I learned to type on a Remington typewriter with a manual return. Now I am clicking, tweeting, blogging and pinning my way to words and graphics. The last hold out in the family, I was sure the computer thing would pass, and we would get back to the carbon paper and Wite-Out I had stockpiled for our writing needs. Of course, that didn’t happen. There were fewer cries from me when the words on the screen would disappear. I was sure they were floating in cyber-space, never to be retrieved, but somehow with a few clicks and scrolls, the words reappeared, every one of them, as if they were napping, waiting for me.
When I retired for the second time, I purchased a laptop and decided to give writing a try. I love to read, and I like to tell stories, so maybe this could occupy my time. Now, it has consumed minutes and hours that I did not know existed. I was sure all humans were asleep in the wee hours of the morning, but it just isn’t so. The other side of the world is awake, working, designing covers, and tweeting while we are not looking. We are more connected and socially mediated than ever. There is a whole language, culture and protocol to accompany this society, and I am learning new things every day. Just when I think there is a dilemma I cannot possibly overcome, I simply mention it to one of my Facebook groups and there are more solutions and resources than I ever dreamed. What is even more amazing is the generosity and support of people I have never met.
So I wrote and I wrote, just me and the laptop, weaving some tales that came from I don’t know where. The characters would do things I didn’t anticipate or approve. They would talk to me when I was loading the dishwasher or folding the laundry, wrapping their arm around my shoulder and whispering in my ear. I was possessed by these lives I invented, and they took over, keeping me from the dishwasher and the laundry, moving the clock hands to hours later when I wasn’t looking.
My dog and husband pace, talking to each other, wondering if I will return. When I stop tapping the keys, I have several novels and some short stories. I manage to submit the short pieces for publication and some of them are accepted, but the novels, well, there is competition out there, and publishing takes connections and time. I am sixty-three, and while there is still some time, patience is lacking. I am now an indie author. Which means, I scour the internet to figure out what the heck a person does to publish their writing. Here’s the deal on that, if you don’t want to pay for the services, you format, edit, design graphics, and try to determine a .png from an l-m-n-o-p.'I scour the internet to figure out what the heck a person does to publish their writings' Click To Tweet
Along the way I have discovered some amazing resources.
Promotion – After publishing my novels as ebooks and paperbacks, I now must let people know they are out there, floating in the cloud or space, or wherever they rest. I have turned to Pinterest and Facebook. I was the last in my family to embrace Facebook, and only relented when my eighty year old mother asked me to be her friend. I thought we were already were friends.
Graphics – Beyond words, there are wonderful graphic creation tools available. They even have amazing tutorials teaching people, like me, how to use them. My favorite is PicMonkey, beautiful graphics and fonts for designing covers, Facebook banners and Pinterest images. I want to play with it all the time, but there is not time, since I have decided to write, publish and market these darn books. Canva is another great design tool that makes designing graphics easy for the novice.
Mentors – Derek Murphy is a generous author I ‘met’ online. Derek’s philosophy is that if he helps others, positive intention will follow him and help him become successful in his pursuits. He does tutorials on formatting, designing book covers in Word, and general design and brand building. I like his attitude and have found his tutorials easy to understand and extremely helpful. My other new best virtual friend is BethHayden.com. Beth became a sensation when she did a guest blog for Copyblogger about Pinterest. That blog was so popular, she was contacted to write a book, Pinfluence. Beth charges for webinars with tons of information, but she also does free mini webinars and newsletters. One of my assignments for a webinar I was doing with Beth, was to contact a blog I liked and ask to do a guest blog. Hey, here I am, testing my new skills!
The best part about this new world is the virtual storage, no drawers required for white out and carbon paper. I can take advantage of all the declutter advice.
Recite – This is a great site for quotes. Those are a big deal in the visual world. You can buy what you design and post on Facebook or Pinterest.
SnapFiles – I’m all about free and this site has freeware. “We are a download site that provides access to thousands of Windows software titles, that are either free to keep (freeware) or can be downloaded as a free trial (shareware).”
BeHappy.me – another tool for creating shareable images with quotes
Picasa – a free image editor – “You can manage and edit your photos using Picasa.”
Pinstamatic – make boring data pretty for Pinterest – “Its goal is to help you get the most out of Pinterest and to become the first port of call when you want to add content to Pinterest.”
About.com – just about anything you want to know. Use this for all sorts of help with content.
There is so much more. I am impressed every day by the creative people flocking to social media and their generosity. I appreciate positive intention. I have a theory about it. I was saddened by the negativity following the terrorist attacks in Paris and wrote a short blog post titled Thoughts about Paris and the World. I think writers have a responsibility to make sure the words, thoughts and stories we publish for others to consume, contain positive intention while they inform and entertain. I believe our words cling to the trees, the buildings, the fences and the faces around us. We sign these things with our thoughts. Let them be healing, generous, worthy of sharing. I look forward to 2016, the adventure ahead, and I appreciate the generosity of this creative community.'I believe our words cling to the trees, the buildings, the fences and the faces around us' Click To Tweet