Re-imagining


What I’ve been doing here since May just isn’t working. It’s not a bad blog, but it’s one piece of a byzantine maze of social media accounts that Diana, Jeremy, and myself are using with specific goals in mind. The approach I adopted here in the beginning was based on the idea that Sourcerer would take a year to get off the ground, and this blog would need to post frequently for a few months until contributors came on board and Part Time Monster was thoroughly established.

I chose to make it a writing blog because we already had two with much wider spectrums of content. I felt like I needed a narrow focus here. Since writing is the thing I’m most qualified to focus on, and since I love to talk to writers about writing, it seemed like a no-brainer. In general, the larger project has developed as I expected it to. Both Sourcerer and Part Time Monster have evolved distinctive characters and attracted regular readers more quickly than I dared imagine they would, and I realized at some point that the focus I chose for this blog is too narrow.

The consequences of all this are two-fold.

  1. There’s nothing I can do from this blog to help the others, and pretty much everyone who reads the others is aware this blog exists and has made their decision about following it by now, so they can’t really help me here, either.
  2. Since PTM and Sourcerer have developed in very interesting and unanticipated directions, this blog as it exists doesn’t fit into the overall scheme as well as it did in the beginning. It’s out of synch. I’m amazed that it’s still, inexplicably, picking up at least one follower on most days.

This means that unless I want to shutter it and hope the people who like Just Gene’O best will follow along at Sourcerer, I need to take three steps if I want to help this blog:

  1. Revamp it so that it looks and feels as good as the other two,
  2. Adopt a realistic posting schedule, and
  3. Make sure that when I do post, the content is of the highest quality, including a significant amount of the blogging focused on reading, writing, and literature.

So, here’s my to-do list to get Just Gene’O back on its feet.

  • Change the theme to be more reflective of my personality, incorporate real menus and make it easier to navigate the “Collected Works” pages.
  • Look at my content – particularly what I posted here in June and the early part of this month – and develop a more coherent and appealing content plan.
  • Figure out how often I can post and get myself prepared to stick to it. If that means once a week, that’s what I can do. This blog can survive until spring with once-a-week posting, especially if I get a little more savvy about sharing links to appropriate places.
  • Change all references to The Writing Catalog to Just Gene’O on my social media. This should have already been done.

In short, I need to re-imagine this blog the way you re-imagine a story that isn’t working. I need to keep the best parts but turn it into something different.

Here are a few ideas I’m toying with.

  • Setting it up to display a static front page rather than the most recent posts.
  • Making it solely a weekend blog for awhile, and arranging my schedule to post here on either Saturday or Sunday, or
  • Since it’s somewhat-focused on reading, writing, and books, moving the Top Ten Tuesday feature over here and letting that be the weekly post, aside from occasional personal things and writing chatter.

That last idea makes sense for several reasons:

  1. Sourcerer rarely has a shortage of content on Tuesdays.
  2. Tuesday, organically, seems to be the best day of the week to post.
  3. The Top Ten Tuesdays allow me to list a link at the Broke and the Bookish. This is helpful to Sourcerer, but I’m wondering if it might be even more helpful, long-term, here.

Just thinking on these things. I figured since I had to write all this down to get it straight in my head, I might as well do it here instead of in a notebook. That way, anyone who cares about the nuts-and-bolts of blogging can follow along with this process.

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.)

Back on My Feet, Maybe


If I manage to post tomorrow, I’ll have updated this blog every day for a week. That hasn’t happened since the last week of April. I think I have a schedule worked out now that will allow me to update this blog six days a week, most weeks. Here it is:

Saturday – “If we were having coffee . . .” I love this feature, and unless something happens to prevent me from putting one together, I’d like it to continue, and keep it here.

Sunday – “Silent Sunday” This is a photo feature. Photoblogging on Sundays has been part of my plan here from the very beginning, it just took me awhile to build an image stock. I have one now.

Monday – A writing-related reblog. This week the reblog was about a writing sprint that Winter Bayne put together, and the reblog turned Luther on to it, which was cool. Reblogging good writing-related posts has also been part of the plan from the beginning, so that’s what I’m doing on Mondays.

Tuesday – Most weeks, “Random Poetry,” in which I publish a poem that’s in the public domain and comment on it. On weeks when I have something original to run early in the week, this feature will get bumped to Thursday.

Wednesday – “Wordless Wednesday” photoblogging.

Thursday – realistically, this is my best day to publish something of my own that’s writing-related. Long-term, I’d like to write about worldbuilding on either Tuesdays or Thursdays. Not sure about next week, though.

Friday – Often, the off-day. My Fridays are typically very busy with other projects, and this is the trickiest day to post, anyway. Internet traffic really falls off three hours before happy hour on Fridays in every country where people work 8-5 in offices.

So, a couple of posts from me a week, a couple of choice photos, and a couple of reblogs. Not ideal, but a heap better than posting three times per week, to my way of thinking.

How does that strike you?

Have a marvelous weekend!

Also: Jeremy and I got up to some hi-jinks last night. Read the post.

 

 

Anyone know how to use StumbleUpon?


Not a writing post today – more a personal one. Earlier this week, I published a post about my plans to add a few features to my blogs over the summer. Once that’s up and running, and it may take all summer to get it done, I’ll start thinking about improving my ability to network with people online.

At the moment, I pretty much live on WordPress and Twitter, because that’s where I get the most, and best, engagement. I haven’t left Facebook or Google Plus permanently, I’ve just stepped away from them to focus on the blogs and the Twitter accounts. That’s why you haven’t been seeing +1s from me on G+ or fanpage likes on Facebook lately. I’ll get back to those in time.

We tried out nine different networks during the first few months because we were experimenting and trying to figure out what works best for us. We learned what we needed to know from the experiments, but they ate up a lot of time when I could have been writing. Now, I’ve shifted gears and changed my approach. Going forward, my plan is to focus on stockpiling content and really interacting with people on WP and Twitter until we get far enough ahead for me to truly use a third network.

Continue reading

One Foot on the Platform, the Other Foot on a Train


Today is my 10th wedding anniversary, and I have an awesome marriage. It’s the best personal decision I’ve ever made, and one of the few good ones I made before I was 35. Vicki’s agreed to allow me to tell the story of our wedding day on one of the blogs, and I’ll be doing that in the next couple of weeks. I’m still not sure where I’ll post it, but I’m thinking, perhaps here. Because it’s a story. What writer doesn’t like a good story?

I’d planned to tell the story today, but wasn’t able to write it in time. Because life. When she gave me permission, Vicki asked me to include this video. It’s her favorite song, and in my top 20. We collect YouTube videos of it, and this version includes an extra stanza that’s played so rarely most people don’t know about it. So here’s a video, because it needs to be posted on the actual day, even if the story isn’t ready yet.

I’d intended to have an A to Z reflection tomorrow, but it doesn’t look like that’s happening. It has to happen before I can move on to other things with this blog, though. I need closure, and it helped me figure out some things about where to go here. I need to write them down and invite people to comment.

I’m two days away from being done with the most hectic three weeks offline I’ve had in six months. I’ve had to step away from the blogs lately to take care of business, do family stuff, and just recharge a little in general. And I have a commitment to Sourcerer.

My blogging friends really came through for me today. I have four Sourcerer contributions in my inbox, another one coming, and an out-of-the-blue submission coming this weekend. We lucked into traffic today, we have a post on a trending pop culture topic to talk about tomorrow, and a first post by  a new contributor posting tomorrow who you may already know. 😉 We have a plan laid out through the end of the week over there. So it will likely be the weekend before I can get things back on course here, but it will be relatively soon.

I’m on track to have my professional obligations squared away by close of business on Thursday. My grandson’s little league season ends this weekend. He’s in his first year of coach-pitch, and he’s a slugger. That’s what I’ve been giving a lot of my time to over the past couple of months.

I’m gearing up for a week of serial blogging and frequent tweeting next week. I’ve been just keeping it going for the last little while and taking care of other things. I need a personal vacation, and I need to spend it with my social media peeps. So I’m taking one.

Here’s a preview of my plan for this blog.  I’ll discuss it in more detail when I post my A to Z Reflection.

  • I need to give more space here to poets, poetics, and poems. There are tons of poems in the public domain, and I am well-versed. It’s the first thing I spent years trying to master.
  • Worldbuilding. The worldbuilding and the post about my personal fantasy project were both well-received. I know lots about building convincing worlds, and it’s one of my favorite things to talk about.
  • Posts in which I take a single writing concept or principle and explain it on my own words with a short, conversational post. That’s what I did for all of April, and the 26 posts I wrote for the challenge barely scratched the surface.

I’m thinking of focusing on those three things here and working myself up to twice-a-week posting with frequent reblogs of things I like, then building from there. That’s doable, but it may take me all summer to get there.

Thanks for following, and for reading. I’ll be back in business here soon.

 

Welcome, April A to Z Bloggers!


We’re a go for the challenge. If you’re getting an early start and you discovered me by browsing the registration list, thanks for stopping by, and have a preview:

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014]

You can find my topic list here. I’ve revised it slightly, but not much.

I work from 10-8 Central Time, so I’ll do most of my browsing early in the morning and late at night. My posts will be scheduled to publish around noon. The theme for my first post will be Audience.

During the first few days of the challenge, I’ll start from the bottom of the participant list and visit as many writing blogs per day as I am able. Once things get rolling, I’ll also visit people who visit me, assuming they leave me a way to find them. I’ll also be dropping in at Part Time Monster (my sister’s blog) and our friend David’s blog to chat on their threads and visit bloggers who comment there. David and his wife Holly also write Comparative Geeks.

Best of luck with the challenge.  I’m looking forward to an awesome month of blogging and networking.

If you’re following me, or if we chat regularly, and you’re doing the challenge, this thread would be the perfect place to remind me that you’re in.

Update: Not a Punk Rocker, who I chat with often, is also doing the challenge, and she used a very interesting method to choose her topics.