This has been quite a year for me. For all of my followers, I hope you have enjoyed reading my posts, and have gotten some useful and insightful tidbits from this blog. And I hope you continue to read, because in 2018 I plan to delve deeper into all things writerly, both for myself and to share with my fans and followers.
2017 has been a busy year for me, full of learning experiences, dreams being realized, and unexpected blessings. Here’s a quick rundown of my year:
- In the spring, I left the only home I’d ever known (central Virginia) and moved across the country to the inland northwest (north Idaho). I had no job or place to live lined up, but my sister and her family had moved out there the year before, and I was ready for a change. So I packed up my cat and my books in a U-Haul (don’t panic – the cat rode in the car, not the trailer) and drove across the country.
- Just a few short months later, I’m living in a little cottage built in 1929, surrounded by fruit trees and mountain views. My town has one traffic light, no McDonald’s, and no movie theater. Most of my neighbors have chickens, and it’s not uncommon to see someone riding a horse through downtown. It’s a border town, so I see as many Montana and British Columbia license plates as I do Idaho plates. My town does have a library and a used book store, though, so there’s that.
- I’ve met so many new writers this year, both in real life and online. There’s a pretty vibrant writing/artistic community in my area. And Twitter is a wonderful platform for connecting with writers from all over.
- I published three books this year. They’re all short (a novella and two short stories), but hey, it still makes me an officially published author.
- I’ve been delving into dieselpunk this year, and learning more and more about all the different nuances of this “punk” sub-genre of science fiction or historical fantasy. I’m learning that there’s a niche for every interest, and a market (even if it’s a small one) for every niche. If you’re not sure who your target audience is for your books, or what to call the kind of books that you’re writing, then keep searching and keep reaching out. You’ll find your people.
- I had a white Christmas for the first time in forever. I think I experienced a white Christmas perhaps twice my whole life in Virginia. I’m a big lover of snow, and an even bigger lover of Christmas and all things holiday, so having two feet of white powder on Christmas was pretty much a dream come true.
I hope every one of you had some good experiences in 2017. Whether 2017 was your best year or not, find something to be thankful, something you can learn from, and set your goals and dreams for the upcoming year.
Onward to 2018!
In the ever-changing sea of social media, techniques can change on a weekly basis, it seems. That sure-fire tactic that worked last month is now totally useless. But some things don’t change. I originally wrote this post almost three years ago, and even as I’ve learned more about using social media as an author (and worked professionally in social media), these points are still valid.
So in no particular order, here are five sure-fire ways to annoy your followers and alienate your readership. If you’re tired of the decent or even excellent success you’ve been having with your social media, then try these tips to make everything worse.
Write in ALL CAPS
All capital text is the type-written form of shouting, and shouting for no good reason drives people away by the hundreds. Why save all caps for only URGENT STUFF when you can confuse and irritate your fans by making EVERYTHING SEEM URGENT? Continue reading
For the past two weeks, I’ve missed my normal Wednesday blog post.
I’ve blogged regularly for about five years now, posting once a week, and missed maybe three or four weeks during that time. After missing two weeks in a row this past month, I resolved anew to be disciplined with my writing and my blogging, regardless of circumstances.
My circumstances haven’t been bad – quite the opposite, actually. If you’ve been following me on Twitter, then you might have seen the occasional tweet about me being in the process of moving. Back in April, I quit my part-time job, packed up my books, said goodbye to my parents and the city I’d grown up in, and moved across the country. I’m still not fully sure why I did this, but I did. And so far I haven’t regretted it. Continue reading
This week I was stumped for a blog post idea, due in part to being focused on lots of other writerly things besides blogging. I love blogging and I’ve kept at it for years, so don’t worry – I won’t be going anywhere. In the coming weeks I’ll be back to sharing writerly quotes and giving tips about writing and storytelling. But in the meantime, here’s what I’ve been up to.
I’m working on putting my sci-fi novella Blueshift on Nook and iBooks. So if you have a Nook or an Apple device, you’ll soon be able to read it! Continue reading
I have not been very active in the blogosphere or on social media for the past two weeks. Normally I am one to preach about the importance of being consistent with your blogging or social media postings. Consistency does indeed count for a lot, but hopefully I’ve built enough of a following that my two-week absence hasn’t cost me all of my supporters. (Right? I say, dear follower, isn’t that right?)
Anyway, my excuse is that I was moving. Across the country. I’ve lived in Virginia my entire life, and I decided to move to Idaho. And I drove the whole way (well, my sister drove with me. She awesomely gave up a week of her life so I wouldn’t have to drive solo cross-country). But still, I spent a week either driving, navigating, or passed out in a hotel room. I didn’t have phone or internet signal a lot of the time (sometimes it was enough for the GPS, sometimes not).
After the drive, I’ve spent the last few days getting settled in the room I’m temporarily renting, putting my stuff in storage, learning my way around town, etc., etc. And so finally, for the first time in two weeks, I have a chance to sit down and write. Continue reading
I’m sure this happens to every blogger sooner or later: your idea well dries up. It might be a long creativity dry spell, or maybe it’s just a temporary slump and you’re like “drat, I’m supposed to post tomorrow and I have nothing ready.”
Well, here are some handy tips to keep you going – or at least to help you fill in the gaps until your creativity springs gets going again. If you’re stuck for blog post ideas, you can:
Search the internet for “blog post ideas.” You’ll come across dozens of far more creative and influential bloggers than yours truly who have long lists of ideas, or fabulous tips for getting out of a slump. Continue reading