Beware the Social Media Snuggie–One Size Does NOT Fit All

Just as I have been spending a lot of time re-thinking my whole social media strategy, this post crossed my newsfeed. An interesting look at author platforms, and how to focus on the best options for your needs. ~ Flynn

Kristen Lamb's Blog

So last night I’m watching TV and this ad comes on for an item called, Forever Lazy. Basically, its a blanket with a zipper and legs (oh and there is a zipper at both ends and I will just stop there). Basically, it’s a cousin to the Snuggie.

This got me thinking…

What if we just gave up wearing clothes and just took to wearing Lazy Blankets or Snuggies? I mean, my thighs that haven’t properly fit in a pair of jeans since fifth grade would no longer be a problem. And how much time would we save going to the gym? With a Lazy Blanket, no one could see our cellulite or our less-than-impressive-pecs. No more sweating at the gym and bring on the cheese fries! Shaving our legs could be totally optional. No more sorting the laundry, either. Our Snuggie is already fuzzy, so just throw that…

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The Return to Blogging

Hi everyone, I’m baaaack. Sort of. I’ve been around on social media again for a while, but have had a complete blank on anything to blog about. So as my grand return post, here are a bunch of interesting things that other people have said : )

George R R Martin Quote

“You know how writers are… they create themselves as they create their work. Or perhaps they create their work in order to create themselves.” ― Orson Scott Card

Robert Benchley Quote

“The trouble with writing fiction is that it has to make sense, whereas real life doesn’t.” ― Iain M. Banks

Terry Pratchett Quote

“A novel rough draft is like bread dough; you need to beat the crap out of it for it to rise.” ― Chris Baty

“Words are but the vague shadows of the volumes we mean. Little audible links, they are, chaining together great inaudible feelings and purposes.” ― Theodore Dreiser

Mel Brooks Quote

“Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten. Then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away and replace them with dry, uninspiring books on algebra, history, etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the ‘creative bug’ is just a wee voice telling you, ‘I’d like my crayons back, please.” ― Hugh MacLeod

Internet Fatigue and My Web Holiday

Internet fatigue, or perhaps more aptly, social media fatigue, has been causing an increasing disruption in my life. The endless cycle of news, opinions, scandals, advertisements, and largely useless information, has been clogging up my brain and causing both anxiety and an enduring sense of exhaustion.

(Wondering what exactly “Internet Fatigue” is? Check out this great article: http://au.complex.com/pop-culture/2014/03/is-internet-fatigue-ruining-your-life)

I should point out here that I still think the Internet is a wonderful thing – never before have we had access to so much information at our fingertips – but it is a dual-edged sword, and the flip side is information overload and misinformation. With a discerning eye, research, and a little practice, weeding out misinformation is not that difficult. Information overload, however, is an entirely different problem, particularly in a world where we are already being bombarded by information from all angles in everyday life. 

From our TVs, radios, billboards, posters, food packaging, magazines, newspapers, and pretty much anywhere we look the minute we set foot outside of our homes, information bombards us from all directions. Add in the Internet, particularly social media, and this information bombardment increases exponentially. 

Yes, social media can be fun. It can be a great way to keep in contact with friends and relatives, and to network professionally. But it also becomes exhausting. It can become a compulsion to check Facebook or Twitter (or your social media of choice), every spare second. It’s the first thing you look at in the morning, and the last thing you check at night. You scroll through your timeline when you’re bored. And it all becomes overwhelming.

Which is why, in the interests of reclaiming a good portion of my day, re-prioritising, de-clogging my brain, and reducing my stress levels, I will be on hiatus from blogging and social media for the foreseeable future. Thanks for all of your support, and hopefully I will return with a clear head and fresh perspective at some point in the future.

Stress & Burnout—How to Get Your Creative Mojo Back

A very relatable and informative post from Kristen Lamb about the negative effects of stress on your cognitive and creative abilities.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Image courtesy of Eflon via Flickr Creative Commons Image courtesy of Eflon via Flickr Creative Commons

The past few years have been just brutal. My grandmother who raised me was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and it was just one crisis after another and it just never…freaking…let…up. I felt like I was in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu being crushed all the time, but not allowed to tap out. Then, on Independence Day (ironically) my grandmother finally passed away.

I really never appreciated how much her declining health was impacting me until she was gone. It was like I was wandering around in a fugue state only aware that my knees hurt. Then out of nowhere a hand lifted off the 500 pound gorilla and I could breathe again. I never noticed the gorilla, never noticed the lack of air, only the knee pain.

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So now I am in the process of rebuilding. I plan on taking a couple days off to…

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Proofreading Tips for Writers

Proofreading

If you have written anything before, whether essays, reports, fiction, articles, or any other form of writing, you will most likely have discovered the difficulties that come with proofreading your own work. Even if you have an impeccable knowledge of the English language, there is one pitfall that is almost impossible to avoid:

Our brain tricks us into seeing what should be there instead of what is there.

No matter how often we re-read our own writing, or how much distance (time) we place between ourselves and our work, sneaky, simple mistakes will almost always slip through the cracks. As an example, I wrote a short story where a character “threw her bag and keys on the table”. Or, that is what it was supposed to say. Despite multiple readings over a period of two months, I never picked up that it actually said “threw her back and keys on the table”, until someone else pointed the mistake out to me.

These sorts of errors slip easily past spelling and grammar checkers, and often only a fresh pair of eyes will find them. It is also small errors like this that can drag a reader out of the flow of the story, lessen the impact of your writing, and affect your professional image if you write for a living.

There are, however, a few tips and tricks that can help you pick up on as many of these pesky little mistakes as possible:

  • Take as much time as possible between writing and proofreading your writing, so your work has become less familiar
  • Read very slowly, or read out loud (or both)
  • Re-read the work several times, focusing on a particular issue on each pass (punctuation, grammar, spelling, etc.)
  • Print out your work to proofread it
  • Change the typeface, colour, size, and/or background to trick your brain into thinking you’re reading something new
  • Take breaks, be well rested and as alert as possible

While all of these techniques can be useful, nothing really beats getting another person to proofread your work, if at all possible. Just to be safe.

 

Helpful Links for Proofreading Your Own Work: 


Get Your Eagle Eye On: 10 Tips for Proofreading Your Own Work by Leah McClellan:

http://writetodone.com/get-your-eagle-eye-on-10-tips-for-proofreading-your-own-work/

21 Proofreading and Editing Tips for Writers by Melissa Donovan:

http://www.writingforward.com/writing-tips/proofreading-and-editing-tips-for-writers



Are You Botching Your Dialogue?

A great post on writing dialogue from Kristen Lamb.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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Today we are going to talk about dialogue. Everyone thinks they are great at it, and many would be wrong. Dialogue really is a lot tricker than it might seem.

Great dialogue is one of the most vital components of fiction. Dialogue is responsible for not only conveying the plot, but it also helps us understand the characters and get to know them, love them, hate them, whatever.

Dialogue is powerful for revealing character. This is as true in life as it is on the page. If people didn’t judge us based on how we speak, then business professionals wouldn’t bother with Toastmasters, speaking coaches or vocabulary builders.

I’d imagine few people who’d hire a brain surgeon who spoke like a rap musician and conversely, it would be tough to enjoy rap music made by an artist who spoke like the curator of an art museum.

Our word choices are…

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