[Obligatory Green Day Reference]

Monthly update dropping like these crisp autumn leaves

Except I would hate to miss the end of September – it’ll mark five years married to my partner! So the end of the month will be a wash, because we’ve got anniversary plans, followed by my first trade show, and then possibly a friend visiting.

I really have barely written anything this month, but it hasn’t been wholly unproductive. There’s been lots of site updates, little tweaks here and there, including a reference sheet for keeping track of the various writing Twitter tags. I also added a freebie: an up to 10-page critique for new followers!

Work has been hectic, planning two trade shows and an awards dinner simultaneously, while we’ve also been interviewing for a new team member. I can’t wait for them to start, because it’ll make life so much easier on that front. In addition, we’re still unpacking and settling into life here, which hasn’t helped.

So while there’s very little to report for August, it’s been a much more easy going month, which I think I definitely needed. September is bringing a lot of challenges and big events, including the next round of NYC Midnight’s Flash Fiction Challenge! I’ll be looking forward to seeing how I fared last round, and squaring down a new prompt next month.

How Hootsuite helps me maintain platforms come hell or high water

Being everywhere on social media is a tall order!

I’m tired. Frequently, mentally, insurmountably…tired. My theme song is that burlesque number from Blazing Saddles.


Okay, maybe not that kind of tired.

And that’s why I’m here to talk about post scheduling. There’s a deluge of articles about author platform and marketing. There’s also a glut of articles and guides on social media. And the message is consistent: engage, engage, engage.


So what about people working jobs where they can’t manage their social media on the fly? Where a visible mobile device is a write up? What about people with mental illness, or other chronic conditions that throttle their emotional, mental, or physical bandwidth? That’s where post scheduling is a godsend. It lets you remain on people’s radars, continue to share your passions with the world, and if life rears its uglier head once in awhile, you don’t need to worry about losing traction with your fan base. It also means you can spread your content out evenly instead of busting out 5-10 tweets, posts, or blogs in the hour after you get home from work. This is important for hitting multiple time zones (Hello, GMT!) and not flooding followers’ feeds.


There does seem to be some push back about post scheduling, mainly citing lack of authenticity behind scheduled content. That’s great, I’m really happy for them that they’re able to organically maintain a highly active social media presence. I, for one, am not currently there. I still have days where I don’t even make the bed (and I’m usually pretty good about this–I have the habit trackers to prove it!), or come home, land on the couch, and barely budge from it until it’s bed time, or later. I’m working on letting these transgressions slide (albeit while trying to prevent them in the future), and that’s easier knowing that at least my Twitter and Instagram are still ticking over from that high energy day a few weeks ago where I busted out a month’s worth of scheduled content.

So what does that look like for me? It looks like a very busy Hootsuite dashboard:

hootsuite dashboard.PNG

The first three tabs are my own content: my content streams; my scheduled content; and any messages, mentions, etc. The next three tabs are all about that essential engagement. They’re Instagram, Twitter photography and travel, and Twitter writing tags I want to monitor, curated into an easy to browse interface. It’s easy for me to take a few moments on my phone to scroll through these streams, commenting and liking posts that catch my attention rather than trying to always keep an eye on my feeds.

The rest are the tags I schedule for. A tab for every day’s regular writing tags, plus the recurring Twitter contests, and each tab contains all the relevant hashtags I’m aware of for that category. In the morning, I use the day’s tags as a checklist, making sure I’m participating in all the ones that make sense for me. At my leisure, it becomes a browsable curator, much like my more general monitoring tabs.

It’s not a perfect system, and my engagement isn’t perfect. I still have lulls and missed opportunities. But progress is progress and it’s better than the radio silence of the latter half of last year and first part of this year. It helps me overcome some of my personal stumbling blocks and that makes it A+ in my book.

I’m building a personal reference sheet of Twitter tags related to writing and editing, which you can find here. Is your favourite tag missing? Let me know! I’d also love to hear how you work around life and mood swings to maintain a constant presence online. Do you schedule, or use a different set of tools?

NaNoWriMo Notebook

So awhile ago, I decided to give the notebook into which I’d been brainstorming and outlining a makeover.

This is now my main notebook/idea cache for my NaNoWriMo project, which I’ve decided to call Shroudland. It’s about a budding mortician who suspects things aren’t quite right at their new job, and an experiment in taking plotting and outlining to an extreme.
image (17)

So here’s what I started with:

Just a plain composition notebook, originally chosen for its girly cover. Buying things that are very feminine makes sure that in a workplace that’s 90%

male my things always find their way back to me.




And here are my main tools:


Fancy stationery and stickers! (I never claimed to be a crafting expert…)

So to start out with, I wrapped the notebook with a sheet of the stationery and trimmed it to fit more or less flush to the edge of the cover. I affixed the stationery with a glue stick, again, because this isn’t meant to be anything fancy, just something fun to help keep me inspired.


The stationery didn’t quite wrap, so I used some off cuts to finish the job on the back.


Great! Time for stickers! I wanted them to be roughly centered, so I used a measuring tape to place them.


And there you have it! One notebook ready to guide me through the harrowing process of NaNoWriMo!