Always Remember Who You Are! #livehack #liveyourbestlife


When the shit hits the fans and you are feeling stressed, it can be hard to remember who you are, but it’s essential to your soul that you do remember who you are. In this video I talk about how to remember who you are, and tips and techniques you can do that will help you how to do just that, and keep yourself in a positive frame of mind.

In this video you will learn:

  • The importance of gratitude and things you can be a grateful for.
  • About conditioning and how to maintain being you.
  • How to self-love.
  • How to have maintain a positive mindset.
  • And more.

Let me know what tips and techniques from this video you benefitted from the most, by writing in the comments below! I would love to read you.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my #lifehacks channel, if you haven’t already, www.youtube.com/quirkybooksTV

As always, stay quirky and write soon

Sandra xx

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Have you got the guts to run your own writing business?


Hi everyone

I would like to say a huge thank you to all of you, that liked and shared my blog article “Have you got the guts to run your own business” on Sage One. It could just as easily have been called “Have you got the guts to run your own writing business.”

For those of you who are currently unemployed and interesting in starting your own writing business, this article explains how the Enterprise Club Start-up Training Course can help you, by finding out if you have got what it takes to start and run a business. At the end of the course you will be able to decide whether or not you have a viable business model with a business plan that predicts a profit. You can use this business plan to apply for the National Enterprise Allowance. With the National Enterprise Allowance (NEA) you get the opportunity to work with a business mentor and the chance of having a loan of up to £1000. I did this course whilst I was unemployed last year and learnt a lot of valuable information, knowledge and skills, that has helped me on my way to turning my writing into a business.

As you can see from the following screen shot, the article has received good feedback and lots of sharing across social media. In particular I want to give a humungous thank you to Louise from Inspire your business, who took the time to comment on the blog post itself on the Sage One website. Louise, you are awesome and your support is greatly appreciated. For anyone interested in running their own business, Louise’s blog offers inspiration and advice. Here is the link to her site: inspireyourbusiness.wordpress.com

Sandra Bellamy Guest Blogger

If you want to know if you have got the guts to run your own writing business, here is the link to my blog article: sageone.com/2013/08/23/guts-to-run-your-own-business/

Please let me know what you thought of the article and what further advice, help and support you would like?

Write soon

Sandra

How To Put A Blog Award On Your WordPress Blog


Hi Everyone

I have recently been asked for the third time, how to put a blog award on a WordPress Blog, so rather than email you individually I have decided to put the instructions in a post. I hope you can understand them and follow them. I have a Mac and have tried to make the instructions applicable to a PC aswell.

I have written these instructions as if the person were trying to put the One Lovely Blog award on their blog but if it’s another award then you just use another award instead and give it the appropriate title.

I have broken the process down into two stages. There may be quicker a way of doing it but I am no tech genius so if you have a quicker way then please share it. Let me know how you get on and what you found difficult to understand.

Stage One:

In WordPress, under Posts, click Add New, to create a new blog post. Give the Blog post a relevant title and click on the Draft save button.

Go to the post in which you were nominated for the award. To do this you can either open a new window or click on the comments symbol in the top right of your dashboard then click on the post link and go to it. Scroll down the post until you come to the image of the award. The simplest way to make the award visible on your post is to highlight the award and hold CTRL and click on C to copy the image, then go back to your blog post and hold down the CTRL button again and click V to paste it directly into your post. Alternatively, highlight the award usually by right clicking on it and save it somewhere such as your media library, my documents or downloads folder, remember to give it an identifiable name, such as One Lovely Blog Award and the format should be jpeg.

If you haven’t been able to copy and paste it directly into your blog post then you will need to upload the image from where you saved it. Click on the Add Media button under your Post Title, find the image you want from the folder you put it in and highlight it, then click the upload button.

Stage Two:

Left click on the image in the top left corner and click on the little picture icon that says Edit Image. A new box will appear. You can change the size of the image. If you need the image to fit in with your sidebar width, you may have to play around with the sizes in the Advanced Settings screen by clicking on the Advanced Settings tab. In the normal Edit Image mode you can choose to change the alignment of the award. You can give it a title – One Lovely Blog Award and it’s best to type this in Alternative Text too, to enhance your SEO. You can write a caption in the caption box such as “I Won” if you want to.

Very Important – In the Link URL section, click the Link to Image option and this will come up with a long code, highlight the code and hold CTRL and click on C to copy it. Then click on Update to save the settings.

Click Save Draft to ensure you have saved the image into the post.

Go to Appearance in your Dashboard and click on Widgets. On the right hand side you will see a list of Widget Areas and to the left you will have a list of Available Widgets. Go to the Image Widget and click on Add. This will bring up two boxes, one is asking you for information about the Widget. Here you can input the following:

Widget Title = One Lovely Blog Award

Image URL is usually the URL address that you would re-direct people to if they clicked on the image. You may want to do this if you have another site that you would like your followers to visit.

Alternative Text: This is for SEO, I would just type One Lovely Blog Award the Image Title is usually the same and I don’t necessarily use that aswell.

The Caption is what else you want to say, such as “I Won”.

You can change the Image Alignment and the size. To be honest, sometimes I find it easier to make the adjustments in this screen rather than in the previous one.

Very Important – Put your cursor in the box under Link URL and hold CTRL and V to paste in that code that you copied from the previous screen.

Finally, decide what Widget Area you want the award to be in and click on the arrows to choose its position. Then click Save Widget. If you don’t save it, you will have to repeat this process again.

If your Widget Area Positions are full then you will either need to let the image over-ride something else or choose to have a page for your awards.

Ensure you click on the Read Blog option from the drop down menu under your name in the top right of your dashboard, to see if you have successfully put your award where you wanted it to go. You may have to go back and change the size if it is not in alignment with the other widgets displayed in that area of your page.

As you probably know, it’s polite to follow all the blog rules and to do a blog post regarding your award. This will encourage more traffic to your site and increase your followers.

I hope this is helpful?

Write soon

Sandra

 

beatredundancyblues is awarded the Very Inspiring Blogger Award


Hi Everyone

If you don’t already know, I have another blog called beatredundancyblues.wordpress.com that is designed to help people who are redundant to get back into work. It has been awarded it’s first award, the Very Inspiring Blogger Award and I have now posted my award nominations on the link below: http://beatredundancyblues.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/beatredundancyblues-won-the-very-inspiring-blogger-award

Thanks to everyone who follows me on both blogs and to those of you who didn’t know about my other blog, I do hope you enjoy it and please leave comments to let me know what you think and how I can improve the help and advice that I post.

I have just been awarded Blog Of The Year 2012 for the second time and so now have two stars. I will be posting my nominations for the first and second stars in a future post, so watch this space.

Write soon

Sandra

 

Have Fun with National Novel Writing Month


Hi Everyone

In order to keep the momentum of NaNoWriMo to a peak, I asked Author and Writing Coach Rochelle Melander, if she could do a guest blog post on how to stay motivated during this event and this is what she wrote.

I rocked NaNoWriMo on November 1. By the end of my first writing session, I had nearly twice the amount of words I needed. When I woke up on November 2—a Friday—I felt a sense of foreboding, “You mean I have to do this again?” By the end of that first busy weekend in November, I was thousands of words behind and worried about catching up. And I wasn’t enjoying creating scenes. Instead, I was worrying about whether the scene was realistic, thinking about how this should be easier, and wondering how long it was going to take me to revise this quickly drafted book. All the time, I had my eye on the counter: how many words had I written. (And I’m a professional writer!)

But recently, I’ve had a brilliant, game-changing aha moment: oh yeah, National Novel Writing Month is supposed to be fun. That tiny thought was all I needed to jump back into NaNoWriMo project with some joy. If you’re struggling with NaNoWriMo and need to add a little fun to your work, here are five ways to rock your story:

1.   Add a pop of color. I hear that advice a lot on clothing shows (as well as in nearly every magazine I read). In order to make an outfit compatible with the season, we can add a pop of color with our nails, shoes, or jewelry. Well, why not add a pop of color to our novels? A few weeks ago, I heard a story on the radio about a guy who had invented a working gun that could be printed on plastic using a 3-dimensional printer. My mind went right to fiction: imagine what would happen if a character could print a gun? Now that would add a pop and maybe even a pop of color. Try it: give your character a printable gun or some other unusual 3-dimensional prop to make and use. See what happens next.

2.  Take a page from fan fiction. Many of the students I am working with during NaNoWriMo this year write fan fiction. They borrow the best elements from their favorite novels and television shows, add new characters and plots, and write forward. When they talk about writing their NaNoWriMo book, they get all giddy because it gives them an opportunity to spend the month with characters they are curious about in a setting they have long admired. Try it: list 5-10 elements you like from your favorite television shows and novels. Don’t limit yourself—write down characters, setting, plot points, props, and anything else you can think of. Once you have your list, add one or more element to your NaNoWriMo project.

3.  Make worry work for you. I’ve been a worrier my whole life. Even happy events leave me worrying about what might go wrong. On the other hand, if you’re a worrier, you can harness your imagination and make it work for your writing. In Josip Novakovich’s Fiction Writer’s Workshop, he invites readers to make use of their worries by listing events that could have happened but didn’t (p. 23). These could be events you feared or hoped might happened. Try it: Make a list of at least five of these events and use one or more in your novel.

4.  Phone a friend. On the popular television quiz show, Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, participants could get help by reaching for three lifelines: 50-50, ask the audience, or phone a friend. Often both the audience and the friend were not just wrong, they were wildly wrong. In NaNoWriMo, we might get some interesting answers if we ask a friend or acquaintance for help with our novel. And in the world of NaNo, interesting means more fun for us. Try this: ask your friends on Facebook to give you a fun character or situation to add into your novel. Then do it—put in the zombie librarian or the flying pig, even if they have nothing to do with what you are writing about. Trying to add a unique element to your book will puzzle your brain in the best possible way.

5.  Use Found Passages. I’m enamored of artists who can take old materials and shape them into new items. In Paper Made: 101 Exceptional Projects to Make Out of Everyday Paper, author Kayte Terry teaches readers how to make purses out of old book covers and bracelets out of scraps of paper. As a writer, you can take found passages of writing and incorporate them into your book as well. Jonathan Safran Foer created his book Tree of Codes by cutting into his favorite book, The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz. What emerged is a novel that is part story, part sculpture. Try this: review favorite books, journal entries, magazine articles, and your old drafts of articles and novels for snippets to mix and match and revise into a part of your book.

Your turn: What tools and techniques do you suggest for letting go and having fun? Comment below! We need your advice!

Rochelle Melander is an author, speaker, and certified professional coach. She is the author of ten books, including the National Novel Writing Month guide—Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (and Live to Tell About It) Rochelle teaches professionals how to write good books fast, use writing to transform their lives, navigate the publishing world, and get published! For more tips and a complementary download of the first two chapters of Write-A-Thon, visit her online at www.writenowcoach.com

Rochelle Y. Melander 
Author and Writing Coach 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Author of the book,
Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days 
(And Live to Tell About It)
(Writers Digest Books, October 2011)
A 2011 ForeWord Book of the Year Finalist
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
http://www.writenowcoach.com
http://www.writenowmastermind.com
rochelle@WriteNowCoach.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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C is for Compelling Characters (A-Z of Writing)


Hi Everyone

Whatever story you are writing, you have to create compelling characters. This does not mean to say they all have to be ‘nice’ characters, on the contrary, some villains make the most compelling characters because as human beings we are naturally curious as to why a person has become in that state of being and that’s what keeps us intrigued. Therefore a flawed character can be just as attractive as someone with an endearing personality. Think about how many TV programmes there are nowadays, that explore the reasons as to why a serial killer became that in the first place. We want to understand the reason why someone speaks, acts and behaviours in the manner in which they do, so that we can find a part of ourselves that connects with them in some way and causes us to want to know more. It becomes a challenge to us, a mission, to want to solve the puzzle of their personality.

There are exceptions to this. If you are writing a children’s book for 3-5 years, the last thing you want to do is bring a nasty character into the story as this would most likely scare a child of that age. With this age group, it is more about a child being compelled by the main character because they can relate to a problem the character is experiencing.  For example losing their Blankie or favourite toy. The reader wants to know how that problem is going to be resolved. This is the ‘hook’ that pulls the reader along to the end and needs to be intertwined with a degree of tension, built gradually to a peak and then to a successful conclusion.

To create a compelling character in a novel from someone who seems to have the most wonderful personality and the most perfect life, they usually have to have something happen to them in the story that affects them in some way. The more major way the better, as it adds curiosity and drama to the plot, increases tension and compels the reader to find out how they deal with that event and how it affects  the people around them. Remember ’cause and effect’ and as you write your story, keep thinking of this in your head. You need a ’cause’ to create a puzzle that needs to be solved and you need to explore the ‘effects’ of this on the main character and consequently the other characters. As the reader gets into the mind of the characters and feels for them, they will want to know more and read on.

But what about non-fiction books?

With non-fiction books, the book is often written by someone with experience in their field. They have been through it, done it and come out the other side. They are imparting the knowledge of their experience to the reader. So in effect, they are the main character and they become compelling when they are viewed as an expert with a human touch, that other people can relate to and learn valuable information from, to inspire and to help them. Another thing a non-fiction writer may include in their book, is case studies, these are often based on real-life people, whose identity has been kept anonymous but who have been through similar experiences to that of the reader. They are compelling because as they pop up throughout the book, they offer various solutions to solving a problem or issue that the reader needs to be resolved.

As always, your comments are most welcome.

Write soon

Sandra

B is for Brainstorm (A-Z of Writing)


 

Hi Everyone

Whether you are writing a lot about a variety of things or you haven’t picked up a pen in ages, sometimes it’s difficult for your brain to come up with what to write next. Some may refer to this as writer’s block. I prefer to think of it as creative block

The answer to this is to brainstorm. Pick any topic, place, phrase, thing, season, time and start brainstorming. That is, write everything that springs to mind relating to that one particular thing and that should give you ideas for plot, characters, setting and scenery.

For example, if I choose a hot summer’s day, I have already got the weather, the season, as well as the fact it’s daytime. I could also have any of the following:

  • Picnic
  • Stream
  • Grass
  • Children playing
  • Swimming
  • Sunbathing
  • Butterflies
  • Flowers
  • Bees
  • Magic
  • Seagull
  • Beach
  • Pebbles
  • Sand
  • Rocks
  • Sea
  • Surfing
  • Drowning
  • Man saved a boy
  • Long lost son but didn’t know it
  • Became friends with boy
  • Lifeguards sacked after ignoring warning signs
  • Newspaper
  • Media attention
  • Publicity
  • Journalist
  • Story
  • Money
  • Fame
  • Fortune
  • Tragedy
  • Boy dies in car crash
  • Organ donor

I could go on and on, you see how one idea can lead to another and indeed I went away from the initial thought and my story began to take shape. I didn’t pre-empt that, I just let it flow.

So when you are feeling a bit down, get pen and paper and just go with the flow, it’s amazing what you can come up with and if you are still not happy because you cannot see the bigger picture from your ideas that have been flowing, store them up to be used at a later date. A good place to store them, is in a notepad that you will refer to over again or on index cards, that way you can mix and match them.

Good luck with the writing and let me know how you get on.

Write soon

Sandra

 

Researching what your reader wants to read


Hi Everyone

Today’s post is in response to a comment from hutchagoodlife. To find out how you can research what your reader is wanting to read.

I recently wrote a non-fiction book proposal about redundancy and this involved a lot of research. This is what I did and what I would advise you to do, in order to increase your chances of giving the reader what they want and of getting published.

  • Google your subject – paying attention to the top 5 websites and browse them thoroughly
  • Use Google Keyword search tools for finding out what words and combinations of words are most searched for
  • Search the web in general for your subject matter and note and explore your results
  • Read as many books as possible, written by other authors on the subject/genre for which you want to write
  • Read books by the publisher/s you are going to submit your work to, to see what’s been done before
  • Look through magazines/newspapers, watch TV programmes on your subject
  • Devise a market research survey or questionnaire and find a suitable place to action it – then ensure you do take action by noting the results
  • Join social networking forums relevant to your subject and find out what everyone is talking about –  A good one for me is LinkedIn
  • Go to your local bookstores and ask them for a print out on books that you can buy relevant to your subject, if there is a lot, choose between 5 -10. – Different bookstores will have some different titles that you can potentially buy but there will always be crossovers, which is when you can start to see patterns emerging of the most popular titles that you need to study
  • Go to visit your local library and look at books similar to or the same as your subject – Pay attention to how many times each book has been taken out – That way you can compare the most popular titles with the most unpopular ones and analyse why you believe they are better

The amount of time you spend doing each of the above, will most likely be different for a fiction book to a non-fiction book and although all are relevant, you may find that some work better for you than others, depending on what it is that you want to write about.

Whatever you are writing about, ensure you put a different slant on it, to what has been done before. Stay positive, stay focused and believe in your-self.

Good luck.

If you want any more help, please let me know.

Write soon

Sandra