#weekendcoffeeshare: Being a Writer is More?

#weekendcoffeeshare: I have Lost my Impulse
Image provided by Dave White
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mrdestructicity/

The Daily Post sponsors the #weekendcoffeeshare. If this is something you’d like to do, whether it be weekly like it’s supposed to be or the way I do it, once a month. You can get the lowdown about it at the link above.

In the past, I have written this post dialogue style as if I was speaking to you face to face. Be that as it may, I began to dispute the intelligence of this format. After all, who am I to presume what you will say or, for that matter, what you think when, in actuality, we have not had the conversation at all.

My ruling is I will write the #weekendcoffeeshare more like most other bloggers write theirs, my thoughts alone and leaving your response for you to fill in down below in the comment section.

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If we were to have coffee together…

…I would tell you how I feel about the less -spoken-about aspects of being a writer, those tasks I would rather ignore.

Most of the writer’s blogs I read have touched on the many facets of being a writer. I cannot say I have read them all, thinking I do not need to know everything right this minute seeing that I have not published for years. I have defended the belief I need to hone in on the writing itself until I have a final draft to send to an editor for the last time.

A short while ago, maybe five or six weeks, I began to ponder on the thought of me never getting anything published again other than the dribblings in this personal blog. The speculation was disquieting, to say the least. I am pretty sure I can do better, so I proceeded to do just that. That was when I wrote an article for an editor’s blog, Word Bank
Writing & Editing
, owned by Jeri Walker.

Sure, it is just writing still, but it was published on a blog that gets way more traffic than mine does. Additional, it had to meet the approved of an editor I admire.

After that small but significant milestone, I started visiting the social media sites more that I signed up with a long time ago. I cannot say I am enjoying these jaunts but I am trying anyway. This is the more I was hoping to put off for as long as possible. I do not do well with “small talk”. Oftentimes, I find it exceedingly trite and drudging. Yet, according to all those writer’s blogs, I must try to participate to get my name and work known. I know I will have to do launches if I ever get a book published. I know I should be available for book signings. However, this will only happen when a book is published. It is not an ongoing activity.

Another prospect or more I should consider, according to all I have read, is my own domain site. I cringe with detestation and panic at the notion of having to try that again. I had a good host site that even had 24/7 help by phone at no extra cost, yet I ended up with a site that, eventually, would not show up for anyone. I went through so many hours, both day and night, trying to fix it, endlessly speaking to representatives at the host site trying to get it to work. Can I go through that again? I have serious doubts.

An aspect [another more] I have not read about yet but probably will come across it eventually, is public speaking. I have been on stage but it was always with a musical instrument in my hands. It just sounds way too preposterous to me. I cannot imagine anyone wanting me, of all people on this planet, as a speaker for any kind of event. Yet, there have been a couple of writers who advocate this for their readers of their books about writing, exclaiming all writers should be able to speak well in front of an audience. Who are they kidding? Themselves maybe? I know some writers are extroverts. Still, I have a sneaky feeling most of us are introverts, at least to some degree.

When I took that mail course from Writers Digest at the turn of this century, it never entered my head that I would have to do anything out of the realm of writing other than book signings in order to make any progress.

Now it is your turn. What is your response to this? Let me know in the comment section below.

“You need three things to become a successful novelist: talent, luck and discipline. Discipline is the one element of those three things that you can control, and so that is the one that you have to focus on controlling, and you just have to hope and trust in the other two.” ― Michael Chabon

 

#weekendcoffeeshare: Social Media Pandemonium

Remember last month I stated how the #weekendcoffeeshare at Part-Time Monster wasn’t active anymore? I found where it is active, The Daily Post. If this is something you’d like to do, whether it be weekly like it’s supposed to be or the way I do it once a month, you can get the lowdown about it at the link above. From what I read, I do mine a little differently but no one seems to mind enough to approach me about it.

Additionally, the hashtag of #weekendcoffeeshare is used lavishly on Twitter and Facebook. This might get more readers to your blog. 😉

#weekendcoffeeshare: Social Media Pandemonia
Image provided by Dave White
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mrdestructicity/

If we were to have coffee…

I’ve requested to have our coffee-share at McDonald’s just north of the interstate. Since they got rid of the playground area and have revamped the play for actual adults, it’s become a favorite of mine. We drape our jackets over that backs of the chairs that are with a clean table along the front window. No one is waiting in line so getting our large flavored coffees is a snap today.

[Your dialogue is in purple. My dialogue is in teal.]

“Several of the writing blogs I follow are telling me I need to have an online platform, a brand, a presence, whatever they’re calling it this week. I know they’re probably right but this is the one thing I’m not fond of in the twenty-first century of writing.” I carefully take the lid off my container so the coffee will cool down a smidgen.

“It’s the price we pay for the freedoms we have now. I wonder how authors did it before the internet.” You sip your coffee cautiously.

“Maybe they hired publicists. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to afford one of those. Besides, I can’t see myself attending many book signings at bookstores. Most of the sales are at online outlets these days.”

I give out a yip. I’ve burned my tongue.

“Are you okay?” I nod and lean against the back of the plastic chair. “Have you joined and participated in any of the social media sites?”

“Oh yes, I’ve been on Twitter for a few years now. I also have an account at Google+ and belong to three groups there. I even went back to Facebook, as much as I hate it, and made myself a page.”  Delicately, I take a sip of the caramel coffee blend.

“Why don’t you like Facebook?”

“Things are written there that probably shouldn’t be written anywhere. It often gets rude and cruel.”

We sit in silence for a few moments watching the cars on the road.

You turn to me and say, “Do you know that Facebook has filters now so you can target your crowd a little?”

I smile at your attempt to sway me. “Yeah, I saw that just the other day. I need to investigate that more. Part of my problem is when I read what people write on my timelines and my one page, I’m wondering what they’re really after. So much of it looks like boring dribble to me. Is it a case of me not knowing how to be sociable on the internet?”

You let out a guffaw. “Haven’t you ever been to a cocktail party?” I shake my head. “Not ever?”

“Nope. I have been to some bars, though.”

“I didn’t realize you were the type.” You give me a sideways stare.

“Neighborhood bars with friends. No, I’ve never been a ‘pick-up’ at a bar.” I briefly give you a look of reprimand.

“Okay, think of social media sites as bars of different types. You’re still going to get a lot of the dribble you were talking about but if you scout around, you’ll find some interesting conversations.”

I raise my eyebrows and give a sigh. “So I have to spend more time with it, right?”

You take a swig of coffee before answering. “Yes, but you can do other things while you waiting for intelligence to arrive. Work on your WiP. Visit some blogs. Just peek in on the social media site every so often.” I peer at you with concern. “You’re an introvert so this takes a little more practice is all.”

People are starting to breeze in for lunch. We watch some of the characters who waltz in, making funny comments about them. Soon our coffee is gone and we leave to continue on with our day.

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What’s your take on social media sites?

Our conscience is not the vessel of eternal verities. It grows with our social life, and a new social condition means a radical change in conscience. ~Walter Lippma

 

Too Little or Too Much?

Too Little or Too Much
Image provided by
Evan Leeson
@ https://www.flickr.com/photos/ecstaticist/

Most people who read blogs, especially the one classified as personal have their summer from June 20th to September 20th. Or it could be the 21st depending on the year. (I never could figure out the math of the calendar year. I’ve just accepted it no matter what the change or lack of was.) Summer is when many people take their vacations/ holidays and just take life a little easier all the way around. Because of this, the lack of activity on my blog during these months doesn’t get me riled up. On the contrary, I take advantage of it and get quite lazy.

The 23rd of September is just around the bend now. I don’t need a calendar to tell me either. I can feel it coming on. My head is starting to spin with ideas for posts; I’m taking the time to make comments in more of the blogs I read; I just changed the design AND the URL of my site. Yep, I’m gearing up for the Autumn season on the blogosphere.

With this change of the seasons, I’m hoping to see more visitors/readers at my blog. Though I’m thinking the hope is irrational. Despite my ill-found desire, I still want more readers. What blogger doesn’t want this?

Would you help me in a  foolhardy endeavor? I want to try to get more followers. Simple enough, right? One strategy I’m told that works is to hit the social media sites more. That’s all well and good if you don’t have any other irons in the fire of your life and, therefore, have the time for sitting at one site for hours. Sorry, but there’s other things that need my attention. Below is a link (opens a new window or tab depending on how you have your browser set up) leading to a questionnaire/poll. I’m hoping I can learn more about the audience I attract and the readers I want. Please indulge me and fill it out for me.

Please Fill Out
This Survey

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If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn’t matter a damn how you write. – Somerset Maugham

 

LinkedIn Account Closed

LinkedIn Account Closed
Image provided by
Sheila Scarborough @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/sheilascarborough/

In the early fall of 2009, I became a student in a free email course about the business of blogging in hopes of having a career as a blogger. I learned a lot about the ins and outs of it both as a writer and a business person. I had high hopes for a self-made career. (I must have been loony at the time.) About this time in 2010, I signed up for an account at LinkedIn along with several other social media sites. My intention was to get a network of other professionals, whether they be newbies like me or old experts.

This was a small part of my ‘master plan’ to create a job for myself seeing that no one in this small town was going to hire a middle-aged woman who’s disabled. It may not be fair. I’m quite aware of this, but if you’re a realist, you’ll realize that life is tough and usually not fair. You have to push and shove to get anywhere in this world. This is what life is whether anyone likes it or not. Still, a career as a blogger? My mind was in never ever land.

I visited LinkedIn several times a week at first, trying to gather contacts. I will admit, I was picky about who I asked to link to because I felt there wasn’t any point in hooking up with a car mechanic or a dentist to get readers at my blog. My blog topic was Blogging. Yes, I know, worst decision I could have made. My idea was to kind of be an Angie like in Angie’s List, telling my readers where to go for good help and give them insight from a layman’s point of view. I really didn’t think people who otherwise wasn’t connected to this topic would be interested in my blog. Where was my head? Everyone wants a blog these days. It’s a soft-sale way to get customers, no matter what the product or service is.

Albeit, the more time I spent at LinkedIn, the more I saw of people who were not really on the up and up. They were embellishing facts about themselves. Furthermore, LinkedIn was and is encouraging all of it with what they are calling ‘endorsements’. Anyone can endorse anyone for any skill. I was endorsed for knowing Microsoft Excel. Who decided I knew that? I know that I can learn it; in fact I used to know it — for two computer class hours. Then I promptly forgot. I got endorsed for being skilled in social media. Whoever that was must have been kidding. I still haven’t mastered the use of the number key (#).

I stopped visiting the LinkedIn site quite so often three years ago. To tell the truth, they were lucky to see anything from me for two or three months at a time. Still, I didn’t feel that I should give up my account there. The times I did visit, I would look in on the groups I belonged to as well as peek at the timeline and see if I had any messages that somehow didn’t make it to my email inbox.

Last fall I got interested in the concept of Feng Shui. Unfortunately, I didn’t give any thought to my life on the web. I was only thinking of my home. What is Feng Shui? It’s a Chinese philosophy based on a system of harmony that can be adapted to any part of life and should probably be applied to all parts. In the philosophy, the idea is to keep life simple — get rid of all junk and balance more with nature. For instance, how many pieces of furniture do you absolutely need in your living room? In actuality, you need a sofa for more one person to sit, a chair, and two in tables — and a TV if that is where you do that sort of thing. Every other piece of furniture is extra — not needed.

LinkedIn Account Closed
The Social Media Treadmill
Image provided by
Mark Smiciklas @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/intersectionconsulting/
(click on image to see larger)

Finally, right after Christmas but before this new year started, I realized that I needed to do the same to my spaces online. Presto, bye-bye LinkedIn.

I’m pretty certain that I should also get rid of Facebook but the hesitation is stronger for that one because so many family members and friends are using it, so therefore, I use it when I get sick of looking for an email address. I know that there must be other ways of finding people but so far I haven’t found it. I’d like to give it up though because there’s so much gossip and back-stabbing that goes on in the timeline there.

Have you done any of the Feng Shui thing?

Clearing the Decks

Clearing the Decks
Image provided by
Offical [sic] U.S. Navy @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/usnavy/
My mother-in-law declutters her house quite often. Old editions of magazines get tossed; any small items left out from mending or sewing get put away; plastic gets put into garbage bags to be taken to the recycling place in town. She has a marvelous saying for when she does this, “clearing the decks. I’m sure I heard this before I ever married her youngest son, but for the life of me, I can’t remember when or who it was that I heard it from. Nevertheless, I love the phrase and am glad she brought it to my attention.

I’m clearing my decks of obligations this weekend. I’m not talking about the ones I have concerning my family. Rather, I’m talking about the ones I’ve put on myself that are distracting me from what I want to accomplish in the near future–the near future being a span of three years and the accomplishment being a finished writing project.

I keep on telling people I feel comfortable with the concept of starting a writing project I truly want to see through to the end. Since the first time making this statement, I’ve missed 3 days of working on this endeavor. Although this isn’t a bad start, I don’t want to miss any more days of working with it. Therefore, I must make room within the course of my daily activities. Thus, cleaning the decks is necessary.

This has become a complicated achievement. I had to reevaluate my time online. What do I take out and what do I leave in?

Social media sites have become bland for the most part. With this said though, I have found a new one I’m contemplating joining because it may be an excellent place for moral support while I’m working in this project. I do need to get myself unsubscribed from a few others just the same. They are not serving any worthwhile purpose for me, and the emails from them have become nonsense.

I’m letting go of some of my blog subscriptions. This one is yanking on some heartstrings though. I’ve made so many acquaintances through reading blogs of those I’d love to upgrade to friends, but if I’m going to be serious about writing this story, I have to find the time for it somehow. I’m hoping once I have the first draft completed, I can start adding in some of these subscriptions again. Yes, I know that I could just change the subscriptions so that I only see them if I’m at the Reader, but I know me too well. I’d find myself giving excuses to go online to read them.

Did I hear someone suggest that I take a leave of absence from my blog? I thought about it, but decided that because I just love to write, and need a little interaction with others, I’ll keep writing posts. However, I am considering slowing down this type of writing to one or two times each week.

I must put more structure into my days to make this challenge plausible, so another thing I’m doing is having designated house cleaning days. Until now, I’ve been doing the cleaning as I see it needing to be done. This means a little cleaning here and there every day. I doubt that this is a good strategy when I know I should probably get in three to four days of just writing all day in hopes that I get my ideas flowing for longer periods of time.

I hope this planning isn’t just a way of procrastinating. Just getting to it is a concept I have subscribed to most of my life; yet, I know finding excuses to drag my feet can happen so easily.

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To those of you who have writing projects: What do you think? Are these ideas of mine realistic? Do you do any of these things when you want more time for your projects? Is there anything else I should do to help myself?