Monthly Archives: April 2012

Making time to be socially smart

When I have time to work I must make the most of every typed word or jotted note. Most of the time I write while dodging stuffed animals or the occasional flying Little People toy. But the fact remains that there are so many resources out there that I can learn from. Thanks to social media outlets like twitter, it’s easier than ever to connect with great people and resources but how can you benefit from social media without letting it steal your valuable time? Participating in social media is good business but you can be socially smart about it.

As someone who LOVES studying time management, I’m always looking for the best ways to benefit from resources while still accomplishing my goal list.

1. Save Draft- Every morning I open up a new email addressed to myself. I create a daily reading list with that email.  Throughout the day I collect any blog posts or articles that catch my attention and post the links into that email. Later, when I need a break or when I’m done working in the evening I can relax and benefit the articles I’ve been collecting  all day. This way I can accomplish my to do list when I’m not dodging flying toys and still catch up  on some great reading.

2. Triberr- Recently I joined Triberr (thanks to Jenny Hansen) and it is quickly changing the way I manage my blog posts and blog\article readings. Triberr also allows me to “approve” or check off posts that Ive read so that  I can move on from one to another easily. Triberr is a great resource for sorting out the blogs you follow and making it easy to gain a following without spending all your time on it.  You don’t have to do all the work.

Whatever you do, you’re probably looking for ways to save time. Social media is a fabulous way to learn and a great  place to waste time. As I said in a recent post, Shakespeare didn’t have Twitter. Only you can know how much online time you can handle before it overwhelms what you really want to accomplish.

How do you manage your social media time? What’s your secret?

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Tackling the crazy- airplane style

How many of you actually listen to what the flight attendants say before take off? Or are you busy rummaging around in your purse and carry-on looking for that gum your just purchased?

I hated flying but throughout my professional career I’ve had to do it more by myself. I’ve actually grown to love it. It gives me time to myself when I can catch up with a good book or get ahead on a deadline or daily word count. Sadly I never listened to those safety instructions until I was by myself. You may recall when they talk about the oxygen masks and how they will fall from the ceiling if the cabin pressure drops that you are instructed to secure your mask before assisting any child you might be traveling with.

Hopefully none of us ever has to experience such a scenario, but there is a lot that we can learn from these important instructions that so many ignore. It’s easy, especially as a parent to want to put others first. We want to take care of our baby. It’s our nature. However, if you aren’t taking care of you, what kind of care are you giving your baby? What kind of quality of work are you putting into that article or manuscript? Did you actually put laundry detergent in the dishwasher?

If you are like me, then you feel like life is sprinting a million miles ahead of us. It’s easy to get caught up in everything but ourselves. Take a little time to breathe. Find something to keep you centered and focused amongst the crazy. TACKLE THE CRAZY!

With a busy schedule, tackling the crazy doesn’t have to take long. I take 20 minutes a day for yoga. I also like to read a little before going to bed. As you can see this routine doesn’t waste a lot of my time. Actually because I do this it makes me a more productive writer, a more attentive mommy, and a much happier person.

What do you do to tackle the crazy? Would you put on your mask before assisting others? Then everyday life should not be any different.

And when we fly, it’s too bad that we can’t all enjoy some entertainment like this Southwest employee provides!

Happy Friday!

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Rediscovering Routine

Life happens. You go on a vacation or celebrate a holiday. Someone gets sick or hurt. You have a baby or someone you love dies. You move. Whatever the reason, good or bad, your routine is thrown off its axel. It happens to the best of us. It is how you rediscover your routine and productiveness that sets you a part from others.

2012 hasn’t been kind to me when is comes to letting me keep my routine. When I’m in town and can return to my usually productive routine it can sometimes be hard diving back in. I believe this happens to a lot of people because they feel overwhelmed when returning to the routine. If you are returning to your routine then you are also probably behind with work. This is currently the case for me. I’m trying to catch up after my daughter was hospitalized.

The important thing to remember is to take it one task at a time and develop a prioritized list. But the most important and first thing to do is stay in the chair! It is so easy to see other things that need to get done (like housework) when I really need to be writing. What I’ve started doing that works is to set time aside to write. I commit to work for one hour and I set a timer. I normally find that once I get going I don’t want to stop. It’s all about diving back in and sticking to your plan.

Don’t be afraid to give yourself a treat. I’m still behind on some work but I still set aside an hour each night to watch some television with my husband. I also continue to have my monthly girls night. I think it is important to punch out and take a break. When I walk away from my work and do something fun, even if it’s only for an hour or two, I always feel rejuvinated and ready to get back to work.

We are creatures of habit so any disruption of a productive routine can spiral your writing rhythm off. The trick is to rediscover your routine. Get back into the groove of things. AND GET BACK IN THE CHAIR!

Have you rediscovered your routine? How did you do it?

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Shakespeare didn’t have Twitter

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This week I’ve been staying with family who don’t have Internet. Yep, you heard me, NO INTERNET. This would explain my lack of web presence with exception for what I’ve been doing on my iPhone. I’m posting this from a Starbucks.

However isolating, this non-Internet week has been enlightening. It is hard to separate the Internet from writing these days. It seems that to become successful you must have a successful web presence and create a following. The “greats” never had to balance the Internet time/writing act. Shakespeare didn’t have a Twitter account and Dickens didn’t stress over his blog schedule. Could dialing back the online clutter is a good plan? I’m quickly becoming a believer.

You’d be amazed at how dependant we all are on the Internet, myself included. After I got past that non-connected feeling I grew to like it and recognize its value. Without my constant web connection I’ve been able to get through more work including catch up work on my non-fiction and revisions on my YA that both really need to be a priority for me right now.

Since I’ve been working offline I have been forced into having “online” times. These are times where I have been able to access the web. It’s been helpful planning these times. For articles I’ve been able to write everything for the most part in advance and then literally have a schedule of what needs to be accomplished once I have the Internet. This process made my Internet time much more effective and productive.

Of course I’ve been following any possible breaking news for my popular Examiner columns so that way I wouldn’t miss a story but I have been able to use my iPhone for such tasks.

In my popular writing moms workshop I instruct fellow writing moms how to avoid getting so hung up on reading articles and blogs. There is great information out there but you shouldn’t soak it all up at the expense of your writing. My method for this is to keep a draft email open and when you see something interesting simply copy the link and add it to your TBR email. This way you will have some great reading material when you need a break or want to wind down in the evening.

I’m finding that this same method can be applied to Internet time (unless when following breaking news if you cover it.) Make a list of what you need to accomplish from Internet time and prepare for it. Write blog posts/articles in advance and prioritize email correspondence. If all you are doing is posting articles/blog posts and promoting them, then you will see how quickly that can be done and you can spend the rest of your time catching up on social media avenues.

Now I am not downplaying the importance of the Internet and our involvement with it as writers but maybe we are using it more than we should. I know of many writers who go completely offline when they are writing. Before this week the idea of that made my skin crawl but now I’m really seeing the value of dialing back the online clutter.

Do you write without the Internet? When and how did you start doing so?

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Creating magic in parenting and writing

Easter is this Sunday and that means the Easter Bunny will be visiting so many children, including my daughter. As a parent and bringer of the “Easter Bunny” spirit I take so much pride and enjoyment out of creating the day magical for my daughter. While working her basket of goodies and planning the day it dawned on me. This is also what I do when I write. I work, plan and then sit back to revel in the magical experience I created.

            Being a mom is magical and so is being a writer. We bring magic to pages that create experiences for our readers. These experiences may be useful information, a magically fun escape or inspirational instruction.

            I love being a mom and creating a magical experience in my daughter’s world is so important to me just as it is to create a meaningful experience for my readers. When something means so much to you, you can make it work and that includes making the time.

            Being a writing mom from home is hard work. If you’ve followed my blog then you know that I’ve worked in New York City PR, Houston Advertising and then was a director of a fast growing CBS television’s creative services department. And college was no cakewalk. But doing what I do now is the most challenge career and the most rewarding.

I love what I do and bringing the magic to my daughter means everything to me. That’s why I’ve been planning what will go in her Easter basket for months. I have put care into everything. Do this with your lives and your writing and things will come together—magically.

 

This week I will only blog once in respect of Good Friday.  

 

Happy Easter!

P.S. And being the animal mommy I am, yes they got a basket too 🙂

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