Write. Edit. Share. Repeat.

About writing, editing, publishing & getting it out there


Avoiding Twitter chaos

lists-on-twitter-300x214It’s not hard to gain followers on Twitter or other social media platforms. If you’re active and keep having conversations with people, if you retweet or repost interesting items, if you make an effort to tweet or post every day or at least a few times a week (and not just promotional tweets), you will gain followers. A year or so back I started working on building my base on Twitter. I gained followers, and of course I liked having more followers … but then I had to figure out how to manage them. I can’t interact with 2,000 people, which my personal Twitter account has. My professional Twitter account (screenshot upper left) is still growing, but I figured there was no reason to skip this step and then waste time later figuring out who is who.

Lists keep Twitter manageable.

I use Twitter’s list system and organize as many people as I can into lists. My business account has 5 lists at the moment, which I may or may not expand as time goes by. Because I’m a writer and editor, I mainly focus on other writers and creative types. My current categories are Writers, Editors, Publishing, Social Media, and News+Politics. Since I use social media for business, I’m always reading up on the best ways to use it, which for me basically means finding a balance between efficiency and obnoxiousness, or between friendly and pushy. The beauty of lists is that you can make them private or public, and even the ones that are public are not going to bother anyone. If someone puts me on their list, I’ll only get a notice if my account is set up to get emails about that. Otherwise, I won’t know unless I look at. If you click the “me” menu on the top bar, then on the left side click on “lists,” you’ll see this: lists on twitter 2 You click on “Member of” and often you’ll see lists other people have added you to. For instance, on my personal Twitter account I was placed into a group called “Writer/Editor/Publisher” by someone I follow, which could be a useful group to subscribe to (subscribing to others’ groups is another way to keep up on what people who are into what you’re into are doing). The other groups, as you can see, are a bit more generic. lists on twitter 3

How do you use lists?

The way I usually use it is to respond to others’ tweets, or to retweet something relevant, in a timely manner. When I click on my “Editors” list, for example, and then click on “tweets” on the left (vs “list members” or “list subscribers”), you’ll see all the most recent tweets sent by list members, and exactly how long ago they were sent. lists on twitter 4Then I simply decide whether to respond to some of them. In some cases the tweet may be too old to respond to, but you might want to retweet it. Twitter can suck a lot of time away from your life if you are not careful. I try to limit the number of times I am tweeting each day and I pre-schedule tweets using HootSuite or TweetDeck. I love social media, I love being able to chat instantaneously with people. But I can’t do Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn and Tumbler and Pinterest and Instagram … at least not on a consistent basis. I think I actually have accounts to all of these, but I mainly focus on Twitter, Facebook and my blog, checking LinkedIn regularly for career-related information. .


Talking me off the ledge of negativity*

By slava (https://secure.flickr.com/photos/slava/496607907/) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By slava (https://secure.flickr.com/photos/slava/496607907/) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

We were discussing the nature of creativity, and the persistence of negativity, and the ridiculousness of feeling like a fraud in the face of evidence to the contrary.

What is going on? Why does a person with a history as a writer declare, “I cannot write!” to a hopefully non-judgmental outside party? Read More


Blogging challenge–from A to Z

APRIL-2013-CALENDAR-001I’ve come across a blogging challenge that piqued my interest (thanks to Damyanti of Daily (w)rite, who led me to this). If you click on “Other blogs to visit” above, you’ll find a list of other writers participating in this challenge.

It’s called “Blogging from A to Z” and it’s a challenge, which starts on April 1, to blog on a topic starting with the corresponding letter of the alphabet.

From the blogger who started this, Arlee Bird of “Tossing it Out“: Read More


Applebee’s Overnight Social Media Meltdown

applebeesThank you to R.L. Stollar for a stellar article. Wow. This is worth reading all the way through.

via Applebee’s Overnight Social Media Meltdown: A Photo Essay « R.L. Stollar, Journalist..

“Hell hath no fury like a Facebook scorned. In today’s digital age, most of us assume everyone understands this fact. But every now and again, people surprise us. An ever-increasing element of this reality is that the hounds of Reddit, the Twitter armies, and Facebook vigilantes are more than willing to remind people that we live in a publicized world. You can’t hide behind privacy statements or legal jargon or appeals to company policy to pacify an Internet mob. Once you cross the line of Internet etiquette, the people of the World Wide Web will hunt you down and do their best to ruin you forever.”

Complete article here.


Word shortcuts! (You know you’re excited)

Click to link to Tech Republic blogs

From TR Dojo: Word keyboard shortcuts for quickly formatting documents | TechRepublic

TR Dojo: Word keyboard shortcuts for quickly formatting documents | TechRepublic.

Please share any other Word tips you may know about. I’m going to write up these suggestions and tape a cheat sheet to my monitor.


Shameless, self-serving “altruism”?

Jan Arzooman

Tweet, Tweet & Retweet were on a boat. Tweet & Tweet jumped off …

A few months ago, I was on the bus to work, bored and looking for something fun to read. I tweeted on my Android, “Does anyone have an interesting blog today? Share it with me; I’ll tweet about the one I find most interesting.” I wasn’t looking for anything specific—in the mood I was in, I probably would have preferred non-fiction—but I only got one response, from an erotic fiction writer whose blog was the second chapter of her book. Her style wasn’t what I was looking for, but I’d sort of promised to consider anyone who responded, so I read the first part and then the chapter she’d linked me to.

No one else answered my tweet, so she “won” my “call for submissions.” I tweeted a congratulatory note that my heart was not completely in, but I’d promised, so I delivered. Read More


“Quitting is not the same thing as failure”

Chuck Wendig: “Your lack of confidence is neither interesting nor unique.”

“What? You think you’re the first writer who doesn’t think he can do it? Uh, hello, please meet every other writer ever. We’re all f***ing headcases.”

This was from the blog Chuck Wendig wrote the other day, “Failing vs Quitting,” and I thought it was worthwhile to share it here. It’s a long piece but good. Go check it out.

“Writing and storytelling isn’t a math problem with a guaranteed solution,” Chuck continues. “It’s threading a needle inside our heart with an invisible string strung with dreams and nightmares. We are afforded zero guarantees.” Read More


How can I help…and what’s in it for me?

A handmade quilt and cap made by some Astoria (Queens) crafters to contribute to the post-Hurricane Sandy aid efforts.

I admit to a bit of depression setting in over the hurricane recovery. It didn’t hit our house—we were fine—but several friends had flooding and are still without electricity. I feel helpless.

I spent another day down in the Rockaways over the weekend. I was needed to drive again and I was happy to do it, but there were a lot of other people helping, too—maybe because it was a mild day. I helped with some unloading of food and cleanup at two church centers, but that was it; I sort of felt “extra.” Read More


Irrational fears, meandering thoughts

I wrote earlier about procrastination and getting distracted, and these are two big issues that I need to get a handle on. It’s not so easy. A big part of it is fear and negativity—if I sit down to write, I am not making money, and I should be doing something very specific toward making money, since I am not permanently employed right now—I’m doing freelance and temp work. So sitting down to write generates a fear that I’m doing the wrong thing.

My blog does not feel like as much a waste of time as fiction writing does, though, because it is linked to my website and I may, potentially, get freelance clients who need an editor or blogger or some other editorial service. But what about Twitter and Facebook—is spending time there productive? Are any of these things more or less productive than sitting down to write fiction, or an essay potentially for publication? Read More


I sit down to write a blog…

I do admit I get distracted and procrastinate a lot. Just now, about to sit down and write a blog, I thought it would be better to have pictures with it. I was going to write about my new laptop, and my frustration about being told by Microsoft that my computer was not eligible for an upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8. The Staples salespeople (there were several trying to convince me that day) had told me that they offered a rebate on upgrades to Windows 8 on all new laptop purchases, since it was coming out in October and this was the end of September. I emailed Staples and got details on how to order the upgrade and then apply for the rebate. I’ve gotten rebates from Staples before; you can do them online and there’s never been an issue beyond having to wait a few weeks for a check. So I started the process, confident that even without my computer-savvy husband Paul around I could do it myself. He had braved the roads to drive into work.

Because Hurricane Sandy has put NYC public transportation out of commission (the subways are flooded and I’ve just heard the wonderful news that a bunch of MTA buses in the yard at Jamaica were flooded and damaged, too (seriously? That couldn’t have been avoided?), my company is closed again today and I’m losing another day’s pay. Again, I have work to do here, but because I was home and had time, I thought it might be good to get the upgrade out of the way before I forgot about it and lost the paperwork and/or the offer expired. Knowing my past history, either one of those could easily happen.

But when I got the email from Microsoft that I was not eligible, before I let myself get upset (either I’ve been screwed or I’ve made some mistake in the process–hopefully the latter), I grabbed a pen and dialed the customer service number. There was no email address., naturally. I steeled myself and promised to be patient with the barely understandable customer service rep who would inevitably pick up. Oh, yes, I could get lucky and get someone from the U.S. In the past that’s been someone from Texas calling me Honey. Is that better than the overseas call centers? It’s a toss-up — sometimes I do understand the Indian accents better than the ones from the deep South. 

Anyway, it was all a moot point, because the call didn’t go through. Damn. Oh, yeah, we just had a massive hurricane!

Grumble grumble.

Anyway, my point is that I sat down to write the blog and decided I needed a picture of my laptop as illustration. The laptop didn’t look good against the ugly flowery tablecloth we currently have on our dining room table, so I moved it to the coffee table, where it looked better. Then I decided that if I were really going to illustrate “working on my laptop,” I’d need a prop — a coffee mug, which I frequently have next to me. I didn’t have one just then, though, because I’d already had two cups of coffee. OK, I thought, I’ll get the mug and pose it (and I can show off the pretty new handmade cup I got on my trip to Ireland). The mug was obviously empty so I decided to fill it with coffee I wasn’t planning on drinking. I debated with myself briefly, but felt that heating it in the microwave to try to capture some steam rising was a bit obsessive.

On my way to the kitchen, I saw that my cat, Pip, had shoved himself into the bag containing all the service and refund information that Staples had given me when I bought my laptop. Obviously, Pip had ennui due to being stuck with us in the house for two days straight, and he was attempting suicide. Of course I took his picture (being an impartial journalist) before talking him back out of the bag.

So. I do not have Windows 8 yet. A guy (girl) from Staples customer service with a name I have never seen before in my life said that it would be easier to discuss the issue over the phone, if I would call customer service. Suuuuure it will be easier, H——— uhh ….. Sir (Ma’am?). I didn’t attempt to make the call just yet; without actually trying again, I just told them my phone was out due to the storm. I will deal with this later. I have more important things to do. Like catching up on some editing, and … no, not playing with the cat–editing.