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Managing Time – Day 23 of #MNINB

Today’s April Platform Challenge is just as difficult, if not more so, than creating the editorial calendar was on Day 20, and for many of the same reasons. I appear to have an instinctive animosity towards planning my time. I rehashed the same arguments from 3 days ago; planning stifles the creative muse, you can’t dictate inspiration, why would anyone want me to put my imagination in a box? The list of excuses goes on. It’s a good thing Robert put these two challenges near the end. If these had been up front, how many of us would have overcome the paralysis of analysis long enough to start writing, let alone do anything else?

I have to admit, I have drug this challenge out (well, most of the latter half of the challenges, actually). I didn’t want to draft a plan, because that makes it real. I’m committed to that time, in order to work, to produce. And with that reality; that work and production; comes the very real chance of rejection; of failure. It’s so much nicer (safer) to *think* about writing than to risk doing any writing. After all, in my head, I’m a superstar! In reality, not so much.

*Sigh* Back to Google Docs I went and formulated a rough, time management plan. It’s real now and that makes it scary. It’s also exciting!

Here’s the Wind Up … and the Pitch – Day 22 #MNINB

Today’s exercise in the April Platform Challenge (which is becoming increasing misnamed, as I take longer and longer to finish it) is to be a Guest Blogger! Fortunately for me, I have an in.

Mel Jones, over at Mel’s Madness, asked for guest bloggers and I jumped at the chance before she had an opportunity to  think better of it . Bad news, that’s not the intended exercise. It’s seems I have to “pitch” an idea to a blog host, not just invite myself in.

No worries! I like meeting people, whether virtually or IRL. I’ve been following a new blog for several days and the title says it all; Letters To People Who Won’t Read Them. That much snark just must be read! So, I readied my pitch, “Dear Inattentive Driver,”  and … it was high and outside.

Amber Jones, proprietor of said blog, is a bit cagey with her contact information. So cagey, that I couldn’t not find it. Nary a whisper. That doesn’t mean that the information is not there, just that I couldn’t see it. It may have been the color of laundry or the shade toys on the floor get, I dunno; I was just unable to see it! I have resorted to pleading with Mel to pass the information on to Amber. (She guest blogged Mel’s Madness last week.)

*Sigh* It’s a great letter. I would post it here, but I think it needs a more letter-quese context. Do me a favor, would you? Hop on over to Amber’s site. Tell her how funny she is; how awesome her writing is. Do it many times. And casually let it slip that I sent you.

No, I haven’t forgotten Mel (and all that I have asked her to do for me). How could I? I’m the guest blogger (at least this one time) Wednesday, May 9th. Come visit! Bring your family! Bring your friends!

“Daddy, Stop Twitting!” – Day 21 #MNINB

Amateur author & podcaster. Actual husband, father & martial artist. Today’s April Platform Challenge is all about being a twit. Seriously. Well, according to my youngest, SamIAm, anyway. I’m a recovering Twitter addict, the ebb and flow of information calls to me on some primitive level. My wife says it’s because I’m simple. Go figure.

Robert wants us to take a look at three different pieces of Twitter software and pick the one we like the best. As with a lot of these challenges, I think I’m a little ahead of the curve.

I’ve tried Hootsuite and Seesmic. Seesmic didn’t do a lot for me. I know a lot of people swear by it, so chalk this one up to individual taste. Hootsuite runs a close second in my book. Matter-of-fact, I’ve got the Hootsuite extension loaded in my Chrome installation. But the one I like the best for my laptop is, hands down, Tweetdeck. However, Tweetdeck isn’t my favorite Twitter application. No sir. That prize goes to another.

My family and I have recently come into the 21st Century, cell phone-wise. We’ve embraced the smart-phone craze like ravenous wildebeests.  I have no idea what that literally means, but it just sounds needy. My wife will say she initially objected. Not so with Thing1 and Thing2. Be that as it may, we all like the Android smart phone … and I like the Tweetcaster app. That is my favorite.

But, all these programs have the same draw back, even Tweetcaster; none of them cross post to Google+.

I can follow and post to Twitter and Facebook on Tweetcaster and those plus LinkedIn on Tweetdeck, but Google+ somehow has eluded them both. Yes, I’ve heard the excuses, but the Google+ API has been out for some time now. Come on, people! You’d think Google Play would want that integrated as soon as possible!

The Value of Planning: Good, Bad or Indifferent

I have to admit, I’m having a hard time with today’s April Platform Challenge; creating an editorial calendar for this blog. Ack! Planning? Doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose of having a blog in the first place? You have a thought up here and … bleeeah! … it pops up on the internet; all formatted and shiny! All of which explains the frequency and consistency of my efforts to date. That’s a nice way of saying scattered and infrequent. Oh sure, I get on the occasional tear and crank out 10 or 20 posts in a row and then … . Today’s exercise seeks to address that. Fortunately for me, Robert didn’t specify a complete calendar (yay!), just that I make strides at creating one. To the Google Docs! Let’s go!

So, I go and open the spreadsheet, put in Sunday through Saturday headers in the top line and … nothing. I got nothing. Hmmm. Perhaps a little forethought. And the light comes on! The purpose of today’s challenge … thinking or at least planning ahead. I need topics!

After a couple of minutes jotting down ideas I came to the conclusion that I have more topics than time. Some of them are going to have a great deal of frequency (Tech/Geek/Nerd); others, no so much (Classic Gaming).  Oh, and writing. Writing, of course. That should figure in big time!

Since I’m running behind on the challenge, I’m setting my goal for May 14th to kick off the new schedule. Look for posts two to three times a week (depending on my Flash Fiction generation from Jeff and Chuck’s prompts). I’m also planning to hatch my wicked plot to take of the world with A Method to The Madness: A Guide To The Super Evil.

It’s going to be busy. Or, at least more organized.

Trying to put it all together, Auto-SEO and Auto-Social Networking – Day 19 of the April Platform Challenge – #MNINB

I’ve fallen off the radar a bit, but today’s April Platform Challenge is to put the things we’ve learned in the past couple of challenges together and create an effective blog post. For me, this meant I had some thinking to do. In the past, this has always been a vanity blog. Sort of a “look how clever I am” or, more to the point, “look how clever my children are!” To turn this into a social platform for, in my case, writing, I needed to make some changes and start taking things a bit more seriously.

I’m using the Aspire template as the skin for this blog. I had to update it and it’s been giving me fits, so bear with me while I get the kinks ironed out. The Share buttons now work, please feel free to give them a whirl. Hey, the email links now work, as does the RSS and Atom feeds. Now if I could only find content.

There is an SEO hack over at The Tech Site that may (or may not) help increase your visibility. Tell you what, if each of you will visit my “Cookies” and “Dry Spell” posts a thousand or so times apiece, I’ll report back and let you know how I’ve faired.

Right now it’s for Blogger sites only, but I’m sure a clever fellow (which immediately disqualifies me) can port it to other blogging templates. The Tech Site hack is almost complete; on the meta tags it should be:



On the social networking side, there is an interesting site called dlvr.it. Post to an RSS feed (say to your PlusFeed on your Google+ account) and it will automatically propagate to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

I post to my blog and it automatically (with Blogger) posts to Google+. dlvr.it then picks it up and posts the notice of a new blog entry to my linked accounts. It will take some playing around with get it just so, but it sounds like a pretty cool idea.

Check out dlvr.it and The Tech Site and see if what they offer will meet your needs; in-between clicking on “Cookies” and “Dry Spell.”

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