The branding of cattle is still a requirement in Australia. One single logo seared into the rump of designated livestock to determine the owner. But despite what some may think, I do not identify with the bovine population, and if you know me, I am not one of the herd.

But this is about branding of a different sort, although it does involve logos and some scorching self reflection, which is why branding myself to become a product online has always presented a challenge.

Questions like…

What do I want to be known for?
What is my mission statement in three keywords?

How do I present myself online?

…all bring me to the edge of an existential crisis.

Source:  Lightstock
alphabet stamps saying 'who am I.'

But some recent research into the subject as part of my creative writing degree has helped me focus.

One source states personal branding is ‘the process of managing and optimising the way you are presented to others.’ (Lee, 2015)

And another: Branding is not marketing. Marketing is telling someone about your product. (I will do that once my book is published) But branding is about my reputation. It’s about what others say about me and which may or may not be related to any creative output.

Another aspect I discovered is that personal and professional brands are merging to the point they are indistinguishable. In the author space where I sit, readers are becoming more and more interested in the personal lives of the author.

Social media platforms provide the access to connect this way. But authors are also allowing their followers into their lives. For example, the authors I follow, such as Sarra Cannon, Helen Redfern, K.M. Weiland, Joanna Penn each have a following based on the things they do besides writing. Jeff Goins has termed this ‘the portfolio life.’

Even though the initial point of connection was their favourite author’s books, followers can now get a peek into authors’ workspaces complete with toddlers or cats, join them on their morning walks and observe their process of creating.

These authors draw their readers/followers into their life experiences, and this then adds value to their content. Their brand has become about intangible things. Things that cannot be quantified or measured despite what the website analytics might present. It has now become not what these authors create, but who they are that influences followers to purchase. The author’s whole presence is the both the advertisement and the product.

But, how much of my life do I want my followers to know, and do I have the personality to pull it off, that is to create influence?

While I may think I am all over the place with writing craft, journalling, networking with writers, multimedia art, cultural and political interests, church interests, disability advocating and caring or family commitments, perhaps I can draw it all together and call it all about writing as well as all about me.

So, how do I influence a potential follower’s ‘perception of a product’? This product?

Social media has made me, (and you) a product. I have to ‘sell’ myself as such. This is why independent authors are encouraged to promote their upcoming book before it is published. To create an audience for the product before it exists. This sounds like scammy, false advertising, but it has become accepted practice.

For example, Joanna Penn crowdfunded through Kickstarter for her latest book My copy arrived last week. I trust Joanna after following her for many years and fan girling at a workshop in Brisbane where she presented.

But there are many examples of people whose projects are not authentic.

Belle Gibson for example scammed her followers with claims of cancer and lived from the proceeds. I could not conceive of defrauding folk in such a way.

Which brings me to the personal values I would want to present within my brand: honesty and transparency being just two of them. A recent exercise in discovering them also revealed creativity, faith, family and humour. These are intangible values which cannot be measured with website analytics and yet somehow become part of ‘the brand’.

But my challenge remains: How do I bring all my eclectic interests together in a cohesive brand with a clear, consistent transparent and authentic voice? How do I represent all that I am in a colour palette and a single logo? It’s a work in progress.

Here are some more practical thoughts on the subject:

Join me as I continue to develop a long term, strategic creative approach to my storytelling, sharing knowledge and maintaining connections.

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How to Maintain Your Writing Resources

In this presentation I discuss looking after the resources I collect and how to help maintain them.

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What my Slow Cooker taught me about Writing

I love my Sunbeam Slow Cooker and as I was preparing a meal with it recently, it occurred to me the process was much like that of writing.

1. Gather ingredients.  I am a more systematic cook than I am a writer.  I like to collect the ingredients, lay them out on the bench before beginning to cook, but with pen and paper, I dive right in without such preparation often pausing to research or edit as I go.  I am learning that a little preparation before hand can make the writing process smoother.

2.  Leave it alone.  This is the key to good slow cooking.  Once the first draft is completed, let it sit for a few days.  Let the fragrance of your story linger with you like the smell of a good stroganoff gathers in the kitchen.

3. Add cream.  Towards the end of slow cooking my favourite recipe requires a tablespoon or so of cream stirred through.  Now return to your writing, editing and rewriting will change the colour and add flavour to your manuscript.

4.  Keep warm.  Once the slow cooked meal is ready, I keep it warm until it is time for the family to gather.  As for my manuscript, I keep it warm by sharing it for feedback and criticism.  I read it in hard copy, sometimes tweaking it here too.

5.  Serve.  I serve my manuscript by submitting it to a competition or posting it on a blog and as in completing a good meal, I am satisfied.


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An open letter to my characters.

AN open letter to my characters because they are conspiring in silence not to reveal their story to me.

 They pretend to be compliant but they are really as stubborn and disobedient as wilful children.

‘That’s because we have our own wills’, they cry.

‘But what is your story?’ I ask. ‘Why am I telling it? You are all such interesting people and I want to hang out with you but what is it that happened in your world?’

What secret is the Ecclesian forest hiding?

What lies in the underworld of the city of Rhaegaard? And sunny Castle Calaren high above the vibrant harbour town and bright ocean, what lies in the caverns in the cliffs?

Marius, Star Blanket Weaver, where does your heart lie? Are you bound to the solitary life of a Weaver, working at night amongst the stars? Are you loyal to Lady Ingrid as your leader or do you admire her for other reasons? Do you know her secret? Would your feelings for her change if you did?

Lady Ingrid, from security guard in the city to leader of the Chapter House. How did that happen?

And evil Chief Onotu, does the Star Assembly know you murdered your brother to become leader? What is it about the Prophecy that frightens you into threatening Andra’s life?

The words of the ancient prophecy concern you. Are they about you? When they speak of stars falling is it your Star Assembly it refers to? You made the stars fall on the night of the airship crash when fire rained down on the Chapter House. Could that be what is meant? Could your striving be for nothing? You are constantly humiliated by the good guys and yet you continue to pursue their downfall. Or is it because they show you up at each encounter that your hatred goes on?

And what of our heroine, Andra? Young and impulsive trying to find her way in a world full of people who are not what they seem, all telling her what she should do. Who are you going to listen to?

Your Fire Lizard, Bronte, who is so often your conscience, your Master Weaver, Marius or the Lady Ingrid, your guardian who saved you, or even the young, handsome and flirtatious Prince Tobias or his quieter younger brother, Darien. Where does your heart end up?

Do you embrace your destiny as daughter of the Prophecy or do you resist it? 

Come on all of you, what happens next? Is what you have told me so far, right?

Is there another point of view I need to take?

Yield to my pen, as you would yield to Onotu’s sword. Weave your story, Weaver’s Apprentice, let the threads reveal it.

Self contained Lady Ingrid, be uncontained, spill your story, share with me.

And so my characters I ask that you let me tell your stories; let your world fill my blank pages.


The Author.   

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Novel Writing Month

Visiting for an hour and half with one child’s principal,  running out to collect another from the shopping centre,  the first one required an X-ray;  the third had to have the latest version of Assassin’s Creed and then there was the lovely lady who offered to come over and help me clean, followed of course by morning tea and suddenly the whole house, which I had not noticed previously, called to me about its need for cleaning so I continued once she had departed.  

Yes its NaNoWriMo.   That month when the population of the writing world is able to focus on its craft and commit to writing 1600 words or more a day for a whole month.  

I always know when I have a project to do because I suddenly find others to distract me.   Yes, I am a procrastinator.  I don’t think I have really analysed why that is.  It’s just that looking back even through school and college when an assignment was due I was running in the opposite direction.   

It could be a question of fight or flight.  Do I stand my ground (or sit at computer) and beat out those characters with sweat (November is summer here)  and coffee,  or do I flee from the task?  And then I ask myself am I really running away?   Perhaps in all that cleaning and waiting in doctor’s surgeries and sitting in principal’s offices; that so called procrastination or distraction,  is the time ideas need to gestate until they are converted into the energy that drives me back to my writing grotto. 

Three thousand words and counting…


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Soon there will be a fixed point in time:  The Day of the Doctor.  Today though is the day of a new blog.   Today I am endeavouring to regenerate my self.  I read somewhere that as writers, we are the product.  So I am re-branding, re-launching and re-inventing myself.  I was pondering this process and wondered really if it was possible to do such a thing.  If I had twelve lives and each one was a new persona, then perhaps, but apparently I am fearfully and wonderfully made and there is only one of me!  How do I go about refreshing my thinking, because that is what I will have to do to become a viable business product as a writer.   Habits, thinking and routines can be hard to change.  I am not always self confident and the last thing I ever thought I would be doing is promoting myself as a writer over the internet.  But here I am and thank you for finding my website and your way here.  Bring on the twelfth incarnation!

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