Internet Closet Clean Up

I decided to keep with this weeks theme during my Random Friday post. I worked on my personal goals in June and this has made me look into many aspects of my life.

In this age, most of us have an online self. For me, I have a blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I had almost forgotten about my website. While I wrote in my morning journal all of this came up as I reflected on my future.
Where did I want to go with my online presence? Why was it there?

I came up with these personal goals that you might want to think about. These goals are like house cleaning, but its the internet.

Your cleaning your internet closet. 

1. Remember all the Accounts
I have accounts all over the internet. I have a Tumblr, LinkedIn, YouTube, Goodreads, and on and on and on… The list feels endless. The passwords have become a problem since I change them so often. I wish I could access half of the accounts my name is linked too.

2. View The Profile
Holy crap! Look at how young I am in half of these pictures… and that spelling… damn! I must have been 16 when I created this account. You’re going to be as shocked as I was when I was reading all the about pages and descriptions linked to all these accounts. For example, my personal Facebook page was created when Facebook was born! Same for my YouTube account. I was the generation that got to experience these beautiful sites before ads and all the extras. I never changed the intro and about portions of the profile. I had an old website that I made in grade 8 attached to one of them. It was horrible.

3. Make a List
List out all the accounts you think you have. Access them, this is the hardest part, and delete the ones you no longer want. Sometimes it’s better to start fresh. I created a fresh YouTube and Google+ account because they had all my childishness attached to them. My personal Facebook isn’t for the public eye so that’s fine. With your list written, write notes beside the site what you need to fix. Might be the profile picture, the cover art, website, intro, or a good freshen up to the home page.

4. Delete!
Delete what is no longer useful to you. This is more for entrepreneurs, freelancers, or people in the public eye. I started with my YouTube channels. They weren’t helping me progress with my writing. I found that they were blocking me from doing what I enjoyed. I felt free when they were gone. The same goes for other accounts that you might have spread out. If you’re not checking your message you upset someone that might be reaching out to you. I currently have three emails. A personal, business, and junk email. These are all linked together so I can keep an eye open for people reaching out to me. For my other social networks, I make time during the day to respond. If you can’t make time for that account. Delete it. Build a strong bond with what you love. Don’t let the others drag you down.

5. Update
Is your photo a current photo? Do they all match? Are you a teen in one of the photos? Is the cover photo showcasing the newest item you have for sale? These are great questions to ask yourself as you go through each account to update it. Make sure your email is spelt right, the website is current, and your blog is attached somewhere. These will all help you reach out with a fresh new look.
These are goals I have in place for August. I plan to have a fresh website and a current photo of me plastered all over the internet. Beleive it or not, my hair is down to my waistline. It’s time to freshen up my accounts. I feel the need to utilize my Tumblr account as well. I have some plans written out for what I would like to have on that platform.

Do you have accounts out there that are outdated? What is the oldest account you have still running? I’d love to know what you find as you peek into your internet past.

 

Wicked Soul Ascension 
Want a read that will get your heart pumping?
Available in paperback and eBook.

Link: Amazon
Link: Chapters
Link: Barns & Noble

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Thin butter on Stale Toast

I’m beginning to feel like thin butter on stale toast. Why? Well, I’ve begun to venture on many paths. This might be something that you’ve felt before or maybe your feeling it right now. I am currently on my blog, Two YouTube channels, Two Facebook pages, and writing my second novel. I also work a full-time job. Balancing life with all these tasks have been challenging. Even with the extra time I have given myself in the day. I’m beginning to think I should mould all of it together in one. I fear that I will piss people off when all they want is to read about when my next book is coming out. Or maybe they’re only interested in learning more about adoption. This blog is a blend of all those things and has been doing well. It helps that in the past few months I’ve been giving it love.

This came to my mind as I did my morning journal. I wrote, half asleep, about what was making my days feel drained. Was it waking up at the crack of dawn, maybe I needed to go to bed earlier, or maybe I was all over the place with my projects?
Audience is key. To get the right viewers or sales you need to know your audience and feed them their favourite foods. People love to get what they’re interested in or else they stop coming around. Am I giving them that? I know the audience of my book is those that like to read darker tales, watch horror films, and love the paranormal. My blog is far from that. My vlogs are far from that. And my Facebook pages don’t feed that fan base. I’m banging my head against the wall. I have created a fluffy platform because I’m a nightmare dress up like a unicorn. There will be changes to this in the future. I would like to grab a fresh warm piece of bread and spread on a thick layer of butter. No more of this thin stale crap.

I don’t think I’m going to keep up with my vlog. I will be deleting my adoption vlog and my vlog that’s connected to this blog. This blog and my Facebook page will become my main focus. I don’t know what will become of me in the future. That’s okay. I will continue doing my morning journal and find the weaknesses in my days, platform, and productivity.

I am human. I am change. I am growing.

Every day that passes I am focused on my goals for the future. My writings and books are my main passion. This is where I want my life to take me. If I eliminate the things that are blocking the path then I will become stronger in my craft. I will have more time for research. I will have more time to study. These are the things I am looking forward too.

I would love to hear from you in the comments below. Tell me if you feel like you’ve taken on to much? What do you plan to do about it?

 

Wicked Soul Ascension 
Want a read that will get your heart pumping?
Available in paperback and eBook.

Link: Amazon
Link: Chapters
Link: Barns & Noble

Work based Play: 5 Helpful Ways to Get Back on Track

Whether you’re a writer, painter, fashion designer, or mechanic, or whatever your thing is, we all get distracted from our hobbies. Family, friends, and our careers; these are important to everyday life, and I highly suggest you keep them around.

Friends and family help you create even when you don’t think it’s a helpful opinion. They tend to push you to be your best…when they’re not getting in the way of course. Family and friends are the procrastination brain BFFs. They know you want to have fun. This causes you to pull away from doing that other thing that you love. That thing where you play your music at your volume, where you’re alone tweaking your craft. This seems to be the time that they find you. Elbows deep in your work, “Hey want to hang out? Go for coffee?” Or, “I have something that I have to tell you!” Friends and family are notorious for that type of behaviour.

That brings me to your career. Unless you can make income from your work by doing what you love, your once hobby, don’t give up your day job. This is important. The bills won’t pay themselves, no matter how many times you wish for it. Materials for your craft can get expensive. Food that gets cooked and placed on your table will not come free. A day job is one of those things that you will need.

Other distractions come from the everyday living as a human. Just like how money doesn’t come for free, your house won’t clean itself, your body doesn’t magically stay clean, and the little things, well, they don’t do their thing on their own. Unfortunately, this isn’t the Weasleys house from Harry Potter. Even if we all wish that it was.

5 Ways to Get Back on Track

1. Make a time for your work. If you need an hour a day, give yourself an hour.
This is why scheduled programs work so well. Everyone knows not to contact you between 7 and 8 because you’re at yoga. Do the same thing for yourself. Let people know, “I’m painting between 7 and 8. Could we go for coffee at 8:30?” This way they know when you’re busy.

When you have children, this is the most difficult. You’re too tired to get up an hour before you need to get the kids up for school. At bed time you’re still cleaning up from the day. When is it possible to sit down and get an hour? Only you will know that. If waking up an hour early works for you, then all be, do it.

For those of you that don’t have children, you’ll have to look at what you do on a day to day basis. Find yourself some time to do what you love.

2. Put away your phone.
Here’s one of the hardest to do. We’re all attached to our phones. Mine is in my pocket right now. I’m sure if I forgot to turn it off, the second that it rings I will answer it. Not only that. If I don’t turn it right off my computer and Fitbit tell me that someone is trying to get ahold of me. This is more difficult if you have family that need to reach you during the day. That’s why I added number one first. Making time for your craft during an hour of the day where you will not be needed, or an hour where people are less likely to contact you. Combine these two ways to get back on track.

3. Get started.
With your time picked out and your cell no longer being a distraction, get started. When I try to get started I notice the little things…like my coffee is almost half full, I should fill it up before I get started. Oh, look over there my husband left his plate out…I need to put that in the sink before I get started. These things don’t need to be done right away like my brain tells me, I’m procrastinating. A half hour goes by, and nothing is done but the dishes, new pot of coffee made, and the cats are fed. Have your time picked out, and be where you need to be as if your career was starting. Would your boss be happy if you missed half the day because you needed to clean your house? I didn’t think so.

4. Find a buddy.
Find a craft buddy to come over, or you go to their house, about once a week or every two weeks meet up. Switch it up or stay the same. These buddies are like your procrastination fillers. If you’ve been good all week your most likely going to slip near the end of it. Have your procrastination buddy to feed that part of your brain while doing your craft and getting new ideas. I have a friend that I go out for coffee with. We bring our notebooks, write, laugh, drink our hot overly expensive espresso, and socialise. I’m locked up in my office for quite a while, I always go over my hour a day. It’s nice to have someone to get out of the house with, while I work. You should find a buddy that lightens your week and helps your craft.

5. Set yourself a deadline.
This one always makes me laugh. Deadlines. Who even likes those? Not this girl. I scramble the day before deadlines. If you give yourself a deadline you’ll finish your projects faster. It took me three years to write my first book because I didn’t have a deadline. Now, I am aiming for a year to finish all the drafts of the second. Be sure that your deadlines are reasonable; how fast you work, and the project that you’re working on. If you give yourself too little or to much time you might become discouraged or distracted.

Giving all these points a try will help your work. Think of it the same way you do when you’re at your day job. If you start late all the time or on your cell, you might get fired. Working alone you can get lots of things done, but it can get lonely, making you not want to do it. If you don’t meet your deadlines things become complicated. Think of your hobby as work based play. Have fun to get it done.

The Deadly Journal

I tried many times to keep a journal by my side. I’m not 100% sure why I never kept up with it. I bought one from Indigo with a gift card I got for Christmas. The colours of the book are eye catching. The caption on the front speaks to me, grabbing my attention making me want to write in it. I’m not a fan of gold, but it sure is shiny. This brings be back to why I haven’t been able to write in a journal. I don’t think the look and feel of the book have anything to do with the fact that I don’t like to write in one.

So, why did I buy it?

Well, I understand the importance of capturing the spur of the moment ideas. By the time that I sit down to write that amazing idea I had before I fell asleep…the blasted daydream is lost in the swirl of thoughts that I have every second. My little brain has so many thoughts running through it that I can never recall what it was I’d like to write. Hence, why I bought this journal. I need to be able to catch that idea. Seal it in words. To grab that daydream by the horns and nail it into place.

Writing in it was a slow process. It was once I started that I realised why I hated journaling. I’m one of those writers in need of an editor. See, I have dyslexia. It doesn’t effect my speech much. It does, however, play a huge factor in my writing. I always trip up when I spell a word wrong, or the word looks wrong but is spelt right. I mix up my letters all the time when I type, it’s nice when the computer fixes that for me. I find the program on the computer helps me learn language faster. This also helps with repeat words, grammar, and other small writing problems I didn’t learn in school. I gave up on English classes in school since I found that the class wasn’t for me. I knew in my heart I wanted to be a writer, it’s what I enjoyed more than anything. Art class was fun and all, but an adventure through a tale of words was the most exhilarating part of going to school. I heard it time and time again in school that I was never going to make it in life. I let my grades drop. Why should I even try then? I ignored my lessons. I let all the information teachers told me in and out of my ears as if they were commercials on TV. When I dropped out of school to take the homeschool program my tutor, a retired teacher, told me to get tested for dyslexia. She saw how hard it was for me to read, and write, she watched as I jumbled everything up as I read from a page. Once I got tested positive, she worked with me to develop ways to calm the jumping letters. This happened in grade 11. Why hadn’t all my others educators seen this? It wasn’t that I was a problem child, okay maybe I was a tiny bit, I couldn’t make sense of what I was seeing. I thought that everyone saw words that way. I didn’t know that what I saw was wrong. 11 years behind my peers in reading and writing with one more year to learn it all. Even now, at 26, I feel far behind my peers. I won’t let that stop me.

I published Wicked Soul Ascension December 1, 2016. That was the first time I felt as if I were getting somewhere. I got this. I haven’t let the dancing letters stop me.

With this journal in hand, I’m going to conquer the next hurdle that I’ve been facing. Writing freehand. The only help from the computer is the spellchecker. I’ve always been nervous writing freehand. Being 11 years behind with spelling and grammar made me self-conscious. People point out my spelling mistakes all the time saying, “I thought you were a writer.” They’d laugh and go about their day. These phrases used to hit me hard. I’ve chosen to brush this off like I did with the teachers from my school.  For the most part, I have become a fully self-taught writer. I look for information everywhere. My editor helps me where I need. She even gives me homework and has been a huge help. I know I have a long way to go.

This deadly journal is going to be apart of my everyday life. It’s time to kick out that little self-conscious child that nags at me when I have to write freehand. I plan to fill the pages of this journal with all the things I think about. If there are ideas about the story, small things I see, odd thoughts, and even if I see something I’d like to buy in the future I will write them down.

The next step has been taken to become a better me. I’ve come this far, so now it’s time to push myself that much harder. Every step forward, no matter how small, is a step towards being where I wish to be.

C.B. Dixon

 

What I learned from my first time using a professional editor.

1. Editors are real people. 

When I went through the edits that my editor Ann had wrote on my manuscript, I could read the emotions that went into the correction. I found it neat that she had gotten so involved with the characters and scenes that the font she used (in her hand writing) changed as the story sped up and slowed. Then there was this; I kept making the same mistake over and over again. At first she wrote the correction like all the other edits, but as the story went on the pen get heavier, and soon it was written in all caps. Sorry Ann, now I know how to use that punctuation.

2. My editor taught me a new way to see my manuscript.

I had never made it to hiring a professional editor before. My stories used to be locked away in a hidden spot were only I could see them. Since I hired an editor I am able to see my manuscript through a readers eyes. I tried to do this before I sent it off to Ann by letting my story rest and then go back to it a month later. This helped but I didn’t really know what I was looking for. Now I can see the repeated words, missed punctuation, added letters, character mishaps, and the fragmented sentence. Even one of my characters magically appeared out of nowhere. Lesson one: Always hire someone that knows what they are doing.

3. Phone calls from the editor can be a scary thing.

Right before Ann returned my manuscript to me I got a phone call. When her name showed up on the caller ID my heart skipped a beat. She had a few more days till she would be done the edits so why was she calling me? Oh no! Ran over and over in my head. What did I do? I clicked answer and greeted her with a shaky, “hello”. She had good news for me. My manuscript was edited. She had enjoyed it. There was work to be done, and learning too. That I could handle, that I understood. The conversation didn’t go like I first expected. It was quite pleasant. We said our good byes and then the sensation of being a author set in. I was on my way to publishing an actual book. I had an editor, she was real. I knew what she thought of my manuscript, her excited voice told me all I needed to know. I should be proud of what I wrote. I couldn’t help the shake that took over. A new anxiety grew. I wrote a book, and having my first edit done made it all real.

If a new writer was to come up to me and ask; what is one of the most important things they could do for their story, I would suggest an editor. They have that critical eye that makes the story flow without the glitches. Even though this is the end of my first edit, my manuscript has improved in ways that I could never do alone.

Time for round two!

The Curves on Learning

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I finished my first draft of WICKED this passed weekend. A mile stone my husband Mark, Sketch and Taz (our kitties), and I celebrated with a few drinks and some good books. A great way to spend Saturday night.

My path to that point took years. I finished Wicked once before. Edited more then few times, it went to beta readers. During that time I read blogs, books, tips, and discussed with others about all things inside and outside the covers. My brain filled with sentence structure, dialog, description lengths and wording, characters, and grammar. More and more and more. Everyone had many views, some liked it one way, then others contradicted what I previously read. It was hard to get everything put together in a way that was uniquely me without over stepping invisible boundaries. By the time I learned more then I ever knew…the manuscript I wrote…I trashed it! Yes that’s right, tossed the whole thing in the trash.

It was time to put everything that I learned over the years of writing my first manuscript in to a newly written story. I kept most the characters and added in more interaction between them and their environment. But where to begin…what new twists could I add to make it more interesting?
Before I put down my first word a parent at the daycare I work at had posted on her Growing Up Gaudy blog, I ended up in it. The next day we talked blogs. When I go home I sat down at my computer…she made it look so easy, all the bloggers made it look easy. Post what you know, I told myself. Hm, what if no one likes it? What if I make a mistake? It was hard to face, the world reading, seeing, what happens between my ears. Then I realized even the greatest make mistakes. We are all human and we all make mistakes.
By the time I wrote six or seven chapters this blog was born. I had no clue what I was doing, still don’t…as time moves on and days pass I like to think I’ve gotten better.
I wrote my next version of Wicked in eight months. It seemed to fast, how could I have written it so fast, is it good enough? I never left its side. The story was on my mind day in and day out. Even dreamt up most of the parts. When I move to editing I will find out.

Now the writing is done and the edits begin, a little bit of studying is necessary and I’m okay with that.

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The hard spots:
Having cute kitties
Intimate scenes

Things that helped:
Coffee, and lots of it
A pushy husband
Not wanting to be Brian off of Family Guy
A deadly desire for wanting my story to be heard

I love to write, and learn about how to write. Everyday has been one learning curve after another.

Do you have any helpful hints that help you?

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