Posts Tagged ‘blogging’
Today I’m saying something out loud that I’ve been thinking for awhile–I’m committed to my growth.
One of the many ways I’m honoring this commitment is by spending less time on the internet and attached to my phone. It doesn’t mean I don’t like you, my fabulous cyber friends, but the more I look, listen and learn, the more I realize that the internet isn’t the best place to spend my time. Let’s be honest–a lot of bullsh*t goes on over there–a lot.
So, I’ve decided I’m not committed to my bullsh*t. Instead I’m committed to my growth.
What does that mean?
It means I’ve watched my writing productivity sky rocket when I prioritize deep work over shallow work. Read DEEP WORK: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport if you want more information about what that entails.
I’ve also realized that I love this blog and very much enjoy writing it–when I organically have something to say. But, if I have to spend too much of my quality writing time and family time thinking about what to pen–I probably didn’t have to struggle with a post that day. And I don’t need to apologize for it. If it was that hard to write, then you probably didn’t want to read it anyway.
And yesterday I saw a great quote on Elizabeth Gilbert’s FB page that resonated with me…
“Nothing will bring you greater peace than minding your own business.”
It’s come to my attention lately that when I’m too engaged in social media, I feel the need to have opinions and give commentary on things that really aren’t my business. This is especially true in this political climate. The truth is, I never walk away, from minding other people’s business, feeling welcome or believing I made positive change. In fact, I usually feel anxious and frustrated–occasionally a little sick to my stomach. And internet trolls are horrifying. I’ve decided I want to limit my exposure to that kind of stuff.
And then there is that insane addiction going on where you can’t talk to a person without them having their face in their phone. It’s so disheartening when you’re at a restaurant and their right in front of you on FB. Or your having a conversation with someone and you lose the face off. But, since I’m more dedicated to trying to mind my own business, I’m not going to talk more about what kind of bullsh*t that is. I’m just going to say that I don’t want to be that person. I can’t change them and I’m aware of that. But I don’t have to be rude–that’s my choice. I want to be a listener. I want other’s to feel valued when they are around me. And I’m also trying to stop using my phone as a mental pacifier. I used to be able to be with myself for more than 30 seconds without needing to be entertained. How can I grow when I’m not thinking? When I’m not day dreaming? And putting my phone away is another opportunity to pull out a book and read!
And then there’s the hype about needing a crazy social media presence. And I hate to admit this… there are a ton of fabulous authors that blog and do crazy social media–and I read their posts and follow them–but I’ve never bought or read their books.
I am skeptical about how social media translates into book sales and success as an author. I’m not saying it can’t happen or that a strong presence doesn’t have some beneficial side effects, but I’ve become convinced that it’s not the best way for my growth to occur. If time on social media directly translated into book sales and followers–I probably would have sold more books. #hardtruths
Do you see what I’m declaring here?
I’m still going to be on social media, write a blog, have a smart phone and adore my laptop. But I need to make sure that I’m functioning like an intelligent human being. I need to use these things as tools. I do not need to let them use me. I must be sure they aren’t ruling my life. Instead, I have to be running the show and doing productive things that matter.
Today I’m taking another step towards balance and sanity.
I’m committed to my growth.
Share your thoughts if it resonates.
I’ll see you when I see you.
Usually, taking the extra step is a good thing. It’s about attention to detail and getting things done. It’s all about taking it to the next level, unless your me. *sigh* A couple days ago I headed up to bed, in the dark, carrying an armful of stuff. It’s dangerous to leave junk on the stairs where people can trip, right?
Well, it’s also dangerous to put it away. The only way I can explain how it went down, is to suggest that my internal navigation system for climbing the stairs was off line. Clearly, the auto-pilot button was in the off position.
I thought there was ONE MORE STEP. And I took that step. Which really threw me for a loop (literally) when my foot came down and that extra step wasn’t actually there. I sort of lost my balance.
The good news is I didn’t fall down the stairs. Instead I bounced across the landing while smacking my left hip against the corner of the next set of steps. The other good news is that I didn’t drop a thing–not even the mushy wet bowl of cat food I was carrying. Impressed with that feat, I stood up, shook it all off–I’m a Bumble–I bounce.
Fast forward a couple days…
My butt cheek has a bruise that looks like a rorschach ink blot test. The chiropractor is observing one leg being a wee bit shorter than usual making me kinda crooked. And I’m not supposed to run until the whole compressed and rather tight area in my lower back gets a little break.
Not cool at all. I’ve been in the mood to run. Instead…I’ll be stretching and resting my backside. Haha–I guess it’s the extra step I need to get back on my running feet again.
Looking on the bright side, I’ve got more time to keep those blog posts coming. You have noticed how diligent I’ve been in keeping up in 2016? It’s not really a resolution–more like me stepping up LOL!
What’s the most entertaining thing you’ve managed to do when your internal navigation system went off line?
Tuesday I wrote a blog post called Working Like a Dog. Actually, I wrote TWO.
Just as I finished…the entire post (except for one dog picture) disappeared. I sucked in a huge breath, but quickly calmed myself, figuring I could < back-up a couple pages to the original post. Or at the very least, I’d get a little computer announcement exclaiming that an earlier version of my writing had been happily saved in cyber space.
I wasn’t a happy camper.
At this point (I’ve got other stuff to do, people) so I thought about posting the dog picture with a very long and throaty growl underneath it and letting it be an interpretive piece.
But I’d liked the concept, so I decided to suck it up and plow forward, rewriting as best as a could from memory.
And then something weird happened. I wrote a BETTER post.
The topic was the same. It still had almost all the same points, but it was clearly better.
As I scratched the dog’s ears, I couldn’t help but ponder the situation and what I came up with was…
WE HATE TO KILL OUR DARLINGS!!!!
In the small expanse of time that it took to craft a relatively short blog post, I’d gotten attached and invested in how I’d already started to write my piece. (Even if it wasn’t doing exactly what I wanted it to do.) But, the minute I no longer had that original structure of words, it freed me up to take the more fleshed out concept and roll it out like like a hiker’s sleeping bag at the end of a long day.
I don’t recommend losing blog posts. It’s aids in the loss of tooth enamel as you grind in frustration. But maybe–just maybe–sometimes it isn’t such a bad thing to start at the top.
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever lost on the computer and had to start over?
Well, it was another one of those awesome three day weekends, but you know what that means–my schedule went kaput. I realized I never did my Tuesday blog at 8:23am on Wednesday. *head thunk* And to add to the weird week posting confusion *SQUEE* I got a new laptop!!!! It’s so light and small compared to my old, but very loved 17 inch Macbook Pro. I can’t remember exactly how many years I’ve had it now, but they don’t even make that size anymore. I’ve been very reluctant to give up my faithful writing buddy, but unfortunately it was acting like an ornery senior citizen. The old dodger was slow and sort of constipated. Perhaps all the new and improved operating systems were bogging it it down. It wasn’t unusual for me to get up and do “other things” while I was waiting for things to load. Grrrr And since I write in a variety of places, carrying that thick and heavy dinosaur around was helping to keep my chiropractor in business.
Unfortunately, getting all my info to migrate from the old computer to the new one was a hair pulling experience in the beginning. Messing with a writer’s laptop is like dangling your kid over a cliff by one hand. *shakes, shivers and sweats* It’s just scary. EVERYTHING is on that device. And yes, I have multiple back ups, but I am not a technological guru, so it’s hard for me to feel confident when I feel I’m in a bit too deep. But with the help of my tech savvy hubby, we figured it out. *fist pump* And now I’m relaxed and in love. With the hubby and the laptop LOL!
And do you want to hear the really good news, above and beyond the speed of my brand, spanking new writing buddy? Even though the screen is two inches smaller–the font on everything is bigger and trust me–that is a fabulous thing. ((((hugs laptop))))
And because I love this new device as much, if not a little bit more than my boy’s cute, little, sleepy hamster…
I think I should actually name this laptop. Any suggestions?
I had to decide whether I was going to write a blog post or watch SYTYCD?
You know my weakness.
New revelations coming soon. But in the mean time, take a moment to remember what it feels like to be the newbie–the aspiring. Whether you’re a dancer or a writer–SYTYCD or SCBWI– being generous is fabulous for everyone. <3
If you normally follow my blog, you’ve probably noticed that I haven’t been blogging recently. And most likely you know the reason. But I’m not going to assume you do, so if you’d like to read my last blog post before my blogging draught you can find it here–A Person’s a Person No Matter How Small: An Open Letter to the Wappingers Central School District.
There are a lot of reasons why I’ve been stuck trying to write a new post…
*That last post was the most important thing I had to say. It was epic.
*I’ve been busy supporting my kids through the ups and downs of this experience.
*I’ve been insanely angry–so much so–I have yet to figure out what to productively do with those feelings.
*I’ve been processing, growing, and trying to be the best version of myself right now. It’s taken a lot of energy. Growing is hard.
*I’ve had a cold–still sniffling.
*And I’ve been sad. I have not had the liberty to languish in that sadness in front of my children, because I’ve had to don my super hero cape, even when it felt like fraud. So the sad has infiltrated my words more than it has anywhere else in my life. And more than anything, what I want to write about on this blog is my heartbreak and my feelings, but it’s not the right place for that at the moment. In time, that emotion will bleed into my books, where it belongs.
But that has left me with little to say in this space as I curl up and lick my wounds.
BUT IT’S TIME.
So I planned to just JUMP IN and write my conference blog today. I was going to leap back in, cold turkey, but pictures wouldn’t load and all kinds of other technical crap held me up. Then I realized what I really needed was to write about why I couldn’t write. Address the elephant in the room. “Hello, Elephant.”
Not as easy as it sounds, I’ve been staring at that pachyderm all morning with very little success–but sometimes the act of butt-in-chair and fingers in motion is how you get started when you don’t have the words. The day’s not over yet. I’m getting there–the right words will come.
And I will kick elephant butt.
It’s what I do.
*No elephants or their butts were harmed in the making of this blog post.
Back on Tuesday with a #NY14SCBWI conference recap.
And thank you for…everything. I mean it–you don’t know what your support means to me. (((((hugs))))))
AM I A WRITER?
If you write words down on paper, you my friend, are a writer.
If you dream about writing words on paper, you’re a dreamer. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t getting close. If writing is your goal, you’re almost there. You just have to take that extra step. And by the way–you still get to be a dreamer. You don’t have to give that up. In fact, it’s part of the job. Day dream and scribble stuff about it on paper. Or type it. We do that too, now a days.
So far you’re with me, right? We dream and scribble. But the scribble has to have purpose. It involve words with intent. It can’t be just your grocery list.
Here is a NOT A WRITER SCENARIO:
I’m sitting home and feeling hungry, dreaming about chocolate chip cookie dough. I Decide I must have dough NOW. But I also need five other things at the store. Milk to go with the cookies. Paper towels to clean up the mess. And shampoo, olives and tomatoes. Because when does life make sense? So, I scribble down my list of five things plus chocolate chip cookie dough ingredients and presto….now I am a writer. NOT!
To be a writer you have to dream, scribble and create with purpose. It might only be meaningful to you, but that’s ok. No one says a writer’s audience has to be bigger than one. Each writer should find value in what they put on the page.
Now, don’t mistake meaningful with serious. It doesn’t have to be serious. It also doesn’t have to be particularly brilliant. It simply has to be connected to you. Really, it’s not that hard. It doesn’t even have to be conscious intent. You wouldn’t believe how much of myself I find in my writing AFTER I go back and examine it–even the word doodles. (the little bits and pieces that come from our subconscious)
Writing is many, many wonderful things. Just not the grocery list. But feel free to day dream while doing your shopping. I do it all the time.
Now you know if you’re a writer or not. And if you use my definition, there are a lot more writers out there than you expected. But don’t worry, not all of them want to be authors. I hear some of you gasping. It’s true, lots of writers strive to be published, but not everyone does. It’s ok–it’s all good. Tolerance people. There’s room for all us nuts in the nut bowl. But you’re not wrong either. There are lots of us that do want to be published. It’s like an itch we can’t scratch. An itch covered in poison ivy in the middle of our back where we can’t reach it. But we keep working on it until we no longer have the itch.
Oh, wait–I just spilled the beans.
I told you the secret to getting published some day. YOU KEEP WORKING ON IT. It’s not magic. It won’t happen without the effort. This is not a what came first? the chicken or the egg? scenario. Everyone starts as a writer. NO ONE STARTS AS AN AUTHOR. I mean it–grocery lists do not get published. Imagine walking down the grocery store aisle, slipping your fingers into a jumbo tub of cookie dough (because you don’t have patients to wait until you get those fresh ingredients home) licking your fingers. Yum! Then you drop your grocery list. And then a publisher walks by and picks it up. YOU’VE BEEN DISCOVERED!!!
Yeah, it NEVER happens that way.
So for the writer who is itching to be an author, let me recap…
Right now I’m going to stop and hold you. A great big, warm, itchy, covered-in-cookie-dough hug. Because I have to tell you the hard part. You can do those four things and never get published. There is secret sauce. It’s ingredients are some well guarded combination of luck, timing, talent, personality, cat hair and chocolate.
*hold me closer*
Here is the truth about publishing and life…
YOU DON”T CONTROL THE SECRET SAUCE.
You can do everything “right” and still get it “wrong.”
Only that’s not how you should look at it. It’s not “right” and “wrong.” IF Yoda were here, he’d say it’s WRITE or WRITE NOT. I love Yoda. So wise that little green cutie pie.
I will always choose WRITE. I remember what WRITE NOT feels like. It’s not a place I ever want to be again. But since I’ve been there, I do understand. WRITE=COURAGE. Yup–you guessed it. Totally don’t need courage to write the grocery list. You need it to write with intent and to keep going when people tell you you suck monkey balls. You also need it to take an infant, toddler and preschooler grocery shopping with you. (Thank goodness those days are over.) But you don’t need it to write the grocery list.
And in case your wondering–we all have courage. It’s a part of our make-up. It comes down to choice. Who do you decide to be today? That one is up to you. What you should know is when I look back over all the occasions I bowed to fear, I’ve always had regrets. But on all the occasions where I’ve found my courage, even when my knees were knocking, even when I chose “wrong”–I never had regrets. Trust me, there is good stuff on the other side of courage.
Advice for the writer who hopes to be published, but regardless of what’s in the sauce, wants to live their best life…
How can you help out writers, who hope to be published or are trying to sell their damn books, while still living their best life? Be supportive. We are not competing against each other. Instead think of it as a group of people who are on a quest to turn the whole world into readers!!!! *fist pump* There is power in numbers and kindness.
Today I’d like to introduce you to a writer friend who hopes to be published and who’s trying to live her best life with courage. Meet Jeannie Intrieri.
Jeannie writes YA fiction and has just started a blog. I very clearly remember how hard it is to start writing posts. Is anybody out there??? I went years without comments or any idea if anyone was really reading my blog. Hello? You guys are still with me right?
Anyway, I thought it would be really nice if you could stop by and check out Jeannie’s blog. She wrote all about today’s topic from her own perspective. Check out…SO YOU THINK YOU CAN WRITE?
You can also connect with Jeannie here:
And I think we should keep the good will going. Do you have a writer friend that has a really great overlooked blog? Today is the day to give them a shout out! Tell me about your writer buddy and post a link to their blog in the comments. If you have the time dear readers, stop by and check out all the blogs listed. Why? Because we’re a community and we dream together, we write together, we share intent. We cheer each other on to keep working and we look to each other to find our own courage. We are writers.
Yesterday I was talking online to a bunch of my writer buddies and someone said…
The more I learn about publishing the more I realize the best promotional tool is to write the next book and the next and the next…
That makes a HUGE amount of sense. It resonates with me on more than just the promotional level. I also connect to it on a deeper, more personal level. I use writing as a way to make sense of the world. The less time I have to write, the less the world makes sense to me.
I love my social media, but ultimately it is the writing.
To me blogging isn’t just a publishing tool. It’s a kind of journaling that works really well for me BECAUSE it’s interactive. So I really do love doing it. A lot. But I’ve been toying with this for awhile and I’ve finally come to realized that it’s time for me to adjust my blogging schedule a little bit. I need to do this partly because I DO NOT want to give up my membership in either YA Outside the Lines or the Bookanistas. I love those groups. And partly it’s because I also like to do guest posts, interviews and judge writing events whenever possible. Between the blogs and the extra posts, too much of my writing time is being eaten up.
For example: July 2013’s Projected Blog Schedule
Post due for my own blog–14
Post for YAOTL–1
Posts for the Bookanistas–1 or 2
Guest posts for Blog Tour–5
Other Interviews for blogger events–2
Interviews I had to turn down because I was at risk for losing my mind–More than one 🙁
That’s a grand total of at least 23 posts and or interviews. And on average these take me 60 minutes or more to brainstorm, write and add links/graphics. (There have been days they’ve taken longer.) That’s a lot of time I could and should be using to write.
And on a personal front…I HAVE THREE BOYS!!!! Yeah, that. And I like them enough to want to spend quality time with them as often as I can. And I’m moving in the fall. So I’m staging and showing and pretending I’m organized on a regular basis. Remember me? The one who doesn’t get the laundry done on a good day.
So, I’ve decided that I’m going to take a small two-week blog hiatus while I’m traveling with the family over the end of July. (July 22-Aug. 2) and then I’ll be back on TUESDAY August 6th followed by THURSDAY August 8th. This will kick off my official move to a Tuesday/Thursday schedule. By doing this, I will drop down to 8-10 posts a month on average. Much more manageable.
If you think you’re going to have trouble remembering to stop by on the new dates, please sign up to have my blog posts sent right to you. On the right hand side of my blog I have an RSS feed sign up and and email sign up. I’ll also do my best to put up some reminders for the two weeks off and the new schedule. I love you for understanding why I need to make the change.
Do you blog? And if you do, do you have a schedule? I recommend having specific blogging times, so people do know when to show up to connect with you, but flexibility is important too. You never want to get so frustrated you squeeze an innocent hedge hog puppet. Totally not cool.
Any other blog tips you want to share with me? Any questions about blogs? Fire away!
*No hedge hog puppets were harmed in the making of this blog post.
No, I am not that girl who has her post scheduled weeks ahead of time. There are two reasons for that. One is a good reason, I like to write with immediacy. I feel like most of my blog posts are about what is happening to me in the moment and I’m sharing it with you and I like that. But the not so cool reason is that I’m always flying around by the seat of my pants. There have been a few occasions where I’ve gotten a week ahead on posts, but then the next week I was scrambling because I got used to being ahead LOL!
So, usually I like to have my post scheduled to be up by 2:00am. FYI it’s 10:03am and I just sat down and had a “I should of had a V-8 moment.” BLOGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!! But when I think about what I was doing instead of blogging–I can’t be upset. MY 11 year old had the day off yesterday and him and I went christmas shopping, had lunch together and talked the nose off a brass monkey. We enjoyed every minute of it. Then I went to the 7 year old’s school holiday party and later the kids and I finally got the ornaments on the tree while watching the Grinch. One of the boys had a class and of course we read together. A lovely, busy day. Of course, then the 7 year old woke up with a 101 fever. Boo! And since we’re having a mini hurricane outside, I built an umbrella fort for the 9 year old and I at the bus stop. I even took the garbage cans in because they were kind of blowing away.
As it stands, I won’t get to the caroling event at the school (although that’s going to be modified in this weather), my blog post is late and there will be no chiropractor appointment either. The 11 year old and I are canceling our day-two lunch date-shopping extravaganza. We won’t be hitting the grocery store either and the first week of music classes are cancelled too. I’d bake my cookies, but I don’t have the ingredients. Can’t even wrap the last of the stuff because the little people watching. But that’s okay–I’ll do some laundry, because I always have laundry to do and I’ll cuddle with my kids. And I’ll secretly enjoy the fact that I got to slow down today even though I’ll be even more crazy later on. And maybe–just maybe– I’ll pull out my revisions that I haven’t had a chance to get. Perhaps the best laid plans get in the way of the very best days.
And look at that…
I just peeked out my window and there are sunny blue skies ahead.
So if you were prevented from doing what you had to do, what would you like to be doing today?
I recently met a fabulous new blogger. I’ve checked out her blog and she has an easy-to-read, eye-catching layout with fair reviews. She’s also on other forms of social media–being enthusiastic and supportive of her favorite books and authors. She’s active in the blogging community and seems like a genuinely nice person. We’ve had a couple email and twitter exchanges and we’ve really hit it off. Additionally, she’s a writer just like me, trying to figure out the best way to put her words on the page. We have a lot in common.
BUT in the amount of time it took you to read that paragraph, we could have had a twilight zone moment where we became the characters in Mean Girls. Very quickly, very easily, things could have gone to h-e-double hockey stick.
Here’s what happened…
I was sitting on the couch revising, periodically checking my email and social media. As I flipped through my messages, I got excited because I had an email from someone contacting me through my website and those are usually the best messages. Maybe someone has read TOUCHING THE SURFACE and liked it. Or maybe they want to read it, or they’re interested in becoming a Hot Spot, wanting to help spread the word about TTS. So of course I jumped a few emails and clicked on that one. I almost choked when I read the message from the blogger I just described to you above. (Now I can’t stress enough, there was nothing inappropriate about this message. It wasn’t rude or unprofessional, but even so, I was sick to my stomach when I read it.) This blogger wanted to know why I’d blocked her on Twitter. We’d never engaged with each other, she hadn’t reviewed my book and she was upset and concerned and a little angry. She wanted to know why on earth I had done such an extreme thing. Had she inadvertently said something rude to offend me?
My jaw hit the floor and I said, “WHAT?????”
Yup–because I’ve never blocked anyone on twitter unless they’re spam. I try to follow most people back, but sometimes my emails get too overwhelming and I’ve been known to hit the delete button on the “new followers” email if it meant avoiding a mental break down. So I repeat…”WHAT????”
I immediately wrote back to this blogger, trying to clear up what was obviously some kind of misunderstanding. I quickly hopped on Twitter to try and rectify the situation and nearly pulled my hair out trying to figure out how to unblock someone. Gahhhh!!!! And all the while I’m thinking, what if she doesn’t believe that I didn’t do this on purpose??? After looking all over, the help button told me that I needed to type in her Twitter handle to unblock. I didn’t know her handle, so I typed in her name and a zillion (yes, it felt like that) people with her name popped up. While I searched, I refreshed my email, hoping the note asking for her handle had come through. Phew, it did and she didn’t sound crazy-mad at me, she sounded relieved that I hadn’t intended to block her–that she hadn’t done or said something wrong to cause my behavior. With a deep love for a button that I’ve never felt before, I unblocked her. We continued to dance around each other a little bit as we processed the whole thing, chatting on Twitter and email. I’m sure if you listened you could hear both of us giving a huge sigh of relief. We’d dodged a bullet, but it wasn’t far from either of our minds, how something innocent could have blown up in our faces, becoming the next author/blogger internet freak show. It could have easily become ugly.
So how did it happen? I have three theories. The first is that a raunchy piece of spam that I got the other day came in at about that same time as one of this blogger’s tweets. Perhaps as I clicked the button, the feed jumped and I didn’t look closely enough at what I was doing. *head thunk* The second theory is that the Twitter gremlins that often unfollow people (LIKE MY AGENT!!!!) we’re causing trouble. Really? I LOVE my agent!!!! My third guess is that it’s George, my inner holiday elf. He got a taste of being in the spot light the other day and now he can’t get enough LOL! But in truth, how it happened isn’t really the important thing, what matters is how we handled it. While both of us were initially shocked and a little upset in the beginning, we did a couple of good things to prevent an out-of-control issue. I could make you a list of things like–ask questions first, don’t assume the worst (even when you’re thinking it) and act like professionals. But you can figure that out on your own. But it does bring to mind that saying about making assumptions…
This image is published by The Donkey Sanctuary, under the terms of the Creative Commons Licence.
Making quick assumptions can make an ASS out of U and ME!
So glad this situation didn’t make us both look like asses. Phew! But…those two donkeys are kinda on the cute side. And if you’d like to find out more about good stuff for donkeys–clicking on their smiling faces will send you to the Donkey Sanctuary. And if you’d like to share some stories about assuming–I’m sure I can dig up a few more of my own to share. When’s the last time you’ve made an ass of yourself? Any close calls? Tips on avoiding social media scandals? Social media’s lack of face-to-face interactions can often empower us to spout off without thinking things through. Any tips for staying out of the muck?