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All too often, I feel the sting of being a writer. Yes, a sting. It can be a lonely profession…when I’m doing it wrong.

Let me explain: I do need a quiet place – or at least a place where I’m not responsible for any one else – to work. In that sense, I need ‘alone time’ in order to work with words, sentence structure, plot elements and the characters in my head. Writing the story, the article, the post is simply step one. Sharing the story is something I can’t do alone.

There is a network of like-minded writers out there that I need. Writers need to encourage each other just like mothers tend to bond quickly over birth-and-delivery stories. The beauty of how a story (or a child) was born brings us together under, helps us know that despite the lonely times and the struggle to find just the right way to describe a scene – we are doing what we need to be doing.

The Internet is a valuable tool in all of this. Through WordPress, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, I have discovered some incredibly giving individuals – writers who understand that in order for the ‘little guy’ to find an audience, it takes team work. In writing, that means clicking on ‘Like’ if we think a blog post is well written, commenting on blogs, writing reviews for books we read.

Ways we can help each other:

1. Share other writer’s blog posts on Twitter.

2. Share blog posts on Facebook.

3. When a writing friend publishes something new, tell the world!

4. When a writing friend publishes something new, buy it! And then leave a review after you read it.

5. Reblog posts that you really enjoy and think others will appreciate.

6. Are you on LinkedIn? Use it. Share blogs, ideas, and articles there just like you would on Twitter and Facebook.

7. If you add a meaningful picture to your blog post, your writer-friends can add it to Pinterest. (Caution: Use your own pics to avoid copyright infringement issues)

writing pics 009

8. Leave a comment on blog posts you read. It’s a little more than grafitti: “Jessica was here and liked this”, but it doesn’t have to be profound. For example, you could comment at the end of this blog post, “Hi Jessica! Great Post. I really liked #4. I think I’ll give your new book a try!”

This really does work. Kimberly Shursen took it upon herself to tell the world about “People Like Us” on her blog. Authors submitted their cover art to her, she created a library, and is interviewing authors. Here’s the cool part: Every author who is in this interview pool shares the link to all the interviews twice a week for two weeks. That means each interview will be posted four times by each author. I’ve bought a few of the books that sounded good to me and I haven’t been disappointed! The latest book I bought through this was by Ken Magee.

In summary: Think outside the box in your marketing – like Kimberly. Take part in a Blog Hop, a Blog Tour, or a Blog Carnival. Try Parents and Writers – a Blog Carnival I host. And Share!

Have a beautiful day!
Jessica

Looking for a good read? Try:
Gateways
Unforgettable Roads

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You are invited to join a new blog carnival geared toward
parents who are writers

    folks who raise little souls,
    who sacrifice sleep for cuddles,
    who are insanely addicted to the written word.

parents and writers icon

Themes for this Blog Carnival can include: Writing amongst legos, tools and strategies you use to find time to write, resources you’ve discovered, writing for children, writing while children run amuck, and any recipe that is easy to assemble thus giving us more time to write (I’m a huge fan of my crock pot).

For more details, visit the Parents and Writers Blog Carnival Page. Deadline for submissions are the 15th of each month. The Blog Carnival will be posted at this blog on the 20th.

If you have any questions, please email me at JessicaSchaubWrites@gmail.com

Happy Writing!
Jessica

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Here’s what I learned this month in my search for enlightenment, the hunt for Indie Education. It was a good month:

* Headlines. Write a good headline and people will come. It’s not difficult to figure out. Surf the web for an hour and track what types of headlines intrigue you. People in general are looking for ways to improve their lives, hobbies, decrease waistlines and budgets. Chances are you clicked on this articles to find 10 easy ways to increase your platform as an Indie Author.

* Last month I participated in a Blog Hop (more on what that is soon). Dana Sitar wrote “A Writer’s Bucket List: 99 things to do for inspiration, education, and experience before your writing kicks the bucket.” Writers from every corner came together through Dana’s blog, each of us writing about the theme: What Will You Cross off Your Bucket List in 2013. Not only did it introduce me to amazing writers, it lauched Dana all the way to Writer’s Digest, where her DIY writing blog and Bucket List book were featured on their website.

* Speaking of snappy titles, How to Sell 8 Million Books, caught my attention immediately. The article features Ray Bradbury’s success as a writer. The one thing I walked away with was to persist in writing. Success in writing won’t appear unless I sweat ink.

* Writing Conferences are THE best way for writers to grow, to learn, to find encouragement. Conferences can be expensive and time consuming. As a mother of four, I don’t always have the time and I never have the money to travel, stay in a hotel, and afford the registration fee for conferences. IndieReCon was the perfect solution. I stayed home, read through the posts, watched the videos and learned about marketing, writing tools, found new blogs to follow. Best of all, it was free!

* As an Indie Author, I’m always looking for ways to increase book sales, to grow my blog, to figure out Twitter. Joanna Penn delivers. She is an Indie Author with some seriously impressive book sales and blog followers. She shares all she learns and it’s all doable.

* A list of site to promote your book(s)- I haven’t looked into these too much, don’t know anything about them…so if you know more about any of these than I do (which is very likely!) please let me know. :)

* An example of a blog hop – the I <3 Books Blog Hop. I told you I would share more about about a blog hop – here it is… A blog hop is hosted by a blog host who invites other bloggers to write on a particular topic or theme. It’s a great way to increase blog traffic, find new writers, and promote a book release.

* Just for fun…If I wasn’t a writer, I would play the piano like this… Piano Guys Maybe I should say, I hope I write as well as he plays piano.

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I started this blog a year ago and realized about six months into it that I know nothing about blogging. Not being the type to give up at any form of writing, I dug in deeper to discover the hidden wonders of blogging, bloggers and why we feel compelled to share our writing, our thoughts, ideas and pictures on line.

As a writer, blogging is one of many recommended platform builders. I was under the impression that ‘if I wrote, they woud read it’. But who are ‘they’? And where to they come from?

Lesson #1 – building an audience, a reader-base for a blog, is as essential as bringing a dish-to-pass to a pot luck. That is so simple, but it’s something beginning bloggers overlook. You might have the best essays in the world; you may have written a Newberry Honor-worthy story, but until someone read it, it’s just ink on paper (or pixels on the screen).

actualwritingspaceAs this lesson settled on my mind, I altered my 2012 writing plans to 2012 research plans. I ventured out and found new bloggers, old bloggers, Indie Authors, started a facebook page, opened a Twitter account, poked around on pinterest, Linked up on LinkedIn. Basically, I did a cannonball into the pool that is social networking.

Bringing those 2012 goals into 2013, I hope to compile a list of writing resources, great articles, compelling stories at the end of each month. Enjoy these bloggers as I have! Learn from them, follow them, comment on their posts. Join the circus that is writing and sharing and juggling careers and this art form. Be present!

Ideas for Social Networking:

3 Ways to Find Readers on Twitter

Joining Twitter Chats to Make Connections

Blog Hops and Blog Carnivals:

Author First Look with Vicki Husdon

Third Sunday Carnival Blog

Indie Author Interivews @ Kimberly Shursen’s blog (click on ‘more’ to view author interviews)

Writing Tutorials:

Giving Birth to a Book

Heirarchy of Clarity – an excellent website full of resources for writers! I tagged it in my favorites!

20 Frighteningly Good Writing Tips from Stephen King!

Just for Fun!

Board Games for Book Nerds

Gateways, my book – Shameless plug!

Gateways Book Trailer on YouTube

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What is a blog carnival you ask?

A blog featuring a variety of blog posts. You’ll have your choice between non-fiction posts, fantasy, literary, poetry, steampunk…you name it.

Why visit a blog carnival?

Unlike a traditional carnival with performers, a blog carnival entertains in writing. Contortionists don’t always live in tiny boxes. Writers, especially emerging writers who are using their blog to find readers, are finding their niche. Not wanting to be confined to a box, we stand on that box and shout out stories, ideas, and themes. The blog community is a network of people seeking an audience, ready to lend a hand to another emerging writer, giving feedback, encouragement and reblogging, retweeting and FB-friending well-liked posts. Blog carnivals are a means to find new voices, new friends, new writers.

Third Sunday Blog Carnival is posted on – you guessed it – the Third Sunday of the month. If features a range of writing and this month, my blog post featuring the first chapter of Circle of Pride is included.

Third Sunday Blog Carnival: January 2013.

Have fun, explore new writing, and don’t forget to comment on, like or share writing you enjoy!

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I am into my third month of promoting my first book, Gateways (available at amazon.com), and I’ve had precious little time to write. This dilemma is stretching how I organize my time and forcing me to strengthen the purpose of my to-do list and still find time for my family.

Before Gateways was released, I spent about 15 minutes every Sunday evening scheduling my week: when I would work on home-schooling, when I would read, time to write, meal preparations, outing with kids, grocery shopping, and sleep. I still do that, but my writing time is now divided up into three categories:

Actual writing time

Time for marketing

Blogging

This week I added a fourth category: Public Speaking, which also includes the preparation for classroom & library visits as well as the actual visit.

I will be very honest – it’s exhausting! If I don’t keep my mind and my house organized, I can feel my day slip away without accomplishing a single thing. This writing/marketing/home-schooling gig is also overwhelming if I allow it. There are sell sheets to prepare, a guest speaker flyer to design, bookstores to visit, lessons to teach, papers to grade, and schools to contact.

Here’s how I’m managing…

On Sunday night, I make a list of three to five things I can do for marketing my work. This week I will post three blogs, contact three schools to be considered as a guest speaker, and prepare several Twitter and Facebook posts for my writing profile pages. For writing, I will complete three chapters on my next book. After all, three is the magic number.

The same goes for the rest of my life – Monday through Friday, from 7:30 AM – Noon, I am a homeschooling mom. Throughout nap time – or Quiet Reading Time for my older children – I am a writer. In the evening after the family is asleep, I work on marketing. Every now and then, I have to use nap time to implement the marketing plans, but that now falls under the ‘writer’ category. When that happens, I write at night when the house is quiet.

The secret to the success in growing into a writer is the fact that I am treating my writing as a business. Imagine the job you have now…(allow dreamy music to settle in your brain)… You likely have a set start and end time. Your job description is specific. You know what to do, when to do it and what will happen if you don’t. Writing, or any big dream, is the same way. It only happens through dedication. By setting business hours, keeping appointments with writing groups and bookstores, and in maintaining a connection with my writing co-workers, I find that everything I need to make my writing dreams into publishing dreams a reality is present.

My time is up – the baby is awake! Happy Dreams-to-Reality-Planning to you!

Jessica

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