Tag Archives: organization

Three Ways to Trick Yourself Into Organizing Your Social Media

Happy Life List Club Friday, everyone! I’m so happy to be here at Jess’ Happiness Project again. It’s so much fun ’cause you never know what could happen. She could jump out from behind the screen in a crazy costume or bring in a critter she found on vacation, like that baby alligator, and scare the you-know-what right out of me!

“Who me?”

Anyway, Jess is occupied now over at the blog of our newest Life List Club writer, Lara Schiffbauer. PLEASE go over to visit Jess when you’re done here so I won’t get pranked. While you’re there, say ‘Hi’ to Lara and introduce yourself. So, while I’m here and Jess is over there, Sonia Medeiros is at my blog Doing The Write Thing by entertaining you all. Stop by and give her some comment luv, too, would you? Thanks.

Note: Since I began writing this post, several other bloggers’ posts have been published with similar and/or additional useful information. I’ll link to some of those posts in the body of mine.

I know, you’re asking why should you have to tone down your socializing. Being social and friendly is so much more fun than working, right? Right.  You can socialize all you want IF you don’t have a day job, a book to write, a family to feed, a need to sleep now and then.

We’ve all admitted to having a very full schedule and now we’re adding social media networking on top of it. That means you have to allot a specified amount of time to take care of your social networking ‘needs’. I’m going to show you how you can have fun and not overdo it at the same time. Bonus – you’ll also be able to keep track of whom you’ve visited or supported!

My Desk Before*

Now don’t get the idea that any of these organizational skills come naturally. Uh, uh. Only since I’ve been retired have I had the time to work at being organized. Prior to that, it was hit-or-miss success with keeping it all together. I have always been a list maker and that’s the ONLY thing that saved my butt previously. Even now, it’s a struggle but it keeps my fading memory from totally burning out.

One important thing to remember: Writing is a business. Start treating it like one and you’ll be amazed how productive you can be.

Roll up those sleeves. We’re about to start working smarter, not harder, at keeping up with our self-imposed obligations to network and support others.

1. Get Tough – Make a list of all the blogs you follow. Assess each blog on the list and decide if it falls into one or more of the following categories: Blogs I LOVE, Blogs with info I NEED. Some will overlap categories and some won’t fit at all. For those that don’t fit into either category–UNSUBSCRIBE.

While you’re listing them, put them into a spreadsheet format where you can keep track of whom you visited. Fabio Bueno published a great post on this so, instead of writing my own explanation, check out his HERE.

Overall, I probably cut out about 1/3 of the blogs I was reading. You can do it, too. When you try to find relevance in what they have to offer you and you find there isn’t much–snip, snip. I’m left with the blogs to which I’m comfortable giving my time and support.

 2. My Editorial Plan – a. Take the time to write enough blog posts to cover you for two weeks and then maintain that number. If you just can’t find the time to do that, at the very least, write 2 blog posts that you can save for emergencies.

b. Stockpile a list of topics that are timely, interesting and viable for your blog. I use a big desk calendar–you know the kind with big squares for each day. This is where I plan my topics for each posting day. I write very specific topics on my posting day squares. When the blogs have been written, had photos and links added, and scheduled in the queue, I write DONE in the square. I can see at a glance how many more need to be written or whether I need to go back to a particular post and add pictures.

c. If you use WordPress for your blog, you can schedule a specific publishing date and time, and you can set it up to automatically post your blog to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

d. Planning ahead for Tweeting is even easier when you use TweetDeck or HootSuite to schedule the tweets to go out 2-3 times a day. Jenny Hansen at More Cowbell just posted about a new-ish timesaver for promoting your own blog posts, as well as those of others. It’s called Triberr. It will increase the number of people you reach with your posts, too. Check out Jenny’s post HERE, and then watch for her next two posts in the series that further explain this new idea.

My Desk After*

3. Watch the Clock – Decide how much time you can realistically devote to social media. Your WIP writing should take precedence. After all, you’ll have no writing business without the written product. Determine how many hours you need to devote to your WIP.

Then comes the foundation of your platform, your blog. How much time do you need to keep up with it each week? For example, if it takes you 2 hours to write posts for your Wednesday theme and 3 hours to write for your Friday theme, 30 minutes for ROW80 and your easy day’s post only takes 1 hour, you need 6 1/2 -7 hours a week to write for your blog.

How many hours do you have left in your week for other social media? You still need to read other blogs, comment on them and tweet/facebook/google+ them.

This is where you begin feeling overwhelmed, right? I’m going to set you free from guilt right now! No matter what your schedule looks like –

No one has unlimited time to support and network with other writers, friends, and associates. You are not alone!

Do not feel guilty if you don’t comment on every post everyday-even for your close friends. If you can’t keep up, shorten your list. Choose one day a week to visit, comment and promote. OR Choose to visit, comment and promote on no more than two posts a week for each person. There is no reason to feel a sense of urgency in commenting on blogs. Whenever you are able to visit, the post will be there, still shiny and new for you. Your comment at any time will be appreciated.

If you’re regularly following more than 25 blogs, you should take a closer look at how many of those are really important and beneficial to you, then see where you can make that list more manageable.

Do you have other timesaving practices to share? What’s your biggest time-suck?

*All images from Google

     Marcia Richards is a veteran blogger and author of Marcia Richards’ Blog…Sexy. Smart. From The Heart. Marcia writes about Sweet Obsessions, Women, History, and the path to realizing your dreams. She has a Historical Trilogy and a collection of Short stories in progress. When she’s not writing, she can be found playing with the grandkids or her husband, traveling or turning old furniture into works of art. She believes there is always something new to learn.

Come hang out with Marcia at: http://twitter.com/MarciaARichards or http://facebook.com/MarciaARichards .

Visit Marcia at: http://Marcia-Richards.com

Going for the Great

Hello my ghoulies!  We interrupt your normal spookifying blog posts for another blog hop edition of the Life List Club!  Join in the camaraderie of new and old friends helping each other progress towards our goals.  Today I’m talking about zombies over at Sonia Medeiros’ blog and joining me today is the sassy and fashion savvy (she has leopard print pants!!), Jenny Hansen from More Cowbell.  Please welcome Jenny to the stage!

Going For The “Great”

NaNoWriMo is less than two weeks away and writers are flexing their fingers and cracking their knuckles in anticipation. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and it’s when hundreds of thousands of writers around the world swarm to the website, chat rooms and local write-ins to try to bang out fifty thousand words in a month.

That’s 1,667 words per day, or just under seven pages, for all of those who haven’t done the math on this. That’s a big commitment, but it can be done. The goal – at least it’s my goal – is to do it smart.

Like most writers, I don’t just want to end up with words on a page. I want to end with a framework of good words that I can (hopefully) fashion into something great when the dust has settled in December.

I came across a quote at work that I used in a motivational seminar that applies to us crazy writer types:

“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” ~ Kenny Rogers

Note: Those of you over here at Jess’ place might not have visited me at my blog (More Cowbell) yet, so you won’t know that I’m a software trainer (aka “Training Goddess”) by day for an accounting firm. It’s my job to get those accountants out of their comfort zone and enjoy the process while they’re at it.

There’s countless ways to motivate people, but a sure way to fire up my accountants is to appeal to their sense of competition. This can be competition with themselves or with someone they admire. Accountants, as a rule, are highly motivated to be the best – each of them strives to have the best research skills, deepest knowledge, etc. Sound familiar?

Here’s five points I presented this last week in a seminar called, “Are You A High-Value Employee?” Below, I’ve adapted these 5 key areas to writers since we are the boss and employee all rolled into one.

Key areas of high value to which all WRITERS should aspire:

1.  Relationships: The ability to connect and interact with co-workers fellow writers, clients publishing professionals, and the community readers.

You and I are building a relationship right now. I post thoughts, you read them, then we discuss (because hopefully y’all will cavort in the comments section). If we enjoy the process we do it again, either here at Jess’ blog or over at More Cowbell. Perhaps you’ll come find me on Twitter (@jhansenwrites). Maybe I’ll come find you.

Relationships will build naturally if you’re open to them. I’ve got writing friends who’ve been on Twitter since January (because I forced them to join a week after I did) and have yet to send a single tweet or monitor a single hashtag. They’re not involved in ROW80 or The Life List Club. They’re not doing what Jess did when she founded Life List Club with Marcia Richards to support other writers: they’re not forming relationships.

As much as we all love to play with words, writing can be a cold, hard endeavor when it’s not going well. Relationships with supportive friends can help brighten up the process and keep you from getting stalled. Building relationships is essential to a writer’s success.

2.  Analysis: The ability to extract the key critical factors of a specific situation.

While accountants get all zippy and hopped up on the word “analysis,” most writers experience an odd yearning to scratch out their eyes or iron their underwear each time they hear it bandied about. Analysis, to most creative people, means numbers and spreadsheets and pain.

Here’s what analysis really means:

a·nal·y·sis/əˈnaləsis/

Noun:    Detailed examination of the elements or structure of something, typically as a basis for discussion or interpretation.

The process of separating something into its constituent elements.

In writer-speak it means “good Craft” and deep edits. We spend a lot of time learning 3-Act structure or creative use of Setting in the hopes that it will seep inside and flow through our fingertips to the page. Those are good goals.

To be a “great” writer, we must be able to revise. If you’re like me, you might be thinking things like, “I don’t wanna!” or “I’ll just ‘know’ what belongs there when I see it.” That kind of whining will let you be a good writer, but probably not a great one.

We must know why we’re adding or taking away from a scene, which means we have to analyze our scenes for what they’re missing (and learn as much as you can about Craft).

3.  Innovation: The ability to design solutions to effectively solve problems.

Writers are incredible innovators. We build people and worlds and invent entire stories. Are we bringing our full innovative powers to bear when we do this? Spending the time and energy to move beyond the nice and easy, to the far-flung limits of our imaginations?

I’ll confess, some days I’m lazy and I just don’t feel like stretching my “what-if muscle.” On those days, my writing is usually OK at best. It’s definitely not within a mile of great. I kick myself later and wonder why I didn’t take a walk, or a run through Twitter or slug down some coffee. All those things give me a boost. Finding out what gives you a boost will help you bring your Innovator to the page.

4.  Knowledge: Depth and breadth of understanding and applying bodies of information.

This is where the ever-present research comes in. Some writers love it, and some don’t. All of us are going to be doing it sooner or later and it seems everyone’s got a different way to go about it.

For some, research is an in-depth journey; still others research by watching reality TV. You need to find out what works best for you, but your end-goal is to know your subject well enough that you can describe it in just a few words.

5.  Experience: The ability to function competently and confidently at appropriate level, having performed in numerous situations and demonstrated task or job fluency.

The same as in your day job, “writing experience” is directly related to writing practice. The more we write and the more books we complete, the greater our confidence and level of skill.

I’ll never figure out why it’s OK to learn job skills slowly, but the same speed for a writer is cause for angst. Perhaps it’s because the writing means more to us than our day jobs. Most writers will tell you they started to hit their stride about the time they finish their third manuscript.

I know some of you are shuddering right now, thinking of all that “wasted time.” I have a question for you perfectionists: Why is it acceptable for multiple attempts when learning to ride a bike, or dance the tango, or knit but it’s an “epic fail” to write a few books before you get good at it?

Lots of first novels remain unpublished for a reason. They were practice for the other books. It takes years to learn the piano, and hours of practice. Maybe you could cut yourself some slack the next time you sit down at the writing page. Enjoy the journey; have some fun. You’re gaining on-the-job experience.

The beauty of being a writer is that we don’t really have to get it right the first time. We just have to try our very best. Eventually, our best becomes GREAT.

What do you think makes for great writing? What online tool do you like best for networking and building relationships with others? Do you participate in goal-based groups like ROW80, The Life List Club or NaNoWriMo?

Thanks for visiting with us on this Life List Friday! Have a great weekend.

-Jenny

     Jenny fills her nights with humor: writing memoir, women’s fiction, chick lit, short stories (and chasing after the newly walking Baby Girl). By day, she provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. After 15 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s digging this sit down and write thing. When she’s not at her blog, More Cowbell, Jenny can be found on Twitter at jhansenwrites and at her group blog, Writers In The Storm.

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