A farewell to all that

How’s your year been? Twenty-twenty two had a blink and you miss it quality—the year dashing past so fast it is difficult to believe the end is almost upon us.

In 2022, I hit a milestone birthday, travelled all over the UK relishing that freedom after the pandemic restrictions of the past few years, joined in a national book group reading challenge*, signed a contract for one of my books, received payment for the retention of the audio/visual rights for another, and caught up with a lot of people I hadn’t seen for years.

I fell off the blogging horse in 2021 and didn’t remount it in 2022 (that is one HORRIFIC analogy, sorry) BUT I plan to address that in 2023.

Man falling off white horse

The best bloggers are consistent and single-minded about what they write about. I follow a good few of them. Alas, my scatter-brained approach has never lent itself to consistency or single-mindedness.

Great for writing fiction as it allows for flights of fancy, but not so good when trying to come up with a consistent theme for a blog. And the life of this writer doesn’t lend itself to thrilling blog content.

Got up early. Bashed out 1,231 words before grinding to a halt when I realised that I’d created a ginormous plot hole. Mulled it over for the rest of the day without coming up with a solution. Wasted time on Twitter working myself up into a righteous rage over the behaviour of terrible politicians. Did the paid job. Exercised. Wrote a little bit more. Ate dinner. Collapsed in front of the TV…**

Repeat ad nauseum.

Woman writing in a notepad

However, I loved blogging when I started in 2012, and blogs are still my preferred choice for keeping up with what other people are doing, following my interests (writing, cooking, travel and nature, diabetes, nature photography 1 and 2, books, reading and archiving) educating myself and more.

Many of the platforms that later supplanted blogging did not exist in 2012. And yet given the choice between reading blogs or scrolling my way through Instagram/TikTok feeds? No contest.

There is also plenty of evidence that scrolling through social media does little, if anything, for you.*** Creatives tend to suffer extensively from comparison-itis. There is always someone popping up in your feed, excitedly detailing their book/TV/film deal/number of reads/commissioning for a script, etc.

I can’t think of a single blog I follow that makes me feel dissatisfied, envious, helpless, furious or any of the other emotions I routinely associate with social media.

So, to the future! Back to blogging… every week I plan to write about my week and find some way of making it interesting, funny and engaging.

A tall order, yes, but nothing wrong with starting the year with a lofty ambition or two. And talking of lofty ambitions, I plan on publishing not one, not two but three books this year, starting with the one in the illustration below:

Anyway, HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all. May 2023 bring you health and happiness!

*Sadly, our book group wasn’t chosen, but the experience was terrific fun and BBC Scotland then used us as sounding boards for a potential new programme about book groups and reading.

**Other writers’ experiences may vary.

***Sleep disturbances, emotional dysregulation, diminished academic performance and depression. Hilariously, there’s a pop-up on the article I read urging you to follow the website on Instagram…

Horse photo by Pixabay from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/action-animal-bronco-bucking-33251/

Woman Writing Photo by JESHOOTS.com on StockSnap

New Year photo: Jernej Furman on Flickr

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Patreon – Supporting Creatives

This week, I decided it was about time I became a Patreon. For those of you who haven’t heard of the business, Patreon offers artists, writers and other creatives payment through a voluntary scheme where you can sign up to pay the person regularly.

YouTubers, podcasters and bloggers often use Patreon, and Patreon subscribers get extra material such as additional audio content, Q and A sessions with the creator and more. I’ve been listening to The Creative Penn podcast for two years, and I’ve learned a lot from Joanna Penn and her guests.

The podcast is aimed at indie publishers, but it doesn’t concentrate on the marketing part of the business. Marketing is crucial for any self-publisher, but entire podcasts on the subject become dull after a while. They target a certain audience too—the people who have enough completed projects to market, when many of us are looking for advice about creating covers, finding a good editor, creating the right author mindset in the first place.

All aspects of writing

Joanna’s show talks about many aspects to writing—from growth, to protecting your intellectual property, scaling up your business and the craft of writing. Every podcast begins with news about the publishing industry which is always fascinating and useful.

Joanna is known for content marketing. Her podcast is a prime example. The aim behind content marketing is creating a relationship with audiences—in the hope they buy something from you, eventually. My two years’ free listening to the show needled my conscience. If you enjoy it and use it, pay for it…

I listen to a lot of podcasts and many of them are also Patreon-modelled too. So far I’ve ignored the pleas, though occasionally I unsubscribe, deciding that if I’m not willing to pay, I shouldn’t listen. The same applies for online news sites that ask for subscriptions, such as the Guardian. As I’m too mean (and also poor) to pay, I try not to read them.

Advice for diabetics

I’d love to make one of my blogs Patreon supported—the Diabetes Diet one is the more likely candidate as I write this with a doctor and we have useful advice to offer. (In contrast, this blog is a collection of witterings, the majority of it irrelevant to most of you.) But the Diabetes Diet website would need a design overhaul first, and some thought put into how you work a blog for Patreons so they get more than your average viewer. The idea is something to consider for 2019.

One of Joanna’s oft-repeated messages is the importance of multiple streams of income, so you aren’t dependent on one pay master. I have multiple streams of income; it’s just that none of them make me big sums of money. On the other hand, a varied working life makes me very happy. Picking the hours I work or don’t is another bonus. If I weigh up money versus happiness, I come down hard in favour of the ‘h’ word.

On a separate topic, the week kicked off well when my sister sent me a link to a Wikipedia page that mentioned me. My alma mater’s notable alumni included Emma Baird, author. (It’s an awfy wee school.) Whoop, whoop.