Thursday, November 29, 2012

Exercise to Stay Healthy!

We writers are often a sedentary bunch. After all, one of the main rules of writing is to simply plant your butt in a chair and write. It's great for adding words, but not so much for keeping fit. That's why I believe writers (and everyone) should take some time each day to be active. Even if you don't have time for much exercise, do whatever you can to carve out at least 30 minutes in you schedule. Your body will thank you!

One easy way to get your daily dose of exercise is to simply walk. Put in some ear buds to listen to your favorite tunes, an audiobook, or podcasts, and take a stroll around your neighborhood. You don't need to set the world on fire with speed or distance; simply move fast and far enough to work up a sweat, and you're doing great! If the weather isn't conducive to outdoor activity, walk inside your house. You don't need a treadmill, just a few square feet of space. Walk in place, do some sidesteps, and, if you're feeling extra-invigorated, partake in a few jumping jacks. Just keep moving! And if your family looks at you funny, look right back at them and dare them to join you. After all, you're the one making the healthy choice, while they're sitting there on their keisters. Catch up on each of your days, or watch TV or a movie while you all walk in place. Have fun with it!

And speaking of watching TV or a movie, who says you need to sit down to watch, even if you've already done your daily dose of exercise? Stand up! Just this act will burn more calories than sitting, and who doesn't want to burn more calories? Throw in a slow walk to keep your feet and legs from falling asleep or cramping up, and you're burning even more!

Walks, both indoors and out, also can help your writing more directly than just keeping you healthy. Don't you hate it when you're sitting in front of your computer or pad of paper and the ideas won't come? Get up and take a walk. Even if you don't actively think about your momentary writer's block, your subconscious mind will chisel away at the idea while your body gets into shape. I, personally, find an invigorating walk outdoors works best, but I've also found mindlessly watching the boob-tube while pounding my feet works, as well. Simply put, get up and move, and you'll be surprised at how easy the idea gets unstuck. Then get back to your writing!

In the coming weeks, I'll talk more about a healthy lifestyle. I'm no expert, but I've shed about 80 pounds with the tips I'll talk about. I'll cover how to get faster and go further in your walks, how to eat better, how to start running, cross-training, and fun things like running races and apps to help get you in shape. I hope you'll check back every week or two. Stay healthy and keep writing!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Writing Prompt #115

Here is this week's speculative fiction prompt. I'm not labeling it this week, so take it whatever direction you choose. Have fun with it!

The Mayans were right...sort of.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Writing Prompt #114

Here is this week's speculative fiction prompt. I'm not labeling it this week, so take it whatever direction you choose. Have fun with it!

The airline didn't lose your luggage -- they changed it into something different.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

How I Use Twitter

Most writers know Twitter is a necessity nowadays. It's one of the easiest ways to get out of your isolation and visit with other authors (and other types of people) the world over. And, of course, with so many people using the service, there are plenty of thoughts on how to use Twitter. Some people say you should never "pimp" your work, while others do nothing but. Some people say you should not post more than two or three tweets a day, while others post more than that a minute. And, of course, most are in between those extremes. So is the way I use Twitter the best? No, of course not. I'm simply giving you insight into how I choose to tweet. If you take a few tips from it, great! If not, hey, at least you get a little bit of insight into me. And I know writers (and people in general) love these little looks into other lives.

I follow a ton of people. I do this because I follow back writers. What this means is that if someone follows me, and they look like they are a writer from their description, I will follow back. I'm now following over 2000 people, so there's no way I could keep up with everyone. For this reason, I use TweetDeck. This lets me choose who's tweets I see. Because of this, I actually follow many less people than my actual follower count. So why do I do this rather than simply not follow so many people? This way, if someone does actually want to get in touch with me, and I'm not following them on TweetDeck, they still can quite easily. And, of course, I can add them to my TweetDeck easy, as well. My TweetDeck people are a mix of those I've friended (mostly through the Friday Flash community) through the years, and those who have interacted with me.

So how does one go about getting on my TweetDeck list and actually being read by me? If I don't already count you as a social media friend, you need to interact with me. If you retweet one of my posts or interact with me about something I've posted, I'll add you to TweetDeck, usually right away. I also occasionally will go to the Twitter home page and take ten to fifteen minutes to scroll through my unedited timeline. If I see someone who I don't already follow on TweetDeck making an interesting post, I'll check out more tweets by that person. If what they post isn't all retweets and/or a constant stream of self-promotion, I'll add them to my TweetDeck. I think this is a good tip for everyone. People will be much more receptive of your self-promotion (i.e. more likely to not only retweet you to their followers, but also actively go and check out your link to your blog post, book on Amazon, or whatever) if you add in other types of tweets. For example, I post about my writing life, my exercise life, tell occasional jokes, and other things that don't require a link. Things like this go a long way, not only with me, but I'm guessing many other people using Twitter. Post your links, just not every time you send a tweet.

Now you might be asking how often I read and post. Probably not enough, but it is what it is. I try to log onto TweetDeck at least a couple times a day. Ideally, and I often do this, when I'm on the Internet, I have TweetDeck open. Depending on how much time I have (or how I'm feeling that day), I may or may not read all of the tweets that are there when I log in. Probably about half the time I simply erase what's already posted (maybe reading a few of the most recent tweets in my columns) and read the new tweets that come in. I do, however, read all of the new ones that come in while I'm online. I usually post one or two self-promoting tweets when I'm on, either blog posts, recently published short stories, or links to my books. I also try to post funny things (my current favorite is posting a page from my one-a-day "You might be a redneck if..." calendar), updates on my writing (not links, but what I'm doing), updates on runs I've taken, other jokes, or whatever else strikes my fancy at the moment. I do try to retweet other people, though I probably don't do this enough. It's a fine line, really. If you retweet too much, people ignore your other posts, but if you don't do it enough, people don't pay back the retweets by retweeting your self-promotion links. It doesn't seem to be a set formula to me, so I vary how often I retweet.

As I said at the beginning, I'm not trying to change the way anyone uses Twitter, I'm simply offering insight into how I use it. If you take anything away from this post, great! If not, thanks for reading. If you don't already follow me on Twitter and would like to, here's a link to me: @ericjkrause If I already know you from another medium (including real life), I'll add you to my TweetDeck right away. If I don't, you saw above how you can get onto my TweetDeck. I hope you enjoyed this inside look into my Twitter habit!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Writng Prompt #113

Here is this week's speculative fiction prompt. I'm labeling it as science fiction this week, but, as always, take it whatever direction you choose. Have fun with it!

A new app for your phone bends the laws of physics.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Writing Prompt #112

Here is this week's speculative fiction prompt. I'm not labeling it this week, so take it whatever direction you choose. Have fun with it!

A patch of quicksand leads to another world.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

16 Short Horror Stories

Halloween is now over, but why let the horror stories vanish? This year I reposted two short horror stories a day for eight days, ending on Halloween. One was a story that I'd had published in an ezine, collection, or someone's blog, while the other was a Friday Flash story I'd written through the years. I'm going to put them all in one place in case you want to see what I released but missed my posts on either Facebook or Twitter. Enjoy the reads!

Eight Days of Previously Published Horror Stories
1. 1-800-FUN-TALK
2. The Bird
3. The Eye
4. Fast Food Zombies
5. Find the Flag
6. Scream Time
7. Weeds and Dead Flowers
8. The Clown Killer

Eight Days of Revisited Friday Flash Horror Stories
1. Shadow in the Mirror
2. Chained Love
3. The Black and White Photograph
4. Pumpkin Patch of the Damned
5. The Scarecrow
6. The Fantabulous Funnybone Floatiboats
7. Bloody Mary
8. The Green-Faced Witch