Thursday, October 27, 2011

Why Twitter?

As a writer, it seems as though one has to constantly juggle time for
family, writing, social networking, house work, and the list goes on. 
Time management is vital to the successful management of all of 
the above. I've heard so many writers say that they don't have time for 
twitter. "It's just one more thing to do and keep track of." 

I admit I was hesitant to join twitter at first. Who cares what kind of 
breakfast I'm eating. I thought.  Isn't twitter a bit egotistical? Despite
my reservations, due to the advice of an industry professional, I 
joined anyway. There was a larger time requirement in the beginning,
but once I had 150 followers, it became much easier. Now I'm up
to 400 followers, and although the number is by no means colossal,
I'm still happy with reaching that milestone. Having followers is a 
nice sense of accomplishment, but it means nothing if you don't 
engage your followers, if your just another boring icon on their 
following list. 

Twitter can be used for multiple purposes, the one I prefer is a 
means for those interested in what you have to say as a person
and author to get to you. It's a glimpse into your personality
and your passions, a way for others to see what's in your 
heart and imagination. I mentioned before that I had thought,
who wants to know what I had for breakfast? If your passionate
about what you had for breakfast, it's totally different. "Coffee...
eggs... to work..." is okay to tweet, but a bit boring. "Perfectly 
toasted, blueberry bagel bursting with blueberry goodness...
a perfect way to start the day," is much more enjoyable to read.
These types of tweets are fun from time to time, but I'd stay 
away from doing them too often. Tidbits are fun to know, but 
there is such a thing as information overload. I'm not interested
in a running commentary of some one's day, no matter how 
famous they are. 

Of course, we as writers do not twitter just to share fun tidbits,
but mainly to market ourselves, and if we are fortunate enough
to be published, our books. This too can be overdone. When
I choose whether or not to follow someone, the choice is more
difficult if when I look through their recent tweets it is all self
promotion. Having those personal tidbits intermingled with
the promotion tweets lends to the idea that he/she is a real
person and not just a marketing machine. 

There are some practical ways to manage your time on twitter.

  • Utilize lists. You can break down your followers into as many lists as you'd like. Currently I have two lists - Bloggers and Writers. It makes it so much easier to keep in touch with a certain demographic instead of searching through dozens of random tweets.
  • Have a time limit. I'm sure we've all been sucked into the time warp that is the Internet. Where did that two hours go? Have I done anything productive? Ah! My budgeted writing time is gone! I try to do 20 minutes a day. If you really need help disconnecting, set an alarm. 
  • Tweet at least once a day and I recommend no more that 10 - 15 times a day. Moderation is the key. If someone has 50 tweets for the last day, I'd rather not click the follow button. 

Why twitter? It's a great way to get yourself out there and contributes to the
much needed "platform" all writers must establish. If you're a writer and you 
haven't yet taken the plunge into the world that is twitter, I encourage you
to do so. Pace yourself, be fun, use common sense, and enjoy the ride! 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Big News!

As I type, my eyes are heavy, my tummy tumbling, and my brain clouded 
with an afternoon fog. Any guesses at what could be causing all these 
symptoms at once? If you guessed Baby Cunningham # 3 is on his/her
way, you're right! Jason and I were happily surprised 5 weeks ago when
we discovered we had another one on the way, and I tested positive so 
early and was sick so quickly that I was convinced it had to be twins. Being
that my Grandma Rose was a twin, I have a good chance at that possibility. 
I've even been having dreams about having twins. At my initial OB 
appointment today I had an ultrasound and the technician only found
one precious baby. Although having twins would've being super cool, I 
think God must know what I can handle, especially since my first two 
are so adventurous. 

Still a month to go before I come to the end of my first trimester, and I'm 
already reeling from a multitude of crazy symptoms. There's the usual 
nausea and fatigue, but add to that, evening dizziness and lightheaded-
ness, hot flashes, and heartburn. In my opinion, it's way too early for
heartburn. Although this week I've been feeling a bit better, the last 
few weeks have been very difficult. Many times it the evenings, I have
been unable to even get up from the couch, and my sweet other half
has had to take care of me after he's been at work all day. Hopefully in
a month or so, this will all be behind me. 

God has been so good to help me through this difficult first trimester. 
And though there have been times when the last thing I've wanted to
do was to write, I've still been working on revisions and going to my
writing groups, which have proven invaluable. I'm so excited and 
encouraged for my future. I know God has such good things for me
personally and professionally. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Unexpected Sugar

This morning I enjoyed one on one time with my almost two year old, James.
We visited a local park with fabulous walking trails. Due to his nature to 
wander and full out sprint away from me without warning, I was a bit nervous
about not having my trusty umbrella stroller as a back up, but you have 
to let go sometime, right? So I bravely led him passed the safe familiarity of 
the playground and ventured onto the walking trails, slightly uneasy, but
excited about our first real "nature walk" together. 

James loved it! Everyone was out walking their dogs, and he pointed to each
one and shouted, "Doddie!" His annunciation isn't the best, but it's pretty
cute. And with a mop of wild curls on the top of his head, he was mistaken 
for a girl twice. Shhh, don't tell his grandpas. They're both already 
threatening the shears. Although I'm constantly told how awesome his 
hair is, he will be getting it cut this weekend, so that he can at least 

I pointed out falling leaves, ants crossing the path, squirrels rummaging 
out in the woods, and acorns scattered here and there. He reveled in 
his time alone with Mommy doing something special, and amazingly,
he held my hand the entire way. The trail ended by a small pasture 
and stable, which housed a few horses, one of his favorite animals, 
second only to anything that roars. We pointed to the beloved creatures 
and repeated the word "horse," over and over again.

Then it was time for the swings, his favorite thing to do at the park. I 
think we occupied one for at least 20 minutes. I hadn't realized before
what a great upper-body workout it is to push a swinging child. 
My arms are actually a bit sore. It was a lovely morning, the air was 
crisp and fresh, the leaves crunched beneath our feet, and soft breezes
caused falling leaves to dance their way to the ground. In our home,
when something is super sweet, we compare it to sugar. This morning
was an unexpected delight, as sweet as sugar. 

Initially, I had been hesitant to go out this morning after dropping my oldest
off at preschool, there were so many things waiting at home for me to do. 
But housework and writing could wait. I'm so glad I listened to that still 
small voice, encouraging me to take the morning and enjoy my son. 
It's unfortunately all too easy to pass up moments like these with how
busy our lives can be. Take some time this week to do something fun 
with the ones you love and find some sugar of your own. I'm so glad I did. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Soon to be Published in Super Cool Kid's Magazine

Last winter, I wrote a story for a Christian children's magazine, The Kid's Ark
and this last weekend, I was notified that it has been selected to be included
in their March, 2012, issue. To say that I'm excited is an understatement. 
Listening to a voicemail informing me of the good news last Sunday night
as I left work, I literally did a "happy dance" in the front seat of my car. 
Thankfully is was dark out so no one saw me, and no, I hadn't started my
car yet. 

According to their website, The Kid's Ark magazine is, "geared to kids ages
6 - 12, 36 page, full color, interactive magazine" and, "contains the Ten 
Commandments and Salvation Prayer in every issue." The founders of this
magazine are Jim and Violette Burger of Victoria, Texas. Their passion to
see children reached with the Gospel and Biblical principles is apparent 
when you visit their website or read one of their issues. 

The story I wrote is about a young girl who goes with her father to the 
zoo, and through a conversation with him receives Jesus as her 
Savior. I titled it "Finding Jesus at the Zoo," but the editors of the
magazine may change the title before the issue comes out in March of
next year. 

Along with stories, this magazine also has contests, puzzles, and
testimonials. It's a great witnessing tool as well as a lot of fun. If you have 
or know any kids in the 6 - 12 age group, you may want to consider a 
subscription for them. :)