Social Networking Sites for Writers/Bloggers – My Faves

I recently changed my WordPress theme again (do we like?) mainly because I didn’t like the narrow design of Skeptical and I wanted something more minimal and clean looking, with a better font pack. I’m now using Able, with custom colors. I like the newly opened space on my blog. It looks clean and organized, but it’s also colorful and fun in a way that it wasn’t before. As I was re-organizing my sidebar content for the new theme it occurred to me, “Goodness gracious I have a ton of social networking sites. This seems rather unnecessary.” So I got rid of some of them. Which ones did I deem worth keeping, you ask?

  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Instagram

That’s it. That’s all. Now, here’s my reasoning behind the apps I kept.

Twitter is great for short bursts of information; little shout outs as it were. I also keep a feed of my 5 most recent Tweets in my sidebar because they’re short, completely text-based, and don’t add any unnecessary clutter. If I want to make a quick update about something, but don’t necessarily want to publish a whole blog post about it, I can just throw it up on Twitter. This way, people can still see it directly on my blog even if they don’t use Twitter. At the same time, I’m not spamming all my WP followers’ reader feeds with little updates multiple times a day.

Google+ still hasn’t really caught on in a lot of circles, but I love it and here’s why. Like Twitter and Facebook, you get a news feed. But unlike Twitter, it’s a great medium for sharing articles and media with photos and video. Many Plus users have begun using it as a primary blog, because it’s so visually pleasing and easy to maintain. I also love the Hangouts feature and have used it for on the fly writer’s chats with my critique group. If you’re promoting a new book or want to host an online chat for your fans, Google Hangouts is a great option for something like that. And how much the better if you already have a following there via your Plus page?

Instagram is my go to for photo sharing. With the new “view from the web” feature, there’s no reason to rely on an outdated clunky site like Flickr for image sharing anymore. No offense to Flickr, but I never cared for it very much even  in its heyday, and nowadays it’s more outdated than ever. I love the clean interface of Instagram, and the profile feature that lets you see all of a user’s photos in one easy to view page. The mobile app is great for grabbing pics on the go and sharing them with your friends either through the app, or online.

I had to. I’m not sorry.

You will no doubt notice one giant gaping whole here. I don’t use Facebook. Well, I use Facebook, but I use it only for private correspondence and personal friends. I will certainly create a Facebook account to promote my writing at some point in the future… say… if and when I get published. But until then it seems sort of pretentious and just unnecessary to promote… nothing really? I mean, I don’t have a book yet. I’m not selling anything. I had fan pages in the past for visually creative work I did, and for businesses I ran, but I’m not sure what I would have to contribute to a FB page for my writing. I’ll get back to you on that after I publish my first book. 😉 That being said, if you are a published author, you should absolutely use a Facebook fan page as a promotional tool.

Social networking has grown and changed so much over the last several years, and will obviously continue to do so. Myspace** has gone the way of the dinosaur, and so too will others. I think it’s fascinating to watch and analyze how we share information and how that sharing changes over time. Lol, probably why I’m a librarian. Information technology, yo. It’s good stuff. ;D

** The new and improved Myspace notwithstanding. We’ll see how that goes when it finally debuts sometime next year.

New Weekly Content Schedule for the Blog

Happy Saturday, everyone!

There is no weekend in the land of retail, so I had to work today, but at last I’m at home and winding down. So as I sit here sipping my Merlot and crank up the Coldplay, I am of course thinking of new content for the blog. The main purpose of this blog was initially just to get myself writing again, to give myself a deadline so to speak, a place where I will be forced to consistently share content and therefore make sure I just keep writing just keep writing JUST KEEP WRITING. It was only a delightful side effect when people started actually reading and following my posts here. So I thought it might be nice if I set out a weekly schedule for the blog with consistent content for you to enjoy! Here’s what I came up with…

Mondays: Book Club Monday

I recently started a book club with some of the girls at work, and I thought it might be cool to open it up to my followers here on the blog as well. I will be posting more details about participation next Monday. In August we will be reading The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. So if you’d like to join us, you can get your copy from Amazon or your local bookseller. Then check back on Monday about how to participate starting in August!

Thursdays: Review Thursday

Every Thursday I will post a review of what I read that week. Occasionally, books will be supplanted by journals or blogs, such as in my post earlier this week about Analog.

Fridays: Fiction Friday

On Friday I will share a piece of my own fiction. I am currently working on a new short story project, so that will likely be what I use to start us off on next Friday.

Sundays: Sunday Writer’s Chat

On Sundays I thought it might be fun to host a Writer’s Chat on a chosen topic related to the craft of writing. We can either set up a chat room, or reply through comments. If there is an interest in this, please feel free to suggest topics for the chat! I’m thinking every Sunday from 9-10pm EST.

Phew, that’s a lot to do every week. Let’s see how it goes in the weeks to come, and thank you all for reading the blog! If you’re new here, feel free to subscribe to receive new posts by email – The “follow” button is in the top right corner of the blog sidebar. WordPress users can add me to your blogroll as well.

Don’t forget I’m also on Twitter @LJ_Vaughn

PS: Do you like the new blog theme?

Peace, love, and chocolate! ~ Laura

The virtues of keeping a notebook

Hello friends,

So, I’m usually a typing writer. That is, I don’t like writing by hand. Now, I know some writers prefer to write by hand for various reasons. It prevents a lot of computer-related distractions like the Internet, or gaming, or IM, or whatever.  And that’s all well and good. But here’s the thing. I have 1) REALLY BAD HAND WRITING and 2) Chronic wrist pain that seems to flair up after long boughts of hand-writing far worse than it does after long boughts of typing. I tend to bear down unnecessarily hard when I write by hand, and I’m sure that has something to do with it. Also 3) I type about 9697363 times faster than I write by hand. But, despite all these very valid reasons for a preference to typing over handwriting, I have finally accepted the fact that I need to start keeping a handwritten journal.

Why so, you say? Well, because my memory is probably only slightly worse than my handwriting. And, as we all know, your best ideas generally pop into your head while NOT sitting in front of your computer with Word open. Like say, I’ll be driving in my car, or at work, or in the shower (my best ideas tend to come to be in the shower actually) and suddenly some bit of dialogue or idea just pops into your head, and you’re like CRAP I GOTTA WRITE THAT DOWN but by the time you’re at the computer again you’re on Youtube like, “LOL THAT CAT IS SITTING IN A BOWL; THAT’S SILLY.” and you’ve totally forgotten what you were going to write down. This is where your handy dandy notebook comes in.

I’ve recently started keeping two notebooks for writing ideas – A larger steno book at my desk, and also a smaller journal that is small enough to slip into my apron at work and carry with me everywhere. I’m stupidly OCD about writing as neatly as possible, even for throwaway notes… So I like writing in the larger book at home because it’s big enough for me to write pretty in. The smaller one is for those situations where I need something tiny and portable, and just have to accept the fact that it ain’t gonna be pretty.

So there you have it. The virtues of keeping a handwritten notebook. I’ve only been keeping these for about a week, and already I’m seeing the benefits in my writing. So go out and get one today! You’ll be glad you did!

Until next time.