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Fortune Favours The Bold…

August 23, 2019– Quick, what is something you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t done? Too often we have a list of things that we set out to accomplish, but the list never gets finished, or worse, we never start. Today, I have an exercise for you to complete! Check it out below:

  1.  Dream BIG! The bigger the better! Decide what you want to do and make sure that it’s huge. Examples could be, sign a publishing deal for your manuscript, to have an article that you wrote featured in a major magazine, or to travel internationally to a writing conference. Whatever it is, make sure you really want it!
  2. Set a timeline. I personally use the 30-day rule. I set a goal and give myself 30 days to accomplish it. It’s realistic and gives me enough time to get to work on what I’ve set out to do. Without a timeline, you don’t have anything to work toward and even if you don’t fully reach your goal, you’re going to be a heck of a lot closer than you were!
  3. Be bold and take steps toward your goal every day. Remind yourself of your goal constantly and do at least one thing each day to help yourself reach it! Let’s use the example above and your dream is to sign a publishing deal for your manuscript, what have you done today to help realize that dream? Have you made a list of publishers to query? Have you polished your query letter? Have you done your research on which publishers fit with your submission? You get the point!I challenge you to dream big and take the necessary steps to turn your dream into reality! Get started today, you’ll be glad you did.  X LLB

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Publisher’s Corner…

August 16, 2019– Let’s dive right into the question of the week!

Q: “Lacey,  As a writer how do you keep yourself from getting overwhelmed? How can you possibly stay organized with all of the books and projects you have?” 

A: There are certainly days where I feel overwhelmed at times, but then I take a deep breath, remind myself that nothing is a crisis that can’t be handled, and I immediately stop what I’m doing to do something else. It’s very important that when you start to feel the walls closing in on you, that you change anything. Change your space, change your position in the room, stand up if you’re sitting, get a fresh perspective and stop what you’re working on! This is your brain’s way of telling you that you need a few minutes to regroup. Take as much time as you need, take the afternoon off, go do something wild or out of your comfort zone, do whatever it takes to make sure that you’re ok. You can’t be any good to yourself or anyone else if you’re burnt out and uninspired. It is ok to rest, it’s ok to let go, it’s ok to shut off your devices. It’s essential to your wellbeing every once in a while to just be. 

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I have pretty amazing systems in place that take a lot of the pressure off. I have a social media scheduler that allows me to plan my posts for 30 days at a time, I’ve got a dry erase calendar in my kitchen that has all of my things to do for the week in order of importance, and I use technology to streamline as many processes as possible such as pre-planning my blog posts and YouTube videos. If I had to post every day without this help, it would be near impossible to do so and would be a time-consuming pain. 

Find ways that you can help yourself get organized and how you can make your life a bit easier and less stressful by putting systems in place that become automatic.  X LLB

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Publisher’s Corner…

August 9, 2019– The question for this week is:

Q: “Lacey, I’m looking into taking some writing classes to improve my technique, I’m overwhelmed with how many there are and I’m starting to wonder, are they worth the cost?” 

A: I love this question! Taking any type of class to improve yourself is always worth the investment. If you’re considering a career in writing, it’s especially important to hone your skills so that you can be successful in whatever genre of writing you choose. Be sure to take classes from credible sources! If someone in your local community is teaching a course on writing children’s books, make sure that they’ve written a few children’s books of their own that have been published. Never take advice from someone who hasn’t walked the walk. Good courses to consider are from Writer’s Digest, your local universities, and colleges (as long as the teacher’s have a proven track record and have been published). Make the investment in yourself and for your future! X LLB

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Our Guest Blogger Today Is…

August 7, 2019– I’m thrilled to invite author, Samantha Nemeth to our blog to guest post today! She’ll be talking about all things Terrible and she’ll give you a sneak peek of her book! Check out her post below:

Ever since I can remember, I’ve had a vivid imagination and I’ve loved telling stories; I didn’t want to be read to, I wanted to do the reading. Before I could even read I’d sit with a book and come up with my own stories from the pictures. I’d write plays with my friends and force our families to watch, and our favourite game was “spies”. We’d come up with these crazy stories about people being kidnapped with us being the heroines to save them. Before you ask, yes we roamed the streets not-so-sneakily “spying” on passersby who were our imaginary kidnappers and then run away giggling when they noticed us. So, I guess you can say that being an author, creating something from nothing but a thought, is somewhat of a childhood dream of mine.

My book “DJ the Terrible”, is definitely inspired by my friends and I and all the trouble we got ourselves into, but the original idea for it came from a drawing. My now-fiance and I were being silly one night coming up with the funniest sounding names we could, and drawing pictures to match them. Our favourite was titled, “Djeaneautha, la Terrible Jeune Fille”, who had crazy hair, a unibrow, and a evil genius cat named Godfrey. After that, I just couldn’t stop thinking about all the chaos that this terrible girl and her cat would have caused and from there, DJ grew into this wacky, fanciful character who reflects all the awkwardness, burning curiosity, and complete comfort with herself that my friends and I grew up with.

The story follows DJ as she navigates the roller-coaster ride of being the new kid in a suburbia where everyone plays by the rules, no one has any uniqueness, and they haven’t even heard of deep-fried waffle tacos. When she realizes that these people don’t like her because she’s different, she quickly decides to go undercover with her sidekick Godfrey the Super Cat to assimilate with her new neighbours, AKA “The Borings”, gain their trust, then turn the town on it’s head! The only thing is…blending in simply isn’t DJ’s strong suit. With her inventive, mischievous mind, wild hair, and clumsy demeanour, Terrible trouble follows this Terrible girl wherever she goes!

I was lucky enough to grow up in a time before social media and its high standards really hit its peak and I was able to truly be myself, let it all hang out, and simply be a kid; mistakes, tangled hair, unfashionable hand-me-downs, and all. Along with making kids laugh, and sparking creativity, I hope that “DJ the Terrible” can help show today’s youth that it’s okay to be yourself, to be different, and in fact, our differences are something to be celebrated, not hidden away. I would love for at least one reader to walk away from the book knowing that what matters isn’t having the most friends, or the coolest hair, or following the trends. What matters is staying true to yourself, and everything else will fall into place.

Her book DJ the Terrible will be available on October 1st…but we have a special announcement coming soon!

 

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Publisher’s Corner…

August 2, 2019– Here’s the question of the week and it’s a great one!

Q: “Lacey, I’ve set goals for myself as writer and I’ve reached a few of them. I really want to be a famous author, but I can’t stay on track no matter how hard I try. Should I throw in the towel and do something else with my life?” 

A: Whoa, this question is deep; first of all, congratulations on reaching some of your goals, you’ve proven that it can be done and if you’ve done it once, you can certainly do it again! I’m a firm believer in never giving up no matter what and I know that some of you reading this will say it’s easier said than done. But, if we all gave up when things got hard, none of us would accomplish anything. Today, I’m not going to talk about tips to stay disciplined or organized in your writing routine, nor will I give you my opinion on what you should and shouldn’t do with your life because frankly, it doesn’t matter what I think. I’m going to dive into the WHY part with a super simple exercise.

It’s called 7 Whys…(I ended up calling the person who sent me this questions and went through this with him, with his permission, I’ve posted his actual answers and he definitely gained clarity).

  1.  Start with a statement of what you want for your life: I really want to be a famous author. 
  2. Why do you want to be a famous author? Because I want people to read what I have to say.
  3. Why do you want people to read what you have to say? Because what I have to say is important and I want to make lots of money at the same time.
  4. Why is what you have to say important and why do you want to be rich? Because I’m tired of being silenced and not respected by friends and family and I’m tired of just being barely able to pay my bills.
  5. Why are you tired of being silenced and not respected by friends and family, why are you tired of barely being able to pay your bills? Because they look down on me, I don’t have as much education as them and they think my opinion and voice doesn’t matter. Because I want to control my life and I don’t want to make decisions based on how much money I do or don’t have, ever again.
  6. Why do they think your opinion and voice doesn’t matter and why do you want to be in control of your life? Because I’ve never stood up for myself before, I usually just go along with whatever they say. I want to be in control because I’m sick of being controlled and decided for.
  7. Why do you go along with whatever they say, why are you sick of being decided for and controlled? Because I don’t trust myself and because I don’t believe in my own capabilities. I’m sick of being controlled because I know that I can do better and that I can make better decisions. I want my family to stop being ashamed of me and I want to make them proud, I want to make myself proud.
  8. Why do you want to make yourself and your family proud? Because I know that  I can do better than I currently am. I’m just as able as my brothers and sisters to make something of myself.

I honestly felt like crying after this conversation. It was difficult for him to answer the questions, but he tells me he’s glad he did.

So in essence, this person wanted to be a writer because he wants to make himself and his family proud and he wants to make something of himself and his life. This is his ultimate reason for writing and when the dark days come, he can look at his reason why and keep going. The other reasons before this one were superficial at best. They wouldn’t be enough to keep him on track.

Wow…we dug deep, didn’t we? The point of the exercise is during the first few whys, the brain gives a nice, neat, acceptable answer, but after the 5th why, it starts to get subconscious. Write down what you want and ask yourself why 7 times, building on the previous answer. Don’t go any further. You have your reason to continue or your reason to quit.

X LLB

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Try Something New…

July 31, 2019– Check out this short but sweet TedTalk with Matt Cutts! You can do anything for 30 days:)

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Publisher’s Corner…

July 26, 2019– Here’s another great question from a reader! If you have a question for my team or myself, send us an email at pandapublishing8@gmail.com.

Q: “Lacey, you have a ton of content on your site, how do you think of fresh ideas all of the time?” 

A: Thank you for noticing first of all! I try so hard to bring fresh ideas and new things for us to talk about! Some days it can be a struggle that’s for sure, especially when we have a blog, Youtube channel, podcast, and various social media to keep up with. I do my best not to duplicate content, so you won’t get a podcast that has the same info or material as on our blog, etc. When it comes to finding inspiration for content, here’s what I do: 

  1. I scour the news. Yep, it’s depressing at times, but I look for things that I can talk or write about especially when it comes to creative writing. Sometimes the headlines can inspire a book idea or a skewed perspective for a topic that I can share.
  2. I listen to conversations. Eavesdropping? Check. When I’m out getting coffee or I’m shopping, or anywhere in public, I listen to the people around me. Sometimes waiting in line at a place can provide lots of great ideas!
  3. I read trade publications like Writer’s Digest and subscribe to magazines in my field of work. This allows for a lot of ideas on topics that are relevant for our readers and writers who visit and subscribe to our content. It also means that staying up to date on all things publishing is essential in bringing the most relevant topics to our media.

Thank you for all of the questions! X LLB

 

 

 

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What Is Your Personal Brand?

July 24, 2019-Hold on a second, what exactly is a personal brand and why does it matter? When we talk about brands or branding we automatically think of names like Nike, Starbucks, Apple, Amazon, and Coke. Personal branding is a bit different in that you develop a professional identity that sets you apart from others in your field. Remember your roommate in college who was known for her massive shoe collection? Or what about the guy on the third floor in accounting that wears a different, goofy tie every day? Like it or not, that’s one type (and often unplanned) of personal branding. Personal branding helps you and here’s how:

  1. Numerous benefits to your career. Standing out from the crowd is essential in today’s job hunting market and branding can often be the deciding factor when it comes down to choosing between two hires. It could be the unique presentation of your resume cover letter that nets you the job, or maybe your knowledge of obscure, historical facts, whatever it is, being known for something is almost always a good thing!
  2. Builds confidence. When you’ve built a solid personal brand, it shows that you are confident in yourself. And when clients or prospective employers see this, they have confidence in your abilities.
  3. Gains trust. People work with brands they trust and brands that haven’t let them down over the years. With a strong personal brand and doing what you say you’re going to do/delivering what you say you’re going to deliver, you gain people’s trust. Trust can’t be bought and once it’s broken, you’re in trouble and your personal brand could be too far gone to repair.

Personal branding has so many other benefits! How are you building your brand? X LLB

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Publisher’s Corner…

July 19,2019- Let’s check out our Publisher’s Corner question of the week!

Q: “Lacey, I don’t read a lot of books because I don’t have tons of time, I know you’ve said in the past that reading directly influences writing, so I’m wondering what I can do to make more time to read! Any suggestions?” 

 A: “Ah, yes. This is a huge problem in society at the moment! We are living in such a fast-paced world that we barely have time to do anything pleasurable or just for fun. But, making time to read is essential! Not only does reading lend to our ability to write, but it also makes us better writers, better storytellers, and more empathetic toward our fellow humans. The average Canadian adult has approximately 5 minutes per day to read!  That’s it. I admire your commitment to reading more and I’m so happy to help! Here’s how I squeeze in time to read”: 

1) I wake up an hour earlier or go to bed an hour later. Carving out this hour to read is essential to my happiness and to my business as I usually read things that are relevant in my field such as trade magazines or what’s trending on the best seller’s list. This hour before or after allows me to be uninterrupted.

2) I listen to audiobooks. Audiobooks are portable and you can listen to them everywhere. I travel a lot so this format of book allows me to get my reading done in the truck, on a plane, in the airport, on the treadmill, or wherever else I am. You wouldn’t believe how much time is wasted while travelling and waiting!

3)I read novellas, short stories, poems, and magazine articles. Reading anything is better than not reading anything at all! I’ll pick up a book shot by James Patterson for a quick, action-packed read that satisfies my craving for a good story in a short time.

Getting your daily dose of reading is only a matter of scheduling and preparing! Happy reading and writing! X LLB