Swimming, Snow and Editorial Plans
A Blogging Struggle
Susie Caron (c) 5/16/16
I Know! I Know! I've been advised over and over again to set up my editorial calendar to save time. I tried, but failed.
How about you? Do you buy a fresh, beautifully clean, wonderfully inspiring, brandy new appointment book, professional weekly, wall calendar, or other tool in hopes that you will finally use it and benefit?
This past year I broke from buying a professional weekly planner with room for appointments every 15 minutes. I had retired from full time profession in psychotherapy, so I ordered a *Passion Planner, made specifically for writers, authors, and entrepreneurs. I couldn't wait for it to arrive and to smell it's nice clean sheets, full of hope and possibilities for me.
When it came, in late fall, I read what I was supposed to do and I absolutely loved the instructions and lay out. I dutifully filled everything in before Jan 1, 2016 so I could be ready to let loose a mega plan of writing, podcasting, and tweeting everything I'd planned in it. I followed it carefully throughout January and did all the reflections and updated my plans. I kept it up in February, sort of. However, by March, I realized that although my planner may be the best tool for keeping me on task, I have a major flaw. One that won't allow me to plan very far ahead. It's this:
I simply can't write unless I'feel' like writing and 'feel' the urge to write about any particular topic.
I can't just say on July 12, 2016, I will write about swimming lessons. Nope! I can't. If I don't feel like writing about swimming lessons, I won't enjoy it, or deliver anything that anyone might find interesting. I don't care that it's swimming lesson season. I may write about snow, in July! If I do, I'll enjoy what I'm writing and thinking about, (even if no one else does).
I decided to keep my beautiful, now doodled all over, planner because it's the best I've found so far for writers, to plan an editorial calendar, and stay on track. I'll keep ordering it in July and wait anxiously for it to arrive in the fall. I'll dutifully fill out all the planning pages in hopes that I'll be 'more organized' this coming year. However, this year will also be just a little different.
I'm going to invest in a dozen 'White Out' tools, because I'm turning my flaw into a joyful recognition that I like to 'flow.' Things change, I change, the world changes, people change and I like to 'flow' with those changes. That's what I'll write about, when I know what it is that I want to write.
What about you?
Do you use an editorial calendar?
Tell me what works best for you.
Twee' means you and me
Writing from our hearts
What drives your writing?
Susie E. Caron © 5/12/16
I woke up thinking about this topic overnight. I do that every now and then. A topic or title comes to me seemingly out of nowhere, and wakes me up. I’ve come to enjoy these moments, and tried to figure out ways to recall what clever thing came to my mind. That way I could write about it the next day. It doesn’t always work. However, I’m happy I remembered this one.
Here are my questions: Do you have a solid brand and consistent style? What drives you as a writer, author or blogger? Do you really know what makes it happen?
Lots of people want to write. Many write daily. Some blog. Some publish books in kindle or print.
What drives their work?
Last night, I also remembered a very wise professor from my first semester of graduate school for psychologists. I thought he’d talk about clients, patients and models of practice. I was surprised by the first assignment. He told us to go home and write down all our ‘personal beliefs and assumptions’. These could be about ourselves, others, about life in general, and about providing psychotherapy. He said to be brutally honest with ourselves. Then, he suggested strongly that we don’t bring it to class or show it to anyone.
I was curious but skeptical about the purpose of this. I wrote mine and uncovered many good, bad, and ugly things I'd long held secret in my mind. I was surprised as much about the good stuff as I was about the ugly stuff. It was unsettling in it's revealing, to say the least.
When we returned to class the next week he told us the purpose:
"You need to know your deepest self in order to put "self" aside when you work with people."
He explained that we are unconsciously driven by our hidden idiosyncrasies, our likes, dislikes, and prejudices. When we remain unaware of them, we hinder our work with people. That made sense to me. I wanted to work from my heart. I didn’t want to be driven by things unknown to me, especially if it wouldn’t help my future patients and clients. Apparently, things unknown to us can get in the way of clarity.
Now, as I think about this, I think this exercise will help writers and authors too. Writing out your private beliefs and assumptions will reveal the hidden, secretly captive, things that 'drive' you unconsciously. Once these are revealed they can no longer interfere with your writing. It's a healthy first step to writing freely, and can even help you to discover your brand.
If you're struggling to discover your style, voice, big why, target audience, brand, etc., etc., then give this an honest try. It's free and helps get to the core of you. When you do you’ll discover more about yourself, your idiosyncracies, your likes, dislikes, and prejudices. Some of what you discover will please you and make you feel really good about you. Other things, about yourself, will seem unpleasant, ugly and bad. Don't worry, you won't suddenly burst into flames when you find out some of your darkest thoughts. It's better to know them. They are part of what makes you uniquely you. However, they lurk in the corners of your mind waiting to block you, trip you up, and make you feel bad. So why not identify each one? Then you can tell them to 'go to their rooms and shut the door' because you are too busy writing to entertain them today.
You have many options as a writer or author to discover your particular writing style (brand, etc.) However, I think that writing out your personal beliefs and assumptions will help you to more easily clarify a lot: who you are, why you write and what you want to write, and publish. This can help you to write with more clarity and purpose.
Remember, i'ts only by really knowing yourself, warts and all that you can put self aside and really write from your heart.
So take the time today to write out your personal beliefs and assumptions. Here are some starters. You can write as many as you can think of for each and add more.
I don’t believe…
I really appreciate you and I thank you for reading this and my other articles.
What do you think about this? Send me a question or a note: email@example.com
Twee’ Means You & Me
Knowing ourselves so we can write from our hearts.
The Free and Easy way to tweet on multiple twitter accounts.
Susie E. Caron © 5/10/16
If you have more that one twitter account, it can be frustrating and time consuming to tweet on them all. However, there is one really simple thing you can do that makes each tweet appear on more than one twitter account.
It took me a long time to discover this for myself because it's one of the 'minor' tips that the 'experts' assume newbies to tweeting already (somehow) know. We don't.
So today, I want to tell you how you can do it easily and for free! You can use this whenever you tweet directly on twitter and also when you pre-schedule tweets on Twuffer (my favorite for text only tweets) or Hootsuite.
I'll use my 2 twitter accounts as examples: @susiecaron & @buildparentsSC
Let's say I want to tweet about my latest blog article. I must stay below 140 characters total, so I'll write something like this:
#Parents, discover how #kids are a lot like paint & brushes. ...(61 characters)
Then I'll add my shortened link (obtained at GoogleURLShortener. https://goo.gl/).
Now I have this:
#Parents, discover how #kids are like paint & brushes. http://goo.gl/QMdtwl
Finally here's the secret: I will add the @ for the other twitter account where I want this to appear.
So if I post this on the @susiecaron account, I don't put that link.
I'll only add the link from my other twitter account, which is @buildparentsSC
Now it looks like this and it's done.
#Parents, discover how #kids are like paint & brushes. http://goo.gl/QMdtwl @buildparentsSC (96 char)
Of course if you have more than two accounts and want this tweet to go to all of them, you can add each link, up to 140 characters. I recommend staying as far under 140 as you can. That way if someone wants to re-tweet it and tag another twitter account, there will be room for that addition.
I use this faithfully whether I post a tweet directly on one of my accounts, or post on my free Hootsuite account,or even post it on Facebook, because it saves me time and it's absolutely free.
That's it, So enjoy tweeting to multiple accounts, to reach wider audiences and all for free.
Twee' Means You and Me
Posting Tweets - Free and Easy.
I'm so excited!
Promoday 2016 is only 5 days away!
I'm inviting you to join us.
PromoDay is a Free annual event, founded and offered by Jo Linsdell.
It's for writers, authors, bloggers and anyone who wants to learn more about writing, publishing and marketing. It's all day, online and all free. You just have to register so you can log in on May 14, 2016.
This year you can pitch your book(s) to a choice of agents and publishing companies. Look at these:
There are lots of Free Webinars to listen to.
This year I'm sharing what I know about how Podcasting can help you Build Your Brand. Come listen to my 20 minute webinar any time all day.
Select from the other's you'd like to hear as well. Join us in the forum then click to download and listen.
Also take part in the online discussions, chats and meet ups.
You won't be disappointed.
Interview with Jo Linsdell
Susie Caron (c) 2016)
PromoDay is a yearly online event for writers and authors to network and share information about writing, publishing and marketing our work. It was created and is produced each year by Jo Linsdell.
This is such a powerful, helpful and fun event that I wanted to interview Jo, so you could understand more about PromoDay and want to participate this year.
Today I am asking Jo Linsdell, creator and producer of PromoDay, a few questions to help readers understand where the idea came from and why it's so necessary.
Susie: Hi Jo! Thank you for taking the time for this interview. I want to ask you a few questions to help my readers understand where the idea came from and why it's so necessary.
What were some of the reasons you created PromoDay?
Jo: I started Promo Day back in 2007 on my website because I couldn't find an event dedicated to the marketing side of the publishing industry. There were a few online writers conferences around back then but they all focussed on the writing part. What I wanted was an event where I could learn about what to do AFTER I'd written a book. Turns out a lot of other people felt the same, and Promo Day was soon an annual event attended by hundreds of people from all over the globe.
Susie: That's fantastic and amazing and it's all done on-line? Wow. and
How has PromoDay changed and what can participants expect to find?
Jo: In recent years I introduced new features like the live pitch sessions with publishers, and webinars with industry experts, in addition to the promotional, and networking opportunities that the event provides.
Susie: What are some of the things that have happened that really excites you?
Jo: I love how Promo Day brings together people from all over the world, at different stages of their careers, and gives them the possibility to work together. It's great hearing the success stories from past attendees about how they found a publisher, made contacts to be interviewed or have their books featured on websites, or even found paying freelance gigs. It's also great to see authors who are scared by the idea of marketing, putting into action the things they learn during the event and stepping out of their comfort zones.
Susie: I remember how overwhelmed I'd felt when I first discovered I'd have to do all my own marketing on top of everything I had to do to write and publish. I've been writing forever, and published in the past two years. I am honored and excited to present a webinar this year titled, Podcasting to Build Your Brand. Thank you for this opportunity.
Jo: You are welcome. Thank you for the interview and a chance to let your readers know more about the opportunities available for them on PromoDay.
Susie: So, where can people go to find out more about Promoday?
Jo: The about page has the FAQ's about the event in case you want to use some of the info http://promoday.blogspot.it/p/about.html
Susie: Thank you Jo. It's been a pleasure to interview you and tell others about this fantastic free event.
I am also grateful for my podcast graphic below. ThankYou!
How to Use Your ‘Frame’ as a Way to Lead Your Reader
By Susie E. Caron © 6/7/15
James Harriett, author of several books including All Creatures Great and Small http://amzn.to/1rNPwFl influenced me as a writer, in a way that he could not have imagined.
Harriott wrote of his life as a veterinarian in Darrowby, England, in the mid 1900’s. Although Harriott wrote about his veterinary work with animals during their lives and in their final hours, he also warmly described the people and culture. His appreciation for the country, the richness of the local folk, foods, traditions and culture, taught me that there is more than one way to view life. I thought his books were about vetting animals. To my surprise, they were really about the people. James' depictions of life in England became my first lesson in writing through a frame.
A 'frame', or lens is a way of looking at something. It comes from the phrase 'frame of reference.’ Re-framing means 'changing the lens or way of viewing anything.' As authors we do both. We set up how we want our readers to perceive our characters, setting, scene, and plot. Later we make changes in order to 're-frame', or change what readers think of those same items. For example: In the beginning of our books, do we make the characters appear friendly or dangerous? Is the setting a safe place or not? As writers, we often take great pleasure in leading the reader to develop one understanding of our stories, while planning to alter that understanding in surprising ways. James Harriott actually told stories about the people he encountered, through his view (frame of reference) as a traveling veterinarian.
My 3 picture books http://www.susiecarononamazon.com lead readers to ‘view’ my character, Twee’ in specific ways. Many readers told me they didn't like little Twee' at the beginning of her first book. She appeared very self-centered and selfish, as she complained about her environment. It was fun to lead adults and children alike to see how a selfish little being can begin to ‘see things’ differently. When Twee’ discovered that a storm knocked down a neighboring tree, she wanted to figure out why she was still standing. Twee’ discovered that the rock she complained about most, actually anchored her in the storm. With this understanding, Twee’ developed a new ‘frame.’ She named her rock, ‘Rock’ and determined to take care of him.
As I led Twee’ to change, I also led her readers. By the end of the first story readers began to love Twee’ because their perception (frame, lens) of her also changed. As she developed compassion for one who had saved her, her readers also grew warm feelings toward Twee’. Their ‘frame’ had changed and they didn’t see her as selfish any more.
Writing fiction, whether in picture books or young adult or adult novels, begins with a frame. Ask yourself, “How do I perceive my characters, setting, plot and other elements? What do I want my readers to think about early in the book?” As the story develops, ask yourself, “How do I want to change my readers’ perceptions? How do I want them to view the characters when I bring the issues to the climax?”
Ultimately, you want to become more aware of your frame and how it also impacts and influences the reader. This helps you to build a good beginning and insert elements throughout the story that can lead your readers to change their own thinking, not just about your characters, but also and perhaps more importantly, about themselves.
What other elements do you think of as important in writing fiction? I’d love to hear from you.
Comment and share of social media.
Twee' Means You & Me
Susie E. Caron
Don't 'Funnel' Me Please...
Use this honest approach for more 'know, like & trust.'
by Susie E. Caron © 4/28/15
Do you get tired of internet marketing attempts to ‘funnel’ you? I certainly get tired of them. When I'm in the 'funnel' I feel like a seller is trying to trick me into buying more, and more, at higher and higher prices. Perhaps you feel the same way I do. Do you have something to share, sell, or market to your fans? In this article, I suggest a better way. It's a marketing technique that's been around for quite some time, and it's actually effective. But first an illustration.
Actually, I cannot figure out why internet marketing should be any different
than buying a pair of shoes.
Take my husband for example. He wears out work boots and sneakers every year. When he needs new boots or sneakers, he drives over to Payless Shoe Store and picks up a couple pair for under $50.00 each. He does the same thing for dress shoes because he figures he’ll only wear them for weddings and funerals. (He’s retired.)
On the other hand, when I need shoes, I know that they have to be comfortable enough for all day wear, or stylish enough for events, and durable enough to handle gardening or riding my horses. I need “better quality” shoes. So I travel to the Danform Shoe Store to buy my shoes. Those cost between $89 and $200 per pair. I don’t mind paying that because if I divide the cost of a pair of shoes by the number of times I wear them (dress shoes) or divide by the number of years they last (going to the office shoes – indoor use only), I find I get a great bargain AND they are comfortable. Comfort is the necessary first consideration for me.
I also watch TV and I have noticed that on CSI New York, the story often involves pricing a victim’s shoes to help solve a crime. Sometimes they mention the shoes are valued at thousands per pair! That takes my breath away, but for it to be believable I guess it must be true. That means there are folks who pay 1K or more to buy a pair of 6 inch spike heels. Yikes!
Did you notice?
There is no marketing funnel in retail market for shoes. You don’t find yourself walking into Payless to buy a pair of shoes, and then get an offer to go to the back of the store and buy a higher priced pair. It just doesn’t happen, because it wouldn’t work.
People usually know, almost instinctively, their own market level. For example, folks like me don’t go online looking for 1K per pair shoes. (I don’t even think I want to.) On the other hand, I really like the shoes I buy, although my husband thinks THEY are pricey.
So what is the answer to marketing on the internet and
through social media without a ‘funnel?’
Put the prices on the product. Put them out on a dedicated sales page. Let your readers and fans see right up front what you offer, what it costs, and what each product can do for them. If you offer services as well a products, offer those 'A' La Carte'. That way there could be something for everyone.
I cannot count the number of times I opted out of an offering that I liked
because it included items or services I had no interest in or time for.
So make it easy for your fans and customers. People will shop at their level of comfort for the items and benefits they want. Posting clear prices for your products and services can certainly add to your 'know, like and trust' factor. That’s’ honest. That’s all.
What do you think about the marketing funnel? Post a comment below.
HiWatt-Writers are Playing with Words in a Little Crossword Puzzle.
by Susie E Caron © 4/23/15
Writing doesn't have to be just work. HiWatt Writers also love to play with words. Playing with words helps to grow our working vocabularies, but that's beside the point.
How about playing with a little crossword puzzle? This week I share some of the meanings or synonyms, I found using my Thesaurus in a little crossword puzzle. Don't be shy. Use your Thesaurus and discover more cool words.
Interview by Susie E. Caron (c) 4/2/15
Surprise! Reply to this blog at firstname.lastname@example.org, write the word "Yes" and "Glory in the Morning" and you will be included in the drawing for a free signed copy of Glory in the Morning.
I am delighted today to present my interview with Sue Shanahan, whose books and illustrations I've admired for quite some time. Be sure to read my 5 'Twee'-Star' review of her incredible picture book Glory in the Morning. (Scroll down to just below this one.)
*****Sue, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’ve spent my career as an artist bringing children to life in my illustrations and portrait commissions. To date some of my clients include: Walt Disney World, Cricket Magazine, Dover Publications, Beyond Words Publishing, and Auryn Inc.
In one of the high points of my career, Hillary Rodham Clinton displayed my portrait of her daughter in the White House. In a note to me she said, "I have your Chelsea drawing - my angel- in my private study where I see it every day. It captures her spirit!” Another professional peak was when Oprah Winfrey purchased the painting I did of her as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. I was even more thrilled when she featured it on her “Favorite Things Show” later that year.
In 2012 I decided to heed marketing advice and create a blog to help build a following for my art. When I introduced my blog, Commonplace Grace, I had no idea I could write or how much I would love the process. To my delight my work was noticed by Arianna Huffington and my blog has been a regular feature in the Huffington Post ever since. I've written and illustrated two children's' picture books, Glory in the Morning, and Love you to the Moon and Back. They both are now available on Amazon and iBooks.
*****What is your book about and who are your intended readers?
Glory in the Morning is about a girl named Annabelle who is thrilled when she happens upon a fairy in her garden. But her delight turns to horror when she discovers that the tiny creature is under a spell, and that the fairy will disappear forever unless two believers see her at the same time. Annabelle begins a search for someone else who knows that fairies are real, and discovers that seeing with your heart is as important as seeing with your eyes. Glory in the Morning is a timeless story about the universal longing to be seen and believed in. I think it could be enjoyed by children from age three to nine.
*****Could you describe it as mostly for entertainment, education, inspiration, a combination or other? Why?
It’s for entertainment and inspiration. I want it to be the kind of book children fall into and wonder about the magic that exists right under their noses.
*****What prompted you to write this particular book?
It’s funny, but for a long time I had no idea why this story burned in my heart. After I published it I realized it was about me. Because of the dynamics of my family of origin, I grew up feeling invisible. Like the fairy in my story, being seen and loved for who I was by friends is what kept me alive. I know that sounds dramatic but love does heal and transform.
*****What do you hope readers will remember most about this book?
The message I would like readers to carry with them is that eyes aren't the only way we see and the value of friends who believe in you.
*****Please share links to your web page and social media sites as well as links to your book.
Web page: www.sueshanahan.com
Buy book here: (Amazon link etc.) amzn.to/1DWEQZa
Any special sales dates or appearances to mention?
*****Sign up for Sue Shanahan's newsletter on her website and Sue will mail you a free signed 5 X 7 print: HERE
*****If you prefer you may copy and paste the link below onto your browser.
HiWatt Writers - 5 Star Picture Book Review of
Glory in the Morning, by author & illustrator, Sue Shanahan
Note: this review and all opinions in this review are those of Susie E. Caron © 3/30/2015
***** HiWatt Writer's features a monthly review of the Picture Books I believe are of outstanding quality for children. Below you will see the five categories I use. For each category you will also see I've awarded my new "Twee'-Star". (Many thanks to Twee' who created & donated her artwork for this purpose.) *****
***** Do you like surprises? I will post an interview with Sue Shanahan here in a few days. Sue has offered one Free Copy of Glory in the Morning and flower seeds, for a drawing. All you have to do is email me email@example.com and write "Glory in the Morning" on the subject line and "Yes" in the email. I will enter you in the drawing, which will be held one week from today. Good luck.
1. Did I like the book? Why? Did it flow? Did it make sense?
Glory in the Morning met and exceeded my expectations for a children’s picture book and I really loved it. The story flowed beautifully. Sue Shanahan completely captured and revealed the gentle, caring heart of the main character, a little girl named Annabelle, who loves flowers and all living things. Sue Shanahan also subtly reveals Annabelle’s other character qualities and models them for us in the child’s thought processes and decisions. I got caught up in the story (always a good sign) and found myself wondering how Annabelle would solve her problem? Her solution not only made sense, but made me smile and warmly agree. It's a wonderful story.
2. Did the illustrations help or interfere with the story?
The illustrations also by Sue Shanahan are really beautiful art. They are so outstandingly lovely that I could have been tempted to remove the full page illustrations and frame them. (Please note: I do not recommend removing pages from books. I just wanted to communicate my feelings about the illustrations.)
3. What was the purpose of this book? (educate, entertain, or inspire)
Glory in the Morning felt primarily inspirational and also entertaining. I found it entertaining because of the cute story about the fairy in trouble, and her request of Annabelle to help her. Inspirational aspects are revealed in Annabelle’s caring heart and other character qualities. Annabelle wants to help the fairy and tries repeatedly. Through her attempts she also shows she is lovingly respectful of her mother, understanding of her pets, her brother and her neighbor’s inability to help. In her thoughts and actions, Annabelle models for the reader a gentle loving respect for all living things. There is a surprise reward for the reader at the end of the story, which is clearly inspirational for us all.
***** Remember the surprise? In a few days I will also post an interview with Sue Shanahan and she has offered a free book drawing for my fans of HiWatt Writers. Email me firstname.lastname@example.org and post Glory in the Morning on the subject line and write "yes" in the email. I will enter you in the drawing.
4. Did the book target a specific audience and would it appeal to them?
This book will appeal of course, to little girls but also to Mothers and Dads of young children, ages 3-9. Grandmothers and Grandfathers are likely to be attracted to Glory in the Morning because of its evergreen message about relationship and love, and of course the beautiful illustrations.
5. What was the best part?
There is so many 'bests' to choose from in this book. However, what I appreciated most, as an author, is how Sue Shanahan deftly wove the story, giving subtle hints, but never revealing the solution until the end. Glory in the Morning is well thought out and beautifully constructed.
I highly recommend this book, Glory in the Morning, by Sue Shanahan. This is a book to buy and to read with someone you love, over and over again. Its evergreen messages and lovely images make it a timeless treasure for anyone’s library, especially your child’s.
Ready to buy it on Amazon for the children you love?- Just Click: Glory in the Morning.
(Consider buying one to donate to your favorite charity, school or library.)
Do you want to read my review of Glory in the Morning on Amazon, click HERE
Don't forget to enter the contest for your chance to win a free copy of this lovely book.
Just email me at email@example.com with Glory in the Morning on the subject line
and type "Yes" in the email.
I'd love you to comment below. Did you enjoy this review? What else would you like to know about picture books? Besides the two features on HiWatt Writers I have now, what else interests you. Let me know.
Please share this with your favorite social media sites. It's easy, just click the tabs on the left margin or below.
Susie E. Caron
Susie E. Caron MA,
Psychologist-Master, Parent Coach, Blogger, & Author, committed to help you repair and rebuild your parent-child relationship for benefits that last a lifetime.
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HiWatt-Writers is a creation of Susie E. Caron where she offers weekly- writing, publishing & marketing tips for writers -by herself and others, as well as book reviews and author interviews.