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06 December 2017

Waking Up With Simon The Time Traveling Cat | IWSG



The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is a place to share and encourage, where writers can express their doubts and concerns without appearing foolish or weak. It's a great place to mingle with like minded people each month during IWSG day.

Every month there's an optional question which may prompt folks to share advice, insights, a personal experience or story. Some folks answer the question in their IWSG blog post or let it inspire them if they're struggling with what to say.

This month's question is:

"As you look back at 2017, with all of its successes and failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?"

Check out how people have answered this month's question, as well as the other insecurities and writing topics they may have shared by visiting the IWSG sign-up list here. If you want to see how I answered the question, have a look below.


****

Via The Graphics Fairy

So this is what a heart attack feels like, I thought to myself as I woke up in the middle of the night and felt an intense pressure on my chest. As I rubbed my eyes and reached for my phone to dial 911, a furry paw jabbed me in the face.

"Wake up, lady," a low voice growled. I turned on the light, opened my eyes, and saw Simon the Time Traveling Cat sitting on my chest. "Geez, get up already," he said as he smacked his other paw across my nose, this time with his claws fully extended.

"Oof, get off of me, Simon," I said, trying to push him onto the floor. He was surprisingly heavy for a cat. Time to cut down on all of the saucers of full-fat milk he demanded on a daily basis. "What are you doing waking me up in the middle of the night?"

"Look into my eyes and count to ten," he said. "We need to travel back in time to answer that stupid IWSG question of yours about what you would have done differently during 2017."

I didn't put up much of a fight, probably related to the fact that I hadn't had any coffee yet. Simon blinked at me slowly with those weird clockface-like eyes of his and I felt myself drift off.

"Snap out of it, lady," Simon said. "We're here. It's New Year's Day, 2017" He rolled onto his back. "Now rub my belly and tell me what you would have done differently during this past year."

I sat up and started scratching his gray fur. "Well, for one thing, I would have never let you onto my boat in the first place."

Simon narrowed his eyes and growled. "Wrong answer, lady."

"Okay, fine. What I would have done is started getting ready to publish my cozy mystery, Murder at the Marina, much earlier."

"What cozy mystery?" Simon asked. I stopped rubbing his belly and stared at him. "Oh, do you mean that stupid manuscript that you got so worked up over just because of a hairball?"

I sighed. "Yes, that one."

He pawed at my hand. "Stop your whining and get back to scratching. And hurry up and tell me about this stupid publishing stuff so we can travel back to the present and you can give me some milk."

"It's just that there's so much to do. Deciding if I want to self-publish or go the traditional route, writing blurbs, setting up social media accounts, that sort of thing."

"Big deal," Simon said. "Use your nails, lady. If you're going to scratch my belly, do it right."

I took a deep breath and ignored him. "And, since I'm leaning towards self-publishing, then I have to think about cover design, ISBNs, formatting, uploading to Amazon and other sites. Not to mention all of the editing I'm going to need to do to my manuscript once I get feedback back from my beta readers. It's a little overwhelming."

"Whatever," Simon said. "Enough about you. I'm hungry. Time to go back to the present and get me some milk."

****

In anticipation of maybe publishing my cozy mystery, Murder at the Marina, one of these days, I've set up an author website, author Facebook page, a Twitter account, and a Goodreads author account. If you have a minute, I'd love for you to check them out and follow along. Any tips, suggestions and/or feedback on using social media (especially Twitter, I'm clueless) as an author/writer also very welcome.

As you look back on the past year, if you had a time traveling cat or a time machine, what would you do differently?

Thanks for stopping by our blog - we love it when people come visit! We're also on Facebook - we'd love for you to pop by and say hi!

71 comments:

  1. I enjoy your posts so much Ellen. I plan to read this one to my son the cat lover. Simon has just great short words of wisdom. I can visualize my own cat thinking some of the same things. Yes, life is full of distraction and I wish you well getting back to the heart of your mystery writing. Happy IWSG day!

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    1. Aww...you're always so sweet, Erika. Thanks for your kind words.

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  2. It's terrifying isn't it - just the thought of all that's involved in jumping off into the deep end of self-publishing or promotion.
    I have a 'twitter basics' doc I put together for my writing group, I can send it to you if you like?

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    1. I'd love to get a copy of your "twitter basics" document, Angela! Thanks :-)

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    2. Thanks, Angela. I just looked it over and it's a great resource. Much appreciated!

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  3. I am so not the one to give you any social media advice! But I will look for you over on Goodreads the next time I'm on there. :)

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  4. Love Simon's voice! All the best with your book promotion--my only suggestion would be do what you're comfortable with, and enjoy.

    And don't hesitate to ask for help-- off to follow you on twitter!

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    1. Thanks so much for your offer to help and following on Twitter :-)

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  5. Simon is so amusing--and so cat like! Congrats on moving into the world of social media, I'm still stumbling around in it.

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  6. Simon is hilarious! Fantastic that you're stretching out with social media. If I had a time traveling cat, I'm sure he'd convince me to nap more. :)

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    1. Napping is something cats are very good at. We should all follow their example :-)

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  7. You need a dog.
    Found you on Twitter - will go find you on Goodreads now.
    And fortunately you have a full site of resources on self-publishing at the IWSG site.

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    1. I've been checking out the resources on the IWSG site - great stuff!

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  8. I saw the title and immediately said, "I hope she's waking up to Simon the cat." Just saying.

    Simon is all about Simon. It's why we love him so. Very well done.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. I'm glad you like Simon. I was actually thinking that we might need a new character for next year and that maybe Simon was getting a bit boring.

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  9. I've visited and followed. Cheering you on from my couch. ;-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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  10. I'm so glad my cats are sweet!

    You need help with self-publishing, let me know. (And the title alone intrigues me.)

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    1. I should probably send Simon to your house for some lessons on how to be a nice cat.

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  11. Ha! You do know that cats have a mystical ability to weigh more than they do whenever they don't want to move. Right? LOL It's amazing. As for 2017, I don't know what I'd do differently. But it's not over yet!

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    1. And they always manage to put all of their weight onto one paw which they press into you sharply.

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  12. Simon is awesome! If you're considering self-publishing, I suggest reading SK Quinn's 10 Step Self-Publishing BOOT CAMP: The Survival Guide For Launching Your First Novel. She really knows her stuff and can help you figure out where to get started.

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  13. Man, glad we're dog people LOL.

    There is a lot involved with self publishing, and I'm still learning as I go. Even with all the headaches of everything being on my shoulders, I happy to be Indie. Good luck next year on whatever you decide and I'll go follow along on your social media sites.

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    1. It's good to know that you're happy gong indie, despite all that's involved in it. I like hearing success stories because it seems a bit daunting. Thanks for following :-)

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  14. Loved it! Thanks for posting.

    Congrats on the self-pub journey. It's going to be worth it!

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  15. I really think this idea of using the time traveling cat to get rid of the time traveling cat has merit!

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    1. Somehow, I think Simon would find a way to make sure he didn't disappear. He's clever that way :-)

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  16. Great piece! Congrats on your forthcoming project--I've had more luck with my self-published books than the ones picked up by publishers. I'm sure you'll do great!

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  17. Exciting times! Well done setting all that up. Hopefully all that work motivates you to give that manuscript a chance at daylight. I'll be very excited to see where all of this ends up. Also, I can't wait to read this cozy murder mystery.

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  18. I have this fantasy where I can just write a story and send it off and happy little winged fairies do all the work. It's a nice dream. Or maybe my cat ate the fairies...

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    1. Darn cat. Why did he have to eat the fairies. I could sure use some to help with all of this publishing and marketing :-)

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  19. I'd say you have been quite productive in 2017, with lots of writing accomplishments and new media forms. And, all these short IWSG stories count as well. Very entertaining and good practice! Are you hoping to pitch the cozy mystery via twitter in January? A tough deadline... Hoping to read your manuscript this month, but time is flying by already!

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    1. I'm definitely not at the stage of pitching anything. I know I'll need to do some serious revisions to the manuscript, then editing before I can even think about putting it out there.

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  20. I always enjoy your visits from Simon. (Think maybe you should make HIM the star... or at least, a sidekick... in an upcoming book?) Unfortunately, neither of our cats has that time-travel thing down. However, one or both of them reverted to kittenhood today. When I came home from shopping, nearly a whole roll of toilet paper was shredded and rolled out on the floor... (My husband swears HE didn't do it.)

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    1. The toilet paper is kind of funny, but I guess probably not if you're the one that has to clean it up :-)

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  21. Hey Ellen,

    I love Simon - although he reminds me a bit too much of my own cat at the moment. Emily (a real cat who doesn't give me any good advice) has been waking up our household since our oldest went back to college after Thanksgiving. Ugh. Nothing like a real wake-up call from a wailing cat.
    I followed on twitter and I have some thoughts for you, although I can't say I'm an expert. My tiny twitter tips - post something nearly every day, retweet 4 or so posts every other day. Tweeting or retweeting more than ten times a day usually doesn't work ... I've been there and done that (cringe with shame).
    Back to beta reading! :)

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    1. Great tips! Thanks for sharing. And thanks so much for that sweet tweet of yours :-) And a million thanks for beta reading.

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  22. I adore cats! We had to send our two to our son's because we moved. So sad. Love Simon. He's a tough with a big heart, I'm betting. I wonder if anyone thought 2017 was a fabulous year. If they did, I'm not hearing from them. Best to you, Ellen. Did I mention Ellen is a family name. Grandmother and sister. It's an old name with a special meaning. I think it means sun ray.

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    1. I remember when we had to say goodbye to our cats (and dog) when we moved to the UK. It was very sad :-(

      I didn't know Ellen meant "sun ray" - that's a lovely meaning.

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  23. I love Simon! He has so much in common with my Hemingway. So I also have a website, Facebook and Twitter on the off chance that one day I am published. Although I think I will go to my grave never understanding Twitter. I wish it had the "if you can't say something nice, don't bother" rule. But alas, they do not. Best in the new year with publishing your book.

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    1. Twitter really seems confusing, but I've gotten some good tips from folks on how to navigate its confusingness.

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  24. I always enjoy your posts, Ellen! What a relief to know your heart attack feeling was Simon! My husband doesn't like living with cats, so I'll likely never know that pleasure. Cats DO love him, though. Sigh. Good luck with publishing your book! I think I would enjoy reading it, so keep me posted!

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    1. Cats instinctively know who would least like to have a cat sitting in their lap and pet them :-)

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  25. Simon always knows just how to handle things...more or less. Can't wait for your book to hit the light of day!

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    1. Simon thinks he knows how to handle things and even if he didn't, he'd never admit to it :-)

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  26. I hope that your 'maybe' self-publishing venture bears a lot of fruit, Ellen. Having just self-published the second edition of my debut novel - first was published by a small press - I am weighing up what I do next time with my mystery.

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    1. It is a difficult decision - trad or indie publishing. Good luck with discerning the right way forward for your mystery.

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  27. The decision whether to self-pub or try traditional is so hard sometimes, which is funny, because it means we have that choice. Good luck figuring it out. I'm working on self-pubbing my first, so embroiled in research.

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    1. That's so true. In the "olden" days, there really wasn't a choice. Life was simpler back then. Or was it?

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  28. Another IWSG post - and another Simon story. Whatever you do, please don't ban the cat from your boat. I'm enjoying his stories too much.
    Can't give any pointers to the use of social media - I'm dismal at it - but I wish you good luck in the next year.

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    1. That's really good to hear that you like Simon. I was wondering if people were getting a bit sick of him.

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  29. Hi Ellen! With respect to Twitter, the way to maintain your following is to follow people back as much as possible. Also, have you seen Litsy yet? It's an app in the istore and Google Play, and it's all about books. It just won an award on Google Play, so there's been an influx of new members. Anyway, it's worth checking out. If you do join, find me at @raimeygallant. I also blogged about this last month for IWSG, so it's a couple posts back on my site.

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    1. I'll definitely check out Litsy. Thanks for the tip!

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  30. Simon is so self-centred. Oh, hang on, he’s a cat - ‘nuff said.

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    1. Exactly. He's the very definition of self-centered.

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  31. Self publishing is a big undertaking, but you have all the control, which is great.

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    1. I do go back and forth on which way to go. Real pros and cons.

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  32. Self-pubbing is a LOT of work. Even so, I'm glad I went that route. It's very rewarding, not just money-wise but knowing my books are out there and people can read my stories. Their feedback (via reviews and email notes) make me very happy. Good luck with whichever way you go. Love that Simon is back.

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    1. It's great to hear from successful self-published authors like yourself that it was a good way to go. Thanks for sharing :-)

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  33. Ah, so that's why we're now Twitter friends. Welcome, welcome. Glad to see you joining the fray.

    Love the title of your cozy. Can't wait to read it.

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  34. I don't put up much of a fight before coffee either. Simon sure is pushy, but I guess he did help you reflect on the year. Don't ask me about Twitter, I'm pretty sure I'm doing it wrong, lol.

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