Social Media Saturday!

Good morning, Wild Riders! Are you on social media? Do you have a Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook Page? Would you like to increase your views and followers? Here’s your chance.

Drop ONE link from ONE social media account, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook in the comment section and follow at least THREE more. This is a great way to increase your traffic and build your platform. More about that on Wednesday…

If you’re on Pinterest and you’d like to join a group board, let me know. Follow my boards and include your user name, and I’ll add you!

We can all use the support. Let’s have some fun!

Click for more posts from the Wild Ride.

Twelve Reasons To Use Twitter

I was shocked to read an article by the Associated Press about Twitter. Few have signed up for an account since the US election. I assumed with political tweets making worldwide news, people would be curious to see them first hand. Nope.

People use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family. It remains the social media of choice. But Twitter has an expansive reach. We have the opportunity to connect with just about everyone with a public account. How cool is that?

According to Alexa website ranking statistics, Facebook is #3 in the world and in the US. Twitter is #18 in the world and #8 in the US. It seems this social networking site has become even less popular after the election.

Twitter Traffic Statics from Alexa

Twelve reasons to try Twitter:

1. You can follow anyone.

I can follow anyone with a public account. Although non-follower’s tweets won’t show up in my feed, I can check out their tweets and can tweet to them by using their Twitter handle. @susielindau is mine.

2. You can communicate with celebrities, politicians, athletes, comedians, best-selling authors… from around the world.
  •  A few years ago, a blogging friend wrote a satirical piece about Roseanne Barr. I tweeted the article to her along with my friend’s Twitter handle. Roseanne responded and they had a conversation on Twitter. How cool is that?

Continue reading

Wild Thoughts on Election Day #MyVote2016

keep-calm-and-go-americaThis election has been a crazy reality TV show where the most unpredictable moments have blown our minds. Admit it. Jaw-dropping shock value is addictive. The lack of decorum and respect, name-calling, accusations and bullying has been like watching a high school kid troll on Facebook, only the actions came from a seventy-year-old man. On the other side, gnarly old scars hiding secrets and lies of deceit were reopened in the hope the truth would finally come out. Many waited with held breath, but no earth-shattering revelations have surfaced. Even if our candidate wins, many of us will continue to worry long after the election.

Unlike reality TV, the hatred and lack of respect spewed every day, seeped through the screen into some of its viewers. Anger and frustration boiled over into real life. They became trolls on the internet. Some became vicious.

60 Minutes aired a story where a control group, led by Frank Luntz, spiraled out of control. People interrupted. Name calling ensued. They exhibited rude behavior even though they were being recorded and millions would see them. Luntz said his mother would have disowned him for the horrible language they used. What’s up with that? 

Luntz concluded that no one is interested in learning anything. They only want to be heard. He blames the internet.

I think he’s wrong.

I blame the program. We’ve been watching this show for so long and from the beginning, it has broken all the rules. Moderators didn’t take control during the debates. Commercials include bleeped out words little kids can figure out. Our voting system and democracy itself has come into question. Many of my online friends who live in other countries wonder how we ended up with these candidates. So do I. World leaders who hate us are asking their citizens, desperate for freedom, “Is this what you want?”

Many voters defend their choice of candidate by pointing a finger at the other. Instead of voting for a candidate they have chosen the lesser of two evils. Our country stands divided.

I believe we’ve outgrown the two party system. Most of us want the same things; quality of life for ourselves, our children and for others. We love our country and its freedoms.

It’s time to stop pointing fingers and reach out to those less fortunate as we approach the season of giving. Thanksgiving is only two weeks away, people!

I would expect this reality show to continue waaay after election day, even after the inauguration. Eventually, acceptance of our new president will quiet the noise of frustration. Most will change the channel to focus on something else.

In the coming months, show others you are above those characters on crazy reality TV.

End the hatred.

Be kind.

Be respectful.

Be grateful to live in the United States of America.

I am.

 

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An Ephemeral Exercise in Balance – Author or Blogger?

An Ephemeral Exercise in Balance - Author or Blogger?Five years ago someone asked me, “Do you want to be an author or a blogger?”

I scratched my head and wondered why I couldn’t be both.

Balance is something I struggle for all the time. I take a few steps on the slackline and feel in control just to plummet face first in the grass. “I can’t do it all.” I said that to my husband, Danny, a few weeks ago and he laughed. He knows how hard I work. Blogging while writing books and screenplays, promoting through social media, pitching, and querying, are all a struggle of priorities. I just love to write.

With requests made for my book, I set aside my new manuscript to polish the old. I wanted The Foreboding to shine brighter before sending it out on a wing and many prayers with hope that an agent or editor would see value in my work and want to represent it. But ideas for my new one have cried out from recesses of my tiny cranium and I had to work on it too. Blogging became a low priority. It threw me off balance.

I can’t imagine life without my blog. I already write in a vacuum alone with my thoughts most of the time. Blogging is where I practice. It’s where I get instant gratification in views and comments and feedback. It’s where I “see” and meet up with my writing friends. It’s my hollow in the woods where I let crazy ideas flow and I share my life adventures.

Therein lies the conundrum, the paradox, the tangled cat’s cradle that trips me up and tosses me off balance.

If blog posts are like paper to the flame, books are the mighty oak. I’m still waiting for the gratification of feeling the weight of my first novel in my hands. It will happen. In the meantime, I stoke the fire with kindling and fan the flames, and breathe life into my words until they crackle and burn. I watch the word count rise up until…. Sorry. I got carried away….

Any writing is like breathing. It’s all good practice and something I have to do.

Last weekend I met someone online who gets thousands of views a day on her blog through social media. Seduced by the thought of going viral, I downloaded her tips and tricks. I assumed she held back. She didn’t, but the list was dang long. It would take a huge time commitment promoting, editing photos, and writing generic or shocking posts to get views and shares. And there is still a ton of luck involved. That’s when I hit a wall.

Slacklining Susie“Nope. Not doing it. It’s not my goal to be a professional blogger.” Don’t get me wrong. I would love to get thousands of views here every day. Most writers want to be read. “Look at me! Look at me!” It’s what we do when sharing posts on Twitter and Facebook. If I didn’t want people to read my work, I’d write in Dear Diary.

But spending even more time blogging is not why I started writing. I have much longer stories to tell. They require many hours and self-discipline.

And so I’ll continue to seek balance on this unstable line between blogger and author, even though it’s an ephemeral, momentary mirage. It will never be perfect. I’ll rise up to the line and I’ll flail. I’ll fail. I’ll fall. I’ll face plant and it will hurt. But I’ll brush myself off. I’ll take a deep breath.

I’ll rise up to the line to try again.

Do you find it hard to balance your time with blogging? Where are you seeking balance?

Click for more of my life adventures!

Crush Procrastination, Boost Your Blog Rank, and Improve Writing

Life Hacks * Tips * Blogging * SEO * Movies * Links * Inspiration

Wild Rider Magazine: Bringing you discoveries from around the web and my wild life. This issue explores procrastination and how to end it for good. Links to improve writing skills and sites with SEO information will help boost your blog. Read on to see how your blog ranks!

In school or out for good, here are a few tips and life hacks to help you beat procrastination and links to improve your next blog post or writing project. We all want to do that, but a lot of things can get in the way. Procrastination or lack of focus (Wait. What was that sparkly thing over there?), fear of missing out on social media, and the lack of new information can throw our latest WIP (work in progress), into a death spiral. We can only get so much from the internet.

I’ve put together Ten Ways to Help You Reach Your Goals.

How to crush procrastination. Blogging and writing tips, hacks and links to boost blog rank

Fight Procrastination:

We’ve all faced procrastination. It can lurk in the shadowy background of any project. It comes out of hiding as soon as we don’t want to work hard, we lose interest, or can’t solve a problem.

Most of us find it hard to disconnect from the Internet. We plan to get our work done, but with temptation only one click away, it can be super tough. I looked into a few apps and then realized we could do most of this on our own.

Tips for combatting this enemy:

Reset your notifications. Popups used to drive me nuts while writing. I tried shutting down a few of them but ended up turning all of them off. If there’s a fire somewhere, I’ll get a phone call.

Set a timer for 25 minutes. I’ve done this several times to make myself settle down and start on a writing project. Once the 25 minutes are up, I either quit, reset the timer, or continue writing.

I also have used this method for writing blog posts, limiting myself to 25 minutes. Sometimes I spend hours and days on posts only to get the same amount of views. Nope. I didn’t use a timer on this one.

There’s a timer on your phone or you can use this site to countdown.

Make a list of goals.

If I don’t write them down, I space out half of them. I bought a daytimer in January and make a list and check off at least a couple items every day. I have long term goals in the back of it along with contest entry deadlines. I know many people make lists on their phones and that’s great, but there is something about physically crossing them off that gives me an extra special sense of gratification. I’m all about gratification and rewards. Promise me a gold star and I’ll work for it.

#UNPLUG4HOURS

Announce to your social media friends that you will “peace out” for a few hours. You’re on the honor system and could lurk, but if you comment or Like something, you’ll be busted. I use #unplug4hours on Twitter. It helps me stay on track when I’m having a hard time focusing. For more on unplugging check out my post called Unplug 4 Hours. It works!

Twitter. Find a posse of writers trying to finish a project and meet up on Twitter or Facebook. Do a writing sprint and meet up again to give your buds virtual high fives.

Didn’t you love watching movies in school?

What the movie, Blair Witch Project can teach you:

The first Blair Witch movie proved you didn’t need a stellar cast or elaborate sets to make an intense movie. With one view from a movie camera lens, it created and executed tension so taught, it was exhausting to watch. Have you been told you need to create tension in a scene? You need to make your reader care what happens to your protagonist? This is the movie for you. The sequel, Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, comes out September 16th although this one seems bent in the horror direction.

Links to writer’s conferences and podcasts:

It’s not too late to find a writing conference. Check out the Association of Writers and Writing Programs at AWP.org. I will attend The Colorado Gold Conference in Denver September 9-11. See you there!

The Writer’s Life will link you up with 15 writer podcasts. There are many tips and interviews to explore.

Use iTunes? Then check out The Open University for all kinds of free classes. Don’t have a Mac? Check out The Open University website and search for a variety of topics.

Follow this website. You’ll be glad you did:

I found Donald Maass’s blog, Writer Unboxed, and check it frequently for insightful writing and business tips. I also use their search bar if I’m looking for something in particular. Donald posts once a month and always blows my mind. A new article is posted every day by knowledgeable Writer Unboxed authors.

How does your site rank?

Ever heard of Alexa? Well, there are probably quite a few in the world, but only one ranks your website. With Google constantly changing their logarithms, mine has been on a roller coaster ride for months. I still check once in a while for kicks and giggles.

Blog content is key so the aforementioned links could help you.

SEO information from the experts! 

Posting more regularly may help your rank. For SEO information, read MOZ’s Whiteboard Friday. Let me know if something works for you.

So now you should be ready to rock your new projects and learn something new. You can kick procrastination, and take your blog and writing project to another level. You might want to start by making a list.

Click here for last month’s issue of Wild Rider Magazine.

Click for more of the Wild Ride.

Any comments or questions? Maybe you can think of something to add that may help another Wild Rider.

On Lockdown with Shia LaBeouf #TAKEMEANYWHERE

Lockdown from a window inside the Boulder Museum of Contemporary ArtShia LaBeouf and I hung out last Sunday.

The afternoon stretched to more than three hours when two shootings occurred right outside the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. I thought it was some rude person tapping on the wall. Nope. Police crime taped the area and placed everyone in the building on lockdown. Most of us were pretty oblivious.

My interest in Shia’s talk began when local newspapers reported tweets of GPS coordinates for his next art installation, #TAKEMEANYWHERE. I checked it out. Using Google Earth, each photo depicted roads, intersections or land formations. Every day at noon, I checked out his tweet with the latest. Yesterday’s was 41°09’30″N 104°39’32″W. It was very cool. I was hooked.

If you thought Shia LaBeouf had a nervous breakdown, think again.

The team of LaBeouf, Nastja Ronkko, and Luke Turner have been constructing art installations for two years. They spoke at MediaLive – Corruption, after a week of installations by other artists at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art.

Shia LaBeouf and Susie Lindau at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art

They would like to add sincerity to communication in a way that makes you think, emote, and change your perception of the world in some way.

Transparency is their other goal.

Everyone is treated equally. They don’t give their friends or family a heads up about their latest art installations. Everyone finds out at the same time on Twitter. Instead of working in a bubble, the audience becomes a key element in their work. They have no expectations. Shia LaBeouf’s handle is @thecampaignbook. That’s where you can catch up with their latest installation and you could become a part of it, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

The talk included very revealing remarks from LaBeouf.

With an animated and extroverted personality, like yours truly, he talked about growing up in Los Angeles in a black section of town where he got beat up a lot. It didn’t help that the “Chia” Pet was popular when he was a kid. You can imagine. He claims that he is pretty uneducated and went into acting to survive. His father is a blue-collar worker and doesn’t believe acting is anything more than a hobby. He has never seen any of his movies. I’ve rarely heard anyone talk so openly. That’s sincerity.

Remember when Shia wore a paper bag over his head?

“I’m sorry. I’m not famous anymore.” Everyone, including me, thought it was a cry for help. Nope. It was one of the group’s collaborative events and his reaction to being busted by Daniel Clowes. You see, LaBeouf used Clowes’ screenplay and made a short film without citing him. Then he won an award at Cannes. “I fucked up,” Shia said, several times. Wearing the paper bag was his apology. Clowes reacted with a Cease and Desist.

I'm not famous anymore bag worn by LaBeouf in slide show at talk in Boulder

The team rented a room. Curious people waited for hours to speak to Shia. He didn’t say anything, but he did cry on occasion showing that you can still be a man and show emotion after doing something regrettably stupid. It made me think about how most of us react when making mistakes. That took courage.

#TOUCHMYSOUL

I perused LaBeouf’s site called The Campaign Book. They have orchestrated several artistic media events in the last two years. One of my favorites took place in an art gallery. The team wore headsets and sat in front of laptops. They asked people through social media to #TouchMySoul and took calls, broadcasting them inside the room while spectators looked on. One of the people who called hadn’t spoken to anyone in weeks.

Another call was from a man upset at Labeouf for misusing his fame. He felt he should head up a cause to aid people instead.

LeBeouf, Ronkko and Turner #Touchmysoul

After his rant, Shia asked, “Do you think people need to be listened to?”

“Ah, of course they do.”

“And what do you think is going on here?”

“You’re listening to me.”

“Have a good day.” Shia ended the call.

Boom. That’s what connection is all about. We need to be listened to. That’s why so many are addicted to social media. The likes, adds, or whatever the interaction, boosts endorphins because of those connections. That’s not a bad thing.

Susie Lindau with Luke Turner and Danny Lindau

Danny and me with Luke Turner.

How can we become more sincere?

By really listening. Shia thinks everyone has a right to disagree too. It’s all a part of the exchange. The bottom line? Keep reaching out to communicate.

Another favorite of mine is #STARTCREATING. They had it written in the sky and then recorded#start creating sky written people’s reaction.

After the talk, I asked Shia if his “very sincere public apology” helped him to forgive himself and if the healing process was helped or hurt by it.

He said, “It definitely helped.”

#TAKEMEANYWHERE

Those GPS coordinates spelled out #TAKEMEANYWHERE. The team was commissioned by The Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art and The Finnish Institute in London and will travel from May 23rd to June 23rd.

LaBeouf, Ronnko, Turner GPS Google Earth #TAKEMEANYWHERE

That’s an E.

Each day at noon they will tweet their GPS coordinates. Whoever picks them up first can take them anywhere. The first day, they were near Estes Park. The first person to arrive drove them to Oscar Blues in Longmont. The next day, they tweeted a location north of Fort Collins. The last time I checked, they were in Nebraska. 41°09’50″N 96°08’15″W

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 8.47.46 AM.png

LaBeouf, Ronkko and Turner use social media to hitchhike across the US.

Check it out. Maybe they’ll hitch a ride with you! I once hitchhiked in a very unconventional way.

Nastja Sade Ronkko and Susie Lindau at BMoCA

A selfie with Nastja Ronkko.

Shia still conversed with people after the museum’s doors reopened and we were free to go. He answered questions, had pictures taken and signed autographs. He was patient, relaxed, and took his time with each person even though there was always a crowd pressing in around him.

What about the lockdown?

Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art

Apparently, some crazy dude fired several shots into the Boulder Creek outside the Public Library. Then he aimed at police so they shot him. Minutes later, more shots were fired outside the museum. They haven’t found that shooter yet. How weird was it that we were inside celebrating positive communication while crazy maniacs shot guns right outside? Since we were on lockdown, we had more time to communicate. Bonus!

On Lockdown.png

The Campaign Book site. Be sure to click on hashtags to check out their installations.

@CampaignBook on Twitter

#TAKEMEANYWHERE.vice.com

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Twitter – @susielindau

Did this surprise you or did you know about Shia’s art?

Traditional vs. Self-Publishing Blew Up Facebook

For me traditional publishing means poverty. But self-publish? No wayMy Facebook page blew up with comments after I shared an article written for The Guardian by Ros Barber entitled, “For me traditional publishing means poverty, but self-publishing? No way.”

Whoa!

She believes that making a living as a writer is almost impossible when being traditionally published since authors receive such a low percentage on the sale of each book. But self-publishing is much worse given the author is stuck with marketing. She went on to slam anyone who spams up his Twitter feed with book sales.

If you want all the deets, please read this article.

My only comment on Facebook was, “Interesting!” I thought a neutral response would encourage others to sound off. Believe me, I heard them loud and clear.

Barber calls self-publishing “a terrible idea” and enters the danger zone. There are many ways to become published these days. Agents are no longer gatekeepers. There are many publishers who will accept un-agented queries. Self-publishing may be appropriate too.

Despite what Barber says there is no right or wrong way. It’s your choice.

There are a lot of hybrid authors, like Chuck Wendig, who have self-published and have been traditionally published. He seems pretty successful to me.

Now I will use myself as an example:

I am an unpublished author.

Plan A.

Currently, I am querying agents for representation and hope to have my book traditionally published sometime before the next millennium.

If I exhaust my list of agents, I will turn to:

Plan B.

I will query publishers directly. There is a wide range of them from boutique to Big Five. I would only query those with a marketing plan in place.

If I exhaust that list, I will be bummed, but will definitely turn to:

Plan C.

Self-publish.

Vanity presses contact me all the time. They are willing to package formatting, cover art, marketing, etc., for a price. The other option is to pay individual professionals or I can do it all myself. *gulp*

I rarely go down this road of thinking since I believe I can get my book published, traditionally.

Here’s the delio – WE NEED TO RESPECT EVERYONE’S CHOICES!

I do agree with Barber on one point. The only way to improve our craft is by writing a ton. Eventually, we will improve. Writing a book is nothing like writing a blog post or an article for The Guardian. There is so much to learn. No one knows it all. Sorry, Mr. Patterson.

Kidding! I would love to collaborate with you someday.

No matter what kind of publishing you choose, you will be successful at selling your book if you write a good one.

Now excuse me. I have to polish mine.

What’s your opinion? Traditional, self-pub, or hybrid?

Go ahead. Blow up my comment section.

Click for more of my Wild Ride.