Friday 19 July 2024

Writing News - July 2024

Woman at a computer typing news
French startup has launched a new large language model built exclusively for advertising

Named AdLLM Spark, the system was built to craft ad text with high conversion rates on every major advertising platform. said the LLM (Large Language Model) combines two unique features: instant text generation and accurate performance prediction.

Hilarious PETA billboard births the internet's new favourite phrase

The viral billboard ad (which is affectionately referred to as "Just spay me Denise") imagines a conversation between a dog and her owner. It aims to show that we humans overcomplicate our relationship with our pets, applying inappropriate emotions to their humble doggy existence.

Nine Secrets to Content Writing Success

By focusing on the needs and interests of your audience, providing valuable insights and maintaining a professional yet accessible tone, you can significantly enhance your engagement and establish yourself as a thought leader. 
It’s not easy to start from a blank screen or piece of paper, so hopefully these tips will help get you on the right foot quickly.

Fans left in tears after watching true crime doc on murder of Harry Potter actor

Harry Potter fans have been left in tears over a documentary on the murder of one of its cast members, Rob Knox.
The movie star, who was just 18, was stabbed to death in 2008.
Rob had just wrapped filming on the sixth instalment of the fantasy series, Half Blood Prince, and was set to appear in the final Harry Potter film, Deathly Hallows. This is despite his character, Marcus Belby, not appearing in the seventh book written by J. K. Rowling.

Sesame Workshop Writers Ratify Strike-Averting Deal

After mounting a strike threat that was later averted, Sesame Workshop writers have ratified a new five-year labor contract that their union president is touting as “groundbreaking.”
The new agreement expands the Writers Guild of America's jurisdiction at the shop to include writing for social media platforms, animated projects and all streaming titles.

Russian trial of US journalist Evan Gershkovich resumes after being brought forward

The espionage trial of American journalist Evan Gershkovich resumed in a Russian court on Thursday after being brought forward at the request of his defense.
Gershkovich, the first American journalist to be arrested on spying charges in Russia since the Cold War, first went on trial on June 26 at the Sverdlovsky Regional Court in the city of Yekaterinburg, where he appeared in a courtroom’s glass cage with his head shaved.

Romance Writers of America files for bankruptcy amid bitter racism battle

The RWA filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing millions of dollars it owes in contracts with conference centers for hotel rooms its shrinking membership can no longer fill. Since 2019, the RWA’s membership has decreased from 10,000 people to roughly 2,000, according to court records.

Studies reveal the importance of print marketing

In an increasingly digitalized world, science shows print media still wins in some critical aspects of marketing. Print marketing should not be a dying art.
On a whole, digital marketing is fast and cost-effective. However, print is often more memorable than digital content, and some feel it is more authentic.

Netflix’s latest hit adaptations have also boosted book sales

Netflix Vice President Jinny Howe, who oversees drama series, says books and television series have storytelling parallels.
The process for finding books they can adapt into a series is ongoing.
However, it’s not always about looking at the “hot book” of the moment.
“We have also seen adaptations of novels that are lesser known have just as much success on Netflix, like with ‘The Queen’s Gambit,’ which is one of our most popular series,” said Howe.
“We’re always reading across a variety of genres and authors, and have a great in-house team who helps us track upcoming properties,” Howe said. “We’re not just looking at the genre, but also for fresh voices and perspectives, and bold and original narratives.”

Elon Musk Wants His AI Bot to Deliver the News. It Is Struggling With the Job

Grok posted incorrect information, amplified unverified claims and failed to identify sarcasm as details of Trump shooting unfolded
The artificial-intelligence model’s limitations were on display in the hours after the attempted assassination of former President Donald Trump on Saturday, when it served up some erroneous headlines based on its read of content on X.

Tuesday 16 July 2024

Knowing When I’m Too Ill To Write

too ill to write

 I’ve been ill with a flu-type of virus that’s been going around. Nearly everyone I know has caught it in one level of severity or another. I guess it’s just part of winter flu season.

I rarely get ill, and even when I do it’s only just a bit of a touch of whatever dreaded lergy is doing the rounds at the time.

The reason I rarely get ill is because I pay attention to my health. I have a vegan (or plant based as they now call it) diet which means I don’t consume dead body parts or any animal products. When I was younger I ate meat like most people, but as an adult I looked into the logic and cruelty of slaughter houses and animal “farms” and how bad eating these animals is for our health, and decided it was a bad idea.

So I transitioned to being a vegetarian for many years and then cut animals out of my diet completely. And I’ve never looked back. In fact, I found that some of the things I was eating were making me ill. For example, I’ve always suffered from headaches. It didn’t take much to give me a headache and they were painful and long-lasting. I also constantly came down with colds. If someone had a cold, I knew I’d catch it because I always did.

Once I gave up dairy and eggs, my colds and headaches disappeared. Gone! Just like that. All my life I’d thought it was just my bad luck that I was susceptible to head colds and bad headaches, but it turned out to be my diet. For the last 3+ years I haven’t even been to see my GP at all because I’ve never had anything medically wrong with me. My health has been great. The last time I saw my GP was because I’d hurt my foot.

My usual good health is probably why, when I caught this flu bug, it took me completely by surprise. The worst thing about it is that it’s so long lasting and has been driving me crazy because I’m so used to being healthy.

It started three weeks ago. I woke up one day with an incredibly sore throat. It hurt so much I could barely swallow and my head hurt and my nose wouldn’t stop running. 

I suffered through it for 7 days. It did start easing after the first 3 days but I felt miserable the whole time. The first day I thought I’d be ill for just that day. But nope. I spent the whole week laid on the couch, watching TV, napping, and feeling downright sorry for myself.

I even thought I’d try and get some writing done during that first week, but I found that I was too ill to think and I didn’t really want to sit up for too long either. 

I thought about it while I was laid there wallowing in self-pity, trying to figure out how being ill meant that thinking was hard, after all, it wasn’t a physical thing. Thinking was just thinking. But even trying to concentrate on something on TV felt taxing and I kept nodding off.

I thought about reading instead, but just the thought of picking up a book felt like too much hard work, which didn’t make sense to me because I love to read.

After 5 days of kidding myself that I wasn’t really THAT ill and if I put my mind to it I’d be able to write, I gave in. I figured that when I had a regular job and I had a boss and had to go out to work every day, when I was too ill to work, I’d take a few days off to rest and get better so that I could go back to work as soon as possible.

That being the case, I figured that working at home shouldn't be any different and if I rested, I’d get better faster. After all, it worked when I had a regular job. I never thought of doing anything but getting better when I wasn’t working so that I wouldn’t miss too many days away from my job.

So that’s what I did. I laid down and did nothing but rest and nap, even though I didn’t want to, and it worked. By the eighth day, I was not only sitting up but moving around a little and I was back in my writing chair. But I still had to be careful not to overdo anything because even though I was up and about, everything I did, even mental things like reading and writing, felt exhausting.

And now it’s 3 weeks later and I still haven’t shifted the virus completely. To anyone looking at me I look fine and I’m living my usual life. But I still don’t feel 100% well and I’m not doing as much in a day as I usually do and I’ve been avoiding socialising because that seems way too hard right now, even short conversations seem hard. I’m not comfortable with socialising anyway, but now it feels harder than ever. It’s easier to stay at home and write and not talk to anyone, except Dean of course, who caught the same illness I did but only mildly for a couple of days and then he was okay again, although even he isn’t 100% yet either.

But what this whole experience has taught me is that (and it was a hard lesson because I’m not used to being ill anymore) is that I need to treat my writing as a job and if I’m ill it’s okay to take some time off to get better and not feel guilty about not getting my writing done.

And treating my writing as a job isn’t just good advice for when I’m ill, but for always.

That’s why I have set writing times every week to make sure I get to work and get my writing done.

Mission Critical For Life

Start Living Life On Your Terms By Pursuing Your True Life Mission

Tuesday 9 July 2024

Overcoming Procrastination: Strategies for Achieving Your Goals

Image courtesy of Stephanie Ghesquier

The following is an extract from my book: 

Stop Procrastinating And Take Back Control of Your Life

Why Do We Procrastinate?

No one really knows why we procrastinate, not even ourselves, yet we all do it all the time.

Strangely enough, it’s not just the unpleasant things that we procrastinate about, but also the things we say we enjoy doing.

How often have you said you’re going to do something like go for a day out, or go to the cinema, or spend time doing something else you enjoy, only to change your mind at the last minute and binge watch TV instead?

And we do the same with important things we need to do.

As a writer, I often find myself reluctant to sit down and write even though writing is something I enjoy doing. Some days I’ll even think a pile of ironing looks more interesting than the writing I have to do.

No matter what it is, we all procrastinate in our own way for reasons we don’t understand, and probably never will.

According to studies that have been done on this subject, there are three reasons why we procrastinate.

1. Fear. We fear criticism, failure, and starting something. It’s easy to understand being afraid of criticism and failure, yet it’s starting that most of us fear.

2. Laziness. Doing something new is hard. It takes us out of our comfort zone. Not doing something is so much easier than doing something.

3. Lack of Interest. We don’t know how to do something until we start, so have no interest in starting something new, nor in learning the process of doing it. We just can’t be bothered to even think about it.

What is Procrastination?

To procrastinate means to put off, delay, or postpone doing something.

It comes from the16th Century Latin word, “procrastinat” which means “deferred till morning.”

This comes from the verb “procrastinare” with ‘pro’ meaning ‘forward’ and ‘crastinus’ meaning ‘belonging to tomorrow (from ‘cras’ tomorrow).

The word “procrastinate” is similar to the word “prevaricate” meaning to speak or act in an evasive way, in much the way politicians do when speaking with journalists.

In Latin, prevaricate means to ‘walk crookedly’ or ‘deviate.’

If someone prevaricates, they often also procrastinate, which gives rise to confusion with the two words.

Overcome Procrastination

What we’re going to be looking at in this book is how you can stop procrastinating and get back control of your life; not just now, but for the rest of your life.

Procrastination excels at one thing; making you feel bad. It’s a power struggle that goes on in your mind and if you let procrastination win, not only will you suffer mentally and emotionally, but it will also ruin your life.

This is why it’s imperative to stop wasting time and start living up to your full potential. This will not only have a positive impact on your physical and mental health, but it will help improve the life of those around you. It’s win-win all the way and in everything you do.

So how do you begin?

You start by not procrastinating. Quit stalling on things you need to do. It sounds simple and it is because all you need to do is take the first step, and all the others will follow on naturally.

You see, procrastination is all in your mind. There’s nothing physically holding you back from anything. It’s just all in your mind. Every time you’re not doing what you should be doing, it’s because you don’t want to start.

Starting something is always the hardest, yet surprisingly simple, part of doing anything. Once you take that first step and start, it’s easier to keep going. Yet every day you have to overcome the resistance to starting.

Starting any project soon leads to feeling motivated to keep going, because once we’ve invested our time in something, even if it’s only a few minutes, we don’t want to stop and waste our investment.

The motivation you feel to keep going once you start leads to enjoying the process, which leads to achievement, money, satisfaction, education, no more stress over inaction, a better life, and accomplishment.

Once you’ve finished what you needed to do, it also leads to looking at others who’ve done it (or do it) too and see how they do it for more and better ideas so that you can improve and do more.

Starting something that you’ve been putting off, guarantees a feeling of achievement, even if you only commit to doing something for 30 minutes a day, it’s still better than doing nothing at all.

A lot of people think that to do something you don’t want to do (or can’t be bothered to do) takes strong willpower or brute force, or a forced routine. But it takes none of that.

What you need is a commitment to change, a new mindset that you’re going to start doing whatever needs to be done. No excuses. You’ll do it no matter what. But you must WANT to change.

You just need to make a small start, even if it’s a huge project, just doing one little thing makes all the difference. 

Next you need to keep going, no matter what else comes up to try and distract you. 

Finally, you must finish what you start.

Start something. Even if you only commit to doing it for 2 minutes, do it. (Put down your phone)

Keep going. Don’t give up after the first blush. Keep starting again every day.

Finish it. See it through to the end. Finish your task. If something comes up, see to it, then get back to your task and finish it. This is mindset and commitment.

Thursday 4 July 2024

An Offer You Don't Want to Miss To Earn Passive Income From Your Writing

writer creating content
Ever Thought Of Earning Passive Income From Teaching Online Courses?

This is a limited time offer that you don’t want to miss (or read on to find out how to do it for free).

AND it’s something that I’m looking into myself right now so I wanted to give you a heads up too, because if you’re anything like me, you’re always looking for ways to earn more money from your writing. 

This month, Teachable is offering a one-time discount on each of their paid plans for new customers. This discount can be used for either the first month of a monthly plan or the first year of an annual plan. New customers are encouraged to buy early as the discounted amount decreases each day - starting at 25% off (July 3) and ending at 15% off (July 7).

But, if you prefer, you can sign up for free and create an online course, online coaching or sell digital downloads (ebooks, templates, how-to guides, etc) and start selling straight away.

 However, if you’re already serious about earning money from teaching online, the discounted offer is too good to be missed. Their prices start from $39/month with courses/coaching/downloads selling from a few dollars to hundreds $$$$ (some are over $1,000) and most have many students at the same time so it’s a great way to continually increase your income. You can also sell as many courses/downloads as you want so they can all be earning you money simultaneously.

On their website, Teachable suggests that you set a baseline price of $100 for your course.

But what can you teach online?

Well, we all know something about something and there’s always other people who want to know about it too, and selling your knowledge online can create a simple, yet substantial, stream of passive income.

Once you sign up you can set up your first course/coaching/download for free.

You can create an online course using video, audio, downloadable guides, or any or all of the above. They even help you set up a sales page to create maximum impact for interested students. 

You can set up a course on anything that interests you. There are already lots of courses on simple things like water colour painting, flower arranging, and even making cupcakes. There is also a plethora of business courses too.

If you want to do online coaching you can customise all your content to create milestones, send messages, and offer digital downloads.

Sell your ebooks

If you already have digital products, or you want to create some, you can sell them on Teachable too. You can sell ebooks, how-to guides, templates, spreadsheets, audio files, videos, music, art… in fact on their website they say that “If you can create it, you can sell it.”

You can also package different products together and sell them as a bundle, or use digital downloads as an upsell with a course or coaching.

And with their drag and drop system, you don’t need to know any coding.

So if you’re looking for more ways to earn money from your writing, sign up to Teachable and start selling what you know.

It costs nothing to set up your first course/coaching/digital download.

It’s a great way to earn even more money from your writing without having to do more work.


Create & sell online courses and coaching with the best online course platform used by the entrepreneurs to sell $500m+ to over 18 million students.