One More Thing.


I’m having a pre-kickoff party at the new blog this weekend. A linkup for anyone who would like to write an “If We Were Having Coffee” post and drop me a link. I’ll share the links, and I have lots of ways to share links 😉

I’ve worked out the transition, I think.

  • The last post here goes on Monday.
  • On the following Saturday or Sunday, I will replace the front page with a static page which explains the new role of this blog in my social media.
  • By the time that’s done, my new personal blog will be connected to select bits of my other social media.

Thanks very much for following, for reading my work, and especially for your feedback. This is not the end by any means. More like the beginning of a new chapter.

If We Were Having Coffee 8


If we were having coffee . . .

I’d tell you I was crazy-busy this week, but I got tons of things done. I had to adjust my writing schedule a bit to work in 2,000 words that I realized on Sunday I had to publish this week. I had to let a few things go to take care of that, but in the end I got it done.coffee

I’d tell you I have three guest blogging commitments to write for in the next month. One’s a social media post, one’s about comics, and one’s about fantasy fiction. I have the first one drafted and the introduction to the second one written. I’ll let you know where they’re being published once I get them finished and figure out when they’re running. I’m thrilled about all this. I’d planned to be doing guest blogging already. I think it’s a good way to reach readers who would never hear of you otherwise, and it’s good for the blogger you give the post to because it gives them content from a fresh perspective.

I’d tell you my friend Jeremy, who’s a regular Sourcerer contributor, has made some real progress with his own blog, Quaint Jeremy’s Thoughts, recently. He’s posted contributions from three other bloggers this week, and I could not be happier for him. Jeremy’s consistently Sourcerer’s most-read writer, and that blog would have an entirely different character without his input and his contributions.

And I’d tell you we had another post from Part Time Monster autoblogged this week. It was one of mine this time, and I’m not even going to link to it or say very much about it. Nothing to be done, really, but it rankles me.

I’d tell you that as you are reading this, I’m probably at Chuck E Cheese with my grandson. I’m not the biggest fan of Chuck E. It’s as loud as a casino and as chaotic as a crowded swimming pool. But we do what we must for the people we love 🙂 And I’d tell you that I’m proud of the progress we’ve made getting the grandson interested in reading. We’re into chapter 4 of The Hobbit now, and I’m beginning to think we might actually make it through.

He had a trip to the library this week, and as he was browsing for his own books, he spied a Star Wars graphic novel and demanded to bring it home for me. Because, as he said, I am “the best reader in the world and Star Wars fan zero.” It tickled me that he chose Star Wars for me, and I’m proud of the consideration for others that shows. Once I get the guest blogging squared away, I’m planning to write a post about my experience teaching him to value reading.

Then I’d ask “what’s up with you?”

If We Were Having Coffee 8


If we were having coffee, I’d tell you the modest success we’ve had with Part Time Monster and Sourcerer has driven me to flights of fancy.

I daydream sometimes about the things Diana and I could get up to on the Internet if we had an office, an administrative assistant, a real webmaster, and two years’ worth of overhead to work with.

I also think sometimes about how cool it would be to get a big bunch of bloggers together and have everyone load a single post a week into a new blog, but not publish it, until we had 365 posts piled up, so I could schedule a month’s worth of daily posts to publish at Noon Eastern Time for a whole year. I wonder what the archive and the author grid would look like at the end of that year. Notice I said “load” a post per week. Not “write” a post per week. I’m talking about things from our archives like:coffee

  • First posts
  • Favorite posts
  • Popular posts
  • Images that were used for a Wordless Wednesday months ago.

We’d have to upload the art, but text would take no time at all to copy and tag, and the links would come though. As long as the posts weren’t dated or commenting on specific current events long since forgotten, that could turn into a brilliant blog.

I’d tell you that, these flights of fancy aside, I kicked off a new WordPress project this weekend. It will take only about 10 minutes of my time per day and doesn’t require anyone else to collaborate. I’m not going big with the announcement for a while. Some of you will find out about it through notifications or by stumbling across little breadcrumbs I’ll leave here and there. I want to see what it does for a month without me promoting it.

I hope you’re having a great weekend!

If We Were Having Coffee 5


If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I have the awesomest sister in the whole world. If it weren’t for her, this blog wouldn’t exist and I’d never have gotten to know all the people I’ve met through blogging. She convinced me that if we worked together and found a few people to collaborate with, we could do something I’ve never been able to do in 10 years of trying. That we could be

One of the people in this photo is my awesome sister, but it's hard to tell which one because they are all in disguise.

One of the people in this photo is my awesome sister, but it’s hard to tell which one because they are all in disguise.

successful enough bloggers to not walk away in frustration after six months and go back to scribbling things in personal journals. She was right, and I’m glad I gave it one more try. So if you enjoy chatting with me or reading this blog, or if you’re a Sourcerer fan — even if you just follow one of our many ongoing features — you should stop by Part Time Monster tomorrow and tell her thanks on her coffee thread.

I’d tell you I’ve gotten behind on the networking again for the second week in a row. That happens to bloggers when the content runs low. I didn’t have much time to write last weekend, and I had a couple of pieces to run this week that just couldn’t wait. So I’ve been playing catch-up with the writing since last Sunday. On the plus side, I have nearly everyone who talks to me on the blogs bookmarked in a set of folders so that I can eventually visit about 50 blogs a week to read, comment, and share links on my other social media. It’s just that the writing schedule and the offline life have been a bit demanding of late.

I’d tell you that I’ve decided to go ahead and change the name of this blog to Just Gene’O. Rather than try and change it on all my social media at once, I’ve indicated in the tagline that I’m in the process of a name change. That’ll get me by for a week, and I haven’t finalized a permanent tagline, anyway.

coffee

And I’d tell  you that fall is bearing down on me already. Fall is hectic, and there are long periods during the fall when I don’t  have much blogging time. I have another month and a half at most to blog at the pace I’ve been going at this summer. At some point, I’m going to have to step off the accelerator until January. Then we’ll see how much of the progress we’ve made since March is real, and how much is about hitting news feeds two and three times per day consistently. However that turns out, it will give us valuable information about blogging. I may have discounted the importance of posting frequency when we first started out.

I’d also tell you that I have a couple long-term projects in the works. Neither will require a lot of time or effort. One of them is hidden in plain sight on the sidebar and labeled top secret because it tickles my funnybone to present it that way. The other one actually is top secret, but once it’s ready to roll, you will find out about it in a way that I hope you’ll find entertaining.

Then I’d ask how your week of blogging went.

(I’m taking a real break from blogging next weekend. It’s the 4th of July in the U.S. next Friday, and I’m spending most of that weekend with my family. What time I do have will go into networking and restocking the old content heap, I’m doubling up on the photoblogging next weekend and not publishing a single word after next Thursday. If you’re in the U.S., I’ll wish you a safe and happy Independence Day weekend in advance. But that’s a week away. We’ll have plenty of good blogging in the meantime.)

If We Were Having Coffee 4


If we were having coffee, I’d tell you the story of my wedding.

My wife, Vicki, is a bit older than me and we’ve known one another since 1993. We met when I was an undergraduate in college and she was working on her Master’s degree. We shared a house for awhile with another coffeefriend in the late 90s and eventually came to be best friends. I moved to Texas in 2000 and stayed there most of the year, then lived in Mobile, AL for awhile after that. The whole time I was gone, I called her, on average, at least twice a week.

We became romantic in 2003 and got married in the spring of 2004. Vicki initiated both the romance and the engagement, which is one of my favorite parts of the story. We chose May 13 as the day because Vicki’s grandparents were married on May 13, 1929.

We didn’t want to spend a ton of money on our wedding, and we didn’t want it to be a big production with everyone we knew looking on. We wanted it to be serious and intimate. Once we’d made the decision, we told our families we’d be getting married soon, but didn’t tell them the date. When the day arrived, we took Vicki’s daughter, who was already grown and married by that time, with us to be our flower girl and drove across the state line to Alabama. Mississippians elope to Alabama quite frequently. Alabama doesn’t require a blood test or a waiting period for a marriage license. In Alabama, you can walk into a courthouse with $50 and no appointment and walk out married half an hour later.

The courthouse scene is what makes this a story worthy of a writing blog. After we filled out the paperwork for the license, the clerk congratulated us and presented us with a care package. This was a small, white satin bag which contained the following items:

  • Travel-sized his and hers deodorant,
  • two disposable toothbrushes like the ones you get in hospitals,
  • a tiny tube of toothpaste,
  • some coupons (I forget what they were for), and
  • three condoms.

Amused as we were, we appreciated the thought. We had a long discussion on the drive home about what sort of situation prompted the Circuit Clerk of Washington County, Alabama to decide those care packages were necessary. We didn’t use the care items, but we kept the bag. Now it contains ten years’ worth of keepsakes from things we’ve done together – seashells from the beach, ticket stubs from plays we’ve seen, things like that.

The clerk went and told the judge we were there, and when he came out of his office, he was putting his portion of the marriage license fee in his coat pocket. We’ve always imagined that he spent it on lunch. He was very judgely, but friendly with a sense of humor. Just the sort of person you want to pronounce you married.

We went into the office and there was a bit of awkwardness for a minute while the judge figured out which one of the beautiful ladies accompanying me was the bride. Once that was sorted, we said the vows. It was solemn and it was sweet.

We went outside, took a few photos in front of the courthouse, then took the stepdaughter home and went out of town for a couple of days. After we called our mothers and told them we were married, of course. We had a small reception with just the family a few weeks later.

And after I told you that, I’d ask you how your week went.

😉

If we were having coffee 3


coffeeIf we were having coffee . . .

I’d tell you I wrote fantasy fiction for the first time in seven months this week, and it felt good. I did a word sprint with some friends. What that involves is, everyone checks in (we used Twitter for it), then starts writing at the same time, stops at the same time after 15 or 20 minutes, and compares word counts. I managed to produce three pages of fiction for about 45 minutes of writing time, which could be a record for me. Typically I’m doing well to get a page and a half per hour.

I noticed something interesting about writing that way. What I came away with was all action and dialogue – almost no description or exposition. Of course, stories need a little description and exposition, but those can be added in revision. I was so happy with the three pages I came away with that I’m thinking about getting an egg timer and writing action and dialogue in 30-minute stretches a few times a week until I have 100 pages of it. That could easily turn into 250 once I add the descriptive parts. Action and dialogue move the plot. I’d rather have 10 pages of nothing but action and dialogue than 10 pages of description, because once the action and dialogue are there, you have a viable draft to work with. If all you have is description, it’s much harder to turn that into a story. At least the way I write.

I’d tell you I haven’t forgotten that I promised to write a post about the story of my wedding day. I plan to do that very soon, perhaps for one of these Saturday posts.

And I’d tell you a little secret about how I think about blogs. We joke around a bit about Part Time Monster Media with its affiliates, but really we’re just being silly with that. I think of social networks as places. The thing that makes blogs different from Facebook and Twitter is that both those networks are set up so they feel like one huge, crowded place. WordPress isn’t like that – it feels like a lot of small, interconnected places.

My Facebook timeline doesn’t feel like my own space in the same way that a blog does. At best, my Facebook timeline is like a tiny little room in a huge hotel. People will like my posts there if they happen to see them in their feeds, and tag me with stuff. But no one ever comes and looks at my timeline unless they’re looking for something specific. The blogs are more like little countries to me, each with its own ruler or rulers and its own way of doing things.

Good fantasy geek that I am, my metaphor of choice, in my own private brain, it to think of blogs as kingdoms. And I’m very fortunate to be part of a federation. Because really, who wants an empire these days? I think of Part Time Monster as the capitol and Sourcerer as the second city of our little federation. Each of those blogs has its own identity, but they would be very different if they weren’t so closely affiliated. This blog is my private estate – just a quiet little village in the countryside. Our friend and constant collaborator Jeremy also has his own estate now, and I couldn’t be more happy about that. And we have allies. Lots of allies. Just go and read our Feminist Friday threads, or take a look at how I’m using my Twitter account these days, and you’ll see what I mean.

I view Twitter as a huge commons, for two reasons. It gives me a way to find potential readers, and it gives me a way to interact with bloggers as bloggers. I know tons of bloggers who write things that are good but, for various reasons, I’m not able to reblog them or link to them. Twitter gives me a way to see what they’re posting and help them with my social media without featuring them on my front pages. On Twitter, it doesn’t matter to me what you’re blogging about. Food blogging, mommy blogging, using your blog as a personal journal – as far as I’m concerned, all those things make you just as much a blogger as people who write literary essays and social commentary. And I like to know and help out bloggers.

I’d tell you that I’ve finally figured out how to keep up with 50 blogs a week, and I’ll explain that in my “Blog Traffic and Engagement” post at Sourcerer tomorrow. It’s such a simple solution, I can’t believe I just now thought of it. And this is a funny thing. I’ve been following blogs so long, I could write you a passable history of the blogosphere (I may do that next year), but I’m still learning things that make me feel like a n00b for not knowing them all the time. This week, it happened twice – with the writing sprint and with the way of organizing 50 blogs so that I can visit them all once a week.

Then I’d ask what’s up with you? Feel free to tell me on the thread.