The 7 Strategies to Get Focused

Are you forging ahead on purpose to create a life that leads to success? Have you started the process? Do you envision success? Are you determined to win?

Get FOCUSED: 7 Strategies to get

F- Forge Ahead, O- On Purpose, C- Create Your Life, U- Until You Succeed, S- Start Today, E- Envision Success, D- Determine to Win

Are you forging ahead on purpose to create a life that leads to success? Have you started the process? Do you envision success? Are you determined to win?

Forge Ahead

How do you “forge ahead?” You take steps-baby steps. You know how a baby does it. You’ve seen how a baby maneuvers around. Think about it. The baby doesn’t stop. They keep on going, forging ahead; no matter what it is they are trying to do, whether it is crawling, walking, climbing, etc. They are always maneuvering, trying to find a way. This is what we have to do. We have to keep moving forward no matter the obstacles that cross our path.

On Purpose

Let me ask you a question, “What is your purpose?” What are you actually doing in your life on purpose today? If you are doing nothing on purpose, what’s the point of your life? Think about it. You were created and are here for a reason- some sort of purpose, right? The fact that you are alive and are reading this article is a sign that you have a purpose to fulfill. You need to ask yourself, “Why am I still here?” If you have no purpose, find one.

Create Your Life

What does it mean to create your life? How magnificent that would be you are perhaps telling yourself. You may be wondering, “How do I even begin to do that?” Like most of us, we have had some setbacks. Some of us have had more setbacks than others. But, truth be told, we can learn to be creative. We have brains for that. Take some time and just think–meditate on something that you can create. The possibilities are endless.

Until You Succeed

What does it take to succeed? Really, all it takes is telling yourself this simple phrase, “I will-until!” Let’s be honest. You really have no choice. At least no viable, acceptable one. Think about someone you know who has had success in one arena or another. Did they quit? Maybe at times, but they didn’t give up! It’s all in the mind. That is where success begins.

Start Today

When do you start to focus? Today! Why is this so important? Well, we all know tomorrow NEVER COMES! If you fail to start today, guess what? Chances are you will continue to put off your life–to procrastinate. Some people are living their lives in perpetual procrastination. They, literally, have a daily excuse. Find a way not to procrastinate your life away.

Envision Success

Do you “see” yourself accomplishing something? This is what you must do. Seeing is believing. If you don’t, won’t, or can’t envision success, you won’t get it. This “seeing” is a continuous, ongoing process. Remember what I said earlier about baby steps? That concept applies here as well. Nothing is accomplished in a day. More than likely getting to your successful place will most likely take weeks, months, even years.

Determine to Win

This is where keen determination comes in. All you need is a made-up mind. Just do IT. It may sound cliché, but being determined to win is what you need. What is your “it?” Write some ideas down. Take the time to do it now. Nothing can bring you more joy than having a plan and following through on it.

Since you woke up this morning that means you have another opportunity, another chance to get and keep a clear, determined focus. So, do it. Forge ahead, on purpose, create your life, until you succeed, and START NOW!

Guest post by Author Janice Almond

Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult Entertainment

Have you ever been shocked by the content of a book, movie, or television show?

Especially as parents, many of us have expressed concern about what our children and grandchildren are exposed to at what ages. With respect to literature, one way that publishers and book reviewers describe a story is by labeling it as Young Adult (YA, adolescent), New Adult (NA, college-aged), or Adult based on the ages of the primary characters. This article is a critique of the strict application of that practice, and touches upon issues related to maturity rating based upon violent and sexual content. It has already been well established that popular YA novels are rife with profanity. http://www.slj.com/2012/05/research/ya-books-rife-with-profanity-study-finds/

Many adult readers remember the infamous line screamed by a thirteen year old in The Exorcist: “…Your mother sucks cocks in Hell….” — a line that’s hard to forget. The movie was rated age 16+ but tons of younger kids read the book and watched the movie. The adolescent insult in ET: “penis breath” is also unforgettable. Elliot was ten years old when he insulted his brother by revealing his awareness of oral sex, about which his mother didn’t blink an eye. This story was vigorously consumed by appreciative YA and younger audiences. I remember being personally shocked when I watched a cartoon X-Ray of a gerbil climbing within a gay teacher’s rectum on South Park as he had orgasms on TV. This show is highly popular among kids, as were some of the sexual puns and potty humor on the Beavis and Butthead show. Age of the primary characters may not always be descriptive of maturing rating, whether the content will take us too far outside of our comfort zones, or whether it is appropriate for children.

Another strategy for defining maturity ratings that has been applied relates to violent content. I’m not sure how it happened, but, ironically, some of the most violent content in the marketplace now appears to be within YA novels and video games for kids. One of the bloodiest scenes that I’ve ever read was in a book that I was assigned to review through a Goodreads program. It was a labeled to be YA vampire story but was filled with violence, teenage angst that bordered on soft pornography, and included substance abuse. I won’t mention its title because my review was a low rating, but that book caused me to drop out of the Goodreads program and vow to avoid reading YA novels without fully checking them out first. At age sixty-five, I guess that I’m just not mature enough to handle the violence in some young adult literature.

Now let’s get to the nasty — sexual content about which I feel comfortably numb. Much more so than violent content, parental guidance ratings appear to be related to sex. Of course, any person of any age who has access to the internet could watch hardcore porn given an interest. Still, laws that restrict access are a positive symbolism.

If one takes sexual content down a notch from eroticism, romance literature appears to be highly popular, including with teens. Personally, I love a good Nora Roberts story but I usually skip past the kissy/kissy scenes. This type of entertainment appears to especially target young adult and new adult audiences when genre is based on the ages of the primary characters, i.e., NA for college-aged kids.

I suppose that there could be negative impacts of exposing children to romance novels, but nobody seems concerned enough to study such a proposition, especially since most people experience their first romantic crush at age five or six. http://www.parents.com/kids/development/friends/how-to-handle-your-childs-first-crush/. Most people report falling in love for the first time at age fifteen or sixteen.http://www.bustle.com/articles/160133-this-is-when-most-people-fall-in-love-for-the-first-time

At the same time, many people draw a very heavy line between romantic love and sexual content of entertainment. Sexual content nevertheless persists, has invaded venues in some of the least likely places. For example, there may be more comedic sexual innuendos in a half-hour of the Family Feud TV show than within the entirely of most novels considered to have been written for an adult audience because of sexual content. Sitcoms like 2 Broke Girls and The Big Bang Theory, and crime dramas like Bones, are full of sexual content.

With respect to genre confusion, it appears to me that maturity rating could be applied by producers, editors and reviewers by weighing content and target audiences outside of simply the age of the characters or the violent and sexual content of the works. Some people will never be mature enough to “get” the satire of some stories, and some children are much more astute about their worlds than many parents want to believe. Personally, I’m going to try and ignore genre classification as I decide what entertainments to consume during the short period of time that humans are allotted. From now on, I vow to read reviews in their entirety. I would hate to miss something great because of a label.

Personally, I decided to implement a conservative interpretation of community standards with classification of my debut novel, Rarity from the Hollow. Although most of the profanity used by two characters in the story is mild colloquialism, and there are no actual sex scenes, the social commentary, satire, and political parody seem to fit mature readers. It also has much more literary content than found in most action driven YA stories. So, I call my novel a children’s story, for adults. It is available on Amazon if you would like to check it out. Your comments about the advantages and disadvantages of labeling a book as one for adults vs. young adults are welcome.

This post is contributed as Guest Post by Robert Eggleton.

You Mean Little Old Me? 14 Secrets of Writing Revealed

One lesson coming home to me more clearly every day is the importance of developing and nurturing a strong support system of other writers, to learn from their vast pool of experience and knowledge.

It’s pretty exciting to hear myself say, “I’m an author!” while I hand someone my business card. Can it actually be true? Who gave me such an illustrious title, anyway? Maybe it happened once I printed the cards; in any event it crept up on me. But I like it, it’s new, and it’s fun. I think.

I began writing for pure recreation, and to fill my retirement. It should still be fun!

Now, however, the question has been raised about a writer’s responsibilities, and that has sent my brain into a sort of frenzied overdrive. And dimly, as if emerging through the mist on the edge of a forest, some sobering facts are coming into focus. I do take my writing seriously, and I do take responsibility for what I write! I admit that came as a revelation of sorts, and to describe those duties and obligations throws me another challenge, but it’s one that I wish to embark upon, even if only for my own satisfaction.

One lesson coming home to me more clearly every day is the importance of developing and nurturing a strong support system of other writers, to learn from their vast pool of experience and knowledge. I’ve found a real gold mine in RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB. This group, often seen in social media as #RRBC, has the largest membership, most impressive management and varied activities of any similar groups or organizations I’ve come across to date. This is the website where you can sign up: Click Here

As for the responsibilities of authors, the FIRST thought that springs to mind is that a writer must capture the reader’s interest from the first sentence, or at least the first page. SECONDLY, the plot needs to develop with enough speed to stay fascinating, but not so quickly as to lose a poor hapless reader’s grasp of what is happening.

THIRD item, and none of this is necessarily in order of importance, every book has to be believable. That applies even to the wildest fantasy; your readers must be able to feel the possibility of the tale actually happening, somewhere, sometime.

Number FOUR any story with a semblance of normal human existence, whether it be romance or thriller, is better if supported by real facts, even in passing. If you are in London get some fog in there, Big Ben bonging the hour, or taxis.

Also, so FIFTH condition if you’re still counting, would be characters who seem alive, feel real, and have sensible conversations that sound spontaneous and natural. And since reading is a form of entertainment, the added ingredients to present a full picture can include humour, satire, sarcasm, irony and a whole palette of analogies, descriptions, colour and pathos of every kind. Thus we have reached the SIXTH item for our list of responsibilities: paint the picture, tell the story, and never, never let it be a recitation of events that are as dull as dishwater.

SEVEN: If one is writing non-fiction, there is a monumental burden of responsibility. Hours beyond hours of intense digging for truth, facts, or opinions, and then listing a comprehensive bibliography all become necessary if a reader is going to take it seriously. In many cases, writers of non-fiction are very highly educated in the special field they may be writing about, another form of responsibility accepted and acted upon. Non-fiction will never by my forte. I’m far too lazy!

How responsible do I, as a writer of children’s books, have to be? I can’t profess to making a conscious or conscientious choice, but I feel I’ve balanced some nature facts with the whimsy of a child’s imagination (EIGHT). The Wise Old Owl being a mentor and friend to Shelby is one digression. Out there in nature that Owl would simply eat Shelby up for a tidy snack between meals. To defend this far-fetched relationship I argue poetic license (NINE). Where would the fun be without some ideas that defy Mother Nature? Also by portraying such a kindly-uncle figure I hope to reinforce in children the value of seeking and following the good advice and loving support offered by friends, family and teachers (TEN).

I do feel it’s important to include at least one unfriendly confrontation (ELEVEN), so I created a mean crow who bullies Shelby and nearly knocks him off a pole, at a crucial time during a rush for safety while crossing a road. Life isn’t all peaches and cream as Shelby may have hoped.

Another point of responsibility is to have the story take off and arch toward a finale (TWELVE). This happens in each story in my first book, ‘The Complete Adventures of SHELBY F. SQUIRREL and Friends’, a series of separate tales. But at the same time, during the 24 stories there is a larger arch that pulls us along, following Shelby as he stumbles and trips his way through 2 years of learning experiences that leave him considerably more grown up than in Chapter One, ‘SHELBY’S FLYING LESSON’. In my second book, ‘The Great FOREST CAPER’, the arch builds all the way through to a finale in the last chapter.

I would be hugely remiss to omit mention of correct spelling, proper grammar, and precise punctuation. Dreary as it may seem, that’s what makes a good book readable. Oops, THIRTEEN.

Oh, and by the way, this long (and I hope not-too-boring) list is really based on my experiences as a reader. The duties and/or responsibilities required for any job are seldom observed or analyzed by the worker, but are always clear as crystal to the boss and the customers. Maybe we should call this one FOURTEEN for good luck!

Eleanor Lawrie, Sept 27, 2016
@eleanorlawrie1

This post is contributed by Author Eleanor Lawrie (@eleanorlawrie1)

WRITING — HOBBY, PROFESSION or THERAPY?

My Writing Therapy by Author Tony Thorne MBE‏ – An author’s account of finally retiring as a prolific writer of near future speculative novels and short stories.

An author’s account of his hard way up, from SciFi fan and fan magazine editor, to Design Engineering Business Executive, Software Consultant, and finally retirement as a prolific writer of near future speculative novels and short stories.

In the last decade, things have changed dramatically in the writing and publishing business, and will never be the same again. Anybody, perhaps almost everybody nowadays with any kind of computer seems to be having a go at it! Nowadays then, to some agents and acquisition editors, it must seem that there are far more writers around today than there are readers. Why do they do it? The irresistible lure of possibly doing another Harry Potter?

Perhaps things have become an amateur’s dream of a preferable alternative to a normal occupation? Maybe they’re making it an exercise in self-fulfilment too, a way to express and analyze their feelings about the world. Where they fear it’s going, and the urge to communicate about it to anyone who’ll listen, or rather read. Could be!

Perhaps it’s a therapeutic exercise?

Well, there are easier ways to relieve one’s feelings of frustration when it comes to requiring therapy. You could try beating up your partner… but that can be very expensive, especially in America. In some countries I believe you can buy little clay idols, horribly hideous to behold. With just a little imagination a suitable one of them can be identified with the galling irritation of the moment. Rage and indignation does the rest. Trials and tribulations presumably scatter in the breeze with the dust of the thing as it crumbles in your fist, or shatters under your heel.
Well, I’ve no doubt it works for some people, but if you lead a very frustrating life, it might soon get to be expensive. However, there are more economic ways to relieve one’s feelings when the need for therapy arises. Years ago, to become your own psychiatrist, the minimum you needed was pencil and paper.

Nowadays, a personal laptop, or tablet… or even a smart phone is more convenient, and most of us have one nowadays…or something similar. Everywhere can become a couch and it’s more socially acceptable than talking to yourself… or taking it out on your partner, which, as I already mentioned, can be very expensive.

So, put it all down then…scribble or tap away, unbutton your creative belt and let everything hang out. Develop your expressive urges and have your characters tell your conscience how you feel. Above all be honest with yourself, even if it hurts. It often does, and I should know…this is the voice of experience.

The nearer I got to the top of the heap, in my business profession the more I longed to release my over-pressurized feelings, throw away my collection of emotion-screening masks, insult all the customers, turn my order book in for an axe and hack away at the plastic feet of all the false idols I seemed to be worshiping. I felt disillusion and contempt for the commercial rat-race, and the way it submerged my appreciation of the simpler things in life. I resented the never-ending battle, that constantly seemed necessary, to just stay level, let alone to expand further, and I was filled with remorse at the neglect of my home-life and family. All the time you see my conscience was wearing me down. It refused to believe my contrived excuses and justification for what I was doing. I eventually knew I needed some kind of therapy, so I started writing again.

I should mention that back in the fifties I wrote and sold a few SciFi tales, as an avid Science Fiction fan and participated in several conventions. My rapidly expanding business life however, soon put a stop to those fascinating activities. Eventually in the late seventies I decided it was time to retire from my professional executive life, and went to work for myself as a software consultant. The problem with that was the way it soon took up all of my time again, so in my early eighties I gave it all up and finally retired.

Since then I have only indulged in writing, editing and promoting my speculative fiction output. Now of course, I am ruefully finding the latter, the essential marketing requirement, seems to take up more and more of my time than the writing does. But to continue…

The smaller magazines and genre websites began to take my work, and still do, and I’ve also won a few competitions, and received a couple of awards. Altogether I’ve published over ten collections of speculative stories from macabre tales to science fiction and even some humor. I’ve also had stories published in about nine anthologies in America. My first novel, Points of View, was published in 2012 by Eternal Press in California. In 2015 they were taken over by Caliburn Press in Madison. Wisconsin. The first sequel will be published by them around December 2016. They want the second one too, which I have just completed. They have also acquired my latest collection of quirky macabre stories SPECULATIVE TALES..!

In 2014, with my own self-publishing imprint, Etcetera Press, I self-published my largest book, 358 pages of THE BEST OF THE TENERIFE TALL TALES, selected from my earlier award winning trilogy, which has that most generous introduction by the late legendary, American SciFi author Harry Harrison. We met up in 2007 at a convention in Copenhagen, and he later visited me for a most illuminating week in Tenerife, Spain where my wife and I were on vacation.

He liked my stories, and gave me a glowing introduction to use with one collection, but said I really had to write a novel if I seriously wanted to get anywhere. So that I did, as already described earlier, and now things are progressing well. My very latest effort has been to self-publish an analysis of the coming Artificial Intelligence revolution, in a book entitled, THE SINGULARITY IS COMING. It has become my best selling title. Most people I talk to have never heard of the phenomenon, and yet many scientists and other experts believe it will arrive in less than a decade and change all out lives completely. If you don’t yet know about it you should… and you know how to find out about it, don’t you?

Last October it was acquired by the IT Books Division of the Chinese Information Ministry Publisher, PTPress in Bejing. for publication in simplified Chinese eBook, hardback, and paperback versions, scheduled for release in June 2016… and it was! So how did that wonderful breakthrough come about? Their Publishing Manager simply found me while searching through the Internet and took it from there. In his own words, “I wanted a follow up to Ray Kurzweil’s book and your book is concise and easy to understand.”
So my own simple secret of success can be revealed as get yourself featured on the Internet, everywhere and as often as you can.

Make sure your name and your essential website URL appear whenever a potential reader enters anything relevant in the search entry box on any browser. Inexpensive experts waiting for you on that remarkable website www.fiverr.com can provide all the facilities and the opportunities you need to achieve that objective. (Yes, it does have two letter “r”s at the end). When you have done all you can, check your website regularly, add anything new, and keep it updated and ongoing, but above all… be patient!

To sum up now, my therapy has brought me close to understanding that if you don’t have the time to be a perfectionist, there can be contentment in accepting adequacy, defined perhaps as the acceptable limit of one’s abilities. I also suspect that the trick is to never give up until you get as far as you truly believe you can, or maybe stop just before that.

The best 10 tools that simplify the life of a freelance writer

There are many tools that can help you achieve your goals. They simplify the working process of any writer and allow him to be more productive.

The best 10 tools that simplify the life of a freelance writer

If you want to be a good freelance writer and produce only qualitative texts, you should know that this task is quite difficult. Nevertheless, there are many tools that can help you achieve your goals. They simplify the working process of any writer and allow him to be more productive. In this review, we are going to discuss 10 tools that help writers do their work.

  1.     Applications for Typing

Each writer understands that the salary fully depends on the way how fast he types. Sometimes, deadlines are short and one should cope with the task in several hours. That is why you have to learn to type rapidly. There are many tools that can help you boost up the typing speed, like Keybr or TypingWeb. These are free typing tutorials.

  1.     Dictionaries

Even if you are not going to write content in other languages, it doesn’t mean that you will not need the dictionary. Professionally written content must correspond to several requirements. First, you should use synonyms to the words that are repeated in your text for several times. In this case, you will need Thesaurus – the best dictionary of synonyms. In some instances, you will be made to use specific terminology. So, dictionaries are always needed.

  1.     Writing Software

These days, there are plenty of programs for typing texts. The choice fully depends on the preferences of a writer. However, Microsoft Office Word is the most widely used program. There are some apps that are offered for free. Some of them you need to buy and install onto your computer. Before downloading the software, you need to find out whether this app complies with your demands and has a set of required features.

  1.     A Quote Highlighter

This tool is useful for those writers, who work for essay writing companies. They are obliged to write dissertation papers or essays on a regular basis. Quote Highlighters save your time greatly. When you write a paper, you just need to indicate the source. The program will do the rest on its own. The most popular one is Liner. However, you need to choose the one, which corresponds to your requirements.

  1.     A Plagiarism Checker.

These days this criterion is of prime importance and each freelance author knows this. Plagiarism detecting software is a must-have tool. You cannot send an article, review or essay to the client before you check it via these programs. Besides, it is impossible to send a plagiarized article. Nowadays, there are many plagiarism checkers. Some of them require installation on your computer; some of them check texts online. For example, you may use Noplag.com. This is a reliable online plagiarism checker with an extensive database and many useful features to make the writing process easier.

  1.     A Time Management Tool.

This tool helps writers to manage their time properly. Sometimes, you are too busy and do not know whether you can cope with the task on time or not. A time management tool will help you spare your working time properly. There are many apps for time management. Just choose the one you like most of all. The most popular one is Evernote or Focus booster. You can also use free Book promotion services of Shout my book to save some more time.

  1.     A Readability Checker.

If your goal is to create an interesting and easy-to-read article, a readability checker will help you do this. Such apps check your content and will offer you the suggestions concerning the way how it should look like. Surfing around the web, you will stumble upon many tools measuring text readability. For instance, you may defer to the services of Online-Utility.org – the tool which will calculate readability for free.

  1.     A Grammar Checker.

This is the most important tool for each writer. You may be a very experienced writer, but everyone can make mistakes. Nobody is perfect. Misprints frequently happen (especially when you are in a hurry). A grammar checker will help you find mistakes and correct them. Some apps are offered for free, but some of them oblige you to buy a subscription.

  1.     A Word Counter.

This tool allows writers to orient in the size of their paper. If you write your article using Microsoft Word, you will find there a word counter. If you use the other program for writing, you should find out whether there is this feature.

  1. Calculation tool.

When it comes to getting a salary, each writer will calculate the payment for several times. Everyone likes to calculate money. The simplest tool to calculate your salary is Excel or calculator on your laptop or mobile device.