Tag Archives: social media

What Are You Willing to Give Up So You Can Write?

Being a writer requires giving up other things, and making it a priority requires sacrifice

It’s been said that some people really don’t want to write, they want to have written. They want to see the results, without putting in the work. Yet writing requires effort and that effort necessitates that we prioritize the things we do.What Are You Willing to Give Up So You Can Write?

It seems everyone I know is too busy. This includes writers. We struggle to find time to write. Yet by adjusting our priorities, we can make the time. What will you give up to get there?

If writing is important to you, if having written is your goal, what will you sacrifice so you can write?

Television: I don’t know anyone who doesn’t watch TV. I try to keep my viewing habits in check, but I still spend too much time watching TV. Though this often happens late in the evening when I’m too tired to write, I also know that if I watched less TV I would have more time to write.

Social Media: The lure of social media distracts many writers from doing what they need to do. They sit down at their computer to write but decide to check Facebook first. An hour later they haven’t written a single word for their project, but they have read lots of updates and made a couple posts themselves. Next they slide over to Twitter or LinkedIn or Goodreads or Pinterest or whatever else beckons them. They never get around to writing. Scale back on social media to ramp up writing time.

Sleep: I’ve heard of many writers who give up sleep to find time to write. Personally I wouldn’t recommend it, because if I’m tired I have trouble writing or at least writing anything worthwhile. Yet I am disciplined to get up early in the morning and write, when I could roll over and sleep for a few minutes longer.We need to make some sacrifices, or we’ll never have enough time to write. Click To Tweet

Recreation: Another consideration is the things we do in our leisure time. Call this rest and relaxation. While taking time to rejuvenate ourselves is wise, too much recreation only serves as a distraction and offers no additional benefit.

Relationships: Another area is relationships. Since many writers are introverts and in some cases, recluses, be careful about giving up relationships that are meaningful and helpful. Yet some relationships aren’t beneficial. We may persist out of habit or guilt or obligation, but instead of adding to our life, these relationships suck the life from us.

It’s been said that we become a composite of the five people we spend the most time with. We need to make sure we’re spending time with the right people and avoid relationships that warrant less attention or no attention. This then becomes found time to write.

It’s wrong to assume we need to give up everything to write, but we do need to make some sacrifices or we’ll never have enough time to write. Even worse we may never even start.

UR Turn: Are You on Goodreads?

Goodreads is the premier social media site for book lovers

UR Turn, Help me finish ths post by sharing...In past months we’ve covered Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. One social media option is especially tailored to writers: Goodreads. “Goodreads is the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations.” Goodreads turned ten this year. It has 55 million members, 1.5 billion books listed, and 50 million reviews. (I’ve posted 91 reviews and left 133 ratings.)

Goodreads is a great place for readers to connect and share their love for books. This also makes it ideal for the authors of those books. But don’t think of Goodreads as a place to promote books, instead view it as a place to connect with readers, and potential readers, of our books.

Right now I’m on Goodreads as a reader. If you’re on Goodreads, I’d like to connect with you. Here’s my link: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/13489480-peter-dehaan. Send me a friend request.

Also, please share your link below. Then we can all connect. Let’s be friends on Goodreads. Click To Tweet

UR Turn: Other Social Media Platforms for Writers

With no shortage of social media platforms to consider, several may warrant attention

UR Turn, Help me finish ths post by sharing...So far we’ve talked about Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

But there are hundreds of other social media platforms to consider. While some platforms are obscure, others garner much more attention.

Though some of these social media outposts are worthy of consideration, my varying degrees of involvement on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest already take up too much of my time. So, I’ll not add a fifth to the mix.

However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.

Perhaps another social media platform works for you better or more effectively connects with your audience. Then maybe you should be there in place of one of the above options.What other social media platforms do you use? Click To Tweet

What other social media platforms do you use? What do you like about them?

Please include a link to your pages so others can find you there.

UR Turn: Do You Use Pinterest as Part of Your Author Platform?

Pinterest is a quick way to share images and connect with like-minded people

UR Turn, Help me finish ths post by sharing...So far we’ve talked about Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn as possible social media platforms for authors. What about Pinterest?

Of the four of them, I’ve done the least amount of work with Pinterest. Maybe that’s because I’m a guy and most Pinterest users are females.

Nevertheless, I do have the beginnings of a Pinterest presence, and it’s growing little by little. I pin my blog graphics and have a board for book covers. Other boards have sayings and offer encouragement. My favorite board has a growing number of church signs, from the humorous to the profound. What do you like about Pinterest? Click To Tweet

Are you on Pinterest? Follow me on Pinterest and I’ll follow you.

My page is www.pinterest.com/peterdehaan. Please share your Pinterest page in the comment section below.

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Your Turn: Do You Use LinkedIn as Part of Your Author Platform?

LinkedIn is the Social Media Platform for Professional Networking

UR Turn, Help me finish ths post by sharing...We’ve talked about Twitter and Facebook as social media hangouts that many authors use to connect with fans and engage followers. Another social media platform to consider is LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is the social media platform to make professional connections, for networking, and to find work.

Are you on LinkedIn? I’m there. Visit Peter DeHaan on LinkedIn.

If you’re on LinkedIn, what do you use it for? What do you like about LinkedIn? Click To Tweet

If you’re not on LinkedIn, what made you decide not to?

Please share your thoughts below, and if you have a LinkedIn account, be sure to include a link.

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Your Turn: What Do You Like (or Not Like) About Facebook?

Being the world’s largest social media platform doesn’t necessarily make Facebook better

UR Turn, Help me finish ths post by sharing...Last month I mentioned that Twitter is my preferred social media platform and the one I use the most. Though I’ve been on Facebook longer, I don’t find it as useful. In fact I find Facebook frustrating.

Aside from frequent changes that affect how things work is the reality that only a fraction of the people who like my page ever see the things I post. I suppose Facebook does this to motivate me to pay them to “boost” my post. Instead they’re motivating me to connect with people elsewhere.

Making the most out of Facebook is on my to-do list, but right now it’s far down that list. Maybe someday I’ll get to it—or maybe not.

Even so, I’d be honored if you’d like or follow my author page on Facebook.What do you like about Facebook? Click To Tweet

Your Turn: In the comment section below link to your Facebook page or share your experience with Facebook.

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Your Turn: What Do You Like (or Not Like) About Twitter?

The social media site Twitter is becoming the go-to platform for many

UR Turn, Help me finish this post by sharing...I’m on several social media sites, but the one that I use the most and am the least confused by is Twitter. I’ve grown a following, tweet and retweet regularly, and engage a bit with my followers.

Twitter is the one social media site where I’m enjoying some traction. Once a day I spend time to schedule most of my tweets for the next day, but I also tweet some things on the fly. And on most days I invest a few minutes to interact with followers and find more interesting people to follow.

I view Twitter a lot like broadcasting. Though only a fraction of my potential audience will see what I tweet, the possibility exists for anyone of them to read my tweets if they’re looking at the right time (quite unlike Facebook). I think that’s why I’m growing fond of Twitter.

If you follow me on Twitter, I will follow you back.What do you like about Twitter? Click To Tweet

Your Turn: In the comment section below link to your Twitter account or leave your Twitter handle.

What do you like or not like about Twitter?

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Was 2016 Your Best Year Ever or an Epic Fail?

We need a realistic view of our history to plan a reasonable vision for our future

Was 2016 Your Best Year Ever or an Epic Fail?My wife sometimes says I view things as though my glass is only half-full, that I’m pessimistic. I counter that I’m simply being a realist, but the truth is I’m not sure who’s right. Perhaps a bit of reality resides in both perspectives. So it is in viewing my past year as a writer.

As such, I share two perspectives:

Best Year Ever:

  • After years of talk, I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time. What a great experience.
  • I wrote two novels, the second one in about three weeks. (I’m still editing them both.)
  • My work as a commercial freelance writer really took off this year, with more clients, more work, and more income—all new records.
  • I grew my Twitter followers from 2,400 to 11,500, surpassing my year-end goal of 10,000. I’m enjoying good connections and engagement there.
  • I took LinkedIn seriously and made 100 posts to a growing audience of 2,300, which more than doubled in 2016.

Epic Fail:

  • I didn’t publish a book this year.
  • I didn’t win any writing contests.
  • I wasn’t published in any anthologies.
  • I didn’t accomplish my number one goal for 2016. (Which is now my number one goal for 2017.)
  • Work/life balance continues to elude me. (It’s even harder to achieve when you work at home.)

I could reasonably adopt either of these two perspectives as my primary view of 2016. While it’s easy to dwell on disappointments, missed goals, and wasted opportunities, a better outlook is to focus on what went great this year. Though I might need to reread this post to remind myself, I can truly say that 2016 was my best year ever, and I look forward to 2017 being even better. Celebrate the mountains and don’t allow yourself to wallow in the valleys. Click To Tweet

As you review 2016, I encourage you to celebrate the mountains and not allow yourself to wallow in the valleys. Though everyone is at a different place as a writer, no one had a flawless year and everyone has something to celebrate. Focus on these things as you move into 2017.

May it be your best year ever.

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Your Turn: What’s Your Favorite Social Media Platform?

Social media is a great way to connect with others and share content

UR Turn, Help me finish ths post by sharing...Last month we started a new feature here on Byline where we end each month giving you a chance to share with our community. We started with an opportunity to post a link to your website or blog. And if you missed that, it’s not too late to add yours to the list.

This month please share your favorite social media platform and link to your page or profile. I’m also curious what you like about it.

Remember, each time you share a link you let others know about your online presence and increase the odds of a search engine, such as Google, recommending you in their search results. What’s your favorite social media platform? Click To Tweet

So in the comments section below, please link to your page on your favorite social media site. Why do you like that platform?

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What to Do When You Hit the Wall

When our carefully constructed world of work comes crashing down, follow these steps to reconstruct it

What to Do When You Hit the WallWriters are often amazed at the amount of writing I do on a daily and weekly basis. They ask how I manage to consistently stay productive. Part of it is my stage of life, part of it is discipline, and part of it is illusion. The reality is I seldom feel like I am doing enough of the right things and that I am careening through life trying to juggle five items, while I’m only capable of three. I do this as I speed on a motorcycle…in the dark…without headlights. Then I hit a metaphoric wall, and everything stops. Okay, maybe this is a bit hyperbole, but you get the point.

Hitting the wall happens to me on occasion. This time it was a combination of over-commitment, too many deadlines, excessive optimism about my productivity, family priorities, time away from the office, and a strange sickness that required me to sleep more and robbed me of my concentration. It was like a house of cards, carefully constructed and most tenuous. My house of cards imploded. Kaboom!

Here is what I do when I hit the wall:

Pause: The first thing I do is put some things on pause. Exercise is one. Reading is another. Social media is a third. All are important, but none are essential. I can put them on hold for a few days.

Scale Back: What activities can I reduce? I don’t need to listen to as many podcasts as I do. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by what I’m not getting to, I merely pare back the quantity, unsubscribing from some and skipping episodes of others. I also curtail my TV watching and entertainment.

Eliminate: To make my writing life sustainable, I also look for things to eliminate. At one time I had five blogs, each with a different focus and strategy. A few years ago I stopped posting on two of them and just now stopped a third one.

Say “No”: I like to help people and don’t want to disappoint anyone. But I need to remind myself that sometimes declining requests is in my best interest or I’m of no help to anyone.If five things are a priority, then nothing is a priority. Click To Tweet

Reprioritize: If five things are a priority, then nothing is a priority. What is the one truly important thing in this moment? I do it and then move on.

Restore a Buffer: When new opportunities arise I try to squeeze them in. Before I know it, I’m living a life with no cushion. I need to re-establish some buffer to leave room for the unexpected – because surprises do occur.

A few months ago, I saw my wall looming. I took action to protect myself, such as scaling back the frequency of one of my newsletters, saying “no” to some new opportunities, putting one critique group on hold, and curtailing the amount of time I invested in Twitter. These were all good changes, but they were not enough. All these corrections did was delay the inevitable.

Today I am reconstructing my work and my writing life, striving for balance, sustainability, and a saner schedule. It will take time, but I will bounce back – hopefully with fewer projects and less stress.

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