Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Author List For Facing 2014 Challenges

The beginning of the year is traditionally a time for taking stock and resolving to do better in the months ahead.

As authors, we face particular challenges. Here is a partial list, which is particular to my own needs. Perhaps, it will be of benefit to you in discovering what to continue or improve.
  1. Tools of the trade - Though some authors still write manuscripts in longhand, I would be lost without a computer. My desktop computer is about five years old, with a Windows XP operating system. XP will no longer be supported by Microsoft in April, 2014, which means no more updates. That will leave XPs more vulnerable to viruses. Other strikes are: XPs were not designed for multi-tasking, and my present computer cannot be expanded past its 4G of RAM. To be prepared, I broke down and ordered a Windows 8 computer with 12G of RAM.

  2. No Excuses - After the new computer is set up, which hopefully will happen within at least two weeks of its arrival, I will have no excuse to dilly dally. No more endless playing around on social sites, with the excuse that I'm bonding with readers and paving the way for book sales. In some aspects that reasoning holds up, but overdoing interaction will mean I won't have any new products to offer, and book sales won't happen. I've got four books begun at various phases of my writing career, and they need to be finished. I'm already editing one of them, and plan to carry through to The End.

  3. Remember to Stretch and Exercise - When I'm writing or promoting, I often get so involved I lean forward when I don't need to. I also forget to get up at regular intervals. When I do rise, my legs are stiff. If I keep forgetting, I'll set a timer to remind me to move around and stretch more often. I will also continue going to Fitness Class twice a week, despite the fact it takes chunks of time to get ready, get there, get back and get cleaned up afterward. Keeping my body fit will benefit my mind.

  4. Do Unto Others - I will not only pay attention to my needs, but also those of other authors. I will help them when they ask and even when they don't, whether it be by solving a writing or promotional puzzle, or simply sharing a blog post, comment on Facebook, or  tweet on Twitter. I will continue to write reviews on books I've enjoyed reading, and steer away from publicly criticizing what another author has written.
Wow, I have a feeling my list will keep me busy this year. Do you have any additions or comments?



Experience the diversity & versatility of Morgan Mandel. For romantic comedy: Her Handyman & Girl of My DreamsThriller: Forever Young: Blessing or CurseShort Stories Sequel: the Blessing or Curse CollectionRomantic suspense: Killer Career. Mystery: Two WrongsTwitter:@MorganMandel Websites: Morgan Mandel.Com Chick Lit Faves 

23 comments :

  1. Some great ideas to start the New Year right!!

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  2. Yep ... remember to have fun, Morgan!

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    1. For all intents and purposes, I shut down my operations around dinner time, unless I'm doing a promotion. Then I move to the living room and watch TV. If there's a good Hallmark movie on, that's my idea of fun! Still, I feel compelled to check my e-mail and Facebook before going to bed, in case something has cropped up.

      Morgan Mandel
      http://www.morganmandel.com

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  3. Thanks, Traci Kenworth!

    Morgan Mandel

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  4. I see a few familiar items here.. Have a great year, Morgan!

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    1. We think along the same lines, Elspeth!

      Morgan Mandel

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  5. Good luck with the new computer! You will find lots of differences, so allow yourself time to adjust. I have 2TB of memory on mine, and somehow I mange to overload it. So for me, one of my resolutions as a writer is to clean out the clutter--once in a while.

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    1. I was tempted to get 2TB also, Lorna, but was assured I could always add another drive in a slot, if needs be. Besides, I do save more than I should!

      Morgan Mandel

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  6. Your list is good--don't add anything else or you really will never finish those mss. And yes, by all means....write.

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    1. I worked on one yesterday, another today. I think the secret to not getting blocked could be to trade off.

      Morgan Mandel

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  7. This is a great list, Morgan. My challenge for 2014 is to streamline and simplify. I've identified the things that eat up too much spare time and detract from writing, and I plan to make sure my writing time is my writing time.

    I'm also shopping for a new laptop. I had been a desktop gal forever, but my current laptop has opened new windows in portability and connectiveness. There are some service concerns with the one I'm using now or I wouldn't replace it. Changing one out and starting fresh is always a challenge.

    One additional tip I'd add is to remember to create a file of your personal email contact list at a minimum on a yearly basis. That way if your machine goes kaplooey, you'll won't have to start from scratch with emails. I also recommend consistent file backup elsewhere, whether its an external hard drive, cloud-type storage, or whatever the latest and greatest thing is.

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    1. I'm using Carbonite now, but I have problems with it when I'm trying to do something else at the same time, so I often put it in pause mode. It should work better with the new computer!

      Morgan Mandel

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  8. Write first, do everything/anything else later. That's my #1 goal. The longer I wait to get started each day, the less likely I will actually write anything. I also have a standing goal to write 50 pages per week. Not good pages necessarily, but something I can work with. Great post, Morgan - I hope you love your new computer!

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    1. I've heard from many quarters to write first, and do everything else later. I would love to be able to do that, but my mind insists on getting stuff done first, so it will be cleared to write. I did manage to get some writing done today, and plan to do more!

      Morgan Mandel

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    2. I'm the same way. If things are 'nagging', I can't feel focused on the WIP. I get all the 'business' stuff done first--usually over coffee when my brain cells aren't all firing anyway.

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  9. Excellent list, Morgan. Of course, here I am at a social site reading your blog :) but at least yours is time well spent.

    My love tells me that I give away more books than I sell (true) and that if it makes me happy to do that, then I'm doing it right. I have no illusions of ever becoming wealthy because of my writing (though once I did think that, and invested in some ridiculously expensive online freelance writing programs, to no avail.)

    I guess I would add to my list of goals to be satisfied that people enjoy reading my work, and stop expecting them to pay for it. I have a pension, we're not starving or freezing, and I enjoy writing and sharing what I've written.

    Maybe McDonalds will hire me so I can afford to keep buying my own paperbacks and giving them away?

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    1. I see where you're coming from Terry. When I first began writing, it seemed such a thrill just to get a book done and published. Now, I want people to like my books, and I'd love a bestseller. The bestseller part may never happen, but it does give me a goal to strive for.

      Morgan Mandel

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  10. Write, write, write...that's my goal. Finish those stories that keep nudging me for closure. Finally, temper my reclusive nature and reach out to other writers, per your #4. My work may be solitary in nature, but I belong to a wonderful community of creative people who have so much to share. I want to share, too, by coaching, occasional editing, and generally encouraging those who long to see themselves in print.

    Love this post, Morgan.

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  11. And, as luck would have it, my new computer got delivered today! All the driver and Windows updates are ready, except for 8.1, which has to be delivered yet. The new programs are installed and the security put in. Next, is the task of transferring important files from the old one. That will take a while!
    Morgan Mandel

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  12. I can only sit for a few hours at a time. My hip likes to catch back when I don't stretch. I also could focus more on writing more. It's important to keep publishing books.

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  13. Morgan, thanks for your post. I'm a big fan of Hallmark movies, too. I'm looking forward to checking out the new series they're offering. I'm going to buy an iPad and hope it increases my productivity. I'll be able to write more often on th go.

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  14. I'm still breaking in new computer - I too had XP which I really liked - didn't go for an 8 don't like the look of them so settled for a 7 - still dream of my XP but am getting used to new one - a lot of my problem is I'm a hoarder and carry the habit onto the computer so this year am determined to rid myself of 'stuff' - will it work? who knows

    all the best with 2014

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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