Diary of an Author with Multiple Sclerosis : March 2017

Diary become an authorOk, so it’s been more than the two weeks I had envisaged getting these posts out. There is a steep learning curve here, that I am well and truly on, and that is, how difficult it is to be all things all of the time. By that I mean blogging, guest posts, reading, reading other blog posts (some of which are too damn good to miss), and actually doing any real writing. Oh, did I mention I work full time and have MS?

That is not an excuse. It’s more a realisation that I have to organise my time better and look after my health better than I have been doing.

Let’s get on with the updates from the last month and what I’ve learned. I will highlight my learning points ***like this***. I hope you can find a snippet here that is of use to you.

This month, I think I have finally settled on my raison d’etre; I have been writing for a number of years now, but it was only fifteen months ago that I purchased my website and got down to the real business of writing. But procrastination even managed to ruin that, eating up almost all of that first year, leaving me with the grand sum of five months that I consider I’ve been doing this seriously.

What I’ve decided I’m about is helping new and emerging authors to find a readership and establish a ‘platform’ (authorspeak for somewhere to share your ideas from)

I’m aiming to be the thing that I looked for when I was (still am) learning the ropes. There are a lot of great sites for authors, some of which I mention in previous posts . When I first started looking around the internet for help and advice, I was blown away by the number of amazing authors out there that were offering help and advice. When I finally plucked up the courage to contact one or two of them, and they responded, I was terrified! I see what their back catalogue is, how many people follow what they do, and I was scared. Why would they talk to me, with one novella to my name?

I am just a writer making his way, earning his strips, if you like, and these people were helping me on my way. I want to be able to share my experiences, and learn, as I learn. I will continue to post these updates as often as I can, sharing the difficulties, but also the successes, in the hope that someone out there can see something they can relate to.

As I have been helped by others, I would like to return that goodwill by sharing what I’ve learned. In no way am I setting myself up as an expert – quite the opposite. I want to show all my weaknesses as well as strengths, in the hope of making a connection with people in a similar position as me.

How to be an author TwitterThis month I have been spending a lot more of my Time on Twitter. Although I am not a huge fan of, or believer in Twitter, I know that some of my more experienced friends disagree with me, so I wanted to give it a fair chance. I have been posting Tweet-stories for quite a while, with no purpose other than sharing my work. I occasionally include a link to my website, but not very often. I get fed up of seeing ‘buy my book’ or ‘buy this or that.’ Don’t get me wrong, that absolutely has a place, but I figure I should sprinkle it in sparingly.

What I have learned, though, is that there are ***some times of the day that are more productive, far more productive, in which to share your Tweets***. I will probably do a separate post on that, as I want it to have pictures and graphs!

I began the Chapterbuzz 10k challenge this month. The challenge was to write 10k words of your novel / short story and share it with readers as it’s written. Well, my word count for this month is already over 20k, but unfortunately only about 6k of those have been towards the challenge so far. If you want to read what I have so far, you can do so by going HERE . It’s about two children who discover a book that has more than just pictures inside. I will finish it, so it’s still worth reading!

The learning point here, is as I stated at the beginning: ***don’t try to be everything to everyone***, as you run the risk of missing the goal, and I know I don’t react well to (my own) perceived failures. I am going to have to come up with (and stick to) a schedule, which will give me time on social media, promoting, blogging, fiction writing, etc. Look, it’s a plan, okay?

I also discovered Instafreebie, and ran two very successful (to me at least) promotions. The purpose of Instafreebie is to build your email list, which is what authors are looking for, and it forms part of that author platform we spoke about earlier. The two promotions have so far added over 800 names to my email list, that had sat at 36 for the best part of the previous twelve months.

I won’t go into the details here, but I will ***direct your attention to this blog post*** that I wrote as a guest post for Nicholas Rossis. It gives you the lowdown on how it works and how to make the most of a free trial  .

I also found time to write a guest blog post for Sue Vincent, who runs an amazing blog, promoting authors and their books (amongst other things). When Sue invited me to write a guest post, my first thought was ‘hell, no. Too scary.’ But when my brain caught up with me, I wrote the post and called it Feel the fear and do it anyway. You can read it HERE .

It is one of the most popular posts I have written and highlights my next learning point: ***To get people to read your work if you have no readers, go somewhere that does have a lot of readers. Seize the opportunity when it presents itself.***

Related to the last point, I began opening up my own blog to authors to shout out their books on Fragment Friday . It’s something I’ve done for a while, sharing excerpts of my work each week, but I wanted others to get that chance, particularly if you’ve never had anything published. Just get in touch and let me know if you want to take part. ***Being helpful is good. Pay it forward.***

Now the MS part:

I’ve been struggling more and more with typing for a while. I have one decent hand, the other hovers alongside, occasionally hitting a random key. In my day job, this is becoming problematic, but I have been using my cool piece of kit – Dragon voice recognition software. It’s good. I can even train it to recognise my Nottingham accent! That’s good, but even better is that work now allow me to bring the laptop with the software home! Now my writing speed improves on the days when I use it to write!

As a result of this cool piece of kit and how useful it’s been, my next discovery is my next learning point: ***My phone has amazing dictation abilities.*** Not sure why neither of my children pointed this out to me before, but it’s great! Not as great as Dragon, but easily good enough to dictate notes when I am on the go, and an idea strikes. Check out the dictation abilities on your own phone!

Hmmm. Sexy.

I got a new wheelchair this month! It’s awesome! It goes forwards and backwards, but in a straight line, unlike the last one that curved to the left! It’s a fixed frame (as opposed to my old foldable one), and it is quick, nimble and ninja-black. Read the post on Sue Vincent’s blog Feel the Fear to discover how hard it was to get me in a wheelchair initially. I don’t want to get out of this one!

The best part, however, is that now I can load it in and out of the car by myself, which means that on Thursdays, when I am at home on my own, I can jump in the car and take myself off to the cinema! This week I’m seeing Kong: Skull Island. Next week I think I’m going to see Ghost in the Shell, then the week after I’ll see Life.

I’m like a little boy with all the toys!

19 thoughts on “Diary of an Author with Multiple Sclerosis : March 2017

  1. I’m looking forward to reading your insights on Twitter times. If you feel like a guest post, let me know 🙂

    I remember using Dragon back in the 90s. Not very good back then, but I’m sure it’s near-perfect by now. “Hey Google” works great on my phone, but has trouble with following Greek commands. I wonder if there’s an app for that.

    Could you include the link to your wheelchair post on Sue’s blog? I’m currently designing a site for a company that sells products for people with limited mobility (if you want to check them out, the url is http://www.rehabiline.gr ), so I have a new-found fascination on the subject.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My post on Sue’s blog:

      I can’t get the link you included to work, Nicholas. Is it me, or is the link not operational yet?

      And Dragon now is amazing! I can store sentences, phrases, even whole pages and recall the all with a word or two. I can train it so it only picks up my voice, not my colleagues in the office, or my family at home. I get to wear a head set and feel like a space-marine. What’s not to like?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am like you, Steve, new, naïve and hovering between terror and delight! I try to be a good blogger, paying it forward and helping where I can, but there are so many things I have yet to learn. Looking forward to the twitter stuff, for I’m probably doing that all wrong too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, you have found a kindred spirit in me! I have a number of posts lined up around the subject of boosting your blog / website traffic and gaining readers, so if you would like to try your hand at a guest post here, just drop me a message, and we can be terrified together!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. thank you for the offer, I am having a meltdown at the moment, making silly technical mistakes. When I get everything (and my head) straight, I’ll put my thinking cap on!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I was glad to have you over, Steve, and in spite of your initial nervousness, your post drew a lot of meaningful comments. Just as a matter of interest, the post views were high and it is still being read 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sue! I stop by every other day or so to have a look. I’m just blown away by how quickly everything has progressed for me, thanks in no small part by the many bloggers and authors that have offered help and advice!


  4. I’m looking forward to your twitter post aswell. Sometimes I’ll get lots of likes and comments, others nothing. Still haven’t quite figured out the pattern. Really glad you’ve got a new wheelchair that goes in a straight line. This sounds quite an important thing! Going off to the side would drive me mad. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nicholas, How’s things? I hope you’re well. I have written a piece titled ‘How to find the best time to Tweet’ It’s 1500 words with some graphs. I look at the tools you can use for analysing your Tweet data, tools you can use for scheduling, results from Hootsuite and Buffer, and my own research data. If you would like this as a guest post, I can send it for your consideration. If you would prefer I just send the results, I can post the first piece on my blog, and reference yours for the results, and vice-versa. I’m moving towards longer posts with more detail, but I want to be sure it looks how you want it to, lengthwise. Let me know what you think, Steve

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