Why Conferences are Great and not so great
Hello and welcome to this replay of the talk which I gave at the Logan Writers Conference a couple of weeks ago. We had a few technical glitches preventing a livestream. And quite a few of you have asked for the recording because we couldn’t actually come out to the Logan Writers Festival. We were very lucky in Brisbane and in Logan that we could actually hold the festival live and meet people. We had a lot of readers come through.
And also what was good was that we met a lot of other authors, and so it was great to meet other authors. Writing can be a very lonely profession. And that is why I was excited to meet other authors. Talk to them, how we’re coping in the lock down, because authors have a great burden to try and create positive uplifting content, which helps people to escape. And how do we help people to escape what we ourselves are feeling down? And therefore that’s why the conference was fantastic.
But I decided that I would record my little talk for others. And I’m sorry because we could not actually stream it live because we had a problem with the connection, and we had a few tech glitches because it was outdoors on the green, and we had marquees and set up because we didn’t want to have it indoors and therefore all kinds of things happen in that.
So where to get ideas from? And my talk was about “the first chapter”, or really, what happens before the first chapter.
Before you even put pen to paper and write a single world where your ideas come from, what magic happens between the author and the world around her? I’m taking you on a journey through what happened in my mind, what’s happened in my life before I wrote my first bestselling book.
Learning to Fly
I called the beginning – learning to fly in a lockdown world. And that is what we wanted to do in this world. We want to learn to fly.
And I have that picture there because what you’re doing, really, if you are really learning to fly when you start writing a book, sometimes it can be frightening. So here we go.
What I’m going to share with you
- Who am I and what sparked my first steps,
- Remaining grounded in your locality and where you actually are, as well as
- Finding out who you are as a reader and an author.
Ok. Let’s play a game. A few facts and fictions about me.
2Easy2Publish is my company where I help people actually write and publish their books. But I’ve started doing that because I know how to write and publish my own best sellers. So here we are. I’m not very sure I am. So am I an author. Am I an adventurer, a party girl? I yes, I had a corporate life. I worked in corporate for many years. I also did a lot of hiking. I still do a lot of walking. Yes.
Taking off the Mask
I’m going to take off the mask and show you who the actual author is and how I got here. By understanding a little bit about an author and their journey, you can start your own journey by really seeing how anyone can do it. I’m really nothing very special, very much grounded in reality in this corner of Australia.
So this was my corporate life. I worked in a number of very big enterprises. I was in it, all of them. It did lots of exciting things from advanced computing to working on the first Mars Lander. Locally I worked in Mincom, and ABB.
In VeriFone which did financial transactions and Red Hat in Open Source So I worked with all these enterprises for more than 20 years. I think I write 65 books in that time, and not one of them is in my in my name because of course they belong to the company because I was a technical writer or content strategists – in all these companies and I was indeed writing very exciting stuff. I really loved it. But it wasn’t in my own name.
So at some stage I decided that I was going to write my own books. And today it became easy to publish with Amazon. So I have three Amazon bestsellers. All of them are hiking and adventure books. They sell regularly on Amazon all the time. Okay. I may not be JK Rowling, not be James Patterson, but my books to sell. And people like the books. I have 200 reviews from readers who love the books. I have readers writing to me all the time. I have readers also. I have a matter. Let’s face it. But I do have that connection to readers, which I never had before when I was writing in corporate.
So this is my credentials of why I can share with you, how you can get ahead.Also remember that this talk was at a live conference and so I had to have nteraction with the audience. I said, let’s do this. The three truths here and lie and you need to guess which of those is a lie. So tell me which one you think it is.
Three truths and a lie
- I was born in a real life case and I was educated with princesses.
- Yeah, I have family in every state, Australia,
- I’m an excellent dancer and
- I love roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.
So tell me which one you think is a lie. And these are the fiction and fact about me.
Any of them would tell you a little bit of it of what I truly like. Okay. I’m not going to tell you. No, I’m going to tell you. You got to guess and tell me which one is a lie.
Come FLY with me
So what am I writing? Well, I said we’re going to fly, right? You thought this was the writing conference. You thought this was about writing?
No, it’s about flying, right? It’s about your sequence of going from a dreadful place, fly through the enchanted air and arriving at your dream. It’s your dread to dream journey. And to do that, you have to fly.
So what is F
F is to find the problem.
L is to be local, be grounded in your reality. Be local, be real, be authentic.
And Y is YOU will be only you because there is nobody else is exactly like you.
And that as the saying, be yourself. Everybody else is taken.
My Find the problem came from a small personal problem that I had about ten years ago, I started putting on weight and I’m an inherently lazy person. I do not like to train and go to the gym.
So I was putting on weight so I did what I wanted to do and which was to walk.
So I started walking in nature, in the forest, around my localities. First I was in Mount Gravatt, walked in every forest in a 20 or so range around me for the last six years. I can walk from five to ten kilometres a day, not I stop every now and then, but I can do that in the day. So it’s not just to walk for ten minutes or 15 minutes. These are serious walks.
I can walk from two to 5 hours every day, especially when I’m training. And so what happened is I started doing things which I liked it. I liked to do that. I like to walk. And from that I got the idea that if I was going to walk, I could watch as we do a through walk.
And I say I could again walk in different place. I told you my problem. My problem was I was lazy. My other problem is that I get bored very easily.
So after walking in the same forest again, I want to walk in other places. And that’s the way I want the idea of having through hikes and having adventures that way because it was exciting. Right. So I found a solution locally.
Find the solution locally because it’s easy to start an adventure when you just have to step out of your door or maybe hop into your car and just drive for five kilometres.
So this is actually a forest very near where I walk with a Lake in it. And we walk there once or twice week. We can actually get a 15 kms by going up and down from this area. So find a solution to your problem locally. And it takes away all the excuses which you have.
Taking away excuses is a big part of being a successful writer. Okay, so look locally. And why? Guess what others are looking for a solution to what you are doing.
Finding the story in the everyday
When you find a solution to your problem, you’re suddenly going to find when you share that problem, you’re going to find that the other people who have the same problem and what you can do is you can tell them, you can give value, you can share your solution with them. And that is what the purpose of writing your book is really is that you want to share your solution with people. It’s not about becoming famous. It’s not about becoming rich.
If you help people to solve their problems, you are inevitably going to solve your problem this way.
But who are you? Who are you shape your art. So what are your passions? What are your hobbies?
What are your adventures? Start thinking. If you’ve never thought of writing your book before, you can write a book by taking of what you really love. Take your passion, take your hobbies and take a timely piece of I don’t take a huge thing about it. For example, if you like quilting, I do not try to write the ultimate guide to Quilting.
Write a short book on how to make quilt with a theme, say, or how to make a quilt for a baby.
A simple one. And that is enough for a book or a small adventure doesn’t have to be the adventure You see, it’s not huge. A hundred page book is enough!
The idea of your first chapter and this is a quote which is really important. Right, everyone, you must take whatever happens to you as your raw material, as your clay and turn it into something which is wonderful, , which can be taken and created into a book.
So this is from all that happens to us, including our humiliation is given to us as raw materials so that we may shape our art and our art, of course, is our books.
When we fly, we create the magic, you escape the mundane into adventure. And what you do is where people read a book. They wanted to do things they want to either be entertained for they want to be educated.
Both entertainment is a big thing today. And you know, when you when you make people have fun and you make people feel happy, that’s the time they learn the most. Ok. So here is my first book. It was a pilgrimage hike in Spain.
Hikes to Bestsellers
This book, the Camino Ingles, has 125 plus reviews internationally in all different markets. Right. I actually I was quite astonished to find that I’ve had downloads in Japan, in Brazil, in India, in UK, UK. Most of my downloads from UK because people can walk to Spain very easily there. So this was my first book.
How did I sitting here in Australia so far away? How did I go and write that book? I told you a bit about the story just now is actually walking because I was putting on a bit. I was feeling unhealthy. I was getting depressed and by just walking, I improved everything so much.
And then I went I had you’re the idea to go an adventure to being an actual book there. So this is I actually walked it twice. This is walking. I met other hikers day. I made friends at other hikers.
These are small forests on the Camino English. If we look closely at those forests, those are eucalyptus forests, right? Yes. A touch of home. So the aim of the Camino is to reach Santiago, which is the Cathedral which you see in the background there.
So from all these experiences, from all these experiences, what happened is that I distilled them out into this book, which has now run into five editions. And the last edition was last year, which are updated for today by adding a lot of stuff to bonuses of telling people how whether they could travel, what they needed to travel. Because when you’re writing a book, you must give people the correct information.
And this is really the book which started me on my bestselling career.
The second book was a dream book
And it’s never too late to dream a new dream and sometimes don’t even too late to fulfil an early dream. The second book was forbidden track in the Himalayas.
It was forbidden to me when I was a younger and finally when I was nearly succeed. I did this trek. Yes, it was difficult high altitude track. But don’t leave it too late right here on one reviewer said dreams are made to be chased, to be hunted not very deep in your heart. And this book from Susan shows you how you can chase your own main dream.
So that’s exactly what I want to do for all readers is to allow you to take on that dream which you forgot about and fulfilled. So here are some pictures from the dream. Here is me talking to some monks because this is a sacred spot for Buddhist and that is catching Jasleen Buddha which I walked for three days to get to that vantage, see the view which you can only see from here and you can see it. The picture doesn’t do it justice.
You’re actually eye to eye with giants you’re after level looking at it. It’s just amazing. So here on the way, right. In a way, your adventures flap like the wings of your dream and is converted into a book. And again you meet different people along the way. You make new friends and this all converted into a book
My lastest book on the Valley of Flowers is a book with more a theme of friendship and adventure.
So this is again for friends and food. What better adventure? It was also quite tough. But my book helped people escape the lockdown, see what a reader says.
So my travel plans for 2020 or quashed.
But reading this delightful book transported me to the value of Flowers. what one reader said.
And that’s exactly what you want to do.
You fly, you help someone escape the lock down safely, they don’t have to take a plane. They just read your book and the transported to the value fly. And this was my last book and I have another book, but because I haven’t been able to like I haven’t been able to write so much.
That is what we talked about. Taking your adventures, taking your experiences from your real life where you are actually sitting down, you’re living life. You don’t have to think that you have to be anything special and do wonderful crazy things. You have enough content in your own life.
Whether you are twelve years old or whether you are 100 years old, you have got enough adventure and enough stories to actually write your book, take your normal life and convert it into a book because someone there wants to read it.
As you can see, my very niche books are about hikes – I’m doing what I love and and improve my health. That’s very small motivation, but I have so many people who wanted to do that,
I hope you enjoyed this.
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