Reaching me: A Primer

This is a followup to my “Imma stop feeling guilty about dodging the gotta-be-visible-gotta-react-gotta-be-involved 24/7 noisefest that is modern life” post.

I keep channel preferences for my regular contacts. Some only do phone calls. Others prefer in-app contact only for privacy reasons. This is my guide to me.

Read on if you’re bored or interested in “How To Reach KM 101.”  Listed in no particular order. I’m not quite two velociraptors in a raincoat, but I am complicated.

Email

If  you send an email, I will get it. If you ask a question in email, I will answer. If you do not specify a need-by date, it might take a week or two for me to work through my sweaty-hands aversion to dealing with communications, but it will get answered. Gmail is very good about gently reminding me when I’ve failed to respond to people.

Also, I don’t lose emails the way I do texts. And they’re searchable. Which is nice. Important/ permanent/ information-dense conversations are best sent through email.  Need my email? You can contact me through the HANDY CONTACT PAGE right here on the site. kmherkes at dawnrigger.com will work too. 

Texts

I love texts. They are like email but less cluttered and more readily accessible, they lend themselves to quick exchanges, and they support low-sensory notifications on all my devices. I can ignore or dismiss the alerts easily unless I want to check them.

But. BUT!

I may or may NOT answer, depending on whether the text hitting my eyeballs successfully bridges my attention gap and reaches my brain.

If I haven’t responded in a day, I am not ignoring you, I LOST THE TEXT OR FORGOT IT EXISTED. Seriously. This happens a lot, because texts are so easy to glance at, and when I see a badge, I MUST-CLICK-NOW-BRIGHT-SHINY it even if it’s a bad time.

And yes, I can forget super-important things. I failed a college class because I forgot when the class started and missed my final presentation after a 16-week long research project. Yeah. Showed up an hour late.

A text I saw while doing something else? 50-50 chance of registering it. Less, prolly.

There’s a popular analogy about swans gliding along but paddling furiously under the water where no one sees it. That’s where my “collection of dinosaurs inside a person suit” description comes in. I am bloody confusion wrapped inside a fragile disguise.

ANYway. I digress, as one does.

Lack of response is stressful and feels like rejection, I know this, I stress when it happens to me. If I could be different about this, I would be. But I’m not. As I am wrestling with accepting it, so will the rest of the world.

Texts are also a good way to start a conversation that will be honestly faster to hash through by voice, like “pls call when convenient, I want to talk about <insert topic>

(but note that failing to add a topic addendum is a surefire anxiety-inducer. FYI.)

Phone call (if I’m not expecting to hear from you)

You must be a relative or someone I’ve established a calling relationship with, because my phone only rings for a dozen or so people. Nothing ruins my ability to think straight like an unexpected call. Even if I let it go to voice mail (a massive victory of willpower) my concentration is shot for at least an hour. No. Joke.

Avoiding those disruptions is the reason my phone is often buried somewhere when I’m at home or work. Talking on the phone (including video calls) is The Worst. Always has been, always will be.

To be fair, “OMG, I’m late, I’m stuck in traffic can’t text,” is a good call to receive. And I will get a message if you leave one. Eventually. Unless I call you back before I listen because I’m worried about you. Which is 100% likely.

But if it isn’t an emergency, I’m unlikely to call back unless explicitly requested.  More likely I’ll text.

Social Media messaging

I’m not going to say, “Don’t do it.” I will point out that I do not have social media apps installed on my mobile thingies, which means no alerts for Twitter DM’s or FB Messenger unless I am sitting at one specific computer. So…if you use these, it’s possible I won’t see your message until days later. Or that I’ll click the notification badge because it bugs me but didn’t process the message itself, because MUST-CLICK-NOW-BRIGHT-SHINY is a completely different brain activity than reading.

Like texting, lack of response means I didn’t see it in any meaningful way.  Obliviousness. I can haz it.

And social media itself

I will remain on Facebook & Twitter, or via Instagram (as I like to call it, “photo-friendly Facebook”) wall-flowering on the sidelines. Posts will happen. Living on display is comfortable for me. Recording my doings makes me happy. That’s why I’ve had a blog forever. And I can read posts without getting sucked into infinite scrolling–it’s the processing & responding that sucks me in, not the information itself.

Please know I will still see you. All of you. I care. I feel for your sorrows and losses. I am cheering for your victories.

I just…can’t even, with clicking one more thumbs up or heart or sad-face, and I am done apologizing for being unable to do so without draining my own self to the dregs.

So then. All this is being mentioned as due diligence.  Since I am not producing a high reaction to post ratio or clocking much in-app time, I expect to be invisible on Facebook and lost in the hubbub on Twitter. And I’m okay with that.

At some point I will dig deeper into the WHY of all this. Because I do love talking about whys & wherefores.

Until later, all.

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A blog post about my blog posts

My author website started getting a ton of re-directs from my old blog address recently, so I of course looked into it. Bots, I thought, or maybe someone following up on old contact information.

Nope! The activity on all come from search term hits that once led to writing process posts.

What a total blast from the past.

Back in the day, I wrote a lot of process posts, sharing discoveries I made while writing  books and then about all the work that came after writing them.  I wrote a LOT about all the issues that have to be tackled before and after hitting “publish.” Book design. Marketing. Merchandising. Publicity. Finances. Distribution channels. ALL THE THINGS.

Basically I wrote little guides to all the different facets of working as an independent author as I came across them. 

Here’s one I re-read and updated Monday: Little Details: font choice

Another of my favorites: Books are pyramids

I wrote process posts like those because writing things down is how I process everything. When I need to learn new skills, methodologies and systems, I researching how other people do them, then test by trial and error (and error and error) then analyze the successes and failures until I know exactly how and why I ended up choosing one over all others.

Even if I’m only explaining things to myself, writing out the facts helps me codify, clarify, and set in practice whatever personal system I’ve cobbled together.  And it made sense to me, back then, to share what i was learning in case it might help someone else.

Somewhere along the line I stopped writing those posts. Not because I stopped learning, no. Life got complicated, and I ran out of energy needed to put private thoughts into a sharable, coherent public format. When that little voice in my head convinced me I wasn’t saying anything other people couldn’t say better, well, it was easy to drop writing about writing.

(I know,  it’s a liar, that voice, but it was loud, and I was tired, and it was easier to curl up in my shell and cling to story writing instead.)

I want to get back into sharing opinions about this indie authoring gig. Recent experiences have convinced me anew that I have plenty to contribute. First I’ll do some posts with links to updated older posts on perennial topics. (There’s one earlier in this post, even!)  And when I think of a new interesting topic, or someone suggests one, I’ll write about that.

It’s a start, and that brings us to the end of this post. In a way I suppose this was a process post about process posts.  A very meta way to begin.

Until later.

And that’s a wrap on ConCoction 2019

The sequel did not disappoint. I had even more fun this year than last.

All my panels were a blast. So MANY great conversations on the role of creatures in stories, types of relationships besides romance and protagonists beyond the badass…wow. Excellent audience participation, and I met many cool new authors, too, which means of course  I have a huge list of titles to grab for my e-reader. And others to bump to the top of the To Be Read list.

I will attempt a list of all the cool authors who returned from last year and the new ones who joined in…but it will be later, when my brain is less mushy. If I try now, I would forget someone and feel horrible about it forever.

There was even an epic cool event called Prompt Joust, which is basically competitive impromptu storytelling. Two storytellers, one-minute time limit, story prompt/prop revealed just before the first person begins. It’s a web series by Story Medics (link here)  but this was a Special ConCoction edition RECORDED LIVE in front of the convention audience.

<gulp> I did it because the idea terrified me and I love doing scary things, and IT WAS A HOOT! I want to do it again! At some point the recordings will be posted on the Youtube Channel. Yes, I will let people know when mine is on. But I’ll also let you know about everyone else’s, because they were ALL great fun.

Other firsts. I did my first-ever reading from Controlled Descent! To my surprise and glee, it found some immediate fans. Readers grabbed all 5 copies I brought, and also some of Flight Plan, since it’s designed to be readable first. I found homes for a few copies of Rough Passages too. (That phrasing always makes me feel like I’m talking about orphaned kittens or something.)

ANYway.

Stickers were a hit again, people said complimentary things about the Unity Movement & Mercury Battalion support patches, and I even sent a couple of patches home with readers. Also, thanks to the great con organizers, I even had NEW bling to pass along!  I ordered a TON of awesome ribbons with Rough Passages-related messages on them. IT was a huge thrill to see people walking around wearing my ribbons.

(I may love book bling a whole lot.)

Post-con there was a scrumptious pub lunch with great friends I made last year and this one, and Sunday evening I hung out w/the ever-amazing Shannon Eichorn & new friend Abigail Delk for a post-con viewing of How to Train Your Dragon 2.

ON the emotions side, con crash came early with a minor anxiety freakout Saturday afternoon and other twitch sessions thereafter.  I’m getting better about spotting the symptoms early and fending off the worst effects. The most successful defense tactic appears to be regularly admitting to everyone I meet that I’ve gone fragile.

Now that I am fully in post-mode, I am certain I was accidentally rude to people, made someone feel left out, BORED them, or, y’know, just plain screwed up somehow.

But throughout the whole con, I felt included and welcomed and valued. So I’m clinging to those happy snapshots and can only hope I succeeded in my clumsy attempts to be socially supportive to others.

Next up in my life: laundry. Then it’s offline and back to revisions and drafting.