Publication Coach Beating writer's block, writing faster, writing tips, better writing, editing, communications consulting 2018-01-16T09:00:34Z http://www.publicationcoach.com/feed/atom/ WordPress Daphne Gray-Grant http://publicationcoach.com/old <![CDATA[How to get back into writing after a break]]> http://www.publicationcoach.com/?p=17779 2018-01-15T21:07:54Z 2018-01-16T09:00:34Z Reading time: Just over 3 minutes Writing is always harder after a holiday. Does that make breaks a mistake? No.. Continue Reading]]>

Reading time: Just over 3 minutes

Writing is always harder after a holiday. Does that make breaks a mistake? No way! Here’s the secret to getting back into writing after a break…

Did you eat too many chocolate-dipped shortbreads this past Christmas? Drink too many glasses of eggnog or mulled wine? Nip out of town for a brief sun holiday? Totally ignore your writing for two weeks or more?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, I’m guessing you’re beating yourself up right now for being a “bad” writer. Today’s column is my pep talk for you.

1-Understand that you’ve lost your conditioning and that this is NORMAL. If you were a runner who just finished a marathon and then took off six weeks from exercise to celebrate, you would not expect to run another marathon right after your break, would you? Of course not! You’d implement a training program where perhaps you’d start with a three-mile run and then gradually ramp up to a 10-mile one. You’d probably add some weights at the gym, as well. And you’d undoubtedly do some stretching both before and after your runs. After six months of this, you might be in shape to run another marathon. But you wouldn’t beat yourself up for not being able to do it sooner.

Writers lose conditioning just like runners. This principle doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with breaks and holidays. The principal of the Global School of Writing will not be able to put you into detention for taking a hiatus from writing. Nor should anyone beat you up for finding it difficult to get started writing again. Instead, you should expect this transition. It’s entirely normal. The only mistake you may have made was not to plan for it.

2-Create a modest and realistic plan for getting back into the swing of things. View your first day back as mostly a write-off (kind of like the first day of school or the first day of a new job – it’s all about getting “settled.”) Then, take a small and non-threatening first step to reintroduce yourself to your most important writing project. What this first step will look like depends on you, but here are some ideas:

  • read something you wrote before your break
  • read a small piece of research relating to your project
  • write one sentence
  • edit one paragraph
  • open the document (yes, this super-small step counts!)

Then, make a plan for the next six weeks. Make your early goals very modest — no more than 30 minutes a day for writing (and even less is okay!) and ramp up these goals only after you’ve hit a comfortable plateau. Again, think of writing like running: You wouldn’t expect to run 15 miles unless you were able to run 10 comfortably. Don’t try to write for two hours a day until you’ve hit 30 minutes — then 45, then 60, then 90 — first.

And, by the way, if you’re returning to work only to face a big writing project with an urgent deadline, resist the urge to spend two hours (or worse, more) writing. Instead, break your writing duties into small, manageable chunks. If it’s a two-hour project, for example, spend four 30-minute chunks of time writing. But in between those chunks of writing time, ensure you have other interesting distractions — such as phone calls, talking to colleagues or reading.

3-Keep yourself accountable. This rule sounds easy, but it’s pretty hard. Develop a way to hold yourself to achieving your goals. You might report to other people on your progress (family members and good friends are often willing to help out with this). Or you could keep a spreadsheet in which you note your expected tasks and then place a tick mark on them when you’ve finished them. Be sure to block the time for your writing in your calendar and then record whether you actually achieve it.

4-Give yourself some rewards. Don’t ever skimp on your rewards! They’re not childish or silly. After all, it’s hard work to retain your conditioning.  If your first writing sessions feel horrible and uncomfortable, be sure to ease the pain by rewarding yourself with a nice latte, a mug of special tea, a favourite magazine or a movie ticket for having the stick-to-it-ive-ness to persist. You won’t need to continue to reward yourself for every writing session indefinitely, but go a bit over the top for the first especially challenging days.

5-Always stop on time. Much as I believe in priorities, however, I also believe in stopping. It’s easy to forget the time and, instead, lose endless hours staring at a blank computer screen. (Or, worse, to fall into the Google/Facebook rabbit hole and spend hours reading inconsequential dreck on the internet.) Work with a timer, following the Pomodoro routine, and ensure you stop when the bell rings.

6-Tell your Inner Critic (IC) that you’ll listen to him/her later. Many of us derail ourselves when we listen to the bossy, nasty voice of our Inner Critic who likes to assail us when we’re writing. The IC likes to tell us that we’re inadequate, our writing is terrible and no one will be interested in what we have to say. Actually, our IC is pretty smart and will have some useful suggestions when we’re editing. But this voice is counterproductive when we’re writing. Keep reminding the IC that you’ll listen to them later when you’re editing.

7-Make time for reading, as well. If you were travelling or attending too many parties over the past month, your writing is likely not the only task that suffered. I bet your reading fell by the wayside, too. Remember that we become better writers in only three ways: the amount we write, the amount of time we spend editing our writing and the amount of reading we do.

Holidays and breaks are almost never a mistake. They give us a useful perspective on our words and research. They allow us to relax and recover. And, they give us a new energy. The only wrinkle is that they take away our conditioning. But, no problem! You can retain that conditioning again. Just make a plan to do it.

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My five-minute video podcast last week addressed the question: Is regular or self-publishing better? See it here and consider subscribing to my YouTube channel. If you have a question about writing you’d like me to address, be sure to send it to me by email, Twitter or Skype and I’ll try to answer it in the podcast.

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How do you get back to work after a holiday?  We can all learn from each other so, please, share your thoughts with my readers and me in the “comments” section below. Anyone who comments on today’s post (or any others) by Jan. 31/18, will be put in a draw for a copy of Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin. Please, scroll down to the comments, directly underneath the “related posts” links, below. Note that you don’t have to join the commenting software to post. See here to learn how to post as a guest.

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Daphne Gray-Grant http://publicationcoach.com/old <![CDATA[Grammar mistakes even smart people make]]> http://www.publicationcoach.com/?p=17774 2018-01-12T18:23:57Z 2018-01-15T09:00:12Z Reading time: Less than 1 minute This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the.. Continue Reading]]>

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a blog post on grammar mistakes that even smart people make….

My parents rigorously correct my grammar when I was a youth. Thus, I have the benefit of knowing what “sounds” right, even if I don’t always know all the rules underlying those choices. I have continued the tradition with my own kids and with the students I know. But, not wanting to seem rude, I restrain myself when adults make flubs. Instead, I silently “grade” them on their education.

If you have ever wondered how your grammar stacks up, I have a great article you can read. Titled “43 Embarrassing Grammar Mistakes Even Smart People Make,” the piece appeared in Inc Magazine and was written by Christina Desmarais.

My pet peeve? The error that Desmarais cites and #4 on her list:

‘I’ as the last word in a sentence

This mistake is remarkably common, yet a correct example would be “Karlee talked with Brandon and me.” The trick to getting this one straight is to take the other person’s name out of the sentence and see if your personal pronoun choice still sounds right. “Karlee talked with I” is awkward and incorrect.

Thanks to my friend Greg who forwarded this useful link to me.

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Daphne Gray-Grant http://publicationcoach.com/old <![CDATA[Which is better: regular or self-publishing?]]> http://www.publicationcoach.com/?p=17766 2018-01-11T23:39:19Z 2018-01-12T09:00:15Z Viewing time: 4 mins. 59 seconds The Write Question is a weekly video podcast all about writing. Today’s question focuses.. Continue Reading]]>

Viewing time: 4 mins. 59 seconds

The Write Question is a weekly video podcast all about writing. Today’s question focuses on the pros and cons of regular vs self-publishing.

If you have a question you’d like me to answer you can email me at daphne@publicationcoach.com, tweet me @pubcoach, or leave a message for me at the Skype account, The Write Question.

Transcript: 

Welcome to The Write Question. I’m Daphne Gray-Grant. Today we’re talking about traditional vs self-publishing. Today I’m answering a question from Lisa Rumpel from Vancouver, BC. Here’s what she’s asked:

[phone recording] Hi Daphne, this is Lisa Rumpel calling from Vancouver B.C. I’m calling about a question I have. I’m wondering whether it’s a better option to self-publish or if it’s better to go to a publishing company and have them critique your work, and look at your work, and really be more recognized possibly. So that is my question to you, just I would love to hear your advice or your opinion about self-publishing versus going to a publishing company.

Thanks, Lisa. I’ve addressed similar questions here before but you’ve asked it in a slightly different way so I’m going to take another stab at it. Be sure to look at my earlier videos as well. I’ve included the links below.

Let me start with an important proviso. You ask the question as though every author has the luxury of choosing between traditional and self-publishing. I had the visual image of a shopper browsing through the grocery store and trying to decide between laundry detergents. Unfortunately, this is not the way it works with books!

It’s extremely difficult to get a contract with a traditional publisher these days and for many writers, that’s just not an option. So, be aware that you may not have a choice. But let’s assume that you’re lucky and you have received an offer from a traditional publisher. Here is my summary of the pros and cons.

The pros of traditional publishing:

If you do get a book deal, the publisher will offer you what’s called an “advance.” This means that they will pay you a portion of the royalties you’ll receive when the book starts selling. Royalties are a small percentage of the cover price. Imagine your royalty is $1 per book. If your advance is $5,000, you would have to sell 5,000 books before you made any more money.

Another advantage is that you don’t have to put as much money up front; this doesn’t mean it will be “free”, however. You will still have to pay for any photos or illustrations inside the book. If your book needs an index, you’ll either have to create it yourself or pay someone else to do it. And, in order to get the publishing deal in the first place, you may have to hire an editor to help whip your manuscript into shape.

The single biggest benefit of having a traditional publisher is that they can get your book into bookstores.This is because bookstores don’t have time to negotiate with a bunch of individual authors, and would rather deal with a small number of salespeople.

The cons of traditional publishing:

You may think that a traditional publishing deal will give you lots of prestige and publicity but the economics of book publishing have changed dramatically in the last 20 years. Most authors get very little publicity and many new authors end up feeling unhappy and ignored.

The vast majority of authors do NOT earn back their advances and publishing houses always give more attention to the Stephen Kings and the Margaret Atwoods of the world.

Also, be aware that the publisher will get to make certain decisions itself. The sales team will decide on the name of your book and what the cover will look like. Your opinion won’t matter. And the whole publishing process can take a long time — up to a year, or perhaps even more.

Now, let’s consider the pros of self-publishing:

The biggest pro is that you have more control. You can publish the book according to your own timeline and you get to make every important decision yourself.  

The next biggest pro is that you can make more money per book. Instead of being limited to a royalty, which is usually rather small, you can retain all the profits for yourself. You do need a way to be able to sell those books, however, and this is where many self-published authors fail.

The cons of self-publishing:

The biggest con is that you have to take some financial risk. You will need to put your own money upfront for:

  • Editing
  • Cover design
  • Layout
  • Proofreading & indexing and
  • Printing

This can easily add up to $8,000 or more, depending on how many copies you have printed at once.

The next biggest con is that you need to figure out a way to stay in front of your readers. I manage to continue to sell my self-published book because I take the time to write a newsletter every week. If you don’t have that kind of platform, you’re going to find the work of selling a whole lot harder.

I know it’s daunting to think about the concept of self-publishing. And I know it feels like a life or death decision. The best thing you can do is to LEARN as much as you can about the industry and do some accounting to figure out what kind of budget you have to spend on self-publishing. If you just don’t have the money, well, the decision may make itself for you!  

Finally, let me wrap up with a knowing comment from novelist Nicholas Sparks: “Writing may be art, but publishing, when all is said and done, comes down to dollars.”

Thanks for your question, Lisa. Some writers can also be business people. If you have the ability to do both of those very different jobs, you may be an excellent candidate for self-publishing.

Links: 

What’s the best option for publishing?

What are the steps to self-publishing? 

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Daphne Gray-Grant http://publicationcoach.com/old <![CDATA[The figurative language of Jennifer Egan]]> http://www.publicationcoach.com/?p=17759 2018-01-10T14:59:50Z 2018-01-11T09:00:07Z Reading time: Less than 1 minute I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading... Continue Reading]]>

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a series of similes from Jennifer Egan…

My husband knows how much I enjoy the writing of Jennifer Egan. So, one of his Christmas gifts for me was her new novel, Manhattan Beach.

As I expected, I found the book — a sprawling story of gangsters, sailors, divers, and union men —  replete with fantastic figurative language, mostly similes. Here are my favourite examples:

  • She’d never been good at banter; it was like a skipping rope whose rhythm she couldn’t master enough to jump in with confidence.
  • Reversing directions, they confronted wild celebration in the western sky: streaks of gaudy pink like the delayed aftermath of a fireworks show. The sand was pink, too, as if it had absorbed the sunset and was releasing it slowly.
  • His father slapped his face with such force that tars sprayed from Dexter’s eyes like juice from an apple smashed between the jaws of a horse.
  • Bascombe’s expression yielded nothing, but his jaw muscles flexed like the gills of a gasping fish.
  • She kissed the side of Hammond’s pale cheek, leaving behind a lesion of fuchsia lipstick.
  • Her guide had left, shutting the door behind him. Anna watched the handsome gangster in his beautifully cut suit and felt their day with Lydia at Manhattan Beach dissolving like an aspirin into a tumbler of water.
  • As they rode the streetcar back, Eddie had placed a hand on each boy’s chest to steady them. He’d been startled by the sensation of their hearts scrambling like mice against his fingertips.
  • He’d a quick knifelike walk that required Dexter to stride in earnest to keep up, although he was several inches taller.
  • The Cadillac’s fragrant leather seat received him like a pair of arms, and he settled exhaustedly into its embrace.
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Daphne Gray-Grant http://publicationcoach.com/old <![CDATA[What does ‘anfractuous’ mean?]]> http://www.publicationcoach.com/?p=17755 2018-01-08T19:28:24Z 2018-01-10T09:00:23Z Reading time: Less than 1 minute Increase your vocabulary and you’ll make your writing much more precise. That’s why I.. Continue Reading]]>

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

Increase your vocabulary and you’ll make your writing much more precise. That’s why I provide a word of the week. Today’s word: anfractuous…

I encountered the byline, ‘Anthony Horowitz,’ somewhere during the last year and — because I found his writing amusing — made a mental note of his name. (I had thought I’d seen him in the New Yorker, but a recent search of the magazine appears to prove me wrong about that.)

In any case, he’s an English novelist and screenwriter specialising in mystery and suspense. Widely published for young adult readers (his works include the Alex Rider series) he is also an adult fiction writer of some repute. He was commissioned by the Conan Doyle Estate and Orion Books to write two new Sherlock Holmes novels. And he was commissioned by the Ian Fleming Estate to write the 2015 James Bond novel Trigger Mortis. He also wrote the first seven episodes of the popular TV series Midsomer Murders and is writer and creator of the drama Foyle’s War.

Last year, I bought his 2016 book Magpie Murders, even though I don’t typically read murder mysteries. It took me a long while to become engaged by it but once I hit the halfway point I started enjoying myself. Horowitz also gave me my word of the week, anfractuous. Here is how he used it:

Lord Quentin Crump comes slumping down the staircase, lording it as he always does over the cooks and maids, the under-butlers and the footmen that exist only in his anfractuous imagination…

I had never before encountered the adjective anfractuous but it means something that is sinuous or circuitous. The root is Latin, from anfractuosus meaning “roundabout, winding,” from anfractus “a winding, turning, a bending round,” especially “a circuitous route.” The photo at the top of this post, which is from my own travels, shows an anfractuous labyrinth in Newfoundland.

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Daphne Gray-Grant http://publicationcoach.com/old <![CDATA[What if you turned off your smartphone today?]]> http://www.publicationcoach.com/?p=17739 2018-01-08T00:02:24Z 2018-01-09T09:00:52Z Reading time: Less than 3 minutes I like smartphones as much as the next person. But I also know there’s.. Continue Reading]]>

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes

I like smartphones as much as the next person. But I also know there’s a good time to turn off your smartphone….

When my brother-in-law comes to our house for dinner he knows I’ll require him to step away from the table if he wants to check his smartphone. He likes to tease me about my rule but he mostly abides by it, if somewhat grudgingly. 

Even though I LOVE technology, I have never been convinced that it has no downside.

Sure, I like the way Microsoft Word allows me to move text easily and delete errant words with the click of a button. Yeah, I find my pedometer (which syncs with my phone) helps keep me more active and allows me to track my exercise with ease. And, yes, I adore listening to podcasts when I go out for walks.

But I will not allow my smartphone to take over my life. In fact, when I examined a Pew Research Center report on how Americans use text messaging, I could see that I fall into the “light user” category. I usually don’t send more than five texts a day (almost never more than 10) when the average is closer to 41.5. And young adults — 18- to 24-year-olds— send or receive an average of 109.5 texts per day. Yikes!

When researching this topic, I probably shouldn’t have been surprised to discover a post headlined: “A Writer’s Greatest Tool: The Smartphone.”  I checked the photo of author David Pierce, and I pegged him to be in his early 20s. His enthusiasm for smartphones is also very young. “I’m a writer, and I don’t carry a notebook around with me,” he wrote. “Heck, I don’t even carry a pen. Do people even use those anymore? Pens. So old school. Instead, I just use my cell phone. In my life as a writer, there’s been no tool more useful or worth the investment than a smartphone. I’m convinced that it’s a writer’s greatest tool!”

Here are the five reasons Pierce cites for his affection for smartphones. He likes that they allow writers to:

  • Remember everything
  • Write when it strikes
  • Read
  • Get instant feedback
  • Never stop learning

While I value the handiness of smartphones, I don’t welcome their ubiquity in all parts of our lives. So, let me ask David Pierce this:

When is it ever a good idea to write on a phone? The idea of using my fat thumbs to do anything more than send a quick text message to one of my kids makes me feel tired and nauseated. I can’t envision writing a blog post that way and certainly not any words for my next book. Ditto for editing. Why would I want to create that sort of headache for myself?

Why read on a phone? I always have a book with me and when I’m wanting to be au courant (or if my purse is too full of other stuff), I carry my Kindle.

Why do you need instant feedback? Now, you’re just sounding impatient and jejune. I understand the benefits of Facebook and Twitter. I just don’t think anyone needs them 24/7 except perhaps the American president.

Do you really need to be learning all the time? I’m a big believer in continuing education, but I think there also needs to be a time when we can let our minds wander.

In fact, it’s during the mind-wandering times we’ll get the ideas about what we want to say. If we’re constantly trying to stay connected and cram our brains full of information, we’ll never have the time or the space to think. Having something worthwhile to say, takes thought. And if we’re constantly creating or digesting, we don’t have time for that.

But I’m not going to tell you to give up your smartphone. Instead, I suggest you think more wisely about when and how you use it. Set some times of day when it will be off limits. (Mealtimes and writing times are good places to begin. Ditto for time with friends.) Make sure you have some regular interactions with real people, not their avatars or digital selves. Get yourself outside more often so that you can get exercise and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the natural world.

And if you want to start all this by turning off your smartphone for just one a day, I think that would be a great way to launch 2018.

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My video podcast last week aimed to help readers to improve their LinkedIn networks. See it here and consider subscribing to my YouTube channel.  If you have a question about writing you’d like me to address, be sure to send it to me by email, Twitter or Skype and I’ll try to answer it in the podcast.

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How much do you depend on your smartphone?  We can all learn from each other so, please, share your thoughts with my readers and me in the “comments” section below. Anyone who comments on today’s post (or any others) by Jan. 31/18, will be put in a draw for a copy of Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin. Please, scroll down to the comments, directly underneath the “related posts” links, below. Note that you don’t have to join the commenting software to post. See here to learn how to post as a guest.

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Daphne Gray-Grant http://publicationcoach.com/old <![CDATA[Can algorithms help your writing?]]> http://www.publicationcoach.com/?p=17734 2018-01-07T19:16:16Z 2018-01-08T09:00:47Z Reading time: Less than 1 minute This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the.. Continue Reading]]>

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a CBC blog post about whether algorithms help writing…

When listening to one of my regular podcasts last week, the one for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s show The Current, I heard an intriguing question: Can algorithms make science fiction better? (If this interests you, too, you can listen to the podcast or read the transcript.)

The word that grabbed me was “algorithms” because I have so little affection for SciFi. But Toronto author Stephen Mache (pictured above) recently worked with two researchers to build an algorithm to help him write a science fiction story. The finished product titled Twinkle, Twinkle ultimately appeared in Wired magazine.

I listened to the podcast with great interest followed by great disappointment. The show had billed the algorithm as a co-writer but, in fact, it was an editor. (I just stopped myself from writing “only an editor,” because I believe editing to be one of the most important jobs of writing.) Here is how Stephen March explained what he and his algorithm-writing colleagues discovered:

I assumed that there would be a way to turn narrative structure into something mathematical that then we could apply – [but there was] nothing. There’s nothing useful in any of the narrative analysis by algorithms. 

Algorithms aren’t yet useful for creative work. They can take away the boring jobs of calculating sentence length, counting adjectives and figuring out your use of the passive voice. (For this kind of help you can get it for no charge from apps like Count Wordsworth, the Hemingway Editor and Text Analyzer. You can also get it for a modest fee from ProWritingAid.) But they can’t yet build compelling narratives.  As a writer that makes me feel somewhat relieved.

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Daphne Gray-Grant http://publicationcoach.com/old <![CDATA[How can I write to increase my followers in LinkedIn?]]> http://www.publicationcoach.com/?p=17729 2018-01-05T00:58:33Z 2018-01-05T09:00:11Z Viewing time: 4 mins. 21 secs. The Write Question is a weekly video podcast all about writing. Today’s question focuses.. Continue Reading]]>

Viewing time: 4 mins. 21 secs.

The Write Question is a weekly video podcast all about writing. Today’s question focuses on building LinkedIn connections.

If you have a question you’d like me to answer you can email me at daphne@publicationcoach.com, tweet me @pubcoach, or leave a message for me at the Skype account, The Write Question.

Transcript: 

Welcome to The Write Question, I’m Daphne Gray-Grant. Today we’re talking about increasing your LinkedIn network. Today I’m answering a question from Julia Page in Brisbane, Australia. Here’s what she’s asked.

[recording] I would like to know how I should write to increase my network on LinkedIn. Thank you!

Thanks, Julia. The interesting thing about your question is that it actually has a lot more to do with marketing and time management and goal setting than it does with writing.

I made LinkedIn my own project about two years ago and I now have more than 800 connections. It took me some time and diligence to get to that number but let me tell you about what worked for me:

1) Set weekly goals. I don’t know how many connections you have now but let’s assume it’s fewer than 100. Going from 100 to even 250 is going to seem really daunting. When I coach writers, I teach them to work with SMALL goals, even for big projects like books. I urge you to do the same with LinkedIn. Try to get something reasonable – perhaps 10 new connections a week. If you landed 10 new connections a week for six months, you’d have 260 new connections. Doesn’t that sound more reasonable?

2) Post often. This will give you more opportunities to receive likes, shares and comments, which will make your content appear on the home page feed of ALL your contacts. This can be very powerful. I currently post to LinkedIn only once a week because I have so many other ways of connecting with my readers but if you’re mostly limited to LinkedIn then you might want to post more often than weekly.

3) Make the effort to give those posts strong headlines. We all end up writing headlines at the last minute. After all, we need to write the stories first. But this doesn’t mean that headlines are unimportant. In fact, they are the MOST important part of any story or post. Make sure you take the time to write a headline that will truly sell the value of what you’ve written and engage your readers.

4) Make comments on the posts of your existing connections. No one is interested in a bunch of Looky-Lou’s. If you want to get more connections, you need to be active. This doesn’t even require a lot of work! All you have to do is hit a “like” button or make a brief comment and that will keep you front and centre in your connections’ minds.

5) Promote your LinkedIn posts in your other social media accounts. Whenever I post on LinkedIn, I also tweet about it and do a Facebook post as well. Yes, this is a bit of work but it will get you way more attention.

6) Consider participating in some LinkedIn groups. People engaged in the same kind of work as you are the most likely to be interested in what you have to say. To find these groups, click on the Work icon in the top right of your LinkedIn homepage and select Groups from the drop-down menu. Then, click discover at the top of the page to view suggested groups, you request membership by clicking the Ask to join button under the group description.

I know I haven’t talked very much about writing, but that’s not the primary issue for LinkedIn. If people are interested in your subject area, they’re going to be interested in what you have to say. Concentrate on finding the right people and then write about what interests you – and them. Before long, you’ll have more followers than you’ll know what to do with!

Finally, let me wrap up with a quote from marketing consultant Bobby Darnell: “Active participation on LinkedIn is the best way to say, ‘Look at me!’ without saying ‘Look at me!”

Thanks for your question, Julia. I wish you every success in getting more linked in!

 

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Daphne Gray-Grant http://publicationcoach.com/old <![CDATA[The figurative language of Gillian Best…]]> http://www.publicationcoach.com/?p=17723 2018-01-04T00:33:45Z 2018-01-04T09:00:19Z Reading time: Less than 1 minute I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading... Continue Reading]]>

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a series of similes and metaphors from Gillian Best…

The calendar has barely turned on the new year and, already, I think I’ve found my favourite writer for 2018. Her name is Gillian Best (pictured above) and she’s a Canadian who’s been living in the UK for most of the last 12 years. She earned her Masters in Professional Writing from Falmouth University and then went on to receive her PhD in Creative Writing and English Literature from the University of Glasgow. She currently lives, works, and swims in Bristol, UK.

Her debut novel, The Last Wave, displays great assuredness, richly developed characters and some fine figurative language. Here are the similes and metaphors I enjoyed best:

  • As I sat there on the sofa, my chest tightened until I felt as though my lungs were a vacuum, hoovering up all the air and selfishly keeping it to themselves, while my heart pumped aggressively in my chest, desperate for oxygen.
  • When I finally saw the yellow blip of her bathing cap out there in the shark-grey water, I shouted instinctively, even though I knew there was no way she could hear me.
  • It was a mackerel sky that evening. The clouds were lit from underneath in a blood-red hue, and the sun bloomed pink like my myrtle blossoms.
  • Martha cut her lamb with surgical precision. Her plate achieved a level of organization that the armed forces could have aspired to: nothing touched anything else.
  • I looked at the head of my beer as if it were able to tell me the future.
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Daphne Gray-Grant http://publicationcoach.com/old <![CDATA[What is ‘weltschmerz’?]]> http://www.publicationcoach.com/?p=17719 2018-01-02T21:06:42Z 2018-01-03T09:00:13Z Reading time: Less than 1 minute Increase your vocabulary and you’ll make your writing much more precise. That’s why I.. Continue Reading]]>

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

Increase your vocabulary and you’ll make your writing much more precise. That’s why I provide a word of the week. Today’s word: weltschmerz…

Eleanor Oliphant — great name, isn’t it? — was my favourite literary character in 2017 and her book Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, gave me so much pleasure. It also gave me my word of the week, weltschmerz.

Here is how Honeyman used it:

My travel pass had expired, and it was symptomatic of my general feeling of weltschmerz, of anomie, that I hadn’t even bothered to renew it last week.

I knew, from glancing at the word, that it was German. I love German words. I can recall being particularly pleased that my son, at the age of 13, was able to use, correctly, the word schadenfreude. (It means joy in the pain of others. My son had picked it up from an episode of The Simpson’s.)

Weltschmerz, means world-weariness, a term coined in 1810 by writer Jean Paul Richter. In many ways, it is the German version of ennui. It comes from the German welt, meaning “world” and schmerz meaning “pain.” In German philosophy, it was distinguished from pessimism (the idea that there is more bad than good in the world)  because pessimism is an intellectual response whereas weltschmerz is an emotional one.

Though ennui and weltschmerz are close synonyms, the former suggests boredom while the latter hints at pain, sadness or longing.  I must say, I love the specificity of German words.

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