Tag Archives: Twitter

Running Out of Steam

I have to say that after a year of writing short stories I am finding it a little hard to find inspiration. I have covered so many different things over the last fifty weeks that finding something new to write is becoming an issue.

Or maybe the problem is just that I am getting tired of doing this over and over again.

Last week’s story was about a party hosted by social vampires. They enticed people into their lair and drained them dry, making them pay for food and drinks and subjecting them to all sorts of depravities, leaving them broke and broken and willing to do anything to get back in. It actually wasn’t much of a story, more of a lecture about how the party started and one man’s efforts to fight back by using social networks like Facebook and Twitter to warn people to stay away. But it could be an interesting premise to write an actual story about. All I would have to do is find the right characters to write about and put them in the thick of things.

I think that maybe this week I’ll take my inspiration from Twitter. I can read a bunch of posts and see if I can find something that inspires me with a “what if?” thought. Otherwise I have no idea what I will be writing this week.

As the year of the Dirty Little Freaks winds down, however, my mind is pushing ahead to next year. Although I hit 200 days on my chain on the Magic Spreadsheet, I think I’m going to stop using it next year. I’ve done what I needed to do and I really don’t have any more to prove. I just want to focus on writing a good novel next year, which means planning it out so that it will be the best story I can write. No more freestyle writing where I have no idea what is going to come out of my mind and onto the page. No more discovering the story as I write it. I want to know what the story is about ahead of time in order to decide whether or not it is worth writing in the first place.

I also want to get some reading done. I haven’t had a whole lot of time for reading this last year, and I have an awful lot of books on my shelves that are gathering dust, and I haven’t even cracked their covers yet. I’m talking physical books here, not e-books. Don’t even ask about how many unread books are on my Kindle. It’s obscene.

That’s about it for this week. As always, I’ll fill you in next Sunday on my latest story. And if I’m lucky I’ll have found the inspiration for next year’s novel. See you then!

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August 1 – New Month, New Goals

Today marks the start of a new month. I didn’t get a lot done last month, so I think it is time for me to set some goals for myself. The first goal will be to finish this short story/novella that I am writing about a huntress who finds out what it is like to be hunted. It is a post-apocalyptic horror story, and I’m still working out what kind of character development needs to be worked into the tale, but I have most of the plot figured out already. I started it a few weeks ago, and have been working on a major rewrite this last weekend. I have the edits about halfway done, and have already chopped about 1000 words out of the first draft. I want to finish it and have it ready for submission by the end of August.

Speaking of submissions, I heard last week that the editors of the Big Book of Bizarro (the ones that bought my short story “Losing Control”) have been working hard on getting the final proof done, and are hoping to have the author copies (and payments) ready in the next couple of weeks. I’ll be sure to post an update as soon as I have my copy. I’m also looking forward to spending my payment on additional copies for family and friends.

I have been thinking about goals recently, and I am starting to wonder whether or not I should have stuck with the ROW80 group. I miss the support I always had from them, and it wasn’t that hard to keep up. Kait is also cool with letting participants post updates with however best works for them. She also says that you don’t necessarily have to join at the start of the quarter, so I may pop back in if I start jonesing for my friends.

That being said, my second goal is to spend less time on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and other social nightmare media websites, and spend the time on writing. I also need to spend more time on my exercise bike. Being a writer means a lot of sitting as I write, and I need to get more exercise. Maybe I can use my Dragon Naturally Speaking software to do my writing. The only question is how well the software will be able to recognize my speech if I am out of breath from my workout. I’ll also need to figure out where to put my laptop so that I will be able to see the screen as I ride. Does anyone have any thoughts/experience with this problem? I have heard about people setting up a treadmill desk, but I’m not so sure about a bike desk. On the plus side, it is a recumbent, so I’ve got that going for me.

So that’s three goals for August:

  1. Finish short story/novella “The Hunt”
  2. Cut back on social media.
  3. Get more exercise.

That’s about enough for now. I’ll be checking in again on Thursday. See you then!

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Filed under About Me, ROW80, Submissions, The Writing Experience

Priorities

One of the reasons why it took me so long to write my first book was that I thought I didn’t have time to write. A common excuse. The problem with that excuse is that not having time to write means that you are making other things more important that writing. If you make writing a priority, then you will find the time.

I used to watch television a lot. I also read books, played Dungeons & Dragons, and played computer games. All of those things took up my time. Time that could have been spent writing instead. Of course, reading is something that can help your writing, but not if you spend all your time reading and no time writing. The other things are fun, but probably not so useful to a struggling author.

When I decided to start writing, I had to make a commitment to do my writing instead of those other activities. I rarely watch television anymore (I treat myself to Chuck and Castle on Mondays). I stopped playing computer games, and I only play Dungeons & Dragons for two hours once a week.

Of course, now I also have things like this blog and Twitter that take up a chunk of my time. They say that authors need to use these types of social media networks to “build a platform”. That means that the more people I connect with on these sites, the better chance I have of getting decent sales numbers when I actually publish.

This is all well and good, but recently I have started wondering whether or not I need to cut back on these things until I am closer to actually publishing. I’m finding that I am spending too much time tweeting, and too little time writing and editing. So I have decided to review my priorities.

I will continue to post occasional tweets, but don’t expect me to carry on long conversations online. I have a lot of work to do on my two completed novels, and I am struggling a bit with my third. I’ll also continue to post my blogs on the same Sunday/Monday/Wednesday/Thursday schedule through the end of March, but then I intend to cut back to only twice a week.

How have you had to change your priorities to make time for your writing? Please share by leaving a comment below.

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Using Twitter

To continue the Social Networking discussion I thought I would expand on each of the options listed in the prior post. We’ll start with Twitter. I’ll list some of the people and groups that I follow to give you an idea of how you can use it in a way that suits you.

People

Besides my friends and family, I follow several authors. Not all of them write in the same genres that I do. I follow them for several reasons. First, because they are authors so their tweets often give good advice or encouragement to me when I am struggling. Second, because a lot of them are independents I can get advice from them on self publishing. Third, just like in the job market, it helps to know people. If you can build a relationship with other published authors they will often help you when you are ready to promote your own book. And finally, several of them are local authors. We get together once in a while for write-ins and to discuss our work.

Local Authors

  • Zombie_Joe
  • Jesilea
  • Jamwes
  • WillRaboin

Genre  and Independent Authors

  • WickedLPixie
  • susan_bischoff
  • Momjeans1975
  • CristynWest
  • mercedesmy
  • CarolHoladay
  • andrewmocete
  • MichelleRowen
  • jenniferjoseph_
  • EllenMeister

Favorite Authors

  • jayewells
  • longshotauthor
  • ShannonKButcher
  • StaciaKane
  • kaitnolan

Organizations

I follow several groups and businesses related to the writing field. Some are related to the genres I write, some are support networks for authors, and some are professional publishers or editors.

  • ParaYourNormal
  • NaNoWriMo
  • ScrivenerApp
  • awfulagent
  • AdviceToWriters
  • Style_Matters
  • byrcecullen
  • WritingSpirit

So my advice to you is to check the websites of your favorite authors and see if they have a Twitter feed (mine is @BSRPG). Do the same with some publishing companies. And post tweets about your own writing. The Twitter bots will use your content and soon authors and businesses will start following you!

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Social Networking

Writing has often been referred to as a solitary sport. With the Internet becoming more and more prevalent in our society this stereotype is no longer accurate. The fact that you are reading this blog proves my point.

In the past centuries, authors had to write their stories and find a publisher, usually through the mail. The publisher had to decide whether or not to accept the manuscript, and once they printed the book they controlled how it was marketed. If an author wanted to talk about the writing process with another author, it usually involved travelling to the other writer’s home or to a convention. But authors today can decide to publish their books themselves, they can do their marketing on their own, and they can communicate instantly with other authors using social networking applications like Twitter. We’ll discuss self-publishing and marketing in other blogs. For today I want to discuss communications.

The Internet gives so many ways for modern authors to communicate it can sometimes interfere with the writing process. But there are so many reasons to use the social networking tools available that you would be foolish NOT to use them. I’ll go over some of the tools that I use to keep me connected.

First: Twitter. This can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it allows writers to connect with each other and with their fans. It can be useful when a writer wants to ask a question from someone who also writes in their genre. You can get instant responses to your questions. It can also be used to help market your books, by announcing new releases, interviews, and special offers. I have recently received several copies of e-books for free through offers I saw on Twitter. You can also get an idea of how popular your books are by how many followers you have.

On the other hand, Twitter allows writers to connect with each other and with their fans. The danger with this is that a popular author can end up spending so much time Tweeting that they don’t have time to write. There is also the issue of cyber-stalking. I recommend that everyone be careful about what they Tweet. You shouldn’t post anything online that you wouldn’t mind seeing on the front page of a national newspaper.

Second: Facebook. One of the biggest social networking sites, it even had a movie made about it. Successful businesses are now finding it necessary to build a Facebook page along with their normal website. Like with Twitter, getting a Facebook page can give you access to millions of people, and the number of Likes you get can give you an idea of the popularity of your work. The main problem that I have with Facebook is that the easy availability of their games and other applications can quickly suck up my writing time.

Third: Blogs. Sites like WordPress and Blogspot, along with others, can give an author the opportunity to share more of their life and their work than they can do with Twitter or Facebook. It lets them use tools like polls and comments to get feedback on their work. You can also find blogs (like this one) that may help with advice on the writing and publishing process. But every minute spent writing or reading blogs is a minute that you aren’t writing.

Fourth: E-mails. This is probably the safest way to help communicate with other authors. It lets you get rapid response from the person you e-mail. While most e-mail isn’t secure, you usually don’t have to worry about the whole world seeing what you write. The problem is that you first need to have a relationship with those other authors in order to get their e-mail address. You can do this the old fashioned way, through conventions or personal visits. Or you can develop a relationship through Twitter, Facebook, or blogs.

I use all of these methods to help me build my writing skills, connect with other authors, and to share what I have learned. But I have to be very careful about how much I use them, because as I said, every minute I spend on these tools is time that I am not writing. Each of these options probably deserve a more detailed examination. Look for more posts in the weeks to come.

Leave a comment to let me know if there are other tools or websites that you use that you feel strongly about. And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter!

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