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Total LIfe Makeover


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Last blog post we talked about deciding on topics to write throughout the year. Now we are going to discuss formulas that we can use for approaching individual blog posts.

The First is to problem solve and application.

Here is how it is done.
State problem, Use vivid, impactful language to get the reader’s attention so that they will stay on your post for five minutes.
Solution and Application: give 3-5 practical ideas or tips to solve their problem. Offer an action step to get them started.

Another is: Why What, How, Tools

First you want to ask why. This is your emotional appeal. It focuses on your reader’s needs not yours, tells why if they don’t do it, what will happen. Provide an emotional support.
Next is the What. Tell your reader why this is important to them, show evidence, methodology, experiences that inform your perspective. This is for left-brained thinkers who are not easily swayed by emotional appeals.
Finally, tell How: Give 3-5 practical steps to help them solve their problem. Make these steps easy to implement

A Third is the Interview or Pop Culture Mashup

Spotlight a star or celebrity as this person relates to your topic. Introduce star, connect star to your topic. Focus on your inspiration based on this connection and make certain that the reader gets it as well.

Number four: Focus on the Villain

An alternative to the Pop Culture Mashup is Focus on a Villain-talk about trigger of this villain, how did this thing (not person) become a villain? Describe the villain, point finger at the concept, idea, or position. Contrast villain’s view with your own.

Finally: The List

Tried and true list of things that work. This is probably the easiest type of post to write. We writers are bored with them, but readers still love them!-state the problem, list the solutions, include title, brief commentary, and a link or downloadable view.
See how many of these types of blog posts that I use during this upcoming year.

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Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church in Brandsville, Missouri.  As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


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In my last blog post, I said that I intend to change the days of the week that I will be blogging this blog. Instead of blogging on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule, I will be blogging on Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday instead. I will be doing this because I recently read that people are less likely to read a blog on Monday because they are busy. They do not read on Friday because they are in a hurry to get away from computer work.

Determine Main Topics

Once I determined when I was going to write my blog posts, I needed to determine my main topics. I decided to do a different topic each day of the week. Each Tuesday, I will write a blog regarding what I know about what I know which is productive writing. Wednesdays I have determined to continue writing the Christian Blog posts that I have been doing for several months. Thursdays I will be writing about what I am learning about book marketing.

Determine Problems to Solve Through Blogging

How that I have determined my main topics, I will determine what problems others have concerning each of the topics that I have identified for my blog.
So what problems do others have concerning writing productively?

The next thing to determine are what type of problems are you trying to solve for your reader?

Here are some problems that I could fix:
First, writer’s block is a common ailment to writers (this should be easy, I am writing two books about this topic)
Finding Time to write is another.
Tips for getting a lot written in the shortest length of time is still another.
Finding writing Ideas/plots
Developing characters
Developing scenes

Next is important that writers understand five areas that readers need to understand each of these topics.

Five Key Areas that Readers Need to Understand about the topic

These are the five key areas that readers need to understand about the productive writing success

  • Writing is a process that has a specific order of completion.
  • Writing regularly
  • writer’s block-Symptoms, Causes and solutions.
  • Writing Writer’s prompts specific to specific genres
  • Creating Writing formulas

Now write five pieces of supporting information concerning each of the above topics:
Writing is a process that has a specific order of completion-1) writing has a specific order in the process. 2) Each step in the writing process has specific things to do and specific things that can cause problems if done at that time. 3) prewriting 4)first drafting 5) editing and proofreading.
Writing Regularly 1) Having a writing plan2) finding time to write daily 3)Knowing when you need a break 4)writing fast 5)tools for developing new ideas brainstorming/brainmapping/organizing 6)Using Different writing locations for inspiration.
Writer’s Block Symptoms/Causes/Solutions 1)causes of writer’s block, 2)symptoms of writer’s block-perfectionism, 3) symptom of writer’s block-procrastination4)Cause of writer’s block-having too little/too much to say 5)Fear 6)Life getting in the way.
Writing Prompts for Specific writing genres-1) romantic fiction 2) mystery 3) action adventure 4) how-to books 5)scenes
Creating Writing Formulas-1) romantic fiction 2) action adventure 3) mystery 4)How-to 5)different types of articles

Next I will create topics in these areas of inspiration Provide Supporting information for each topic

  • The emotional and logical benefits of learning and understanding this topic
  • Key principles, methodology, evidence, research
  • What are some simple exercises, steps, the reader can make to achieve simple and quick results
  • Resource and tools for the topic
  • Personal experience or case study that demonstrates your ability to connect with the reader
  • An interview, podcast, presentation that offers a different perspective on the topic.
    Now on a separate document, write down all of the separate problems with each of the areas of inspiration mentioned above.
    For instance: My first combination would be a combination of The emotional and logical benefits of learning and understanding this topic and writing has a specific order in the process.

Brainstorm at least two topics for each area using this supporting information for each topic
In this case we could easily come up with a topic. Here is the most logical: What are the emotional benefits of learning and understanding that writing has a specific order? Another would be what are the logical benefits of leaning and understanding that writing has a specific order?
I’ll keep going through my list and combining topics with these supporting information prompts as ways to determine topics. I can then go through, look at all of the combinations and create topic ideas. Some I will instantly realize don’t make any sense, but other ideas, I can develop further and include in my blog calendar. By the end of the afternoon, I will have more than enough topic ideas for writing all my blog posts

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Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church in Brandsville, Missouri.  As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


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Where did the saying Planning your Work and Working Your Plan Originate?

We have all heard this saying at one time or another. One of the earliest examples that we have for this saying is in an article written by Reverend Weber A. Hall, in N. W. Christian Advocate in 1887. I recently read the article http://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/plan_your_work_and_work_your_plan/ and Reverend Weber attributes that saying to his friend Brother G. This past year I have learned that planning my work and working my plan has been highly effective in producing books.

I Discovered my Strengths and Weaknesses by Having a Plan and Working It

During this year, I have been planning my work and working my plan on a total life makeover. I developed myself as a person and in the process, I have developed a business plan that has helped me develop insight into what I know and what I still need to learn about my writing business. I have learned that I am a highly productive writer and that I can encourage others in being able to do the same.
I have also figured out that my strengths have a lot to do with the fact that I am a very productive writer. I am a highly productive writer because I follow this idea of planning my work and working my plan in producing my books. I follow very specific processes for writing fiction and nonfiction.
My weaknesses are in marketing my books. I found that I have been so focused this past year on production and getting the business basics done that I haven’t been spending the amount of time marketing my craft that I should be spending. This I intend to change this year.

Blogging my Plan

This coming year I intend to use my blog both to share my strengths and improve my marketing skills.
Recently I read that Mondays and Fridays are not good days to post blogs. Mondays are too busy, and on Fridays, most people try to cut out early. Therefore, I am changing my blogging days from Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. On Mondays I will share blogging posts related to my strengths. Wednesdays will continue to be my Christian blog post. And finally on Thursdays I will blog about what I have researched learned about book marketing.
At the end of August 2015, I started a writer’s group here and of the members who are part of this group, several of us are interested in better developing our book marketing skills Over the course of the next year, we will be sharing and developing these skills. I intend to share what I learn about book marketing on my blog. I also hope that I will be able to share some of my successes too.

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Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church in Brandsville, Missouri.  As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


Capture business plan history timeline

My Last Planned Marketing Event

The last planned marketing event that I am participating in occurred last Saturday from 11am-2pm. I went to a local book store and did a book signing. Now that that is finished, I can determine how many books I have sold throughout the year. Granted, there will be number (I hope) that will sell online and at bookstores before the holiday., but as for me selling books in person, I am done for this year.

Writing Like a Mad Woman

I don’t know how I did it. I was trying so hard to keep my focus on single projects at a time, but during the past couple of months I went from working on one project to six book projects at a time. Plus I am finishing up this blog for the year. I have totally dropped Bubblews and Hubpages for now so that I can make progress and finish up some of the books I am creating.

First, There’s the novel that I plan to send to my first beta reader by the end of the year (read that the end of this month!) This book is called Sailing Under the Black Flag. This book will be book four of the Locket Saga. .I have been working on that every day and have been making progress. I should have it ready to send to her by New Year’s Day.  Then there is the novel that I started in NaNoWriMo. I have that almost up to 60K This book is called The Anvil. . In addition, I have two books about overcoming writer’s block called Breaking Writer’s Block for Fiction Writers and Breaking Writer’s Block for Nonfiction Writers. I started these two books in October and have made a lot of progress there as well.

The last two books are my latest projects, but I need to have these two books done by the end of the year. These are not actually books but booklets. One is about the usefulness of kelp and the other the usefulness of diatomaceous earth. Some of the information I already had, but some I still need to research. To save time, I am going to be sending these two books to my second beta reader at the end of the month for her to be reading while my first beta reader is reading the novel. This second reader asked me to send her the booklets via the internet.

The reason I need these two booklets right away is because the church that I pastor is hosting the first day of the Ozark Sustainable Living University on January 23. (The second day, January 24, will be at Next Step in West Plains). The Oregon County Writer’s Group, to which I am the President is going to be selling books that are related to sustainable living. I will have my gardening book available, but I really want these two booklets done too. I know that there will definitely be a market for them.

Things I Didn’t Do This Year

One of the things that I was going to do these last couple months but haven’t is that I was going to get to know other writer’s better. I don’t see me doing this much this month, but perhaps later in the month I will actually be able to make this more of a priority. If I get Sailing Under the Black Flag and the two booklets done though, I’ll have freed up a lot of time. I can see where my biggest weaknesses are this year and that is in the aspect of social media and online book marketing. Fortunately, my writer’s group plans on focusing on that next year and that’s also my own personal focus for 2016.

 

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Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church in Brandsville, Missouri.  As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


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What I do now determines what happens 90 days from now. This means that what I do now will show fruit at the beginning of March. Most businesses like mine are sitting back and enjoying the upcoming holiday. Any books that have been sold to retail outlets have already been sold. Any e-books that I sell during the next few weeks will be sold because of work that I have already done, much of it work that I did 90 days ago.
So what do I do now to prepare for the next 90 days? Getting out and trying to market books now is probably not the best use of time. As I said, stores and individuals are not buying books.

Closing Out This Year

Part of what I can do is work on doing what I can to wrap up this year’s work. I can work on catching up on financial reports so that I will be ready for the tax season. I can evaluate what I have done during the past year. I can determine what worked, what didn’t and what I can do differently during the next year. I can review my business plan and in the process further define who my target audience is, discover more about my peers in the business, I can evaluate early information that is coming out about how the industry did this past year.
In addition, I can look over the inventories and have a list of what I need to buy at the beginning of the year in regards to supplies I will need and books that I intend to sell.

Planning for Next Year

Part of getting ready for the next ninety days is developing goals for the next year.
Once I have gone as far as I possibly can in closing out this year, I can fill in more of what I intend to do during the next year. If I haven’t done it already, I should have develop a production schedule that tells what I will write during the next year. I will determine when I will finish first drafts, second drafts, get books to beta readers, and complete final edits.
I will also plan my marketing schedule for the upcoming year. I may or may not have details, but I can block out time when I should be doing certain things. Some of them will be based on what I did during the past year, some will be based on what I have learned from peer reviews and industry reports ,and still others will be based on ideas that I what to try that may be different from anything that anyone else is doing.
I need to determine a financial budget for the upcoming year based on income projections based on marketing strategies.
Finally, I will schedule quarterly reviews of all of the above to determine what I need to change or improve or tweak based on those reviews.
Once all of the basics in a scheduled format, I will divide the goals into quarterly goals with scheduled and dated deadlines and post them as a poster on the wall.

Determining More Detailed Goals for the First Quarter

Once the overall goals are determined for the year, it’s time to get more specific for the next three months (it’s a little more than 90 days but since it includes the next ninety days, bear with me. However, once I understand what I intend to accomplish during the next 90 days, I will be that much closer to success than I would have been had I not created this plan.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church in Brandsville, Missouri.  As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


Just because we are at the end of the year does not mean that I have completed my total life makeover, however, because we are at the end of the year, we are going to look back over the past year and look at the affirmations that I have created and look at how I have changed during that time.
Lets look back and see where I am with each affirmation that I developed over the past year.
The first four months were centered on improving my life personally. I worked on changes that changed me on a personal level.
The second four months related to me changing as it related to my relationship with business. This also occurred on a personal level, but it related to how I dealt with business issues.

Affirmation for December

During these last four months of the year, I focused on building my business I took September and October to work on a business plan, and in November I wrote the first draft on another novel (product creation) Which brings us to December, the last month of the year.
This month’s Affirmation is: I am Forward Thinking. In some ways this takes me full circle, because I plan to write affirmations all over again next year. As the year cycles from winter into spring, into summer, into autumn, and back to winter, I cycled through them as well. As it says in Ecclesiastes “to everything there is a season and to every purpose under Heaven.” In my business, I am also learning to move with the seasons. Right now we are in the Christmas season and over the past several months I have been building my business and taken advantage of that season. Now that the holiday shopping is in full swing, that season of preparedness is over. I have one more event planned for next Saturday and then I will be devoting my time in working on next year and the goals that I intend to fulfill during the next 366 days.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church in Brandsville, Missouri.  As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


My affirmation for November was that I write a novel every November for NaNoWriMo. This month was no exception. As you can see, I wrote the entire first draft of my novel The Anvil in less than 30 days. I currently have over 56 thousand words written.  I actually had that first draft completed and turned in by the twentieth. Like last year, I moved during this time, but I still got it all done.

What should I do now?

Cygnet Brown writing.

Working on Two Nonfiction Books

In addition to the The Anvil, I worked on two nonfiction books about overcoming writer’s block.These two books are moving along amazingly fast. I have almost 15 thousand words in both nonfiction books. One book is regards fiction writing and writer’s block and the other regards nonfiction and writer’s block. I am certain that you will be hearing more about these books in the days to come.

The Final Edits on Sailing Under the Black Flag

Finally, in addition to working on the novel and the two new nonfiction books, I am working on the final edits of Sailing under the Black Flag. By the end of next month, I have promised to get a copy of this book to my first beta reader so that she can do her part in the editing process.
December’s Affirmation: I am Forward Thinking
Can you believe that a year is already almost over? In December, I am going to be looking over the past year to see how much has changed during this year. I am also going to be looking ahead at the upcoming year. Rather than waiting for January to determine what 2016 will be like, I will do so in December. I will make a few quick adjustments next month so that I can make 2016 an even better year than 2015 has been.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church in Brandsville, Missouri.  As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .

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