Tag Archives: Blog

Underachiever

I feel a little like an underachiever. I heard an interview today with Andrew Sullivan, the first person to blog back in like 1999 or 2000. Neat interview. Until I heard that (are you sitting down? Good) he makes 250 to 300 posts per week!

Huh?

Yep, that’s what the man said: 250 to 300 a week. He said he has to blog every 20 minutes. I just got one question: who has that much to talk about? And doesn’t the man have a life to live outside of his monitor? Where did he find time to do an interview?

And then I look at my stats and see where I haven ‘t posted in two whole days. And I think I went for five days before that with my brain lock (which kinda settled in again after that post. I’m getting old, I guess).

But let’s put this in perspective here. When I related this to my daughter and her mom, they both said basically the same thing: he has no life. And, listening to the interview, I have to agree. I mean, to him, it seems that the only writing he sees merit in is blogging. He likes being right there “at the edge of talking,” as he termed it. Nice thought, that blogging is the closest you can come to talking when you’re writing. In principle, I agree with that assessment. Except…I don’t want to carry on a conversation with my writing. I want to entertain. I want to tell stories. I am blogging to add to that, in some sense, and to document, to an extent at least, my journey from where I am now to that day when I can say I’ve been published (and beyond. I won’t just end this blog there).

To me, his attitude toward writing harks back to my post about how technology is changing how we write. If I remember the interview right, Mr. Sullivan talked of writing without worrying about an editor (why would you want to do that? They’re there to help you improve your piece), and of its immediacy. And yet, he couldn’t remember what his first blog post was because he’s written so many since then. In fact, he said that he can’t remember most of his posts because he has to write so many.

I don’t want to write so much that I can’t remember what I’ve written. Sure, some of that crap I wrote as a teenage is forgettable, but the object lessons I learned in writing those things are still with me (namely, don’t try to do rip-offs of stuff you’re reading lol). So, in a way, I feel sorry for Mr. Sullivan. To his credit, though, he admitted that he’d love to be able to take a year off to read and just absorb stuff rather than always producing. He seems to believe that the blog is bigger than him, though, and yet can’t exist without him, and maybe he has a point. As far as it goes.  The bottom line, though, if you ask me, is that he likes it too much to quit. Actually, I think he admitted that, as well.

So what’s my point? Well, nothing really, I suppose. Maybe I just wanted to see what it would be like to publish and fluff post. Or maybe I’m just a little amazed that someone could like blogging so much they’d dedicate that much of their time to it. I can’t conceive of liking it that much.

But, it’s writing. And as this blog makes plain (I hope), I like writing. It’s my dream to be a published, full-time writer.

I just don’t want to do it Mr. Sullivan’s way. When I want to go up to the edge of talking, I’ll pick up a phone. I’m old-fashioned that way.

Later,

Gil

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The (Un)Importance of Blog Stats

There’s a short but somewhat interesting discussion getting started over on my daughter’s blog. It started on a blog she follows, which (stay with me here) is a comment on agent Nathan Bransford‘s post about letting our blog stats possibly become far too important to us (I’m pretty sure I’m through posting links, so unless you want your local weather, you can stay here now lol).

It seems that Mr. Bransford is concerned that, as authors, we might start playing what he calls the “If-Only Game” (you can follow his link to that post, since I fooled ya with that weather link above), wherein we start relying too much on achieving the next goal and not being happy with the one we’ve just achieved. He starts out by talking about having a bad day writing, so we start daydreaming about how, if we can just get rolling, we’ll be writing a book that will outdo Harry Potter in sales and we’ll be so stinking rich…. Well, you get the picture. It’s okay to do this to an extent, he says, because it can help motivate us to get through those dry spells. But we don’t want to take it too far and never be happy with where we are now.

He says it better than I can:

When you allow daydreams to fill that gap to get you through the tough times, or even when you’re just letting your imagination get the best of you, the dreams can gradually evolve into the reason you were writing in the first place. They were how you got through the tough times, so now they have to come true for it to be worth it. They start to become a crutch–take that crutch away and you fall over because you were leaning on an endlessly elusive dream.

This all started because my daughter read Carissa’s post on the subject and it sold her on reading that blog regularly. I have to say it got me, too. But my kid went on to tell how I text her to tell her how many hits I have on this blog and, to me at least, it sounded like she was concerned that I might be depending too much on this number. And maybe, in a way, I was.

I started this blog as part of my “writer’s platform.” It’s the 21st Century way of selling by word of mouth, still the undisputed king of sales. You read a book, like it and tell me. I read it, like it and tell someone else. And so on.

We  live in a world where Ashton Kutcher tried for a million followers on Facebook and we tend to find self-importance in how many friends or followers we have. This is the danger Mr. Bransford was talking about, where we substitute numbers on a monitor for self-esteem. And it’s easy to slip into. I still look at how many hits I have when I log on, and to be honest, I’m a little astonished to have 60+ hits only a week or so after I started this exercise. But, I look at this as a part of my writing platform, a way to talk about what I’m going through as an unpublished writer. My version of Marco Polo‘s journal, as it were. And I intend to keep adding to it when I’m published (how’s that for self-confidence? Or is it self-delusion?).

I don’t know how many people are visiting this blog. I try to post on my Facebook page whenever I write a new entry here, so I hope at least a couple of the people I know there are reading some of this. But my daughter says most of the writer’s blogs she’s visited have very few comments (a fact that came as a relief to me. Whew!), so I guess I’m doing okay to get as many hits as I have, even if almost nobody comments on what I’m saying.

So, for all you who are reading me now, hang around. One of the things I like most about doing this blog is that it gets my creative juices flowing and fires me up to write what, at some point in the future, will hopefully be paying words. So stick around. One day I hope to announce the publication of my first book on these very pages. Hope you’re still here for that. That’s when I’ll get caught up in some numbers. Especially the ones on my advance check.

Later,

Gil

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Seriously?

I take my writing seriously, or at least I have in, oh, the last couple of years or so. Becoming a published (and hopefully full-time) writer is my dream and I am pursuing it in earnest. Or, alternatively, you could say I’m pursuing it seriously.

Maybe too seriously.

Someone whose opinion I value highly has informed me that my blog isn’t laid back enough and is therefore boring. I won’t name who this person is out of respect for his/her privacy, and this person shall remain nameless unless he/she chooses otherwise. Having said that, however, their statement got me to thinking: even though I take my writing seriously, that doesn’t mean I have to post blogs that sound like professorial lectures. After all, I enjoy writing, and I’m not going to achieve my goal of attracting and holding an audience for this blog unless I’m also entertaining. So, I’m not being emo here. I’m just taking the comment, uh, seriously.

So how can I be seriously entertaining?

Good question. The only thing I know to do is change my language. I mean, I hate to use this word again, but I take this person’s opinion seriously. But, at the same time, I can’t force a more laid back attitude because it would come through as false. So I guess what I’m gonna have to do is try to slowly change the way I’m doing these things and yet still stick to the things I want to talk about.

So I jumped over to John Scalzi‘s blog again and looked at it. He’s been blogging for like twelve years, every day (except for one incident I’ve found in which he let others do guest posts while he took six weeks off to catch up on work and go on vacation with the fambly), and I figured his would be a good example. After all, he’s got experience. And here’s the thing: he writes about whatever’s on his mind that day. Sometimes more than once.

On the flip side, when I was doing basic research on blogging before setting this one up, one of the tenets put forth was that all successful blogs concentrate on one theme or subject. They don’t stray from their intended subject matter (there I go again, sounding like a durned perfessor).

Well, guess what? My blog is supposed to be about the writing life. And the writing life doesn’t consist of discussing writing all the time, and certainly not sounding like a professor trying to put his class to sleep. I think maybe the operative word in the phrase “the writing life” is “life,” not “writing.” There are things that affect my life other than writing (gasp!), and I’ll try to cover some of those things as well. Though I think I’ll take a cue from the Masonic lodge bylaws (yes, I’m a Mason, and I’m still waiting on my New World Order credit card so I can buy a country. It’s all part of our nefarious scheme to take over the world, don’t you know): I will not discuss religion or politics. My religion is mine, and politics is too touchy a subject. If I decide to discuss politics, I’ll start a separate blog, but that’s not likely to happen. I don’t have time for two blogs. Gotta work on my (hopefully) paying writing  too, don’tcha know.

So, look for some slight changes to this blog. It’s a learning process, just like fiction writing, so that kinda stands to reason. I mean, look back at my first couple of posts: no links. That’s because I’m doing this through a kinda trial and error thing and didn’t discover the app that brings in links until after I’d already posted a couple times. Then, when I turned it on, it took another post to figure out (duh!) that I didn’t have to include all the links (or tags) offered. I can just highlight the ones I want and ignore the rest. Go figure.

Guess it’s a good thing I’m learning all this early in the process. I might actually be able to get some attention with this blog someday, and I want to make the most of it. And the one or two of you who are reading it now will be able to say, “I read it when.” If that happens, I’ll send you autographed copies of…something. Maybe this blog. If I can figure out how to sign it without messing up my monitor.

Okay, enough of that. More laid back doesn’t mean being lame. And I’ve probably rambled on enough about this as is. I hope this improves the blog, though. Let me know what you think as I adapt to this.

Later,

Gil

PS. You’ll notice, if you look at  the tags, that there’s one called FAQs Help and Tutorials. Maybe I’ll go over and look at that.

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