Saturday, 30 June 2012

To Focus or not to Focus ...


If there's one thing I've learned from my 'mature' children, it's to FOCUS. 

Every writing project I begin, I drift ... I want to expand - usually before a key thought is fully considered or a core product is fully designed and completed. Possibly because of my need to 'grow' something but more probably because of my lack of concentration and my craving for change and search for something new. Of course, expanding too soon could be detrimental to the quality of an initial story, series, concept, product, goal etc. 

So now, the minute I feel myself drifting, I just remind myself to FOCUS - I bring myself back to the main point of what I'm actually writing/doing/creating/developing/, where I'm up to, what's supposed to happen next in the development process, keep the end result in mind - Basically, I remind myself to take one key idea to fruition rather than going off at a tangent with other thoughts, designs or products.

I've banned myself from entering writing competitions. I'm not allowing myself to search the internet for writerly workshops but have attended a couple of start-up business seminars. I don't drift into random poetry scribblings or short stories ... I am ... dare I say it ... more focussed ! Finally, I'm getting further with my writing process.

Of course, you might argue that focussing intently on one thing might limit creativity ... limit all those random ideas flitting about in my head, limit the chances of bringing something else new to the ... market ... hmmm ... 

Back to the drawing board ...


Sunday, 17 June 2012

Hotting up the imagination ...

I find there's nothing better to stir up imagination than a trip to a different location, a holiday; maybe a visit to friends in a part of the country you've never seen before or a specifically made plan to go somewhere new to you ...

100 degrees - hot enough yet ? It was, and it wasn't the scenery that propelled me into writing a short story but remembering a college friend who was writing a novel about the Mojave Desert [just around the back of that medium sized boulder].

I couldn't understand her connection to the Mojave - until I visited it recently - It's high-coloured bleakness was thought provoking in itself - and somehow gave me idea after idea for stories. I considered writing about my friend - what she was trying to achieve [I'm not sure whether she'd actually visited the desert] and the difficulties she came across. Of course I'd have to check with her before I put pen to paper or finger to keyboard.

So, go somewhere new - even if it's only a bus ride away - and watch yourself itching to get back and start writing !


Tuesday, 12 June 2012

How to hot up your Linkedin profile page ...

Good morning everyone,
I assume you are social media converts as you've found this ~ so thought this might be of interest ...
The Linkedin business-ey networking site seems to be the place to go if you're seeking employment, promoting and making business contacts and showcasing start-up businesses.

Linkedin to businesses wanting to network is like Facebook to friends. Not at all showy like twitter, there seems to be a kind-of secret set of guidelines as to how to present yourself.

It's important to say who you are and what you do in a smart and interesting way without bragging. Don't be shy. Don't boast. Just be cool. And be true to you.

Obviously two of the most important things on your home page is your profile photo [preferably not one on holiday in Ayia Napa] and your personal summary ...

So here's a few tips to hot up your Linkedin summary ...

Your Photo
Personal Branding
Semi personal summary to reflect your personality
Use key words that belong to you or you want to own
Express Professional experience
Build trust
Be precise & concise
Who you are
What you do / want to do
Why you’re unique
Choose some key words:
passionate about / interested in / specifically / presence / focus primarily on / goals / objectives / strategy / winning tactics / opportunity / driving force / interaction / effective / fast learner / good listener / asset / driven / goals / accomplishments / skills
Make your paragraphs short and precise:

Paragraph 1
Why you are there - use powerful key words
Paragraph 2
What you are currently doing
How previous positions relate to the present
What you specialise in - discuss here what you do 
[Consultant/Graphic Designer/Educator/Illustrator/Writer]
Paragraph 3
Self promotion - Why you should you be chosen above someone else
Why should a new employer or client phone you first?
Paragraph 4
Your specialities - Use Your industry buzz words - they’ll match search enquiries / queries 
Paragraph 5
Be sure to put your contact details here ....

You might even find something new about yourself!
Enjoy the process, Gillian

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Social Media Marketing ...

Hi there daughters, mums, uncles, dads, aunties, grandmas, sons, brothers, sisters, grandads, friends ...

I suppose I'm now considered one of the 'olds' and expected to have non-existent technical skills of any sort. My sons won't help with pdf formatting, iTunes or acronyms ... 'You'll just have to learn it for yourself Mum' is what they say, throwing the front door into its casing. 'Thanks a lot', I grunt, slamming the kitchen door and stamping upstairs as I wedge the second earphone into place before leaping onto my bed to check my text messages ... Oh was that me? No, of course not, I have been glued to my lap top for 12 months now, writing, designing a series of interactive books - and networking - yes, at my age. And it's been quite fun. A massive learning arrow rather than curve. I have formed friends, been to meetings and a number of SEO presentations which were brilliant!

So Mums, Dads, Aunties, Uncles, Grandmas and Grandads and Great relatives, I urge you to move with the times [even ahead of them] - get yourself on the net; blog, look for new interests, find old friends, socially interact, find like minded hobby pals, find local courses and activities to join ... and most of all ... look up all acronyms if you're very time wealthy and make a full and comprehensive list of them. Learn off my heart. Eat the paper. [Apologies - your list will be on screen no doubt]. Put the pathetic three lettered acronym into practise. Most of the 'youngs' don't know what many of the acronyms stand for anyway. Drop them into conversations. Ask them in front of their friends what HTTP, PDF, RSS, IMAP, URL, SEO really stand for ...

That's when they'll tell you ... 'You'll have to just learn it for yourself Mum'

So here's a short list to get you going [if you've absolutely nothing else to do]
URL     Universal Resource Locator
RSS      Really Simple Syndication
PDF      Portable Document Format
Jpeg      Joint Photographics Experts Group
WIFI     Wireless Fidelity
TIFF     Tagged Image File Format
HTTP    Hyper Text Transfer Protocol
IMAP    Internet Message Access Protocol

SEO  -  Search Engine Optimisation

So, my note to everyone ... SEO is really what we need to be thinking about. We all have favourites and opinions of facebook, twitter, linkedin, google etc. but to be honest the recent Social Media Presentations I've attended have been the most motivational prompts I've come across for some time [other than realising my cholesterol contained too many bad fats].

Choose the right social group for your work - your book - your business - for instance, on Linkedin, its a great place to promote yourself and your product or your skills - find employment, freelance writing opportunities, research your possible audience, meet colleagues, clients, business links, people in the publishing industry, join like-minded groups, forums ... make contacts for your genre, link to your website or blog. This is quite a grown-up place, so text speak is pretty much frowned on - save that for your phone or twitter. [Oops - is texting out of date now ??] No-one wants to know if you've been to a party - so post that to your Facebook friends. Linkedin is a place to meet business contacts, promote business and check out your competition.

My advice - get on a social media marketing course if you can ... Try local or county councils, community centres, libraries, search the internet for business re-generation projects and you'll probably find the 'beyond websites' type social media presentations.
The courses are usually funded and therefore Free to attend.
[often including breakfast, lunch or snacks ! - such a bonus]

Enjoy, I did, Gillian