The Number One Rule of Social Media (and life)

“Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish.” ~ Richard Dawkins

As I mentioned in a previous post, agents and editors want writers to have an established platform when pitching a book. I’ve spent the past month consulting experts and reading books and blog articles on the topic while I try a few techniques. For example, I tackled Twitter with some success even though I’m a major introvert. I’m growing my social media following, blogging more often, and gathering additional subscribers to my email list for Write Now Columbus.

No matter which book I pick up, which expert I talk to, which blog I read, the bottom line comes back to one thing: Generosity. If I’m not offering my followers and readers valuable information, I’m doing both of us a disservice.

Learning this reminded me of a saying I heard years ago. “You have to give it away to keep it.” Seems like a paradox, eh? But in yet another area of my life, it’s proving true.

The books and blogs and experts talk about “noise to signal ratio.” If there’s too much “noise” (Buy! Buy! Buy!) and not enough “signal” (Here’s a helpful thing.) people will turn and run. If I follow someone or subscribe to their blog and all they do is pitch their wares, I won’t hang around.

Why would I expect this to be any different when the tables are turned?

To address this, my current experiment is to share 99% useful or humorous (laughter is also a gift) information. I offer techniques I’ve found helpful, answer questions, and (of course) share cute animal photos. Cue #Scarlet the #ninetyninepercentgooddog. Use her hashtag on my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts!

The remaining 1% of my platform is sales pitch material. This might be a link to my newsletter, a request to follow this blog, or an announcement of a class I’m teaching. It’s just a fraction because, when people think of me, I want them to see me as helpful and entertaining rather than as someone chasing after their wallets.

The unintended consequence of trying to be “of service,” is that I no longer dread “marketing.” More than once, when I’ve been sad or in crisis, a mentor has advised me to reach out to help someone else (unless I’m in a deep deep depression for which I need medical intervention). Invariably, just as in the rest of my life, if I can be useful when promoting my business, I feel better too.

What is your experience with being generous in business? I’d love to hear about it!

It’s Anxiety and There’s A Solution!

It’s Anxiety and There’s A Solution!

“Love is the spirit that motivates the artist’s journey.” – Eric Maisel

As anyone who reads my blog or receives the newsletter knows, I suffer from various forms of malaise that might be called “writer’s block.” As soon as I read the title Mastering Creative Anxiety, I knew this book would help. I ordered the book and began using the lessons immediately.

Why this book? First, the title alone properly identified the problem. According to creativity coach, Eric Maisel, I don’t actually have a block. What I have is anxiety around creating. I also grow anxious around some non-writing activities, but this was the first time I’d named what went on in my head when I sat down to write as anxiety.

Second, the book is practical. It offers twenty-two specific tools and examples of how to use them. I appreciate that Maisel gets to the solution quickly so I’m not muddling around. I already know I’ve got a problem. I want to know what to do about it.

Third, Maisel’s tone and strategies are both firm and kind. There’s no shame in this book and no slacking either. Gently, yet clearly, he explains that success depends on applying the suggestions.

Fourth, and possibly most important, Maisel addresses all the different aspects of the creative life and the appropriate tool for that stage in the process. One day I’m tackling the rough draft. One or two tools (including a technique very similar to writing practice) works for that. Another day I’m in the revision process. A different tool helps there. In the promotion process, still another method is offered. Realistically, the book approaches different aspects of creativity in different ways.

The jury is still out, of course. I am working on, but have not yet finished the current revisions nor once again taken up promotion which I set aside awhile back. I’ll let you know how it goes.

In the meantime, do you recognize anxiety in your process? If so, what techniques work for you in the various stages of the writing life? I’d love to hear about it.

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