Monday, 25 February 2013

KOP: Got 50 Ideas? By The End Of This You Will!

Courtesy of Raja4u @ stock.xchng

On with our Killer Online Platform series!

Last time we looked at how to do keyword research. If you haven't yet read this, I suggest you go back and do so, because it might come in handy (hint, hint).

Today we are looking at the next step, which I know that a lot of people are going to want to skip, but don't! For the love of God, don't!

The topic is thinking of at least 50 posts. I'm adding to that and saying: 'Think of 50, and write out at least 10'.

Why should you think of 50?

First of all, if you struggle to think of even 50 posts about your area, you might not have picked the best area. If you are posting about 2-3 times a week, that gets you six months in.

Did you remember me saying this was going to take at least a year? You do the maths.

Yes, some of your entries may be a bit filler, but you want the majority of your posts to be interesting and informative.

Second, one of the most important things you can do when starting out to get people to read your stuff is to have 'epic content' (ie. amazing, informative, 'wow' factor content). If you can list out 50 topics, this will help you identify the 'wow' topics from the less 'wow' topics.

Third, the second most important thing when you start out as a blogger is being consistent. You really need to be posting at least every week, preferably 2-3 times a week. Less than that, people are going to forget about you. (If you are posting just once a week, make it clear when you will be posting so people can tune in to you like a new episode on TV each week and not waste their time checking the rest of the week). If you have a list of topics already written out, it will be a big help when you have very little time and can't think what to write. (Especially so if you have a few stock posts ready and waiting to go.)

How do you think of 50?
Here are the top tips I've picked up about how to find great post ideas:

1. This may sound simple, but anyone who has tried writing frequent posts will attest to how useful it can be: Have a schedule for your posts. For example, for me: Sundays and Wednesdays are now my ROW80 days, Monday or Tuesday I try to do a post in my series (currently KOP), Thursday I'm going to start trying to do more writing tips, and I'm going to be bringing in on Friday a link round up of cool things about writing around the web. Knowing this makes choosing what to write a whole lot easier.

2. Google Keyword research. (Told you it would come up). Take your keyword, and see what people are searching for. What do they want to know about? Find out and give it to them!

3. This is from Pat Flynn and is a great idea: go to and look up books in your area. Using the preview function, have a look at their content page. There you go, a list of topics that should be covered for this area!

4. Forums etc. Go to places where your audience hangs out and see what questions people repeatedly ask. I hang around fitness forums and people always ask questions that I'm like 'how could you not know the answer to that?' But in fact, they don't but I do which = great opportunity. (I also go back to the forum afterwards and give a short answer and link to my post for a longer answer if they're interested, which obviously they are!)

5. Series. Sort of like the scheduling idea, but a lot of topics can been turned into a series of posts. Most of my fitness posts come in threes, such as the barefoot running. The first post was looking at what it is and why there is such a debate about it. The second post was on the technique necessary to not hurt yourself, and the third was a review of the different types of shoes. (Oh, I actually chucked in a fourth one in there, which was a YouTube video on how to make your own barefoot running shoes, just for fun (and a great filler, took me like 5 minutes to do, and still gave fun value to my reader)). 

I also keep a list on my iPhone so that while I'm out and a great idea comes to me, I can add it later.  

With these tips, you should be able to come up with a list of at least 50 topics, preferably arranged into different areas you could do for your schedule. How about Monday's are Information Overload day, Wednesday is How To day, and Friday is Review Product/Book day? Simple, but helps you order your list.

Now that you have got the list, choose ten and actually write up the blog post and save them as drafts. You will thank me for this later. Trust me.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

End of the Weekend, Already?

Saturday morning always has so much potential, Friday night even better. And then suddenly it is Sunday evening!

And what do I have to show for it?

Well, since I last checked in:
-  I've not written anything on my theological book. Bad Buffy, bad. (Writing theology has a lot more issues associated with it than writing historical romance. I'm just saying, they tend to get annoyed when you make things up, or get stuck so add in a tall dark handsome stranger.)
- Have edited another 1/3 of the Five Day Writer's Retreat, which is great.
- I've also sent off to a few more agents (I also got a 'Thank You. We are reviewing' reply from an agent I queried at the beginning of Feb. This is pretty exciting, as it's not a straight out no, and they took the time to tell me, even though they could have just waited. Well, a girl's allowed to dream :D).
- I did do an epic post on how to do google keyword research, which I was proud of (if you haven't read it, I highly recommend it.) 
- Finally got the post on choosing barefoot running shoes to publish on my fitness blog (with a bit of help).
- And the rest of the time has been on doing The Five Day Writer website adjusting.
So what are my goals for this week? 

Was sitting in church tonight and got convicted about ignoring the theology book. It was actually kind of freaky, as it was like the sermon was focused on me and what I was writing about, saying how necessary it was for people to hear this message. (This used to not be so freaky. When your Dad is the minister, sometimes you do get subtle hints which are more directed at you than other members of the congregation, but I'm now in a church of about 700, and my pastor doesn't even know what I'm writing about!) So, okay, I'll get around to writing it then.

And then there is Kait's call to do 5-10% more than we have been.

So, this week I'm going to get serious about the theology book. I want to try and write 3,000 words a day on it to come up with a chapter by chapter summary, and the first 3 chapters written by the end of the week.

I've also been slack with my blogging, so want to do two fitness and two strong content writing posts by Wednesday.

Add in there finishing off editing the last 1/3 of The Five Day Writer's Retreat, and I think that's pretty much all of my time used up.

(Except that I'm now in the middle of Alan Bradley's 'The Sweetness At The Bottom Of The Pie', which I'll need to finish, obviously, and I've ordered from another library Cassandra Clarke's 'The Clockwork Prince' as I just finished 'The Clockwork Angel' and as much as it annoyed me, I have to find out what happened... hmmm, will see how it all goes!)

Finally, a big thank you to everyone for supporting The Five Day Writer. It is two weeks today until my 30th Birthday, which is scary for completely unrelated reasons! I'm excited about turning 30, just scared about getting everything done for the book launch in time! Well, it's one way to take the focus off aging ;)

If you still haven't done it, but want to receive a copy of The Five Day Writer's Retreat when it comes out as my gift to you, go to and sign up for the newsletter. 

Thursday, 21 February 2013

KOP: Keyword Research For Your Writing Niche

Button for web pages 1
Courtesy of hisks at stock.xchng
Over the last few weeks I’ve gone from a general overview for creating a Killer Online Platform through to identifying your writing/blogging niche area.

Last week I left you thinking about refining your blog to a single passion, problem or fear. I then promised that I would take you through how to do keyword research in order to identify the best targeting for that area.

So today I live up to that promise.

(Disclaimer now, I'm sorry but this has turned out to be a rather long post, but I think it is all important stuff).

I’m going to go through two methods. The first is completely free using Google Keyword Tools. The second is using a program that costs about $97 to download, but has a whole lot of other features and does it much more effectively – Market Samurai (aff.). They offer a free 5 day trial (aff.) which could be enough for your to identify your area and get a list of the words to target.

(My review of it: If you aren't planning on making a career out of starting websites in niche areas, might not be worth it. However, I bought it because I wanted to be able to do more keyword research, and particularly for my fitness blog, it has turned up key terms that I wouldn't have thought of, but when I did a post about them, they were much more successful than my other ones. So while I might not be high in Google ranking overall, even on a small scale it increases my traffic just for one article.)

Even if you don’t end up using it, I highly recommend their training videos just to help you understand the many things that can be achieved through target research.

Intro to Keyword Search:

If you still aren't really sure what keyword research is, and why you should do it, take about 9 minutes to watch this video, it goes through it in very simple terms:

(If you are a bit more advanced, I would recommend skipping the video)

When you are searching for keywords for your niche area, remember that there are three/four key things you want to identify: (I've stolen the concepts from Market Samurai, so if you want to get more details on them, go to their dojo.)

1. Relevance: when you first type your keyword into your tool, you are going to get a lot of words, some of which are obviously not going to be relevant to your particularly interests. Then there will be some that might sort of be relevant. Ignore those. Keep panning down until you get to the golden keywords which are spot on what you are trying to present in the blog.

2. High Traffic: the point of this research is to find the keywords related to your area that are more constantly searched. You want to identify words that have higher search numbers, because they are the ones that are going to get more traffic to your site.

3. Low/Weak Competition: Some keywords will already have a lot of people targeting them, so it is going to be difficult to make your way up the Google search ranks. Other keywords will have low competition, but it will be really strong (older websites, lots of content, backlinks to everything, and a lot of authority). These are going to be hard to push off the top rank places. So you want an area that has weak competition and if you can also manage it a low amount of competition.

4. Commerciality (I know, it's not really a word, but it's what they use): The final aspect that internet marketers are interested in is the profitability of the keyword: do people who generally search for that term tend to click on advertising or buy things. This is not really that important if you are more interested in just getting traffic to your site (so you can interest a traditional publisher, say), so you can take or leave this one. If you do want to sell things through your site, or set up Adsense, then you might want to pay a bit of attention to this. Market Samurai has a function that works out how much advertisers are prepared to pay for certain keywords, which is based on how much they think they will make, and is a good indication of how commercial the term is.

So keep these three/four desirables in mind while searching.

The Totally Free Way!

This is a step by step guide to using Google Adwords keyword tool to find everything you need. You do need to have an Adwords account to do it, but it's free to sign up (you just have to put up with them sending you emails trying to get you to buy advertising space).

(Or if you want to focus on an Australian market).

2.  Log in with your Google account

3.  Click on 'Tools and Analysis'

4.  Go to 'Keyword Tool'

5.  Enter the word or phrase you want to use in your niche. Today's example is based on a series from my fitness blog, so we are going to look at barefoot running

 *Do not click on the box stating 'Only show ideas closely related to my search terms'.  It will limit the search results too much.

6.  From the 'Advanced Options and Filters', you can change the location, language, and devices
. For a blogger, since you are not selling any product in a particular area, choose 'All Locations'

*Notice 'Match Types' on the left sidebar.

7.  Choose 'Broad' if you want to see broad results. 
However, this can be confusing as it will generate words not very related, and be low on your 'relevance' scale, eg for barefoot running it offers injury, new shoes, athletic shoes

 (no good people, the point is not to have new shoes!)

8.  Choose 'Phrase' if you want to generate search volumes that include the whole phrase or near variants of it.
 Keep in mind that 'broad' applies to this as well.


9.  Choose 'Exact'.  It will generate specific search results.

 (Good relevance).

You can play around with these three choices.  Start broad and then get specific.

By doing so, you can identify more keyword and group ideas.

Use this to identify a keyword which as low competition and high traffic. 

With barefoot running, it generates  4,980,000 results in Google, which means there is a lot of competition in this area. This might not be a great term as your key target, though you can still use it.
 However, the competition for 'barefoot running' is medium, so not very strong.

And with 90,500 global searches per month (great traffic), you might actually change your mind and try it.  

It is a strong keyword.

 But we are on the look out for a low-competition keyword.

10.  Click on 'Keyword ideas' right under the blue 'Search' tab.

11.  Click on 'Global monthly searches' and it will sort the keywords from highest to lowest.

Notice 'five finger' has a low competition rate but with 823,000 monthly searches.
 (weak competition and high traffic - sounding good).

(These figures might be different on your end)

However, if you search the term in Google, it generates 86,800,000 results.
 (Weak competition, but lots of it).

On the other hand 'barefoot' has low competition, higher monthly searches and generates only 52,300,000 results.

It may still be a big figure but it is definitely a strong keyword.

You can do a lot of things in the keyword tool but competition and monthly searches are the first things to consider.

11.  On the far right, you will see Approximate CPC.  This is for users who actually have campaigns in Google.  It stands for Approximate cost per click.
 Basically, it is an indicator of whether it is a profitable keyword or not. The larger the approx. CPC is, the more advertisers think they can make (and so are prepared to pay) and therefore is a good indication of whether you will be able to make money with it. (Remember, it is an indication, not an exact estimate. If it is high, you will be able to make more, if it is low, you will probably make less).

12.  Over on the far right, you can click on 'Columns'.
 It will drop down to reveal what other columns you can add to the sheet.

Local search trends is interesting as it will show a bar graph of local searches per month.
 If you are trying to target a close audience, this can be useful. (Farthest to the right is the most recent.


From all of this you can identify which keywords are relevant, with high traffic, low competition, and if it is important to you - high profitability.

Market Samurai:

Now, you can do all this, plus more, by using Market Samurai (aff.).

The program gets you to start with the keyword you are interested in, then it pulls up all the related keywords (usually a few hundred).

You can take out non-relevant words at this stage, but it's generally not necessary.

It then analyses the words based on a set of criteria you can choose, and filters out ones that are too 'broad', don't have enough traffic, have too much competition, and other factors as you desire.

Out of the ones you are left with, you can then look at the top 10 websites Google has ranked for that keyword, and the program will show you how strong they are based on a number of key factors (how old the site is, how many pages, how many back links, the authority, if they have done good SEO etc.) Using this, you can see exactly what you would have to do in order to make it into the top 10.

You can also add your own site to compare and work out how you can improve your ranking.

If you haven't got your site yet, you can then use the program (not the trial version, though, I've just remembered) to find domain names that match your keyword.

Pat Flynn has put together a great webinar on how to use Market Samurai for keyword research. It's really useful because it covers all the basic things you need to know in general about picking a keyword for starting a niche site. It's 50 miutes long, so not for the faint hearted, but if you are interested in this, I recommend taking the time to watch it.


There are a lot of cool things you can do with keyword research. But for now, at the beginning of your journey, the big thing I want you to understand is this:

- you want to make sure the niche area you create as part of the anchor layer for your platform is going to get traffic.
- you do this by making sure it is targeted towards the best keyword in that area and will be able to get into the top 10 places in Google for that keyword.  (best = relevant, high traffic, low competition).
- you then use that keyword throughout your blog. Particularly, and this is the important part, try to have a direct match domain name.  You want your domain name to be memorable, not easy to mix up or mistype (such as using numbers instead of letters, or weird spellings, hyphens, etc.),  and Google appears to really like it if your domain name matches the keyword you are trying to rank for.

Obviously I found all this out after I started, so just think what a better place you will be in!
(Though, I love 100 First Drafts, and at least I think it is memorable.)

So, good luck with that. And if you are confused or want to know more, I'll do my best to help. Just leave a comment below or email me at (in case you think your question is too silly for everyone to read... I won't judge, I promise.) I'm happy to share my new found knowledge :D

Has this been helpful?

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

What Do You Look For In A Book Cover?

Hello everyone,

Sorry that I haven't been publishing as much as I should. Surprisingly, trying to self-publish your own book in a matter of weeks is just slightly more stressful than you would think. So I'm not actually going to revisit my ROW80 goals for this week, and instead focus on what I did manage to achieve!

Things for the book launch are definitely coming along.

I now have the newsletter sign up for The Five Day Writer up and running! It is not yet very sophisticated, with follow-up emails etc., but sign up before the 17th of March, 2013 and you will definitely get a free copy of The Five Day Writer's Retreat. Thank you to those of you who have been quick off the mark and have already tried to sign up. It is now up and working, so please try again!

The Five Day Writer website has also continued to be updated.

But more importantly, my wonderful assistant, Bea, has been hard at work creating a number of mock covers for my e-book!

The only problem is now that I can't decide which one I like best :D

So, I've narrowed it down to 2 covers and am putting it to a vote here, as I trust your opinions.

A little promo about the book from the website;

Retreats are times to rejuvenate and prepare your mind, body and soul for change. They are calm places that give you the tools to enable you to face your fears and follow your dreams. And what better dream than to be a prolific writer?

Whether it is a historical romance or a website on the science of space – this book will help you banish writer’s block and write more freely than ever before.

The Five Day Writer’s Retreat covers essential topics such as:

-          Understanding Your Creative Nature: how to overcome your fears and limitations.
-          Entering Your Writing World: creating flow and sticking power.
-          Motivation and Will Power: learn how to maximize each for effortless writing.
-          Lifestyle of writing: arrange your life to produce better quality writing.
-          Preparing for your work: build anticipation and excitement for your particular project.

With that in mind, which of these two covers do you think best encapsulates the feel of the book?

Do you think the cover should highlight the writing aspect, or evoke feelings of relaxation and 'retreat'? 

Constructive criticism welcome, as these are only the mock-ups that can be changed. 

Cover 1:
Cover 2:

Thank you again everyone for your support.
Don't forget to sign up to the newsletter at before the 17th of March, 2013 in order to get your free copy.

Monday, 18 February 2013

ROW 80 Update

Things have been moving, which is always exciting. 

If you care to venture over to, you will see that I've started up the webpage for my writing series, the first of which is to be released in just under 3 weeks! (The exclamation mark is partly to get you excited, and partly because I'm horrified at how close it is and how much I feel I still have to do!) 

The website is still in the development process but at least it is there, which is a huge relief. Keep a watch on it for as it becomes super cool!

As to the specific ROW 80 goals I set for this second half of the week:

1. write at least 1,500 words a day, 6 days a week on my theological draft. 
- I have 5,500 done, so not quite 1,500 for 6 days. A bit behind on that, but plan to sit down and keep hacking away at it. 
- Is actually a lot more fun than I originally thought. Making it less academic, more colloquial, and to keep myself motivated through this first draft stage, I'm allowing myself to say all the rude things about certain ideas and scholarship that need to be said, and I'll probably take them out later.

2. By Sunday, read through full draft of Five Day Writer's Retreat and work out what needs to be done. 

- Forgot that this is what I said I would do, and instead have been working through it more slowly fixing up what I need to do. 
- Have convinced a good friend of mine who has studied editing to go through it for me, so said I would get it to her by Wednesday. Deadlines, don't we all love deadlines?

3. Write 2 in-depth posts for both blogs.
- Wrote 1 in-depth post for this blog, see Identifying Your Niche Area.
 - Annoyingly have spent probably a collective 3+ hours trying to post for Fitbusters a review article on Barefoot Running Shoes (yes, I think we all see the oxymoron-ism there. And no, I'm not sure that is a word, but I'm happy to go with it all the same). Unfortunately (for everyone around me, as I became reasonably irate after the first few hours spread over three days) blogger is just refusing to publish or save it. I think it has something to do with the images, but it just keeps doing this to me, and will eventually publish it, you just have absolutely no idea when that 'eventually' will be, and my computer keeps crashing in the process. Yes, the brand new Mac Book Pro I bought about a month ago. Not Happy.

4. Write 3 articles for submission to get traffic to my blogs.  
- In the same vein, published one article and wrote a second one before my computer crashed and only saved the first two paragraphs. By this stage was not in the mood to continue writing. 

So, the goals were a mixed bag. At least I definitely did something, but not as much as I wanted. However, that will not slow me down! (well, in fact it did, but I will charge on from where I am not where I hoped to be.)

Goals until Wednesday:

1. 4,500 words for theology draft.

2. finish initial edit of The Five Day Writer's Retreat in order to send to my friend. 

3. Write and publish at least 1 article. 

Thursday, 14 February 2013

KOP: Identify Your Niche Area For Your Blog

Welcome to the first step in the KOP series: Killer Online Platform!

In the first post I presented an overview of the steps you can take to Build A Killer Online Platform.
(This is also repeated in the tab page for Killer Online Platform, and I'll be linking all the related posts to that index.) In the next post I discussed the overall strategy.

Today we are jumping straight into actually developing your KOP - Finding a Niche Area for Your Blog. 

This might sound pretty simple: Writing. Right?
Wrong. Well, wrong if you want to get any traffic at all to your blog.

Writing is waaaayyyy too big an area if you want to be found. Remember the goal is to get more targeted traffic to your site.

'Targeted traffic' you ask? Traffic that is already interested in what you are talking about.

There are so many different areas under the topic 'writing' that a) it is going to be really hard to rank on Google in such a big field (and I'm told that ranking on Google is one of the biggest things for getting the awesome traffic numbers), and b) the people who do come might be looking for something else entirely, like how to write in binary.

Therefore, you are much better off defining more specifically your area of interest, or what you are going to write about. Basically, you want to be able to create the impression (illusion?) that you are an expert in that field by presenting top quality content in a specific area so people who want to know about that will come to you (and eventually buy your books because they trust you and love your writing.)

Ideally your area and your product would be the same, eg. you are writing about how to research for historical romance and at the same time present grabbing historical romance that your readers want. However, you can also create a blog on how to overcome writer's block, and present your historical romance, it just might not be as successful. Having said that, after writing your blog for 6 months, you might be able to present the e-book: 10 easy ways to kill writer's block before it strikes, and make your millions that way. 

So how do you choose a niche area?

Try the rule of 7: 7 passions, 7 fears and 7 problems.

What are your 7 passions? If you are writing, these could be areas that you write in (historical romance, how to books, the art of knitting cats, young adult supernatural etc.) These might even be areas you are not yet writing about, but have a passion for all the same and could imagine producing books on this later.

What are your 7 fears: if you have a fear, then it is likely that other people will have it as well. And there is something addictive about talking about your fears. I talk about spiders a lot more than I talk about, say, moles. Let's take as an example that you have a fear of failure which is stopping you from writing. If you write a blog about the steps you took to overcome this fear, this will attract anyone else who suffers from the same fear. 

What are you 7 top problems: if you can solve a person's problem, they will love you forever. Can't get published? If you can do research and get insider tips on how to best present a manuscript to various publishers, list out who to contact and who takes what submissions, and become the source for all information publishing related (even if that is just in a small area such as Women's Literature) people will come again and again to your site. Further, they will be people interested in Women's Literature, so if that is what you are writing, you have a targeted audience.

Now, out of your passions, fears and problems, write out the top five that really excite you and you can imagine writing about for at least 50 posts.

Keyword Research:

Now is the hard part: now is the time to do some keyword research, aka market research. Why are we doing this? Well, it will tell you a number of things:

1. If there are already a lot of people in this niche area.
Now, this is not necessarily a problem, as it can mean that there is therefore a lot of interest in the topic. If absolutely no one is already in this area, you have to wonder why. However, the more competition there is, the more difficult it will be for you to come up in searches.

2. It will tell you the best keywords.
Say you want to build a blog around the idea of 'young adult books', where you will review all the new young adult books that come out (include, eventually, your own!). You can find out that actually 'books for young adults' is searched much more often, and this is valuable information.

3. It can even tell you what to include in your blog.
For example, if I'm writing about books for young adults, Google keyword tool tells me that other similar topics searched for 'what is young adult fiction' and 'best of young adult horror' etc. These are great post ideas! (it also brings up 'twilight meyer' but I'll leave that to your discretion.)

Anyway, keyword research is important. It shouldn't get too distracting (as I did spend like three days trying to work out the best fitness blog domain, and am still not sure!) but spending some time understanding the market is useful.

Being the complete tease that I am, I'm going to leave the actual practicals of how to do keyword research until the next post. (Also because it would be a SUPER long post otherwise, and I want to make sure that you have actually thought about your areas).

Until then, work out at least 5 areas you want to explore!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

I'm Back ... With Plans!

That's me all Zen-like on top of a mountain.
I'm Back:

So, a week at a health retreat really does do some amazing things.

I've lost weight, toned up, got a whole lot of great pictures, and am inspired with new ideas!

If you want a review of my week at the Golden Door, check out my Fitness Blog. It has pretty pictures.

What Did I Do?
On the writing side of the week: I did absolutely nothing!

Yup, a whole week without writing. And I think it was entirely necessary.

Instead, I managed to finish off The Greenfield Legacy (aff.) which I had picked up at the Word Writers Getaway in October. It is sort of cool as the story follows four main characters, each one written by a different Christian author. I will admit, when I first started reading I had my critical elder in charge, and wasn't completely impressed by the writing. But that soon changed. I can always tell when I'm getting into a book because I hate having to go to sleep! It also made me cry, just a little bit, just at the end.

Also I started and finished Robin Hobb's Dragon Keeper (Rain Wilds Chronicles, Vol. 1)(aff.). Book 1 was in the library at the health retreat. Warning: do not start the first book in a series when you haven't got access to the rest.

I will admit that I obviously enjoyed Dragon Keeper, though I have two major compliants about it:
1. From a writing point of view, the main characters aren't very consistent. Even the supposedly nice ones have weird temper tantrums. Perhaps this will be explain in a later book such as they are being controlled, but it just came across as disjointed.
2. After hundreds of pages, it just suddenly stops. This was most annoying as I didn't have the second book, but still, there was no closure, no big conflict etc., to give it the feel that you were coming to the end. Was not impressed. 

As a writer, you need to remember that you have obligations to your reader. You can't just drag us along and then dump us like a college jock! 

So, will have to go to library and see if I can get the second one. 

But it was really nice to have the time and lack of guilt to just read books from cover to cover. That is what holidays should be about. 

Now, back to business:

Did spend a lot of time praying about my writing and where to go, etc. etc. 

The need to pray was highlighted to me when I was at my parents' house just before driving up to Sydney. 

I had been struggling with lots and lots of issues about trying to get my online platform going, writing so much, finding a publisher for Sally Hunt etc., and on Thursday the other week just had a little hissy fit. My brother very kindly sat there and rubbed my feet while I got it all off my chest (and yes women, he's Christian, and still single! Any takers? Any? Though must be prepared to listen to his hare-brained schemes that pop up every few months, just a warning.) He nodded and sympathised and let me get it all off my chest, but didn't add anything himself. 

Later that night while I was trying to pack, he came and knocked on my door. 

'Now, I don't want to tell you how to do things or get too involved, but have you thought about asking God if you are writing what he wants you to write? Otherwise, he won't stop you, but he won't be actively helping you either. And it sounds like he's not really actively helping you at the moment.'

I stared at him for a moment, took a breath to stop the immediate 'How can you say that to me? Of course I'm doing what God wants?' (+ possible tears) and thought about it. I was definitely sure that God wanted me to write, and write now. But I have to admit, I had naturally assumed that God would want me to write what I wanted to write. Now after almost 30 years of living with God, I should know better than that. 

So I thanked my brother, and started praying. 

New Direction?

During the week, I was subtly reminded that while I was studying at Oxford I had these fantastic ideas for some theological books. Over the course of a few weeks, about three books were developed, and people just kept telling me I had to write on particular topics.

For example, I had written a 15,000 word thesis draft, and my supervisor was the one that said 'So, you want to turn this into a book?' He followed that up with 'Which would be great, just don't submit it as your thesis because you will fail.' (Was pretty crushing at the time, but super encouraging that he thought the idea should be worked on.) 

Similarly, during this period I was at dinner in a guest house and the lady opposite me suggested I really should write a Bible study, because there weren't enough good, female Bible studies that weren't American. It seemed like such a great idea, and I started planning out the introduction series etc. 

I was just overflowing with ideas, and told God i would write all these books for him.

But then I found out I had failed. And that, I was sure, was the end of that. 

I'm not an academic any more. I've been out of it for 2 years. Now I was focused on writing. Surely God understands that. Right?

Turns out, God does understand, and still wants me to write theology.

New Draft!

So, my current project which I started on Monday is a non-fiction book on the Foundations of Theological Knowledge (will give it a snappier title later - any suggestions?). It is based on the thesis my supervisor suggested I turn into a book, though am trying to make it more accessible and less strictly academic.

It has two purposes, to highlight the war that is going on in theological academia and provide the individual believer with a tool kit to develop a consistent frame of reference with which to assess new ideas. Nothing major, you know.

Unsurprisingly, does not write itself quite as fast as a historical romance. So I'm reducing my word count goal. I'm still going to give myself two weeks, but instead of a full draft I want to come up with a very detailed outline which I can submit as a concept to agents. (Love that non-fiction doesn't actually have to be written before you can get an agent.)

Coming Soon!
Also, it is now just under a month til my 30th Birthday (and no, I don't care that everyone knows I'm turning 30, because I'm super proud of everything I've accomplished so far, and 30 is going to be a fantastic year). 

In honour of my 30th Birthday, I'm setting myself the goal of launching my first e-book:

The Five Day Writer's Retreat
Preparing for a lifestyle of writing.

I'm aiming to have that available on the 10th of March, so I've got just a few weeks to edit it, and format it etc. So that is going to be a bit of a major project.

Then I also have all my online platform to continue building, my blogs to update and my normal day to day job. So, you know, nothing much :D

So, ROW80 goals for this week:

1. write at least 1,500 words a day, 6 days a week on my theological draft. 

2. By Sunday, read through full draft of Five Day Writer's Retreat and work out what needs to be done. 

3. Write 2 in-depth posts for both blogs.

4. Write 3 articles for submission to get traffic to my blogs. 

That's about it. Thanks for all the support, and hope you are having a great week. 

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