How You Can Do a Techie’s Tasks for the Sake of Your Project

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” — Philippians 4:13 (NIV)


Techie Image courtesy of iprostocks at
Image courtesy of iprostocks at

Every morning, I ask God to direct the tasks I schedule for the week—and to equip me for each day’s work.

Recently, I received the idea of a countdown clock on my blog. It would tick away the days, hours, minutes, and seconds until my inspirational romance, Calculated Risk, is available.

Then I thought, “You’ve no idea how to add a countdown clock. And adding one might mess up your new website. It’ll have zip return on marketing your book, anyway.”

Image courtesy of luigi diamanti at
Image courtesy of luigi diamanti at

Then an idea slid in: “You prayed for a blog post topic. You could blog about a nifty countdown clock on your sidebar.”

I imagined you scrolling down to my countdown clock. I pictured your mesmerized faces as you watched the seconds tick away.

Had God given me this blog idea, or was He up to something else? I decided to tackle the daunting task.

I asked Google oodles of questions. The answers were over my head. I almost quit, but decided to open another search result.

I downloaded a countdown clock. Since I speak little HTML and was clueless as to what to do with the folders of code, I trashed the download.

Mesmerized Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at

I was torn between easier research on a different topic and your mesmerized faces. I decided to try one more Google search result.


When things go awry, picturing a good end result helps to keep you persevering. Click to tweet. 

Then, I received warnings that tasks I was doing were not secure. A giant caterpillar replaced your mesmerized faces. I imagined it chomping its way through my new website.

Maybe God was closing the door on the silly countdown clock.

Then—bling!—I remembered. My new website is self-hosted on I narrowed my Google inquiries to countdown plugins on WordPress.

The online trail quickly led to Step by Step Guide to Install a WordPress Plugin for Beginners. Beginners! Hurray! Hurray!

I chose the method the author said was “by far the easiest way of installing a WordPress plugin” (if the plugin was in the WordPress plugin directory).

Troll Techie Image courtesy of Victor Habbick at
Troll Techie
Image courtesy of Victor Habbick at

No nasty troll had written the directions. They were easy! And the directory had countdown plugins!

Soon, a countdown plugin appeared in my Widgets.

During ten setup attempts, no countdown clock appeared on my blog’s sidebar. Maybe I’d believed God’s agreement with the project too soon.

I decided to try one more thing.


Before giving up, try one more thing—a different thing, of course. Click to tweet.

I put a checkmark in a box and—tada—a working countdown clock appeared.

You put your keying hand in,
you put your keying hand out,
you put your keying hand in,
and you shake it all about.

You do the persevering pokey,
and praise the Lord Your God. 

That’s what it’s all about.

Soon, I’ll have marketing tasks I’ve never done. I think God used the frivolous countdown clock to show me I can do these tasks through His strength, if I don’t give up.

What techie’s task have you persevered in and succeeded?

7 Tips to Mellow You in Your Daunting Book Marketing Plan

“My theory is that every little bit has the potential to help. We just have to learn where to focus our limited time and energy, because obviously we can’t do it all.” —Jody Hedlund

mage courtesy of debspoons at

Image courtesy of debspoons at

I’m up against developing and executing my marketing plan for my debut novel. I awake clenching my teeth.

Whether you’re writing a book or have received a contract, is marketing your book a heavy cloud hovering over your head?

7 Tips to Help Calm You

Tip 1. For over a year, I’ve saved emails from writers’ email loops and my subscriptions to book-promotion blogs. These emails contain others’ experiences or links to posts, articles, and websites I might use in promoting my novel.

Image courtesy of mapichai at
Image courtesy of mapichai at

I’ve also collected workshop handouts and purchased how-to e-books.

Examples: Emails that recommend website designers, give newsletter writing tips, or provide links to order bookmarks. An e-book showing how to use Twitter in a marketing plan.

Ahh. Most of my research is already at my fingertips.

Tip 2. About six months from my book’s release date, I scheduled weekly readings from my saved items in Tip 1. Now promotion ideas, how-tos, and processes are fast becoming familiar.

Ahh. I’ve gained confidence in what I need to do.


  • Learning steps, details, and processes lessens our marketing-plan stress. click to tweet
Image courtesy of iosphere at
Image courtesy of iosphere at

Tip 3. From my readings in Tip 2, I listed all the projects I could do to promote my novel.

Ahh. I got them all out there so none lurk to worry me later.

Tip 4. I assigned the tasks from Tip 3 to the months I’ll need to work on them. Wow. About 375 tasks over six months!

Family, health, and excellence of projects are more important than doing all the tasks. So, I determined the projects that were MUSTS.

Examples: Obtaining a website. Getting book endorsements. Scheduling interviews on blogs that readers frequent.

From the information I gathered in Tip 1, I tagged additional projects experts said were worth the effort. Then, I noted which months were overloaded. From these two factors, I chose the projects I’d pursue.

Image courtesy of jesadaphorn at
Image courtesy of jesadaphorn at

Examples: Focus mainly on Twitter. Join a meet-the-authors Facebook party. Hold a local launch party.

I may implement the rejected projects on my next book’s marketing plan.

Examples: A blog tour. Writing articles for publications. A Facebook launch party.

Ahh. I’ve whittled down the projects I’m going to work on.



  • Excellence doesn’t mean you have to do everything to promote your book. click to tweet

Tip 5. Now, I’m scheduling needed people for my projects. I’m doing this early so this task doesn’t loom over me.

Examples: Hosts and helpers for the local book launch party. An artist to “beautify” my give-away baskets containing novel-related goodies. Local bookstore owner to schedule events.

Ahh. I feel like I have a team behind me. 

by colossus
by colossus

Tip 6. I always start a week with a written list of tasks I’ll complete each day. I make sure tasks are “bites” of the project, not projects in themselves.

I’m mindful not to sabotage my progress by starting unscheduled tasks because they’re “good” or fun to do.

Ahh. I can relax. Time is scheduled for each task.


  • Often we’re overwhelmed because we work on unscheduled, “good” tasks. click to tweet

Tip 7. For me, praying God’s direction on everything is a must.

Ahh. I’m in His will.

How do you add serenity to your marketing plan?

10 Ways to Make Books Earn Their Shelf Space in Your Bookcase

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” —Marcus Tullius Cicero



In an earlier post, I talked about squeezing by-products from your creative work. This time it’s squeezing by-products from others’ creative work, i.e. their books.

I love my library. The many books I’ve read surrounding me as I write encourages me. For years, I felt guilty for not giving the books away. I’ve loaned out many, but…

Then my guilt vanished when I discovered so many ways to “reuse” them for me and for others.

Whether you’re an author, a blogger, or a workshop leader:


  • You can glean new uses for the books on your bookshelves. click to tweet

photoUses for the Books on Your Bookshelves

1. I write a lot of blog posts on writing. While making a point, I pull books from my shelves and find published examples to show what I mean.

2. I credit the author for the examples I use from books. This gives other authors exposure, especially as to how they cleverly performed a technique.

3. I have trouble sometimes in finding the answer to an uncommon grammar, style, or punctuation question in my reference books. So, I peruse books on my shelves. I often find how at least one publisher handled the issue. Using the search function on my e-books makes this easier

4. I give a quote in each of my blog posts. I usually search online for quotes. Often, though, I remember something an author said in one of the books on my shelves that’s the perfect quote.

5. I lead workshops on writing. I’ll take a load of books with me to use for examples. Once, I handed each participant a book and had each read aloud the opening paragraph. Then we voted on the best opening hook. This started discussion. It also gave other authors exposure.

6. I gathered 50 of my print and e-book inspirational romance novels recently and read the last two pages. I learned the popular elements inspirational romance authors leave their readers with at the end of their books. It gave me content for a blog post and a new ending idea I want to try.

7. I send my agent book proposals. In them, I list novels similar to mine. This helps the publisher know how marketable my book might be. I prefer to compare my book’s similarities and unique differences to books I’ve read and have on hand to refresh my memory.
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8. I’ve seen how loaning books to people has caused them to purchase the authors’ other books.

9. I visited a shut-in for years. Every week I brought her books from my shelves. They kept her going, and they gave us something fun to talk about.

10. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention we can press flowers or four-leaf clovers in our books.


How have you put your shelved books to work?