writing

Writers Wednesdays: Finding The Best Beta Readers

Happy Writers Wednesday! Today’s post will be short, because there isn’t a lot to say about this topic.

Good beta readers (who are willing to read your book before you publish it) are invaluable, but also hard to find. Everyone will accept a free book, but few are willing to give substantive feedback on what they read. So, for that reason, it’s challenging to have a good, reliable group of beta readers.

However, finding willing readers is the first step to getting a group of good beta readers. And that part is pretty easy. I always start with family and friends. Then, I start scouring my social media. I look for people that follow certain hashtags, and see if I can connect with them. After engaging in a few conversations, I can offer them my unpublished work, and see if they’re willing to read it.

As I get a group of devoted beta readers, I’ll keep you all posted on how things are going. I look forward to telling you all more about in the future!

reading list

Book Review: The Magic Path of Intuition

I have another book review for you all, and this time, it’s a FREE audiobook that I found on YouTube!

The book I’m reviewing today is The Magic Path of Intuition by Florence Scovel Shinn. I’ve been familiar with Florence for several years, and I initially read The Game of Life and How to Play It about seven years ago. However, I recently decided that the best way for me to reach my 100 books in 2021 goal is to supplement my normal reading routine with audiobooks (I first mentioned this approach in a recent post). That way, I can listen to the text (auditory methods are my favorite mode of learning) while I do repetitive tasks, like folding clothes, sweeping, and all manner of general tidying.

In my recent post, I named a couple of Florence Scovel Shinn’s books that I read during the month of March. I wanted to finish reading all of her work before the end of April, and I’m excited to announce that I’ve met my goal! So, in this post, I’m reviewing one of the books that really impressed me.

So, one of the things that stands out to me is Florence’s consistent use of anecdotal examples to make her point. However, what is really special about this is that the examples she uses are both dated (she did write these books more than 80 years ago) and yet, completely timeless. It’s easy to envision ourselves as one of the characters in her stories, even if the story that she’s relaying isn’t at all possible in today’s world.

She impresses upon the reader the importance of following intuition in order to reveal, to ourselves, the best path for us to take. She indicates that listening to our intuition is part of communicating directly with God (or our highest, wisest self, if you prefer to describe it that way). After making a particular request, or setting an intention, it’s important to follow whatever inspired action comes next. Sometimes, that action may seem nonsensical, but, in my experience, the more nonsensical the action, the more likely it is that the action is truly inspired and will be crucial to whatever request you’ve made.

I enjoyed listening to this book which. on YouTube, is less than two hours long. I highly recommend it for all of my “woo-woo” friends that want to hear original law of attraction (LOA) teachings!

That’s it for today. I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

career · life curation

Minor Disappointments and Setups for Greatness

Happy Monday, friends! I hope you all are enjoying a great day wherever you are, and I hope your weekend was fantastic!

Recently, I applied for a part-time position with an online tutoring company. I liked that the position was flexible (that is crucial, given my current schedule) and I figured that it would help me transition into more freelance work. After completing the second round of the interview process, I was informed that I did not get the position. As you can imagine, I was disappointed. I thought I was the perfect candidate, and I felt like I should have made it to the “short list”. However, the company felt otherwise, and they advised me that they would like to keep my application on file, in case they expand and have more openings.

This experience reminded me of something that my mother told me years ago. She said, “If it’s meant for you, nothing and no one will be able to get in the way of you having it”. This little disappointment was just a clear sign that this position was not meant for me. And, upon further consideration, I realized that I actually didn’t want the position.

Yes, you read that right: I didn’t even want that job, if I’m being perfectly honest. I intended that I earn money in a more passive way this year, and this job was quite the opposite of “passive”. It would require a certain number of hours every week, and I wouldn’t be able to delegate these tasks to someone else. Also, this job would involve me occupying a role that doesn’t enhance my future career prospects. In fact, it’s a bit regressive, in a way: I would have to downplay my knowledge and participate in some mind-numbing tasks in that role.

Yes, the role would have brought in more income, but it goes against the intentions that I set. Any action that goes against your intentions is bound to become uncomfortable and unsustainable at some point. Also, perhaps it’s because I’m older, or maybe because I’ve had enough disappointments that turned out to be blessings in disguise, I’m not taking this rejection personally. I’m not right for the job, but that is no reflection on my value as a person. I’ve experienced disappointment as well as incredible successes, and I have seen enough to know that everything works out in my favor in the end.

So, I’m taking this minor disappointment and counting it as a setup for future success. I believe that this position was denied to me because it is not right for me and what I’m creating for my future. It doesn’t fit in my grand scheme, and that’s okay. Additionally, by not clamoring to find some other position to validate my worth as an employee, I’m leaving space for the opportunities that are worthy of my time and attention.

Those are my Monday musings. I’ll have another Writer’s Wednesday post in a couple of days, as well as some other chat during this week. Talk to you all tomorrow!

writing

Writers Wednesdays: The “New Idea” Trap

Welcome back for this week’s installment of Writers Wednesday! In my last Writers Wednesday post, I mentioned that there were a few things that I knew would be challenging going forward into this new cycle. I want to identify the challenges ahead of time, so that I can prepare myself. To leap into a new cycle without figuring out the potential traps would be quite possibly the worst way to start things this go around.

The first challenge I identified was the trap of chasing new writing ideas. This is, no doubt, the BIGGEST trap for me. Whenever I have to start the editing and publishing processes, I can think of a dozen other book ideas, and, in my eagerness, I’ll start writing something new. Unfortunately, when I start writing a new work, I almost never get back to the tasks that need my attention: y’know, the ones that result in published books.

The end result? A lot of half-finished books, and very little to show for my efforts. The thing is, all that really counts when you’re a writer is when your finished work is in your readers’ hands. A bunch of partially-written manuscripts can’t instruct, inspire and influence the people that you want to impact. So, getting constantly lured in by “new” book ideas is almost always a convenient distraction from the hard work of editing and publishing.

For this next writing cycle, I will not be writing any new works. However, I hate the thought of getting a great idea and possibly “losing” the idea. For this reason, I will be implementing an “index card” system. I recall reading about this first in Write It Down, Make It Happen by Dr. Henriette Anne Klauser (I discussed the book a little in this post). Instead of spending a lot of time writing all of the ideas that flood to my mind, I’ll just jot down the idea on an index card, then put the card aside until I’m free to flesh out the idea more. This allows me to catch the idea while it’s fresh, but it eliminates the temptation that comes from typing the idea into a document file (which usually lures me into writing a chapter or two, instead of just typing my ideas briefly, and moving along).

Do you have any ideas for avoiding the “new idea” trap? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

*This post contains affiliate links.

food · health

Implementing the Barone Diet

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned the books that I read in the month of March. In that post, I mentioned that I read two books written by Anne Barone: Chic and Slim and Chic and Slim Encore. Naturally, the title reveals a little bit about the content: the book gives different ways to achieve slimness. But other than that, you may not be sure exactly what the books discuss.

In short, the books explain how the French lifestyle – from food to fashion to relationships – contribute to the ability to remain slim. After a particularly stressful year (most of us have been under tremendous stress this year), I noticed I’d put on a little more weight than I cared to have. So I pulled out Barone’s book and started to remind myself of the techniques I used to slim down a few years ago.

You see, back in 2015, I wanted to slim down, but I wasn’t sure how I could do it without feeling hungry or unsatisfied. I initially got a copy of Chic and Slim Encore for free on Amazon (there was a Kindle special) and, after reading it, I decided to purchase the original “Chic and Slim” ebook. So I started eating like the French and, wouldn’t you know it, I lost weight.

One of the best things about the French method of maintaining a slender physique is that it does not require deprivation. While on this eating and lifestyle plan, I am able to enjoy 4- and 5-course meals. I don’t have to exercise strenuously, and self-care is a priority. This eating plan allows me to lose weight without starving myself or sweating my life away in the gym. It’s perfect for me, because it allows my dining experiences to feel more elegant (and we all know how much I love elegant living!), as well as more intentional. My meals can’t be rushed, so I have a chance to really pace myself and avoid overeating.

So, if you’re interested in this particular diet, check out Anne Barone’s books. You won’t be disappointed!

reading list

Book Review: Double Your Business

I’ve mentioned Cassie Parks in previous posts. She is one of my favorite law of attraction (LOA) coaches, and her simple, practical approach to crafting your dream life is refreshing. In a world full of coaches that make LOA complicated and inaccessible, it’s wonderful to have someone that breaks away from the pack and does it her own way. So, in my quest to learn more ways to create a stronger, more lucrative business, I turned to Cassie’s book, Double Your Business.

The full title of the book is, Double Your Business: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Double Your Profits Without Doubling Your Hours So You Can Actually Enjoy Your Life. But, as you can see, I’ll be using the abbreviated title. In this book, Cassie reveals her step-by-step strategy for increasing your revenue without requiring additional time or extraordinary effort. Her approach involves using clear intentions and embracing your future lifestyle in order to align with your desired reality.

What I appreciate about this book is that it doesn’t give you a quick fix for business growth. As Cassie explains, “quick” strategies are rarely effective over the long term. We have to dive in the day-to-day reality of the lifestyle we desire in order to co-create our best lives. The exercises are easy to follow, Cassie’s writing style is engaging, and, if you follow her advice, you will absolutely double your business without having to work harder or increase your hours.

Additionally, I can see how this would support my goals for 2021. Cassie is careful to avoid the word “goal”, as it implies something very limited, as opposed to an “intention”, which is far broader and more flexible. I love that her approach is so much more wholistic/holistic than some LOA coaches. Instead of focusing on something finite (like a singular goal), she expands your focus so that you can design a business that easily accomplishes all of the goals that you desire to achieve.

I cannot recommend this book enough! If you have it, or would consider buying it, let me know in the comments. Talk to you all soon!

*This post contains affiliate links

writing

Writers Wednesdays – A New Cycle

Happy Writers Wednesday! I hope you all are having a great day or evening. I mentioned my writing, editing and publishing lessons learned in last week’s Writers Wednesday post. Now that I’ve churned out a few children’s books (like this one that teaches children about China, and this one that teaches kids about Vietnam), I’m getting back onto schedule.

The book I was working on (prior to working on the children’s books) is basically complete, so it’s time to move on. Starting next week, I’m entering a new writing cycle. However, instead of starting a new project from scratch, this cycle will focus on finishing some of my older, neglected manuscripts. I have quite a few unfinished books that I’ve wanted to complete for the past few years, and these next few weeks feel like a good time to do so.

The way I’m planning it in my mind will mean that I won’t stick to one manuscript, complete it, then move to the next. I’ll likely bounce between three or four works, doing writing and editing tasks until they’re all finished. For me, the challenges lie in four different things:

  • Refusing to start a brand new book (given my short attention span, this will be my biggest challenge)
  • Creating a practical daily schedule (as my schedule has been busier recently, this may be a bit harder to do)
  • Finding enough willing beta readers for my books (not a major challenge, but something to keep in mind as I get closer to completing my edits)
  • Setting a reasonable end date for these writing and editing tasks (my second biggest challenge, since I tend to underestimate the time needed for tasks)

As I look forward, I can see where my weaknesses are, and, by seeing them, I can prepare. In the next few days, I’ll be concentrating on how to avoid or mitigate each of the challenges I listed above. And, more than likely, I’ll share about my strategies, tactics and more lessons learned during the next few Writers Wednesdays posts.

That’s my writing update for this week. Have a great day!

*This post contains affiliate links

writing

Writers Wednesdays – Things I’ve Learned About Writing, Editing and Publishing

I’m finally back with a Writers Wednesday post! It’s been a while, mainly because there were other things that were more important for me (namely, getting into a new routine that accommodates my increased offline activity). But, seeing as how I quickly churned out two books (I mention them in my goal update post for March), it’s safe to say that I have some insights on what I’ve learned through the writing, editing, and publishing experience.

About writing . . .

When it comes to writing, it’s far easier to get into my “zone” than it used to be. The more I write, the easier it is for me to write. And since I’m not as critical about my rough drafts as I used to be, I am able to actually complete a book (instead of wasting time agonizing about the right things to say). Also, setting a fixed time to complete a certain number of words daily is pretty useless for me. I know that having a routine is important, but micromanaging every detail of my daily writing routine (such as the number of words to type) is too stressful for me. I give myself a lot of flexibility, and I don’t criticize myself for writing outside of my scheduled time. I do my best writing at 2-3 AM, and I’m okay with that.

About editing . . .

For me, editing is best done in small chunks. I focus on a few pages at a time, and read it aloud, making the changes as I go. And I get through the entire manuscript, then I start all over again. And then I share with friends, to see if it makes sense. Most of my friends are too busy to read my books nowadays, but if they spend a few minutes looking through my work, I’m appreciative. I stop worrying about editing after 2-3 rounds of edits. Anything more than that is obsessive, and it prevents me from publishing my book in a timely fashion.

About publishing . . .

Amazon used to quickly approve manuscripts, then, at some point, they got overwhelmed and the publishing queue became far too long. Now, they are back to quickly approving books again, and I’m thankful. For me, publishing is the easiest part of the process: I’ve done this enough to get through the process easily. Also, it’s a good idea for me to pre-write my book description before I start going through the publishing process.

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Those are just a few of my observations from working on my latest books. If you’ve published a book before, what are some crucial things that you’ve learned? I’d love to hear all about it!

reading list

Books Read in March 2021

Happy Tuesday! I posted this yesterday, before it was completed. So today, I’m finally completing this post.

This year, one of my goals is to read 100+ books. For March, I did way better than I did in January and February! That’s really remarkable, considering the fact that I actually took on extra activities during this month (coursework, increased working hours, etc.,).

Want to know my secret for reading more books? It’s easy: audiobooks! I’m pressing play and doing tasks (like folding clothes and beauty treatments) while I listen. Here are the books that I read:

Anne Barone, Chic and Slim

Anne Barone, Chic and Slim Encore

Florence Scovel Shinn, Your Word is Your Wand

Florence Scovel Shinn, The Game of Life and How to Play It

Florence Scovel Shinn, The Secret Door to Success

Annette Larkins – Journey to Health 1

Annette Larkins – Journey to Health 2

So this month, I read 7 books. Not too bad for someone that’s busier than ever LOL! I’m already done with one book for the month of April, and it’s still the first week. It’s looking like I’ll be able to knock out at least 8 more books this month.

That’s today’s brief post! I’ll talk to you all tomorrow, and I’ll have more details about what’s been happening lately. Talk ot you all soon!

(This post contains affiliate links.)

health · Uncategorized

Fibro Friday: Health Updates

Happy Friday, friends! We made it through another week. I’ve been busy, but I feel like I’m finally starting to get over the hump and get to a point where I’m not as overwhelmed. For this, I’m thankful.

So, in yesterday’s post, I mentioned that I had a recent doctor’s visit. During this visit, my doctor confirmed that I had gained some weight. Funny enough, he didn’t mention it, but I saw it when his nurse weighed me. I knew that I’d done some emotional eating over the wintertime, but I had no idea how much it impacted my weight until I saw the numbers on the scale.

Obviously, I’d been soothing myself with food. I thought hard about it, and it occurred to me that 2021, for all of its wins, had walloped me. Losing my grandmother, living with additional family members, not taking any vacations, and having an extraordinary amount of work and other activities have really drained me. I may write more about all of this in an upcoming post, but for now, I’ll say that I’m glad for my newfound awareness. I can make some additional changes to my eating and get back on track to achieving my goal weight.

That aside, I’ve felt pretty good physically. I’ve adjusted some of medication so I’m pain free on most days. My main fibro symptom that I’m contending with now is fatigue. This one is undoubtedly the most difficult to manage, since it slows me down and makes it really hard to function. I’m exploring a few natural options to increase my energy, as well as adjusting my daily routine so that I get more sleep at night.

Overall, I’m making progress, with a minor setback or two. I’m excited to see how things go over the next few weeks, especially when I get adjusted to my new sleep routine. All in all, I have nothing but good news to share!

That’s it for the week. I hope you all have a great weekend. Take care!