One Year Ago Today, A Little Blog Was Born

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It was one year ago today that I created and posted my first blog. Since then, I’ve posted 166 times (with plenty more scheduled for the future), I’ve had 1,710 views, 883 visitors and 292 likes. The majority of my readers are in Australia and the US but I’ve also been read by people from the UK, Canada, New Zealand, Bangladesh, India, the Philippines, Ireland, Vietnam, Finland, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and several handfuls of other countries.

I’ve written more in the past year than I’ve ever written before and having this blog is the reason why. Because I’ve set myself goals and I’ve managed to stick to them, posting a book review every Monday (excluding the month of Project October, which you can read about here, here, here, here and here ) as well as blog posts on various writing related topics and samples of my creative writing with the occasional guest post thrown in.

In the tradition of all good writers who want to rest on the laurels of all their previous hard work and have reached a milestone that is as good an excuse as any, here are some of the highlights of Year One.

The One Book I Can’t Live Without
A guy at work, upon seeing me with my Macquarie International English Dictionary, engaged me in conversation and asked, “Is that yours? Did you bring it from home?” Within minutes, he regretted ever having started the discussion and called me a word nerd (although only after confessing to being a bit of a word nerd himself – his three contributions to our chat were conflate (the original versus the newer meaning), dendrochronologist (which he used to befuddle his son) and inculcate (which he professed a liking for), all quite nice contributions, I must admit).
Read more here…

The Distraction of Other Writing
I’ve now spent a lot of time learning how to blog, setting up the blog, writing blog posts with brand new material, searching out old material and scheduling posts so that they appear each day at the same time. And I’ve spent exactly no time writing the novel that I am currently in the middle of constructing. This writing is distracting me from that writing. In fact, it’s more than distracting me. It’s making me ignore my novel-in-progress completely.
Read more here…

A Million Excuses Not to Write
Enough of the waffle. Just write. And eventually your writing will be good enough. One day it might even be great. But giving up before you get there is just one more excuse.
Read more here…

The Ideas Generator
As I was trying to sleep one night (which is when almost all good ideas strike), I had an idea for how to generate ideas. It’s a seven-step process that can be applied to a lot of stories already out there, which is why I think it will work for developing new stories.
Here’s how it works in a nutshell. You pick a genre. You pick a main character. You give them a past traumatic incident. You pick a second main character or a secondary character for the main character to interact with. You give the main character a profession. You introduce a trigger to add drama. And then you add an ending.
Read more here…

One Bad Review
In an attempt to get more sales and more reviews, I added Enemies Closer to the Goodreads (link) website and ran a couple of on-site advertisements. It has been added to reading lists a couple of dozen times and at the end of 2014, I finally received my first Goodreads review. Sort of. No words. No explanation. Just a one star rating. Anyone familiar with Goodreads will know their star rating system is pretty generous. Even two stars means “it was okay”. But one star is definitively a bad rating.
Read more here…

So You’ve Decided to Make Your Main Character a Writer
Okay, so I couldn’t talk you out of making your main character a writer. But maybe I can talk you out of making your writer character a bad stereotype. So do me a favour and avoid the following character traits seen so often in clichéd fictional versions of ourselves.
Read more here…

A Hopefully Helpful Lecture from a Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar Nazi
Writers who struggle with spelling, punctuation and grammar must get frustrated by the constant corrections from well-meaning editors who bemoan the fact that they never seem to learn. The truth is writers who struggle with these areas will never improve without some tips, tricks and suggestions more useful than an instruction to simply start “getting it right”.
Read more here…

Plot Clichés You Should Avoid Like the Plague
This has happened to everyone so often it’s a plot cliché in itself. You’re watching a TV show or a movie or reading a book and instead of being surprised by what happens next, it has you rolling your eyes either because you saw it coming a long way off or because you’ve seen the exact same plot point in about a thousand other TV shows, movies and books.
Read more here…

Advice to an Almost Famous Author
Your opinions don’t matter more, you will just be asked for them more often. Being famous means more people will ask you questions and more people will listen to your answers. It’s very important to remember that success in one area does not make you an expert in others.
Read more here…

The Benefits of an Ideas Board
As writers, we can sometimes lose sight of the little things that help make writing easier. My big picture was to write a lot of blog posts. But the small step of buying and implementing the ideas board is what has helped me to do it. Here’s why.
Read more here…

Confessions of a Reformed Perfectionist: Is “Good Enough” Good Enough?
When you think your piece is a three out of five, that’s when you ask your beta readers for their opinions. And then you rework it. When you think your piece is a four out of five, that’s when you pay a professional manuscript assessor for their opinion. And then you rework it. And when you think your piece is a five out of five, that’s when you pay a professional editor to find and fix your errors. And then it’s ready to be sent to publishers. If you’re lucky enough to attract any interest, despite you thinking it’s a five, the publisher will still think it’s only a four and want to guide you as you rework it yet again. And maybe again after that.
Read more here…

There are plenty more posts (155 of them, in fact) so please explore them at your leisure if you haven’t already. And here’s to another year of writing. Cheers!

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