What happens when you skip an item on your marketing to-do list??

Absolutely nothing!

If you’ve been following my blog the entire five minutes I’ve had it up and running, then you know I’m list maker and a risk taker. Well, the first one anyway.

I have list for everything: cleaning, writing, marketing, grocery shopping, etc. I file those lists (except the grocery one) in a tickler file. Everything comes up for rotation on the perfect day and time.

Unfortunately, I can’t put my entire life on a tickler rotation!

So life gets in the way, and I don’t end up getting everything on my daily list, or my weekly list, or my Monday list, or my Friday list, or my monthly list, or my quarterly list..

Wait. Where was I? What year is this?

You get the idea.

Yesterday, I failed to post the blog that was on my marketing list, and I didn’t clean the bedrooms that were on my cleaning list, and I’m still in shock that Earth didn’t tilt further on it’s axis.

Instead, I got a phone call from a close friend encouraging me to finally go ahead and register for graduate school. It’s something that I’ve wanted and talked about for years, but I’ve been too scared, busy, broke, whatever. So we set a date, and she’s agreed to hold my hand through the process.

So I looked over the half-finished graduate program essay I started years ago…

And I didn’t post a blog.

And I didn’t vacuum the bedrooms.

And I’m okay with that.

I once attended a social media workshop and the presenter said she once lost over a thousand Twitter followers because she was in the hospital for three days and couldn’t post. I don’t know about you, but any followers who would drop you just because you were ill and couldn’t post aren’t the kind I’m looking for.

I can’t and won’t post every day.

I can’t and won’t post on a regular schedule.

I can’t and won’t ever be social media guru.

I can’t and won’t ever choose marketing over my valuable writing time.

I can’t and won’t give a second thought to leaving the carpet an extra day.

But I will skip all of the above to answer my friend’s call and spend an hour talking about my personal dreams and goals.

I will post here or there. I may make a video from time to time. I’ll drop into the social media world at random.

Because that’s how real life is. That’s how a #writerslife is. It’s here and there. It’s time to time. It’s random.

It’s okay.

Do your best and breathe.

Social Media Marketing Notebook

Yesterday, I mentioned using a social media marketing notebook as I’m learning the ropes. My brain isn’t trained to know what to post where at what time.

Here’s a little tour of resources gathered from my BFF, Pinterest.

On the inside flap, I’ve attached 3 different charts. The one on top explains what kind of material to post on each of the five main platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+. I don’t use LinkedIn or Google+. The other two calendars breakdown what content should be posted by day of the week and the best times of day for each.

The inside pages are setup by month, and they have nifty pockets for holding photo and social media challenges. Let’s face it, an awkward INFJ like me needs a more specific plan than just “family fun on Friday on Instagram.” I actually need a specific photo to take. Having social anxiety is a challenge when it comes to social media.

Finally, a writer’s gotta know what hashtags to use because the strange ramblings that bubble up in my mind just won’t cut it. On the back flap, I’ve attached popular hashtags by topic and by days of the week.

While we’re on the subject of hashtags, I’ve created a few for the socially inept like me to use (or not) as we stumble along this marketing journey:

#holdmyhand

#sociallyawkwardmedia

#hidemyfacebook

#linkedout

#pinuninteresting

#awkward

And now you know why I don’t create my own hashtags. Peace.

Fall, Soup, and Organization

It’s fall! Well, it’s September and that’s close enough, right?

Regardless, my fall decor is up and the first pot of soup is simmering on the stove. Panera Bread Copycat Broccoli and Cheese.

One thing I always do when I decorate for a holiday or season is go over my organizational methods and review what’s working and what’s more trouble than it’s worth. In my opinion, organization methods should be simple and effortless to stick to. The more complicated a system is, the less likely you are to stick with it.

I’ve tried many systems over the years, but I keep coming back to my one tried and true: tickler file. I learned about the tickler file when I worked at Edward Jones Investments. They were BIG on organization, efficiency, and “only touch paper once.” I am forever grateful for all the training I received while in their employ.

The tickler system uses a set of folders for each of the months of the year and another set with numbers 1-31 for the days in the month. There are a number of wonderful videos on YouTube that walk you through setting up and using the tickler system. If you’d like for me to make a video, let me know in the comments.

The other system I use is a day planner, which needs no explanation. I carry it with me to keep track of events, important dates, workshops, personal days for my family.

Finally, I created a social media marketing notebook. I’m only beginning to venture into the realm of social media marketing for my writing, so I needed a tactile place to keep track of information pertaining tp each of the social media outlets I use. Stay tuned for an in-depth look inside my marketing notebook!

Well, that’s all I have for y’all this evening. Lemme know what you think in the comments and while you’re at it….leave me some yummy soup recipes!!

That Marketing Thing…

I’ll admit it. I’m no salesman. Plus, I’m an introvert and socially awkward. But I just did a thing. You know, that marketing thing. And it wasn’t as terrible as I thought it would be.

That’s a lie.

Making a video and posting it on Instagram was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I made a series of #writequick mini-vids using a Snapchat filter. Filters are an answer to prayer for introverted writers like me. I can’t say it myself, but this doe-eyed character with glittery antlers can. It’s amazing!

This is a short blog, but I had to share this revelation with my fellow shy violets. If the thought of appearing on camera makes you want to vomit, try making a video using a filter. It takes a lot of the pressure off.

My goal is to wean myself off the filter as I get more confident on camera. Let me know how it works for you.

A Single Blade of Grass: How to Grow Your Idea Into a Story

I did a writing exercise in my daily writing journal about a single blade of grass. I was supposed to pick one, examine it, and then describe its characteristics. A simple descriptive exercise.

But I was in a bad place yesterday morning…

So instead my journal entry went something like this: “At this moment, I feel like a tiny, insignificant piece of grass. I know each blade plays an important role, but grass never stands out as an individual. It never goes on to bigger and better things. A blade of grass looks and acts like everyone else. It’s not exceptional, not talented. It lives its entire existence underfoot and then dies, easily forgotten.” And so on and so forth.

Today is a new day!

I looked over my list of possible blog ideas and thought about how I could link my journal post to one of the topics, sow something verdant from the bleakness of yesterday. My eyes scanned the list and one idea stood out: How to Grow Your Idea Into a Story. Perfect! All of a sudden, I’m a character in a book. I’m at the point where all seems lost, yet hope is on the horizon. Books start off in one of two places: Character is at a high point and everything is about to come crashing down before finally achieving happily ever after, or character is at a low point and everything is about to get sorted out…eventually.

Character Growth = Story Growth

Characters hold the key to a great story. Readers need someone to root for and identify with. I’ll give you a hint: it’s not going to be someone who has it all figured out and whose problems are easily solved. Life is full of ups and downs. The best writers are the ones who are able to channel that into something amazing.

Who knows if I’ll ever find my happy ending. Real life isn’t always book perfect. But like my characters, I will except the challenge, go on the journey, make friends and enemies along the way, find my mentors and allies, and never stop until my quest is fulfilled.

Writers: How to Handle Criticism

As a writer, I understand the power of words. We wield our pens and evoke emotion through the written word, taking readers on a journey of the heart and mind. Our prose is capable of uplifting and crushing spirits over the course of the story. Our characters love and hate, experience kindness and cruelty, strive for success, and struggle through failure. And we have no trouble putting our little darlings through it. It is, after all, the essence of plot. Conflict, both internal and external.

Now let’s talk about internal conflict from a different perspective. Flip the script. Or, in this case, step in front of a mirror. I’m talking about self-directed criticism.

How many times a day do negative words cross your mind?

Everyone will hate this story. I’ll always be a failure. My writing sucks. And on and on. Consider the writing process, those powerful words that are capable of moving readers to tears or fits of laughter. Your thoughts have the same power over your life. Negative thinking attracts negative results.

“What consumes your mind, controls your life.”

So how do we go about changing our thoughts in order to change our lives?

I’ve come across websites, books, and videos listing many ways to combat negative thinking from affirmations to meditation to journaling. Do what works for you, but I urge you to also use your creative writing talent in your own life. Think of your life as the hero’s journey with high points and low points, all leading up to that happy ending. You, the author, structure it all with great care. Anytime you find yourself thinking negative thoughts (low points), say, “plot twist,” and then get to work creating a high point for yourself.

Negative thoughts are gonna happen, but learn to use them as a catalyst for your next big turning point.

Your reward? A happy ending, of course!