Expert On Social Media Speaks! Welcome Timothy Smith

TimothyHeadshot

This is going to be a long read, but trust me when I say it is SO WORTH IT. Timothy Smith is one of the brightest, most intelligent people I know. He’s been around the social media block since the early days of the Internet, and he knows whereof he speaks. Want to sell more books? Need to get a handle on this social media monster? Tim is The Man.

I also want to thank the brilliant Mr. Smith for taking the time to write this up for my humble blog. He and his Most Amazing Partner, Shannon Smith, are neck deep in their own hair-raising adventure, and I deeply appreciate the time and care he took in writing this valuable piece. Read, my poppets, and take notes. This is information which can really help you.

TimothyHeadshot

Hello everyone.

For some reason (I am thinking probably either a pharmaceutically or alcohol induced psychosis) the lovely and talented Annetta Ribken has permitted me to take over her blog as a guest writer. She said I could post about any ol’ subject I desired (even though she rejected out of hand my suggestion of Deep Space 9 porno fan fiction) so I thought I would talk to you all about Internet marketing for writers instead. I am assuming most of you are writers, editors, or publishers in one form or another. My hope is that I can possibly suggest some things you may not know when it comes to social media and using various sites, apps, software, and tools to promote your words to a larger audience—more effectively and affordably.

How I Know All This Stuff

First, a little background… I have been making my living off the Internet (more or less) since its widespread popularization in 1992-ish. In 2000 I started my own Internet development, hosting, and marketing consultant group here in North Carolina. Before I started AASB Productions, I spent too many years working for various businesses and dot.com startups who were riding the wave of selling any small to medium-sized business owner with a credit card the latest and greatest “trend” online—databasing, Flash design, SEO placement, Adword strategies, etc. Most people, back then, would throw pounds of money to anyone who had the knowledge and skills necessary for them to cash in on a new form of media. It was, I suppose, a lot like what it must have been in the early days of radio, movies, or television.

So yes… I am old school. Yes, I have seen trends on the Internet come and go. There have been a lot of passing fads with lots of promise, yet no real longevity. But before I get into how best to take advantage of today’s Internet I should probably give you a sort of short, historical perspective of the medium. Most people tend to think of the Internet as essentially being the same today as it was 20-years ago, I can tell you that there have already been three distinct “ages” of the Internet and how people use it… and we’re quickly approaching the fourth.

The Ages Of The Internet

First, in the days of the early Net, it was all about information presentation. You had a website with a set number of static pages, some drop-shadowed pictures, a couple of animated gifs, and those pages promoted or presented information from provider to consumer. Creating a website at this time was a very expensive proposition for many small businesses and individuals, but the benefit was being able to sell to just about anyone, at anytime, anywhere in the world. There was a lot of potential, lots of expense, and for a select few of early adopters… huge rewards for those offering their products or information to a global audience. It was a digital gold rush of sorts.

The second era was the age of information collection. It started a few years later when obtaining data about your web visitors became as equally important as presenting information about yourself. Somewhere, sometime, someone—selling a massive amount of product online—said, “Hey, we should look to see if there’s a pattern with those purchasing our product and visiting our site.” This led to a period when every website had a form to fill out or some sort of a membership process successfully completed before access to the desired information was made available. Essentially, website owner evolved from wanting you to know who they were, to them wanting to know who you were. This led to things like databasing, data mining, spam, and search engines that used algorithms (Google) to produce highly individualized results as opposed to directory driven results (Yahoo). Amazon could now make suggestions as to what you should (statistically) be interested in based upon your prior purchases. “Cookies” now tracked which pages of a site you visited and how often. Amazing amounts of information were being collected, parsed, and sold without you even knowing.

The third age is what we’re in now; the age of information subscription & promotion. You have a product, skill, or possess a personality which other individuals want to know or learn more about. The act of “friending” or “liking” or “following” is now a euphemistic endorsement which can be a bajillion times more valuable that an actual purchase of whatever product you’re selling. We have all entered a sort of digital high school where your social status enjoys a meteoric boost by the mere wink of the prom king or queen. The apparent value of who you are and what you’re selling depends greatly on how many people link to, share, follow, and recommend what you do and say on social media sites. Politics, religion, activism, consumerism, artistry, government, and generational identification are all now, at least in part, only as successful as the potential outreach a single individual can attain with a serendipitous post of a Youtube video, Tweet hashtag, Tumblr repost, or promoted Facebook status update.

The fourth age of the Internet, which we’re just now starting to skirt the event horizon, is the age of information augmentation and man-oh-man, it’s gonna be a doozy.

But Let’s Not Jump Ahead

Let’s stay focused on where we are now; the third age of information subscription & promotion. Ironically, it has only been around a relatively short time, but it’s completely altered how we communicate, interact, derive information, and sell our products on the Web. Social media sites have transformed the art of self-promotion every bit as much as Yahoo transformed search, Amazon redefined media distribution, and WordPress revolutionized website development.

There are many reasons why social media caught on as well as it did, but perhaps the most significant boon to social media came from the proliferation of mobile devices and tablet computers. What once would have been information only found on a website via a search engine suddenly became an “app” that could be taken with you wherever you go on your phone, tablet, or even your car. Hell, toaster ovens now have an operating system capable of allowing you to play Angry Birds while your bagel browns and post a status update about it in real time!

There’s still a one caveat which cannot be ignored:

You must create quality content.

This will probably sound very familiar to you writers out there. I cannot begin to tell you how many established writers and publishers I have heard who pound the simple rule of “write more, write better, write often”. It seems simple enough, but for many, it is hard to put into practice. As a writer, you cannot measure your success or failure on the number of units your book sells. The same is true in Internet marketing. You cannot measure the success of your social media efforts solely on the number of “likes” you get on a single status update or visitors to your website in a single day, or retweets on your cleverly composed hashtag. You have to “post more, post better, post often”.

So with this somewhat long introduction, what follows are some things to consider and implement when delving into social media and marketing yourself online.

1. Be honest, be interesting, be yourself.

15 years ago no one knew jack squat about George Takei other than the Mr. Sulu thing (and his embarrassing stint as a prostitution kingpin who put a pimp-smackin’ down on Melanie Griffith in that one Miami Vice episode). But today, nearly every person on Facebook has either seen or heard about one of his posts. It’s not his celebrity from Star Trek that made him famous on Facebook, but his social activism, his philanthropic efforts, and his humorous good nature about all things science fiction. He posts his own statuses, he isn’t afraid to take a stand, he apologizes sincerely and quickly if he feels he’s made a mistake. But most importantly, his feed isn’t ego driven. In other words, it’s not all about him so much as what he believes to be important and making the world a better place. Contrast this to Shatner’s or Nimoy’s Facebook presence (which are infrequent, self-promoting, and un-entertaining) and you’ll see that Sulu had the last laugh.

2. Don’t be a “one-trick” poster or a “one-issue” poster.

Remember, Facebook allows you to create different kinds of posts, i.e. pictures, text, pictures with text, links, links with text, events, polls, etc, take advantage of them all. Don’t “just” make text posts and don’t “only” post pictures. Diversify your feeds, change your timeline photo frequently, conduct polls… these different methods each represent a specific tool of engaging your audience. Additionally, there is no one mistake you can make, regardless of social media site you’re using, than this one. If all you post about is how great pineapple on your pizza is, the only audience you’re going to end up with is people whom either one, agree with you, or two, don’t agree with you. Eventually, many of the people who agree with you will feel like a choir being preached to. When your face or name appears in their feed, they’ll start to move past your posts without really paying attention to what information you’re providing (probably because they’ve already seen it elsewhere) and eventually lose interest to some degree. This will leave you, mostly, with the people who think you and your children are atheistic communists who hate America and worship the devil because of your outspoken support of tropical fruit on an Italian staple food.

3. Pace yourself.

Don’t forget the world is a big place—many, many time zones and days of the week in which your post may or may not be seen. It is best to post your updates according to whom and when you’re trying to reach. Don’t post fourteen pictures in a row of Grumpy Cat at 8:00 AM EST when no one on the West Coast is even awake and wonder why no one is commenting on them. A great tool you can invest in is a service like Hootsuite which allows you to schedule and pre-compose your posts and tweets to your various social media sites at a pre-arranged time. (*Editor’s note: I also like Buffer.)

4. Focus.

Another mistake often made is people attempting to post too much on too many different social media sites. It is not always a good idea to set up a Facebook “Fan” Page, a Facebook user page, a Twitter feed, a Tumblr site, a GoodReads profile, a WordPress site, a StumbleUpon profile, a Reddit account, YouTube channel, LinkedIn profile… blah, blah, blah. Focus on building an audience on one or two of these—at first. Then, as you build success, branch into the others as it is appropriate to what you’re promoting and the demographic to whom you are selling. Each one of these sites is utilized and frequented by a particular type of audience in a specific kind of way. The audience you can build on LinkedIn is going to be very different than the audience you build on Tumblr.

5. Cross-posting.

If you have a new book to sell or site to promote and you want to announce it to the world, announce it! But “roll out” your announcement with different verbiage, at different times, on different days, and in creative ways, to your various social media profiles. Nothing speeds up the process of people passing by your face in their feed than seeing the exact same post on seven different social media sites all within an hour of each other… and then again the next hour… and then again the next hour… and again the next hour.

6. Promote the work of others.

Interact with others in your industry; post links to their work, give them attention, compliment their efforts. Altruism in promoting the work of others accomplishes two things; it makes people like you, and it makes others want to be liked by you.

7. Know when to engage and when to walk away.

This is a no-brainer. There is no need to respond to every compliment, engage in every argument, moderate every discussion, or lay down laws of behavior. Let the Internet do what it does best on your feeds; create discussion. Don’t take sides in flame wars, etc. It is a wise and successful practice to know when to say when and when to say nothing.

8. Pithy posting paints prolific pictures

I think the worst thing Facebook ever did was remove the 420-character limit on status updates. If you’re like me, you know pith and creativity make for awesome bedfellows and can provide awesome challenges to any writer. Don’t say in 500 words what can be said in 20.

9. Steal what works.

This medium of social media is meme driven. If you have someone you follow religiously online, there’s a reason why. Discover what that reason is, define how they’re doing it, modify it to fit what you do, and make it your own. Be original, but don’t be afraid to emulate what works. Don’t “copy” what others are doing, rather, study it, dissect it, then innovate it into something that is distinctly yours.

10. Study your metrics.

Nearly every social media site you use offers some means of plotting and parsing the effectiveness and outreach of its users. Take the time to learn how to access them, understand what they’re telling you, and make adjustments to how, when, and what you’re posting. A great service which consolidates this information for you is Klout. Give it access to your various social media profiles and it will track on a scale how effective your online presence is and the outreach you’ve obtained (it’s free and fairly easy to understand its interface). I can always tell when I am slacking on my posting when my number starts to slip.

So, I hope you all found something in here you can find useful. And a thanks to Annetta for allowing me to write a 2500-word article on how to be pithy and succinctly creative with social media! As I am sure many of you already know much of what I have written about (and I am sure there are plenty out there that might disagree or suggest better alternatives). Regardless, thanks for reading… now go share this article on your feed!

Timothy Smith is a professional Internet marketing consultant and owner of AASB Productions. With a 20-year background in computer sciences, Timothy has been helping individuals, non-profits and small-businesses understand how to use computers and the Internet to succeed and better communicate with the world. His recent focus is teaching and instructing others with the best practices of integrating social networking, blogging, and Web 2.0 with existing Web technologies.

He currently resides near Pinehurst, North Carolina with his wife and two dogs, Pepper & Kona.

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Monday Morning Quarterbacking

I was in a lovely conversation with a fellow writer who asked me about marketing and promotion. When you work a regular job and put in more than 40 hours a week; when you have a family who needs, craves, and actually LIKES your company; when every spare moment is dedicated to either working for a living or re-acquainting yourself with the progeny to which you gave birth or the person with whom you share a home; when any time above and beyond that is spent with the creatures who live inside your head, how do you find time to market and promote your work?

Tick-tock, tick-tock...all I have to worry about is my Evil Cat Overlord but trust me, I wish there were 12 more hours to the day.

It’s difficult enough to find enough time to write, much less pimp yourself out. And how effective is it to be an Internet ho? I don’t have the answers — all I know is what I’ve experienced, what I’ve learned from those who have come before me (and you will find some very helpful links to some amazing blogs on my sidebar) and what I have observed all my years in the writing biz. The number one thing to keep in mind when you’re angsting about selling books is:

THIS IS A MARATHON, NOT A SPRINT.

It's gonna take a while. And you'll need to drink a lot of fluids. Probably alcohol.

The best, most effective way to sell more books? Write more books. This is the secret most writers blow off, think it’s too simple or think it doesn’t matter. It does. You see, you hook someone on your book, and the first thing an avid reader is going to do is buy every single thing you have written. And they’re going to talk about it. Readers are very loyal and once they find an author they like, they would rather buy from them than someone new. It’s the truth and that’s what’s behind all the big name success stories you see in the news. Amanda Hocking? Has a shit-ton of work for sale. Joe Konrath? Barry Eisling? Same thing.

That’s not to say you don’t have to do ANY marketing. It just means without the material out there, it’s not going to be effective. You need books, short stories, novellas, on the market, more than one. The more you have, the more you sell, and the more you sell.

Not a hook like this. Using this kind of hook to get readers will lead to an arrest record. Don't ask me how I know.

Marketing can be a total time-suck, but there are things you can do that take very little maintenance. Here are some of my suggestions:

Your blog is a great start, but put links in your email signature. I like WiseStamp because you can link it to update automatically with your blog posts and Twitter feed. Don’t have a Twitter account? Get one. Use a service like Buffer (free) to capture pages you surf and to schedule automatic posts, but set aside a little bit of time to actually talk to people. Twitter takes time to establish, and it has evolved over the three years I’ve been on it. It’s social interaction and if you don’t interact, it won’t do you much good. But, it’s great for networking and support, even if it doesn’t sell a whole lot of books.

Support other writers. I am in an awkward position as an editor for some of the best books I’ve read this year. As an editor, it’s a conflict of interest for me to pimp my clients out, and that totally sucks. (Because really, what am I going to say? They suck? Of course not, plus if I don’t give every one the same amount of time, that will cause problems. PLUS, if I don’t like the story, what happens when I don’t pimp that one out? PLUS, I’m an editor, not a promoter and I barely have time to pimp myself out. I hate being in this position, I really do, but there it is. Other than a link on my site — I do that for all my clients, but that’s the most I can do. Although I do post guest posts. It’s a problem for me because I love all my clients and some of them are great friends, as well. *sigh*)

Yeah, we've been here before. I love you, but I can't pimp you. *sad face*

Goodreads — get yourself an author page on Goodreads, and hook it up to post your blog posts there, too. Same with an Amazon author page. Make it as easy on yourself as you can by taking advantage of the RSS feeds and that way, all you have to do is update your blog and it will update on Goodreads and Amazon. I’ll be updating Goodreads with a video trailer once it’s done for “Athena’s Promise”.

Here are mine:

Annetta’s Amazon Author Page

Annetta’s Goodreads Author Page

Shelfari is another good site to set up the same way.

Use as many “set it and forget it” options as you can.

Get your book in the hands of reviewers.

Put together a media kit. You only have to do it once, and you’ll use components of it over and over. Here’s how: How To Construct a Media Kit

Do you have a Facebook Fan page? I offer exclusive excerpts from my book — a couple of lines from every chapter, then some blurbs, then the cover…that’s the only place people can see them. I plan on offering the book trailer there first and then I’ll post two or three sample chapters on the blog when I get closer to launch, which will then update automatically to all the sites I just mentioned. Here’s my page so you can see what I’m talking about: Annetta’s Facebook Fan Page

Instead of devoting huge hunks of time to marketing, you’re much better served by setting up as much as you can that requires the least bit of attention and using the time to work on the next book, and the next, and the next. That is honestly my best advice.

WRITE THE NEXT BOOK.

Now, get going.

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Rants of a Random Nature

Well, you know me. A week isn’t complete unless I have a burr up my ass about something. I don’t even try to fight it anymore. I embrace my Inner Bitch, and the truth is, if I don’t let her out for some air she causes diarrhea, skin rashes and heart palpitations. It’s ugly.

And then I experience the urge to rip and tear. Which could get me arrested.

First of all, although I covered my feelings about marketing here, much to my relief I’m not the only one. Eden Baylee has also covered the subject especially how it applies to Twitter. You might even remember this blog post from a little while back.

Jeezum fecking cheeto, some people just don’t get it.

Of course, I understand I’m probably preaching to the choir here, and the people who really need to read posts like this are paying absolutely no attention to my foot-stomping, hair-pulling hissy fit. So be it.

Now knock it off before I have a rupture!

On to the next burr up my ass. I know you can’t wait.

Whiners.

You know who you are.

Oh, this is too DIFFICULT! It’s so HAAAAAAAAARD! I’m working my fingers to the bone, typing my deathless literature, and I’m so UNDERAPPRECIATED! My book isn’t selling, I don’t know what to do, Twitter sucks, Facebook sucks, Google+ sucks, it all sucks and it doesn’t work! Why can’t I sell material like Konrath or Hocking? ‘Cuz my stuff is just as good, NO! IT’S BETTER! My mother said so! I’m not doing this anymore! I’m taking my ball and I’M GOING HOME!

WAH WAH WAH!

Okay, now before I come across as some stone-cold bitch who never feels the same way, I do understand whining and crying and I do a fair amount of this myself. Yes, I sure do. And if you’re feeling as if you just can’t take the writing life one more minute and you want to quit, then take your frikken’ frackin’ ball and go home. Go on. Buh-bye. Please know I say this to you with all the love in my heart, but enough is enough.

However, if you are serious about this business, truly hooked through the nose by the drug of words, you’ll be back. Here are some suggestions on getting through the temporary urge to apply a flamethrower to your home office and take up yak-raising.

This is a yak. Notice the horns. Might be more dangerous than writing.

1. Try not to whine and cry in public (like on your blog. Or endless and irritating Tweets and FB updates). Oh, go ahead and impose upon your long-suffering friends and family, but you should probably go light on that, too. Why? Because you’re going to look like a real fool when you come crawling back. Plus, they’ve probably heard it too many times already and are likely on the edge of stabbing you in the liver with sporks. (Don’t ask me how I know this.)

2. If you just HAVE to get it out, then write it out. No one has to see it but you, but once you cough up that hairball you’ll probably feel better. Plus, you can read over all the melodramatic posturing at a later date (when you’re rich and successful) and laugh at what a Drama Queen you were.

3. Just like you would invest in any business, invest in your book. Yes, I know things are tight financially, who you telling? But do whatever it takes — barter, negotiate, learn the skills yourself — to make your book the best and most professional it can be. This means cover art, formatting and EDITING.

4. SHUT. THE FUCK UP. AND WRITE. The best way to market your work is to write the next book already! Why are you wasting valuable time obsessing over sales reports, social media sites and how many units you are moving? I know you have to do a certain amount of marketing and promotion, but the best thing you can do is just put your head down and write the next book…and the next…and the next. You get the point. Konrath and Hocking have a TON of material out there — what do you have? Get with the program.

There is a total misconception out there that the writing life is easy, glamorous and the ticket to fame, fortune and naked minions. It’s not the writing which is difficult if you are willing to put in the time and the work, it’s the business of writing which can be VERY difficult if you’re planning on doing it for a living. NEWSFLASH: You’re going to have to work. You’re going to have to expand your horizons and learn a wide variety of skills. You’re going to have to rid yourself of the misguided notion that this shit is easy and anyone can do it. Because that is not the case.

But most of all, you’re going to have to sit your ass in a chair, quit that infernal WHINING and WRITE.

This is the only "wine" I want to hear out of you. Now go write.
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Link Love: Sites Of Interest

It’s time for another edition of Link Love. Twitter is a great place to gank all kinds of websites, and I’ve included the most interesting here. To shake it up a bit, I’ve also included either the referring website or the Twitter profile of the people who were kind enough to Tweet these fabulous sites in the first place.

How eBooks and Digital Publishing will Disrupt Traditional Book Publishing from my good friend Angie Haggstrom at Freedom Freelance. It’s a great article that explores how digital publishing is impacting the traditional route.

All Things Harry Potter from openzine. If you’re a Harry Potter freak, this is the website for you.

Top Ten Dirtiest Hotels from fantomaster. If you travel, you’re going to want to know what to avoid. Ewww.

Check out this really great flash piece: Black Velveteen, Tweeted by eMuseZine.

Trapped by Monsters has a fabulous article regarding agents and Tommy’s Top Tips about them. Tweeted by the one and only, literary agent Colleen Lindsay.

The Dead by Billy Collins: Tweeted by Staci J. Shelton. It’s a fantastic piece of animated poetry. You’ll love it – I did.

Aesop’s Fables: An oldie but a goodie, Aesop’s Fables are a mainstay of inspiration. Thanks to Twitterer quips and tips.

Waiting: This was one of the most inspirational stories I’ve read in a long time. This is the first part; read on for a most satisfying conclusion. Thanks to Bronwyn at A Day in the (Fat) Life. One person CAN make a difference.

Free Celtic Music: Free Celtic Music in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, via Katadhin.

Great sites all; check them out, and if you’re not following the Twitterers, you should be. Lots of information, inspiration, and some free stuff thrown in for good measure.

I love the Interwebz.

:)

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#queryfail

I’ve thought long and hard, and I just have to weigh in on this. I’m fairly certain my opinion isn’t going to make me popular among some, but I’ve never given a rat’s ass what people thought of me, anyway. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, as long as it’s kept professional and respectful.

Therein lies the problem.

Last week on Twitter, a few NYC agents came up with a brilliant idea to have a “#queryfail” day. The hashtag gives the subject its own Twitter  “stream”, similar to a group chat. Keep in mind the “group chat” reaches thousands and thousands of people. Maybe millions, who knows? Anyway, the point of this chat group was to “educate” new writers what exactly causes a query to an agent to fail. Thus, “#queryfail”.

It sounds good, in theory. Didn’t go so well, in practice. You see, even though “identifiers” were not used, actual excerpts from the failed queries were. Snarky comments were made by not only agents, but other writers. Jokes, sniggers, and mocking were also known to have happened. (And before you even ask, yes, I Twitter, and yes, I read the stream. Some have accused those not such fans of #queryfail to have not read the stream.) What started out as a simple “education” process soon started to feel like recess in an elementary school, where the “cool” kids make fun of the “not-so-cool” kids. It got ugly, to the point one of the hostesses has recieved threatening letters.

How did it go so wrong? Well, to be sure, there were good things about it. I’ve edited hundreds of stories, a few novels, and even did stints as a guest editor for a couple of ezines. I can understand how frustrating it is for an agent to receive 26 queries only to find 24 of them didn’t follow guidelines. I can understand the need to vent, and the need to educate. What I fail to understand is the need to humiliate people in a public forum (and Twitter is about as public as you can get) and hide it under the term “educate”. Sure, names were not used, but the actual excerpts from the letters were, bringing up another issue of public domain and copyright. The snarky comments started slowly, then built up a head of steam resulting in a train wreck.

In order to be in this business, you need a thick skin. This is a given. Some aspiring writers are clueless, and while unfortunate, this is also a given. However, this was not a chat among agents and writers in a private room; this was in full public view, and I would hazard a guess it revealed a LOT more about the participants than it did about the poor hapless writers who have problems writing a query letter. I couldn’t help but wonder if this is what is done in public, what the hell goes on in private? But then, it’s private and I don’t have to know. I also wondered if these agents, who took time out of a busy day to skewer the hapless writer, ever took the time to contact the writer and tell them, in private and in a professional way, just what it was that made the query fail. Feel me?

It stirred up a hornet’s nest. There’s one faction that defends the practice, and another which is horrified and outraged, and worse yet, another faction that thinks sending “hate mail” or threats is the way to handle it. I think this may be an instance of good intentions paving the way to hell. There are just so many other constructive ways this could have been handled, rather than holding anonymous writers up for ridicule, even if that wasn’t the original intent. Even though I don’t have a query currently making the rounds, I was really shocked and horrified at some of the comments made. I wonder too, if agents start out like this or do they become burnt and bitter after years of people ignoring the guidelines and submitting to inappropriate markets?

Will there be another #queryfail? I don’t know. Probably. It seemed to be very popular. Which makes me very sad, not just as a writer or an editor, but as a person. There’s already enough negativity out there to wrestle with, and I was better off not knowing the darker side of people I had come to respect and admire. Not to mention elementary school is many years behind me, and rightfully so.

Or maybe… I wasn’t better off. Ignorance might be bliss, but it blisters your ass when you’re not looking.

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A New Dawn, A New Day

The Washington State Capitol in Olympia.
Image via Wikipedia

Of course, I was glued to the TV and the news channels for All Things Inaugural. It was an amazing experience, and I have to admit I was moved to tears and deeply touched, not to mention totally envious of people who were able to be there in the flesh.

I visited Washington once, when I was twelve, on a family vacation back in the early 70’s. I’ve never forgotten it, and I can only imagine how electric the atmosphere was during this historic event. Alas, I couldn’t be there, but thanks to the technology of not only television, but the live stream of Twitter, I still feel as if I were vested and actually a part of the celebration.

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Links of Interest – Wednesday Edition

The People I Follow On Twitter
Image by CC Chapman via Flickr

I’m not sure this is going to be a weekly thing, but we’ll ride this wave as far as it takes us. I typically visit a great deal of websites in the course of a day; some from dropping Entrecards (when I have the time) and sometimes when a Person of Interest uses Twitter to alert we tweeples to something cool, interesting or helpful.

So, for your pleasure, dear readers (I think there’s more than one, heh!) these are my favorites from the last week:

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Mondays Suck…

TIANJIN, CHINA - JANUARY 17: (CHINA OUT) A wor...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Oh, the life of a freelance writer. Doesn’t it sound glamorous? Fun? Easy? Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but sometimes it’s none of those things. It’s not like digging ditches, don’t get me wrong, but I’m willing to bet that a freelance writer can expend as much energy and get just as dirty as a ditch-digger.

Can I get an AMEN??

****

In my last post, I recommended making a list, checking it twice (go ahead and sing the rest of the song. I know you can’t resist, especially this time of year. You can cuss me out later) but remaining flexible. It’s too easy to lose your focus if you don’t have some kind of road map to guide you.

It will take you a bit of time to find your rhythym, and there will be plenty of distractions along the way. The phone will ring, someone knocks on the door, the kid throws up and has to be picked up from school, YOU throw up…the list is endless. Some things can’t be helped, but there are some factors you can control. (Not the puking, though. Sorry. Beyond your control.)

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Please, Get Me Though This Day!

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It’s a big transition from working for someone else to working for yourself. Not everyone is cut out for it; it takes discipline and Mad Organizational Skillz. A freelancer doesn’t have the luxury of waiting for the muse to hit. We all know she’s a tricky wench, and she’ll take a hike when you have most need of her. If you think freelancing is easy or doesn’t take a lot of time, think again.

Plan your day, but before you do that, determine which part of the day is most productive for you. Are you a morning person? Do you write better in the afternoon, or are you a night owl? It may take some time for you to figure out just what kind of a schedule works, but it’s imperative to recognize your work habits and utilize them to your best advantage.

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