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What My Son Taught Me This Week.

I’m going to be very honest in here; I had a technically challenging nightmare of a week. It was as if the whole universe conspired against my technical abilities.

It all started with my computer playing up on Monday when, without any warning whatsoever, my shining new charger decided to quit working.

To get a new MacBook Pro charger I need to take a trip to Bromley, which may sound not like a long drive but it’s London so there are no short drives.

Not feeling up to the task of being stuck in traffic I decided to use other technological devices to keep me going for couple of days.

I started with a borrowed PC, which turned out to be beyond my abilities to operate. To illustrate how badly it was, I was not able to connect to my home Internet. Apparently, after years of being loyal to Apple, I’m completely Windows illiterate.

As a last resort I turned to my tablet. Despite everything that had happened, I started calmly as any person should but when the damn thing didn’t want to cooperate; and I know it was doing this simply to be unkind, nasty and make my life difficult, I kind of lost it. As it often happens I let my frustration out by swearing a lot and very loudly, I might have been even screaming. My little boy, who only recently turned 7, was the sole witness of an unequal fight between the technology and his mom. To my great surprise he, the child I try to teach about life and bunch of other stuff looked at me and said calmly:

“You shouldn’t be saying that you hate the table or that you don’t like it or that you are going to give it away. Father Christmas gave it to you and he really worked very hard to get it for you. You should be more grateful, mommy.”

So, thank you Father Christmas for my tablet J and huge thank you to my Sunshine for reminding me to remember.

The Sleepless Nights

Like any parent I have had a gazillion of sleepless nights. Every time after a night like that I feel shit and walk and think backwards, not to mention the creepy (and crappy) crankiness that lasts all day long.

I’m well aware I’m not the only one so I don’t feel particularly special about this. Every day on the school runs I see tired, exhausted faces of other parents who are trying really hard to focus on not falling asleep while carrying on a grown-up conversation with other half-awaken grown-ups without distracting thoughts popping up every 10 sec. From my personal experience I can tell that my attention spam is shorter then my son’s, and that’s something J. I know I’m one in a million but I do have to say I feel very proud to be included in such a good company.

The parents I know are so committed to their children and to giving them the best they possibly can, often neglecting their own needs and yearnings. I am certain we’re not that special and the generations of parents before us did that as well and many generations after us will do too and this is only one of the great things about being a parent.

What If…

What if your child wants to play an instrument and you know nothing about music and instruments? This is the exact, out of my comfort zone, position I found myself last week in when my son started attending flute classes. This is the instrument he chose after finishing a year-long roundabout where he tried out 6 different instruments.

I was advised that in order for him to progress faster I needed to buy him a flute. As a parent in the unknown I did all the research I possibly could online, asked a composer friend for guidance, checked out shop reviews and embarked on an hour-long journey across London to find the perfect shop that could sell us the perfect flute.

Luckily we found both, a lovely, friendly shop in Croydon and, for that I can only hope, a good flute with a very good deal. So the Saturday spent in the car was worth the effort.

That very evening, while tossing and turning restlessly in bed, I had this revelation that in order to keep up with my son’s education and growth I need to keep learning and growing, just not to stay behind.

So now on my agenda, apart from doing my regular job and looking after my son, there is also keeping up with his musical education. If he is to become a musician I can’t possibly be the idiot mother who doesn’t understand what her child is talking about.

Dreams Do Come True!!!

Since my move to London in 1998 I have been on a mission to pursuit my dreams. Some of my dreams have changed, some haven’t, and some luckily have evolved over the years.

Only when I stop for a minute I realize that I try to keep myself busy all the time, doing stuff and chasing things. And, in all this racing 99% of the time I don’t even realize that I have already gotten what I asked for.

Last Sunday I got what I wanted to have ever since I was a teenager.

In Poland (it has become a tradition now) on the second Sunday after the New Year’s the Poles come together to share positivity and generosity by participating in one of the biggest charity events in the world called WOSP. The charity has been “playing”, as they say, for 24 years now, which is most of my life. Of course, over the years, it changed, evolved and grew. At some point they introduced a coin heart (as the logo of the charity is a heart) for people to auction the coin.

The most popular hearts are the gold ones and this year the top one was auctioned for almost £120000.

Ever since I set my eyes on it I always wanted to have one and in my mind I played the moment till I finally managed to win the auction.

Many, many years later, in fact last Sunday after waiting for 30 minutes to get into the venue and walking straight into the auction I won the auction of a heart shaped coin. It’s not the gold one and I wasn’t bidding against huge companies/business online but in person in London. The actual circumstances, the place, the amount of money I paid for the heart wasn’t part of my vision all these years ago but it happened all of a sudden without any anticipation.

It wasn’t after I got in my car and started making my way back home when I realized that one of my oldest dreams has just been granted without compromising my inner self. Such a wonderful beginning of the year!!!


How to make a book trailer?

Before you even start thinking about making a trailer, you need to decide or perhaps rather know what kind of audience you are aiming your trailer at. You will make one trailer for kids and a different trailer for spy novels or another one again for a vampire story for teens.

Of course it’s easier to create a trailer for an illustrated book than for a book without any drawings. However there are still a few rules which you need to follow or rather take into consideration when making your trailer.

a.  The trailer should not be longer the 90 sec. something between 30-90 sec. is the best length.

b.  Use a font that is easily readable. I know that fancy fonts look cool and it’s tempting to use them but if people have a hard time reading your trailer, you’ve wasted your time.

c.  Add the link to your site at the left bottom of the frame. So your audience will actually know where to find your books on the web.

d.  Leave enough time at the end of the video for your audience to get acquaintance with your book cover. Remember that people are usually highly visual and seeing the cover of your book for enough time will leave them with a lasting memory. Leave your audience with the book cover for at least 10 sec.

e.  Make your trailer interesting visually. Use simple transitions or fancy filters on your still images.

f.  You don’t have to do the MTV cutting between images but don’t prolong one image for too long.

g.  Use suitable music for your trailer. You can’t use scary music for the kids book. It will confuse your audience and won’t attract the right audience.

h.  When you buy the images/photographs for your trailer, try to choose ones that are visually attractive and will hook your audience right away. Sometimes it is worth spending more money on the images. At the end of the day your trailer is going to be the face of your book.

i.  Try to make your trailer in some unique way, different from other trailers you have seen. This way people will start talking about it and possibly send links to your trailer to one another and that’s what all of this is about, isn’t it? Sometimes it is enough to have just the one image, some very good music expressing the mood of the book, even the title of the book. It really can be as simple as that.

j.  Since we are writers, I would suggest writing a short script for your video. It will help you clear your thoughts and often come up with great ideas.

To get all the best ideas it’s good to watch not only book trailers but also movie trailers so you can learn all the tricks, for instance: how music co-exists with the image and how music expresses the mood of the trailer/movie, etc. After all, they spend on those trailers really big bucks.