by Mahrie G. Reid
When you work you have to commute. When you work at home it’s difficult to leave home duties and settle into writing, so I developed my Writer’s Commute. It happens in my office, on my computer.
For a woman of my age, computers do not come natural to me. I know the basics and can find articles that tell me what to do. The thought of building a platform overwhelmed me. I was advised to start small and expand slowly. I took an orientation course offered on-line by a member of my writing group. It could have been called: Platform Building for Dummies. Lorraine Paton was patient with us and assured us that slow was fine.
First I formed goals for my platform:
1) Expand name recognition.
2) Learn and share about all things writing.
3) Support other writers.
4) Promote my books when they are first launched.
5) Stay up-to-date with the world of Indie writers.
Then I asked how I could accomplish this. Over a year, I hammered out a process I call my writer’s commute. All commutes need coffee, so that’s first. Then I visit, in no particular order:
• Emails (2 accounts – personal and author link)
• Facebook – Profile and Author Page and Groups
• Internet browser
I had to learn how to use some of the social media sites. Email and Facebook were fine. I added an Author page and gradually expanded it. On FB, I searched and found writing groups to join and I keep a list of ten.
I started my blog using Blogger from blogspot.com. I find it user friendly and simple enough that even my older brain can grasp it. I played with it before hitting publish. The layout and content on the blog expanded as I became more familiar with the layout function. There is no rush. Take your time to learn. One day, I bit the bullet and added a Twitter account. It confused me. However, I followed along and got the hang of it.
For the general internet, I decided on topics and went searching. As I found sites I liked, I added them to my save-list. If a site offered an email link, I often chose that option.
Those are my tools. This is how I use them. It is not necessary to do every single thing, every day.
- Get coffee (most important)
Check emails –review both accounts and respond to items requiring short answers. If a newsletters arrives, read it and make a short comment. Most sites have a place to put your website. Be sure to add it.
If it’s a social chatty email, I come back to it and respond in depth at the END of my writing day (or at lunch).
Scan profile news list quickly. Many posts are cute but not helpful to a writer’s career. Pass them over. Read short articles and comment. Personal items can be left for later.
Check Author Page and answer any messages plus respond to comments even if it is only a “like.” Post a new message once or twice a week. Promote books by other authors and/or add a teaser with a link to your newest blog post. Post any launch information for your own books. (https://www.facebook.com/MahrieGReid/ )
Visit a couple of your writer/author groups a day. You can follow on an irregular schedule. Reply, share, or comment on a post that catches your eye. Become known as a contributor.
Twitter –you don’t need to check every day.
Tweet about your new blogs or book launches. Pre-write six posts and post them through the day with links to your blog or book. Otherwise, scan and re-tweet interesting posts. If you click through and read an article, retweet making a specific comment.
Go to notifications and see who has retweeted or followed you. Check them out. Follow back if you like. The ones that want your business, you don’t have follow. Do tweet thank you’s to all followers and re-tweeters using their Twitter address. Be polite.
Blog/webpage – On my blog homepage, I post bi-monthly blogs. (Frequency and content is your choice.)
I have additional pages (About me, Why Writers Write etc.) set up and a permanent sidebar. It is best (so I’ve read) to be consistent and to set a schedule you can maintain. I alter my content between items for readers and those for writers and do interviews with writers launching books my followers might like. (www.mahriegreid.com)
The Internet – If you have time left – pick one of the sites on your saved-list and click-in to check out their most recent articles. Again, here’s where you can leave a comment and a link to your information. Participate Positively.
After an hour, I’ve reviewed in-coming information, responded appropriately, and liked, linked or commented. Most important my brain is transitioned to writing. Give it a try and good luck in designing a writer’s commute that works for you.