Sunday, March 16, 2008

The New View

I’ve been meaning to talk about the new view here at Writing the Cyber Highway, so here goes….

New Design, by Goofy Girl Designs

I can’t believe how much positive feedback I’ve received (both in the comments and via e-mail) about the new header and design. I’m thrilled so many of my readers are enjoying it. I know I absolutely love it and couldn’t be more pleased with Heather, at Goofy Girl Designs, and how she pulled the ideas from my brain and incorporated them into what you now see online. Isn’t she amazing? I have to tell you, she’s a gem! She’s so talented, fun to work with, and really professional at the same time.

Go ahead, check out her services!

Template by
Goofy Girl Designs

Advertise Your Site for $1

I also decided to allow readers to advertise their sites by adding My Top Spots.

The way it works is you just click on the buy one link at the bottom and it will direct you to a page where you can purchase your ad by paying $1 via PayPal. Each time a new advertiser buys a spot, your ad will be bumped down. I can also make it show space for 10 advertisers though.

Entrecard, I'm loving it

Entrecard has brought me a lot of new readers. Overall, I'm pleased with the results. I have new subscribers and I've noticed new comments from some of them. It's fun (when you have the extra time) to surf the various categories for blogs you can advertise on. You'll also find blogs you've never heard of before that you don't know how you've lived without. While you're visiting these blogs, you'll notice you can drop your card by clicking on their Entrecard widget. (Goofy Girl Designs created mine!).

Getting more organized

I created links in the Pages category in the top, right corner to clean up the place a bit. You'll find About, Contact, my website, my portfolio, Writing Blogs, and Writing Resources.

Shop the Cyber Highway!

If you haven't done so yet, be sure to visit Writing the Cyber Highway's Store. You'll find an abundance of books, magazines, fun writing items, and more!

Looking for writing jobs?

You can also search for jobs from this very stretch of the cyber highway. How cool is that?

I do hope everyone has adjusted easily to the changes. (Keep in mind I'm viewing this blog with Mozilla Firefox). I'm honored to have each of you consider my humble thoughts interesting enough to stick around.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great week!

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Interview: Novelist/Freelance Writer Misti Sandefur

For a while now, I've been a fan of Misti Sandefur's blog, Life of a Writer. I've yet to remember exactly how I came to find it but I'm so I did. I had been wanting to interview Misti since last year and I'm pleased to announce she's joining us today. She'll be sharing a little about herself, her writing career, how she balances everything, and more!

1. How does it feel to be a freelance writer, editor, and the author of two books?

Wonderful! I've worked toward this since I was 8. I work daily to better myself as a writer, and each time I see my hard work pay off, I celebrate.

2. How have you managed to juggle being a wife and mother while building your writing career to what it is today?

It was a whole lot tougher when my children were younger, but now that they've grown into teenagers, it's a bit easier. I still have to attend school activities and spend time with them, but I've created a schedule for myself and do my very best to stick to that schedule. For instance, my weekends are usually spent with the kids and hubby. We use the weekends for family game nights, and in the spring, fall and summer, we enjoy playing outdoor games as well. Having this time with my kids and husband also inspires parenting articles that I can record in my notebook and write later.

3. You wrote On the Net Resource Guide for Writers. Can you share with writers why this book will help them in their writing career and how they can purchase it?

On the Net Resource Guide for Writers will save writers the hassle and aggravation of research so they'll have more time to market their already published books and writing services. With the extra time they'll save, they can focus on making the money they deserve with their writing career.

On the Net Resource Guide for Writers has pretty much everything a writer searches for: publishing companies, other markets for writers, writing contests, book editors, literary agents, sample query letters, book reviewers, research resources, jobs for writers, newsletters and e-zines for writers, groups for writers and a whole lot more! Furthermore, all of the resources in my writer reference book can be found on the Internet.

On the Net Resource Guide for Writers is published under Misti Jackson and can be purchased at, Barnes & Noble, Virtual Bookworm or from my official website.The cost is $12.95. Again, it's published under Misti Jackson, so you must search for it under Misti Jackson not Misti Sandefur. A press release on my website explains the reason for this.

4. You self-published both of your books with Virtual Bookworm Publishing, Inc. Has your experience with them been a good one? Would you recommend them?

Yes, my experience with Virtual Bookworm Publishing, Inc. has been great thus far. I've been with them since March 2002 and have yet to encounter any major problems with the company. They're always helpful and answer any questions I may have. If you're a writer looking for a great print on demand publisher, then I would definitely recommend Virtual Bookworm Publishing, Inc., and you're more than welcome to let them know I (Misti Sandefur) referred you.

5. You're also a novelist. Tell us a little bit about your fictional work.

I enjoy writing Christian fiction novels. So far I've only wrote and published one, Help From Above, but I'm currently working on another and plan to write and publish several more.

Help From Above, also published under Misti Jackson, is a heartwarming story about an angel who is sent to Earth to help George with his drug and alcohol addictions. George is a stubborn man who doesn't believe in God or angels, but Ronald does his best to help George and turn him in to the kind man that he was before the death of his parents. Reviewers have compared Help From Above to the well-loved television drama Touched by an Angel.

Readers who enjoy books where the hero is an angel can discover more about Help From Above on my official website. In addition, I'm currently running a Help From Above Birthday Contest where readers could win an autographed copy of the book.

6. Besides all of the above, you are a blogger as well. Do you feel writers now need to blog to further their writing success?

Personally, I think this choice is up to the writer. I didn't add blogging to my writing resume until a little over two years ago, but since then, I've found blogging to be fun and it has helped further my career as a writer. Blogging is a trend that's growing each day, and if writers want to add something else to their writing services, then yes, by all means, I recommend getting into blogging. There are blogs to fit many niches, and the writing is usually short -- anywhere for 300 to 500 words. Blogging is fun and can be profitable.

7. Can you leave us with a few words of wisdom?

Never give up on your dreams, work toward them! If you love to write and it's your passion, work toward that dream. Study the craft and read to become better. Don't let criticism let you down, apply the suggestions to your writing and keep moving forward. Network with other writers to get you through the tough times. Remember that rejections come with the job and don't take them personally. Finally, praise yourself each time you achieve success. You can do it!

Thank you, Misti, for taking the time to lend your knowledge, passion for writing, life's wisdom, and for encouraging us to always keep our dreams alive and continue working to accomplish them. Here's to even more success with your novels and all your writing endeavors!

NOTE: If you have any questions for Misti, she'd love for you to contact her.

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Friday, March 7, 2008

Not the Same Pal?

Since I first decided to trust online sources like PayPal, I've been paranoid. I always hold my breath, say a prayer, and wish for the best when doing online transactions. I use all the precaution I can and am very careful and wise.

When I read about this disastrous incident, I was horrified! Could this happen to me? What would I do if this were to happen to me? What can I do so it doesn't happen to me? These were just a few of the questions racing frantically through my brain at full speed as I read Amy's post a while back.

Today, while trying to catch up on my favorite blogs (it's been a long week for me), I came across Katharine Swan's last few posts at Swan's Blog. I was drawn in and compelled to keep reading what she had written about PayPal: alternative options, changes we didn't know about, and her feelings as she thinks about moving on. Wow, I certainly missed a lot, didn't I?

What are my thoughts? I've been thinking of breaking away for a while now. So, why haven't I? Here's a few reasons.

  • they have been good to me so far
  • I really have no reason to complain
  • I don't like change
  • what will I do about those job ads that pay using PayPal only

Now that you know my thoughts and can go read about Katharine's, what are you going to do? Will you stay with PayPal? Make the switch and try something different? Have you left them already? If so, what do you do about those times where PayPal is mentioned as the only payment option? Any thoughts? Share in the comments! I can't wait to hear (ahem... read) your answers!

Hope you've had a highly successful week writing the cyber highway! Here's to a safe, healthy, and happy weekend.

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Saturday, March 1, 2008

Breaking Seven Writing Habits

Ever end up in a writing rut? You know, where you feel uninspired, unmotivated to write... just blah? I've been thinking about how I get to these places and what I can do to change them.

Here's a few writing habits I feel I need to improve upon, hopefully breaking them for good!

1. Phone phobia. I detest talking on the phone. This is slowing me down immensely because I'd rather go without food, eat something gross, or pull my own tooth than answer the telephone or call someone. And editors.... I freeze up, feel like I sound dumb, and fear what I'll say if they ask something I don't know how to answer. I'm not the only one with this habit. Jennifer, at Catalyst Blogger has shared her phone struggles not once, but twice now. She's going to continue sharing her progress in upcoming posts. I can't wait to see how she overcomes this obstacle!

2. Requiring silence to write.This is definitely something I want to conquer. Noise is everywhere in this world and it normally doesn't go away, right? It's hard, though. I write so much better when silence envelops the night and whisks me off into a creative flow.... I'm not sure how I'm going to improve this one, but I'm definitely going to concentrate and try.

3. Not stepping away enough. I know you can tell when my blog posts are flat and my enthusiasm isn't the same. Those are the times I'm burnt out, fried to a crisp, because I write, write, write, and forget to get fresh air, renew my thoughts with other activities, and just breathe for a while. Like Lori, at Words on the Page, this is on my immediate to-do list.

4. Failure to follow up. I never follow up as often as I should with my queries or potential clients. Why? I don't know. Not enough time. Feeling like they chose someone else... Who knows? I do know my e-mail could have been lost in spam, could have been read, liked, and forgotten about by accident, but if I don't follow up, I'll never know! Take veteran writer, Lori Widmer's advice and just do it folks!

5. Becoming bogged down in blog land. You know what I'm talking about. Visiting one blog, then another, commenting on them, following the conversation through the handy e-mail notification feature, then seeing a cool blog listed in the sidebar or following the link to someone who left a comment you loved. Gosh, before you know it, you've been floating around cyber space for too, too long and your time--and your eyes--are spent. I've already tamed this one tremendously!

6. Replying to e-mails a gazillion times a day. This has to stop. I can't count the number of writers, bloggers, even writing coaches, who have stated they've cut the amount of time they spend checking and replying to e-mails down. There's really no need to be staying on top of e-mail to that extent. It can wait a few hours. Seriously.

7. Not reading enough. With too much writing, e-mailing, reading blogs, and sweating over phone disasters, I fail to read. I've been getting around to reading a little more since I won the Amazon Gift Certificate. I'm still making my way through Query Letters that Rock, but I'm hoping to finish it in the next couple of days. I plan on reading something that isn't about the craft of writing, too. That will be a breath of fresh air I need!

Wow, I thought thinking of seven writing habits I need to break would be a lot harder. A big thanks to Sylvia, at Sylvia's Insight, for inspiring this post!

Now you know the writing habits I need to break. Do you relate to any of them? Have you already worked past all or some of these? Share your writing habits that need to be broken in the comments. We can't wait to hear from you!

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