I’ve been experimenting with what works and what doesn’t, both in my professional life and personal life. Resisting the temptation to jump on the bandwagon trying the latest trends when it’s obvious they keep me from doing what I’m best at. (Hint: it isn’t blogging, blog-hopping, maintaining websites, or making sexy graphics.)
In April, the website underwent an upheaval. That’s the only word I can use to describe the event. Suddenly I was in charge of my own website with little knowledge of how to maintain one. The blog that had been attached to my website went kaput. Somehow in the transition all that work was lost.
And there I was, trying to finish books and edit new ones, while plotting for future stories. I was maxed out on time and had no energy, and unfortunately no choice but to take on the task of learning to maintain a website. I got the bare bones done so it was up and running and I could go back to writing.
Social media comes easy to me. WordPress…not so much.
Its not that I didn’t have the skills to learn. I just know how tempting and distracting all those cool gadgets, templates, widgets, and functions are. One hour spent in the WordPress dashboard can quickly turn into eight. I know this because while doing a little sprucing one night recently, around midnight, I got sucked in and when I looked up it was five a.m.
I know I’m this way. It’s also why I am a dedicated writer. I don’t do it for the money, although I love the difference my income makes to our family. I do it because I need the creative outlet. I need to get lost in Divine sometimes. It’s my “thing.” Every individual needs something that is just “theirs.” It has nothing to do with anyone else but them. It functions solely to round them out as a human being.
I want to write, and I know that is where my time is best spent, so I make an effort to compartmentalize social media (so not successful in that endeavor), graphic design, and website maintenance. I love doing all of that but I’d rather put my creative energies into writing.
Prior to June, this meant I skipped doing what a lot of other writers were doing online because I didn’t have time for more than just Facebook and Twitter. I really didn’t have time for the Divine Tease blog but I limped along with it because my writing heroes insisted it was necessary. Somehow I managed to keep the focus on the stories and honing my craft. I thought I was missing out on all the other gadgetry but then I realized something. Spreading myself too thin was a recipe for burnout and…
Simple is better
Toward that end, the website will be undergoing some cool changes soon, above and beyond what you can already see. We will be streamlining and posting updates more quickly than in past years.
In June, my husband and I realized I’d reached a point where hiring an assistant would not only be helpful, it was vital for my sanity. Lily Castle has been beta-reading the Divine Creek Ranch series for years, and has built a series database for me. We’ve moved into a writer-personal assistant partnership with amazing ease.
One of her goals has been revitalizing the newsletter and the blog. I’d been questioning for a while why I needed both when the redundancy with Facebook and Twitter was so obvious. But readers seemed to love the blog, while others liked the exclusive content in the newsletter. We arrived at a workable solution.
Blog meet newsletter. Hi, how are ya?
I like being newsy. All kinds of cool stuff is happening for me both professionally and personally. The series. The house Mr. Rainier is building for me. The kids. For a while we were doing a newsletter but there were delivery problems. Remember I mentioned what happened with the blog a bit ago? Recently, in a sprucing spree, I found many of my old blog posts in a Word file, including some of the very popular character hijackings posts. I may repost some of those from time to time. If you have a favorite make sure to let me know about it.
If this Divine-Tease-blog-meets-Heather-Rainier-Roundup-newsletter thing works out, Lily and I hope you’ll find that it’s at least as satisfying and more multifaceted than either the blog or newsletter were separately.
I want to hear from you. What do you love about blogs?
What keeps you coming back to an author’s blog when you see that little email notification pop up with a new post? What makes you growl and hit the spam button instead? I love blogs I can learn from and relate to, like Kristen Lamb’s Warrior Writers blog. She is a writer and stay at home mom like me and she…is…amazing.