Many thanks to everyone who shared their enthusiasm for Heifer International! As shown below, we transformed 21 comments, one tweet, and two Facebook comments into the following gifts for families in need:







You may know Nathan Bransford as an author of books for young people and an amiable, informative blogger. He is also the energetic originator of an internet fundraising effort for Heifer International, my favorite charity.  Charity Navigator gives Heifer very high marks. Heifer doesn’t just offer food to those in need, they provide the livestock that can help families become self-sufficient: cows or goats for milk; chickens for eggs. You get the idea.

As Nathan said in his blog: if you have anything to spare this holiday season I hope you’ll consider making a donation. And in order to encourage people to spread the word about this worthy cause, there are two ways to help increase the giving love (and feel free to do both):

  1. For every comment someone makes in this post between now and 6PM Pacific time on December 24, I will donate $5.00. 
  2. For every tweet that includes a) the hashtag #HeiferAM and b) a link back to this post ( I will donate another $5.00. (up to $500 between the two)

In addition to the Bransford blog mentioned above, authors of the following blogs are participating. You can get them to contribute, too, or add your own blog to the list.

Catherine Ryan Hyde
My Karma Jumped Over My Dogma
T.K.’s Tales

Wishing you Happy Giving, and all good things in the New Year.

Tweeting vs. Writing

Twitter-bird1A writer selling a book has no better friends than Twitter and Facebook. But what about a writer trying to write a book? As I typed away recently–struggling to meet a deadline for handing a manuscript to a reader–I wondered: how on earth do people maintain an online presence while writing books?

I asked the Twitterverse.

One tweeter, @AC_is_ON, immediately pointed out that social media can be a source of inspiration and an important tool for getting a writer out of his or her own head.

OK, good point. But what if you’re writing fiction (and you’re not Margaret Atwood, that prodigious tweeter and Booker Prize winner)? Or, what if–whatever you’re writing–the siren song of social media distracts you and lowers your productivity?  You need a containment strategy.

“I’m most productive in the library,” wrote writer and translator, @Qerese, “I do all my serious work there.” And she leaves Twitter at home. I agree: leaving the house to write can help. But since my last laptop was stolen, no daily trips to the library or café for me. I had to go all the way to a writer’s retreat, and stop tweeting for a week. When I returned, the writing momentum stayed with me. I wrote more and tweeted less. The downside of this small triumph was feeling less connected on social media.

Another tweeter, @SocialJeremy suggested setting a time limit of around 30 minutes. I also try to follow that rule, but I had to add an extra caveat for my own routine. Since I wake up with the greatest creative energy of my day, I tried putting off my news-surfing and Twitter time until afternoon or evening. This helped my productivity and the quality of my writing, although I occasionally just didn’t get around to social media (and got a lot of writing done instead).

As discussed by short story writer and blogger, Nina Badzin, fiction writing and social media can be particularly antithetical. One is a very internal process; the other is external and social. Every day is a choice.

What’s your choice? What’s your strategy?