Thursday, August 28, 2014

Where's Your Best ROI?

Life is too full.
It really is. I watch my church friends run from this practice to that game to... It seems never ending for them. Could I do it? Probably. But I won't because my life is full with too many other things (and we homeschool, effectively reducing the number of extracurricular activities pulling at our time).

On my awesome agent's client loop we've been chatting about platforms lately--specifically blogging...which we all know I love and miss when I'm away from it doing monkey business, like I have been this summer. But summer is over. Right? =)

If we're writers, platforms are a MUST.
There is NO disputing that. They’re a fact of our lives. At least they are if we ever want to sign a publishing contract. Check out what Terry Burns has to say about the importance of a platform. Sobering--especially if you haven't been working on a platform but have books written.

If we’re writing our blogs geared toward other writers more posts is a huge turn off because writers are juggling two lives--their work and family AND their writing life because most can't do just one or the other. But what if we’re writing for those who aren’t writers? If our blogs are aimed at people who aren't writers, who are READERS…who most likely won’t comment? Case in point: Karen Wingate’s blog. Recently she found others are reading her blog--local friends! They don’t leave a comment, but they chat about it. And I don't blame them because I love Karen's articles too. How does that effect the blogging equation?

Fonzie looking for all the people.
And what if the blog is for writers, and readers, and people wanting to see pictures of monkeys, or your latest knitting project, or whatever it is you do besides write? How does that factor in to what you post and how often?

This is something I’ve been mulling over a lot lately—especially as I work Twitter more (hey, doing ANYthing on Twitter is more than I’ve done in years, LoL). The people I see on Twitter are other writers. I get notices that I have new people following me on Twitter—and ALL of them are writers. Makes me wonder if there’s any NORMAL people on twitter. Or do the normal people lurk? Or… I just don’t know.

Then there's Facebook.
Okay, I'll admit it.
I've grown to love Facebook.  I heard that snicker. LoL. All the months I've spent on the road with the monkeys has pushed me into Facebook--just to stay connected with friends. And yes, I'm thankful. =)

So tell me, where do YOU get the best ROI for your social media (PLATFORM) time?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

8 Tips to Help Your Blogging Blast Off

I've been getting a lesson ready for ACFW's stay-at-home conference--it's on blogging and I've had so much fun working on it! I've been doing some digging, asking questions on my agent's loop, and relishing this dive back into a topic I love.

Here's a nugget from my digging...

8 Tips to Help Your Blogging Blast Off:

1. Design impacting blog posts that someone can read in 60 seconds or less.

2. Use paragraph headlines on longer posts so a person can skip / scan to relevant info.

3. Tell stories from your personal life. Make a point.

4. Choose the perfect picture that goes along with your writing.

5. Don't let perfectionism paralyze you from publishing. Nobody's perfect.

6. Even the best bloggers run out of ideas. The difference? They don't quit.

7. Turn your blog post into a podcast, video, slideshow, infographic, etc. "Recycle" via other technologies.

8. Don't neglect social media platforms. Get your blog post in front of as many eyes as possible.

Source: Infographic courtesy of Sugar Pine Realty

The At Home Writer's Conference is September 25 - 27 and the class line-up is a good one! We'd love for you to join us!

So tell me, what would you add to this list?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Lesson From the Dogs

Gracie is the first to respond to each and every alarm that’s sounded—she quits whatever she’s doing and charges toward the point of concern. I’ve seen Puppers bark a warning, race toward the threat only so far, then fall back to what she’s watching over as soon as Gracie arrives. Gracie spends every night roaming, keeping watch on the perimeter while Puppers is the one who stays in the yard.
When Gracie comes home in the morning Puppers cares for her, whether it's licking her sore and sometimes bloody feet or pulling the burs from her hair.

Although we didn’t assign them, each dog has a job in our family—a job given them by God, one that fits with how they were created. If Gracie didn’t do her job, we wouldn’t have blueberries because the deer would eat the bushes as they did before she came to stay with us. If Puppers decided she was too tired or over worked to care for the needs of others, Gracie would limp and ache all night, making it so she wouldn’t be as effective as she is, not to mention the burrs and sticks that would get matted in her fur. Forcing Gracie to stay home at night by tying her up makes her miserable and Puppers is happiest when she’s nurturing someone, whether it’s Gracie, one of the cats, or one of us. Each dog not only does her job, but she takes great joy in the role she plays in our family.

As Christians we should be the same way. Some of us are assigned to the perimeter, roaming far from home, while some of us stay in the yard and minister to the others as they return or touch base. Each role is necessary and if one of us neglects our job for whatever reason, the whole family is affected.

I never see Puppers ignore someone who comes to her for nurturing—if it’s breathing, or supposed to breathe, she’s there, caring for their needs and showing her love and concern. She doesn’t seem to care that she doesn’t get out of the yard much, that she’s left behind and misses out on the exciting stuff. Washing feet is fine with her, even when they’re caked with mud and who knows what else. I’ve seen her spend an hour cleaning Gracie’s feet while the big dog sleeps, then lay down to rest and end up with a cat nestled in to her. She doesn't care that it's a cat and not puppy, only that she's there for the one who needs her.

Makes me wonder about myself. Am I doing the work God has given me to do? Am I taking as much delight in fulfilling my God-given job as my dogs are?

Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it. Colossians 4:17

Monday, July 21, 2014

TV Time with Toby

Toby loves relaxing with the family in the evenings. Sometimes, he's a bit like a lap dog and just curls up on my lap to sleep. Other times he hops from person to person, playing and visiting, and every now and then he'll actually watch the TV for a few moments. Like here. He liked Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black.  =)

So tell me, do your pets watch TV with you and can you tell what shows they like best?

Like pictures of the monkeys? Follow me on Instagram!

Monkey Monday at Patterings

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

BFFs: Fear and Procrastination

I'm a procrastinator at heart. Pathetically so.

I know all the reasons I need to push on. I know the importance of it. I know that procrastinating could easily kill all hope of what I'm hoping for and what I've been working for and I feel God has for me. But sometimes there's something even bigger than all those things I know.


Fear of what? Fear of failure.
If it's not done, it can't fail.

Am I the only one who deals with this??

And I even know the verses to fight this fear—because I've searched them out so often!

So here's the verse that's pulling me out of this bog fueled by fear:

For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. ~2 Timothy 1:7 NAS

Timidity. Cowardice. Fear. It's NOT what God has given us!

God's given us power. His power. “Miraculous power,” might and strength.
And love.
And discipline. Now there's a word we love to hate. Discipline. Self-control.

THAT's what God has given us.
That means that any time I let fear have control, I'm turning my back on God and what He has given me and choosing the hog swill of fear instead.

How dumb is that?!?!

Sooooo, now that I've put that in perspective (for myself) it's time to get back to work. In power, love and discipline—those awesomely cool gifts God gave me.

So tell me, how do you fight procrastination?

*This is a repost from a couple years ago that I'm needing again these days.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Just Call Me Casper

Sometimes I want to wave my hands in the air and ask if anyone hears me.

Did you say something, Mom? 
I hate feeling like I’m invisible.
I hate feeling like I’m talking inside a bubble.

I think I’ve turned into Charlie Brown’s teacher. Wah-wah-wah-wah-wah.

Am I alone feeling like this? Is it a mom-of-teenagers-and-older-kids thing?

The other day, after introducing myself to a group and getting no response (none!!), and after saying something to my son and getting no response (until I reminded him I’m mom), and after saying something and having my husband talk over me, changing what I said, I began to feel kinda… vapory. Floaty.  Was I really there? Did I really say anything? Maybe I just imagined it all… But I knew I hadn’t imagined those things.

Then I got downright mad.
I did. (Does it count if hormones were screaming in the background?)
I don’t get mad like that often. Thank goodness. But then the edge of anger left and I fell into a pit I hate. Self-pity. ugh.

After wallowing around in self-pity for way too long I decided to just be a ghost. I like being a hermit so settling into ghosthood shouldn’t be bad. Right? Talking to myself is normal. At least for me it is.

But then I heard that still, small Voice.

I hear you.
…if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him. John 9:31b NAS

But know that the Lord has set apart the godly man for Himself; The Lord hears when I call to Him. Psalm 4:3 NAS

I’m not talking in a bubble.

God hears me.

And when I’m honest with myself, I know the others hear me too—they’re just busy in their own world to acknowledge mine. It’s okay. I get it. Sadly, I’ve done the same to others.

Just knowing God hears me, and listens to me, was enough to pull me out of my self-pity.  I mean—the God of the Universe hears me.  Me! The spoiled, whining, self-pitying bump-on-the-log me.

It’s okay if others don’t acknowledge what I say. I can be Casper—the friendly ghost.

Because God hears me!

And He hears you too.

So tell me, how do you combat the I’m-feeling-invisible monster?

Monday, June 30, 2014

Traveling with a Monkey

Toby loves to travel and he's an excellent passenger. His favorite spot is on my lap--lounging, dozing, looking out the window, or picking his toes (hey, that's serious monkey business). If he's not napping, he likes to sit on my shoulder and hang over the back of my seat where he can see out all the windows and keep an eye on his brothers and sisters.

When we're on the road, Toby's favorite times are snack time and going through the drive through windows. He usually greets the cashier person and by the time we reach the pick up window people are running to see if there really is a monkey. =] Not only does he adore the attention but he loves cheeseburgers too. ;-)

Monkey Monday at Patterings

So tell me, how does your pet while traveling?

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