Catherine Mede Writes

The Musings of a Wordwright

Creating An Author Platform Part 8

Core ValuesTC Mead final logohis week we are looking at offline groups, social networking, and writing calendars.

Number 27 involves offline groups.  What the hell is this – some of you may ask.  Easy.  Join a group where you meet face to face.  Shock! Horror!  That means having to go out of the house and actually physically meet with people.  Yes it does.  And for a very good reason.

I am a member of the Romance Writers New Zealand, and we have a local chapter that meets once a month.  As a result, I get some inspiration, some laughs and encouragement from like minded people.  But I can do that online – yes, you can.  But you don’t get that feeling of camaraderie that you get when you meet face to face.  I also catch up with a couple of writer friends and have a write in.  We used to do this on the weekends, but now we have switched to a Monday at the local library, because it is quiet, has a nice atmosphere, and no one really cares what you are up to when you pull your laptop out.

Basically, meeting face to face gives you a chance to leave your house and have some human contact.

No 26 – Social media can be a minefield, but it doesn’t have to be.  In number 12 we were advised to get a social media management tool.  I have got hootesuite for my twitter account.  I use facebook all the time, so I will post in my authors page when I have something to say, and this posts onto my twitter account.  However I don’t use twitter – I barely go in there, except to retweet something, or thank someone.  Having Hootesuite, I am able to schedule tweets to come out around 24 hours, which is helpful when you consider that you are only awake for 16 of them.

You can get social media management programs that will schedule to facebook as well, and of course, you can set up wordpress (and I presume other blog sites) to post to your social media account.

No 27 – get business advice.  Yip, you are about to set up a business, so you need to have some advice from a business professional, be it a small business advice group, Citizens Advice Bureau, or an accountant.  It is important that you talk to someone so that you know what the expectations are, what the tax requirements are and any other details that may be required.

28 – Join LinkedIn.  This is a strange social media group – but since I have signed up, I have found that people have been requesting to make contact with me, because I have writer as one of my interests.  There are even groups on LinkedIn that you can join and connect with others who are in your interests.  I am on there as myself, so I might have to go in and create another account for Catherine Mede.

No 29 – Add to your list of influencers – not only your readers, but those who are big in the industry, other writers, reviewers.  Keep a list of them on hand, because you might actually need them at some time.

No 30 (because there is nothing like pushing the envelope) Create an editorial calendar.  This was something that I did the other day, with an old whiteboard I had.  I put the title of my story, where I was at (writing, editing, proofing) and when I expected to have it finished (end of August 2014, February 2015 etc.)

There is also a really cool website where you can download and write up your own calendar for your events – this can be found at Literautas –   You can create your own calendar there.  I also have a weekly calendar where I write down all those obligations that I have to do (work, volunteer work, appointments) and it allows me to see where I have gaps that I can write in.

We are nearly a third of the way through this exercise.  If you want to get ahead of me, check out Your Writers Platform for more details.

What or Who is a Good Person?

Bangs Head on Desk by Tolan88 @ deviantart

Bangs Head on Desk by Tolan88 @ deviantart

I was going to post today about Perfectionism – as it was a recent discovery of mine, but instead, my lovely psychologist threw me a curve ball.  She decided that we needed to work through one of my beliefs, and it was quite a tear jerking moment.  I had to work through the thought that “I am not good enough”, which is something that I have lived with pretty much my entire life.  We went through the arguments for and against (to work out what are facts and what is fiction) and often it can be hard to find some against’s, although unwittingly, I had done that myself.  I got to a part about parenting – and I am not a good parent – and that started me off again.

So, my homework was to define “a good person” and “a good parent“.

That might seem easy – a good person is someone who is good right?  but what is good?

I asked my husband, and he reckons that someone who is honest, has integrity and trustworthy.  That’s all well and good, but what does that look like?  I wanted a more rounded definition to take back to my psychologist.  My Mum didn’t feel she was able to answer that question.

A good person – what do they do?

A good person is someone who is there for others, is selfless, kind, gentle, able to support and encourage someone in times of need.  They are friendly, helpful, a good listener and someone with sound advice.  Does this sound right to you?  What do you consider to be a good person?

What about a good parent – what does one of them look like?  What do they do?

For me, a good parent is someone who loves unconditionally, gives their time and patience to their child(ren), offers advice, help, but allows the child to make and learn from their own mistakes.  They support and encourage their child(ren) in all that they do.  They discipline them when they need to be, and teach them the basics to a healthy long living life of gratitude.

These are my own thoughts on the matter, but I am curious what other people think?  What is your definitions of a good person and a good parent?  If you don’t want to respond on here, feel free to email me at catherine(at)catherinemede(dot)com.

Please sign up to my newsletter while you are here, be the first to sign up and get the news and views and updates as I progress towards publishing by the end of the year.

Space and Time Discontinuum

Curse of the TaniwhaAnother busy week has been and gone.  And once more I have been scrambling for time and space to do some writing, alone time and pretty much anything else.  I can tell you that I am sleeping better (yay!) and can’t really tell you that I have been doing anything special, just sleeping.

It is over a week now since I started the Junk Food Free August – no takeaways, chocolate, white bread, icecream, cakes, muffins, pastry’s, fizzy drink, biscuits, chips, anything that is fun basically.  I have lost a few centimetres already, but I think that has more to do with an increased fluid intake rather than actual weight lost.  I have found myself eating more fruit bread.  I’m finding it hard to find things to fill me up.  It has been challenging, fortunately it doesn’t count out alcohol, so I can still have a tipple if I have a bad day.

Writing wise, I have managed to eek a few moments in here and there.  But not enough for my liking.  At least I have done two hours this week, which is about an hour more than last week.  I also finished the ending of the Taniwha story, so now I have to work on the middle.  I have some ideas, but I want more conflict – what can I throw at the heroine and the hero to make the situation more dangerous, tricky?  She is accident prone, so I don’t want to focus on her any more.

Anyway, a fresh week awaits.  Lets hope there is more writing time than this week just been.

Creating an Author Platform #7

Core ValuesOK, we are trudging through this, but already I am starting to feel like I am accomplishing something.

Before we begin, an update on some  of the things I have been trying out.

Vertical Response is fabulous.  It is easy to use and looks great.  Can’t wait to start getting newsletters out there, but first, I need some people to sign up!  There is a gorgeous picture of a silver fern to the right of this post.  Click on it, and it will take you to the sign in page.  It looks awesome.

I have signed up to Hootsuite, only to be able to schedule my tweets.  I don’t use twitter much, but as I have big plans coming up, I really need to be able to have tweets scheduled for regular intervals, without me having to sit up half the night to do it.

So, where were we, oh yes, No 21 – become an expert in your field.  Now I know many writers, whom are published, but just don’t feel like they can call themselves authors.  Why not?  You wrote a book and it was published.  Someone liked it.  But you don’t have to be a published writer to become well known.  Offer to teach a class about writing.  I have done this on a couple of occasions at the local school now – teaching year 2 and 3 and year 5 and 6.  I got just as much out of it as the kids did.  It was fun to see them get what I was talking about.  The years 2 and 3, we talked about description – now these are 6 – 7 year olds.  We talked about hair colour, eye colour, then what superpowers their character would have – like laser eyes, ability to fly, able to breathe underwater.  The kids really got into it.

With the year 5 and 6 (9 – 10 year olds, ) we discussed editing, because it takes more than one draft to write a book.  I showed them some of my manuscripts with red scribbles all over it, and explained why changing things can make it sound more interesting, or powerful.

But you don’t have to teach kids.  What about adults?  How about guest blogging, talking about your writing processes?  Offer to talk to a group about writing.  Answer questions on other blogs and forums.  There are lots of possibilities out there.

Number 21 involves HARO – or Help a Reporter Out.  I guess this is an American thing, but does it hurt to try it here in NZ too?  Respond when someone needs a quote on your subject.  How about contacting a reporter about your local writing group – or a up coming seminar about writing.

Follow up on breaking news is number 22.  If a subject comes up in the media, an human interest story that you have written about, contact the local media and let them know you have written a book about it.  Why?  Why not?  It gets your name out there.  Just make sure it isn’t about violent crime or homicide – that would be rather tactless.

A pillar post is new to me.  Basically it is an article that orients your reader to what you are all about.  It reflects your core values or your author brand and answer a question or need.  This one I had to look up – because I really didn’t understand.  Doesn’t this come under the “About Me” part of my website?  Kimberly recommended that you visit for a definition, and I think he put it better than I can describe.


“Write at least five major “pillar” articles. A pillar article is usually a tutorial style article aimed to teach your audience something. Generally they are longer than 500 words and have lots of very practical tips or advice. This article you are currently reading could be considered a pillar article since it is very practical and a good “how-to” lesson. This style of article has long term appeal, stays current (it isn’t news or time dependent) and offers real value and insight. The more pillars you have on your blog the better.”


So basically, write a series of articles about – Writing.  Perhaps your writing process – how you come up with characters, how you write your dialogue, where you get your settings from, how do you plot your story.  All wonderful ideas that can get you going.

I have actually been thinking about this for a while.  Goodness knows I have started a few, but kind of withered off into nothing, because I don’t think I have anything special to share, but someone out there might just have a problem with picking names for a character – and I might just have the inspiration they need.

So next week, we look at offline associations, media scheduling, business advice and LinkedIn.

When is it sleep time?

I have lots of trouble sleeping – in fact I have suffered from insomnia for years. It is only recently that I have been quite conscious of the lack of sleep. 5 hours is a good night for me.

But the funny thing is, there still isn’t enough time in the day! My psychologist is persistently telling me that I need to manage my time better. But the thing is, I have to do lists, and I have a daily planner, but every day, something happens to throw my plans out! How does that happen?

I finally told my husband the other day that I am taking some time out to write. So what does he do? Interferes with MY time. Grrr.

I have been working nearly 7 days a week – at least 6 days. Tuesday is the only day I get to myself at the moment, and I make the most of it, by getting out of the house, because how else am I to have some personal space.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my husband dearly, and I love spending time with him, but I just wish he would respect my wish of time to myself.

Even at night time, I have taken to sleeping in a separate bedroom because I am so restless at night. I have made myself a nest – quite literally. I got all the furry blankets I own and put them on the mattress on the floor. I curl up in the softness and read, because there is little else to do while you can’t sleep.

Now, I know that some of you will be saying, that the problem is I am reading at night. Well, I actually go to bed. Read for half an hour to an hour, and then go to sleep. I sleep well until about 1:30am. If I can’t get back to sleep by 2am, I read my Kindle. Reading is the only way to quieten down my mind. I do yoga, I exercise, I don’t eat a certain amount of time before I go to bed, I am careful what I watch or the games I play before bedtime, because I know this can affect me, but still – little to no effect.

Of course, it doesn’t help when you have a conversation going on in your brain between two characters… and they don’t want me to forget the conversation, so keep repeating it until I have the opportunity to write it down. Sometimes I wonder at my own sanity!

Once a fortnight, I have a sleeping pill, in the hopes that it will get me back into a regular pattern, but it hasn’t to date. The only time I got some good sleep was when I was sick… and I can’t constantly be sick.

I know that my brain is relatively active, but is this because I am a creative person? Does anyone else have trouble sleeping? Would love to hear what you do to get a better nights sleep.

A time to write?

C Mead final logoBoy, it has be one of THOSE weeks (or two) where I have just about met myself coming backwards.

I have been working with my husband in the weekends, and thereby effectively cutting out any downtime I would normally get. Here’s to my husband having normal hours soon :)

Writing has been taking a busy turn lately, with another new project – although it is a long term project. It will all be revealed early next year. Lets just say, I get to write it once a month, and still have about 6 months to finish it.

I have done some work on the Taniwha story, although not as much as I would like. An idea has been swirling around in my head, but I realised that it was just a repetition of what has already happened in the story, until I decided that it needed to happen to another of the characters. Now it is formulating, and I will hopefully get to write it later this week.

Life in general is just busy at the moment. I can’t seem to find time to clean the house, let alone work at my part time job, work for my husband and be a wife and mum. I am hoping something will give soon, because I can’t keep going like this.

Anyway, how is your week progressing?

Creating an Author Platform #6

Hi de Hi campers!  Well, platformers anyway.  I hope that you are enjoying the series.  This week we are focusing on commenting, freebies, subscribing and Google Alerts.

Number 17 is commenting.  Comment on blogs.  Simple.  We all know how hard it can be to get comments on our blogs, so try commenting on those that you follow.  Ask a question, thank them for their blog post, especially if it touched you in some way, provide them with feedback.  Let them know you are following them.

I have two regular commenters – Zee and Cassie.  They are wonderful people who provide me with feedback.  Thanks guys.  I try and get out there and post comments on other peoples blogs.  The more comments you make, the more people will visit your own site, especially if it is insightful.

Create a freebie is No 18.  People don’t like handing over their email address for nothing.  So, give them something.  Give them a teaser, a taste of what you have to offer.  Make it something worthwhile for the subscriber, like a one of a kind story, only subscribers will get to see – helps them to spread the word when you do start getting a following.

Subscribe – get yourself on the email lists of other writers.  This is something that I have done, and I receive updates from Melissa Pearl, Nalini Singh and T G Ayer on a regular basis.  I also follow WPbeginner for tips and hints on wordpress, Your Writer Platform for information on author ideas and tips and hints, and Fiction University for a series of emails on writing problems.  I love being parts of these lists, because I get useful information, or first hand information – cover reveals, ARC’s, ideas and solutions to problems I might have encountered.

No 20 – Set up Google Alerts.  This is new to me, because I haven’t done anything like this before.  Google Alert is a free service that allows you to specify keywords or phrases that relate to writing, or romance writing and forwards the results through to you.  I set mine up for Romance, NZ romance writing, Catherine Mede.  Will be interesting to see what it comes up with.

Next week, to continue building our platform, we will focus on becoming an expert in our field, signing up to help out a reporter, following up on breaking news and pillar posts.

Author Platform No 5

I thought that I had this sorted out for last weekend, but no.  So instead of posting it straight away, I posted it for today instead.

No, we were up to Number 13 – which is quite interesting.  Google Adwords.  I looked up Romance and was surprised to see that 300,000 people search for this per day.  That is a lot of people.  NZ romance turned up nothing.  Zip, zero, nada.  That is sad.  Lets hope that RWNZ and myself can rectify that.  If you have a gmail account, sign in and go to Adwords, they will ask you to pay, but you don’t have to, just go through the exercise and then type in your search words.  You may find it very surprising.

Number 14 is creating a bio – highlighting your expertise and accomplishments.  I kind of have this – published in Masters of Horror Anthology, and another anthology, which I can’t really go into at this stage, but it will be coming out next year.  Writing articles for The Rural is also a point that I should add, and any competitions you have entered, especially if you got to the finals.  Also include here any online guest posts you have done and any speaking engagements you may have done.   I have updated my Works in Progress page to now be Written Works and WIP.  Go and check it out.

Number 15 – get some photographs done.  Incorporate the photographs in your writing, to get yourself out there.  I don’t have any recent photos of me, but I use one taken by my son at a friends wedding last year.  I like this photo, so have decided to make this ‘the one’.  I have tried to put it around all my social media sites so that they are all uniform.

Making a list of top 10 (or 100 or any number inbetween) of authors, bloggers, industry leaders is Number 16.  I have chosen to look at top NZ authors – which isn’t too hard, because I know a few of them.  They include T G Ayer, Cassie Hart, Zee Southcombe, Kris Pearson, Leigh Hunt and Melissa Pearl.  There are more, of course, but they are the ones that I want to follow.  I also follow Nalini Singh (whom I met once, and have a photograph to prove it!).  I also have bloggers that I follow, like Author Media and Your Writer Platform.

Next week, we have comments, freebies, subscribing and google alerts to keep us all entertained.

Monday Morning Catchup

Phew, school holidays are over and I might finally get some time to myself!  Ha, that’s a good joke.

I managed to find some time last week and got about 3000 words written on Curse of the Taniwha, so I have made some progress on that.  I have also started a short story – Beautiful Stranger which is based on some writing exercises that we have done at the monthly RWNZ meetings.

So, I can finally tell you about Cursed Love.  In March, I entered the Pacific Hearts competition, held by RWNZ for unpublished writers.  I was a little nervous, but it was writer feedback that I wanted.

Two weeks ago, I got the results back.  I didn’t make it to the top three, which had their manuscripts sent through to a Harlequin editor who will chose the top story.  The reason I entered this competition is because it is picked by readers.  Yes, readers read the story, and then they mark it, according to how much they enjoyed your story.

Marks are out of 85, and I got 82 and 83.  I was rapt with those two reports, but I also got one for 56/85 – and this is the one that has thrown me a little, because it says the total opposite of the other two.  Why does one focus on the negative rather than the positive?

Anyway, I have a couple of people reading through Cursed Love, and I will be shipping it out to a couple of publishers.  If no one is interested, then I will be self publishing it at the end of the year, and I hope to have Curse of the Taniwha to publish early next year.

I managed to get a couple of articles written for The Rural, including this one – Rural Hacks for Going to Town which is also the featured article.

So, as kids go back to school, I am hoping to find some time to do some writing, but I don’t know if that is going to happen, or be wishful thinking.

How do you make time to do the things you want to do?

Mental Health and Procrastination

These seem to walk together hand in hand, and it can be bloody hard to separate them.

A friend of mine, Cassie, wrote a blog recently about Barriers of Her Own Making.  Basically she was revising a novel, and wanted to add in a new scene, but couldn’t seem to make it happen.  I have had the same experience too.  I had a scene that I wanted to continue on with, but didn’t really now how to do that.  But rather than try and work at it, I procrastinated.

And it is only recently I have realised that procrastion and Depression really do go together for me.  If I can’t find a reason for doing something, I will stop and think about it.  And I can think about it for days.  And rather than just go ahead and do it, I will come up with every excuse under the sun why I can’t.

But that is another problem too.  Making excuses.  It is easy to do, but I shouldn’t.  I can get up and clean the house if I want to, I just chose not to because I would rather focus on how big a job it would be, rather than how quickly I could get it done if I just got up and did it.

Its a bit like my writing.  I wanted to move on from that scene, but I couldn’t do it.  And I would actually get up and clean the house, feed the cats, make tea, change the sheets, do the washing, go and visit friends, work for my husband, play on social media, everything except what I should have done.  And it wasn’t until last week I realised that the solution was simple.

Move onto a scene that I knew was coming up.  The fantastic thing was, a couple of weeks ago I received an email from Fiction University about how to plot backwards, and I thought that was a fantastic way to do it.  I have my protagonist at a point, how how did he get there, where had he come from?  What made him / her make that decision?

So last week, I started making time in my day to do at least a thousand words.  It doesn’t sound like a lot, but for someone who hasn’t written a significant amount in a few weeks, it is a lot.  But when I picked a scene I wanted to write, it just flowed out of me.  Which is pretty darned cool actually.

I do have some scenes which are hanging in midair at the moment, but I will tie them in, and if they don’t fit, I can either use them elsewhere, or dump them.

So, I have learnt that I need to be more proactive and make time, because time doesn’t make time, and I can chose to be busy, or have time to do some writing.

What is your procrastination problem?

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