Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. Thomas A. Edison

Week of June 21 to 28, 2015 – Technology blips, Last week of school, and Editing

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. Thomas A. Edison

This has been one of those weeks:
  • On Sunday night our internet suddenly died. A few phone calls and a couple days later the internet service came back to life. (The power pack for the radio system needed to be replaced.)

  • The last week of school is always hectic – exams, sorting, signing IPPs, report cards . . . I also participated on a hiring interview panel in my role as Glendon School Council Chair.

  • I’m in the middle of editing the next book in my Twitter series. Learn Twitter: 10 Intermediate Steps launches on July 15th. Keep your eyes open for some cover options I’m considering.
  • In my last posts I’ve mentioned aiming to be more consistent with my blog posts. Busyness held me back this week. However, so did technology. This is my 4th attempt to write this post. The first three times NOTHING saved. I’m not sure I would be as persistent as Thomas Edison, who tried 1,000 times before he figured out how to make a light bulb work. When a reporter asked him how it felt to fail that many times, Edison replied:

“I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.” (Click to Tweet) 

  • I thought these two graphics summed up my week well – encouragement to try one more time, and waiting for the Lord.

How did your week go?

Psalm 33

Save


Lessons in Trust and Technology

Lessons in trust and technology

 

Sometimes I just have to laugh. (I’d rather laugh than cry, wouldn’t you?!) After I posted last time, I ran into major technology issues. It all started quite innocently, with the addition of a new e-mail address. After the creation of the e-mail address, I wanted to add it to my e-mail program so that I don’t have to check e-mail on the web. Although I thought I had the address configured properly into my Apple Mail program, I soon discovered I made some errors, which not only resulted in me not being able to access my new e-mail address, but also resulted in me not being able to access my website, or the website of InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship, or the admin panel for either of these websites. Why? Because my IP address was singled out as the source of a possible virus . . .  and blocked. This happened on May 21st and today is the first day I’ve had access to all my services again!

At first I felt stressed, frantic. I’m in the middle of taking an excellent course from Shelley Hitz, called Author Audience Academy. I started the section of the course on building an e-mail list, only to find myself locked out of my website. I couldn’t change anything, I couldn’t apply what I was learning, I couldn’t even look at my website.

Instead of focusing on what I couldn’t do, I decided to focus on what I could do. I’m also in the middle of writing my second how-to book for Twitter (Learn Twitter: 10 Intermediate Steps). My original goal was to have the rough draft finished at the end of last week. That didn’t happen. I still have three chapters to write and edit. I’ve already told people I’m going to publish it the end of June and next week I’m going to Write Canada, which means no time for writing. More cause for panic . . .  Or not. As I thought about it, I remembered that I could upload a draft copy and put the book up for pre-sale. As long as that happens in June, people will be happy because they know the book is on its way. That gives me some breathing space and allows me to finish the book well. It also gives me time to get the book to beta readers for feedback. (If you’d like to be one of my beta readers, e-mail me!)

Although I wasn’t able to post on my own blog, I was still able to write two posts which were shared on other blogs:

 


Shadow (German Shepherd/Collie/Mongrel) joined our family when our oldest daughter was eighteen months old. He died peacefully in his sleep when she was fifteen, under the trampoline where he spent many hours “supervising” as our children played and jumped above him. He lived a full, long life, but it was hard to say “Goodbye” or think of replacing him. Nine months ago a beautiful white bundle of energy (Husky/Malamut) joined our family. Our children named him Olaf, after the snowman from the movie, Frozen. Olaf has reminded me of several important truths regarding parenting (Click here to read the rest of this post on A Beautiful Life.)

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” -William Wordsworth

It started at the breakfast table. After we read about what qualities God looks for in a person and how we should look beyond people’s actions and appearances.

“You’re dumb. I don’t like you.”

“I don’t like you either.”

“Mom, Levi’s bugging me.”

I sighed. My husband was already at work. “Are you guys being kind to one another?”

They gave me crooked grins and shook their heads. It was quiet for a few milliseconds before they were at each other,  again.

(Click here to read the rest of this post on InScribe Writers Online)

I believe God’s timing is perfect. I know that He is trustworthy. But sometimes in the hustle and bustle of life, it’s easy to lose sight of HIM.

What have you been learning about technology and/or trust lately?


Update and future direction for ruthlsnyder.com

Tragedy and goalsIn January I shared my writing goals for 2015. I haven’t finished anything on that list! But I am still focusing on non-fiction, specifically the Author Social Media Mastery Series. After I finished Kindle in 30 with Kristen Eckstein, I decided to take the Author Audience Academy course with Shelley Hitz. I can’t say enough about this excellent course. The first month we focused on Publishing:

  • Week 1 – Strategy
  • Week 2 – Writing
  • Week 3 – Publishing
  • Week 4 – The Launch

I followed Shelley’s hints and helpful tips and my book, Learn Twitter: 10 Beginning Steps, is now available on Kindle!

This month we are focusing on Platform:

  • Week 1 – The Foundation
  • Week 2 – Author Website
  • Week 3 – E-mail Marketing
  • Week 4 – Social Media Marketing

Month Three will focus on products to accelerate our business.

While I’ve been taking this course I’ve also been:

In my non-writing life:

  • Parenting our five children ages 7-17
  • Teaching four Music for Young Children classes (and substitute teaching four classes for two weeks)
  • Teaching private piano lessons to four students
  • Hosting a piano recital for all my music students
  • Playing piano for the Glendon Community Church
  • Helping select a digital piano for the church (This was FUN! I had the opportunity to play pianos most of the day, including a $200,000 Steinway and a $240,000 Bosendorfer – concert grand pianos. Of course those instruments were WAY out of our budget.)
  • Writing a grant application and doing other paperwork related to a playground project for the Glendon Playground and Park Society

Hmmm. No wonder I’ve been busy…and haven’t written too many blog posts for my own website!

As I’ve been working through the Author Audience Academy, I’ve been thinking about what I should be focusing on here on my website. What do I need to keep doing? What do I need to stop doing? What do I need to start doing?

That’s where you come in. I need some feedback from you, my readers. Which topics are you most interested in (Devotionals, Family life, Parenting, Writing, Twitter, Marketing, Publishing, Other)? How often would you like me to post? (I want to post consistently!) Any and all feedback is welcome! Please leave a comment below. Thanks 🙂


My Prayer for 2015

Prayer for 2015

Happy New Year! As we step into 2015, here’s my prayer:

Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the gift of a new year. Thank you that you know what each day will hold and You will guide us, strengthen us, and enable us.

Help us to be still and know that You are God (Psalm 46:10).
Help us to listen for Your voice, instead of being distracted by the turbulence around us.
Help us to feed on Your Word so that we may serve from a full heart and mind.
Help us to cast our anxieties on You, knowing that You care for us (I Peter 5:7).
Help us to be obedient to Your calling on our lives, no matter how seemingly insignificant.
Help us to glorify You in all we think, do, and say.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

Several days ago, I signed up for Kristen Ekstein’s Kindlein30 Challenge. Yesterday, I learned a new technique (from the challenge) called “Brain Dump”. Grab a piece of paper and a pen, set the timer for 10 minutes, and write down everything that comes to mind.

Kristen explained that often our creative ideas get “stuck” behind our to do lists and other things that are swirling in our brains. I tried it and this morning I was delighted with the ideas that spontaneously came. I now know what I want to focus on as a writer this year: a series of books that combine many of the topics I jotted down yesterday and showcase my photography while focusing people on Scripture. It’s so obvious now!

My first book will be 31 Days of Hope with pictures of winter beauty. I’m excited to get started. Stay tuned for further details!


Parenting: Motivating with Rewards

In August at my Music for Young Children professional development session, one of the presenters shared that she doesn’t offer practice incentives to her students. Instead she challenges parents to talk to their children and figure out what will motivate them. I remembered this piece of advice a few weeks later when I sat down to help my own six-year-old daughter practice piano. It seemed like she resisted practicing. There was always something more interesting to do; practicing was hard work.

A week or so later I bought a ceramic tea set for my daughter to take to a friend’s birthday party. My daughter told me she wanted one just like it. I knew that my daughter could save her allowance and purchase her own tea set. However, I decided to offer the tea set to her as a practice incentive. At first I thought we would track her practice for a month or so and then give her the tea set when she practiced five or more days for at least four weeks. However, I ended up with a different plan.

I purchased the tea set at Toys-R-Us. My daughter was with me when I purchased it, so I explained my plan. Every week she practiced five or more days, I would give her one piece of her tea set. She happily agreed, and it has made a huge difference in her practicing. Since we started this arrangement five weeks ago, she only had one week where she didn’t earn a piece from the tea set. (Sometimes children want to know if we will stick to our guns!) We still have at least seven more pieces of the tea set waiting to be earned.

Although I would rather have my daughter intrinsically motivated, she seems to need some extrinsic motivation right now. She does enjoy music, but piano lessons are my choice not hers. I’m hopeful that once I help her develop consistent practice habits, she’ll enjoy the thrill of music making and the pleasure it brings to herself and others enough to be self-motivated.

 

Tea Set


Vision Statement ruthlsnyder.com

5 Steps to Crafting a Personal Vision Statement

Vision Statement ruthlsnyder.com

Last week in our study of Limitless Life by Derwin L. Gray, we discussed work and were challenged to write our own vision statement. If you’ve never written a personal vision statement, try the process outlined below. If nothing else, you’ll learn more about yourself and what motivates you. Hopefully you’ll also come up with a statement that inspires and motivates you to be the very best you can be.

Step 1: Answer these questions

  1. How do you want to be seen in ten years?
  2. What do you want to be known for in ten years?
  3. What do you want your family to be like?
  4. What makes your heart sing?
  5. Who in your life will tell you the truth about yourself?

Step 2: Select key words

Go through what you’ve written and select words you’ve repeated or that are important to you.

Step 3: Read Other vision statements

Here are some sites you may want to visit:

Step 4: Write your vision statement

Jot ideas down and combine them in different ways. Play with different words. Try to capture the key themes you selected in step two. You may find one statement that you know fits, or perhaps you’ll end up with a few to choose from. Can you condense the ideas? Once you’ve written your vision statement, let it sit for a few days and then go back to it and see if it still resonates with you.

Step 5: Share your vision statement

Do you have people in your life who will give you honest feedback? People who know you really well and care about you? Those are the people you should share your vision statement with. Ask them if you’ve captured who you they see you as. If not, ask them for suggestions on how to tweak your statement so that it really fits you.

Check out this post: Mission and Vision Statements for more helpful information.

 

Need some inspiration? Here’s one of my favourite songs:

Here’s my vision statement:

“Wholeheartedly seeking God, then serving others with excellence through music, writing, and speaking.”

My life verse is:

“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” (Philippians 3:10 NASB)

I’d love to hear if this process helped you, and what your vision statement is.

Question 1: How do you want to be seen in ten years? Question 2: What do you want to be known for in ten years? Question 3: What do you want your family to be like? Question 4: What makes your heart sing? Question 5: Who in your life will tell you the truth about yourself? – See more at: http://proverbs31.org/online-bible-studies/current-study/#sthash.BetT3Zqq.dpuf
Question 1: How do you want to be seen in ten years? Question 2: What do you want to be known for in ten years? Question 3: What do you want your family to be like? Question 4: What makes your heart sing? Question 5: Who in your life will tell you the truth about yourself? – See more at: http://proverbs31.org/online-bible-studies/current-study/#sthash.BetT3Zqq.dpuf

The road to change: Excuses or Honesty?

I know I shouldn't eat this cake, butI stepped on the scale today for my weekly weigh-in and discovered the numbers are getting bigger instead of smaller. The increase is only a few pounds; I’m not discouraged, just motivated to get back on track and make better choices. In the last week, I’ve used a lot of excuses to make choices I shouldn’t have made: I’m tired, I’m stressed-out, I’ve been good and deserve a reward, It’s only a small Frosty. You get the idea. As a result, I’ve eaten too many calories, and often the wrong kind of calories. Now I’ve earned the natural consequences – gaining weight.

I’ve been working with one of my sons on making a change in his life. He’s a real master at excuses. There’s always a reason he couldn’t do what he should have, and it’s never his fault. I keep telling him that change won’t happen if he continues to use excuses. Hmmm. I guess it’s time for me to take my own advice 🙂

I’m still discovering what works for me, but here are the changes I’m enforcing this week:

  • Stay within my calorie limit for the day. If I go over, it shouldn’t be because of junk food
  • Focus on eating healthy foods that are packed with nutrition. If I have a choice between a piece of chocolate and a handful of nuts, the nuts should be an obvious choice.
  • No more snacking after supper. I find it too easy to keep eating once I start. Maybe someday I’ll get to the place I can handle one healthy snack after supper, but until I can, I really don’t need a snack after supper.
  • Make sure I drink enough water. Especially now that it’s getting warmer outside, I need to make sure I stay hydrated.

What about you? Are you being honest with yourself or making excuses?


7 Spring Cleaning Tips for Writers

SpringCleaning_tnsIt’s officially springtime on the calendar. Our thoughts often turn to spring-cleaning our houses – getting rid of the extra layers of dust and grime that have accumulated over the long winter. Perhaps it’s time to think about doing some spring-cleaning in our writing lives too. Here are seven areas I’m thinking about:

  1. Walk with God – If you’re a writer who’s a Christian, this should always be your first priority. Are you spending time with God every day? Are you bringing your goals and plans to Him for approval OR are you coming to Him and asking Him to show you the plans He has for your writing? Do you talk to God throughout each day? It’s easy for our lives to get so clogged with the grime of busyness that we don’t cultivate a close walk with God.
  2. windowclean_tnsMission Statement – Do you have a mission statement for your writing? If not, think about what you want to accomplish with your writing. If you do have a mission statement, when was the last time you revised it? Does it still fit? Perhaps it only needs a few tweaks, or maybe you need to totally rewrite it. Mission Statements help us see more clearly where we’re headed. Work at getting the dust and streaks off your writing window so that your vision is clear.
  3. Writing Goals – I usually review my writing goals around New Year’s. A yearly review is great, but perhaps it’s time to take a fresh look at your goals and update them as well. Do your goals and mission statement fit each other? Perhaps you overloaded yourself. Now’s the time to get rid of excess weight and refine your goals before you burn out.
  4. Professional Development – Toning and honing those writing muscles is always a good idea. Evaluate your skills and figure out what you want to improve. Assess your time and finances as well. Then figure out what professional development you will take part in this year: writing conferences, online courses, workshops, webinars, etc. If you need help figuring out which ones to tackle, ask your writing friends for their recommendations.
  5. Work Area – Clutter robs us of energy. Does your work area need a makeover? If so, schedule a desk clean up into your calendar. Think about what frustrates you and how you can make improvements. Which resource books do you need close at hand while you write? What pictures or posters will help motivate you when you’re struggling with a deadline? Do you need a place to file paper copies of articles, research notes, character sketches, etc.? Or will a digital version work for you? What distracts you while you’re writing? Clear away as many of those distractions as possible.
  6. Computer – Are you happy with the filing system you’re using on your computer? Are your documents easy to locate? Maybe you need to reorganize and categorize. What about your inbox? Is it full to overflowing? If you’re like me, you receive hundreds of e-mails every day. Schedule time into your calendar to sort through your e-mails. Save important information into a Word Document, delete all the junk mail, empty the trash, and respond to e-mails that have been sitting for a while.
  7. Personal Relationships – Unresolved issues in our personal relationships will clog our writing and destroy our health. In your quiet time, ask God to show you the relationships that need a tune-up. Ephesians 4:28-32 tells us to throw out the garbage in our lives:

“Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

So how about it? Are you ready to get started with the spring cleaning?