Thursday, May 26, 2016

Keep On Keeping On

Each new book you write is a learning experience.

Just when you think THIS manuscript is perfect, another stylistic issue that you never thought of before crops up. Just when you think you've mastered the art of book promotion a new system arises. Just when you think you've figured out the best way to connect with readers, someone changes the rules.

I'm still learning after thirty-one years of writing, fifteen years of submitting, eight years of blogging and promoting my books, and almost three years of exploring the indie publishing scene. Most days I feel as if I'm spinning around trying to catch up.

But I'm not about to give up now. I couldn't if I wanted to. Like the saying goes, falling flat on your face is still moving forward, so I guess I'm making progress. In the mean time I'll keep on writing, blogging, and marketing to the best of my ability.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Wisdom From Karma

We all grow and evolve over time and writers are no exception. It's okay to change your writing focus. This is especially true for bloggers. A certain blog post might be fine for a specific season, but as our writing career matures some of our posts might not be appropriate for our brand anymore. Don't hang on to stuff just for the sake of holding on.

These are just some of the wise words I gleaned from my friend and fellow Inscribe member, Karma Pratt at a recent writers' workshop. She presented a short session called 'Blogging In the Age of Distraction', but her words of encouragement went way beyond the realm of blogging. Here are some other nuggets:

1. "Pray - listen - act" (which for us means write) in that order.
2. Be consistent and authentic in your blog.
3. Every time we love or serve others we love and serve God.
4. As Christian writers, we are God's conduit.
5. Readers respond at the heart level.

Thank you Karma for these words of wisdom!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

It's Actually Kind of Nice Here...

Gwillim Lake, BC
These were my thoughts the other day when my husband and I went for a drive to Gwillim Lake. It IS nice here. British Columbia is known for its natural beauty and our part of the province is no exception. Yet, often we buy into that old cliche and 'can't see the forest for the trees'. 

I've been feeling restless lately. (If you don't believe me, check my post called Change is Calling.) Call it spring fever, stress from overcommitment, or blame it on my parents for making me move so many times as a child, but dissatisfaction has been plaguing me lately.

Another blogger recently advised that we should focus on the good and positive things about any situation rather than the things we don't like. Although I can't actually specify what is making me feel the way I do (okay, maybe I'll just blame my parents again) but joking aside, I have to take responsibility for my own reactions. 

I live in a really scenic area of the country. We have almost zero crime and except for the bears it is safe to walk anywhere anytime. The winters are mild and although some people think it is remote, there is a road - something that a few places I've lived did not have! Even though we don't have a lot of shopping, there are advantages to that since we don't tend to spend impulsively. I have a secure job teaching all the things I love and I get along well with the students and staff. (In this economy that is a definite plus!) We own a home here (well, the bank owns it, but you know what I mean...) and housing is much more affordable here than in other areas of the country. All of my children live nearby within a two hour radius, and best of all, that also includes my two grandbabies!

All in all, it's a pretty sweet location. Convinced? Good!

Now the trick is to convince myself. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Overwhelmed or Overflowing?

My head was stuffed to capacity. I was sure I couldn't process even one more tidbit of information and yet I was expecting the rest of the group to now listen to my final keynote address.

This was the scene on Saturday around 3:00 pm after a full day at the Peace Region 'WorDshop'.  The one day 'mini-conference' was jam-packed with enthusiastic and knowledgable presenters - as much relevant and timely information as at any conference I have ever been at - and I've been to a few! Not bad for a first time event in the little ol' Peace!

book table
 - Cathy Coles showed us how to bring Biblical characters to life through theatre, although her techniques could be adapted easily to any type of writing. 
 - Ronnie Roberts demystified the publishing industry in her workshop on Indie publishing, bringing a ton of knowledge and practical experience to the table. 
 - Jane Wheeler's workshop on marketing was an excellent example of 'practicing what she preached' since her interactive and vibrant presentation perfectly matched her knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject. 
 - Whitney Braun shared her writing methodology from outlining to character development to the writing process in a concise and writer friendly way. 
 - Gwen Koop's animated presentation style had us in stitches during her editing workshop. Yes, I said editing workshop! This grammar guru is anything but boring!
 - Karma Pratt shared her heart in 'Blogging In the Age of Distraction' ending the day's smorgasbord of workshops on an encouraging high note.

All that plus my two keynote presentations and it was a FULL DAY, indeed. How did we squeeze so much into one day, you ask?

The committee had been expecting a sizeable crowd based on the number of writers in the area and the interest that was expressed. We decided on three breakout sessions with two workshops running concurrently. The actual numbers were nowhere near what we had anticipated, so instead we asked presenters if they would consider shortening up their presentations so that everyone could attend all six. Combined with a shorter lunch break, it seemed doable.

All the presenters were very gracious  and agreed, although most sessions went longer than the prescribed time allotted. In the end it was nearing information overload, but I think everyone would agree that it was a fantastic day. The intimacy of the group was one of the positives, I think, as it allowed for real interaction between presenters and attendees. Everyone came away with information, inspiration, and enthusiasm to spare. 

Thank you to Karma Pratt and Marnie Pohlmann for doing such a monumental job in planning and organizing. I think we all learned some things for future WorDshops as well, so all in all, it was a winning day.

Just some of the attendees at the Peace Region WorDshop