Jen Nipps, Writer

Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

Twitter 101 – Part 3

with one comment

Let’s chat.
Literally.

I know we’ve been talking about Twitter all this week, but today we’re going to talk about chatting on Twitter.

With the use of hash tags and some third-party applications, it is possible to hold a real-time chat where the discussions will show up in the Twitter stream in general. It’s rather difficult to chat on Twitter itself, but it can be done using the search function and frequently refreshing. I do NOT recommend this method for fast-moving chats, though.

What are the applications?
There are three primary chat platforms that work well with Twitter. Keep in mind these are probably PC-based. I have no knowledge of if they work well on Mac systems or not. (If someone who uses a Mac would let me know, I would greatly appreciate it.)

The three main platforms I have used are TweetChat, TwitterFall, and TweetGrid. It doesn’t matter which one you choose to use. They all work in a similar way. I prefer TweetChat because it seems more streamlined than the others. That’s just my opinion. You might prefer something else or even find one that I haven’t listed.

In a nutshell, to chat, you have to use a hash tag. Some examples are #journchat, #yalitchat, #scifichat, #writechat, and more. I don’t know if there is a comprehensive list of Twitter chats anywhere. I wish there was, but I haven’t had any luck finding one.

You have to sign in to your preferred platform using your Twitter ID. Some people don’t like doing this. To me, it’s no different from signing in to Twitter. You don’t receive e-mail from these programs and they don’t have access to your contacts. It’s just a software platform that works closely with Twitter to organize the chat.

Search Twitter for your chat. Look at the times when the tweets showed up. I can tell you #journchat is on Mondays at 8:00 Eastern time (in the U.S.) and lasts an hour.

Many of these chats follow the Q&A format in an effort to keep everyone on topic. It usually works. There is usually a short time at the beginning to introduce yourself. Answer the host’s questions starting with Q# or A# to help keep them organized. At the end, there’s often a time to either reintroduce yourself or give a short pitch about what you do, depending on how the chat is organized.

If someone posts something you like, feel free to retweet it and/or respond to them. I have made some good contacts in chats. More than one have turned into assignments for me.

The End
I realize we haven’t even really scratched the tip of the iceberg, as it were, when it comes to Twitter. If you have questions, respond to any of these posts, leave me a message on Facebook (my profile, the Twitter Queen page), Twitter, or e-mail.

Advertisements

Written by Jen Nipps

August 19, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Twitter 101 – Part 2

leave a comment »

You’re on Twitter. You understand how to use it. But now you want to know how you get followers.

The simple answer is, you tweet. Share information. Engage other people on Twitter.

Okay…

How do you find those other people? Aha! It’s not as difficulty as you might think.

Twitter has a built-in search feature. The search box is at the very top of your browser window. Decide what you want to search for and type it there, either with or without the hash tag we talked about on Monday. It’s not required, but it might help you get more specific results.

For example, I might search “crochet” since, in addition to writing, that is a mainstay for me.

Notice you can save the search so you can do it again later just by choosing it from a drop-down menu.

The left side of the screen shows current tweets about the subject. The right side shows people with that word in their Twitter ID or prominently in their bio.

To get followers, you have to follow. Many people will follow back. Start with the right side of the screen. Read through some of them, including their bio and some of their tweets. If you like what you read, follow them.

After you’ve followed a few, go back and look at the left side of the screen. Read through the most current tweets. (If new tweets matching your search term have been posted, there will be an update in a gray bar that tells you how many new tweets there are.)

Reply to a few of those. Start a discussion or join an active one. Answer questions if someone has posted any.

If you have a book out, please resist the temptation to plug your book/link in every tweet. As many followers as I have and as often as I tweet, I only post my link once a day unless someone specifically asks for it.

It will take time, but doing this will help you get followers. People may also start including you in the Follow Friday (#ff) or Writer Wednesday (#ww). Those will also help you gain followers.

Be patient. It will happen.

Friday we’ll talk about chatting on Twitter.

Oh, and if you want to follow me, I’m @JenNipps.

Part 1

Written by Jen Nipps

August 18, 2011 at 8:12 am

Changes, They Are a-Comin’!

leave a comment »

Last night, I decided I was tired of being site-less (as opposed to sightless), so I registered a new domain. I haven’t had one since jenifernipps.com went belly-up a while back.

Anyway…

I’m introducing http://www.jen-nipps.com. It’s currently live but will be filled with content soon. With that, I’m also going to be moving the blog. It has actually already started. I will be posting both here and there for the rest of this week and possibly next, so don’t worry. The Twitter 101 series will continue here (next installment to be posted tomorrow.)

In case you’re interested, here’s a sneak peek at the site banner:

I will let you know when all changes are complete and when I’ll move exclusively to the other blog (which is also WordPress-based).

Written by Jen Nipps

August 16, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Posted in writing

Tagged with , ,

Twitter 101 – Part 1

with 3 comments

Note: This first post assumes you have heard of Twitter but know nothing about it.

You’ve been hearing it often, either on the news, in casual conversation, or in a recommendation from your publisher/editor/agent. Far from being a passing fad, social media or social networking is here to stay and Twitter is a large part of that. But how do you use it and what are some things you really need to know about it?

Welcome to Twitted 101. Stay with me this week and I’ll try to answer a lot of your questions and give you some additional resources for later.

The Basics

In any post on Twitter, you are limited to 140 characters. This includes spaces and punctuation. If you are in a chat, it also includes the tag for that chat (more on that in a minute). If you are replying to someone, it includes their name.

There are a few abbreviations and symbols that are common to Twitter:

@ – The at symbol. This is what goes in front of anyone’s Twitter ID. When you use this symbol, it will show up in their Twitter stream and on their “mentions” page. Depending on how they have their settings, it might even be e-mailed to them.

# – This is a hash mark/hash tag. While it isn’t completely necessary because of Twitter’s improved search function, it is required for chatting. Third-party platforms that host the chats look for “#[topic]” to put the appropriate Tweets together in a chat. (For example, since it’s Monday and I’ll be chatting tonight, I’ll be using the “#journchat” tag.)

RT – “Retweet.” If someone says something you like and you personally copy it, use “RT @[name]” in front of the tweet.

MT – “Modified Tweet.”  If you don’t have quite enough room for the way the original Tweet is phrased, you can edit (modify) it and post it. Use this with caution. It’s easy to change the meaning and intent of someone’s tweet doing this. I don’t recommend it unless it absolutely cannot be avoided.

These are a few Twitter basics. We’ll go a bit more into Twitter on Wednesday in part 2.

Written by Jen Nipps

August 15, 2011 at 7:20 am

Developing Your Onward & Upward Attitude – Part 3

with one comment

3. Deal with bad news when it comes in.
I talked about this a little bit on Wednesday.

When rejections come, and — unfortunately — they will, you have to deal with them when you get them.

Don’t wallow in it. Don’t have an extended pity party. The rejections alone have the capability to reduce your self-confidence. Indulging in a pity party will erode it even more and make it that much harder to send anything else out or maybe even write again.

You have to move onward and upward. You have to get past the rejection. Set yourself a time limit for your pity party. For articles, I give myself a couple hours. For a book, a day. Most of the time, it doesn’t last through the day.

I’ve heard of people who keep copies of all of their rejections. Some people have joked about using them as wallpaper for their office.

WHY?????????

Why would you surround yourself with all that negativity? From personal experience, negativity begets negativity. You have to stay positive. Surround yourself by positive things.

Norman Mailer wrote a book called The Power of Positive Thinking. You don’t have to know exactly what the book says to be able to engage in positivity yourself.

I’m not saying you should never keep any rejections. I have a really good one from The Wild Rose Press. I believed then — and still do now — that it was one step below an acceptance because the editor suggested changes and said if I made them, she would like to see it again.

I can’t wave a magic wand or tell you to take a vitamin that will raise your self-confidence as far as your writing life is concerned. I can, though, say that if you follow these three tips on as consistent a basis as you possibly can, it will help erase some of those doubts.

I know.

I’ve done it. It’s hard at first, but keep with it.

Onward & upward!

Part 1
Part 2

 

Developing Your Onward & Upward Attitude – Part 2

with 3 comments

mailbox2. Wait a while before sending work out.
It never fails. We have a draft of an article or story finished. We think it’s finished and we send it out.

A couple weeks or so go by. We get an envelope in the mail or a message in our inbox. Our breath catches or our stomach clenches in anticipation. Instead of the hoped-for acceptance, we find a rejection. And that’s IF they respond. Our self-confidence takes a hit.

What can we do about it?

Stop.

Really, just stop. Take a breath. Step away from the mailbox or computer. Do not send it!

We’re sending things out too soon. Either they aren’t ready to see the world yet or WE aren’t ready for them to go out yet. If they’re not reqdy, we generally know it by the quick turn-around when the rejection hits our mailbox. If WE aren’t ready, we know it by our reaction when we get the rejection.

Sometimes even when we get an acceptance.

There is a lot about writing that requires a certain mindset. Submitting manuscripts is one of them. How do you know if you’re ready? Only by sending your work out for consideration.

When you (think you) finish a story, let it sit. If at all possible, let it sit for a week or more. Then go back and read it again. Is it ready to go out? Is it as perfect as you can possibly make it? If it is, take a look at yourself. Are YOU ready to send it? Can you handle it if it comes back rejected?

How long do you wallow over a rejection? That depends on how big a hit your self-confidence takes. The time it takes for you to move from disappointed to “Onward and Upward” is the best indicator if you are ready.

How long should you wallow? In my opinion, you shouldn’t. Set yourself a time limit, though. I only allow myself a day at the most to wallow/throw a pity party. Then it’s time to move on.

Part 1

Look for Part 3 on Friday

Written by Jen Nipps

August 10, 2011 at 11:25 am

Developing Your Onward & Upward Attitude – Part 1

with 3 comments

(Note: After the last blog series, I took an informal survey on what topics writers would like to see here. “Conquering those self-confidence demonswas suggested by Winona Cross. For other suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments sections or email me.)

Writers have an internal Public Enemy #1 when it comes to building the kind of self-confidence needed to withstand the roller-coaster ride that is involved with writing, submitting, and publishing. PE#1 is none other than our own internal critic.

How do we combat what our critic throws at us? We can fake it ’til we make it, wait a while before sending work out, and deal with bad news as it comes in.

1. Fake It ‘Til You Make It
It sounds trite. If you’re not confident, you can’t act like you are, right?

Wrong.

Sometimes you have to borrow self-confidence you have in other areas of your life and apply it to your writing life.

A friend of mine, Nita Beshear, gives talks to different quilting groups and sells her book, Devoted to Quilting, as she goes. She says when she started, she wasn’t very confident about public speaking. But she did it. Her confidence has increased as she has done more presentations.

For a more personal example, I’m currently working on a book about Twitter. Whenever I start to work on it, I’m bombarded by doubts.

I don’t know what I’m talking about.
Will someone really buy a book about Twitter?
There are other good books out there about Twitter.
I don’t know how to do this.
I don’t know what I’m doing!

I keep going. I know there are other things I have done and can do that have given me the confidence to keep me going.

In what areas are you not as confident as you would like to be? In what areas are you as confident as you want to be? Borrow some of that confidence to let you fake it ’til you make it in other areas.

It sounds hokey, but it’s doable.

You’ll get another tip/technique on Wednesday.

Written by Jen Nipps

August 8, 2011 at 11:55 am