• What happens when someone steals your work?

    What happens when you see your work blatantly ripped off by someone else? They say that imitation is the best form of flattery. But it’s hard to convince yourself of this when you read someone else’s work and it resembles your writing and ideas so much that it’s almost a word-for-word copy. (There are only a few changes – but just enough that you couldn’t pursue it as direct plagiarism in a court of law).

    The first stage is disbelief.
    How could this happen? How could someone have so little professional pride that they have to blatantly copy your work?

    The second stage is anger.
    How dare they? You’re angry. You go through their body of work and soon realise how much of your work they have appropriated as their own over the years. You then realise that some of that actually IS a direct word-for-word copy of your writing. Your anger then borders on rage.

    The third stage is pity.
    It takes a while to get to this stage because the people around you (who care about you) are so enraged at the thief in question that it’s hard to calm down amidst their fury.… Read more ...

  • Feel the fear and do it anyway

    I have a confession to make. For the past couple of years, I’ve been cruising. I’ve been so far into my comfort zone it’s been like living life in a down and feather doona with a bowl of M&Ms in easy reach. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t been working hard. It just means that I’ve been working hard only on projects and activities that I’ve been confident in achieving.

    As a result of working hard, my career has progressed and my business has grown. While that’s great, it’s also part of the reason I’ve been content to roll around in my comfort zone – because there has been no imperative to get out of it. If life is generally moving in the right direction, it’s easy to be complacent.

    However, I knew there was something inherently dissatisfying about what I was doing. I wasn’t stretching myself. And that meant I was limiting my opportunities for personal growth.

    Your comfort zone is a great place to be. But it should be considered a place to drop into from time to time, not a default state of existence.… Read more ...

  • How to find a consultant who will help transform your business

    You’ve been there. Your business is growing and you just can’t do everything. It’s time to call in the experts – consultants who can help take you to the next stage of your business.

    This is be hard for control freaks. But if you want your business to grow it’s important to accept that there are only 24 hours in a day and you can’t actually be an expert in SEO, sales, operations, admin, customer service, accounting, strategy and human resources. Well, you can try – but you’ll go crazy!

    Handing over the reins to consultants can be both liberating and filled with danger. Some consultants can truly transform your business. Yet some consultants can charge you a tonne of money but you end up with little to show for it.

    So how do you determine of a consultant is right for you?

    Well, if I had a magic formula that could give us all the answer for this, I would already be retired and sipping pina coladas on a tropical island.

    Nevertheless, over the years, I’ve learnt a few things – often, the hard way.… Read more ...

Ep 61 In this week’s podcast, we discuss how to balance the loneliness of writing, the late William Zinsser’s writing advice, 5 websites to visit instead of writing, and where you can get free pictures. Also meet Writer in Residence Pip Lincolne, author of Craft for the Soul

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Every week I co-host the podcast So you want to be a writer with fellow journalist and author Allison Tait.

This week we talk about long lost sisters meet in a writing class, healthy habits to deal with the loneliness of being a writer, the late William Zinsser’s advice, five websites to visit instead of writing, where you can get fab free pictures for your blog, Writer in Residence Pip Lincolne, how to manage passwords without losing your mind, approaching interviewees for article pitches, and more!

You can listen via:

iTunes, Stitcher, or find the transcript, show notes and listen via our blog here.Read more ...

How to makeover your email and skyrocket your productivity

Valerie with Renee

As business mentor, I often see people drown in a sea of emails. I’m currently mentoring Renee Freedman from Guardian Strata as part of Microsoft’s ModernBiz Technology Make-over. And when I caught up with Renee recently, she told me that she walked into work that day to find more than 700 messages in her inbox, all demanding urgent attention.

Renee is a strata manager – so you can probably imagine that kind of emails she receives! Facing a mountain of 700 emails on a regular basis is enough to make anyone feel sick. And they are all genuine messages from clients.

The reality is that the volume of Renee’s emails is not going to decrease. So we worked together to formulate a strategy to help Renee manage her inbox.

Valerie with Renee

Get email on the go
Until Microsoft’s technology make-over, Renee was unable to access her emails on-the-go on her mobile device. So if she was out at meetings, that meant she had to rush back to the office to attack her inbox or check if there was an urgent issue that had to be dealt with.… Read more ...

Ep 60 What you need to know about getting an agent, how Twitter can work for you, have you mourned the death of a character and how to organise a book tour yourself. Should you write a blog series, get more corporate writing work and we chat to Writer in Residence Nicole Hayes, author of One True Thing

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Every week I co-host the podcast So you want to be a writer with fellow journalist and author Allison Tait.

This week we talk about Alan Cumming in Sydney, book-inspired jewellery, self publishing vs traditional publishing, new online property publication, how five writers got started on their first novels, should you start a blog, Writer in Residence Sylvia Day, the Ulysses app, how not to get bogged down in the plot, and more!

You can listen via:

iTunes, Stitcher, or find the transcript, show notes and listen via our blog here. Read more ...

Ep 59 The couple who is suing because their engagement photo ended up on an erotica novel without their permission, how to crowdfund a novel, famous book titles rewritten as click bait, the wonders of Textexpander and we chat to Writer in Residence and movie star Matt Nable.

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Every week I co-host the podcast So you want to be a writer with fellow journalist and author Allison Tait.

This week we talk about Alan Cumming in Sydney, book-inspired jewellery, self publishing vs traditional publishing, new online property publication, how five writers got started on their first novels, should you start a blog, Writer in Residence Sylvia Day, the Ulysses app, how not to get bogged down in the plot, and more!

You can listen via:

iTunes, Stitcher, or find the transcript, show notes and listen via our blog here. Read more ...

Ep 58 The vocative comma, the Bundanon Trust residency, how to pitch non-fiction books, writing routines and Writer in Residence Pamela Hart.

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Every week I co-host the podcast So you want to be a writer with fellow journalist and author Allison Tait.

This week we talk about The disappearance of the vocative comma, how to write blog posts when you don’t want to, Bundanon Trust residency applications now open, 10 author platform examples, the rules for non-fiction manuscripts, Writer in Residence Pamela Hart, the value in routine, and much more!

You can listen via:

iTunes, Stitcher, or find the transcript, show notes and listen via our blog here. Read more ...

Mentoring in Microsoft’s #ModernBiz Technology Make-over

Valerie and Reneesq

This month, I’ve started the exciting process of mentoring a business in Microsoft’s ModernBiz Technology Make-over. When Microsoft first approached me to get involved, it was a no-brainer. I love mentoring. I love technology. And I love helping small businesses harness the power of technology to make life easier.

The business in question is Guardian Strata, a specialist strata management company based in Sydney. This is a business that’s been going for seven years and is headed by a passionate business owner Ossie Pisanu. With his team of eight full-time staff, it faces many challenges that most small businesses need to deal with, and a raft of challenges that are specific to the strata industry.

With Renee Freedman from Guardian Strata

I’m particularly excited in helping this business because it’s very clear to me that Ossie and his team don’t just treat their work like a job. They want to do great work. They don’t want to be average. Enthusiasm like that is priceless and it can carry a business through some pretty tough times. Specifically, I’m mentoring Renee – one of Guardian’s strata managers – and while we are only at the start of our mentoring journey, I can already tell we’re going to have a fun ride.… Read more ...

“Why I don’t read fiction”

vintage, brown, books, stack of books, wooden, wooden desk, read, creative

The other day I was at a business networking event and I heard someone say: “I don’t read anything unless it’s going to help me improve myself or my business. That’s why I don’t read fiction”.

I almost fell over. The person went on to say: “I’m so busy running my business that I need to ensure I have a decent ROI (return on investment) if I’m going to commit to reading a book. That’s why I only read business books.”

Oh dear. I was actually speechless.

Look, I’m a big fan of business books. I devour them. But if I only read business books, I know that my life would be poorer for it. Significantly poorer – mentally AND financially.

Obviously, as founder and national director of the Australian Writers’ Centre, I’m a big fan of reading all genres, especially fiction. But THAT ASIDE, as a business owner, I know that ideas can come from anywhere – including fiction books.

Yes, you read that correctly. Brilliant business ideas can come from fiction books. They may not come from specific plot points or characters (although that can happen too).… Read more ...

Ep 57 Words that should be in the dictionary, how to save time as a writer, are you a coffee-shop writer? How to make a motza as a self-published author. And we talk to Writer in Residence Rachel Power.

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Every week I co-host the podcast So you want to be a writer with fellow journalist and author Allison Tait.

This week we talk about our top 10 most downloaded interviews for 2014 (in no particular order): Graeme Simsion, Fleur McDonald, Allison Rushby, Kylie Mason, Deborah O’Brien, Liane Moriarty, Lex Marinos, Kylie Ladd, Chris Ducker
and Charlotte Wood.

You can listen via:

iTunesStitcher, or find the transcript, show notes and listen via our blog here.Read more ...

My life in a minute: Mentoring, Lisa Vanderpump, Bob Geldof and a whirlwind tour of the US

Glen C

Life has been a bit of a blur lately. I feel like I’ve been on trains, planes and automobiles. Okay, no trains actually – more like lots of planes and even more Uber cars. Here are the highlights.

I went into a Tardis (yes, really).
Actually these are the recording booths at the ABC Radio studios where I was interviewed about the weekly highlights on Twitter.

Inspired by Sir Bob Geldof
Business Chicks rocked a great event featuring Sir Bob Geldof. It was wonderful to share it with a table of awesome people.

Yours truly with this talented crew: Catherine Rodie, Libby Hakim and Rah Gardiner.

With one of Australia’s most prolific business authors: Andrew Griffiths

The man himself.

Mug cakes – it’s a thing
We had mug cakes in the office. Really. Cake. In a mug! Who knew?

Hello Phoenix!
I hung out in Phoenix at ICON, the Infusionsoft conference. Loved keynote speakers Jon Acuff (below, author of “Do Over)” and Sally Hogshead (author of “How The World Sees You”).

It was a software conference but it seems that they think chapstick is an important tool for small business owners.… Read more ...

Ep 18 Kerching – Everything you need to know about pricing

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Money, money, money. Every photographer is different and every job is different. So what are you supposed to charge for your work? In this episode, we cover what you need to know to determine how much you should charge and give you ideas on how to be confident with your pricing.

Gina and Valerie chat about different types of pricing for different types of photography, and discuss the most common fears photographers have when quoting – and how to get over them. Listener questions answer and this week’s theme for #ginachallenge is “luxury”.

Listen on iTunes, or via Gina’s website.… Read more ...

What happens when someone steals your work?

Coffee

What happens when you see your work blatantly ripped off by someone else? They say that imitation is the best form of flattery. But it’s hard to convince yourself of this when you read someone else’s work and it resembles your writing and ideas so much that it’s almost a word-for-word copy. (There are only a few changes – but just enough that you couldn’t pursue it as direct plagiarism in a court of law).

The first stage is disbelief.
How could this happen? How could someone have so little professional pride that they have to blatantly copy your work?

The second stage is anger.
How dare they? You’re angry. You go through their body of work and soon realise how much of your work they have appropriated as their own over the years. You then realise that some of that actually IS a direct word-for-word copy of your writing. Your anger then borders on rage.

The third stage is pity.
It takes a while to get to this stage because the people around you (who care about you) are so enraged at the thief in question that it’s hard to calm down amidst their fury.… Read more ...

Ep 56 The app that replaces swear words in books, how to keep copywriting clients happy, the one crucial skill you need to write well and we talk to Writer in Residence Annabel Smith

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Every week I co-host the podcast So you want to be a writer with fellow journalist and author Allison Tait.

This week we talk about The Sydney Writers’ Festival kicks off, are “clean words” offensive, the key to keeping clients happy, the one skill you need to write well, how to create a fantastic social media plan, the book Spell It Out by David Crystal, Writer in Residence Annabel Smith, understanding Scrivener, how to deal with negative people.

You can listen via:

iTunesStitcher, or find the transcript, show notes and listen via our blog here.

Read more ...

Ep 55 Origins of punctuation marks, easy transcribing apps, author gets published at 95! And discover the hit novel written by five people.

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Every week I co-host the podcast So you want to be a writer with fellow journalist and author Allison Tait.

This week we talk about Judith Rossell wins an Indie Award! Book 2 of the Mapmaker Chronicles is released, how punctuation marks got their names, 10 tools to keep you writing, first novel published at 95 years old, Anonyponymous: The Forgotten People Behind Everyday Words, Writer in Residence Alice Campion, the one-minute writer, how often you should pitch and more!

You can listen via:

iTunes, Stitcher, or find the transcript, show notes and listen via our blog here.Read more ...

Ep 54 Get the most out of writers’ conferences, win a hotel by writing 200 words, mistakes writers make on Twitter, and Writer in Residence Patti Miller

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Every week I co-host the podcast So you want to be a writer with fellow journalist and author Allison Tait.

This week we talk about The Readings Children’s Book Prize 2015 shortlist, top authors give their advice on blogging, how to prepare for a writers’ conference, use your writing skills to win an inn, The Hoopla shuts down, bloggers moved from the front row at Melbourne Fashion Week, Writer in Residence Patti Miller, the four mistakes writers make on twitter, and more!

You can listen via:

iTunes, Stitcher, or find the transcript, show notes and listen via our blog here. Read more ...

Ep 53 Book-inspired jewellery. Self-publish or not? How 5 great writers got started; should you start a blog, and Writer in Residence Sylvia Day who has sold more than 16 million books.

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Every week I co-host the podcast So you want to be a writer with fellow journalist and author Allison Tait.

This week we talk about Alan Cumming in Sydney, book-inspired jewellery, self publishing vs traditional publishing, new online property publication, how five writers got started on their first novels, should you start a blog, Writer in Residence Sylvia Day, the Ulysses app, how not to get bogged down in the plot, and more!

You can listen via:

iTunes, Stitcher, or find the transcript, show notes and listen via our blog here. Read more ...

Ep 52 – The real lorem ipsum, robots writing news, the birth of social media, how to write case studies, and Writer in Residence Joanne Fedler.

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Every week I co-host the podcast So you want to be a writer with fellow journalist and author Allison Tait.

This week we talk about the origins of lorem ipsum, how social media started 2000 years ago, how to make friends with creative people, the news writing robots are here, the book “Spilling the beans on the cat’s pyjamas: Popular expressions – what they mean and where we got them” by Judy Parkinson, Jane Friedman’s blog, Writer in Residence Joanne Fedler, what the apple watch can do for you, how to write a powerful case study and much more.

You can listen via:

iTunes, Stitcher, or find the transcript, show notes and listen via our blog here. Read more ...

Ep 51 What publishers want; weird writer habits; notebook obsession; internships; the 5-minute journal; and Writer in Residence Judith Rossell

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Every week I co-host the podcast So you want to be a writer with fellow journalist and author Allison Tait.This week we talk about agents and editors calling out to authors, internships, publisher forced to retract allegation in Julia Gillard’s book, weird writer habits, ideas on how to use your new notebook, the 5-minute journal, Writer in Residence Judith Rossell and more!

You can listen via:

iTunesStitcher, or find the transcript, show notes and listen via our blog here.

Read more ...

Ep 50 The most important skills you need to start a writing career; literary profiles on Instagram; crowdsourcing your cover; when bloggers are affiliates; and Writer in Residence Peg Fitzpatrick.

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 Every week I co-host the podcast So you want to be a writer with fellow journalist and author Allison Tait.This week we talk about the gorgeous typeface that drove men mad, the most important skills you need to start a writing career, literary profiles on Instagram, Neil Strauss crowdsources his next book cover, the book “How not to write bad” by Ben Yagoda, when bloggers are affiliates, Writer in Residence Peg Fitzpatrick, story wars and more.You can listen via:

iTunesStitcher, or find the transcript, show notes and listen via our blog here. 

Read more ...

Make 2015 your most productive year yet

productivity
You want to be a productivity ninja, but it seems like no matter how hard you work, your “to do” list doesn’t get any shorter. So how can you achieve your goals and complete all your projects efficiently – without losing your mind?
 
1. It’s all about focus
Many people think that focus is all about concentration. Experts say that you need to shut down all your browsers and ensure you’re not multi-tasking. But focus is much more than just giving one task your undivided attention. After all, what happens if you’re focusing on the wrong task.
 
Steve Jobs once famously said:
“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”
So before you even think about mono-tasking, take a long hard look at what you’ve decided to focus on.
Read more ...

Ep 49 Writers who take themselves too seriously, the decline of content mills, Hot Dudes Reading! And all your magazine writing questions answered.

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 Every week I co-host the podcast So you want to be a writer with fellow journalist and author Allison Tait.This week we talk about writers who take themselves way too seriously, Frankie magazine sees its first readership drop, mapping the imaginary, the future of content mills, the book Literary Miscellany by Alex Palmer, all your freelance writing questions answered, hot dudes reading and more!

You can listen via:

iTunesStitcher, or find the transcript, show notes and listen via our blog here. 

Read more ...