Monday, July 16, 2012

What's in it for me?

After three solid weeks of meeting my aggressive writing goals on the new manuscript, my productivity screeched to a stop like a makeout session awkwardly halted by someone burping in your mouth.

It wasn't that I lost my writing mojo. Ten months ago, I agreed to give a workshop in Portland on Twitter basics for authors. Knowing the class was slated for Saturday, and that attendees might expect me to stand before them offering something more than penis jokes, I switched gears last week and devoted all my free time to prepping for the presentation.

I'll admit it – I was annoyed.
Part of my prep work for the presentation
involved making myself this shirt that says,
"I tweet my blog and it feels good."
Oh, and accidentally arranging my
skirt to look like I have a penis.

I was annoyed at myself for committing to something that gobbled up precious writing time. I was frustrated at losing a week of productivity, plus seven hours of round-trip driving, plus money spent on gas and food and time I should spend packing to move my entire household in two weeks and . . . do I sound like I'm whining?

Because that's a rarity for me, and I don't do it often. I'm very much a glass-is-half full sort of person, so when I catch myself spiraling into negativity, I like to pick up the glass, spike it with a healthy shot of bacon vodka, and remind myself that what I get out of experiences like this doesn't always translate into author-tangibles like book sales or new contracts.

Sometimes, I get something better.

If you attended my talk and thought it sucked, feel free to disagree with me on the following. But from my vantage-point at the front of the classroom, I saw about 40 authors who were excited and eager to learn. I heard people asking great questions, and more surprisingly, heard myself offering intelligent answers. I got to discover all over again why I'm passionate about social media and helping authors use the various platforms to connect and engage, rather than sell sell sell.

And most importantly, I got to remember why the question shouldn't always be "what's in it for me?" but rather, "how can we all take turns helping each other?"

Take last week's contest, for example. Oodles of you came through for me when I asked you to share your best Twitter advice using the hashtag #tawnatweettips. You offered tons of great tips, and I displayed them in my Powerpoint slides during Saturday's talk. As promised, I drew a name from the bunch, and Mary Brebner has won her choice between a signed copy of of either Believe it or Not or Making Waves. (Mary, email your pick, along with your snail mail address to tawnafenske at yahoo dot com.)

And here was Mary's advice, which I think holds true in real life as well as in the Twitterverse:

Amen, sistah.

Oh, and in the spirit of sharing, I'd like to pass along a few of the links I shared during my talk. These are some of the best roundups I've found of Twitter-related information:
Can you think of a time you took on a task that turned out to have added benefits you didn't expect? Please share!

And shout if you'd like to help me move. Just don't look inside any of the boxes that vibrate, OK?


Judy,Judy,Judy. said...

Well I would have helped you but if you're not going to let me look in any of the boxes that vibrate...
Nah - really I can't cause I'm a thousand miles away - sorry.
Thanks for the links. One of these days when I have a book that I'm ready to push I'm going to pull them out of the vault and learn how to tweet.

Jessica Lemmon said...

"How can we all take turns helping each other?"
I love this advice, Tawna! I'm going to put it on my inspiration board so I remember it's not always about me. Especially as I tiptoe into the publishing world (a sale is *this* close!) I never want to forget to stay cool, and as Mary and your skirt suggest, dickless. ;)

John Ross Barnes said...

A great post Tawna, sorry to have missed you twitter workshop/talk/deal/thing-y.

It does sound like some great advise was passed on, including "Don't be a Dick"

Ok, so being one of the "Testosterone Inflicted" as my daughter says, I often cringe at that phrase - then I remind myself of something else she says - "Just because you have one, doesn't mean ya gotta BE one."

Thanks, Tawna

Mary said...

YAY! I try to live my life by that mantra. It doesn't always work (sometimes that dickishness just comes out) but keeping that in mind when on the internet helps exponentially! Sorry about the Twitter class taking away from writing time. Overcommitting is really annoying, even if it can eventually be a good thing.

Jackie O'Diamond Dimondes said...

Thank you, Tawna for sharing with us here. :)

Aurelia Blue said...

Great links! Thanks for passing them on. Your special shirt is stellar. Good work and Godspeed with the move.