Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Can writing be an addiction?

For years I dreamed of writing a novel, even more so after my English teacher back in school gave me my only ever A* report for a short story I had written.

I'll never forget her asking if it would be okay for her to read it out to the first year students. I was of course delighted, if a little nervous, although saddened that I never received this supposed master piece back when I left.

Even so, like most things in life, writing a full blown novel ended up on the fantasy back burner. This was until I went to Thailand. I had never left Europe, but had been lucky enough to earn some extra pocket money through some freelance design work and decided, rather than paying off my debt, to go on a two week back packing trip around Northern Thailand like you do.

As soon as I set foot on foreign soil I felt like I was in a James Bond movie, and the endless movie set scenes inspired so many stories within me. Throughout my journey I kept a travel diary and it was this diary, upon my return to the UK, that inspired me to put together some notes for a novel set in Thailand.

Over the next few years I would occasionally write up some chapters. I was always clear on my story plan, but the chapters always kept changing. I made the fatal mistake of joining a writing group who ripped most of my work apart on a daily basis, so for years I got nowhere. I even began to hate my novel.

It wasn't until I discovered NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) where you are challenged to complete a novel of over 50,000 words within a single month, November, that it all finally came together. Ten years since my trip to Thailand I thought, right. Now is the time to finish this story. I stayed away from writing groups. I even stayed out of the NaNoWriMo forums for fear of ridicule and I wrote. I wrote the story that had been in me ever since I first step foot in that Thai jungle, and the words flowed.

To be fair I felt a little bit like a cheat as I had a few chapters to start off with, but by the middle of the month I had written more than I had within the last ten years. The story was finally coming together. The characters were finally coming alive and my novel Revenge in Thailand had finally been written.

I couldn't believe how easy it had been. Simply focusing on the story and the characters, as if watching a movie happening in my mind, I had finally gotten the story out, but then it was over. Yes, I had the arduous task of editing it all and getting it ready for publication, but I missed the story. I missed the adventure and I missed my characters. It was like that feeling of when you have been watching a really good movie and then the end credits finally come up. I felt sad.

So along came book two, Murder in Tokyo, and here I am again, avoiding real-life and living in my inner movie and I am loving it. It is like an addiction. A free movie that continues every day and I don't want it to end, and it's all happening so much quicker than before.

I am a strong believer in that everyone has a story within them and if you have one yourself don't give up on your novel. One day it will breathe it;s own life and be born. Just find some quiet time, take the NaNoWriMo challenge if you really dare and stay away from other authors, and maybe you too will finally finish that novel you have always been dreaming about.

Have faith.

Revenge in Thailand - Out now in paperback and as an eBook.

Travel Mystery Novel now in eBook and Paperback

2015 has seen some amazing achievements for me, but none more so than finally finishing my first full novel. That's right, when I'm not designing crochet patterns I absolutely love to write stories, something I have enjoyed since I was a child.

But like anyone who knows, writing and actually completing a novel is no mean feat and I have to say without the wonderful team at NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) I don't think I would have ever completed my first full novel that has been fluttering around my head for the last ten years.

I am delighted to announce that my novel Revenge in Thailand is now available to buy as an eBook, and now available to buy as a paperback, via Amazon! And if you would like to know more about my novel then please do read on as I share Chapter 1 below.

So how did the story come about. Well, over the last ten to fifteen years I have traveled a lot, mainly to the Far East, but it was my first trip to Thailand that really stayed with me. 

Even in times of stress I took my mind back to the time I spent in the Thai Jungle, listening to the sounds of the Cicadas in the jungle and relaxing by the gas lamps on the River Kwai. It really was a world away from anywhere I had visited before at that time and I hope through Revenge in Thailand you too can take yourself away and allow your senses to imagine a little of the exotic Far East - of course whilst also enjoying a fast-paced thriller with a little hint of romance.

Revenge in Thailand by Laura Eccleston

Chapter 1

     I had hot poo.
     This of course wasn’t a medical diagnosis. This was what my best friend Kathy and I had termed for what we felt in our stomachs whenever our nerves got the better of us, although I had no reason to feel that way this morning, I just did.
     It was a typical Tuesday. I’d whacked my phone with its incessant alarm onto the floor and then frantically grabbed it again as I remembered to check for any text messages from my loser of a boyfriend Paul, but as usual there were none. I had then dragged myself into the shower, where I now stood motionless watching the water pour over my head trying to imagine I was under a waterfall somewhere tropical, wishing it was Friday.
     I was of course debating, as I did every morning, whether to throw a sickie, checking the clock in the bathroom every few seconds to see how long I had before reaching the train in time for my horrendous commute to work. I really didn’t feel like going in today as I was still dwelling over the gossip I had heard from work yesterday – the rumour that Paul had been chatting up some other girl in a club over the weekend that quite clearly wasn’t me.
     ‘Maybe they were confusing him with someone else,’ I tried to convince myself, ‘maybe they were just jealous because he was so cute,’ I thought, but I knew deep down it was true. I was just one girl of many and my idea of being his girlfriend was only based on the fact that I saw him more than the other girls did. Kathy always asked why I put up with him, but I was only asking myself the same question. I just didn’t want to admit that I was scared of losing him, even though I hated the way he treated me. I guess I was just lonely and probably delusional, but he had been the only man to show any interest in me in God knows how long – not that I went out, no, I hid away in my own little world, much to the annoyance of Kathy. She would often say ‘you’re turning into your father’ and that idea scared me more than my low self-worth.
     I flicked the shower off, faced the cold that was my London flat and got dressed. I was already late, but I still felt compelled to attempt the tube ride in for reasons I wasn’t quite sure.
     ‘The money?’ I wondered, ‘habit? Or just misplaced loyalty?’ I didn’t know and even though my heart was still planning to stay at home, my feet continued out the door much to my frustration.
     I paused in the communal stairwell as the ‘hot poo’ swelled up inside my guts again.
     ‘What was up with me this morning,’ I wondered nervously, probably compounding the feeling.
     A breeze whisked up the autumn leaves in the doorway and I noticed how the city seemed quieter than usual, with no sirens or people shouting. Even the birds had disappeared. It was as if the Universe knew something I didn’t.
     Sighing, I decided to delay leaving by checking my post box at last. My fear of receiving bills meant the junk mail was poking out of the slit and it was becoming an embarrassment, but something caught my attention. Amongst all the warning letters from British Gas and boring council forms was a small red envelope covered in unusual franking marks and foreign stamps.
     ‘Who the hell is this from,’ I mused, turning it over a few times, convincing myself it was in the wrong box. I tried to think of who I knew from abroad, as my name Emily Lapping was clearly marked on the front, but I didn’t know anyone in my local area let alone anyone from where the stamp suggested, Thailand.
     Realising I had now probably missed my train, and not wishing to face the wrath of my evil boss for being late, I bravely went back into my flat and stuck the kettle on.
     ‘Stuff work,’ I thought, placing the tiny envelope down on the table. ‘With this stomach I’m probably ill anyway.’
     Staring out of the window over the familiar rooftops and grey sky, I watched as the city finally began to wake and a memory flickered in my mind as I planned my sick day excuse, which I didn’t want to acknowledge, but the foreign stamp was glaringly obvious.
     Mum had died in Thailand.
     I could feel the familiar lump reaching my throat as I sat down and with my stomach churning I shakily sipped my hot mug of instant Cuban coffee.
     ‘Had someone known my mother?’ I thought, ‘was this letter about my mother? But why now? Why write to me?’
     I stared at the innocuous letter now propped up in front of me. I hadn’t thought about the past for a long time, not wishing to re-live that moment when my father had told me my mother wasn’t coming home any more. My life as I knew it had ended and not just for me but for my father too. No-one had discovered how or why she had died, just that she had never come back from a rafting trip up in the mountains of rural Thailand. My father had changed from being a sociable, highly respected professor of foreign culture at the University of Westminster to an unemployed recluse who now hid away in his study, and I had been sent away to boarding school. I was seven then and to me it had felt like I had lost two parents, not one.
     The landline brought me out of my thoughts and I realised I hadn’t called in sick before nine.
     “Shit,” I said out loud, my stomach somersaulting once again.
     “Where are you?” my boss bellowed down at me before I could even fake a croaky voice. I listened as she rambled on about how vital it was I should be in, and how she had an important meeting she needed me in for, ‘but who was it really important for?’ I thought, touching the letter. I tuned out the angry voice and thought of my mother. ‘She wouldn’t have put up with this,’ I smiled, and before my boss had even finished talking I whispered, “I quit,” and hung up. Dazed, I went back to sipping my coffee. ‘What had I done?’ I thought, wondering what my boss’s expression had looked like with someone hanging up on her for a change. Anxiously giggling I could feel the hot poo easing, and putting down my mug I finally opened the letter.

Revenge in Thailand (An Emily Lapping Travel Mystery Book 1) Kindle Edition available now!

US - Download Here
UK - Download Here
Also available in the EU.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

The protection of artistic works and the myths behind copyright

Oh, the endless debate to copyright law and artistic works, but should it really be so vague? When reading online it seems you can hear conflicting viewpoints all over the place, but a simple qualified check can be the answer to solving many of the myths associated with copyright and 'art'.

So here are some FACTS when dealing with copyright law, taken from the International Berne Convention of which the US, the UK and many other countries are a member of.

So what is the Berne Convention?
The Berne Convention is for the protection of Literary and Artistic Works and was adopted in 1886 as an international agreement to protect the rights of authors who are nationals of the countries who are members of the convention. You can find the full list of country members here.

So what rights are protected?
An author or designer from any of these countries within the convention is awarded the same rights, of which cannot be carried out without permission, and these include;
  • The exclusive right to reproduce the work, (though some provisions are made under national laws which typically allow limited private and educational use without infringement).
  • The right to authorise translations of the work
  • The right to authorise public performance or broadcast, and the communication of broadcasts and public performances
  • The right to authorise arrangements or other types of adaptation to the work
  • Recitation of the work, (or of a translation of the work)
  • The exclusive right to adapt or alter the work
An author or designer from any of these countries within the convention is also awarded moral rights, of which include;
  • The author has the right to claim authorship
  • The right to object to any treatment of the work which would be ‘prejudicial to his honour or reputation
The last point is an interesting one, because those who argue that their own copyright laws are different, and can do what they like with finished items made from a designer's work, may fall fowl of this moral right. Reproducing work from a design and reproducing it, in what the designer may consider, low quality may have a case that their reputation has been damaged.


There are many myths that circulate the internet from those who wish to profit from designers work, and argue that they can do so regardless but these are often warped viewpoints from wishful thinking, a few of which are;

Everything on the internet is in the 'public domain' and thus free to use.

No, this is a common misunderstanding. A work only falls into the public domain when the copyright expires, typically many years after the author's death. While work published on the Internet may be publicly accessible, it is certainly not in the public domain.

Anything without a copyright notice is not protected

Copyright will apply whether there is a copyright notice or not. In the US, a notice was required to retain copyright on works published before January 1st 1978, but this was the exception not the norm, and is certainly no longer the case. Also, once the US signed up to the Berne convention, US law was amended, and the use of copyright notices became optional on work published from March 1st 1989

Having said this, it is still certainly worth placing a copyright notice on your work. A copyright notice reminds others that copyright exists, and may therefore help to deter infringement..

If I change someone else’s work I can claim it as my own

This is restricted. Any adaptation will be legally regarded as a derived work; so if you simply adapt the work of others, it will still be their work, and they have every right to object if publish such a work when they have not given you permission to do so. They are also entitled to reclaim any money you make from selling their work.

So the advice is always to create something unique and original, it can still be inspired by the original work, or seek permission from the rights owner however this may incur a fee or royalties.

I can legally copy 10% without it being infringement

No. Unless it is explicitly allowed under fair use or fair dealing rules, any unauthorised use of copyright work can potentially lead to legal action.

It’s OK to use copy or publish other peoples work if I don't make any money out of it

You may be surprised to know that again, no you cannot except in specific circumstances permitted under fair dealing/fair use rules. Any copying or publication without the consent of the copyright owner is an infringement, and you could face legal action and a claim for damages to reclaim lost revenue and royalties.

It’s hard to prove copyright infringement (so I'll be ok)

This is not the case, copyright law is principally civil not criminal law. Civil law requires a lower burden of proof, actually making it easier to prove infringement. In a criminal case, the defendant is innocent until proven guilty beyond any reasonable doubt. However, in a civil case, the plaintiff must simply convince the court or tribunal that their claim is valid, and that on balance of probability it is likely that the defendant is guilty.

Final points

Ultimately it will come down to the individual circumstances between the plaintiff (the designer) and the guilty party, and the final decision of the judge's rule, and even then many copyright infringements are settled out of court, but it is always advisable to err on the side of caution when reproducing a creator's original work without permission in ANY form.

This information has been taken from the UK Copyright Service.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

How to promote your YouTube channel and get subscribers

I often get asked "How do I get subscribers?", but it's not something I have ever worried about. I was only interested in sharing what I do, the rest was a by-product.

As some of you know I run my own YouTube channel all about learning to crochet and sharing crochet patterns I have designed and you do pick up a few things along the way, especially now I have over 100,000 subscribers, but there isn't really an exact science, you just need to do what you love and that will shine through, but that said I can share a few simple tips to hopefully help you get subscribers and people that matter interested in your videos.

I say 'people that matter' because although some channel marketers will have you believe (and charge you to tell you how) it isn't always best to just get views, from just anybody. It does matter. If your channel is about something in particular, like for example crocheting, then it's great if someone does pop by and watch your tutorial, but if they have no interest in crochet then they won't stick around for long and watch it, let alone subscribe to your channel. So what do you do...

Stick to your subject matter

Well, the first thing to think about when you start a YouTube channel is to think about what your channel will be about. It doesn't matter who your audience will be as long as that audience is interested in what you're talking about so let's take crochet for example. Your audience could be anyone, from teenagers to grandmothers, but you need to stick to videos that relate to your chosen genre so if you plan to do tutorials, do tutorials! be limited in your vlogging about your cat or filming your friend doing silly tricks as you will begin to alienate your crochet audience.

A lot of successful YouTubers will separate their vlogs from their main channel, for example the ASMR community. ASMR videos are basically relaxation videos (definitely worth checking out if you suffer from insomnia!) but what I am saying is that a subscriber will assume that all videos from that contributor will be relaxing so suddenly watching a loud vlog will be a little off-putting, so many YouTubers start separate channels just for their vlogs, so I highly recommend this if you love to do a lot of vlog videos as well as your normal theme. If you just plan to do vlogs now and then such as an update about your channel, then I wouldn't worry so much about putting them all on one channel.

Content is key, not views

Now you have your channel subject in mind the next stage is to make your video. I cannot stress enough that you should not worry about views, thumbs up or thumbs down, but your content. Your video content is the most important thing to worry about. Good lighting, good backgrounds and good camera quality are key to a good video no matter what the subject matter is, even if it's just talking gibberish!

You can pick up a simple HD camera these days, which will do a reasonable job quality wise and if you can't afford professional lighting then film on a bright day, or at least in the day time. Avoid when it's dark and avoid filming outside if you don't have to, as the wind can cause havoc on your audio if you don't have the right equipment.

I could write a whole blog post about what makes for good content, but that will be down to you and your subject matter and it would only be my opinion. All I can suggest is if you plan to do tutorials then try and make sure that what you are teaching can be seen, even I have failed in the past to remember to keep my hands in camera shot! And try not to get sidetracked by others things, try and stick to what you want to talk about and show what you have to clearly and efficiently.

Make your video title and tags relevant

The next point is the title name of your video. If your video is about crochet and is a tutorial then put that in the title. For example if you made a crochet tutorial about how to crochet a cat then your title should be similar to that; 'how to crochet a cat'. If the video is for beginners, then put 'for beginners' so your audience knows. What you should not do is just type 'how to make a cat' as that could mean anything from cooking a cake that looks like a cat to making a toy cat out of play-doh, which means people can come to that video expecting it to be about baking because they have just watched a lot of baking videos and when they find out it is about crochet, they may be annoyed. Obviously you can't please everyone but it is good to try and prevent confusion where you can.

The same goes for the tags you add to your video. Firstly I may be stating the obvious but do actually add tags to begin with. People still sometimes don't bother adding tags but if YouTube don't know what your video is about then they don't know how to share your video to relevant viewers so your video could pop up in all manner of strange places on YouTube and YouTube is a big place!

Also think about your tags. Coming back to the 'how to crochet a cat' video, don't just put 'cat' and leave it at that, also add 'how to' (which should bring up a tag suggestion from YouTube for that genre, and 'crochet'. Maybe add 'tutorial' 'beginners' etc etc really describe your video in as many words as you can that are relevant. Avoid putting unrelated words such as 'yarn' or 'knitting' as yes, they may be similar subjects but they don't relate to your video, and of course check your spelling!

The right way to share your video

On occasions I get videos emailed to me, often completely unrelated to what my videos are about. I fail to understand why someone would think I would want to watch someone falling asleep in a cake however funny that may sound to the person who took the video but people will do this. I don't recommend it, firstly it is spamming people and will probably just get you a thumbs down if people can even be bothered to click on the link to go and watch your video. More than likely it will just waste your time and get you limited views.

If you haven't already, work on that Google+ page or Facebook page, share on those social media channels. If you have Etsy listings for products then add your YouTube channel there, share it on Twitter, place an embedded version on your website. Then the right people will see your videos because they are already interested in your subject matter and are more likely to stick around. If you are sharing knitting or crochet tutorials then share them via Ravelry.

The most important thing to remember is things take time. If your videos are any good, people will find them and stick around, just be patient and concentrate on making good videos. The more videos you have the more you will be found. Rome wasn't built in a day.

Link and link again

The last point I wish to share is about links and how to promote your channel within your channel. At the end of each of my videos I promote my previous video with a link to that video, which viewers can click on. Some YouTubers also link to other videos at the end too. You can add all these links under 'edit' and 'annotations'. This is a great way to show what else your channel has to offer if someone has only come across that video and don't follow you.

Also adding a subscribe link to your channel on each video can be useful, a simple Google search will tell you how to do this. Also add links in your description box to your social media channels and in your video too to your website if you have one. You can even edit in your Etsy shop name or blog URL, which can sit quietly in the corner of each video throughout the video if you like. So link, link and link again, but don't shove it in people's faces, make it subtle and useful to your viewers so they can click about and see what else your channel has to offer. It takes time especially when editing takes time already but you get out what you put in as they say.

Think about what you like and dislike

It may seem obvious but think about what you find useful when watching a YouTube video and copy the promotional ideas that you like and avoid doing what you find annoying. If you find it annoying that big flashy text appears in a video constantly, or the video is too dark and unclear then don't copy those mistakes. Have a look around YouTube at similar content creators to what you do and avoid their mistakes and improve on what they do. Also try and think about how to be different and what can make your channel unique to similar channels.

Never assume .. ass out of me whatever that saying is

A quick tip also is that never assume people know what you are talking about (like I just did). For example if you talk about your website, make the link appear in the video and/or add a link in the description and say it is in the description so people know where to look. If you want to talk about another video you have created, again link to it, don't just say 'it's on my channel' as people won't be bothered to hunt it down.

Entice people to watch

Another useful tip is to tempt people with your video at the beginning or at least warn them off quick. Some people choose to start their videos with an advert about their channel, showing their logo or channel name (which can also drag on and bore your viewers before they've had time to even think about watching your video). This is fine if it's quick but what I like to do is to start the video immediately, stating what the video is about and then add the channel advert, again keeping it short. This way you entice people in to your video, show them clearly what it is about and you've given them a general indication to the quality of the video and who you are. Hopefully then people will stick around to watch the rest of the video. You can always add a longer advert at the end of the video if you like by which time hopefully people are delighted with your content and feel saddened that it has ended. Oh how we can dream! (^-^)

Also start thinking about a promotional channel video. By this I mean film a specific video about what your channel is about and add it to your YouTube channel home page. State clearly in this video what you do, why you do it and what people can expect from your channel. Look happy, film it well with good lighting, audio and if you can, in HD and throw some music in to the background, not too loud as people want to hear you and away you go! A little effort can go a long way. Also when YouTube ask you if you want your channel promoted for free with 'fan finder', which may or may not be available to you yet, you have a specific video to send them.

Upload regularly

Lastly, if you can, start a regular theme, but only if you can follow through with your actions. If you say you're going to start a weekly upload then do just that, but before you commit think carefully about the time involved in doing this. It can be a great way for people to enjoy your channel and stick around as they can look forward to a regular video but if you don't fulfill your promise then people can become disappointed and disillusioned with your channel, which can be counter productive to what you are trying to achieve.

Most of all just have fun and look or sound like you enjoy doing what you do! (^-^)

Being your own boss and what to expect

Many people email me asking for advice on how to start their own crochet business. The short answer is usually just do what you love and the rest will fall into place, but the long answer will definitely require a little more advice on what to expect.

This post isn't so much about how to start your own business, you can read a post I wrote about that here if you would like, but more on what to expect and what you will need to think about skill set wise. Any areas you don't have skills in you will have to think about outsourcing those roles to someone else, which can incur costs.

The Designer

I often believe that the best days of starting your business and being your own boss is preparing to start, as your only job role at this time is designer. At this time you are only thinking about your product, but you will soon find that you will need to develop skills in sales and marketing as you begin to think about how you will sell your product. The questions you need to ask yourself are;

1. Who is your target market?
2. What means of selling will I do? i.e craft shows or online, if online, what websites?
3. How will I get my name about?
4. What will your brand identity be and will I have a logo? Will it be your name or a company name?

and lastly;


I say 'think about the future' because companies develop over time, change and merge into different things. What you are selling today may not be what you are selling tomorrow, will your brand identity be able to move with you? I know quite a few people who have set up a Facebook page and then wished they could change the name of the page, which can be hard to do, so think now what you want to be in 5 years time as best as you can.

IT, Sales and Marketing Manager

Once you've wrapped up your initial launch marketing campaign you will quickly find you will need some IT skills because now comes the time when you will need to think about setting up social media pages, or a website or an Etsy shop. You will need an email address that is suitable for your business. If you have brought a domain name such as www.craftwebsitenamehere.com then you should get some free email addresses with that domain i.e bettysmith@craftwebsitenamehere.com.

If you don't have any IT skills and are daunted by this prospect then now is the time to ask the IT guru nephew or get a web agency in to help you. I warn you though, web agencies who build websites are expensive and start-up costs in a business should always be kept to a minimum in case you fail! Of course you don't plan to fail but it's something you need to think about. Every initial start-up cost is eating into your profits before you have even begun so if you are not good with IT and don't have an IT literate nephew, then now is the time to get studying the ins and outs of advertising online. A simple Google search will bring up lots of help pages and articles on what you need to know.

Customer Services

So now you have become the designer, the saleswoman, the marketing manager and the IT techy, so what's next on your job role list? More than likely it will be customer services. This may sound easy but you need to develop a thick skin. You will inevitably get customers who will contact you with those most bizarre of requests, that to you may sound simple but to them they don't have a clue, even if you have taken the time to write up help pages you will be guaranteed that people will still not read them and want you to answer them directly.

Enjoy this experience, don't get annoyed with it. This in turn will give them a positive experience and they will go away telling all their friends how nice and helpful you are. The same goes for angry customers, even if you are not at fault, apologise for their inconvenience, don't get angry back at them, it doesn't achieve anything other than bad customer feedback online and offline. As the old saying goes, the customer is always right (even when he's wrong).

Another thing to remember is to answer your emails in a good time frame. I find 24-48 hours is ok. Even if you can't help don't ignore them as people like to feel valued or they will go elsewhere.

The same goes on social media, of course you will discover as you grow that you can't answer everyone so try to pick out what you think is important to answer, otherwise just re-direct people to your FAQs. Try to develop a community by talking to your customers, treat them as individuals not just a mass of customers, make people feel valued even if they don't buy anything because one day they might buy something! Developing an attitude of 'why should I help them when they have only downloaded a free pattern' is NOT the way to go.

Being the Boss!

You will also discover that becoming your own boss still means having a boss, YOU! you will need to develop good skills in time management. Sitting on Facebook all day checking your likers count is not going to help your business grow, so dedicate time to being on social media, checking your emails and designing your products. This is very important and even something I still struggle with. If you get a lot of emails then just turn off your email program and come back to it.

So as you have discovered being your own boss requires a huge skill set but it is doable. Have faith, be nice and just be the best you can. Don't expect to be rich tomorrow, focus on what you love and you should do ok. Most of all, ENJOY IT!

The Diplomat

Oh! and before I go, you may also become known as someone who stays at home and doesn't do anything to all your friends and family as people sometimes confuse self-employment with unemployment but this comes with the territory. It can be a lonely road being your own boss as your time becomes taken up and friends may not understand why they can't see you even if you are at home so if you are a workaholic like me then it is very important to think about a good work and life balance although as one person once said to me, my work is my life so I just do what I enjoy!