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Li Yun Alvarado
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In This Newsletter

    Save the Date
    Sunday, July 26 at 3-4pm PST / 6-7pm EST

    Place, Body and Memory
    Gold Line Press and Ricochet Editions' 
    2x2 Reading and Q&A
    I'll share the Zoom Link on Sunday.

    Host: Dana Johnson 

    Featuring: Li Yun Alvarado, Caitlin Scarano, Dennis James Sweeney, and Douglas Manuel.

    Photo of Li Yun and Representative John Lewis


    Graphic Novel Trilogy by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

    My husband and I bought John Lewis' March trilogy just before inauguration in 2017. 

    I couldn't have imagined then that almost exactly a year later -- on January 28, 2018 -- I would meet John Lewis in the Atlanta airport on my way home from an ACLU board meeting. In the brief encounter, Representative Lewis was warm and welcoming, happily posing for photos with me and a handful of other board members. 

    I'll never forget meeting this giant of the Civil Rights Movement. May he Rest in Peace and Power and may his example continue to light our way, always.

    Mistake #3 FOMO Instead of Strategy & Intuition

    Welcome Back !

    If you missed the emails discussing the previous Mistakes, click here to access it.

    Ok this one can’t be a surprise. FOMO (fear of missing out) seems to run our lives more than most of us would like to admit. And it’s no different when it comes to cultivating community.

    With so many social media platforms, so many organizations, so many opportunities, and on and on, it can be easy to run around from thing to thing without knowing if there’s any value in our efforts.

    I say: Ditch FOMO and focus instead on Strategy and Intuition.

    Ditch the FOMO:

    You can’t be everywhere all the time, so don’t try to be. #DoLess

    Instead choose 1-3 spaces (both online and in real life) and invest time and attention on building strong relationships in those spaces.

    When you get comfortable with 1-3, then decide if you'd like to add more complexity into the mix.

    Let’s Talk Strategy:

    What do I mean by Strategy?

    I mean take time to get clear on your goals and then work backwards to lay out how you will achieve them. Outline concrete tasks, identify at least a few measurable outcomes (metrics), then set timelines to help keep you on track.

    Being strategic means spending time early on making plans in order to save time in the long run — giving you more time for what matters most: your writing!

    Strategic planning helps you make choices about how you will spend your time, and maybe more importantly how you will not spend your time.

    Important side note: I know it seems like a bizarre time to discuss planning when plans have gone out the window nonstop in 2020. Here's the thing: even if you don't execute your original plans, getting clear about your ultimate desire allows you to be more flexible when life, or coronavirus, hand you some curveballs. If you know what you want, then changing the plans -- the route you take to those goals -- becomes infinitely easier!

    To cultivate community strategically:

    1. Get clear on the purpose & composition of your community

    • What brings your community together (genre, themes, topics, interests, demographics)? 
    • Who will be a part of your community (specific people, kinds of people, people from specific organizations, etc)? 
    • How will you connect? How will you communicate with each other and where will you hang out? (online and IRL).

    My current tagline: “Poet, Parent, Puerto Rican ¡Wepa!” constantly reminds me of the purpose and composition of my community (In the past I’ve also used the following tagline to help me focus my efforts: Cultivating Creativity, Cultura & Comunidad). 

    What might your tagline be?

    The spaces I focus on when cultivating community (both current and potential members) include:

    • my email subscribers (that’s you!)
    • FB & (more recently) IG followers
    • Writing Communities: Women Who Submit, VONA, AROHO

    2. Identify what metrics you’ll track to assess the health of your community and your progress towards your community goals. Here are some sample metrics:

    # of email subscribers & email open rates; # workshop attendees; # of people commenting / engaging on posts; Click here for more sample metrics.

      Notice that “# of followers” isn’t on this list. Why? Because "# of followers" is a “vanity” metric. I’ll talk more about vanity metrics in an upcoming email (stay tuned!). For now I’ll say: grow your followers if it is important to your goals; otherwise there may be better metrics worth tracking.

        At the end of the day, which metrics matter most to you will depend on your specific writer and community goals.

        There are so many possibilities when it comes to setting metrics. I suggest you choose 1-3 metrics to focus on for a specific period of time. After that time period, you can choose to change your focus and/or add more metrics to your tracking list.

        If you'd like more support around this topic, I do a deep dive into writing life goals and metrics in the "Write Yout Year" workbook. Click here to get on the "Write Your Year" workbook waitlist (and get a sample from the workbook).

        3. Implement specific strategies, tactics, and timelines in order to reach your goals and metrics.

        As you can imagine the strategies, tactics, and timelines you use for growing your email list are different from the ones you’d use for filling a writing workshops, growing engagement on IG, or filling your book tour schedule.

        Decide on your personal goals for this moment of your career and then use those goals to help you decide where to focus your efforts.

        Once you have a plan, it’s easier to assess new opportunities and new social platforms as they pop up: 

        Do those opportunities or platforms serve your needs, your bandwidth, your metrics, your goals as you have defined them?

        If they don’t, then you can say “no thank you” and get back to writing (remember that?). 

        Finally, strategic planning doesn’t have to take long. You can put aside a few hours at the start of each year (like I do with “Write Your Year”) and/or check in with yourself a few times a year. Use your plans to help you focus your efforts and avoid FOMO.

        Don’t Forget Your Intuition

        I know what you’re thinking, “Intuition? Really?”

        Yes, really.

        My suggestion: as you devise your community cultivation strategy, run your ideas by your intuition.

        Now you might already be attuned to your intuition. Or it might be hiding deep down inside and you might need practice getting quiet and listening to your gut. 

        Either way, and please trust me when I say this, you need to check in with and listen to your intuition as you strategize.

        If you don’t check in with yourself you might commit to activities or strategies that: 

        1. don’t align with who you are or want to be
        2. aren’t sustainable. 

        What might listening to your intuition look like?

        It might look like your gut telling you you feel icky or overwhelmed every time you’re on Twitter. You don’t even like being on Twitter that much. But everyone says it’s THE place writers need to be. But YOU don’t like to be there. 

        So don’t spend time on Twitter. 

        Seriously. Don’t FOMO yourself into a space you’re not into. Don’t Tweet. So what? 

        Repeat after me:

        Life. Is. Too. Short. To. Hang. Out. Where. You. Don’t. Want. To. Hang. Or. With. People. You. Don’t. Want. To. Hang. With.

        Besides, when you don’t like socializing somewhere it’s obvious. People will see right through your efforts and you won’t actually be cultivating a genuine sense of community.

        Am I saying don’t even sign up for Twitter? No. 

        What I am saying is that signing up, or not, is entirely up to you. 

        Get informed about the costs and benefits, check in with your gut, then choose.

        Here’s one option: Get a Twitter handle with your name (you might not always hate hanging out there, so it’s good to have it). In your Twitter bio write something like “I don’t hang out here much. Check out my website or find me on Facebook instead.” Then drop the link to your website and/or FB page. 

        If your gut is telling you that doing even that is too much of an investment, you can choose to skip it all together.

        That being said, you have to opt out of a platform like Twitter with the full understanding that other people might have ideas about what it means that you’re not on Twitter (or FB, or IG, or YouTube) — including agents, editors, publishers, readers etc.

        Only you know how important what those folks think is in relation to your goals. If they matter at all to your goals, then yes, you probably want to have a Twitter account, even if you won’t invest much time or attention there.

        (This works the other way too: if you love tweeting all day and think FB is so last decade, focus your efforts on Twitter; you can always decide to leverage FB’s reach and advertising features in the future if you want to).

        Another intuition example:

        You get an invitation to do something. Your gut says no. You say “No thank you” and/or “I can’t” and move on. As my preschooler says: easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

        (For more on intuition, check out the resources page).

        FOMO Filtering Questions:
        Ask yourself these questions to get an idea of the best places for you to invest time and attention.

        1. Where / how do YOU like hanging out with your readers? What does your gut say?
        2. Where / how do your current readers & potential readers like to hang out (with or without you)? 
        3. What spaces (online and in real life) best serve your specific goals, in terms of cultivating community and having your work read and/or purchased widely?
        4. In what 1-3 spaces will you invest your time as you cultivate community?
        5. What 1-3 metrics can you track to reach your goals for your community?

        I hope you feel ready to quit FOMO and embrace Strategy and Intuition instead!

        Next time I’ll share why focusing exclusively on social media is a huge mistake and I’ll explain where you should turn your attention instead. See you then!

        Picture of Li Yun Alvarado

        P.S. To access additional resources and all the "5 Mistakes" emails, click here.

        P.P.S. Looking for a paper planner to help get your planning on track? Read more about the planner I use here.

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        Li Yun Alvarado

        2436 East 4th Street #1180, Long Beach, CA 90814
        United States

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