What My Friends Are Up To

It’s been a while since I’ve done a post with links to fun and exciting things on the internet. So…

My friend Juneta Key (From Holly’s Writing Classes, From the StoryTime Blog Hop, IWSG, and just about everywhere else) has a guest post on Christine Rains’ blog What Makes Good-Flash Fiction And I’m blushing a little, because she recommends one of my stories as an example!

And as it happens, my new friend Christine Rains has a guest post on Juneta Key’s website about where she lives, and some of the animal totems she lives with. If you’re curious about other writers’ spaces, Christine’s Post shows some of her home and life.

Juneta is also the Advent Calendar post of the day. Yes, I’m pretty sure someday we’ll find out the entire internet is powered by Juneta’s spare energy. Go check out her Christmas story Wild Magic.

AJ Mullican–I think I just met her through the nano hop–is holding a Q&A in character as Clare from her dystopian. a post in character as Clare from her dystopian. It sounds like a fun idea, so I’m passing along the link. It reminds me of the Valentines’ party I went to with one of my characters this year.

Marquessa Mathews from Simply Marquessa is taking a different approach to her New Year’s goals–52 of them in 52 weeks!–and she talks about that here, and gives several links to other websites dedicated to this challenge. I’m thinking about joining in, but no commitments, yet. Stick around and look at some of her amazing travel photos.

Momentum on the Internet; or, I Choose To Celebrate

I’m about ten views away from hitting my 5,000 view milestone with this blog. That’s taken me two years–give or take–but the first year was pretty much practice.  For the first year, or so, I only posted very sporadically. I was trying to post the Lepterians  novel, and the total number of posts was probably in the neighborhood of three or four a month.

I mention this because I really don’t know whether that’s a good record, or a bad record, or if there are people laughing at me from behind the internet while I celebrate something miserably pathetic. I know, of course, that it’s still microscopic in the grand scheme of things.

What I don’t know is how it compares to other writers’ experiences. Objectively, there’s a big question mark there.

I feel behind. I feel as though two years should amount to more than that, or that maybe, I just haven’t hit that magic formula of personality and content, yet. I feel like I need a podcast, a YouTube channel, and maybe some guy in a big chicken costume, handing out brochures on the street.

And, at the same time, I feel overwhelmed and grateful that that many people are paying attention. I’m celebrating. Of course, I am. It’s taken me a long time, and most of that time was outside my comfort zone.

So, tell me about your experiences. Are there certain milestones you celebrate? Achievements you weren’t expecting–that a-ha! moment–that I should be looking forward to? Are there things you’d do differently, if you were back where I am now, looking to do it over again?

Plotting and Planning

I can’t really think of anything to write, right now.

Okay. That’s a lie. I can think of things to write, but I’ve decided to grant myself a cooling off and thinking break, instead. I’m at a place where there’s just so much stuff in my head, and it’s all jumping around.

So, let’s talk about my plans for the next couple of months, instead.

I have the Insecure Writers’ Support Group coming up on December 7th. And apparently, the question of the month is about 5 year career plans for writers. They’ve also announced the upcoming guests on the IWSG page, and I’m pretty excited to hear from them.

I have the Independent Bookworm’s Advent calendar. Must have a story for that in… oh, yeah. Less than a week. If you’re interested in getting a short story in your e-mail every day leading up to Christmas, that’s what this is. And we’re including some kind of “extra” surprise. You can sign up to get the stories at the link above.

I’m also working on pulling together a coherent approach to the A-to-Z Challenge in April. I’d like to put out some short stories, but I still don’t know how many of them. I’m starting with one day a week, and then I’ll move up to two, and so forth, as I gain content. I’m still looking for the right theme to go with them. If you want to join me for another path to writer insanity, link above.

And then, there’s all the treading water I’m doing for NaNoWriMo. I may have to break down and include blog entries, if the story I’m working on doesn’t gain some traction, soon.

Sixteen Days To Full-Scale Panic

Sixteen days til NaNoWriMo, and I still don’t have an idea. Not a plot point, not a character. Not a teeny-tiny play on words to amuse my Muse. (Who is more or less an eighth grade boy, at heart.) Well, fine. I’ll just start with an explosion and work my way up from there.

I haven’t gotten much done with the idea that fluttered through my head as a September/October project, either. Maybe a couple thousand words.

The rule, right now, seems to be that if it’s stressful, it’s going to happen. Head to head with supervisor? Check. (Not sure it makes it a whole lot better that I appear to be winning.) Car problems? Check. Family problems? Double check, and also… Thinking of joining a commune. Or a convent. Or a nudist colony. Something, anyway. Anything on an island. Or a space station. Or an oil rig. Something not here.

This is not a good year for anything but treading water. I’m still working on revising Lepterians. Still working on figuring out exactly what I have there, and how many of it. I’m filling out a plot thread or two, trying to get from Point A to Point B.

And Nano begins in 16 days.

I probably need Nano, this year. Some nice solid goals and a whole lot of peer pressure to keep me from feeling sorry for myself. And I do have peers. A whole team of them.

So, working down the checklist of things that I need to do to get my nano-brain in order. I’m getting pretty close.

 

NaNoWriMo Home Regions and Immigration

The first letters from our municipal liaisons are arriving, today, and I got back to my home region for the first time this year. Nebraska::Other. A rip-roaring writing community of eight people. Twenty-five percent of them are Municipal Liaisons, if you’re doing the math. Which I am.

As always, I’m seeking out new writers and new writers’ groups. And…

Somebody suggested a Google Hangout, since we’re spread out across the entire state.

And I’m vaguely thinking of defecting to Lincoln or Omaha. After all, that’s a fairly short drive, and there are more people in either one…

And yet… there’s a part of me that’s incredibly loyal to the small-town, stuck alone in the middle of nowhere writers and intellectuals. I connect with that. I am that. Have been for much, much too long. And I can’t imagine growing up, that way, or trying to get feedback on a first novel that way.

There’s also a non-nano writers’ group starting up. I might actually do that, if I have time and energy.

I still have to do my annual search for real live, local, in my own town writers. Last year’s wasn’t wildly productive. I located my next door neighbor. And her abandoned manuscript. And I still haven’t found a good way of bringing up the fact that I recognize someone from on the internet.

And I don’t have an actual idea, yet. I’m still hoping that one will turn up sometime soon, and I can pretend to plot a little bit.

Are you doing Nano this year? I’d love to hear about the novel you have planned (or not planned) and be sure to look me up over on the Nano forums.

Backtracking and Password Protecting

Today, I password-protected the first ten chapters of the Science Fiction Experiment.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while. And this is what I’ve come up with.

When I started this blog, it was incredibly small. Microscopic. Just me and a few writer friends I know from various places on the internet. And I started posting chapters from my novel to entertain them, and to get feedback from other writers.

Now, the blog is still small–it’s still microscopic, in terms of the internet–but it’s getting to be huge in terms of a writers’ group. And as writers’ groups go… well, I have a handful of really amazing, and active readers, and then, I have some passive spectators.

This morning, Recently, I was watching my stats. Watching someone move through the Experiment chapter by chapter. And I love watching people read my stuff. It’s the proof that what I’ve written is readable. For me, that’s an accomplishment.

But the interaction–the “here’s what I think” –that’s the reason I post stuff.

And I was sitting there, waiting. Leave a comment. Leave a comment. PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT.

Nothing. Not a compliment. Not a note pointing out a misplaced comma in chapter 7. Not even a quick Joe wuz here.

It happens more often than you’d think. And maybe, before I tried doing it, myself, I would have done the same thing.

But right this minute, I’m thinking about what I want from this blog, and what I want to do with the Science Fiction Experiment after it’s cleaned and polished. What I want from posting writing on the blog is more or less the same thing I’ve always wanted. Interaction with other writers.

My plans for the Experiment have changed. Solidified. I would like to publish it as a book.  At some point, it went from being something fun to entertain a few friends to being something I really believe in.

The first step is to go back, starting at chapter one, and password protect what’s already here.

After that… I’m not sure. I may go on posting new chapters behind passwords, or I might focus on revision for a while, and then beg the people who have been reading and critiquing as they go to be my beta readers.

So, that’s what I’m doing, and I’m open to suggestions. Make sure I have your email addresses, if you’re interested in beta-reading or passwords.

Who I Am, and Who I Pretend to Be

I made it to 1000 followers on Twitter, this week. That’s an accomplishment, for me. I’m not all that outgoing in real life, but apparently, in a no-commitment forum, where all I have to do is be momentarily distracting, I’m not too bad.

I get a few views from Twitter, now and then… but not as many as I’d like. I still don’t have concrete goals or a sense of what realistic expectations would be, but there you are.

I keep thinking thoughts about getting on YouTube, too. Vague concepts of reading short stories on the internet keep dancing through my head. I’m not sure I could do that as myself, but… maybe as a giant green cat, or a hag, or some other costume that wouldn’t match my real-life, shy writer persona.

Or, maybe if I can drag some of my poor, unsuspecting friends into it with me.

Hello, poor unsuspecting friends. I have ideas. Come play with me.

Audiences don’t bother me that much. Stage fright? Never heard of it. Stepping off the stage fright? That’ll stop me cold. Dancing on table tops? Easy. Looking someone–just one person–in the eye, and saying Hey, I made this. Don’t laugh?  Well, that’s where I might throw up.

So, here I am. Trying to be moderately entertaining. Trying to come up with the character that would let me promote my work. That nice, balanced mix of traits I really have, and traits that are make believe.

Can I be myself while pretending to be someone else?

Sometimes, I think it’s actually possible.

 

Exercise is Bad For You

I’m trying to get my body to start feeling good after a long walk in the heat. Right around 90 degrees. I think I’m a few electrolytes and about six gallons of water down for the day. I never was good at outdoors and heat, so there you are.

The walk was supposed to dislodge some kind of information about what my villain is doing, right now, but as it turns out, I spent more time noticing flowers than contemplating prostitutes.

Unfortunately, I just finished killing off all the accomplices I knew about, so now, she’s all alone with no one to talk to, and no one to commit violent assassinations with.

I also realized… much to my surprise… that I’m not exactly sure what the role of a prostitute is, in a society where there’s a perfectly good Temple of Erotic Love just down the street. So, I made a list. Which will probably horrify whoever finds it after I fall into my post-exercise coma.

Presenting My 200th Post

Let’s be honest. Getting here took me a lot longer than it should have. There’s something huge about blogging. It’s the whole combo-platter of anxieties, and an empty page to boot. So, yeah… about a year and a half. Five months, once I decided to sit down and do it.

That’s probably the biggest lesson I’ve learned. Whatever you want to do, get out there and do it. Get moving! The goal is a whole lot closer than you think.

The next part–I’m relieved to report–is that people have been a whole lot more encouraging than I would have guessed at the beginning. Everyone I’ve come into contact with has been completely respectful and positive. Everyone. I haven’t had one single negative or abusive comment.  This is a good community to be part of, and even when we disagree, it’s in an incredibly warm and inspiring way.

Thank You!

And I’ve met some incredible, brilliant, and talented people along the way.

I had a lot of trouble, at first, figuring out what I was going to blog about. Writing, mainly. Goals. I wanted a space to share some of my WIP, and that’s what this was going to be.

I don’t revise that fast, and no one wants to hear about my writing statistics. Writing isn’t a spectator sport. And also, it needs more explosions.

Later on, when I decided to write about whatever came into my head, things got easier. A little less focus on the writing, but more humanity in the blog. It worked for me.

So, here I am, 200 posts later.

I haven’t died of exhaustion.

And I haven’t completely embarrassed myself.

And I’m going to keep going. Because you guys make it worth it.

Thanks again, everyone!

Unexpected Milestones in Blogging

When you start doing something, there are milestones you expect. Evidence of progress that is predictable: A particular number of views, or followers, or posts. For instance, I’m approaching my 200th post. There’s nothing particularly surprising about that. You just write the first post, and then, keep going.

In addition to that kind of milestone, you have the kind of milestone you weren’t looking for until you run into it along the way. Things like the callous on my big toe. I didn’t think about it before I started dancing, but there it is. Proof I was there. A nice souvenir.

I’m talking about the milestones that come with their own aha moment and announce themselves when you get there.

Today’s milestone?

My readers started talking to each other.

Yeah. In the comments on my blog. There are people… and they’re talking to each other.

Oh!

Didn’t know I was looking for that.

In hindsight, it seems obvious that it would happen eventually. I mean, I have a blog. It has a theme (Specifically: Pretending this blog has a theme.) It makes sense that the people who read it would have enough in common that they’d start talking eventually.

Surprise!

It’s like the first time you run into someone who looks just exactly like your character running around on the street.

So… what are the milestones that took you by surprise? What accomplishments did you reach without knowing they were there?