Christmas Letter

 

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On my “To-Do” list this week, is writing my yearly Christmas letter to friends and family. I am making a list of trips, health updates, and accomplishments I’d like to include.

That got me to thinking about YOU and what I’d like to share as the Christmas season fast approaches.

First of all, I’d like you to know how much I appreciate your encouragement and support by reading/commenting on my blogs each week. I hope they have been both helpful and encouraging to you as we walk this “writing road” together.

To catch you up on what I am doing, currently, I can say that my Beta Readers are doing their work right now, critiquing Simon Says. I look forward to hearing from them over the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, I am busy writing back cover copy, revising my “About the Author” page, looking at a myriad possibilities for the front cover, and jotting down ideas for the second book in the series.

Finally, I am finishing up the manuscript for my second interactive Alzheimer’s book, I Remember Bible Stories,” as well as interviewing illustrators.

On a more personal level, I continue to be more involved in my parents’ lives at their care center and am taking on some of my mother’s previous roles, such as the big family gathering on Christmas Day. I am fortunate to live near a Honey Baked Ham store, as I am planning the meal around a nice spiral-cut ham.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and the Happiest of New Years as you move ahead toward both your personal and writing goals.

Brenda

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A Journey Worth Taking

 

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Diana Nyad is an American long-distance swimmer. In 2013, she became the first person confirmed to swim from Cuba to Florida without the aid of a shark cage.

This was her fifth attempt to do so.

Did you know that Diana is also an author? Her book, Find A Way, has hundreds of insights into the life of this remarkable woman. Well worth reading.

In a recent interview she was asked how she kept pursuing her goal in the face of four defeats. She replied that she had always had the attitude that, “Even if we never make it, it’s still a journey worth taking.”

That’s how I view the writing journey.

Even if I never

sell a lot of books,

hit the best-seller’s list,

become particularly well-known,

I consider that the writing journey is definitely worth taking.

What about you?

How Much Is A Facebook “Like” Worth?

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Although you can find articles on the Internet which place the value of a single Facebook Like at between $8-12, others say each like is worth an average of $174.

Things like your budget, resources, and objectives determine just how much a “LIKE” is worth to you.

You may also want to consider that just because someone “Liked” your page doesn’t mean they will automatically like all of your posts or purchase your books.

Experts say that a page “Like” should be viewed as a potential client. In fact, some say that until a visitor to your page purchases a book, they should be considered to have a worth of “zero.”

I think, however, it is more useful (and realistic) for us to consider just how valuable the Facebook Community is to a writer as a whole.

Now, I happen to believe that someone is valuable if they engage in my posts, share content, and interact with me on one of my websites or subscribe to my emails.

Therefore, I want to make them happy. I want them to feel appreciated. I target my marketing to appeal to them.

I furnish them with information, share their opinions, offer them free and/or discounted deals, and of course, I visit their Facebook pages and “Like” them!

Even though we may never meet in person, Facebook Friendships are reciprocal relationships and we need to view them as such.

The value of a friendship?

Priceless.

Reflect, Then Rise Above!

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So, here we are.

Another year draws to a close. Time to reflect.

Have we done all we set out to do this year?

We can use this time to beat ourselves up about not accomplishing as much as we’d wanted to, I suppose.  But, what good is that going to do?

Not one of us knows what the next day will bring.

So, let’s encourage one another to

go further,

climb higher,

rise above.

Happy New Year!!!

Protagonist vs. Antagonist

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In a writing workshop I recently attended, the presenter took us “back to the basics.”

If you’ve been writing for awhile, periodically it’s a good thing to revisit the essential elements of story.

The terms “protagonist” and “antagonist” are about as basic as it gets.

Let’s look at their definitions and what those two elements have to do with a well-written story.

The protagonist is the hero of the story—the central character whose journey we follow throughout the book. He’s the “good guy”. The one we cheer on. The one who experiences set-back after set-back, but emerges victorious at the end.

The antagonist, is the villain. His role is to block the hero’s progress toward his goal at every turn.

The cruel step-mother.

The demanding boss.

The rival for the hand of the princess.

Whoever they are, it’s essential that they do their part by providing those set-backs or road blocks to the hero on his journey.

It is this struggle to overcome that moves your story along to a satisfying ending.

 

 

Note: The inciting incident, another basic, was discussed in a previous post, entitled “Creatures of Habit.” You can read it under ARCHIVED POSTS.

I’ve Changed My Mind

 

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After a meeting, yesterday, the topic of how often one should write (every day? how many hours per day?) came up.

I listened as inexperienced writers eagerly listened to more seasoned authors on the topic that is as dear—and as often-debated—as toilet training is to young parents.

In one of my previous posts, I said that if you are researching for your book or article, or attending a conference, or viewing a webinar, that “counts” as your writing for the day.

Well, like I told the others after the meeting, I now know a bit more about the craft of writing and have changed my mind about what I advised a year ago.

There is no substitute for WRITING.

Here’s why:

You cannot learn to dance by reading a book or studying diagrams of nimble feet doing the Cha Cha.

You cannot learn to fish without baiting your hook and casting the line into the water.

There is no substitute for actually DOING.

We need to practice writing. All the reading and conference going—although worthwhile—cannot take the place of good, old-fashioned application.

Some people find themselves in such an endless cycle of “learning how to write” that they never actually sit down in front of the computer and try their hand at it.

They think that if they will just read one more book or watch one more webinar, then they will be ready…qualified…fully prepared.

All of that is well and good, but as my neighbor’s son studies his driving manual, I am reminded that he must also get behind the wheel and gain the experience of actually driving.

As a child, I heard my mother say, “Wishing doesn’t make it so,” many times. (Mostly this was in reference to having a clean room.) But, apply it to writing an article or book and you can make the connection, can’t you?

So, my conclusion is this: you must learn the skill of writing by writing, writing, and writing some more.

Every day?

Yes.

An hour a day?

At least.

Grab a partner and dance.

Bait your hook and cast your line.

Back out of the garage and get out on the highway.

Turn on the computer and let your fingers fly across the keyboard!

Authors: Introverts or Extroverts?

So often we think authors must be introverts, since writing is such a solitary, introspective endeavor.

Public speaking seems to be more in line with what an extrovert would do. After all, they thrive in environments full of people—malls, cafes, concerts, conferences.

Actually, it seems there is no direct correlation between being a writer and being an introvert or an extrovert.

Sure, if given a choice, introverts may rather express their ideas in writing than in speech and extroverts more often enjoy taking to the stage.

But, for both, writing provides a way of expression, although perhaps a more comfortable medium of expression for introverts.

 

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There is also a third category, called ambiverts, striking a balance between these two extremes. This personality trait includes the qualities of both introversion and extroversion.

I am convinced that the longer a person writes, the possibility of him/her becoming anambivert increases. After all, introverts find that much of their career depends on marketing, publicity, and teaching opportunities. Extroverts realize that even though they thrive on social contact, they must still spend a good deal of their time working  alone.

Of course, people retain their basic personality type, but environment and heredity both play a significant role in the blending of these two types into one super type—the best of both worlds—the ambivert.

A hybrid. A super communicator. A writer.