Tag Archives: social networking

Going with the burn-out flow

IMG_1851About a year and a half ago, I realized I was experiencing social networking burn-out. It just got worse and worse.

I referred to my own blog about this problem, and tried the tips I’d written myself: Avoiding blog burn-out.

I tried more tricks:

Trim the blogs I subscribe to

Don’t blog as much

Don’t get on social networking so much

When on social networking, don’t spend as much time there

I exercised more. Made more art. Stepped outside. Read more. Socialized more.

Nothing helped. I was still burned out, and I couldn’t kick it.

And then, after a recent phone conversation with Elizabeth H. Cottrell of Heartspoken– to discuss my burn-out – it finally occurred to me (can you say, “Duh”?).

My life changed about a year and a half ago, and my energies were being funneled into new and challenging activities.

I started a new job in the summer of 2014. Learning a new job (with about an hour of training from the previous gal) took a toll. I love the job, but it can be exhausting.

I started going to a university class, fall 2014. It was only one class a semester, but it was a lot of work.

Then, the summer of 2015, I started tap dance lessons (yes, at 57 y.o.). Tap was always something I wanted to do, and now I’m doing it.

And this semester I’ll be taking two classes at Minot State University, so I’ll have even less time to social network and blog.IMG_1846

While Elizabeth did give me some great ideas for a new direction for my blog, I’ll tell you right now – I won’t be blogging as much. And I won’t be feeling guilty about it.

I have new priorities, so I took a look at blogging and realized it’s just not a huge priority now. While I will blog occasionally, I just won’t be popping up in your feed as much as I did before.

 

 

Photos by me from Lake Metigoshe, Summer, 2015.

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Avoiding blog burn-out

burnEven if you love blogging, there will come a day when you are near burn-out. Or maybe you have already crashed and burned.

Try to notice the signs of an imminent burn out. Intervention time!

I see it in myself. I sometimes agonize over what to write for my next blog.

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Same ole, same ole

Are you blogging only about writing? Or editing? Or social networking woes?

Try something different!

Do a blog of inspirational quotes (make your own with
background and script at Quozio).A-poet-can-survive

Post inspirational artwork.

Take pictures and then post your photos.

Invite guest bloggers.

Tell a funny story about your childhood.

Genre rut

You write sci fi so you follow sci fi blogs exclusively. No, nada, niet!

Go look for poetry, women’s lit, romance, horror, or western blogs! Yes, western!

Try something different, pilgrim.john_wayne

SSDD

“Same shit, different day.”

Have you been following the same blogs for months and months?

A good way to find new blogs is to connect with other commenters on the great blogs you follow or via guest writers on these blogs.

Go outside writing

If you are following a poo-pile of writing blogs, go look for blogs that are non-writing.

Try art blogs or yoga blogs or hiking blogs.

How about photography or watercolor or pottery?

What about cooking or dance?

Or better yet, take a class in art, yoga, photography, cooking, or dance.

danceAsk a question

On your Facebook page, ask a question like, “What do you do when you have writer’s block?” or “What one thing must I remember for a book signing?” or “What do you do when you have no idea for your next blog?”

You will probably get enough comments to create your next blog post (save the FB comments!).

Fun, fun, fun

Stop worrying about your blog and go out and have some fun!

See Susannah Friis’s blog post about having Fun Fun Fun.

Take a vacationst thomas

I’m not talking to Maui or St. Thomas (though those would be nice).

I’m talking a vacation from blogging. Just decide to take a month off and then stick to it.

Have you ever experienced blog burn out? What do you do to avoid burn out or get over burn out?

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Trading favors and your integrity

chain linksDang if I wasn’t chatting online with Lara Schiffbauer (of Motivation for Creation fame) about being uninspired (me), when another LinkedIn endorsement from a stranger popped up in my inbox.

LinkedIn

My LinkedIn profile (what I wrote) is all true. And many people are endorsing me for skills that I have.

But I wonder why strangers endorse me. I have never met these people, have never edited or proofread them, have never seen them comment on my blog, am not connected with them on FB or Twitter. Do they expect a return endorsement?

Stranger Danger!

Why endorse someone who is a stranger, a person you know nothing about? Why endorse a person for editing if you have never seen the fruits of their editing labors? I just don’t get it (and don’t do it either).

Selling out, trading favors

If Jane Doe endorses a book (trading an I’ll promote your book if you promote my book), I look at that book and other books she’s endorsed. If she endorsed a stone-cold-loser book, then I can’t trust her any more. Or if she is endorsing five books a day, I wonder.

See also The line in the social media sand – that’s your integrity, with guest Therese Pope of Zenful Communications.

Facebook Fan Pages70s-platform-shoes

People trade likes – you like my page, I’ll like yours. All good.

But after I like your page, you’d better give me something of substance. Post after post of quotes from your Amazon reviews or how your book is doing in the ratings (mememememe), and I’m strapping on my boogie shoes. I’ve been a little lax on my FB page lately – need to put on my boogie shoes!

See also Is your fan page a little flat?

tweetTwitter

I find myself spending less and less time here, because it seems that many people are, 1) promoting only themselves, 2) tweeting quotes from their book reviews over and over, 3) boring me to tears.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I, 1) post my blog links, many of which are guests, 2) tweet vocabulary, 3) re-tweet what I find helpful or inspiring.

What are you tweeting?

See also Twitter-quette – it’s my turn.

Liar-liar-pants-on-fire promotions fire

Do you want to be known as sincere, believable, someone with integrity?

Or do you want to be for sale, cheap?

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Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value. ~Albert Einstein

A pure hand needs no glove to cover it. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

Who lies for you will lie against you. ~Bosnian Proverb

A lie has speed, but truth has endurance. ~Edgar J. Mohn

All quotes from Quote Garden.

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How to play well with others – your guest post

DSC01091Your guest post

Your blog host accepts your blog idea and gives you a deadline. You are scheduled to be a guest on another blog. Fabulous! Don’t simply drive in, drop the article, and drive away.

Now the work begins. Make it shine!

Deadline – Your host tells you, “Please have your submission to me by January 15.” Make sure it’s in her inbox by that date. Better if you have it to her before the deadline.

Dress it up – Don’t send a slopped-together article. Clean it from top to bottom. Wipe the glass. Scrub the tires.

Check the mirror – Proofread, edit for clarity, adhere to word count, include all the information your host asked for. In addition to the article, your host asks for your bio, a profile picture, and your URLs. Don’t make her come back and beg you for them. Submit these as attachments to the submission email.

The extrasDSC01106

BIO – Your host asks for a 50-word bio. Don’t send a two-page resume and expect her to edit.

PIC – A profile picture – Have one. Have a recognizable profile photo, not you amongst 37 cousins at your last family reunion.

URLs – I keep all my URLs in a list, so I don’t have to retype them every time.

Post Day

Share and promote – Make a post on your own blog that directs subscribers to your host’s blog. Go to the host’s blog page and click all the buttons to share it, tweet it, Facebook it, etc.

Socialize – Visit the host’s blog over the next few days and look for comments. Respond to comments. Be nice. Don’t embarrass your host.

Kenton and ShawnA dud – It your guest post is successful, great! If not, don’t go off pouting or FBing “Why isn’t anyone commenting on my guest post?!” You posted it to your blog, FB, Twitter, and so on. Let it sit for a day. Then consider posting it to your Facebook again.

Send a thank you – Even when I thought Laura’s 10th birthday party was a dud, my mom made me send a thank you note. It’s the right thing to do. Send a thank you to your host.

When in doubt, remember what mom said. Sit up straight, mind your manners, say thank you.Kenton washing car

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See also Blog guidelines, Hosting a guest blogger, and The guest blog query.

This is the last post in the series about guest blogging. Are you psyched to have a guest blogger or be a guest blogger?

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“The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you.”  ~John E. Southard

“Praise the bridge that carried you over.” ~George Colman

“There is no such thing as gratitude unexpressed. If it is unexpressed, it is plain, old-fashioned ingratitude.” ~Robert Brault

Quote Garden

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Is your fan page a little flat?

Fan Page Research

I’ve been conducting considerable research on Facebook Fan Pages. I communicated with 36 fan page owners/administrators and asked them a pile of questions about what worked and what didn’t work on their fan pages.

Small and Large

I connected with small and large businesses from small specialty shops to non-profit organizations, writers and publishers, illustrators and photographers, local restaurants, small business entrepreneurs, social media strategists, and sales and marketing gurus.

Shocking Feedback

A lot of the feedback from fan page owners shocked me – many of these fan page owners activated their fan page without any idea of what to put on the fan page. And now up, they haven’t paid their fan page much attention.

Watching Fan Pages

I read dozens of websites and blogs on how to make a fan page successful. I have observed dozens of fan pages and noted which posts generate feedback and comments and which do not.

Fan Page Pffttt

Are you trying to engage your fans or posting links and getting just one or two comments?

Is there an echo on your fan page?

Here are a few quick fixes

Change your banner photo once a week. Keep it fresh.

Always, always include a good photo (or at least a link) with each post. Use photos that are clear, crisp, centered, edited, titled.

Either/Or – Ask a question that warrants a simple answer. Like “Harry Potter or Hardy Boys?” or “Do you send a text to say thank you, or do you create a hand-written note?” or “Turkey or Ham for the holiday dinner?”

Once you post a comment or question on the fan page, follow the post (don’t post and run). Interact with followers, answer their questions, have a dialog.

Create “theme weeks” or “special events” for your fan page. Google online calendars, but don’t use only national holidays – get creative.

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I am almost ready to launch my own fan page to test some of my research. I will be sharing others’ expert websites, fan pages, tips, and tricks to engage your fan page fans. Stay tuned!

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Were you always picked last in gym class? My three cents on self-promotion.

This blog was originally posted in September, 2011, and was recently discovered by friend and writer, Heather L. Reid. So I thought I would resurrect it.

Heather has a book launch next year, Pretty Dark Nothings, and she has a way cool website.

I edited the Two Cents blog and made it Three Cents. Because, well, I’m a better writer now, and I have more sense.

Recommending books

I make it a habit to recommend only books I’ve read and loved – when I think they are brilliant or if I liked them. I have a small posse of followers who trust me when I say a book is a “must read” or a “good read.” To maintain integrity and honesty, I can’t make myself retweet a book promotion or post it to my FB when I haven’t read the book. I will recommend the writer’s blogs and blog posts.

Writers promoting

Just to be clear, friends, I’m all for writers promoting other writers – that’s how the word gets out. But I am not jiggy with the writers who bang-bang-bang their own drum over and over. Like a woodpecker at 4:30 a.m. on a sleep-in Saturday.

The Rule of Three  

My writer-pal Shawn MacKenzie and I had a conversation on appropriate give-and-take (the conversation was last year, but it still holds). Shawn and I promote each other because 1) we appreciate it, 2) we say Thank You, and 3) we pay it forward – not only to each other but to writers who have earned our respect.

Like you? I don’t even know you  

Reminds me of the old joke, “Tissue? I hardly know you!” While I have relaxed my stance on liking Fan Pages, I do not like begging “please please please like my page” missives. I may be friends with over 500 people, but if I never hear from you, ever, and then you write me to promote your page or book, I think, “What have you done for me lately?”

Read my review

If I’m not interested in your book, why should I read another review? If I am looking for a new book, I’m most apt to look for the genres I prefer or ask trusted friends what they have read and enjoyed. And honestly, with all the fall-out over book reviews lately, I am even more likely to disregard most reviews.

11,986 other books  

“My book just went from 12,429 to 11,987 on _________ [fill in review site here]!” Since your book is 11,987 then I have 11,986 other books to read before I get to yours. When it gets to the top hundred, then I might be interested.

Free give-away of my book

I’ve seen a pile of these give-aways, and I check them out. Who doesn’t like a free book? Please make it easy for us. I still remember one give-away – all I had to do was 1) like her page, 2) make a comment on her page, 3) follow her on Twitter, 4) mention the give-away on Twitter, 5) and sign up for her newsletter … oh, is that all?

Friend mills  

“Please like me so I can get 250 fans.” So, you don’t care who likes you or if they have read your book, you just need 250 fans. I’ve seen this carried as far as “I have a bet with a friend to see who can get the most fans.” If you win the bet, I get what? A new crock pot would be nice – I lost mine in the flood.

The whining why  

I saw a guy post his book and ask for tweets. Then he actually came back and said (to an online group) “Why aren’t you tweeting my book?” Um, because you are a nincompoop?

Blogging about me

News flash – you may not be the center of the universe.

I’ve seen thousands of blogs that are not blogs at all – they are self-promoting, self-marketing me-mes. Give me tips I can use, give me suggestions that are helpful, give me inspiration I’d want to share with other writers.

Sneaking it in  

Like a smelly silent one in an elevator. I have observed writers that no matter where they post a comment, they have to sneak in a little tid-bit about their book (with a link of course). Unless it relates directly to the blog post, knock it off.

Facebook THANK YOU!!!!!

You connect with someone on some form of social networking. So, you friend them on Facebook. Next thing ya know there is this big-ass post on your FB page announcing your new friendship and a link to their book. Ick. If you haven’t noticed, I delete these posts. And oft, unfriend.

Unsolicited email lists

Don’t add a stranger to your email list. Several writers have done this to me because I made the mistake of corresponding with them. Seconds later, I get a pile of auto-emails, “Read my book!” “Like my fan page!” A personal reply would be much better.

What irks you in the social networking scene? What uncomfortable situations have you personally experienced in social networking? What social media behavior pisses you off?

“When science discovers the center of the universe, a lot of people will be disappointed to find they are not it.” ~Bernard Baily

“A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.” ~Benjamin Franklin

Opening photo by C. Christine Roberts (my d-in-law). Additional photo by hardstyle_1993 via Photobucket. Quotes from Quote Garden.

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The writing life is like Family Court, only Family Court was more fun

This blog post was inspired by Vaughn Roycroft’s post What Building My House Taught Me About Writing.

In Vaughn’s post he said: “Writing a book is a big undertaking. Are there projects from your past that prepared you for your writing journey? Building our house was one of mine.”

For some odd, screwed-up reason, I thought of all the years I spent in Family Court, mostly at the behest of my screwed-up ex. You should have seen our file. Or rather, files. If I sneezed in the ex’s direction, he hauled me back into court.

And, yeah, I would say that my multi-year Family Court project prepared me for this writing life. Though none of my writing friends has pointed a shotgun in my face, smashed my 35mm camera with a hammer, or slashed my favorite dress with a razor blade. Not yet.

Wonderful people

There were some wonderful people in Family Court. People that helped me. People that commiserated with me. People that held my hand while I cried on their shoulder. Writing is exactly like that when you have the awesome writing friends like I have.

Funny in a bad-sort-of-way people

I met a few funny people in Family Court. Mostly in the waiting areas. If you observe long enough (and if you are waiting to see a judge, you’ll wait a long time), you can discover who is glaring at what ex. And who should be approached with caution!  Same goes for the writing life.

Outrageous fakery

Some witnesses tell the most outrageous lies and literally made me laugh out loud. You really shouldn’t laugh in front of a judge. If you watch people and their campaigns on Facebook or Twitter and see what they post over and over, you know what I mean.

No matter what you do, there will be one person out to get you

You can be nice, give of yourself, and make sacrifices, and there is one special person who would prefer to eat you up and spit you out. Doesn’t matter what you do, there will be that “one person.”

Egos

People that fight for attention – nearly every post or tweet is about them, their book, their Fan Page! There are people who think self-promotion is the ticket to gather favor in the court (or in writing and publishing). But they are really just stroking their egos.

Liars

Mostly my ex, who lied to get what he wanted. But also a couple of his witnesses. Just like writing – a smattering of people are here for their own gain while the bulk of people are here for the good of the babies, our stories.

Struggle and giving it up for a friend

Every freaking little bit of Family Court was a struggle. You want the love seat, too? Then you’ll have to give up the coffee table. You want the birthday weekend? Then you’ll have to give up Thanksgiving weekend. If you see a friend in need, give it up and help out! You can get back to your own baby tomorrow.

The paperwork is endless

It’s writing letter after letter (blog after blog, query after query); social networking; saving critical blog posts for a rainy day; saving information on e-pubbing for the “I’m-ready-to-publish” day; developing meaningful relationships with people that are helpful and really believe you; waiting for good news or bad news to come in the mailbox.

Stories, Family Court has a million of them

Some stories go on and on when you would like to chop them to bits with a butcher knife. Or a machete. Yeah, a machete.

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Thanks, Vaughn Roycroft, for the inspiration.

In the sixth grade, Vaughn’s teacher gave him a copy of The Hobbit, sparking a lifelong passion for reading and history. After college, life intervened. Vaughn spent twenty years building a successful business before his return to writing. Now he spends his days polishing his epic fantasy trilogy.

Connect with Vaughn on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to read Vaughn’s What Building My House Taught Me About Writing.

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What arduous projects prepared you for the writing life? Did you expect the writing life to be so tough?

Photos, Photobucket – Reactionkc26, Ylva51, Byrdeth

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