Archive | May, 2011

Missing The Novel

My friend asked me yesterday how my novel is coming.

I told her it’s on hold, with what I hope sounded like breezy nonchalance. It is on hold. For babies, and paid work, and launching the new Digging Deep site (any day now – so excited), the passion project is languishing.

I think about it all the time. I even dream about it. Now and then I even have a great idea that I quickly jot in my notebook, but as for actually writing a word, it hasn’t happened since we moved into our temporary digs here in San Francisco.

All I can say is that I miss it, and I can’t wait to get back to it.

In more exciting news, I’ve almost lost the baby weight! I bought a new pair of jeans at H&M yesterday and I’m feeling sassy for the first time in while. Fun.

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Professional Tweeter

As a part of my freelance work (which has been mostly writing website content and other marketing material), I’ve recently begun ghost writing social media campaigns. I was reluctant to get into it, because I see myself as a writer, not a professional tweeter, but I have to say I’m really loving it.

I’m thinking of expanding my self-promotion on this front by revising my website with a new page to advertise my services, but to do that I feel I need to be able to quantify what a good social media campaign does for a client. Right now the vibe I get out there in the business world is that companies feel they need a social media presence because they “just do.” A lot of them, however, don’t want to deal with stepping into this new way of promoting their endeavors. It seems that most of them are much happier to pay someone to manage it for them.

So my challenge is to make a good argument as to why they need me. More than “just because.” And I think I’ve discovered a new tool I can use to support my personal pitch. I recently signed up for Hootsuite to streamline all the Twitter and Facebook accounts I manage, and they have a function where you can create a report about how many people click through to your site as a result of your Tweets/posts. If I can create a few of these (using my current clients, anonymously of course) I can at least argue that my work brings eyeballs to a website.

The question then becomes: how do I quantify increased profits resulting from that increased web traffic, particularly when dealing in service industries, not online retailers. I need to do more research on this. It’s something I’m very curious about. If anyone out there know a good source for info on this, tweet me.

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Time Away

As I mentioned, I went down to the WordCamp conference in Orange County last week, which meant leaving the kids and hubby for two nights.

Aside from the fact that time away from the baby is kind of tough while nursing (for the uninitiated I won’t go into the details of breast pumping, but the moms out there who’ve used one know what I’m talking about when I say UHG), I was really looking forward to a little time away.

Grown up time. Nobody crying, needing my attention, or spilling anything. Every mom should get the occasional day or two off, and I was really enjoying it, but it’s so bitter sweet these days.

I sped through security with my roll-aboard, took my time in the little stall of the bathroom without worrying my daughter was making a break for it, and even had a beer with my refrigerator sushi, because, hey, I wasn’t nursing any time soon. But within the hour I actually began missing my little Cling-ons.

It was a strange, visceral longing. I didn’t actually miss parenting, per se. Parenting is ridiculously hard most of the time. What I missed was the feeling of my family. My daughter’s blond fro tickling my face, curling up next to my guy at night, the way my baby nuzzles his nose into the crook of my neck right after he spits up all down the back of my shirt. These were the things I missed. The physical sensations of being close to the people I love. The longing just kind of hovered in my mind. Not overwhelming, just kind of always there.

Well, for better or worse, it was only a two day trip. I kept thoughts of those three precious souls in my heart, and let the rest of my body just relax for about 30 hours. It’s true what they say – absence does make the heart grow fonder.

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Forget everything I said about how easy it is to spend the days with the kids and write at night. That worked for about two weeks. The fact is, business is done during business hours. Sometimes there’s just no getting around that. What’s more, working at night means I get a lot less sleep than I’m used to, which, when I’m trying to keep up with the kids all day, is a serious detriment.

So I’m back to feeling stressed about trying to keep my own career moving forward while supporting my guy in his filmmaking work. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to do it. Daniel worked two jobs for two years while I got my masters degree. I am thrilled that the tables have turned and I can now support him in what he wants to do, but it is challenging.

In looking for things that could be cut, to make my life easier, this blog keeps raising it’s little hand, but the fact is I really like writing this blog. Still, we’re about to launch the Digging Deep Campaign website which will require some blogging, and the time may come that something has to go.

It’s a continual work in progress, this life/family/career. I just have to figure it out as I go along.

ps – I’m hoping to blog a little more about the film soon. I just need to pick Daniel’s brain a bit. They don’t start shooting until June 5. All I’ve heard recently is that the production office got a kick-ass espresso machine. Color me jealous.

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I went to Word Camp Orange County this weekend. A conference all about WordPress. Super nerdy. Super fun. And I learned a lot.

I went because the company I’m working for (Tripepi Smith & Associates) does a lot of work in WordPress. I’m writing content for them, and the boss wanted me to be able to navigate WordPress so that I could post the content for clients myself.

Well, mission accomplished. I feel absolutely able to work with WordPress now. In addition to some basic WordPress-specific skill seminars I also attended talks on SEO, Content Creation and one titled “Social Media and Social Change” (this one gave me some great ideas for my soon to be launched “Digging Deep” website inspired by the Month Without Monsanto project – I’ll be bloggin more about that soon).

More than anything the day sparked a shift in my head. Until now, I’ve seen every upgrade in technology as a final step. I signed up for Twitter and thought “okay, finally, I’m all up to date, I can relax now.” Then came Twetdeck and I had to muster the energy to try the new technology. Then my boss suggested Hootsuite, which I resisted at first, but now I love.

After listening to the WCOC geeks all day I feel like I’ve come to a new understanding that this is a continual evolution. It won’t ever stop, and though that is in some ways daunting, as long as I can keep flexible and evolve along with the technology, I can (without too much trouble) keep up.

So I’m thinking I’m going to attend the Word Camp in LA in September, too. I think I will probably attend as often as I can. It was a great event. Really well organized. Even the box lunch was delicious. The only thing it was lacking was coffee. I mean, seriously. In a room full of programmers and writers, how on earth can it be okay to put the coffee away at 10am?

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Unions, Health Insurance and “Knife Fight”

I am super excited to say that I am now an official member of the National Writer’s Union. I would say “card carrying member,” but I didn’t get a card, just an email.

As such, I can get contract advice, press passes, and most importantly – health insurance! This last one is really the main reason I signed up. This week my guy’s film got the official green light, and he sent his letter of resignation to his job at NBC/Universal, and we lost our sweet corporate health coverage. But thanks to the NWU we will still be insured the next time my daughter takes on a tree with her forehead.

Speaking of the film, I’m trying to get the go ahead to blog more about it, but what I can tell you now is that Rob Lowe is staring, it’s called “Knife Fight,” and it’s a political thriller set in San Francisco (or as my girl keeps calling it: Francinsico).

It’s really fun to visit the production office. Everyone treats me like the bosses wife, which I guess I am. “Can we get you some coffee Mrs. Davila?” Picture me looking over my shoulder for my mother-in-law.

Stay tuned, I’ll share whatever I can from behind the scenes

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Special Time

Wait. What? How did a whole week go by? I’ve been pretty distracted with the full time mom thing. In fact, between that last sentence and this one, I helped my daughter finish her art project. I have about ten seconds before she needs my help with the next thing. Yipes. Wait. Be right back.

I have two phone meetings today with freelance clients, so I’m planning a double feature for the big kid and hoping, hoping that the little guy will sleep. It’s been working out pretty well to do my writing after everyone else is asleep, but I will admit that it’s been weeks since I’ve worked on the novel. As long as the freelance work keeps up (and I hope it does) the novel will just have to wait until my girl is back in preschool.

The plus side is that I’m having a lot of fun hanging with the kids. We went to the beach twice last week. As long as I just accept that I won’t get any work done until around 9pm, I can just relax and enjoy this special time. Before I know it they’ll both be in school, and I will finally have time for my own projects, and I know there is a big part of me that will miss this.

Gotta go play hide and seek now. Cheers!

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