A Bold New Plan 2016

memoryfeather

I have some bold new plans for my blog next year.

After some soul searching I truly know why I want this blog to exist and what I’d like it to achieve.

I am announcing the end of blog tours, although I have truly loved hosting people at the blog and hope you will take the time to leave a comment for the wonderful Karen Tyrrell, and visit any of my visiting writers and stress that this does not mean the end of visitors, far from it.

New directions!  You’ll just have to wait and see.

This year has been a year of working out why I write, who for, and achieving some long held goals.

I’ve met some truly incredible mentors, at work, writing groups, public talks, and in the global cyberspace. I’ve also rediscovered a love of research!

Right now, a new logo is in the works, the kickstarter campaign draws ever closer and I am immersed in the thinking and practical tasks it takes to run your writing life as a small business.  I booked myself into a writing retreat in the Rainforest next year.   Wow so looking forward to that one.

But each day I look for a pool of creativity light, to dive into and create. Lately I’ve been mostly writing haiku and taking photographs as I work on the kickstarter for Magic Fish Dreaming, but I’ve had some writing stints on my other projects and am prioritizing which ones to begin.

I’ve done more reading than I have in years.  As a child, I read ten books a week, so in a way I am back in touch with my childhood reading self as much as my  contemporary writing self.

As I work to tutor university students in ways to bring their own writing to life I have invested in reading all the books they are taking in any course I tutor in – and have discovered some fabulous and innovative writers – as well as some writers whose work I don’t like, but not to say others shouldn’t – it’s more their work is not my cup of tea.

So in this years journey I  have discovered the cup of writing I want to craft and pour into my writing, both on the blog and in life. Self definitions become possible, but not self definitions that limit possibility.

Wishing you well! And for all those hanging out for the Magic Fish Dreaming campaign;  we are getting there, and the friends supporting this behind the scenes are such wonderful and caring individuals. I couldn’t even conceive of doing this without them willing me on.

Finding people who believe in what you attempt to do with your work is better than the discovery of any other kind of riches – it is being rich in creativity, friendship, soulfulness, and life.

May you too find that with your blogging, writing, and relationships with others. And if you haven’t found that yet,find the energy and strength to keep on until you do!

Yours Truly,

June Perkins aka gumbootspearlz aka pearlz

Author Anxiety – What Do I Call Myself?

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Lately I’ve been noticing some anxiety among writers about what they should call themselves.

There are so many terms now and some of them quite official (especially when applying for grants) – emerging writer, established author, aspiring author, aspiring writer, published writer, published author, unpublished writer.

Some don’t want to claim too much or too little progress. Others complain that some writers and authors claim too much.

The definition in the dictionary simply says that a writer, “is a person engaged in writing books, articles, stories, etc., especially as an occupation or profession; an author or journalist.”

As for Author it is usually associated with being professional but not always.

1 a). The writer of a book, article, or other text.
b. One who practices writing as a profession.
2. One who writes or constructs an electronic document or system, such as a website.
3. An originator or creator, as of a theory or plan.

And furthermore the same dictionary says the ultimate author is – God.

Where is this anxiety coming from?

It seems that the rise of the self published author is causing some in the publishing and writing industries consternation, including writers. Self published authors are many things depending on who you listen to. For some they bad writers who focuses on Romantic, Fantasy and Horror texts poorly written and edited, trying to break into the markets that make the most money. (Self publisher Authors should not be called Authors)

For others self published authors are people who couldn’t or just wouldn’t find a voice in mainstream publishing because of colour, gender and spirituality and have begun to publish the stories they know their community wants and others might want to hear too. This kind of self publisher is publishing histories and stories, manuals, self help books, and guidebooks, cultural heritage texts.

Some self published authors have formed ethical guilds to develop codes of practice and standards of writing. (Alliance of Self Published Authors)

Their books are not destined neccessarily to be best sellers but the stories they tell are important, that’s why they publish them. I think of  The Story of Fred Murray pamphlet and The Narrative of Frederick Douglass.

And then there are some self published authors who were traditional authors once and worked out they were better going independent.

Add to that the world of bloggers – coming from all walks of life with varying degrees of writer training. They’re sharing life stories, crafts, photography, poetry, recipes, views on parenthood and more. They are now told that their blogs are publications when entering competitions.

Another element of the mix are the smaller independent publishers who catered once, for the voiceless. Who brought and still bring together collectives to create opportunities for voice and a strengthening of diversity. They are not self publishers but publishers of those on the margins. Independent publishers not in it for financial gain necessarily, almost not for profits, (see Publishing from the Margins)

As for the published authors they are not free from these frameworks – some are commercial writers, technical writers, literary writers, nature writers and more. Some make a lot of money writing in popular genres. Some scarcely survive and so writer communities create funding to look after them in their old age.

But both these professionals and semi professionals must engage the reader – and the reader’s choices are guided by – internet searches and bookshop shelves, online book stores and word of mouth recommendations. So many studies are being done in this area I could get side tracked and go off on a tangent right now.

So many people, so many stories, make it so hard at times to negotiate becoming a paid published author. When I see these discussions my conclusion is – be a storyteller. Just write. Examine all the options open to you to share your work with the people who will benefit from reading it.

As a second generation migrant, I’m writing and telling stories in many genres to find where my authentic voice lies. I try documentary, fiction, poetry, creative film, mainstream comedy and I keep on experimenting with the style and options of publishing open to me, some doors open and some don’t. My dream is that my readers will tell me what it is they want to hear from me the most and then I’ll be well on the way to building a bigger audience.

I work on making my writing the best it can be – and study and craft, study and craft. One day success however we measure it may arrive. But another way of measuring success is to keep writing and improving and learning from what others you respect say to you. Can we only measure success in financial and material terms?

It is interesting to note that a study found those authors who combined both traditional and self publishing modes where better off than those who stuck with one mode and authors often were dissatisfied with something in both modes. With Self Publishing you have more control, more input, but also more responsibility to know enough about everything to make your book professional and to legally cover yourself. With Traditional Publishing there are also many challenges; especially for authors to achieve that high selling status in order to be viable investments  for the company. (Study cited in Lessons and Expectations as the Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest Author Survey Evolves)

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I’ve been observing discussions where some claim that you are only worthy of respect if you sell a lot of books? Others think it’s if you win literary prizes judged by those who can really write. There is an extra dimension of the popular versus the high literary craft that creeps into many of these arguments. I for one am never going to be a fashion and celebrity blogger or writer. But how many celebrities turn their hand to writing children’s books and life style manuals.

Maybe it’s the craft and sales combined that determine a writer’s credibility today – a book that uplifts anyone, entertains, educates has had a portion of success.

Writing is diverse as the people who employ it as their primary mode of creative expression. It will keep developing and emerging, in spoken, written and digital cyber forms. I for one am excited about the possibilities it offers.

It’s all about being open to diverse opportunities to create and share and not denigrating anyone’s choices.

It about accessibility, diversity and supporting the writer and teller of stories to develop their craft. It’s about accepting that not all of us who write well will ever be able to make an income out of it. We may have to have other jobs.
So where is anxiety coming from for the new writer? Perhaps its from the growing realization that there are so many writers out there that not all of us will be able to do it full time, no matter how good we are or become, or which publishing option we go with.

You see however much writers and publishers complain there is the unknowable magic of writers finding their readers – and readers finding the writers they love, that is not something we can individually control or predict, even if we can have a pretty good guess and strengthen the odds with attractive writing.

(c) June Perkins

 Loved these twitter comments

Like I say. Be brave and bold in your chosen field of creativity. And never be afraid to explore new techniques.

I like (originator or creator, as of a theory or plan)and sometimes I say “word artist” but I’m not one for labels.

Professionally I was a journo. Now I write because it’s what I have always done – it’s my voice.
a writer can be a person who loves to write in any form. Ann Frank for example was a writer.

Pearlz Dreaming’s Blogger’s Manifesto

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Creative Commons rjacklin1975

1- Save all things I am keen to publish in other formats by NOT placing them on my blogs.

2- Blog the process and support materials that assist me to create my memoirs, poetry, books and films (cool things like letters, programs and historical hyperlinks.) Share some RAW MATERIALS (try not to give too much, but just enough away).

3- Sometimes share short EXTRACTS, covers, or drafts for reader feedback with specific questions.  Make these extracts examples of my BEST WRITING.

4- Share the occasional poem or piece that I want the blog to be its publication and it is shared to inspire not for any profit or expectation (but still make sure people respect copyright by attributing it to me if reposting or sharing). STILL HAVE NOT FOR PROFIT writing.

5- CONNECT MY EBOOKS TO KEY PARTS OF THE BLOG and my online work by doing any of the above. Create special blogs for specific books that expand the journey of the book. Keep experimenting with this.

6- Take on commercial projects and commissions that generate income for me to have time to pursue the genres I love, that might not be so commerical. Mix it up more.

7- Look for work in tutoring, teaching at university level and other fields so as not to rely on my writing for income and thus write things that may not have commercial value but more spiritual and community value.

8- Close and remove posts that I think should be traditionally published.

9- Explore the possibilty of closed blogs or subscription based publication.

10- Keep exploring blogging as an art form and create blog specific projects to support myself and other writers. Look at adding a paypal donation aspect to my blog (like busking).

11- Keep visiting and supporting those who are doing any or all of the above themselves as bloggers.

12- Strive always to be an ethical blogger (attribute links, respect creative commons, link back to quotes.)

13- Save written work on blogs and from home more systematically in clouds (like I do with images on flickr) and back up, back up, back up.

14- Join more blogging collectives pursuing any of these same goals.

15- Edit, edit, edit.

16- Always where needed research and check facts for blogs carefully.

17- Share things that might not find a space of home anywhere else but my blog, as long as these are things my readers would enjoy.

18 -Consider always the READER! Be they family, potential publishers and so on.

19- Read my manifesto when considering hitting the post button.

20- Be proud of the things I have learnt blogging, (eg: the people I have connected to, the potential characters that I have been introduced to and not apologise for that.) That is share the learnings and power of blogging whilst avoiding its pitfalls.

So from now on you might see more ‘raw materials’ of my writing scanned and shared.

You might find the ending of a story missing. You may find a link you once read has vanished.

But don’t worry – that means a polished piece is on its way and a link to where to buy it will appear.

Interviews will continue, but sometimes I may not put them on my blog but will send them somewhere for publication – which may even be online.

Writers New to Blogging – Handy Tips 1#

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Photo by Ivanneth, Creative Commons

Ivanneth Creative Commons

So you’re a writer and have started a blog because everyone has told you to do so. Now you’re wondering how to go about it.

1) Pick your theme. With themes it’s a good idea to check what they look like on phone and tablet as well, as some themes translate better across devices and people may read your work on their tablet rather than laptop or pc. Personally I like clear uncluttered layouts. The theme used on this blog at the moment is sketch.

2) Choose interesting and related topics. 1)How you researched or created your book (really interesting for historical books) 2)Typical days in your writing life 3) Interview with a character or expert in your field 4) Interviews or reviews of works in your genre that you admire 5) Great news you want to share (be humble though). I currently have a memoir focused blog, a poetry blog and my After Yasi blog.  I appeal to different readers on each blog, and feed it back into a homebase blog (via reblogs) to people who like to follow all I’m getting up to in multiplatform storytelling.

3) Think about your readers. Often writers new to blogging wonder who will read my blog? Key groups are: readers  and writers of the genre, potential future publishers, other bloggers and people following a tag online (wordpress, twitter). ie topic of interest #cricket #wellbeing #diet #australianhistory #youngadultwriter

4) Adhere to WordPress Advertising Guidelines. Don’t create a blog that is just a book tour blog consisting of already written publicity material to just sell books, but do feel free to blog about your book (as above) and link to where to buy it.

Read these WORDPRESS ADVERTISING GUIDELINES. You absolutely can share the journey and views on your own original book and reviews. The key to this is that you are not sending people off to just buy the work of others (running a publicity business) all the time or doing anything terrible like promoting pirated books and get rich schemes.

On the After Yasi blog I have a wide variety of material, how the book was created, extensions of stories in the book, interviews, and any interesting news.There are side links to resources people reading the book will find interesting. It is as much a resource as the ebook.

5)  Edit. Considering who will read your blog, always try to edit your work well before putting it up on line.  Although I also like to share drafts of work to give insights into the creative process.

6) Keep it short and regular.  Be aware most people don’t read a post over 500 words.  If you are going to write something longer (which I do sometimes), you need to keep the reader hooked in with techniques like placing interesting images throughout the post, or posting it in parts.

(c) June Perkins

(Future posts to cover- innovations in blogging- blogging as an art form –  legal  and ethical considerations, blogging for a daily writing habit )

Blog Custodians

in kiribati
Visiting Kiribati 1999

Today I’ve been working on a story about a trip I made to Kiribati when I was in my twenties to include in my memoir. I had been thinking about this experience a lot lately and vivid memories of some of the incredible people I met have been resurfacing.

I’ve been particularly thinking about how travel to somewhere quite different from where you have been raised enables you to see yourself more clearly.

I was looking up some of the online photographs and websites to further trigger my memories and came across a story site Kiribati Stories. It was such an amazing site that I wanted to share the link here on my blog, I encourage you to visit Kiribati Stories.

It is so heartening to see cultural repositories like this springing up on the internet, and being supported in their development. It makes me think about the possiblities for my blog Follow the Crow Song, as a family repository. I really ought to get some video and sound captures happening on that blog now that I have those kind of skills.

It will mean visiting, and skyping family and inviting more of their input. How far do I want to throw the net for writing to include on this blog? I definitely want some grandparent stories happening there! Is it just my own memories or do I want for instance to get my dear husband to write more of his stories, which he tends to tell to the children over and over and would the people who inspire me like to make an appearance.

I wonder what will become of all the blogs and websites being created.

Will they need custodians who create new ones that link back to them?  What will become of my blogs when I am gone?

I am thinking I will ask my children to do this for me, and hoping they will want to take it on board, or maybe a grandchild if I have one will. I will see what the future brings.

I will keep the future generations in mind as I work on my blogs, especially my memoir, cultural one.

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house in kiribati 1999 trip
Traditional House Kiribati, 1999