Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Well, it's been under wraps for a couple months now, but I've finally finished my new website overhaul. This will be the last time I change the theme of my website. There really wasn't anything too wrong with the way it was, but I felt the need to change it to something that's easier on the eyes and easier to navigate.
The site is pretty simple at the moment, with just info on me, my novel, and a few flash fiction pieces. I am going to be adding many more stories in the upcoming months, along with samples and info on my soon-to-be released novel, and updates on projects including my dive into podcasting.
Check it out if you get a chance and let me know what you think! http://www.davidnalderman.com
Friday, August 27, 2010
I've noticed a recurring theme that's been cropping up in my life over the last week, either in sermons I've heard being preached or conversations I've had with other people. It's a theme that's really encompassed by a question: Am I doing my very best?
Have you ever had someone ask you to do something and you tell them you'll do your very best? I'm wondering how many times we actually mean those words when we say them. When we say we'll do our very best, what are we using as a scale to determine what our very best is? Are we just comparing our efforts to someone else's best? Someone else's worst? Maybe we're considering our best to be anything above average, barely walking the fence between the extraordinary and what's needed to get by.
Over the past couple days, I've taken a very serious look at my writing career and I've asked myself if I've come even close to where I wanted to be when I started doing this full time a year ago. Now I know that we all make goals and sometimes it's just not possible or even probable to reach those goals in the time we specify for ourselves, but at the same time, some progress needs to be made. On top of progress, we should be able to look back and say confidently and honestly that we gave it our very best shot.
If I look back at the last year, I can honestly say I've done a decent job. I am right around the corner from releasing the second novel in my Black Earth series, I'm about to roll out a brand new, made-from-scratch, website design, and I have many more projects in the pipeline to reach some new markets I've never tapped before.
But can I say I gave the last year my very best? I'm not sure how to answer that. The last few months I've felt inspired to start on some new projects, both writing and marketing related, but I haven't really dived into any of them. Why? Procrastination is probably one reason. The other might be because I've been pocketing large quantities of my potential and putting the average on display.
See, when I worked a "9-5" job a year ago, I was putting out 32 hours there, then I was coming home and working another 5-6 hours on writing projects. On top of that, I was being a husband, a friend, and was very careful to make sure that the rest of my life continued to stay within balanced means.
Now I work maybe eight hours a day and call it a great, productive day and then go on with my life. I know some people like to tell me not to be too hard on myself, but I really think it's time to take a serious look at this. If I was able to put out so much effort while I worked a 'real' job, then why am I not able to put out at least the equivalent now?
One important thing I have learned being self-employed is that I am my motivation. I don't have bosses peering over my shoulder to make sure I'm staying on task. I don't have a time card that I have to punch every time I walk into my office and sit down at my desk. I set my own hours, I control the projects I work on, and I determine how much effort I'm going to put in each day. It's up to me.
I want to do my very best. I gave 110% of myself to employers that didn't even appreciate me, so why wouldn't I give at least that to the tasks that God has given me to do? It's an important question, one that I think everyone should be asking themselves.
As for me, I've asked the question and my answer is that it's time for me to turn things up a notch. No more procrastination. No more wallowing in discouragement, allowing the naysayers and circumstances to determine how far I'm going to take all of this. Writing is my life. It's my passion. And it deserves to get all of me. This isn't to say I'm going to burn myself out, but it does mean that I'm going to take things a little more seriously, finish the projects that have been on the back burner for so long now, and take control of this writing career.
Photo Credit - storymary
Friday, August 20, 2010
I doubt there is anything more frustrating in this world then when a computer crashes and you lose everything. This happened to me on Wednesday afternoon, when I tried to repair the Windows installation that was on my laptop and something caused my computer to go haywire, forcing me to reformat the hard drive without being able to recover any of my files.
The silver lining is that I've always been a stickler for backing things up. I have jump drives, Zip disks, CDs and numerous backups on other computers for all of my writing, web design and marketing content, so when my computer crashed, it wasn't an utter loss. It did allow me to see the holes in my backup processes though. I lost the latest version of my web design software, some of my music, a vital image editing program, all because I didn't have them backed up. I also lost all of my internet bookmarks.
Luckily, I have a resourceful side that comes out during these times of distress. The music I lost is still on my MP3 player, so I think I can salvage that easily enough. There is a copy of the photo editing program on my wife's computer, so that's won't be too hard to restore onto mine. The web design software was graciously replaced by the company I purchased it from, once I explained my harrowing situation to them.
The only thing that I wasn't able to replace was the bookmarks. Over a year and a half of internet bookmarks ranging from marketing sites to book reviewers. For future reference, my wife pointed me to Google Bookmarks, which apparently can be opened on any computer - if you have a Google account - since the bookmarks are stored with Google.
This "little" computer mishap hasn't slowed down my progress on Black Earth: The Broken Daisy though. I wasn't about to let that happen. I am still on track to have the book released the beginning of Fall.
Photo Credit - mandyxclear
Monday, August 16, 2010
I'm happy to report that I'm finally far enough along with the edits to my latest novel, Black Earth: The Broken Daisy, that I'm able to start reading it aloud to my wife tonight.
This next stage in my novel process is one I started incorporating with my last novel. Reading my book out loud helps me catch typos, wrong wording, and ill-conceived sentences that get overlooked when I read a manuscript through silently. I tend to read fairly fast, meaning my eyes glance over mistakes that I can easily catch when I read the story out loud.
I think while I read it aloud to my wife, I'm also going to test out the recording capabilities of my laptop microphone and the free recording program, Audacity, to get me prepared for podcasting, which I intend to start diving into once this novel is finished and out the door.
Once I've read it aloud and made the proper corrections to the book, I'll do one last glance over, and then move on to formatting. Almost there...
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Some say God is never late.
I think it's important to note that God is never late - in His own timing. As with a lot of things, our timing and/or perception of things isn't always matched up with God's.
Case in point. We ran late on rent. First time we've run late on a bill in the last year. I've blogged many times about the incredible journey God has had us on over the last year. And in these blogs, I've noted that we haven't run late on a single bill. For us to run late on rent this month made me question a few things.
So my wife and I went to people we trust, people who have been by our side on this journey since the beginning, and we asked the hard questions. Would God let rent slide to tell us this leg of the journey is over and that it may be time for me to go look for 'real' work? If God is late, does that mean He has abandoned us in some respect? Did we miss something we should have done over the last month to make sure rent was paid on time?
Asking questions is hard. Asking questions of God can sometimes seem impossible, because aside from the Bible, there really is no black and white cheat sheet that gives you the answers. There are wise people around us, but they aren't always going to "feel led by God" to give us particular advice.
Talking out these questions - and answering these questions - led me to the answers I needed. My wife and I are right where we need to be.
We were at a friend's house Friday night and I remember saying something to my wife about how I wouldn't be surprised if God let us run late on rent so we could ask and answer these questions. When we returned home that evening, we had a notice on our door from the apartment complex telling us we had to pay rent in five days or they would start the eviction process.
It was ten minutes later that my wife suddenly remembered the stack of savings bonds she had been holding onto for the last year. They were gifted to her in her childhood and her mother had given the collection of them to her around the time I was fired and said she thought we may be able to use them.
We paid rent - and all of the late fees - the next morning.
Monday, August 2, 2010
My photographer wife and I went out Saturday morning to Phoenix and a few other locals to get some new author pictures of me. It's been long overdue. I think she took some great shots, and I can't wait to see all of the finished pics once she's done doing her edits.:)
Here's a few of my favorites so far -
Photographs by Michal C. Alderman