Business Communication

Business (Writing) Communication

Communication in any situation is important, but since relationships were talked about in a previous post, I’m going to spend some time talking about Business Communication.

So, what is Business Communication?

Business communication is essentially any type of communication you have with anyone else regarding your business, whether it’s marketing, customer relations or interpersonal communication. Anything that provides a way for you to speak to others is included. There are so many ways to communicate with in a business that we’ll only be focusing on how it relates to the writing business. That’s what we’re here for, right, the business of writing?

Business Communication

Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

You, as a business owner, have so many people you contact for different services and assistance, it’s no wonder being an author is a hard job. Unless you have some sort of system down for who you’re speaking to and what your talking about at any given moment, things can get hectic and overwhelming very quickly.

Problems with Communication

Even though we have plenty of ways to communicate nowadays, not all of them are as reliable as speaking face to face or over the phone, but we still try to use them. Email, text/messaging, print, and even television and radio have their downsides.

Problems

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

Have you ever sent a text or message and the other person thought you were angry at them? Or had a customer look at your ad and wonder what it was that you’re trying to sell/say? There is no way to know the tone or meaning behind the words when you message others. If your not careful, your words can be completely misunderstood and they could interpret them one way when you meant for it to be taken a completely different way.

Once that occurs, you have to spend your time working to rectify the situation and get everything back on track, which could take more time than you have.

How to Fix or Avoid Communication Problems

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Image by Allan Washbrook from Pixabay

In order to avoid issues with misconstrued communication efforts, the best thing to do is probably stick to speaking to everyone on the phone or in person. If you don’t live close, programs like Skype and FaceTime work well to speak with others face to face. That way any questions about the project can be answered right away.

If you prefer contacting through written words, find a program like Trello, Asana, Monday.com, etc that allows you to form teams, assign tasks and communicate with each other as you work through projects. That way you and your team can ask questions, attach samples, and clarify issues all in one place.

Author/Writing Communication

Author Communication

Image by engin akyurt from Pixabay

As an author and writer, you are communicating with others on a daily basis whether that’s posting to social media, writing stories for your readers, or sending your work to your editor. We as writers, are always communicating and connecting with others and that in itself can be a taunting task.

Readers

Through the writing process, the one person we are trying to reach are our readers. We write for them. (Well, we write for ourselves and for the joy of it, but the readers we gain are the goal) Of course, not everyone is going to love your work, but you will get those that will love your style and work to the point of ordering everything that you produce.

Our stories fill a missing piece within our readers that even they didn’t realize was missing; whether that is a sense of adventure, the need to know love, or even a bit of fright. Our readers hang onto every word as they read waiting to see what happens on the next page. Its the most gratifying and natural ways for writers to speak, through words on a page.

Teams

You as a writer may or may not have a team yet, but once you do things can get much smoother, but that doesn’t mean problems don’t arise. Tools like Trello or Asana are perfect for keeping things organized between the writer and their team members. You can assign them tasks and they can ask questions and check things off right on the apps.

You may also communicate with your team though texts, messages, or others, but keeping to one type (unless it’s an emergency) keeps things flowing nicely. Each person knows what they need to do and they can get it done before the deadline approaches. If you don’t have a system for your team, I suggest you try one of these out for yourself.

Betas/Alphas

Beta and Alpha readers are those that you depend on the most for their honest opinions, but there are those times when they can be too honest, harsh even. It’s a price we pay for writing and something that must be understood as both reader and writer. The writer is trying their best to bring out the best story to the public. In return for receiving an advanced copy of their work, the writer expects honest feedback from the beta.

That doesn’t mean that betas/alphas can totally rip apart the work that writer has spent who knows how much time on or even suggest they change the story completely to suit that particular reader. As betas/alphas, we as writers are only looking for suggestions on making our writing better and enjoyable for others before putting it out into the world. And writers, be clear what you are to expect of your betas/alphas as they read through your work. If you don’t specify what you’re looking for in feedback, you’re going to get everything and anything, which let me tell you can be overwhelming when you finally receive your manuscript back.

So, communication with your betas/alpha on what you are specifically looking for is necessary to keep things running as smooth as possible.

Editors

Here is another, where you need to specify what you’re looking for unless you are hiring them for one specific job, such as line editing. Editors are your last stop before publishing and once they’ve gone through your work, be prepared to revise if necessary. They will let you know what could be done better and inform you of any errors they may catch. So communication between you and your editor is a must.

Agents

Now, I know not everyone has an agent, but if you do, the communication you have between yourself and them is also important. If one of you doesn’t receive the right information, you could end up booking the wrong event or submitting to the wrong publishing house.

There are so many things that could go wrong when you don’t communicate well between you and others. Think about your everyday communications with family and friends. how often is something taken out of context or interpreted wrong? I can’t tell you how many times my sister and I ask if the other is angry because we just didn’t get back to them  soon enough. Things happen, but we don’t want any conflicts between anyone.

Final Thoughts

Though communication is important and can get skewed as we type the wrong words or we didn’t clarify something well enough, there are ways to avoid those problems by keeping communication open and discussing the issues when they arise. You can do your part by clarifying as much as possible before anything can get to that point and keeping everyone on the same page with sites like Trello. They will put that to rest as everyone has their tasks and no one is getting confused as to what they need to do.

That leaves you time to focus on what you need to focus on, communicating the best way you know how… through the words of your stories!

Quality Feature

Quality

What is Quality?

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Quality is…. Well, let’s take a look at what the dictionary says.

Dictionary.com

WIKI

  •  Level of excellence.
  •  A property or an attribute that differentiates a thing or person.
  • High social position.
  • The degree to which a man-made object or system is free from bugs and flaws, as opposed to scope of functions or quantity of items.
  • A two-phase liquid–vapor mixture, the ratio of the mass of vapor present to the total mass of the mixture.
  • The third step in OPQRST where the responder investigates what the NOI/MOI feels like.
  • To identify quality try asking, “what does it feel like?”.

Or it is the degree in which you view the item in question. It’s your belief and understanding of how acceptable the product, or item you’re creating, purchasing or looking at is.

Identify Quality

Depending on what you’re looking at, what you purchased, or item you’re examining, the aspects of quality could be different. So let’s look at a few things and see what I could find on quality for each of them.

Life

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Image by Myriams-Fotos from Pixabay

To identify the quality of life you must look at what’s happening in each area of your life. Determine what you want from that area and move forward to decide if the quality is where you would like it to be or if something needs to change to gain the quality you’re looking for.

Health/Well-being

Are you healthy and making good choices, or are you always eating out and sitting on the couch when you get home? Is what you are doing now how you pictured yourself being? What you really want to be doing? Let me tell you there are days I would love to just hang out on the couch, but right now I don’t like the way I look so I work out every day. It’s been 46 days straight, which may not seem like much, but it’s a milestone for me!

Making good decisions is part of daily life and we have to live with those choices we make, whether it’s the decision to exercise or skip that candy bar that’s calling our name at the store check out. Sneaky store marketing, putting candy right where you have to wait to purchase your items. It’s just screaming for your to purchase it!

Anyway, keeping healthy doesn’t have to be difficult. Do what you feel is right and what makes you happy, just don’t over due it. I have actually started putting my candies in their serving sizes and have gotten down to having a serving every few days when I would have eaten a 16oz bag of dark chocolate covered peanuts in one sitting. Now I can’t believe I ever did that.

Satisfaction

As with health and fitness, you need to decide if what you are doing right now with your life is satisfying. If it’s not, you may want to re-evaluate what you are doing and what you could be doing.

People always tell you to do what you love and sometimes what you love is just out of reach or put on the back burner. Fortunately, I am doing what I love, but if you are not, I urge you to got after it. Now, I am in no way telling you to quit your job or anything. I’m just saying it may be it’s time to take that first step toward that goal or thing you’ve always wanted to do. Go ahead, take that first step, you may find the next one isn’t that hard to reach. I did!

Safety & Security

One of the things we as humans want is to be safe and secure in our lives. To be able to do what we desire or what we need without hinderance of anything else getting in the way.

Though things happen that are out of our control, there are things we can do to create a safer and more secure environment. Your life is yours to protect, do what you can to keep it as safe as possible.

Education

Learning is said to happen daily and I completely agree with that. Though you may not realize that you learned anything, I bet if you really think about it, you probably learned something new even if it is small.

Education comes in many forms whether you are going to a school or learning on your own. It’s natural to want to know more about what interests you (or to fix that thing you don’t want to have someone else come to fix. Who doesn’t want to save a few bucks, right?)

Education is a deep part of life as we continue to learn and grow in what we love or what we need as we progress along the path we’ve chosen. Make sure you’ve chosen the right one.

Home

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Image by Pexels from Pixabay

The quality of your home involves on what goes on inside the walls and beyond the windows. It’s involves memories, joy, and times of happiness that create what the home really is.

Family

Family is where the home is, really, isn’t it? There really isn’t a home without the feeling of family, friends, and a place to come home to each night that gives you the feeling of peace and security.

The home is where the most important parts of your life happen. Memories are made with family and friends in a place that provides a safe haven for you and yours.

The quality of the home is what you believe the home is really about. Is it about walls and windows or is it about those who are there with you, living life and spending their time with you?

Safety & Security

How do you put quality on safety and security? Is it an alarm system that alerts those of intruders or is it having the basic things needed to live life?

Though each one of us have our own opinions on the subject, we all agree that a home provide a sense of safety and security in itself.

There are those that believe carrying firearms, having those alarms, and learning basic self defense are also part of safety and security, but if you really think on the subject, what is the most important when it comes to security and safety?

That is something you need to decide for yourself.

Work/Business

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Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

This could be a hard discussion because of how you perceive the value of your work or business. Is it something that you’re just doing to pay bills and get by or are you invested into what you do, enjoying every minute?

Employment

As I mentioned earlier, you should love what you do, but if you don’t how do you find quality in something you hate? Well, for me, it has to deal with everything that isn’t me. It’s something you need to evaluate and talk though as you work toward the goal that set you on that path in the first place.

Why are you doing something you don’t like? And if you do like it, how can you get more out of it? How can you make it even better? What is it about your work that you dislike? Is it something you can change? Sometimes you can change it, while other times you have to deal with what’s given, but you can always change how you think about it.

Is work something you bring home with you? What I mean is, if you’ve had a really awful day, does it leak into that place of family, safety and security you’ve created? How can you leave work at work? It’s hard to shut off your working mindset when you return from a rough day or even a fantastic day, but sometimes that is what you need to do in order to create the quality of work you need in your life. Do what you can, work to make things better and keep your work at work.

Business

Your business like anything else is your pride and joy. It’s something you strive to make better for you customers. So, what is it about your business that brings people in? Quality! The quality of products, the quality of services and what meets their needs that you can provide.

What to Think About

Your definition of quality and what it means for your business as a whole. What things do you want to be known for within your business that makes consumers want to purchase your product once they hear about it?

Your targets and achievements to accomplish as your business grows.

Things to Ask

How will you measure quality? Quality of the product, the service, performance, stability, efficiency, etc? There are many aspects of a business that involves quality and what you feel is necessary to measure within the aspects of a great product or service. This may be the time to really sit and think about how quality affects your business and what you can do to improve on it.

Time

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Image by annca from Pixabay

Time, that ever present entity that seems to slip away from us as the day wears on, but how do you measure the quality of time. Is it the amount of time you spend in each area of your life or the meaning of time as it’s related to each area of life?

Time is tricky and finding quality within it is even more so. We talk about time and quality as it relates to business and how we can be more productive with our time or with our family and how we can spend more ‘quality time’ with them, but what does ‘quality time’ really mean?

Time, like a clock, can be a spread of hours and minutes, but it’s what you do with and how you use those hours and minutes that count.

Productivity only gets better if you work hard to create a schedule that fits you and those around you. You want to spend more quality time in your business, then be sure you’re focusing on the things that will progress your business. Leave the things that won’t or have little affect on the back burner until you are truly ready to give them the attention that they need.

Family is another place where we are always trying to provide the quality of time. Are you spending time as a family or are you ‘spending time as a family’? If your together in the same room, but everyone is doing their own thing or on their phones, playing the latest app, does that really count as quality time? What are you children doing in school, what are their interests now (they do change), what about your spouse? Do you really spend ‘time’ with them? or are you telling yourself that you are?

Find the time to really sit down and put the ‘quality’ back into ‘quality time.’

 

Writing

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Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

Now, onto the thing that we all love (and sometimes hate), writing. Since this blog deals with writing, couldn’t possibly leave this out, right?

So, how can we tell the quality of our writing? It’s difficult to read your own writing and really see it as a consumer, to see the quality of the words, characters, and journey through the eyes of the reader, which is why we have beta readers, alpha readers and so on.

But if you’re looking to find a quick list of things to aim for in terms of quality in your writing I’ve compiled a list for you below. Enjoy.

  • Spelling – Darn that autocorrect, how I have a love/hate relationship with that thing. You never know when it will change your words even when you don’t intend to.
  • Grammar
  • Punctuation – Do I use a comma, semi-colon, or colon here? Those have always given me a problem.
  • Consistency – Keep with the story, characters, settings as your novel progresses. Readers can pick out when something goes amiss.
  • Style
  • Readability/Flow – No one likes a choppy story
  • Tone – keep with the same tone throughout unless it’s absolutely necessary to change in the middle.
  • Enjoyable topics – Readers all have different opinions, but you should have an idea of what your readers like so you can appeal to their interest and imaginations as you write.

 

Final Thoughts

Quality can deal with many things, but it’s how you perceive the thing in question that really counts. Find the quality and you will find the better in you and your business.

 

Plans for 2019

Plans for 2019

As I do every year, I like to tell you what I plan to get done during the next year. You can do the same below. I would love to see what your plans are and we can encourage each other to complete our goals for the year.

Let’s get to it… I’ll be breaking things up into different categories so it’s easier for me to get down.

Books

Series

Since I’ve come to my senses and realize that I need more eyes going through my stories before they are published, I’ve decided to re-launch my series.

They are getting a whole new look, run through with betas and hopefully an editor before they are launched again. All seven books in the series are written and are in need of read throughs, so if you are looking to start a new series and would like free books I’d love to have you on my beta reader team!! Click Here to get started!

Books

Stand Alone/Possible Series

I have two other stories I’ve been working on. One is a stand alone while the other may become a series. I haven’t decided yet. The stand alone is written and a bit longer so it needs to be read through yet.

The second one I’m still writing and should be complete by the end of January.

My main series will be revised and published as I get them done, hopefully one a month until they are complete and published. The other two will hopefully be complete by the end of August, so keep an eye open for those.

To Be Read

I have a list of books I’ve been trying to get through and my plan for 12 throughout the year worked out last year, so I’ll continue that this year. Have any book you would like to recommend? I’d love find new authors to read.

I also have been reading at least three that are non-genre or educational related, so I’ll also continue that for this year as well. With all the things I want to do this year, I don’t want to overdue myself like I did last year.

Short Stories

Here is something I would love to provide. I tried last year to provide some, but things got out of hand and I had to put it on the back burner. My plan for these is to bring one out every other month, so the first one should be out by the end of February! Check out my Patreon Page for more and to support me if you wish. Every little bit helps to provide awesome products to you, the reader!!

Beta Readers/Arc readers

Ok, so I have a few beta readers who have started reading through my stories and I’m getting responses, but I would like a few more. You would become an important part of my publishing journey as you are given my manuscript for free and in return you would give me your suggestions on how to make the story the best it can be.

Reading

If you’re interested in becoming a beta reader, please head Here and I’ll get you started! Thank you in advance to anyone willing to read and provide feedback! You are Awesome!!

I’m not quite ready for ARC readers, but hopefully soon. I’ll put out a call for those as the time comes, so keep a look out for that.

Editor

I’m in search for an editor. I’ll be honest, I haven’t done much here because we just did’t have the funds, but it’s essential so we’ll do what we can. Investments of the trade, right? It’ll pay off and we’ll move forward as we always have.

Edit

Know a good editor who might be interested in paranormal romances? I’d like to get an editor soon so I can provide the best books for you, my readers.

Communication

Blog

If you are on my newsletter, you know that I plan to up my blog posts to weekly instead of by-weekly. My desire is to bring you even more awesome content than I did last year. There will be bi-weekly posts on an inspirational word while the other bi-weeks will relate to a writing topic.

Have a word or writing topic you would like me to write about? Go ahead and leave me a comment and I’ll add it to my list! Tell me what you would like to see here!

Communication

Connections

Social media is a big platform for me and I’ve been posting daily to those I want to keep active on. I plan to become more active and provide you with more inspiration, discussions and the like. You can even leave me a question and I’ll answer them on my FB and Twitter pages. Want to see images of what I do or my five cats? Tell me what you would like to see and I’ll put them on my instagram.

I love connecting with others so let me know what you’d like to see and I’ll do what I can get you a peak into my life as a writer!

Business

New Products

So, I’ve been thinking of expanding my business to more than just novels. I would like to provide items that would be fun and helpful for writers and readers alike.

I have some digital products in mind as well as physical products. I’ll be doing an extra blog post on those as they become available. Expect the first one near the end of January and throughout the year. Right now I have four planned, with more to come as the year goes by. If you want to be notified when all that is happening, you can sign up for my newsletter HERE!

Business Products

Video

Unfortunately, this is still in the works and I’m hoping to get it up and running with regular videos as soon as possible. I plan to have it going by the end of March.

I know some like video better than reading a blog, so I would like to provide more ways to connect with you as readers than just written words. Again, I’ll let you know when that becomes available!

Other Items

Educational

Every year I try to complete a few education classes, courses, books that will help me to improve my writing and skills. This year is no different. So my plans for this year are to complete three as I did last year. If I’m able to fit more, I will.

Guitar

Art/Music

Two of the things I love, but haven’t planned the time to do is draw and play my guitars. These are the two things that get pushed to the back while I’m focused on everything else. This year, I plan to fit them in, even if it’s just an hour on the weekends.

Final Thoughts

So, now that I’ve told you what my plans are, what do you have planned? Do you think I’ve planned too much?

Let me know what you have planned for 2019 and we can keep each other encouraged and motivated as we journey though the year!

Patreon Benefits

Patreon Benefits For Authors and Writers

Nothing is better for Authors and writers than gaining the support of their readers. Whether that is liking posts, reading their books, writing reviews, critiquing their work and more. Let’s talk about another platform that you could be utilizing to support your favorite writer, author or creative entrepreneur. Yep, I’m talking about Patreon! I’ve noticed that quite a few artists and creatives have begun to use Patreon for various reasons:

Communication ~

As with blogs, social media and websites Patreon connects with them all to offer another platform to communicate with fans, readers and audiences from all over.
  • Not only do they provide a way to keep readers up to date with posts, it also allows you to create additional content for those that become a patreon of your page.
  • Connect your website and social media sites to provide more ways to find you and what you are posting.
  • One thing that I love about this site it the fact that you can provide an Intro Video, giving your readers, fans and audiences a face and personality to go along with the person they are supporting.
  • There is the ability to provide additional information with adding graphics and video into your posts.

Community ~

Community is an important part of any creatives repertoire. With Patreon you can build a community with others just as amazing as you!
  • Like, comment, follow and support others like-minded creatives who love the same things as you
  • Or ones who don’t! Inspiration comes from everywhere
  • Communicate with creatives in your field such as graphic designers, cover artists, marketers and more!
  • There is no limit when you are surrounded by others who are working toward a similar goal.

Linking ~

Patreon, like many other sites allow you to connect to your other sites for better conversion rates and communication.
  • Link your website (and don’t forget to add that on your posts along with your author page)
  • Link your social media (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Twitch for gamers)
  • Don’t forget you can add links in any of your posts!

Patreon Extras ~

Man, did I forget to mention the rewards… and more?
  • If you visit most patreon pages, the right hand side is a column of rewards for becoming a patreon member. You could receive anything from Patreon Only posts to free goodies and more!
  • Also, if you are an Author, you can offer a reward section for early releases or sneak peeks of your work!
  • There are many things to provide as rewards
    • Sneak peeks
    • ARC
    • Short stories
    • Author Merchandise/Swag
    • Coupons/Discounts
    • And more!
If you are thinking of starting a Patreon page (or supporting a journeying author) check out Patreon or My Patreon page to find out more.

My 2018 Goals

It’s getting to be the end of the year and I’ve been working on plans for next year.

While thinking of what I really wanted to do with my business and how I want to move forward with my books, I find myself realizing that my goals from last year were… well, dull. Though they fit my business there was really no depth to them and to the business itself. If I want to make writing my career, I need to be more specific and defined with my goals for my business and my books.

My thoughts here are to keep myself accountable to my goals and my business by publishing them for others to witness. I did come a tad short from my goals last year as my fourth book will be published by the end of January. I realized I pushed myself to do to much without a team to keep me focused and motivated as far as my business is concerned. So without further jabbering from me, here are my goals for 2018.

Books

Publish 3 Novels by 12/31

  • Though my goal last year was to publish four books, I have written four, but will be unable to complete the last as the holidays and the need for much required rest has taken presidents since I have stretched myself further than I can go within the last few weeks. So for 2018 I have reduced my number of published novels by one to give myself the needed rejuvenation required to keep motivated and productive throughout the year.

Read 12 Books in Genre by 12/31

  • With keeping up with reading I have surpassed my goal for this year and will repeat it for next year to keep the inspiration and imagination flowing. What better way to stay creative that to read those who have come before you?

Read 6 Books NOT in Genre by 12/31

  • This I have not kept up with this year, though I have read a few books not on my genre. I intend to keep reading so that my creativity is at it’s max for Inspiration as well as continued education on the industry.

Organize a group of Beta readers for my books by 4/30

  • There are some parts of being an author that I have really slacked on and wish to remedy as soon as I’m able. This area would be one of them. I plan to gather a dedicated group of people who would like to receive ARC of my book to read and reply with suggestions. I am offering this to anyone interested, and you could be the first. Click HERE to let me know you are interested.

Find an Editor I connect with by 6/30

  • Here is another that I am in need of. I understand the importance of hiring a professional editor and funds have not been enough to accommodate this need. My hope is to remedy that this year and hire a professional editor to edit my books to create a better reading experience for my readers.

Organize a Critique Group who enjoys my genre and will give productive feedback by 3/31

  • Another area that has been lacking this year. I would like to find like-minded people interested in the same Genre to participate in a critique exchange for our stories. Here is another opportunity to find a critique partner. Click HERE to find out more.

Create and Implement Street and Review Team for Books by 4/30

  • One more item to participate in: My plan is to create a Street Team and Review Team for my Novels as they become available. If you would like to be a part of that when the time comes, Click HERE!

Communication

Post 26 Blog Posts Every Other Week in 2018

  • My goal is to provide you, the reader with insightful and useful information throughout the year. Have a topic you would like me to elaborate on? Comment below and I will add it to my list!

Be More Communicative on Social Media and Online: Comment on Posts and in forums, Post advice, comments, thoughts and questions on social Media.

  • Another goal is to provide more communication with you, my readers; with advice, encouragement, and more.

Business

I’ll keep these as a list as they don’t nee much explanation:

Grow Business by 25% by 12/31

Create New Products and Useful Printables for Readers and Writers – 2 by 12/31

Start Using Video in Marketing by 6/30

Create/Participate in 2 Big Events for Readers: Haha, I have thoughts, but what’s the fun in ruining the surprise here! 😉

Create 100 total items for store by 1/31 and continue with 5 more per month after January. Visit my store, FictionJourneys!

Try out New list of Marketing Ideas and record results.

Revamp Webpage and Pages by 3/30

Extras/Other

What better way to keep up with your skill than to lean more about it?

Complete 3 Educational Courses by 12/31

Schedule Time to Work on Drawing and Take Art Classes (Once a Week)

How About You?

What are your goals for 2018? 

What things do you want to get done this year? Care to share to keep each other accountable? I’d love to read what your thoughts are. Comment below!

Planning for 2018

No affiliate links or bribes were accepted while planning or writing of this post. All opinions and thoughts expressed are solely those of the author from their experience.

This year has been a year of learning, change, forging on over mountains with determination and falling to valleys of procrastination. With the year a few months to a close, I have decided to begin planning 2018 sooner rather than later.

With my form of planning and always wanting the shiny new ‘thing’, I decided shortly into the year to go back to some programs and implement others that have worked well for me the last few months.

Planning Start

First of all, I’ve signed up to receive a lot of email newsletters that most I probably don’t need, but some stood out and one I took to heart, by Meera Kothand. In her Plan Intensive One Week Challenge, she goes through steps to organize your thoughts, plan out your goals and steps to reach those goals and scheduling them into your planner so you can keep track and move forward toward your business/personal goals. Though I worked through it in more than a week, I found it massively enlightening for my goals and where I wanted to see my business in 2018.

What I love about Meera is the fact that you can reply to any of her emails, ask her questions and she will get back to you. I’ve personally asked her questions while going through her Plan Intensive Challenge and she responded within manner of hours to a day or two later.  To find out more about her challenge click here.

With that being said though I have my books, emails, blogs, etc planned. Now I just needed somewhere to keep everything…

Software Implemented

Last year I mentioned a few apps. On called Pad 3, which I still use for notes, but after a while I realized I was just not the type of person to commit to writing everything out even on my Ipad all the time and for me there was never enough space in the calendars to keep things nice and orderly. The other was 17Hats. I liked this one well enough too, but I couldn’t quite get the hang of it and connect everyone to it that’s on my team.

Asana

Solution: I worked for a company that shall remain unnamed and we used a program called Asana for tasks and communication. As much as I hated the thought of using a program I had used while working for a place I didn’t enjoy. I found myself coming back to it. To my surprise, it has saved my life and my business. The layout is completely different from when I used it back then. It allows me to create different projects with different board within the projects for different tasks or just use a task list. I can also connect my team up to five members for free and haven’t had a need for the upgrade so that is always a plus.

I have even created projects for my personal, home and my kids homeschool to keep all my tasks all in one place and they are in separate projects so they don’t feel like any of them are overtaking or interfering with another. Though this program does have a calendar I do take the time to add my blog posts to my desktop calendar to keep them updated regularly.

Planner

I also keep a planner that I update daily as well as a journal I try my best to write in daily. The planner is handmade by me and the pages were printed until I needed toner and then decided to just draw out the pages so I wasn’t spending $90 plus for a toner cartridge when we plan to get a new printer anyway. As I mentioned before, I feel it is a waste of time to site and write out every tiny detail, but I’ve managed to make my pages simple enough to be copiable within a few moments.

Within my planner I have a section for Daily, Weekly, Monthly, and Yearly tasks, notes and whatever else I want in there. The one thing I love about my planner is that I created tabs for business items I wanted to keep with me. For my books I created a tab and within it I have notes on characters, settings, plots, and a short outline so I alway have it with me even if I decide to write instead of working on a computer. Another section keeps my blog plans as well as my email newsletter plans and another tab just for compiling from Scrivener so I remember how I want my books compiled when I go to publish them. This is the one thing I am really glad I created myself as it is updated daily and everything is in one place for me to view whenever necessary.

YNAB

Another app we invested in is YNAB, which I have spoken about before and seriously if you are looking to get your finances in order. This is the app you need. It has taken us almost three months to get the system down, but it is completely worth it. Right now my husband and I use it for our personal finances, but I have deeply considered using it for business since you can create more than one budget! It does have a price of $50 a year and they allow a free 34 day free trial.

I will be trying out this program next year for my business finances, so I will let you know how that goes as things progress.

How about you? Have you started planning for next year? How are your plans going if you are? Drop a comment, I would love to see what you use and how you plan your year!

Lessons Learned

You Live, You Learn… Lessons Learned this Year

Since the end of the year is coming faster than we would like, I thought I would let you all know what lessons I’ve learn this year.

They say you learn something new every day, whether it’s something small or something big and you may not realize you did learn anything, but I bet you did.

There are no affiliate links contained within this post. All opinions are my own and I provide the links to the curious and the readers who are looking to find something helpful within their lives and businesses. 

Below are some areas of my life and what I learned this past year within those areas:

Home

Home is where the heart is… it’s also where my children are, my bills, and all the problems that come with owning a home…

Family

Family is everything. Not that I didn’t already know that, but a reminder is sometimes needed when you are so busy time flies before you sat down to enjoy time with those you love. The balance between work, home, and life can be difficult, but is essential to provide the necessary attention to each. I’ve learned that I can write in the morning or evening. At first I thought my focus was only good in the early morning, but lately to adjust to schedules, I’ve found I can write in the evening. (Especially when I have virtual write-ins to help such as WordNerds) I’ll play one of their many virtual write-ins to keep me focused and get as many words down as I can! I love it!!

Kids

I’ve found that my kids will surprise me at every turn. It’s amazing what you will learn and notice when you take the time to watch, listen and participate in what your children are up too. Their generosity, creativity and sometimes their attitudes astound me. I love playing games with my children and discovering what they learned from their studies or everyday life. It really is amazing… and entertaining!

Home

When you own your own home, you never know what will go next. (And that goes for cars as well.) Our home is quite old and we originally planned to fix it up and bring back the old charm of the building, but we have been here for over nine years and we have painted the kitchen twice, replaced a few of the cabinets and redid the kitchen floor. Some days I feel like everything is going wrong with our home, but really, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Owning our home has taught us so much about loans, our finances and what is needed in maintaining it, it has become a great lesson for our children as well as they see what we go through with owning it.

Business

To make money… What money?

Marketing

The one thing you need, but it the one thing you never want to do.

Ads

We, and when I say we, I mean my husband and I, have tried working with ads (Facebook/Amazon), but they only time we saw any difference was when we invested quite a bit of money. Now, we did do research before creating the ads and posting them. It’s something we can look into when we are better established, but as for now we are going to stick with other forms of marketing such as my text topic.

Email

Though this one has been really hard for me to start, get subscribers and then provide great content that I put it off for so long. I finally created a giveaway to gain subscribers and promote my books and store items. Now I need to continue to send great content and that is my problem, but don’t worry, I’m creating a schedule to keep you all up to date on everything! Plans are great!!

Store

One of my newest additions to my products is my new online store. There you can find book, series, and character related items to fill your home, your hearts and your lives. I am so looking forward to adding new items as books are released, along with any other book related item I believe will improve your day, lives and homes!! You can check it out HERE!

Others/Extras

I am really excited about this one, I have some thoughts on another product for you to love and enjoy. So excited that I will be keeping this one to myself and will announce it when the time is right, but know that I am working on it and hope to get it out as soon as possible. Want to get updates on this and other things happening over here? Sign up for updates HERE!!

New Programs

The joy of the new thing(S)

Mailerlite

I just stumbled onto this one and right now I am loving it. This email service provider and with all the features at a lower cost, I couldn’t be happier. I love the drag and drop feature, as well as creating landing pages right from the same software. I love that everything is in one place. Want to check it out? Click Here!

Scrivener

Scrivener is a program I have had for over a year, but I have to say it is my most used software for my business. It does take a little bit of time to get used to, but I won’t use anything else. I love the project targets where it will keep track of word count, characters, or pages within a document. The ease of moving chapters and scenes if fantastic and I can set targets for each scene and chapter if I like. There is so much you can do with his software. I love it!!

Both

Finances

YNAB (You Need A Budget)

I have to give credit to my sister Tamara for introducing this program to me. This one definitely took some time getting used to, but we are really amazed by it. It’s like having envelopes to place money into for each category (or bill, account, and extras – like vacation) and save money by adding to each when you get paid. There are an array of tutorials online that I have fully taken advantage of while learning about this program. One thing I like is that I can create more than one budget, so I can create one for our personal account and another for my business all on the same software. At $50 a year we found it completely worth the investment. Learn more about it HERE!

Patience

Something we can all use more of…

Writing/Re-writing

I’ve come to realize that like most new authors that it takes patience when writing or re-writing a book. I’ve now decided to do a full re-write on two of my books, but feel it is totally necessary for the plot of the stories. So, now I’m writing three books to keep up with my series. I dislike the thought of having to re-write books. Sometimes it is necessary to make the story the best it can be.

Editing

Editing my own books it one of the most tedious tasks for me and takes me so long to get through. I realize it will take time now after going through it three – four times  and it has taught me to be patient even with myself as I work through plot holes, consistency and other factors.

Publishing

Publishing… when I first published my books, went so well. It was amazing really. Then when I decided to redo one of my covers and resubmit it, I ran into a snag getting it republished to Ibooks which rejected it. Hence the need for a slight re-write on that book. I guess when I started I didn’t pay attention to submission guidelines for the distribution I wanted. I’ve learned to keep a copy of guidelines close at hand to be sure my books don’t violate them. In this case I had to have someone tell me exactly what the problem was so I could fix it and resubmit it. It will be back up on Ibooks soon!

Organization

One of the things I really struggled with was finding the right planner and though I am a very creative person I didn’t want to take time to create my own. Well, guess what? I ended up doing just that. I figured if I wanted a planner that worked for me in my home and business I had to create the darn thing myself. It’s quite simple but has all the things I feel are important to my home/personal and business all in one place.

Accountability

When I first started writing fifteen years ago, I had no way to create accountability. I would write off and on and it became more of a hobby than a career choice. Creating a plan and sticking to it has become a part of my daily routine. I have a calendar with my blog posts, writing fun topics, writing/business deadlines in one place so I can check them off and get notified when something has become late. It’s a great feeling to stay up to date and not fall behind.

Comfort Zone

Man, if I could get out of my comfort zone, things would be soooo much better and easier. With anything else, this area is getting better, slowly, but it is getting better. I’ve branched out and my goals for next year are to step out even further. We shall see how well I adjust to that come next year. As for this year, I have made some major steps forward with communication with my readers and others. With accountability, my goals, projects and everything else is put into my calendar with due dates and deadlines. I feel pretty good for next year!

I’m sure there is so much more that I have learned this year, but I didn’t want to bore you with a novel on that. What have you learned from this year? I would love to hear from you!!