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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Plotting for 2012

The problem with lying around flat on my back for a week is that it makes me think. (That's always dangerous.) Thinking evolves into brainstorming and that births monstrous projects that are just too exciting to ignore.

This week, I noticed nearly a dozen blog posts bemoaning the lack of time. For me, the answer is simple. Since I can't create more time, it means if I want to start something new, something else will have to go away. That's where I am now.

For months, although Greg has always been supportive of my fiction writing, he has been urging me to put it on the back burner and concentrate on non fiction. While I was off my feet, his gentle prodding took shape.

I've come up with a series of short books on a subject I can claim absolute expertise. I have a series title, a list of very specific topics, and even an alter-ego who will be your guide throughout the series. The books will be short, to-the-point, and chock full of useful information. No fluffy filler.

Presently, there are 13 books on the roster, with a bonus book if I can get Greg to co-write that one with me. I will need his expertise for that book.

The subject? Stay tuned. I want to be able to give it a proper reveal in a few months, complete with fanfare.

In a perfect world, I'd love to be able to have a book every month, but I'm simply not that fast a writer. Instead I will concentrate on a new book every 2-3 months, interspersed with my fiction.

In order to accomplish this monumental series, something has to give.

Blog: Effective next week, I will blog only two days a week, Mondays and Thursdays. I hate to do that because I enjoy posting and apparently, I always have something to say. :grin: I will interrupt normal programming if something big happens along the way though.

Blog Hopping: This is actually the biggest drain on my time. I have a HUGE reading list of blogs. This weekend, I will cull to only those who regularly interact with me online or off. I used to comment more often but I kind of got tired of people who never replied to comments or visited. Networking is a two-way street. If they're not interested in reciprocity, why should I kill myself to visit, right?

Twitter: This one still vexes me. I enjoy it when I'm there. I regularly talk to @Jenny_Schwartz, @CathyPegau, @ReneeMJ, @Darke_Conteur, @JacaBur1, @TerriOsburn, and @JaneFerst. And @danceauthor, that sweet man, is always sending people my way.

My problem is that I can't seem to tweet consistently. I don't like the mornings. It's crowded with idle blathering or boring promo. I prefer the evening shift when the chatter is more interesting--or perhaps it's just not swallowed up with spam-like content.

I'm considering either picking a couple of days a week to tweet or maybe a half hour every night, answering return tweets in the morning. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to handle Twitter? How much time do you spend there?

Facebook: I hate to admit it (especially to Raelyn Barclay who's responsible for turning me to the dark side), but I've grown to like FB. I'm not limited to 140 characters, yet I can post little snippets of my life without being boring. And so many of you stop by and comment there. I love you guys!

Because of the new series coming out in 2012, Greg thinks I should start another blog, but that way leads to madness. Instead, I am considering starting a Facebook Page on my subject (rather than on myself). It might bring the most amount of traffic without taking more time.

I think the thing I hate to lose the most is not reading all the blogs I follow. But I will promise that anyone who comments on my blog will always get a reply and/or a visit.

If my plans net even a fraction of what I envision, 2012 is going to be one heck of a year. End of the world be damned.

Have you made any plans for the new year yet? Have I piqued your interest? I promise, this series is going to rock. I just need to scale back a little to get everything lined out. If I'm a good girl and work hard, 2012 should be a blockbuster of events.


Live Out Loud said...

Wow - you've got my attention! I'm curious to what the books will be about.

I know exactly what you mean about time spent online - I still haven't managed mine properly. I have no plan of attack, I just bounce from one thing to another with whatever grabs my eye. I have my favorites, of course but that's different.

Good luck with your new plan - I'm jealous you've got it all locked down but with plenty of wiggle room to handle what may come up.

You've inspired me this morning.

(Thank you!)

Angela Felsted said...

I like facebook too, and I understand the time drain. You can spend eight hours a day writing on blogs if you aren't careful.

Angelina Rain said...

Now I'm dying to know more about this series.

Sounds like 2012 will be a busy yet fun year for you.

I plan for 2012 to write, write, write, write. I have ideas for like 100 books. By the end of 2012, maybe I could knock that down to 90.

L.G.Smith said...

Sounds like a plan...a really busy plan, but it could work. :)

Good luck with the new projects.

Mike Keyton said...

It's brilliant when an idea takes form and is close to implementation. The best of luck with this, Maria.

It's a world of synchronicity. I have a similar project taking shape - similar project only in that it is non fiction, but it'll be complementing rather than replacing the fiction. I'm all ready doing the research and I understand your excitement.

Maria Zannini said...

Live Out Loud: I made a mental checklist on how much time certain things took me. Some things were inflexible, like working around the homestead or spending time with my part time husband. But other things I could avoid or flex like networking.

Angela: Blog reading really took a big chunk out of my day and I had to be honest about how beneficial it was.

Angelina: Girl, you always have something int he pot. I'm anxious to see what you have cooking in 2012 too.

LG: It's doable I think. I wrote up a timeline and some proposals. A lot will depend on how much research I do.

Mike: We are going to have to compare notes! I still have three more novels/novellas in the wings that I can submit or self-pub, so I've got plenty to keep me visible. Write me when you get a chance.

Krista D. Ball said...

I like later in the night for Twitter. Most of us who are up can't sleep, so we're chatting, sharing links, and bemoaning the fact that our dogs are farting.

10-20 minutes of joking around on Twitter late at night often winds me down enough to get some sleep. I hear other people find it keeps them up, though LOL

Anonymous said...

Mawhaha...I'm actually liking FB less with all the changes they've recently done but I like your work around! I think the thing I like most about FB is that the conversation stays within the thread! It's easy to follow and add to.

I'm trying to interact at least 3 times a week on Twitter and FB. I check in on both in the morning to reply to anything (just check the mentions on Twitter not the whole timeline thingy). Then like you, I try to spend more quality time in the evening.

I'm so curious about the new series! And for heaven's sake don't start a new blog. Maybe dedicate one day a week to the new non-fiction direction you're following.

I don't know how you've done as much as you have on the blog hopping front! You always leave meaningful comments (Roxy is trying to leave a comment for Tank and Iko, LOL) and have inspired me in more ways than I can count. I hope you can find a happy medium. (Dog slobber can't be good for a laptop :sigh: give the boys kisses from Roxy.)

I'm so impresses with how you've got things mapped out! I wish you all the best in 2012!

Cate Masters said...

My curiosity's piqued too! Can't wait to learn more about the series. And if Greg can help with it, all the better for you!
My brainstorming's been coming in the dead of night, when I should be sleeping. Unfortunately, I have to cut out some online activities also due to time constraints, if I ever hope to get any writing done.
Best of luck with the project!

Maria Zannini said...

Krista: I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed a difference between daytime and nighttime Twitter. Though I do feel left out when someone mentions something they discussed earlier. But I can't justify being there all day.

Raelyn: Aw, thank you. I always hope my comments are meaningful.

Re: 2nd blog
No way. I wouldn't add something if I couldn't do it justice. A FB page might work because I could update it with links and tips. But that's down the road.

Cate: I think it would be fun to co-write something with Greg. He hates to admit it, but he's actually a very good teacher and can explain things even someone like me can understand.

Shelley Munro said...

Sounds intriguing, Maria, and I look forward to hearing more. Twitter is very different at night (my evening) I like it better then too.

Krista D. Ball said...

The daytime ones are often done by folks on their breaks at work. So, there's very little conversation going on in any case. It tends to be tweeting some links and that's it. I generally do my blog post links during the day, since I don't have time to do anything else.

In the evening, after I'm done my day, it's nice to just tell jokes, make fun of my day, and relax on Twitter. In the span of 10 minutes, I get to complain about the Canadian government, sell shoes, link several books I enjoy, link a new title I have out, share a cat photo, and tell stories about how my stepkids are trying to sneak past me to play XBox when they are grounded.

HUGE difference. I don't think you are the only one to notice.

Day twitter - shrug
Night twitter - social awesomeness

Dru said...

I can't wait to see what you're bringing to 2012. Sounds great!

I still haven't figured out Twitter.

Maria Zannini said...

Shelley: Maybe (my) night time Twitter is better because I get to talk to people like you on the other side of the world. For a short time, we're all on the same playground. :)

Krista: I think you're right. Obviously people are boring when they're at work. But do they have to share so much of their dull lives? I mean, like, shouldn't they be working? LOL.

Dru: I'm really excited about it. I've been doing some market research and it's a fairly novel idea--so far.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Oooh, your non fiction works interest me. I can't wait to hear more!

I've cut down on my blogging to two days a week too. I find reading blogs over the week is better on time. :-)

I go back and forth on Twitter and FB. Depends on my mood. Sometimes I like one more than the other depending. I do like early morning for chatter and then I schedule tweets throughout the day.

Isis Rushdan said...

You have quite a bit planned for 2012. Would love to know more about your books. Maybe you'll share bits with us next year.

Try not to think so much :). Wishing you success with getting all of your projects accomplished.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

oh man! I'm super curious as to what the topics will be about!
And i've also reeeallly cut down on my blog hopping the last few months. I'm not going to lie, it's been a relief. And the more you do it, the easier it becomes

Stacy said...

I'm so excited for you, Maria! Going in a big new direction is so energizing and I can't wait to hear what you'll be writing about. I know I'll enjoy reading whatever it is. Could chickens be in the mix? Hope so. :) I agree with you, Twitter leaves me a bit cold - but I have to say, it has surprised me, but my business facebook page is my favorite place to post. I bet you'll enjoy that too. I support you doing anything you need to do (or not do) in order to make these new ideas happen - I know that a happy Maria will be doing great things!

Madeleine said...

Glad your creative juices are still flowing despite your confinement. Lots of my regular blog pals seem to be putting their writing before blogging and I should too really. x

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I'm betting the nonfiction is going to be on homesteading. I look forward to hearing more.

I support your decision to blog only twice a week. I only do it once, and try to read the blogs of friends every day. As for twitter, I scan it once or twice a day and try to post once. You might want to check out Tweetdeck, which I don't use, but I've heard can help you streamline all your social media sites.

As for me, I'm busy prepping a sequel and getting ready for when my book launches next year! Squeeee!

Nadja Notariani said...

I want to know what your area of expertise is! Thirteen books on any topic (even short ones) is a large undertaking. I'm excited for you, Maria. (Can I guess on what it is?? You can answer only if you want me to keep on Is it on keeping chickens?)

Is your knee on the mend? And by the by...Happy Anniversary, too.

jackie b central texas said...

I am looking forward to your new set of goals coming to pass Maria, when you put your mind to it know you can do what you want! Looking forward to reading your stories no matter what the subject matter.

As for as my goals for 2012, surviving, no less no more.

Tracy Jo said...

Oooh...I am very interested! I can't wait to hear more! I am working on a non-fiction book as well...but just one. :-)

Jenny Schwartz said...

Maria, I'm intrigued and inspired. I want to know what you're going to write on ... and the fact you're planning 2012 is a kick to me to do the same.

I want to simplify my social media and focus, but it's tough. Everyone is so darn interesting and amusing I keep losing time to their conversations, even if I'm only lurking.

Thanks for the Twitter shout out :)

Angela Brown said...

*wiping sweat from my brow*

Maria, I tell you what, when I got to the point where you mentioned putting fiction on the backburner, I nearly sent you a digital "NOOOOOO!!!" But then I realized you weren't walking away completely so I put down the paper bag and stopped hyperventilating.

Sounds like you have quite the nonfiction roster already planned. I've enjoyed your writing so much so I look forward to this project with the same enthusiasm.

Go 2012!

Maria Zannini said...

Jennifer: I hope cutting down to 2x a week will help me get more done. We'll see.

Isis: As soon as I get the first book done, I'll start a campaign introducing it. It should be fun.

Sarah: I'm like you. I think it was being off that whole week and realizing no one died if I didn't blog or blog-hopped. --what a relief!

Stacy: I might have to hit you up for some advice on a FB page. I'm so clueless. Thank you for being so supportive.

Madeleine: It seems to be a trend to slow down on blogging. I guess you reach a saturation point where you're not getting as much work done.

Maria Zannini said...

Barbara: That's right. We get to induct a virgin into Published Island next year. :) I'll start warming the coals now.

Nadja: LOL. I'm old. I have a lot of expertise now.

Jackie: I think you already did the surviving part. Now it's time to enjoy.

Tracy Jo: Does it have anything to do with that red chair? As soon as I saw it, I knew there was a story there.

Jenny: I am definitely starting a little early on 2012. I think most years I start to late and I find myself scrambling to keep up.

Angela: You are so sweet. I need to keep you in my writing room and hug you whenever I need a shot of confidence. I promise to feed you. :)

Sarita said...

I love it that your downtime was put to such good use. Good for you!

And I've got to admit, I'm waaay curious about your new project. I know it's going to be wonderfully informative and interesting. Good luck with it!

Renee Miller said...

I hear a lot of griping about time, never enough time to do this or that, blah, blah. NONE of us has enough time. It's how Fate gets her kicks. Like you said, something has to go if you want more time for another thing.

As for the blogging, I usually only post once each week. If I have something to say that's "urgent" I'll post more often, but I've had to keep it limited in order to accomplish the other crap I have to do.

Twitter, by the way, is way easier to deal with in the evenings. I don't know why really, but I can get on and off quickly after 7pm, so I try to make sure I get on then to interact and I only spend a few minutes. If someone sends me a note or mentions me, I get an email update and I'll reply. That's it.

And, I'm really excited and curious about your project. Go you! I can't wait to hear more. Facebook pages can work really well. I'd opt for that as opposed to a new blog. You can use the notes feature like Ted Dekker does for blog-type posts and promote it on Twitter. (because you really want to spend more time there)

My plans for 2012 are the same as they are every year; I'm going to try to take over the world. Or at least publish one of these damn books.

Murugi Njehia said...

I can see we have some common goals! :) Great blog.

LD Masterson said...

Okay, {snif} I'm a little late {cough}, but I made it. Now what's up with the new books? You know I hate being kept in suspense - unless it's fiction.

Marguerite Butler said...

I can't wait to hear more about your NF books. Dare I hope they will involve homesteading?

I hear you on the social media thing. I blow hot and cold with it. I like it just a bit too much and then get overwhelmed and need to scale back. I hope you find a happy balance for you and Greg.

Marianne Arkins said...

Oooh ... sounds exciting! I'm looking forward to seeing what you'll be writing.

RE: Twitter -- I haven't a clue how to work it "properly".

RE: Facebook -- it's here I stay in touch with people more than anywhere else, including blogs. It's just so stinking user friendly. And I can make lists of different people to read. Of all the things I do for networking (and fun) Facebook tops it.

Speaking of lists, I'm making one of my own in order to pare down stuff to the bare necessities. Would that we could simply generate more time (though I'd probably find a way to fill that, too).

How's your knee?

Maria Zannini said...

Sarita: I was kind of hoping my down time would be nothing but sleeping and eating bon bons (not at the same time) but apparently, that wasn't meant to be.

Renee: You're on blogging overtime, woman. They're piling up on my reader, but I should be able to get to them later tonight.

Ref: taking over the world
:sigh: That old thing again? :)

Murugi Njehia: Nice to meet you, Murugi!

Linda: Keep your pants on. (I'll bet people tell you that all the time.) ;-)

Marguerite: I don't know how some of these heavy Tweeters do it. It's like they're on there all the time. Plus, they're usually not that interesting anyway.

Marianne: The knee, alas, is in bad shape. They tested it to see how much strength I had and it was 10% of where it should be. (No wonder I was limping.) I was so sad to hear the news.

I'll be doing some heavy duty weight training to try to rebuild the muscle around it. The stopgaps will have to hold me until the knee deteriorates enough to have it replaced entirely.

Getting old sucks.

Marian Perera said...

Add me to the curious list as well. If even one of your 2012 books involves ways to save money, I'd have to check it out.

Sorry to hear about the knee. But if it's any consolation, you don't come across as old at all. I'm really impressed by the amount of physical work you do in maintaining a homestead and looking after all those animals. I come home each day and plug into the Matrix until I fall asleep.

Maria Zannini said...

Marian: I think it's been all this work that did me in. That'll teach me.

Renee Miller said...

Ref: Taking over the world: It WILL'll see.

As for the blogging this week, I had a series planned and it took me days to write the darn things. So I just uploaded them all in one night, post-dated the suckers and there you have it. This is probably one of the ONLY times I've had a blog post every day of the week. Sorry?

Michelle Fayard said...

Twitter lists have been a godsend for managing this social medium for me. Good luck with all of your great plans!

Barbara Ann Wright said...

Maria, that's the coals for a cookout in my honor, right? ;)

Maria Zannini said...

Renee: You said that last year! I had your coronation all planned. Clive was going to wear his favorite loin cloth.

Michelle: I haven't figured out Twitter yet. I need to try Tweetdeck or something.

Barbara: Yeah, sure. If you say so. :whistling: #fresh meat

broken biro said...

You're such a tease! Watching to see what your new series is with interest... the world waits (no pressure!)

I've been shedding projects like autumn leaves and you really have to be ruthless about keeping time for your priorities! Good luck in your mission! x

Maria Zannini said...

Broken Biro: Do you think that's the first time anyone's called me that? LOL. Mostly I wanted to give a reason why I was pulling back. As we get closer to the new year, I'll spill more.

Rosie Lane said...

A book every two months? Egad. I am in awe.