Blog, New Year's Resolutions

My New Year’s Resolution…

…is to get down to 9 stone 7lb by my next birthday, which is in May.

Sad to say, those fine words were 2018’s New Year Resolution, too. And 2017, and….well, you can guess the rest. 

Each year I make the same vow. I always fall off the wagon, on or around January 12th. But in 2019 things are going to be different.

All that’s missing is the cake…

It’s easy to be optimistic when the New Year is still a few days away, but I have an extra weapon in my armoury for my next attempt. I’ll be playing mind games.

Back in February, I reviewed Paul McKenna’s Instant Confidence system (you can read more about that here).

I was very sceptical, but McKenna’s method worked so well for me that within a few months I’d stopped wishing and wondering, and signed up for a university course. As you’ll know if you’ve been following my blog, I’m now having a great time as a student at the University of Gloucestershire.

After that big success, I decided to try another of Paul McKenna’s systems. I’ve been trying (and failing) to lose baby weight since the beginning of this century. As Son Number One is now at university too, you’ll realise I haven’t had much success. If anything, I’ve been gradually putting on weight.

In hope rather than expectation, yesterday I bought McKenna’s I Can Make You Thin. I wondered about waiting until January 1st to try it out, because all the party food would have been eaten by then. There wouldn’t be so much temptation lying around. Then I thought about all the weight I’d put on in the rush to finish the post-Christmas leftovers by midnight on 31st December.

It would be a miracle if this book could stop me hoovering up food at this time of year. I decided to give it a try.

That was 24 hours ago. Since opening I Can Make You Thin, I’ve spring-cleaned the kitchen without stopping for a snack (or two, or three…). Last night, I ate only two-thirds of my home-made pizza. The weirdest thing of all is that I binned some of my porridge and fresh-fruit at breakfast this morning.

The ultimate temptation…

Me? Leaving some breakfast? That has never been known in my lifetime.

There are only two possible reasons for this. I’m either coming down with the bug that’s going round the village…or Paul McKenna is heading for another success.

It’s too early to say which it is, but there’s plenty of time for the novelty of McKenna’s system to wear off before New Year has even begun. Whatever happens I’ll keep you updated, so come back soon to see how I’m getting on!

Leap Day, New Year's Resolutions

Leap Day—A Second Chance To Start Again…

How are you getting on with those New Year Resolutions which all started so well back on January 1st? I know, I know, I’ve fallen down on the job, too—but with 2016 being a Leap Year and Leap Day (29th February) falling on a Monday, it’s the perfect time to wipe the slate clean and try again. Here are three tips to give you a boost—

1. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN ACTIONS – How often have you heard someone say “I could have anything I wanted if only I had more money/more time/a better looking partner…or any one of a hundred other excuses. We all like to indulge in a bit of wishful thinking, but dreaming doesn’t change anything.  Appreciating what we’re blessed with already and building on it is the only way to get results. For instance, if (like me) you can’t understand why it’s impossible to lose weight, get checked out by a doctor to rule out any underlying medical condition, then try keeping a food and exercise diary for a few days.  It really helps, and I speak from experience!
2. BELIEVE  – it doesn’t matter what your goal is, the important thing is that you set one. Then buckle down and channel everything you’ve got toward achieving it. “Begin with the end in mind”, Steven Covey says in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Make sure your mind is trained on your ultimate prize, whatever that might be. Wanting to write a book isn’t enough. You must believe with all your heart that you can do it. A solid core belief is the only thing that will get you through the hours and hours of writing, re-writing, rejection and editing it needs to reach a goal like that. Half-hearted procrastinators need not apply! 
3. DO IT NOW – whatever “it” is. By the law of unintended consequence, it’ll take twice as long tomorrow, and three times longer next month. When you keep putting off the evil moment when you must balance your budget, send that email, or break off a relationship, the harder it becomes – and all the time the dread of doing it casts a deepening shadow over your every waking minute. When you’ve got a lot of frogs to eat, the saying goes, eat the ugly frog first. Making the initial effort is always the worst part of any task. 
Whatever you want to achieve in life, you are the only one who can really make it happen. Identify what you want, go for it, and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that whatever you achieve, you’ll have given it your very best shot.
Creative Writing, New Year's Resolutions, St Francis Of Assissi

Make This New Year Resolution For Your Creative Writing In 2015…

Pic by David Harper

Happy New Year!

“Start by doing what is necessary; then what is possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

That quote from St Francis is great advice for writers who are hungry for success. You can build on it by taking a long, hard look at what success means to you. Many writers expect to earn a million within a week of typing “The End” on their last page, and are crushed when it doesn’t happen. There’s no need to be disappointed. Reconsider what success means to you, and you’ll make the impossible a lot easier to achieve. Then you can work towards making 2015 your best writing year ever.

Here are some reasons to be cheerful…

1. Making the effort to get thousands of words down on paper, or up on a screen is an amazing achievement. Millions of people dream about writing a book, but aren’t brave enough to try. Some start, but don’t last the course. Think how you’d feel if this was the year you finished the story you’ve always wanted to write. Set aside some time each day, make a plan, and commit to making your dream come true. For hints and tips on writing, visit my website, and follow my series of blogs called The Birth of A Book (You can read Part One here)

1a. You can come back to this one when you’ve read Point 8, below!

2. If you’ve already written a book, getting it published is the next big hurdle. Whether you are accepted by a traditional publisher, or choose to publish it yourself, neither route is easy. If you send your work out into the world in 2015, you can be proud. If you rise to the challenges and manage to get into print, that’s a bonus.

Coming Soon!
3. Holding your newly-published book, or seeing your ebook up on Amazon is another great milestone which counts as a great success in a writer’s life

4. Getting good reviews—with so many books on the market, catching a reviewer’s eye is very difficult. Get a friend to vet any reviews for your book in advance, in case reading a bad one scars you for life (it can happen). Your kind reader can strain any constructive criticism from one-star scaldings, and giving you the chance to up your game. Writers should never miss a chance to learn about their craft, and readers are the best teachers. Give them more of what they want to read, and both sides will be happy.

5. Your first royalty payment, no matter how small, will be another reason to get out and celebrate.

6. Covering your costs is good—if you do nothing more than that in 2015, you’ll have earned more than many self-published authors do.

7. Making any sort of profit at all is an amazing feat, and if you manage this, you’re a success (of course, if you really do make a million, you don’t need me to tell you that!). Don’t forget to squirrel half away somewhere safe in case of a tax-bill, or to create a contingency fund.

8. Finishing your second book is the success you should be aiming for from the time you’ve got to point 1a (see above). Writing books is a continuous process. As one book is finished, ideas for the next one should be jostling for writing-time. Make notes, and work on your next book while you’re working on the publication of your first.

Long before I had a contract for the first book in what became my Princes of Kharova series, His Majesty’s Secret Passion, I was already hard at work on the follow up, Her Royal Risk. That manuscript had a good title, as I was taking a risk the first book would be accepted. The idea for Her Royal Risk started with my Beta readers. They wanted to know what happened to the minor characters in His Majesty’s Secret Passion after the book ended, so I picked up on their interest and gave them what they asked for as soon as I could.

I was lucky: His Majesty’s Secret Passion will be published by Wild Rose Press within the next few weeks, and Her Royal Risk follows later this year. To be in on all the excitement, click “like” on my author page on Facebook, here, or follow me on Twitter.

Once again, Happy New year!