Archive for the Twitter Category

Simplify Your Life

I started a part-time job recently (in addition to my freelance business) and am feeling a little scattered as I try to keep up with everything I have going on. And financially, we’re still struggling. So I’m on a crusade to simply everything—our finances, my promotion efforts, my online presence, my reading materials, even the amount of mail that pours into my house everyday. Most of these efforts are still in progress, but I feel relieved and less stressed already, so I decided to share what I’m doing in hopes that it helps someone else.

Online Presence:
My plan is to combine my blog and website. It makes no sense to send readers in two directions. Once I get this done, every time I post a new blog, I’ll also be adding new content to my website. And I’ll only have to update/freshen in one file. Most likely it will all end up on WordPress. I’d love to have someone design this for me, but no one wants to work that cheap and who can blame them. I also transferred all my domain names to GoDaddy from Yahoo. I’ll save about $130 a year and not have to think twice about spending $7 to register my new book title.

And I signed up for Ping.fm, which posts updates to all my social networking sites at once (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and more). This saves time and keeps my MySpace and LinkedIn pages updated now; before I was mostly ignoring them. And I’ve vowed not to join any new networks despite the zillions of invitations I get everyday. I don’t have time to do them right, and I don’t need the guilt for letting them languish.

Personal: I’ve eliminated half of my magazine subscriptions—because I only have time to half read half of them anyway. Down the road (when I’ve paid off the website redesign), I’ll cut the rest, buy a Kindle, and download what I want to read, when I have time. The people who lived in the house before us received every catalog you can imagine, and they didn’t forward any of them to their new residence. So now every time I get an unwanted mailing, I contact the company and make them take our house off their list. It takes time to do that, but it’s less crap on my kitchen table and less paper wasted. Long run, it will save time recycling all of it.

I also unsubscribed to many e-newsletters and am resisting the urge to sign up for any more. No matter how great the content, if I don’t have time to read it or follow up, then it’s just another e-mail to process. I also don’t look at e-mail until I’ve hit my word count for the day and/or finished work, so by the time I do, I’m tired and need it to be easy.

I do massive food prep on Sunday and/or Monday, so my lunches are ready to go for each work day and dinners for the next few nights are easy. It helps me hit my word count before work and keeps me from feeling exhausted after dinner.

Finances: We’re refinancing our house and getting enough cash back to pay off our credit card debt. At the same time, we’ll change our payment schedule to every two weeks—and shave seven years off the mortgage. Interest rates are so low now (4.7%) that we’ll end up spending less money on a yearly basis, even taking into account the refi charges and accelerated payments. Long-term, we’ll save a fortune on interest, all our debt will be in one place, and our single payment will be automatic.

In fact, we’re switching every payment that we can to autopay. Which means less mail coming into the house and fewer checks to write. And we’re making many of those payments with the credit card, which builds up flier miles, in case we ever get to go on vacation again. In April, when the option is available, we’ll switch our utility payment to a year-round standard and put it on autopay as well. I’m tired of seeing the winter bills for how much it costs to stay warm. This new way, we’ll pay the same amount every month, and I don’t have to think about it.

I’m still brainstorming ways to simplify (and save money) and if you have great ideas, please share them.

Reposting Blog Etiquette

A popular guy on Twitter recently asked: “Doesn’t it seem like poor etiquette to post a copy of a guest post you wrote on your own blog? You guest wrote it for someone else, right?”

Good question! I have done that, reposting here modified versions of guest blogs I wrote for other sites. But in all cases, it was at least six months after the blog had been originally posted somewhere else. And I noted at the top of the blog that it was a reposting, so if a reader had, by some chance, seen it they could skip it.

Do others bloggers repost material?

My thinking is that the traffic on the other blog site is likely to be different from the traffic I now have on my site. So if it’s fresh content to most of my readers, why not use it? Sometimes, it’s challenging to come up with new material twice a week! Reposting parallels like the practice of repurposing information gathered for an article your wrote for publication. As long as you modify the focus and/or arrangement, it’s acceptable (and common practice ) to pitch similar stories to other magazines with different audiences—using the same material.

What’s your take? Is it okay to repost guest blogs you’ve written?

Back on Track: aka New Rules

In November, while everyone else was cranking out a 50,000 word novel, I had a pathetically low word count. Why? Shit happens. More specifically, I spent a lot of time trying to drum up freelance work, I spent a lot of time babysitting, and I let myself get into the “I’ll make up the time tomorrow” mode. Wrong! It’s always today, and there’s never enough time to do anything extra.

So here’s my plan to get back on track:

First, I unsubscribed to half the e-mails I was receiving. Who has time to read all those newsletters? Sorry to those of you who put them out, but I just don’t have time.

I stopped opening e-mails first thing in the morning. In fact, it’s now a rule. No e-mail until I’ve worked on the novel for a few hours. (Unless the e-mail is from an editor/publisher!)

Another rule: No Twitter or FaceBook or reading blogs during writing time. They all have to wait until I move on to freelance work. (This will be the hardest rule to keep!)

I’m going to give longer deadlines for the freelance work I take on, then stick to working in the afternoons and evenings (if needed). Mornings are for writing!

And my husband is going to take our niece to school on one of the mornings she’s here, so I’ll only have one morning each week interrupted by that adventure.

And for balance, I’m adopting a new motto: Experience joy every day. Get up and dance! I do not have to be productive every second of every day… As long as I get my three or four hours of writing done, first thing every day.

Networking: Quality Versus Quantity

A year and half ago when I first developed a marketing plan for my novel, I made a list of websites to check out. In time, the sites ended up in categories: places to send my novel for review, places to list my novel in their database, places with general information, and social networking sites.

The social networking sites I put off until last because they take time. I started with MySpace but never got into it. Eventually I created a Facebook page, then let it sit for months until I called in my niece to help me get going on it. Now I have 1200 friends and enjoy the time I spend there. In between those events, I created a CrimeSpace page and spent enough time there to develop a presence and to introduce myself to hundreds of authors. I’ve also been active on Twitter, which doesn’t require a lot of time.

But the networking opportunities keep coming. I’ve since joined LinkedIn, BookPlace, and recently Multiply. And I notice other Twitterers talking about Squidoo and other sites. But my memberships in the last three are just sitting there un-nurtured, and Squidoo is not even on my list. I also belong to six list servs, so the e-mails keep coming too.

I’ve decided that I’m maxed out and will not develop my new memberships. I only have so much time each day to spend on promotion/networking. For me, fewer venues with quality time spent on each one is more productive than a minimum amount of time spent on a multitude of sites. But I may be wrong about this. What do you think is more effective marketing? Quality time in fewer networking sites or a minimal presence in as many sites as possible?

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