It’s been real and it’s been fun. I aim to keep it that way :-)


This is my last regular post from this address. At the end of the week, I’ll replace the front page here with a static page. The blog will still be accessible and all the archives are intact, but the address has been replaced on my other social media by

Photo by Gene'O

Photo by Gene’O, 2014.

justgeneo.wordpress.com

My archives through last weekend have been uploaded to the new blog, so everything that’s here is also over there. This blog isn’t going away. It’s just disconnected from my publicize network and I am no longer updating it with fresh content. From here on out, it’s for experimentation, development, and reblogging. Eventually, the theme will change, but it will sit for awhile once I’m done with the transition.

Thanks to everyone who’s read my work and encouraged me to keep blogging. Thanks, especially to those of you who have followed me to the new site and given me helpful feedback on the design and the art. Your input has greatly reduced my setup time, and time is something I’m short on right now, so I appreciate it. Thanks, also, to everyone who joined in my linkup over the weekend. The response was gratifying, and I was happy to read your posts and share links to them. If my schedule permits, I’ll reblog a few of those posts here this week.

Aside from posts already in the archives, the art at Just Gene’O is entirely my own from here on out, or else verified free to share and use. No exceptions. The new one also has a Creative Commons License – something I should have done from the very beginning. For now, you can expect one good written post there a week, photoblogs, and something fun on Saturdays as often as I can manage it.

I chose the new address with the idea of eventually purchasing the domain in mind. I already have Tumblr and Twitter accounts associated with Just Gene’O. Both are sleeping right now, but they’ll be connected to the new blog soon. I have already changed the Twitter profile to make it consistent with the blog. I disconnected the Tumblr page from the blogs that were posting to it over the weekend and will redesign it soon. Now a few thoughts on things I’ve done correctly and mistakes I’ve made over the last ten months.

Photo by Gene'O,2014.

Photo by Gene’O,2014.

I did a good job setting up the social media architecture, such as it is, but I overestimated the value of being able to publicize links to several networks all at once. I’ve learned from my experience with Twitter, which is thoroughly documented here, that publicizing links doesn’t do much good unless you have a real interactive presence on the networks you’re publicizing to. My Facebook fan pages and my Tumblr account are good examples. I don’t interact publicly very much on Facebook, so people don’t follow me. I only have about 100 Tumblr followers after eight months of updating my Tumblr blog, on average, three to six times per day, because I don’t interact there. Sourcerer’s Twitter account is thriving because I tweet at least four days per week, follow new people often, and am generous with my retweets and favorites.

At some point during the early part of the summer, I lost sight of the fact that the reason Diana and I were blogging at such a frantic pace was to generate a substantial archive as quickly as possible. Posting four times per day at Internet peaks is just plain good for traffic if you can create enough content to sustain the volume for weeks at a time, and we can do that for half the year. I got a little carried away by the numbers in May and June, and  overextended myself in July.

I’m looking at a new way of doing things now. I’ve realized that having a Tumblr page connected to a blog which only updates three times per week might be valuable. Tumblr is something you want  to do during the evenings and on weekends, if I understand it correctly, and I have hundreds of good photos to share. So perhaps if I build my Tumblr into a top-notch photoblogging page, people will be more inclined to take a look at my written posts when they do appear. I have no idea whether I am correct or not, but I do have the photos to try it 🙂

The biggest mistake I made with this blog, aside from the poor choice of URL, was branding it a writing blog. I should have made myself, rather than the interest, the focus to begin with. I could still have published all the writing stuff here, but I could have been doing other things the first few months as well. Branding it specifically as a writing blog limited me in ways that I just did not anticipate, and I was a little surprised at how short a time it took me to feel as though I’d exhausted the blogging about writing to the point that I had nowhere to go but post quotes, review literary works, and repeat myself.

The positive, welcoming response to me moving to a blog with my name in the title has surprised me. I’m picking up lots of followers at the new blog right now as people are wandering by and discovering that I’m moving. I’m interested to see where that number levels off. This blog ends with around 400 followers and I’m curious to know how many are actually paying attention. Using follower counts as a measure of readership is tricky. I know of at least one blog with fewer than 300 followers that’s generated more page views over the last 10 months than Part Time Monster, Sourcerer, and this blog combined. And I know of many with 1000+ followers that aren’t doing much better than this one and rarely generate more than a couple of comments on a thread. So we’ll just see.

Just call me Gene'O

Just call me Gene’O

So, anyway, it’s been fun, but I feel like moving from this blog and trying a different way of doing things is prudent. My writing style isn’t changing, I haven’t REALLY been a writing blogger for months, and my content presentation is only getting better. If you like what I’m doing, you should follow justgeneo.wordpress. And find me on other social media of course 🙂

Have a great week, and if your summer isn’t over yet, make them most of what’s left of it.

Not the last post, but the last one is written


If you’ve enjoyed this blog for the last few months, you should know that I’m moving. I’m afraid I waited too long to do this, and probably have to start over at the new blog, but I don’t care. What it comes down to, really, is that if you look at the address of this blog and take the “wordpress” out of it, there is no reason I should pay to have my own domain with this address.

The simplest solution was just to set up a new one with a better address, redesign, and move the archives, so that’s what I am doing. I am moving toward setting up several domains, all at once, and working from there. Anyways, if you are still paying attention to this blog, you want to follow the new one.

justgeneo.wordpress.com

Here’s my social media strategy through the end of the year. It’s an ambitious plan written with realistic goals in mind. Some of it will get done, some of it won’t. That is just the nature of the game.

At some point in the next month-to-six weeks, I’ll do a farewell post here and the transition will be complete.

This blog will then sleep for awhile, but it will not go away entirely. I’ve put too much into it to abandon it. It will still function, just in a different way.

I’m looking at the followers here, and I am really interested to see how many jump to the other blog before the switchover is complete. It’s an experiment.

Image from Life as Lee Ann Knows It

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.

 

Plans – Feb-May, 2014


This is my personal plan for spring. I’m changing the way I deal with these planning posts, and have a few remarks about that at the end. Here are my priorities:

1. Post, post, post. Post as many things from as many different contributors as we possibly can for the next two and a half months. That’s where our strength is. We’ve generated a mighty stream of content over the past three months. If we can keep it up, all the other priorities will fall right into place.

2. Deepen our network. That means nurturing the relationships we have, and forming more with people who share our interests. It means keeping up with bloggers who comment regularly on our threads and interact with us outside WordPress. This as a long term project. It’s more important to have 10 friends who will read and give you constructive criticism once a week than 1,000 who read everything you write and and never say a word. That is the whole difference between “deep” and “broad” networks.

3. Keep finding ways to use social media more effectively. Our “Blogs with Fan Pages” feed on Facebook is valuable. What we’re doing on Twitter and Stumbleupon is valuable. Diana’s Pinterest presence is also valuable. The trick is to keep making incremental progress with all of those, without letting any of it interfere with our posting.

4. Practical things: The Writing Catalog needs an overhaul in the worst way. I need more Twitter lists. I need to find more blogs with fan pages for the Facebook feed. The A to Z Challenge must be completed.

It will keep building, but slowly. We’ve exceeded my expectations in these first three months by quite a bit. If we can keep posting, I’ll have more free time as the year wears on, and my plan for the summer will be awesome.

Rather than create separate plans for each blog, and give every plan its own page, I’ll edit the titles of my original planning pages and add these posts to them as updates a few days after publication.

Just to be clear, these posts are for me. I don’t tell people what to do, or even ask people to do things very often. But, I am working very hard to encourage collaboration. The way I do that is to give people notice of my plans, and trust the friends who wish me well to help it along.