Posts Tagged ‘Prayerfully Yours’

I finally ordered my proof copy of Simply Prayer, formerly Prayerfully Yours. While I’m happy with the file I uploaded to CreateSpace, I’m left wondering if I was my own worst enemy in getting the entire project done to begin with.

I had originally planned on having the book out before the season of Advent, but missed that deadline by a good two months. I reset my deadline to have it ready for Lent 2011 and I’ve just made it. Why all the deadline problems? I tried to cut too many corners. Instead of going the normal route of writing, editing, designing and fixing the details of the design I tried to write and design simultaneously.

Bad idea. Very bad idea.

What I had hoped would shorten the amount of time from the planning stage to the finished product bred headaches and nightmares too numerous to mention. Suffice it to say I won’t be trying that again. And so I want to leave you all with a bit of advice. Follow these four steps and you’ll reduce the irritations and frustrations of the DIY Independent Author.

  1. Write until the story is completely told, or for non-fiction until you begin repeating yourself. Don’t worry about page count and design elements like fonts, pictures or pulled quotes.

  2. Edit your manuscript completely before you even begin to think about what it should look like on the page. Once the design process begins it’ll make it more difficult to add new material, move passages around or delete entire sections.

  3. Design your book with an eye toward more than one media. Ebooks are growing in popularity and soon will become the majority when it comes to purchases, but that doesn’t mean no one will want a well-designed print edition. Yours may become a collector’s edition. If you’re not already proficient in designing print and/or ebooks, then either hire someone to do it for you or find some really good resources like The Book Designer or Elizabeth Castro’s book EPUB Straight to the Point.

  4. Fix the little details of your design, like making sure chapters begin on the right of a print book and new sections/chapters are new pages in ebooks.

What short-cuts have you tried that didn’t end up as you had planned?

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My Father has often said that, when you start having nightmares about your job, it’s time to move on. I can’t say I’m having nightmares, exactly, but I’ve certainly begun dreading doing anything remotely connected with being an Independent Author. However, I don’t think it’s time for me to “move on.” It’s time for me to go back to the beginning and rediscover why I became an Indie Author in the first place.

When I began, my first love was crafting entertaining stories. I spent a lot of time on Writing.com reading and contributing short stories, poems and monologues. I enjoyed giving editing tips to the authors there, especially to those in whose works I saw potential. When I sat down to work it was a pleasure, an escape even.

Flash forward to July 14, 2010. Spending 30 minutes to work on my current project, Prayerfully Yours, makes my shoulders slump, my brow pucker and my feet drag. I dutifully set my timer and check it every few minutes, trying to cheer myself on with the mantra “only X number of minutes left, then I can go play.”

What happened?!

I lost sight of the reason I began this journey in the first place. I began listening to all the “advice” out there that said I needed to market the hell out of myself to get anywhere. Marketing isn’t a bad thing. Independent Authors need to do a lot of marketing to get noticed. All of that is true, but the at some point each of us has to answer one question: what is more important, getting noticed or doing what you love?

For me it’s doing what I love most, writing. While I will be doing the Problogger 31 Days to Build a Better Blog challenge with the SITS community*, doing what I love most means I won’t be doing a lot of other things. It means spending less time following all those tweets, less time trolling the internet to find the latest self-publishing articles, less time doing anything that takes me away from what I’m meant to do — write.

In order to do less, yet be as effective as I’ve been (perhaps more so), I’ll be following my mentor, Marla Cilley’s (aka FlyLady), advice: “by letting go of your ineffective old habits and establishing simple routines” and “Take your babysteps to recognize when you are stressed out. Find a more fun way of doing the same old thing and reach out for help!”

How about you? Have you forgotten why you began your journey on The Road to Writing?

*The challenge for all us women bloggers begins July 19, so hurry if you want to sign up.

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I don’t know if Major League games actually end due to rain, but I know Little League games do — or used to. (It’s been awhile. :)) It seems that sometimes our writing time does to, though it’s usually not because it’s raining outside.

Last Friday afternoon was on of those days for me. I was trying to work on Prayerfully Yours, when all of a sudden my laptop quit. There were no error messages, no warning of any kind. It just suddenly turned itself off. At first I thought the power cord had come loose, but it hadn’t. Seeing no other apparent reason for it to shut itself off, I decided to restart it, hoping to at least be able to back up what I had been working on. My laptop, however, had other ideas. It refused to stay on. It simply looped itself through the restart process.

To say that I was near panicking at that point would be an understatement. All my work, past and present, was on that one machine and nowhere else. If it quit I had no idea if I would ever be able to retrieve all that information, nor did I know if I could even afford to buy a new laptop right away. So I did the only thing a frustrated non-techie writer could do. I hit the stupid thing.

Okay. It wasn’t my brightest moment, but it made me feel a little better. Tantrum over, I calmly thought of other solutions and , in the end, was able to fix the problem. (At least I hope I did.) What I gained from this unpleasant ordeal were two lessons: 1) always back up your work and 2) it’s imperative to get your financial house in order and establish an emergency fund. Had I done either of these I wouldn’t have panicked. I still would have been frustrated, but at least I would have had a plan.

Long story short, if you haven’t started backing up your work do it now. And if you haven’t read The Money Book by Denise Kiernan and Joseph D’Agnese take time out of your busy life to do that as well. You’ll be grateful you did both when your computer decides to take an unannounced hiatus from work on The Road to Writing.

Update: One possible way to backup your important files is to use CD’s and DVD’s. I’ve found, however, that I don’t like having multiple disks taking up my space or needing to remember to backup my files. I opted to use Mozy.com‘s online services. It’s pretty simple to use once you’ve downloaded the software and it checks your files regularly to see if changes were made and need to be backed up.

The only downside I’ve found thus far is that, if you don’t feel comfortable spending about $5 per month on their unlimited services, you only get 2 gigabytes free. I honestly believed I had less than that until I went to back all my files up. Turns out Mozy wants to back up everything, multiples of files included. That meant spending an hour manually deselecting the files I didn’t need just to bring to space consumption down to under 2 gigs. I’m a try before you buy kinda girl, so, even though it was a hassle to do some manual manipulations, I think the service is worth the effort to find out if $5 a month would be a waste or a reward. Otherwise it’s back to space hogging CD’s.

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I’ve often heard it said that everyone dreams of writing the next great novel. That may be, but few get beyond “trunk writing” and fewer still actually publish something of quality. Why is that? Perhaps it’s because, while people may dream of being a “writer,” only those with a true passion for writing can find the energy to do it.

Read the rest.

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How we live our spiritual lives is a passion for me, so it’s really no surprise that I’ve begun work on Prayerfully Yours, a book about prayer (obviously :P). I wish I could say that taking care of my spirit is a number one priority and that I have it down to a science, but I can’t. Like my favorite “get organized” mentor, FlyLady Marla Cilley, I’m still working on integrating spiritual disciplines into my life… and I bet I’m not alone.

As Independent Authors, Freelancers, people who “do their own thing,” we often have to work much harder than the “regular Joe” with a typical 9-5 job for financial security (and sometimes just because we’re crazy, driven individuals :D). We get so busy doing we forget that we are human beings. We were created as much to be as to do. As we push ourselves harder to make that deadline, market that book, get our name out into the public view, we often discover that we’ve become drained, that we’re beginning to live fractured lives. Usually this realization comes on quite suddenly, though it wasn’t a sudden shift in what we’ve been doing that caused it in the first place.

So what can we do to slow down and reconnect with our spirit? Keri Wyatt Kent, author of Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity, offered three practices in her guest blog on MacGregor Literary:

  1. Community — “Join a small group, preferably not made up of just other writers. Pull yourself away from the writing for a time to actually nurture others by praying with them, listening to them, simply enjoying them. Celebrate and enjoy the gift of friendship.”
  2. Inspiration — “Walk through a garden or an art museum, read really great writing. In a way, this is a form of listening prayer, of hearing God through beauty… Such activities are not a waste of time—they feed [your] soul, which nurtures [your] writing.”
  3. Sabbath — “You may be worried that taking a day off will put you further behind. But Sabbath actually has the opposite effect.  In the weeks that I don’t write on Sunday, my overall production (measured by words written, articles finished, whatever) is higher than it is on the weeks I don’t stop. And on Mondays, after a day of rest, my productivity soars.”

I would add just one more to the list:

4.  Be present in the moment. Focus on one thing at a time. If you’re working on a project, then focus on that project and not the to-do list that’s growing longer than your arm. If you’re with your family on an outing, then concentrate on what they’re saying rather than on that deadline that’s fast approaching. When you’re fully in the present, you find great new ways of expressing life’s little things in your writing later.

Being an Independent Author is not easy and it’s not always fun, but it can be fulfilling, especially when you remember to care for your spirit while on The Road to Writing.

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