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Focus on the Positive: By Julia McDermott-Author

Focus on the Positive:  By Julia McDermott-Author

Focusing on the Positives, Balancing, & Linking to Others

Everyone has made adjustments this year, and almost all of us have faced new challenges unimaginable only 6 months ago.  As we say goodbye to summer and welcome fall, rather than dwell on the negatives in these troubling times, I prefer to focus on the positives:

Technology: I’ve learned to use Zoom (I suspect you have, too), and have used it, FaceTime, and Skype to achieve my goals and stay in touch with colleagues and family members. I’ve also gotten better at ordering online—not just “essentials,” but everything from clothing and makeup, to greeting cards and gifts.

 

Productivity: I’ve organized and streamlined my work, become more disciplined working from home (which I did before the pandemic), and been more productive.

Health: I’ve become more concerned and more appreciative of a clean, tidy, and healthy environment at home. Through the lockdown and afterward, I’ve focused on and kept up with daily exercise and healthy eating habits.

Books and Television: I’ve read more, and watched more good television programming. Three that I’ve recently seen are The Village on Britbox, Peaky Blinders on Netflix (both of which take place about 100 years ago), and The Americans on Amazon Prime (set in the early 1980s).

I recently devoured 2 books that weren’t on this year’s to-read list: Calypso by David Sedaris, and Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. Both authors are close to my age, and I can relate to much of what each describes in their very different books. Just Mercy is timely, and deeply moving. Calypso is classic Sedaris. Either you like his sense of humor or you don’t—and I do.

Relationships: I’ve spent more time with my immediate family and husband, and have strengthened relationships with friends and family.

And through serendipity and social media, I’ve reconnected with a girlfriend from my elementary and high school days, with whom I sadly lost touch, decades ago! She and I have braved the reopening this summer, meeting 3 times for long lunches on terraces at local restaurants.

For me, it felt like picking up where we left off, talking about memories, friends in common, and what life was like back then and how much simpler it was. She even remembered who my school crush was, and who my characters were in the “novels” we both wrote for English class in the 7th grade. This summer, she read 3 of my 4 books and posted online reviews!

I feel blessed to have reconnected, but sorry that we missed out on so much time with no contact. But because I graduated a year early, we ended up in different class years, and back then, if you forgot your friend’s parents’ address, it was easy to lose touch. Long distance calls were expensive, and leaving messages was impossible.

Fast forward to 2020. Social media is here to stay, and is something I strive to balance and use effectively, but not overdo. If you have a business or product and you’re on Instagram (which I highly recommend, in addition to Facebook), I urge you to add Linktree to your Bio. It’s free, and provides links to your website, news, blog posts, videos, social media pages…and anything else you’d like to publicize. Mention it when you post related images so followers can quickly access your info.

Last fall at a conference in Dallas, I filmed a one minute video on “Social Media and Marketing for Authors” for mystery writers’ organization “Sisters in Crime.” It’s listed on my Linktree menu. It’s about my use of social media to reach readers, and my in-person efforts to connect through networking—something I hope to recommence in 2021!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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