Spin the dial

I am sure we all have morning routines. Part of my routine is to have a local radio station playing in the background when I’m getting ready in the morning. I don’t want the intrusive babble of overbright voices too early on in my day – I covert that initial quiet time when most of the world is still asleep. But it is handy to catch up on the news and local travel.

Tea
Cup of Tea by NicehotcupofT courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/bkfNg5 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

But here’s the thing – I don’t particularly like the DJ. I find him borderline annoying and the music they play is pretty safe, middle of the road stuff. I ought to change the station and tune in to someone new but the other local radio station is even worse. They have a couple of morning DJs, a man and a woman, and the woman sets my teeth on edge so that’s a no go. There are, of course, plenty of other stations to choose from but it’s the effort, it’s the time. I have a pretty tight timetable in the morning so I stick with it, take the good stuff, try to ignore the annoying stuff, hold on to my routine and get on with my day.

Radio
Radio by Robert Ashworth courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/eSwjZW https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Earlier this week the station or the transmitter suffered a meltdown. Suddenly there was nothing coming out of my radio. I stared quizzically at my old battered radio in case it had had the radio equivalent of a cardiac arrest but on moving closer I could hear the static so I knew the radio wasn’t to blame. I have been told that a DJ’s worst nightmare is what they describe as “dead air”. Well there was plenty of that.

If I wanted music, news and noise I now had no choice but to spin the dial and find another station. With a sigh of impatience I did just that. After a few detours into classical music (perfect for chilled out evenings with a glass of wine but not frantic mornings) and hard edged rock (perfect for driving or doing the housework) I found a substitute. And what a substitute. The DJ made me laugh within two sentences and even the music was more my style – rockier (but not headbanging).

I now have a new accompaniment to my morning routine and it is better than the one I had before.

radio dial
Radio Dial by James Cridland courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/9UsSUa https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

There is an analogy there for other parts of my life and probably yours too. All too often we stick with what we know even if we are unhappy about it because it is easier, less hassle or because that’s just the way it’s always been. But why not make the effort and challenge the status quo? You may, like me, be glad you did.

We should all spin the dial occasionally.

 

The Indie Author Fringe Event

Learning
Learning by India Edu courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/cJHGxJ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

The Indie Author Fringe Event at the London Book Fair takes place online across this Saturday March 18th starting at 10.00 a.m. London time and continuing for 24 hours.

Here is a link to the speakers and topics being covered during the event:-

http://selfpublishingadvice.org/indie-author-fringe-march-2017-agenda/

If you are interested in registering (registration is free) or want to find out more about the event itself here’s the link:-

http://selfpublishingadvice.org/what-is-indie-author-fringe/

I have signed up for previous fringe events and have always found them helpful and informative. So why not give it a go?

This is what ALLi have to say about the event on their website:-

“Indie Author Fringe is a three-times a year, online conference for self-publishing authors, brought to you by the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi), fringe to the major global publishing fairs. 

 ALLi brings together the most up-to-date self-publishing education and information available and broadcasts it to authors everywhere. 

Running 24 sessions over 24 continuous hours allows our members, and other authors round the globe, to attend some live sessions, no matter where they’re located. (But don’t worry, we don’t expect you to stay up all night! You can always catch up later.)

Over the course of the year, we take authors across all stages of the author-publishing journey: writing, editorial, design, production, distribution, sales, marketing, rights licensing, money matters and living the indie author life.  And thanks to the generosity of our speakers and sponsors, it’s free.”

Don’t forget to enjoy it

Enjoy
Enjoy by Elizabeth M courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/aAMBVR https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Sometimes as life sweeps us along it’s all too easy to get lost in the day to day grind. We have so many things to tick off our stuff to do lists, so many obligations and commitments to honour and people to please we forget about making time for ourselves and for the people in our lives who really matter.

So next time you are working out your schedule for another busy week, remember to schedule some fun stuff too.

  1. Take five minutes out with a cup of tea or coffee first thing in the morning when the house is quiet to count your blessings.
  2. Factor in some fun time with the kids and the pets.
  3. Book a date night with your partner.
  4. Give your Mum and Dad a call or better yet a visit.
  5. Don’t feel guilty about watching your favourite TV show while the ironing pile gets higher.
  6. Meet your friends for a coffee and a chat.
  7. Run a bubble bath, light some candles and switch off from the world for a while.
  8. Buy some fresh flowers for your home or if money is tight take a walk in the park at lunch time – just being near beautiful things will lift your soul.
  9. Cut toxic people out of your life.
  10. Smile more – it’s infectious.

Can anyone be an indie author?

Technically, the answer to that question is yes. Not everyone, however, is cut out to do it and fewer still can do it and enjoy it.

As with so much, it comes down to how much you want something and how much time and effort you are willing to put in to achieve it. Too many people say they want something but baulk at the work it takes to accomplish it.

author
From affirmation to reality by Joanna Penn courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/akqpa3 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Being an indie author is not easy. Whilst you can build up a support network, you need to have a strong sense of who you are as an author and where your books sit in the market place. You need to be able to trust your own judgement. You are the only one who has your back.

As an indie author, even if you hire others to do some of the work for you, the ultimate responsibility for what they produce lies with you. You have to check and recheck and check again to ensure a quality of output is achieved that you are happy with. You are the Managing Director, the CEO, the buck stops with you.

The boss
The Boss by GDS Productions courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/aWS8c2 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The glory, however, needs to be shared. Remember to thank people for the work they have done. It costs nothing to be nice. If people pay you a compliment on your cover, don’t forget to mention your cover designer. If people praise the professional look of your book, namecheck your editor and others who have contributed their time and talent to making your dream happen. Always, always acknowledge and thank and pay it forward.

And Don’t rush things. Your goals should be to produce the best books you can and build a sustainable career for yourself. That won’t happen overnight. Have patience and plan out a schedule that is achievable. Remember there are only 24 hours in every day and you should be sleeping for eight of them! You might want to do it all, you may even succeed for a while but eventually you will crash and burn. Remember that story about the tortoise and the hare from when you were a child? A slow and steady approach is better both for achieving longevity and for your health.

http://Author.to/EllieHolmes

 

 

 

The End – And a feeling of relief

end
End by Hitchster courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons by CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/9orz8V https://goo.gl/sZ7V7x

I finished my novel last weekend. High fives and glasses of wine all round. It’s gone off to my editor. Before I know it, it will be back with a myriad amendments to be made but for now, I have planted the words ‘The End’ like a flag on a mountain top.

prayer-flags
Prayer Flags by Valcker courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/mJDy3r https://goo.gl/sZ7V7x

Whenever I reach the end of a novel I always feel a huge sense of relief. Relief that I went to the well and there were words there to find. Relief that I had an idea and a half decent novel emerged from it. Relief that those characters that I thought about and worked so hard to create have taken on lives beyond those I imagined for them. I gave them wings and away they flew. Relief that I can still do it. I can still pull it off. I can still spin a plot and weave the magic. The muse hasn’t abandoned me. Yet.

happy-feb
Happy by Carmela Nava courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/78jzSv https://goo.gl/sZ7V7x

Am I alone in my feelings of relief? I often wonder about that. Do other writers experience joy, happiness and pride when they reach the end of their novels? I am always so drained by the end of the writing journey that those feelings occur further down the road to publication. At the instant I finish and for the immediate days after, relief is all I feel.

It is not relief that the writing is over, you understand because I am always writing. There are always a dozen ideas waiting to be developed and explored. It is relief that I can still do my job. I am still a writer.

The relief comes hot on the tail of the fear that stalks me: that one day the words will not come, that the plot will not gel, nor the characters take flight. One day I will have an idea and not do it justice. One day I will not be able to capture lightning in a bottle. One day I will fail.

But that day is not today. Today I am a writer.

the-flower-seller-cover-small
http://Author.to/EllieHolmes
the-tregelian-hoard-cover
http://Author.to/EllieHolmes

 

Procrastination – to do it or not to do it?

I bet you’re like me, there are jobs to be done, there is even time to do them in and yet somehow they always slip down the list of priorities and languish at the bottom while new, more exciting tasks sail in ahead of them.

procastinator
Procrastination by Rachel Fisher courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/9bwvsv https://goo.gl/OOAQfn

I am a procrastinator. I don’t want to be. I’d like to train myself not to be but it is a difficult path to tread as the habit is a long held one and tough to break.

The really annoying thing about being a procrastinator is the fact that the whole time I am steadfastly ignoring the tasks I can never really succeed in forgetting about them. They are always there, catching my attention and reminding me of my inability to get jobs done. A constant, low level, niggle at the back of my mind. So, procrastinating does not make me feel better. It actually makes me feel worse. And yet, I still do it!

procrastinators-unitejpg
Procrastinators Unite by Andreas Gohr courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/5Zjyu7 https://goo.gl/OOAQfn

Of equal annoyance is the fact that when, finally, I do get around to dealing with the things I have been putting off, most of the time I find they are not that time consuming, nor difficult nor troublesome which leaves me wondering why it was such a struggle for me to get on with them in the first place. And oh the blessed relief I feel when I can tick that irksome job off my stuff to do list. Now that is a good feeling.

We all live such busy lives. We are all overburdened with duties and chores. It’s all too easy to eschew the boring and routine and concentrate instead on the more interesting aspects of our lives but unless we’re wealthy enough to employ others to do our bidding, we are all going to have to tackle those dull tasks some time.

I am going to try to make a concerted effort not to put things off for any longer than absolutely necessary. I am going to start small and work up to the big stuff. I am determined this is the year I am going to GET STUFF DONE. Wish me luck. I will try to let you know how I get on – assuming I get around to writing that particular blog, of course 😉

finish-line
Finish Line by Sean MacEntee courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/82V5JK https://goo.gl/sZ7V7x

 

Book blogger interviews

Book Bloggers and Reviewers

I am a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. I am also a member of their blogging team. At the end of last year I was invited to launch a new monthly blogging series on the RNA blog interviewing book bloggers and reviewers.

The second in the series went live earlier this week and I am attaching a link below so you can take a look, if you wish.

http://romanticnovelistsassociationblog.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/book-bloggers-and-reviewers-julie-boon.html

My guest was Julie Boon from Boon’s Bookcase http://boonsbookcase.blogspot.co.uk/

Julie has just celebrated her second blogaversary and her blog continues to adapt and grow.

Book bloggers are a vital part of the world of books and Julie was a fab guest, giving us an interesting insight into the life of a book blogger.