Welcome to my author's passions

This blog, is what I am passionate about, where I can share with you. Reviews, tips, hints, real help if I can, where you can share what you are passionate about!

Thursday, 29 April 2010

What business advice do we need when setting up as a freelance writer/author

I was paying for my car tax online through the government portal Direct Gov. If you have not used it, it seems to have many links to cover most things that we the average Joe seem to want answers to.
The website is huge, no wonder they call it a portal. I am also due to send in my tax return for the last financial year and since deciding to step up my writing to a professional level from just a hobby.

I have been careful to document my expenditure and no the income is not yet flooding in but as any business, you would not really expect it to.

So with all this in mind, I find myself today in my local council offices, waiting to see a business advisor from businesslinksw.
I have questions to which I hope he will have the answers. When to inform the tax man, what about national insurance when currently I have no income. More questions on my website, best way to set it up, promoting myself as a freelance writer. Am I doing enough?? As writers we need to promote ourselves, even successful authors that have huge publishing companies behind them, still promote themselves through thier websites etc.

I have looked at many blogs and websites and the advice out there for new writers is vast and  at times confusing. I am trying to keep things simple and not fall into the confusion trap. I have this blog, my facebook fan page which is growing and soon my website. So we all need self promotion.

One form of self promotion many traditional business use is to have thier name, business name and phone number on thier vehicule. How much business this creates I have no idea, nor do I think I could do this to our family Passat.

However a word of caution, if you do participate in this kind of self promotion,  I would advise you do not cut up another vehicule when driving.

An example of this was, my husband, he was following me last week  on route to North Devon, (I was towing our caravan), when a traditional white van man abrubtly cut inbetween us, causing my husband to violently brake. Did he consume with road rage; no! He had a legal handsfree set and dialled the number clearly displayed infront of him, carefully witholding his number first.
The call was diverted to a mobile. It was answered by no less than the driver of the white van, answering in his business name. " Can I help you?" "yes " replied my husband, " if you are going to cut in front of other drivers abruptly; it might pay not to have your number displayed on your vehicule".
The offending driver was mortified and apoligised profusely!

So maybe next time when using self promotion we should all be careful how we portray ourselves.

Well my business advisor has arrived, so tomorrow, will let you know the answers I am seeking.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Time for reflection with career changes

Some of you may have noted writing is not my first career but my third.
My CV to some would make quite interesting reading, confusing to others who did not understand but it all made sence to me at the time.
It started in the late seventies with a strong desire to be a nurse, unfortunately for me it would seem everyone wanted to be a nurse back then. So achieving acceptance was difficult, only the determined succeeded.
There was no University training, that came with project 2000, it was the old Schools of Nursing and you needed to apply individually to the schools that matched your qualifications. Having run out of options locally, I ended up over 350 miles from home. That distance then was huge as it could take 13 hours on the train, so popping home quickly was out of the question.
After nursing for 20 plus years, managing short breaks around children and a few years in sales as a single mother; when nursing could not pay for childcare and a living wage. I became very frustrated and tired of cuts and lack of resources yet trying to deliver the same high level of care.
Looked around at what I could do, I loved nursing but also the buzz of Sales; having multiple sales in one day, could have you feeling like you were walking on air. To combine my skills seemed the obvious choice, again not an easy option but the rewards were worth it.
Medical Sales beckoned and for five wonderful years, loved it until injury made driving too painful and the stress too much.
So I took the brave step, resigned from the large salary and company benefits; took twelve months out to look at what next.
From feeling like you have a book or two inside you to starting on your first course.
My writing career was born, it is in it's infancy as well as being an upward learning curve but then I always did enjoy a challenge. To combine my life's experience of a successful career in nursing, a mother, a wife, a very successful second career in sales in my writing would be the icing on the cake.
Onward and upwards!!

Monday, 12 April 2010

What do you do inbetween your short bursts of creative writing?

It struck me the other day, what do other writers do??

My mentor Nick Daws of "write any book in 28 days" and more recently the "10 day Ebook" advises writing in five minute bursts of free writing. This is after you have outlined and blueprinted your book or even article. Well it works for me but what do you do inbetween?
For me it varies, according to what I have on my To Do list, drafted the night before.
Yesterday it was to sew another badge on husband's uniform which can take five to ten minutes, I can then get back to my next question or section in my blueprint and freewrite again.
Other days I might alternate between non fiction work to working on my novel. You need to be disciplined though and go back to your ongoing project and not get distracted but hey so far its working for me.

This morning it also hit me, do you have a routine??
I need one, maybe it harks back to the working discipline of nursing or my sales career but I was finding until I established a routine, I could drift. I could look at the pile of washing or baking needing to be done and it was more appealing then getting pen to papper or tapping the keys on my laptop. I would feel guilty if the house wasn't just so, even if my very supportive husband said leave it till later, I couldn't.
Now however I have set up a new plan of action for me and so far its working, I will probably need to be flexible as it goes on but that the point isn't it, I can be!
Getting up early with husband, walking the dogs, sharing breakfast, seeing him off ( something I could not do when working in previous careers as often left before him, and boy does it feel good).
 As the kitchen gets cleared and whatever chores  on my list are to be done but by ten am; I stop having completed chores, pour a coffee and head for laptop to start my writing day.

So now with my blog done for today its back to free write my next section of my book!

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Reflection on a sunny day

Well I don't know about you but the recent sunshine certainly gives a much pleasanter feel to writing.

Sitting outdoors on the deck, cool refreshment at hand of course, has certainly helped the creative juices flow.
Just last night we were sat out enjoying a cold one after husband had cut the grass for its first haircut of the year. Reviewing the day's writing when a birds nest caught our eye. Yesterday the branches appeared bare, yet today the buds are starting to erupt, not fully open but enough that the birds nest is partially absured. We know its there but if we were looking today for the first time we might have missed it.

It struck me, this is what we work for, whether nine to five, shift work or the joys of working from home as a freelance writer, soon to be author. Having time to enjoy the good things, taking time to smell the roses so to speak.
No roses are out yet but witnessed the first summer blossom today; it's like when you see your first spring lanb, Daffodil, Primrose; these are welcome sights after a long hard winter we have had.

So it may not be roses we smell, it could be the birdsong in the trees but inbetween tapping the keyboard or freewriting our chapters it's good to take time to take it all in.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

10 things you don't know about me!

Nick Daws sent me this recently from his blog and suggested I do the same so here goes. Some may know a few of these but hopefully I will surprise you.

1/ Despite what my family might think or believe, I love the outdoors, the Countryside and the sea. Wether it is walking along a beach with our dogs Boris and Flora or scrambling through the wild heather of  Scotland and the wild scenery of Dartmoor

2/ We have a Caravan we named Ernie after an Great Uncle left me a small legacy and we put it towards the purchase.

3/ I had the confidence to get into a wetsuit for the 1st time last year, may not seem much to some but I had the fear of being a beached whale so would not do it. It felt great and I was told no whales in sight!

4/ I love being creative, wether it is outlining my next article, my book, a story, baking or sewing.

5/ Sometimes I can write with noise and distractions and other times I feel I have to be as Stephen Fry admitted to on his blog, completely cutoff, no distractions such as the freshly baked bread just alarming for my attention right now!

6/ I love taking recipes and seeing how I can make it healthier or my version of it to suit our tastes. I even wrote an articule on this and may even do a book if there is any interest.

7/ Fallen in love with Scotland not to live but to visit, and my husband encourage me to walk up my first mountain last year Glenmore. Although it was not a Munro but a Graham it was still a mountain to me.

8/ Love the thrill of learning something new and how I can make a success out of it, obviously currently that is writing.

9/ I used to imagine as a child that I was floating, often in the playground, until the school bell rang when of course I would float back down again often with a bump!!

10/ Ok I can't count on first version of this blog only wrote 9 things not 10 until it was nicely picked up by my husband . Note to self check and check before publishing. So here is number 10: I simply love healthy debate not arguements but debating a subject with friends and if it can be washed down with a glass of red I am in heaven.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

So you feel you have a book inside you, What next??

Like many of you I feel like I have an idea for a book, well at least I did before I started now; I have loads of ideas!!

So where do you start, they say everyone has at least one book inside them, now I have started I feel I have quite a few.

So where do you go from here??

Like a lot of folk I looked at a Creative writing course, puchased one, a very good one and was fired with loads of enthusiaism, so why have I not finished it??

Partly like many as I have discovered along the way, it is not the right path for them, they get to assigment 2 or 4 and stop, maybe because this usually focuses on magazines and you came into this as you wanted to write a book didn't you?? I did and hence I got bogged down with research into magazines etc and did not have the confindence to either return my assignments or to complete an article and send it off.

I was extremely lucky to come across my mentor Nick Daws and his courses of which he has designed many and written many books.

He breaks it down, makes it simple, gives you the confidence that anyone can do it.

So if you have bought or started a creative writing course and you feeling bogged down or lost your way, don't lose heart, search out another to give you inspiration and what works for you.

It is not going to do the work for you but give you inspiration and confidence to go for it. It worked for me.

Answering an advert on a Sunday thinking I did not have a chance but had nothing to lose by Monday morning I had been accepted and was writing my first articule.

Guess what woke up Tuesday morning and found it was published, my first articule not returned for editing, not rejected but published, I floating on that fantastic cloud all day, so much so that I easily wrote and submitted three more articules.

Woke up Wednesday morning to emails confirming I now had three more published on the net, even did something I had never done before and Googled myself and there I was, complete with short bio.

So what I am saying is, if I can do it so can you if you really want to.

I would have never had the confidence to have my own blog without it and I am now looking to have my own website and ebooks and novels to follow.

My advice GO FOR IT!!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Life as a Newbie writer

It is easy to be overwhelmed with the information out there when looking to start a new venture or career!

I have recently been reminded of the statisics I was taught when stating my last career as a newbie medical sales representative. Doctors would need an average 28 hours in the day to read and assimulate all the information that comes there way on a daily basis and that is without seeing patients.

They therefore filter information as they need to keep up to date but use the internet, journals and medical representatives to have bite size chunks of information.

So Sloanwriter has been overloaded with new information and an upward learning curve.

So what are my tips if you find yourself in this situation and do not know where to start first, filter, take your info in bite size chunks.
Make a To do list and strike off as you complete, feels very rewarding.
Take regular breaks, Mine are with my dogs and some fresh air.
Find yourself a mentor.  Mine is Nick Daws as I am following a few of his courses.
"write any book in 28 days" for example without which I would not be here.
Lastly remind yourself "Rome was not built in a day" your first career as mine did took several years to train and complete and was constantly updating.
So my new writing career is going to be an upward learning curve and hopefully I can show you through this blog, if I can do it, so can you.