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Posts Tagged ‘blog’

I’m still not sure why I find it so hard to blog regularly. I think this is my longest absence yet. It’s appalling really.

Well you gotta keep at something, right? And I think now is a good time for a change. Why? Because I am currently out of work. I left my job in December of last year and now I can focus a lot more on my writing. I’m looking for ways of making money and am hoping to find ways online.

Perhaps blogging can be an option. I’m also looking into ways of making money from my writing. I’m still not yet published but I have other means. That’s for another blog.

In the meantime, please accept my humblest apologies and I intend to do better.

If there are any specific topics you wish to see blogged about, list them in the comments below and I shall do my best to cover them.

For now that’s all from me.

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So I’ve been absent for a long, long time and I have no excuse apart from… I’ve had blog block!

All you writer’s out there, I’m sure you’ve experienced writer’s block. Blog block is exactly the same but it’s only related to blogs. I’ve been steaming ahead on my writing, which is great, but sadly my blogs have been lacking.

Every time I say I’m going to do better, I get more and more blocks. It drives me insane and I feel so bad for not producing anything. I don’t know whether any of my followers notice my absence but then I realise that this is my problem. I mean how can my followers miss what I blog about when I don’t blog?

So I need to work at being missed, you know? I need to blog regularly so one day you might think ‘I haven’t heard from Lisa for a while, I hope she blogs soon’. So this is the new me. I will blog more. I know I’ve said it before and I know I’ve said that before but I’m really trying. I actually miss it. I need to think up new blog ideas. I’m even thinking of reviewing books – both professional and amateur. So keep an eye out for more blogs. I will be doing my best.

If you have anything you want to read, pop a comment below and I’ll think about it.

Bye for now and hopefully my absence won’t be so long next time. Fingers crossed I can do it this time!

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While I have been absent, I have been thinking about what to base my next blog on. I got the idea while I was on holiday. I just haven’t had a chance to write it before now.

Before I continue I would like to remind my readers that this blog is based purely on my own opinions. It’s obvious really and you might wonder why I’ve said that. Well the thing is there came a point when I was worried about what I blogged in fear of upsetting people. That was why I was absent for so long. All my blog ideas were somewhat controversial. But then just recently I felt like a downright dweeb as I realised that this is my blog and I can blog about whatever the hell I want.

With that said, I am blogging about something I am very passionate about:

Children in child care.

Now let me start off by saying this: I have nothing against child care at all. I think it’s a great idea. There are times when parents need to have a break and in this day and age, both parents are working. That’s fine, no worries at all. What I have a problem with is how often child care is used and for what reason.

I know people who use child care because they can’t be bothered with their kids. they throw them in four or five days a week so that they’re not an inconvenience to them. Um hello? They’re your kids! You chose to have them so you have to take responsibility for them. Don’t just palm them off on to someone else just because you can’t be bothered. Then to top it off, when these people finally have the kids (usually only the weekends) they don’t spend time with them anyway. Think of the poor children. Their parents are strangers to them.

Here’s something to think about: Do both parents need to work? Are you working just because you want to be rich and have the best of everything? If that’s the case I think it’s time you re-evaluated your life. Put your kids first for once. If one person can work and still provide the income you need, maybe you should do that. How important are material possessions to you? You don’t need to follow the fashion. You don’t need to have the best in technology. You don’t need the biggest house or the flashiest car. Every child doesn’t need to have a phone or tablet.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to work. It’s good to keep your skills up to date for when your children go to school. But why don’t you think about reducing the hours you work so you can be with them more often? Parents often forget how vulnerable children are. They need attention…they need family. If they don’t have that, they’re going to grow up being lonely and who knows what else they’ll become.

Child care is a great thing to have. It’s important to have a break, it’s important to work and support the family and it’s a good way for kids to get to know other kids their age. But don’t do it because you don’t want your kids around. It happens too often and it breaks my heart.

Just something to think about.

I hope to blog more often from now on. 🙂

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First off, for those who made it to round three congratulations. For those, like me, who didn’t don’t give up hope. The truth is, I wasn’t expecting to get through. I had mentally prepared myself for it so when I found out I didn’t make it, it wouldn’t be such a huge disappointment.

Of course there is was that little part of me that was hopeful. So when the quarter-finalists were announced and I scanned through the names once, twice, three times and I didn’t see my name, I did get a little jab of disappointment. It wasn’t enough to have me crying my heart out. It was a simple ‘oh that’s a shame’ and then it was gone.

The truth is, it’s just a competition. It’s not the be all and end all of your writing career. The only thing I’m a little tiny bit peeved about is not getting my feedback until 23rd May. I’m eager to read it now so that if there are major problems I can fix them before sending my manuscrip tot publishers. I guess I have to be patient. 🙂

I was on the ABNA forums after the announcement and it was nice to see most people congratluating those who made it. However, I was quite surprised to see some really cut up about it and were even being nasty to others. If you ask me, that’s uncalled for. Why can’t people be happy for everyone else? It’s okay to be disapppointed and it’s okay to voice it to others but there is no excuse for being nasty.

Anyway, that’s my rant for the day. 🙂

But once again, I’d wish to wholeheartedly congratulate everyone who made it to the third round. Great work! And remember those who ddin’t make it, it’s not the end of the world. Keep writing and try again next year. For now, remember there are so many other ways to get published. Why don’t you start submitting some query letters to literary agents and publishers?

Bye for now and I hope to blog more often from now on.

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ABNA Outcomes

I was quite excited when I checked the ABNA results for the Romance category and saw my name there. I think I’m still on cloud nine.

So it’s now two years straight I’ve made it to the second round. Last time I didn’t make the third round but the feedback I got was good. I entered the same story and have made some major improvements. Hopefully these improvements will be enough to move me forward. If not, I won’t be disapointed. I really feel that getting to the second round is a great achievement. When you think about it, out of 10,000 entries only 2000 get chosen. It’s a very small number.

Whatever happens, I will be happy with how far I’ve come. I basically said the same thing last year too and I mean it. If I don’t proceed, I’ll just continue writing and improving. One day I might just make it.

But I don’t want to jump the gun, I won’t know anything until after the 11th April 2014. So for now I’m just going to focus on my other writing and not stress about ABNA.

To those that didn’t make it, don’t let it deter you. There’s always next year. 🙂 And when you think about it, it is only a competition. There are tons of them around so you can always look for others you can enter. And what’s stopping you from publishing anyway? It’s not all about competitions.

To those that did make it, good luck!

Whatever happens, keep moving forward. 🙂

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Plot holes. They’re wonderful things aren’t they? *note sarcasm* Your story is flowing really well, you’re so close to completion then suddenly… plot hole! You can’t finish the story because you realise there’s this big gaping hole that doesn’t let the story tie together.

Have you ever had that? I’m sure most of us have.

So what is the best way to avoid plot holes? This is what I’m here to tell you. Please remember this is just my opinion and not how it must be done. We all have our own ways of avoiding plot holes and this is just one way I find really helpful.

The simple answer is this: planning. That’s right, plan your story out from beginning to end and have a set idea of where you want it to go. To me, this is a foolproof way of avoiding plot holes. I’m not saying they will be avoided all together because that’s impossible. We’re still going to fall into that trap from time to time but it will certainly limit it from happening.

Basically what planning does is it allows you to see where your story progressing and will have you asking questions much earlier. If there’s going to be a plot hole you’ll notice it in the planning stage rather than toward the end when you’re tying everything together.

Trust me, there is nothing worse than getting to the end of a story and seeing that plot hole that changes the entire story.

Yes I speak from experience, and that’s what encouraged me to write this blog.

You see, the story I wrote for the ABNA had a massive plot hole, which I totally missed. Why? Because I didn’t plan the story out. This is a story I wrote when I was in my late teens. I was still learning how to write and I told myself planning was for people who couldn’t write. Oh how wrong I was.

What happened is I decided I really liked the concept of the story but it needed a lot of work so I recently decided to rewrite it. During my rewrite, I didn’t question the goings on of certain events, I just let them take place. Once the rewrite was done and I sent it to my critique partner to read, she brought up the major plot hole.

I was devastated because it turned out I had to rewrite the entire story again. Still, it was a good pick up by her and I will be forever grateful. If I sent it to a publisher with that plot hole, I would definitely not be considered for publishing. So now with that sorted I can happily send it in to the ABNA and to publishers knowing all major plot holes have been fixed.

So it’s essential to have a clear idea of where you want your story to go and how your events will unfold. It will mean you won’t have so much rework later.

I understand planning isn’t for everyone and that’s fine. However, before you say it’s not for you, I would encourage you to at least try it. You can’t say you it’s not for you if you’ve never tried it. But if you don’t want to then that’s fine also. 🙂

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So it’s that time of year again. The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards (ABNA) are upon us.

Last year I entered my story ‘The Matchmaker’ and was ecstatic when I made it through to the second round. To me, to be chosen as one of the 2000 contestants out of 10,000 was a huge success. I know 2000 is still a huge number but when you compare it to the 8000 that didn’t make it, it’s big. I realised that my pitch must have been good enough, which was a relief.

Unfortunately I didn’t make it to the third round. The feedback I got, while harsh, was invaluable. There were one or two comments that were uncalled for but I dismissed them. And no, that’s not the bitter side of me coming out. There really were some harsh comments that were not constructive, they were downright rude. I can accept criticism, in fact I thrive on it. What I don’t like is rudeness for the sake of being rude. How is that constructive? It’s demeaning and wears you down. I didn’t get anything useful out of those.

That aside, the rest of the feedback was great and I’ve worked on my manuscript tirelessly for the past year to have it ready for this year’s competition. Yes that’s right, ‘The Matchmaker’ is being entered into ABNA again. In fact, it’s already been submitted.

Over the last year, ‘The Matchmaker’ has been written and rewritten about three times. It’s been a tough year. My critique partner has been a godsend and I will be forever grateful for her help. She’s picked up plot holes I missed, bits of the story that don’t work or weren’t realistic, and offered great ideas to make it work. As a result, the story has completely transformed and I’m much happier with it now.

It’s funny, I thought I was happy with it last time but this time it feels different. It feels like the changes I’ve made may be enough to get me through to the third round this time.

I’m not getting my hopes up, if I don’t get far then I won’t be heartbroken. Hell, there’s no guarantees I’ll even make it past the first round this year. If that’s the case, I will soldier on. It’s only a competition after all. There are tons of them around and there are many publishers I can submit to as well.

I’m keeping positive!

For anyone who is considering submitting to ABNA, you have until the 2nd March 2014 to submit. Good luck and I’ll keep you up to date with my progress. I won’t hear anymore until around 18th March though.

I’ll try and blog more soon. 🙂

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I wish to apologise for no blogs in 2014 yet. It’s been a pretty full on start to this year and time has escaped me.

On saying that, it has not been in vain. Apart from my usual day job, I have been keeping busy with my writing. And it’s the usual topic of writing that inspired me to write this blog.

You see, just last night I did something extremely reckless…I submitted a manuscript to Harper Collins. Yes that’s right…Harper Collins. One of the biggest named publishers I know. Usually they don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts but a writer friend of mine provided me a link which allowed us to submit unsolicited manuscripts every Wednesday. Exciting, right?

You may be asking why it’s reckless. After all, I’m an aspiring author and getting my name in print is my biggest dream. Well the answer is this: I wasn’t intending on submitting my manuscript for a few weeks yet. That’s why it’s reckless of me. I’m the sort of person that always plans things out. I decide I’m going to do something in two weeks and I do it in two weeks. So when I said I would submit in a few weeks, I intended to stick to it.

Although after some contemplation I realise now there was no point in me waiting. The manuscript was completed, it had been critiqued and I was happy with it. I’m never going to get anywhere if I don’t start submitting to publishers and literary agents.

Hmmm. The more I think about it, the more I realise that’s what compelled me in the first place. My subconscious was giving my backside a good kicking for procrastinating and so I did it.

That doesn’t mean I’m relaxed though. If anything I’m halfway between excited and terrified. I know sending off a manuscript for publication isn’t a big thing. After all there are no guarantees they’ll even want to publish it. But that’s just it. It’s the fear of the unknown. I can handle rejection, no worries. What scares me most is being accepted. Silly, huh? But if I’m accepted, I’m going to be achieving a goal I never thought possible. This is what petrifies me.

So anyway, that’s what I’ve done. I will know in three weeks if they want to proceed further. If I don’t hear back then I’ll assume I’ve been rejected. And that’s okay because I’m going to keep trying. Now that I’ve jumped the first hurdle, future submissions won’t be so hard.

That’s all from me, I’ll try and be a bit more frequent from now on.

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As the end of 2013 approaches, I’m finding myself reviewing myself as a writer. How have I improved in 2013? What have I actually achieved?

One part of me wants to say I’ve achieved nothing. After all I’m still unpublished. But then I realise something… I may not have my name printed on the spine of a book but that’s not everything. What I have achieved is becoming a better writer and to me that’s much more important. After all, how can I get published if I’m not a good writer?

So no, I refuse to say I’ve achieved nothing. I’ve actually achieved a lot.

At the beginning of 2013, I set myself a goal to get my first book published. The only reason this didn’t happen is because I learnt something. I learnt that having a critique partner and getting your manuscript critiqued before sending it to a publisher is vital. I wrote a blog about the importance of having a critique partner a few months ago. You can read it at this link: The importance of a critique partner

After realising this, I found myself one. The woman I partnered up with has been invaluable. I have learnt so much in the 10 months I’ve known her and we’ve both helped each other become better writers. The manuscript I want to send off for publishing had more errors than I realised and I’m really glad she’s helped me improve it so I can send it off in 2014. We have a little way to go on it but I hope to have it fully critiqued early January. Then I will send to a publisher.

I’m so glad I held off. How embarrassing would it have been sending off a manuscript with so many errors? Of course it won’t be perfect when I do finally send it, but it will be better and hopefully more appealing. So I can’t emphasize enough how important having a critique partner is and how important it is to be fully critiqued before sending your manuscript to a publisher. Trust me, you will be so glad you held off.

Being a writer, albeit a successful one, takes time. Don’t rush it. I know someone, aged 16, who was so desperate to get published, they wrote a novel, didn’t get any editing or critiquing done then published it through Create Space. It was a complete flop. The novel had so many plot holes, the story was weak, the grammar, punctuation and sentence structure needed desperate work and just overall it was a bad move.

I know the feeling of desperately wanting to get published. I’ve had that desire for years. But please…just wait! Don’t be too hasty. I’m 31 (32 in 12 days!) and still not published but I’m glad I’m not because if I published any earlier, I know I would have failed. Be 100% happy with your work, be happy to accept criticism and you will then end up going further than you realised.

I’m not saying I’ll succeed when I finally am published, but because my writing has improved so much, I’ve got a better chance at people actually enjoying what I’m writing. As the days go by my writing is becoming better and better. I have a lot to work on but compared to where I was at the beginning of the year, I’ve improved massively.

So yeah, I have achieved something this year and it’s an achievement I’m very happy of. Oh and we can’t forget my success in NaNoWriMo. This story has a long way to go but I succeeded and reached 50,000 words I’m happy with that.

With 2014 only a few minutes away now, I just want to say this… I know for a fact 2014 will be a better year for me as a writer. Whether my novel is published or not, I will continue to improve even more. I realise now, at the end of 2013, that improving as a writer is one of the biggest achievements you can have.

I hope you have all had a great 2013. If you haven’t, may 2014 be a better year for you. See you in the new year. For me, that’s only 6 minutes away. 🙂

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Today I read an article on news.com.au about breakup texts. You can see the article here:

Breakup Texts to Finish a Relationship For Good

After reading this, it inspired me to write this blog. My question to you is, is it wrong or is it okay to break up over text?

My opinion is this: I think it’s the cowardly way out. Many people today don’t like confrontation so rather than facing someone and saying ‘sorry this isn’t working out, I want to break up’ they go to other extremes to do it. It’s not just text messages either. Here are some other ways of breaking up that I’ve either witnessed or heard of:

 – Get a friend to tell your boyfriend / girlfriend instead then go into hiding.

 – Just stop talking to the person you want to break up with and ignore them all together.

 – Sleep with someone else and get purposely found out

Okay, seriously people it’s time to stop being such a wuss. If you’re really that disinterested in someone and want to end the relationship, do the decent thing and tell them to their face. There is nothing worse than going out with someone then they suddenly stop talking to you. You’re left confused and wondering what went wrong. Not to mention the confidence you once had being totally squashed.

This happened to me when I was 17. I was going out with a guy from school. He was my first ‘official’ boyfriend. I thought things were going well but then suddenly one day he just stopped talkingto me. If I tried to call around, his parents would say he wasn’t home. If I tried to phone him he wouldn’t answer. When I saw him at school, he ignored me. I had become nobody to him. And it bloody hurt. Then one day I heard he had another girlfriend. Yeah real smooth. It was like being kicked in the nuts… not that I have any but you get my gist.

And the worst part is, I never found out what went wrong. We did start talking again about six months later and I questioned him but he pretended to not hear me and it was never discussed. I gave up asking in the end, knowing full well I wouldn’t get an answer.

The same thing happened a few years later when I was around 21.

I wanted to know what went wrong. There is nothing worse than not knowing. I mean, what if I was a bad kisser or I just sucked at relationships? If I’m not told, how can I improve it for the next poor soul I go out with? Needless to say, I didn’t have another boyfriend after the last one at 21, until I was around 25. That was when I met the man who is now my husband. Somehow I did something right with him. But my confidence in relationships and with the opposite sex was low and I was petrified of doing something wrong. Even now, we’ve been married for nearly 5 years, I’m still petrified of doing something wrong because in the back of my mind I fear I’m going to make the same mistake I did all those years ago. Even though I don’t know what that mistake was.

But all I’m saying is, do the decent thing and break up properly. Talk about it, tell them what’s bothering you and what’s not working. Otherwise the other person is going to be left wondering what they did wrong and it is going to destroy every inch of their confidence.

Please don’t think I’m being sexist and writing this purely from a woman’s perspective. Yes I’m a woman and yes women react differently to this sort of thing. However, I know this sort of thing does happen to men and belive it or not, it ruins their confidence too. They just don’t tend to express their emotions as much.

All I’m saying is personally I don’t think it’s okay to break up over text. Nor do I think it’s okay to just suddenly ignore that person and never give answers. Men and women should all do the right thing and talk about what went wrong so they can both learn what not to do next time.

Does anyone else have opinions on this?

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