Writing

Ch..Ch..Ch..Changes!

To say that I’ve had to make changes to my life and daily routine would be an understatement.

With Cupcake’s arrival, everything changed.

My sleep pattern is shot to hell (though last night, Bagpiper was amazing enough to take over and let me sleep all night long), the majority of my shirts have spit up on the shoulders because I haven’t had time to do laundry (or any housework) and the only meals I’m making are the quick-easy and often frozen kind (thank goodness for Bertolli meals!).

But all of that was expected.

Now that we are past the one month mark (time flies!) the new daily routine is starting to become a bit clearer and more steady.

On Monday, I Skype-chatted with my writing buddies back home (and a new one from Australia — Hi Jodie!) and we discussed our writing goals for 2012. Now, I put together some fairly lofty goals, but I’d rather aim too high than too low. And though I meant to start writing on Monday, it didn’t happen.

First, it was my birthday so I went out with some of the wives out here and celebrated. Second, by the time I got home Cupcake was waking and I had to take care of her. Third, I haven’t written since NaNoWriMo and I’m finding it hard to get back into the writing habit.

Now it’s Friday, and I haven’t written all week.

I’m beginning to realize that my normal writing habit has got to change to adapt to my new life style. I can’t just open a work in progress and spend hours writing this scene or that scene. For one, I don’t have hours to write. I have fifteen minutes here, half an hour there…

Which means, I’ve got to start being more organized when it comes to my writing. I’ve got to make a plan of action for the day/week. As in, “Today, the goal is to write THIS scene. If I finish then I will do THAT scene or plot for tomorrow’s scene.”

People, I have never been a plotter and my writing could never be described as organized.

This is a hard change, but I’m determined to do it cause I miss writing! So since I didn’t write this week, I’m using the afternoon to make daily writing goals for next week. Thank goodness for OneNote…best program ever.

Also?

I had myself a baby photo shoot…and I didn’t even wake her while trying to pose her and stuff. Go me.

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So yea. A lot happened.

Yikes, y’all.

My last update was in October.

However, in my defense, a lot of stuff happened that prevented me from blogging. Actually, stuff happened that made me forget I even had a blog to update.

So…recapping:

November 2011

It was birthday ball season for the USMC, which meant the Bagpiper was super busy playing gigs. This was month eight of the pregnancy and I found myself sleepy a lot.

Also? NaNoWriMo — I won, but just barely. JUST BARELY.

Cooked my first ever Thanksgiving meal on my own. Since it was just me and the Bagpiper, I cooked a turkey breast rather than an entire turkey. Besides, an entire turkey would not have fit in my countertop oven. 😛

December 2011

The big month.

Bagpiper had some Christmas concerts early on, two of which he almost missed due to my almost being induced.

I was induced a week early, and on December 11, 2010 at 10:12pm, the Cupcake was born at a whopping 5lbs 2oz. Twenty-seven hours of labor (for which I slept through most of it thanks to the magic of an awesome epidural) and less than eight minutes of pushing.

I’m a mommy, y’all!!

Even though I was full term (38 weeks) when I had her, she was so tiny! I had to have my mom send me some preemie clothes for her, because none of the clothes I had ready for her (and there are a lot) fit! And finding preemie stuff out here was pretty impossible. Not even the newborn hats fit her, so I had to do some quick knitting and make her some teeny tiny hats.

Now, however, she’s pushing close to 7lbs, so the preemie stuff is almost outgrown and we’re almost fitting into newborn stuff! LOL

Granted, most of you (if not all) who read this blog already know that Cupcake made her arrival (I’ve only been tweeting a photo everyday…lol). But on the off chance you haven’t seen the pictures on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook…

Brand new!

Brand new!

 

So pretty...just like mommy!

OK, so I’ll stop there, because I could fill this post with HUNDREDS of pictures of Cupcake.

So after her birth, I was stuck in the hospital for a full week due to my elevated blood pressure. Not high, but higher than normal so to err on the safe side, I was kept in the hospital with nurses checking my BP every 2-4 hours. It sucked.

The bright side was that Bagpiper had two weeks off for paternal leave, so he was home with me and Cupcake. Even better? Paternal leave ended the day after Christmas, but the band was still on leave, so he had another two weeks off of work with a few half days thrown in — so basically, he had almost a month off. It was glorious.

So we had the best Christmas present of all, and we didn’t even mind that we weren’t getting any sleep.

We were able to trade off on sleepless nights and night feedings, which worked out great. Now Cupcake is eating pretty regularly every three hours.

January 2012

And that brings us to the new year!

Today is my birthday (Jan 9) and Bagpiper gave me the best present yesterday. He gave me an afternoon and evening of sleep and he took care of dinner. He wanted to take me out to dinner, and that was the original plan, but I fell asleep on the couch and he let me snooze.

When I woke up he asked if I still wanted to go out or if I wanted him to pick something up. So no glamorous birthday meal, just a chicken nugget meal from McDonald’s, but it was still an awesome gift, I think!

Yesterday I also wrote out all my writing goals for 2012. A lot of them focus on editing and revising some finished stories I have. I tried some editing/revising last year and I failed miserably. Not just because of being pregnant and moving to Japan, either. I just kept pushing it aside in favor of plot bunnies. Pregnancy and moving were just bonus excuses.

This year, however, I want to finish and be done with my finished stuff. Ideally, I finish (as in write, edit and revise) at least three manuscripts. Maybe even think of submitting one or two somewhere, but I may save that for 2013.

Other goals include finishing two or three unfinished stories, planning for NaNo 2012 (no it’s not too early) and learning to juggle mommyhood with writing. I’m also aiming for writing 5K a week.

For me these goals are kind of lofty, but I’d rather aim too high than too low.

And that’s about it…

…ooh! I just found out my best friend from high school is being stationed to Japan later this year! Huzzah!

OK. Now for real that’s all. 😉

I promise to try to update regularly from now on and not just with pictures of the Cupcake.


Too many hashtags will hurt you.

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a post on social media, but there is something I’m seeing more and more of on Twitter that is really starting to get a bit bothersome.

Excessive hashtagging.

For those of you unfamiliar with hashtags, they are a simple way to put your tweet into a conversation as well as a way to make your tweet searchable. An example of a tweet with a hashtag would be: “Lalala, I have something interesting to say about #knitting.” The # sign in front of the word knitting makes that word searchable. Therefore, anyone searching the term “knitting”, will see my tweet.

Hashtags are an excellent way to broaden your scope and reach more people. However, when you have a tweet that looks something like: “#Writers will find this blog post about #writing and #publishing interesting. *URL* #amwriting #pubtib #blog” then you have too many hashtags.

Why excessive hashtagging hurts more than helps.

  • It’s ugly. Believe it or not, there is an aesthetic issue. The tweet looks ugly. It’s not eye-catching and so the reader will move on without really reading your tweet. Most people scan their Twitter stream rather than truly read it, and breaking up a tweet with too many hashtags (even if they are all at the end) is going to cause that tweet to get overlooked.
  • Google doesn’t like excessive hashtags. Google views too many hashtags as spam, and as a result, excludes those tweets from real-time searches. So while you think that all those hashtags are helping you broaden your audience, it’s actually hurting you.
  • You look like a douchecanoe. If your tweet has more than three hashtags, you look selfish. You look like you’re screaming out, “LOOK AT ME! MY TWEET IS IMPORTANT!” It’s a turn-off, and people are more likely to ignore and even unfollow you if you make this habit.
  • Hashtags overlap. Hashtags have a tendancy to overlap, especially when it comes to certain subjects. Hashtags like #knitting overlap with people using the #Ravelry hashtag. For writers, the #amwriting hashtag can overlap with a number of other writing related ones such as #amediting, #MyWANA, #pubtib and a whole assortment of others. So excessive hashtagging is still not helping you broaden your audience.

The hashtag solution.

  • Don’t use more than two or three hashtags in your tweet. Even using three is pushing the envelope a little, in my opinion. Any more and again, you’re hurting yourself more than helping.
  • Engage with your readers/followers. Are you retweeting your followers interesting tweets? If so, you are more likely to have them RT you in turn. It’s the RTs that are going to broaden your audience the most, not half a dozen hashtags.
  • Have quality content. Look, if tweet is interesting and links to something worthwhile, it will get retweeted and shared. If it’s not, no amount of hashtagging is going to get that content shared.
  • Think about your audience. When choosing a hashtag, choose with your audience in mind. Is your tweet more about #amwriting or #amediting? Are you reaching out to just #knitters or #Ravelry members in general? Remember, hashtags overlap, so if you use #amediting instead of #amwriting, chances are high that you are reaching the same people.
  • Tweet creatively. The tweet you send out in the morning can include different hashtags from the tweet you send out for your evening crowd. But don’t just send the same tweet out three or four different times with different hashtags. Refresh and recreate your message.

How do you feel about hashtags? How many is too many?