Monday, December 15, 2014

Making a Difference

There are many things we do that make a difference in this life. Often they are underestimated, such as a smile or a word of encouragement. My brother, David, has recently decided to make a difference early next year by helping the people of a small village in South America and at the same time, raising money for prostate cancer.

His trip sounds amazing. Over two weeks in Peru! During that time, he’ll spend a few days in a village to provide help to the locals in the form of teaching, helping out around the village, and the medical people going along will do vaccinations. He’ll also trek up to Machu Picchu. As exciting as the trek sounds (I’ve always wanted to visit that ancient, spectacular ruin), I honestly think he will gain the most from his time in the village. There is no substitute to helping others.

If you’d like to help David raise money for prostate cancer, then click here:

You can also help by sharing the link.

None of the money donated will go to David or his trip. All of it will go to the Mater Foundation for prostate cancer research.

What was a special, little thing that someone did to make a difference to you? Have you ever travelled to Peru or some other remote place?

Photo: I'm sad to say, I did not take this photo. It's by Hernan Irastorza

Monday, December 1, 2014

Now Available: The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond #IWSG

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group
Guide to Publishing and Beyond

Now Available!!!
And it's FREE!!!

Happy days!

Tapping into the expertise of over a hundred talented authors from around the globe, The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond contains something for every writer. Whether you are starting out and need tips on the craft of writing, looking for encouragement as an already established author, taking the plunge into self-publishing, or seeking innovative ways to market and promote your work, this guide is a useful tool. Compiled into three key areas of writing, publishing, and marketing, this valuable resource offers inspirational articles, helpful anecdotes, and excellent advice on dos and don'ts that we all wish we knew when we first started out on this writing journey.

Barnes and Noble

Be a part of the IWSG:
WebsiteFacebook GroupFacebook Critique Circle Group

*NOTE: If Amazon still isn't offering the book for free (we've been on their case about it for a while now) then you can get your free kindle edition from Smashwords.
Because of certain unexpected factors, I won't be able to post on Wednesday. This will be my IWSG post. Mainly I just wanted to say how excited I am about our book finally launching after months of hard work, writing, editing, collating, formatting. (I've lost count how many times I've read through it). While the IWSG team put it together--including Alex J Cavanaugh, Michelle Wallace, L Diane Wolfe, J L Campbell, Susan Gourley/Kelley, Joylene Nowell Butler and yours truly, Lynda R Young--it's a book that wouldn't have been possible without the generosity, enthusiasm and talent from our long list of contributors. You can all be super proud of this publication.

A big thank you to all the members of the IWSG who have made this group what it is today. You guys are truly awesome.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Importance of Taking a Break from Writing

As some of you know, I've been away for the last two weeks. I completely unplugged from the internet and went on a trip to get away from everything. What did I do? I went on a cruise. And wow, what a cruise.

Hubby and I went to the South Pacific Islands and pretty much did nothing the whole time. Having no access to friends and easy information via the net felt strange, but soon we reveled in the joy of sunshine and relaxation.

I had planned to catch up on a mountain of reading and maybe a little writing. Instead I slept. A lot. Sheer bliss. No pressure to think up new stories, fix old ones, achieve, produce, or make and maintain connections. No push. No rush.

Initially that familiar sense of guilt nagged on my thoughts. I should be writing, or in the least, reading! There's ample opportunity. Then I decided to sweep that guilt away. The result? Now that I'm back, I find myself  full of creativity and bursting at the seams with fresh ideas and a renewed passion.

My advice to anyone struggling with a lack-luster creative drive, take that break. Not a partial, semi-break, but a full and proper break where you take away all the pressures and just be wonderful to yourself.

When was the last time you took a proper break? What do you do to be wonderful to yourself?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Confidence in Creativity #IWSG #GCAP14

As some of you know, because I’ve delved into the game development world, starting up my own indie game studio, I attended a gaming conference in Melbourne last week. Technically it was two conferences, but the one I’m focusing on today is the Game Connect Asia Pacific 2014 (GCAP)  The final keynote speaker was Rami Ismail, game developer ‘and business guy’ from Vlambeer, a Dutch indie game studio. As the final keynote speaker, he gave an awesome talk about confidence in creativity. Because a lot of what he said can be translated for any creative pursuit, writing included, I’m going to share the gist of his talk here for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

First he explained what confidence is and isn’t: It’s an internal force. It’s about trusting your choices. It’s not about pushing anything on anyone. It’s not about arrogance, exaggeration, or lying.

While it’s intimidating to talk about our work, it helps to know that normal doesn’t exist. We’re all weird in our own special way and that’s interesting.

Likewise we have to believe in what we create. Find the passion for what we do by asking ourselves why we started the project in the first place. Stopping at, “Because I love it,” is a mistake. Dig deeper and find the fundamental truths about your game/story/creation. Then communicate what you are excited about with your work. This will help you stay motivated to finish the project and it will help you with marketing once it’s out there.

There is no way to improve except to try and possibly fail. Dare to be vulnerable.

As you can imagine, the whole room was buzzed by his talk. I certainly felt newly inspired for my own creativity and I hope to hold onto that motivation for a long while.

What motivates you with your creativity? What conferences have you recently attended that gave you a fresh insight and boost to your motivation?

This post was written for the Insecure Writer's Support Group where we share our encouragement or insecurities on the first Wednesday of the month.

To join the group or find out more, click here.

Photo: Sunset on the first night in Melbourne.

Note: For the next two weeks, starting this weekend, I will be unplugged so you won't see me around the blogsphere, the twitterverse, or the and I won't be able to answer any emails either. Yikes! I'll share what I've been up to on Monday 24th.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Cake and Writing Confidence

Today I'm over at the IWSG website with a post about Finding the Confidence to Write what You Love. I'd love to see you over there.

Today is also Holly Sinclair's Foodie Blog Hop. There's so much I could write about food but managed to narrow it down to wedding cake.
My hubby and I got married in 1999. It was a small wedding with only 50 guests. We did as much as we could ourselves: the invitations, the order of service, the bombonieres. We weren't up for making our own cake, but when we walked into bakeries or patisseries and mentioned we were interested in a wedding cake, eyes lit up. We couldn't believe the prices. All I wanted was chocolate mud cake. How much could a mud cake cost? Put the word wedding in front of it and the price sky-rocketed. So we built one ourselves. Keeping 'wedding' from our vocabulary, we bought one large cake and one smaller one. We then went to the local craft shop and bought some ribbon and gold roses. Ta-da! A wedding cake! I think it cost us $45 total rather than $800. Best tasting wedding cake ever!

Thank you to everyone for the prayers and hugs last week. I'm still going through medical issues. It's a waiting game now, so continued prayer would be awesome.

Don't forget it's the Insecure Writer's Support Group day on Wednesday. Yikes it's November already! If you'd like to be a part of an awesome, supportive group and haven't signed up yet, click here.

And don't forget to visit me over at the IWSG website.

What's your dream wedding cake? What's the best cake you've ever tasted?