What’s next? Do you know?

standard August 14, 2012 2 responses

What’s next?

Valid question right? One we probably ask ourselves countless times a day. It doesn’t usually lead to a stressful answer. Tea or coffee, lunch, nap, a walk, how about that next task that needs handling, maybe even the everlasting laundry. There’s always something next.

The question starts to get a little more daunting when you look a bit further than the next 10, 15, 20 minutes ahead. What’s next for tomorrow? For next week? For next year? Heck, how about the next 10 years?

Are you heading where you want to go? Are you on the path you always thought you’d want to be on?

It’s so damn easy to get caught in the maelstrom of the day to day chaos. So easy to get stuck in the quagmire of stuff that needs to get done now. You lose the big picture. You lose your ‘why,’ your end goal.

And how do you combine living in the now, not frittering away the tiny important moments with keeping an eye on the big picture? Is it possible to enjoy the trees while noticing the forest?

At the end of the day my goal has always been, will always be, to write novels. I’m a storyteller. I tell stories here on my blog, on Twitter, on Facebook, and yes, in books. Only the job of a storyteller has changed over the years. It’s no longer enough to just tell stories. You also have to market them. And I get lost in the marketing.

And if we’re fair, I also get lost in the quest for the ever elusive dollar.  Because storytelling, much like parenting, might be incredibly fulfilling and time intensive, but it doesn’t exactly fill coffers.

Every so often I catch myself chasing the wrong carrot, turning down the wrong path, losing my perspective.

Social media marketing is a means to an end for me, has always been so, and I need to remember that as the pull to turn it into more tugs at me. Anyone who’s ever been on Facebook knows how strong that pull can be. If you work in the space the pull is even stronger, the web even stickier.

My goals are not your goals, which are not her goals, which are not his goals. I need to remember what my goals are so I can stay true to them and to me. So I can stay happy.

I can do more than one thing at a time. But I still need to keep that end goal in mind so I remember why all of this matters. So I remember why I bother in the first place. 

9 Great Reasons to Jump On the Pinterest Bandwagon

standard July 19, 2011 5 responses

You might have heard about Pinterest, a hot new social media service started by – who else – some Bay Area guys. It’s like Stumble and flickr had a baby and the baby was way better than the sum of its parents. Oh, and it’s going to be your biggest addiction since Twitter and Facebook combined. I kid you not.

You might be thinking “who needs another social media addiction?”

Other than the obvious answer, (Uh, who doesn’t?) here are 9 great reasons to click over and see for yourself.

1)  You love mouthwatering photos of foods you’ll never really attempt to cook, but like to think that in another life you might have. You know. If you had more time or got off the computer some days.

2) You need great photos and quotes to inspire you to work off the virtual calories you inhaled with #1.

3) You lap up photos of adorable crafts you’ll never do with your kids.

4) You enjoy torturing yourself with endless party ideas that you’ll entertain while pretending that you next party will not involve an open bag of chips, store bought cupcakes, and juice boxes.

5) You have a secret fetish you never give in to… except in images. (Shoes anyone?)

6) You can’t get enough of pictures of all the places you want to see around the world, but worry that you’ll never visit other than virtually from your couch.

7)  You love to drool over awe-inspiring images of homes and home decor that you might one day aspire to… you know… if you can ever get control of the mess in your home.

8) You love to drool over awe-inspiring organization solutions that might make you one day arrive at #7 if you could ever get off your couch and put them into effect.

9) You want to see countless photos of puppies, kittens, babies, llamas, sea otters, and a million other adorable things. (aka, welcome distraction from ever considering putting anything from #1,2, 3, 4, 6, 7, or 8 into effect.)

Come on, you know you want to Pin this…

Join us. You won’t regret it. (Leave a comment if you want an invitation!)

Social Media Moms doing their best to help kids in Japan

standard March 21, 2011 1 response

My kids are fast asleep in their soft, warm, cozy beds. They had a good dinner with desert. They even got to play in a tub filled with bubbles and toys. Then, when it was time for bed, they got cuddles, kisses, and M and I sang to them after turning out the lights.

My kids are blessed.

In Japan, tonight 100,000 children are displaced from their homes.

One hundred thousand. 

Because of the time of the Earthquake it’s believed that many of those kids are without their parents. They would have been at school or daycare when the disaster occurred.

My kids have watched a tiny bit of the footage of the Japan disaster. On the first day I had the TV on because I was watching for our own Tsunami scare and they caught some dribs and drabs. We’ve been fielding questions ever since.

Over three years ago we had a minor-ish earthquake here. The house started shaking moments after we’d finally gotten both kids to sleep. M ran to get C out of her crib as I grabbed Little L, an infant at the time, out of her bouncy. We stood, all four of us huddled in the same doorway, holding tight to each other as the whole house shook around us.

That night I felt utterly helpless. For weeks I made sure we all slept with doors wide open so no one would get trapped in a room in the case of a worse incident. But we were fine. The next day we all went to work as usual. The only thing left to remind us of that quake are a few cracks in the walls.

The Japanese had an earthquake thousand times more powerful, and when it was done a massive tsunami washed over them.

Three years ago my two-year-old was traumatized by a little “shaky shaky” that ended with her safe in her own crib an hour later. I just can’t fathom how terrified and traumatized those 100,000 Japanese kids are today.

It makes me want to go hug kids and sing lullabies until I’m hoarse.

Stephen McDonald, who is leading Save the Children‘s team in Japan, said the most pressing worries for children living in evacuation centers were lack of water and psychological problems associated with trauma and stress.

We can’t all rush over there to hug little kids, but we can give up our morning coffee to send a little bit of money to help Save the Children do what they do best – help the children.

A large group of Social Media Moms and I are teaming up today to help spread the word. Come help us. Tell your friends. Tell your readers. Tell your followers and ask them to tell their friends. Send them to this link http://bit.ly/SMMJapan and let’s see if we can bring some much needed water, food, and comfort to those 100,000 kids.

It takes time…

standard September 20, 2010 1 response

By nature writing is solitary work that most often requires quiet or at the most a mild background hubbub. We might not all need to go all Walt Whitman on the world, but it does help to have a few minutes when our brains aren’t being bombarded with noises, words, requests, pings, or anything else. When the outside world is shut out the ideas can play together, feed off each other, and finally grow into something interesting or even worth writing down.

I’m always perplexed by novels written by a team of writers. How do they do it? Do they talk out each paragraph? Do they divvy up chapters, each taking one home to work on quietly? I can hash out ideas with people, discuss plot points over a glass of wine or a hot cup of coffee, but when my fingers hit the keys, I need to be alone inside my brain in order to make the words sound right.

For the longest time it was understood that novelists worked alone, as recluses, as long as they needed to hammer out their tales. That was the norm. Writer = slightly loner type who spends countless hours away from the rest of the world. Fine.

Then the Internet was born and Social Media emerged.

Now avid fans look up favorite authors on Twitter and Facebook. They search websites for email addresses. And they get frustrated if they don’t find that person online. In today’s world, if you’re not online, you don’t exist. Unless you’re Stephen King. He’s allowed to be offline. (And even he has a bit of a blog on his website. Not that it’s current, but it’s there.)

Even worse, agents seem to be looking around online. When they receive a query from a new writer, they want to know about social media presence. And if you don’t have one? They send you online to get one.

I started blogging years ago because I was lonely and bored. I kept it up because it was great for my writing. Then I kept going because of relationships forged and because of that persistent fear that one day I’d submit a query and hear back that the book seemed great, but my online presence was too insignificant to make me be considered.

A voice inside my head always whispers “If the book is good enough, no one will care.”

Another voice inside my head always replies “But what if they do?”

So I stay online. I blog. I tweet. I facebook. I keep working on my online presence, my social media platform. I gather fans, make sure to be as true to myself as possible. Hope that one day all that time spent will prove to be worth something.

Because that’s where the problem lies. It takes time to built a social media platform. It takes time to grow an online following. It takes dedication and time to keep it up day after day. Time that could be spent working on the book. Time that could be spent working on the next one. Time that could be spent polishing the manuscript to get it ready to send out. You cannot be online one week out of the month. One day out of the week. It just doesn’t work that way.

And yet, so often it seems like all the Internet provides is noise. Endless distracting noise. It seeps into my brain, filling up the lovely empty space that the ideas like to play in. That the words are best born in.

I wish I had the courage to turn my back on Social Media and all that it holds. I wish I had the self confidence in my work to know that it could stand on it’s own and be sufficient in and of itself. But I don’t. I need my friends in the computer to keep me going. I need to keep blogging. I need to keep Tweeting and Facebooking. I need to keep reading comments left here, there, everywhere. It gives me confidence to keep going. And some days it makes me feel like I’m still working towards that goal, the published novel, even if I haven’t had any time to do more than an hour of editing in the last week.