Paula Writes

Paula Puddephatt – Author

Facebook Groups, Facebook Pages, and Twitter: Going Into 2018 — December 12, 2017

Facebook Groups, Facebook Pages, and Twitter: Going Into 2018

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Like many of us, I’ve seen the best and worst side of Facebook.

From personal experience, the best place to start, for a writer, when trying to grow an audience from scratch (or close), is definitely Twitter.

Facebook is much more challenging, and it’s beyond discouraging when you are posting your consistent, hopefully quality, content, and Facebook is showing some of these posts to about two people.

Literally. You can throw a “one hundred percent conversion rate” party, when a post is shown to three people, and you actually manage to get three “likes”. I know, I know – “pay to play” – but that doesn’t work for those of us who are starting out, and don’t have an advertising budget. There are strategies that help with organic growth on Facebook, but I’m not in a position to give much specific advice about these right now, because I’m honestly not there yet.

However, I’m not giving up, and I do believe that organic growth on Facebook is possible.

It takes time and effort, like everything else in life. I sometimes think it’s ironic, that I’ve watched so many You Tube videos, and read so many blog posts, about all things social media related, and yet, I don’t see to get anywhere fast. But hey, do I need to get anywhere fast? If it takes me longer, so be it. This is a journey, and I can appreciate it.

At the start of 2017, I had Vibrant Darkness, my poetry page, which I had more or less abandoned.

Other than that, only my profile page. This year, I started to update Vibrant Darkness, and also set up my author page, and 80s/90s Music page. The retro music angle, incidentally, does tie in with my writing somewhat, as well as covering an area of interest, since I write modern historical fiction, set primarily in the 1980s. And very recently, I ventured into setting up Facebook groups, Writing Forever and Music Forever, to help build more of a community, which is a major difference between Facebook pages and groups. I’m in the early stages, but hopeful.

This time last year, my approach to social media was completely random and chaotic.

I only had a few hundred followers on Twitter: now my main social media channel, where I’m currently working towards 3k, my next milestone – but, more importantly, enjoying the community, and trying to give back something of value, to the amazing people I’ve been able to connect with on there. I’m still random and chaotic, but perhaps a little less so – a work in very slow progress, just like my novel. And, yes – I have now officially updated this blog in December: consistently inconsistent, right?

January 2018 update: I’ve written another post, covering Facebook pages and groups, and Pinterest, in which I touch upon the latest changes, announced by Facebook.

Believe in yourself and your dreams.

Find me on social media.

How I Schedule Social Media Posts For Free – Part 2 — November 19, 2017

How I Schedule Social Media Posts For Free – Part 2

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I shared a post recently about how I schedule my social media posts.

If you haven’t read that, I would suggest that you do so, before reading this.

As I mentioned before, I primarily use Twittimer for scheduling Tweets – and also regularly use Buffer for posts that I decide to send simultaneously to Twitter, Google Plus, and my Facebook author page.

I’m trying to schedule more posts to my Facebook pages via their native scheduling system – but am not currently consistent, in how often I actually go on to Facebook. I try to keep up with regularly posting on my various Facebook pages, and I also want to ensure that my author page on there offers more than simply duplicating a percentage of my Twitter posts. That’s the aim, anyway.

I mentioned that I had signed up for Social Oomph, and used it a few times, but wasn’t yet particularly familiar with it.

Since then, I have discovered a little more, by trial and error. I wasn’t using it much, because I couldn’t see much advantage, over Twittimer and Buffer – especially given that it doesn’t allow posts to be saved and reposted, even for a limited time, unless you upgrade to the paid service.

However, I did experiment with using Social Oomph, exclusively for my poetry graphic posts, partly because I could do with all the scheduling help I can get, should I decide to have a week or more away from social media, over Christmas and New Year – but that’s a whole story, in itself.

Anyway, I expected it to stop me from scheduling, once I reached the standard ten posts, but it didn’t – and I don’t know what the limit is, because I have apparently not reached it, as yet. I have scheduled poetry and writing advice graphics for the rest of the year, and so far, it is working out well. It isn’t as efficient to physically use as Twittimer and Buffer because, with the Social Oomph free package, you do have to add save the text part of the post initially, and then go back into it, via the edit function, to add any images.

Because I’m now using multiple schedulers on a regular basis, I’m attempting to be more organised – always a challenge for me – and am developing systems, so that I avoid posting more than one update at identical times.

I am also, increasingly, sticking with a “this scheduler for this type of post” system. Hopefully, I can manage not to become completely confused and overwhelmed…!

Sending love to all of my friends and social media followers. You’re awesome. And for my long-suffering Twitter followers – a heartfelt thank you, and I am aware of my tendencies, such as over-Retweeting in batches, and maybe still over-posting in general, on occasions. It’s a journey, like everything else in life, and we’re all learning constantly. Thank you to everyone who has supported me, and inspired me to keep going.

Believe in yourself and your dreams.

Find me on social media.

Writing About Mental Health in Fiction: My Approach — November 15, 2017

Writing About Mental Health in Fiction: My Approach

mental-health-realitiesAs someone who suffers from both physical and mental illness, my own experiences definitely influence and inform my writing.

I deal specifically with many issues, including drug and alcohol addictions, and rape and sexual abuse, in my fiction.

Not every subject that I write about is one that I have experienced personally, although I can always relate, on some level. I have never had drug addiction issues, for instance, although I have had problems with alcohol, in the past.

When it comes to mental illness – yes, definitely, I cover that too, as a writer, but not in the usual, neatly packaged way. For myself, it’s a priority to reflect realities that are not usually represented.

Most of my characters are either not diagnosed with mental illnesses, or the diagnosis is not mentioned.

It’s idealistic to suppose that everyone who has a mental illness is diagnosed – and correctly diagnosed, at that – and also, that everyone who is diagnosed with a mental illness necessarily has a mental illness at all.

I refuse to endorse the psychiatric system by going along blindly with the “this diagnosis treated by this type of medication”, textbook version.

I have also had enough of the myth that, following a suicide attempt, people are routinely admitted to psychiatric hospital.

I have never been an inpatient in psychiatric hospital. When I have taken overdoses, for the most part, no-one has actually realised at all. My parents, and others around me, have assumed that I must be sick from drinking too much.

On the few occasions when I have been treated for the physical effects – far from being admitted to psychiatric hospital afterwards, I have simply been sent straight back to full-time work, as soon as physically able. Literally. In fact, it was the same after being raped.

I have not had therapy, and any dealings with the mental health services have ended up causing more distress than if I had simply “got on with it”, and not sought help at all. And, yes, there are others in similar positions. Mine is, by no means, an isolated case.

The lack of support received is effectively then used against those of us who have been denied help, since we receive fewer “illness points” than others who have received medical attention – which, in turn, affects subsequent decisions about medical care, or lack of.

I do have a character who attempts to take her own life, and others who experience suicidal thoughts, and my characters don’t receive the “textbook” version of the NHS service, which is not the reality, for most of us.

I understand that many people have traumatic experiences within psychiatric hospitals, but this is already represented in literature. The experiences of those who are forced to “get on with it”, and offered no support whatsoever, need to be portrayed, as well.

My protagonist, Lucy, has symptoms of anxiety, which I convey in the “show don’t tell” tradition.

The subject of whether or not she has a diagnosis isn’t mentioned. She doesn’t.

Her mother, Helen, does have anxiety too, and is diagnosed – and this can be seen through the fact that she is addicted to prescription tranquillizers.

I have the benefit – the extreme privilege – of being a writer, and as such, I believe, a responsibility to speak out, on behalf of others.

I have done this, at times, through my poetry. As a writer of realistic, modern historical fiction, I hope to achieve more, in this respect. I shall certainly try.

Writing is my therapy and my passion. It has enabled me to survive. There is no greater blessing.

 

Believe in yourself and your dreams – always.

Find me on social media.

My post about Sylvia Plath, and my feelings regarding the term “suicide poet”, might be of interest.

Some thoughts on addressing controversial subjects in our writing

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Find Me on Social Media — November 5, 2017
How I Schedule Social Media Posts For Free – Part 1 — November 1, 2017

How I Schedule Social Media Posts For Free – Part 1

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I’ve started to schedule social media posts this year, and it’s awesome.

I’m on a very limited budget, and have only ever used free services, which currently works out fine for me.

As a slightly related side note, I have to say that disconnecting Twitter from my Facebook profile page was the best thing I ever did.

Shortly after, Tumblr randomly “decided” to disconnect from Twitter, also – and, again, this has turned out to be a blessing. Each platform is different, with its own audience and atmosphere, and I really never tuned in to Twitter or Tumblr before. I used them both principally as ways to indirectly post to Facebook. My approach to social media has completely changed, and I now regard Twitter as my main social media site. That said, I am more active on my Facebook poetry page, Vibrant Darkness, than I have been in previous years, and I have also launched my author page, focusing more upon the fiction side of my writing, and a page dedicated to retro music, from the 1980s and 1990s. I also have a blog and Twitter page, covering the retro music side of my interests.

The main scheduler that I use, on a daily basis, is Twittimer.

I use it for updating my primary Twitter account, and I can’t speak highly enough of it. It’s straightforward to use, and meets all of my requirements. You can schedule up to ten Tweets at a time: text, images and links. I’ve only ever had a handful of “failed Tweets” with this app, and have always, in these cases, been able to do “send now”, after which my Tweet has been posted.

I also use Buffer, and this is set up to post on Twitter (main account), my Facebook author page, and Google Plus.

Again, they allow up to ten posts to be scheduled for free, and text, images and links are all fine. I’ve had slightly more failed posts than on Twittimer, but still an extremely low number, as a percentage of the number of posts sent. In general, the failed posts do eventually send, although there have been a handful that were lost entirely, and a few posts that didn’t make it to one or more of the connected networks. On the whole, however, Buffer works beautifully – and their customer service is excellent.

I’ve recently joined Social Oomph, and so far, that is working fine, but I can’t see it taking over from Twittimer or Buffer.

If you do want to use this as a free scheduler, I’ve got a quick tip. It gives the impression that you won’t be able to upload images, unless you upgrade to the paid version. This isn’t the case. You have to initially save your post as text only, but later, there is an option to add an image. I’ve only linked Social Oomph to Twitter.

I use the native Facebook scheduler for Vibrant Darkness, my author page and 80s/90s Music.

It’s easy to use, and there is the option of scheduling posts further in advance.

After not touching Tumblr for approximately ten months, I recently went back on there, and discovered their queueing system, which I absolutely love.

Currently, my Tumblr posts ten times daily, during the time frame I specified, and it’s working out well.

A couple of days ago, I tried out Tweet Deck, for posting to my 80s/90s Music Twitter page.

I found it slightly awkward to use, but it did work, and I will hopefully use it again soon.

So, there you have it: a few highlights from Paula’s Adventures in Social Media Scheduler Land.

The adventure will continue and, if my systems change over time, I might write another post on this topic, at some point.

Quick update: There is now a Part 2 for this post.  You can also find me on social media.

Believe in yourself and your dreams.

Sylvia Plath: Not a “Suicide Poet” — September 26, 2017

Sylvia Plath: Not a “Suicide Poet”

term-suicide-poetpoetry-prose-Sylvia-PlathFirstly, I would like to dedicate this blog post to my friend, and fellow survivor poet, John Hirst, who passed away recently.

John and I discussed this subject via Facebook, not so long ago.

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Speaking as someone who has been deeply inspired by the works of Sylvia Plath, I don’t find it acceptable that people refer to Sylvia as a “suicide poet”.

For a start, many of the writers whose works we still enjoy, are no longer with us – and yet, how many of these are referred to by their causes of death?

You don’t hear them spoken of as “heart attack novelists” or “stroke poets”. Why, then, define Sylvia by her cause of death? It is often assumed that she wrote mainly or exclusively about mental illness, suicide and death, but that just goes to show that many are judging, without having read much, if any, of her actual work.

The most dangerous aspect, for me, is the glamorization, for want of a better term, of Sylvia’s suicide.

Anyone who has actually read her, heavily autobiographical, novel, “The Bell Jar” – and, yes, that does deal with the subject of mental health – will not come away with the impression that there is anything glamorous about mental illness.

And that ties in with my final point – that Sylvia was a writer, and not exclusively a poet.

“The Bell Jar” is a fine example of moving, and beautifully written, prose. I would imagine that Sylvia’s mental health was a factor in why she was not more prolific, and this is definitely something to which I can relate. She was so much more than a “suicide poet”.

If this was of interest, I would recommend reading another of my posts, in which I explore the subject of mental illness, and my approach to the issue, in my own fiction.  Also, my piece about the challenges, as well as blessings, associated with being a writer, whilst struggling with both physical and mental health issues.

Find me on social media.

Believe in yourself and your dreams.

 

 

Posts From My Previous Blog — July 31, 2017

Posts From My Previous Blog

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The following are links to three of my most popular posts, from my previous blog:

Why Write About “Depressing” Subjects?

Writing Modern Historical Fiction

My Writing Journey

See also, on this blog:

Writing Dark Fiction

Why Write About “Depressing” Subjects?

Writing Modern Historical Fiction (Updated Version)

My Writing Journey (Updated Version)

Find me on social media.

Keep believing.

 

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