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Thanks so much for this detailed advice. I don't feel ready to start writing a novel yet, but I think these tips will also be helpful for my stories.
I especially like your point about paying attention to the character of the narrator - it's obvious, when you think about it, that the narrative voice has its own personality, but I'd never thought of it like that.
I agree it's helpful to print a draft out, and I like using index cards, too - it's a totally different experience, reading something on paper from reading it on screen, and I think makes it much easier to spot problems. I like the physical experience of using a paper and pen, too.
Thanks, Leigh :)
1 year, 1 month ago on How To Transform Your First Draft Novel Into A Complete Book
@thefutureisred Hi Leigh - I live in a very small town (not much more than a big village, really) in North Yorkshire in the UK (between the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales) - beautiful but often wet!
1 year, 2 months ago on Accountability (not pizza). It’s what’s for dinner!
Hi Leigh - I thoroughly enjoyed the first chapter of your book - as you'll know from previous comments I've made, I can easily relate to your feelings of not wanting children and love the way you've explained the way your own feelings about this changed. It's interesting how events like 9/11 affect people in different ways.
Congratulations on your first video - it really made me laugh - we live out in the sticks so there's no Pizza outlet of any description for miles!
@thefutureisred Thanks, Leigh! I look forward to reading more of your fiction, too, in the year ahead :)
1 year, 2 months ago on Fiction: Night of a thousand days
Hi Leigh - I've so enjoyed reading this post, particularly as it comes hot on the heals of a great one by Tim Bonner about the blogging treadmill, on which I often feel trapped. My new year resolutions include making time for daily meditation and spending less time online. The old work ethic's all well and good but I think there's often an unhealthy pressure for bloggers to be workaholics, constantly burning the candle at both ends. I have a recurrent neck and shoulder problem that's brought on by spending too much time sitting at my desk, and I'm determined to get the better of it this year by doing exactly what you advise - getting away from my computer!
I've never heard of abundance jars - they sound a wonderful idea. And you're right about the power of expressing gratitude - I often do this in my "all-in-one-pot" daily journal, reminding myself of the blessings I'm so fortunate to enjoy.
I'd like to thank you, too, Leigh - I'm so pleased to have discovered your blog. Thanks so much for another inspirational post.
I wish you every happiness in the coming year.
1 year, 2 months ago on It’s time to put aside your goals for something far more important
I thoroughly enjoyed this story - the narrator's voice was very engaging and believable. I was bracing myself for a miserable ending, because you brought out her barely suppressed anger very vividly, so the positive conclusion was a nice surprise.
I've often wondered what it would be like coping with constant daylight - or perpetual night, for that matter. Wonder if you've read Dark Matter - a terrifying ghost story about an expedition over-wintering way up North - very scary!
Thanks for a great read - a nice change from regular blog posts!
@thefutureisred Thanks, Leigh. I'm slow partly because I do too much editing as I go along - it means there's less to do later, but it slows me down. I'm working on it. Like you, I sometimes get on a roll - just wish I could be on one every day.
Thanks so much for your good wishes - Happy New Year to you too!
1 year, 3 months ago on Be accountable! Join me and set your intention for 2014!
@thefutureisred Hi Leigh - I love your image of the sculpture hewn from a rough piece of wood and I agree, that's a much nicer way of thinking about our writing. Sucks is a horrible word and I've always regretted using it in a headline - as you say, it's rather aggressively judgmental.
Re the story, I'm just going to self-publish it on Kindle initially, and see how that goes. It's hopefully the first of many - but I'm a slow writer!
Thanks for your good wishes, Leigh. Have a fantastic Christmas with your family :)
Hi Leigh - that's an impressive list of objectives. I love your account of writing that diary and wading through all the crap to create your book. I'm sure most people's diaries contain a lot of pretty mundane, boring stuff, but some hidden gems as well.
My main goal for 2014 is to keep working on my fiction and to get published on Kindle - I have a short story that's almost ready to go, which I intend to publish early in the New Year, so I'm very excited about that, and I've just started another.
I'll continue building my blog, and will no doubt share some of the learning I acquire as I become familiar with the Kindle publishing process.
Good luck with all those pitches, and I look forward to seeing the excerpt from your book - and that video!
@thefutureisred @SusanNeal That's the one, Leigh - Ira Glass - the message in it has become embedded in my brain :)
1 year, 3 months ago on 3 ways we self sabotage ourselves and our writing
Hi Leigh - a great post, which reminds me of the thoughts that stopped me putting pen to paper for years. Blogging is one of the things that helped boost my confidence in the first instance - just pushing myself to put stuff out there, and then getting feedback from readers. Then a while back I came across an inspiring youtube video, which I used as the basis for a blog post, pointing out that the fact you think your writing sucks is a GOOD thing, because it means you've got great taste - you can see what needs improving.
That's stayed with me and encouraged me to keep writing, every day. My writing still often sucks, but that's fine - it's work in progress.
Oh Leigh, I can so identify with this post! I grew up with a terror of being "different" (though I was, as we all are, in lots of ways) and it led to years of insecurity and anxiety. One of the ways in which I bucked "normality" was a realisation, quite early on, that I didn't want to have children - I can still remember the look of horror on the face of a male colleague, who clearly thought I was certifiable.
I hate it when people try to impose their norms on others - I can't imagine why anyone should object to the idea of a child having a nap before a party - anyone would think you were going to beat the kid!
I agree with Danny - you'r'e an inspiration. Thanks for one of the most interesting blog posts I've read in ages.
1 year, 3 months ago on Embrace your inner freak! She has a story to tell.
@thefutureisred @SusanNeal Hi Leigh - I'm just working on one main project at the moment - the one that was going to be a short story, but which has grown somewhat. I've started a few stories that have gone pear-shaped, but I'm determined to finish this one, by hook or by crook! I can see there's a danger you can just start hopping from one project to another and never see anything through to the end - that's the big challenge, I think - actually finishing something you feel is good enough to publish.
I don't mind Livefyre now I'm used to it, but I think it does put some people off.
Thanks very much for your reply to my comment - and for your comments on my blog - appreciated :)
1 year, 4 months ago on 7 ways to commit to writing even if you’re not doing NaNoWriMo
Thanks for these useful tips, Leigh - I'd love to have a go at NaNo one day, but it's not the right time for me this year - I've only just started delving into writing fiction. I do spend a lot of time writing every day, mainly working on what started out as a short story, but which is probably going to be a novel. I'm aiming to add at least 500 -1000 words a day to this during November. I'll also continue having a go at the weekly writing prompt on the Writer's Digest site and comment on other people's submissions there. It's a fun creative writing challenge and also a way of interacting with other writers.
I agree with you that it's very helpful to have some "do-able" commitments to keep us focused and motivated.
@thefutureisred Thanks very much, Leigh - I appreciate your reply and I'm very honoured you've signed up to my list. Delighted to be connected with you.
Good luck with your book!
1 year, 6 months ago on Why there’s no such thing as writer’s block
Hi Leigh - I enjoyed this post. Followed your link from Problogger. I read a great tip the other day, which suggested having a discussion with your creative self - your muse, if you like - and writing down the dialogue. I found that was a very effective block-buster. I find the discipline of writing a daily journal - in which I permit myself to write all manner of rubbish - is a good way to make sure you keep the wheels oiled even when your other writing projects might be on the rocks.
Hi - this is something I've been thinking about quite a lot recently, and I entirely agree with you. A great post on an interesting topic that I'm sure a lot of bloggers agonize about.
1 year, 10 months ago on Should You Delete Comments on Your Blog?
Great tips - no time to read 158 comments so someone might already have mentioned this, but I'd add that you need a killer headline.
1 year, 11 months ago on Nine Tips to Write a Great Blog Post
Couldn't agree more - when I mentioned this in a post recently I had a few responses from committed multi-taskers who couldn't see a problem with it, but I think apart from a few simple tasks that are so habitual we can almost do them in our sleep, it's usually a bad idea. I've walked into lamp-posts using my mobile ;) A techie friend of mine said that even computers don't really multi-task - they just do one thing after another VERY quickly. I know I'm more effective when I focus on one thing at a time.
1 year, 11 months ago on The Problem with Multitasking
What great tips you've gleaned from this experience - your positive attitude and determination to learn from what happened is an inspiration. I like the point about appreciating the goodness of others when you're in a fix. Nice post.
1 year, 12 months ago on What Does A Market Have In Common With Marketing?
I think my answer to your question is yes, if I understand you correctly, I guess I'm a 'sharecaster' - I've a few youtube videos embedded in some posts on my site, and I do share, reference and interpret other people's content. There seems quite an overlap with content curation (and I've only recently got my head round what that means!), but with more emphasis on the sharing and distribution side of things - would you agree, or have I got the wrong end of the stick?
If this is going to get into the dictionary there'll be some explaining to do, because I recently did a post on content curation, mainly to clarify my own understanding of the concept, and many people who commented admitted they hadn't realized what it actually meant.
2 years, 2 months ago on Are You a Sharecaster?
@remarkablogger @SusanNeal @RiverwoodWriter Thanks for the explanation, Michael - appreciated.
2 years, 2 months ago on Twitter - Improve Your Content with Follower Chaining to Find High-Value People
@RiverwoodWriter So glad you asked that - it surprises me how many bloggers only have FB 'Like' buttons, which is very frustrating, as you say, when you want to share on your business page. Thanks for sorting it on here, Michael.
One of my New Year resolutions is to stop being so judgemental - of myself as well as of others - and it's interesting that you link this to being a better listener. It's a really good point. So I guess the first step is to shut up and stop talking so much - not just out loud, I mean stopping some of the mindless chatter that goes on in my head, so I can actually hear what's going on.
Lots of food for thought - thanks!
2 years, 2 months ago on Why we Need Listening Lessons: How to Listen Between The Lines
Sorry - sudoku (and here I am, in the middle of drafting a post all about editing!)
2 years, 3 months ago on Who are you? Can these 9 questions define your narrative?
I think the hardest of these is "what is their impression of you and is that consistent with who you are?"
We rarely get a true idea of what other people think of us, partly because it's just not in our gift to see through other people's eyes, but also because people don't often feel able to tell us, honestly, how they see us - we're too keen to give each other positive strokes to be open about the bits we're not so keen on. We're too eager to be 'nice' to each other and careful not to cause offence. Besides which, different people will view us in different ways - depending on their relationship with us and their own world view.
And we're just so damned complicated - how on earth do you sum a person up in a few words?
As for who I really am - I think I'll still be figuring that out on my death bed - it's an engaging puzzle, though, more fun than sukoku,
No easy answers to your very challenging and thought-provoking questions, I fear - but thanks for posing them
Hi Kirkus and Tom - your Dan Brown exchange has made me laugh. I really enjoyed his books, found them thoroughly entertaining, and as I read them often thought, 'boy, this would make a great movie' - I was obviously wrong there (!) but what was wrong with the books? To have enjoyed them now feels like a secret sin that I shouldn't confess in the presence of 'serious' readers. Is it snobbery or jealousy because they're so popular? Or have those of us who liked them just got bad taste (whatever that may be)?
2 years, 3 months ago on Writing: No Fear! Write What You Want
Is it the beard that engenders such grumpiness?
This made me LOL because I have a friend with a beard a bit like yours and he'd agree with every word - especially the last two!
I'd like to second number 2 - I think it's that perfect smile that drives me round the bend.
Can't honestly agree with number 3, else what am I doing here?
2 years, 4 months ago on Top 5 Things That Warrant a Bah Humbug
Great post - I'd add boring headlines and poorly formatted content - like huge paragraphs of unbroken text, which is very off-putting. You need to use plenty of spaces, bulleted lists and sub-headings to make your content easy to scan-read,
2 years, 5 months ago on Are You Killing Your Blog?
Great list - regarding numbers, remember to check the numbers of any list tallies with what you promised in the headline - it's easy to add an extra item and then forget to change the number in the heading.
It also helps to leave a gap between writing and proofreading - you come at your text with a fresher eye that way so you're more likely to spot mistakes.
Hadn't thought about reading it backwards - must try that one!
Thanks - this is very helpful,
2 years, 5 months ago on So Long Spelling Mistakes: How to Be a Better Proofreader
Thanks very much for sharing your inspirational story, Aidan - I've been trying to get going in internet marketing for the past year and can relate to so much of what you say. I'm just making a new beginning on Brian's 300 Marketers course and your post has reinforced my conviction that I simply need to keep trying, keep learning (from others' achievements and from my own mistakes!), keep taking action and maintain an unswerving faith in my own ability to succeed. I wish you continued happiness and success in your career.
2 years, 10 months ago on Aidan Booth on Achieving Success & His "Secret Sauce"
Great post, Brian, and very timely for me as I've been spending ages this week doing keyword research. Time to make decisions and get writing content!
2 years, 11 months ago on Going Big: How To Get Started With Internet Marketing
I'd just like to say that this is absolutely one of the best online purchases I've made - the plugin itself is amazing and saves so much time and effort, but I've been equally delighted with the training videos, which are so incredibly helpful and clear and full of really practical tips. For one thing, I've been longing to know what Google Panda was all about and you've finally cleared that one up for me! The step by step instructions, for example showing us exactly which plugins to use and how to set them up, is just what I needed. I've been wanting to set up an authority site for some time, but just wasn't really sure how to structure it and sort out the SEO - I was on the verge of trying to set up some Amazon sites, but your video on taking Google's path of least resistance confirmed my own suspicions that this wasn't really the best way forward, so I'm back on track. At long last I feel I know what I'm doing and I can concentrate on creating some great content without being held back by worries about SEO technicalities. It's as if you've cleared a road-block for me so I can finally get travelling. THANK YOU!!!
PS Thanks, too, for your extremely prompt responses to queries I've posted on the forum - a great service.
2 years, 11 months ago on Plugin Crossroads: Push Button, WP Easy or SEOPressor