Monday, December 28, 2009

Preparing for Resolutions

I'm trying to come up with some new New Year's resolutions, even though it seems like it's only been a few months and therefore I should get a few more months before I have to think about this. Anyway, I thought I'd look around first and see what writing sites are posting as writers' resolutions.

First I found this one. Wow. No. Just- no. Every single one of the 10 is the opposite of what I want. I want fewer income streams, less going outside my comfort zone and less online networking. I also don't foresee enjoying the journey just for the sake of doing so. Enjoyment comes from seeing results.

Then I found this one. Just for disclosure's sake, this was written by my editor, but if it sucked I would still say so. This one is a lot closer to what I generally do each year. I always write out my goals longhand and really consider them before committing to allowing them to hang over my head for a year. It also breaks down the resolutions into the real categories they belong in- personal and financial.

Then there is this one, which seems kind of written for hobbyists. If my biggest problem was that I didn't take the time to read more, I would be a pretty happy cog.

So far, I haven't come across any New Year's resolutions for hardcore content writers who have to slog through keywords for hours at a time and sit in on meetings where no one listens to a word they say and then the non-listeners wonder later why their online strategy didn't work and what to do when insanely ruthless people are content to stab you in the back just to get a bigger piece of the pie when you know that the pie is always expanding and there are never enough people to eat it all so there's really no reason to even do that.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gifts for Writers

This time of year I get a lot of hits from people who are looking for Christmas gifts for writers. Since last year's links seem to have evaporated for some reason, I'll make a new list.

Most writers want a Snake Wine Holder.If they don't care for wine, they may enjoy a nice Sack of Snakes.If they don't care for snakes, they may like a box of Conversation Cardsso that their conversations about wine will sound more scripted.

For weirdos who don't care for wine or snakes, there's always Uranium Ore,which is FINALLY in stock. For writers who don't appreciate radioactivity, there are Yoda Lights.If you know a writer who doesn't like Yoda lights, do they really deserve a gift? Really?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Questions Answered - No Problem

I get a lot of questions emailed to me through this here blog. People don't feel the need to leave me comments, but they do feel free to email. It's fine, though, I answer a lot of questions about freelance writing and "meet" some interesting people. However, I thought I might start answering questions here on the blog so that I don't get the same question a bunch of times, which does happen occasionally.

Here's the latest question:

How can I stay on track with my novel?

Answer: Beats the hell out of me. I am the last person on Earth who could answer this question. I have a list of about 14 novels that I've been working on for a long time. I have a sci-fi trilogy that I love, but I've been working on it for almost 20 years. It's all completed in my mind, but I never seem to have the time to put it all on paper.

So, I guess my advice would be to make a list of the novels that you have inside you, work on them piecemeal for a couple of decades and then one day realize that you will likely never have time to finish them all. You're welcome.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Disclose Your Stuff

The new FTC guidelines went into place at the beginning of the month, so if you're posting sponsored reviews, even if your payment is nothing more than a free sample of the item, you have to disclose it on your blog. I wrote a boring article about how it works and what you're supposed to do to comply with the new guidelines.

Basically, if you're giving a sponsored review, it's an advertisement. It's not about journalism or media law or what rights bloggers have or any of the rest of that. It's about complying with the laws that every other advertiser has had to comply with for decades. It's an ad. Disclose it. It's not the end of the world, like a lot of bloggers have decided. It's long, long overdue, in my opinion.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Twitter Results

I had been adamant about not joining Twitter. It wanted me, but I didn't want it. Finally, it came after me and won. I really thought it would be a huge time waster and that basically more of my life would get sucked into useless stuff that takes away from writing time (thanks, YouTube).

But, after using it for a month or so, it really isn't that bad. I have never asked anyone to follow me, I have never put Twitter links on anything else that I do and I have never marketed my stuff through the site, so I think I've avoided most of the major pitfalls as I see them. I think that if you don't avoid those three things, you can get seriously caught up in and end up with less writing time and more stress. Here's why:

More followers = crap

Getting more followers means nothing unless you're just using the site just to market your stuff. If you're marketing, pushing your links onto "friends," etc., then yeah, go for followers. Otherwise, I have actually seen some poor, misguided souls bragging about having more followers than other people. It's worn like penis size or something. That's just a waste of time.

Twitter links = irritation

"Follow me" links are irritating, without exception. Ick. Want followers? NEED followers? Get therapy.

Twitter marketing = meh

Yes, I do have to write articles about how good Twitter is for marketing, and actually, it kind of is- if you have something great to market. If you do have something great, word of mouth is probably better, but Twitter is good too. If you don't have something great to market, tweeting about it won't make it become so. Tweeting isn't alchemy that will turn crap into gold. I think Confucius once said that.