Category Archives: Networking

iMac on order

The Dog’s Doodahs. New Mac on order.


My new baby

My new computer will soon be on its way.

Isn’t he going to be the dog’s doodahs?

Why have I chosen a desktop?

I like to have a fixed workplace. When I sit in my workroom, I know I’m at work. I’m not going to get distracted by that pile of ironing or the view of the garden that needs weeding, or get up to put the kettle on. I don’t need to be able to pick up my machine and take it somewhere else.

The people at the other end of the Apple helpline in Ireland were really helpful. They wanted to make sure I was making the right choice for me and the way I prefer to work. They also talked me through other requirements and answered my questions about guarantees. Because my home address is in France, my purchase had to go through Apple France. That’s the way it works.

Ah but, says I, I want a qwerty key board please, not a French one with all those extra letter ‘e’s and everything else in a different place. No problem says the delightful Irish Ray, we can do that for you. So, I tell him how I first fell in love with the iMac on a pre-Christmas shopping trip with my sister and niece in Bristol. They were busy looking at clothes and cosmetics but the sexiest thing I saw that day was the iMac in the Apple store. He was standing there looking so beautiful I just had to go in the store and play with him.

At the moment I’m using my old Eee PC – a cute very girly white pearl shell thingummy bob with a tiny screen and miniscule keyboard. But, it’s doing the job okay so far.

My old machine died a protracted death. It was sad to witness. Much choking and switching itself off and me getting very annoyed and frustrated.

But I’m sad at his demise. It’s like saying goodbye to an old friend. Worse, before he goes, I’m going to rip his guts out.

Apologies to my followers. My posts are likely to be fewer and further between until I get my new setup organized.

Addicted to success?


discovered on Stumbleupon

While Stumbling, I found this website. Apparently, to be truly successful you must leave behind people who can’t help you achieve success.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn

Blimey, I’m the average of myself, then. That’s who I spend most time with. Here on the computer. In my writing room. (following the advice of Virginia Woolf who said ‘a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction’) Well, I’ve got the room.

Celia's writing room

this is where I write – look on the screen- it’s this post!

I’m still waiting for the money. Selling short stories to women’s magazines is very nice, but isn’t going to keep me in Merlot, let alone make me rich. If I had the wherewithal, I’d upgrade my machine and have one that doesn’t keep switching itself off. That’s why the computer desk is pulled away from the wall. I have to keep unplugging the power supply to get my old Mac to fire up. Not ideal. My writing room doubles as guest bedroom. There’s a single bed behind the chair. Again, not ideal, especially when you’re up early in the morning and want to get an hour in before the rest of the house is looking for breakfast. Virginia Woolf had it easy. The only thing we would have had in common was a birthday in January.

I have theories about January girls, but there’s enough for a whole story so I won’t go into that here.

Now, I enjoy StumbleUpon. It can broaden your interests, show you things you never knew existed. We rarely search for websites by name; there would be too many to remember, so StumbleUpon remembers them for you and suggests new things you might like.

I enjoyed reading the post about successful people, but I don’t care for its recommendations. I’m all for curtailing time spent with people who drag you down, though. I call them emotional vampires, those people who suck the living daylights out of you with their whinging and complaining, or their constant carping and criticism. It makes much more sense to spend your time with people who make you feel good about yourself. I spend a lot of time by myself. Writers do. So, when I socialize, I want to be with people with whom I have something in common. It won’t necessarily be writing. I sing with a choir and enjoy spending time with others who love music as much as I do.

But, unlike this article on success suggests, I don’t choose people because they can be useful to me. How manipulative is that? What sort of a selfish bastard treats people like that? A SUCCESSFUL one apparently.

Perhaps this is why himself and I find ourselves well below the salt at certain dining tables. We have ceased to be useful. Hello? Up pops another idea for a short story. Good grief, how can I ever manage to follow through on a train of thought? Excuse me while I jot down some notes. . . .

. . . .  that’s better.

There’s an old saying about how you treat people when you’re on the way up, because you might meet them again on the way back down. Mixing with the right company does not appeal to me.

Mixing with compatible company suits me better. Perhaps it’s an age thing. I’m not hungry for the kind of success that means you give your time only to useful contacts. Bollocks to that, pardon my French. I have achieved an amount of success. The circulation of the magazine that publishes my short stories is over 200,000. That’s a lot of people who’ve read something I wrote sitting at that old machine in a back bedroom. Isn’t that fantastic? If I achieve success with my novels, it won’t be because I’ve chosen to ignore people who don’t fit the right categories.

Writing, Celia. Get on with it. A dialogue with myself.

Celia’s Head :  Writing must come first. I have to be blunt. You won’t listen otherwise. You’re spending far too long every morning doing other things: clicking a few likes on Stumbleupon, Re-Tweeting your faves, catching up with discussions on LinkedIn, sharing on Facebook etc. etc. You should be writing.

stumbling isn't writing

Stumbling takes time

Celia’s Heart : But social networking is important. Everybody says so.

Head: Who’s everybody?

Heart: Everybody on Twitter. If you don’t follow etiquette, something terrible will happen. And if you don’t Stumble regularly . .


spreading the message


Head: Don’t be ridiculous.

Heart: It’s true. You could get yourself black-balled or even ex-communicated. You’d be a pariah, a sinner, an undesirable.

Head: You’re being silly.

Heart: They are jealous gods, Head. You must pay homage. Worship every day. It’s a bit like writing, only different.

Head: I think you need a rest, Heart. You don’t sound yourself. Jealous gods, indeed.

Heart: They are. You must make regular sacrifices or they will bring down the wrath of the virtual heavens.  They know where you are. They know everything about you. Erich Schmidt said so just the other day. They know where you’ve been, what films you like. Everything.


coming to get you . . .

Head: That’s because you’ve told them. You’ve Stumbled and Tweeted and Shared. You’ve spilled your guts, Heart. Of course they know everything about you. But this hand of God thing is going a bit far. Excommunicated? Grow up.

Heart: But it’s part of my life now, Head. What would I do without it?

Head: You know who you sound like, don’t you?

Heart: Who?

Head: Gollum Boy. You’re just the same, Heart. You’re addicted. You’ve turned into Gollum Woman.

Heart: But, it’s the way of the world now, Head. There’s no getting away from it. We can’t un-invent all these communication channels. You have to be in them. You must take part. You’re either with me or against me, Head. We’ll stand a better chance together – strength in unity and all that. You have to keep up. You can’t risk being dis-favoured with a thumbs down on Stumble or worse, Unfollowed on Twitter. Don’t you want to influence discussions on LinkedIn? You want to be known as a writer as much as I do, don’t you? You won’t stand a chance unless you’re being seen. Your name has got to be out there. You can’t risk excommunication. You’d be in the wilderness . . .

Head: Have you heard yourself?

erich schmidt

Google boss gazing into the future

Heart: . . . and your writing would be buried forever under a pile of essays about horizontal deadbolts. Buried alive you’d be, dead to the world, and all the while you’d be screaming to be heard, hammering against your prison walls to be let out into the Googlesphere and into the alms of our benefactor, the noble Erich.

But nobody would want to hear you.

Head: Would you like me to make you a nice cup of tea, dear?

Heart: It’s coming, you know. The new Trinity. The noble Erich and King Mike of Walmart will be joined by the god of Amazon. And if I knew how to do smart things with images in WordPress, I’d have these three photos conjoined like a triptych, you know, the sort of thing you see on an altar.


the boss of Walmart rubbing his hands at the future


boss of Amazon smiling at the future

Head: What? Walmart, Amazon and Google? WAG?

Heart: You heard it here first.

Head: I’ll go and put the kettle on.

Lists? 1foolproof way to beat ’em.

list explosion

lists are doing my head in

Wouldn’t it be great if there was only 1 thing on your list you had to do? 1 magic thing which would make all those others disappear. 10 Top Tips for making this work. 5 Ways to make sure of something else. 25 things you must do if you want whatsit to be successful. Don’t forget the 15 things you mustn’t forget if you want the 10 top tips to work and the 5 things to get optimized.

They’re everywhere. I’ve got them up to my armpits. I’m sweating lists. Trampling them underfoot as they leak from out of every damned orifice. Yep. I’m weeping lists. I’m bleeding them. Dammit, I’m shitting lists.

list numbers

numbers doing my head in

I know they are supposed to be good for us. They must be if the marketing boys say they’re the best way to get our attention. Lists don’t just slip into eyeshot. They shout. HERE. OVER HERE. LOOK. LOOK. List ME.  ME.  ME!

And, because of our conditioning I assume, we do tend to take notice. Lists are what got us through examinations, after all. Didn’t we memorize a list of dates leading up to and after the French revolution? Didn’t we put everything in lists when we planned our revision schedules? I prioritized lists. I had them colour-coded. I had lists of lists.

Now I’m a grown-up and I have shopping lists, and to-do lists, and what to take away with me in my suitcase lists, and Christmas present lists and party invitation lists and, and, and everything on my lists is just as important as the French revolution and I’m SUPPOSED to remember them.

So, when lists stab me in the eyes every time I go on Twitter, I get uncomfortable. I can’t look. I can’t take it any more. I resort to things like absconding to Linkedin and starting a discussion about how I will not open any more messages linked to numbered lists and point blank refuse to visit their websites ever again.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic not to have all those lists pushed in your face? I collected the following lists in only a few minutes this morning:

Ten ways self-publishing has changed the books world 

How to Publicize & Promote Your Book: 7 Pieces of Advice

Top 10 Reasons Why You Need a Content Marketing Strategy

Congratulations if you didn’t click on any of the links. You passed the first part of the test. You have taken the first step on the road to recovery. Watch those numbers float away.

no more lists

float away numbers

There they go. You don’t need them. Numbers are so passé, dahling. Lists are so yesterday. They are last Saturday’s pizza. They are chillblains. Old hat. Nobody wants them.


lists are old hat

I’ll tell you something the marketing boys forgot. Are you ready? Paying attention? Shush, you boy, in the back corner. Sit up properly. Turn round to the front and put your bag on the floor. I know you’re hiding behind it, texting. Nobody looks at their crotch and keeps smiling for that length of time. Put that thing away right NOW or hand it over.

Here it is.

Lists don’t work.

Daniel Markovitz from Harvard Business review says so. He says lists set you up for failure and frustration. Unfortunately, he goes on to say this: There are five fundamental problems with to-do lists that render them ineffective. And then, and then, you know what I’m going to say, don’t you?

He effing lists them.

So even so-called experts get sucked in by their own list conditioning.They can’t help it.

That’s it, then. I’m on my own banning lists. All by myself. Doesn’t anybody want to join me?

Just DON’T talk to me about mind-mapping instead of listing. MInd maps are just jumbled lists. They are a conspiracy. If you’re not careful they’ll come at you with all the mind-numbing frequency of chirrupy lists and bore you into acquiescence.

My 1 way to overcome?

Don’t read ’em.

Unfollow a horrible word


No offence meant – just setting me free

I had to unfollow somebody. It’s a horrible word. I don’t think it even exists outside of social networking sites. It’s like unenjoy, or untaste. There isn’t an un for these words. You can’t un an action. No, that’s not true. You can undo. You can untie. You can unearth something. You can unlock. But, it’s a tricksy little un-thing once you start digging around it. Something can be unforgettable but you can’t unforget it. It might be undesirable but you can’t undesire it.

And unfollow? No, it isn’t in the dictionary. If you Google who first coined the word, you won’t get an answer. You’ll get advice about 5 great tools to help you monitor who’s following you etc. but it seems nobody is claiming ownership of first usage of this buzzword.

You can follow people you’re interested in on Twitter and Stumbleupon and Tumblr and Pinterest and Linkedin and all the rest of them. As a writer hoping to garner a following, a sort of fan-base, if you like, I’m happy to join discussions and place my comments and have a bit of banter from time to time. When all is said and tweeted, after all, I’m in the business of selling myself and eventually my books. I hope.

But I have unfollowed somebody who is doing just that. And the reason?

Too much tweeting. Too much of the same person showing up whenever I logged in. Too much of this in your face self-advertising is a right turn-off for me. I ain’t NEVER gonna buy that book now, lady ‘cos you’ve pissed me off.


Tell everybody, why don’t you?

But the 5 tools to help you monitor who has just dropped you from their list is shouting my name now, somewhere. So maybe now I’m known as an UNFOLLOWER. A turncoat. A traitor in the camp.

Will I have to hang my head in shame? Will I still be allowed to play?

Is it just a coincidence that since I unfollowed, I’ve had no new followers?

Could this be the beginning of a new condition? UNFOLLOWNOIA –  you read it here first!