Jacqueline Patterson’s Key to Success

Jacqueline Patterson’s Key to Success

by Jacqueline Patterson @jacpatterson

Frankly, My Dear . . . Jacqueline Patterson's Key to Success

Frankly, My Dear . . . Jacqueline Patterson’s Key to Success

“The more we work to help others,
the more we begin to enjoy the life we’re living.”

I raised my heavy-lidded gaze from the laptop screen and the quote on the coffee cup stared back at me. Like I really have time!

My eyes shifted to the blinking light on the phone, the sure indication that yet more messages were waiting for me.

I couldn’t take care of the rest of the world.

I turned my phone so I could no longer see the blinking light.

I had too much to do, too much to plan and consider and rewrite if I hoped to finish my book by my self-imposed deadline. After all, this was  my story,  my words, and that meant my work was most important, right?

Right.

And I wouldn’t let this distract me.

I turned back to my laptop, but my fingers were lead on the keyboard. I added a solitary word here, a phrase there, but my gaze continued to stray back to the quote.

“The more we work to help others . . .”

“No,” I said, and my voice was firm with resolve. “You will finish this story.” My friends would take care of themselves, the way they had a hundred times before. I would pray for them, then check up on them once I finished these edits. Surely things weren’t so severe they needed me right now.

I started at the half-empty page on the screen, and found myself rereading the words I had added since spotting the quote. Most were repetitions, rambling and distracted. How long had I been locked into this writing frenzy anyway? Days? Weeks? I couldn’t remember the last time I sought out contact with a friend other than with a quick writing question. I had simply burrowed away into my writing shell, where all that mattered was my story . . . and me.

As if friendship wasn’t even important.

But . . . Wasn’t it my duty to put my book first? After all, I was the one who went around reminding everyone they were the only ones who could write their story, and how would it look if I didn’t keep up my reputation for busyness? I shouldn’t step back from my writing. Even for an hour.

I had work to do.

I glanced between my laptop and my phone, my mind rebelling as I made my decision.

There would be time to work on my book later. I would always make time. There were no guarantees that all my friends would last until tomorrow.

The key to success was not to push myself forward, but to care for others. Even my writing was not for myself, as much as I wanted to hold to the comfort of that illusion. Why seek publication except to reach others?

It would be an empty journey without friendship. Without sharing dreams.

I closed my laptop and reached for my phone.

CLICK TO TWEET: Frankly, My Dear: Jacqueline Patterson’s Key to Success.

Jacqueline Patterson

Jacqueline Patterson

Jacqueline Patterson wrote her first book at the age of five: the tale of an assassin hen on the trail of a crafty fox. (OK, so the story wasn’t that epic, but the hen was mean.) That first story hooked her, and she hasn’t stopped since. She is currently editing Primate, the first book in her Forever in Time series, in the hope of publication . . . If she can ever convince herself that she’s found the perfect draft. Talk to Jacqueline about books, and she will be your friend forever. You can connect with her on Twitter and Instagram.

And Frankly, My Dear . . . That’s all she wrote!

 

Building an Author Platform: How Much Information is Safe to Share Online?

Building an Author Platform: How Much Information is Safe to Share Online?

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Edie Melson: Building an Author Platform: How Much Information Is Safe to Share Online?

Edie Melson- Building an Author Platform: How Much Information is Safe to Share Online?

As writers we know the importance of developing an online presence, but is there such a thing as too much information out there?

Absolutely!

The result of too much information online can range from the irritating to the dangerous. But it is possible to be smart and still have an online presence that will garner you the right kind of reader notice.

So how much is too much to stay safe online? Anything that lets your online presence collide with your physical presence without you managing the connections.

Here are some tips to help you stay out of trouble:

  • Have boundaries firmly established in your own mind—BEFORE something happens. That way, when someone get too familiar, you’ll be ready to do more than just feel vaguely uncomfortable. So often I talk to writers who have a cyber-stalker and they’re not even certain whether they should be concerned or not.
  • Trust your instincts. I cannot emphasize this one strongly enough. If someone makes you uncomfortable, act on your feelings.
  • Don’t friend/follow/or otherwise engage someone who isn’t willing to post a picture and/or give out reasonable information.
  • Don’t use any social media networks and/or settings where you check in at places. There is no good reason for someone to know where you are generally. If you’re at a conference or a big event, you can let people know you’re there if you choose, but don’t leave your safety to a computer program.
  • Turn OFF your location settings for all your digital devices—phone, digital camera, ereader and tablet. Otherwise, any picture you take with those devices could have an imbedded code that gives the latitude and longitude of where the picture was taken. This is especially true if you post pictures of children (your own or even grandkids). Don’t make it easy for a predator to map out your location.

What should you do when something makes you uncomfortable?

The biggest thing is do NOT be tempted to be polite when you’re worried. This is similar to following your instincts in that we often push down our uncomfortable feelings for the sake of being polite. If someone is tweeting to you, sending you repeated Facebook messages, or contacting you in any way that makes you uncomfortable, don’t ignore your feelings.

  • First, if it’s someone you know, confront the person making you uncomfortable and request they respect your boundaries. If it’s a spammer, do NOT engage. Just move straight to blocking them.
  • If they don’t adhere to your guidelines, immediately block them from the social media networks where they are contacting you.
  • Finally, report them to the social media network(s) where the infraction occurred.

This isn’t something you should fool around with, but it’s also something you shouldn’t be worried about. Taking these steps will keep you safe and give you the boundaries you need to stay safe online.

What steps do you take to stay safe? Have you ever felt uncomfortable by a contact? If so what did you do?

CLICK TO TWEET: Frankly, My Dear: Building an Author Platform: How Much Information is Safe to Share Online?

Edie Melson

Edie Melson

Edie Melson—author, blogger, and speaker is a prolific writer with years of experience in the publishing industry. Her best-selling ebook has been expanded and re-released as Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers. Her popular industry blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands of writers each month.
In addition, she’s the Director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, the Social Media director for Southern Writers Magazine, Social Media Mentor for My Book Therapy and the Senior Editor at Novel Rocket.
You can also connect with Edie through Twitter and Facebook.

And Frankly, My Dear . . . That’s all she wrote!