Recently, I heard a popular YouTuber say that she was out with friends when someone recognized her from her YouTube channel. She feigned ignorance and laughed it off, but secretly started sweating it out. Her friends new nothing about her channel–or the fact that she had 50,000 subscribers. The thing was, she wanted to keep it that way, because she wasn’t ready for that conversation.



Okay, so now I’m sure you’re curious about what this girl’s channel is all about. Does it matter? What if she paints pictures live, like a 21st century Bob Ross? Or what if she does makeup tutorials, or fashion haul try-ons? These are all innocent things, and so is the content of her channel. But it’s also something a lot of people don’t know about…or understand. So, she chooses to keep it from her friends because it’s just easier.



Why do we pick the “easier” way so often? I get it. There are only a handful of people in my close circle who know that I write. I choose not to tell people because I’m not ready for the conversation…or conversations. (When is your book coming out? What’s it about? You wrote more than one? Why don’t you try writing “real” books?) I could go on.



I choose the easier option because if (when) I do have something to tell the world, I want it to be on my terms. People can judge me all they want then because I’ll have succeeded in the way that matters most to me. I don’t need a million dollar contract. I don’t have to be on the best seller list. I don’t even have to sell more than one copy. Whatever people think of me at that point will be irrelevant to me.



But not right now. Right now, I choose to work in the ether. I make my strides at my own speed. I can stop whenever I want and get out completely. I do this for me.



Maybe that’s really the only reason to do anything at all. I do this for me.



heidi sinnett






P.S…..the YouTuber I was talking about? She makes relaxation videos….kind of like those mesmerizing clips you see on Instagram of people making slime, or pouring liquid icing on cakes. What’s wrong with that? Nothing. She does it for herself…and 50,000 other people.

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I don’t do holidays very well. I like holidays…no, wait….I LOVE holidays, but I don’t do down time very well. I always feel like I need to be doing something.



So this year, my intention is to take holidays on a regular basis…one a month, or something like that, so that I don’t feel overwhelmed with days off, and my expectations don’t get too high.



Is it that easy, though?



How do you do down time? Do you plan long stretches of nothingness? Or do you block out a list of things you want to accomplish before the days are up? I need hints!!



heidi sinnett
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Observe what's around you.



It all started with a joke.



What does a dolphin put on its peanut butter sandwich? Jellyfish!


If you followed my instagram post from earlier today, you’ll know that one of the kids during my library class visit read me this joke from a National Geographic book about dolphins. It had lots of information, graphics, and a few jokes, like this one. Fun, right?



Then, later that day, my boss came back from a library conference and told me she’d been to Ripley’s Aquarium while she was in Toronto, which I love visiting when I’m there. And what was her favourite thing about it? The jellyfish.



I didn’t really think much about it at the time.



But later that evening, my dad visited us, and I was showing him what fun our Amazon Echo could do. I asked Alexa to tell me a joke.  What did she come out with?  You guessed it….the same joke about the dolphin and the jellyfish.



It rattled me.  I live in Canada, it’s winter…jellyfish aren’t typical conversation around here. And what are the chances that I’d hear the same silly joke twice in one day….from VERY different sources?? Yeah….it must be up there in the realm of possibility about as likely as I’d win the lottery.



But it got me thinking. Is the universe trying to tell me something?



If you’ve ever done Julia Cameron’s THE ARTIST’S WAY, you’ll know she talks a lot about observing things around you. It’s what gets our creative juices flowing, but it might also lead us in a direction we’ve just been ignoring. Her explanation is much more in depth (and if you’ve gone through the twelve weeks of her course, you’ll know….it’s about digging really deep), but the sudden occurrence in one day of this very random thing must mean something.



Am I supposed to do something with jellyfish? Unlikely. Should I be taking a trip to someplace warm to swim in the ocean? Again, very unlikely, and unlike me. So what does it mean?



Maybe it’s as simple as….are you paying attention? I’ve been in a sort of limbo this past year, with lots of heavy personal things going on. Yesterday was the first day in a long, long time that I felt really happy. Like, really happy. Maybe the constant mention of jellyfish was simply a startling reminder that there are great things out there, that I should be paying attention, and that the world is a fun and beautiful place. Maybe I needed that reminder.



So, I’m not going to start a great novel about jellyfish, or begin a wall-sized painting of the creature, but I might just keep my eyes open a little more, and enjoy the nice things–the unexpected things–that happen on a daily basis. That’s easy enough, and it’s something I can do each day.



What do you think about coincidences? Is it the Universe guiding you? Or is it just a glitch in the Matrix?



heidi sinnett

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My skin has always been my worst enemy. My mom told me I was born with bad skin, and it has plagued me all the years since. I’ve had it all–oily skin, dry skin, acne, dark spots–and while one thing might clear up after a number of years, it’s usually replaced by something else to keep me occupied. I guess if I didn’t have to worry about my skin, I wouldn’t have anything to worry about at all. (Total lie there, but you know what I mean.)



These past few years have been about breakouts—serious ones—mostly on my chin. Hormonal, from everything I’ve researched. It’s pretty common for women to go through stages like this, but I’m done. Done. I want out.



So, I’ve been hearing all about this crazy strange little company called Deciem–their slogan is THE ABNORMAL BEAUTY COMPANY–and their skincare line called “The Ordinary”. As far as I can tell, there is nothing ordinary about them at all. The line is clean, well packaged, and CHEAP!  Seriously….super cheap, as far as skin care goes. And no one can keep them in stock. If you see The Ordinary somewhere, and you’re thinking about getting some to try….order it right away! Chances are, it won’t be there when you go back.


After doing a ton of research (like, scientific research because these products are really just a long list of ingredients), I picked several items I want to try, recommended by beauty bloggers, makeup artists, skincare specialists, and the company themselves. They tell you to start with no more than three products at a time, and honestly, I understand why. I received my box yesterday, and just learning when and how much to use will take charts and graphs. But I’m determined to give it a try.





I’ll follow up with a post in a few weeks to let you know what I think. But for now, I’m enjoying opening up these little tinctions in their glass bottles, and squeezing out a few drops of what I hope will be a miracle in a bottle. Wish me luck!



heidi sinnett

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Taylor Swift Can Teach Authors how to promote



You might not like her, but Taylor Swift knows a thing or two about promotion. The girl has reincarnated herself so often, it’s a wonder she hasn’t lost her entire fan base each time. But instead of drifting off into the sunset and popping up in another corner of the universe to be rediscovered, she’s learned how to drag her fans along like they’re stuck to her with superglue. And we’ve just carried on like it’s normal to drop out of sight completely for over a year, delete every photo on social media accounts, and then suddenly reappear with teasers so good and so…uh…weird….that it had us all wondering what was going on. But even though the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now because she’s dead, it turns out, she’s just a Phoenix.



Whether you like her or not, Taylor Swift has five surefire marketing quirks that she repeats over and over again, something authors could learn from. Aren’t we all tired of the Bookstagram photo/blog tour/giveaway schtick? Let’s take a page out of Taylor’s songbook and go for these FIVE fresh ideas to help us market our work!





Okay, so I don’t have a book to promote, and I’m not great at styling photos. I don’t have a cute cat/dog/horse/kiddo to draw on the “awww” factor, either. What would Taylor do? (WWTD?)



She’d shock the heck out of us.



She’d send presents to people she’s been stalking on social media (because, seriously, don’t we all do that?), or set up a super secret reveal before anyone else gets their hands on it, just because it’s weird and interesting! Think about it…what would you rather see…another book cover, or a fun video or Instagram post featuring your followers? Honestly, I’d watch/read the whole thing, just because it was so out there!





Taylor Swift isn’t shy about promoting her newest music. But she doesn’t just drop the album and expect you to wait patiently for the videos that go with each single. No, she floods us with content. For “Reputation”, we are still seeing weekly videos of behind-the-scenes sessions writing and recording many of the albums best songs. Not only do we get a better sense of what the songs are about, or how difficult they were to write, we get to see more of Taylor herself. It’s a little lifeline into her otherwise celebrity world. So, how do we do the same with books? We aim for surprises.



They say that the more exposure your book has before and directly after its release plays a big part in sales. But flooding your feed with book reviews left on Goodreads, or pictures of your book in the wild really does nothing for anyone but you & the person who made the post. The rest of us? We scroll right on by. Seriously.



Plan a social media blitz BEFORE your book even comes out! Tease your fans–and use them as part of your marketing plan. Ask people to do something creative to mark their excitement around the book (a video review, act out a favourite scene, cook a food featured in the book…whatever. Only the best ones will be featured!) Then start collecting! A week or so after your book comes out, put together a montage of your favourites, and don’t forget to let fans know it’s coming. Set your social media account apart, and reward your fans with something unique. You could even do two or three so that no one gets left out.



Or make your own videos, a behind the scenes look at how you write, your favourite writing spaces, what inspired your book, or whatever you think your readers might want to know about. Don’t forget to include funny/flawed moments. Have you watched Taylor’s latest vids on YouTube? They’re mini-movies devoted entirely to the creation of each of her songs. She’s not dressed up, she makes plenty of mistakes, and she plays some things over and over until we’re ready to drop. It’s fun to see someone create, and it makes us feel like the person is just like us.






Taylor is infamous for writing about her failed relationships. But it’s not just about what went wrong–she writes little glimpses of her life into her music that feel more like secrets she’s sharing with a friend than fodder. She’s good at it because she does it–a lot. And it keeps people guessing. And talking. That’s exactly what you want.



Now, I don’t mean that you need to start divulging all of your relationship woes on your daily blog, but the old saying “write what you know” is always more truthful than anything you could make up. The same can be done for people you see randomly (and I mean randomly….don’t write about your pharmacist or your paperboy). Write little imagined backstories about them, just like you would write a new character. It makes for extra post ideas when you’re too busy or stressed to find something interesting to write about, and a series of these could make a good collection in the future. Plus, it gets people coming back to your page.






This isn’t the same as sharing a post from a favourite blog, or regramming a photo with credit. No. You follow people on social media that YOU find interesting, and there must be a reason for that. Share your enjoyment with others by doing a feature interview, a collection of interviews with people who have great stories or lives, or talk about authors that you love. A little promo never hurt anyone…and it doesn’t all have to be about books!



Taylor does this quite a bit by featuring artists on her albums that she admires. And if you’ve ever watched an interview with her, she often drops names of people or bands she’s listening to and can’t get enough of. And we’ve all seen her dancing in the front row of an awards show. Isn’t that the best advertising you could imagine from someone you respect?






Does it really matter that some of the most interesting things T-Swift posts on social media are videos of her cats? Do you get tired of seeing impromptu dinner parties with her famous besties? Nope. It doesn’t matter that none of it has to do with her music. We’re seeing a bit of her life. (Okay, am I the only one who zooms in to see what kind of blanket  is on her bed, or what dishes she’s using every day?)



YOUR followers should be the same, whether you’ve written one book or twenty. They want to know more about YOU.  Sometimes, those little candid hair-up-in-a-messy-bun Insta-story photos are the best ones. They’re the real ones. And that’s who we’ve come to see. So give us that. Please…just once in a while.



This isn’t the typical promotion post for writers, but why be like everyone else? Stand out, my friend! I’ll remember you better that way.



heidi sinnett




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