TGIF


Just a quick post to wish everyone a happy weekend. I’ve been a little under the weather this week, and I have a big event at work on Monday, but I think I have everything in hand, so hopefully I’ll be able to get some writing done this weekend.

Here are the things I’m working on, for those of you who are following my process and plans.

  • A post on marriage equality for Sourcerer. I spent all my writing time on this last night, and it’s still not good enough to publish. I changed my schedule and put this at the top of the list because this is one of the three issues I’ve identified as suitable political blogging for Sourcerer, and my social media is awash in pink equal signs and rainbow flags at the moment because my home state is considering a nasty piece of legislation that could allow all manner of discrimination under the guise of protecting religious freedom. My general rule is that only 10 percent or so of Sourcerer’s content be political. I think of the political posting I do there as the editorial page, but sometimes this stuff has to get done, and at the moment this is both a local issue and one that directly affects people I know.
  • Another installment of my Tolkien series for Part Time Monster. I intended to have one for today, but spent last night working on the post I just mentioned.
  • Awards posts. I need to give awards to a lot of bloggers  in the next couple of weeks. Once I get the two top-priority posts taken care of, I’m writing at least three awards posts before I do one more thing.

In case you missed our debut of Part Time Monster’s Pinterest account earlier this week, here’s a writing-related board you might enjoy exploring.

There are many more boards there, covering everything from Blogging and Social Media to Digital Humanities to images of tattoos, and a lot of them are themed to match the content of our blogs (So, things like Comics, Tolkien, Batman, and Feminism). Diana put a lot of thought into the initial setup, and once we’re a little further along, I plan to build a few boards there myself.

I have next Tuesday off, and the following week is spring break, so I’m just trying to get through the next week or so, then I’ll be able to really catch up, and hopefully get most of my writing for the A to Z Challenge done.

It’s good to be busy! Thanks for reading our blogs and for encouraging us to keep this project going. I’m always happy to meet up with bloggers on other social media, and I don’t mind promoting blogs I like. In fact, I sort of enjoy it.

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Top Ten Things Not to Do When Writing a Book Review on Amazon or Anywhere Else


1WriteWay

Here is the 34th installment of Ten Top Lists of What Not to Do by Marie Ann Bailey of 1WriteWay at http://1writeway.com and John W. Howell of Fiction Favorites at http://johnwhowell.com. These lists are simu-published on our blogs each Monday. We hope you enjoy.

bookreview
10.  When writing a book review, do not provide a five-page synopsis of the book before you even start your review.  If you do, at best, readers will just skip the synopsis and your efforts will be wasted.  At worst, readers will confuse the synopsis for your own work, tweet and blog about the review, causing it to go viral and guaranteeing a negative reaction by the author.

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10 Great Quotations from Writers about Work


Interesting Literature

‘Hard work is simply the refuge of people who have nothing whatever to do.’ – Oscar Wilde

‘I always arrive late at the office, but I make up for it by leaving early.’ – Charles Lamb

‘Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.’ – Samuel Beckett

‘Work is more fun than fun.’ – Noel Coward

‘The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts working the moment you get up and does not stop until you get into the office.’ – Robert Frost

stephenking

‘I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.’ – Jerome K. Jerome

‘Anyone can do any amount of work provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment.’ – Robert Benchley

‘I don’t do anything. Not one single thing. I used to bite my nails, but I don’t even do that any more.’

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#Blog Series Pitch: Social Media Sorcery


I have to create a social media document for my own use, and since I’m seeing interest in that aspect of my blogging, I thought I would pitch it as a series. Here’s a basic outline. Each Roman Numeral represents a post.

I can go one of two ways. I can add it to my list, write it as I need it, and run it as an occasional series for one of our blogs. Or, I can write the whole thing as a single piece, then break it into posts, illustrate them, and shop them as a guest series. I have to write a rough draft-quality version of it sometime soon, anyway, because I need it to analyze what I am doing and improve my game.

I. A short narrative that explains how we started. It will include links to the things we wrote about social media along the way and the some resources we’ve gathered. This is the intro; the body of the series will be specific to particular platforms and explain how I’m using various networks. It not something I’m presenting as an expert. Its focus is to explain why I do the things I do and what I think each specific network is good for.

II. WordPress – For the most part, my rule on social media is that “content” flows from my blogs, but “interaction” has to be tailored to specific networks. I’m sensitive to how my posts look when I publicize them, and I tailor them for visual media as best I can. What I don’t do is create original content for my Facebook fan page. It would be great to do that, but I haven’t the resources for it at the moment. Links to things I’ve written or read about the details of using WordPress, and the benefits of things like commenting on blogs and participating in blogging events.

III. Twitter – Explains how I use my blog account, which grows every time I go and really interact on Twitter.  Also, how I use my much smaller personal account to communicate with people who have shown some interest in collaborating. I don’t tell people what to do, I just tell them what I’m doing in advance and trust my relationships. If I get no interest or collaboration, I view it as having a motion in a meeting fail to receive a second and I proceed on my own.

IV. Facebook – Not going into all the details, but I’ve tailored my Facebook to support blogging. I still interact with friends who aren’t into blogs, but most of my attention on FB goes to bloggers and collaborators. We use private messages to talk strategy and discuss links that we want others to see before we share them publicly. We have an interest list to track blogs with fan pages, and it’s public because we want other bloggers to be able to use it.

V. StumbleUpon – Barely started. I’ve created a few lists. Last month, I stumbled a few of my friends who agreed to give me referral info just to gauge the effect of a couple of people stumbling three posts. Jeremy and Diana stumble things because they have long-standing accounts, and it’s easy. To be worthwile for me, it has to be organized properly from the beginning, and I can’t think about that until I get my Twitter account organized. I think it has real potential, but this is key: It’s a platform you need to understand from the beginning. I’ve read that it caps the number of people you can follow at a low number. If so, that means it is important to carefully choose followers who share an interest in something you’re blogging about, or to just start with friends and make your Stumble following 100% blog-friendly acquaintances.

VI. Not sure how I’ll deal with these last five yet, but I also have accounts at Pinterest and Deviant Art that I haven’t developed at all yet, and a Tumblr page that could be much more helpful long-term than we are able to make it at the moment. I use LinkedIn and Google+, too but I am not doing the kind of real networking I’m doing with WordPress, FB, and Twitter.

This is nine different networks our little krewe could be operating on, given enough time, as long as we maintain the quality of our blogs and keep developing friendships.

What would you do if you could write this? Write the whole thing, illustrate it with interesting stuff, and shop it, or just do it as an occasional series that I publish when I can on my own blogs?

Posts I loved this week


It may seem a little self-serving to reblog a post that links to one of my sites and talks nice about me, but I can get away with it because this has a lot of useful stuff on writing, has a link to an article on blogging, and also features our friend InfiniteFreeTime. I’m working on a pitch for a blogging series that I’m looking for feedback on, it’s basically an outline, so it should be done sometime this weekend.

Taylor Grace

Here are the posts I loved this week!

Congrats to Nina Kaytel who’s published. Big congrats! And a great follow up post on how to start any novel. Excellent post!

A very cool idea at Sourcerer (Cool ideas happen often at Sourcerer–just saying) but this one is pretty neat. But there another fantastic one here. I highly recommend this one. It’s basically a how-to for those interested in building their Twitter accounts. Amazing. A big thanks to Gene’O!

This one is not writing related. I love this blog because it’s about doggies and Rachel (who runs the blog) seems to love them in that caring, selfless way animal-lovers have. This is a very sweet, humour story of her two doggies in Washington. So cute!

Jodie Llewellyn has such a great blog I actually had trouble choosing the best among her blog posts. They’re all really good! Here’s…

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Taking Stock of my Writing Career


I’m happy with the level of skill and the versatility I’ve achieved, but I wish I’d gotten here 10 years ago.

I am very happy with what I’ve produced for the blogs since November.  When we decided to start blogging, I went into it knowing it would require me to put aside everything but paid work and blogging for six months to get us off to a good start. I think we’re off to a good start already, but I’m sticking with my commitment to focus solely on blogging and paid work until May. Diana and our contributors have played a huge part in the success we’ve had, but I am pleasantly surprised at both the quality and the consistency I’ve managed to maintain.

When I started writing this on Monday, I had drafts for daily posts in Sourcerer’s queue to take us through Friday (including one of my own), and a post for Monday in my inbox. That left me a lot of time to write, network, and talk with contributors this week. It was a fabulous position to be in.

What I am not happy with, as far as my career is concerned, is this: I’ve never submitted a piece of writing, aside from newspaper stories, for academic or commercial publication. I wasn’t even comfortable calling myself a professional writer until I had an epiphany a few months ago and realized that every job I’ve ever had, with a couple of short-term exceptions, has required me to write every day to get paid. Maybe I’ve been more mercenary than artist with my writing career up to this point, but I do have a writing career, and I need to start thinking about it as such.

This latest foray into blogging has given me some confidence as a writer I didn’t have when I started. It’s improved my revision skills and it’s helping me overcome my perfectionism. I’ve had a few professional experiences lately that have given me confidence, as well. Honestly, if you will permit me a gaming metaphor, I feel like I’ve gained a level.

When I decided to go public on the Internet to support these blogs, I was o.k. billing myself as an editor and a scholar; but I felt a little silly calling myself writer, organizer, and promoter. I don’t feel silly at all about that now.

Even if we’re  as successful with these blogs as we’re ever going to be, I feel validated. I made a commitment back in the Fall to a fairly large and diverse group of people. I’ve held up my end, and they’ve all supported me. So have a lot of people I never would have met if not for these blogs. I’m grateful, and I’m always alert to opportunities to pay that support forward. For once in my life, I took a leap of faith and it worked out well enough to exceed my expectations.

I’ve been discussing, for a while,  submitting a guest post to a blog that I read often and sometimes comment on. Over the weekend I gave them a commitment. I’m planning to sit down and  write the first draft sometime in March (after I get my A-to-Z writing done) and submit it in April. At some point during that discussion, I made a pitch and said:

“I’ll give you the first read, and if it’s not what you’re looking for, I’ll publish it someplace else.”

I’ve been thinking about that conversation for a couple of weeks now, and I’ve realized I had absolutely no anxiety about rejection when I made the statement. If what I submit isn’t right for the blog I submit it to, we’ll still be friends. I’ll make another pitch at some point and try again. That’s a new experience for me. I’ve always been anxious about rejection, and about the quality of my work in general, but I appear to have made real progress on that. I have the personal friends who support these blogs, and the readers and bloggers I’ve chatted with over the past three months, to thank for that progress.

Which brings me back to taking stock of my career. I do not really know where this confidence and emotional maturity I’m experiencing lately is coming from, but the “new” has worn off and it’s starting to feel like a breakthrough. It’s happened since November. It is a gift, and I’m old enough to realize that I need to make the most of every day I have left on this little blue planet.

So maybe instead of making a New Year’s Resolution to produce a certain amount of draft fiction this year, I should have resolved to produce two short pieces of writing (any type), have some trustworthy critic-types read them with an eye to improving them, and submit the finished pieces to publishers until I find somebody who likes one well enough to run it.

The idea is to do the thinking while I get the blogs through the spring and be ready to sit down and write the first piece over the summer. The minute it’s finished, I’d send it out and start the next one.

What do you think of that resolution, friends?

Note – 02/18/2014


Friends, I have not forgotten about this blog. I’ll have a real post here before the week is out in which I take stock of my personal writing career and adjust my priorities for this year. So those of you who like personal stuff mixed in with your writing-themed blogging have that to look forward to.

My blogging here will be at a more leisurely pace here for the next little while. I’m getting everything in order for spring, and that means I can’t really post every day here for the next month to six weeks. There will be six-days-a-week, writing-themed blogging challenge here in April, though, and that is another thing you have to look forward to.

I’ll also keep reblogging my writer friends as I find occasion to do so.

The pages here are so far out of date, I am considering hiding them. This blog is evolving in my mind, and I am not sure what shape I should give it yet. While I am figuring that out, you can expect more planning, personal things, and writing-related posts. It’s like my Internet office for the next few weeks. Which sounds a little boring. But, if you want to catch a glimpse of me at my most real, this is probably the place to look.

I have a lot of irons in the fire. I won’t say too many unless this whole project collapses. Every iron I have in the fire is there for a reason. Every one. I committed to a six-month course of action back in November, so we’re about halfway through. Just have to keep doing the next thing until May, then take a good, long look at where we are.

Thanks for sticking with me. Whether you’re just keeping this blog in your reader to see where it goes, or liking occasionally, or commenting regularly on my threads, I appreciate your attention. I respect the fact that your time is valuable. And this blog is dear to my heart, even when I only post two or three times a week.