Writing in the Zone

On Saturday I spent the day in my office at the university, because I have a lot of work to get done in the next few weeks, and I have a hard time staying focused and on-task when I’m taking care of Oscar.

In the past I might have spent as much as half the time doing nothing but reading forums, answering emails, paging through a magazine, taking breaks every half hour, etc.

However, since having Oscar I’ve come to appreciate how precious my time really is. As I drove to my office I switched off the radio and began thinking about a writing project that I’ve been in the middle of for a long time. I stayed in that mindset as I walked into my office and switched on the computer. I spent the next three hours writing nonstop. I rarely get “in the zone” like this, and when I do, it’s heaven.

If I spent more time writing and less time dreading it, I’d be a much happier person.

For more perfect moments, visit Lori.

I Capture
Perfect Moments.

Perfect Moment Monday–Sticks and Stones

I took Oscar to the park on Saturday and he was in heaven. Which for Oscar means having his hands in the dirt. He is fascinated by rocks, sticks, and bugs.

He got to swing on the swings for the first time.

The weather was perfect, and after a long winter we just soaked it in for hours.

Despite a dirty house and a looming article deadline, I was able to relax and just be there in the moment with my son.

For more perfect moments, visit Lori.

I Capture
Perfect Moments.

Link Love

My favorites this week:

1. Cakes Wrecks has fun book cakes for Sunday Reading Sweets

2. An excellent review of Stephanie Cowell’s book Claude and Camille (via @dsaarinen)

3. Great post by Jody Hedlund: How to Find Blogging Ideas

4. Writer Unboxed: Stop Being Afraid of Posting Your Work Online (via @JaneFriedman)

5. From Write It Sideways: Five Reasons Fiction Writers Should Blog (via @thecreativepenn)

6. The Huffington Post wants to know if you are going to delete your Facebook account

7.  If so, check out The Facebook Alternative

8. And finally, to be fair and balanced: In Defense of Facebook

Twitter for Writers

If you are a writer and you are not on Twitter, you should be. When I first joined Twitter, I didn’t really get it. I posted updates about my pregnancy and funny little observations about Oscar, but except for my family, I figured nobody was reading my tweets.

Then one day I was browsing around the Writer’s Digest website and I came across Jane Friedman’s Best Tweets for Writers. I immediately began following her and all of the writers she listed. My use of Twitter really took off at that point, and began to realize that Twitter is not about posting what I had for breakfast, it’s about networking, crowdsourcing, community, and promotion.

Networking

With Twitter, I am able to connect to writers, editors, and agents, on a daily basis. I find it much more immediate and effective for communicating and making connections than writing emails or commenting on blogs. Top names in the business will respond to tweets and even retweet.  They have offered resources, observations, inspiration, encouragement and advice. Now you no longer have to move to Manhattan to rub elbows with writers and publishers.

Crowdsourcing

Twitter is a great place to go to get ideas, solve problems, and have your questions answered. I find that I get varied, enthusiastic, and useful responses when I ask questions. My fellow tweeters are always available, night and day, to brainstorm, offer up writing prompts, kick me in the butt, or point me in the direction I need to go. If someone doesn’t know the answer to a question, they usually know someone else who does.

Community

One of the best ways to build community among writers on Twitter is to participate in chats. I try to participate regularly in #writetip, #litchat,  and #amwriting. These chats are designated by hashtags, some are ongoing, and some occur at set times each week. For example, #litchat occurs Friday afternoons at 4:00 P.M. Eastern Standard Time.

These chats are fast-paced, fun, and informative. I always walk away inspired, having learned something new, and with a handful of new followers and writing friends. The Twitter writing community has helped me get through NaNoWriMo, tough writing projects, and writer’s block.

Promotion

If you have a blog or writing project to promote, Twitter is the place to do it. Millions of people on Twitter are looking for stuff to read online, and you can use Twitter to direct them to your blog, podcast, website, or e-book. I have found that writers are enormously supportive of each other, retweeting announcements and commenting on each other’s blogs. Many writers, such as Mur Lafferty, have used Twitter to gather large numbers of loyal followers.

Follow Friday

In order to network and build community on Twitter, you have to follow and be followed. I love Follow Friday because I see who my favorite writers on Twitter are following, and who they recommend. However, some people are overwhelmed by Follow Friday because people will often post large lists of who to follow, without any context or explanation.

I’ve decided to highlight a few of my favorite writers in honor of Follow Friday. This is a very small percentage of who I follow, so I will try to highlight some new writers each week:

@CKHBFiction

Carrie Kei Heim Binas is a novelist whose excellent blog is a must read.

@ClaudiaC

Claudia is a beekeeper and novelist, as well as a regular participant in #WriterWednesday. Follow who she follows and you will connect with some wonderful writers.

@inkyelbows

A writer and comic, Debbie is a regular participant in Twitter chats. The cartoons she posts on her website are a hilarious and necessary diversion for any struggling writer.

@AdviceToWriters

An endless supply of useful links, inspiration, and quotes from famous writers.

@thecreativepenn

Joanna Penn is not only a writer, but also a social media expert. Follow her on Twitter and tune in to her great blog posts and “vlogs” about writing and publishing in Web 2.0.

Who do you follow on Twitter and why?