#TeacherTuesday - Manage Your Time

Dani CollinsRWA National Conference#RWA14Pinterest

As is often the case, I have spent the morning spinning my wheels. Sure I'm having fun and the view is nice, but I'm getting nothing accomplished, not even a decent blog post title.

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I wanted to start a series of posts on the conferences I attended during my Big Adventure. It's Back To School season, so it seems appropriate. I even had a great opener from Crucial Conversations. This is a book that was recommended to me by a friend who coaches high-level executives.

I haven't finished it, but yesterday I got to the part where the authors explain that any conversation can become crucial (emotionally charged with greater stakes, and thus more likely to derail) when one of the parties begins to feel fear.

Generally, we start to feel fear when we think we're about to be bullied or humiliated. (Haven't we all been there with a snarky boss or a cranky neighbor or even our partner?) The book breaks down the dynamics of conversations and offers tools to keep them from devolving into silence or animosity.

So there. After an hour of meandering around a point, talking about my technological problems, erasing and rewriting this post, I finally have a concrete point made.

And I have just changed the title of this post from Don't Be Afraid to Manage Your Time.

I'm a big believer in the Universe giving us what we ask for. You just have to be very careful what you're asking for, and recognize that it doesn't always sound like an 'ask.' For instance, my first draft of this post went on at length about my inability to manage time.

Dani, Dani, Dani, said I to myself. You know better. Manifest a reality where you learn to manage time. So here I am, trying to stay on point and get this post written so I can get back to writing manuscript words.

This time management scold also leads nicely into a quick recap of one of the first workshops I attended in San Antonio, which talked about utilizing Pinterest to:

  • Plan a book
  • Grow your fanbase
  • Sell direct

We writers all feel like social media takes away from writing real words so I went into the workshop looking for the magic bullet to make 'pinning' easy and effective without taking up my precious time.

And I won't plagiarize all of Kathy Wheeler's hard work here, but she did offer the helpful tip that the most popular content falls is:

  • food
  • fashion
  • decor

Recipes and examples of what your character wore can be very popular. Interacting in an authentic way is pretty much the golden rule on any of the social media platforms and was repeated here, so like, repin, comment, etc.

The other golden rule that I've often heard elsewhere is:

  • 20% promo
  • 80% fun additions

She stressed the importance of original content and this is where she started to lose me. I'm happy to create posts with a quote from my book, but honestly, I create original content every day. When I get fifty thousand of those original content words, I send them to my editor. My brain near about exploded with stress (see footnote) when I started thinking about creating original content special for Pinterest.

Here's the thing. I know that Pinterest is a huge gathering place for my demographic. That's why I went to the workshop. I wanted to learn how to reach out to these potential readers.

However, I don't see how my creating a chart or pasting a quote from someone famous onto a pretty background translates into someone who likes that content wanting to buy my book. Building a fan base on Pinterest (or any platform) does not necessarily build a fanbase for your books.

I realize there are underlying benefits like name recognition and networking, but my primary goal with my profile on Pinterest is to offer readers of my books a place to find me if they are also on Pinterest. I want to be famous for writing romance novels, not for writing interesting content for Pinterest.

So the part where I'm supposed to create infographics really made my soul hurt, however, she did offer a wonderful tip about getting your books into the Gift category.

When you pin your book, use its buy (eg. Amazon) link and include a price in the description (eg. $9.95 <--use the $ sign.) This will bring the book up as a Suggested Gift when Pinterest users search in a dollar range for gift ideas.

Now, to some extent, I've broken another cardinal rule of social media with this post. I wasn't entirely positive. I got my mad on for the creation of original content. Typically, good social media posts inspire and offer easy solves.

But actually, I think by suggesting you manage your time and only do what you want to do, I've helped you release a pent up sigh of anxiety. Didn't I?

It should be noted that:

  • This post is mostly original content that I created to entertain, educate and inspire.
  • It used more than two hours of my writing time, mostly because I had trouble finding my mojo and the zipper got stuck when I tried to get into it.
  • While I lifted content from Kathy Wheeler, I have linked to her YouTube tutorials so you can follow up for more info. It's like repinning, but different and she really does know her stuff so check her out.

Now I'm going to marry the Don't Be Afraid theme to the Manage Your Time title, because fear really is the biggest waste of time imaginable. It stops us in our tracks. Fear of wasting time is probably the worst one, but if I hadn't messed up with this blog post on the first draft, I wouldn't have learned the lessons I've learned here today. As Bob Ross would say, there are no mistakes, only happy accidents. Pretty chill guy, that Bob Ross.

Here's the Footnote:

Ironically, I hadn't yet read to the part in Crucial Conversations when I sat in on the Pinterest workshop. I became very defensive and freaked out because I felt like I was doing Pinterest wrong. I felt I was being set up for failure when she suggested I create new content. I'm only one person!

You'll see my defensiveness in my holier-than-thou You Don't Have To Do This response in my blog post. I'm leaving that in for two reasons:

  • It demonstrates how we react emotionally and thereby screw up a simple message
  • I'm trying to manage my time by not rewriting this post again

The Crucial Conversation book stresses that if you can step out of the emotional vortex, you can engage your thinking brain--which immediately defuses your emotions--and actually find a solution to the problem that has arisen.

To that end, I have now recognized that I personally prefer to create my original content here, on my blog, rather than over there, on Pinterest.

I'll pin this, though. wink

Now I'll plug my summer titles, which are still available:

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All my Harlequin titles are available on the Mills & Boon UK site. eHarlequin and Mills & Boon Aus have them too.

Prefer Amazon? US | Canada | UK | India | Germany | Brazil | Spain | Italy | Japan | Australia 

These other fine retailers have my books too:

Nook | KoboARe | BooksaMillion | ChaptersIndigo | iBooks

My intention is to post Sun/Tue/Thu, but I am on the road again this weekend. Seriously, it's a good thing I love my sisters because after spending three weeks with my youngest in Brisbane, I came home and had my middle sister camp in our yard for four days.

She left this morning and on Friday, I'm going to follow her and stay at her house for four days while I drop my daughter back at University. This is why I start to hyperventilate at how I'm using my time. I was supposed to finish a manuscript by the end of August and I'm never in my chair!

But family is important and that's another blog post so I'll end here. Have a great week.