I have always been a traveller, a wanderer, if only by reading. But I’ve had many real life travels, too, and today I’m heading off to another adventure. Luckily, there’s the Kindle now so I don’t have to pack actual books, which I love but I love having clothing options more. Our destination today is Seattle for a week.
We’ve rented an Airbnb condo five minutes from where my son and grandkids and super DiL live. Since our boys (and grandchildren) live quite a distance, we don’t often get to do typical grandparent activities like watching a soccer or T-ball game. This week we get to do both. I think this is my fifth or sixth time in Seattle.
When I was young and fearless, I hitchhiked to New York City, to Key West and Colorado. Those were magical trips. My eyes were opened wide to a very big world outside of my little town of Taylor, Michigan. It’s impossible to capture those moments again because I’m older now. I’ve tried anyway. New York City has changed since 1972 and Key West is far different than the tourist-free paradise it was in 1974. The Rocky Mountains are probably the same, which is weirdly comforting.
I doubt I’d hop on the back of the motorcycle of a and take a winding road high up the mountain side, in fact I’m certain I would not. That guy on the motorcycle cured me of hitchhiking forever later that night. Either him or the drunk who crashed his truck on the freeway in the rain with me and my friend in it. It’s fun to be young and carefree, but bad shit happens and travel is safer and more comfortable with a plane ticket and my trusty Kindle.
I’ll take some photos and store some memories of family and always wonderful Seattle. I’ll take writing break and refill the creative well. Most important, I’ll get my granny time in and see you next week.
I ‘m in love! Last week, that first crazy happy week, saw me dropping work on my novel over and over in favor of my new passion. This past weekend, I finally felt my Pinterest love pay off. I was able to take what I’d learned on the platform into real life. It was not the kind of real life reward I’d intended, but it felt good anyway. And something I already knew about myself (I am not great at selling books on my social media platforms) was reinforced.
While I worked on creating many new boards and pinning all kinds of things to them, I also either made old boards private, deleted them, or fixed them up. I’m still new to many of the available functions on Pinterest. I have a lot to learn, but I was able to do much with help from my Word Press coach, Barb. Among other things, Barb helped make my Pinterest page a verified business account. She’s a great teacher and fixer. (Find Barb at Bakerview Consulting.)
Many of my new boards relate to writing, I even put up a board that hosts links to this blog. I’ve wanted to do that since I stopped using Facebook, so it was particularly sweet. Then I did my passion project, the one that paid off in my personal, not professional, life. It’s called PURSES because my closet space needed reorganization and in particular I needed to store my purses in a visually nicer way. I like to be surrounded by practical harmony. My closet was not that. In particular my twenty purses needed to get off the floor and the haphazard pile on a shelf where I usually keep the purse currently in use.
It’s spring and I think I’m like many people who feel, at the start of this season, the urge to organize, clean and straighten. Usually closets are most in need, because it’s so easy to shove things in and shut the door so you do not have to see them. A few hours pinning organization ideas onto my PURSE board and I was fully motivated. I finished the actual project two hours later. I had not been able to part with even one purse, but I purged some sweaters and put other items back where they belonged. And I found a perfect and pretty way to store my purses.
The one thing I had not accomplished in my week of pinning and creating boards was giving each of my books it’s own board. With a buy link. I think I managed to do it with my most current release, but it’s not perfect and the other books still don’t have a proper board with a link. I am not good at selling or even giving away my books on social platforms. I already knew that and Pinterest only reinforced my disinclination to sell socially. On the plus side, I have some fun new boards, including the vision board I’m using to inspire me as I write my current novel-in-progress. Maybe the revision will go as smoothly and swiftly as the closet cleaning.
When I’m not working on my WIP, I have been playing on Pinterest. A few years ago, a PR person from the big city told me Pinterest is becoming a great sales channel for writers. I had a Pinterest account because now when you ask a friend for a recipe they say “It’s on my Pinterest!” Mostly that’s what I did there. Then just for the heck of it, I started doing a board for the book I was writing. Then I thought, oh, might as well put up a board with my book covers on it. That was simply vanity. No thought of selling books. Nary a link. My Pinterest account languished.
Then I quit Facebook. Facebook had been good for driving traffic to my blog. I began to think more about my other social media. Where else, besides Twitter, could I link to my blog? An author friend had recently started a Pinterest account specifically to use as a sales tool. I looked at her Pinterest and it was much prettier and more organized than mine. Maybe there was something to be said for Pinterest beyond recipes and home decor. And my old friend vanity kicked in. I didn’t like having such a messy Pinterst account. I immediately tried to clean things up.
Then I realized Pinterest was a bit trickier than I’d remembered. At least to make my page pretty, I might need some help. My favorite author of social media books does not have a book on Pinterest. I asked her why and she said because it changes too much. By the time you write the book and publish it, Pinterest is different. She suggested watching You Tube tutorials and reading blog posts from people who do Pinterest for Authors well. That sounds like a book title right? Pinterest for Authors. It should be a book! I did find one but it was two years old and I wondered if Pinterest had changed since then.
I’m still working on it. I’m going to probably spend hours today trying to make a board for blog posts and pin this one. That’s fine. It’s fun. Pinterest seems manageable. It seems not quite as hectic as other social media. It is just placidly there, waiting. And everyone does their pinning quietly in the background. If you know of any Pinterest for Authors experts or are one yourself, please send me links. What I’d really like is a book written this year called Pinterest for Authors. I will buy that book! I’m going to check Amazon. Maybe somebody published one last night.
Last week, almost on a whim, I deactivated my Facebook account. I was just going to quit the one, but then they make it difficult to quit a personal page without also quitting the business page. I did a few things that are supposed to help you keep the business and toss the personal but nothing worked so I thought about it for two seconds and deleted both accounts.
The reasons for letting Facebook go are different for each of my pages. On the personal one, I left a goodbye note up for 24 hours and then when I saw people asking why I said “Trying to simplify my life.” Which is true. But also as much as I tried to block people who said plain crazy things, or horrible racist or homophobic things, it finally came down to people I care about very much saying these things. Not that I don’t think they have the right. Free speech, I get it. But every time someone I cared about wrote crap that was just so wrong it felt like a punch in the gut.
Getting punched in the gut on a daily basis is not fun. It’s only going to get worse as we ratchet up to 2020. I have plenty of friends who I agree to disagree with over politics and religion. We’ve had the conversations. It’s the more personal stuff, the plain hateful stuff, I can’t stomach. Also, some people are just a pain. Slightly annoying. So simplifying was a way to just get out of that town. It felt (and feels) great. But what about the business page?
I have had a lot of advice and help in my writing career that has served me well. One thing almost all the gurus say is You Must Have Social Media. You Must Have An Online Presence. Well, okay, but it doesn’t have to be Facebook. I still have Instagram. I had it BEFORE Facebook bought them. I still have Twitter and Pinterest and I have this blog. So I am still here, just not in that one crowded corner. On Twitter, I don’t hear from the haters. It’s like a little universe so it’s easy to stay in your own lane. Pinterest? I’m crap at that but maybe I’ll get better now. Bottom line: I don’t think my Facebook business page sold many books.
I’m not even on social media to sell books. I’m here because I am a writer who works alone all day and this is where I meet others who do the same strange thing I do. I meet lots of those people on Twitter and some of them from the Word Press thingy where you see a little capsule of every blog WP posts. I want to read more blogs. I miss my blog roll, where every morning I’d read blogs like they were my newspaper. Somehow reading other writer’s blogs got crowded out by all the other stuff. After I quit Facebook I realized I could go back to reading blogs. Just that simple!
My son and his family are visiting from Seattle. It’s been so lovely to have them here with me, but I miss them fierce when they’re gone. I live about an hour from where I grew up. One of my brothers still lives in Taylor, our hometown, and the other lives in a neighboring town. My mom lives close to them. None of us strayed far from home.
My dad’s an adventurer. He traveled all the time for his job as a construction electrician. He’s seen the country and loves the sun. He’s retired now and lives in Florida. He and mom are still married. I admit it’s strange, but it works for them. They visit back and forth, but as they get older, it has become more difficult for Dad to drive up here for the summer or for Mom to fly down there in winter.
She was just there, as my dad has had a health scare, and needed surgery. She hated every minute of it but she’s his wife and she wanted to take care of him. They love each other, they really do. They just prefer different climates. I want to move to Florida full time as soon as Al retires, so I understand how Dad feels. My only thing is I am not going to move there without my husband. It comes down to this: I love him more than I hate the cold.
This visit my son told me that grad school was just an excuse to go to California. He got the advanced degree, married in Malibu and moved to Seattle for work. There, they started their family and formed a tight bond with several other couples who are married with kids. I see my grandchildren less than I’d like. The plan is to move to Florida and spend extended periods of time visiting Seattle and Traverse City.
And they’re good about visiting us. Especially in Florida. We’re in St Pete, only two hours from Disney World. Florida, for many of us, is “God’s Waiting Room” but for our grandchildren, Disney World is a little bit of heaven, too.