Monthly Archives: March 2012

Saving time with bunnies

OK this isn’t cheating. Yes, I wrote something similar on my Pen to Publish blog before I moved here but now I feel stronger about this topic and felt it was worth a revisit. All writers, professionals and really anyone should have a hobby that they can use as an escape.

But writing is my hobby? That may be so and trust me I feel so fortunate to be able to do something that I love so much as my career. When I started making money and set strict schedules to get my work done that’s when writing became more than a hobby.

A hobby is something essential to clearing your mind and just having some “you” time. Until the first of this month I really didn’t understand this. I am author, a mommy, a speaker and my  husband appreciates a home-cooked meal and somewhat of a clean house (sometimes.) I really thought that reading was my hobby and that I couldn’t afford the time to do anything “outside the box.” Of course who doesn’t want to try archery after watching Katniss in The Hunger Games?

I didn’t fully understand the benefit of a hobby until Oscar, my dog came across a nest of bunnies in our backyard the first of this month. I called the game commissioner to find out what to do and she said to leave them alone and look for signs of the mother rabbit.

Days went by and there were no signs. And then came that first spring down pour. It rained and rained and soon I could see a stream of muddy water running down the slope in our yard. I ran out to see the nest and the bunnies were screaming- actually screaming. One was stuck in mud and water was up to her neck (yes I know now that she is my Diamond.)

I rushed to grab a box and you’ve never seen bunnies want to be rescued so badly.They put up no resistance and that is how I got my bunnies. At first I had to bottle feed them every 3 hours. They were 4 weeks old when they joined our family. On March 18 we lost Artemis to a nutritional disorder but Diamond and Jedi are thriving and loving their spoiled domestic life.

So how does this help my writing? Really there is a point to all of this. You know when you are stuck on a scene? Sometimes staring at will not give you the answer. You need to walk away from it. That’s when Diamond and Jedi get some extra attention. Instead of staring at a page and wasting time, I love on bunnies (and Oscar too) for just a moment and then look at the scene again through fresh eyes.

Hobbies can releave our stresses and help us maintaIn that sense of self when you are juggling personal and family driven goals. Everyone needs a hobby. I’m not expecting you to race out and find helpless and drowning bunnies. You’re hobby might be underwater basket weaving as long as you enjoy it and gives you the escape you need.

What hobbies do you have? How do they help you as an author and a person? Below is a great example of a hobby that you and your spouse or significant other could try together…or NOT. Happy Friday!

Nat’s Personal Note:

Yesterday we embarked on a nine-hour road trip. I definitely wasn’t thinking ahead when I bought my sports car after college! Baby Markey, Oscar the dog and the bunnies Diamond and Jedi were all crammed in the back seat. Going into the experience I thought it was going to be a disaster but really everything went smoothly. It was really remarkable! And thanks to my iPAD, I was actually able to get some editing done!

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Are you due a social media check-up?

This past weekend I failed to reach my writing goal but I was hard at work on my writing career. As writers know, there is so much more to writing then just writing. This is a business so the trick is trying to consolidate where we can and strive for more actual writing time. That is why it is important to take a day every now to update and check-up your social media avenues.

It is becoming more important to have a web presence these days. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Youtube, Triberr, etc. On Saturday I made the big move from Blogger (my Pen to Publish blog) to WordPress. This was big for me. I am a writer and not a techno girl so it took hours of playing around and I’m still playing with it. For example, I really want to add a picture further up in my header on the home page but I’m still working on that one. The important thing is that I have content and a way to provide my followers with content on a more user-friendly avenue.

I also played around with Triberr. I feel that this is going to be a fantastic time management tool, which I love. Being the mom of a 20-month-old crazy toddler, an epileptic dog and two bunny rabbits- I need all the time management assistance I can get.

I want to spend sometime playing on Pinterest but I didn’t get to it on Saturday. I do plan to to give this a try especially after ready Bob Mayer’s post on Pinterest for Writers. There also is a webinar through Triberr coming up on April 3rd titled, Pinterest for Bloggers.  I’m working this into my schedule around a family photo shoot. Yes, I’m attempting the impossible to get a professional picture of my husband, toddler, dog, two bunnies and I. Wish me luck and it is possible that I’m crazy.

Back to my social media topic, new social media options are popping up all the time. My advise to give each of them a 15 minute test. Play with it. Yes, it takes me longer than some to figure out online sites but if I’m not liking what I see as a user in 15 minutes then it probably isn’t for me. I knew within a 3 minutes (yes, I timed it) that I liked WordPress, the trick was setting it up. I also knew that I liked Triberr very quickly. As for testing results, that may take longer. I have the bonus of access to metrics analysis for most of my online freelance articles. This tells me how people are getting to my articles and therefore what medium is affectively getting me page views. Twitter is hands down the winner here where as Facebook hasn’t shown me much. Knowing such information has helped me customize my social media plan so that it helps me.

My friend Kristen Lamb is the go-to-gal when it comes to all things social media. Seriously, if you haven’t read her books “We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media” and “Are You There Blog? It’s Me, Writer” then you must! She also has a great blog, Warrior Writers as well. She really does a great job of explaining social media in a way that makes sense to online challenged folks like myself. Anyone can master this growing frontier and use it to harness more writing time. Let you platform eventually build itself and you can manage it while cranking out that word count.

What social media tricks and sites have impressed you lately?

How are you using them to gain back some more valued writing time?

Nat’s Personal Note:

Again, thanks for following me to my new home at WordPress. I will still be posting the same posts at Blogger for a month to help with the transition. During this time I would appreciate any help from y’all in trying to build my tiny following. I really am interesting J

I’ve been working on sending out family Easter cards. Yes, I’m behind on getting that family picture I mentioned but below is what I’m including in the card. I think it’s Easter appropriate! Meet my new bunnies, Jedi and Diamond!

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Blog Mash-up

The Not So Simple -The Surveillance Report: Assembling Endings by author P.W. Creighton

Keep Your Characters True To Themselves by author Jenny Hansen

This is a great series! So, You Want To Be An Author? Part Four – Ideas by author Donna Newton

Keeping your blogging mojo alive and burning by author Natalie Hartford

Until we meet again on Friday, keep writing and remember that we all have bad days- it’s how we manage the chaos that sets us apart in our attempts to be great instead of good.

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My blog move plus let’s talk “The Hunger Games”

Well, I’ve done it. I’ve FINALLY joined WordPress. I also just joined Triberr and after playing around with it I’m seeing that having a WordPress account will help me save time. If you know me then you will know that I’m all about saving time. With a toddler, dog, two bunnies and don’t forget my husband who has a brilliant gift for screwing up the laundry–time management is my friend.

As I did on my Blogger page, Pen to Publish, I will post on Wednesdays and Fridays. I will make announcement posts on Tuesdays and Thursdays as related to my Special Needs Dog Care column posts with Examiner.com. Below is my blog post from Friday for anyone who has not read it. After all, this is still opening weekend for “The Hunger Games” and this post is VERY relevant.

You may notice that my blog has experienced a name change. You are right and go get a gold star! Instead of Pen to Publish I’m using my name, Natalie C. Markey moving forward. Thanks to reading Kristen Lamb’s “Are You There Blog? It’s Me, Writer” this makes perfect since.

Enough of my babbling! Did seeing “The Hunger Games” inspire you in ways other than wondering how you would survive the games? It definitely inspired my writing side.

This weekend “The Hunger Games” hits theaters. Heck, many of us saw it last night at midnight and won’t be reading this blog post until much later after they wake up! I’m being a good wife and waiting to see it tonight with my husband so this post is spoiler free.

I love seeing book to film adoptions because I leave the theater feeling so energized. Yes, I like the “Twilight” movies, I love “Harry Potter” and I’m really looking forward to seeing “The Hunger Games” but my excitement isn’t because of the movies it’s because those movies, those books once were only a thought. They all started off with their authors sitting in front a blank computer screen.

Every story comes from a simple thought no matter how complex the plot and sub plots turn out to be. As I write, it’s the endless possibilities that excite me and keeps me pushing through the hard times. Yesterday my daughter woke up on the wrong side of the crib. It rained all day so Oscar (the dog) was naturally upset and even Diamond and Jedi (the bunnies) were restless and just plain annoying. It was a very bad writing day. After everyone went to sleep I stayed up and worked. I revised this blog post, revised another chapter in my YA and wrote my goal of 2,000 words in my middle grade project. Yes, I was up pretty late but it’s the possibility that someday readers may be waiting to read my work that keeps me going.

Most authors don’t get movie deals. I’m not setting my goals to be unrealistic (I still can dream though) but someday I hope to have readers just as excited about my characters as I am. I want to share the worlds I have created with the world and because of such a possibility and goal I keep writing.

“The Hunger Games” began with a blank page. It once was an idea in Suzanne Collins’ head. It wasn’t always a polished manuscript or New York Bestseller. Anyone’s work can get there. The possibilities are endless, exciting and motivating.

How do you keep your dreams and possibilities in sight when you have a bad day?

If you love to follow popular young adult movie coverage Examiner.com has some great columns for you.

The Mortal Instruments Examiner: Where I cover all things related to Cassandra Clare’s series’ The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices, and The Dark Artifices

You can also follow:

The Hunger Games Examiner

The Twilight Examiner

Divergent Examiner

Vampire Diaries Examiner

All of these columns are perfect for up to date and accurate coverage on the popular young adult series that you love.

Novel Novice is another great site that covers all things young adult with an educational spin to it.