Overwhelmed with information? My top five author ‘go-to’ places

sponge-naturalIf you’re anything like me you will be soaking up as much information as is humanly possible related to all things author/writing/promotion/marketing.

Right?

The problem with this is that my head is so full of stuff that I can’t remember which bits came from where and then I usually forget something really important along the way.

This started me thinking about which resources I place the most value in (across the disciplines) and I came up with a kind of ‘top five’ which I thought I’d share here. I’m not guaranteeing you’ll find everything you need to know but for me, they’ve all been hugely beneficial.

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Online courses and learning:

To learn all about social media and digital marketing (and loads of other stuff) visit Shaw Academy. They are the ‘largest live educator on the planet’ and deliver their courses via easy to access webinars. At the end of each course you can earn a diploma which gives you credibility on your CV – plus, you’ve gained the knowledge.

The courses can be expensive but Shaw Academy partner with Groupon and you can often get discounted or even free offers from there. Occasionally you will find an advert for a free course on Facebook or by visiting the MOOC home page.

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Blog:

The blog of Anne R Allen is a hugely valuable resource for writers. As well as covering all of the usual topics, she also unpicks thorny issues such as the new Amazon reviews system which is something we all need to be on top of when we are trying to get our books higher up the Amazon ladder.

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Design:

To design blog/social media headers, posts, advertisements and promotional materials, then head to Canva.com. Here you can sign up for free and design whatever resource you need. You can upload your own images or Canva will license images for a small fee. Once your project is complete you can save it as a print-ready pdf which works with many of the online publishing companies (for promotional materials).

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Magazines:

In the UK we have two fabulous writing magazines, namely Writing Magazine and Writers’ Forum. These are both packed full of advice as well as offering competitions and writing opportunities. You can get the latest information from the writing industry and, if you’re lucky, win a break to a writer’s retreat. These can be expensive for a subscription but if you do what I did and ask for it for Christmas and/or Birthday, then it doesn’t cost you a penny and is well worth it.

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Editing and Cover Design:

Although I want to keep them all to myself, it’s only fair to share the talents of both my wonderful editor and talented cover designer.

For editing I use Esther Newton who I cannot recommend highly enough. She has been a huge source of encouragement to me and I know that with her support I am going to produce the best novel that I can.

For cover design I’ve had the privilege of working with Rachel Lawston. If you visit her website then her credentials speak for themselves but in terms of managing to make sense of my rough ramblings, she has been amazing.

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So there you have it – my thoughts and favourite resources from this crazy world of writing! Hope you find it useful.

Do you have any favourite resources?

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Writing: Is further learning just another great way to procrastinate?

2016-05-25 11.23.45The fantastic Writing Magazine (UK), introduced me in its latest edition, to MOOC’s – Massive Open Online Courses. (See Writing Magazine, June 2016, pg.85).

A MOOC is essentially an online, university-level course which offers ‘high-quality learning materials‘ that have been compiled by ‘prestigious universities around the world‘. What’s more, a vast number of MOOC’s are FREE. The courses run entirely online and cover a huge range of subjects – great for us writers for both research and learning purposes.

There are several websites which offer these courses – www.coursera.org being one of the largest – but I opted to try out www.futurelearn.com which is run by the Open University.

With very little searching I found a free course dedicated to online researching techniques. The course is only two weeks long and comprises exercises which can be completed whenever it is most convenient. The course is due to start on 6th June and I am already excited about what I will learn.

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hyena reality via freedigitalphotos.net

I also discovered a course on forensic science – a field which fascinates me – and so I have registered my interest for that one too. There is no start date as yet but it is a longer and more in depth course again, about which I am truly excited.

As far as I can understand with the free courses there are no costs – if you would like a certificate at the end however, there is often a charge for these. This being the case and having spent a few minutes browsing the courses, I can see myself taking more of these in the future. This, however, is where my dilemma comes in.

I love learning. I love research. I love to know everything that there is to know about everything, yet I can also do a heck of a lot of procrastinating. My concern, therefore, is that I am going to be spending so much time learning that my procrastinating will increase and I will forget to actually write – which, after all, is what my love and passion is all about.

For an answer to this dilemma though, I am going to turn to Henry Ford:

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courtesy of refe99.com

I think I am going to keep learning, stay young and take my chances with procrastination.

And sign up to as many MOOC’s as I have time for…

What about you? What is your approach to learning?

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