Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Insecure Writer's Support Group

Today was a slow but productive day. My youngest nephew woke me up early in the morning, asking to let out of his bath, where his dad had left him. I helped the boys get ready for school, tidied the flat and then checked my email.

So happy I now have email access! Our WiFi was capped nearer the end of the month and my wireless modem was acting up, so I spent the weekend without Internet access. Gah!

I'm going back to Phokeng on Sunday for my medical check up on Monday. It used to be such a big deal for me to have to go to see my doctor. Stressful. A big part of it was because of the tests they had to do to check the state of my body. The X-ray room freaked me out a little bit, because I worried about what they would discover hiding out in my body. I also have what the nurse said was thin veins, so finding a vein to draw blood was a mission for the vampire technicians. Also, having to undress and following instructions from the disembodied voice of the radiographer gave me the willies. Way too reminiscent of Gattaca for me. Ja, I know I watch too much science fiction.

But, every day I can feel the difference that the treatment is making to my body. I feel so much stronger and much more confident of my ability to move my body. When I go for long walks, I'm pleased to feel my lungs painlessly expand and contract. I know I've said it before, but never again will I take my ability to breathe for granted again.

Which brings me to the Insecure Writer's Group. As they say on the website, the purpose of the support group is "to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!" Participants post on the first Wednesday of every month.

Becoming sick hit my confidence on many levels - my ability to take care of myself, take care of my home, financially and my ability to write (it's too hard to think about writing when you are stoned out of your mind with meds). So now that I'm jumpstarting my writing all over again, I'd like to have the support of fellow-writers to learn and gain encouragement from their experiences and to share what I'm learning through this process.

So I'm signing up with the support group today and I'm hopeful that it will help me deal with my challenges as I rev up my writing. Many thanks to founder Alex J. Cavanaugh and co-hosts for the February 1 posting  Misha Gericke, LK Hill, Juneta Key, Christy and Joylene Buter!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Why Making Cold -Calls Is An Effective Marketing Tactic For Me, Yet I Hesitate To Use It To Gain New Clients

I didn't realise how tired I was last night until I slept through my sister getting ready for work at 4.30am and her boys getting ready for school. Had a good night's rest though, so today things are moving along great.

I'm halfway through my reread of Winter Moon by Dean Koonz and I'm enjoying the story as I did when I first read it. I love the way he uses words to paint us a character sketch and tell a story. Wish one day I could write just as well.

Joburg is wet. I love the rain and it's all quiet in our building and the writing is moving along. I spent most of the morning doing marketing and admin. Found a couple of job leads that might be appropriate for my friend Lynn and for Baby, so I forwarded them.

A mid-morning cold call from someone selling a media directory service reminded me that I've been toying with the idea of cold-calling my potential clients. It's an effective marketing tool for me, having used it successfully in the past, but there are a couple of reasons I'm hesitating:

  • I find making phone calls very stressful. I worked as an account executive in the late '90s and one of my duties was to cold-call potential clients. I made one hundred new cold calls everyday and then followed up on previous calls. It paid off in terms of finding potential clients and gaining their business, allowing me to make close to R500 000 a month in sales. However, the process was very hard work. Also, strangers were annoyed to get calls from a stranger (me) and some of them expressed their annoyance by being rude or using abusive language.  
  • I'm not sure my business has the capacity to deal with call-backs from potential clients and still be able to immerse myself in writing.  This is a one-person business and I don't have a receptionist to take messages when I'm busy with the writing process.
  • I prefer using email to communicate with clients, not phone calls - One of the reasons I love using email is because I can control my communications - I can contact clients when I have a pause in the writing process and am mentally ready to discuss issues with them.Making cold-calls would set a precedent to communicate with clients by phone. I also find it difficult to manage when a client phones me to verbally explain a brief of changes that they want made on a project. I'm nervous that I will miss a lot.  As a small business owner the potential for something falling through the cracks is too big and I prefer to have assurance of the client writing down what they need and how they want it delivered. A written brief gives me confidence that I can refer to it when I'm unsure about something. 
 All of the above are, of course, excuses I make to myself about why I'm not picking up the phone. The reality is that, if I want my earnings to improve, I have to be willing to do whatever marketing tasks are necessary to bring in the business.

So. Has cold-calling worked for your writing? And how do you feel about cold callers? Do you think there should be a "Be Kind To Cold Callers Day?"


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Revving Up The Writing

Nephew5, who is three, woke me up early this morning sobbing. "Getting-ready-for-school," early morning drama, I think.
I made a space for him on my bed, cuddled and kissed him. He left when he was calm, he left, ready to battle the horde. Ten minutes later he was crying because Nephew4 (his older brother) threw away his rock.
 "You can't keep a rock in a flat," Nephew said in explanation. I understood Nephew4's viewpoint, but I could empathise with Nephew5. When I was very young, I had a pet rock that I polished and shined and would have been very upset if anyone threw away my rock. My brother-in-law and the boys left before 7.30am to go to work and school.

After tidying the flat, I went for a long walk in the neighbourhood. It was lovely feeling my lungs effortlessly expand and shrink and my leg muscles stretch as I walked the hilly area. I missed this city! When I got back to the flat, after the shower, I sat at the dining-room table and did some writing.
I'm transcribing and rewriting some fiction from the notebooks. The rewrite is going fast and looks promising.

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With the exception of entries specifically credited to individual authors, the content on this blog is copyrighted by Damaria Senne and may not be reprinted without permission.