Life in the Slow Lane

Contemplating life, faith, words, and memories

5 People and 2 Sites You Should Follow — September 11, 2014

5 People and 2 Sites You Should Follow

Writers and bloggers need resources to aid in getting their ideas into context attractive to their followers. In order to find these resources, we could spend hours surfing the Internet to find those people most helpful to our brand, blog, or book. The following five individuals and two sites are resources I follow consistently. I hope you find something helpful among them.

1. Frances Caballo of Social Media Just for Writers

Frances Caballo
Frances Caballo

“Social Media Just for Writers was named as one of the top 30 websites for independently published authors by Penny Sansevieri of Author Marketing Experts, Inc.”

“This website will help you to get your writing in front of more readers who would love to know about your books. You’ll learn how to use social media efficiently and effectively, and you’ll learn about new applications, best practices, and tips that will help you reach your marketing goals.”

(quoted from About page of Social Media Just for Writers)

2. Dan Blank of We Grow Media

Dan Blank
Dan Blank

“I have had the privilege of working with hundreds of writers, helping them share their stories and connect with readers. Some of these folks are bestselling authors, with millions of books sold, while others are first time authors, and many more are somewhere between those two points.”

“…I’ve worked with hundreds of authors, and some of the most amazing organizations that support writers.”

(quoted from About page of We Grow Media)

3. Gretchen Louise, Connoisseur of Words and Code

Gretchen is a treasure trove of tech tips, social media tips, suggestions for maintaining an easy-to-work-with inbox, and more. Read some endorsements I found on her site:

Gretchen Louise
Gretchen Louise

“I like to think I’m fairly computer savvy, but there are some aspects of WordPress that really freak me out! Gretchen took my vision and was able to make anything I wanted happen. All I had to do was ask!”
-Kalyn Brooke, Creative Savings

“I really can’t say enough good things about Gretchen…she is professional, helpful, kind, and a coding superstar! She customized a theme for my site and it looks amazing. I felt completely confident that she would make my site look beautiful and work flawlessly, and I was right! She is a wonder.”
-Kelly, The Pretty Bee

4. Angela Ackerman and Rebecca Puglisi at Writers Helping Writers

Writers Helping Writers, formerly known as The Bookshelf Muse, is hosted by co-authors and co-bloggers, Angela Ackerman and Rebecca Puglisi. Together they have written “bestselling triplets, The Emotion Thesaurus, The Positive Trait Thesaurus, and The Negative Trait Thesaurus.”

From their About page, “Our mission is simple: offer help and support as much as we can. This site has many different tools and resources for writers, editors and teachers, so poke around and enjoy!”

5. Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer

Joel Friedlander
Joel Friedlander

Joel Friedlander, better known as The Book Designer, offers practical advice to help writers in producing better books. The following quote sums up Joel’s philosophy:

“Writers change the world one reader at a time.  But you can’t change the world with a book that’s still on your hard
drive or in a box under your bed.”

Joel’s blog is filled with resources and tools to help you decide how you want to publish your book and to teach you the ins and outs of self-publishing should you choose to follow that route. The author of many books on the subject of publishing and with a background in the field, Joel’s expertise is priceless.

6. Writer Unboxed

In 2006 aspiring novelists Therese Walsh and Kathleen Bolton collaborated to dissect complex books and movies. After their second rejection, they decided to create a site where they could state their opinions with no possibility of rejection, except possibly from readers. Writer Unboxed was born. With a list of contributors too long to share here, the articles posted in Writer Unboxed always bring something to the reader useful, educational, and resourceful. It is a site I recommend to all aspiring writers.

7. Writers Digest

writers digest
writers digest

Writers Digest, the site, is a one-stop shopping experience for the writer. With everything from books, magazines, downloads, conferences, workshops, classes, webinars, tutorials, blogs, competitions and resources, this site is like an online shopping and educational experience rolled into one. Writers of all genre will find something to suit their needs and competitive spirits. With a subscription to the newsletter, you’ll receive a list of 101 websites for writers, more than I’ll ever be able to list here. (That doesn’t mean you won’t need to continue to read my blog! Or subscribe to my newsletter.)

These are some of the folks I rely on for information and leads as I write my book. Of course, there are many others as well. However, I encourage you to take some time to visit each of these if you haven’t already. I think you’ll find something valuable.

What about you? Do you have favorite sources of information online you could share with us?

Impact of Social Media Withdrawal — July 22, 2014

Impact of Social Media Withdrawal

The following post first appeared at Sowing Seeds of Grace and recounts the results of my one-week withdrawal from social media a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to share this post here because it also relates to my writing life.


During the week of June 30th, I joined with Margaret Feinberg and others to log off and shut down with respect to social media, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, and the blogosphere, and enjoy a week of silence.

Our hope reached to the edges of seeking to hear God in the silence when free of iPhones, tablets, laptops and other devices connecting us to a world filled with frenzy and constant news from family, friends and the world at large.

Today I am sharing what I heard in that week of silence.

Most of all, let me tell you: It. Was. Awesome!

My days felt free and my own. No “keeping up with” everyone posting on Facebook or Twitter.

Don’t get me wrong. I love connecting with family and friends and learning what’s going on in their lives. But I don’t really need it 24/7, nor do I need to sit down at the computer and before anything else, check in to see what’s new in social media.

Save Time on Social Media by Using Shortcut Keys — September 26, 2013

Save Time on Social Media by Using Shortcut Keys

Via Flickr
Via Flickr

Using social media can lead to a love/hate relationship.

We love social media for its ability to connect us with others with like minds and interests.

We hate social media when its allure mesmerizes us into wasting time better used for something else.

Time spent on social media can be made more efficient through the use of shortcuts, or keyboard shortcuts, or as some call them hot keys. Whatever their name, they can increase your efficiency while you try to make the most of your social media connections.

The first step in using these magical shortcuts is finding out what they are for each social media outlet or software you’re using.

Yesterday I spent some time researching these little secrets, and although some of you may have found them already, there are those of us who may be a bit behind the curve or who need a refresher.

Let’s start with social media shortcuts:

The following infographic was created by Quintly, a professional social media analytics service. This infographic includes only Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+ shortcuts, so I will follow the infographic with links for social media outlets.

Via Quintly
Via Quintly

Following are links to shortcuts for the social media outlets listed:

If you know of other social media keyboard shortcuts, please mention them in the comments below so others can benefit from using them.

Now a quick look at other keyboard shortcuts that will make using your computer more efficient:

Once again, if you know of other software keyboard shortcuts, please mention them in the comments below so others can benefit from using them.

Without experience using Apple’s Mac systems, I did not delve into researching keyboard shortcuts for social media or software.

Hoping this information will help you cut down the time you spend on social media, offering you an opportunity to spend more time writing.

Goodbye, Google Reader — July 3, 2013

Goodbye, Google Reader

Creative Commons | AJ McCann
Creative Commons | AJ McCann

Hello, Feedly!

I knew it was coming. Media sites published fair warning. Blogging experts offered lists of alternatives. Why wasn’t I ready???

Last week I realized July 1st was soon upon us, and the demise of Google Reader loomed on the horizon. I had not been diligent in getting ready for migration to another reader.

Over time I had subscribed to a number of blogs via email thinking I’d follow awhile and then, if I was receiving value and community participation, I would move those blogs to Google Reader.

Not so. Didn’t happen. I got in the habit of deleting email notices from the ones I didn’t want to read. That became a chore.

And then there were the ones I really enjoyed and received great value from reading. Well, I hadn’t moved those either.

Yes, the migration should have been seamless . . . had I been maintaining Google Reader and eliminating dead blogs, ones that no longer interested me, worse yet the ones that never commented back. Yet another thing amiss in my sometimes organized life. I wasn’t purging my reader.

Yesterday Feedly, my new reader of choice, and I had a party. I went through everything that had magically appeared in Feedly from Google Reader. Then I entered into Feedly the feeds I want to read on a regular basis, and unsubscribed as an email recipient of those.  As a part of my sometimes organized life, I did get these feeds arranged in categories for ease of reading.

If you haven’t yet looked into using Feedly, I urge you to take a look. Many features are like Google Reader, and new ones step up the efficacy of Feedly. Via this link you can read a helpful list of tips for Google Reader users migrating to Feedly.

Happy reading!