Monday, January 21, 2013

Greetings from Laura Barth

Hi, Heartwarming authors and readers!

As the Associate Editor for Heartwarming, I’ve been lucky to work with many of you and am looking forward to growing our author base even further. The enthusiasm and commitment you’ve shown is inspiring and I’m very impressed by the quality of posts and comments on this blog. I have to admit I’m a little nervous to follow so many great bloggers.

Coming up with a topic was especially challenging—I’ve been a bit distracted by vacation planning with my sister who lives on the other side of the country. Like most sisters, we have a lot of similarities, but we don’t see eye to eye on everything. (She’s the all-inclusive resort girl and I’m the hut on a beach girl.) And it’s pretty tough to make decisions with someone who’s in a different time zone.

I don’t know how we’d manage at all without email and texting. But, while online communication is helpful, I’ve also found it overwhelming. I like to research before making decisions, and every hotel has thousands of reviews ranging from HATED IT! To HEAVEN ON EARTH! I can get caught up reading, and before I know it two hours have gone by.

All this got me thinking about social media and connecting with people in ways we were never able to before. When I work at home, I stay away from social media and only check my email a few times a day. While I value the focused work time, I find it a bit lonely. The truth is that I need the social connections and structure that going to the office provides. Just greeting my coworkers in the hallway or chatting while waiting for coffee to brew gives my day more interest and meaning. And talking to my authors on the phone is like chatting with friends. These are the connections that make my work joyful.

I always imagined writing to be a very solitary profession. Today, though, writers are able to share their days, ideas and stories in a way they were never able to before. Is this helpful, or just an irresistible distraction? How does being able to connect with others online during the day affect or inform your work? Do you get inspiration from Pinterest? Is the lure of Twitter just another way to procrastinate or does it give you that vital social connection you crave when working alone? How do you balance getting your work done with being online?

I find now that more of my work is on-screen it’s getting harder to avoid checking email. Is it only a matter of time before I’m swept up by the Twitterverse?


rozdennyfox said...

Laura, We can connect quicker than ever before, but I find it brings guilt because I don't keep up with friends and family the way they think I should. I've finally discouraged people I know from forwarding every cute, funny thing they find (heaven knows where). But the more sites I belong to, the more pressure I feel to check them often. I know I don't use Facebook and Linked-in and especially not Twitter to my advantage. Sometimes it feels like an invasion. Does that make sense?

Muriel Jensen said...

Good morning, Laura! I live in a small town one hundred miles from a big city in either direction, so e-mailing has expanded my horizons and been great fun for me. This Heartwarming writers' blog is so helpful for me in an area where my only writing friend is the west coast expert on fly fishing! I'm not on Face Book, I don't use Twitter, and I'm not entirely sure what Pinterest is - no that I wouldn't use those things, just not sure how. I always start my day checking e-mail and the blog in case there's something I should know, otherwise I stay with my writing schedule until I'm finished, then check everything again. I've been at this long enough to know that I have to be focused and I have enough distractions at home to make that challenging. Have a wonderful time with your sister!

Laura Barth said...

Hi Roz,
I totally know what you mean--I'm terrible about getting back to family and friends sometimes. I'll read a message and decide to respond later when I have time...then I forget all about it! I'm not sure if you mean an invasion of privacy or an invasion of your time and space. For me the latter often feels true. While I value the connections social media allows me, I find the volume of information coming at me a bit daunting.

Laura Barth said...

Hi, Muriel!
It sounds as if you have a healthy balance that allows you to stay on track but still connect with other writers. I'm a bit baffled by Pinterest, too! I think I have an account, but I'm not sure what to do with it. From what people say, it sounds kind of addictive, so maybe I'm better off not knowing. ;)

Karen Rock said...

Great post, Laura! It's an important reminder of how necessary personal connections are to a fulfilled life. Your anecdote about your sister made me chuckle because I have two and one is very much a homebody, another has a time share and will only vacation in Virginia Beach and I'm more adventurous and am always rallying them for a "girls trip" which involves hours of email exchanges, skype debates, and persuasive phone calls. In the end- as you wisely pointed out- those connections are too important to lose and we survive my sometimes disasterous plans closer than ever. (The personal injury lawsuits I'll leave for another post- )

I can easily get distracted by social media and am often replying to my buzzing iPhone messages while writing. I vow to turn it off but then I get another message and...well... you see how that goes :)

Pamela Tracy said...

Oh, I had to laugh. My sister and I are the same. We're meeting in CO, the families. We'll be in a camper. She'll be in a condo.

As for being a writer and connecting to others... I teach full time so I'm always connected LOL

Great to have you here, Laura!

Laura Barth said...

Hey, Karen! You crack me up. I'm very intrigued about these personal injury lawsuits you speak of. Let's hope there are none of those on my trip! My sister prefaced more than one conversation with "I know you're looking for an adventure, but..." After the ordeal of booking flights and choosing three different hotels, I think she may be onto something with this all-inclusive thing. ;-)

I know I love to see you on the blog and Twitter, so I imagine others do, too. The fact that you're able to write so well, work full-time and connect with all of us online is truly inspiring.

Laura Barth said...

Hi, Pamela! Wow, another lady who does it all. How do you manage? I love that you'll be in a camper and your sister will be in a condo. We'd probably travel well together!

Karen Rock said...

Thanks, Laura! It sounds like we have a lot in common with our siblings-(the lawsuits notwithstanding )

Syndi Powell said...

Laura, you're here! Yay!!!

I get a lot of social connection with my co-workers and customers at the bank, so often I like to "go silent" at night for a while. I used to tell my husband I needed "me-time" and he told me that's what the drive home from work is LOL. (Not quite the same thing). Anyway, after my silent time, I do like being able to connect to other writers and far flung family members on Facebook and catch up with what is going on in their lives. I also love to go on's community boards where I find friendship, inspiration and often the kick in the butt to actually get writing done LOL.

My idea of vacation is a hotel room with room service, a walk to the beach, and a swimming pool with a bar. It's been three years since my last one, and I'm ready! LOL

Laura Barth said...

Hi, Syndi!

I know what you mean about "me-time". Sometimes I just need to turn off every sort of noise and decompress. I'm so glad to hear that the community boards are such a great resource and support for you. I hope you get your beach vacation soon...not too soon, though. I want to get you under contract again first! By the way, I love your picture. :)

Syndi Powell said...

Thanks. The picture is from my last poolside bar I visited ;)