Tag Archives: networking

Horoscope link – or is it just like the chorizo?

10 Jul

Sometimes when things are happening in our life, we are more aware of similar things occurring around us. It can be that we are into a particular type of food, or something more momentous, such as pregnancy…suddenly something that never quite reached your radar is around you constantly.

Sticking with food as an example I will use chorizo. I LOVE chorizo. Given the chance I would use it in all my cooking.

I once spent over half an hour deliberating over which type of Chorizo to buy...well I was in Spain

It isn’t an ingredient I remember my Mum ever using, and it certainly wasn’t a commonplace addition to recipes when watching cookery programmes. About four years ago my addiction for the spicy sausage started, since then, if I haven’t got chorizo in, then it’s time to go food shopping. Baked Beans had always been the food to give me the thumbs up for the food shop – you should always have a spare tin in the cupboard!

On toast, potato, with your breakfast or just with chips, you can't knock Baked Beans

Anyway, I am getting off track, in the past four years it would seem everyone has started cooking with chorizo, and the TV chefs can’t get enough of the stuff. In my youth (ha), I would have said that this was all because I was a trend setter, I was running in front of the crowd. Now I accept it is because of my awareness.

Yesterday, it was my birthday. I am also aware of two other writers that had their birthday last week. Another writers birthday for sure has been or is due because they keep posting the Cancerian horoscope via twitter. So, my question is, is it coincidence that four of us (I know a relatively small number) are Cancerians? Or, is this in itself a sign?

Now I will just say I don’t ‘do’ horoscopes. That is to say I don’t check up on what my daily, weekly, monthly predictions are, but I do believe that there is something…how to explain?

I stumbled across this, just taking a short section it describes a Cancerian as;

While in a conversation, the facial features of a crab will change a number of times, displaying his numerous moods. He has a vivid imagination and at times will drown you in his moods too. Each and every experience affects him and gets engraved in his memory. Cancerians remember everything life has taught them and are true patriots. Past intrigues them and they love to collect antiques, old treasures and ancient relics. They are the perfect keepers of secrets and people automatically confide in them.

Now as I write this I already have a nagging voice (a real one) telling me this is a load of old rubbish. Well I don’t care, I am intrigued. I am not saying the description for a Cancerian fits me perfectly, maybe 80%, but it does seem strange that it is so close.

So writers, or lets broaden this to creative types, what star sign are you? Do you match the profile?

I return to the chorizo and will say again, it may just be that because it has been my birthday that I am aware of others around me that are also celebrating, but I wonder, is it something more? Are you a writer also celebrating your birthday within the Cancerian month? Is there a link?

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My possible plans for A Simple Guide

27 Jun

I have spent  a lot of time thinking about A Simple Guide to Self-Publishing. I haven’t worked on the marketing of it as I should, there has been something holding me back. Just a niggle, but it has been there.

So what is this niggle?

It wasn’t something I was fully aware of at first, I thought it was self-publishing nerves, the doubts that we all inevitably have. What if our work isn’t well received, what if (and you know how I feel about them) you get poor reviews?

It wasn’t nerves.

When I spoke about the guide, I found myself having to explain the book more in-depth than I feel  necessary. Was it that I hadn’t nailed the blurb enough to create a short explanation? Did the fault lay with me?

Nope, not that either.

As I read blogs, and chat on twitter, I find myself (hopefully) advising people on the steps that they can take to make their own self-publishing experience a little easier. There is something very strange about what I am telling people, IT ISN’T IN THE BOOK.

And that’s the problem.

My guide isn’t as comprehensive as my knowledge. It certainly takes you through the basic steps, and I can, quite happily, hold my head up and say my guide does exactly what I set out to do.  It is great for all of those who want to consider self-publishing that haven’t already got a blog – for those truly at the beginning of their long journey. I know this because I have spoken to many people who are at that very stage. I think as ‘bloggers’ we fail to realise the amount of knowledge we gain from one another about various areas of the industry. I am not even convinced when we sign up for our blogs we know what the purpose of that blog will eventually be.

So I’m thinking…

I interact with writers on a daily basis, each at different stages of their career, each with their own goal. The one thing they all have in common is that they have already done the hard part, they have opened up to the world that they write. they want to have their work read. So the question I am now left with is, what can I do for them?

I have 'borrowed' this image. Click on it if you want to know where it came from. (The site itself doesn't provide the source and I am totally confused by the proper way of doing this image thing!)

I have several options;

* Write ‘A Guide to Self-Publishing’

* Forget about the writing a book thing and just continue to throw out advice as and when someone asks

* Update the existing guide, filling it with everything. It will intrinsically make it less ‘simple’, but it will certainly answer all the questions.

So what do you think? I have to say I am slightly stumped by what to do. My gut tells me to make ‘A Simple Guide’ free, once I have written a more comprehensive one. The idea being you will download the first one, like my interpretation of the process, and then buy the new one. However, I really like being free with my information, and I love helping people. At the end of the day, self-publishing is the one industry that says ‘hey, look at me, im free’ but when you take a closer look, free it definitely isn’t.

The problem with writing a more in-depth guide is I know it will be extremely time-consuming. On such a tight schedule, can I afford to undertake a further project? Sure, I say I have more to add, but I would never add the information without checking it several times first. I would say my writing tends to be 90% research, that is a LOT of time.

As writers we are always seeking perfection. Our last draft is never final in our minds (even if it is on the shelves of Waterstone’s). I don’t think my doubts are that. I want to be proud of what I have done, and I am, I just think I could do more.

Am I rambling? I would love to know your thoughts. Oh and yes, this is self-doubt. (For the record I am afraid of  writers that do not show self-doubt, there is something icky about them!)

I took a holiday without technology

25 Jun

Well hello there. Sorry it has been so long. As most of you will be aware by now I have been on holiday, but I never intended to be away for so long, or to not at least let you know where I was.

So what happened?

Well per usual, when it comes to going away I go into overdrive. Not only do I plan the packing (starting several weeks in advance), I also insist the house is cleaned from top to bottom (including the oven), and the garden is looking immaculate. The problem is, I am not as organised as I like to think. The week before we left was the first week I had the children at home with me full-time (arrgh!). We were leaving on the friday evening, on the thursday evening I was out doing the gardening, and on the friday I ended up putting the kids into nursery for the afternoon whilst i washed and dried five loads of laundry, finished packing, loaded the car…I never got to mop the kitchen floor (shakes head sadly).

So what? Big deal..

Having the kids at home is a major effort. i applaud all stay at home Mums. I just do not know how they do it. Sure I can look after them, keep them entertained, keep up the house blah de blah, but I, the big fat me, gets lost in that whirlwind of toddler questions and constant demands. As a result, I don’t get to write, even tweet, as I would like. When the evenings come, I crash down and don’t have the motivation to get going again. This explains my lack of informing  my dear readers where I was going, and when I would return. I had the post all worked out, it was just never completed.

So your on holiday now?

Well no, not quite. When we left our home on the friday evening we headed down to Kent to my parents, a journey that takes around five hours on a good run. We arrived just gone midnight, which allowed us a few hours sleep before the baby woke and saturday would begin. As with all of our visits to Kent, Saturday was the first day of manic that fills every minute of a visit. We fly from one person to the next, desperately trying to fit in as many people as possible before we leave. All the time in the back of my mind I kept telling myself, when you get five mins…Before I knew it Tuesday had arrived and it was finally time to board the plane.

Yay, we are headed to Spain!

Thirty minutes into the car journey to the airport I realised I had left the Ipad, my portal to ‘normality’. I went through a mixture of emotions, but the most compelling one was relief. Relief to embrace the chance of reliving childhood. Remember the days when we didn’t carry electronic devices everywhere, and were contactable 24/7? Sat in that car I reached forward and took my Blackberry from my bag, switched it off, and for a full eight days made myself unavailable.

It was amazing!

I know, you were expecting me to talk about the heat, the endless hours by the pool, the beach, the food…Nope. You want a holiday, disconnect your phone and internet. Happy days! We visited many places, such as Cartagena, a Spanish port where the towns architecture transports you to a place only before found in your dreams. Not to mention Mar Menor (OK that is probably spelt wrong but I don’t want people flocking there anyway!). Beautiful coastline where the flamingoes bathe and you smear the healing mud across your skin, waiting for it to crack in the sun before swimming in the sea to finish your free beauty treatment. Would these places have been so great with my phone bleeping in my pocket? Probably, but I am glad that as I tucked into my tapas I hadn’t that distraction ruining my meal.

 

Dreaming of owning my own boat...then I remembered I got seasick. There was a catamaran boat ride that my son was desperate to go on but just watching it bounce up and down made me feel queasy.

But you logged on and left a brief message?

I blogged ‘still on holiday’ once we had returned to my parents. Although by this time the mobile phone  was on, and sure the internet connection was super speedy, I decided to indulge a little longer in my break. I logged on because it is part of our nature now to feel the need to be connected. I chose to limit my use because I knew it would be too easy to sit down and start the grind again.

And now?

I am back in grey and rainy Wales. I am missing the sunshine and watching my tan fade faster than the black clouds can run across the sky when I peg out the washing. I have so much reading to do it is unbelievable. Not only do I have two weeks worth of blogs to read and comment on, I had also spent a couple of hours carefully selecting my holiday reads for my Ipad. this is a mission still to be completed obviously. As well as this, i only had four paperbacks left to read before I left, my Mum has  now given me a carrier bag of good reading material so that is calling me also. The one thing I did manage to complete a large chunk of was editing of a friends first fourteen chapters. I did up to ten, so I must complete the last four by next week – when I am given up to chapter twenty-one (If he could please stop writing whilst I catch up…(I call it editing, not in the true sense, but this is the easiest way of explaining my ‘work’)).

I have so much more to add to this post, such as how my favourite tracks and novels etc as previously discussed has now much more to be added. It’s amazing how clear your brain becomes when you switch off. Likewise, on that post I was asked about the film The Lovely Bones, what did I think? I said I hadn’t seen it, didn’t want to see it…I’ve seen it! Rubbish, absolutely dreadful as I expected. However, it hasn’t ruined the novel for me, as I felt it shared very few similarities. On the plus side one particularly hot afternoon my son needed a break from the heat and we sat down to watch Mulan. Oh I LOVE that film! why doesn’t Disney make films like that anymore?

Anyway, I am sure I have bored you all rigid. I have missed you all dreadfully. How have the past few weeks been for you?

(I have attached a few images below for those of you that are interested – the best pictures by far have family members included and I have chosen to omit these, so it’s more of a make do, sorry).

There are many statues around Cartagena. This one in particular makes me smile as my son is still pondering how the statue had managed to get up and walk through the town from the bench where my son had sat and had his photo taken just a few minutes ago. His face was so filled with wonder I couldn't bring myself to tell him it wasn't the same one.

 
 

The best part about Cartagena was the variety of Architecture. You literally walked the centuries as you passed through the town.

 

This still sends shivers down my spine. Every evening as we sat on the porch outside the gecko's would scurry about - not knowing where they were all the time would drive me nuts.

 

My son just loves taking the camera and will spend hours taking photos. There were many surprises when we uploaded the pictures today, this was just one of them. So OK, it is just a lemon, but hey, it's not at all blurry!

 

This is the view from our apartment. It is also where the lemon tree was tucked away.

 

It was the babys first baby whilst we were away (My daughters first birthday, must stop calling her 'the baby'). Rather slackly we left it until late morning to venture out for a cake to celebrate the day. After visiting several shopping areas, we gave up and headed to the pattiserie by the beach. Now a custard doughnut might not work for everyone but Summer (that would be the babys name) enjoyed sticking her fingers in the custard and licking it all off. As great as the temptation was, I resisted doing the same!

 
 

Random thoughts on my blogging world

1 Jun

Remember me chatting about blog stats a few weeks ago? I was getting mildly obsessive, feeling like I had to check who was visiting every hour – well I am still there. Now though, it’s not because I am anxious, but more of a happy surprise to keep me smiling. I actually feel like my words are wanted, it was all I could have hoped for.

Now let’s not get carried away. My figures are still modest at best, but I no longer care. I don’t need endless streams of readers, although I do welcome every new visitor with open arms. My subscribers are set at on average one new sign up a week. (Not inc RSS). This is more than enough for me as it allows me chance to get to know my subscriber. Have a cheeky peep at their blog – make some comments – check out their twitter feed…it’s even better if it is someone I am already subscribed to.

On that note, when I started blogging, their were several writers whom I religiously followed. I would comment endlessly, and basically beg for their attention. I wanted to be their friend. I saw them as people I would aspire to be like. Basically I wanted their following and their success.

I don’t want that now.

I want my own.

Those bloggers whose attention I craved I realise now aren’t my people. Not because they didn’t respond to me, the amount of followers they have it must be difficult to keep track, but because as time went on, I realised that in the real world, I wouldn’t like them very much. They are too career hungry, stamping on people as they go just to make their way to the top. I believe there are other ways to be successful. I realise that just as people put a face on to go to work, so do people to blog. The problem with that mask – every now and again it slips.

I haven’t ever had any ‘hate’ mail. Maybe that is because I haven’t thousand of readers. However, although I know you cannot possibly please everyone, (and I know I have taken a dislike to people because they are too nice), I would sit back and consider how I am portraying myself on my blog for that person to feel the need to email me. I would go through so many emotions it may just create the perfect piece of written work. Why? Because that is who I am.

Bloggers whose posts I enjoy I comment on, and chat to, and I do feel that we have some sort of relationship. This is cemented by not only joint blog interaction, but twitter also – sometimes even Facebook. Crossing over onto Facebook is questionable. This is not because I don’t welcome these people fully into my world, but because my FB is very dull. I have tamed it down and very rarely put on there what I would choose to, purely because of the groups of people following me. Oh I know you can change settings, but I would rather spend my time writing.

I have noticed of late though that many of my favourite blogs have been very quiet. In actual fact, I subscribe to about thirty blogs, and of those I would say only about eight have been active recently. Last night I started my investigation. One of those is Jessica. S. I typed in her URL, and low and behold, new posts are everywhere. I read through some, but I will seriously have to sit down when I have time and read through fully. The couple of posts I had chance to glance on were pure gems.

Of course I emailed Jessica and let her know that I hadn’t been receiving the updates through my WordPress feed. I have now signed up through RSS and hopefully I shan’t miss anymore. It makes me wonder now what else I am missing. I shall have to sit down and check each blog now – what else have I missed???

Having said that, I will spend thirty minutes each evening flicking through freshly pressed. I hunt for good titles that make me smile. I very rarely go out hunting for places to promote my blog. There isn’t anywhere the same number of bloggers that was about this time last year. Certainly not tagging under writing and books. I don’t know why, but it does seem a shame. How many people are allowing their blogs to disappear into nothingness? Where are the new bloggers to replace them? I know WordPress isn’t the only place to blog, and I do sign up elsewhere, but it is by far my favourite.

Either way, I think from my blogs point of view, watching my stats slowly rise, this quietness of blogs (even those that do still post seem to do so erratically) I am obviously benefitting. I just hope you don’t all run away when something better comes along.

How has your blog journey been? Have you been drawn into a blog only to unsubscribe when it left your stomach feeling a little uneasy? Or am I being naive? Do you need a face for blogging – or is that face just what we call our writers voice?

Is there a difference between networking and socialising

1 Mar

As many of you know, WordPress now have the automatic publicise button. This allows your posts to be advertised on Twitter, Facebook, Messenger and Yahoo.

I happily use the Twitter service. My twitter account was set up for the sole purpose of communicating with like-minded people, or networking as it is described.

I am not a user of Yahoo, and Messenger I have but do not actively participate.

Now Facebook is a completely different thing altogether. My Facebook account is for friends only. I regularly take part in status updates and chats. But do these friends want to have my blog shoved in their face?

I don’t think so. I will, occasionally place a link to my blog, but this probably accounts for five out of every hundred posts. It’s not that I think they won’t be interested, but I see it this way, I like to know what’s happening in my friends lives, but I don’t need to know what happens within their job day in day out.

My Facebook is my private life. My blog is my work life. Do they, or should they, go hand in hand?

They do not mix well, and sometimes snippets or information may cross over, but it isn’t always required, and certainly not essential.

Blogging and tweeting in a work capacity remain isolated, and yes at times, if it is warranted a telephone communication may be needed between ‘contacts’, but as a whole, or certainly where I am at this time, web communication is ample.

But what about Facebook? Should online communication be sufficient to maintain regular contact?

I have my friends on Facebook, I interact with them daily through FB, text, telephone and face to face. I have old friends who if it wasnt for Facebook we would not know anything about each other. I have family, and those I call the misfits – people I have met once or twice in life and not really sure why we have linked.

If I was to delete everyone off my friends list who I haven’t spoken to in the last five years, i would more than half the list. If I was to consider who I have spoken with in the past four weeks I could probably count those left on my fingers.

I believe my colleagues online as those who I may speak with every few months, more if it is required. Regular contact is not necessary as day-to-day snippets are not required.

I find it fascinating that I find this acceptable, but yet when it comes to personal life, I feel we should have more contact with one another. I think it is a sign that we have a real interest in each others life, a sign that we care.

I think social media is an amazing technology. It offers so much for everyone. It opens up doors that otherwise may have remained closed to us for our entire lives. I just find it a shame that this is crossing over into our personal life, where face to face contact, or at the very least, talk time, is key to maintaining a relationship.