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Lightning in a bottle February 5, 2013

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When I am inspired to write, by gum I am inspired to write. I am into dreaming, remembering my dreams and interpreting them from time to time. I love dreams, and hate them too. Last week I had a night terror about a gang of kids trying to kill me in a gym locker room. I ripped myself out of that dream and refused to go back to sleep because I knew I would go back into the same place and get beat on. It is also in my dreams that I get to hang out with my best friend, who passed away a little over 4 years ago. And yes, we were hanging out on Sunday night. He was drunk trying to get me into a night club, but because my clothes weren’t right, I was not allowed in.

But that is not what I was talking about. Both on Saturday night and Sunday night I had epic dreams. One involved being immortal, buried alive and then chasing the guy who tried to murder me 5000 years into the future, traveling at the speed of light to other planets and such. And the other dream was an alien invasion, survivalist, time-traveling dream. Both were awesome.

On Sunday morning I came to my computer and wrote my dream down. In 10 minutes I had 1500 words written down.

On Monday morning, same thing, I transcribed my dream down. Again, 10 minutes, 1200 words.

I am blown away by being able to crack out 1500 words in 10 minutes!

And then I look at my novelling, and how it crawls along at sometimes 2000 words a day. I have written for three days straight, but the impetus of the novel has totally dropped off. I think I need to spend a day doing nothing but novelling, away from the internet. Or, get the work writing done in the morning, and then take the afternoon off. See if I can repeat those epic stats of 1500 words in ten minutes. 9000 words in an hour? Damn.

I know I have had moments of inspiration where I have written LOTS. I would love to be able to bottle those moments, or some how put myself into those moments. Perhaps there is.

Or, perhaps those moments of inspiration are for dream recall, poetry and short stories, and I should keep the novelling as though I am running a marathon.

 

Food for thought. Olympics+Day+9+-+Athletics

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Sorry I haven’t blogged, I lost the keys… September 26, 2012

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And doesn’t that excuse sound pathetic? Well, it should. It has been a case of – have I been doing anything worth writing about? Let me think.

  • I am writing up some documents to give away FREE on my website. You need to entice people to like you more. Give them something free for making the effort to come and see you.
  • I put together another newsletter
  • I am putting together a weekly presentation for my BNI group. Yep, another weekly thing for them.
  • A quick job which landed on my phone last week

I have planned 3 stories, short stories, for the world of my novel. And then I got a cool idea about some cross-over scenes between short story and novel, and so now I am re-thinking so I can have ALL of them cross-over. I DO plan on writing these as part of my October plotting and planning month. Get me a feel for the world again, writing about the vast deserts in the south.

But, to be honest, while I have been writing, I have not been doing much writing of substance. I think I slipped into neutral. Trying to maintain my writing has been a bit tiring of late.

However, the most productive time of the year is coming for me. So I expect to be writing and blogging and novelling and writing and doing a few newsletters and stuff. Just to remind myself that I can fit it all into one day.

Now, its 11.30 at night, and I am doing some homework. MORE WRITING! 🙂

Sometimes it is okay to not write, just admit that you’re not. Don’t make dinky and silly excuses.

 

The further adventures of a recently born novel… July 18, 2012

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I have been a published author for 2 weeks now. I had a chuckle the other day when a friend told me the number of weeks old their baby ways, and then later in the conversation I told them how many weeks my book had been published. The parallels amused me, but also thinking about how I felt about the book, as ‘my baby’. Now I know that the feelings and connection are not the same, but I created my book, so I do have some affection for it.

But I digress. This week saw sales of my book rise to 12. I don’t get email notifications from Amazon, so I have to remember to check, but only check once a day. Something about a watched pot not being a kettle? I have been told by many who have gone before me that it will not be a quick thing, you will not make millions. Now, while there is a part of my brain that knows this, GOSH I would love people to buy my book and discover how awesome it is, and tell ALL their friends.

Which leads me onto Goodreads.  . That will take you to my Author Page, where you can find my book. What Goodreads is, in my layman terms, is a social network of readers and writers. People put your book on their bookshelf. If they like it, they rate it. Their friends see what books they have read and then think – we have similar tastes, I too will read this. And so on. A massively potential word-of-mouth marketing opportunity. AND a place where I can find books I don’t think I would normally read.

I have often felt that reading and writing is a bit of a solitary pursuit. I have wanted a community of like-minded creatives. I have that in Nanowrimo, and soon perhaps I will have the same in Goodreads. Here is hoping 🙂

And did you know, I have yet to buy myself a congratulations gift for publishing my book! What should I buy, I wonder….

For sale – 1 Steampunk Novel with that new book smell July 3, 2012

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After many issues uploading, finally my novel is online and available to purchase! I invite you to follow the below link and buy this monster which I have been talking about for so many months!

A rollicking adventure set in a world of steam-powered metal men, sky ships, rouges, scoundrels, demons, dragons, sword fights, gun fights and true love.”

 

I managed to get the book up and online at 11.30pm my time, which is probably not the best time to announce to the world- hey! My book! Since most of the people in my world were asleep. But now comes the fun part of telling loads of people about it. I have the link above, I have friends on Twitter (waves to friends on twitter- re-tweet me!), sig file on email.

Also, this Thursday I am going to be featured on this blog :

Claire is having a week of promoting indie authors. I chose Thursday, I like Thursdays. There is also going to be a give-away of my book. 2 lucky people will win a free copy! I would like to say signed, but I don’t know how to do that.

Although, if I sign something, with a personal message, and add it as a page to the document….

 

They say you can edit a book forever. I received some edits from a friend after my last blog announcement saying it is about to be launched. They were good edits, meaty edits, the kind of edits which needs a load of brain power to compute. I started going through them, but by the time publication date came around, I hadn’t gone through them all. And then Smashwords would not let me publish. So, all day Sunday and Monday I was going through the edits and managed to work through them all. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy with the book before hand. I am just more happy now.

And the next time I read the book and decide that it could be EVEN BETTER….   they say you can edit a book forever…

It is a strange feeling to publish a book. There is something out there which I can no longer touch. Well, of course when I release the 10 year anniversary edition with extra scenes and DVD commentary, but right now, the book that is out there, is it. I have novels sitting on my computer that I can go back to and tweak here and there. But The Girl From Out of Town? Nope, it is there, it is out on the internet. I must now let it go to be its own thing, to be loved or hated by millions.

And now it is time to move on to a new writing project. Hmmm…

A baker’s dozen June 18, 2012

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I have been counting down to the end of June. At the moment, it is 13 days until July. I have been doing this through the profile picture on Facebook. So far, only 4 people have asked me what it is I am doing. I might have to make it more obvious.

So, 13 days until I launch my book. Is it finished? Gosh no. I will read it in the coming months and years and think- wow, if only I added that. Perhaps I needed to add a scene with a city square so I can include it later. Oh, wouldn’t it have been awesome if I had thought of that…  And it is not finished in the sense that I am just going through the final editing notes. When your editor suggests you write MORE because she wants to see MORE description, well, who doesn’t like to write more? I have this world lavishly coloured in my imagination, and now I get to dip the paint brush back into my mind and dab it on the page again? I just might do that, thank you very much!

So, with the creative side of the book coming to an end, sadly, I am now shifting to the marketing and selling of the book, which is fun in a different kind of way? How do I represent it on the web? How do I get the message out? How do I get the message to lots of people? Where do I sell my book and what do I need to sell my book? So, I am getting the talented  to help build a landing page for my book which ties in thematically with the feel and look of the book as it is now. It will be hosted on my website and then direct you to where the book can be sold. I am also thinking of getting other marketing material from her, but we will see how far the coin stretches.

I am also re-launching myself as a professional writer. I am re-branding myself. While I am, indeed, Matthew Farmer, Copy Writer, I am much more. I have edited and helped re-write a website or two, I have audited a website from a content point of view. I have written a tender document, helped with presentations and report writing, which is much more than ‘just’ copy writing. So I am re-branding myself to reflect this. I am hoping to do this on the 1st of July as well.

BIG DAY, huh?

There will, of course, be related marketing surrounding that, with new business cards, a new-look website and such; promotional and thank you gifts, of which I have been given some great ideas. But, as you know, marketing costs money, but you have to spend money to make money. Well, we will see.

It has been such a busy month, with just under half of it to go. I am going to be full of nervous energy in the coming weeks, and during July it is going to be crazy!

I like this kind of crazy.

No 1 on my to do list- complete all of my to do list. June 3, 2012

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I am terrible at to do lists. I am great at making them, but then ticking all of the boxes? Not so good. Number 2 on my to do list is finish editing my book. I’ve now got the detailed editing notes for Act 3, and I am going through it. Some macro stuff to come, with a bit of re-writing (being told you need to write more descriptions? I like that kind of advise…) So, I will get this book finished and ready to launch. Yes I will. I think I have tried twice to get it to launch and STUFF has happened. Paid work demanding my time, preventing me from doing editing work. Computer issues, sickness, gobbledocks . It is annoying me, I will admit. I WANT to get this thing out there, but I don’t want to get something out which is flawed.

But then, as a writer, you are always thinking of ways to improve what you have, make it better, just add a little bit more. So, once the micro and macro is done, and a few other dot points on my list is done, the book will be released unto the world!

Alongside the novel, I am also re-branding myself. In a discussion earlier this year with a breakfast group I am a part of, I talked about the concept of me as a writer, as a business, as a product. While I am a writer, I am THE writer, advice from others is to brand myself something larger, so I have room to move and grow. A lot of thought and imagination has gone into this, and I am in the process of doing so.

Re-branding is not just a case of- think of funky name get a logo and WaheY! I have used 2 sample groups to test out names, a graphic designer helped with logo concepts. I am now going to re-do some of my website to match the band, new business cards, all of that.

And then there is my newsletter I am slowly putting together. Yes, I am going to launch a newsletter. It will be all about writing. I can hear a few claps in the audience, but not much else. But writing is so much, there is so much of it in the world that sometimes even I forget that SOMEONE had to write that. Even the spam messages I get for my blog, somewhere, someone had to write that. So, I want to highlight my writing, but I also want to show what other forms of writing is out there, news about the industry, movements and opinions about writery stuff.

But, all in good time.

Right now, the next thing on my to-do list is some shopping and some lunch.

The Editing Calm before the Published Storm May 21, 2012

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I have been a tad remiss in blogging. My apologies. Hectic week. They say freelance work is either famine or feast. I had one of those weeks of feast last week. It has calmed down a bit, and this upcoming week looks only slightly full.

I am into the last bit of editing my novel. Again, there have been delays getting the editing done. Technology, DARN YOU! But I have most of the notes back now. The editor gave me line edits, she read through the book, finding words to change, punctuation and grammar errors. I was amazed! She read it that closely? I thought this because I have read it so many times it is just a blur. I know when I read other people’s works for editing I read it as close. I was just, kind of excited that someone read my whole book, THAT closely. AND liked it! 🙂 I like that.

So, yes, the book has come to a crawl while I go through the editing. But when it comes out the other side, it will read so well!

And then you can read about it here –> . There is going to be a week in July – 2nd through to the 8th, where each day an indie author is going to be featured. Because I love Thursdays, I will be featured on Thursday, July 5th. There will be copies of my book to give away, and an interview with me!

A big thanks to Sarah Billington

and Clair Frith

for this opportunity.

I said a couple of blog posts back that I would share some pages, blogs, which I have found interesting and worth while. So, here is some links for y’all:

Rachelle Gardner’s 7 Bad Habits of Successful Writers. In a nutshell? Sort of yes, yes, not yet but possibly yes, not yet but hopefully no, yes, yes, yes and yes.

The Guardian has 10 Rules for Writing Fiction. I don’t like rules for writing fiction. Guidelines, sure, advice, certainly, but rules? You show me one rule for writing and I will show you a famous author who broke it. I like Neil Gaiman’s first rule of writing- Write. (Okay, my last comment, I cannot find you a famous author who has broken that rule)

And I was going to link The Write Scene? But apparently my internet cannot find their internet. So I will leave you with those 2 sites.

Enjoy!

What happens when your computer dies? April 15, 2012

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You hear all the people saying – back up everything! And, sure, I do. I have a Dropbox for my creative work. But everything else? Hmmm. well, I copied my copy writing to an external hard drive. And i moved some pictures and stuff across. My Steam account saves all the games I’ve bought so I can download them again if I need.

But during the last week, I have had major computer issues which makes me realise just how much I SHOULD have backed up. My hard drive was failing. I thought it may have been memory, in that any web browser I had open would stop for a while and say- not responding. Same too with my email. Games had to be played in the lowest resolution. But then an IT friend told me this was due to the computer trying to access the FAT tables and not being able to? Or something? And that the hard drive was on its last legs.

Sure enough, the day after, Easter Friday, the computer failed to boot up and found many sectors unreadable. Thankfully it was still under warranty, so I had a new hard drive installed free of charge, but not until the Tuesday afterwards. As I said above, I had my creative work backed up, and I saved my copy writing work, and some images. But what did I lose? ALL of my emails. All of my photos and assorted imagery which I didn’t move across. The photos are a big loss. I just forgot to back them up. 😦 I lost all my collected book marks, so blogs and writing sites, copy writing inspiration sites and the like, all gone.

And no, they could not recover any data.

And then, round two of my bad luck? While re-installing Open Office, web browsers and email software, I completely forgot about anti-virus. I had some installed and running prior to the crash, and it never occurred to me that a new hard drive would mean no anti-virus! I bet you can see where this is going. I followed a Google link to the forums of my Roller Derby League, and suddenly messages were popping up telling me I had a virus, and a very infected computer and I NEEDED to install this anti-virus software! Every time I tried to launch a program, it was stopped and I was told- everything is infected!

Tried as I might, I couldn’t not clean the computer. So, I had to ring my IT support friend. He laughed at me, mocked me a little bit, which, granted, I guess I deserved. But the computer was cleaned, and I was off again. And now I have anti-virus stuff installed and running.

But my writing? Stalled. I am back into it now, but yeah, stalled.

But it was also stalled for another reason. I reached a very important conversation in my book. Someone from the city has found our heroes in the wild frontier and wants to bring them back with him. This conversation has more weight behind it now than it did in the original version, since how our heroes escaped the second time was a lot more violent. It has left the city on the verge of war. But, three times i tried to make this conversation work for me, and it just wasn’t. So, I am moving beyond it, writing the next part of the book, which is simple enough, up to the dramatic final ending. And then I will come back and work on that one scene, even get my new editor in to help suggest ways to make it work.

I am a very chronological writer. I like to know the ideas, the points in my book I have to join up to make the overall picture, and write to those points. I am not one to write all the good bits and then fill in the gaps with stuff. You have to earn the fun bits, I believe. So, this is a new thing for me, to write knowing something behind me is left undone.

On the professional front, I am in a rut. I am trying to create avenues to work and struggling. How to get yourself out to the world to say – I can write for you! Networking? Yeah, doing that. I am constructing a newsletter and asking people to sign up. Not yet though, but soon.

So, my writing challenges this week? Finish writing my novel and get it to my new editor. Get the bones of my pending newsletter, AND get a paid writing gig. I read somewhere that copy writing clients are better than gigs, because they provide ongoing work. I am working on that, but I plan, by the end of this week, to have at least one copy writing job which I will be doing.

And I plan to find some writing websites and blogs and book mark them. Just saying 😉

Are eBooks too cheap? Huffington Post Article December 23, 2011

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Through the Writers Beware Facebook group, I discovered this article in the Huffington Post- Are eBooks Too Cheap?

I have yet to determine the pricing of my pending eBook, so this makes excellent reading. While I can see the sense in having a book cost only 99 cents, I know the time and effort I put into this work, and feel that low price would not to me justice, or the book justice. It would cheapen the book. It may widen my readership, but at what cost?

I will read more about this in the coming weeks the closer my launch date becomes.

The end of another writing year…. obligatory review! Part 2 December 20, 2011

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Wow. I was going to write just one post for my writing year in review. Seems this has been a bigger year than I thought and I need to split it into two! This is, of course, a very good thing.

So, my creative year. It began with me writing and finishing my epic sci-fi series, the final book – Crashing Wave. Without the madness of Nanowrimo, it was actually a struggle to complete this. Looking back I have come to realise that what happens in your every day life, your 9 – 5, can affect how you write creatively. I have learned that it is the first 5 minutes of writing which is the hardest to achieve. Once you break through that 5 minutes, then you have the momentum to continue. I have learned that once you hit 20 minutes you tend to lose that momentum, unless you get totally focused.

As such, it was a huge struggle for me to get the last bit of the series completed. Compared to Nanowrimo this year where I completed a 94k word novel in 30 days, it took me almost 5 months to write 15k words to complete the novel. However, I now know what drives me to write, what I need to do to make myself write, and I am quite sure that in the new year I will write more than 1 novel during the year. Especially if the popularity and sales motivate me. But more on that later.

To motivate me I had a friend create a book cover for the first novel in the series – Bow Shock. You can find the cover here – Scarlet Rugers. It is in the Book Covers section of the website. When it comes to cover art, for me, I like minimalist designs. I don’t like having characters on the cover, or would prefer not to have them. Rather than the reader imagine their own image for the characters it is telling them- this is what they look like. It ties up some of the imagination which could be better used in reading the story. You have to remember the book cover whenever those characters are in scene because the cover has told you what they look like.

When I was writing the books, on the Nanowrimo site, you were allowed to have banners in your profile advertising your books. Mine were incredibly simple, just a planet, a star field, and a line showing movement. I believe Scarlett has taken that simple idea and enhanced it in a very clean way. It was fun working with her as well, she would get excited, show me an idea and before I had said anything she would say- wait! What about this?! I like those people who are passionate about what they do.

During the middle of the year I stopped writing creatively. Work stress, life stress, and a want to concentrate on getting my copy writing business precedent. Sad, I know. I did have the seeds for a novel idea in my mind, don’t worry about that. a Magic Steampunk adventure! However I was waiting until November to write it. I know in myself that I need that surge of novelling energy to get me going.

And so, October rolled around, my month of plotting and planning. I started doing the 30 days of world building, but stopped. I already had a plot, and a direction. The exercises did help me out, I will admit. Thinking of weather as a driving force for plot was good. Trade winds would determine the best routes for sky ships to sail. And they would change with every season. The geography of the world would affect the winds as well, so I needed a map. And rather than just having mountains here and there, think about how they are made. The Himalayan mountains are created by continental plates colliding, so, when looking at my map, and mountain ranges, I imagined them to be the edges of plates, which helped sculpt the coast line etc. So these new ways of thinking about world building and how the land would interact with my plot was great. However, there were things left out, things I didn’t consider, due to not being relevant to my story.

I knew what the political situation would be- Royal Family. I have not yet decided on a religion for my world, however there re druids and people with certain elemental aspects in their system. So it may lean towards a pagan pantheon. But then, it might clash with the different schools of magic. It might clash with the idea of people from another realm. It was a very tricky decision, so in the end I chose not to have religion and spirituality that major in my story. And I don’t believe it has harmed the story at all.

So, November. Nanowrimo. Writing a novel, while also trying to be a professional copy writer. I had a GREAT day during November. I spent a day creating the first BNI newsletter AND I wrote 5000 + words of my novel. This day showed me that I can focus and be focussed. It showed that both of my writing loves can live side by side. I can write novels, and copy write, all at the same time. This bodes so incredibly well for my future.

During Nanowrimo I updated my Facebook paged daily with word counts and an exciting commentary on what my characters had been doing. This generated a LOT of response from people, a lot of excitement, and a lot of requests to read the story. So I came to a decisions. Currently I have 4 beta readers going through my work and should be giving me feedback by early January. T hen I will re-write and edit, and publish the book on Smashwords come Valentine’s Day. Once again Scarlett is creating the cover art for me, with some web icons to help with sales.

My first published novel. Wow. This is going to be exciting. I am opening myself up to people saying- wow! To people going- it’s just the same as….  Opening myself up to people to say- this is the worst thing I have ever written. Ah well –