The Frustrated Artist

A book cover for High Heels and Pink Glitter by Emma BairdTravel back in time to when they still did O’Grades at school—me, a 16-year-old doing art because the alternative was home economics and modern-thinking gals in the 80s wanted nothing to do with cooking and home-making.

[Misguided—I could have learned how to sew. A very useful skill. Drawing? Not so—unless you play a lot of Pictionary.]

Anyway, fast forward to 2018. Me. Not arty. (Grade C in that art exam.) Hopelessly rubbish at taking pictures. Terrible at designing websites. Beyond bloody awful at anything that requires an eye for design.

Then, I discover Canva. At first, I’m slow. It takes me three million years to figure out how to do the transparency thing. It’s a big day when I work out that double clicking in a box allows you to change text. When I discover grid lines, I’m over the moon.

I’m still not 100 percent sure what the pay thing means. Download for one use? What is one use? You put it on WordPress, or you do it on Wattpad? Then what? As a freelancer myself, I don’t want to ‘do’ any photographer or graphic designer out of their rightful pay or royalties. The online world doesn’t work in content providers favour, so we should stick together in solidarity.

But yeah, Canva. I make my own book covers. I tinker with infographics, and I try to create memes and gifs. The rubbish 16-year-old art student stirs. Gosh, she ponders to herself, if I took the time to learn this stuff, I might be amazing.

In the meantime, you get my steps on the way to learning*. I’ve pasted above the latest book cover I created on Canva. And you can read the book here.

Art. Never give up on it.

 

*Not sure the transparency thing works here.

 

 

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Going Indie – part one

Some food for thought on the process of indie publishing…

Caron Allan Fiction

I’m a self-published—or Indie—author. And that is no longer something to be lamented or ashamed of, nor has it been for quite a few years. I published my first book in January 2013, and since then have inflicted several more books on the unsuspecting reading public, with many more planned for the future.

If you are thinking about being an Indie author, or you already are one and are ready to quit and get a ‘real’ job, here is my take on Going Indie. I hope overall, I will encourage rather than discourage you. Shall I say at the outset that I am finally making money? Because yes, I write because I love it, and I love the creative process, but at the same time, I need to live. I need to buy food, notebooks, pay bills and assist my hubby in keeping a roof over our heads. And…

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a picture of a cat sleeping at Emma Baird

Buck-ups for Writing, and Eating Outside

This week I’m…

Getting on with things. A book I finished in January has sat mouldering in my hard drive ever since. This will not do, Emma B, I tell myself. I’ve sent it out to a proof-reader. I’ve exchanged emails with Caron Allan where I bombarded her with questions about her publishing process seeing as she excels at writing AND selling books.

I’d like to publish Artists Town, a coming of age tale set in the 1990s, in the next few months.

Eating outside. I’ve been able to do so for the ninth, I’ll say it again, ninth evening in a row. This is a slaw-type recipe (below) with turkey mince, cabbage, spices and a cheeky bit of cheddar.a picture of turkey slaw at Emma Baird

Testing out new trainers. These beauties turn up in a lot of reviews of great running shoes for women. I put them on and felt myself bounce delightedly. That’s what a good shoe does, right? It makes you want to move. I’ve got ten weeks to bed them in before I use them to pound Glasgow’s pavements for the Great Scottish Run.

Emma BairdContributing to the CO2 shortage. This week would have been the ideal time to tackle that diet coke addiction seeing as the UK is currently experiencing a CO2 shortage. Plants have stopped making the stuff. Muffins are at an all-time low* and (whisper it) beers in Wetherspoon’s might run out. Quelle horreur!

But no. I’m thinking of asking everyone I know to stockpile diet coke on my behalf so that when supplies run low, I will be okay.

Yes, folks. I’m that citizen-minded. In my defence, this is thirsty weather.

a cat rolling in the grass at Emma BairdWittering on about the heat. Perhaps the time has come for we Scots to stop exclaiming in wonder at the weather. We walk the sun-soaked streets in a daze, unsure if we exist in reality or if we’ve been transported to a parallel universe where the skies are always blue, and you can wear just a tee shirt** at eight o’clock in the morning.

The forecasters say it’s to continue for another two weeks. I’m loath to say, then it’ll be back to business as usual, rain-drenched instead of sun-soaked streets, kind of things as that fatalism drives me mad. But I should make the most of it. It’s amazing to be able to spend so much time in the sun out with a week abroad. I want to store up lots of sun-filled memories to shore me through winter when it comes.

 

*Used in the packaging, not the actual muffin. Weird, hmm?

**Unless your tee shirt is a long one, please also wear shorts, trousers or a skirt. 

Emma Baird picture of a laptop with the words 'back blogging'

Six Years of Blogging

Emma Baird picture of a laptop with the words 'back blogging'Congratulations me. This month marks my six-year blog anniversary. Six years of thinking up topics to write about, sometimes coming up with great ideas but most often opting for the lazy option, something I wrote for another platform.

I don’t have a huge following—just shy of 400—but I get good engagement, especially these days. It’s easy enough to like a blog post. You can do it without reading the article. People taking the time to read and then add their thoughts feels much more flattering.

And because I have such a small following, I don’t get negativity. Most of the comments people post are encouraging. Which is good. I’m your typical writer and my skin is wafer-thin.

My following increases steadily. At the moment, I appear to be getting one sign up a day. I’m a smarter blogger than I was when I first started up and I use some of the dark arts. I put my name into the alt text for the pictures I use. I set featured images and I craft my own excerpt. Liking and commenting on other blogs helps as does the intelligent use of tags.

I’ve got my posts automatically linked to most of my other social media platforms, so they appear on LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter as soon as they come out.

The life of a blogger can be great fun. I started my working life in journalism and what former journalist wouldn’t want to be their own publisher and editor?

You also get to read amazing content from others. There are plenty of doozies out there and I often wonder what on earth bloggers are doing to get hundreds of likes and comments for badly written guff. On the whole, though, if you keep your own blog following small, you can afford to follow only the good ‘uns back.

This is a friendly community for the most part. I’m hugely grateful to all the folks who’ve read, liked and commented on my articles over the last six years. Thank YOU.