How Barbie and Ken Helped Shape My Writing Skills

Odd, huh?

Plastic people helped me write? Those perfectly painted faces, long hair, and Ken’s fake pecs actually could have shaped my writing life today?barbie-collector

I think so!

Today I was thinking, how does me playing with Barbie dolls back in the day help to shape my writing? How is that possible? I kid you not, the answer hit me like a pile of broken Barbie legs and cars.

Barbies have taught me how to use my imagination at the drop of a hat, how to create flash stories and how to connect with friends.

I am now in my 30s(gulp!) and these principles remain with me as I write.

Barbie Doll Playing Incites the Imagination

I had all kinds of Barbies, the pink haired one, Totally Hair Barbie with the awesome colorful skirt you can paint all over, Ken dolls, African American dolls, you name it.

With all these plastic people, I had to come up with something!

Along with books, my parents bought me and my sisters Barbie dolls, and so we would set up the doll house, clear our small room and the entire place was hooked up, lit up with the Barbie swimming pool with real water.

Then one Christmas, we received that beautiful, hot as heck pink Barbie Corvette and then…

jaguar-box
Image found on joeslist.com

We played.

“What’s the story for today?” Um, Totally Hair meets Black Ken, or, Fashion Barbie will finally let her hair down and ride in the Corvette…without a chauffer….

I tell ya, the memories I am having right now, of the thousands of stories each Barbie doll brought out of my imagination- makes me nostalgic to a high degree.

You see, I didn’t need pen and paper. I had the fake people to use.

Playing Barbies Was My First Flash Story Lesson

I love writing at the drop of a hat.

When my parents had company over(adults fun time, I guess), it was time to go upstairs.

What to do now?

I had the Nintendo and Sega Genesis, but after a while I got tired of using controls to control something on a screen.

I wanted to brush hair, and create little Barbie sitcoms.

Looking around my room, I’d switch on more light and grab the Barbies, the large house and this time, even the My Little Pony land with the ponies!

Quick, as lightning I created a plot in my mind and would have the Barbies interact with one another. Sometimes, I even ran a series, like a soap opera.

barbie-and-ken-doll
Image from thanksmailcarrier.com

 

 

Sadly, after a while, a couple of friends and girl cousins thought I was losing it. We were young too, like maybe ten or eleven- I could have been eleven going on twelve though; and I guess playing with Barbies was suddenly too childish for them to do anymore.

That was my first taste of what loving what I do could possibly make someone ostracize themselves from me.

You learn as a writer, to have tough skin.

Doesn’t lessen the pain though…

Through Barbie I Learned How to Network

On a really bright side, I met others like me!

Besides my sister, I’ve met friends who had more of a love of Barbie playing than even me!

We formed instant friendships and one of my old friends had a Barbie land. A freakin’ Barbie land set up in her home!

She had what seemed like dozens of Barbie dolls. I was in heaven! Plastic heaven!

We would collaborate, bring our stories together and made sure to let our parents know that we must meet again soon to continue this.

Imagination. Flash Story Creation. Networking.

Sound familiar?

It should, this is what we do here as bloggers who tell stories. At first, I thought it would be a bit of a stretch to mention how Barbie helped me to be a blogger/ writer but playing with toys and using your imagination are tools- FREE tools, which helps build the creative muscle.

In fact, using your imagination is what aids in creating worlds and characters in the first place.

Like, comment, and subscribe if you feel what I am saying.

What experiences in your past may have shaped you as writer?

I’d love to hear 🙂

Ericajean

*Disclaimer: There are affiliate links sprinkled throughout this post! 😉

Goodbye to Book Reviewing, Sad Face

Glove hand that says bye
Photo by Trinity Kubassek

I’ve been reviewing books roughly since 2008 when I began my blogging adventure and became fascinated with books and writing for the web. Those were the good ol’ happy days. Getting free books to my door and now technology has it so we can get e-galleys very early, connect with authors and publishers and now we can win prizes and digital badges.

I am thankful for it all. Truly.

However, as a bonafide bookworm I am addicted to words and the feeling they give me. I think it is because of this that I must leave official book reviewing.

Let me explain.

When I see a book I might like, I request it. Then I would request another. Then another…and another and then I miss the publishing dates sometimes and I still have a pretty large TBR pile. Secondly, I don’t like how some books expire after a certain time, and third- I get headaches now from reading too much. Ouch!

The interesting this is, before I was reviewing books, I would simply read, or join a nice reader’s group and give a brief review on Amazon then keep it moving. Sometimes I would read a book and not even discuss it or review it. It was a just a relaxing treasure for me to experience before moving on. I may tell a customer or two at my job how great it is was, but that’s it.

Anyhow, because of this change I will have to refocus my blog to only include posts about writing, poetry, and marketing writing, but will focus on more marketing writing more than anything. I have already updated the About TWW page to reflect this small but very important change.

Will I still review books on here? Perhaps, if they are self help for writers and writers wanting to learn more about marketing and the psychology behind it.

**Meet me at my Goodreads Page to talk books!**

Goodreads will be my bookie hub. To see books I’ve read, feel free to join me over there and I may do some brief reviews of books there also, but not on this blog. Again, I just want to get back to reading for pleasure and in my own time. Besides, reviewing does not pay. You get a free book to become an influencer for an author which is so much fun. I love it all! Those books, the authors and their interviews will still be housed here. Try out my categories and tags to find them all!

Again, I will still be reading but my reviews(if I do them at all) will be on Goodreads and Amazon.

Smile! This is a new adventure for us!

Week 1 of #RevOfKindness, No Words

 

Join the #RevOfKindness today for 7 weeks of connection, inspiration and encouragement! See my Week 1 Inspirational poem as I conclude the week being kind to myself!

*Image Credit: All images photographed by me(EricaJean) except for the image of the night moon which is by Hamed Masoumi

How to support an author’s eBook

Newsweek: Books aren't dead
Image found on flickr.com

An online article talks about “11 Ways to support an author’s new book“, please head over there to find out how you can support your favorite author.

This particular post is for those who read eBooks.  There are some small yet significant things that you as the reader can do to support the “digital” writers.

Support with the Purchase

The most obvious thing you can do to support an author is “buy their book” as the Writer Unboxed website states. Borrowing or “lending” electronically may up the popularity of the book but really, an author would like, scratch that- Love  to see some dollar signs  as well as downloads for their books.

Support with the read tracking

As a member of Goodreads, I now have an opportunity to update my reading. If I am on the last chapter and it’s getting good, I update that on my homepage and all those who follow me or are my friends can see it. So can Google. So far, as I am read and update a book, others have liked or sent emails about the books I am reading and added it to their shelves. What a great way to spread the word about your favorite author!

Support with reviews…on author’s retailer site

This is an interesting one. As an eBook author myself, I enjoy seeing the download numbers but I really never know how I am doing if no one reviews on the site which publishes and distributes my words. For instance, Smashwords carries my eBooks initially and offers a platform for everyone to give feedback. I believe this causes those searching for a good book to purchase it, and allows the would be buyer to see what others are “saying” about the book.

Support with reviews and ratings

Many sites like Smashwords offer a place to rate and review. Barnesandnoble.com, Amazon.com, Christianbook.com, and Zolabooks.com and many more eBook carriers give ratings options(using stars or 1-5) and a text editor to review with comments about the book. I will tell you this from the bottom of my heart: I love a review with ratings and words on any retailer site. The good, bad, and ugly…I pray for good. 🙂

Support with acceptance of blog tours

With blogging tools and all things social media, authors can get in contact with true readers and offer their eBooks files for free if the blogger will post the author’s book on their website during the blog tour date. An accompanying interview and review of the book is greatly appreciated as well. See my review of  ‘Lucid’ by Natalie Roers– this author politely contacted me and asked me to read and review her book and that was nice of her to do so. The book was good by the way!

Support with social media

The blog tour example pretty much exemplifies this. Use your Twitter, G+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon and other networks to spread the word about a book. Unlike a physical book that people can see you reading anywhere, you read your books on a PC or tablet and so no one knows unless what author you are reading unless you tell someone.

These are all the tips I myself have used to support fellow authors and maybe you have other tips as well. The main thing is to tell someone about the book, rate it, review it. Let someone know what you are reading and why it is good(or bad).

If you found this post helpful to you, please reblog it, or share it on your social networks. I also welcome comments as the feedback helps me know what I am doing right and wrong.

2012 in review…I want to thank all my readers, sincerely!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 5,500 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 9 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

How much is too much promotion for your book?

archways,business metaphors,independence,individuality,iStockphoto,leaders,men,modern architecture,patterns,persons,silhouettes,skylights,tunnels,walking
Image courtesy of Microsoft Word

Recently I read a blog post by culture watcher and writer Mike Duran. In summary he speaks on how there are ways writers turn off their readers by doing such things as “overtweeting”, “Over Facebooking”, mentioning their own books, recommending their own books and doing giveaways…

Of course I plugged in my two cents, but will expand it more. How much is too much shameless promotion and should this bother most writers and readers?

Let’s look at one aspect of marketing: Social Media. Social Media encompasses those communications involving platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Emails, MySpace, and other avenues that allow you to send links, photos, one line comments, feedback and chat. Now Google+ has jumped on the bandwagon with Hangout, chats, free phone calls from emails, hashtagging(such as on Twitter using the # sign).

Remember traditional methods of marketing? Flyers, business cards, newspapers, word of mouth, radio, and other functions that have not died out are still really good to use.

How does the author factor in all of this?As an author(doesn’t matter what kind), you want your book, your baby to be out there, make it known to the world. This is the least you can do for your work and its fun playing promoter-some days I suppose. But it teaches you the business and new ways to bring in readers interested in your genre.

For example, I published Mark of Fortune this Spring and although I would have loved to market it in a huge way using radio promotion, web promotion and videos- I think it would have been too much for just a free short story. My hope is that I can just tweet about it once in a  while and perhaps mention it here or on Google+ as way to talk about it. Oftentimes, people crawling the net will eventually find eBooks anyway if its listed on the web. So in this case, my goal is for readers to know what they want and seek it out, I am only to help steer them to my book, not bombard them with it.

Could that be what people mean when they say “Don’t spam others or “Don’t over promote your book”? For my two book of poems also listed on Smashwords, I would like to do heavy promotion for those and even locally just so people can see it and make a choice if that is their thing. Poetry isn’t dead but it’ll be harder to promote than genre fiction like, say, witches, vamps, and wolves, or Steampunk.

So should Tweeting and Facebooking, etc. be a turn off for readers? My answer is no. I think the only ones complaining are those writers who probably have a good, decent following of fans already and are just very picky. I mean, let’s be honest- It’s marketing. Advertising using social media. Why keep it a secret? James Patterson(an awesome writer by the way) had a commercial on every month I think and I think that was great, although he is pretty much known to many as a commercial mystery author.

Is there a well-balanced solution? I am not you and you are not me, so your way of thinking and of promoting your work is a unique adventure, but here is what I am learning as I go about promoting my own works:

  • Tweet, Facebook, or +1 your book every so often. This means maybe once or twice a week post your book, share a link, the photos, or other things dealing with your book.  However you choose to do this is fine. For those who go about the traditional way, try going to places you haven’t been before to market so you won’t bother the same people/establishments. Try parks, retail stores, carnivals, church. the only time you go to the same places is if you have interested customers.
  • There is nothing wrong with giveaways. As a book reviewer, this is the time readers can give a book outside of their liking a chance- for free. Or to win a book in the genre they do like and you as the author/blogger gain a following. For those who have a problem giving away items- don’t do it. I believe in sharing.
  • Cheap pricing for books are not turnoffs. They are keen turn ons because no one in this economy wants to spend $25.99 for a hardcover book when they can get it for $9.99 as an eBook or cheaply priced print book  found on publishers’ website. Some readers actually would purchase high priced books if they truly are believers in the author and their words and there is nothing wrong with that.

I know that with everything there is a catch, so of course you don’t want to spam folks, over tweet, or do nothing but giveaways. That is why I am offering the well-balanced way to do things that doesn’t “hurt feelings” or cause you to want to go overboard.

You’re welcome 🙂

Monthly visits to your blog, a sincere thanks

Photographer |Hamed Saber

How often do we visit each other’s blogs? Is it of high importance?

It can be.

Then why don’t we?

I think it is because after thinking on our topic, then posting, we rarely feel like reading anymore or we have busy lives which prevents us from visiting and sharing comments on each other’s pages.

Not anymore.

I want to thank all my visitors, subscribers, and commenters for their contributions and in return, since I am always so busy, I will schedule “monthly” visits. Not the Aunt Flo stuff, but will take time once a month to visit and comment or share posts and your blog could be featured here on mine! If you check your stats often, you will be able to see referral links from those who like your posts and have shared it.

I am not sure when I will be able to start these visits, but I am hoping to by next week to see how all of you are doing.

Think of it as inviting folks to your home. 🙂

Again, thanks so much for enjoying this blog and I will be posting more soon!

From The Write Web