Who doesn’t love a deal, especially a New Year’s deal? Everybody loves deals. Just offer something at a good price and see how fast people come calling.
This week I’ve heard about some great deals for writers and bloggers. In honor of the support and encouragement my followers have given me in 2015, I’m sharing these New Year’s deals with you.
1. FIRST UP IS A GOOD DEAL FROM WEB HOST, BLUEHOST.
I’ve been working with BlueHost going on almost four years. They host this site plus two small business sites my husband and I run. When it comes to support, they are fantastic! When it comes to a great deal for new customers better than fantastic.
Right now BlueHost is offering a great monthly rate. And the reason I know about this discount is because I’m celebrating my first anniversary as a BlueHost affiliate. Yes, that means I get a little something for every new customer I send to BlueHost. If you’re interested in BlueHost as your site host, click on the image below and check things out:
2. LOOKING FOR WRITING BOOKS AND/OR VIDEOS?
Writer’s Digest has some books offered at discount prices. Here is what I found in the store today:
2016 Writer’s Market Deluxe Editionby Robert Lee Brewer is a list of literary agents and publishers curated by Writer’s Digest and now they are offering it for 40% off the regular price, or $29.99, a savings of $20. In addition to the listings, the book includes many tips on the business of writing and a free webinar is offered (a $79 value) on building your audience, marketing, and publishing. It doesn’t sound like you could go wrong.
Under “Bundles and Kits,” a collection under the title Turn Your Blog Into a Successful Book. This bundle includes four books and three webinars on topics like How to Blog a Bookby Nina Amir, Blogging for Writers by Robin Houghton, and one of the webinars is on starting your platform. Regularly the price for this bundle (and you have to see it to believe it!) is $293.95 and you can buy it for only $49.99.
You will find other great offerings at the Writers Digest Shop, so spend some time and see what you can find to help your writing take off in 2016.
Note: I am NOT an affiliate of Writer’s Digest.
3. LOOKING TO SPIFF UP YOUR WEBSITE? LOOK NO FURTHER.
Elegant Themesis currently offering a 10% discount off themes and plugins for a limited time only when you sign up for their newsletter. Elegant Themes does a stellar job designing themes and creates some of the most effective plugins for WordPress I have used. Don’t miss this opportunity!
I am in no way affiliated with Elegant Themes.
4.WRITING SOFTWARE CAN BE EXPENSIVE, BUT LITERATURE & LATTE IS STILL OFFERING A GOOD PRICE FOR SCRIVENER.
I have used Scrivener since I began writing my memoir back in 2009. It has gone through many changes to make it a user-friendly writing tool. I especially appreciate the way I can organize my project within the software as if I were using an old-fashioned filing cabinet, file folders, and lots of paper. I just took a look at the site and was surprised to see you can still buy the software for Windows 10 for $40 and for Mac OSX Version for $45. Literature & Latte also offers a free trial. Check it out, and feel free to ask me questions. (Note: I am not an affiliate of Literature & Latte.)
There are many items helpful and useful for writers and bloggers. Sometimes you have to dig for them, and other times they come to you out of the blue. Keep your eyes and ears open and read up on the craft to see what’s happening with technology and books written to help us along the writing journey.
What writing tools and books have you seen deals on lately? Anything you can pass along to the rest of us today?
If there’s one thing all writers agree on, it’s that writing is TOUGH. The road to publication twists and dips as we learn the craft, hone our abilities, create stories we’re passionate about, fight discouragement, educate ourselves about the industry…and then start the process all over again as we realize there’s room to improve. But you know what? If you are like me, you wouldn’t have it any other way.
Yet, sometimes it’s nice to get a helping hand.
Finding a good writing book, a helpful blog, a mentor or critique partner to share the journey with…these things are gems along the writing path.
And guess what? Maybe there’s another resource waiting just up the road called One Stop For Writers.
One Stop For Writers is not writing software, but rather a powerful online library that contains tools, unique description collections, helpful tutorials and much more, brought to you by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi, the authors of The Emotion Thesaurus and Lee Powell, the creator of Scrivener for Windows.
Could One Stop For Writers be the writing partner you’ve been searching for? Visit Writers Helping Writers this week and see, where Angela, Lee and Becca are celebrating their venture with prizes and some pay-it-forward fun.
Winter has been too kind to the populous of the Pacific NW, and the season overlooked us in favor of other parts of the country. But in place of unkind and unending blistering cold, freezing precipitation, snow depths unbelievable to most of us, the lack of same at our end of the country allowed germs to blossom, multiply, and infect.
My husband and I must have passed someone stricken with respiratory issues with the instinct that “paying it forward” meant anything and everything. If we could find the kind soul, we’d gladly pay back the germs shared. However, we’ve had some good reading time as we rested, drank lots of liquids, and healed.
According to Stephen King, we must read to write so I gladly read these past couple of weeks. Today I want to share some stellar books specifically written for writers. Excellent tools to have at hand or at least in your library. Here are thumbnail sketches of them:
Everybody Writes by Ann Handley is an easy to read guidebook on writing and publishing good content. Not only is it suited to writers and bloggers, anyone who writes and/or markets in today’s fast-paced Internet markets will find Ann Handley’s advice well-tested and palatable.
Helen Sedwick’sSelf-Publisher’s Legal Handbook provides a step-by-step guide to the ins and outs of self-publishing. The legal issues inherent in any business undertaking are presented in lay terms for ease of understanding and use. Helen Sedwick is not only an author but also an attorney with 30 years experience.
Writing Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon shares the story of the journey involved in writing Blue Highways. Heat-Moon wrote of a 14,000 mile, 38-state trip he made, and now he shares the four-years spent writing Blue Highways. He shares not only his success along the way, but also the rejections and other stumbling blocks writers face. Numerous drafts, unending revisions, balancing personal life and the writing life, and much more bring to light what every writer must understand–“the tricky balance of intuitive creation and self-discipline required for any artistic endeavor.”
Hamlet’s Blackberry: Building a Good Life in the Digital Age by William Powers is part memoir and part intellectual journey. Powers is a brilliant writer drawing on not only the constant question faced by today’s digitized person, “Where’s the rest of my life?,” but also dropping back quietly to past technologies and the likes of Shakespeare and Thoreau. At times, I found myself laughing out loud and/or giggling at how ridiculous we’ve allowed the digital world to become. Remember when we were told computers would save us time? I still need to learn how that works. Enter Powers’ book.
Recently, I had the pleasure and opportunity to hear Gigi Rosenberg speak to a writers’ group here in Portland. My husband just happened to win a copy of Rosenberg’s latest book, The Artist’s Guide to Grant Writing. Rosenberg has written a transformational guidebook to take starving artists of any art form to a driven researcher of grants, fellowships, residencies, and yes, grant writing. The money is out there, waiting to be spent on the creative arts, if we only ask. Finding it is key, and Rosenberg’s book holds the key to unlock the treasure.
As an adolescent, teen, and young adult, I was always late to the party, and so I am in reading Lee Gutkind’s book, You Can’t Make This Stuff Up. Lee Gutkind, also editor of Creative Nonfiction, has been called the “godfather of creative nonfiction.” His book breaks the genre of creative nonfiction down into an understandable, easy to grasp slice of writing education. I don’t know why I waited so long to read this handy tool, but I’ve not been able to let it out of my sight since finishing. It’s worth every penny I paid for it!
I have added these six books to my list of resources found under the menu tab, “Resources | General Writing Resources.”
As most of you are aware, I recently moved my blog from a free WordPress.com site to a self-hosted WordPress.org site. I have never reconsidered my decision to move from Blogger to WordPress a few years back, and so far I see no need to reconsider this most recent move either.
Many of you asked me to share how I reached my decision and about the benefits of one versus the other. I spent several days, maybe two weeks or more, researching and vetting the issues.
Today I’m sharing with you what I learned in the process and why I moved.
The most logical place to begin vetting blog moving issues was with WordPress support. On WordPress.com I found a helpful article setting out a chart listing the differences between the two platforms. This proved helpful to me in understanding not only the differences but how much I wanted to invest in time and money.
Here WordPress sums it all up pretty well:
WordPress is a publishing platform that makes it easy for anyone to publish online, and proudly powers millions of websites. It comes in two flavors: the fully hosted WordPress.com, and the self-hosted version available at WordPress.org.
A second article in my search is a post found at WP Beginner in the form of an infographic. The infographic summed up the WordPress article beautifully and in fewer words plus added a column for available upgrades for WordPress.com and each cost.
Despite the information found in these articles, the question I wanted answered was “Why should I pick one over the other?” I found this answer at Kimberley Grabas’s blog, Your Writer Platform. Kimberley writes:
One of the biggest disadvantages of free-hosted sites is that you don’t really own your site; the provider does. You could spend years building up your site, creating a great resource and substantial platform, but never fully own or control it. With that much investment at the whim of the provider, “free” no longer seems like good value.
And there was my answer. The concept of ownership is important to me. To work hard day in and day out writing and posting on a blog, maintaining a site such as so many do, only to have someone else with the ability to exercise final control over it made no logical sense to me.
So, I decided to make the move to WordPress.org.
Next step was hiring a host. Thinking I knew what I was doing (never fall victim to this!), I contacted the host who maintains our small business site and has for several years. What I didn’t do was question fully the host’s knowledge and ability to work with the WordPress.org platform. Result = mess! Parts didn’t work, “we don’t do that” responses, and more confirmed my poor business sense.
Off to Bluehost, a WordPress.org, and an organization deserving of compliments on their support staff who are very responsive. However, remember the site mentioned earlier, WP Beginner? At the time I made my move, WP Beginner was offering free installation and transfer of files if I linked from its site to Bluehost to make my Bluehost purchase, and then emailed a copy of my receipt as proof of purchase. WP Beginner’s staff was priceless!
Not to lead you astray, there is some work to do on your part once your host has completed its work. Things like deciding which, if any, plugins you’d like to add to your site. For example, some widgets that come with WordPress.com are not standard with WordPress.org. But don’t distress! The number and availability of plugins is unbelievable, including colors, fonts, use of Java script, Disqus comment format, Yoast SEO, Tweet This, Akismet, Jetpack, and more. Installation of any of these is a snap.
There was only one bump in the road that has yet resolve itself. To migrate my list of followers from the WordPress.com site to WordPress.org, I was told to use Jetpack’s services. And it worked beautifully when it came to migrating followers who signed up to receive posts via email. Followers who had signed up on Facebook, Twitter, or other means would not migrate. Those followers must sign up to follow again, here on this site. This was the only thing I found a bit unpleasant in the process but I’m continuing to attempt to get the word out to my followers.
Now you know what I know. Like many decisions in life, this is one no one else can make for you. You have to decide!
For months, I have contemplated starting a bi-weekly newsletter. There are several newsletters I receive via email, and I enjoy each one for its uniqueness and informational worth.
Over the last couple of days, I convinced myself that if I never try, I will never know what the experience of being a newspaper woman is like. My father began his career in publishing as a newspaper man. Perhaps that’s where the itch originated.
Starting in August, I will email a newsletter of writing news and tips on a bi-weekly basis on Thursdays to my mailing list. The first edition will come out on Thursday, August 14th.
If you would like to be on my mailing list, click on the image below, or on the same image in my right sidebar, and you’ll be taken to a signup form. I promise never to share your email address with anyone else, and at any time you have the option to unsubscribe.
I hope you will take a chance on my experiment in newsletter journalism, and come along on this journey with me.
My goal is to offer only newsworthy, helpful information on writing and topics related to writing and its final transformation into worthy reading material.
Remember, you might hear it first in my newsletter!
In a perfect world, our days would be filled with limitless hours of writing time. However, ours is not a perfect world. At least mine isn’t.
Despite living in retirement, my days are still filled with what seem to be unending household chores, yard and gardening chores, errands, maintaining a small business other than my writing, and more.
I am not an expert on increasing writing productivity. Perhaps like you, I struggle every day trying to find the time to write.
If you look around–in books, on the Internet, magazine articles, there is a plethora of advice on how to increase your writing productivity.
Here’s a sampling of what I’ve found:
1. Eliminate Distractions.
As difficult as it may seem, sitting down to write means limiting distractions and interruptions. One easy tip is to close all open tabs on your computer and have only your manuscript or working document open. If you are still tempted to hop over to Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest, perhaps an app like StayFocusd to limit the time you allow yourself to visit social media sites would help. StayFocusd is free to Google Chrome users. Other such apps include: Freedom, Anti-Social, RescueTime (my choice), and ColdTurkey. A search for “social media blocking apps” will offer a longer list.
2. What is Your Process?
Do you have a process for writing? Or do you sit down and just start writing? Are you enjoying the process of writing? Or have you started something that doesn’t please you or feel right?
Remember, you don’t have to be what everyone else is–historical novelist, memoirist, chick lit writer, biographer. You don’t have to write the same way every other writer does. You can be whomever you want to be as a writer.
Look around your space. What books do you see that you’ve kept after reading them? What fills your shelves? If those are the books you’ve enjoyed as a reader, maybe they fall into the genre you will enjoy writing. Take a good look at the process these writers chose. Discover the writer you want to be. Know yourself, and try to forget the critics.
3. Set a Daily Goal
Determine a daily goal, either by number of words or pages or choose a time increment, such as an hour or maybe two. If you choose to follow a time increment system for daily writing, set a timer for the amount of time. Then write until the timer goes off. A handy app for accomplishing this is Pomodairo, a Pomodoro time-based timer and task management app.
4. Give Yourself Breaks
After you’ve accomplished what you sat down to do, give yourself a break. Take a 10-15 minute walk or stretch, have a cup of tea or coffee, do something to move out of your chair and breathe fresh air. Perhaps you have a note or personal card to mail–write it and get it ready to go in the mail. If that load of laundry is ready to be folded, that will only take a few minutes. Do that. Just do something to refresh your mind and body.
5. Devise a Method to Follow Productivity
I did not realize how important this could be until I signed on to Jeff Goins’ Facebook group, My 500 Words. The goal in this group is to write 500 words each day on something you’re working on or using the provided prompt. It provides accountability, support and encouragement. The accountability is what I was searching for when I signed up. In the process of organizing the group, Jeff mentioned the importance of accountability, including following your own productivity. Not long after, I came across a link to a writing progress tracker developed by author Jamie Raintree. Simple to use and handy in an Excel document on my computer, I can easily log in the number of words I’ve written each day and on which blog or project. Jamie has entered all the formulas to calculate the daily, weekly and monthly word count. Thanks, Jamie!
6. Read Less, Write More
This is an area I need to improve on. I lose writing time each day because I think I should ready everything I find on becoming a better writer, how to write memoir, and more. I can’t resist the idea that someone has a better idea about how to write. Slowly I’m learning that I must stop reading what others think and get on with the writing. As I look around my writing space, there are dozens of books and articles on writing that I have yet to read and in that state they aren’t supporting my writing efforts. I’m finding I tend to learn more by doing than reading about how to do it. If I encounter a problem in my writing, then I’ll go look it up and see what I’ve missed in the doing.
7. Read Your Genre
There is one area you’ll want to read, and that is books in the genre you’ve chosen to write. From these writers, you will learn more about your chosen craft. Watch how they open and close chapters. See how they have developed their characters. How do they use dialogue? Then see if you can apply them to your work. This is not plagiarism as you’re not copying what they wrote–you are modeling the principles of writing they used.
8. Set Goals
Some of us are goal setters, and some are not. If you are so inclined, set large goals first. Then work backward from the deadline established for that goal and set smaller goals along the way to help in accomplishing the larger goal on time. For instance, if you want to publish your book after the first of the year, you will need to have it edited and revised in October or November to leave time for edits and rewrites. What this means is that the book needs to be finished in late summer. This is an example of how you need to set your goals in order to timely complete your project.
Accountability needs to be worked into goal setting. Perhaps there is someone you can tell about your goal(s). A critiquing partner, a writing group member, or a close friend or family member. You’ll note on the right sidebar I have a countdown set. Believe me, I see that more often than is comfortable these days. You can also set the dates on your calendar and set up pop-up reminders for each one.
9. Work When No One Else Is and/or When You Feel “On”
How do we know the best time of our 24 hours each day to write? Some writers wake early in the morning before their family members wake up, and they get in an hour or more of quiet writing. Young mothers who are writers wait eagerly for nap time. I read a post recently by Ellis Shurman on how he found an extra hour in his daily schedule of commuting, working fulltime, parenting and more. Others establish blocks of time on a calendar and then tell their family members they are off to write and are not to be bothered. (Sometimes that works; sometimes it doesn’t!). Actually, for you it might be looking at what you have to carry out and doing that during the part of the day when feel your best, really “on.” Suit yourself. You are the writer.
10. Write Now, Edit Later
You have all heard it. Write until the first draft is completed. No stopping for edits, errors, corrections, rewrites–just write. The temptation for some of us who are Type A personalities to make that first draft perfect is overwhelming. I have finally taught myself to write, write, write–don’t stop. It hasn’t been easy but it does go faster when you’re not continuously stopping to make corrections. Once you’re finished with the draft, then you can sit down with a copy, or maybe you like to do your editing on the screen, and make the necessary corrections, perhaps a little rewriting here and there. I think we may all be familiar with Anne Lamott’s quote on this subject.
11. Bottom Line–Write Your Story and No Harpies Allowed
In your writing, be yourself. Be honest. Tell your story. It is after all your story. Yours to tell, and only you know it and can tell it. If you don’t write it down, how will anyone remember it after you’re gone? How will anyone ever read it and gain any perspective from your life experiences?
We mustn’t let the harpies get in our way. When one settles on your shoulder, close your ears to what you hear: “You can’t write.” “Who is going to read this garbage?” “What makes you think anyone wants to now what you think or feel?” “Get over yourself–you’re not a writer.” remember you are the writer, you own the story, and you can write it without any outside help.
This is not an exhaustive list. If you search the Internet, there are so many ideas about what we writers should do or not do in order to be productively producing our books and essays, our poetry and rhyme. Yet it all boils down to how it works best for each of us individually, doesn’t it?
Do you have a process that works for you? Are you willing to share ideas with the rest of us? Leave comments, ideas, questions, criticisms, etc. in the comments below. Let’s discuss!