Tag Archives: social media retreat

Metastasis Deadline and Decisions

He Loves Me Not - Photograph by Rhonda ParrishThe deadline for Metastasis is midnight tonight. For those who have asked, I’m not sure what time zone the publisher lives in (she gets submissions and sends them on to me) but she’s not exactly a hard-ass so I suspect anything in her mail before she wakes up tomorrow will be sent on to me. Still, I can’t guarantee that so sooner is probably better.

Tomorrow, Monday, I begin another social media retreat week and by the end of it I hope to have made all my final decisions and notified the authors. I won’t be ready to announce the table of contents and stuff away as it has to go to the publisher for final approval and all that fun stuff, but we *may* be able to do a cover reveal by then. Maybe.

So that’s where things stand right now, I’ll definitely keep you up to date as things progress.

Month of Letters & Retreating from Social Media

A Month of LettersOne of my goals for this year was to take a social media retreat for one week a month. Today is my first day back from my first retreat and I have to say, it was fabulous. I missed my friends on social media, Twitter especially, but holy crap you would not believe the difference it made in my productivity and, more importantly, my focus.

I thought that I would see an increase in my productivity because I wouldn’t be spending time reading, posting and surfing social media, and I was right. What I hadn’t counted on was how much more focused that time would be. Since none of my attention or thought process was going into thinking about social media or the news from social media or anything like that, I was so focused. I’ve tried to multitask less over the past few years because I feel like I’m working harder and longer and getting less done. I’ve read the studies, I am passingly familiar with the debates about whether multitasking is good or bad for us. I don’t have any big answers but I do know that, for me, single-tasking is better. I can do more, faster and better if I focus on one thing at a time than if I have to keep shifting my attention from thing to thing. I hadn’t realised how many of my resources (emotional, creative and just straight-up attentive) were being used by social media even when I wasn’t actively on those websites. It was astounding.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love Twitter and I’m not leaving it, but I expect to spend less time there than I have been. In fact, I’m thinking of expanding my social media retreat to two weeks a month. That’s right. I’d be off social media for 50% of the time. We’ll see. I’m not making any changes just yet, but it’s something I’m thinking of, for sure. If you were intrigued by my social media retreat and considered trying it for yourself I definitely recommend it.

On a pseudo-related note I am participating in A Month of Letters again this year. A Month of Letters, or LetterMo, is the brain child of Mary Robinette Kowal. In 2010 she took a month off the internet (not just social media) and invited people to write her via snail mail if they wanted. She was surprised by the number of people who did, and that inspired LetterMo. The challenge at the heart of LetterMo is this:

  1. In the month of February, mail at least one item through the post every day it runs. Write a postcard, a letter, send a picture, or a cutting from a newspaper, or a fabric swatch.
  2. Write back to everyone who writes to you. This can count as one of your mailed items.

I participated in A Month of Letters last year and I found it to be extremely rewarding (blog entry about it here: A Month of Letters). In part it’s about the same thing as my social media retreats — slowing down and focusing on one thing (or person) at a time. Plus it gives me an excuse to buy pretty new paper from my favourite stationary store.

If you are doing A Month of Letters I go by the shockingly creative handle of Rhonda over there and I would welcome your friend request (though I won’t actually use the website a whole lot). Also, whether you are participating or not, if you would like for me to write you during the month of February I would be very happy to do that 🙂 Send me your snail mail address whatever way you feel comfortable with (reply here, message on the Month of Letters site or via email at rhonda@jofigure.com) and I will send you something in February. It may be as small as a postcard or as long as a multi-page letter, depending on how many addresses I receive and how talkative I’m feeling when I sit down to write, but I will mail you something. Also, while I’d like to think it goes without saying, just for the record, I will never give away or sell your address.


Goals for 2013

W1S1 Year 3 GraphicEach year I like to set myself some concrete goals and share them publicly on my blog. Not only does this give me some sort of vision of what I want to accomplish over the year, it adds a feeling of accountability to help keep me motivated and on track. My goals for 2013 are:


  • Lose 25lbs
  • Successfully complete the P90x program (I’m giving myself permission to swap Cardio X workouts in for Plyometric ones because I worry about my ankle and also, I’m a bit of a wussy)
  • No energy drinks
  • Significantly cut the amount of sugar in my diet. I have a complicated set of rules for this for myself, but I don’t want to bore everyone with sharing them.


  • Begin another course (or two) toward my degree no later than April 1st and complete it/them successfully.


  • Sell my cancer anthology idea to a publisher.*
  • Edit the cancer anthology, making sure the end result is something I am proud of.
  • Promote the hell out of the anthology, ensuring that there actually are royalties to donate to charity.
  • Continue to pursue my sekkrit projeckt with CJD
  • Increase Niteblade’s readership and distribution
  • Begin offering Niteblade in more file formats
  • Hold a successful fundraiser for Niteblade
  • Produce a NaNoLJers anthology if sufficient interest exists


  • Participate in The Whittaker Prize
  • Successfully complete the weekly version of Write 1 Sub 1. For the ‘Write’ portion of this challenge I will count completed short stories or poems as well as individual scenes from longer works. By allowing myself to count individual scenes I will be able to work on longer works and still participate in W1S1
  • Participate in Writo De Mayo
  • NaNoWriMo and both camp NaNoWriMos are all optional
  • Finish writing poems for all the 2012 NovPad prompts
  • Actually successfully complete the AprilPad or NovPad properly, without having to make up prompts after the month has passed
  • Self-publish “Aphanasian Stories”
  • Look into the practicality of bundling and re-releasing some of my previously published short stories as ebooks
  • Follow through on my 2012 plans for my zombie poetry


  • Read at least 30 books


  • Participate in A Month of Letters
  • Do the Blogging from A to Z Challenge (bonus points if I come up with a theme this year)
  • Blog at least once a week
  • Take a social media retreat for one week a month all year
  • Attend WorldCon 2012 in Texas
  • Post writing prompts/exercises in NaNoLJers on odd numbered Mondays
  • Run and participate in the writing bingo in NaNoLJers
  • Don’t forget that life is for living, not leveling

Phew! I’m kinda exhausted even just looking at that list, exhausted and excited. I’ve set up some real challenges for myself, but if I manage to pull them off imagine how fantastic a year that will be!

*I know I’ve already accomplished this goal, but I hadn’t when I started mentally composing this list and since I achieved this goal in 2013 I’m still putting it on the list. This is not me putting things on here just so I can cross them off.