Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Social Media, Passion, Goals, Restart

It is hard to believe the first week of March in nearly over. Where does the time go? Who else finds it hard to keep up with all the social media sites you've joined? Surely, there is a better way to keep track of what, when and where in the seemingly endless chasm that is online promotion and marketing. Admittedly, I am about as scatter-brained as they come these days. I make notes - many, many notes. I begin each month with very specific plans and notes - can't forget the notes - only to find myself thrashing about in the dark waters of the dreaded over-scheduled month. How did that happen, again? I did it to myself.

Does it seem impossible to write while trying to connect and keep up with that long list of social media sites you've joined? What happens when we can't keep up? As I see it, we doom ourselves to fail. I don't see this failure as some horrid dream-ending monster. No. I believe we can take a step back and look at what we have done to ourselves - self-imposed failure, as it were. The good news is that this type of failure is simple enough to correct. You see, if we do/did it to ourselves, we are the ones in control of the outcome. No outside entity has swooped in to steal our time away. We - YOU - are in control.

I would suggest taking a day away from technology of all sorts. Unplug from the world around you. Find a quiet spot where no one will interrupt you, grab a tablet and an ink pen and elucidate your goals. It is important that you know and write down your goals. I'm not talking about daydreams. I mean those goals that you intend to work toward with a burning desire fueled by your passion. Once you know what they are, you can set them down on paper and decide what you will do to realize them. The course is different for each of us.

For instance, let's say you'd like to write a short story by the end of next month. That is doable, right? Of course it is, until you are swamped with work from your day job, bombarded by requests from volunteer groups or family members who have decided this is the month they'll find something to fill your every waking moment. On top of this, you have normal home/yard chores to complete. Oh, you almost forgot the the promotion you need to do for your last book. Exhausted yet?

Now back to your goals list. It can be as short or as long as you'd like it to be. There are no rules here; it is your list - your life. I have to admit, I find it best to work on short-term goals. When the list is too long or too far out, it seems less attainable. Of course it isn't, it just seems that way. This is why shorter lists work best for me. In order to complete a short story by the end of next month and do the other things that don't fall under the umbrella of author tasks, you'll have to decide what days you'll write and how many words you'll need to write before typing 'The End'. Let's say your story will be 12,000 words and you are only able to write two days out of each week between now and the end of next month. That comes out to be approximately 750 words per day or 1500 words each week. Not hard at all when you break it down like that. Looking at this post alone, to this point it tallies near 600 words. In this instance, I'm praying my lack of mathematical skills is not showing.

So, clear your calendar for part of those two days each week and set a goal to write a given number of words per day. Some days you'll write more and some you'll write less. It should balance out in the end. You may even surprise yourself and write an entire novel. Carry a tablet, recorder or laptop to doctor's visits, children's soccer games and wherever else you go. You'll be able to write while waiting.

Social Media

This is where I struggle. It is increasingly difficult to keep up with all the promotion and marketing it takes for an author to be seen in the sea of new authors out there. We have to be careful that the undertow doesn't pull us so far out that we lose sight of our passion. Writing is the passion. More often than not, social media is how readers discover authors today. That means, no matter how you feel about it, you must be out there interacting with people online.

I'm no expert on social media. However, there are those who are quite adept at standing out online. These are a few, there are many more out there. Follow them on Google +, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Goodreads, AUTHORSsB, Pinterest or wherever else you can find them. They offer great advice for nothing and if you find you still cannot keep up, many have an affordable plan to help you.

  • Master Koda Promotions (Publisher, Marketing & Promotions +. Master Koda Select Publishing is also the publisher for my upcoming Rough Hewn Trilogy.)
  • Kristen Lamb (Author of We Are Not Alone - The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer.) 
  • Advantage Marketing for You (WP Customization, Webhosting, Websites Services, Consultation, Virtual Assistance, Podcasting, Voice Overs & Audio/Video Editing, Magazine Ad Creation, Ebook and CD Cover Creation, Banner and Button Creation) 
A simple online search will uncover numerous social media experts who freely share tips on creating an online platform.
We need to adjust our lists, not our passions or dreams. Again, YOU are in control. If you've fallen behind, give yourself permission to 'restart'. Create a path to reach your goal that is doable for you, one that fits into your life plan. Remember to ask for help when you need it. Let's face it we are only human.


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