I missed a deadline – oops!

I set myself a deadline to finish my latest novel ‘Finding Tarzan’ by mid July. I’d calculated how many chapters, how many words per chapter, how long I take to write and edit and then figured on a finish date. The finish date is 14th July. Ooops that’s only seven days away – what the!

And where am I in the novel, you may well ask and I’d have to tell you Chapter 15. Where I need to be is chapter 22 (and that may not even tie things up so it may go further – maybe to chapter 25).

So what do I do now? Should I throw the manuscript away in disgust because I failed? Rant and rave and throw a tanty (blaming my family because they just don’t get it)? OF COURSE NOT. I count myself as a writer (a professional one at that) so I need to get myself back on course.

Okay, I’m a little disappointed in myself that I didn’t stick to my plan, so disappointed that I resorted to a cream-filled lamington to cheer me up (don’t tell Joel) and luckily this deadline is just my own. But what if it were a publisher’s deadline instead? I’d be in a stickier situation than I am now. I may have my contract ripped up. I may lose all credibility. It could be suicide to my writing career to say the least. It just proves that my original plan had merit and is good training for a real set-in-mud deadline.

Why did I let this happen? All I can say is that life got in the way. There was a family wedding (Kris and Elise), more games of football, school assignments (that I had to help Blake with or he would fails math), parties, dinners other writing and even housekeeping.

STOP right there! Housekeeping! Now where were my priorities? I really wanted to finish this manuscript. Again I have to take stock of what is important – and to me that is WRITING. So I’ll write up a new plan because now I’ll have to get the last seven or so chapters finished in a month. Why a month? Just because, okay!

Or maybe I should ditch the plan and just write, write and write. I’ll ignore phone calls, children whining for food, Boss the dog barking to be let out to wee, Packed to the Rafters, my mum’s phone calls (ah, nah can’t do that one), my husband (can do that, sorry honey), the boiling kettle, the burnt dinner – everything.

Anyhow the new deadline is August 14th. Wish me luck and any suggestions will be gratefully appreciated.

Blog writing – should you do it?

The latest craze on the web seems to be blogging. Should you blog or not? The Macquarie Dictionary explains it this way:

blog(say blog) noun 1. a record of items of interest found on the internet, edited and published as a website with comments and links. 2. a personal diary published on the internet. 3. an online forum. [shortened form of web log] –blogger, noun

It can, of course, be as the dictionary describes it, but if you want to make an impact for you or your book, it needs to be so much more. You need to set up a blog that is effortless to negotiate, easy on the eye, informative, interesting and fun. There are so many now that it’s getting harder and harder to stand out.

Your content has to reflect you. It doesn’t have to be like a true diary. Don’t give every little detail. You only need to write about what you want when you want. But, you also need to be careful about your content. If you don’t want to offend anyone you need to be cautious of racism, sexism, swearing, plagiarism etc.

Don’t write anything you are uncomfortable with. If in doubt leave it out. You can write about your family but remember this is a world-wide web. Don’t publish information about where you live or where your children attend school. Keep your private life private. You never know who will be a voyeur in your life. The idea of a blog is to portray who you are but safely.

If you are a writer the natural thing to do would be to write about writing. That’s okay if you want to do so but don’t be limited by that. There are plenty doing just that already. If you’ve seen a magical sunset and it made the start to your day happy – write about that and explain why.

Other suggestions to write about are:

  • A recipe your family loves.
  • The nicest thing anyone ever did for you.
  • An awful moment you’d rather forget (but writing it will help the process).
  • Your faithful dog.
  • The school you went to as a child.
  • Why the smell of baking bread makes you smile.
  • How much you want to make the next diet work.

To create a following, once you find one subject that you’re happiest writing about, write about it regularly. You need to find a niche to keep readers interested.

There’s plenty to write about but what’s the one thing missing from that list? It’s your book, business or product. As often as possible talk about it. Why did you write it, produce it, etc? Where did you find inspiration? What was the process? How long did it take? How does it make you feel to be a published author?

Set up a separate page for your book or product. Explain where to buy it and any other relevant information. You can also make it your avatar instead of a picture of yourself or you can just place it in your text often enough so plenty of people to see it.

Always have your book title or product as a tag (even if it’s not mentioned in every story). Make sure you have a link to where it can be purchased such as http://www.zeus-publications.com or Amazon.

The easiest way to understand blogging is to get started. Most of the blog sites have features that let you choose from design templates that you can add your own photos and information to. They also provide widget to allow other bloggers to subscribe or link to your site plus much more – videos, podcasts etc.

To get people reading your site is on a par with getting people to reading a new book by an unknown author. You need to work at it by reading other blogs and commenting on them. This way they may in turn look at your site. You can also attach your blog to your website and search engines.

I suggest you link it to your Facebook, My Space, Twitter and the like. By printing your blog address on all your stationery, such as business cards, bookmarks, letterheads and invoices, you’ll be putting it out there for people to log on to.

If you publish an article include the blog address in your bi-line. Tell friends and family.

I’ve been using WordPress because it has some terrific, templates and is user-friendly. Setting up is simple and free. There are also Blogger (the official Google blog), MSN Spaces, Yahoo 360 and AOL Journals. A warning though – blogging can be addictive.

I recommend you stop when:

  • It interferes with real paid writing.
  • It stops you meeting deadlines.
  • Your family has forgotten who you are.
  • Your dog goes next door to eat.
  • The grass is so high you can no longer see your fence.
  • Your teenage kids have forgotten how to use MSN because you hog the computer so much.

This was originally posted in the my Zeus blog at : http://bookszeus.wordpress.com/

I have changed a little of the content to suit the layman.I thought it was worth sharing because many people are new to blogs.

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