Category Archives: About writing

WordPress ineffective?

I was just comparing the stats for my blog here on WordPress, and my other blog on blogger. The other one I have not updated in ages, yet I still get a regular stream of visitors – usually around 200 a week. Here on WordPress my blog received 240 visitors in a whole year even though I do share my posts on Facebook and Twitter (as if my friends would read this – but hey, you can always try). My main source of the few visits I get seems to be the WordPress site itself by people who use tags to search for blogs. And sometimes some of the people who “follow” my blog might read my posts – often this is not the case though. Sometimes I think people just randomly follow others with a click to encourage them to have a look at their blog in return. I don’t know.

As I am thinking about becoming more active with blogging once more, I am wondering about whether there is a point in keeping this blog. I also tried to copy exact phrases from my posts into Google to see whether my blog turns up. But no, not even with exact phrases! And I know that my settings are on “allow robots” – so I do not know why my blog does not show up on Google at all.

If I returned to blogger though, I would have to re-do my other blog because I don’t like the current look of it. Yet it would make sense: there is more traffic, and more potential readers. And the more people come and visit you, the more likely it is that you will receive some feedback. And feedback is something I would love in 2015 – I know that for many topics I will not be able to ask anyone I know, they simply do not care, so it would be nice to be able to find some readers with shared interests.

What is your experience? Do you get many visitors on WordPress, or have you made a similar experience when you compared two different blogs of yours on two different providers?

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Dreams, no Facebook, and watching birds

Dreams and dream journals

During the last few days, I noticed that I have some more vivid dreams again – and I am tempted to start a dream journal again. It’s one of those days I wished I never burnt or otherwise destroyed my old diaries and dream journals – so many ideas have been lost. I wonder whether I would do the same thing again in the future if I now started with a new dream journal.

When I wake up from nice dreams, I always wish I would not have to return to the real world – but there’s no way around it. However, how do we know whether our living life isn’t just another type of dream, and our dreams are our reality? But how could it be that I have such an exciting life with proper friends in the dream world, and the “real” world looks so bleak?

Do you ever write down your dreams? Do you see any patterns? Which of your dreams did you like best?

The no Facebook experiment day 1

I haven’t posted anything on Facebook for one and a half days now. Sometimes I think about what I would post. I have a thought and think “Oh, I have to put that on Facebook later.” Then I catch myself and remind myself that I am not posting on Facebook at all – until someone notices. In the case nobody notices, then that also tells me quite a lot about how much people care about keeping in touch with me. How much Facebook is really worth. Whether it’s more than just “liking” somebody’s post. It’s not much of a surprise that no one hasn’t noticed anything yet. It has only been around 36 hours. Let’s see how the next few days will go.

Watching birds – and what other people may think

I was visiting a little town today (it is a day off), and as some of you might remember I love birds very much. When I walked along a river and heard the familiar sound of Jackdaw’s singing and squeaking, I had to scout the area for where they are. I found a group of trees nestled along the river, and they were full of Jackdaws, including young ones that have only just recently left their nests. It was a fantastic sight – though it was a bit of an odd place to stand and watch birds. People who walked past on the normal path probably wondered why someone would stand there for minute after minute, just watching birds – birds that other people just ignore, or even dislike. In the past, I would have cared about other people’s opinion a lot more. I might simply have walked on, wishing there was a peaceful spot to watch those lovely creatures. I would not have wanted to stand out. At least in this point I have changed a lot. These days I simply don’t care about what people think that much. It’s their problem if they can’t understand how someone can enjoy watching those birds, not mine. That’s one thing I have understood now. It IS their problem, right? There’s nothing wrong with peacefully watching birds. I’m not harming anyone.

Did you ever care too much about other people’s opinions, and let it keep you from something you would have loved to do? If so, did you change your mind about it? What holds you back?

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Back to pen and paper

Even though I have neglected this blog in the morning hours, I have been productive in the mornings. I took up writing in a proper journal with a proper fountain pen again. It saves me the hassle of having to start up my laptop and going online – it also feels more creative in a way. It is nice to see the pages filling up, and I have to admit that I also started feeling better after taking up that habit again.

Writing is indeed some sort of medicine for me. And it has the potential to turn every morning into a good one. Of course there will still be challenges and problems, difficult people and annoying people – but I feel that writing gives me the energy I need to deal with them.

Every now and then I might copy my morning pages onto this blog – but only when I think that a particular entry might be of interest to readers.

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The first post from Scotland

I have not written anything here for a long time. The last weeks have been incredibly busy, and emotionally and mentally very tiring.  It’s not even morning now, but after 10 pm at night here in Scotland. I would usually be in bed at this time because I tend to get up very early. Today apparently is a little different. It was a very difficult day at work, and at the end of a work day of almost 10 hours, I felt completely drained. I went to my caravan (where I work and live for the next few weeks might be a topic for another blog post), and just wanted to sleep. But then I lay in my bed, thinking, just feeling tired – and empty.

Then somebody else knocked at my door because he had a problem and for some reason thought I would be able to help. I don’t know why but I always seem to be the kind of person people ask for help. Anyway, my chance of falling asleep from being mentally drained were gone and I spent some time on Facebook. I wanted to update my status, but I just starred at the blank space for minutes. I did not know what to write. Then I simply wrote the truth: that my mind was so full with thoughts, and yet so empty.

A few minutes later, I wrote a longer status update about writing – a truly honest one which most of my Facebook friends (of which I know 90% from real life) will either not read or not care about. That’s just the nature of Facebook – but what does it matter. What mattered was that I wrote about what was truly on my mind. This is what I wrote:

“Maybe I should start writing my morning hours blog again – because I need to become more motivated again. You know, I know all about the tips and advice for writers – I’ve written about it often enough. I’ve read many books about. And it is quite simple. You either do it, or you don’t. Like many other things in life. The only thing that stands between me and writing is me. And myself is one of the very few things I can actually change in the world.
There is nothing I can do about not being in New Zealand anymore. I’ve lost that fight and the whole story cost me a lot of energy. I miss my pigeon family (Lucy and her two kids), and my chicken babies. But what can I do about it? Nothing.
There is nothing (realistic) that I can do about certain other aspects of my life. Some things you just have to endure.
But I can write. I only have to kick my own ass, and do it!”

And even though it is nighttime now, I thought I better start with it right away. There are no excuses not to write. And maybe writing again will make me feel better. I know that I will feel better – so why did I wait so long to start again?

Writing will also be some sort of communication for me. I do have people around me. I work with quite a few people. And a couple of them are really interesting, and I could imagine having them as friends – but that will not happen for various reasons (that would also be part of a blog about where I am currently living). There is nobody around here who would truly listen to me – apart from the chickens, they are great listeners but not very helpful with their comments. On this blog, I can just be myself, be honest. And online friends are better than no friends at all!

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Little steps

I’ve just noticed that I ended the last couple of posts with the word “hopeless”…. so I guess I’m not really being that nice to myself. It’s not all that bad when I give myself a chance. I AM still writing, but not as much and not as well as I would like to. I am currently keeping a really little writing book and a pen next to my bed because I had an idea for a book during a dream a few days ago. So I wrote the outline of the first few chapters into that little notebook. The following night I had another dream, which helped me to write an outline for a couple more chapters and just last night, another dream put the book into a different direction – very interesting actually. I will only have to turn the outline into a proper book someday.

But isn’t just that “someday” the problem? The ideas and stories are all in my head but I never seem to find the time and peace of mind to actually focus enough of writing the actual books. I wish I could have a strong enough mind to actually win against myself and just MAKE the time – but these days… weeks… no, months, I always try to drown my feelings in keeping myself as busy as possible. And thus also keeping me away from what I love so much: writing, exploring other worlds and dimensions that somehow seem to talk to me and reach out to me.

Let’s see what the next few nights will bring – maybe the dreams will bring an answer to me. The dream last night had Lucy Lawless in it. She often seems to appear as some sort of wise guide – I guess in real life she wouldn’t talk the same way but I guess I’ll never find out. She’s living not too far away (well, we kind of live in the same part of New Zealand), but someone like her would never talk to someone like me – and it’s very, very unlikely that our paths will ever cross! But at least she, for some reason, takes on the role of a guide in dreams every now and then. And her messages are always quite good. If I manage to finish that book, I should dedicate it to her!

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A different sort of writer’s block

It has been my dream to be a writer for a very long time. I have started different books but never finished one of them. At some stage I always get to the point where I feel that I can’t continue because my stories aren’t balanced; that there is too much bad in the lives of the characters and that I am not able to write nice scenes for them, let them have beautiful experiences like a talk with a true friend. I also have troubles with making things like hugs appear natural. When I come to the points in the stories at which something good needs to happen, a serious writer’s block coupled with a deep sadness sets in and I cannot go on. I put the story aside, telling myself I would one day get back to it. And I get back to the stories, just to start some other story arch. This led to the fact that I wrote dozens, maybe even a couple of hundred pages – but none of them are a connected story. It’s same characters at various stages of the story, but it’s all totally unconnected.

I’ll probably never be a published writer. A translator of other people’s stories, yes, I did accomplish that. A writer of SEO articles – factual things, all not a problem. But writing the story I had in my head for over 15 years… hopeless.

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The price of quality

My work as a freelance translator and writer (ghost writing and SEO) is my only source of income these days and sometimes I wonder whether I wouldn’t be better off writing my own non-fiction book (e.g. about freelancing) instead of helping other people making more money and not even get credit for what I do. Often my name isn’t even mentioned when I do translations and that’s a bit sad. But then I look at Amazon and see the prices of eBooks – ranging from free to $2 or $3. What would you expect for that kind of money? Of course, there is no printing cost involved and often you get books with a very plain layout – but should authors really give away their books for free? Doesn’t it somehow ruin the market for other writers?

Recently I’ve read a book that I received for free because one of my mini-jobs is being a book reviewer. I enjoyed the book and the author talked about translating the book into different languages in the future. So I contacted him and said I would enjoy translating the book and offered him a very good rate. However, he declined by telling me that his publisher would take care of that if he ever decided that he wanted translations (so why does he mention it in his book if he doesn’t really mean it?).  Also, if I was an author and wanted my book translated, I would not want just any translator to translate it. I’d like someone who actually enjoys the story and puts some effort into the translation. Many “professional” translators simply work like machines and don’t put much feeling into what they do – and then they charge a heap of money for it.

I always price my translations on different factors: how urgent the job is (i.e. do I have to focus on it for a few days for many hours, is it a rush job, is there no time limit etc.), how much fun I would have with the job and how difficult the content of the document is. I want my price to be fair to myself (i.e. not too cheap) and also to the customer (i.e. not too expensive, esp. when it would be a translation I’d enjoy a lot).

When I write SEO articles or simple blog articles that do not need too much research, I usually have a set fee of $1 per 100 words. Academic texts are more expensive, esp. if they need to meet certain standards.

When I look at how other people set their prices, I often wonder what their thoughts are. Some people offer a rate of $0.10 per 500 word article! Why would someone do that? You can earn 10 cent a lot faster – and how good will the quality of those articles be?

Some translators often ask ten times the price of what I would ask for translations – and then I also wonder what their thinking behind that pricing is.

What is the price of quality and how do you find it?

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Filed under About writing, Morning hours