Social Media Lessons 01:

IMG_3536(Repost from my old blog from when I started Twitter):

Welcome to covering all things new when starting social media. All of us have different reasons to having any kind of social media and for me it is to promote my writing (blogging and eventual book on my personal growth/abuse story) and my art that I do for therapy and enjoyment and sometime sell.

The first thing that I want to say is that for me this was extremely overwhelming, and I did it alone, so please don’t think that I don’t get anxious or extremely frustrated. I think that we all look at everyone else doing this and think that they do it so easily. But the reality is that most don’t. There are some amazing, talented incredible people out there on social media, but they make up a small minority of what you see. So as you go forward on this journey please remember a bunch of things:

  • Many of these people who appear to do well have been doing it for a long time, and all of them struggled at the beginning.
  • All of them would have made many mistakes along the way and you will too. Please don’t get stressed when you make them, I will be here for you at each step of the way and no one will notice almost all of your mistakes (and the ones that they do see, are fixable).
  • Many of them look like they have a following but they are mostly friends and family and many people on social media have built up big accounts but then leave them sitting there.
  • Nothing can’t be changed or fixed.

My number one advice going forward is that you take it slow. If you make a major mistake (sorry, change that to WHEN you make a major mistake), and only a dozen of us here see it, then it has little to no impact going forward. But if you race ahead and get a bunch of follows and make a mistake and lose a bunch of them, then you need to start again. So:

  • Foundations First! Over the next few weeks we will be building your social media platforms, but not telling everyone you know about them. For the first week at least, have no more than one or two people following you, and if it is me and anyone else who is part of this, then we can see each other and help each other. Don’t add anyone else at this point. We will be working around getting you completely comfortable with your tiny network
  • Then the structure: Once you have opened accounts and you have only a small handful of connections, we can work on building each platform so that it works for you. There is so much information out there it is scary, so we will be working around getting you completely comfortable with your own site, how you decorate it, what you would like to aim it at, what your audience will be and how to dress it up.

 

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The Lion and The Peacock – How I Conquered Anxiety

aa-final-book-coverAfter one of the most amazing roller coasters of a month, we are on track for the launch of my first book, The Lion and the Peacock – How I Conquered Anxiety.

I did not plan on this being my first book, but after writing the chapter on this part of my journey for one of my other books, it occurred to me that this needed to be a stand-alone book in its own right.

It is short, only about a tenth of the size of a full-length novel, which means that anyone will be able to access this, without having to read or purchase anything else or anything bigger. I am still telling my story and the books will keep coming, but this is now the first window into my complicated story.

If you would like to be on the mailing list for the book (which I promise I won’t spam you with), it will involve only a few emails leading up to the launch on the 15th of January 2017, and then from then on monthly emails with updates on promotions, free days, and the follow-up book releases. Please sign up or leave your email details in the comments below.

Where I hang out:
@JPeaSmith
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Social Media Lessons:

screen-shot-2016-11-13-at-9-12-13-pm(Repost from my old blog from when I started Twitter):

Over the past few days I have been asked for help with setting up or understanding social media. I am not claiming to be an expert, and I haven’t been doing this long, but I feel that firstly I must be doing something right that people are trusting me and asking me for help, and secondly I also know that I am in a once off situation where I am no longer a complete novice at this yet am still pretty new myself. So I have not forgotten how overwhelming this process can be, and how hard it is to find very basic help.

So many people helped me with my starting out journey, hence I am happy to do the same thing here, but even more than that I believe that if I spend the time and effort over the next 6 weeks in sharing with you what I have learnt, for free, to anyone who wants the help, then I will hopefully make your journey a little easier than mine was, and why not pay if forward right?

Over the next few weeks I will write a few posts that cover the setting up and navigating of a handful of social media platforms, how to connect and promote your agenda on them, the pitfalls to watch out for, and the how to use them to suit your needs.

We will look at:

  • Social Media (SM) in a general sense and WordPress Blogs.
  • Facebook (Fb)
  • Twitter (Tw)
  • Instagram (IG)

There are a number of people who’s blogs and instructions and advice I found enormously helpful once I was a few steps in, so as I get to the end of this I will find those again and point you in their direction, so that you can move forward as far as you like at the end.

And don’t worry, I won’t drop you at the end of this program, I will still be here on this blog at the end and we keep going if there are enough of you interested.

Beneath The Skin by Kyla Stone.

img_9495I recently had the privilege of reading this book (out of my own free choice I might add, after reading her blurb) and I loved it. I did not think that I had any interest in the Young Adult (YA) genre after trying a few recently and not enjoy them at all, but this was refreshingly brilliant.
There is absolutely nothing fluffy about this book at all as it tackles some really deep and important issues like cutting and abuse. I don’t take either of these (or the other issues raised in the book) lightly and I don’t like reading about them unless the author is able to walk that fine line between giving enough detail to make the situation real without going so far as to trigger people or frighten them. I started reading another book about sexual abuse recently and I had to put it down after the first few chapters as the details were way too explicit. This book on the other hand was quite different. I know that we each have out own level of triggers and discomfort but I felt that Kyla did a great job.
I am not sure exactly where the exact line is but I think that Kyla treads it perfectly as she pulls the reader in to the emotions created in each situation without going overboard. There are no easy fixes or fairy God Mothers, and there are no short cuts. It is very raw and realistic. A really good read if you are interested in any of these issues or want to get inside and understand the complicated web that creates these messes.
BENEATH THE SKIN is available in print and ebook from Amazon. It is normally $4.99 but is on sale from today through the second of January for only 99c. 
Kyla Stone is the author and you can find her on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.
 
Click here to sign up for her Email List for Sales and New Releases, in my opinion she is an author to watch 🙂
When I emailed her to ask if she had anything to add she replied that she would love people to read her book and to remind them that all reviews on Goodreads and Amazon much appreciated! 

Reason Two to Delete You…

img_8942Reason number 2:

(Repost from my old blog from when I started Twitter):

I have read a lot about sending bulk DMs and that this is a sure fire way to lose followers as well. I can see why that is a problem for many, but it doesn’t irk me as much as that and I won’t impulsively delete you for it as I feel that it would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater in many cases and I could miss some great people just because they thought that automated DMs is a good idea. But it does leave me feeling as though you are treating me like a number and I don’t like that, …so now you have to prove yourself more than had you said nothing.

My last blog was about the tag lines that try to draw people in by telling them what they will think about you and your stuff, but automated DMs put just as many people off (if not more) than that. So when an automated DM starts off by telling me that Your blog will inspire me, that I will want to buy your stuff, or that I will love what you do, is double demerit points in my book.

There are hundred and thousands of people out there vying for my attention, my follow, my read, my endorsement and I would appreciate the freedom to hand those out on merit alone…

Reason One to Delete You…

img_5722
(Repost from my old blog from when I started Twitter):

Reason number 1:

I know that we all want to be heard out there. I know that we want to capture the eyes and then the attention of people who might be potential fans and supporters. But there are a handful of sure fire ways to make me NOT want to engage with you. A few years ago, before social media was everything that it is today, I subscribed to an inspiring monthly magazine put out by a humble and beautiful lady to encourage young mothers at home with small children. That was me, and I supported her fully.

However as she her fans grew in numbers she started to produce other things to sell, like recipe books, CDs of her grown daughters singing, books that she was writing and so on. Which was lovely. But I never bought a single one. Every time she mentioned them they came with the tag lines “you will want to buy the whole series” and “you will be inspired by the songs”, and you will want to buy more of these to give as gifts”.

Telling me (the reader) how I will respond and what I will think of her things. I don’t like being told what to do by people who have no authority over me, but more than that, I felt robbed of the options of having my own opinions about these things, and should I actually want to do any of that (want to buy more, be inspired, etc) then should I say that, I look like I am simply regurgitating what the tag line says.

I believe in people having all kinds of responses to all things and that each and every one of those responses are real for them. Even if someone simply HATES my stuff, then that is what they feel, and those feelings are valid. They may come from seeing life through a filter of anger, what I do or say or produce might trigger something sad or painful in them, ….one never knows what people spontaneously feel and it is not my job to either dictate or to judge that.

I am not responsible for how they feel, but nor is it my job to tell them how to respond either. I write, I blog, I create… and I put my stuff out there. I hope that some people like it, are inspired by it, are encouraged by it, and when I write a book one day I hope that some people like it and buy it. But those are the desires of my heart, and the intensions behind what I do. What people out there actually feel, and how they actually respond, is totally up to them.

When they give me feedback, they are never regurgitating my tag lines, and I know they they are telling me what they are actually thinking, and that means a lot to me.

I don’t like Everyone I Follow!

screen-shot-2016-09-06-at-8-42-04-pm(Repost from my old blog from when I started Twitter):

3 weeks in and I’m still getting my head around all this “follow” business. They obviously all mean the same thing across all the platforms and if I want my voice to be heard and to interact and support people who are walking the same paths in life that I am, whether that be writing their story, recovering from trauma or living with a different ability, …it helps them and it helps me.

But there are so many who will only follow if I follow back, there are those who clearly have no interest in anything that I do whatsoever, and while thankfully my numbers are slowly climbing, I also seem to drop people every few days, …some for no other apparent reason than that I am clearly not showing interest in their cleavage or abs.

I am an introvert by nature, but I also have a huge heart for people. I get enjoyment from supporting and encouraging others, from promoting those of them who I believe in, and from “hanging out” online because I mostly can’t in “real life”. This on-line world works for me, it keeps me connected in a world that would otherwise be extremely shut off.

So I need these follows and followers, both literally (in that the more followers I have the more people will see me, and the more who stop to listen, even though not all of them will, many might actually stop and hear me) and emotionally, in that I enjoy some of the interactions that come from them. I want to follow them. I love seeing what others are doing; ….getting inspired by things like courage, new ideas and concepts, strength through adversity and enjoyment in the little things.

In real life, because I have lived in so many countries, studied in so many places, and never really belonged anywhere, I have an extremely rich group of real life friends. For me I have picked the best that life has to offer, they are outliers and the crazy ones. Those who dare and care and love deeply and richly and hurt badly and above all, as much as they are able, they are real and transparent and are all the better for it.

They cover the spectrum of gender and faith and physical ability, and some of them are deeply muslim, others deeply Christian, and some have absolutely no faith at all. They are all unique in all kinds of ways but they are all respectful, loving, deeply compassionate people. And while I love all of them, I don’t like all of them equally. There are some who I think have got their heads screwed on completely wrong, but I love having them in my life because they challenge me, they push me, and they never tell me simply what they think I want to hear.

Others don’t even do that, and are completely annoying, but when I see where they have come from, what they have achieved, how they have grown, …I so admire them, and am honoured to be a witness to that growth and that they call me their friend. To walk beside and see where they are eventually heading is exciting.

But it doesn’t mean that I like them a whole lot either, or that I can handle them in anything other than small doses or large crowds. I want to follow and be followed by the whole gamut of people too, we may not all think alike or have the same belief systems, but I won’t judge you, and I ask the same in return. I want this to grow organically, but I don’t want to miss the boat and not be purposeful either.

It’s just that if I do follow you, please know that I consciously follow you because I choose to and that you aren’t just a number…

The Lion & the Peacock.

screen-shot-2016-12-11-at-9-01-31-pm

A slight diversion happened today:

While writing my book “It’s Mah Eeds”, I landed up on a chapter on my journey through anxiety and I did not feel as though a single chapter in a book did this story within a story justice. I had to cut too much out to fit in the book, not just in terms of physically fitting but also in terms of keeping to the bigger picture. It was a massive thing to live through and a truly life changing experience and I didn’t want to lose that. I have left it in the book but I also I pulled it from the book today and fleshed it out, …letting all the pieces in between shine through and the whole thing work it’s space.

I landed up with a beautiful 6 thousand word story which I will spend each day this week editing over and over again. I want to publish it as a short book all on it’s own. And I want to give it away for free, at least to start with, as I think that so many people suffer from Anxiety and there may be a few people out there who find helpful or encouraging. So comment below or send me an email if you would like to be notified when it is out (hopefully in January or Feb next year).

I will keep you updated on here anyway as the process unfolds from it’s birth today to a published book…

Memoir Writing.

img_8897I loooove train rides. Especially sleeping trains. They are my passion and my favorite place in the world to be. My writing for me is very much a series of train trips as it is all about the various journeys that I travel on in life. My health, my heart, my faith, my personal growth and my physical travels all around the globe. They are often lonely and they are deeply emotional. What I love about blogging is that I get to take people on these trips with me and I love that. I truly love my readers and their support and the fact that they choose to come on my rides with me blows me away!

The only writing that I have ever done is from my heart and soul. My experiences, my opinions, my thoughts and my dreams. I started a new memoir with NaNo on the 1st of November and since then it has been pouring out of me with such great force that I feel as though this train has a mind of its own. This one is a runaway train and I love it. Sometimes we fly through deep dark tunnels that seem to never end as I relive all kinds of experiences that I am writing about which bring up horrendous pain, nightmares, anger, frustration, …but those experiences allow me to write with feeling and color and I believe that they enrich the story and help keep them extremely real.

Then there are the highs as I write about the good things or more often they occur when I am writing about the bad but the chapters come together well or the writing flows in a way I hadn’t imagined it could, or when something or someone (usually a stranger on social media) encourages me out of nowhere. The highs are thrilling and they keep me going through the hard days. But throughout this experience, the train hasn’t stopped for a moment and it is an exhausting but thrilling ride!

I can totally appreciate why writers want to go and hide on a mountain somewhere and simply immerse themselves in their writing. It is addictive and it flows and in many a way, it is like they are living a completely separate life. This is me.

Sadly I am forced to spend some of my time in the real world and often I am finding that I enjoy it less and less. I am sure that this is not a good thing, but right now I am not sure that I entirely care. Is that shocking? Is that terrible? Am I morphing into a hermit? … my husband and my readers are the only people on this train journey with me and I am loving it. So thank you to all of you who are making this journey so exciting, I cannot wait to start publishing!

Where I hang out:
@JPeaSmith
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman