Navigating Difficult Waters


Sometimes in life, we have those moments. Those ‘my boss just chastised me in front of everyone’ moments. Those ‘my second job is not bringing home much money, and we’ve got a ton of bills due’ moments. Those ‘my significant other just broke up with me for the mailwoman’ moments. We all have them. And you can’t help but feel down. Like, suddenly, you’re not worth it anymore, or what you’ve been doing for years isn’t what you should be doing. Sure, we all put on a good face, smile and nod while we turn on autopilot and navigate our day. And suddenly, you snap out of it, and it’s 8 pm on a Thursday and you can’t remember what you did Monday – Wednesday, much less what you did today.

We all get them. And we all wish we could get that time back. I know I have experienced that, much like my friends, family, coworkers. As a teacher, sometimes you think ‘the first day of school was how long ago?’ and realize you’re into December. As a writer, it can be even worse. You realize you haven’t written in a few days, but in reality, its been two weeks, and you have to reread what you’ve written (and, of course, half of it feels like rubbish).

Some of you may have noticed I’m posting weekly, but just once now. It’s an effort to not only give me something different to due during the week, but also allow me to schedule it and complete it early, so I can do something different. I want to be more productive. That’s my goal for the year. I find that many people turn to complaining to deal with this. I have, in the past. It makes me feel better short term, but not afterwards.

So I’ve taken a look at what does make me go into autopilot – television, computer games, ipad – and what prevents me from rising above my own concerns and fears – listening to other people complain, spending my time socializing in the lounge rather than prepping for class, reading comments about the novels on Amazon, etc. – and attempted to identify counters.

For example, television – I’ve cut back my television watching to just the news in the morning and evening. I even cut down on the number of channels I pay for to help me focus. I am going to the gym, eliminating some hours where I just sat and watched. I’ve tried to pick up more books (the library is awesome!) to help generate ideas and keep me engaged, rather than stuck on the couch. By not having a routine every night, I avoid feeling like every day is Groundhog Day.

TLDR: Sometimes we forget that the brain needs fun activities to keep it engaged. Plan some, do some, take time out of your day to do it. Don’t get caught in routine when you can avoid it.

What do you guys do for fun? Comment below or join me on the facebook page!

Five Ways to Keep Your Self-Publishing Clients Happy & Coming Back for More

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By Daniel Ottalini

You want to have all your bases and operations covered!

You want to have all your bases and operations covered!

Hi all, this is a companion piece to my earlier article on how to make sure that your freelancers/self-publishing helpers do their best for you. But what about the flip side? What can you, as a freelance/small business editor, cover artist, etc., do to make sure that you give your customers what they want, keep them coming back, but also make money and keep your dignity in the process? Continue reading

Four Ways to Know if Your Self-Publishing Contractors are Good for You

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By Daniel Ottalini

What happens when a freelancer and an author work together.

What happens when a freelancer and an author work together.

Hi all! There’s been a lot of press recently about small publishers and self-publisher

support staff – ie formatters, editors, cover artists, designers, small publishers, other freelancers, etc – leaving their hard-working clients in the dust and disappearing with authors’ hard earned money. In lieu of that, I thought long and hard about some ways that authors can tell if who they’re working with is the real deal, or a real stinker. Continue reading

Three Easy Ways to balance your Personal Life and Writing Life

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By Daniel Ottalini

If he had a watch, he'd be making sure to stay on schedule

If he had a watch, Julius would be making sure to stay on schedule.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve got a life. No really, a life! You know, a life outside of the world(s) you create on the electronic page? One filled with friends, family, another job/career, a hobby or interest, vacations, etc. And those parts of your life have requirements. I have to work a certain number of hours a day, between X and Y. I want (and need) to hang out with my family on this date all day long, etc etc. The boys and I will be going to the hockey game next Friday. All of these are great examples of life impacting you and your time.

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The Steampunk Alternative: A Guest Post By Joshua Stanton

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chokecitycoverdondellioGRAINY copyThe following is a guest post by author Joshua Stanton, discussing one of my favorite subjects, alternate steampunk worlds or story types. Enjoy!

Traditional Steampunk

More often than not you will encounter traditional steampunk. Goggles, airships, mad scientists, crazy steam powered inventions. All set in good ol’ Victorian London, usually at the dawn of the industrial revolution.

This is, after all where steampunk started. The fathers of steampunk, K. W Jeter, Tim Powers and James P. Blaylock all feature Victorian London. So, no surprise that many books are also set there or at least in England.

There’s nothing wrong with this. Some of my favourite steampunk adventures are set on my shores, like Mark Hodder’s ‘Burton and Swinburne’ series, and Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris’ ‘The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences.’ And yet, when I look at my read and to read pile, most of my steampunk adventures are set here, and not anywhere or anytime else. Continue reading

Not Gone, Just Busy!

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Hi all,

Just wanted to tell everyone that I’ve been busy, not gone! I’m a quarter or so into Iron Tribune, and I and really moving fast now. I’m also looking at hiring a graphic designer to do another propaganda poster for the series, or perhaps a most wanted poster. I’ve attached a poll to see what you’d like to see! Write additional ideas in the comments as well!

Remember, what you vote for will affect my choice! And while you’re at it, have you read Antioch Burns yet? Or better yet, left me a review? Go ahead and do both today! You can check out my latest novella on kindle, nook, or any other ebook reader. Back to writing now, ciao!

Maybe I should write a background non-fiction history?

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Tactical Layout of the H.M.A.S. Scioparto

Tactical Layout of the H.M.A.S. Scioparto

I had a thought. Maybe people would be interested if I wrote a non-fiction style history as an accompaniment to the rest of the novels. Something like “A Roman’s Guide to Modern History: The Roman Empire in the 18th Century.”

Thoughts? Would you buy it?

Mid-Writing Posting: Feedback Requested!

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Hi All,

Below is a snippet from Chapter Three. Long and short, if you’ve read Roma Aeronautica, you’ll have some more insight into the discussion below. Let me know what you think so far. Bear in mind, this is only a rough draft, small typos will most likely be removed by the time it gets to the second or third writing stage.

Continue reading

Novellas and the Self Published Author: Remix Part 1

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Part 1

About a year or so ago, I posted this article on Novellas and the self-published author. I’ve put the original article on the bottom of this post for your enjoyment. I’ve now published two novellas, one through my traditional self-publishing system, and one through a small publisher, to try and see which approach I like more. I figured it would be beneficial to share my new insights and thoughts.

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Interview with Steampunk September Founder Penelope Bartotto

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library_edited-1
Author and Steampunk September Founder Penelope Bartotto is a veteran book reviewer and avid reader. She’s been reviewing books since the late 1990s, and happened to contact me a while ago to invite me to join her Steampunk September event. Now in it’s 3rd year, Steampunk September highlights genre authors and their works, as well as providing authors with a wonderful outlet to meet new people, expand their readership, and hear about tips and tricks from other authors. From her website…
 
Many think they know what the genre is about, and many have no idea. Our goal is to bring the genre to the attention of the Universe and beyond. Featuring authors, illustrators, artisans, and more; we aim to bring you into the world of steampunk, literally.
 

So enjoy the interview, and I’ll be proud to join her in the events during Steampunk September, which will feature both Brass Legionnaire and Copper Centurion!

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