I've Moved!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

This blog is now officially an archive - I've moved! Please change your links to:

If you subscribed to this site via the link at the top or facebook's "Networked Blogs", your subscription automatically changed to the new site. If you subscribed through the Google "followers" widget, you'll need to resubscribe in Google reader (or your reader of choice/email) by clicking the "subscribe" link above or one on the new site.

Thank you for your patience and for sticking with me through the move. :-)

Notable Posts

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Did you miss the Notable Posts this week? They're over at the new Variety Pages! Go to: http://varietypages.jamiedebree.com/2010/03/07/notable-posts-36--31210.aspx to find this week's list.

And don't forget to change your links/subscriptions - I'll be posting exclusively at http://varietypages.jamiedebree.com as of next week. See you there! :-)

Wildcard Topic: Stress

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I've been under a good deal of stress at work lately, as you probably already know. This got me thinking about my natural reactions to stress - not really in a "how can I fix this" way, but more in an "observe & report" kind of way, if you know what I mean. Introspection is hard for me to resist (you probably already knew that too).

I have two basic reactions to stress. First, I go into "hyper-focus-fix-it" mode. You know how women are always complaining that they hate talking to men about their problems because men immediately try to "fix" whatever's wrong? Yeah - I do that too. When confronted with any kind of problem, especially if it's time-sensitive my brain kicks into high "problem solving gear" and starts clicking through all possible solutions in order to solve the problem as efficiently as possible. I've gotten pretty well at hiding this when it applies to other people...I try not to mention all the solutions I see for them, and just nod politely. Somedays I'm better at this than others.

Unfortunately, when it applies to a problem I'm *supposed* to be solving, I go into hyper-focus mode. This is good - it allows me to examine the problem from all sides, see a myriad of possible solutions and start troubleshooting in a logical, organized manner. If only I could apply that to my writing. However...it comes with a nasty side effect.

At my core I am a *very* introverted person. I do my best to supress it most days, because frankly, nearly everything that involves social interaction annoys me in some way or another. That particular part of my personality is not conducive to making/keeping friends or building/keeping professional relationships. It's not necessarily people themselves that annoy me (though some do, of course), but the actual act of interacting with someone and all the stimuli involved is enough to drive me insane most days (this is why I love the internet - most of the annoying stimuli are null online). I am constantly guarding my reactions to the social stimuli around me, which takes a lot of brain power and focus. The side effect of being hyper-focused on solving one problem is that I'm no longer thinking about my reactions to my environment and the people in it. Sometimes my reactions to the environment end up causing me *more* stress than the original problem...and because I'm aware of that, I end up trying to focus on both. Which always ends in extreme mental exhaustion and a rotten mood.

When that happens, my second natural reaction to stress kicks in: I shut down. When I get to this point, I simply stop working on whatever the problem was and I'm pretty well paralyzed to do anything until my brain sort of "resets" itself. There's no use even staring at the problem when this happens...the only "cure" is to spend time by myself, preferably reading a book (frequently more than one) or watching a movie/TV, but writing works too if I have no interruptions or noise. I have to completely walk away from the problem when I get to this point, whether it's on deadline or not. Thankfully I normally have most problems solved before they get this far, but one at work has reached this point this week. Hopefully having today off will rejuvenate me enough to tackle it again on Friday.

How do you react to stress? And what are some of your favorite ways to relieve stress?

Remember I'm moving to http://varietypages.jamiedebree.com next week - don't forget to change your links!

Writer, Brand Thyself: Blogging Tip Sheet & Twitter Intro

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I'll admit, I purposefully made this week's post easy on myself because frankly, it's hard coming up with thoughtful, serious content on a time schedule, especially when everything else is in a state of temporary chaos. So here's a condensed list of blogging tips that I hope will be helpful, and a little assignment for you to complete before next week's post on getting comfortable with Twitter.

Blogging Tips

- Use a simple design that's easy to read.
- Post at least once per week, two or three times if possible.
- Establish regular posting days, so people know when to visit your site.
- Post content for the audience you want to attract.
- Make it about your readers just as much as it's about you.
- Reply to comments left on your blog as much as reasonably possible

Blog Networking Tips

- Find new blogs to follow through the comments left on your blog and others
- Use feed readers or email subscriptions to keep up with the blogs you're interested in.
- Make sure your site has rss feeds enabled, and links to both the feed and an email subscription.
- Keep a blogroll on your sidebar to promote blogs you find particularly interesting or useful
- Make some time daily to genuinely comment on posts at other blogs that speak to you
- Leave your blog address with all comments made, unobtrusively.
- Try to connect with one to two bloggers you haven't interacted with per week.
- Connect with bloggers on other social sites.
- Use other social networks to advertise your blog.

To that end, an optional assignment for anyone interested in next week's introduction to Twitter. If you don't have a twitter account, go sign up for one this week. Then click the link under my photo up there to "follow" me, and post a message to me that looks something like this "@JamieDeBree Okay, I'm on twitter. Introduce me!" If you're already on twitter, I'd like you to choose three people you follow to recommend to others in the comments here next week. And if I'm not following you already, send me a message so I know who you are.

Has this series on blogging been helpful to you? Do you have any other tips to add for others who might just be getting started?

Next week: Tackling Twitter

Remember I'm moving to http://varietypages.jamiedebree.com next week - don't forget to change your links!