One #ROW80 Round2 goal done, but doesn’t change a thing

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If we were having coffee…
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I’m excited to say that it’s officially done: this website is now self-hosted. However, I am not promoting that site. Not yet.

I set up a self-hosted site with a brand new shiny name, but doing that wiped out all of the current formatting that you’re looking at. That’s not the end of the story. Heck, it’s not even the prequel. It’s a story to tell as I share my self-hosting blog experience, a simultaneous point of pride and wide-eyed disbelief. Simply put, I have to do this whole thing over again.

This website thing throws my ROW80 goals into a spin dryer. In no particular order, Goal 5 stated: “Update one thing on my blog each week.” Following this plan would keep my site freshened and current with the updated links-badges-formatting, those makeup touches long overdue. I did not expect a facelift.

1–Complete migrating this WordPress blog to the self-hosted one.
1–Redesign new/old website for launch Thurs, April 21; soft launch to my writers group and others Tues, April 19.
With this timeframe, I get my site launched and looking snazzy before the Rochester Writers Spring Conference on April 23. With two pre-launches, I can tweak anything that is glaringly unprofessional. I hope.

2–New business cards.
Now that my new web address is functioning in a skeletal stage, it’s time to order cards. I need something in my hands by April 18-ish, so design and order this week. My gosh, it’s April 10th already! Yipes! The thing is, I’m okay ordering anything professional-looking right now so I have cards to network with. I can always order new ones before my writerly events in May. A waste of money, you think? First, it’s a business expense, so no. Second–and maybe most important–I could spend $100/month on coffee if I set my mind to it, so re-doing cards is no big deal.

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3–Complete AtoZ Challenge posts for 2016 AND 2015.
Ugh. I lost track of my 2015 posts and had to list out what I needed to write. There’s an unlucky 13 of them. What a pile of poo I was about this last year. I’m staying current with this year’s haikus, and my posts are as long or short as I want to make these days. I have lots of open writing time this week.

4–Catch up and keep up with email.
It’s a nice goal–“Deal with 10-25 emails/day”–but I get at least 50 emails/day before deleting the obvious trash ones and those I have no interest in reading or dealing with, leaving still a net-negative emails in my Inbox.

6–Complete all blog/social media planner sheets for Happy Planner.
I keep creating new ones! I’m spending so much time planning my planning that I’m not utilizing these planning tools. Just stop already *smacks hand with wet noodle* Stop, stop stop!

7–Schedule social media.
See above re: planning planner sheets. I’m thinking on that, meditative reflection with coffee and tea nearby.

9–Put away holiday decorations: 1-2 boxes/week.
Haven’t yet.

10–Call family members at least once a week.
I’m going to call my Uncle Harold today. After I nap.

12–Continue writing letters.
I’m doing this, and finding inspiration through Write_On, which I’m writing about (ha!) this week. It’s more than a project, too fun to be called a challenge, and more awesome than just a campaign.

BONUS: Write for fun. Y’know, just play with words.
Haven’t done that yet, but this week, I’m okay with that.

—POSTPONED GOALS for April—

5–Update one thing on my blog each week.
Yeah. Addressed above. I’ll revisit this in May.

8–Schedule time to write/edit/promote my two current WIP: My Father, My Friend and Jimmy the Burglar: Thief of Socks.
Postponing until May, after the April blog nonsense is over, or at least contained. I’m hoping I’ll pick up some tips at the conference in two weeks. (Two weeks?!? Yipes!)

11–Contact 2-5 potential editors.
Yep, pushing this off until May when I’ll start with my Alaska contact and Fiverr.

I printed out these ROW80 Round 2 goals and attached them to a dashboard in my Happy Planner. No excuses for forgetting them now.

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A chill blogging #WeekendCoffeeShare in Detroit

If we were having coffee…

Oh my gosh. Isn’t this the most chill coffeehouse you’ve ever been in? It is for me, and that’s saying a lot. I can’t even call it a “coffeeshop” because that commonplace word doesn’t do this place justice.

Can you believe we were in Philly just a few days ago? It feels like an eternity, but it’s easy to slip back into life here in Michigan.

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Organic coffee and personal service with for-here mugs and water in old milk bottle pitchers

The Bottom Line Coffee in Detroit. For a hole in the wall with a plain black awning out front and the entrance through the side alley, who knew about the local feel in here. I love it when a place serves drinks in for-here mugs. My Americano is smooth. How’s your drink? Are you steady on your wobbly, black wooden chair? It’s a good thing I do those yoga exercises on my WiiFit. Sure, it’s nothing like a real instructor and I don’t expect it to be, but the postures help my balance, so I’m steady perched on my chair.

I feel awkward talking loud with you. It’s whisper quiet in here, a library with a cool, hip vibe. I just Shazamed the music overhead; it’s Chet Baker and now Gene Ammons. It’s good I have a strong espresso drink at my side. My husband’s sitting next to you, but he’s on his laptop, so we have plenty of space to talk.

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Americano, apple empanada and brownie, all necessary for good writing

I just came from the most amazing Motown Writers Network meeting to date! The attendance was the largest I’ve seen since I started going almost two years ago; I lost count after 21 people showed up. Two years. Wow, I hadn’t realized that. I get as much from it as I give. As a published and award-winning author, I have a lot of experience and advice to share. I gain resources from others, like using Fiverr to source out projects or If This Then That (ITTT) as an avenue for social media blasts. I haven’t used either yet, but they come up at every meeting. I will, soon.

Today the meeting was about blogging. A lot of people here were first timers, and many of them didn’t have blogs. At least, not until today. One writer told me he was going home to set up a blog tonight! A good blog has the mobile-friendly setting enabled. A good blog has a subscription list or email form to follow blog. Gosh, I am so behind in doing that. My MailChimp account is set up, but I think I have a few steps to do before I can install it or whatever. I think when we’re done here, I’ll make a list of what I think I need to do first and work from there. I’ll be sure to set up a “Thank you for subscribing” email with a link to something…special, maybe a subscriber-only story or how-to post. Whatever it is, it’ll be cool, so I hope you’ll come back then. I’ll let you know here when I’m ready to go.

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Life is good

What makes a blog get views? Collaborate with other bloggers–are you interested? I write nonfiction, currently memoirs, haiku and my Jimmy The Burglar quirky crime fiction series. We don’t have to write the exact same material to benefit from each other. It’s all about exposure and sharing. Sharing content, too, is a way to get people to your blog. Make sure Share buttons are visible on your site.

The most memorable advice I got from MWN founder Sylvia Hubbard was about sharing. Post snippets of your best works or posts on social media sites and link back to your blog. In her words: “Use your social media as bread crumbs leading back to your site.” I knew that, I’m working on that, but the phrase “bread crumbs” just blew me away. Perfect!

Interested in sharing a French Press? My husband and I were talking about that earlier; I don’t know if he’s too caffeinated already, but we can all share. Get it? I can only imagine the organic Sumatra here is exciting. Besides, I haven’t heard about your week. What’s new with you?

Tune in for my radio interview!

“Love isn’t something you found; love is something that finds you.”~Loretta Young, American acrtress

Today is the day: my on-air interview with Michigan Literary Network radio.

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Publicity for me on the radio

Let’s get it over with and break out the Donna Summer here: “They said it really loud. They said it on the air. On the radio…whoa oh ohh. On the radio…whoa oh ohh.

Yes, it’s a little bit intimidating. It’s a whole lot of exciting.

Does this make me a “real” writer?

When do we, as writers, stop asking ourselves that? Here is someone believing in me, and here I am, wondering about myself.

Let’s face it: I do have the confidence of believing in myself, of trusting myself. But I think every writer has insecurities, and this is the first public forum focusing on me. That’s daunting.

That’s exhilarating!

And I am not a person who uses exclamation points often.

I’ve spent years interviewing subjects for my magazine articles, and I craft good questions. I’m approachable with my subjects through my research and my personality. I condense strings and strands of words into tight, meaningful quotes. As a writer, my interviews rock.

Do I give as strong an interview? Will the techniques I employ help me? Of course, this is my first time….

What do I hope for? I hope I don’t cough. I talk with my hands, more so when nervous, so I hope my voice doesn’t ramble in response. I want people to adore me and have fun listening to my interview. I want listeners to learn from my words.

Before you listen live at 5:30pm EST to my interview here, check out what I consider to be the most important prep-time action items:
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Have a fully charged phone

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Supplies to prevent coughing and give an energetic boost

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Have the call-in phone number handy

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Set a timer, just in case

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Never underestimate a bathroom break first

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Be on time

Writing afternoon in the D: Motown #WeekendCoffeeShare

“You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.”~George Burns, American comedian

If we were having coffee, we’d be at Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company in Detroit.  I’m already on my second cup of Brazil.  My husband is here, too, having driven me to my Motown Writers Network meeting this morning.  He’s the friendly type, so he’d discuss the music playing, his own musical interests and the latest internet news.  However, there’s no more of his chocolate brownie from Avalon Bakery.  You’ll have to buy your own here.

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Weekend coffee in downtown Detroit

Today’s speaker was a college instructor who lectured on the aspects of heroes and villains in books and movies, noting how all stories follow a 9-step process from character introduction to resolution and ending.  After that talk, I so want to watch The Matrix again, Kill Bill Vol.1 or 2, Raiders of the Lost Ark, or Harry Potter series, all movies he used as examples.  The most meaningful point I connected with was that villains are a reflection of the hero and are more focused.  Villains know what they want and how to get it, as long as the hero doesn’t interfere.

I knew there was a reason I like villains, besides the fact that they have the awesomest outfits and the best lines.

During the after-meeting networking session, one woman approached me to discuss changing her healthcare stories from clinical to creative text. After we talked for about 10 minutes, she said that I inspired her and she was coming here to check out my website.

I’m somebody’s inspiration.  That is so cool.

Then I met up with the woman who helped her mother write a memoir, 9 Houses. After discussing my NFPW awards and the progress of my memoir, she said I was in a good place to branch out and seek additional interviews and exposure events.  Weird; I think of myself as a writer, but I don’t think of myself as “important enough” to warrant such attention.  Not yet, anyway, because I haven’t finished my full-length memoir yet.  She believed in me; why can’t I do the same for me?

She recommended an editor and a cover designer, services I have been procrastinating about.  She invited me to a reading or discussion event this Friday in Detroit.  I know nothing about it, but I’m exploring the YouTube channel for the Secret Society of Twisted Storytelling.  The group’s name alone sounds amazing.

My coolest posts, voted by you!

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