…AND OTHER ROADBLOCKS IN WRITING!

Tag Archives: Facebook

1.) I had to enter that sales-pitch drawing; you know, the one that says I’m about to win $15,000,000?

2.) My eyes hurt. I’ve been staring at Facebook for two hours straight. But that’s important. It’s today’s link to the outside world, right? When it works.

3.) I was filling out marketing postcards for my next book, which will come out…soon…I hope.

4.) I checked into Dictionary.com and got distracted. I love etymology! It’s like word DNA.

5.) I had to file reports for my writers’ organization and that took too much time.

6.) Then I needed a break to read the comics. Everybody needs to laugh, right? Don’t bug me.

7.) I get aggravated and can’t write when I’m under pressure.

8.) I need to follow the news so I can scribble a bunch of snarky slogans.

9.) I had to clean out my desk, and that filled up the trash can, so…

10.) I had to empty the trash. I can’t concentrate with a full trash can staring me in the face.

11.) The mail came. A catalog had 20% off a blouse I really want. And shoes. Maybe I’d better look a little closer. I may have missed something.

12.) I don’t write well in the morning. Just slogans. After I watch the news. I need coffee. And half a bagel.

13.) It’s too noisy outside. What are my neighbors doing now?

14.) It’s too quiet inside. I wonder what the dog’s doing now?

15.) I can’t forget to use my Dunkin’ Donuts coupon. It expires today.

16.) I need to drop stuff off at Goodwill. And maybe I’ll check out Publix for BOGOs.

17.) I must check the newspaper before I recycle it. Maybe there’s another BOGO I missed.

18.) Found a list of upcoming events at Sunrise Theater. Oh, I need to sign up for some of these! Where’s the phone? Where are my credit cards? In my purse. Where’s my purse?

19.) Emptied the coffee pot. Ran the clean cycle.

20.)  Reheated last cup of coffee. Decided “What the heck,” and had the last half-bagel.

21.) I can’t write while eating and drinking.

22.) I can’t stand having a dirty cup and plate on my desk.

23.) Had to empty clean dishes from the washer so I could put the dirty ones in.

24.) Can’t stand clutter. Had to put the clean tableware where it belonged.

25.) Now I’ve had too much caffeine. I can’t sit still at the computer.

And, dear Muse, if that’s not enough reasons, TRUST ME…. Oh, now there’s a good one for a snarky slogan. BELIEVE ME… that’s another. Boy, I’m on a roll now. Hey, Six-, ten-, twelve-word slogans–that counts as writing, no? How about that? I was writing all the time!

 

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My head buzzes with the MUST-DOs. Read. Everything. Write. Daily. Attend writers’ meetings. Take courses. Online. Offline. Have a Facebook presence. Have a Facebook Page for promoting your work. Get on Linkedin. Link everybody in the world. And Mars. Surely we’ve colonized it by now? I wouldn’t know. My bottom has grown roots through the seat of my chair, the floorboards, and beyond. My husband comes in daily and waters me with a glass of Pinot Grigio, raises the shades in the morning so I get sunlight, turns the lights on at night so I can keep writing. Sleep? Sorry, not in my dictionary.

Blog. Daily is preferred. More than one blog is better. Answer every response. Aways. Twitterlike a twit (that’s a Twitter expert, right?), Pin your interest on Pinterest…and I stop here. If there are over a half-million apps for those newfangled Star-Trekian phones without wires and dials… (I told you I’ve been sitting here awhile) I must be wa-a-a-y behind on social media sites.

For those who suffer Must-Do-itis, as I do, Moira Allen of http://www.writingworld.com has some brain-saving advice in her article, reprinted here by permission: 

Editor’s Corner:
The Things That Matter Most
by Moira Allen
In my last two editorials, I talked about “the things we are good at,” and “the things we are not good at.” The things we are good at, I said, can sometimes distract us from the things that are important. It’s easy to get caught up in “things we are good at” (things that are easy to do) at the expense of things that matter more but that may be more difficult and therefore, more intimidating. Conversely, things we are not good at can prevent us from accomplishing the things that matter, if those things are key to actually achieving the things that matter. Having difficulty with grammar and punctuation, for example, can be a significant hindrance in achieving one’s writing goals.

How do we identify what really is important, what we “should” be devoting our attention to, versus the things that we may need to let go of and leave behind?

Today, I believe this is becoming an increasingly difficult choice for writers. More and more “must do’s” are clamoring for our attention. We are being bombarded with demands and “requirements.” Expert books and articles tell us that there are dozens of things we must do to be “successful” — many of which seem to have very little to do with actual writing. We’re told that we simply must get involved in this social platform, or that one, or the other one. We’re told that it’s vital to keep our presence fresh, that we constantly “update” that presence (wherever it happens to be), that we actively “follow” others and encourage others to “follow” us. We’re urged to find more ways to “connect” with our readers. If we blog, it’s not enough to simply write the week’s entry; we must also respond to every comment, and then comment on our followers’ blog entries, just to keep those “connections” going. Every new technology or opportunity becomes one more thing we “must do” to keep abreast of, aware of, or involved in.

But what’s really important?

The answer, of course, will vary from writer to writer. But the underlying principle will always be the same: What is the core element underlying your writing goal? What task is central or foundational to your goal, and what tasks are peripheral? Another way to approach the question is to ask, “What is it that only I can do?”

If you are a novelist, for example, the core element of your writing goal is to actually write a novel. It may be your first novel, or your second, or your 23rd. But it is still the one thing that must get done if you are, in fact, to be a novelist. And it’s the one thing that only you can do. No one else can write that novel for you (unless you’re James Patterson).

The core element of your writing goal is the thing that must be done before any other task even matters. It doesn’t matter, for example, if you have a wonderful novelist Facebook page and hundreds of friends, if you have no novel to talk about. It doesn’t matter if you have a fantastic blog or website, if you have no novel to promote. It doesn’t matter if you have hundreds of Twitter followers, if they have nowhere to follow you to. Everything else is peripheral to that central, foundational core: Your novel.

Another huge distraction for many writers is the wonderful world of do-it-yourself publishing. Again, there are scores of articles and books assuring us that this is the wave of the future, and that by choosing this route, we are “taking control of our own destinies.” The only problem is, there are often parts of our destinies that we aren’t actually qualified to take control of. In those bad old days when our only option was to get published by a nasty, evil, villainous “commercial publisher,” hefty chunks of our “destiny” were handed off to other people. Skilled artists, for example, created our book covers. Skilled editors and proofreaders caught our grammatical errors and typos (most of the time). Skilled salespeople actually went in person to bookstores across the country and convinced them to buy copies of our books and put them on their shelves. Today, as we “take charge” of our destinies, we bring a vast pool of unskilled labor to those same tasks: Ourselves.

Another distraction today is the constant emphasis on “connecting” with our readers. There’s no doubt that many readers do like to “connect” with their favorite writers — it makes them feel good to get a personal comment from an author they admire. This is nothing new; in the bad old days, successful authors generally had to hire a secretary to help them keep up with fan mail. Today, however, we’re told that we need to do this ourselves — respond to every comment, tweet and retweet, keep posting something fresh and new to “entertain” our readers and keep them “engaged,” and just generally “be there.”

But once again, the question gets back to that core element: With nothing to read, you have no readers. Most readers — and particularly the readers who love you the most — would rather have your next book than a friendly hello. Hard-core readers are always looking for something to read, and if your next book isn’t on the shelves, they’ll find another.

So the final step in working out what tasks to focus upon lies in identifying those tasks that truly matter. We will never run out of potential tasks. We will never run out of people telling us that we “must do” this or that or the other to “be successful in today’s marketplace.” We will never run out of distractions.

But unless we focus on the core elements of our writing goals — the novel, the short story, the poem, the memoir, the song, the life-changing how-to book — we will run out of the things that matter most: our hopes and dreams.

And, of course, our readers…
Find Out More…

The Things We Are Good At, by Moira Allen
http://www.writing-world.com/coffee/coffee97.shtml

The Things We’re Not Good At, by Moira Allen
http://www.writing-world.com/coffee/coffee98.shtml

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Copyright © 2015 Moira Allen
This article may be reprinted provided that the author’s byline, bio, and copyright notice are retained in their entirety. For complete details on reprinting articles by Moira Allen, please click HERE.

Moira Allen is the editor of Writing-World.com, and has written nearly 400 articles, serving as a columnist and regular contributor for such publications as The Writer, Entrepreneur, Writer’s Digest, and Byline. An award-winning writer, Allen is the author of eight books, including Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer, The Writer’s Guide to Queries, Pitches and Proposals, and Writing to Win: The Colossal Guide to Writing Contests. In addition to Writing-World.com, Allen hosts VictorianVoices.net, a growing archive of articles from Victorian periodicals, and The Pet Loss Support Page, a resource for grieving pet owners. She lives in Maryland with her husband and the obligatory writer’s cat. She can be contacted at editors “at” writing-world.com.
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Copyright © 2015 by Moira Allen. All rights reserved.
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Maybe most of us can’t remember back that far, but watch a baby in a highchair being fed mush. Strained peas, carrots, squash, bananas, peaches, prunes (really?), beef, chicken, lamb—ad nauseam.

My least favorite, so my mother says, was applesauce. In fact, from those highchair days on, any time I screwed up my face in disgust, my parents called it my “Applesauce Face.”

Watch that same baby when folks around the table are eating dinner, too. That lovey becomes a cranky terror who dumps his dish, knock over his bottle and raises a holy hullaballoo! Little One is saying, “I’d kill for one of those chicken legs to sink my teeth into. Or gums. Just give me real food!”

It occurred to me that this is the way I feel about modern media. To me, there’s an enormous amount of brainpower, electricity, and battery power—not to mention time—wasted on…mush. I do not twitter or tweet. I am not a twit. Okay, so this leaves me out of a market to sell my stuff. I really don’t care. Minds of 140 characters are not those I’m trying to reach.

I don’t iPhone, either. I do blog. I do Facebook. When I want to. Not good enough? Too bad. I’ve got a life to live, and there’s a hell of a lot of world out there I haven’t seen yet. To prevent my bottom from developing acreage by sitting in front of a computer, to avoid driving into a canal and drowning from yakking on the cell phone or texting, I’m going to do it “My Way,” like Frankie.

Anybody else brave enough to speak up?