shortcomings, but there are also circumstances that are beyond my control.

Beyond your mental capacity, you mean…

A fine Jiminy Cricket you turned out to be, where is all the optimism, the encouragement?

I can only work with the material I have at my disposal. It’s not my fault if your grey matter isn’t up to scratch…

You know, all of this could be academic if my health gets any worse. I’m sure you have to agree that I am not imagining that?

I know it does all seem very real, but you have beaten the odds before, and will do again, I’m sure…

So, you would conduct my life differently, would you? You are coming across as a smug know-it-all, but you don’t drop any hints any more, do you? Isn’t that supposed to be part of your remit?

After a lifetime of trying my best for you, literally thousands of hints later, I have run out of ideas.  Banging my head against a wall is definitely not my scene…

So I am on my own now, you are retiring?

You still have your instincts, even though they malfunction far too often. It has brought you this far, however…

~~~~~

“Some of us get to choose how we live our lives, whether to depend on our conscience, or wing it with instinct.

Heaven knows which is best, and I think it also knows what will happen to us.  I could do with a ‘heads up’ round about now…”

Sharing a post from Susanne Lakin from @livewritethrive.com

I read this inspirational post this morning from Susanne Lakin @livewritethrive.com and had to share it here…

 

Wake Up and Pay Attention. This Is Not a Drill
Hi writer friend,

I don’t know what you think about the corona virus. But one thing I do know: a lot of people are NOT taking this threat seriously. There are a number of states here in the US in which there are no restrictions in place. Where people are crowding in malls and going out to restaurants and ignoring all the warnings and precautions.

Can I just say this is not just stupid but deadly? Honestly, as Howard Dean said the other night about the young people cramming the beaches in Florida, thinking they are immortal or something (I’m paraphrasing here): Great. Have fun. Now you will go home and be responsible for killing your grandparents. You want that on your conscience?

In China, about 70% of all deaths were due to exposure to family members with the virus.

In Italy, families tend to be very close, and so their young people spread the virus to their elders and killed them.

I want to share a part of an email I got today from my friend Brian in Italy. Please read this:
“Thanks for your message, thoughts and prayers. It means a lot.

The situation here is really tragic. I actually live in Codogno, the small town where the first case was discovered. We’ve been in lockdown for nearly a month now: same here, everything closed except essentials.

I’ve never seen anything like this: each time I open Facebook, I see news about someone who has passed away. In our village alone we’ve had close to 100 dead in about 3 weeks.

Of course, being such a small town, we all know each other, so it’s even harder when you ‘get the news’ and you knew the person.

Hospitals are almost full and will soon reach the point where they won’t be able to cope anymore. And there’s still a lot of people who don’t understand how serious this is. You see them in the streets, in parks, etc.

We can only pray this goes away soon and that everything goes back to normal in a relatively short time.

Fortunately I, my wife and our 6-month old son are ok. We’re at home and never go out. As things stand, that seems to be the best and only cure.

Praying that it doesn’t affect you guys as bad as it is doing us.”

I guess Brian didn’t get the memo and images we have–that doctors are more than overrun in Italy and are having to choose who lives and who dies. I’m sure there are governments around the world worse than ours–not telling their citizens the truth of the dangers and statistics.

In the US, our president doesn’t want to look bad (if the virus numbers prove to be high), so though he has promised for weeks we will get test kits, which seems easy for the rest of the world to get, he isn’t delivering. We are being fed so many lies for political reasons. And because the US administration delayed months in preparing for this virus, we are now two weeks behind Italy’s dire situation, if even that.

So … you’re a writer. There is no more critical time than now to use your words.

Don’t spread lies. Don’t soften the danger. Use your words to tell others to stay home. To help those in need.

Call your local and state mayors and governors and representatives and tell them to start preparing for the flood of virus patients. They can commandeer stadiums and empty hotels to become makeshift hospitals. Tell them we must make manufacturing companies to switch gears and make ventilators and respirators and hospital masks and gowns. We did this during WWII. We certainly can do this now.

We may only have days, not even weeks, to help prevent thousands of deaths.

A study shockingly shows that if those in China had started isolating and shutting down gatherings even ONE DAY earlier, they would have prevented about 67% of the deaths. Conversely, if they had waited one more day, there would have been 67% more deaths.

I could go on and on. As Dr. Fauci, highly respected expert says, we should err on the side of being cautious and excessive. When you or your loved ones are dead, it’s too late to regret you weren’t more careful.

Stay home. Just stay home.

If you need to go to get groceries or something essential, go, but sanitize everything. Every grocery item you bring home, wipe it down with a bleach/soap/water solution. Let every item stay wet for 4 minutes before putting away. Sanitize every box that gets delivered before you open it. You can read all the guidelines recommended.

Keep in mind that the virus particles can stay viable in the air for 5 HOURS. That means if you go to the market and someone sick coughed hours earlier, you can still get sick. Masks do NOT protect from the virus. Keep using sanitizer as you shop. Wipe everything down, especially your phone and any touchpads or counters you touch. If you use gloves, be sure you don’t touch any part of your body while wearing them. Throw them out before you get to your car, then sanitize your hands, your car door, your steering wheel. Don’t take the germs home. I sanitize every piece of mail I get out of the mailbox.

But don’t just follow the guidelines. Tell everyone you know. Do what some are doing in cities when they see people in groups in the streets: they are yelling out windows: “Go home and stop spreading the virus!”

Think about my friend Brian. A month or two ago, he was happy living in his beautiful peaceful Italian village raising his baby with hope on the horizon. Now he is surrounded by death, losing many of his neighbors and friends every day. Who will be left in his village months from now, if/when the threat passes. We are being told this could go on for 1-2 years.

Yes, this is an emergency. It’s a war. You have words. Now is the time to use them to fight for our lives. There is no better use of your words right now. Make people wake up and pay attention. Share on social media. Call friends. Get those people in Texas and Oklahoma and Florida and Idaho to wake up and stop spreading this deadly virus.

If the statistics come true for the US as with China or Italy, it’s predicted maybe 70-80% of All Americans will get the virus. Let’s say 200 million people. If only 1% die, that’s 2 million. The virus seems to be killing about 3%. That’s 6 million dead.

Sure, ignore it if you want. Pretend, like Trump, this will suddenly vanish, just disappear. The experts say otherwise.

Better to be safe than sorry. I agree with Michael Moore (listen to his podcast Rumble for more specific statistics) that the worst that can happen if you’re wrong is some people will make fun of you and say you were too melodramatic. So what? Do you care? I don’t. I’d rather save some lives than worry about what people think of me.

Enough for now. I’m sad. I’m angry. But I’m also so grateful to see so many people helping others. I’m working to set up a fund today with my church to make sure everyone has enough money to pay their bills. Many of my friends have been laid off this week. Why don’t you look into doing that? Or find a local reputable agency or church that is helping your community. You reap what you sow. Share the wealth, even if you have little. Surely you have more than someone else, something you can spare.

If you’re sitting around at home, don’t get depressed. Get busy helping. With your words.

Words have power. Use them.

My prayers are with you all.

~ C. S. Lakin

Copyright 2020 Live Write Thrive, All rights reserved.

 

#ThrowbackThursday ~ The Life of a Writer… with advice from @AriMeghlen

 

The life of a writer is not what I thought it would be in the beginning.

Maybe years ago it was what I imagined, but in these digital times, it has changed so radically from that idyllic, if rather a romantic notion of what being a writer would be like.

These days, we all wear so many different hats, it’s a wonder we get around to writing anything.

What with the constant struggle to come up with interesting posts; reviewing all the books we read; trying to find new and effective promotional ideas.

Not to mention all the thinking, worrying, emails and planning, there are not enough hours in the day!

So when I read Ari Meghlen’s post on organising your life better, my interest was aroused! In this post, she recommends assigning different days for specific jobs and not deviating from this agenda. This could work, but not sure about using an alarm clock to keep me on track!

I have long attempted to devise a routine that would help me to get more done, but the harder I try, the more complicated and slower I seem to get.

I have always had a problem with rules and restrictions. Or rather, fate seems to, on my behalf. The minute I decide on a certain idea, a timetable or schedule, you can just bet something or someone will come along and wreck it!

I try to be more productive, especially with my writing, and one of the ways I have found that actually works is to try and write 1000 words every day. As I am up long before anyone else in my family, I can usually manage this with ease. So in one area at least, I have it covered!

Ari has some good ideas HERE on her post; does anyone else have anything to suggest that would improve the lives of us desperate to be better organised writers?

#Throwback Thursday ~ 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 wonderful 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 advertising, even though we don’t have much of a budget 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 finally create a masterpiece. Apparently, 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?

 

 

#Wednesday Writer… Out of Time ~ a mystery thriller #Review

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KATE DEVEREAU HAS SURVIVED the brutal attack on her life, but cannot speak or move. Her brain has shut down, refusing to remember the horror of what happened to her.
Slowly, her mind and body mend, revealing a nightmare she knows will become worse before it can get better.
Can she survive another attack and restart her life?

Amazon Review from Janet Gogerty


 

I was thrilled to receive his review from Janet, but it did make me think about my story. Should there have been a hero?

I would love some feedback on this… pretty please?

Weather Warning for the South of England…

We could take this warning with a pinch of salt… or make sure we have enough food and essentials, just in case…  I remember last time…

 

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A blanket of snow is expected to fall this week as Britons shiver on through a deep chill.

A band of rain is due to push east across England on Tuesday evening, bringing widespread snow to the south of the country overnight.

Around 1cm to 3cm of the white stuff is expected to accumulate “quite widely”, the Met Office said, with the possibility of 5cm to 10cm falling on higher ground.

A yellow warning is in place for the south of England, East Midlands and West Midlands from 9pm on Tuesday to midday on Wednesday.

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Depending on your point of view, this is one hell of a way to start the week!

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!)

 

#Jaye’s Journal: An Unexpected Visitor…

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My office is usually a quiet, peaceful place. Unless something goes radically wrong and I am having a rant.

Today was almost such a day, but I was trying hard not to lose it, determined to figure out what I was doing wrong and why my WIP was proving so difficult to get right.

I have to sit with my back to the door, something I wish I could change but the layout of the room doesn’t allow for any change. So when I sensed someone standing behind me, I assumed it to be one of the family.

‘Ma’am, that is surely a crying shame…’

The soft gentle voice of a man, inches from my ear should have alarmed me, but my curiosity had the better of me and I wondered what he was talking about. Although I wasn’t entirely sure if I had imagined it, I answered. ‘Pardon?’

‘I have to say that character is all wrong, you know…’

By now, I knew I wasn’t imagining it, but insanity seemed a better fit. I was also fascinated, so decided to play along and see what happened. ‘How do you mean?’

‘If you will permit me to sit down, I will explain…’

I nodded, aware that I was about to see who my mysterious visitor was. I watched as this white haired, distinguished and a slightly familiar gentleman walked past me to sit in the only other chair in the room. He reminded me of someone, but my brain was stumbling around like an idiot at a genius convention.

He had kindly blue eyes and an enormous, also white moustache, a bit like Albert Einstein, but I was sure it wasn’t him. He sat there, next to me, calmly watching me with an amused expression on his face. I wondered id he, like me, wondered what he was doing here. I decided to ask. ‘I feel as though I should know you, but what are you doing here in my office?’

His bushy white eyebrows were moving slightly, reminding me of caterpillars.

‘Ma’am, I have no idea how I arrived here, but judging from what I just read on your notebook, I must be here to lend a hand, so to speak.’

For the next hour, we talked about my progress as a writer, my WIP and one character in particular. I had been worried about this one, so it was refreshing to have another clearly expert opinion.

‘The problem, Ma’am is this. You have not brought him to life yet. He needs to have a life, smell the coffee, and do normal things like a regular human being. He will die soon anyway…’

‘Where did you read that? And please stop calling me Ma’am, my name is Jaye.’

‘Oh, I didn’t read it, Jaye. The poor chap never eats, so he won’t last long…’

I was embarassed but had to laugh. My visitor was right. I had been so involved with the plot; I had forgotten to give him a life. My eyes returned to the chapter on the desk in front of me, eager to see with fresh eyes just what a pig’s ear I had made of it all. It occurred to me to thank my visitor for pointing out what had been wrong all along, but when I turned my head in his direction, he had gone and the chair was empty…

I tried to continue working but my brain was busy trying to remember where I had seen the old gentleman before…

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