Insecure Writer's Support Group

Project Evergreen #IWSG #writerslife #authorpreneur

It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for all the insecure writers to get together and celebrate their awesomeness, encourage each other, and get ready for another month in the life of a writer.

Learn more here.

The fabulous co-hosts this month (besides the awesome author whose site you’re on right now):

You are never alone…

February 5 question: Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story? What was it and did you finish it?

I had to really think about this one… There’s this image of a cat I saw on Pinterest that made me think: “What if faery cats wore armour? Why would they?”

And I wrote the flash fiction piece “Working with Shadows” which I added to my book “The Fae Realm” after which I explain the folklore about the faery cat (Caìt Sìth). This will be very important as the Faery Tales series continues…

It’s a new decade. Which means that I reassess everything.

I’ve already cleared out the garage, outbuildings, animal enclosures, house, garden – keeping what works, adjusting as necessary, and getting rid of the clutter.

I’ve moved on to my author business.

After listening to a recent webinar by Nick Stephenson and Joanna Penn, I’ve decided to:

  1. finish my Faery Tales series and publish it all in 2020,
  2. reassess and redo my covers according to bestselling INDIE dark fantasy books,
  3. reassess and redo my blurbs,
  4. redo my blog posts about my books (check out what I’ve already done with one post),
  5. optimize keywords and categories on my books’ buy pages,
  6. get more reviews.

And after reading a couple of blog posts over on Bad Redhead Media, I decided to update my website:

  1. remove all messages that remotely look like “welcome to my site”,
  2. remove sidebars (they make your site look dated, new supersites don’t have them),
  3. make top menu stay in one line (too many choices confuse readers),
  4. remove all unnecessary stuff,
  5. have main brand colour palette consistent throughout.

Though I agree with Cait Reynolds about planners, I actually redid the way I usually do things and I’m more productive. (Now if only Eskom would stick to a loadshedding schedule and stop playing around with the power, I can actually accomplish all my goals!)

Part of my Project Evergreen, is my blogposts. For the April A-Z Challenge (this year, and the year after, and the year after…), I’m posting a folklore post for every letter of the alphabet.

Check out the challenge here.

Project Evergreen for my catalogue:

  • I’m getting all of my books translated to Afrikaans and publishing them. (Most of this I do myself.)
  • Each book gets a video trailer.
  • Each book gets a blog post.
  • Each book gets a special storyboard on Pinterest.
  • And I’m already working on posts for a blogtour of my complete Faery Tales series for early 2021!

Did I mention that I’m also writing a couple of short stories for anthology competitions? It’s always good publicity to have your work in an anthology of authors in your genre.

Learn more here.

As for taking care of my health:

I tried out Veganuary in January. Even for a vegetarian, it was a huge adjustment.

And I’m taking weekends off! Not so much as checking emails. (We’ll see how long that lasts…)

What about you: what have you done to improve your author business this decade? Has an image sparked a story idea for you? What was it? Have you tried going vegan?

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90 thoughts on “Project Evergreen #IWSG #writerslife #authorpreneur”

  1. Ronel, wow! While I just love your cat in armour & the fact that it inspired you to write a short story, I am in total awe of the work you’ve already done & plan on doing in your personal & writerly life. I’m reminded that I have a story of yours to read & I’ll dig it out for reading while I’m in hospital. And thanks for co-hosting on top of all this 🙂

  2. I believe that’s how my newest cat sees himself when it comes to feeding time. “Outta my way, ladies, or I shall smite you!” Love your take of website updates (mine is old fashion, sigh) and I’m inspired by your goals. Note to self: More fun graphics! Thanks for co-hosting this month, Ronel!

  3. It appears as if you are accomplishing quite a bit! I’m also revamping some of my blurbs. I tried putting an itty-bitty sweater on my cat and it rolled over and wouldn’t budge. She looked terrified. We laughed, but quickly took it off. LOL.

    Thank you for co-hosting this month.

  4. That cat looks kinda chill in the pictures instead of lying on the floor in a position of utter defeat, which is what happens when my kids put apparel on our cats.

    Dang, you are accomplishing a ton of stuff. I’m so jealous. My house needs some serious decluttering, but my family insists all the junk is “important” and “they need it”. Arggh.

    This web page looks slick.

  5. Love that cat in armor! It’s interesting how stories come from a simple image, and I enjoyed reading about all that you’re working on. Thanks for co-hosting today.

  6. Wow! That’s a ton of specific plans to clean up and modernize your author business. You’ve clearly put lots of research into this. I’m going to borrow your idea of making this a time of clean-up and dumping what’s not working. Alas, that includes my critique group, which is taking up valuable writing time without delivering enough benefit to justify the hours spent. Saying good-bye to that weekly routine feels like killing a darling, but it’ll help in the long run. Happy writing in February, Ronel!

    1. SMART goals have to be specific! Good luck with saying goodbye to your critique group — it will probably feel terrible for a while, but if something isn’t working, it isn’t worth it.
      Happy writing month for you, too!

  7. Awesome plan. I have Nick Stephenson program too back from 2012 and it has lifetime access so get the updates. I need to go through it and take more of his advice. I have done bits and pieces. Thanks for the shout out for Grumpy Old Gods too. Happy IWSG!

  8. Wow, you have ambitious goals; and I believe you have the gusto to make those changes. I’ll be happy if I can eat more veggies this year 🙂 Thanks for co-hosting.

  9. Cats in battle armor sound cool. 🙂

    I’ve done nothing for my author brand and promotion, and I will likely forever be dated by what my site looks like. But the end desire for what I want in a site would be much more interactive and beautiful. Too bad getting it set up takes time.

  10. Good, solid, bullet-point plan for you year! I’ll wish you luck and productivity as you move through each one. That feeling of renewal is my favorite part about the new year. And thanks for co-hosting this month!

  11. Love the cats in armor – such nifty pictures. Someone had fun with their cat … not sure it was the cat though. I’m not surprised those photos inspired you. A fantasy story is almost required to explain such imagery.

  12. That image of the cat in armor is enough to give anyone pause. To even attempt to do something like that to our cats, I believe I’d have to cover myself with armor first. (It’s tough enough trimming their nails!)

    Wow, you are some kinda productive! Good for you. It makes me tired just to think about all of the stuff you’re doing and planning to do. I wish you much success with all of it.

  13. I don’t know how they got that cat to wear armor. I have trouble getting mine to wear butterfly wings long enough for a picture. I’m going to assume that it’s either magic, or some kind of sentient, alien-warrior cat.
    Happy IWSG Day!

  14. Thanks for co-hosting today, Ronel! I enjoyed reading about all that you are tackling, and I wish you success in your plans. 2020 is definitely an ambitious year for you! I’m slowly downsizing everything, and I’m a cleaning fiend right now. It always feels good to accomplish things. All the best to you!

  15. Wow, that’s an impressive ‘to do’ list Ronel. I’m exhausted just reading it! 😉

    I’ve only just started my author business journey, so it’s early days yet. Lots of trial and error, but keeping productive as well as having fun, is my focus at the moment.

    Best of luck with your plans and thanks for co-hosting this month!

  16. Wow, Ronel, I’m impressed. Your to-do list puts mine to shame. However, I am very much on the same track of wanting to redo, minimize, reduce clutter. I have been getting rid of stuff since January!

  17. So many things that are on your list should also be on mine, but I’m being realistic about how much I can manage with the 1-2 hours a day I have for my writing life, so I’m focused on writing new work and promoting my old work and will take on other projects as life allows.

  18. My cats are loud enough lately without adding armor to the mix! At least the kittens are. They sound like a cattle stampede in the middle of the night, and there’s only two of them. Sounds like you’ve got big plans and you’re already implementing them. Good luck!

  19. Excellent tips on author branding and general site clean-up. Now to find the time and super-hero gumption you seem to possess 😉
    Grumpy Old Gods sounds delightful!
    Thanks for co-hosting 😉

  20. I’ve been thinking about this ‘modern website’ stuff, especially the lack of sidebars. Questions I ask myself include ‘how will people find interesting stuff I do, apart from the blog post itself?’
    When I have time, I’ll do an assessment of styles I like and whether I think they work (realising they have to work in all reader formats).
    Meanwhile, I do have one comment on the new look… reading on my iPad, the font is waaay too small!
    Do I have to resize every blog I visit? Surely there should be some sort of standard?
    Sigh… technology… “progress” …

    1. I’ve read that font size, menu bars, etc. all still have to be formatted for mobile devices — it seems that, despite everyone already on the bandwagon of modernising sites, developers still lag behind. Sigh. I’ve added a couple of plugins for mobile devices… we’ll see if those actually work.
      As for the sidebars, it’s also to make your site more efficient for reading on mobile devices. For the most part, your sidebars move to the bottom of everything when someone views your site on a mobile device.
      Try adding menus and pages to help people find out more about the interesting stuff you do 🙂 WordPress has a few tutorials on how to easily add these.

  21. Wow, Ronel, you have an extremely busy year ahead! Well planned, too. Not sure I understand what “Project Evergreen” actually means, but lots of great incentives for you. And, will you stick to the vegan “diet”? Thank you for co-hosting this month.

    1. “Project Evergreen” is all about making my business stand the test of time 🙂
      Veganism is hard, but I’ll try to stick to it for the most part. I am, however, going to incorporate eggs from my backyard hens into my diet (no animal cruelty there!).
      You’re welcome 🙂

  22. Thanks for co-hosting this month! Sounds like 2020 is your year of changes and updates. Hope it all works out for you.

    For 2020, my goal is to submit more. Never went vegetarian or vegan. The only wellness change I’m undergoing is stopping putting harsh chemicals in my hair and going natural. Good luck finishing your story and all your reassessments!

  23. Thank you for co-hosting the IWSG blog hop this month, Ronel.

    I love picture prompts and always work well in response to visual prompts.
    A blog upgrade is something I need to work on. Thanks for the reminder.
    Good luck with your schedule – it’s impressive!

  24. Wow, you’re a busy gal. Love the graphics and I’m especially impressed that each book gets a video trailer. I’m curious how you produce the trailer?

    I apologize for my late comment I was traveling from Mexico to the USA. Next, dealing with pre and post surgery on my carotid artery. It was important to me to visit everyone that posted a comment on my blog. Thanks for co-hosting IWSG this month!

    1. Good luck with your surgery!

      I use AdobeSpark — it has a free version where you can make videos, use their free music (though I also use others — check the credits on my videos) and add graphics. I’ll probably do a blog post about it 😉

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