Lessons in Blogging

All day, I’ve been thinking about what I want to talk about for the last day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. This is what I’ve come up with.

I know I talked a lot — maybe even exclusively — about creativity. That’s something I’ve been interested in for a long time. Even since before I heard about The Artist’s Way fifteen or so years ago. It’s basically part of who I am. That interest.

What I’ve Learned

This month, I have learned what posts work better for me. Posts that are a combination of photo and text are good. Posts with videos are good. Posts that are audio only are not. In fact, the day where I embedded my podcast and didn’t include a photo had the lowest views all month. I posted mostly in the evenings, so I really can’t say if I’ve figured out what time of day is best.

I will say that although I did manage to post every day, it is not something I am going to keep up. As I mentioned yesterday, I’m going to use May to focus on 2-3 posts a week and see how consistency and views go. After that, I’ll evaluate again. I think this monthly evaluation is a good thing and something I’m going to stick with.

Coming Up

Speaking of May and the blog, here are some of the types and topics of posts you’ll see:

  • More about creativity. I kind of can’t help it. When I’m in the middle of something, I talk about creativity more than I do when I’m not.
  • Writing in general. After I posted the question my friend asked, I’ve gotten a few more questions from other people. I’ve answered them in the manner in which I received them, but I am going to expand on some of the answers here.
  • The submission process for novels. I’ve self-published most of my body of work. I decided to shop the novel I just finished around to different publishers and agents. There is actually already news on that front, but I’ll tell about it in its own post.
  • Yarn stuff – knitting, crochet, whatever.
  • Photos. I have a couple ideas I’m thinking of with this. I’ll see how they progress and post as they mature.
  • Videos.
  • Podcasts. I’ve learned from this, though. When I post a podcast link, I’ll include something else so there’s something to hold interest.

Updates

There is also an update. Remember the post, A Tale of Two Shawls? Both of those are finished. I need to take pictures of them both before I do an official update about them.

If you remember the announcement about Journal Your Way to Creativity at the first of the month, there has been a review posted for it. Mindy Phillips Lawrence posted her review on Amazon and also submitted it to New Book Review, where you can see it now.

Thank you.

There have been a lot of new visitors to my blog as a direct result of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. Thank you for that.

In the comments, some other members of the challenge contributed frequently. I would like to thank Jeanine Byers of HyggeFamilyMoments.com and Martha DeMeo of The Martha Review for their frequent comments. There have been others who commented, too, including my friend and neighbor Richard Barron. I sincerely appreciate every comment. Whenever I participate in a challenge, it is always a fear that no one will comment. It is always a relief to see that fear is ungrounded.

Thank you, too, to Paul Taubman for hosting the challenge and putting in the work behind the scenes that goes into the daily emails and group postings to keep us all on track.

This is the last post for April. I’ll see you in May.

In the meantime, happy creating!

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Is It Just Me?

 

Creative Commons via catchingcourage.com

Has this month flown by or is it just me? Maybe it’s because spring has finally made up its mind and is here to stay. Maybe it’s because posting for this challenge has kept me busy. Or maybe it’s because writing, in general, has kept me busy.

 

Whatever it is, Tuesday is May. And that’s a little bit crazy to me.

The other day, I posted a poll asking what you all wanted to see after the challenge is done. It seemed to be a tie between keeping the daily posts going and 2-3 posts a week. (At least, it was the last time I looked.) I’ve decided I’m going to scale back to 2-3 posts a week for May and see how that works. If I find I’m not being consistent, I will revisit that at the end of May and decide from there.

At this point, honestly, I’m getting a little post-fatigue going on. I feel like I’m running out of things to say. I know I’m not, but I blasted through my brainstormed list and didn’t generate new ideas to replace the ones I used, which was all of them.

Tomorrow is the last day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I would like to know what you liked about my posts during this challenge. Did you learn something new about yourself/your creativity? (You know I had to bring this post back around to that, didn’t you?)

I’d like to hear it.

And tomorrow, my post will be about the types of future posts you’ll be seeing here.

Happy creating.

Be Flexible

Today was a reminder in flexibility. I think if you hope to work as a creative, regardless of which field/discipline, you have to be flexible.

Circumstances change. Sometimes the scope of your work changes. Even time frames change.

You can’t rigidly cling to what you expected. Rigidity doesn’t allow for spontaneity or creativity. Both are necessary. Both also help preserve your sanity when things do change quickly.

Flexibility is a good thing.

Is Your Mood Related to Your Creative Output?

This isn’t a clickbait title. I’m genuinely curious. Is your mood related to your creative output — or lack thereof?

I keep getting reminded that mine is.

Let me explain.

I finished the draft of RealmWalker (now RealmWalker: New Beginnings) on Sunday. I took a break on Monday. I started planning the next project (RealmWalker: Anchor) yesterday. I crocheted some both days, but I wasn’t actively writing.

Today, that manifested in my mood.

It’s odd, but that’s the way it works for me, especially when I’ve been working hard on a project the way I was and then basically quit cold turkey.

What about you?

Happy creating.

Next Project

This is partly my mom’s fault. And mostly mine.

This notebook pictured is going to be my project notebook for the next project. So what is it?

A sequel.

RealmWalker is apparently going to be a trilogy (if not more). The one I just finished is RealmWalker: New Beginnings. The next one will be RealmWalker: Anchor.

This notebook will hold:

  • Character sketches.
  • Lists of all characters – main, minor, and walk-ons.
  • Synopsis.
  • Timeline.
  • Plot outline (different from timeline).
  • Major details.
  • Minor details that are easy to forget.

So I will be editing New Beginnings and writing Anchor. I’ve used this kind of working habit on different projects before and I quite like it.

 

Oh. And, no, it won’t take me five years to finish this one. I’ll be working on it much more consistently.

What about you? What are you working on?

Happy creating.

Making Money Writing

Photo of reporter’s notebook by grafixtek on Flickr and used here with Creative Commons license.

Yesterday, a friend contacted me on Facebook Messenger with a question.

My daughter is interested in trying to publish a book she’s working on. Short stories and poems. She asked if i knew anyone that did that and of course you popped in my head. If it’s not too personal, can you tell me if you make money doing that? And what the process to do so is?

The thing of it is, there’s no simple answer.

Can you make money writing? Yes and no, because it depends on what you want to write and how much you market yourself. As a preliminary, I told her this:

The short answer is that some types of writing can and do make money. I haven’t made much because marketing intimidates the hell out of me. Even the big names have to do self-promotion. As for how to do it, take a look at CreateSpace.com. They’re pretty easy to use. The way I do it with their self-guided process doesn’t cost anything unless I order books.

Yes, I know marketing shouldn’t intimidate me. That’s really not the point here. (Plus I’m working on that and getting better at it.)

One of the biggest things to remember is that writing is just the beginning of the work. How many revisions and edits you go through will vary from project to project. And then there’s the whole publishing process.

Now, like I said in my original answer to my friend, most of my stuff is published using CreateSpace, so I follow the process laid out in their self-guided system. I don’t talk to anyone in customer support, so it doesn’t cost me anything until I order books.

I almost said the work of marketing/self-promotion starts then, but, really, you need to be doing that all along. Be talking about it on your social media platform(s). I mainly use Twitter and Facebook, but I do occasionally post writing-related stuff, especially when I have a new book out, on LinkedIn. The more you talk about it, the more interest you generate, which will (hopefully) translate into sales down the road.

Take a lesson from me: Don’t be shy about marketing and self-promotion. Most of the big names even have to promote themselves. Except maybe Stephen King.

So, what makes the most money?

Mostly, nonfiction. Followed by romance. I did a Google search on the question “what kind of writing makes the most money?” Just click the link to see the search results.

The funny thing (to me) about the timing of this question is that I’ve been thinking about that. Making money writing.

A few years ago, I taught a class through the community education program at the local college. The name of it? “Make Money Writing.” In it, I talked mostly about writing for magazines, the query process, researching articles, finding other resources, etc. I’ve been thinking about moving that online, either as a video course or an email series.

Let me know if there’s any interest in that and which format would be best.

I promised my friend a list of resources. I’ve been thinking about how to narrow that down because I have enough that I could probably fill a book with just links. I’ve decided to just list the top 5. Links will open in a new window. If you have a pop-up blocker, hold the Ctrl key down when you click it so it will open.

Resources:
Writer’s Digest
CreateSpace
Purdue Online Writing Lab
Ralan (market listing)
Help a Reporter (more for nonfiction, though can be useful for fiction)

There are a lot more I could add, but the sheer mountain of information available just from these resources can be overwhelming enough.

By the way, in speaking of making money writing, the type of writing that traditionally makes the least amount of money?

Poetry.

However, with that said, if you’re just writing for the money, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.

Happy creating.

Work Work Work

That sounds too much like the title of a song by Rihanna. I’m not stealing from her, I promise.

I was given orders to take it easy to let my back get well. So that’s what I’ve been doing. For most of the day, I’ve read, crocheted, watched videos, and rested. My mind kept working in the background.

I decided writing could be included in taking it easy, so I started working on RealmWalker earlier in the day than usual. I got to a pivotal scene, one the whole book has been building toward.

And I had to take a break.

I had to tell someone about that scene. My aunt who is reading what I have so far didn’t want such a big spoiler. (Honestly, I can’t blame her. I wouldn’t either.) So I told my mom.

Mom: No! You can’t do that!
Me: I have to! It’s the only way she gets what she needs.

And, yes, it worked. But it was a doozy. Then after dinner, I started on it again. She’s pulled through (as I knew would happen) and all is (almost) well and good.

I’m currently sitting at 58,302 words. My goal is 60,000. I’ll hit that tomorrow. (Or sooner if I work on it again tonight.) It will take a little more to finish telling the story, but I expect even that will be done by Monday.

Then the editing begins.

I don’t dread editing. I consider it to be part of the creative process. It’s necessary. It’s not always fun like the writing. (Let’s face it; even that’s not always fun.) But it is necessary.

Do you find yourself working/creating even on rest days?