Tag Archives: Blog

O Blogger, Where Art Thou?

Yes, I know. It’s been several months since I posted, and then it was a book review. You’ve heard nothing from me in simply ages. Why? Well, I don’t really know. There are a number of reasons that come to mind, so I’m going to share them with you. Put your hand up if you can relate to any of them.

  1. Lack of material/time. I was finding that blogging twice a week was draining my mind of ideas and cutting into my writing time. I work almost full time and the pressure of coming up with material for two days each week, as well as trying to keep up with other blogs, comments on my blog, and the rest of it was leaving me with next to nothing for my creative writing.
  2. Competing priorities. Update my blog or spend time with my kids? They won’t remember having to muck around the house waiting for me to do my computer stuff, but they will remember me taking them to the zoo. Or the pool. Whatever.
  3. An overall sense of cutting out what was less important. This is an extension of #2. I blogged earlier in the year about cleaning out my cupboards at the same time as I was cleaning up my manuscript, and that attitude still stands. Things that were less important were jettisoned in favour of those items higher up the list. And maintaining my profile as a budding author, while important, felt less so than putting my life in order, spending time with kids (as above), and just generally getting myself in a position that I was happy with. You only get one shot at life so why waste it doing things you don’t want to do?

I know I could have just cut down on the blog frequency, but like a lot of people I suffer from procrastination, and there was also a very real fear that if I started it up again then I might drop back into old habits, which was what was draining me in the first place. And I was drained. I didn’t write a thing for two months, and nor did I do any editing. Nothing at all. My brain just needed a break from all that, and I obliged.

So, what’s changed now? Well, my novel is now at the point where I am happy to send it out to my beta readers for their feedback. I could tinker and fiddle till the cows come home but I don’t think that by myself I’m going to get it much better than it is now. It’s time for new eyes and new perspectives on it. So I’m sending it out for comment, and putting it down till Christmas at the earliest. Then in the new year I can take everyone’s ideas on board to improve it even further.

As such, I’m ready to get back into the world of writers. I won’t be blogging as frequently - once a week will do me, on Mondays like now, with the occasional interview or book review thrown in instead of commentary. It’s a scenario designed to keep me involved, yet help take the pressure off, and to give me more time to devote to novel #2, or the kids, or anything else that seems important at the time. One less post per week will help with my whole-of-life de-clutter that I’ve been undertaking for most of this year.

So yeah, that’s me. Sorry for the long blackout, but fear not, all is good. Oh, and if anyone reading this would like to have a look at my novel in a beta capacity, leave a comment or send me an email at Emily[dot]wheeler02[at]yahoo[dot]com. I’d love to hear from you.

 

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The Friday blog-hop (part 3)!

Latte_Blog

Latte_Blog (Photo credit: digitalrob70)

Hello again! It’s time to once more trawl through the many worthy and excellent blogs out there to recommend five that you might find interesting to follow. These are blogs that I enjoy reading, and if you follow my blog then chances are you could do so too. Remember, they are in no particular order and the list is by no means exhaustive. :)

  1. South Australian Writers’ Centre. This is my local writers’ centre and their blog is very new, so it’s only fair of me to give them a shout out. The posts so far have been useful and I expect that the ones to come will be too.
  2. Booktopia. Yep, a book shop rather than a writer. They do an awesome blog though and you learn heaps about what other writers go though from reading it. Or, at least, I do. :)
  3. Making Baby Grand, the novel, by Dina Santorelli. I have been known to cringe at blogs that only talk about one piece of work (what happens when you write another book?) but this is particularly engaging, especially as it follows her journey from (self)publication to trying to attract and keep a readership, get herself known and establish herself as an author. It’s a good read.
  4. Cresting the Words, by Wordsurfer. A lovely blog to read, with a nice blend of the personal and the professional (so to speak). I always enjoy reading this one, though I don’t comment nearly as much as I should. But then again, that’s my fault, not hers. :)
  5. Rachelle Gardner. She’s an American literary agent who does regular posts on the agent’s life – as opposed to the writer’s life. It’s engaging, it’s entertaining and it’s incredibly useful to newbies like me.

So, that’s it for this round. I hope you find some of these blogs interesting enough to follow on a regular basis – and if you haven’t seen your name on one of these lists yet, it’s not because I don’t want to list you, but probably because there are so many blogs I want to recommend that I just haven’t got to you yet. All the best, and happy blogging!

 

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Editing

Edit Ruthlessly

Edit Ruthlessly (Photo credit: Dan Patterson)

I know, I know. I haven’t blogged for two weeks and I’ve given exactly no reason for it. Well, to be honest, I’ve just been too busy lately. What with Easter and a bunch of other things going on (birthday of youngest child, for example) I simply haven’t had the time. I’m sorry. :( I’m also going to be writing a Monday post on a Friday, mainly because I have something I want to talk about.

I’ve been editing. (What? I hear you say. You’ve had time to edit but not blog? What sort of author are you?) The thing is, of course, that editing does not require the internet so I haven’t needed a web connection to do it. This isn’t saying a web connection isn’t handy, but it’s certainly not necessary.

The funny thing is, I’ve been enjoying the editing process immensely. Sure, there’s still a long way to go, but there really is something satisfying about taking a red pen to a manuscript. Figuratively speaking, of course – I haven’t yet printed out my novel and I don’t want to until I cut at least another 10,000 words. (I’ve cut 15,000 so far, so it’s not impossible.) This isn’t due to any preference to editing on screen, though I generally have little problem with that, but more that I don’t want to use up too much paper. Especially considering that the only decent printer I have access to is at my work.

Generally, I’m happy with the structure at the moment. There are still some scenes that need rewriting or moving or incorporating into other scenes, but overall it’s looking pretty good. So what I’m focusing on now, because it’s easy and something I can do when I’m feeling a little brainless, is taking out words I use too much. A few samples of web-based editing services have told me “that” is a word I use approximately eight times as much as I should, and “just” is the next worst offender, so I’m using that old staple of find-and-replace to either change those words to other things, or, in many cases, just delete them entirely. I think I got rid of 1000 words by that method alone.

Like I said, though, there is still a long way to go. I intend to go to a proper professional editor when I am finally as happy with it as I can be through my own editing, but in the meantime there are some really helpful sites out there. Sites like Autocrit, FirstEditing, and Book Editing Services (to name a few) will give you a free sample edit, which is really helpful for identifying some of your common errors before you commit to a paid service. Helpful hints can also be found everywhere, like here and here. I’m now taking a few days off the edit to spend with my kids, but come next week, wish me luck!

And while we’re on the subject of luck, I know I’ll need more than a little to make it very far, but if you like my blog then I would love you to vote in the Best Australian Blogs competitions for this year. Just click on the button below and look for Emily’s Tea Leaves in the list.

I think you should also consider voting for Confessions of a Stuffed Olive, which is one of my favourite blogs and one I’ve mentioned more than once on these pages. You don’t have to be Australian to vote but you can only vote once, so please do so with care and consideration. Thank you.

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Best Australian Blogs 2013

BB2013_Nominee

Today’s post is about blogging, hayfever, and blogging when you have hayfever.  Well, really it’s about blogging, but if I suddenly become strangely incoherent it’s probably because the summer scourge is upon me. Which is a shame because we’re well and truly into autumn now and this is the first really bad attack of the sneezes I’ve had. Sigh.

Ignoring that, I have once again signed up to participate in the Best Australian Blogs competition, which is run annually by the Australian Writers’ Centre (formerly the Sydney Writers’ Centre). I don’t necessarily think that my blog has what it takes to even make a dent in this great competition, but if I don’t put my hand up I’ll never know, right? Whereas if I do, then more people might discover my blog and think it’s worth looking at occasionally. *crosses fingers hopefully*

What does this competition entail? Well, really, it’s a nominate-oneself-or-hope-someone-else-does-it-for-you type of thing. There are different categories and special awards for outstanding individual posts, but essentially it’s a way for bloggers to discover what other blogs are out there, and for people who like to read blogs to go through the entrants to find ones they like. And it’s all about group hugs and supporting each other and generally being nice to other internet-people.

Anyway, like I said I’ve put my hand up, and I’m hoping that someone notices it. And if you like my blog, there’s a People’s Choice round coming up next month during which you can vote for me, so bear that in mind too. :)

And that’s it for me today. Sorry for the brevity of the post, but I’ve sneezed approximately one hundred and fifty times since I started writing it, so I think my body is telling me to stop. Now all I need to do is think of some incredibly interesting things to post about in the next few weeks that might increase my chances, hahaha.

Best of luck to all other nominees, and if you let me know you’ve entered I’ll look for you in the voting round. Cheers!

 

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Guest post: Why 140 Characters isn’t the Limit, by Liam O’Dell

Yes, I know, I’m a day late this week, but that’s just the way things have worked out. Anyway, better late than never, right? And I’m thrilled to be able to introduce Liam O’Dell, who is an aspiring writer who is starting up a site that provides tips to bloggers (like me). And we all could do with a hand, right? Well, I could, at least. :)

Without further ado, here he is:

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photo

Why 140 Characters Isn’t the Limit…

 

Ah, Twitter, the quick and to-the-point way of social-networking. The site where people can share opinions, comments and critical viewpoints, all under 140 characters. But we’ve all had to make one grammatical or spelling error in order to allow us to write what we need to write. However, when writing a tweet, have you ever felt like you could write more than 140 characters?

For those wondering why I have omitted Facebook from this, it is because there’s no such limit to what we write on Facebook, and as well as that, only Twitter allows us to post opinions to the big wide world, rather than Facebook only allows you to post to “friends”, who already know what you think. However, what I’m going to write about today can apply to both sites. In fact, it can apply to anything. What I’m going to write about today is the idea that anyone can blog, but in particular, those on social networks.

A post on Twitter, Facebook etc. starts with an idea, but everyone knows that an idea can be developed. This is where a blog comes in. If there is a topic or idea that you could write endlessly about, then blog about it! 140 characters isn’t the limit on a blog! So, start a blog, and feel free to write!

 

The Blog Event – imPRESSive:

Thanks for reading my guest post, I really appreciate it! In case you didn’t know, I’m running a blog event, called imPRESSive (see what I did there?). imPRESSive hopes to provide tips to bloggers, but also aims to inspire more people to set up blogs. For more information and to view the blog post, click here!

But wait, there’s more! You can do me a massive favour and do some of the following things:

  1. “Like” me on Facebook!
  2. “Follow” Me on Twitter
  3. Tweet the Hashtag: #DocPRESS
  4. Confirm that you are “going” to my Facebook event
  5. Let me spread the word by Guest Blogging on your blog!

Thanks!

Liam

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Thanks Liam! The blog certainly sounds like a great idea, so I urge everyone to go check it out. In the meantime, if you’re not blogging already, why not give it a go? It’s not hard (proven because even I can do it) and it can open up a whole new world to you. :)

 

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The Friday blog-hop! (part 2)

Blog Machine

Blog Machine (Photo credit: digitalrob70)

 

Today I’m doing my second Friday blog-hop, in an attempt to give some love back to my favourite bloggers. The first time I did this was last November, so I figured it was well and truly time to give it another shot. Remember, this list is NOT exhaustive, and is in no particular order. I just think that you should ALL go and read these blogs RIGHT NOW. ;)

Okay, here goes:

  • Knitting with Pencils, by Tracey Baptiste. Tracey just has a way with words that makes them flow off the page and make me want to read more. I’ll be honest, I haven’t read her novel yet, but I really really want to because if reading her blog makes me feel like I’m walking on air, imagine what a whole book would do? :)
  • The Write Fox, by Sarah L Fox. Sarah is someone I can really relate to, and it feels like her experiences often mirror my own. She doesn’t have nearly as many followers as she deserves and I would love it if some of you lovely readers would go check her blog out. It’s definitely worth it.
  • Write21, by Justin O’Leary. Again, here is someone who deserves a heck of a lot more followers than he currently has. His blog is an incredible resource for writers and should be bookmarked by everyone who needs a bit of guidance occasionally. And let’s face it, isn’t that all of us? :)
  • Can You all Hear me in the Back?, by Darlene Craviotto. Darlene is primarily a screenwriter rather than a novelist, but since when should that be a problem? We’re all using our creativity to put words on paper and then try to get them out there. Anyway, this is a really intelligent and thought-provoking blog that should be on everyone’s to-read list.
  • Devoted Eclectic, by Elizabeth Lhuede. Elizabeth is the driving force behind the Australian Women’s Writers challenge (which reminds me, I’d better sign up for this year’s – and update this blog to reflect that) so her blog is often used to review books as part of that challenge. That said, her reviews are always worth checking out, and her other posts are thought-provoking and stick in your mind for a long time afterwards.

So, that’s my list for this round of blog-hopping. I hope that I have inspired you to go and check out some (or all) of these blogs if you haven’t already – and if you don’t see your name yet, it’s not because I’ve forgotten you. Just keep an eye out for the next blog-hop and you might see yourself then! :)

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Happy birthday to me!

one hundred

one hundred (Photo credit: Violentz)

Well, it’s not exactly my birthday (which, in case you are interested, is later this month), but this is a momentous day for my blog – my 100th post! *cue balloons and streamers* Yes, yes, I know. It seems like I’ve been doing this forever – or, at least, it does for me, which I’m not sure is a good or a bad thing. Anyway, to mark the occasion I thought I’d talk about social media or, put another way, internet engagement. Appropriate, no? :)

I’m the first to admit that I don’t engage as well as I should. In many ways I’m a parasite on the net: I put stuff out there, but I don’t give back. In other words, I post but I don’t comment. Now, I have been trying to be better at that this year, but like all good intentions it has fallen by the wayside a little. My participation is dropping off.

Of course, as Linda Lee Greene discussed so eloquently on my blog a couple of weeks ago, participation in social media can be a slippery slope. It’s all too easy to get sucked in and burn out, or ignore what you’ve been working on. On the other side of the coin, though, is that if you are engaging with people then they are more likely to have positive feelings about you and are thus more likely to check out your work. Talking with people online, and making them feel important, can have direct – and beneficial – impacts on your profile hits, Facebook likes, blog follows and, most importantly, sales.

It might sound callous to think of it like that – these are, after all, people with whom you are engaging – but we all have to be entrepreneurs these days, don’t we? If this is a professional engagement (that is, if you are using a professional Facebook page, Twitter account or blog, for example) then it all comes down to marketing. That’s why we have these accounts, and why we use them. And maybe that’s why I don’t engage as well as I should, because, at this stage, I don’t have anything to market. I know that the more I get out there, the more my name will be known when novel #1 does come out, but part of me feels that I’m pushing  myself on people too much. Sigh. Like Linda, I’m not cut out to be a marketer.

I will, naturally, attempt to work on this. After all, that’s part of what my new years resolutions this year were all about. But I am also wary of the slippery slope of becoming too engaged in social media. If I spend too much time talking to people I’ve never met, I run the  risk of alienating my real life friends, colleagues and family members. If I spend my computer time posting on Goodreads and Facebook, then I’m not going to be writing my novel. And that’s what this is all about, isn’t it?

So today I am using my 100th blog post to think about how I’m using social media. I love to interact with everyone here, and I do intend to get better at it (comment, Emilydarn you!!) but I do think that finding that balance is what I should really be focusing on. Because after all, if I burn out like Linda did, then what’s the point of all this anyway?

 

PS I’m including forum participation in things I should be working on. Yes, Peter, you will hopefully be seeing me around again soon! :)

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The next big thing?

next big thing

I’ve been tagged! The lovely Jeanette Hornby (www.jeanettehornby.com.au) has nominated me to be part of the Next Big Thing blog hop. Thanks Jeanette! And I thoroughly recommend that you all go and check out her blog at http://jeanettehornbybooks.blogspot.com.au - but be warned, it contains adult content so if you’re not comfortable with that then maybe just look at the main website.

The rules are these: Answer ten questions about your WIP and then tag five other bloggers to do the same. *wipes brow* Right. Here goes!

  1. What is the working title of your book?
    You know, this is a harder question than it should be. I was working with Echoes of Venice for a long time, but it sounds a lot more syrupy than the book actually is. Something to do with Venice, I’ll say that much. That city has an important role in the story.
  2. Where did the idea come from for your book?
    A competition I saw advertised in a newspaper, which for some reason just put a scene in my head. I tweaked the circumstances a little and voila! A story came out.
  3. What genre does it fall under?
    Contemporary romance / chick lit. To be honest, I will probably give it a final placement within one of those when I’ve done the final editing and not before.
  4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
    In my mind I’ve been using Brad Pitt and Kate Winslet. My thing, though, is not to describe my characters too much so that the reader can draw their own pictures in their heads of them. After all, everyone has a different idea of what makes someone attractive.
  5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
    Now you’ve got me. Again, this was something I was going to work on more during the editing process. How about, two people who have vowed never to see each other again are thrown together by circumstance and must deal with what that means to their lives.
  6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
    I won’t lie, I’d like an agent. However, I’m open to whatever life throws at me. In other words, I’ll play that one by ear.
  7. How long did it take to write the first draft of your book?
    Too long! Over two years. In my defence, I did scrap most of what I’d written half way through and restructure the whole thing. But yeah, just over two years. Sigh.
  8. What other books would you compare your story to within this genre?
    Another good question. Maybe something like Jill Mansell‘s Sheer Mischief, if I have to name one. (Serves me right for doing this on a Monday morning when my brain is still in weekend mode.)
  9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
    Like I said, I saw an ad in the newspaper and it just got my mind whirring. I was, I think, just ready for a new challenge and this fit the bill perfectly.
  10. What else about the book might piqué the reader’s interest?
    Snappy one-liners and endless suspense! Okay, maybe not the endless suspense, but at least a bit of it, and enough confusion and frustration to last anyone a lifetime. This is a book that I wanted to read, but I couldn’t find it out there, so I wrote it instead. I just hope that other people want to read it as well. :)

 

Bloggers I’m tagging to be the Next Big Thing themselves:

Margaret Lynette Sharp
Adam Collings
Rebecca Berto (Novel Girl)
Wordsurfer
Tracey Baptiste

Please go and check out all their blogs because they are definitely worth reading. And who knows – they really could be the Next Big Thing. They certainly deserve to be. :)

 

 

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The Friday blog-hop!

BLOG IDEAS

BLOG IDEAS (Photo credit: owenwbrown)

Yes, something different today – rather than feature a single author in my Friday post, I’m going to feature a number of them as a way of giving some love back to my favourite bloggers. I may have mentioned some (or indeed most) of these people before, but these are some of the the blogs I just don’t want to miss each time. Now, I’m not going to say this is a conclusive list, because it’s not – first of all, I couldn’t possibly fit all my favourite bloggers in one post and do them all justice. Secondly, I’m bound to forget someone. And thirdly, I want to leave this open so I can do it again! :)

Okay, here goes, in no particular order:

  • Confessions of a Stuffed Olive, by Holly Kench. You may remember Holly as one of my first guest bloggers, and I’m sure I’ve mentioned her on other occasions, but Holly’s blog is one that I read every single time – and I can’t say that about everyone, I’m afraid. (Mostly that’s due to time pressures rather than a lack of interest, but it is still the unfortunate truth.) Maybe it’s her sense of humour, maybe it’s that I like the way she thinks, maybe it’s the incredibly amusing illustrations she does – or maybe it’s a combination of all of those. Regardless, Holly’s blog is one that you really should check out, if you haven’t already.
  • The Monster’s Ink, by Alyson Miers. Often political, Alyson’s blog is one that always makes me think – and one that I usually agree with, despite the fact that we live in different countries and therefore different political climates. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever disagreed with Alyson’s thoughts. Sure, she can be provocative (and if you’re American and voted Republican in the recent election you would probably not share her views) but if you need something to read that’s going to stay with you for a while, I recommend checking her out.
  • Dy Loveday’s blog. I featured Dy a couple of weeks back to celebrate the release of her first novel, Illusion. Well, now she’s offering to give away a kindle to someone who can answer three questions on  the book. Sound enticing? I thought so. Even if you haven’t read Illusion, it’s worth checking out Dy’s site just to see the progress of someone who has recently joined the ranks of the published novelists. From idea to completion and beyond, it makes fascinating reading. And did I mention the kindle giveaway? :)
  • The Third Sunday Blog Carnival. Not an individual blogger but instead a collection of really interesting posts, which comes out (you guessed it) on the third Sunday of each month. It’s a really good place to find new blogs to read, or if you so choose somewhere to display your own wares. Looking for something to read? Check it out. Want to expand your audience? Submit to them. Every month there is something new to whet your appetite and make you think.
  • Poeta Officium, by Virginia. A blog by a fellow first-time novelist who is trying to make her way in this strange world of writing, I find myself relating to practically everything she writes about. She’s much more ambitious than me in the blogging sphere in that she tries to post almost every day (I have no idea how she finds the time!), but that doesn’t mean she runs out of things to write about. Essentially, hers is an engaging blog that most people who try to find time to write on top of their everyday life would be able to relate to.

So, that’s it for this week. I will try to do some more blog-hops every now and then in the new year (and if I missed you this time, you could well see your own blog listed in the coming months). In the meantime, do yourself a favour and go look at some of these blogs. You might find one that really appeals to you. :)

 

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Looking for guest bloggers!

Blog Machine

Blog Machine (Photo credit: digitalrob70)

I don’t normally do straight-up call outs like this, at least not actually on my blog (Twitter is another thing entirely, haha), but I thought I’d give it a go today. Why? Because my Friday slots between now and the end of the year are looking very sad and empty.

Therefore, I’m now actively looking for guest bloggers – people who want to write guest posts, novel excerpts or author interviews. I post one of these (or a book review – which reminds me, I have spots open for those too if you have a book you’d like me to review) every Friday my time, which is probably Thursday in much of the rest of the world. Full information can be found here, but essentially my rules are, try to keep it family friendly and to 1000 words or less. If you manage to do that, then chances are I’ll be happy to post it.

Therefore, if you have a book coming out or just want to get the word out about one that’s been out for a while, then maybe we can help each other. I’ll post an excerpt or do an interview or something, or you can write your own post about it, which helps you in your publicity campaign, and helps me in filling my Friday spots.

I’ll add here that I’m specifically looking for authors to blog, rather than freelance bloggers, not because I have anything against freelancers but because they often want to link to sites that seem to have absolutely nothing to do with what they were blogging about. If you’re a freelancer and have a writing-related site, then by all means contact me. If you’re wanting to promote something completely unrelated, though, then I’m likely to turn you down. It’s nothing personal, it’s just what I see as being relevant. Besides, from a marketing perspective you’re much more likely to get business from readers of a writing blog if what you’re marketing has something to do with writing. :)

So, are you interested? Can you see yourself on this blog as a guest contributor? If so, please drop me an email at emily[dot]wheeler02[at]yahoo[dot]com and we’ll get something organised. Thanks!

 

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