Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Deep Thoughts from a Mountaintop

Last week my husband and I took a much-needed vacation and spent six days in the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which sits partly in Tennessee and partly in North Carolina. On the day we arrived, we went to the top of the 32-story "Space Needle" in Gatlinburg to have a look around.

Here is one picture I took from the top:

The large mountain in the background is Mount LeConte. From this view, it just looks like a dull hulk of a hill, though it is over 6,500 feet tall. Nothing interesting about it, right? But the next day, the two of us went on an impromptu hike up the face of LeConte. It took us over seven hours to complete the ten-mile round-trip walk.

Here are the pictures I took on LeConte:

Neat, huh?

You may be wondering what the point of all this is. Well, when we were done with the very, very strenuous hike, my mind went all philosophical on me and I started thinking about how we so often judge people from afar based on first impressions, kind of like I did with the mountain--because from a distance, it didn't look like anything was there but a bunch of trees. Only when we got up close to the mountain did I see the beauty that had previously been hidden from my sight.

So the next time you see somebody and think, "They look like ____, so they must be ____" without bothering to get to know them first, stop yourself. Do you really know what this person is like? Maybe you should find out by getting to know them better. It won't hurt to try!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wanted: Clones. Or More Hours in the Day.

I realize I've been slacking here on Blogger, so I feel it's time to regurgitate some thoughts regarding writing and the necessary promotion thereof.

Quite some time ago I learned there are only twenty-four hours in a day. I devote nine of those precious hours to sleep (Excessive? Nah.), six to my part-time job, one driving to and from said job, and one to cooking/eating. That leaves me seven hours to spend time with loved ones, work out, write, pray, read, write some more, and market the things I have written. (I think that housework falls in there somewhere, but we'll forget that for the time being because I always do.)

Now let's look at the latter point. Marketing. Readers have to know that we authors exist or nobody will read the stories we have spent months or years laboring over. This is why I spend so much time on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Blogger: to form relationships and network with other authors, bloggers, and readers to slowly grow a devoted readership. It's hard. Especially when it cuts into the time I should be doing something else, namely writing and developing my craft. Not to mention that nasty housework I've we've conveniently forgotten about.

One solution to my lack of time would be to duplicate myself in the form of clones, who may or may not turn evil and conquer the world pretending to be me. Or I could cut back on sleep, which would probably be a bad idea because I would become VERY cranky and start acting like my theoretical evil clones.

So, authors, here is my question: How do YOU balance out God, family, work, writing, and marketing? Share your tips in a comment below!

The white armor is optional.