Monday, 25 January 2016

Getting Work Done When You Get Ill

Getting Work Done When You Get Ill

If you read my recent post about taking time off, you'll know that I got ordered to take time off, and rest by my Doctor. Well, it wasn't easy to switch off, but I did as I was told and rested up. Both infections cleared up and, although I still have a few checks to get through this coming week, I'm doing much better now. At least I was doing much better until yesterday morning...

I think I counted a grand total of two whole days where I actually felt like a normal human being again, and then my youngest and I both came out with colds. Yes, you guessed it, I'm ill again [drops head and shakes it in an "I know I'm a medical disaster" kind of way].

So what do I do now? More time off? January is almost over and I still need to start my new year. 

I had big plans for 2016, and was sure this was going to be my best year yet. I have to confess, I'm not quite as sure now.

I'm not giving up though. I still plan on reaching my goals for this year. I'm just reworking and tweaking them a bit.

"On particularly rough days when I'm sure I can't possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100%... and that's pretty good" Unknown #Quote #MotivationalMonday

In fact, despite my slow start to the year, I'm actually doing quite well. My Writers and Authors website has been featured in several "Top Sites" lists already this year including The Best Copywriting and Writer Blogs to Follow  (who also made me into a cartoon for the post. I know! So cool! It's not everyday I have someone turn me into cartoon form ;)) and Feedspot's Top Writing Blogs 2016.

Looking at my stats for this website, views have increased considerably this month compared to the past few months too. In fact they've almost doubled. My extra thinking time has given me the chance to look at the posts that have gone down best, and think about the types of content I should be sharing here in the future. Another example of how I'm applying my "work smarter, not harder" philosophy this year. If you have any suggestions for the sort of content you'd like to see more of here, please leave a comment below.

Thanks to extra time spent surfing Twitter on my ipad I've also gone quite a bit over my followers goal for January already. Those of you that follow my monthly newsletter know, it's not just a numbers game for me. I'm about creating a targeted following, and connecting. Social media should be social, and I love building new relationships online. Don't forget to sign up for the newsletter for exclusive content about my marketing strategies and behind the scenes info about tried and tested methods.

I might not be working full time at the moment, but these little achievements are doing wonders for giving me a much needed boost, and helping to make me feel like I'm being at least a little productive.

I've been using my extra "sitting round doing nothing time" to catch up on some reading too, a little luxury I don't usually have the time to indulge as much as I'd like. I'll be filming review videos for them as soon as this cold clears up and I look less scary looking. I'm also looking forward to getting back to filming more Library Reads updates for you, and the new series of Quick Tips videos.

I'm not limiting my reading to just books. I've also been doing a lot of research online and note taking for future blogs posts, and books. I find the research part relaxing, and so it doesn't really feel like work at all.

So, I might not be getting much work done on my project list, but I am still getting some stuff done. I've just needed to flip my to do list a little. I can't do everything, but I can do some things. I've learnt that going slow can still take you far in the long run. [click to tweet].

Being ill can make it hard to get work done, but if you adjust your game plan slightly you can still be productive and reach your goals.

What little jobs do you do when you're ill and can't get the bigger projects done? How do you stay productive when you're ill?

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Lessons in Taking Time Off

"Sometimes it's okay if the only thing you did today was breathe." -Unknown

I've not been well. To be complete honest with you, I'm still not 100%. My immune system doesn't work very well, and with two young children, this time of year is always a struggle. I'm the sort of person that needs to go into hibernation for the winter months ;) 

Well, I was ill over Christmas, ill again over New Years and, yep you guessed it, ill again. This time I got two infections; one in my mouth that caused multiple mouth ulcers (very not fun), and another in my throat caused by the one in my mouth. Needless to say, I've been feeling a bit fed up lately.

I went to the Doctors and got given various medicines to sort things out and get rid of the infections (which are working great but give me brain fog and headaches), and got ordered to rest. I always find myself laughing when the Doctor tells me I need to rest, because I'm really not good at it. It seems like a joke. I have two young children, work, meetings, and well all the chores that come with every day life... rest is one of those things I like the sound of but know I won't get much of even if I try my best. The side effects of the meds have helped make sure I am resting though.

I am trying my best. I cut back on everything. Seriously I've done very little for the past week now. The workaholic in me is in major crisis, but there is a little part of me that has enjoyed taking the time to just lay around and watch a film or read. It's been nice to finally have some free time and not have to think about times and schedules for a change. As the quote above states "Sometimes it's OK if the only thing you did today was breathe". This is something I've always had trouble accepting as I'm normally multitasking all day long. This past week I've learnt to accept that it's OK to take time off, that it's important to make my health a priority, and that I'm actually OK with doing it. Trust me this is a big step for me.

Anyway, all this has made me do some thinking. Can't switch my brain off completely ;) 

I went back to look at my goals for 2016 and my notes about what I learnt last year

Here's what stood out:

My number one goal was to be healthier. I can't just "try to be healthier". I need to make it my number one priority. I doubt I'll ever have a strong immune system (I just wasn't built that way) but I can do things to help stop it from dropping. From now on I'll be giving myself weekends off. Yep two whole days away from my computer to just chill and enjoy family life. To some this might seem strange, but when you work for yourself, from home, and love what you do, it's not easy to switch off. 

I also want to try and set more structured work hours for during the week too. If I went out to work I'd do 9-5, and have a lunch break, maybe a coffee break... well I need to schedule in my work the same way. No more super long work days. No more working through lunch. I need to learn to take time off. Not just from a health point of view either. Stepping away also helps give better focus when you come back.

I still have loads of projects I want to do, and big plans for what I want to accomplish this year. I'm just adapting to a new way of doing them. 2016 is going to be the year of working smarter, not harder. 

How do you make sure you take enough time off from work? Got some good health tips for people like me who work from home? Share in the comments below.

Quick Tips Series 3: The Complete Collection

Quick Tips Series 3: The Complete Collection

For those of you that have been following along, you'll already have seen I shared the complete collection of videos from the first series, and the second series of Quick Tips over the past couple of weeks. Today I'm sharing a recap of the complete collection of videos from series 3.

Answer blog comments

Ask fans to share a photo of them with your book

Organise a release party for your book

Set up a Facebook Fan Page

Put together a FAQs

Which of these tips did you find most useful?

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Quick Tips Series 2: The Complete Collection

Quick Tips Series 2: The Complete Collection

As I mentioned last week, I'm working on the new series of Quick Tips at the moment, and will be launching it soon. Last week I shared the complete collection of videos from the first series. Today I'm sharing a recap of the complete collection of videos from series 2.

Add subscribe options to your blog

Add a call to action in your book

Create a contest

Keep your website up to date

Reuse content to make G+ hangouts

Add a video to your Amazon author page

Register your hashtag

Add a testimonial page to your website

Add a call to action to your FB cover banner

Add a category to your Pinterest boards

Which of these tips did you find most useful?

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Library Reads: What the Kids Picked 3rd-9th January 2016

Library Reads: What the Kids Picked 3rd-9th January 2016 #Books #ToRead

Welcome to another Library Reads update!

Every week I report back on the books my kids picked out from the library and what we thought of them. 

This week the boys picked:

- Mixed Beasts by Wallace Edwards and Kenyon Cox
- Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd
- The Santa Trap by Jonathan Emmett and Poly Bernatene

Watch the video to find out what we thought of them:

Have you read these books? What did you think of them? Got a suggestion for another book we should check out? Leave a comment below and let me know.

And don't forget to check out the other videos at too ;)

Friday, 8 January 2016

Book Review: Book Reviews That Sell by Dr. Gary Webb

#BookReview: Book Reviews That Sell by Dr. Gary Webb #AmReading #Books

I was recently sent a copy of Book Reviews That Sell from the author. As I love books that offer tips and ideas for authors I jumped at the chance. I'm so glad I did. Loads of great info about getting quality book reviews.

I gave this book 4 stars. 

Watch the video for my full review:

Have you read this book yet? What did you think of it? 

Do you post reviews after you've read a book? Where to? Amazon? Goodreads? Others?

Thursday, 7 January 2016

#WIP Update: From Idea to Published Book

#WIP Update: From Idea to Published Book #AmWriting #WritersLife

As you may already know, I took part in Write Non Fiction in November Challenge (Also known as WNFIN and NaNoFiWriMo) back in November 2015 [seems so long ago now huh?]. Well, I thought I'd give you all an update on where I'm at with the project.

From Idea to Published Book is a non fiction book designed to help aspiring authors take their idea and turn it into a published book. It's packed full of tips and ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

During the November challenge I wrote a complete rough draft of the book, and I'm now working on revisions and editing. All going to plan the book will be ready for release in February this year. 

Here's the cover design:

#WIP Update: From Idea to Published Book #AmWriting #WritersLife

I'm planning on doing a virtual book tour for the launch of the book in February. If you're interested in hosting me on your site please get in touch to organise the details. 

As I can still add bits to the book, I have a question for you; What part of the process would you most like to know more about? Can be anything from finding the idea for your book to finished, published book. Looking forward to hearing your answers.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Quick Tips Series 1: The Complete Collection

Quick Tips Series 1: The Complete Collection #Tips #Authors #QuickTips @JoLinsdell

As I'm busy working on the new series of Quick Tips (coming soon), I thought it would be a good idea to do a recap of the published videos to date.

In todays post we'll take a look at where it all began... series 1. Below are all the videos from the first series of Quick Tips videos.



Click to Tweet

Pinterest Book Boards

Schedule posts in advance

Social Share Buttons

Use Lists on Social Media

I know some of my Quick Tips videos have been embedded in blog posts in the past, and love that people find them useful. If you'd like to embed them into your own blog posts please do. I just have a small request; let me know the link to the post so I can promote it too ;)

Which of the above tips did you find most useful?

Monday, 4 January 2016

Making 2016 Awesome: Creative Goals for the New Year

Making 2016 Awesome: Creative Goals for the New Year

Those of you that know me a little will know that I love the word "awesome". I don't set goals for good, or even great. What I want to reach is awesome, and that's just want I'm aiming for in 2016; for it to be even more awesome than the years that came before it.

You may also know that I love a good challenge. I'm very goals oriented, and the idea of a whole year ahead gives me that butterfly feeling in my stomach as I buzz with excitement about all the new possibilities and opportunities ahead.

My goals for 2016

1) Be a healthy worker.

I'm a workaholic by nature and, as I love what I do, I often forget to have down time. I get so caught up in my ideas and projects that I then get forced into taking down time because my body says it's had enough. Seriously, you know how Facebook has that memories feature where they show you stuff you posted on that day in the past? Well, every year my posts from November to February show I'm always ill. I kid you not. It's gotten so bad that it's now considered a yearly tradition. I'm not limited to just the winter months either. My poorly functioning immune system crumbles on me at random points through out the year too. 

I think we can all agree that being ill is no fun so, my first goal for 2016 is to be healthy. I'll be scheduling in down time to make sure I don't get burn out, and making sure I do more exercise and eat better too.

As my job as writer and illustrator means I spend a lot of time sitting down (something the experts tells us is bad for our health), I've decided to nurture my goal-junkie personality and set myself the challenge of doing at least 20 minutes exercise a day. The type of exercise will vary to stop me getting bored, so I could end up going for a jog, doing some yoga, or playing Dance 4 or Zumba on my Wii ( I have a feeling the latter will happen more regularly than the others do).

2) Create more

I have more than enough ideas for projects I'd like to work on. My biggest problem is often picking which ideas to go with. Having such a big list of ideas can work against me too though. I sometimes end up wasting time picking an idea or getting side tracked by new ideas that finishing projects can be difficult. 

I'd like for 2016 to be my most productive year yet, and so have been working out a schedule for the projects I'd like to complete this year.

Projects I'll be working on this year

This is a rough list of the books I hope to release during 2016.

Non fiction

- From Idea to Published Book
- Quick Tips for Authors
- Pinterest Perfect (Writers and Authors Guide to Social Media Book 2)
- Facebook Fabulous (Writers and Authors Guide to Social Media Book 3)

Children's Picture Story Books

- The Bedtime Book
- Christmas Activity Books [I'm still working on a title for this series of books].

3) Income Goals

I made the decision to make creativity a career and that means I need to be making money doing it. I'm also quite ambitious and dream big. 

Despite having had some success over the years (thank you all for all your help and support with that btw ;)), I feel like I've only dabbled until now. 2016 is the year that stops. No more dabbling. It's time to turn myself into a prosperous business. Show me the money!!! haha, seriously though, it's time for me to move up a level, or three, and start making some real money.

I have several plans to help me achieve that goal:

- Create more books. Both my own projects and collaborations with clients.
- E-Courses. I've been working on these for a while now and this year will be launching several. 
- Blogging. I've been blogging for years but didn't look at it as a business in the past. That changed in 2015. It stopped being just a hobby and turned into a business. I'll be developing more this year and maximising its earning potential.

Another important decision I've made to help me reach my income goals this year is to stop doing freebies. I don't mean I won't offer stuff for free. I love giving away treats. It's my way of saying thank you for all the love and support you show me. What I mean is that I'll stop letting people take advantage of me. 

When you work in the creative field people often feel like they can ask you for freebies. Whether it's drawing something or writing an article, you're giving away your value time (which could be spent earning money for doing the same thing). Time is money. Why is it that people think it's Ok to ask you to draw a picture for free, or write an article for free? Would they go into a clothes shop and take a top expecting to get it for free? or to go to a restaurant and eat for free? No they wouldn't. So why should your product be any different. And no, saying they want to "sample" your work first doesn't cut it either. Would they get the top from the clothes shop by saying they wanted to test it so they could consider buying a full outfit in the future? Would they get given a free plate of pasta if they said they'd consider coming back and ordering a 3 course meal on another day? No they wouldn't. Ok, rant over. The point is this; I'm going to stop under valuing myself and my work, and stop letting people take advantage of my good nature. 

Do you get people expecting to get your creative talents for free? 

This leads me on to the next point in my income plan; Paid guest blogging

I love writing articles for other peoples blogs and publications. It's a great marketing strategy too as it gives me the chance to reach new audiences. I will still do some guest blogging for free (like I said, it's good marketing), but I'll be concentrating on writing more articles for pay this year. 

So to sum it all up...

What I want for 2016 is for it to be a healthy, productive, and lucrative year.

What are your goals for 2016? What changes will you be making to make sure 2016 is awesome?

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Special Offer: The Box is only $0,99 (Limited Time Only!)

Special Offer: The Box is only $0,99 (Limited Time Only!) #99c #ReadMe

I was thinking about ways I could start the new year off on the right foot, and decided the best way to do it would be to give my readers a special treat. This particular one is for my younger fans... 

I've made The Box available for download for just $0,99 from 3rd to 10th January. Yep, a whole week! I wanted to make sure I gave everyone enough time to take advantage of the offer ;)

Special Offer: The Box is only $0,99 (Limited Time Only!) #99c #ReadMe

Grab your copy at

Normal price $3,49.

Please post a review with your thoughts about the book after reading.

Not sure what to write in a review? 

Here's some questions to get you started:
What did you like about the book? 
Who would you recommend it to? 
What age group do you think the text is best suited to?
What did you think of the illustrations?
What did your kids think of it? 
Is it a book they ask to read again, and again? 
Did it spark a creative box project idea of your own?

Please help share about the offer so that others can take advantage to the discount price too, and encourage them to leave a review too. Reviews are gold for us authors.
wink emoticon
If you'd like to host me for a book showcase for The Box this week please drop me a message and I'll be happy to send you over some material to use in your blog post.

Thanks in advance for your support.

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