Happy New Year! Out with the old, In with the new

IMG_0647Frost on the rocks this morning

When I got home from work today, I dove into my closet with a laundry hamper, a wastebasket and some large plastic bags. Does that sound like fun? 🙂 Probably not, but I’d been wanting to get something done about all the stuff that had accumulated. Even a tiny step, just to get started.

Besides there are bigger issues looking at me and I don’t have the time or the energy to make those decisions. But I could do this.

I was going to get a head start on junking out my clothes. First I emptied my dresser drawers and put back only what fits, what I use. It’s very surprising, what can end up in my sock drawer!

Then I started on the shelves in my closet. I did the purses. I did the belts. I did the sweaters. I must have been getting tired by then because suddenly I was having trouble making decisions. Throw the sweater out? My sister gave it to me. Keep it? I haven’t worn it in three years.

I thought perhaps it was time to quit for the night, but it seemed like I’d just gotten started. So I pulled out my scarves and shawls. OMG. I didn’t know I had that many. Twice as much as I thought possible. So many, I divided them into piles of different shapes, then by colour. I should have quit while I was ahead, because almost all of them went back into the closet. I’ll deal with them next time.

Thank you to all you readers and bloggers. I hope you have a good start on the new year of 2016. Make those plans and believe in them. They can happen, just don’t give up. Like they say – Failure isn’t the last step, it’s the first step toward success.

 

What do readers want?

A very interesting bit on what kindle owners read and where they get their information for buying new books.

So, who do they listen to for recommendations? 53% said they heard about a book from friends or family. We are still talking about word of mouth here. Next came websites and blogs at 24%. Bestseller lists was quite low on the roster at 11%.

In terms of social media, facebook is by far the most influential in getting word out on new books, with twitter and instagram near the bottom. It’s interesting because I know a lot of authors spend a great deal of time on some of these sites, so it’s nice to get some information on what works best.

Although there is a huge push on ‘series’ books right now, the information shows that 70% of readers enjoy series and stand alone books equally.

Best of all, kindle owners purchase 8.9 books a month. That’s a lot of reading material. I’m sure it doesn’t all get read, but most of it probably does, and it’s an exciting number for authors to contemplate.

Have a look at the Anatomy of a Kindle User –

Anatomy of a Kindle Owner [Infographic]

Writers retreat on Vancouver Island

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I just finished a two day get away for a writing retreat. It was fantastic. I’d never done this before and didn’t know exactly what to expect.

But having the time set aside turned out to be the first big gift. When do you get a chance to set aside two days dedicated to writing? It’s never happened for me. It gave me a freedom to just get started. I haven’t been writing for a few months – too many other issues arising including health problems, business concerns, family responsibilities. I began to think I’d lost my muse. 🙂

It wasn’t automatic and the words didn’t flow smoothly at first, but the process did get me going. I’m so grateful.

Then to have other writers there to bounce ideas off of, to ask for suggestions and receive their support was a real gift. It meant having some serious intense discussions, and laughing a lot. Thank you to my writer community for taking the time. I’m definitely going to do it again.

Above is the fabulous place we stayed on Cowichan Lake, Vancouver Island. The water was fabulous.

Beautiful Vancouver Island waters

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Here is a view of the lake at sunset, just before the rain came. The water is so lovely, clear and cool. I have been trying to swim everyday, because it is such a luxury to be up here and have a chance to relax and heal.

I hope you are having a great end of summer as well, with a bit of time to rest and treat yourself before the whole hustle and bustle begins again. 🙂 Writing will start in earnest once fall really hits.

Comment on a blog – is there a right way?

Connect with your favourite blogger, and the best way is through leaving a comment. Is there a right way to do that?

We all like to connect with a blogger who writes information we can use and appreciate. Kevin Duncan, on http://boostblogtraffic.com/ has written an interesting column on how to go about it. His goal – to connect with the bloggers you enjoy and who you feel can contribute to your own strength on blog sites.

Kevin talks about the bad habits to avoid. Click on the link below to read them. But more interesting are the 4 good habits that he recommends.

1: The Greeting– personalize your comment. All it takes is to include the name of the author. If you’re hoping to catch the attention of bloggers and strike up a relationship, a healthy dose of etiquette will help.

2: The Compliment – make it sincere. You can focus on the blogger, the post, or a combination of the two. If you’re a fan of the blogger’s work, say so. Even better, refer to specific example where their writing has helped you. If you focus on the post, pick a particular point that hit home, and tell them that.

3: Added Value– good comments add extra value to a post. Think about what value you can add by your comments. He suggests mentioning personal insights or anecdotes, or asking thoughtful qustions about the topic.

4: The Parting Promise – I enjoyed this one, as I hadn’t given it much thought. Let them know you’ll share their blog. It’s the perfect compliment when you feel compelled to share what has already helped you. Make sure to tell the blogger so.

You can find the full blog at

http://boostblogtraffic.com/blog-comments/?inf_contact_key=da616ab47ff4c4be2606b9bf34e4befbbc68bfa436b9195eecdbdcf9daa94a1f