Sobriety vs. the Blank Page

Guest post
by Cherie Vause

You’ve all seen movies with the opening shot of a dark apartment on skid row. With only the light from a neon sign from the bar across the street, the camera closes in through a dirty window, onto a man who is lying across his rumpled bed, smoking a cigarette, and sipping on a glass of whiskey. He’s unshaven, and hung-over from an alcoholic binge. The camera pans to a typewriter on a desk with a sheet of paper rolled up half-way. The blank, stark white paper is an angry retort to the man’s desperation. Next to the typewriter is a bottle of cheap whiskey, an ash tray, overflowing with dirty butts, and a stack of clean, white paper. He’s broke, hungry, and his gal has left him angry and bitter, but he still keeps her picture on his dresser. He rises, crosses over to the picture and looks longingly at the girl. He turns, and defiantly stubs out his cigarette. He drains his glass of whiskey and pours another. He holds the glass while staring at the crumpled papers all over the floor; then he finishes the last of his whiskey in one furious gulp. This guy is definitely a candidate for a bullet to the head. Continue reading “Sobriety vs. the Blank Page”

Switching Brains

My day job is kicking my butt. Or rather, it is kicking the right side of my brain. After hours filled with schedules and multi-tasking and spreadsheets — oh, the spreadsheets — my creativity is bruised and submerged. I make time to write but the stories won’t come. I walk to free my mind and end up solving budget problems. I start to write, anything just to be writing, but the words are all surface babble, self-conscious, and not creative at all. I go to bed in hopes the characters will break free in my dreams, but I fall asleep with visions of spreadsheets lying flat.

The left brain is a big bully, and I’d like to shut it off and bring back my right brain from exile, but the truth is, both sides are always talking to each other. Research from Australia (Pettigrew, 2004) shows that the human brain naturally switches dominance from left to right and back (or logical to sensory, detailed to holistic) about eight or ten times every minute. For mathematicians, this switch rate can be as low as two times per minute, giving their logical brain near full dominance. On the flip side (get it?), Buddhist monks who have spent years practicing meditation can sustain dominance of the sensory brain for several minutes at a time — something most mere mortals cannot do. Continue reading “Switching Brains”

Facebook Ads Tutorial

Guest tutorial
by Nickie Storey Bailey

You may love or hate Facebook, but even with all the migraines caused by their constant changes, the company is one of the most popular social networking websites and that means many readers to possibly connect with.

I use Facebook ads at least three times a year. They are excellent for drawing attention to your author page or a particular URL/website. Do you have a book on sale or marked as free on Amazon? You can use Facebook ads to let thousands of people know about it. Are you hosting an event or book launch? Facebook ads can get the word out for you. The last time I created a Facebook ad, I got over 800 new ‘likes’ on my author page in five days.

There are several ways to use Facebook ads. In this tutorial, I am going to show you how to create an ad to get more ‘likes’ for your author page. The first thing to do is look on your Facebook page for a tab labeled Create an Ad. As I use these ads frequently, the tab is readily available in several places on my page. I do know it can be found at the bottom of your page and sometimes in the left-side bar where your Favorites, Pages, Groups, etc. are located. Continue reading “Facebook Ads Tutorial”

Getting It Right: It’s Academic

I work a few days a week at a nearby college, mainly plucking typos from website copy and asking people to use consistent written language. Choose the futile metaphor of your choice (affixing gelatin to trees, managing herds of cats) and yeah, sometimes it feels like I do a bit of that, too. It’s also made me ridiculously aware of the academic terminology errors in the novels that I read. For instance: Continue reading “Getting It Right: It’s Academic”