I read this inspirational post this morning from Susanne Lakin @livewritethrive.com and had to share it here…
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?
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.
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?
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?
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?
It was another Monday morning 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…”
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.
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?
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?
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…
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…