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The Inertia of Not Doing.

20 Mar
Just Do It | Nike x Lau

Just Do It | Nike x Lau (Photo credit: achimh)

For writers, it is not uncommon to look at the blinking  prompt at the beginning of  your line and all the white space underneath and feel overwhelmed. I am sure that is something that all writers and bloggers have had to deal with at one point or another. It might not even be the dreaded “block” as much as just the inertia of not doing. When you spend a lot of time away from the keyboard, it can feel impossible to return. You become very aware of how long it has been since you last tapped the keys. The molehill of inconvience becomes the mountain of insecurity, doubt and real anxiety.  You start to think that it is just too hard to get back at it and doubt your ability to return to the routine.

 

English: QWERTY keyboard, on 2007 Sony Vaio la...

English: QWERTY keyboard, on 2007 Sony Vaio laptop computer. Français : Le clavier QWERTY d’un ordinateur portable Sony Vaio de 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)So what do you do to get writing again?

Nike was on to something when they offered the veritable and incredibly simple advice, Just Do It,

It can be as simple as that. Sit down and write the first 250 Words that come to mind. Do some freewriting. The best way to get back on to the horse is with a leap and wrap both legs around the belly and ride. It can be as simple as that. Once, you are back in the practice of dumping 250 words in the morning then the page won’t seem quite as intimidating when you want to do some real writing.  If you can’t do 250 words then do any amount that you can but once you start you will find that 250 words are hardly any at all. Look at this entry so far and I am just barely over 250. Two short paragraphs will get you there. Take a shot you have nothing to lose and your writing habit to gain. So, get back to it and remember the truest of truisms:

 

WRITERS WRITE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Go South By Southwest, Young Man

19 Mar

Where have I been?

 

If you know me primarily from this blog then you may wonder where I have been? I am sorry if you have feared the worst. I’m not gone. I just fell into preoccupation with work and in addition looking for work. The job search has paid off after months of searching. I found through an old friend a new day job. I will be working for a company as an at “@home virtual reservations associate” booking stays at luxury properties for an international company. I will be staying with my friend of over twenty years and his new wife. We are currently confined to a small apartment but will be moving into a house very soon. I am also saving money

The catch was a move to Austin, Texas. The proud Okie had to move south of the Red River. Worse still, the relocation south has moved me away from my children.  However, the work will pay the sort of money that will allow me to save for a place of my own as well as have more time to commit to my writing.  I was able to visit South By Southwest Interactive Festival for the second time. While my visit was primarily a social experience and consisted primarily of people watching and observing the crowds, I am sure it will not be the last time that I will get to experience the festival. The move should be a positive one overall and ultimately allow a return to an active blog.

I will continue this blog with writing tips, progress on my novel and at times a personal story or two about my life as a part time freelancer with a full time day job and aspirations of being a novelist.

Image of Austin, Texas

Image of Austin, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Build a Better Brand Platform: 30 Day Challenge (Day 30)

30 Sep

My Name Is Not Bob Platform Building Challenge Day 30 

Yippee…this calls for some graduation clip art!!!

We’re done. Stick a fork in it. Who wants pie? I am going to miss the challenge. Except of course, it isn’t over. This was just the first 30 days of a commitment to a long term platform to network, connect, engage and promote. Go over and thank Mr. Robert “Not Bob” Brewer for designing such an excellent challenge and I hope that you enjoyed my commentary and few deviations from the set course. I know I had a lot of fun. I enjoyed it. I hope you did too.

It is also the 50th post published in Very Novel! That makes us like legit!!!

I am leaving you with this final challenge and call to action. Please, please, please….

If you haven’t yet, please connect with me on social media:

Please follow this blog by email or on your WordPress reader page (or both). If you found this information valuable then please feel free to share it with others. I provided the share buttons so you bring the shares, buddy!

As always your comments are appreciated.

Excelsior. Peace Out.

Build a Better Brand Platform: 30 Day Challenge (Day 29)

29 Sep
"WE'RE READY FOR THE CHALLENGE TOMORROW. ...

“WE’RE READY FOR THE CHALLENGE TOMORROW. LETS DO THE JOB TOGETHER” – NARA – 516115 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MNINB Day 29 Challenge

Tomorrow is the last day of the challenge. It is sort of bittersweet. I am simultaneously eager for the challenge to be over and certain that I am going to kind of miss it. For this feeling, there is only one antidote.  We must continue to challenge ourselves. Sit down and make a list for next month (October) and give yourself a challenge or task for each day. There’s no more guide to tell you what to do. Now you must make these decisions on your own. If adding new social media sites doesn’t feel right then don’t do it. If joining some pages or groups just for writers does feel right then do that. Somewhere near the end of next month write make a list for the next month. Then that month, you must make a list for the next month. You got it. The challenge never ends in that way. We continue challenging ourselves and growing for our entire careers and lives.

For those who like things in bold print:

Make a list of challenges for next month.

It is important that we continue challenging ourselves. It is only by challenging ourselves as writers and as people that we grow. Thanks for playing along. Thanks Robert “Not Bob” Brewer for designing the challenge. I’ll see you tomorrow in cap and gown for the last day of our challenge. We are almost graduates.

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If you haven’t yet, please connect with me on social media:

Please follow this blog by email or on your WordPress reader page (or both). If you found this information valuable then please feel free to share it with others. I provided the share buttons so you bring the shares, buddy!

As always your comments are appreciated.

Excelsior. Peace Out.

 

Build a Better Brand Platform: 30 Day Challenge (Day 28)

28 Sep

Do you smell that? It smells like…

…victory. We are on our final lap. Well…we are in our last three days. By next week,you will have graduated from this 30 Day Challenge! I guess that calls for a fairly easy challenge today.

Read a new blog and add a comment.

Be sure to include a link back to your blog. If you remember we did this at the mid-point of our first week and here we are in our last week and we are repeating the challenge. There must be a lesson in that. It must be important to continue to read new blogs and break out of our insular little habits. Hey, I didn’t say it first. Remember I am just following along with you on Mr Brewer’s Day 28 challenge.

I love the smell of blog in the morning…

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If you haven’t yet, please connect with me on social media:

Please follow this blog by email or on your WordPress reader page (or both). If you found this information valuable then please feel free to share it with others. I provided the share buttons so you bring the shares, buddy!

As always your comments are appreciated.

Excelsior. Peace Out.

Build a Better Brand Platform: 30 Day Challenge (Day 27)

27 Sep

Social media is old hat to you now. You navigate the big three: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn like a pro. What you need is a new challenge! Today’s challenge…

Join a social media site.

Why not add Pinterest, Goodreads, or RedRoom? Or add a difficulty level to this challenge and join all three. If you are already a member of all three sites then social media really is old hat to you now and maybe you should be hosting a challenge on your blog. If you just can’t get into adding one more social media site then don’t blame me; blame “Not-Bob” and take a look at his Day 27 challenge. “Not-Bob” relates an anecdote about how he almost didn’t get on board with Facebook for the comfort of Myspace. Take a look.

I don’t have a related anecdote to share.  I do have an amusing social media related cartoon however.

 

Internet bullying is a serious problem.

 

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If you haven’t yet, please connect with me on social media:

Please follow this blog by email or on your WordPress reader page (or both). If you found this information valuable then please feel free to share it with others. I provided the share buttons so you bring the shares, buddy!

As always your comments are appreciated.

Excelsior. Peace Out.

Build a Better Brand Platform: 30 Day Challenge (Day 26)

26 Sep

Déjà vu all over again! Remember Day 19 of this challenge? 

Guess who’s back,back again. Sean is back, tell a friend. We are repeating the challenge from a week ago.  Write a blog post including a call to action and remember SEO. Then share it. While many of you post more than once a week, at least once a week is a habit to form. Giving your readers a consistent day (and even time) will help you build an audience. People will know how often to look for you and it will become a habit for them to check your blog as well.

It’s all about building an audience and rewarding them with regular content…

and a kitten.

A kitten opens its eyes for the first time

A kitten opens its eyes for the first time  Awww….(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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If you haven’t yet, please connect with me on social media:

Please follow this blog by email or on your WordPress reader page (or both). If you found this information valuable then please feel free to share it with others. I provided the share buttons so you bring the shares, buddy!

As always your comments are appreciated.

Excelsior. Peace Out.

Build a Better Brand Platform: 30 Day Challenge (Day 25)

25 Sep

In lieu of actual content, please accept this cute cartoon.

 

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming. After a short away and a look into Klout with Day 24, we are back on the MNINB Platform Building Challenge as Mr. Brewer designed it. His Day 25 task will also be ours and it is…

Interview an Expert.

There are a lot of good reasons to include interviews with experts in your blog. It allows you to make connections with experts in your field. It shows that you are aware enough of your field to spot the experts and ask them interesting questions. It can lead you into new areas of thinking for your blog as the experts may point out facts or relate stories about things that were previously unknown to you that you can follow up on. It might be the perfect set-up to a guest post in the future.

My nine year old daughter frequently asks me, “If you are following along with this other guy’s challenge then why don’t you just tell them to read his blog?” Today, that sounds like an excellent idea. Mr. Brewer lays out very well the steps of conducting an email interview from asking for the interview (easier than it sounds) to crafting a few short questions (more challenging than it sounds). Please do click on the link above that says “Day 25”. Read along with Mr. Brewer’s advice and then report back to me if you accept the challenge. Oh, and how cute is Robert’s son in that picture? Sincerely, very cute kid.

I am going to call this one “done” for myself as I regularly interview experts for my freelancing. However, I will be working interviews with various writers into this blog as soon as next month. We are keeping it short as we are in the home stretch. Truth? “Day Job” is very hard on my soft writer’s behind and I think I am coming down with a case of the Mondays.

 

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If you haven’t yet, please connect with me on social media:

Please follow this blog by email or on your WordPress reader page (or both). If you found this information valuable then please feel free to share it with others. I provided the share buttons so you bring the shares, buddy!

As always your comments are appreciated.

Excelsior. Peace Out.

Build a Better Brand Platform: 30 Day Challenge (Day 24)

24 Sep

I haven’t really diverged too many times from the MNINB Platform Building Challenge. This is one of those times that I feel like discussing something  completely different (for the record,  MNINB Day 24 was a #hashtag party so you really aren’t missing anything radical by playing my game instead).

Let’s talk Klout . It is a site that claims to be “The Standard for Influence” and is a measure of a person’s worth in the social media arena. It calculates a score for each user in a range from 0-100 and can vary according to your activity and engagement in social media. As of this writing (9/23/12) my Klout Score is a 60. In comparison Barrack Obama has a 99 and Justin Beiber a 92 (previously the only user to have a perfect 100).

Does Klout matter?

Does Klout Matter?

My answer is “Maybe”.

I’ll be honest that I have no idea if your Klout score has any value beyond its use in online marketing. Is there any real-world relation from your Klout score to your influence beyond the bounds of the internet (or really Twitter where it seems most prevalent).

If the events in this Wired post “What Your Klout Score Really Means” are accurate then it would really seem to mean something in some arenas such as within some public relations companies (and maybe that goes for publishing companies). Las Vegas casinos and customer service agents for major companies are using your Klout score to determine the perks you are eligible for and upgrades to service that you qualify for.

With that stated, when I mention Klout score in my real world interactions all but the most social media savvy give me dumb looks and even once I explain they seem skeptical. That does leave the possibility that those in the know about Klout are ahead of the curve. As a measurement of your platform’s overall health there doesn’t seem to be an alternative yet. It is absolutely possible that Klout will be seen as the real standard measure of a writer’s internet platform at some time in the near future. Today’s challenge…

Calculate your Klout score.

Once you have your Klout score then share it here in comments. Where did you fall? Is it what you expected? Higher or lower? What do you think you could do to improve the score? Are you utilizing all of the social media measures that Klout uses to determine your score?  How do you feel about your score and the possibility that in the near future job recruiters, interviewers, and all kinds of companies may use this score to measure your power of influence (and as a writer possibly your “marketability”)?

The possibility that something as nebulous as “influence” is beginning to be measured and scored is something that leaves some firmly skeptical and others scrambling to improve their value in the online community.

Where do I fall on Klout?

I am firmly in the middle. I am very aware that from a marketing stand-point being able to grade an individual’s influence would seem very beneficial. Breaking your trendsetters out from the followers and knowing who to focus your marketing dollars on would be something that lots of companies (yes, even publishers) would see as immediately valuable.

However, can an algorithm of any sort capture that elusive quality of influence ? I am not 100% convinced. There are still those who hold incredible influence in the world without an online presence. Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha has a measly 48 as his Klout score. So maybe  clout (of which Mr. Buffett has much) is not what is being measured by Klout.

We wouldn’t have dedicated a month to building an online platform if we saw no value in the idea that our online interaction has some effect on our ability to influence an audience to respect us as an authority and to seek more of our thoughts and opinions. So if you are in the skeptical camp then know that you are not alone but also know that there are literal buttloads ( a precise scientific measurement) of money being spent to determine how to measure online influence and how that measurement equals an ROI in real world money.

It is not too hard to imagine a world in which our Klout score could have as much value as a credit score in the real world. They are just numbers but our world is measured in all sorts of numbers, grades and scores. Playing the devil’s advocate, I say that it wouldn’t hurt to pay at least some attention to this score.

Klout Hater?

I feel this stick figures pain. I would also like to opt out of a lot of other unfair measurements of my worth as an individual. Until credit scores and all of those mysterious algorithms that insurance agents use to determine your premiums allow you to merely opt out then it might not hurt to have some idea what your Klout score is. You can disregard you high school GPA, or your FICO score, or your Klout score, but important decision-makers in your life might not be ignoring it.

Klout Scores of the Rich and Famous

Barrack Obama  (POTUS) 99

Mitt Romney (Republican Nominee) 91

Neil Gaiman ( Neverwhere Author) 89

Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher on Star Trek) 89

Anne Rice ( Interview with The Vampire Author) 83

Wayne Coyne (The Flaming Lips) 82

Writer’s Digest (Writer’s Digest) 69

Robert Lee Brewer (My Name Is Not Bob blogger) 52

Play with the search bar on Klout and determine the score of your favorite celebrities (or even fellow bloggers, Le Clown).

I am not sure how much weight this score carries yet (but if only for the novelty of it), I prescribe that you keep some idea of what Klout score is attached to your platform.  It might not turn up in a real world situation but then again…it isn’t an impossibility that it might someday. It might never be anything but a way to stroke our own ego but then again the number is beginning to matter to advertisers, marketers, and maybe one day it will to publishers as well. I’m skeptical but judicious enough that I decided that keeping my score reasonable couldn’t hurt either.

So What’s Yours?

Please leave your score in the comments. It would have been interesting to know where you started and where you are now. If you know that information share it in the comments. I have a hunch that your score steadily increased if not radically jumped. Mine went from a 39 to a 60 where it seems comfortable at the moment (with a slow gradual growth) and I admit to fiddling with things in an attempt to effect my score and see how the algorithm is weighted. The most I could determine is the more engaged you are with others and they are with you the higher your score.  So with that said..

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If you haven’t yet, please connect with me on social media:

Please follow this blog by email or on your WordPress reader page (or both). If you found this information valuable then please feel free to share it with others. I provided the share buttons so you bring the shares, buddy!

As always your comments are appreciated.

Excelsior. Peace Out.

Build a Better Brand Platform: 30 Day Challenge (Day 23)

23 Sep

First take a moment to congratulate yourself.

horloge Musée d'Orsay

horloge Musée d’Orsay (Photo credit: Stephen Rees)

After today, there is only one more week of posts left in this 30 Day Challenge modeled after Robert Lee Brewer’s April Platform Challenge and if you have been with me this far then there is no reason you can’t hold out one more week. Today’s task is…

Develop a Time Management Plan.

It is a challenge that all of us face; there is only so much time in a day. Strict management of that time is a must. As a writer, we must make our platform work for us and not the other way around. I will terribly paraphrase Neil Gaiman who said he had discovered one morning that he was someone who answered e-mail for a living and wrote as a hobby. Each minute spent on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn is one that you could have been writing.

Social media is a Time Sink!

It is a very useful tool for self-promotion and networking but it is very easy to spend much more time than you mean to with it. Not every comment needs an immediate answer. Be sure to block off how much time you will need for your social media platform and then use only that much time. Set alarms if you have to. Block out your day. Use calendars,planners, alarms, and whatever bells and whistles are necessary to keep you from spending too much time on any one task. Develop a time management plan that allows you to be active on your social media while still spending the majority of your writing time…well…writing!

Develop routines.  Block out time for your writing, your social media, blogging and make them fit with your lifestyle. Remember that a platform is a marathon not a sprint. Develop habits that will last.

Reward Yourself.

If you are addicted to the social aspect of social media and can’t leave a comment unanswered or a tweet without a reply then choose to reward yourself with an extra fifteen minutes of social media time after you complete one of your assigned writing tasks.

Or if you detest social media then do the opposite reward yourself for spending at least 15 minutes every day on your social media with time doing something you enjoy such as bike-riding, reading, playing a game with the kids or whatever.

Be deliberate. Plan your day to have at least a little time for everything you need to focus on then work to that plan.

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If you haven’t yet, please connect with me on social media:

Please follow this blog by email or on your WordPress reader page (or both). If you found this information valuable then please feel free to share it with others. I provided the share buttons so you bring the shares.

As always your comments are appreciated.

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