How To Start A Writing Blog and HAVE FUN

There’s plenty of ‘how to blog effectively’ articles out there, and you may be wondering, “Why should I take advice from someone who has ~300 followers?”

The reason I think you should care is that I feel those 300 followers is about average, perhaps a little more or less, to what you should expect after blogging in the writing community for about a year (which is where I am) with absolutely 0 online presence beforehand.

The main way to succeed at blogging is to not give up.  You may never get paid for it, and you may never get famous, but you will still gain from the experience.  Here’s how.

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What Blogging Can (Will) Get You

You can easily get articles about ‘how to direct traffic to your blog’ or stories about how people succeeded.  Some of that crap works, but in real life?  This Bo Burnham quote sums up my thoughts on most of that advice:

I would say don’t take advice from people like me who have gotten very lucky, we’re biased. You know, like Taylor Swift telling you to follow your dreams is like a lottery winner telling you, ‘Liquidize your assets, buy Powerball tickets, it works!’

— Bo Burnham on TBS’s Conan, 2016

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The same can apply to advice from successful bloggers or, gasp, authors.  Sure, they put in the effort, they had skill, and they did what was necessary to start the process, but an element of luck plays into all of it. None of us are failures when luck or zeitgeist didn’t fall our way.

What you can really expect is to contact a few other dedicated bloggers or, in my case, author-bloggers.  You can expect to see more of what other people do, recognize what choices you have and what steps you need to take if you do want to chase a dream like publishing – either traditional or self-published.

What You Must Pay

While I believe having more than the free plan would help me grow my blog, direct monetary loss isn’t what I’m talking about.  I’m talking about payments of effort.  Time is something even free bloggers have to spend.

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When it comes to your own posts, you’ll figure out your balance of quality vs. quantity.  I decided to post every day for 3 months in 2018, and that was definitely when I got through the beginning slump – but posting every day isn’t necessary.  What is necessary, if you want to keep growing, is to just not quit. Keep commenting and reading even if you post once a week or once every 2 weeks.

This leads me into the other ‘payment’ – comments.  Likes are penny candy after a while, and you can’t be sure some of those people even read your stuff.  Try using the wp reader for a while – it’s way easier to like than it is to go to the website, load it, read it, then like it.  So yes, like, but also comment – comment like you think the poster is about to quit and you’re the only one who can prevent it.  Even if they don’t care about you in return, you did a good thing.  Start a conversation, be the reader you want other people to be.  Don’t depend on getting secret readers or stuff like that.

Eventually, commenting won’t feel so nerve-wracking.  You’ll just do it.  Right now I have a hard time commenting on popular blogs because I feel like I can’t add to an already illustrious conversation – but that’s not true, and I can get over that psychological block.

Also, don’t be an asshat in the comments.

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Have a Good Time

Warning: atypical advice ahead!

If you don’t enjoy blogging, don’t do it. It’s that simple. The chances of getting internet fame or causing your book sales to skyrocket are low, especially after a short time online. If you don’t enjoy the platform, try posting less often.  Try finding a type of post you like better.  Maybe try Twitter (which makes me a nervous wreck, but you can find me @hrrgorman) or Tumblr or Instagram.

If you don’t like blogging, you’ll require more comments, likes, and traffic to feel worthwhile. You might get them – it is possible – but that’s still got a lot of luck basis. If you don’t like blogging, really consider what your ‘final straw’ is. Don’t let online bs drag you down in real life. Have reasonable (aka low) expectations if you are a stat dependent creature.

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Do you have any tips for beginning bloggers?  Any questions about startup, fears about where your blog is going?  I’d love to have a chat in the comments, so meet me there!

In 2 weeks, I hope you’ll enjoy my post about writing prompts and how they are super useful to worm yourself into the writing community on WordPress!  Give me a follow if you’re interested!

Roundup For July 2018

I usually post about books I read on Tuesdays, but this month I have a bonus Tuesday to write on.  On bonus Tuesdays I include some of my favorite posts and stories throughout the month, especially as they relate to my theme.  Since time travel is a bit hard to find, I’m going to be a bit eclectic this time.

Time Travel Relevant – THE SCIENCE BEHIND TIME TRAVEL by Voidroid

I’ve looked up quite a bit about time travel this month, and on July 15th I was surprised and thrilled to find that Voidroid had a pretty good, succinct explanation of time travel theory (With pictures!).  It was their first post, and I’m following them to see where they take the blog.  I expect it to be filled with pop science, and that could be great inspiration for me as a sci-fi writer.

Time Travel Relevant – Don’t Shoot Me in the Head by M. Talmage Moorehead

This story had a really interesting, weird way of foretelling the future.  When Mr. Moorehead gets a sci-fi concept going, it’s always really in-depth and psychologically interesting.  His first-person narrators are extremely personable, and the one in this story is no exception.  You really get to feel like the character is talking to you, not just blathering about in some invisible diary.

This story also had that cringe of the uncanny about it that I love so much.

All About Scrivener by Natalya Edwards

imageI’ve been curious about Scrivener for a while, but most of what I’ve seen online made it seem unnecessary for my needs.  Seeing Natalya’s opinions on it and a couple screen shots made me much more aware of the benefits of Scrivener as compared with other software options.  The way she framed the story as a personal search also made it relatable and approachable.  If you’ve ever considered Scrivener, take a look at this post.

The Smartest Woman on Earth by Tom Darby

I’m really glad I wasn’t drinking anything when I read this one, or I would have spilled it.  It’s political, but I swear to you that it doesn’t matter what side of American politics you’re on – you’re going to laugh and feel pain all at once.  This might be my favorite thing I’ve read this month.

 

 

3 Day Quote Challenge – Day 3

Thanks to Marnie of the Marnie Writes blog, who led me to do this challenge.

Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Post a quote for three consecutive days (1 quote for each day) (I’m going to fail – I’m doing a Monday-Wednesday-Friday).
  • Share why this quote appeals so much to you.
  • Nominate 3 different bloggers for each day (Whaaaaat I must know more people now!)

My Quote:

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There is an art to flying, or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.” — Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

Whenever I trip, I use the excuse that I’m learning to fly.  With a little anklebiter dog, I’ve come to need this quote more than I used to.

Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was also the first book I bought for my beloved.  You know you’re the best, dear, and I’m so glad you read my blog.  Our anniversary is soon, and I’m excited for the trip you’ve planned.  Also I bought a sword, and it’s coming in the mail.  I love you.

My Tags:

First off, please – if you’re tagged, don’t feel pressure to reply or participate.  If you’re reading, these are good blogs to follow.

I met Miriam Hurdle through Charli Mills’s Carrot Ranch and the Flash Fiction contests.  Whether she wants to participate or not, Miriam is a sweet lady who I want you to visit because she deserves your patronage.  Dude, I hope her blog takes over the world.  You want to feel good?  Visit her cute stories.

Shadoriverdaleharley doesn’t know me, but daaaaamn, she/he/they can read up a storm!  I’m always impressed at their ferocious speed.

Lastly, I’ll tag Joanne of geekgirlblog.  This is mostly for selfish purposes, because I want more Sky-Pirates, haha.

 

 

3 Day Quote Challenge – Day 2

First off, HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!

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Secondly, I happened to follow the Marnie Writes blog, and I wanted to do this challenge.

Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Post a quote for three consecutive days (1 quote for each day) (I’m going to fail – I’m doing a Monday-Wednesday-Friday).
  • Share why this quote appeals so much to you.
  • Nominate 3 different bloggers for each day (Whatever we’ll see)

My Quote:

In a life rich with national partying and spontaneous murder, Jackson’s only regret was that he didn’t kill quite enough people. People like John C. Calhoun, who was Jackson’s Vice President.” — Dan O’Brien

I’m a pretty big fan of Andrew Jackson.  Not his policies, but just in how interesting and filled with utter lunacy that guy was.  Daniel O’Brian, of old-school Cracked.com fame, wrote How to Fight Presidents and made the video above as a sort of teaser for it.  I thought he captured the exact spirit of why I liked learning about Jackson in high school, and why I think he’s still crazy interesting now.

Also, ‘MURICA!

My Tags:

First off, please – if you’re tagged, don’t feel pressure to reply or participate.  If you’re reading, these are good blogs to follow.

I’ll tag E. Kathryn, who has a book that’s NEARLY FINISHED!  She also likes some tag games, and maybe this is something she’d enjoy (for Twitter if not for blogging).

Next, I’ll mention the Random Blog.  As a book blogger, Hannah J. Russel probably knows a lot of good quotes.  She has a lot of manga reviews, too, and I hope to look at some of her suggestions!

Biswadeep of the Pretentious Panda’s Blog has a lot of quick stories that I really enjoy.  He also curates some interesting life stories and quotes, so I’ll tag him in case he wants to participate.

3 Day Quote Challenge – Day 1

I happened to follow the Marnie Writes blog, and I wanted to do this challenge.  I’ve decided that my blog isn’t very personal, and perhaps this will be a way to be a little more accessible as a person.

Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Post a quote for three consecutive days (1 quote for each day) (I’m going to fail – I’m doing a Monday-Wednesday-Friday).
  • Share why this quote appeals so much to you.
  • Nominate 3 different bloggers for each day (Whatever we’ll see)

My Quote:

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“Man, this time these crackers have gone too far!” — Bullhorn, from the movie Black Dynamite

The context of this quote matters.  If you look at the face of the guy on the left (Saheed), you’ll recognize that the main cast are considering putting Tiny Tim out of his misery for the pain inflicted by the white man.  This movie don’t never stop, it keeps going to the tippy tippy top!

I fucking love the movie Black Dynamite.  One of my best friends in college was the person who showed it to me, and somehow he managed to keep himself from spoiling the twist ending.  For my bajillionth viewing, we watched it at my pre-wedding party.  When I put the Black Dynamite DVD on my wedding registry (yeeeeahhhh, that went over well), my friend answered this desperate call and hooked me up with it.  My 6th anniversary comes up this month, so I had to do something in celebration of that.

My Tags:

First off, please – if you’re tagged, don’t feel pressure to reply or participate.  If you’re reading, these are good blogs to follow.

I remember talking with Carrie Ann Golden on her Captain Kirk quote.  I think she may enjoy this challenge, but most of all I hope you enjoy her blog!  Filled with memories and really intense feelings, I try to keep up with her pretty solidly.

I think the WebWeavers – a group of people who spin fantastic book reviews – may have a set of quotes they’d enjoy sharing.

Last but not least, there’s always my friend, Tom Darby, who you should check out.  I love his comedic flash fiction, and I thoroughly enjoyed his western mini-series.

Sunshine Bloggers Tag

Hannaconda at the Random Blog was nominated for the Sunshine Bloggers Award.  She tagged/nominated me, for which I am ever grateful, but I think I’d rather not continue the pyramid scheme for now.

Instead, I’m going to answer her questions!

1. What hobbies do you have?

Writing happens to be the big one.  I am an engineer during the day.  I also really love Dungeons and Dragons.

2. Worst book you have ever read? (Throw into the sun horrible)

This one.  I think Hannah J. Russel and I share similar feelings about religious writing – if it’s stuffing bullshit down your throat and talking down at people who don’t agree, it’s a piece of garbage.

Biblical Foundations for Manhood and Womanhood by Piper and Grudem is not only degrading to both men and women, but Christians and non-Christians who don’t agree with their worldview about gender roles.  It’s got such a focused lens that doesn’t take historical context of biblical passages into account.  It’s just… it’s just the worst exegesis of gender EVER.

3. Do you write? And if so what do you write?

The Mercury DimensionI do write!  I usually write fantasy or science fiction, and my most recent major work is a science fiction tale that has a very classic feel.  I am in a beta reading phase now, if you want to check out The Mercury Dimension.

4. What three things would you take to a deserted island?

A box of 24-hour MREs

As much drinking water as possible

Sattelite phone with a fully charged battery

5. If you read how do you choose what to pick up next?

I like to get suggestions from people, but that’s not always feasible.  I tend to read some of the stuff that I see bloggers advertise.  Recently I’ve realized that I haven’t read many classics, so I’m trying to read a few of those to edify myself.

6. Fishes or Snakes? (Either to eat or in general)

I’m pescatarian, so definitely fish for eating.  In general too, because my mom was so afraid of snakes that I think it rubbed off on me a wee bit.

7. What country would you visit if you had no restrictions?

AMERICA FUCK YEAH!
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I honestly have a bucket list goal of seeing Rod Stewart in concert, and that probably means a Vegas trip to see him at Caesar’s palace before he dies.  Good luck to me getting off work long enough to do that.

But for reals, I want to go to England sometime – that’s like tourism lite for English-speaking Americans, I think.  I’d also like to go to China (see last question), but the air pollution there makes me wary.

8. Favourite genre of books you pick up?

Sci-fi or fantasy.  I like sci-fi better, but I know enough about science that badly done sci-fi can drive me nuts.  Frank Herbert, author of Dune, is a piece of garbage sci-fi writer in my opinion.

9. New or used books?

I don’t care.

10. What got you into blogging?

I mentioned in an earlier post that I originally did this blog so my mom could come to the website and see what I wrote.  I didn’t try to meet people or use the blog collaboratively for YEARS, thinking my mom was my only reader.

Well, I found out in January (2018) that she only ever read 1 short story of mine, and that wasn’t on the blog.  She didn’t really have time to bother with my stories, and it burst a bubble in me.  I decided to blog harder and seek out internet friends.  It’s been rewarding, but also… strangely hard?

11. What languages do you speak.

English and 我说有一点中文。我在大学学习中文,可是我说很慢.

The rules of the Sunshine Bloggers Award includes tagging 8-11 people; while I think I know enough people who I could tag, something about that makes the ‘award’ feel less important.  However, if you’d like to be tagged/nominated, leave a comment and I’ll amend this post to include you.

Happy Thursday!

Book Blogger Confessions Tag

I was bitten by a hannaconda on the hannacondablog to do this tag and talk about some books that I’ve liked, not liked, etc.

I don’t specifically want to tag people and force participation, but I am going to tag some of my favorite people on WordPress and point out their good stuff.

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The Good Stuff

First, there’s always Tom Darby, who I chat with frequently and who wrote a FUNNY story that I absolutely adored earlier this week.

There’s E. Kathryn, who invited me to beta-read for her and tagged me in a post earlier (and whose debut novel is scheduled to come out soon!). Also, in the middle of WRITING THIS, she tagged me in something else!  I laughed at the irony and look forward to responding to that one (probably coming out Wednesday).

There’s also Joanne the Geek, author of The Sky-Pirates of Durn.  It’s only 8 chapters in, so if you want to get on the bandwagon and read her story, you don’t have too much to catch up on!

Rebecca Alasdair has a WIP that I’m interested in seeing her finish.  I only found her stuff recently, but here goes to seeming like a creeper and tagging her!

On With the Questionnaire!

Which book, most recently, did you not finish?

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

I rarely leave a book unfinished when I start it, and I’m having to reach pretty far back to get to this one.  With Game of Thrones, I found the ‘grit’ and ‘reality’ of the book to be immersion breaking.  I never felt as invested in the characters as I think you have to be in order to get into the series.  I just didn’t like it.  I’ve tried multiple times to get into it now, but I just can’t dig it.

Which book is your guilty pleasure?

The Deathgate Cycle by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Fire SeaI thought about this one, and I realized that the only romances I’ve ever read were Wuthering Heights (loose interpretation of ‘romance’) and The Merchant of Venice from when I was in high school.  I’ve never read Romeo and Juliet or most of the truly famous romances.  So I’m not sure I have a true ‘guilty pleasure.’

Instead I’m going with my favorite series by famous D&D style authors, Weis and Hickman.  Deathgate Cycle is 7 long books, the first four of which are astounding and the last three of which meld together in sort of a stupid whirl.  Book 3, Fire Sea, was my absolute favorite of the set.  It gave you this uncanny-valley feeling, which I love.  It had a tale that really grabbed me.  At the same time, I think all Weis and Hickman books have this weird, low-quality writing that’s a lot like D&D flavor text, so I’ll call it a guilty pleasure.

Which book do you love to hate?

RPOReady Player One by Ernest Cline

I read this because an IRL friend liked it.  I really hated it, and right now it’s popular enough that I tell other people about how much I hated it.  In times past, you could have placed the Twilight Saga here, but really that’s so easy and cheap that complaining about the book is like punching a baby.*

Which book would you throw into the sea?

The Cocker Brothers Series of erotic fiction by Farleena Hopkins

I’m assuming that this means ‘the book will never be read by anyone else ever,’ and I really don’t like the idea of banning books.  I have nothing against erotic fiction, though I don’t really get much from it, but I have been hahn-gockel-poultry-cockscomb-37655.jpegreading online about how this author is screwing up everything (thanks to Diane Tibert for posting that info).  That’s a dangerous precedent, copyrighting a word so common in her genre, and I seriously hope that she’s stopped.  It’s ridiculous.  Here’s an article in The Guardian about this BS so that you know it’s not fake news.

I must put the caveat here that Hannah J. Russel of the hannacondablog pointed out a good candidate when she mentioned C.S. Lewis’s Perelandra.  That thing was vile indeed, but I guess I’d not nominate it for this section due to my hatred of book banning.

Which book have you read the most?

Watership DownWatership Down by Richard Adams

I read this the first time in 7th grade for school, and I’ve probably read it at least a dozen times since then.  Definitely my favorite book of all time.  I made a review recently, which I’d encourage you to read but it’s basically just a long-winded version of this paragraph.

Which book would you hate to receive as a present?

Biblical Foundations for Manhood and Womanhood by Piper and Grudem

Anyone who gives this to me obviously has an agenda.  The book is degrading to both sexes and gives so little leniency.  It’s a poopy manual, and its hermeneutical discussion lacks historical context.  People know I hate this book, and they’d probably only give it to me if they thought it was worth it to cut off our friendship.

Which book could you not live without?

Perry’s Chemical Engineering Handbook by a whole boatload of people

Honestly, any book can be done without, but this one is important for both my job, the well-being of America, and the chemical industry.  I think it is appropriate for this question despite that I think this is supposed to be about novels.

Which book made you the angriest?

Biblical Foundations for Manhood and Womanhood by Piper and Grudem

Alright, I’ll explain more about this trash heap… At a church I went to in California, the men of the congregation would go to the Iron Sharpens Iron men’s conferences and the women would go to in-house Bible studies.  One thing the spouse and I both noticed was that these separations of the sexes influenced both of us to feel superior to the other, but at the same time really depressed us about who we were.  This book was suggested to me by the pastor, who didn’t like my relationship with the spouse.  A lot of the trash they float around concerning how to be married and how to bow to your church can be found in this book as well as the subsequent books in the series.

Well, the spouse and I stood up for women’s voices in church one day, and that went over very poorly.  This book caused me and the spouse more heartache than I could imagine.  I hate it with a fiery passion.  At the same time, to lose sight of what people have believed is a good interpretation of scripture for thousands of years is a shame, so I don’t nominate it for ‘throw to the sea.’

Which book made you cry the most?

Drawing a blank here.  I cried at Old Yeller the movie, and read the book after, so does that count?

Which book cover do you hate the most?

I hate the library book covers that feel like canvas with jesso and a buttload of horse-hoof glue slathered all over it.  You know the kind – they’re often gray, and they even make new books smell like ick.  (Pro-tip: smell your books before reading them, you won’t regret it).

If we’re talking about specific cover art, though… I’ll go with the Piper and Grudem book.  I mean look at this trash.  Any book that has a picture of a book on the cover is probably weird.  It’s not even explicitly a Bible, though you can assume it based off the gold-leaf edges.  God knows I hate this book.

 

* I have never punched a baby, this is for comparison’s sake only.  Don’t judge.

 

National Poem Writing Month

All month, I’ve been watching the people I follow write FANTASTIC poetry.  I didn’t realize it was NaPoWriMo until far too late, and even then I’m not enough of a poetry person to believe I could actually write 30 poems in a month.  Perhaps next year I’ll give an attempt to write 5 (an honorable goal for one such as me)!

For now, I wanted to share with anyone interested some of the poems I saw this month and enjoyed reading.

Days of a Dreamer – Natalya Edwards

Though I commented on the poem she published after this one, which was also very good, I read this and nearly cried.  I’m a sucker for ballads and story-poems, and this one drew me in to the character’s plight.  Though the word choices were simple, Edwards used them so evocatively.  Without a doubt, this was my favorite poem of the month, and probably the entire reason I started this article.  (I was right that following her blog was going to pay off with getting to read cool stuff!)

Future Paths – By Sarah

A short poem, I was impressed by the way such short lines could draw my attention.  I’ve read several of her haikus and other poems, and they make me smile – but this one kept me interested, and I came back to it a few times.

Numerical Crime – Dread Poets Sobriety

I started following this dude when I read a few of his other poems, but I went back and read this one and thought, “This was his best this month.”  As a scientist, perhaps my vision is clouded by my love of numbers, but I like to think I chose this poem for its rhythm.  It felt singsong, almost like a rap, and I liked the inversion of the usual English word order.

Give these people a look!  If you like poetry, maybe you can be a better judge than me!

The Blog Race – How I Plan on Winning

 

02112018 freeimages.com don-t-need-this-1529905Last week, I made a post with a little poll.  It got some views, some likes, and yet only one response (thank you to that person!).  I felt my heart lurch and wondered why I was doing poorly with getting responses despite seeing the number of views/likes/visitors on my page slowly creep upward over the past month.  I began to look at who had responded to me, what I was doing to get better, confirmed that my stats were headed in a positive direction –

Then I leaned back and thought to myself, “You let the stats get to you, even though you swore you wouldn’t.”

I started this blog in 2013 with a short story called Waiting for Company, and until the end of February this year I posted very intermittently.  To be completely honest, I started the blog so that I’d have a place where my mom could go find the things I write.  As dumb as it was, I wanted her to enjoy my hobby because she encouraged my imagination and introduced me to science fiction (marathoning Star Trek: The Original Series with her is one of my fondest memories).  I wanted her to be enchanted with the things I could think up, and I wanted to have that ‘mom is proud’ feeling in return.

In January of this year, I found out with little uncertainty that she never cared.

I don’t blame her.  She is a busy person who works multiple jobs to keep herself afloat.  She’s too proud to accept handouts and (I recently found out) tech savvier than your average Baby Boomer when it comes to secretly discovering how you got money to her bank account.  She was never going to read anything I wrote, no matter how much effort I put in, because she simply never had the time – and reading, it’s sad to say, can be considered a job if you don’t really want to do it.

It’s then that I began to take blogging more seriously.  I decided that if my mother wasn’t going to read my stuff, then by golly, someone else would.  I would find a random someone who would care, maybe someone I could pass braggartly notes back and forth with across the interwebs.  I would find someone who cared about my hobby and, simultaneously, help them feel good about theirs.

But dopamine gets in the way of that.  Instead of being true and genuine, instead of being a pretty good internet friend and fellow struggling writer, the dopamine hits become the primary goal.  The internet is set up to do it, and it works.  The more you post, the more you’re rewarded with likes and followers.  The more you like and follow, the more you get back.  It’s a barely sustainable, lonely nightmare, but one in which you can convince yourself that you’re happy.

After last week’s post, as well as a conversation I’ve had on a random comment somewhere on my blog (here’s to Tom, if he’s reading), I’ve realized that I lost sight of my original goal and the motives that I started with and that I wish to espouse.  One day I will definitely post Curse of the Dragon Prince and the other stories I had available to vote for, but to use them to increase blog traffic belittles my passion and turns my readers into numbers rather than friends.

For now, I’m going to work on short stories.  I may have fewer posts than if I were writing a long story, but the hope is that I will be able to focus on my writing and on other people – both in real life and (hopefully) in this rat race of social media.

 

Writing Rituals Tag

I was tagged in one of E. Kathryn’s recent posts about writing rituals.  I was thrilled to see that she thought of me when she made the post, so I decided to participate.  While I understand that the goal of blogging is to increase traffic, I don’t really like the nameless preying on clicks.  I much prefer individual responsiveness and interactivity, and I thought this presented me an opportunity to do so.

This post is effectively chain mail, but I hope that the people (strangers that I follow!  Gasp!) will be ok with this.

People I Follow (And Now Suggest to You!)

I chose Natalya Edwards, author of My Creative Writing Space, because her writing journey has intrigued me since I followed her.  I like reading inspirational tales from people, and the determination in her ‘Why I Must Write‘ post convinced me to follow her.

They are probably too popular, and almost definitely to artful, to respond to this lowly tag, but I wanted to point out Tetiana and Tony from Unbolt Me.  Their site is insanely hard to peruse, but I’ve followed them for a while and the sheer genius of their madness always has me excited to see their next post.

Also someone I find has an extremely classy demeanor, Tom Darby of Eagle Canyon publishes a lot of cool stories on his blog.  His ability to write a flash fiction is incredible, and his perspectives are really interesting.  My favorite of his recent posts is the Baristas’ Tale.

Lastly, I wanted to point out Danielle Summers who is publishing her Blackrose series on her site.  I was a little bit wary when I saw she was writing a vampire story, but the horror elements associated with the unreliable narrator are spot on.  I hope she continues writing!

Anyway, enough of that intro mess.  My Responses to the Writing Rituals tag:

When do you write? (time of day, day of week)

I write in between bouts of work.  My longer writing streaks are usually between 7 and 8 pm, just after supper but before I have to walk my dog or become forced to maintain my living space.

How do you seclude yourself from the outside world?

I don’t.  If I don’t get to write on a certain day due to distractions, I must forgive myself or I would surely go insane.  I think living life is an important part of writing, and ignoring life could have consequences both near and far reaching.

How do you review what you wrote the previous day?

I love to edit, and allowing myself to edit eternally is one of my bigger curses.  However, I usually wait more than a day to edit some of my own work.  The longer the wait, the more likely I am to read what I actually wrote rather than what I thought I wrote.

What song is your go-to when you’re feeling uninspired?

Music doesn’t really inspire me.  Visual art doesn’t either.  I’m pretty deep into the reading-writing learning style, and text truly does soothe my soul.  Sometimes nature, whether hikes or canoeing or something like that, can calm me.

In the spirit of the question, though, my favorite genre is disco.  When I really want to evoke a certain, nigh indescribable feeling, I listen to KC and the Sunshine Band’s I’m Your Boogie Man directly followed by Rob Zombie’s metal version of the same song.  I’m pretty sure that feeling is ‘troll harder,’ so I don’t think it’s actually relevant to writing.

What do you always do (i.e. listen to music, read, watch youtube, etc.) when you find yourself struggling with writer’s block?

One of my favorite ways to inspire myself is to learn new science.  I like going to scientific seminars and reading papers to figure out new ways to solve problems of the future.

I also like to look at mine and my family’s life.  I have led a strange, exciting-ass life filled with really interesting characters.  I have hoped to publish a story collection titled “Squirrel Gravy for the Soul,” but I rarely speak of that collection since I might embarrass family members or friends from back home, and I dread speaking with some of them about the possibility.  I often feel it safer to leave it be.

What tools do you use when you’re writing?

I made a post about electronic resources that I enjoy using.  The one that I am continually surprised by my love for is yWriter, which is a freeware version of Scrivener.

What’s the one thing you can’t live without during a writing session?

My writing sessions are done all over the place and in a plethora of formats, so there is no definitive need.  On my sofa, on my phone, next to a slowly dripping HPLC… I usually write in sessions of about 10 minutes.

How do you fuel yourself during your writing session?

I eat little, work a lot, and sleep like an old person because my schedule is dear to me.  I eat breakfast sometimes, lunch sometimes, and most of the time I eat supper.

As far as diet, I am pescetarian, do not consume caffeine of any sort, and drink fruit juice on rare occasion.  I have sampled many varieties of tea, but now only consume true herbals with any sort of regularity.  I must confess, however, that my dear little Southern heart has a soft spot for decaf sweet tea.

How do you know when you’re done writing?

Usually something happens like the dog needs to be walked, my machines overpressurize or have an A280 peak, or I have to do something else more immediately necessary than writing.  Eventually I may be able to focus on my writing more, but at the moment keeping myself alive, healthy, and with an acceptable level of income is more important.  I often use timers to stop myself from writing, and my days tend to be extremely well structured.

 Questions You Can Copy if You Want to Participate:

When do you write? (time of day, day of week)

How do you seclude yourself from the outside world?

How do you review what you wrote the previous day?

What song is your go-to when you’re feeling uninspired?

What do you always do (i.e. listen to music, read, watch youtube, etc.) when you find yourself struggling with writer’s block?

What tools do you use when you’re writing?

What’s the one thing you can’t live without during a writing session?

How do you fuel yourself during your writing session?

How do you know when you’re done writing?