Nick Daw's Writing Blog - Inside the writing world of Nick Daws
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Thursday, January 31, 2013

MyWritersCircle Olymp-Inks Starts Friday!

Heat 1 of the Womens 100m Hurdles Semi-F by wwarby, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  wwarby 

Just wanted to remind you that the myWritersCircle Olymp-Inks starts on Friday 1 February.

The Oymp-Inks is a series of writing contests and challenges in a wide range of writing forms and genres on my forum at www.mywriterscircle.com. All the events are hosted on the forum's dedicated Olymp-Inks board, and they are all absolutely free to enter.

In fact, as many of you will already know, two events have already started, the Prose and Poetry Marathons. These close on Saturday 2 February, but there is just about time to submit an entry if you're quick! See my earlier blog post for more information about these events.

A complete programme of Olymp-Inks events, with the prizes on offer, is shown below. Wherever possible I have added links to the relevant topics on the forum and to additional information about the prizes. Please click through for more information about what each of the events involves.

Prose Marathon: already running
Prize: Scrivener

Poetry Marathon: already running
Prize: Write any book in under 28 days CD (WCCL)

Umpires Editorial - 1 February
Prize: ProWritingAid premium membership for one year

Rhythmic Gymnastics - 2 February 
Prize: Essential English for Authors (WCCL)

Poetry Triathlon - 3 February
Prize: Writer's Block CD (WCCL)

100-Word Dash - 4 February
Prize: Book Backup software (WCCL)
                 
Steeplechase - 5 February
Prize: Kindle Kash (WCCL)
                       
Torch Campaign - 6 February
Lou Darvas Cartooning Course (WCCL)

Spectators Sport - 7 February
Prize: The Wealthy Writer (WCCL)

Poetry Freestyle - 8 February
Prize: The 10 Day E-book (WCCL)
                    
250-Word Dialogue Sprint - 9 February
Prize: 60 Second Science book by Nick Daws                   

Bullseye - 10 February
Prize: Self Publishing Secrets (WCCL)

Live Online Events

Pentathlon (pairs event) - Starts 1 February and runs to the end of the games.
Prizes: How to Write a Children's Book (WCCL) x 2

Slalom - Starts 2 February and runs to the end of the games.
Prize: Kindle Kash (WCCL)

Limerick Relay (pairs event) - Starts 4 February and runs to the end of the games.
Prize: Travel Writing Secrets (WCCL)

Photo Finish - Starts 5 February and is run over five days.
Prize: Choice of books by Mark Hoffman

Caption Contest - Starts 4 February and runs over 5 alternate nights.
Prize: Your Chinese Horoscopes 2013 by Neil Sommerville

Letters Chase (pairs event) - Starts 6 February and runs to the end of the games.
Prize: A choice of e-books by John Craggs

Word Hurdle Eliminator - Starts 8 February and runs till the end of games.
Prizes: Two £10 discount vouchers for WCCL products.

Javelin Puzzle - Starts 10 February and runs till the end of the games.
Prize: Trinity by Patrick Fox (Kindle version).

Couplets Discus (pairs event) - Starts 12 February and runs till the end of games.
Prizes: Lost in the Dark by Joe Mynhardt and Caxton Tempest at the End of the World By Ken Preston

7 Day Sprint word games. These will run each day from 8 February.
Prizes: A choice of any of the MWC charity publications in e-book form. Also four e-books by Neil Somerville and Truitts Fix by Rex Evans Wood.

Victor Ludorum Award

This is a prize for the overall best performance in the Olymp-Inks, decided on a points basis. The "athlete" with the most points at the end will win the excellent Movie In a Month CD from our main sponsors, WCCL.

Phew, that's a lot of events! Kudos to Mairi Angus (Ma100) for co-ordinating everything, and to the many moderators and members who have volunteered to help in many ways, from acting as marshals and forwarders, to donating prizes.

Note that to enter the pairs events, you will need a partner, who must also be a forum member. If you don't have a partner, there are some people looking for one on this forum topic or you can post a request there of your own.

Remember, all the events in the Olymp-Inks are free, and you can (and should!) enter as many as you like. The only requirement is that you must be a registered and logged-in member of myWritersCircle to take part. Joining the forum is, of course, free of charge as well.

Have fun, and see you at the Olymp-inks!

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Don't Be Scared of Writerly Rejection!

Today I'm pleased to bring you a guest post from freelance writer and writing teacher Daley James Francis.

Daley has some inspiring advice about dealing with rejection, something every writer has to face at some time in their career.

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It doesn't matter if you’re Bill Shakespeare or just starting out: Sooner or later, every writer has to deal with rejection. This can be in the form of a formal letter of rejection in response to a magazine submission or simply by a generic email response when you've sent a short story off to a competition.

It hurts. There's no getting away from that. Rejection makes you question everything you've been taught, everything you believe in and everything you’ve been working towards in your career as a writer. Many a strong individual has been reduced to tears or fury by rejection, but there are ways to deal with rejection that can make you feel a little better and help you to understand that, in some cases, it's not you, it's them.

Watch or Read Something Terrible

This is a little bit subjective, as one man's Citizen Kane is another man’s Grindhouse, but watching something that you know is an absolutely travesty - or reading something that is trashy and badly written - is the best way to get over rejection. Consider it the equivalent of eating ice cream and listening to sad songs when your boyfriend or girlfriend has just broken up with you. It makes you feel a little warmer and fuzzier inside. Just remember to take off the onesie and get back to work before the rot sets in!

Get Back To Work!

The best way to deal with being rejected is to get back on the horse and improve your writing. It’s the only way to turn that 'no' into a 'yes'. Keep writing, reading other works, reading advice articles and blogs online; there are lots of ways to improve your writing skills and get over that rejection. The good thing with writing is that – unlike athletes – writers improve with age, so long as they continue to write, to learn from their mistakes, and to push themselves to improve.

Know How The System Works

There are thousands of examples of novels, films or plays that have been rejected right, left and centre, then gone on to become the biggest thing on the planet. Take J.K Rowling's Harry Potter series for a really good example. Had she taken rejection badly and walked away back to her ordinary life, would she have been the mega-million selling author of the most successful book and film franchises the world has ever seen? It's highly doubtful.

Rejection is a part of the publishing world. Nobody likes to dish it out, and nobody likes to receive it. The truth is, rejection is an important part of a writer's life. How you deal with it can shape not just your career, but your relationship with the arts in general. You don't want to become a bitter person who has forgotten the very reason they started out in the first place. Write, write and write some more, until they are bashing down your door to get your signature on the contracts. Believing in yourself and improving is the only way that the barrier of rejection is going to fall and let you pass.

Daley James Francis is a Creative Writing and Journalism graduate who loves to write about the process of writing and help other writers out with advice. He keeps this advice at www.writetoday.co.uk

* * *

Thank you to Daley for some inspiring advice.

It's absolutely true that writers need a thick skin at times. Writing is a very personal thing, and having your book or script rejected after you have laboured over it for months or even years is hard to take for all of us.

But, even though it may be easier said than done, you should never take criticism or rejection as a measure of your writing skills. Just regard it as one person's feedback on your work.

When you get negative comments, it's essential to evaluate them carefully. Not all criticism is fair or even valid. But if you think the critic is right, at least in part, resolve to learn from this and improve. As a wise man once said, praise is nice, but it's only through criticism - and even rejection - that we learn to improve.

If you have any tips or advice for dealing with rejection, please do post them below!

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tumblr Crusher: Review and Bonus

Tumblr Crusher is a new release from prolific internet marketer Barbara Ling. It's currently available at a low launch price of just over $10 via JVZoo.

Tumblr is an increasingly popular blogging platform, especially among younger people. By some accounts it is overtaking Pinterest as the new "flavour of the month" where social media are concerned.

Anyway, as it's a subject I have a particular interest in, I decided to pay the modest fee to check Tumblr Crusher out.

The main manual is a 25-page PDF. This doesn't actually tell you how to set up a Tumblr blog, although there is a bonus report with links to plenty of useful free tutorials. Rather, it reveals how you how can use Tumblr to set up automated blogs with content imported from your other social media - your main blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, and so on.

The idea is that these automated Tumblr blogs will funnel more traffic to your monetized posts and help boost their search-engine rankings. You can also use your Tumblr blogs to collect sign-ups for your mailing list, newsletter, free reports, and so on.

Obviously, then, Tumblr Crusher is most likely to be of interest if you already have a social media presence and want to build up your traffic volumes. If you do, it provides a neat and simple method for quickly creating a network of Tumblr blogs that will help harness the growing popularity of this social media platform.

The guide (like everything Barbara produces) is well written and easy to follow, with lots of annotated screengrabs to guide you. Although it's 25 pages long, it's actually a very quick read.

The more experienced web users among you won't be surprised to hear that Barbara's method involves importing RSS feeds. However, she uses another website I'd heard of but never tried before which takes care of all the techie stuff automatically for you. The result is that, in my opinion, even relative newbies should be able to apply this method without difficulty.

I thought I should test out Barbara's advice myself, so in under an hour I created this freelance writing Tumblr blog using a free theme from one of the sources she recommends in the manual. Admittedly, I am already on Tumblr (check out my Amazing Greece Tumblr blog if you like), but even if you're new to the platform, it wouldn't be hard to set up something similar. In addition, it's not difficult to see other ways Barbara's method could be adapted for a wide range of purposes.

Any criticisms? Not really, beyond the fact that this is very much a step-by-step guide to achieving one goal. That's great in itself, but if you want a broader perspective on Tumblr and what it can do for you, you may need to look elsewhere.

Don't worry, though, because I've got you covered! My forthcoming WCCL mega-guide "Writer's Cashpoint" has a whole module about Tumblr, so I've decided to give this away as a bonus to anyone buying Tumblr Crusher via my link.

The module, titled Tumble to Profit, is a complete guide to setting up your first Tumblr blog and monetizing it. It explains about such things as how to set up the Disqus commenting system on a Tumblr blog, and how to monetize by adding Google Adsense ads. (Some people will tell you that Tumblr don't allow this. Not true! They don't make it particularly easy, but as long as the whole purpose of your blog doesn't appear to be making money from AdSense, they will permit it). Barbara doesn't mention AdSense in her guide, but I can see no reason why you couldn't add it to the blogs created via her method. You might just need to experiment a little bit with the HTML, depending on the theme you choose.

How do you get your hands on my bonus? Easy! Just buy Tumblr Crusher via any of my (affiliate) links in this post, and you will find a link to Tumble to Profit on the JVZoo download page. It's the first time I've tried doing this with JVZoo, but I don't anticipate any problems. If it doesn't work out for any reason, though, let me know and I'll email the bonus module to you instead.

Good luck, and see you on Tumblr!

P.S. I should maybe mention that there are a couple of OTOs (one-time-offers) when you attempt to buy Tumblr Crusher. I find these point-of-sale offers rather irritating myself, but in this case they do contain some useful additional resources. They certainly aren't essential, though, and you can always buy them later if you want (they aren't really "one-time"!).

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Wealthy Web Writer Review

Wealthy Web Writer is a membership-based website aimed at aspiring online writers.

They were kind enough to offer me temporary membership of the site in exchange for an independent review, so you can read my thoughts below.

I should perhaps first clarify, however, that there is no connection between Wealthy Web Writer and my Wealthy Writer course (co-written with Ruth Barringham), beyond the fact that both are about making money writing for online markets.

There are some free resources on the Wealthy Web Writer site, including the blog, but to access all the resources, including the jobs board, live (and recorded) webinars, video training, and so on, you have to pay a monthly fee for "Platinum Membership" (which is the level of access I had in my trial).

The first thing to be said is that Wealthy Web Writer has huge amounts of information on all aspects of writing for a living. Indeed, at first navigating all this content can be a bit daunting, and I do think it would benefit from being organized a bit more coherently. Still, as a new member there is a video site tour you can take, which should help you get your bearings.

To make the most of Wealthy Web Writer, you need to start by deciding what your priorities are and what you most need to learn at the present time. The Categories list in the right-hand column (see screen capture below) will then take you to articles and other training resources on the topics in question.


If you can't see the above list clearly, clicking on it should open a larger version.

The content is by a large number of different authors, and the quality is generally high. Whatever you want to know about, you are likely to find something here to help you.

There are also a number of "roadmap tutorials" which go into more detail on specific topics - an excellent six-video series on how to launch your professional freelance website using WordPress, for example.

The site also hosts regular live events and seminars, such as "How a Money-Making Website Will Make You a Better Web Writer" and "Turning Conversations into Clients".

Also accessible in the members area is a jobs board with some decently paid opportunities, both freelance and employed. These are mostly for copywriters and mainly US-based, although that might not matter for the freelance vacancies.

Another welcome feature is the forum. This really needs some more members for it to take off as a fully-fledged online community. You can, however, post any questions you may have here and get them answered by the Wealthy Web Writer team. The forum also has helpful information on building your writing business, improving your skills, choosing a niche, and so on.

Overall, I think Wealthy Web Writer is a comprehensive and valuable resource for aspiring business writers and particularly copywriters. If that sounds like you, I recommend taking a look at the free content initially. If this seems useful to you, consider taking out a monthly Platinum subscription (which you can, of course, cancel at any time).

If you have any comments or questions about Wealthy Web Writer, as ever, please feel free to post them below.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

MWC Olymp-inks - first events now open!

Starting Line by Mike Saechang, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  Mike Saechang 
In this recent blog post I told you about the MWC Olymp-Inks, the special event on my forum at www.mywriters.circle.

The MWC Olymp-Inks is a series of writing contests and challenges in a wide range of writing forms and genres.

The main Olymp-Inks start on Friday 1 February, but two events are officially open from today. They are the Prose and Poetry Marathons. We are starting them early to give participants a bit more time to write and polish their entries.

You can see full details of the Prose and Poetry Marathons on the forum's dedicated Olymp-Inks board.

Briefly, the Prose Marathon requires competitors to write a short story in any genre between 1000 and 2500 words. The story must must be new and not have been previously published, even on the forum. The top prize in the Prose Marathon is a copy of the popular Scrivener writing and project planning software.

The Poetry Marathon requires contestants to create a sonnet or sestina based on a template provided. This looks quite a tricky one to me! The prize is worthy of the challenge, however [grin]. It's a copy of my very own Write Any Book in Under 28 Days course, published by our main sponsors The WCCL Network, also known as The Self Development Network.

You have ten days from today to submit your entry for either - or both - of these events. The closing date in each case is Saturday 2 February 2013. For further instructions, including how to submit your entry, please see the relevant topic on the MWC Olymp-Inks board.

Just to remind you, there is no charge for entering any event in the MWC Olymp-Inks. The only requirement is that you must be a member of myWritersCircle (which is free) and logged in so that you can submit your entry by forum personal message (PM).

As mentioned above, the main Olymp-Inks start on Friday 1 February, and you can register your interest in taking part in any event on this forum topic. Advance registration isn't necessary for the Prose and Poetry Marathons (and other events with set opening and closing dates), but is highly recommended for the live online events.

And it is well worth taking part in as many events as possible, so that you may be a contender for the Victor Ludorum award - a copy of Movie in a Month from WCCL - which will be awarded to the "verbal athlete" with the best overall achievement record in the games.

Good luck, and see you at the Olymp-Inks!

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Sign Up Now for my E-Writer Update Service!

US Mail by Steve 2.0, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  Steve 2.0 

For quite a few years now - since before this blog started in fact - I've been publishing a monthly email newsletter called E-Writer.

People could subscribe via my personal homepage, and though I've never really marketed it particularly, it attracted over 1200 subscribers.

Nothing is forever, though, and this year I decided it was time for a change. The whole concept of a monthly email newsletter was starting to look a little outdated. And with the massive growth of social media these days, people have many other ways to stay connected with me if they wish.

So I decided to "retire" my E-Writer newsletter and in its place create E-Writer Updates. This will be run as a mailing list and I will send out shorter items as and when I have something specific to share.

This should have the big advantage that subscribers will find out about time-specific offers and opportunities almost immediately, instead of waiting up to a month, when the information may no longer be relevant. And it means you will get the info in bite-sized portions, rather than in one lengthy monthly mailout.

For various reasons the mailing service I used previously - Your Mailing List Provider - isn't best suited to this format, so I decided to set up E-Writer Updates on the top professional mailing list service, Aweber. It's going to cost a little more money, but I think it will be worth it in the long run.

If you'd like to see a couple of Updates I've sent out so far, here's one from earlier this week and one from today. I'm still feeling my way with Aweber, obviously, so I'm not trying anything too fancy just yet!

If you would like to subscribe to my new E-Writer Updates service, just enter your details in the subscribe box below.  



You may like to note that as a little bribe - sorry, reward - for new subscribers, I'm giving away a free copy of my report "How to Plot Your Novel or Screenplay" in PDF format. Download information will be shown automatically when you confirm your subscription.

I hope very much you will choose to subscribe to my new service. I plan to share writing-related news, market info, reviews, special offers, useful resources/links, and so on, along with some more personal stuff about my writing (and non-writing) life and the occasional glimmer of humour.

I won't be cluttering your inbox with spam, but do plan to try and share useful information up to two or three times a week. Obviously, though, if you find it's not for you, there will be an unsubscribe link at the foot of every issue.

If you have any comments or questions about E-Writer Updates, as ever, please feel free to post them below.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Review of Kindle Krush - a New Guide to Profiting from Kindle E-books


 Kindle Krush is another new guide to making money by publishing e-books on the Amazon Kindle. It's currently on special offer at the Warrior Forum. I was impressed enough by the Kindle Krush sales page to buy a copy to review for my readers (and for my own interest, of course).

Kindle Krush is written by Matt Kaey. I was quite pleased to discover that there was no "One Time Offer" or other attempted upsell. Neither is the price on dimesale, so you don't have to feel rushed into making a decision to buy!

The main manual comes in the form of a downloadable PDF. My first impressions of this were favorable. The manual is 78 pages long and single spaced, so there is plenty of content, and it's also very well written. Screen-capture illustrations are used throughout as appropriate.

The manual contains a number of distinct sections - it struck me that Matt could actually have released each one as a separate e-book, although it's obviously more convenient for buyers to have them all in a single product!

The first section (after the introductory material) examines Amazon as a social network. Matt argues that many current Kindle authors are missing a trick by failing to appreciate - and harness - the social networking aspects of the Amazon site. He explains how to make the most of Amazon's new Kindle Social Network, along with other social features such as tagging, reviews, discussions, Amazon Guides, and many more.

Although I do use many of these features myself, there are others I am guilty of overlooking, so I made a lot of notes on this section. Amazon has ambitious plans to establish itself as a major social networking platform in its own right, and the information Matt provides in this section will ensure that you are ready and able to capitalize on this.

The next section - filling half the book - sets out a number of what Matt calls "Series Styles". These are methods you can use to quickly plan and compile not just one but a series of Kindle e-books. This is one of the best ways to make money as a Kindle author, as it means you have lots of opportunities to cross-promote between one title and another.

Nine different Series Styles are set out in Kindle Krush, and there are lots of thought-provoking ideas and suggestions here. One example which I think has good potential is News Style, where you research a particular item in the news at the moment and put together an e-book reviewing or discussing it.

Matt gives as an example the launch of the Windows 8 operating system. He shows how it would be possible to create an interesting and useful e-book for people wanting the lowdown on Windows 8 by pulling in (and editing) material from Wikipedia, review websites, and so on. I could definitely imagine this generating sales while the topic was fresh, although obviously interest would tail off after a while.

Also in the Series Style section, Matt talks about the variety of material that is available for authors to use and adapt from the Wikipedia family of websites. As he points out, the content of these sites is normally available for re-use under Creative Commons licensing, and (something I didn't know) Wikipedia now even has its own e-book creator tool.

You could use this to collect information from Wikipedia and related sites such as WikiNews and edit them into your own original e-book within the terms of the CC licence. This is certainly an interesting suggestion, although you would need to edit and expand on the Wikipedia content to avoid falling foul of Amazon's duplicate content policy.

Series Style is followed by a short section on pricing (and when it can be beneficial to release your e-book for free).

The final section is a guide for beginners to writing, publishing and marketing Kindle e-books. It is presented as five lessons. These are quite short - I believe they were originally written as an email mini-course - but explain the basics succinctly enough. If you want an in-depth guide to the mechanics of publishing your e-book on Kindle you might need to look elsewhere, though (my own Kindle Kash course, possibly!).

In addition to the main manual, Kindle Krush also comes with a number of bonuses. These are all set out in detail on the Warrior Forum sales page, so I won't discuss them in detail here. Four are premium advertising credits and/or premium membership for various business networking sites. The fifth is a "Marketing Power Pack", which includes over 6200 PLR articles on over 450 different topics, over 120 e-books with Master Resell Rights, and so on.

I gather that many people are buying Kindle Krush just for these bonuses. It's worth noting that you have to access them separately once you've bought Kindle Krush - instructions are included on a PDF in the compressed zip file you receive initially.

Overall, I thought Kindle Krush would be a valuable resource for any Kindle author, especially if you are interested in writing niche nonfiction titles (the information isn't really geared to fiction writers, although the section on Amazon as a social network would certainly be relevant to them).

It's probably not the guide for you if you're a complete beginner to Kindle e-book writing - I recommend my own Kindle Kash if that's the case - but if you're looking to boost your sales and develop ideas for new titles and series, it's well worth a look.

As ever, if you have any comments or questions on Kindle Krush, please feel free to post them below.

Disclosure: Some links in this review include my affiliate code, so if you click through and make a purchase, a proportion of the fee will go to me. This hasn't influenced my review, but you should of course complete your own due diligence and read the sales page (and this review) carefully to determine whether this product will be relevant to your needs.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Time to Start Limbering up for the myWritersCircle Olymp-Inks!

stretching by Shakeskc, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  Shakeskc

I am delighted to announce that the second MWC Olymp-Inks will be held on my forum at myWritersCircle.com from Friday 1 February to Friday 15 February 2013.

They are being organized by the redoubtable Mairi Angus, known on the forum as as ma100.

The MWC Olymp-Inks is a series of writing contests and challenges in a wide range of writing forms and genres. Example events include the 100 Word Dash, Poetry Triathlon and Rhythmic Gymnastics (a jingle-writing contest, in case you're wondering).

The first MWC Olymp-Inks were held around 16 months ago, so we thought it was high time we held another!

Prizes are on offer for every event, including many writing courses and products from our forum sponsors, The WCCL Network (also known as The Self Development Network). We have also been grateful to receive prize donations from Scrivener, Pro Writing Aid, and various MWC members.

The Games will actually open on 24 January with the Prose and Poetry Marathons (these events will then continue through the duration of the Games).

A dedicated board will be set up on which all of the Olymp-Inks events will be run. This board will appear soon in the Coffee Shop section of the forum and a full programme of events will be available there.

As well as individual events, there will also be a Victor Ludorum prize for the best overall performance in the games (based on a points system). We want to encourage everyone to join in as many events as possible!

There is no fee to take part in the MWC Olymp-Inks and no other obligation, apart from (as in the real Olympics) to try your best at all times. You will, of course, need to be a registered member of the forum in order to take part in events. If you aren't yet a member of myWritersCircle - the world's friendliest online writers forum - you can join free of charge here.

In addition to contestants, we also need more volunteer judges, forwarders and marshals. The role of judges is self-explanatory. Forwarders literally forward entries to the judges, so they can be judged anonymously. Marshals handle the logistics of live online events, ensuring a "level playing field" for all contestants. Additional donations of prizes such as books will also very welcome.

If you would like to register your interest in competing,  officiating or donating prizes, you can do so now via this topic on the Writers Circle board. You can also contact Olymp-Inks organiser Ma100 by forum personal message if you prefer. Or you can contact me via this blog and I can pass your details on to Mairi.

Finally, I'd like to encourage all MWC members, long-standing or brand new, to get involved with the Olymp-Inks. Based on last time, it will probably be a little chaotic at times, but great fun and a superb challenge to your writing skills. And, of course, by the generosity of our sponsors, there are some wonderful prizes to be won.

Enjoy your writing, and see you at the Olymp-Inks!

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Tuesday, January 08, 2013

The National Emerging Writer Programme - a Great New Free Resource for Writers

If you're a budding author, you could do a lot worse than check out the National Emerging Writer Programme. It's a free training resource open to writers world-wide.

To quote from the website...
Developed by writing.ie and Dublin UNESCO City of Literature, the National Emerging Writer Programme is a world first - a centrally funded initiative to foster and develop new writing talent.

A year in development, the National Emerging Writer Programme harnesses the experience and expertise of three of Ireland’s leading writers, Carlo Gébler, Sinead Moriarty and Declan Hughes and brings it via DVD and  You Tube directly to those who can benefit from it most - emerging writers.
The main resource consists of three 40-minute videos: 'Start Writing', 'Telling the Story' and 'Revising, Rewriting and Overcoming Obstacles'. Lots of good advice and food for thought is on offer, and plenty of inspiration as well.

As stated above, the videos are available on DVD, but they have also been saved to YouTube in bite-sized chunks. I've embedded the introductory trailer below...



As always, if you are receiving this post by email or RSS, you may need to visit my blog to watch the video.

As well as the videos, all of which can be viewed via the writing.ie website, a range of written support materials can be read or downloaded in PDF format. They cover such topics as Structuring Your Story, Creating Characters and Writing Dialogue. The PDFs are quite short (1 or 2 pages) but contain some valuable tips.

The National Emerging Writer Programme is a great resource for aspiring authors and completely free, so why not take a look today?

Many thanks to Vanessa O'Loughlin of the Irish online writing magazine www.writing.ie for drawing the National Emerging Writer Programme to my attention.

Photo credit: Dr Phil on Flickr.  Reproduced under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic licence.

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Monday, January 07, 2013

Try the Brain Evolution System Without Cost in January


I'm slightly off-topic today. But I wanted to let you know about an opportunity to try out the Brain Evolution System from my friends at Inspire3 without cost or obligation in January.

The Brain Evolution System (Brainev for short) is the company's flagship product. It's a cutting-edge self-development product in six audio modules or "levels".

It uses various techniques to help "entrain" your brain to a state of peak performance, with the aim of helping you control stress, become more productive, sleep better, increase your creativity, and so on.

The way it works has nothing to do with self-hypnosis, "positive thinking", or any mystical mumbo-jumbo. The Brain Evolution System applies scientific techniques such as binaural beats to help you take control of your brainwaves.

There is no actual speech on any of the levels. The sound of running water is used on them all, but in addition there are other sounds, including birdsong, bells and musical chimes. It's quite pleasant, relaxing listening, though I wouldn't necessarily recommend it for a dinner party!

As you may gather, I'm a big fan of the Brain Evolution System and can testify to how powerful and effective it is. You can check out my original blog review here if you wish (link will open in a new window). Everything I said in that review - and more - still applies.

And this month you can try out the first module of the Brain Evolution System - titled "Transcendence" - free of charge, by downloading an MP3 from the website. Just click through any of the links in this blog post and follow the instructions on the page.

If you're looking to get 2013 off to the best possible start, it could provide just the brain boost that you need!

If you have any comments or questions, as ever, please feel free to post them below.

Disclosure: As well as being a regular user of the Brain Evolution System myself, I am an affiliate for Inspire3. That means if you request the free MP3 via my link and end up deciding to purchase the full system, I will receive a commission. However, no purchase is required to access the MP3 of Level 1, and no obligation is incurred by doing so.

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Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Why You Should Prepare to Fail in 2013


Happy new year!

If my post title made you raise your eyebrows a little, allow me to explain.

In the world of writing, it can be easy to fall into a rut - to keep on doing the same things you did last year, especially if you have enjoyed some success with them.

In this fast-changing world, however, that policy is fraught with risk.

So in 2013 I want to recommend that you try some new challenges. If you see yourself as a nonfiction writer, for example, make this the year you write a novel. If you're a fiction writer, conversely, why not try writing a nonfiction book?

If you've never tried blogging or social media, why not give them a go? Or try your hand at e-book writing or travel writing or creating your first screenplay? Or how about writing a children's book - one area of publishing which is growing rapidly while others are shrinking.

There are lots of benefits to exploring new outlets for your writing. It can help renew your enthusiasm if it was ebbing slightly. You may discover new talents and interests you never suspected before. And you may find new sources of income - more important than ever as the world heads toward an increasingly probable economic meltdown.

Of course, if you try new things, there's a high probability that some won't work out. That's to be expected, though. As the great inventor Thomas Edison put it, "Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t."

He also said, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

In his book The Luck Factor, Professor Richard Wiseman set out a metaphor I love and have quoted before. He said that life is a bit like an orchard. If you keep on going to the same area of the orchard, even though you may find plenty of ripe fruit there to start with, once you have been a few times the pickings will become thin. To enjoy continuing success, it's important to visit other parts of the orchard - to go beyond your comfort zone and try new things, in other words.

So that's why in 2013 I believe you should prepare to fail - because it's only by pushing yourself and sometimes failing that you can go on to achieve everything you are truly capable of as a writer.

I'm definitely going to be visiting new areas of the orchard myself this year, and no doubt falling flat on my face a few times along the way. Feel free to join me!

Good luck, and have a wonderful, creative and prosperous 2013.

P.S. Far be it from me to imply that they will help you fail, but my publishers and blog sponsors, WCCL/The Self Development Network, produce a range of excellent guides to most areas of writing, including writing for children, movie screenwriting, travel writing, and many more. You can see most of the range on their Write Street website. If you're new to any of these fields, they will give you a route map to follow to maximize your chances of success.

Photo Credit: FAIL by amboo213 on Flickr. Reproduced under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence.
 

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