TIP OF THE WEEK:
Build an email list.
This is an area I need to work on. If you’re writing or have written a book (as I have, several times over) this is even more important. Even if you don’t aspire to being a book author, what’s the point of spending hours writing posts that never get read? Take care! With the recent changes to the GDPR laws, it is imperative that you have permission from those who sign up to send the newsletter.
I know, silly right? They’ve clicked on the button and said they want to subscribe . . . but they must actually check a box saying “I want to receive your newsletter.” Here is a really good article I came across covering this topic.
And while you’re about it, how about clicking on the check mark on your left and signing up to receive mine? I promise not to fill your inbox with spam. I only write when I have a new release or an important update I know you’ll be interested in.
TIP OF THE WEEK:
Pray for your blog and its readers.
I bet you didn’t expect that tip, right? Yet, perhaps it’s the most valuable tip I’ve offered so far this year! When did you last stop writing and actually PRAY that the words you’re typing will encourage and build up others? I don’t mean turning every post into a sermon. In fact, I don’t mean preaching at all. I simply mean, pray that your words will build up. If we want words to destroy, we only need buy a newspaper. Or is that only in South Africa? (No—I didn’t think so!)
So pray for your blog and the directions it’s taking. Pray for those who will read the post you’re writing, and have them in mind as you format your words. Don’t be afraid to challenge, or feel you only have to share the positive news. If you go through tough times, by all means share. But let us see the lessons you’re learning, the faith that’s carrying you through. read more
And it’s Saturday! What happened to Thursday this week?
How the year is flying past. My 2018 list should reach the 800’s this week!
First, here’s our Tip for the Week:
Select your Featured Image with care
We all know the expression, “You choose a book by its cover.” And for everyone who believes that there is someone who doesn’t agree. But be honest. Don’t you feel drawn to attractive images when you see a link to a post?
Of course there is a caveat. Your picture must fit the post.
And it’s Thursday again!
How the year is flying past. My 2018 list is in the 700’s already!
First, here’s our Tip for the Week:
Write dateless content
And I have to learn this too. I don’t mean it shouldn’t apply to a certain date if that is relevant. Nor do I mean we shouldn’t put a date on our posts. But we need to remember that on the web, our posts last forever. Is what you’re writing about today going to encourage, educate, or motivate the person reading it this time next year? Don’t try to imitate a newspaper with all your facts. There are newspapers and websites that do that. Create something that will always be rich for someone.
Some people feel that for that reason, you shouldn’t date your blog post. That they should be literally date-less. read more
Happy Thursday everyone!
Little did I know a week ago how the next seven days would be consumed by one tiresome and frustrating issue. I’m sure a number of you know what I’m talking about, but I’m getting ahead of myself. In every negative situation there are some positive things we can say thanks for, right? At times this week, I have found this a challenge!
More later . . .
First of all, here is the latest Tip of the Week:
Make your content actionable
Happy Thursday everyone!
I have once again had quite a hectic week. I’m beginning to wonder if there is any other kind!
Nevertheless, it does give me plenty of ammunition for giving thanks!
First of all, here goes with the next
Tip of the Week:
Make friends of other bloggers.
Morning all you lovely bloggers! (Or afternoon or evening, depending on your time-zone!)
This follows a successful run through the A to Z Blogging Challenge in April that took place on my other site. You can see it here.
Tip for the Week:
Comment on other blogs. read more
Happy Thankful Thursday once more everyone!
No, I hadn’t fallen off the planet. Nor have I stopped giving thanks. I was committed to do the A to Z Blogging Challenge.
I did post the first week, but it was no good posting on Thursday, as in the A to Z we posted every day except Sunday. So I posted Sunday, but understandably got few visitors. So I decided to play catchup on the first Thursday of May.
Last night, I decided instead of throwing over 100 thanks at you, I would recalculate. In order to reach my goal of 2018 thanks by the end of 2018, I’m now posting 42 thanks a week instead of 39. That’s easy, hi?
First as always, a tip on how to improve your blog.
Join a couple of Facebook blogs and or a challenge.
- Select a group where you think you will fit in, and read the rules carefully.
- You need a group where you’re encouraged to post links on a regular basis.
- This is not spammy. It is reciprocal. You check out their links and comment or share in return for them doing the same for you.
- A challenge, like the A to Z Blogging Challenge is good fun for a short limited period. It’s time-consuming, but if you play right, you will see a huge increase to your blog stats, and gain some followers along the way.
- Here’s a funny story. A member of a group I belonged to invited me to join her own group, where you have to visit at the very least two blogs above your link, but you can link as often as you like. I joined the group before realising most of the group live in India, a country I don’t anticipate ever visiting. I hung in there for a few weeks purely for good manners but planned to leave after a little while. But this group has become so supportive and I’ve made some great pals from folk I would never normally have linked up with!
- During the A to Z, they ran a separate A to Z posting section and I tried to visit as many of them as possible every day. So don’t be too picky about the ‘nature’ of the group. The friendliness of the people is more important.
If you’re looking for a group, Blog, Share, Learn is a fun group for folk in their mid to later lives, with a daily posting spot for links. Write Tribe is the group I refer to where most of the folk are Indian, but you do have to visit the two posts immediately above you which has got me reading about Indian customs I would normally have avoided. That’s stretched me, both as a person and as a blogger.
And now onto the next 42 thankful points for this week.
The Month of April
- We returned from East London and had a really good time with Prime Timers (a group for the over 50s that we run).
- That afternoon I came down with a streaming cold. Praise the Lord it was after Prime Timers and after our East London trip.
- I spent Sunday in bed, and thank You, Lord, I seemed better by evening.
- I left on a writing retreat in a garden cottage. So grateful it was available for me to use for the week.
- It was also close enough for me to go home to my husband each evening for supper, then I’d write my next post for the A to Z Blogging challenge before heading for bed.
- Each morning, before getting out of bed, I checked my A to Z post of the day and submitted it. Whenever I got the chance during the early morning and evening, I checked for comments and read and commented on other blogs. So pleased I managed to keep up.
- Every day, I worked solidly, doing all the last minute tasks involved in publishing a book. Thankfully I was able to concentrate without interruption.
- There were a number of challenges as it’s the first time I’ve ever self-published a book in print. Tasks took many hours that I’d expected to take a matter of minutes. Thanks to advice from friends I got through them.
- The cover was a major challenge. I had already made the front cover (for the eBook) but this time I had to do the back page and the bleed margins (which I’d never even heard about before!) I am so thankful for my super printer in Cape Town who guided me through the process.
- Thanks also to my friend Marion Ueckermann who was on holiday in New Zealand, yet took time out to send me samples of what I needed to do as she’d already done covers for CreateSpace in America.
- There were times I didn’t think I’d ever get it all right. I came to getting the ISBN. I knew how to do this, so ordered it from the government department responsible. Thank you that, incredibly, this is free in South Africa. In other countries it is very expensive.
- I then had to create a barcode from the number. I followed all the instructions on several sites, and each time I was told my information was incorrect. Eventually, I phoned another friend, Val Waldeck, who has published many books. Thank you Val for always being available when I’m in trouble!
- It turned out she didn’t do her own barcodes, but she contacted her publisher who does them for her, and incredibly he offered to do mine for me if I sent him the ISBN. Thank you Clyde!
- Can you believe this? Clyde couldn’t do it either. Turned out I’d been given an incorrect ISBN. Isn’t that typical? It has to be me! Thank you that at least I now knew it wasn’t my stupidity that couldn’t get it right.
- I sent off an immediate email saying I thought I’d been given an incorrect ISBN. I fully expected this to work on government time and take ages, but first thing the next morning I received an email with an apology. Instead of the number ending with 558, they’d told me 588. Easy enough typo, but still! I was thankful for a prompt and polite response.
- All this time I kept fit. How? You’ve guessed it. My fitbit! Every hour I hopped up from my computer and paced up and down the small cottage until I’d done 250 steps. This was done to the absolute astonishment of one perplexed young boxer who was keeping me company!
- When I got home in the evening, my husband and I went for a brisk walk around the suburb pushing up my step count. So I didn’t lose out on my fitness goals at all. Thank you Rob for your encouragement!
- The final day of my retreat was Saturday. I finished that evening! Whew! And thank you! I just had to figure out a few technicalities, so Sunday saw me working flat out to get those done.
- Monday morning, I tried to send the two files (one the cover, and the other the inner manuscript) to Cape Town. No way was my server going to allow me to send these huge files. Thankful for Dropbox, I contacted my Cape Town printer to ask if that would be okay.
- He came back to me immediately, suggesting I rather used We Transfer. I did this, and am most impressed with this service. Make a note of it, folks. WeTransfer.com – takes huge files and sends immediate receipts both when it has gone off to the person and when the person has opened it. Thanks We Transfer!
Off to Hoekwil!
- Next day (Tuesday) we left to visit our son and family in Hoekwil. This is a tiny rural area above the beautiful Wilderness town on the Garden Route of South Africa. Thankful that we could get away on time despite the chaos of the previous few weeks.
- They were leaving for Disney World in Paris the following week, so we were keen to see them before they left. Thankful for their very beautiful new home.
- Lovely to see our youngest grandsons once more. They’re growing up! It was fun joining in their games and watching them on their bikes.
- We loved their latest arrival – a young sheepdog who is just so cute and amazingly friendly.
- We arrived on Tuesday. On Wednesday I forgot one dose of my high blood pressure medications. Thank you that all seemed fine.
- Thursday evening I became really ill and realised I’d missed another dose. My BP was extremely high and my son and husband rushed me down the mountain to the nearest hospital which happens to be the George Medi-Clinic. We were very thankful for the prompt efficiency of the staff who jumped into action as soon as they saw my blood pressure.
- So very thankful that I didn’t end up with a stroke, as my BP was certainly looking that way.
- My blood pressure continued to be unstable so they kept me in overnight and allowed my family to go home. Although I wanted to go home, I was relieved to stay in as I was scared it would happen again and it’s a long and dangerous road. I was also thankful to stay over as it meant the medical aid would cover the cost! If I’d gone home we would have had to pay for it.
- As a result I got absolutely no sleep. (Ever tried to sleep in the casualty department (ER) of a hospital?) We were due to leave for home that morning, but Steve said we were to stay another night and I needed some sleep. Grateful for Steve and Hannelie’s willingness to let us stay over despite their soon-approaching Paris trip.
Back to Port Elizabeth
- Despite being very tired, we had an enjoyable and safe trip home on Saturday.
- Yay!! When we got back, my neighbour had my proof of Naomi ~ Beloved Mother-in-law. It had arrived safely the day it was due (Friday). Thank you for friendly neighbours who step in and help when necessary.
- Thanks to Grant Walton of Digital Actions for his efficient work on the book. It’s beautiful!
- Very grateful for the proof stage of a book! I couldn’t believe the tiny typos I discovered and was able to correct.
- Biggest of all. I couldn’t believe a spelling error that had crept into the back cover – of all places! That would have been so bad. Thank you that I spotted it. (You tend to read what you know you meant, so I didn’t notice my assurance that the text of the book stuck closely to the Biblial version of the story.)
- Okay, so did you notice my deliberate (this time) error? Be honest!
- On the Monday after we got home, I took myself off to my GP as my blood pressure was still doing funny things and I was having to take extra meds to keep it from spiking out of control again.
- From the time I missed those silly pills until now, I’ve had to keep monitoring my blood pressure. As my pharmacist daughter-in-law put it, “You’ve rattled its cage, and it’s going to take a while to settle down. Just do NOT forget it again!” Thank you that I have a blood pressure monitoring device. It has certainly proved its value this month.
Working in partnership!
- Especially since my husband suddenly took to nearly passing out from . . . wait for it! Low blood pressure! This was caused by an experimental pill the doctor put him on. One experiment quickly proved not a good idea! Thank you that although he had some close calls he never actually fell so didn’t injure himself.
- So despite hating to have to admit I have a severe hypertension problem, I am grateful for the medication available. Now to remember to take them!
- I think I’m also grateful for the fright we’ve all had. This has been a big wakeup call, and I know now that I can’t mess around with these meds. It wasn’t deliberate, obviously, but I never worried if I was a few hours late taking the pills. Now if I’m two hours late, my BP is already on its way up! Scary. But thank you for that wakeup!
- As a result of all the BP nonsense (between us both) I took longer than anticipated going through my proof, but I’m delighted to say that book is now finished and in the hands of the printer. It will be finished sometime this week.
- I spent an entire morning getting quotes for couriers to transport the books, but finally ended up going with the firm used by the printer themselves. As they explained to me, that means there’s a slight markup on the price – but they get a special deal because they are regular customers. Despite the markup, they’re still considerably cheaper than the other options. So I’m thankful that I now have a trustworthy courier that is not going to cost me a fortune to move the books.
End of A to Z for another year!
- And so, April has come to an end, and I survived and completed the A to Z Challenge. I enjoyed the theme, Improve your Life, Improve your Mind and from what I can see from the comments, so did others. Here is the full list of posts if you are interested in reading any of them: Improve your Life, Improve your Mind.
Thank you for your support and encouragement!
What was the highlight of April for you?
Happy Thankful Thursday everyone!
If you're a regular blogger (and if you're not, you really should be!) you need to set yourself a fixed schedule. The good point of this is to set a certain amount of tasks and make a not of what time you will start and when you will finish.
HINT: Allow spaces between each task as almost always things take longer than you planned! The bad point of this is you can find yourself getting stressed if you realize you're not going to be finished in time. Decide before you start how you will deal with this (because it WILL happen sooner probably more likely than later!)
- You can either stop on time, save your work, and move to your next task. Then you can finish it off the next day.
- OR you can carry on until you're finished and if necessary remove one of the tasks from the day and put it onto the next day.
- Once 5 o’clock hits, or whatever time you've decided to end your day . . . Save and stop! Carry on the next day!
This series of deadlines
- produces a sense of urgency to get on with the job
- limits the tasks you assign yourself for the day
- because your schedule forces you to stop at 5 pm, you will feel pressured to complete the most important tasks.
And now onto the next 39 thankful points for this week.
(Reminder - my goal is 2018 thank you's by the end of 2018!)
- Reminders of Easter and the wonders of the resurrection.
- All the beautiful messages that came through on Whatsapp and Facebook.
- A safe trip through to East London.
- Seeing the amazing greenery alongside the road - after our brown drought conditions.
- I managed to keep up my goals on my fitbit.
- Grateful for a supportive husband who would pull the car over every now and then and let me get out and walk 250 steps along the side of the road to keep up my step count!
- Start to the A to Z Challenge on time. A was the ONLY post scheduled for this week! Yikes!
- B post written that night and scheduled for the next morning.
- C post started the night before it was due and polished before posting in the morning.
- Now up to date, with the next day scheduled (D).
- Met our new great-niece for the first time. What an absolute cutie!
- Went for a walk along the beach while she played with her mommy and daddy in the lagoon.
- Loved walking on the sand. Why don't we do it more often at home?
- Paddled in the very cold water with the waves lapping around my toes.
- Enjoyed first meal together with my brother and sister-in-law, nephew and niece and little Julieanne.
- Peaceful evening chatting together.
- Enjoyed seeing over their new double-storey house which they're turning into a B & B (Bed and Breakfast).
- Stunning view from two of the bedrooms.
- Incredible view from the deck at the front.
- Spent a lovely morning working on posts on the deck while the rest of the family walked down to the beach.
- Pippa, their German Shepherd who was so desperately ill two weeks ago, loved dancing in and out of the waves.
- Lovely watching both dogs frolicking in the sea.
- Such amazing peace where my brother and sister-in-law are now living.
- Despite being in a small village many miles from proper civilization it seems much safer than where we live.
- Lovely to be able to sit in the home with all the doors and windows open and not have to close security gates.
- At night, sleeping with windows open - no burglar bars. With us being upstairs, no burglar bars needed which is awesome.
- My brother and sister-in-law have just taken their son and family off to the airport on their way home to Johannesburg. Thank you for our time together, and for the peace of the home with just Rob and I here, both working on our laptops.
- I've managed to get a fair amount of writing done even though we're on holiday (vacation) with family.
- I've been offered a "granny cottage" in the grounds of friends back in Port Elizabeth for next week so I can have a mini-retreat.
- For six days, Rob will drop me off there at 8 am and fetch me at 9 pm. So I'll have six days without interruption or distraction (hopefully) and will be able to concentrate on getting my book finished.
- Rob has finished all but one illustration for the book. So thrilled with them.
- I am so thankful for this opportunity as I don't see me meeting the deadline without it.
- I have got an alternative sky for the cover, so I am going to see what Al and Denise (brother and sister-in-law) prefer. Glad to be able to get an honest opinion on the choice of covers.
- Everything is going well with the Fitbit. I've won several trophies already, and I'm making most of the goals most days.
- Best of all, I lost 3 kgs ( 6.5 lbs) in the first five days! Awesome huh? I won't weigh myself until I get back to my own scale at home.
- I'm feeling relaxed here, even though we've only been here for two days.
- Two more full days before we return home.
- We get back to a packed schedule. We have Prime timers which we run for the over 50's in our area on Saturday.
Happy Thankful Thursday everyone!
This week's tip
My tip for you today is one I've learned before in theory—but then I forgot! Then today, I experienced it again in practice.
As you'll see as you read through these thankful points, you'll see how today was different for me. I'm not going to repeat how or why as it's already written under the thankful points. But as a result of the way my morning panned out, I was stuck at a restaurant with only my laptop and a list of things that needed to be done.
Then I discovered the restaurant had free WiFi. Woohoo! I decided to forget about my to-do list for the next few hours and concentrate on writing this post which needed to be scheduled for later this week. read more