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Distractions, when you’re trying to accomplish anything, are a problem. But distractions are a part of life.

For me, it’s a challenge to balance creative time, free from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life, and living life! Family, friends, pets, exercise, cooking, gardening, etc. are important to me, and inspiration for my writing and art. I embrace life with all its complexities and contradictions and don’t want to miss it while still pursuing my creative endeavors.

So what to do?

– Scheduling creative time, and letting family members know, unless it’s an emergency, you’re not to be interrupted – works for some people.

– Limiting social media time (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) by using a timer can help control that distraction.

– Recording your favorite television shows, then speed through the commercials when you watch them later saves a few minutes. And I’ve found after a show is recorded, I think about if I really want to spend that 45 minutes or more watching it. Often, I just delete the show and pick up a book.

– Use Caller-ID. Unless you must talk to the person or fear it’s an emergency, don’t pick up the phone. If it’s important, the caller will leave a message.

– The weeds, dust bunnies, and dog hair will be there tomorrow. When a deadline presses close, let the garden and cleaning wait a day or two. Notice I did not say forever here, a few days won’t matter – a few weeks will!

– Eat convenience foods or carry out. Again, this isn’t a long-term solution, but if you’re pushing to the end of a project, pizza one night and Chinese carry-out the next night is fine.

Remember, distractions are a part of life. Don’t complain about them – deal with them!

For a funny, tongue-in-cheek look at distractions, check out this post from Writer Unboxed. Enjoy!

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My husband and I recently attended the wedding of the son of life-long friends. We were sitting at a table with 3 other couples – all of whom were in their late 20s or early 30s. Up until the time the main course arrived, these 6 potential readers were busy texting and using twitter. A quick glance around the reception hall revealed almost all potential readers under 40 years of age were likewise engaged online with their phones.

Note to self: Find a way to reach those readers!

This is an interesting article on how even the big publishers realize social media is the way to reach younger readers.

What do you think? Do writers need to engage readers on social media? Readers, do you like it when writers reach out to you via twitter, etc.?

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I’m really excited my newest book, Owl Light, has been published. I’ve added owl information and videos to Whimsical Words, but I need help from my friends and readers to make Owl Light a success.

My publisher, Cold Moon Press, is indie. What that means is their marketing budget is tiny, but YOU, my friends and readers are mighty.

I’ve compiled a list of things you can do (#1 requires spending money, but the rest are free) to help promote Owl Light. (And, if you choose, my other 2 recent books, The Enchanted Skean and The Greener Forest, also from indie presses).

I’ve tried to make the tasks on this list as easy as I can – in some cases, a simple cut-and-paste. But, as easy as these tasks seem, each and every one of them will have a huge impact.

I hope you’ll consider taking a few minutes and choosing one task from this list (or more!) And if you do, scroll all the way down to the bottom of the post for the bribes – ah, rewards – I’m offering. Thanks for your help. – Vonnie

Costs some dollars:
1Buy Owl Light. Of course. Then…
1aWrite a review and post it somewhere (your blog, Goodreads, Amazon, etc.)

Free to do:
2Contact your local library and ask them to purchase copies of Owl Light (and also, The Enchanted Skean and The Greener Forest, for that matter). This is usually pretty simple. In fact, most metropolitan area library systems have an online form where patrons can request a book. Then…

2aCheck Owl Light out, read, write a review, and post it somewhere (your blog, GoodreadsAmazon, etc.)

3Copy one of the below icons, and use it for a day as your user picture on social media, with a post explaining what it is:

For Twitter:
My icon today is @VonnieWCrist ’s new book, Owl Light, a collection of dark fantasy & science-fiction tales: http://tinyurl.com/Owl-Light-Vonnie-W-Crist-Amazn

small owl light

 

 

 

 

 

For Facebook:
My user picture today is the cover of Vonnie Winslow Crist’s  new novel, Owl Light, a collection of dark fantasy & science fiction tales. Check it out at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and elsewhere.

Maybe6 owl light cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Pinterest:
Pin Owl Light or one of Vonnie’s other books.

3a– Post about Owl Light, skipping the icon. That’s great, too.

4Bookmark Owl Light on sites such as Delicious/del.icio.us, Digg, or add it to StumbleUpon, or Reddit:
http://tinyurl.com/Vonnie-Winslow-Crist-Amazon
http://tinyurl.com/Vonnie-Winslow-Crist-B-N

5Freely post this specially-written blog post as a guest post on your blog. You don’t have to ask permission or anything. Just copy, paste, and publish.

6Tell a fellow reader about the book, face to face or in email.

7Chose Owl Light for your readers’ or book club’s selection. Contact me using the form on my website and I’ll be glad to Skype with your group. Discussion questions are on my website, too.

8– Are you a middle or high school teacher or home schooler? Chose Owl Light to read with your students. Discussion questions are on my website. Contact me using the form on my website and I’ll be glad to Skype with your group.

9Organizing a sf/f con or writers’ conference? If you’re nearby, it would be an honor to attend and participate on writer and/or illustrator panels. Or if you’re looking for an Artist Guest of Honor, I’ve had over 1,000 illos published, and for travel expenses, room, and con fees, I’d be happy to appear. Contact me using the contact form on my website and let me know if you’re interested.

10Create! I’d love for you to draw/paint something from Owl Light or create a youtube video dramatizing a story (or the whole book). I only ask 2 things: credit Owl Light as inspiration, and let me know about it (so I can link to it).

11Put an affiliate buy now link for Owl Light on your website, using a program like Amazon Affiliates (doesn’t cost $ and you may make some $).

I’d like to show my gratitude to anyone who does any of the above on my behalf. Please email me using the contact form on my website and let me know!

– If you complete tasks 1 – 4 from the list, I’d like to publicly thank you on my social media, so let me know your handle or user name.

– Complete tasks 1-5, 6, and (either 7, 8 or 9) from the list, I’d like to send you an e-copy of one of my books, and publicly thank you.

– Complete 1-5, 6, (either 7, 8 or 9), and 10 or all 11 tasks, I’d like to mail you a paperback copy of one of my books, and, of course, publicly give you my thanks.

PS. Thanks to Caren Gussoff for the idea for this post.

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