Monday, August 15, 2011

Focus and Today's Writer - A Blogshop with Award-Winning Author, Ellen Meister

Today, award-winning author Ellen Meister (The Other Life; The Smart One; Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA) shares her secret to staying focused when faced with the reality of being an author in the age of social media, as we continue our focus on, well, Focus in a Writer's Life. I asked Ellen to contribute because she is easily one author I enjoy following who is clearly managing her bustling online presence and book promotion with grace and energy...and appears to be having fun!

EM: When people get even a whiff of how busy I am online, they look at me with the pity they reserve for an individual suffering intractable pain and say, "How do you DO it?"

They assume, of course, that there's some special secret, some hidden key to finding time to maintain such a ubiquitous online presence, especially since my personal life is jam-packed with three kids and my professional life is rife with demands and deadlines.

I suppose they wonder if I have the help of some new tech invention that does it all for me. Or if I have a team of geeks in my basement drinking Red Bull and typing out status updates.

Neither of these is true, of course, though I will admit that there is a secret. Otherwise I couldn't maintain all these active accounts:

A Twitter feed geared toward the writing community

A personal Facebook page

A professional Facebook page (the term "fan page" makes me cringe)

A website

A blog

A group for published and aspiring authors at CafeMom

Participation in a group blog for women authors

An active social presence at, a once-vibrant but now (sniff) dwindling writing community

Facebook page for Dorothy Parker to help create a platform for my next book

Twitter feed for Dorothy Parker to help create a platform for my next book

The big secret? Quite simply, I enjoy it.

Think about it. You know all those people who seem so amazed that you have time to read? They, apparently, have no time in their lives for such luxury.

But if you asked them what happened on the last episode of The Jersey Shore or who got bumped from Dancing with the Stars, they'd be able to tell you. Why? Because they like it.

But enjoying your online presence isn't just a way to find time for it. It's a way to be successful at it. Because if you're just going through the motions, posting updates for the sake of having something, anything, spewing into cyberspace, you're not going to make any real connections. And that's what it's truly about. They call it social media for a reason.

So that's my best advice to anyone trying to build an online presence—post about the things that speak to YOU ... and you'll speak to others, too.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to set my DVR ...

TLC: Managing your writer's life is all about setting priorities. If you choose wisely, you'll have enough energy and focus to do what you need to do to stand out to your reader AND have fun doing it. Will there ever be enough time? No. Just breathe, take it day by day and most of all, enjoy the process.

Also, please note, Ellen has chosen social media accounts and activity that make sense for her. She's also highly organized. Only attempt Ellen's example if you're a master of time management.

Here's to Focus in your week!


About the Contributor

Ellen Meister is the author of three novels. Her most recent book, THE OTHER LIFE (Putnam), has been nominated by BookPage for the Top 20 Books of 2011 and by the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association for Book of the Year. It was also selected by the Austin Public Library for their Best Fiction of 2011 list, and was singled out by the American Booksellers Association for the prestigious Indie Next List. It is currently under option with HBO for a television series. She lives in Long Island, New York and is at work on her fourth novel FAREWELL, DOROTHY PARKER. For more information visit

1 comment:

  1. Great advice, Ellen, as always. And as always, am reposting and sharing!


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