What Happened to June?

2009-06-16 10.50.44So I took off for the month of June and headed to the beach.

I know.

And I get that you kinda hate me right now, but you’ll feel better when you find out that I spent most of my time cleaning up the house. Not a little dusting here, a little mopping there clean-up. This was heavy-duty, sweaty clean-up work, and I suspect that some of these bruises are so deep, they’re permanent. Not to mention being ate up by mosquitoes.

And now you feel better, right?

So anyway, I’m back now, and I learned a little something something, being away for so long. Like…

Because I didn’t have wi-fi at the house, and I pay as I play for data, I skipped checking on Facebook and such. I don’t get a paper delivered to that house and so instead of starting the day with the news, I started the day with random reading…a novel, a book of verse, ghost stories. Sometimes, I’d watch the world news or local news, and oddly enough, I was attempting to fix a couple of channels on the cable on the same day as the gunman opening fire at the baseball practice, so I followed that news. But mostly, I just checked my email once a day, to keep up with any necessary business.

So I learned I have very little necessary business. What in the world have I been piddling around with every morning?

I learned that starting the day reading a novel or a book of verse put me in a better state of mind. Yes, I missed my AJC the first week. But by the next week, not so much. And now that I’m home, I’m beginning to wonder if I really need to read the paper every morning. I mean, after the headlines, it’s Dear Abby, the comics, and my horoscope. And if I’m being completely honest, Dear Abby ain’t what she used to be.

And I learned that life without social media is not only doable but relaxing. I love my friends, and I love knowing what’s going on in their lives, but I’m apparently incapable of balancing what I need to know versus scrolling through miscellaneous stuff. Once I checked into Facebook, I spent way too much time reading…what? I couldn’t tell you. But I can tell you that suddenly, I lost all that time I found at the beach. Time I spent working on a new manuscript. (Okay, calm down. I didn’t lie. I sweated ALL morning through the grunt work and then spent afternoons writing.)

So maybe I’ll give myself just one day a week to check social media. Maybe I’ll consider cancelling my newspaper subscription. And I’ve already stopped piddling around in my morning email routine.

Frankly, y’all, I need all the time I can wrangle. On top of the new manuscript, Precious the Laptop is gasping out her last breaths, and if you read my Muffin post, Get Smart, you’ll know how I feel about learning new technology.

I’m gonna need another vacation real soon.

 

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Kaboom Goes the Time-Saving Tip

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I gave myself the gift of time, taking off a couple days for Thanksgiving. So I took care of writing business early. One of those tasks included a post at the Muffin.

Isn’t it nice to be able to schedule work to post at a later date? That’s a big part of the tool I wrote about over at the Muffin in “A Social Media Tip Worth Dancing About.”

If you have books coming out–traditionally to self-published and everything in between–you’ll want to take a look at this tip about Thunderclap. Seriously, it will blow your mind.

And even if you don’t have a book coming out, you may have another project in your church or school or community that would benefit from a Thunderclap campaign. ‘Course you won’t know about all the time and effort you’re saving yourself if you don’t zip over there and give it a quick read.

A little time now could save you a lot of time later!

 

Avoid Social Media Time Suck (Yes, Please!)

As you may recall, I have a wee bit of a problem with social media. Remember my seven-minute rule on Facebook? Um…yeah. It’s worked pretty well, but honestly, there are so many times I have to be on Facebook, have to work that side of the writing business. And before I know it, my writing time side is quite sucked dry. And Twitter? I simply can’t do seven minutes on Twitter–so I end up not doing Twitter at all. There has to be a better way, right?

Enter Frances Caballo, author of Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Still Have Time To Write. It’s a mouthful, I know, but that’s exactly what we as writers need. A way to maximize our social media marketing so that we can write. Serendipitously, Frances has a few Twitter tips to get us started:

Social-Media-Time-Suck-Final-for-WritersCut Through the Slush and Maximize Your Tweets

The biggest hindrances to being social are the streams of incoming messages in your news feeds. If you are following 2,000 Twitter users, it can be difficult to cut through the slush to find the gems that you’ll find worth retweeting.

 One way you can cut through the plethora of messages is to find and join Twitter chats that focus on specific areas of interest. Nothing can replace the feeling of immediacy that interacting with a wide number of people on Twitter will provide. They are interesting, fun, and depending on the topic, very entertaining. Use these applications to find a Twitter chat you might enjoy:

 Twchat 

With this application, you can create real-time chat rooms based on your selected Twitter hashtag. A Twitter hashtag might be #memoirchat, #poetchat, #suspensechat, or #marketingchat.

 TweetGrid 

With this application, you can keep track of multiple keywords, including multiple Twitter chats. You can even join more than one chat, and the website will create grids with live updates within each stream. In essence, it creates real-time chat rooms based on the Twitter hashtags in use.

 

Applications to Help You Find Newsy Nuggets

 People post about everything on social media. They show pictures of gluten-free lasagna, a son’s graduation, and trending videos on YouTube. If you would like to view and comment on these posts, then do so. But if you want to find the real news and join conversations with more substance, there are a variety of applications that can help you with that, too.

 Nutshell Mail (www.nutshellmail.com)

You will determine whether you want to receive an update once or twice daily and at what time. On Twitter, it will keep track of new follows and un-follows, mentions, and tweets from your favorite lists in your Twitter summary. You can even tweet, reply, retweet, and send a direct message without even leaving your inbox.

Newsle 

 Newsle will send you e-mail alerts when people you follow are mentioned in articles online. It’s always a friendly gesture to send the person an e-mail or tweet congratulating them on the mention or a great post they wrote. According to the application’s creators, “Newsle tracks real news. Every story in your Newsle news feed is a real news article from a newspaper, news website, or blog that mentions or quotes your friend.” To set it up, simply connect to Twitter, Facebook, and/or LinkedIn. Review the settings to select how often you want to receive e-mail notification.

Do you have any tips for maximizing your tweets?

Well, Frances, I do now!

Frances Candid Shot 12-5-13Frances Caballo is a social media manager for writers. Besides her book above, she’s also the author of Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books and Blogging Just for Writers.

And here are a few more of the gems you’ll find in Avoid Social Media Time Suck:

  • How to create and perfect your author platform.
  • The importance of being social and applications that make this task easy and fun.
  • Tools that enable you to track and measure your success so you can better understand the return on investment of your valuable time.
  • Exercises for introverted writers to help you feel comfortable on the social web.

Now, I know you’re chomping at the bit to get this book in your hot little hands. So leave a comment and maybe I’ll draw your name! (Name will be drawn on Tuesday, April 29.) Or check out the giveaway on Goodreads (Through April). Or just zip right here and order it.

And really, considering all that time sucking away, hand’t you better hurry?

Friday’s Fun Find: WOW! Blogging and Social Media

Whenever I go to writer’s conferences, an attendee will ALWAYS ask, “Do I need to have a blog?” and “Do I need to be on Facebook? Or Twitter?”

And the professional–editor, agent, publisher or author–will say, “It’s not absolutely necessary, but it’s a very good idea.”

That’s the short answer. The long answer is that first, what you write needs to be good. All the blogging and social media in the world is not going to make stinky writing smell nicer. But if you have sweet writing, then blogging and social media will give you a step up, will show professionals that you are a savvy writer as well as a good writer.

WOW!Women-on-writing’s issue this month is all about blogging and social media. What that means for you, dear writer, is a fun way to get all the info about this topic, whether you’re just getting started or you haven’t begun. Or even if you’ve been at it for a while and think you know everything (ahem) because now there’s Pinterest and really, shouldn’t you at least have an idea what that’s all about?

So.  The next time you’re at a conference, you can sit there, nice and smugly and in the know and skip the lecture about “Why Blogging and Social Media Are a Good Idea.”  Maybe you can pass notes to your friends instead (I recommend sitting on the back row).

Getting Personal on the Web

Yesterday was my birthday (and coincidentally, Cathy-on-a-Stick’s birthday) and since life never goes exactly the way we plan it, I happened to spend most of the day on the road, returning from a weekend taking care of a family member (Okay, it was Mom. She slipped while trying to pick up a dead roach from the bathroom floor. I believe the lesson she learned was, “Let sleeping/dead roaches lie.” Not to worry, though. She’s okay.) Anyway, I got home just in time to meet all the Junior Halls for a nice birthday dinner. So it was late last night by the time I read all the birthday greetings on Facebook.

Goodness, that was a lovely way to end the day! Even a simple “Happy Birthday” said someone took the time to wish me joy. It’s moments like that when I truly appreciate the wonder of Facebook.

And it was a little ironic, considering my post on The Muffin today where I discussed getting personal on social media. The thing is, there’s getting personal in a lovely, appropriate way and getting personal in a not-so-lovely and inappropriate way. And I’m afraid that, at least with folks who use social media to build a platform, to help grow an audience, that there are times when getting too personal can have a deleterious effect.

So I suppose I shared a little advice about sharing personal opinions on social media (or anywhere, really, on the wide world of the web). And now I’m thinking of that quote about giving advice: Fools won’t heed it, and wise men don’t need it.

But I’ll always need a little joy, birthday or any old day. (BIG thank you to all y’all for that!)