What Not To Do Wednesday on Writer Socializing

I totally get it, grasshopper. You’re a writer because you don’t particularly like to socialize.
You like to hunker down with your laptop and beverage of choice and write till the sun rises over the horizon and your fingers cramp and your eyelids feel like sandpaper against your eyeballs and drool drips from the corner of your mouth.
Yeah, I get it. But eventually, you need to come up for air, step out of that comfort zone, and socialize. And yes, it’s not easy, ’cause basically you’re kind of shy and really, can’t you just socialize on the Internets?
Well, grasshopper, that’s a beginning. But if you have the opportunity to meet with other writers, at a conference, or a workshop, a book signing event, or a Zaxby’s on the way to Florida, make a plan and go! Because you do not want to miss the warmth, the joy, the fun, of talking, sharing, and laughing with writers who really are more than writers. They’re friends. And believe it or not, just like you.

And P.S. When one of the writers (okay, me) tells everybody to make a crazy face, you really should make a crazy face. Or the crazy-faced writer (okay, me) looks like an idiot.

(And P.P.S. Thanks to Lisa, Debra, Linda, and Cathy-on-a-Stick for a wonderful afternoon!)

What Not To Do Wednesday on Livening up a Dead Website

I don’t have much time here, but it being Wednesday, I thought I’d share a quick What-Not-To-Do on links and websites and such. To wit, I’m on the agent quest right now and it occurred to me that an agent might take a peek at my online presence. And what will he or she see?

Ooooh, grasshopper. That’s a scary thought. Because I’ve recently scanned a few articles on what a great website for a writer/author should be and I’m a wee bit concerned.

I’m concerned that I might have a few horror-type links out there. Take the vampire link, for instance. That’s the link that was doing its thing, hanging out peacefully, buried as it were, in the website. But suddenly, when I click on it…it’s not there! Maybe it’ll come back, maybe it won’t. But I can’t take that chance. So I’ll dump that link.

Then there’s the mummy link. That’s the one that’s so old and tattered, the one I’ve dragged around from one website update to the next. Perhaps it’s time to put that dated link out of its misery.

Of course, there’s also the zombie link. It may not be on your website, but it’s out there, following you around FOREVER. No matter what else you write, this link always seems to pop up around your name. WHY WON’T YOU DIE, YOU STINKING LINK???

Well. There’s not much I can do about the zombie link. But I really need to send a few queries out today, so don’t do what I did, grasshopper, and wait till five minutes before you hit the send button. Stay on top of those horrible links and keep your website and online presence alive and well.

(As for the zombie links, it’s every woman for herself.)

What Not To Do Wednesday on Over-Doing Social Doings (or Pardon Me, There’s A Media Monkey on Your Back)

I watched one of those packaged specials on the news last night about people spending too much time on Facebook. Something like “Facebook Addiction–Where Will it Lead?” The piece had a rather ominous tone, I must say.

I suppose there are folks out there who can’t do without their Facebook fix. Or Twitter tips, or listening in on LinkedIn, or connecting with any of a dozen other social media messaging. Whereas I can walk away anytime I want.

Sort of.
Here’s the thing, grasshopper. From a business standpoint, social media has value. I think Twitter might be better for massive marketing, but I like Facebook for blogging connections. And I like Facebook for personal connections, too. So I want to stay social media savvy. But when I jump into Facebook or Twitter, or even blog surfing, I can easily use up hours.
HOURS. And though I come across tons of informative posts (because seriously, there are a ton of brilliant folks out there, sharing their expertise), I may get a teensy bit carried away, reading one post, zipping to another…then another…then another.
Until I look up and dang. It’s lunchtime and I haven’t written a single word (unless you count scathingly brilliant comments here and there. Which I’m counting. So there.).
But pithy comments do not a manuscript, essay, or short story make. And so I’m forced to face the ugly truth: I may…okay, okay, I have a social media problem. I usually deal with it by going cold turkey for a week or so. And then I ease back in, using moderation.
So don’t over-do the social doings, grasshopper, at the expense of your writing. Write FIRST. Or if you need a little warm-up, set a limit for how much time you’ll spend, media socializing. Then stick to it.
Because when you think about it, it’s your brilliant writing that you’re trying to promote and sell. Pour hours into that, grasshopper, and then use social media to tell the world.

(We shall discuss the proper way to exploit one’s self, using humility, dignified grace, and monkey-mad media marketing skills at a later date.)