Making the Most of Your Time

There are so many demands on our time these days. All the technology means we are constantly available unless we call a halt. In my therapy work, many clients baulk at the idea of turning off their phone even if it allows them to sleep better. If we want to find time to be creative, we need to be creative to find that time. In order to write the novel/create the piece of art/write the poem, we need to be clear and prioritise it so that it gets done. If it’s not scheduled in, it gets scheduled out. One way to create more time is to stop watching television or watch less of it. Same with mindless surfing of the web. How many cat videos do we need to watch anyway?! Another option is to get up earlier or stay up later. Of course we need to balance our activities so that we get rest, interact with our loved ones, walk the dog, and do what needs to be done to keep things ticking over. Trying to write in the last couple of years has taught me the value of tenacity. Having a mindfulness practice has trained me to be able to focus my attention and bring myself back from whatever distraction the monkey mind is after now. Last night, for instance, I really, really wanted to go to the library to collect a book I had reserved which had become available. I was very tempted. I wanted to do anything except sit at the computer and re-edit two short eBooks I am working on. But I just made myself do it, whether I wanted to or not. I have discovered that there is no substitute for perseverance if I want to write, to improve my writing, to publish and to have others read my work. I hope you strengthen your perseverance muscles every day, and find a creative way to live your life creatively. By the way, my Goodreads competition is still open until 22/03/17 Win a copy of How to Love Yourself in Less Than 50 Years

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Striking a Balance

Without a doubt, I love writing. I lose track of time and am happy to write, edit, rewrite until I am reasonably happy with the result. Someday I hope to have much more time to write, but for now, I have to write in the spaces between making a living. I have set a goal of writing one hour a day or 420 minutes a week, in any increment of time. I put that goal on the fridge where I am bound to see it because the fridge and I are close. We spend a lot of time together. Yesterday morning I wrote three pages in longhand before work and today I typed it in to the story I am writing, plus did some editing. I am constantly trying to find a way to write as well as do everything else I need to do. Last year I spent a lot of time trying to learn about marketing and so far this year, I have spent more time writing and done practically no marketing. I have to be honest and say that my heart is not really in the marketing but I do realise it has to be done. It’s an ongoing juggling act. I have been reading books about creativity and an interesting suggestion that came from two of them was to not ask your writing to earn you a living for quite a while – it’s too much pressure. Fortunately I enjoy the other parts of my work life, as a therapist and pet minder. Reid Tracy, CEO of Hay House, reckons it takes ten years to be an overnight success. Grand so – one down, and only nine more to go! So if you are in the same boat, just hang in there and keep writing for the sake of writing. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Okay Not to Know

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Some of you know that one year on I am still learning every day about how to write and sell books. It would be an understatement to say that I have Beginner’s Mind on the subject. There’s a lot of empty space between my ears! I am currently doing a free promotion of How to Love Yourself in Less Than 50 Years on Amazon and I have another book which is permanently free, called The Power of Inner Change for Outer Results, Vol. 1 Letting Go of the Past. There is a free bestsellers list on Amazon – which means that the books on the list are free to download and therefore earn no royalties – and I am bemused to see that  Letting Go of the Past is at No. 6 and the Love book is at No. 25 on the same list. I have no idea what, if anything, this means in the Real World but I guess it is good news? Let me know if you have any notion!

The Best Things in Life

It’s the time of year to take stock, isn’t it? Looking back at 2016, I feel I have worked hard. .I self-published my first book, How to Love Yourself in Less Than 50 Years. It had taken me two and a half years to write. Since publishing it I have constantly been learning about the technical aspects of self-publishing, and trying to learn about how to market a book. It would be fair to say it’s been pretty head-melting. In August I published a series of short eBooks called The Power of Inner Change for Outer Results. These ones contain links to free instructional videos and audio meditation downloads – more technical challenges! More melting of the head. Publishing to Amazon is relatively easy – but Smashwords now, that is a different kettle of fish. They have two sections. The first section is for publication on the Smashwords site itself, and their premium catalogue which is for the circulation of the book to the likes of Barnes & Noble and Kobo. Getting your book accepted for the Smashwords site is okay, but the premium catalogue – aha! This is where the true melting of the head starts. To date, I have reformatted two of the eBook series three times each, to no avail. I have written before about the necessity of perseverance for successful self-publishing, and it has to be said that Smashwords premium catalogue is the best teacher of patience and perseverance I have ever encountered. So this year has been an intense lesson in just sticking with it, and plugging away. A highlight of the year was opening the packet containing the first proof copy of my paperback. Was it worth two and a half years work? Yes, actually, it was. Another highlight was getting an email from KDP about my first royalty payment. Was it all worth it? In terms of personal achievement goals, yes, it was. I’m beginning to realise that writing, publishing and marketing my own books is a long, long-term journey. If you are on the same journey, just hang in there and keep working away. It helps when it’s your passion, because you will need to call on that energy of passion for the self-discipline to keep at it. In the meantime, help yourself to a free Kindle copy of How to Love Yourself in Less Than 50 Years on Amazon from tomorrow for five days only, finishing at midnight on Sunday, January 1st 1017. I hope you enjoy it.

Just Keep Going

When I started this writing lark, I had no idea of what was ahead of me and it’s just as well. In my innocence, I foolishly thought all (“all!”) I had to do was write a book, and if somehow or another I got it published, well, I would die happy. So earlier this year, I did indeed self-publish my first book, and have been on a Very Steep Learning Curve ever since. If the learning curve was a road, I would need a 4 wheel drive to stay on course. So since April, I have written a series of three short ebooks, complete with videos and audio recordings, about self-healing techniques. The actual writing of the books was the easy part. The challenge for me has been the technical part. Now, I am No Spring Chicken but I know my way around a computer. I have two things going for me: Firstly, I know computers are just glorified typewriters so they don’t scare me, no way, no how. Hey, I was alive before the Internet was even a glint in the eye of the guy who invented it. Secondly, when I want to do something, I simply will not give up. So I bought this Scrivener software, in an attempt to do the conversion of my ebooks myself, and then had to buy three online courses to try and find out how the hell it worked. I eventually figured it out, and then ran into technical difficulties as I tried to create a table of contents (TOC) with subheadings. I tried. I tried again. I tried a total of 4o times. It turns out that the mythical TOC with subheadings is simply not possible in Scrivener. I eventually found out that I could have used Calibre, a free software application, to convert my books – with the fabled TOC with subheadings included. I thought my head would melt with the frustration and the waste of time and energy but thankfully, it did not. My head is Unmelted. I am bloody but unbowed. What I’ve learned won’t go to waste. And one thing I’ve learned is to ask the question “Is this possible using this piece of software?” instead of just assuming that it was possible but just elusive for me. So my advice for you, if you are having similar difficulties is (a) ask for help (b) channel your inner badger and just keep at it. You’ll get there in the end – because if I can do it, you can too.