10 Keyboard Hacks that will (sort of) change your Life… or at least simplify your Computer Navigation

…are being presented to us by the people from Refinery29. Not that I would go so far to claim they will, you know, change your life… but they are surely handy to have.

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A Handy Cheat Sheet Regarding Dress Codes…

…courtesy of purewow.com

Even freelancers who work from home sometimes need to get away from their computer (networking, everyone!), and questions of how to dress properly are especially important when meeting potential clients. After all, you might be working in your PJs – but they don’t need to see that, right? 🙂

Oh, and if you are a WRITER/Author, this might be interesting for another reason: research, research, research!!

So, there you go:

“Your Dress Code Cheat Sheet

What to wear to any event, from weddings to bar mitzvahs”

Another Sherlock-Holmes Anthology …

The Practical Handbook of Bee Culture

… has published one of my short stories, so I am very happy to announce that “In good Hands” can now be read as part of the current “Practical Handbook of Bee Culture“. The Handbook (which is not REALLY about bees!) is a publication of the “Retired Beekeepers of Sussex”, a Sherlock-Holmes group based in the UK, and can be purchased as a softcover edition or downloaded as a PDF-version for free. Happy reading! 🙂

 

Internet Research 101: WHO says WHAT, and WHY?

This is not a “HOW-TO” piece as in “How to do internet research” – although I maybe ought to mention that I wish I had had (*slight pause for wondering about the grammar*) Google Scholar back in my university days … what I did have back then was the advice: “Even if you do use (*whisper*) Wikipedia for your research – you better not quote them as a source!!” But I digress, so let’s start this one a bit differently:

~ ~ ~

Twenty years ago, research was a time-consuming and complex matter. Research meant having to spend lengthy periods of time in libraries and archives.

The internet has revolutionized the information era, and all sorts of facts and opinions are nowadays only a few clicks away – dozens or hundreds or thousands of links, provided by Google & Co., and within only split seconds. Research has therefore become much faster – but the selection of information is still not that easy.

 

Much information from many sources

Publishing a text on the internet has become increasingly simple, this being the age of social media, blogging and self-publishing. In addition, the average internet user deals with various daily e-mails of private as well as of a business nature.

In short: Never before have we been confronted with such a flood of information.

That is why it has become of special importance to carefully consider the origin of the particular information one is looking for. Has the information been published by a private person, a corporation or a government? What is the aim, what is the motivation behind a particular publication? How competent is the source? Are we being presented with hard facts, speculation or merely opinions?

 

Evaluating the information

It is not always easy to answer these questions. First glances can be misleading, especially since imprints (detailed information about the publisher) are not obligatory in every country. It can therefore be helpful to collect information from several different sources – even if (or especially when) a text does not correspond with the content of other sites. Taking different points of view into consideration and comparing differing pieces of information is necessary to achieve a balanced idea, to see the “big picture”.

Therefore, access to information is easy as never before – but it still requires the same amount of consideration as always – or maybe even more.

The 5 Minutes Writing Exercise

Can you spare five minutes?

Great! Five minutes a day, that is what this exercise requires. Five minutes to help you with your writing. To help developing new ideas. To jot down a fleeting thought that someday might grow to become a plot. To help overcoming the menacing … (*whispers*) Writer’s Block.

Most of us writers juggling our “regular” job that pays the rent, our family life AND our writing know the problem of finding the time to do some decent (amount of) writing. And even if we find the time … well, all of a sudden we find ourselves sitting there and our mind seems to be… just blank!

Anyway. I am sure WE ALL have five minutes a day to devote to the task, don’t you agree?

So, grab your keyboard or your pen and paper and check the time on your watch.

And then …

WRITE!

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If you have a special topic to write about, fine. If not … just do some brainstorming. No matter what. If you don’t know what to write, write about how difficult it is to find something to write. Or describe what you see in front of you. Or how wonderful it would be to have your very own bestseller. Or how much you HATE Writer’s Block.

There. Your five minutes are over. If you are now in the mood to write some more – the better. If not, no problem. Do it again the next day. Do it daily. You will develop your very own writing journal this way. You will get used to the task. You might even find out that you actually can write some amount in only five minutes. And in between, you might get some new ideas. Or perhaps two or three lines of that dialogue you need for your novel. Set your mind on working temperature and then … let it flow!

How to get a little Writing Kick: Your Link Collections!

There’s a potential little #writingsinspiration waiting for you – right there in your browser’s bookmarks!

We surf the Internet, wie find interesting sites (blog posts, articles, tutorials). We bookmark them … and bookmark another one … and bookmark something more. That DOES accumulate in time! So when you look for a little inspiration regarding what to write about: Go and check out your link collection – and while at it, why not take a little time to also organize those links?

I? Well, among other things, checking and organizing my own links inspired me to write this post. And that’s just the beginning. 🙂

Writer's Mentor

So – give it a try.

Happy Writing!

Are you interested in learning more about how to get your writing business on track? … how to find customers and places for submissions. Check out my new mentoring and coaching program!

A One-Book Shop… !

An old issue of one of my fave writing-related newsletters of  http://www.worldwidefreelance.com has directed me to a peculiar little article:

Author opens one-book shop to sell his own work

To me, it’s a curious piece of information and – possibly – inspiration. I mean, one never knows where the next inspiring idea might come from, right?

I wonder – since it has been a few years already – what has become of the idea … and the book? (Update: … which is why I’ve checked and found the book’s Wikipedia page.)

Schedule your (Blog) Content in Advance

I must not neglect my blog I must not neglect my blog I must not neglect my blog I must not neglect…

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If you are anything like me, your blogging is filled with a certain amount of content (i.e. posts) and … uhm… good intentions. You KNOW that your blog/website/Facebook page is a major factor when it comes to attract potential customers. Not only because it is THE opportunity to showcase your skills, but the content with the right keywords helps people to find you via Google & Co. (SEO, anyone?)

And – as in my case – filling other people’s blogs/websites/Facebook pages with content might even constitute an integral part of your offered services. Because, as you keep telling your clients (potential or actual), this… *clearsthroat*… quality content is a major factor when it comes to attracting potential customers and is THE opportunity to showcase their skills, and… well, yeah.

So much for the theory. Quality content rocks. But publishing the occasional rock content on your blog … your company website … your social media profile etc. is only one part of the writing/blogging challenge. Every SEO consultant worth their salt will also tell you that posting such content should happen on a regular basis.

So. You are actually good at what you do! The irony is: Over the work for your clients you start neglecting your very own blog … website … Facebook page. And since you KNOW that your blog/website/Facebook page is a major factor when it comes to … uhm, sorry … I think we’ve all got that by now.

And that is when the good intentions kick back in.

I must not neglect my blog I must not

Surprise: Good intentions are often not enough. A good strategy helps, and some tools to help you/myself as well. Continue reading

“Would a Publisher be interested in the Subject of my Manuscript?” Well, let’s have a look …

If one works as a ghostwriter or writing mentor (like yours truly), you often get to hear a question – something along the lines of: “I want to tell a story/write about [insert writing topic here] – but would a publisher be interested in that? And if yes: Which publisher?”

Writer's Mentor

Sure, that’s a totally legitimate question! And since paying a ghostwriter (me! ME! MEEE!) is an investment, such a question does make sense (even though nowadays many authors decide to take the selfpublishing route anyway). But when it comes to answering it, the ghostwriter of your choice is not necessarily the go-to-guy (or gal). The ghostwriter might have experience when it comes to writing in the genre of your choice – but they are usually neither market researcher nor literary agents.

But here’s the thing you can easily do yourself, with just a few minutes online – and yes, this works for creative writing, as well as non-fiction writing: Continue reading

“Do as I say, don’t do as I -“… uhm … well …

I have been breaking quite a few rules recently … at least according to those rules that I like to convey to clients:

  • update your blog REGULARLY
  • update your Social Media REGULARLY
  • provide useful/interesting content
  • participate in networking events on- and offline

… to just name a few.

I’ve been recently involved in a major project and have hardly been posting anything. And all of a sudden, my most recent “real” post has been weeks ago, and the longer one waits, the more difficult it seems to find the right time and the right content to get back on track …

So … this is me, getting back on track!

My blog and I have also decided to go into “blog therapy” together. Okay, it’s more like I have made the decision and the blog will get the treatment. But more on that (hopefully not too much) later!

A Christmas Carol – one of my personal Favorites this Time of the Year

“…and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!

A Christmas Carol – by Charles Dickens

Download the ebook for free at the Project Gutenberg.

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“…und immer sagte man von ihm, er wisse Weihnachten recht zu feiern, wenn es überhaupt ein Mensch wisse. Möge dies auch in Wahrheit von uns allen gesagt werden können! Und so schließen wir mit Tiny Tims Worten: Gott segne uns alle und jeden!”

Der Weihnachtsabend – von Charles Dickens

Download des e-books kostenlos beim Project Gutenberg.

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(Excerpt from Wikipedia:)

“Legacy

While the ‘Merry Christmas’ was popularized following the appearance of the story,[58] and the name “Scrooge” and exclamation “Bah! Humbug!” have entered the English language,[59] Ruth Glancy argues the book’s singular achievement is the powerful influence it has exerted upon its readers. In the spring of 1844, The Gentleman’s Magazine attributed a sudden burst of charitable giving in Britain to Dickens’s novella; in 1874, Robert Louis Stevenson waxed enthusiastic after reading Dickens’s Christmas books and vowed to give generously; and Thomas Carlyle expressed a generous hospitality by staging two Christmas dinners after reading the book.[60] In America, a Mr. Fairbanks attended a reading on Christmas Eve in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1867, and was so moved he closed his factory on Christmas Day and sent every employee a turkey.[33] In the early years of the 20th century, the Queen of Norway sent gifts to London’s crippled children signed “With Tiny Tim’s Love”; Sir Squire Bancroft raised £20,000 for the poor by reading the tale aloud publicly; and Captain Corbett-Smith read the tale to the troops in the trenches of World War I.[61]

(…) This simple morality tale with its pathos and theme of redemption significantly redefined the “spirit” and importance of Christmas, since, as Margaret Oliphant recalled, it “moved us all those days ago as if it had been a new gospel.”

Happy Birthday, Jeremy Brett!

The awe-inspiring #JeremyBrett – for me the definitive (i.e. canonical) #SherlockHolmes actor. Today, he would have been 83 years old.

Apart from the fact that I am currently working on my first Sherlock Holmes related novel (that will probably be published next year) and am therefore very invested in the subject, JB still reminds me of my inner #fangirl.