Those tempting blog stats

When I started blogging, I joined WordPress without knowing the difference between a blog and a website or what a header was. I found WordPress very user-friendly and it didn’t take me long to start posting my little thoughts to the world. It was awesome.

Then I found the stats page.

WordPress presents the amount of people that visit a blog in a neat graph with all sorts of stats from what country they came from to what post they liked. Any and all activities get recorded and counted as they happen. It’s not only incredibly informative, it’s very precise.

As a math nerd, I loved the stats page on sight. I went on the page over and over until it became an obsession. I knew checking that page over and over wasn’t a great idea but the temptation of knowing how many people had visited was too great and back to the graph I went.

I’ve always wanted to write for me, for the joy of it and because I enjoy it. The blog was an extension of that idea and checking those stats over and over changed that focus for me. I don’t want to write with the sole purpose of trying to generate traffic. I want to do it for the joy of sharing my two cents with the world.

So, I’m trying to stop.

I’m a big believer in ‘baby steps’, so I started by only checking the stats page once a week. A few months later and those graphs have already lost a lot of their attraction. I post but I don’t find out how ‘successful’ the post is until the weekend. By then, I’ve posted other things or I’m thinking about next week’s post and, slowly, my focus is changing.

How about you? Do those stats tempt you? Do you check them often or can you resist?

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5 Things to avoid when you’re selling your house

Ask a realtor professional why your house hasn’t sold and they’ll blame it on everything from fluctuating markets to nose hairs. If you give them coffee and make them comfortable, they’ll explain conflicting theories about the house market until the Butterfly Effect seems easy in comparison. Untrained and inexperienced, I have a much shorter check list to help you sell your home in a snap.

5. Don’t over-clean. Over-cleaning is a made-up word I’ve come up with to describe the frenzied, possessed-like behaviour I exhibited while trying to sell our house. Having declared war on dirt, I inspected every inch of space for dust with a magnifying glass as if the Marine Core Inspector was coming instead of potential buyers. Forget dusting and cleaning the floors, my new routine included such insane activities as scrubbing the grout between the floor tiles with a toothbrush.

How did it work? Not only did it not sell the house, viewers claimed our home smelled like dog.

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4. Don’t schedule a viewing for Saturday at 8 am. No matter how reasonable that time slot sounded to me on Monday afternoon, Saturday morning I was cursing the sky pink and blue. To help things along, my dogs had a fight in the kitchen that dirtied most of the area and my hubby woke up sick. How did it work? Disaster doesn’t even cover it.

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3. Don’t listen to comments from buyers who didn’t buy your house. Hearing that our house smelled of dog might have done something to my brain because I went into scent-overdrive. Never mind that it was November and snowing, I opened up every window and ventilated the entire house. I cleaned every floor twice, then the walls and added air-freshers to every plug I could find, then every corner of each room. Not to miss a single cubic millimetre of air, I also bought Febreeze sprayers and emptied two of the things in our house for each viewing.

How did it work? It got so the dogs didn’t want to come inside.

2. Don’t hire a professional decorator. Fearing our decor might be discouraging buyers, we hired one. Ours was named Pauline and her outfit alone should have been a warning sign. The woman had managed to colour coordinate her clothes not only to her earrings and her nails but also to her car. Pauline took one look at our living room, raised very thin eyebrows and told us we needed new furniture…and towels, blankets and accessories. When she told me our dogs were a problem, I opened the backdoor and let the wet hounds jump all over her dry-cleaned suit.

How did it work? Check out number one for more insight.

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1. Don’t try to understand paint colour names.  Following Pauline’s advice, we tried to repaint our house a neutral beige and found ourselves at the paint store staring at paint chips. Turns out, paint doesn’t have normal names like red or orange. What you get is strange things like ‘Happy Clown’, ‘Mermaid Dream’ and ‘Flamingo Sneeze’. After half an hour of eye-straining over shades of beige until even my hubby started to look that shade, I grabbed a paint chip and ran from the store.

How did it work? The chip I got was called something like ‘Crazy Monkey’ and apparently it was the wrong shade because it almost made Pauline faint when she saw it on our walls.

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Toil and Trouble Tuesday: Washing woes

After three years of owning this machine and tossing in the soap with the clothes, yesterday, I discovered this:

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A drawer to dispense the soap, bleach and softener.

Enough said.

Need a review?

If you’re an author and are looking for a place to submit your book for an impartial review, check out this site: http://reviewspagebypaige.wordpress.com

Paige is looking for books to review to build up her site. I’m thinking this is a match made in heaven for authors trying to get reviews. This is her review policy page: http://reviewspagebypaige.wordpress.com/review-policycontact-me/ and she’s actively seeking books to review! 😀

Paige is also on Goodreads if you’re interested in seeing what books she has reviewed, you can find her there or go to her site.

A huge thank you to Paige for letting me share her blog with everyone!

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Blogging tips

A new gaggle of helpful links about blogging. Hope these are helpful to you!

This one is a do and don’t for Twitter. 5 suggestions of what to do and what to avoid. I found it helpful because it’s written in plain language and has some common sense ideas that I thought were great. See if you agree. A big thank you to  for the great post!

Here‘s a great post on 10 things to know before you start blogging…and maybe even after you’ve started! A huge thank you to Marc Andre for the great post on Twelveskip. By the way, this is a great blog to have as a resource, check out their blogging tips page here.

If you’re already blogging, here‘s one on how to increase traffic by Marcus TaylorA fantastic post by a great site for resources, problogger.

This one is focused on free marketing resources, imaging resources, tools, technical resources, and others. All Free. A huge thank you for that awesome list to Beafreelanceblogger.

If you’re still looking for blogging resources, here‘s another site full of them, CrafterMinds. Awesome list of great ideas, resources and tips.

Indie Writers: Make MS Word Work for You Instead of Against You

Tips, hints and dark secrets of Word revealed in this excellent post. What a great post! A big thank you to JM Manus! I’m keeping this one close by so I can use it next time I’m trying to format my document.

And here‘s another great post by the same author on Clean Source Files. It’s a how-to for formatting any manuscript into something that can become an ebook.

QA Productions

A Quick Primer for Fiction Writers in using Microsoft Word in the Digital Age

It always saddens me a little when a writer sends me an overly formatted Word doc to turn into an ebook or print-on-demand. It’s not that I have to clean it up–I can strip and flip the messiest files in less than an hour. What bugs me is how much thought and effort the writer wasted on utterly useless manuscript styling.

Example of a Word doc that has been overstyled. Example of a Word doc that has been overstyled.

The majority of writers I work with use Word. The vast majority have no idea how to use Word for their own benefit. I understand. I was a fiction writer for over two decades and even though I have been using computers and a variety of word processing programs since the late ’80s, it wasn’t until I started learning book production that I figured out how…

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Stop doing list

I really think Dr. Diane MacKinnon is onto something in her post: ‘ Stop doing List’. It’s a post on things she wants to change but, instead of saying ‘I’m going to do this’ she’s mentioning what she’s going to stop doing.

The stop-doing list comes from this post by Danielle LaPorte and the idea that what you stop doing is just as important as what you start doing. That makes sense, you can’t add, until you subtract. I need to make room in my life for chosen behaviours by taking away things that I don’t want to do.

For example, I’d like to stop trying to please others, or watching TV or eating what’s on my plate simply because it’s there or worrying about what might happen…

Doesn’t it sound delicious? A worry-free life, a guilt-free day, more time to write…the possibilities are endless.

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A to Z Day 18: Revision

Another amazing post by Gene’O. I particularly loved how he broke down the editing process. I’m in the middle of it right now and this was so helpful. A big thanks to Gene’O for the great post!

My Former Blog

I think the three most important parts of the writing process are:

Click for A to Z blog list. Click for A to Z blog list.

1. Actually finishing a draft.

2. Revising the draft (which is different than editing).

3. Finding someone else to read it and give you feedback.

I talked about the importance of finishing drafts on Saturday. Today’s post is all about revision. Understanding the writing process in a general way is important, but understanding what works for you is even more important. Once we get down to details, every writer’s process is unique. I suggest finding a writing process that allows you to play to your strengths and overcome your weaknesses.

I outlined my own writing process in detail not long after I started this blog (apologies for the awfulness of the graphic). The first thing I do to a draft before I even think about real revision is cut words…

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Character flaws–a great gift

I loved this post by Monica M. Clark. I always loved it when characters aren’t just evil for the sake of being evil and aren’t just perfect because they’re the hero and heroine. In fact, flat characters like that tend to turn me away from a book. When I write, I always hope to make my characters both flawed and gifted, whether they’re the heroine or the villain.

Personally, I don’t know if I would call the thing that shapes your protagonist or antagonist a “flaw” per se.  I think it’s more of a trait,” Ms. Clark says. And that’s a great way to put it, isn’t it? Maybe my villain keeps the hero away from the heroine because he’s prejudiced against him but, at the same time, he’s caring about her, he’s trying to protect her. That same ‘flaw’ might be a redeeming quality if he cares about the heroine enough to save her life, say.

Here’s how she explains it. “…a character’s “flaw” is the source of both his greatest strength and his greatest weakness. So, if the flaw is “fear of failure,” then the strength is that he is careful, prepared, and a strategist, while the weakness is that he is also relentless.”

Love it. Love how one strength is also a weakness and vice versa. Love it. I think, if I manage to study my characters this way, it’ll make them richer and more enjoyable.

What a great post. Loved it! A big thanks to Ms. Clark for writing it!