|C. Kevin Thompson|
Friday, August 28, 2015
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Whenever we talk about his "peoples," my mind wanders to my "peoples" or my friends all over the world on social media. In case you didn't know, I'm a big fan of Twitter. I appreciate that Twitter allows follows without the obligatory follow back. Also, the 140 character limit and the list option makes for quick scrolling at different intervals throughout the day. It doesn't gobble huge chunks of my time like Facebook.
Recently, I was using JustUnfollow.com (now Crowdfireapp.com) to purge followers who immediately unfollow me or folks I follow who choose not to follow back for whatever reason. But, I must confess that I have never cleaned out my "inactive" followers, those people who haven't been active on twitter for three months or more.
Yowza! I probably spent an hour "unfollowing" and I was nowhere near the bottom of the list. Crazy.
Some didn't surprise me. Maybe they just decided that Twitter was one more distraction they didn't need, or they'd only tweeted a few times and Twitter just wasn't for them. But what did surprise me was the number of inactive users who had ten or twenty thousand or more followers.
|Image Courtesy of Pixabay|
I learned a few things that day.
What happened to all my peoples? I care about my online connections, but at some point, it becomes impossible to keep up with all of them. Reach out, pray, and let it go. And that brings me to the next point...
You can't be everywhere. Sure, you can try. But if you're like me, the more social media sites I'm on, the more overwhelmed I am. I really only maintain a bio on Google+ and LinkedIn, but that doesn't stop the notifications from bogging down my inbox. Invites to connect and being added to someone's circles just sets off my internal panic button. I'm rethinking this whole "be everywhere" philosophy. Would I be better off concentrating on just a couple sites? I think so. I may eventually deactivate my accounts.
Keep it clean. You're allowed to follow 2k people before a follower/following ratio kicks in. Once that happens, you won't be able to follow more people until more people follow you. Yes, I know, it's a vicious cycle. But Twitter sets it up to prevent aggressive spammers. Since doing this, I scheduled a few hours each month to update and purge my twitter account to accommodate that ratio.
How often do you purge your inactive followers or have you put that off like me?
What's your favorite social media hangout?
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Preslaysa: Life with small children comes with many challenges. There have been many times I walked the grocery store aisle with my two energetic children with a dazed, deer-in-headlights mama look on my face. Well-meaning people would come up to me and say: “Oh these are the best years of your life. Enjoy those little ones.” I’d think to myself: Umm, it’s kind of tough to enjoy anything right now when my son is wielding a breakable bottle of Kikkoman Soy Sauce and my daughter has maneuvered her way out of the child straps in the shopping cart.
But who am I to complain?
Aside from these (very frequent) moments, I enjoy being around my children. They are cute and funny and shockingly wise at times. I also enjoy writing. For me, these two activities have shaped the grown up version of me (Preslaysa: version 2.0). However, it’s a daily challenge to squeeze in the mothering and the writing in one day. When I awaken each morning an internal clock starts its countdown. This internal clock reminds me I have only so many hours to do the following:
· Quiet Time
· Fill my daily writing quota
· Fill my daily editing quota
· Do any social media/blog promotion tasks
· Do homeschool lessons with the children
· Read some good storybooks to the children
· Oversee and assist my son’s violin practice
· Oversee and train my children to do a simple chore or two
· Manage the inevitable child tantrum(s) or sibling squabble(s).
· Do my daily chores
· Do my weekly chores
· Update the budget, pay bills, etc.
· Read a novel
· And oh yeah, take a shower, brush my teeth and get dressed or something…
I’m pretty sure you, Mama Writer, have a pretty full plate too. Here are 5 ways to ensure you thrive both as a mom and as a writer.
1) Have a dedicated writing space. As moms, we spend a lot of time in giving mode and very little time nurturing our creative spirit. Set aside a space in your home that is off limits to children. A “room of your own” to quote Virginia Woolf. It doesn’t have to be a full room, but a small desk or table away from the main activity of the family will do. You don’t always have to write in that space, of course, but knowing it’s waiting for you provides a psychological boost. You are telling yourself that the work you do as a writer matters, regardless of whether you are published or pre-published.
2) Steal time. This is one of my favorite techniques for writing. When my children are playing or eating or napping, I pull out my handy dandy notebook and start writing, or I’ll pull out a page from a rough draft and start editing. These little moments add up quickly.
3) Carry a notebook or index cards around with you. Collect ideas for stories or blog posts, lines of dialogue, character snippets, and rough scene outlines for later use. This will help guard against that mythical idea called “writer’s block.” When you sit down to write, you’ll have a bunch of ideas ready to flesh out. If you use index cards, make sure they are attached to a ring binder for ease of use.
4) Use a Timer. I *heart* timers. It keeps me on track during the day. I have two timers: one for upstairs and one for downstairs. I also have a timer on my wristwatch. (I’m a little obsessive about timers!) For 2015, I recently found a great Google Extension called Stay Focused which will block me out of social media sites after I filled my daily time limit quota on sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. I tell you, Stay Focused made me quickly prioritize how I spend my time on social media! These tools alone have kept me more focused and less idle. They’ve empowered me to actually do the work that shapes my greater calling as a wife, mom and writer.
5) Use checklists. I am also a checklist person. It’s not because I am particularly organized; I am quite the opposite. Checklists are my taskmaster. I’ve created a checklist that maps out my normal morning, afternoon and evening routines. I don’t follow my checklists to a T, and that’s okay. I can go to bed with and unfinished checklist and not have any guilt. I have another day to accomplish those tasks. However, if I didn’t have the checklist there to remind me, I’d be all scrambled up! Checklists simply tell me to do what matters whenever I am prone to get lost in the World Wide Web. Checklists are a girl’s best friend.
There you have it: five easy ways to manage a writing life and motherhood. What have you done to manage this Great Balancing Act?
Preslaysa Williams (pronounced press-lay-suh) is a novelist and expert multi-tasker. She writes and edits fiction while her children nap and reads novels during her (almost) daily walks. A 2013 ACFW Genesis finalist and a 2014 ACFW Genesis semi-finalist, she writes inspirational romance and middle grade fiction of the happily ever after sort. Visit her online at www.preslaysa.com
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
|Sandra D. Bricker|
I published a total of six books with Summerside Press/Ellie Claire, only to watch helplessly as the two companies were dissembled like an automobile sold for parts. Then came River North Fiction. After two books with them, Moody made the choice to discontinue their fiction line. The same happened with B&H Fiction around the time that my Christmas book was released. And just recently, my most loyal and beloved publishing home—Abingdon Press—delivered the too-familiar bad news. After nine novels with them … no more fiction.
Yes, I know. It would appear to be a pattern snapping at my heels; but I’m fairly certain I haven’t singlehandedly brought about the destruction of Christian fiction as we know it! Instead, multiple contributing factors have intersected and brought about severe climate change in the publishing industry that makes it necessary for writers to be more adaptable to change than ever before.
When I first accepted the position of managing editor for BLING!, a romance imprint under the Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas umbrella, many of the agents out there didn’t want their authors considering us. Despite the fact that LPC pays substantial royalties an author could never get with a traditional publisher, the concern was about sales numbers and the impact on future contracts. However, in the last six months, I’ve had half a dozen name authors approach me about BLING! Why? Because they’re less concerned with what the traditional publishers will think than with the idea of getting their content out to their readers.
In that vein, after the final blow of losing my connection to Abingdon, I started thinking like many of my counterparts and did what I never thought I would do either: I took “the book of my heart” to LPC.
Moments of Truth is not what my readers (or publishers) typically get from me. Romance? Of course. Christian thread? Naturally. But there was a lot more latitude I might not have been afforded with a traditional house. The luxury of being able to write straight from my own life experience and apply my Christian purview to it was liberating in ways I hadn’t expected. How readers and reviewers respond to it will, of course, factor into my decisions about how/if to proceed as an author, but the experience has been fulfilling and illuminating.
Meanwhile, I’m also preparing a project that readers will hear more about in October, but self-publishing options have enabled me to continue telling stories revolving around my Another Emma Rae Creation series in a fairly unique and interactive way. I’m not sure I could have done that with any confidence of success a few years ago. Or even one year ago.
Convinced that this is the YEAR OF THE PIONEER in the publishing world, I’m eager to watch trends and talk to other writers and hear from readers about what might come next. I’m not exactly the most adventurous spirit you’ll ever meet … but in this case, I feel like I’m up for anything. How about you, writers? … And what say you, readers? What shall we do for you next?
|About the Author|
attended school to learn screenwriting and eventually taught the craft for several semesters. When she put Hollywood in the rearview mirror and headed across the country to take care of her mom until she passed away, she traded her scripts for books, and an award-winning author of LIVE-OUT-LOUD fiction for the inspirational market was born. Sandie is best known for her Another Emma Rae Creation and Jessie Stanton series for Abingdon Press. As an ovarian cancer survivor, she gears time and effort toward raising awareness and funds for research, diagnostics and a cure.
|Moments of Truth|
by Sandra D. Bricker
Monday, August 24, 2015
All Things New
Some of you may know that in addition to being a writer, I am also blessed to have spent twenty-seven years educating children as a public school teacher, and am currently in my third year as a school administrator at a local intermediate school. As I head into the second full week of this new school year, I am warmed by the eager smiles on the faces of the young children that are entrusted to my care each day. These youngsters have a passion for life and learning, as well as an eagerness for all of the adventures yet to come. There is a pep in their step and an enthusiastic, sing-song tone to their voice as they wish me good morning. It’s a wonderful thing…a true blessing to me as I greet them at the front doors of the school as the sun rises each weekday. I watch them rush down the hall, their backpacks filled with fresh supplies and textbooks, and wonder what each child might grow up to become. Every day is important; each moment—every word—counts.
Friday, August 21, 2015