Work Wednesday—Posting Accomplished!

Yay! Woohoo! The posts are in the ground! All 125 of them. Or so . . .

We finished those up on Tuesday and concreted the six-inchers. Next step: screwing in about 350 boards. No idea, at this time, how long this is going to take, but I’ll guesstimate about three days. We’ll see if I’m right . . .

After that, we’ll lop off the extra at the tops of the posts, and put in the gates. Actually, we have to build one gate. Had a little trouble with Mabel.

Mabel being one of our tape measures.

Jane is the other one. Well, her full name is “Jane, You Slut.” We can’t ever find her . . . not going to tell you Mabel’s full name. We seldom need to use it.

Now, lest anyone think that setting posts in an easy thing—this means you, Dr. Ralko—I can assure you that it is not:

Let’s assume you already measured your pasture or yard or whatever and lined it out with string or twine, so you know where you’re going with this fence. First, you drill down with an auger—any variety; we have a two-man, but for this we’re using the one on the tractor. Thank God.

“They” say you should go down two feet. And “they” are correct. Unless you live in the Ozarks, in which case it requires using that tractor auger 2-3 times, slamming the hole with an iron rock-breaker stick—there may be a technical name for this, but I don’t know what it is—many, many, many times, using a hand post-hole digger and a shovel, and probably adding water at some point.

This can take as little as five minutes—in which case there is much joy and celebration—or as long as 30 minutes with calls of, “Looks good enough to me!”

Sometimes, there is a pause when one considers if one can obtain dynamite or C4 on Amazon Prime . . .

One cannot. One cries a little.

Next, assuming the hole is dug, you have to pick up a 40-pound, 8-foot post and lower it into the hole. You make sure it’s level and shove back most of the dirt you just removed from said hole. You tamp it down and add more dirt and make sure it’s all tight.

Then you measure to the next post. We use an 8-foot 2×4, because our distance between posts is, well, eight feet. Rinse and repeat, 125 times. Or so.

This is a full week: while the aforementioned concrete cures, we’ll be tilling the manure into the garden—got some from the neighbor last week—and (gulp) putting up the greenhouse. An all-day project if there ever was one.

And I might be too optimistic about that . . .

So you may or may not get pics of that greenhouse next week.




Writer Wednesday

The Internet is a funny place. Place? Is that even a correct term? I think so. Because it’s, you know, everywhere. So anything you say or do can end up . . . here.

Most of the time, it’s harmless. In fun. But even those things can backfire. You have to always be conscious that what you say may offend someone—and I’m not talking about strongly held beliefs, I’d never ask or expect anyone to compromise those beliefs. For example, say you’re against some politically charged topic; you don’t have to tell someone that “maybe you’re right,” but you can also refrain from calling that person a dumbass.

Other things to avoid, as your author persona, are Debbie Downer posts, rants and raves, whining, complaining, etc. And cussing. Do *I* do these things sometimes? Probably. Doesn’t make it right. What I suggest, however, is that you have a separate page, or account, depending on your choice of social media, ONLY for you as an author. It should be public, to where any potential readers can find you, and it should be welcoming to all—all kinds of people read, after all. You can save the more personal stuff for YOUR page, and set the privacy however you wish.

Sure, someone might make the connection, but you’d be surprised how many won’t. I’m still stunned by people who message me about the bookstore, or RHP, or even my books and who are totally clueless that these are all connected. Stunned.

All of this is particularly important if you write kids’ books, even YA. You simply can’t blog about “stupid people” or curse like a sailor or post pics of yourself in a leather bustier. Not that I’ve seen that last one, I assure you! As an author, you’re in the public eye—if you want to sell books.

Get an extra account/page and post whatever you like on your personal site. But tone down the rest on your author page—focus on your writing, your books, press and interviews, and anything connected with those things, like animal rescue or bullying or whatever “thing” is related to those.

Pay attention, too, to news items or interviews of other authors—particularly as their books relate to yours. If you write romance, for example, connect with romance authors and share links. You post theirs, they’ll post yours. Think of your author page as a place where READERS look for information. If you’re a children’s author, and you put up a blog post bitching about something, you’re going to lose readers. Parents will see that and question your ability to relate to children—not to mention wonder about the appropriateness of your book for those children.

Think before you post—and/or make sure that you separate your personal life from your professional one. This applies to being out in public, like grocery shopping, for instance, or a letter to an editor, or a phone call, and so forth. Stay true to your brand. As I said in my marketing book, dress—or in this case, behave—like the team owner, not one of the players.