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Blogging, Featured, Hipstercrite Life, Social Media

Anatomy of Writer’s Block

via Three Hundred Pages

Do you ever find yourself staring blankly at the computer screen with a large and heavy brick sitting smack dead in the middle of your right cerebral cortex?

Of course you do. You’re a writer and writer’s block happens all the time.

That doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck ass any less.

The way writer’s block occurs is different from person to person. When many writers find inspiration from any upheaval in their life, I want to retreat into my head and turn away from anything that resembles a blank computer screen or pen and paper. I need structure and normalcy in my life to feel creative, though out of both those things comes nothing remotely interesting to write about. Only in living life do we truly have fodder worth writing.

Having been interested in creating “stuff” my entire life, I randomly find myself in creative ruts from time to time. It often seems that there is no rhyme or reason to the blockages, but I know that is not true. It takes Continue Reading

Blogging, Featured, Social Media

When Sharing is Too Much: Tips on Healthy Self-Promotion

Recently, The Austin Post was kind of enough to write a feature on me. It was very sweet of them considering I’m about as interesting as a ADD-tainted squirrel these days.

In the comments someone bemoaned that I “brag too much about my connections” and “whine about turning 30″. I would be lying if I didn’t admit these sort of comments bother the living shit out of me, but I typically get over them in about five minutes (of drinking). Though I don’t think the commenter is correct in that I brag about my connections (having Jeff Goldblum rub his boner up against you doesn’t mean you know him!), it did make me contemplate the nature of over sharing in blogging and social media.

Though I’ve been blogging for over three years now, I’m still learning the rules as to what is too much when it comes to self-promotion. I tended to lean on not broadcasting my accomplishments for my social network to see, but then I realized that most people do. In fact, most people who get ahead Continue Reading

Blogging, Featured, Social Media

How Social Media and Blogging Can Help You Get a Job

As I’ve mentioned before, back in September, I went the freelance writer/social media marketing route.

It’s been such a rewarding and educational experience. To do what I want to do, finally, for the first time in my adult life has been so incredible. Going freelance has given me the confidence in knowing that I’m capable and have something to offer.

However, this time has not come without its down moments. There have been many somber times of me standing by the mailbox waiting for a check or lying awake at 3AM thinking about what kind of taxes I’m going to owe.

Luckily, the work keeps coming in- with the ebb and flow that freelance work does. Sometimes I’ll hear nothing for a few weeks, then a bunch of offers coming streaming it at once. Sometimes the offer is big, sometimes it’s little.

When thinking about the work I’ve received over this time, it dawned on me that most of my work I received through the powers of social media. Facebook, Twitter and my blog. I’m still Continue Reading

Featured, Social Media

Using Social Media for Hate

Yesterday, the president of the University of Texas College Republicans, Lauren Pierce, tweeted in response to the shooting at the White House, “Y’all as tempting as it may be, don’t shoot Obama. We need him to go down in history as the WORST president we’ve EVER had!” #2012″.

source

Obviously that shit didn’t fly well with the majority of Americans- Democratic or Republican- and Pierce was not only attacked with a barrage of hate tweets on Twitter but the story was picked up by ABC, Huffingtonpost etc.

I was fascinated by this story. Here was this young lady who has a position of power at a reputable university saying such ignorant crap. Her Twitter photo showed that of a bleached blonde with her boobs shoved together and a big toothy smile. Her Twitter profile said she believes in American Exceptionalism. She is a young Ann Coulter. A hate machine, not even thinking about the consequences of running their mouth. I don’t particularly care for her. I don’t like what she Continue Reading

20-Something, Blogging, Hipstercrite Life, Social Media

When Good is Never Enough: A Dilemma for the Twenty-Something Blogger

I switched my blog over to WordPress a little over a month ago and I love it. Well, actually my wonderful web designer did because I couldn’t figure out how to do it. I mean, I could have maybe figured it out but I resorted back to that illogical fear that I’ll somehow make my blog implode by pushing the wrong button.

I love the options, the freedom I feel in writing multiple posts and the ability to respond to individual comments that the new blog brings. I still need to add some design work, but all-in-all, I’m very happy with the change.

One thing that stinks is that my traffic took a plummet. I’m still trying to figure out why and trying to correct the problem- if that’s possible. It kind of stressed me out. More than I care to admit. A lot of aspects of my writing have stressed me out lately and I hate to say it, but they’re for fairly superficial reasons.

Writing online is both extremely rewarding and mind-f’ing. One post you get a bunch of feedback or shares or Continue Reading

20-Something, Hipstercrite Life, Social Media

We Are Squirrels

spaz

Along the same lines of my recent post about Millennials and their work ethic, “The Generation of the Confused Working Class“, here is me going blah blah blah some more about the terrible “problems” my generation faces. 

I have the attention span of a squirrel on cocaine.
This is a recent development.
As a child, I was way too self-involved to be distracted by anything.
Being an only child will do that to you.
Sitting for several hours by yourself talking to Trolls will do that to you.

Now that I’m a big kid, I’m self-involved, society-involved, media-involved, and technology-involved.
Now my head is filled with a million notions of what has been and what could be.
Now I drink to make the voices stop.

On-set ADD sucks ass- and I don’t even have ADD. I’m one of those self-diagnosed folks. You know, the ones that figure it’s easier to give a name to something they won’t take responsibility for? Like totally flaking on your friend’s wedding shower because you decided your time was better spent alphabetizing your CD collection that you don’t listen to and when you get to the letter “G” you take a nap for three hours, then wake up and decide that you want pepperoni rolls so you go to the store and buy pepperoni, cheese, and Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and make pepperoni rolls and you realize you feel really tired still and go back to sleep and you wake up around 4AM with cheese in your belly button and a couple of missed calls from your friends wondering where the hell you are.

My Dad has ADHD. He likes to talk about it a lot. Sometimes I’ll call him and say, “Hey, thanks. I think you gave me whatever you have” and hang up. Or we’ll be talking and he’ll say, “Well, you know, I told my manager to F off when he asked me to audition for a commercial where I dress as a chicken all because of my ADHD,” and I’m like, “Dad, that doesn’t even make any sense. You told your manager to buzz off because you didn’t want to dress as a chicken. What does that have to do with ADHD?” Truthfully, I think my Mom is the one with ADHD. She spends about half of our conversations talking to the dog:

“Lauren, I heard on the news that the weather in Austin is going to be Lucy!”
“The weather is going to be Lucy?”
“You’re such a crazy little girl!”
“Mom?”
“Get out of my armpit! She’s in my armpit!”
“Mom, most of the time I completely tune out when you lecture me about the weather but now I need to know!”
“Can you believe that I got Operation Dumbo Drop on DVD for $5 yesterday?”
“Do you even like that movie?”
“Of course! Ray Liotta is so handsome. Isn’t he, Lucy? Isn’t he???”

I’ve gotten away from the point I’m trying to make here.
What I want to discuss is that sometimes my creative well is dried up as an old lady’s cooter and sometimes the creative juices are flowing as freely a…dear God, staying focused on this post is difficult. I’ve so far answered 7 phone calls, tweeted 4 times, went pee pee once, and stared at myself in the bathroom mirror while I counted gray hairs once. No, twice.

OK, the point I’m trying to get to is that sometimes I have a million little creative projects I want to do and I don’t know where to begin so I become paralyzed and don’t do any of them and wake up to finding cheese in my belly button.

I like when I have a million little creative things to do. I feel like a Ninja Turtle newly ramped up on pizza and ready to fight crime. Ready to take on the world with new found piss and vinegar. Is that an expression? I’m ready to take on the world with vinegar and then I start thinking about all the things I want to do and the vinegar becomes fermented. Or is vinegar already fermented? So I sit there and I get super anxious because my head is swimming with a bunch of ideas and I just can’t move. Then I get on Facebook. I’ve tried prioritizing my creative projects before but I just want to do them all at once. I HAVE TO DO IT ALL RIGHT NOW. Write freelance article #1, write freelance article #2, finish screenplay #1 that I started in high school, work on weird art project that I had a dream about and feel as though I should follow through on, blog redesign, learn to sew and sell shit on Etsy, write screenplay #2 that you wrote 10 pages of last week, invent some iPhone app even though you know zilch about programming and code or whatever the hell apps are made out of, finish novel, write song about how you will never finish any of these things.

I see this behavior all the time. It’s not just me.
Everyone in LA is “working on a script”, everyone in Austin is “working on an album”, and everyone in New York is “working on an art piece”. We start things and never finish them. Then we start something else and then something else and then we delude ourselves and others into thinking that some day we’ll actually be that screenwriter, that musician, or that artist. Why do we get distracted? I’m pretty sure it’s because of all this newfangled technology, but how does someone who wants to become a professional blogger, who depends on the Internet and social media, not let all that jazz distract her?

Phew. 14 hours later blog post complete.

Do you have problems focusing on your creative endeavors? What do you do to prioritize your creative projects?

Social Media

The Girl Looking for a Connection

Earlier this week, I happened to catch a tweet from a writer in Minnesota directed at the Austin social media community. The writer had come across a suicide note posted that day by an Austin blogger and was wondering if anyone could help. I clicked on the blogger’s link and didn’t recognize the face she attached to her self-penned obituary. The face looking back at me seemed happy. It was a cherub face with a slight smirk. Above, in the blog header, another smiling photo with her three kids. Her blog bio explained that she was a divorcing mom and in the process of trying to figure out what life is all about. The obituary added that the blogger was not able to find what she was looking for, that she hasn’t and will never be able to connect with anyone, and that it was best to move on.

I immediately scrolled down to the comments to tell her to stop. It was difficult to find the words. Cookie cutter phrases like “Don’t give up!” and “People love you!” crept up in my head and I tried to push them away for something of more substance. When I finally found the words I hit “enter” and was taken to an error page. Then the entire blog went white except for the text “Forbidden”. The site had been taken down.

At that moment I felt completely helpless. In such an interconnected system, I was completely unable to get my words across, but more importantly, to physically act in helping this woman. Even though I now knew what she looked like and I knew what she was thinking and she lived in my same town, I had no idea who she was and had no idea what to do.

I wrote back to the original tweeter asking what we should. I thought of calling the police, but I had very little information to give them. How would they find her? Track down her IP address which maybe has information on where she lives and go to her house? At that point it could be too late and I’m not even sure how the police handle such a call.

I was getting frustrated.

In such an in-your-face-this-very-minute-information-now-now-NOW! society we read her real time cry for help and were unable respond to her call.

This situation stuck with me for most of the day. I periodically checked her blog, which to this day is still down. I followed the tweeter in Minnesota- who was even more shaken by the situation due to his own brother’s suicide- to see if he had anymore info. He heard through the Twitter grapevine that she was at the hospital and getting help, but no one could confirm it. As of now, I have no insight as to who the blogger is and her status.

This situation made me contemplate how often this must happen. This was my first run-in with such a scenario, but with blogs being millions of people’s diaries and forms of expression, I began wondering how many letters of help- how many outreaches for a connection- are drifting through the blogging sea. The active Austin blogging community is a very tight-knit one- many of us are real-life friends and acquaintances- and would be able to act immediately if something like this occurred. However, there are so many writers off the radar, throwing bits of their pain into the Internet wind, hoping that something will catch. If I hadn’t to happen see the tweet from the gentleman in Minnesota, I may never have known about this and others maybe wouldn’t have either.

When I began writing this post I knew there was going to be no ending. No commentary on suicide, no anecdotes about how suicide has effected me in the past, and no follow up as to what happened to the girl. This is a story simply about technology and suicide and how we watched the two meet.

As bloggers, what can we do in such a situation?