It’s Evaluate your Life Day…

Today is ‘Evaluate Your Life Day’.  Oh yes… It’s an official day for us all to reflect on the things we’ve done, to think about the path we’ve travelled and to plan for the journey ahead of us.  Or, for me, I found it’s to reflect on some of the things I really should have done by now and haven’t.  Like save and plan for my retirement and be financially fab.  Basically, my quick snapshot evaluation showed me I’m screwed.  

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The sensible ones amongst you are probably evaluating often.  I thought I did, but realised soon I haven’t ever properly done it and it was too big a task to do in one day.  So I decided that focussing on my ‘writing life’ on ‘Evaluate your Life’ day won’t remind me as much that I’m pretty useless at being a responsible and sensible adult.  

Why evaluate your life?

Despite it having the potential to be quite an over-whelming, anxiety-inducing task, evaluating your life is an important thing to do.  It helps to appreciate how far we’ve come, and what we’ve achieved, no matter how big or small.  And it also shows how easy it is to get a little lost along the way and forget those dreams we once had, that were so important to us once upon a time.  Before life and ‘stuff’ happened.  And possibly rammed all those dreams and goals out of the way or, even worse, obliterated them into a thousand tiny pieces.  

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I guess that’s what happened a little with my writing over the years, particularly the last two. Life and stuff has knocked it off course a bit.  Had I have had a better plan, would it have been easier to stay on track with my dreams? I’m not entirely sure but I do know it would have helped me re-route more quickly to my destination.  

That’s how I’m celebrating ‘Evaluate your Life’ day, by taking stock and looking at how far I’ve come, and to formalise a plan to get back on track to where I want to be. 

The End Goal

I started by looking at my end goal.  Where I want to be with my writing in 5 years’ time.  I chose 5 years because, when I published my first book in 2014, I had a goal to write and publish at least 10 books 10 years.  One book a year.  And 5 years on, with 5 more years to go, that goal still stands.  

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My end goal is also to be writing full time. To be able financially to give up full-time work and just write, and write, and write. Build up a community on my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram platforms. See more of the world, travel and write on the move.  To live the dream… all in 5 years.  Hey, I’m dreaming big!

So, what do I need to do?

5 years is not a huge amount of time, so I’ve got to work smartly.  Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how many books I create if my writing isn’t good enough.  I need to get better, to improve, to have something interesting to say, to give my readers what they want.  Then I need to actually write, and not just talk about writing.  And, I then need to sell, and have a marketing plan that works. 

How will I get there? 

For my craft to improve and grow, I’m going to learn and soak up everything I can.  I will invest time in courses this next 12 months, attend more shows and conferences, get myself out there in the writing world.  And I will read more.  At the moment, it’s 10 minutes each night when I first get into bed.  It would be longer, but the 5:30am alarm is already sounding in my head and I struggle to make the 10 minutes sometimes.  And it’s always the same authors, the ones I absolutely love, but that are familiar and comfortable.  My plan includes reading 2 books each month, and for those books to be very different to anything I’ve read before. 

In terms of my original writing goal 5 years ago, I’m not too far off track in releasing the 10 books in 10 years.  As it stands, I’ve published 4 books since 2014.  3 fiction and one non-fiction (written in my actual name).  I should be 2 or 3 books further ahead. 

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To get to the 10 books by the end of 2023, I’ll need to start by releasing 2 books next year.  My 4th novel in progress needs to be finished by December so that it is ready for release in April/May 2020.   That means another needs to follow at the end of 2020.  That’ll be 5 novels and one non-fiction completed as part of the 10 year plan, leaving 4 more outstanding. 

To achieve that I’ll need to divide the four books into 3 years (2021, 2022 and 2023).  My aim is that the three books are fiction, but it may be that one could be non-fiction.  

What will help me achieve it?

At the moment, I juggle it with working full-time, and it’s tough to keep on track.  I’ve tried dictating during my daily 2 hour car commute, but it just doesn’t work for me and only proves how much I swear out loud at crap drivers.  

 So, my plan breaks it down into a bite-size chunks of 2000 words each evening, with weekends to catch up on any that I’ve fallen short.  It doesn’t always work out but, when it doesn’t, I have’10 books in 10 years’ goal in mind, and the chance of me writing full time.  

How will I keep my ‘Evaluate your life’ goals going? 

The plan is everything. For me it needs to be written/typed and reviewed often, to keep me on track. I did have a normal diary/planner I was using but it just didn’t have room for everything on there.  Like goals, sales targets, specifics. 

But then Claire Mitchell came along. If you don’t know Claire, she is the owner of ‘The Girls Mean Business’.  If you’re a business owner, self-employed, or want to be, Claire is the woman for you.  She’s ace.  Anyway, Claire has designed a gorgeous 2020 planner which has everything I needed and more.  Here’s a link – I’m using the PDF format as I like to work on it wherever I am and can’t always carry the physical planner with me.  I’ve just started using it and can see how it’s helped me already.  (It’s an affiliate link, so I do get commission if you buy after following the link, but that’s not the reason I’m promoting it. It really is brilliant). Check out her other pages whilst you’re there.

I’m pleased I’ve celebrated ‘Evaluate your Life’ day. It’s brought the focus I need.  I now just need to work on all the other ‘bits’ of my life, like finances… actually, I think I’ll stop there.  

My writing month review for September 2019

My writing month this September is almost over, and so I’ve taken the opportunity to write a review of my progress.  This a) helps me actually get some words down into a blog post. And b) might remind me that I’m writing again… and making progress. I know I’ve been a bit slow in getting blog posts out… I remember writing a post  promising to blog more regularly.  That post was quite a while ago, possibly a year.  Yes, I know… But hey, annually is regular, yes?  Humph.   Continue reading “My writing month review for September 2019”

Friendship Love and Sangria is out!!!

image of friendship love and sangriaSo, ‘Friendship Love and Sangria’ is out!  Yes, after months of writing, writing, writing, it’s finally out for pre-order and released tomorrow on two e-readers – Kindle and iBooks. Both are available as a pre-order. More formats to follow, including the paperback which readers will be able to buy directly from me and then from Amazon a couple of weeks later. Should be available within 2 weeks. Continue reading “Friendship Love and Sangria is out!!!”

Why I Love Being an Indie Author…

I’m an Indie Author… and I wanted to write a little about it. So, let’s start by saying how I can’t quite believe it’s October already but, although sad to see the Summer go, I must say I’m starting to love Autumn the older I get.   I think it’s the colours and sunshine, it’s so pretty.   I find writing in Autumn and Winter easier too as there are less distractions, such as sitting in the sunny garden with loved ones, BBQs,  holidays… Actually, most things distract me easily from writing and I have so many mega deadlines to meet.  Hence the lack of blog posts these last few weeks.  Or months.  Oh, it is actually months… sorry! Continue reading “Why I Love Being an Indie Author…”

Writer’s mojo is slowly returning…

I had so many plans for my new book… it was due to be posted off to the New Writer’s Scheme at the end of this month, plus a copy to my ‘ideal reader’ at the same time (so she could a) test it out and b) gather some ideas for the front cover), a final tweak in August and then the release in September.  And, I really was convinced this would all happen.

And then something came along that knocked me a bit.  I found out I was a bit poorly.  Now, I’ve felt poorly for some time and so a diagnosis was in some ways a relief.  But the diagnosis comes at a cost and, whilst I got my head round it (and my family came to terms with it too), my creative energy took a bit of a dive.  Not just a dive, it sunk.

I’d managed just a couple of hundred words some days whilst going through these last few weeks (actually, months) and it is in no way fit for sending to the New Writer’s Scheme or my ‘ideal reader’.  But, I’m getting there.  This week has seen a turn around and I’m getting my mojo back.  And, September is still on the cards (with fingers crossed behind my back).

My diagnosis?  Multiple Sclerosis.  And, I’ve apparently had it for 20 years.  So, I’m relieved that I wasn’t just getting a bit old and creaky and it’s made a lot of sense about things in the past, and I am truly grateful that it has now been officially ‘named’.  It could have been much worse and I’m luckier than a lot of other people.

So, whilst thinking positively, here’s some other thoughts of the day:

a) I now have a real reason for not walking in a straight line and slurring my speech a bit.  I’m NOT drunk… honest.  Well, sometimes I might have had one glass of wine too many, but who would now know??

b) I can now buy very flat and sensible shoes and no one will be able to make any comments about my severe lack of fashion style or call the ‘fashion police’…

c) I won’t have to feel guilty when I fail to go out running… again.

d) I’ve experienced a real ‘shopping high’… buying a folding walking stick on Amazon.  Oh yes… not only a folding one, but it’s purple.   This has stopped me from over-indulging on books to read for my Kindle.  And, it’s fun pointing the stick at Puglet (our dog) as he runs around it in circles barking.  Entertainment for several minutes.

e) No matter what, I’ll still be able to write.

So, book number two is well on its way and  it is with great gratitude to all the lovely people that have continued to promote my book ‘Friendship, Love and Apple Tea’, and give me such lovely feedback, as this has been a huge help to getting me back to my ‘Writerly’ style.  Onwards and upwards! Thank you!

Penny

My Dad’s Adventure in Cyber Space…

Hope you all had a great Easter break.  Ours has been quiet, we’ve had a day at Birdland, a day at the Zoo and a meal at my parents.

Now, during the meal, my Dad announced how he would love to eat at Marco Pierre White’s restaurant again.  This may make is sound as though it’s something he does often.  But, in all his 77 years, he’s eaten there once.  A few years ago, my parents and Rog and I went to Lavenham for the weekend and ate at The Angel.  it was, I have to say, the best meal I’ve ever had, and a great weekend.  And, my Dad has talked about nothing else since.   One of his idols is Marco.  But, seeing as his other idol is the Crowman from Worzel Gummidge, that doesn’t say much…

So, whilst we were eating our dinner on Easter Sunday, my father did one of his ‘faces’ – the one that says ‘I’m hungry/I am getting older/I may never get to eat at such a place again…’  So I said that, should I sell 2000 books, I will take him back to Marco’s and will pay for accommodation over night too (for the four of us).  Now, as I’m only just approaching 1000 books, I guessed this would give me a while to save up…

However, the following day, Dad came down to visit and our daughter had made one of those signs you see on Facebook which My father held with a rather dopey look on his face.  And, since I posted it, I’ve had messages from around the world to say they’ve seen Dad in the photo – American, Italy, New Zealand, Czech Republic…  My Dad’s response? ‘Wow, that’s not natural is it, me being in New Zealand when I haven’t got on a plane…’

So, for those that missed it, here’s my Dad’s photo… Let’s keep our fingers crossed he doesn’t now get himself a Facebook account!  And, although I’m going to have to save lots of pennies, it will be money very well spent.

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Dad's Photo

Almost a thousand of you have read my book…

Haven’t been on here for a while.  Many reasons why, which I may be able to share soon.   I haven’t been far away…

So, today I’ve realised that I’ve almost hit 1000 sales of my book.  Now, I really can’t quite believe it.  I honestly thought that the only people who would ever buy my book would be:

a) My husband

b) My parents

c) Close friends

d) our dog

So, to see that I’m almost at 1000 is incredible.  And, I want to thank everyone that has bought my book, and taken a chance on reading the work of an un-published author.  In particular, the support of my fellow ‘Turkey’ fans has been over-whelming.  Thank you, thank you, thank you… tesekkur ederim!

So, I’m excited to see what April brings.  And, it’s spurred me on to complete my second book… thanks everyone.  I really do appreciate it

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