Blog

Don’t feed the narc?

Up until recently, I’ve been very open with my feelings on this blog, but I’ve been stifling what’s been stirring inside me.

Why have I been doing this?

Because I’ve been hurt by a narcissist. All the advice I’ve been reading on healing myself has said that I need to go completely no contact. Giving the narc any shred of insight into my pain or anything that relates to them will only feed them.

They don’t care if the attention they get from me is negative or positive as long as they are getting it. I’ve been trying not to show that. Once I learned the no contact rule, I stopped sharing my poems. I tried to ensure my blog and social media posts were neutral.

While no contact might be easy for people to do in their private lives, I can’t. Writing is what I do. Writing is how I heal. If the narc is stalking me or reading my blog, so be it. I can’t hold my pain inside, or I’ll be holding onto it forever.

If it feeds the narc to read my poetry or read of my pain and they think my pain tastes delicious, what should it matter to me? I’m not speaking to them. I’m letting my feelings out and letting go.

Becoming a shrinking violet will not get my power back. I need to keep on doing what I always do. Altering who I am in any way, although it may feed the narc, is still giving in to them.

I need to grow my blog to work for my writing career. I need to find readers. I need to connect with people. Should I throw my hands up and admit defeat to the narc? I can’t change what this person does, but I can work on empowering myself and gaining clarity for my own heart on the whole charade. My pain may help others. There’s power in that. I love to help others, and if they can learn from me, it’s worth it if my narc gets fed.

So, friends, I will tell you that I’m ashamed.

I’m ashamed that I fell for the love bombing. I hung in through the devaluing. And I suffered through the discard over and over again.

It’s painful to accept the fact that the person who I adored so completely was never real. I’ve been told that I shouldn’t feel too upset as the narc was mirroring me. I should feel grateful to have had a mirror held up to my face that showed me how delightful my own traits are. I should be proud that I never suspected anyone would treat me in such a horrible way because I’m not the kind of person who would do that to anyone else.

Even though I can logically “know” these things, in my heart, I still suffer.

I even started to wonder if I was the narcissist. I want so badly to believe that this person really is the good person they portrayed themselves to be (and constantly told me they were–practically a saint!) that I was willing to take on all the blame.

I know I was gaslighted. I know I was manipulated. I know I was studied. I know I was devalued and discarded. I felt crazy. I felt like a little bitch. I felt responsible for every negative thing that happened. I still do.

Here I still sit, with a shred of hope that I was wrong and that I really am just “overly sensitive” and “irrational” because that part of me still wishes I was “loved.”

You can probably read back through this blog and see all the times I’ve been discarded. I worked through my pain and I began to heal. I will again. Hopefully, one day I’ll heal completely and move on.

This time, I’m getting better. I’m learning, and I’m finding ways to cope, but it’s going to take some time. But I know that painting on a smile just to put on a show for the narc won’t work in my case.

I need to heal; therefore I need to write. My power lies in my pen. I won’t discard it. There’s no winning in that.

Here are poems I wrote. Each after just one of my many times being discarded.  I’m not going to unpublished them anymore or hide them because they helped me and they may help others heal.

you held me.frozen in placeby nothing morethan your words.extremes of kindnessand anger.desperateto please you.terrifiedto enrage you.your silence more painfulthan angry words could ever

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And here’s the best way I can describe how it feels to realize you weren’t loved at all but hated and used by a narcissist who enjoyed the process of hurting you…

narcissists are like bed bugs.

Blog

I’m almost finished!

Hello friends,

My novel is almost finished (first draft anyway)! I may be done by the end of this week. So, of course that’s why I’m writing a blog post rather than working on it. It’s what I do after all. Stall, stall, stall.

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I am actually pretty proud of myself. I’ve been forcing myself to write a chapter a day and I don’t allow any excuses. The only reason that the story may not end this week is that there is more story to tell and not because I haven’t been working.

Okay, I’m only allowing myself this little procrastination this morning. Now ON WITH IT!

giphy12

 

Blog

Another waste of author money

Hello friends,

It’s not easy trying to decide what’s the best place to spend your marketing dollars as an indie author (struck out indie because pretty much all authors have to market themselves these days.)

I try to be very careful with my dollars, but I’m learning as I go. I’m going to make a few mistakes, and when I do, I’m going to (embarrassingly) share them with all of you so that hopefully you can spare yourselves the same ones I’m making.

I decided that I should invest in myself and take a course in marketing and book promotion.

I looked around, did some research, and tried to find one I that thought seemed promising.

I selected the Author Remake by Alinka Rutkowska. Here’s my review…

The tips for book launch did me pretty much no good at all.

I tried to build a launch team as recommended, but all that happened was that I gave my book away for free to a lot of people who never bothered to follow through with a review.

Some (about 1 in 10) did, but I think they would have anyway without the mastermind tips. Additionally, the mastermind did not mention the fact that Amazon no longer allowed reviews to be left by people who don’t spend a minimum of $50 a month and so a few of those who would have left a review, couldn’t. The information in the mastermind did not tell me this. That leads me to another problem with it (and probably the biggest problem)…outdated information.

A lot of the information provided was outdated and did me absolutely no good.

Another example of this was the entire portion on using Goodreads–all information that sounded great except that it no longer applies.

What a waste of my time it was to listen to and try to implement all these tips that were useless! It could have been removed or updated but wasn’t. I don’t know why. I guess to make it seem like there are a lot of useful tips and information when there isn’t. It’s moot.

There’s a lot of vague information and not specific help.

The group calls were extremely long, one lasted nearly two hours, with some authors just talking and talking and enjoying the sounds of their voices. I stopped tuning in.

The money I spent made absolutely no difference in my ability to market my books.

The package I bought supposedly included access to Librarybub which is one of the main reasons I signed up but then was told by Alinka’s assistant that I’d just have access to pay for it with a routinely offered discount. PASS! The way the offer sounded, I should have had it included in the course fee.

I will say that Alinka is a nice person. She did answer my emails, and she did provide a lot of information, but it just wasn’t worth the money.

The 5-Figure Author Challenge Playbook that came with the course was just a transcript of podcasts that do a lot of circle talk about “how” to market your book. I found it useless.

Every dollar I’ve earned is because of some workaround I’ve figured out for myself or just trial and error. I will never again give anything away for free. I worked hard on my books and put a lot of time, effort, and money into them. Giving them away for free has brought me nothing but disappointment. And if I don’t value my work, why should anyone else?

That is not a good return on my investment if you ask me.

I DID learn some things, but I didn’t learn enough to make this course worth the price.

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Hope that helps you!

Blog

Experimenting with Amazon Ads

Hello friends,

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I want to spend my marketing dollars and have decided to stick with the only thing that seems to have been an effective way to sell books and that’s Amazon ads.

I didn’t put too much effort into the ads when I tried them out before but I did see sales unlike just about everything else I tried.

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This year I’ve decided to spend some more time and money experimenting with Amazon ads.

Here has been my experience so far…

I ran one ad for the paperback version of A Night Game and one for the kindle version of Aster the Spirit Talker. Doing one for the paperback and one for the kindle wasn’t something I did on purpose but I did notice that I was selling paperbacks but not ebooks.

I was breaking even on what I was spending vs. what I was making.

The Kindle ads were costing me money but the paperback ads were making me money.

The Kindle ads were getting as much or more clicks than the paperback ads but making no purchases. I believe it’s because people might be finding the book interesting so they click but when they see the book isn’t free (as readers seem to expect their ebooks to be) they don’t “purchase” it.

portrait of beautiful young woman over white background
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I wasn’t completely sure it wasn’t just one book outperforming the other so I did a little experiment by creating a kindle ad for A Night Game. As with Aster, I lost money on the ads–no sales made but plenty of clicks.

Today, I turned off both Kindle ads and created a paperback ad for Aster. Fingers crossed that it sells like A Night Game has been doing and I start seeing a good return on my investment. It would be even more awesome if a few of those people who purchased the paperbacks would returned to leave a review.

photo of woman
Photo by Dana Tentis on Pexels.com

 

Another little observation–books seemed to be purchased steadily during the week but not on the weekend. I’m going to keep an eye on this and if it appears to be a trend, I’ll probably pause my ads on weekends.

I’m also going to take some time to read this handy dandy information from Amazon and maybe I can find more ways to improve my ads.

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I promise to share any tips and tricks I find without charging you money to take a course. So stay tuned and wish me luck! 🤞🏻

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Do you have any experience with Amazon ads? Are there any tips you have to make the most of them? I’d love if you’d leave them in the comments.

Blog

Something has been bothering me…

This is just a little opinion piece on something that annoys the shit out of me…

And what’s that you ask?

Well, it’s when people equate lack of a college degree with being uneducated.

Let me just start out by saying I have an MAED which I have never used and probably never will use. I wanted to let you know that before you think I’m someone lacking any formal education picking on those who decided to go to college and earn a degree.

If you want to go to college that’s great. However, it doesn’t make you smarter than those who didn’t go.

On the news and on social media, I continuously hear attacks on the “uneducated,” and it gets under my skin every time. The use the term as a weapon to insult people as being “dumb” or “less than” and we all know it.

I also see on the news and social media, lots of people moaning about their student loans. Loans they will be paying off for a very long time because (like me) they have a degree that they don’t use or one that won’t get them a job.

Going to college doesn’t make you smart. I’ve met a lot of people in institutions of higher learning that were complete morons.

I mean, geez, birds can learn to repeat what is heard. They’re called parrots. And that’s how these chirping people on social media look to me. They’re constantly repeating what’s been told. They have no critical thinking skills, no technical skills, no usable skills that I can see other than being trolls and shouting about their student loans and educational superiority.

Now, I don’t mean everyone that has student loans. I mean the people who have student loans that they can’t possibly pay off because they didn’t make wise choices. They didn’t pursue a useful degree that had earning power. No wonder they’re so angry and have so much time on their hands. But they’ve got that worthless degree (I had to strike worthless because here comes its use…) that they USE to feel superior to the “uneducated” person who didn’t go to college.

Here’s just a little example we’ll make up for fun.

Let’s take Joe and Mark…

Both Joe and Mark are passionate about craft beer. Joe took an apprenticeship with a brewmaster and didn’t go to college to get a degree. Maybe he took a few classes here and there, but he learned what he needed to know from the brewmaster, those few classes, and books (maybe even free ones he found at the library). He began tucking money away (while lifting, sweating, sweeping, and cleaning kegs and equipment) to open his own brewery someday. While doing all these things, he also made all kinds of important connections in the industry.

Mark went to college and got one of those fancy new brewing degrees. Good thing he got training in all those required courses he had to pay for. One knows you can’t brew good beer without those twelve courses pertaining to the liberal arts. Mark has his fancy brewing degree (they’ll provide a degree in anything nowadays, won’t they? *insert eye roll).  He’ll get a job doing the very things Joe did years ago (because no one starts out a brewmaster) and won’t be able to set money aside to save for his own brewery because he’s paying down those student loans. He’ll be able to parrot information he learned in college but won’t have any critical thinking skills. Uh-oh, how will he figure out what went wrong with the glycol system at the brewery? He didn’t learn that in any of his expensive text books. He’ll be able to follow recipes but won’t know how to create incredible, innovative beers lacking the artistry that Joe cultivated by learning hands-on via a master.

But at least Mark will be able to call Joe uneducated and screech at him on social media, feeling superior that he is an educated person.

Mark (insert any name of anyone with any useless degree here) will never see how he is the one that looks like a fool.

I started college, not knowing what I wanted to do, and wasted money. I had no focus, unlike a friend of mine who knew she wanted to be an accountant, went to college for that, and has had a wonderful, successful career that she enjoys. She’s smart! She made a wise choice.

But I wasn’t making a good choice by racking up student loans. So I made a brilliant decision, one that was right for me, I dropped out and joined the Air Force. I got my first degree because it was required for me to get my commission (for those of you who don’t know what that means, I became an officer.) I got the second so that I wouldn’t waste my G.I. Bill (that was when we had to pay into it and couldn’t transfer it to family members.) I’d like to add that I hear a lot of people who like to put down members of the military as being uneducated. I always have to bite my tongue hard here. The brightest and most amazing people I’ve ever met have been members of my military family.

My first enlisted (some would translate “enlisted” to mean “uneducated”) job was as a linguist. I spent 52 weeks learning to speak, read, listen and understand the Russian language fluently. Sound dumb to you? There are some who probably would consider me so because I hadn’t earned a college degree yet.

Everything that I do now, I do because of talent, passion, and self-learning. That’s worth a lot more to me than a piece of paper. Anyone can earn a piece of paper, but not everyone can make a mark on this world like a lot of “uneducated” people have done.

That’s all I’ve got to say on the matter. I’ll leave you with some words from a few others on the topic.

“How could youths better learn to live than by at once trying the experiment of living?” ~Henry David Thoreau

“Education is one of the chief obstacles to intelligence and freedom of thought.” ~Bertrand Russell

“He was so learned that he could name a horse in nine languages; so ignorant that he bought a cow to ride on.” ~Benjamin Franklin

“Education is a state-controlled manufactory of echoes” ~Norman Douglas

“It is in fact nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curious of inquiry. It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty.” Albert Einstein

“Education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.” ~Joseph Stalin

(That last one should make you resist the urge to parrot everything you’re told, oh learned ones, but rather to think for yourself, question, and use reason and fact.)

Blog · Poems & Shorts · Sneak Peeks

Broken mask

It was only a mask, dear girl.

But the mask made you laugh,

And the mask made you smile.

But it was only a mask.

The masquerade did not last.

When reality dawned,

And the monster revealed.

You desperately clung to what was not real.

The broken mask,

lies on the floor.

The laughter and smiles

can be no more.

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Blog

Shit into fuel

Hello friends,

This has been an interesting week for me. Full of ups and dooooown(er)s.

The ups…

I’ve accomplished a lot with my novel, and I’m moving forward at an incredible pace. Also, I’m discovering I really enjoy the story. I may get through draft four or five before I start getting sick of reading it. (You writers know what I’m talking about 😂) Another plus…I can see a great deal of improvement in my first draft over those of my previous novels. I correct/change a lot less (let’s hope it’s because I make fewer errors and not that I’ve gotten worse at editing. Ha! But I’m going to be positive this year. So we’re going with improved writing skills.)

The downs…

I’ve still got a pretty severe case of imposter syndrome. I go from thinking that I’ve forgotten how to write to feeling like everything I write is complete crap anyway, and I don’t deserve to call myself a writer. But, as I’m trying to be positive this year, I thought about my imposter syndrome as I was walking and I realized it might be a good thing to have. After all, every writer I’ve ever exchanged chapters with that had (in my opinion) horrible stories/writing could not accept any criticism. The best I can figure is that they only trade work to gather praise and are confident that every word they write is gold. I have a hard time sharing (insert imposter syndrome here), but I appreciate constructive feedback. I got the most amazing (not because it was all positive) feedback from a beta reader (you know who you are!) and I feel better for clearly seeing my errors and being given the opportunity to fix them. Imposter Syndrome is good for me. It can be painful at times, but it makes me better and shouldn’t we all be trying to get better?

Another down of this week, I let an individual interfere with the way I feel about myself. I allowed them to reinforce my imposter syndrome by making me feel like the only reason anyone reads my stuff is my looks. Ugh! And maybe it was true for that person, and I’ve had things like this happen before. I even momentarily considered changing my name to A. Compeau or Al Compeau and putting up a male avi on my social media. Geez, I don’t owe anyone anything other than a story. I don’t have feelings for you. There isn’t anything “between us.” You may have noticed I stopped sharing book lines from Distant Spring while I was letting this person bother me. But I was quickly back to it.

To make it positive…

I realized I can’t change what other people think or do. I can’t even change how it makes me feel. So often people say, “don’t let it bother you” or “you shouldn’t care what other people think.” But I can’t help how things make me feel any more than I can help the things that others do. I can, however, turn that shit into fuel and let it drive me forward.

There is nothing wrong with the way I feel. There is nothing wrong with me. The reason I am the way I am is the same thing that makes me capable of doing the things that I do.

I won’t change me. Overall, I’m starting to love me.

But I will work to change the way I use what tries to drag me down.

Though I waver in feeling like I’ll ever be good enough, I firmly believe that I’m stubborn enough to do almost anything I set my mind to. It may take years and years, but I know I won’t give up! 2019 may be the year I see things start to happen, but if I don’t, I’m going to remember that every experience propels me closer to my goals.

Cheers!

Allie.