Monday, June 30, 2014
Thursday, June 26, 2014
In most industries, we refer to those who are doing the same kind of work that we are as our competitors. The aim is to get more attention on your own work and less attention on theirs. It appears to be the total opposite when it comes to creative arts, such as writing. It is our best interest to help our “competitors”.
A Success Story
My video had just finished uploading. I clicked the buttons to share it on several social media sites and leaned back in my chair. I had just released the latest episode of my youTube series - reviewing a book called Synchronic - 13 Tales of Time Travel. I'd lost a little momentum recently due to sickness but was now back on track.
When I checked the next morning I was surprised to see I gained over 40 views while I slept. This was about the same amount that my previous episode had gained in almost two months. I also had a record number of "likes". We're not talking big numbers here, but it was a significant difference.
Mutual Benefit and Community
Why did this particular video fare better than average? Was it particularly well-produced? Had I latched onto a topic that everyone was already talking about? No. So what was it? The book I was reviewing was an indie title, with 13 contributing authors. One of those authors, who I happened to be connected with on Twitter shared it for me. Then another of the authors shared it with all his fans on Facebook and Twitter, tagging all the other authors involved in the project.
I had helped them by giving a positive review for their book, but they had helped me by sharing my video with a bunch of book lovers who would otherwise never have seen it. We helped each other. This kind of mutually beneficial assistance is common in the indie fiction world. It works nicely. Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn calls it Social Karma. We Christians often don't like to use the 'K' word, but all she really means here is that when we help our fellow content creators, we find ourselves getting helped as well. There is a community that builds up. When we help each other, we all win.
I have found that the same helpful culture that exists in the indie fiction world also exists in the Australian Christian fiction industry. There is a wonderful community that is so welcoming of both the experienced author and the growing wannabe. I have been surprised by the help, support and encouragement I have received along my journey.
All of this reminds me of Proverbs 11:25 "A generous person will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed."
What do you think?
Do you have any success stories to share? Have you ever experienced a situation where you felt like you were in competition with another author or artist?Photo credit: prixel creative
Adam Collings is a writer of speculative fiction and video blogger. He is actively working toward becoming a published author. He lives in Tasmania, Australia. Adam discusses books and movies on his youTube series Stories. You can find Adam on-line at collingszone.wordpress.com or his Google+ Profile
Monday, June 23, 2014
- Banter. Witty dialogue is a real art. Jenny B. Jones’ book, Save The Date, is a great example. So is the movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
- Shared history, memories and experiences.
- Characters knowing what the other will do or say before they do or say it. Remember George Clooney and Brad Pitt’s characters having those half-sentence conversations in the Oceans 11 trilogy?
- Brutal honesty, even insults. It’s a special relationship when you can tell your friend exactly what you think. Sherlock and Watson are great for this, in either the Robert Downey Jr movies or Benedict Cumberbatch’s BBC version.
- Opposite personalities fill one another’s ‘holes’, i.e. Kirk and Spock, Holmes and Watson, Jane and Lisbon (The Mentalist), Castle and Beckett (Castle), or Becky Bloomwood and Luke Brandon (Confessions of a Shopoholic).
- Terrific teamwork. Without even speaking, the characters know when to punch, duck, and kick together to defeat the bad guys. Think Shanghai Noon or Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
- They can fight and still be friends. This goes another step beyond brutal honesty. Rarely can a relationship survive strong conflict or differing opinions; the fact that your characters can do this cements their relationship as unshakeable.
- Emotional intimacy; the characters confide in one another and go to each other for advice, even if they are romantically involved with someone else. Annie and Auggie in Covert Affairs are a great example.
- Self-sacrifice. This is a BIG ONE. Anytime a character sacrifices for the other it is a massive ‘awww’ moment. Even a villain, no matter how terrible, can be redeemed by a significant act of self-sacrifice. When a hero does it, it’s that much more heartwarming. Prince Charming and Snow White in Once Upon A Time are total experts at this. Also, before you have a massive sacrifice in your story, you can lead up to it by having one partner act defensive or protective of the other.
- Trust. This is an absolute must. It’s the foundation of every partnership.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
7 years ago, God placed my feet on an amazing path – the magnificent journey of becoming a Christian Writer. I have never looked back. Not because of the financial rewards… or rather the lack of it! Not due to the fame and prestige… or the lack of that too. Not due to any worldly benefits … can you think of any? But as all of you my fellow writers would testify – the fulfillment I receive from being a writer is huge. Enormous. Vast. Gargantuan. Mammoth. Epic. Mammoth. Collosal………………Have I said enough?
Yes, I am honoured and blessed to be called a Christian Writer. I am thrilled to be part of a creative community who are Image Bearers of our wonderful, awesome God. The benefits of being one far outweigh any negatives. And then, there are also many perks of being a writer – some which I sometimes don't even recognise. A few years ago, a publisher friend persuaded me that in order to be taken seriously as a writer, I needed a platform. She said my writer’s platform must include a weekly blog. I balked at it. Not that I didn’t like the idea of blog writing. I just didn’t like to add yet another deadline to my already busy schedule. It would be another chore to add to my To-do list each week!
After much thought and prayer however I realised that blog writing was part of the writer’s package. I knew that in order to obey God, there was no way around it. And so I surrendered to Him. In the next few weeks I got busy. I had fun creating my website, ‘Dancing in the Rain’. On the 27th of February 2012, I shared my website (and blog site) with all the world. It was a joyous day. Since then I have written blog after blog after blog. It has actually enriched me. It’s brought a new sense of purpose into my life.
A few weeks into my blog writing, a friend wrote that my blog always encouraged and inspired her. She said she looked forward to reading it every Monday. I was humbled. I was blessed. I was encouraged by her words. And a light went off in my head. From that day onwards, writing my weekly blog was not something I did because I had to. It was because I wanted to. It was a way of honouring God. And of blessing others. Having the right perception and the right attitude made all the difference.
Blog writing wasn’t just a boring chore I had to perform. Instead it became an exciting task with which I could bless God and His world. There was more. During the past few months my world was turned upside down. My church based job which I was very passionate about was whisked away from under me and I was forced to resign. As I grappled with the situation – I found myself floundering in a difficult season of grief and loss.
But guess what! I had still had one job that continued. Yes, that of writing my weekly blog. That ‘boring chore’ now became my lifeline. As I struggled with feelings of failure in my working life – it blessed me to know that there was an area where God still needed me. I was not worthless after all. My once “boring chore” became the joyful focus of each week. It brought meaning to my existence. It kept me going. It blessed me in more ways than one. And I hope blessed many others too. Thank you God. Thank you.
Are you struggling with any tedious aspects of the writing journey that you don’t enjoy? Like editing? Or marketing? Or something else? Let me assure you that the boring aspects of your writing journey may one day become something vitally important. What I've enjoyed most in my blog writing is the connection I have with others. I love hearing from readers how my blog blessed or helped them in their day to day lives. What a great thrill it is when God uses our little offerings and multiplies it for His kingdom.
He doesn’t ask that we reach perfection. Just that we strive at excellence.
He doesn’t demand impossibilities from us. Just our surrender.
He doesn’t force us to do things that are too difficult for us. He desires we obey Him.
Boring? No …wait! Let me rephrase that. Not a boring chore any longer. A joyful task that I offer the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. After all, He’s given me the privilege and honour of sharing His heart with His world. It can’t get better than that, can it? Is God calling you to something today? Do you have a list of excuses as to why you can’t do it? It may be worth your while reflecting on it as you view it through God’s eyes.
One day it may turn out to be your lifeline. And one day the world may resound with praises to our King simply because you obeyed Him.
Anusha Atukorala is passionate about God, His Kingdom, His world, all who live in it, His amazing creation and of course about WRITING. Her first book 'Enjoying the Journey' is a book of little God thoughts and life lessons about every day life. She, like her writing is a work in progress. Do pop into say G'day to her at her website 'Dancing in the Rain.'
Monday, June 16, 2014
Thursday, June 12, 2014
We’ll be singing,
I get knocked down, but I get up again,
You’re never gonna keep me down!” (Repeat last two lines x7)
Stock Image - image ID: 100259557
Monday, June 9, 2014
It is a cold day here in Adelaide, most unusual but perfect weather for a PJ day given that it is a long weekend. So yes it is now after 5pm and what I woud like to know is where did the day go? I have actually been up since ths morning and spent time fixing a friends website, and then made a phone call to my friend. I did propose (hahhaa) at the start of the conversation it would just be a quick 10 minutes as I still needed to go and get x, y and z done before Tuesday arrived. But you guessed it 1.5 hours later we were still talking - or should I say my friend was talking LOL!
Family and friends are to be treasured. Life is not about achievements and goals and accumulating things, but life is about the people we meet on our life journey, the people we take into our lives, hearts and homes. Given my Type A personality I have always been rather focussed on achievements, goals and schedules. God was gracious in brining into my life a beautiful fijian man who as my husband has taught me the physical, emotional and spiritual strength that can be gained from having a PJ day! We need to take the time to sit underneath the coconut tree as it were, instead of always being busy rowing the boat so fast that we miss the people and the scenery on the way.
My husband loves to spend his PJ days with people. Sometimes (or should I say a lot of the time) I never know who my husband is going to bring home next; I have given up count of how many people he is related to; or the names of what seems like hundreds of neices and nephews and cousins etc Tevita is a huge lover of people and of community. Many times our lounge room has been full of over 20 people at midnight talking, eating and singing. At tmes like these I am glad that our bedroom is at the other end of the house so I can grab my quiet hideaway.
God is a lover of people. God does not want to deny us dreams, goals, achievements, accomplishments, houses, land and other material things, but want He wants us to remember is that His heart beats for people: He came to seek and to save that which was lost. He came to seek and to save the rich, the poor, the black, the white, the king, the truck driver, the unemployed etc.
We get good at the polite "how are you" but we hope like hang that person is then not going to take the next half hour of our time telling us how they do feel! We allow our lives to become so busy that we don't consiously make or allow the time to STOP AWHILE and pause for the PEOPLE that are around us - our friends, our family and those that God would have to take in to our lives - even at times if it is just for a season.
So there you have it, two of my musings from my PJ day! Have a faith-filled week!
Love Maree xx
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Thursday, June 5, 2014
Someone asked on FB if I was inspired to write a novel based on my time in Africa, but I couldn't even begin to image a story that might have a happy ending for these people. Their culture, their history, is one of subsistence. Women's lives are confined to a few metres of rocky ground where they sit and grind maize and milk into a paste which becomes their staple diet. They carry wood for the fire on their backs, water in buckets on their heads and babies in their arms. They weave grass into roofs for their mud huts, and in their left over time they make trinkets out of stone, plants and bone. Young girls looks around them and sees the wizened women they will become. Their eyes reflect the lack of hope for more.
Young boys can hope to move away from their encampment at least as far as where a little grass might be found for the family's small flock of cows, and there they will sit all day, keeping watch and protecting their animals from predators. The nearest other village or encampment is many kilometres away and one day they may walk there to find a wife for themselves; a wife they will bring back to their village, and build a mud hut for; a wife, perhaps two or three wives, who will bare them sons, so they have the means to watch over more cows. Some people suggest these people are happy enough with their lives, but their faces told me a different story.
As I reflect on my photos and my time in Africa, I am still saddened. It's hard to see the story of many African tribes changing any time soon. But the story in their faces has changed something in me forever.
I am also left with the very poignant reminder of the truth in the saying, 'A picture paints a thousand words.'
As a novelist, I've almost found myself being jealous of authors of children's books, who can use images and photos to such advantage to tell their stories. It has made me think again how important the cover of a novel may be. An image or photo that grabs a reader, that draws a person into a story, that compels someone to pick up a book, may decide whether our stories will be read at all.
I've also been reminded of the central work of the novelist; to use words to paint pictures. To blend and weave words into paragraphs and chapters which create in the reader wonderful, beautiful, moving, tragic images, so that all of their senses are immersed in our stories.
What a challenge! What a thrill when it works! What a gift when our words transport a reader into another world, another time, another life, and what a privilege to have the opportunity to change a person's world, even for a little while, and perhaps forever.
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