I Met 3 Remarkable Authors-To-Be From The Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped (SAVH)

On Wednesday morning, 6 March, I visited the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped (SAVH). I was invited by Tanya, whom I met in January. She told me that she would be meeting with a few people from SAVH who were visually impaired and that they will be working on their books together. She asked if I would like to share my authoring experience with the group.

Of course, I said, 'Yes!'

And there I was.

These are truly remarkable individuals who refuse to be brought down by their inability to see. They were open about sharing their experiences and how they used text-to-speech software to do their writing. And though this is, needless to say, a slow, laborious activity, they persevere.

2 of them have books that are near completion and are projected to be done by April!

I truly admire their resolve and look forward to meeting them again to help in any way I can.

At the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped (SAVH)

Hosting the 131st APTS Meeting and Meeting Dean Shams

On Thursday night, I was privileged to have hosted the 131st APTS meeting. 

Our VP, Eugene Seah, shared about ensuring that we are always bettering ourselves so that we can be ready to take advantage of any opportunities that present themselves. He also advocated the use of self-recorded videos of our presentations, that clients can have a preview of what we offer before they decide if we are suitable for their training requirements.

These are excellent reminders and I shall record a more recent video of my training. The last one was taken quite a few years ago and has been lying dormant in a folder in my computer.

Next, we had Dean Shams to take the platform. Dean has an impressive skillset, one that many of us would be proud to have. He regularly writes articles of 400 words or more in 30 minutes or less.

As an author myself, I know how difficult it is. I had much to learn.

The first thing he told us was that Writers' Block was imaginary. It appears only because we believe we have it.

He had only 3 main steps, which all sound all-too-easy:

Step One: Plan

Step Two: Write

Step Three: Edit

That's it? Well, not quite. He was quick to add that each step has to stand alone and that mixing them is a sure way of slowing down your progress.

What that means is: When you're planning, don't write or edit. When you're writing, don't edit or plan. When you're editing, stop planning or adding content.

Next, he broke it down for us:

1) Write to one person

2) Have an opinion, starting from your emotions

3) Write your main message in 10 words or less so you'll know if you're going off course

4) Focus on at least 1 of 3 outcomes: Think, Feel, Do

5) Start with the conclusion (in 3 sentences)

6) Write 3 points you want to make, then elaborate on them

7) Finish writing, then edit

Dean then got all of us to get down to do each step in a minute (yes, he kept time) each (though he gave us 2 minutes each for points 5 and 6). 

He then gave us 15 minutes to write our 400-word article and many of us managed to do so. I actually finished with a couple of minutes to spare and I was very impressed at how systematic the whole thing was. I then resolved to use this system to produce more articles.

Finally, Dean ended off by letting us know how we can connect with him and made copies of his book - Speak Smart, Make Your Mark - available to us. Needless to say, I got myself a copy. He also informed us of a 1-day workshop that he regularly conducts on writing to influence. The next upcoming one is on 26 August.

Thank you, Dean, for your valuable insight, and for making this session a powerful, highly practical one. I hope to learn much more from you in the near future.

With Dean Shams

Meeting of Minds

It's been a busy past two days!

On Thursday, I attended a meeting by the Association of Professional Trainers, Singapore (APTS). There, I met a number of people, a couple of familiar faces, and many new ones. There was a certain warmth about the whole group of people, something that is honestly quite rare today.

Having spoken to a few of the trainers present, including a chat with the president of the association, I found that this was a group of people I could grow with. At that thought, I decided to become a member of the APTS. I look forward to learning and sharing with them.

On Friday, I attended a session by a local publisher/printer. He was invited to talk to a group of aspiring authors. Though I have already finished writing my own, I went to find out more about local self-publishing.

My personal thoughts on the offerings that he had are likely different from the glowing reviews a number of the people present gave. My impression of the publisher was also less-than-stellar. He seemed (to me, at least) dismissive of, even slightly snarky about, views that differed from his and had little good to say about his competitors - traits that detract from my impression of him.

Maybe he is simply cut of a different cloth from me. Nevertheless, I will likely find it difficult to work with someone so careless with words and expressed attitude. 

That said, I know some of the authors who have published with him. He comes recommended by these authors. Though I object to his person, it is no reflection upon his offerings, which comes at a reasonably low rate.

On my end, I have perhaps been spoiled by the high level of service and systematic simplicity that my own publisher has given to me. Needless to say, I paid a premium for this, though I have never regretted forking over a single cent.

My publisher, Gerry, is tremendously successful financially and socially. Despite (or perhaps, because of) his elevated status in the eyes of society, he is careful with what he says about others and to others. Though he cannot personally connect with all of the authors he works with (there are so many, after all), he tries, and I give him credit for it.

I guess that service and attitude are important to me after all if I am to work closely with someone. I know that others are less sensitive about such things, and it doesn't really matter. To each his/her own. 

After the session with the local publisher, we went for tea/dinner. I managed to get to know a few of the aspiring authors and, later, joined a sharing session with them. It was pleasant to be able to share my own experience as an author and to encourage and guide them towards starting their own books.

It seems that there will be many more books being published in the months and years to come. I wish all the aspiring authors every success!

Networking for Introverts

On Thursday, I attended a rather curious event. It was a networking event for introverts - a special one, because it was the third anniversary of the network. Needless to say, there was endless joking about how introverts and parties seem an unlikely combination.

For me, it certainly caught my attention and made me even more enthusiastic about attending. I'm glad I did.

I met the host, Mervin Yeo, and he told me that he has been in business networking for 16 years. As an introvert. Wow. You really have to enjoy it to be in it for so long.

Apart from Mervin, I met a few others. One of them, it turns out, is about to launch a co-authored book titled Because I'm Introvert I Triumph. It's a collection of stories from introverts who have used their traits to aid in their success.

When I told him that I am also an author, he very kindly said that he wished that he had met me earlier and that he would like me to contribute to the future editions of the book. Well, there will be a book launch of Because I'm Introvert I Triumph on the 25th of May. Pretty exciting stuff. You can be sure that I will be there.

So networking is a new game that I just got into, having never seen the appeal or need to do so before. I think I'll study it a little more before I get in deep. Isn't that just the most stereotypically introverted approach?