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emaginings: Social Media, the Brain and Creativity

September 16, 2013 by in category The Romance Journey by Linda Mclaughlin tagged as , , , , ,

Yesterday’s meeting was informative and lots of fun. I missed Melissa Cutler’s morning workshop on “Making Grammar \work for your Voice” to attend PAW, but heard good things about it afterwards. 

Afternoon speaker Catherine Bybee joined us in PAW for a spirited discussion of publishing and social media. One thing she said struck me as problematic, for me. She said we should share about our lives at Facebook as a way to engage readers. But my life is so boring. Debra Holland told me later that was my choice, and she’s right. I prefer drama in my books, not my house, so living a quiet life is just fine with me. But it doesn’t make for fun anecdotes on Facebook & Twitter, like the ones I see about people’s kids and pets. So it’s my challenge to find a way to be interesting on social media. 
I’ll get the chance soon.I’ve joined a group of ten indie authors to publish a boxed set of our works and we’re going to do a launch party at Facebook. So I can report on that next month. 
In the meantime, I have signed up for Susan and Harry Squires online workshop on “Talking Back to Your Brain”. Now, I have zero time for a class, but this sounds like a good opportunity to get my head straight about some things.Plus I know the class will be great because I’ve taken classes from Susan and Harry before. But keeping up will be another challenge. I do hope it will help me to focus better. As you can see from this post, I’m feeling just a little scattered.
Speaking of the brain, I read a fascinating article recently at the Buffer blog on Why We’re More Creative When We’re Tired and 9 Other Surprising Facts About How Our Brains Work by Belle Beth Cooper. Several of these facts are useful to writers, including the fact that no one can really multitask. Our brains aren’t doing two things at once. Rather, the brain is jumping from one task to another at the fastest possible speed. Not the most efficient way to work. 
I had begun to figure that out for myself, but the internet makes multitasking so appealing. I can open multiple tabs in my browser and jump from one to the other. I start with my email, then, oh, here’s an interesting blog post, and there’s something good to tweet, so I open Twitter, or more likely Buffer, and pretty soon I’ve got seven tabs open to different websites. Yikes. I do close the internet before I start writing. I may be dumb but I’m not that dumb. I do make plenty of mistakes, though.
Which brings up another surprising fact. People who make mistakes are better liked. Maybe that’s why everyone is so fascinated when an icon falls. Hah, she wasn’t so perfect, after all.
Naps help us remember better and meditation can rewire the brain for less anxiety and more creativity. I plan to take more naps, as best I can since I’m a night owl who has enough trouble sleeping at night, much less during the day. And meditation needs to be squeezed in more frequently. If only there were a way to add more time to the day. Oh, wait, there’s something in there about a way to trick our brains into thinking time is going more slowly. That’s a little too much for me to process, but this is a very interesting article.
For those of you not familiar with Buffer, it’s an online and smart phone/table app that helps you to schedule social media postings throughout the day. I can access it from my computer or the iPad. It’s like TweetDeck and HootSuite in that regard, but Buffer doesn’t try to manage you account. Just helps you buffer, i.e., schedule postings throughout the day. It’s very simple to use and the Twitter analytics are helpful. The basic level is free, but someday I may “Go Awesome” and upgrade to the $10 a month plan. They also have an awesome blog with lots of informative and helpful articles.
(Note: No one at Buffer is paying me for this endorsement. I’m just seriously impressed by this app. FWIW, I have not tried TweetDeck or HootSuite, so cannot make a fair comparison.)
Do you use a program to manage your social media platforms? What do you recommend?
Linda
My social media contacts:
Twitter: @LyndiLamont https://twitter.com/LyndiLamont
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emaginings: Random Musings @LyndiLamont

August 26, 2013 by in category The Romance Journey by Linda Mclaughlin tagged as , , , , , ,

This has been the month from I-don’t-know-where. I missed my regular blog date of the 16th, due to not having any wi-fi. Long story that culminated with having to return our 7-week-old iPad 4 and pick up a new one. Thankfully, the new one works fine (so far) but it threw me completely off schedule.

The rights to a bunch of my short stories reverted this summer and I’m struggling to get them revised and reissued, not anywhere as quickly as I’d like while also writing new material. I feel like a juggler with two many balls in the air.

I’m also continuing my forays into various social networking sites. I joined Facebook this year, finally, thanks to Debra Holland. So now I have a personal profile and two pages, one for Linda and one for Lyndi. Facebook has been more fun than I anticipated, for the most part, and not as absorbing as I feared.OCC member, Lex Valentine of Winterheart Design, created two really pretty page covers for me. She’s so talented. Lex also created the cover for my upcoming re-release, Marooned, currently on sale at Smashwords, but coming soon to Amazon & other retailers. She said hopefully.

Apparently, I’ve also managed to accidentally activate a Google+ account for Lyndi, by clicking on something in my gmail account that I didn’t intend to click. I feel like such an idiot some time. Maybe I’ll have that one somewhat figured out by next month’s blog. Pretty sure I am going to delete my Pinterest account since I never use it and can’t afford to spare the broadband such a graphics intense site requires.

Still using Buffer app to schedule tweets and now Facebook shares and liking it more and more. You can now custom schedule a message to go out a day or more in advance, which really helps with planning. Using their analytics also clued me in to the fact that adding the hashtag #Author to a tweet really ups the potential for viewing from my app. 790 followers to several thousand possibilities. Potentially useful information.

Feel free to share any useful social media tips in the comments section. I can use all the help I can get!

Linda/Lyndi

Linda McLaughlin / Lyndi Lamont
Websites: http://www.lindamclaughlin.com
http://www.lyndilamont.com
Blogs:
Flights of Fancy
Lyndi’s Love Notes
Facebook
Twitter

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emaginings: Buffer for Writers

July 17, 2013 by in category The Romance Journey by Linda Mclaughlin tagged as , , , , , , , ,

While most everyone else was getting ready for this week’s RWA Conference in Atlanta, I went to camp instead. Well, MFRW (Marketing For Romance Writers) online Summer Camp.

If you’re not familiar with MFRW, I recommend checking it out. We have a dynamic group of writers led by the amazing Kayelle Allen, and ably assisted by Paloma Beck, Karen Cote, Kristyn Phipps, OCC’s own Monica Stoner, and a host of other generous volunteers. I’ve learned a lot from reading the MFRW Digests that come into my inbox.

At camp, I focused mostly on the social media classes, since I’ve been taking baby steps into that arena for over a year now. One of the classes was Buffer for the Hard-Pressed Writer, taught by Kristyn Phipps. I’ve had a Twitter account for over a year now, but hadn’t gone so far as to sign up for HootSuite or TweetDeck to manage my tweets, though there were times when I wished I had a way to space them out more. So I figured why not give Buffer a try, esp. since it’s also available as a smart phone app. It seemed like a good solution: a simple app that lets a user schedule tweets and FaceBook shares for release at specified times of the day.

You can sign in using your Twitter or Facebook account, then add a Buffer email and password. You have to authorize Buffer to access your Twitter, FB, Linked In or App.net account.

Buffer also has a section called Analytics that shows you the number of times someone Retweets, Favorites, Mentions, or Clicks your message and the Potential number of users that could be reached.

The Buffer staff is good at answering question via Twitter and the app will also email you to let you know when your buffer is empty. I haven’t had much time to play with it yet, but expect it will be quite useful.

Have you ever tried Buffer, and if so, what was your impression? Or do you use a different program to schedule your social media?

To those who are traveling to Atlanta, be safe and have a wonderful conference!

Linda McLaughlin / Lyndi Lamont
Websites: http://www.lindamclaughlin.com
http://www.lyndilamont.com
Blogs:
Flights of Fancy
Lyndi’s Love Notes
Facebook
Twitter

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