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Total LIfe Makeover


January 15, 2018

Do you remember in the movie Forest Gump when Forest is sitting at the bus station and is telling about how Lieutenant Dan took over the day to day business of the Bubba Gump Shrimp Business and invested in Apple Computers making Forest a “gazillionaire” giving Forest “one less thing to worry about? If you don’t know this scene, here  is a link to it on YouTube https://youtu.be/SNa4EMUWnAc

Your One Less Thing

Although I cannot offer you a deal like Lieutenant Dan gave Forest, I can offer you a chance to have more than one less thing to worry about. I am offering you some tips on getting rid of clutter in your life.

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Now is a good time to declutter. January is  not only a good month for resolutions, but is a good time to clear out the clutter that we have accumulated over the past year. By getting rid of the things that clutter up our space and time, we can make more room for those things that will improve our lives and create better opportunities. Every day, I have been putting aside some time to deal with one area of clutter.

Here are five different types of clutter that I am clearing away.

Physical Clutter

Right now is a good time to go through every closet, look through every draw, and look under every bed and determine what you should throw out, what you should give away and what you really love and want to keep.

if you bring something out of a space and decide that you are going to get rid of it, put it in a location where it can easily be disposed of.

Since before Christmas, my family has been going through our house and clearing the clutter that we have accumulated over the past year. Anything that we haven’t used during the past year, we decide how much we really want to store it. As much as possible, we try to determine that keeping it probably isn’t in our best interest.

In addition to tossing trash, some of the things we are getting rid of are being recycled. Clothes and household are getting sent to goodwill. Plastic bags are recycled at the grocery store. Recently we discovered an electronics recycling place where we can safely discard old computers, other electronics, and batteries.

Paper Clutter

One of the things that I have done for a number of years is to get rid of as much of it as possible as soon as it hits the door. I go through the mail over the trash can, immediately discarding any junk mail and getting rid of useless mailer inserts.

Some paper however, does accumulate over time and going through it is still necessary. Now is a good time to go through papers that we have accumulated over the past year too, because tax time is here. While we are going through our financial papers in preparation for our taxes, we clear out the paper clutter that regardless of care, invades our files.

Body Clutter

People don’t always think of extra weight from the holidays as clutter, but really it is. the best way to get rid of excess body clutter is to focus on healthy eating and healthy exercise. Drinking plenty of water, especially now in the winter months helps clean toxins from our bodies.

Digital Clutter

The week before Christmas, my laptop that I have had for five years decided it was ready to retire. Because it gave me such good service, I went out and bought a newer version of the same machine. This gave me a good reason to clean out the files I stored on the laptop as I transferred from one to the other. I started by deleting files that I stored because I needed them for various projects, but that I had long since finished. I then deleted older versions of finished projects an\ organized what was left into a usable format.

I then re-examined other files used for projects that I had long abandoned and determined whether I should return to these projects or file-13 them. (delete them to the recycle bin).

In addition, I worked to get rid of emails and other digital files that no longer served me. Because I knew that this process should be a more routine part of my online file management, I determined that I needed attack a certain aspect of digital file for at least fifteen minutes every week.

Emotional Clutter

If you didn’t do it with the good cheer of the Holiday season that just passed, January is a good month to forgive, get rid of stress, and learn to relax. During my last post, I mentioned mindfulness so I am not going to repeat that here, however, it does bear repeating that getting rid of emotional clutter will help improve your health.

Time Clutter

I decided to do a time journal where I write down everything that I do for a week and find those things that I do that waste time and get rid of them. This doesn’t mean that I need to get rid of relaxation time. Last week, we saw thp value of relaxation through mindfulness. What this simply means is that we have to plan relaxation time.

Living Today cover 2

Living Today, The Power of Now Get Your Copy Today!

 

Clearing away time clutter can open up time that can be used to utilize the action steps suggested in my new book Living Today, the Power of Now. Read the book and then find the area that you feel would make the biggest impact on your day and go from there.

 

What if you only had one day to live? How would you live your life differently?

 

You really do only have one day at any given time, and that day is today. You cannot live in the past. You cannot live in the future. Today is your day to shine.

 

Today, and only today, you have the power of now, and it is strongest when you know that you are on the right path.

 

From Living Today, the Power of Now, discover:

  • Awareness and Focus on the present moment.
  • Tips for obtaining fire starting focus
  • Change bad habits to good habits
  • Creating a Time and a Place to dream
  • What “Don’t Worry” really Means
  • Learn How to Build on Past Experiences
  • Overcome Fear and Find Faith
  • Letting Go of the Past
  • The value of forgiving yourself and others
  • And much more

 

Available now on Amazon Kindle and in print

 

Living Today, The Power of Now (Free with Kindle Unlimited) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072WFW3HZ

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January 1, 2018

Happy New Year!

2017 was a good year for me. What it good for you?

Another Year has passed and another one is now beginning. If you looked at your resolutions from last January one, would you have made any progress toward the dreams and goals that you had then?

Some people say that they gave up on resolutions because they were too ambitious and they weren’t able to keep up with them. The way I see it, we shouldn’t give up one our dreams. For Christmas this year I got a bulletin board that says “Don’t give up your Day dream”. I really believe that. Don’t quit just because things get difficult. Who hasn’t heard the phrase “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail?” It’s true, you know. It is also true that plans don’t always go as we plan them, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make those plans. Plans can be adjusted. They are not made in stone. Take some time to analyze the plans you made and adjust them to where they are possible to reach, but difficult at the same time. During the past month, I spent some concerted effort making plans for the next year. I intend to make 2018, my best year yet.

Look (or Create if you don’t have any) Over Long Term Goals

I have several long term goals that I have worked on for several years now.

The first one was to be a published author. I am a published author ten times now and have drafts of several other books already in the wings, so I guess I can cross become a published author off the “to do” list. Except for the new NaNoWriMo project that I do every year, I am not going to start anything new this year. The biggest thing I need to do as an author is to market and sell books.

I do however, have a related long term goal. That goal is to create my own publishing company to include other authors. I started some planning for this last year, but this got bogged down while I was working on the business plan. As I see it, the business, Jerjoboch Publications, will have to become a corporation, but for now, since I am the business’s only “full time” employee, I will stick to keeping it a sole proprietorship.

A third goal that I am looking at is the fact that a number of years ago, I wanted to have been in all fifty states. I have been in 36 states, but have not been in: Hawaii, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

A final goal is to improve my health over the next year. This means better nutrition and more exercise. This is sort of a family goal because my husband and daughter would also like to do this.

Determine This Year’s Goals

On the long term goal of developing Jerjoboch Publications, I will focus on developing marketing and sales online and off line and live speaking engagements. A big part of developing this goal will be to build up online and off line marketing presence as well as making a more concerted effort at becoming a speaker.

On the long term goal of going to all fifty states, find a trip related to speaking engagements (or two) above where I can have a working vacation in either the northwest or in the New England states.

On long term goal of improving health, keep a journal about how I am taking care of my health on a daily basis starting with eating healthier meals when at home and doing yoga as well as measuring how much I am drinking water.

Determine January’s Goals Based on This Year’s Goals

This month, my goal to develop my publishing business will be to take on daily goals of reaching out to other authors, libraries, bookstores, chambers of commerce, and conventions concerning buying my books and allowing me to speak before their crowds. The templates are already written all I have to do is adapt them to the specific recipient. I will also maintain this blog every week throughout the year and promote a different book per month. This month the book is Living Today, The Power of Now.

My goal to go to every state will be explored by looking for locations that I can go which will help fulfill the first goal to get speaking gigs at chambers of commerce and in conferences.

My goal to improve heath will involve keeping a journal of the meals that I am eating, of the exercise that I am doing, and the water that I am drinking.

Determine Weekly Projects and Daily Tasks for January 2018

I am not going into the details of weekly and daily goals except to say that the weekly projects are sections of the monthly goals. The daily tasks are actions taken to complete the weekly projects.

There you have it, my major goals for the year. What major goals would you like to accomplish over the upcoming year?


Now that Christmas is in the Past. . .

At the computer, again

At the computer, again

I know that a lot of people are taking this week off to spend with family. I spent time with my daughter last week and she went home a couple days ago., so I am pretty much done with the Christmas celebrating and am already focusing on the upcoming year. Now that the holidays are winding down and the year is coming to a close, this week I am finishing three of my writing projects to give to my beta readers. Two are the booklets Help From Kelp and Better Living with Diatomaceous Earth. I have completed Better Living with with Diatomaceous Earth and intend to have Help from Kelp.ready before the first of the year. I hope I can get the novel-Sailing under the Black Flag done as well.

Filling in my Writing Calendar

In addition, I am also putting the final touches on the blog post calendar for the year. My goal is to clear my calendar of planning ongoing projects so that I can put more focus into building my career. I have a big job next month where I will be editing another author’s work. I cannot talk too much about that right now. In addition, I intend to put more time into actual online marketing of my books. My novel writing focus this next year will be final editing both of my books In the Shadow of the Mill Pond and The Anvil. In November I will then be starting a new novel for NaNoWriMo. It will be my eighth year. In addition, I intend to finish two nonfiction books about preventing writer’s block. One is about nonfiction writing and the other fiction.

Book Marketing

This is a big part of what I intend to do during the upcoming year. Now that I have a number of books written both fiction and nonfiction, I in tend to focus a lot of my time during the next year on this area of my work. This week my focus is researching different ways that I can improve my online presence. I will tell more about what I discover in upcoming posts.

Hosting Seminars

Recently it was suggested that my church host the OSLU seminar (Ozark Sustainable Living University) Seminar on Saturday January 23, 2016. (A second day would be held at a 7th Day Adventist Church on Sunday.). I have been thinking about planning an event or two over the course of the year as well. This may open a few other doors for me, my church and my community, and I am excited at this prospect.

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Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church one and a half miles south of Brandsville, Missouri.  As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener. She is also coming out soon with two additional nonfiction healthy living booklets Help from Kelp and Better Living with Diatomaceous Earth

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


Always Darkest Before the Dawn

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I have spent far too much time alone lately. The church has not had the attendance that I would have liked so there have been Sunday morning and Wednesday night services where I have been the only one there. Also, I had been trying to contact my daughter for several weeks and she was ignoring my calls. I can’t tell you how frustrated I was and even more so I was lonely. Even though I attended activities with friends and even had perfect strangers visit me between services, I will felt neglected. Last Thursday night I was at an all time low and I called a friend to cry on her shoulder. You may ask, what does all of this have to do with latching onto new opportunities, well, its what happened after I hung up with my friend that things started to change. Within twelve hours, I had a completely different perspective.

Facebook Family Messaging

My friend suggested that I contact my son in Hawaii and talk to him. I messaged him on Facebook and told him about the situation with his sister and went about my business. Then a little later, my daughter finally contacted me. I am not certain if he contacted her first or whether it was a coincidence, but next thing I knew he was on FB messenger and we talked a lot time about what they were doing and what their plans were. The two of them were conversing to one another and they were conversing separately with me too. We all talked for over two hours. In the conversation, my daughter agreed to come down to stay with me a few days as well. Definitely good results.

An Amazing Phone Call

This morning, I was thinking about the time with my adult children when the phone rang. I answered it and it was Mike H. Brown from Springfield, Missouri. He had ordered my gardening book which I had sent to him along with a letter with some ideas that I had to help him do something that he had planned. He told me that he now had a name for the company and I was the one who came up with the name. I thought how cool is that. He then told me about some work that he wanted to send my way. That will probably occur next month. Plus he offered me some advice and more. (I won’t go into the details. Eventually I will be able to be more specific, but he offered to help open some doors not just in my writing career, but also with the church. I could jump in with both feet at this time, but I think that I will have to wait until I have finished the writing projects that I intended to finish by the end of the year. I have less than two weeks and none of those projects are completed yet.

Next Year is Shaping Up to Be a Banner Year

Over the past year, my confidence has soared and I will be bringing that into the coming year. With those books finished, the New year is shaping up to be a banner year for me. I intend to launch two booklets, two fiction books and two nonfiction writing books. In addition, I will be helping with that startup company. Plus there’s the fact that I am going to be focusing more of my time on marketing and sales of my books than I ever have before.I have already started gathering ideas.  I cannot wait to see what unseen opportunities will come my way next.

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Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church in Brandsville, Missouri.  As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


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Last blog post we talked about deciding on topics to write throughout the year. Now we are going to discuss formulas that we can use for approaching individual blog posts.

The First is to problem solve and application.

Here is how it is done.
State problem, Use vivid, impactful language to get the reader’s attention so that they will stay on your post for five minutes.
Solution and Application: give 3-5 practical ideas or tips to solve their problem. Offer an action step to get them started.

Another is: Why What, How, Tools

First you want to ask why. This is your emotional appeal. It focuses on your reader’s needs not yours, tells why if they don’t do it, what will happen. Provide an emotional support.
Next is the What. Tell your reader why this is important to them, show evidence, methodology, experiences that inform your perspective. This is for left-brained thinkers who are not easily swayed by emotional appeals.
Finally, tell How: Give 3-5 practical steps to help them solve their problem. Make these steps easy to implement

A Third is the Interview or Pop Culture Mashup

Spotlight a star or celebrity as this person relates to your topic. Introduce star, connect star to your topic. Focus on your inspiration based on this connection and make certain that the reader gets it as well.

Number four: Focus on the Villain

An alternative to the Pop Culture Mashup is Focus on a Villain-talk about trigger of this villain, how did this thing (not person) become a villain? Describe the villain, point finger at the concept, idea, or position. Contrast villain’s view with your own.

Finally: The List

Tried and true list of things that work. This is probably the easiest type of post to write. We writers are bored with them, but readers still love them!-state the problem, list the solutions, include title, brief commentary, and a link or downloadable view.
See how many of these types of blog posts that I use during this upcoming year.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church in Brandsville, Missouri.  As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


bookshelf

In my last blog post, I said that I intend to change the days of the week that I will be blogging this blog. Instead of blogging on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule, I will be blogging on Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday instead. I will be doing this because I recently read that people are less likely to read a blog on Monday because they are busy. They do not read on Friday because they are in a hurry to get away from computer work.

Determine Main Topics

Once I determined when I was going to write my blog posts, I needed to determine my main topics. I decided to do a different topic each day of the week. Each Tuesday, I will write a blog regarding what I know about what I know which is productive writing. Wednesdays I have determined to continue writing the Christian Blog posts that I have been doing for several months. Thursdays I will be writing about what I am learning about book marketing.

Determine Problems to Solve Through Blogging

How that I have determined my main topics, I will determine what problems others have concerning each of the topics that I have identified for my blog.
So what problems do others have concerning writing productively?

The next thing to determine are what type of problems are you trying to solve for your reader?

Here are some problems that I could fix:
First, writer’s block is a common ailment to writers (this should be easy, I am writing two books about this topic)
Finding Time to write is another.
Tips for getting a lot written in the shortest length of time is still another.
Finding writing Ideas/plots
Developing characters
Developing scenes

Next is important that writers understand five areas that readers need to understand each of these topics.

Five Key Areas that Readers Need to Understand about the topic

These are the five key areas that readers need to understand about the productive writing success

  • Writing is a process that has a specific order of completion.
  • Writing regularly
  • writer’s block-Symptoms, Causes and solutions.
  • Writing Writer’s prompts specific to specific genres
  • Creating Writing formulas

Now write five pieces of supporting information concerning each of the above topics:
Writing is a process that has a specific order of completion-1) writing has a specific order in the process. 2) Each step in the writing process has specific things to do and specific things that can cause problems if done at that time. 3) prewriting 4)first drafting 5) editing and proofreading.
Writing Regularly 1) Having a writing plan2) finding time to write daily 3)Knowing when you need a break 4)writing fast 5)tools for developing new ideas brainstorming/brainmapping/organizing 6)Using Different writing locations for inspiration.
Writer’s Block Symptoms/Causes/Solutions 1)causes of writer’s block, 2)symptoms of writer’s block-perfectionism, 3) symptom of writer’s block-procrastination4)Cause of writer’s block-having too little/too much to say 5)Fear 6)Life getting in the way.
Writing Prompts for Specific writing genres-1) romantic fiction 2) mystery 3) action adventure 4) how-to books 5)scenes
Creating Writing Formulas-1) romantic fiction 2) action adventure 3) mystery 4)How-to 5)different types of articles

Next I will create topics in these areas of inspiration Provide Supporting information for each topic

  • The emotional and logical benefits of learning and understanding this topic
  • Key principles, methodology, evidence, research
  • What are some simple exercises, steps, the reader can make to achieve simple and quick results
  • Resource and tools for the topic
  • Personal experience or case study that demonstrates your ability to connect with the reader
  • An interview, podcast, presentation that offers a different perspective on the topic.
    Now on a separate document, write down all of the separate problems with each of the areas of inspiration mentioned above.
    For instance: My first combination would be a combination of The emotional and logical benefits of learning and understanding this topic and writing has a specific order in the process.

Brainstorm at least two topics for each area using this supporting information for each topic
In this case we could easily come up with a topic. Here is the most logical: What are the emotional benefits of learning and understanding that writing has a specific order? Another would be what are the logical benefits of leaning and understanding that writing has a specific order?
I’ll keep going through my list and combining topics with these supporting information prompts as ways to determine topics. I can then go through, look at all of the combinations and create topic ideas. Some I will instantly realize don’t make any sense, but other ideas, I can develop further and include in my blog calendar. By the end of the afternoon, I will have more than enough topic ideas for writing all my blog posts

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Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church in Brandsville, Missouri.  As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


success sign post

Where did the saying Planning your Work and Working Your Plan Originate?

We have all heard this saying at one time or another. One of the earliest examples that we have for this saying is in an article written by Reverend Weber A. Hall, in N. W. Christian Advocate in 1887. I recently read the article http://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/plan_your_work_and_work_your_plan/ and Reverend Weber attributes that saying to his friend Brother G. This past year I have learned that planning my work and working my plan has been highly effective in producing books.

I Discovered my Strengths and Weaknesses by Having a Plan and Working It

During this year, I have been planning my work and working my plan on a total life makeover. I developed myself as a person and in the process, I have developed a business plan that has helped me develop insight into what I know and what I still need to learn about my writing business. I have learned that I am a highly productive writer and that I can encourage others in being able to do the same.
I have also figured out that my strengths have a lot to do with the fact that I am a very productive writer. I am a highly productive writer because I follow this idea of planning my work and working my plan in producing my books. I follow very specific processes for writing fiction and nonfiction.
My weaknesses are in marketing my books. I found that I have been so focused this past year on production and getting the business basics done that I haven’t been spending the amount of time marketing my craft that I should be spending. This I intend to change this year.

Blogging my Plan

This coming year I intend to use my blog both to share my strengths and improve my marketing skills.
Recently I read that Mondays and Fridays are not good days to post blogs. Mondays are too busy, and on Fridays, most people try to cut out early. Therefore, I am changing my blogging days from Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. On Mondays I will share blogging posts related to my strengths. Wednesdays will continue to be my Christian blog post. And finally on Thursdays I will blog about what I have researched learned about book marketing.
At the end of August 2015, I started a writer’s group here and of the members who are part of this group, several of us are interested in better developing our book marketing skills Over the course of the next year, we will be sharing and developing these skills. I intend to share what I learn about book marketing on my blog. I also hope that I will be able to share some of my successes too.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church in Brandsville, Missouri.  As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .

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