Self-sabotage – 3 ways you can help yourself to keep going

Every person I know has the potential to do awesome things. Every person you know has the same potential. It is not that difficult to do really good things, to create fantastic stuff for the world. The biggest thing standing in our way are ourselves. Self-sabotage is the biggest hurdle every creative person faces when it comes to creating good art. I am learning that the excuses are simply that- excuses, which should be ignored, put away, stomped on, and I just need to get on with it.

Let me set up my most magnificent example of self-sabotage. Back in 2012 I self-published my first novel – The Girl From Out of Town. A rollicking Steampunk adventure, featuring a Royal Refugee from another dimension, and a bored office worker from Accounts. Adventures, gun fights, swordplay, skyships and dragons! How awesome!

It is now 2017 and I am having to be threatened, pushed kicking and screaming, to work through the edits to try and get book 2 published by the end of March. A book whose first draft was finished at the beginning of 2014. And, Book 3? Only 2/3 of the way finished. Why am I not writing and publishing books! It is what I have told people I want to do! Read more »

Categories: Writing | Leave a comment

4 Reasons Why Hand Writing Your Plan is Best

Hand writing a Plan can give you a stronger emotional tie to your plan, much like a journal

If you want to succeed in life, in the big things in life, you need a plan. Easy enough to say, right? If you also want to succeed in the smallest things in life, having a plan is a good idea too. And I have discovered the best way to have a plan, to create a plan, is by writing it down, making it with your hands, and not a computer. Go old school, take your time, so you feel more invested in the plan.

I will be honest with you. I am not one for plans. I am not good at making them, and I am not good at using them. I know the process of creating a content plan for others, I even have a worksheet I make my clients fill in for me – http://www.matthewfarmer.com.au/linkedin-products/download-resources/. And yet, for me, I haven’t been able to plan things out. Why is this?

While I could say it has to do with the creative side of myself, the need to be spontaneous. However, looking harder at myself, there is this gap of confidence in what I do as a business. I don’t know how long I will be able to keep up the freelancing lifestyle. If I plan to do all these things, what happens if clients drop off? What was that famous quote? If you fail to plan, you plan to fail? Good old Benjamin Franklin And strangely enough, he is true, in a sense. While I am not failing, I am certainly not rocketing to the heights of success… yet. Read more »

Categories: Business and Writing | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Showing my Author some Respect.

I am a writer, a Professional Writer. I produce written content for a variety of clients, to be used in a variety of media- blogs, newsletters, websites, articles, social media and so on. I am fortunate to be able to claim a modest income from a skill which I am very good at, doing something I love to do- write. However, during the quiet time in the first week of January, a question formed in my mind- what about me as a writer, as an author? What am I doing about that?

The question then resolved into – how do I show respect to my writer self? More importantly to my creative, Author self. See, I compete in Nanowrimo every year, and have completed, or won, 14 years in a row. A huge accomplishment, and yet I only have one novel published, for sale, and that was back in 2012. What have I done since? Why haven’t I published book ?

I say more importantly, because I see my Professional Writing Self and my Author self as two distinct entities, and I don’t think I have been showing either of them the right amount of respect. But what exactly do I mean by this? Read more »

Categories: Business and Writing | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

2017 – My Year in Review

This time of year we are winding up, finishing work or getting excited for Festivus. It is a chance to look back on the year, see what great things you’ve done, and acknowledge and celebrate them. How do you measure your success for the year? Followers? Dollars? Food in the belly?

My year had differing goals to them. In 2015 I wanted to begin a one-to-many model of delivery, run workshops and educate. This sort of came true for me, as I was appointed as a trainer with Swinburne University of Technology. I was given the chance to teach young people about marketing, communication, social media and the like. What I thought it would be like, and what it actually was like, were not entirely congruent. Read more »

Categories: Business and Writing, Writing | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

When you want it bad enough, you will find a way.

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_participant-2Isn’t it funny how, if we want something strongly enough, we will make it happen? November is always a fun month for me. No matter what is going on around me in life, this is the month where I participate in the National Novel Writing Month, the crazy event where participants write 50 000 words in 30 days. I am the most productive with my creative writing during this one month, than I am in the rest of the year.

This is my 15th year competing. I have completed this challenge for the past 14 years in a row, and I am a stubborn person, so gosh darn it I am going to do it again. As I write this, I sit close to 30 000 words. The story is going along well. There are conflicts, gun fights, murders to solve, aliens to frame for it. You know, all the usual stuff. Read more »

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Language Warning

photo-1431207446535-a9296cf995b1I love words. They have such power, can impart such meaning upon people. They can illicit hallucinations in your mind, imagining what it is you just read. Words can convince you to buy, to sell, to do things you would not normally do. They can make you happy, and angry, and often it is the same words which will do that to you.

Words are free. It’s how you use them that may cost you.” –Kushand Wizdom

I attended a conference this past week, the 8 Percent Festival, a place for creative entrepreneurs. I may have slightly misunderstood those two words, as I am a creative person, a writer, who is soon to be writing a creative novel. And as a sole trader with many ideas, I figured that got me a guest pass into the entrepreneur spot. However, I think it meant entrepreneurs, who have creative ideas and want to utalise that to make loads of money.

It was a good couple of days, and there was some workshops where we talked about gamification of education, and how I can bring games into the classroom to get my students engaged. But what was one of the best parts of the event, was when I got into a conversation about words.

The person I spoke with was an NLP practitioner, and uses words and voice to influence a person’s thinking and their mindset. I use words in the written form to do the same thing. For example, when you read the title, did you think- I wonder if he is going to use swear words?! How controversial, I must read more! Read more »

Categories: Business and Writing, Writing | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Want to understand SEO and Target Markets? Watch Family Feud

survey-saysTrying to understand keywords, SEO Copywriting and target markets can sometimes be confusing. What words do I use to connect? What do they want to know from me? If someone wants to search for item X, what words do I need to attract them to that item?

A friend of mine, Mischa from Melbourne Fire and Safety  came up with an amazing metaphor for this problem. When it comes to SEO Copywriting, and target words to use for a question, there is no better example than… Family Feud.

Each round they ask one hundred people a question, and the top responses are displayed on the board for the contestant to guess. Top 8 responses from the 100 people asked. Read more »

Categories: Business and Writing | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Breaking the rules does not mean you suck

This is my 3rd article in my series about how you don’t suck.

shutterstock_120210133_450You will make mistakes. You will have people tell you about your mistakes and tell you how you SHOULD do it better. You can handle that. You know that mistakes happen when you’re starting out, and as long as you haven’t accidentally ended the world, and if you understand that criticism, from the right people, can actually help you grow as a person, then you’ll be fine. Then you might come across omniscient 3rd parties who have set out ground rules, laws, ways things SHOULD BE DONE. And if you can’t do them, you might think- well I’m not good enough.

Wrong.

When I referee junior basketball, I always tell the parents that the only way you really learn the rules of basketball is by breaking them. No, you cannot take three or four steps in a layup. And no, that basket does not count. You learn, so next time down the court, you remember- only two steps. You might stuff the shot up (make a mistake), and some supporters will give you advice (criticism), but you learn the rhythm of the thing, and get better at it. You broke the rule, figured it out, and improved.

Some rules are worth breaking for the sake of learning. Others are worth breaking because, why not. Marketing is a great place to break rules. There is a rule that all tweets need to be 140 characters long. What if, you wrote an epic tweet, greater than 140 characters, but just as you reached 140 characters you had a cliff hanger, which they needed to click a link to finish the sentence and find out stuff? Read more »

Categories: Business and Writing | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Business and Humanity

photo-1425421669292-0c3da3b8f529_500Being in business means you’re in business. That sounds like both a simple statement to make, and a rather silly statement to make. No kidding, you’re in business to be in business. However, I have discovered recently that doing business with people, especially entrepreneurs, people who own their own business, or are sole traders, has an entirely human aspect to the deal, which does not always mesh well with the idea of ‘business’.

I cannot find the author to whom this quote came from, but it speaks to me right now:

Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be Kind. AlwaysRead more »

Categories: Business and Writing, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Turning up and doing the work

shutterstock_242337691_550Being a writer, a creative, can sometimes be a joyous thing. Inspiration strikes, and words flow from the mind to the page in a dance of poetic wonder. But the other 99% of the time it doesn’t. Just like other professions out there, I have to turn up to work, even if I am not in the mood, having a bad hair day, or don’t really know how to write that day. Yeah, those days happen.

This week, one of my students admitted to me that he was struggling with the first assessment, which was overdue. And with the second looming, he was feeling the pressure. His spoken English is quite good, I have yet to read his written English, so I cannot determine his language skills, of if he is ESL, but that was not the point he was raising with me. He admitted that, because he was struggling, he avoids doing it. And avoiding it means he gets stressed because deadlines are looming, and so it goes. Read more »

Categories: Business and Writing, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment