A Month of Letters

I do believe I’m sick of Facebook.

This afternoon, I sat down and counted all that was posted my FB  stream until I reached the bottom of the page (in writer’s circles, this can be either considered research or procrastination. I’ll let you decide).

Overall, I counted 154 posts. 54 of those were actual status updates that was personal (though one was a paste and copy meme). The rest broke down to:

63 links to articles, blogs, rants.

6 personal uploaded photos.

31 pictures, which consisted of cartoons, political statements, Venn graphs, memes, pithy sayings, people holding up handwritten notes, and…in one case that got me into this rant thing in the first place, a social media meme that someone printed out and taped to the wall. I mean…really? Why would you go from this?

social media explained

To this?

Copy of social media explained

AND THIS HAS BEEN RESHARED 8 TIMES ON MY WALL ALREADY. WHAT. THE. HELL?

Now, before you say, idiot, if you got a problem go get on Twitter. Or Google Plus–no one’s over there. I like Facebook. I like the sharing of ideas. I like meeting new people and being exposed to new music or shows, or getting inspired or cheered. I like the whole idea of personally connecting with someone across miles or even continents. But lately, I’ve been feeling overloaded. Too much information, but no substance.

Enter the Month of Letters.

LetterMo20121

This is the brainchild of Mary Robinette Kowal, an awesome writer and puppeteer who will be the Guest of Honor at Mo*Con this year. She’s proposing that February be a month where people will dial down and go back to the very first social media: writing letters. The idea is simple:

  1. In the month of February, mail at least one item through the post every day it runs.  Write a postcard, a letter, send a picture, or a cutting from a newspaper, or a fabric swatch.
  2. Write back to everyone who writes to you. This can count as one of your mailed items.

Recently, I’ve started a new short story in a wirebound notebook . I’ve forgotten how nice it is to be able to whip out a pen anywhere, anytime and scratch down a few sentences. A few months back, I was going through some of my old letters from high school and college, and I was amazed at how heartfelt those letters were. Pen and ink can be seductive, comforting, and fun. I can’t believe I’ve forgotten that.

So, I’m going to do it. I’m going to write a letter each day in February. I got several people already I want to write to, but if you also want a letter from me, either send me a message on Facebook or Google Plus, or DM me on Twitter (yes, I know the irony of using social media for this). You can even leave a comment on my blog and we’ll get in touch. And if you are already participating in A Month of Letters and want my address, let me know!

This is going to be fun. Now I’ll have to dig out all that stationary I’ve been saving for no particular reason, and figure out what kind of stamps to buy. Fruit? Black History Month? The Garden of Loooooove?

The Amazing Super Colossal Technicolor Twitter and Facebook Juggling Act! (Or how to waste time poking nothingness…)

I don’t get Twitter.

I never got on board with it when it came out a couple of years ago. I didn’t see a need for it. Why would I want to let the whole world what I’m doing at that very exact moment? Folding my hubby’s underwear doesn’t work for an interesting status line. Well, okay, yes it does, but that’s only because my hubby isn’t on Facebook or Twitter. But really, who would want to read that? So I pretty much stayed away from Twitter.

Then Facebook grew popular and it seemed like everyone I knew was getting on it, so I shrugged and gave in. And everyone’s right. It is addictive. Which is odd because Facebook is only Twitter expanded with more features. You get the benefits of photo sharing, chat, email, groups, you name it. But really, I mainly use FB for the status updates of my friends…which isn’t all that different from Twitter, now that I think about it. However, whereas people could tweet every few seconds, Facebook doesn’t seem all that urgent. I’m happy to update my status every day or so. Some people do it more, others less.

But lately, it seems that Twitter has been growing more popular, particularly among the writing world, as the language of tweets began to evolve. You can now reply to someone else’s tweet using ‘@’ in front of their username.  Tweets that are about a certain topic are preceded with a #, so if you want to search Twitter on, say, Amazonfail, you can just put #amazonfail in Twitter’s search box and you get all the tweets on that. And, of course, you can put tiny URLs in your tweets. So it seems that Twitter has evolved from a “Hey, look at what I’m doing” to an informal message board/newsgroup of sorts. How do you think AmazonFail got exposed in the first place? If it wasn’t for Twitter, people wouldn’t have found out.

Stuff like that makes me think that it’s time for me to stop being so standoffish about Twitter and just knuckle down to learn about it. Twitter and Facebook can be powerful tools. It’s a good way to connect with writers and agents, hear about the latest writing news, and keep an eye on the marketplace. Plus, it’s a good place to get freebies. Authors and publishing houses would post free books, games, etc. And I’m going to figure out how to utilize Facebook better. I can see the appeal of Twitter, but I also really like Facebook in that it’s more personal. I’ve been leery of letting strangers become my friends on Facebook, because my friends are people I really want to keep in touch with. Twitter, on the other hand, is good for getting word out to as many people as possible. Good for short story updates and whatnot.

So what is the purpose of this post anyway? Mainly to get me excited about Twitter. I mean, for all intensive purposes, it’s still got a sucky interface (although someone did alert me to Tweetdeck for organizing both FB and Twitter, so I’m playing with that.) And there are still a lot of tweets that are mainly “just put a load of laundry in the wash” or “Awww, I’m all out of candy” and really boring stuff like that. Course, with Facebook, there’s all the “What type of Disney Princess are you” and all the “Send your Friend a Flower/Chocolate/Smiley Face/Dancing Toadstool/Mardi Gras/Cheating Alien/Moose” gifts that pile up in my request box until I sweep them all away with one click.

But I guess for using these things for free, I really shouldn’t complain now, should I?

The In-Between Time (or when one gets addicted to LiveFeed on Facebook…)

I’ve been trying to think of a good blog post to write. It’s been a slow month, writing-wise. The only serious project I’ve been working on is prepping Willow up for the 2nd draft. The past couple of weeks, I’ve been finalizing names, places, histories, backgrounds. I’ve also put up a new word counter, seen to the right. Everything should be set for me to start writing the new draft by March 2.

But other than that, I haven’t been doing much. I’ve been toying with a story, but I’ve pretty much been slacking in the one-story-every-week goal I set at the beginning of the year. At first, I figured I needed a bit of recuperating after the intense writing session I had in January. So I played a couple casual games. Got caught up on a bunch of short story ezines I’ve been meaning to read. Did some maintenance on Facebook. Did some more maintenance on Facebook.

Around the time I found myself sitting and watching the LiveFeed on Facebook, I realized I was no longer in the Recuperating Stage. I was in the Slacking Off stage.

It’s a weird time to be in when I’m between writing projects. Granted, I should be focusing all my hard work on Willow, but the stuff I’m doing doesn’t really feel like writing, although it’s just as important. It’s more like maintenance stuff, getting all the players in place and making sure my character has gray eyes instead of green and the name of his sister is "Daphne", not "Ashley". Therefore, it doesn’t really feel like I’m writing.

Likewise with the story I’m toying with. It’s more freewriting than anything, which is what I needed to do, just letting my mind and thoughts wander while my mind plays with story ideas. But it’s not like I’m getting to the meat and nitty gritty of a story, like what makes the story tick and what not. What I’m doing is pretty much mental doodling—not really serious.

So I’m at this weird in-between place in my writing, where I’m between serious projects. On the one hand, it’s an okay place, because it allows my mind to replenish its creative flow (I was about to write "juices", but then that got me to thinking about simmering meat, which got me thinking weirdly enough about cannibalism, because I watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory last night and Johnny Depp had this great line—okay, creative "juices" seemed just to creepy to write).

But on the other hand, it opens me up to tons and tons of distraction. Like watching Facebook’s LiveFeed. Because I really, really want to know what my friends are doing at that very exact moment

What it is really, is that I have a productivity vacuum inside my head. When it’s pointed towards a writing project, yeah, I’m with it, I’m in the groove, things are rolling along nicely. But when it’s not directed towards a project, then it’s directed towards any old thing, which means I spend three days trying to escape out of a locked room… 

(Actually, you’ll be amazed at how addicting these escape-the-room games can get. Especially since the more you play, the more tricks you pick up, the easier the games get, which means you start scrambling towards harder puzzles…what? What do you mean I’m digressing agai–)

The point is…procrastination.

And the other point is…ummm….sometimes it’s good. Because when you recognize that you’ve had too much of it, it means that you’ve had enough rest and recuperation and you’re setting yourself up for your next project, which is good, because you can now look forward to your next project with eagerness, and it means that you can start looking at all the stories you have sitting in the sketching stage and think, "which of these stories can I flesh out more?" And you start thinking and start writing and before you know it, you got yourself another project to do. Which is good.

I think I’m ready for that now. And I think I need to wean myself off the LiveFeed. Too much Facebook can be a bad thing. Besides, the Facebook RSS Feed is far more useful.

Well. That was a nice rambling, makes-no-sense post. But considering that it’s something that I did after a week of nothing, hey, I’m feeling pretty productive. 2nd draft of Willow, here I come!

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