Hangouts on Google+

For today’s Thursday Themes, I thought I would take a moment to briefly discuss Google+ Hangouts. I say briefly because I am just learning about them myself…

One of the daily challenges for the Author Platform Challenge by Robert Lee Brewer that I’m running from my blog this month is to create a Google+ account for yourself. You must complete it fully — add your picture, bio, website, etc. — in order to ensure that this place to find you on the web is complete. After I completed the task of creating my account and updating my profile, I began to peruse what Google+ had to offer and think about how I could incorporate this social network into my writing life.

Then I stumbled upon Hangouts and I started digging deeper. Hangouts are essentially a private video chat room that you can invite your Google+ friends to and discuss whatever. You are able to connect up to 9 people via video and I believe others can participate in the chat by typing (those who don’t want to be on video, and those folks who join after 9 video connections have already been made). Hangouts also gives you the ability to allow “Hangouts On Air” which streams your video broadcast live on both your Google+ profile page and your YouTube channel. It’s a really neat feature of the site and I believe it can help a writer tremendously with building her platform and marketing herself.

Some of the uses for Hangouts, especially Hangouts On Air, that I have come up with include:

  1. Holding a virtual book reading of sections of your book.
  2. Holding a virtual discussion about your book or some aspect of your book.
  3. Holding webinars on industry topics such as self publishing and memoir writing.

The list goes on and on. I intend to use Hangouts for the Inspired & Independent Book Club so that we can meet at least monthly to summarize the book we’ve been reading together. Book clubs are so much more fun when you can get together in person and discuss the work. This will be a really great experience to add to the Book Club.

If you’d like to connect with me on Google+ or any of the social networks out there, I can be found:

Time to share…
Do you have a Google+ account? If so, do you use Hangouts/Hangouts On Air? How do you/would you use the Hangouts feature in your writing life?

The page where those who will be joining me in Robert Lee Brewer’s month long challenge is up! Just click on the “Author Platform Challenge” tab in the header to get there. The original article regarding this challenge can be found here.

Cannot wait to get started on this challenge and see where it takes me! Are you in?!?

Kick off is tomorrow, May 15th…

Blog Hopping…

Before I start today’s post, I must apologize for my absence over the last 2 days. I was at an all day seminar on Wednesday and a day off with my husband on Thursday. I meant to hang my “Vacation Day” sign on my blog for those two days so you all wouldn’t think I dropped off the planet, but I forgot. Sorry to have gone MIA on ya…

I have been blog hopping today — hopping around on the blogs I read and getting my full. One of the blogs I read is “My Name is Not Bob.” This is one of Robert Lee Brewer’s great blogs and has a wealth of information. Last month, Mr. Brewer did a 30 day Author Platform Challenge. I initially started the challenge on April 1st with everyone else, but then I fell off due to other priorities and was unable to complete the challenge in April. So I decided that I would start up again in May and do it for myself. The title of the article is How to Build (or Improve) Your Writer Platform in 30 Days.

I thought it may be more fun to do this in a group, so I have a challenge for all of my readers who are also authors:

Join me in Mr. Brewer’s excellent 30 day writer platform challenge!

It can only help you improve your writer platform, give you ideas and insights on how to be a better social media-ist, and may even be the catalyst you need to get your butt into gear and get your author platform started or in better shape if you’ve already started.

Over the next couple of days I will be adding an Author Platform Challenge page to my blog. This will be the page where those of you who want to join me in this challenge can hang out and share your achievements and advice during the 30 day challenge. I will include a link to the article on the My Name is Not Bob blog so that we will always have ready access to the daily assignments that Mr. Brewer has put together. At the end of it all, we can all share out accomplishments and then send Mr. Brewer a “thank you” for providing such a helpful challenge for us.

What say you? Will you join me in this challenge? I will be kicking it off on May 15, 2012, and it will continue for 30 days as he has outlined.

Time to share…
Please tell us why you will be participating in this challenge. We would love to know what your goal is during the 30 days.

Creative Nonfiction

A genre that contains many other genres…

The lines can blur and it can sometimes be hard to tell which way to categorize your writing if you are a creative nonfiction writer. I often struggle with where my writing fits in. Memoirs, personal essays, travel writing and the like have come to be considered as creative nonfiction. In my opinion, empowerment books — books that often tell the “struggle to triumph” story of the author — are creative nonfiction. The author is telling the story of how they came from X to become or do Y and how you too can be successful in the same vein. However, there has to be creativity in telling that story.

Without employing the nuances of creative writing, your nonfiction story is going to be dry, dull, and flat. A writer must embellish their story to keep it interesting, without changing the actual facts of the story. And by embellish, I don’t mean to add in non-truths or sensationalize the story; I simply mean using words and descriptions in such a way that the story maintains the interest of the reader. This is creative nonfiction.

Creative nonfiction combines the creative mind of a fiction writer with the aptitude for relaying fact in great detail as in journalism. A journalist must report the facts. She also must report the facts in such a way that she keeps the readers’ interest. Think of a memoir. The author is relating a memory from a slice of time in his life. The memory’s details are accurately recalled. The descriptions and telling of that recollection is done such that the reader is transported into the location where the memory is being recalled from. The two — detail and description — meld together seamlessly and shape the final work…

As a writer of creative nonfiction, it is important that you stick to the facts. It is also important that you keep the reader reading page-by-page and not skipping through. Author Iyanla Vanzant uses very colorful depictions of the struggles she’s had in life. She keeps the reader engaged and interested, while still maintaining the true details of what she went through. Now don’t shoot me — I have never researched whether or not the stories Ms. Vanzant relays in her books are truly what happened to her in her life. I take her word for it, as most readers take the word of the author who has written the words. Nonetheless, her books do a few things well —

  1. They give the “struggle to triumph” details accurately.
  2. They relate the story in a way which keeps the reader reading.
  3. They empower the reader to ACT.

Very important in creative nonfiction — accurately reporting the details, keeping the reader’s attention, and empowerment. Ms. Vanzant has Written to Inspire and Nuture. She W.I.N.s and her readers do too!

For those who want to inspire people, if you want to empower people, if you want to nudge someone gently into action, then creative nonfiction is an excellent genre in which to write.

Write to Inspire and Nurture…

Everyone has the ability to write. Many many folks aspire to become published authors. With the advent of the self-publishing revolution and the lessening of the stigma that was associated with self-publishing, many more folks have jumped into the writing arena. Some good and some not so good… And yes, there is still a stigma attached to self-publishing, but that’s not today’s topic.

I believe that writing should be done for more purposes then to tell a good story. Nothing at all wrong with storytelling…but what message are you trying to convey with your story? Every story – fiction or nonfiction — can and should be written to inspire and nurture. Think of Harry Potter. Weren’t those stories inspirational? Didn’t they convey a positive message of teamwork and friendship to accomplish the impossible? Didn’t they inspire you to cheer on the main character?

That is what writing is about for me. Empowering the reader in whatever ways possible. Uplifting them and exciting them. Nurturing the dreams, aspirations, and ideals the reader holds inside of him- or herself. Spurring them to act if action is necessary. Encouraging them to dream and to get busy obtaining those dreams. That is why I write.

Empowerment.

One simple word with very strong and positive meanings. I write to inspire and nurture. I WIN at Writing, and when an author W.I.N.s, we all win.

All New and Shiny…

It is time for me to build an author platform. The more research I do and education I receive, the more I keep hearing about this animal, the “author platform.” I get it. I also agree with it — that as an author you should have one. What I don’t agree with is the sterility of it all…

I read numerous blogs from magnificent authors, literary agents, writing communities and the like. The information contained on those sites is invaluable. One recurring theme on these information resource pages when dealing with the author’s platform is that the site you create should be simple. Sterile. White with black writing. Plain. I simply do not agree with this philosophy and I cannot follow that piece of advice.

A blog or any other website should be alive and thriving. I don’t get “alive and thriving” when all I see is black and white. I understand and agree that the blog needs to be easy to read — no small type, hard to read fonts, or weird colored text. However, when I run across a black and white page, I feel that there is going to be so much rigidity in the writing found there and ultra-professionalism that it is almost hard to believe the blogger is human. I get an immediate sense that what I read is going to be written with the same lack of flare that the site is showing. We all have feelings, emotions, and ways to express ourselves and we should show the human side of ourselves in our webpages too.

That takes us to my new blog, which is all new and shiny… It is the brand new start for my author platform and it isn’t sterile. I attempted to blend the main requirements — easy to read and colors that are not hard on eyes — with some flare and fashion. You will notice that the theme I have chosen adds color to the pages while still allowing the reading to be easy — black text on a nearly white background. The best of both worlds!

So here’s to kicking off my author platform! What you will find in these posts and pages is information about self, the topics that I am passionate enough about to write about, and sometimes some quirky little anecdotes and quotes. There will be information on writing that is beneficial to writers — aspiring and published alike. But most of all, I will be blogging about whatever current manuscript I am working on. There are several works in progress; but for now I will be focusing on my book which deals with earning a great salary without a college degree and without selling your soul to the devil or sleeping with anyone other than your spouse.

If you want the lighter side of me, visit me at my personal blog: Thoughts, Inspiration, Writings. This is where most of me hangs out — I still can’t let all of me show LOL! It is mostly a blog about writing; but this is my more personal blog where you will see even more of the human side of Kym and less of the professional me.

Drat! Now it’s no longer new and shiny. I’ve marked it up with words… Yay!