A low-cal social media diet.

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Every once in a while I take my life’s pulse.

Simply put, I scan for areas of improvement and start working on the better version of me.

(Blame Oprah.)

I’ve recently found one such area that I’m tweaking (twerking? hahaha…no), and I’m already feeling oodles better: my social media life.

My teeth are rotting. Help.

I hate Facebook and Instagram. There, I said it. And I know, I know, you’re all like, “But Ericka, you’re a social media maven with slightly decent hair and a Romanesque nose that just won’t quit.” And yeah, maybe the old me was. But now?

I’m tired. I just want to live. I want to stop comparing my life to others’. I want to stop inwardly seething at blatant political posts and getting all frazzled, not because somebody I know has a particular political mindset, but because they’d much rather exercise their right to incessantly chatter into an online void instead of realizing how it might make others feel. I’m also tired of taking photos of my sandwiches.

This me, me, me generation is starting to rot my teeth, you guys. And frankly, my soul.

And I don’t want to add to it.

Let’s start a different conversation.

When it boils down to it, I think blogging gives me the freedom to fully express what’s dancing between the sheets of my brain. Instagram and Facebook are just tiny nuggets of truth, and half the time, they’re not even that truthful.

Do you know how many times it takes me to snap a selfie? 72. And that doesn’t even include choosing a filter.

Here’s my truth: my skin isn’t always clear, sometimes I’m a little hungover, I snap at my kid, I snap at my husband, I love them more than my heart can take, I fail God like I’m Judas Iscariot’s twin sister Jane, and I don’t always shave my legs.

But I’m still loved and accepted and don’t need to worry about mindless swiping, mindless likes to make me whole.

Know thyself.

If you’re eyeing my home page right now, you’ll see links to LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest. For me, these don’t count. I’m never on them and if I do happen to take a stroll down Pinterest lane, I’m probably looking up 5 million ways aloe is going to turn me into Jennifer Lopez (I’ll keep you posted).

You gotta know what’s working and what’s hacking at your inner peace with a chainsaw.

And for me? Those channels barely tickle.

Challenge time.

So if you want to chat with me, human being to human being, I invite you to check out this page and send me your inner thoughts. I’d like to get to know you while having absolutely no clue what your lunch looks like.

(Oprah would be proud.)

Oh and one more thing. Which social media channel do you need to give the ax to?

Change, Stumble, and Fall

Ericka Unplugged #resolutions
I’m as surprised as you are that I haven’t shaved my head yet.

Change is one of those things that comes easy for me. Too easy.

So I never understood the concept of resolutions because I didn’t need them. I was too spontaneous, too “fly by the seat of my yoga pants,” too “let’s get bangs sober” to even think about planning out my next life step.

And really, I kind of am now.

But that doesn’t mean that this year isn’t big for me.

I turn thirty soon, and there’s a crazy excitement that comes with that number.

I feel like thirty is adulthood on steroids which Type A/super responsible me is majorly thrilled about. I’m also excited because I’ve been feeling this change coming on, a sense of self that is blinding any doubt/regret/guilt that used to overpower me.

I’m Catholic and a mother. Doubt/regret/guilt pretty much courses through my blood stream.

But I’ve decided to put the kabosh on that. Here’s how:

  • Give up Facebook. I’ve officially DELETED (yup, not just deactivated), my account. It was funny how I thought doing this would be the end of the world, but frankly, it’s just the beginning. I no longer have everyone’s lives cluttered in my head, and I don’t have to deal with Facebook’s absurdity, like refusing to take down a graphic dog fighting page I reported because it somehow didn’t violate their Terms of Service. That place is toxic. Ditch it and breathe, my friends.
  • Listen to classical music. I’ve only been listening to classical music here lately, and it’s weird, but I actually feel smarter. It’s probably because Pitbull is nowhere near that station.
  • Infuse yoga into my daily schedule. Seriously, y’all, this shit is addictive. I’ve tried it before, but my relationship never lasted with yoga because I have the attention span of a yorkie. But I found Adriene, and she’s become my new best friend. She doesn’t know it yet, but that’s fine. She’ll be excited about the matching outfits I bought us.
  • Clean eats. We were vegan for about a year and a half around these parts, and I think, for me, that’s the very reason I ditched the whole healthy living thing in the first place. I felt too restricted giving up a major part of my diet, and it brought out my “naughty” side. So this go round, things are different. I’m choosing to infuse more healthy things into my life instead of focusing on taking things out. That being said, I’m lessening my dairy, gluten and alcohol intake, but that’s because these things wreck my body, and I can actually feel that damage. As my new bestie Adriene puts it, find what feels good, and for me, those things don’t.
  • Reading and writing – oh my! I’m cooling the whole “market my writing like a badass” thing to focus more on my ACTUAL writing plus taking the time to read more. It feels wonderful. I’ve also found I have more time for my amazing family now that social media is an occasional thing for me and not the reason I exist. I told you. That shit’s toxic.

So those are the things that I have “resolved” to do to grab my life by the balls and make it fit like a comfy sweater.

My friend, Cristina, calls it “shifting,” and I love that. A shift in perspective.

I know there will be a lot of stumbling and falling along this journey, but I’ll be documenting it here to clear my head and chat with you folks about it. Feel free to talk me down off the ledge, my friends.

Also? Thanks for ingesting my crazy in advance.

So tell me, how will you be shifting your perspective this year?

How to Use Facebook to Promote Your Book

pony tails
Side ponying my way into your hearts.

Step One: Delete your Facebook author’s page.

You right now: “This bitch be tripping!”

Okay, maybe that’s not EXACTLY what you’re thinking, but if it were, I wouldn’t blame you.  We’re all supposed to have very lively, very vibrant pages with a bajillion followers who yearn for our every Facebook move.

Right?

Well, not so much anymore.  If you’ve been paying attention to the way Facebook pages have been decreasing in reach, you’ve probably realized there’s a crucial problem when trying to connect with your readership on the social platform.

So now what?

Facebook Groups and You

Facebook groups.  If I could be addicted to anything other than looking in a mirror, it would be Facebook groups.  Not only have I created my own to promote my work, I also hang out in a few other groups to network with fellow writers and to of course scare people.  Boo!

I highly recommend starting your own Facebook group.  “But that’s why I have a page!” you protest wearing a beautiful glittery scarf you found in the bargain bin at Marshall’s.  Well, not really.  A page is great to update your readers about blog posts, your books, stuff you’ve read and loved on the interwebs, but wouldn’t it be cool if you could create an environment for your DIEHARD FANS who will do everything in their power to spread the word online (and in person) about your writing??

That’s worth way more than a Facebook page like, my friend.

With my group, The EC Readers, I’ve created a tight knit group of promoters who I reward for being a whole bunch of awesome.  It’s much more of a reciprocal relationship instead of me just publishing a bunch of stuff and cluttering up my readers’ newsfeeds.  My Facebook group is about readership, friendship and sharing the perks of my success, because I’m kind of a big believer in karma.  And all I know is that I’ve tried to be as helpful and kind and smiley as I can be all my life and now I’m getting a book published.  So…science.

Make Sure Your Facebook Profile Packs a Punch

Listen, we’re authors here, not businesses.  I mean, don’t get me wrong.  I’m the first in line to tell you to treat your online presence and your entire writing career as a business because dreams only become achievable goals when your head is ripely plucked out of your ass.  And trust me, I only know this because I used to wear my ass like a beautiful, nicely toned helmet.

So in order to connect with readers, why not allow people to follow your personal profile?  Your public posts will be tailored to your audience but you can still publish private posts for family and friends.   Best of both world, right?  Plus, you can even decide whether you’d like your followers to comment on your posts or just hit the “like” button.  Check out how I’ve made my own profile accessible to my readers.

Lastly, I’m a big believer in getting personal with my readers (haha, ew!) so I’d much rather have them feel like a part of my life versus being fed posts through a Facebook page that kind of feels like a wall that’s built between us.  But, hey, that’s just me, the girl who’s been know to wear a nicely toned ass on her head.

SIDE NOTE: Do you know there are people out there who think I’m shy?  Hahahaha!  Ass helmets.

Anyways, let me know what’s working for you Facebook-wise.  Love using a page?  Comment about it.  Think I’m on track with the whole group thing?  Let me know.  Like the idea of ass helmets?  Sing their nicely toned praises.

The “M” Word

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There’s a fine balance between writing and marketing yourself.

Actually for me, there’s hardly any balance at all.

I think I talk about myself too much.  Scratch that.  I KNOW I talk about myself too much, but I do it because I’m conditioned to.

I started a new Facebook page and now I have another pothole to fill up with Ericka goodness when I all want to do is write and take a nap and nap and write a little and then maybe see my family and let my dogs outside to piss.

So here’s what I’m going to allow myself: a cozy little room on the Internet.  This space, the FB, the twitter, and all the other noise I’m churning out on a daily basis doesn’t have to be gargantuan.  It can be small and warm and reflect me perfectly without boasting five different floors.  The windows can be dirty, the tile cracked, as long as it contains my honest heart.

I’ve created a beautifully crafted Internet house for myself, practically a mansion, with Tipsy Lit.  It’s bigger than anything I ever thought possible and seems to be growing every day.  And when I think of building my brand as an author to, at the very least, rival what I (and countless others…believe me) have done with TL, I get exhausted and cranky and want to make that nap thing happen as fast as humanly possible.

I’m tired of talking about myself.  Sometimes, I’m tired of myself in general.  So what I want to offer are my stories, my beautifully broken characters.  Letters and lines mouthed into sounds that have nothing to do with me.

Because frankly, I’m tire of the “m” word.