Writing

5 Ways to bring back the Muse.

Blog, build a platform, know your audience – these are just some of the things writers are inundated with on a daily basis.  There is just so much information to take in, it’s little wonder we unpublished writers get confused and wonder what we’re taking on.  I know there have been many times I have had to take some time away from my computer in order to help my sanity.  With all this noise, I was finding my muse was beginning to fade into the background.

Now with the start of another year of NaNoWriMo, we need our muses more than ever.  Don’t you sometimes wish you can just write?  In order to help find our muses, we need to drown out the noise.

Here are five ways to go about it:-

  1. Prioritise your life. Ask yourself what are the most important issues in your life right now? Focus on these; everything else can wait. Try to remove any unnecessary clutter in your life.
  2. Walk/meditation. Exercise and getting back to nature can be very beneficial.  Take time to be alone and gather your thoughts; close your eyes, think about your senses and help clear your mind.
  3. Listen to music. Like walking and meditation, music can help clear your mind and can also be a great source of inspiration to your muse.
  4. Switch off the news. Let’s face it; watching the news from around the world can be rather depressing.  Because we have so much going on in our own lives, do we really need to know all the ills of the world to help bring us down emotionally? Tune in once in a while online, and then get off.
  5. Spend less time on the internet and social networks. We are given too much information at our fingertips.  Weed out only the information you need, give yourself a certain amount of time each day and then get off.

And the best thing about NaNoWriMo is to forget all about perfection – a great opportunity for your muse to take over!

Are you drowning in too much noise? What do you do to help bring back the muse? Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo this year?

Free image by Jeroen van Oostrom courtesy FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Book Promotion, Writing

Beginner’s Tips on Promoting Your Book.

Recently, my writers group at the Central West Writers’ Centre was visited by Vanessa Talbot, author of Extraordinary You.  Vanessa is also a life coach, helping other writers and she discussed various ways on how to promote yourself when you become an author.  Here’s what Vanessa had to say:-

  • Writers just want to write – they’re usually insular people.
  • Most self-published authors sell about 100 books.
  • Authors need to be pro-active in marketing their books.
  • The fastest way to sell a book is by word of mouth.
  • Learn to build a rapour with the media.
  • When marketing your book, start with local media – print and radio, then move on to magazines.
  • When being interviewed, match your tone with the subject of your book.
  • Match your energy level with the radio/television host.
  • Eye contact is not necessarily a rapour builder – soften eye contact.
  • Match the tone and pace of your voice with the interviewer, so you’re on the same scale.
  • You need to match the language used with the show – listen to/watch shows to help you.
  • People are drawn to mirror images of themselves.
  • Find common interests with your interviewer.
  • Be careful of your rapour within author photos – body language can be a good giveaway!
  • Get the media on your side and be a gracious guest.  Send email, etc to show your appreciation – they’re sure to remember you that way as well.
  • Finally, create a blog and join social networks such as Facebook and Twitter – get yourself out there!

Many thanks to Vanessa Talbot and the Central West Writers’ Centre – we’ll certainly take more notice of people’s body language from now on!

Have you ever been interviewed?  What was the experience like for you?

Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Writing

Regarding Blogging & an Award.

There has been a fair amount of discussion lately regarding blogging.  I’ve been reading some of Kristen Lamb’s posts, including this one and through that post, I bought her book.  She believes that for fiction writers, our blogs should be based ‘on topic’ in order to gather our readers.  I understand this reasoning and it does make sense, yet I’m not too sure what to make of this.  I wonder if you write too much ‘on topic’ that it would eventually alienate readers, when after all, readers these days like to find out more about their favourite authors as a person.

Maybe because I am a writer, I like to learn how other authors deal with the writing process, rejections, etc.  Making friends with other writers would be in my own best interests, not only helping out in the writing process, but they would be my first port of call as readers.  If they thought my writing was good enough, this may then help spread the word about my books/work and therefore encourage my future (non-writing) readers.  I know I’d do the same for them.  As luck would have it, I read this post by fellow blogger, Molly Green, and was relieved to find that I was not the only one feeling this way lately.

Adding further to my blogging dilemmas, I had been reading this post by Meghan Ward regarding the expectations some agents have on the number of hits an author’s site should receive.  It is from reading such numbers as these, that one begins to feel a bit like Linda Blair in her head-spinning scene in the Exorcist!  Her post, along with this one from Jami Gold helps put blogging into perspective.  As someone pointed out in the comments, marketing should not be confused with platform.  In the end, I went back to a good old reliable source book, something tried and true – Get Known Before the Book Deal by Christina Katz.  This quote was the one that brought it all home for me:-

My opinion is that you should put the lion’s share of your energy into the work you do that earns you money and keep your blog growing slowly and steadily on the side.

So now, I’m not going to stress too much about blogging anymore.  I believe the best way to go is to find some sort of balance between being ‘on topic’ and what is happening with my writing.  I have seen published authors blog this way and it doesn’t seem to be doing them any harm.  I’ve been blogging for a little while now and I think it’s a case of blog whatever you feel comfortable with.  And by the way, if you don’t already have a copy of Christina’s book, I heartily recommend it.

Still on topic, but on a more happier note, many thanks this week to Jen at Jen’s Bookshelf for giving me the 7×7 Link Award.  Yes, my blog has been given another award! 🙂

Now for this award I need to list what I regard as some of my best within these categories:-

Most Beautiful:  This Spring I started putting up some photos for my Photo Friday posts, and this one Photo Friday – Rainforests seemed to have become the most popular, judging by the comments.
Most Helpful: Once again, judging by the comments, Conquer Your Fears seemed to create a healthy discussion.  It’s good to know that as writers we’re not alone.
Most Popular:  My first entry in the Writer’s Platform Building Campaign, My Sweet Imago – 2nd Campaigner Challenge not only generated some votes, but some wonderful comments.  To know that I had captivated my readers, and that they found it ‘entrancing’, ‘evil’, ‘vindictive’, ‘creepy’ and ‘disturbing’ makes me one happy camper!
Most Controversial: Well, I have to admit that this one Controversial Issues in YA Novels is the closest thing to a controversial post that I’ve written (at least that I know of).
Most Successful:  I would have to say that my post on the Writer’s Platform Building Campaign I regard as my most successful, only because by participating in this campaign, I have had more people visit my blog, comment and subscribe than ever before.  I have also met and made friends with some wonderful people I would never had done so otherwise.
Most Underrated: My post on The Business Side of Writing was created out of sheer frustration by a local business taking many months to fix our washing machine.  I decided to apply simple strategies on how to provide a top quality customer service when it comes to writing.
Most Prideworthy: To know that people do actually read my blog and appreciate what I have to say earned me My Very First Writing Award not once, but three times.  Thank you so much Elizabeth Anne, Lesann and Kerri – your kind thoughts, along with Jen for this award, has given me the incentive to stay within the blogosphere.
So now I hand over the 7×7 Link award baton to my fellow bloggers:- Lynda R. Young at W.I.P. It, Christy Farmer, Molly Green: Worth Becoming, Rebekah Loper, and of-course this goes without saying – Elizabeth Anne Stilborn, Lesann Berry and Kerri Cuevas!