Category Archives: Daily Writing Progress

Twitter Tuesdays #5 More About Hashtags and Columns

So, the last time I did a Twitter Tuesdays post, I got several comments and messages from people, both on the blog and off, who, until then had NO IDEA you could do columns and searches with hashtags. And really, if you’re struggling to learn how to use Twitter, or you’re trying to build a platform and still feel like you’re fumbling in the dark, it is kind of life-changing news.

Keep the comments and questions coming, guys — I really would like to be as helpful as I can in my limited scope here. 🙂

Again, my posts now for the most part presume that you are using TweetDeck (if you’re not using TweetDeck or another app that you like, such as HootSuite, check out my post on why I recommend using something like TweetDeck.

Another question writers (and others who build platforms on Twitter) have is — “How in the heck do you keep up with your stream?”

I follow over 1100 people. I don’t keep up with everything in the stream every day. I do try to browse through the full stream a couple of times a day to look for interesting new things, but it’s definitely the part of Twitter I neglect the most. Once I find the interesting stuff, I use columns, hashtags, and lists to help me keep up with the rest.

Hashtags

I’ve already discussed these a little bit.  A hashtag is a little way of categorizing things on Twitter so that others can find it. One really important thing to know about hashtags, is that if you include one in your tweet, ANYONE who searches that hashtag can see your tweet, even if they’re not (already!) following you. Using hashtags, therefore, can make your tweets that much more visible and powerful (if done correctly!)

For example. I’ve already told you that #wordmongering is one of my very favorite hashtags. I LOOOVE these people, and am thankful everyday for the two awesome people who created it, and got it going. So I have #wordmongering saved as a column in my TweetDeck. I created the column by clicking the little + sign in the upper-left corner. When the search bar popped up, I typed #wordmongering, and then, like magic, I had a whole column filled with #wordmongering tweets!

Now, whenever someone tweets anything with the #wordmongering hashtag, I see it, whether I follow them or not. (And usually, if they like #wordmongering, I follow them!)

This same technique works with any hashtag you see someone tweet. If you see someone in your stream type a hashtag you’re unfamiliar with, but it looks interesting, ASK! Include the hashtag when you ask, too, so you might form a quick connection with someone new. It might look like this:

You: So @personIfollow, what is #wordmongering?

Someone new: Oooh! #wordmongering is a great group of folks who write for 30 minutes at the top of each hour, then post word counts and cheer each other on!

Person you follow: Want to join?

And the next thing you know, you’ve made some new friends and become a bigger part of the Twitter community.

Did you KNOW people CHAT using hashtags?

It’s true. Because of the nature of being able to search using hashtags, oftentimes, people use particular hashtags to create chats. These can be REALLY awesome, because they’re like a huge world-wide conference call in which anyone who adds the hashtag to their tweets can participate! The chats can be a bit harder to find, because they usually run on a schedule, but again, if you’re lost ASK!

So again … take a week (or two, I know it was two weeks — I was writing, which is better than blogging! I logged over 10k new words on Thorns of Decision last week.  Besides — have you SEEN the new covers?) and practice searching for new hashtags, making columns, and interacting with folks. 🙂

For Writers Especially:

Here are a few more hashtags you might like to try. And PLEASE, if you have others that you love, leave them in the comments.

  • #amwriting
  • #writingsprint
  • #myWANA
  • #writechat (On Sunday afternoons, particularly)
  • #FNTWP (Only on Friday evenings, but check it out!)
  • #row80
  • #wip500

A Final Plea …

Once you’ve learned how to harness the power of hashtags, it can be a little tempting to use them gratuitously as a way to get your message across. PLEASE be respectful of hashtag communities and what the “rules” are inside them. DON’T use hashtags to spam. It won’t work, and it will likely get you blocked by people (who might otherwise have liked you and eventually bought your book/product/whatever).  For example — #wordmongering is for people who want to WRITE together. Don’t hit them up with BUYMYBOOKBUYMYBOOKBUYMYBOOK #wordmongering. They won’t.

Besides, if you look around long enough, you’ll find plenty of #hashtags that are fine places to spam er, market … 😉

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Winners All Around

Wow! Has it been a busy week! Between launching Roots of Insight, running the scavenger hunt, and beginning the writing of Book Three in earnest, I’ve been busy. Oh yeah … I’ve also started watching a sweet new baby in my 50-hour-a-week day job. (Anyone want to do my laundry? 😉 )

The winner of a $10 Amazon gift card,  a gift pack of e-books by Kristy K. James, and your choice of an e-copy of either Seeds of Discovery or Roots of Insight, as determined by Random.org, is …. Megan from Hardcover Feedback! Thank you so much for participating!

Check this space later this week for another chance to win! 🙂

And now, for another winner … Me?

I’ve said it before, and at this rate, I’ll find the need to say it a million more times. The writing/blogging community is

A-MA-ZING. 

The people I have met, and the stories and articles I’ve read in the last six months since I really started to make a go of this thing absolutely blow me away. The support and the love I’ve felt in this community … I can’t even begin to describe. Those of you who really know me know that a year ago at this time, I was miserable. Writing, and being a part of this community has changed all of that. I am thankful every day.

A week ago, Kristy K. James passed on my first-ever blog award — The Versatile Blogger award. 🙂 And then, in the time it has taken me to get this post up (I’m busy! And for those of you who are dying to know — today I’ll pass 15k words of progress on Book Three, and the one beta reader who’s seen it so far says it’s her favorite yet) …

Anyway… in that lag time, I’ve actually been given this award not one, but two more times. By Lillie McFerrin, (@LillieMcFerrin) and Steven P. Watson (@AshViper), two amazingly talented writers who so very frequently keep me motivated and going over at #wordmongering.

There are some rules I must follow in accepting the Versatile Blogger award, so here goes. 😉

1. Thank the blogger(s) who gave it to you. Kristy, Lillie, and Steven – you guys rock my world every single day.

2. Share 7 random things about yourself. (Do I ever share anything about myself here that’s not random?

  • My daughter shares a middle name with my grandmother, who was the person in my family who inspired me to write. Someday, I’d love to share some of her poetry with the world.
  • My favorite cereal is Sweetened Wheat-Fulls by Mom’s Naturals (like Mini-Wheats, but without chemicals). They’re so popular in the house that we sometimes go through 3-4 boxes a week.
  • If I ever get rich from writing (this used to be my lottery dream, but since I don’t play the lottery and I do write, and getting rich from my writing carries about the same likelihood as winning the lottery — it’s a new dream), I will spend at least a month of every year in Australia, right in the middle of our winter and their summer. An entire month of writing on my laptop, and drinking beers by the barbecue with my dear friends, Kylee and Mellisa, while we listen to our girls chatter to each other in their beautiful different accents. It’s a good dream.
  • Even if I never get rich, I’m going to save up enough money to have an Australian summer like that at least once.
  • I have a thing about brushing my teeth. If I think about it, I have to do it, or it drives me crazy. In fact … I think I’ll go brush them right now. 🙂
  • I cannot handle having long fingernails. Manicures are a waste of time on me (but a gift certificate for a pedicure is a perfect gift for me — my birthday is April 23). I chop off fingernails without mercy, even when I can’t find my nail clipper and have to use the baby one. I’ll even do a hack job with the toenail clipper (I wash it first.)
  • I can name all 50 states in alphabetical order, from memory, without singing the song. And lots of other weird things, too.

3. Nominate other bloggers you love for the award and share it with them. (Okay, it’s supposed to be 15, but a lot of the bloggers I love have already passed around this award, and I’m still new at this!) But here are some of my favorites! 🙂

Thank you so much everyone. Hope it’s a wonderful week for you all. My goal this week is ambitious — I want to break 25k words on Book Three. It’s working title is Sprouts of Decision. 🙂 (All title suggestions welcome at this point!)

Daily Writing Progress, Week Five: Tuesday

What? Less than a week between blog posts? Crazy!

I’m worried that our leaf-jumping days might be over. After a beautiful day yesterday — nearly 80 degrees — the forecast calls for up to six inches of snow tonight.  Yesterday, we spent a huge chunk of the day picnicking and playing at the park in the gorgeous weather.  I am so not ready for snow.  If I ever win the lottery (or sell a million books – you’d think the chances of this would be slimmer, but since I don’t play the lottery, they’re slightly higher), I am going to spend an entire month every winter in Australia. Besides the fact that it’s summer there in January, there are some really awesome people in Australia I’d love to see again. 🙂

I finally finished the first draft of Simon’s wedding in Eirentheos. I’m not happy with it yet, but that’s what editing is for.  After two weeks of struggling with the whole thing, I finally figured out where Quinn, Thomas, and William were trying to take me (or get me to take them), and I’m really pleased with the direction of the scene following. 🙂

So….

How many words did I write yesterday? 1,318

Book Two progress so far? 31,318

Onward … this week’s goal is still to reach 40k!

Daily Writing Progress, Week Five: Monday

Sheesh, maybe I should change it to weekly writing progress. 🙂  When the block hits, it hits hard! 🙂 I should at least be blogging, though.

We have been having a great time around here … lots of fun preschool activities, scented pumpkins, real pumpkins, and play-doh! And the leaves have been

falling in earnest.  We live right next to this lovely, tree-covered hill and there are thousands of delightful yellow leaves everywhere. Enough to rake up great, heaping piles, and jump into them, rolling, laughing and screeching.

It has certainly been fun. 🙂  No, that isn’t actually a picture of our hill. I will post one soon, though.

So, I am finally at 30k, two weeks late.  I think I may have finally broken through the issue I was having, so we’ll see where it goes. 🙂  And my goal for the week? Hit 40k!

 

What fun fall things are you doing?  Now that it’s Monday again, what are your goals for the week?  How can we support each other in meeting them?

Daily Writing Progress, Week Four: Monday

Okay, so last week was an utter disaster in terms of word count. 🙂 I don’t know why. Maybe it was stress, probably distraction had something to do with it… and I think a big part of it was “incubation.”  I had all these ideas of where the story was going to go… I’ve had it mapped out for a long time, but they needed time. Time to sit, to “incubate” before they were ready to hatch. At least that’s the story I’m telling myself. 😉

Anyway, I spent the weekend in discussions and outlining sessions with my dear friend, and writing partner, Krysta Hunt, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to get back on track this week.  Any magic sparkling writing dust blowing my way would be much appreciated. I am really going to try for 10k this week.

How was your week last week? Did you meet any goals? Anything exciting happen?

What are your goals for this week? Anyone else need magic dust?

Book Two current word count: 25,979

Total word count from Week Three: 4,146

Daily Writing Progress, Week Three: Tuesday

How many words did I write yesterday? 1,105 Yay! I broke the 1k mark. All of my writing yesterday was done on the first chapter I have so far that’s told in William’s point of view. 🙂 It was a lot of fun to get a glimpse of what’s going on in his head (and what a sweet guy he really can be, btw). I might have gotten more written yesterday, but the inspiration for writing this new scene came during my shower last night, and I deleted the rest of the day’s feeble efforts.

Book Two progress so far: 22,918

Book Two is now officially more than 1/3 as long as Book One. 🙂

How was your writing/work/goal day yesterday?

Daily Writing Progress, Week Three: Monday

Well, last week was definitely more productive than the week before. Perhaps if I can continue the trend, I’ll get somewhere. 🙂

Grand total words for week two: 8,100

Week one was 6,341. So, definite improvement, but still not to my 10k goal. Still going to stick to that 10k goal and see where I can get with that, but I will be pretty happy if I can at least break 30k words this week.

The story is progressing nicely; some fun things have started happening. In the scenes I’ve been working on for the last couple of days, Quinn has been showing a side of her personality that I haven’t seen much of before. Thomas is … Thomas. He doesn’t know how to even pretend to be anybody else, and I love him for that. I can’t wait to see what happens this week.

Book Two progress so far: 21,883 words. Onward!

Since today marks the beginning of a new week, work-wise, anyway, what are YOUR goals this week? Writing, personal, or anything else counts!

Book Release Party

Today was the “official” Book Release Party for Seeds of Discovery: Dusk Gate Chronicles Book One, and I have to say, I have the best family, friends, and readers in the world, and I feel truly blessed.  Thank you so, so much to the wonderful people who came to celebrate with me over the book (and my housewarming and Little Goose’s (excessively belated) Fourth Birthday). Words cannot express how much I love and appreciate you.

So, it’s 9:43 P.M., and needless to say, I haven’t gotten any writing done today. I do hope to snag a few more words between now and when Little Goose either gets tired of playing with her new fairy costume, puzzle, and Color Wonder Markers, or when she starts throwing up from the 1,000 grams of sugar she ingested today.

Writing Progress – Week Two: Saturday

How many words did I write yesterday? 576 – Yeah, so a little distracted with party preparations, and then we spent the evening building a Playmobil school with my sweet nephew, Monty, and my dad, who makes an awesome “Papa.”

How many words have I written this week? 5,617 – Eh. 😉

Book Two progress so far: 19,350 – Yup, still have not hit the 20k mark.

How are you doing with your goals this week?

Mean

So last night, as Little Goose and I were going to bed, she asked me, “Mom, how does everyone in the whole town know the word mean?”

A little startled by how profound she seems sometimes, and looking for clarity, I asked, “What do you mean, sweetheart?”

“I mean, how does everyone in the whole universe know what mean is?”

These are the questions that, as a parent, leave me gasping for breath. I don’t know the answer to that question. It’s one of the fundamental questions of being human, and what it means to make choices about what we do, and how we do it, and how we treat people.  Of course, she’s four. She wasn’t looking for an existential discussion. (I dunno, maybe she was. She is my kid.) She may have just been stalling bedtime.

It is a big question, though. I know it’s one she’s been learning about, as she learns to deal with other kids and other people. She’s struggled with doing mean things herself lately, so I can see where the topic might have been on her mind. It was certainly a question I couldn’t just give her an answer to, not even one of the long-winded ones she sets herself up for sometimes. It’s a question/theme I could take an entire series of books to explore (and certainly one that just may make it into my current project).

Anyway, these are the thoughts on my mind this beautiful fall, Friday morning.

How many words did I write yesterday? 1,031 – Not as much as I would have liked, but at least I did break the thousand mark! 🙂

How many words have I written this week? 5,041 Halfway to my goal, anyway. Too bad the week is nearly over. 🙂

Book Two currently sits at 18,774 words. Today’s goal is to at least break 20k!

Daily Writing Progress, Week Two: Thursday

Is it Thursday already? This week has gone by so quickly. Two more days until a fun party where I get to celebrate my book release with family and friends. No, I’m not ready for the party, house or preparations-wise. But those who truly love and support me know that kind of thing about me, and that is going to have to be enough. 🙂  If any of you have some fun party ideas or recipe ideas that I can manage in the next two days, though, send them my way.

How many words did I write yesterday? Thanks to the encouragement and advice of an awesome friend, fellow writer, and beta reader, Kristy K. James (really, she is incredible, click on her name to see her blog!), I am going to count the scene I wrote yesterday. Probably not all of it will really make it into the book (though, yes, Kristy, I will make a special edition, just for you – at least a Kindle one), but that’s okay. That is what rough drafts are for. So… yesterday’s word count? 2,313! Definitely better than a sharp stick in the eye. 😉

Today’s beginning word count: 17,743 – The 20k mark is beginning to appear on the horizon…

How many words have I written this week? 4,010 – Still a long way to go to hit my 10k goal, though, and it’s already Thursday. Onward!