Writing 2.0 – Getting Started

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I was once kicked out of a social group for being too social.  Sociable.  Whatever.  The point is that I have trouble not talking to people, regardless of online, such as Facebook or WordPress, or in line at the supermarket.  It’s caused problems.

Roughly a year ago, I stopped teaching in order to start writing, and start is what I did.  Within two months, I had finished a first draft of a novel about two people who meet, as ghosts, after dying in a plane crash.  In short, it’s like When Harry Met Sally in spirit form.  I posted it one chapter at a time here for feedback, which was nice, especially from a few people who seemed to adore it.  Okay, it was really just that one lovely poet in India, but the encouragement prompted me to post other stories and get more pats on the back.  It was nice, too nice.  I branched into other forms of writing, such as social commentary and film reviews.  Someone found me interesting enough to suggest I write about myself, which I did for about 16 chapters.  That brought even more “likes” and attention and friends.  That was bad.  I was supposed to be writing novels, not shaking hands and waving to the crowd.

Several people warned me very nicely that each time I wrote 500 words for a film review, that was 500 words not added to a novel.  Each of those 16 autobiographical chapters, times 2,000 words, was 32,000 words not added to a novel.  I had lost sight of my goal, which was to make a living through writing.  Blogging is fun, and I would never dare criticize it, but it’s not going to be a career, not the way I had approached it.  Blogging is writing, of course, but it’s different writing.  As ready as I might feel now to begin what I consider more serious writing, I could not possibly feel this ready had it not been for blogging.  It was necessary, but it needs remodeling.

Recently I visited a friend’s blog and apologized for not having visited much lately, and he respectfully told me I was wrong.  He said, and I paraphrase, “You have your writing to do.  You provide people with entertainment, and that takes a lot of time and effort.  You have no obligation to read anyone else’s work.”  That too easily made sense.  I had been spending a great deal of time reading, commenting, visiting other blogs in order to get more people over to my blog as well as to just make more friends.  That was a nice thing to do, but it doesn’t help write novels.  I visited another blogger who actually has made a living as a writer, both with published books and features in publications like the New York Times.  She said, “Don’t get sucked into blogging and Facebook.  Those things are too distracting and will drain your time and words in the wrong direction.”  She was right, but I didn’t listen because I was too busy watching my followers reach 400, 500, 600, and now almost 700.  I’m not saying that blogging is “goofing around.”  I’m saying that if you want to write books, then you need to refocus your time and effort.

Trumping both of those situations is the editor who read some of my work and was very willing to help me fix things up to assist with pitching my work to agents.  That is the kind of thing that writers are dreaming about – someone working in the industry noticing your work and reaching out to you instead of you having to solicit and hope for a positive answer.  What did I do with that offer?  I worked on it for about a week, and then I fell back into the immediate gratification of blog posts.  I was given great advice and a gift, and I ignored it all.  At this point, I’m even too ashamed to ask her again if she would help.

Back in September, I joined a writers group managed by a published author.  I attended two meetings, each about 2 hours, but for 1 ½ of those hours the author told us aaalllll about herself, what she’d written, how, when, why, etc.  She brought copies of her books for us to buy, some kind of romance I think.  I’m not criticizing, just giving details.  She brought useless handouts and writing exercises not worth doing.  We were supposed to send her writing samples that she was to distribute to other members.  What I got back were some suggestions for different word choices.  Then I stopped getting e-mail invitations to the meetings.

Their writing class

not my writing class, but it felt like it

Back in January, I joined a different group after being on a waiting list since September.  Good people.  They had a “Meet the Author” night with a gentleman from a Philadelphia college with a book about something unimportant to me.  I searched his book title, and it was available on something called SBPRA: Strategic Book Publishing & Right Agency.  I searched that, and it’s actually worse than self-publishing.  It’s a company that you pay, and then they self-publish for you.  Also, they’re under investigation for fraud.  Every time I came across a “published” author, it was less impressive and more discouraging.  However, the discouragement has been a good push, and I realized it was time to stop goofing around.  

If you – like me – want to write books, then you should STOP:

1. ranting online that you’re not published

2. complaining that “it’s not what you know but who you know”

3. self-publishing without trying traditional publishing

4. tweeting a link – 24/7 – to your book on Amazon

5. tweeting/blogging/FB-ing about your “exciting new release!”

6. calling yourself a “published author” for self publishing

7. begging people to read your selfpub book on GoodReads

8. hoping that a publisher or agent will notice your selfpub book

9. recruiting more followers to your blog

10. touting false stats to get attention on Amazon

11. fearing that you are going to fail

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If you – like me – want to write books, then you should start:

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1. reading things similar to what you want to write

2. comparing your writing to those books – can you do that?

3. cutting back on Facebook and blogging for social fun

4. reading and commenting on fiction from other bloggers

5. asking – after you’ve commented – for them to read your work

6. writing flash fiction for quicker, specific feedback

7. finding a writing group and sharing your work

8. joining sites like writersmarket for agents & publishers

9. realizing that “good job” is not good feedback for your writing

10. writing one book while preparing and marketing another 

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To wrap this up, here’s a short list of what I must do now:

1.  I post fiction.  Please read and critique ONLY IF you want to.
2.  I will gladly do the same for you.  Just ask.  No problem
3.  I take your suggestions seriously.  You improve my writing.
4.  I am getting queries ready to pitch to agents.

This is what I need to do to be the kind of “writer” I want to be.

Several people recently complained that I do not read or comment on their blogs as much as they read and comment on mine.  That is unfortunately true.  I don’t.  I can’t possibly do that while accomplishing what I need to accomplish.  However, here is what I have always done and will certainly always do:

If you have something you want me to read, please tell me.  E-mail me or send me a link through my comments.  Say, “Rich, can you tell me what you think of this?  I will never fail to read and comment because I know how valuable that is, but I can’t regularly browse through blogs and read everything like I once did.  That is the best I can do, and that is completely fair.  If I am asking you to read my work, I better be equally ready to read your work.  I am, and I will.

The only way to do it is to do it.

Thanks very much for putting up with me.

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135 thoughts on “Writing 2.0 – Getting Started

  1. Rich, my darling, may I call you that even if I do not even know you, you spoke to my heart and my head in this post on so many levels that I cannot begin to share them at this time. I will be bookmarking this for my future reference, and I will also be listening to my gut, which has been telling me all of these things. Please do not correct my grammar or punctuation. That might be too much for me to bear right now. 😉

    • i never correct punctuation or grammar on informal writing – which is what this is. informal. but thanks very much for “feeling” what i’m trying to explain. i very much worry that people are going to be insulted and think that i’m saying that their writing is not “real” writing. it’s all real, but some is just different.

    • I am agreeing with onehotmess on this one. I will come back to this frequently once I start the process of writing my book(s). You have the head for this Rich, and I am rooting for you. I will always take you up on exchanging critiques. It makes me a better writer going both ways.

      Ha, going both ways.

  2. that is all well and good rich. good for you. the only thing I have a problem with is you saying “calling yourself a “published author” for self publishing”. personally I call bullshit on this one. just because you are self published does not make you less of a published author. I know a few who have self published and they work damn hard on it. so putting them down because they do self publish is crap. plain and simple. it may not be the ‘real’ way of publishing as many think, but that is changing fast.

    I realize all that you have listed is based on YOUR feelings or your thought process. it’s right for you, maybe not so for the next person. it’s like opinions, everyone has one and thinks their’s is the best. me included.

    as for facebook, well yes that is a major time sucker and that is why I am rarely on there. Time Sucker with capitol letters. ugh.

    each writer must find the ways that work the best for them. this list might work for you and I hope it does. we each need to find our own way. writing is personal I think. finding the time to write is personal.

    that’s all I’ve got. wish you well in your pursuit of your becoming a ‘real’ writer and not just a self published writer………

      • what happens if you don’t get picked up by a publisher? you going to just give it up? or keep trying? so you are saying you would never self publish? with the up swings of self publishing and ebooks I’m not sure you can just shelve self publishing. It’s here and it’s here to stay. just wonder why you think so little of self publishing?

      • i don’t think little of self publishing – provided you (not you personally) have exhausted everything regarding traditional publishing. too many people are crossing their fingers and trying selfpub because they are afraid to try traditional. i can criticize because i did it too, chickened out, like many others, without really trying traditional.

      • ah, see now you are becoming more clear. You think a writer should exhaust all possible avenues first before they self publish! that at least make sense to me. But then you come to the point of, how much is enough before you say ‘enough’? I suppose that would be up to each person. Again, that makes more sense then just poo pooing self publishing. I can go with that.

  3. Rich,
    This rant exploded very close to where I live. I go back and forth between kicking myself for not being dedicated enough to my writing and taking a fatalistic view that I’m never going to get where I want to anyway. I do think that blogging and interacting with other writers is worthwhile. Writing if a lonely craft. You’re out there in your cave, all on your own, solitary. It’s sort of like sailing around the world by yourself, or living on a desert island, or being a hermit. So contact with other humans is good. I think it keeps you grounded and normal, or at least it keeps you from getting too weird. I also think that writing is a long road and you have to be diligent, always hopeful, relentless and a good self-promoter (which I am not). You’ve been tilting at windmills for a year. Another year and you may have a breakrhought,l or five, or ten, or never. Writing is like sailing out to find some rumoured shore and you’ll be at sea until you find it, or you go down trying. People play the lottery, people go to the track and bet on 100 to 1 horses. We write.
    Your offer to read the work of others is very generous. I’m tempted to burden you with that beast. Be careful what you ask for. You may surely get it. Your fellow sojourner, Ron

    • i have to accept that burden because i have asked all of you to do so for me. as for blogging and such, i did say that i couldn’t possibly feel as ready as i might feel without having spent all those words and getting a “feel” for a better voice. i know that some – not saying you – might think i was criticizing blogging, so i hope that people don’t miss the value gained, and still gain, from blogging. i just need to adjust a little.

      there are times when isolation is needed and times to come out of the cave. for me, it’s been a bad balance.

  4. Good for you, Rich, for critically looking at you, your work and where you want to go and figuring out what you have to do to get there. I don’t feel you were criticizing blogging. You’re blogging for a different reason than someone like me. Right now at least, I enjoy blogging and my mix of writing, poetry, and photos. That’s where I’m going right now and I’m always trying to improve. Perhaps at some point I’ll move into trying to write for publication. If so, I’ll be doing what you’re doing now. If not, my blog will “be all it can be.”

    All the best, as you well, know,

    janet

    • thanks very much. knowing that i came across the right way is comforting, i was worried about that and will continue to check comments with fingers crossed.

  5. Can you explain #11? For one trying to get published, failure has to be expected so isn’t fearing that eventual failure going to ultimately self-defeating? I’ve always been under the impression that posting a work in any type of online forum means that piece is then considered published.

    • thanks for reminding me that i should have drawn a better distinction between legally published and what we might consider published. i had begun to type something about that, but then i backed off. my bad.

      as for 11 – that’s been me and many others who sit and stare at our work and don’t do anything because we fear being rejected. my saying used to be “if i don’t pull the trigger, i’ll never miss.” i have been the type who would send three queries, get three rejections, and quit. but i know fully well that 20 rejections is just the beginning.

  6. This is great food for thought as I embark on my own writing career, and I’m glad to hear you emphasize the importance of reading, reading, reading. I had let other things get in the way of my once-sacred reading time, and I’ve been making a conscious effort to get back in the habit this year. Now I feel justified curling up on the sofa with my Kindle–it’s research!

  7. Hi Rich! I believe that you can go as far as you dream because I feel that you have talent writer (from what I have read) and you write in very easy to read sentences….so you took a side step or two or three…SO WHAT! Maybe that is just what you needed for you to be better inspired for your many stories yet to be written…..life experience and fantasies or dreams make for great novels…..

    • i definitely did need to take a few side steps. yes, because i didn’t know enough. but hopefully a few people will read this and maybe they won’t have to take those side steps and they can save themselves some time and effort. and thank you very much for reading.

  8. Ooo….ouch. This is an angry post Rich. Though I am a self published author and don’t exactly ‘like’ self publishing it doesn’t make someone less of an author because of it. A novel can’t be forced and if you’re procrastinating doing other things, it’s your fault. Don’t blame blogging, facebook or anything like that. When you’re into writing a novel, nothing stands in your way because you have to get it done. If you let things get in your way, then you weren’t inspired, you were consumed by something else, etc, it has nothing to do with just not having the ‘time’ to finish it. If you’re inspired you’ll make time. If you can’t wait to write that next chapter you’ll skip today’s blog post to do it.

    Maybe I’m being to forward but I think some people are making you feel guilty, maybe asking why you’re not traditionally published yet, questioning your talent, etc and you feel like you have to show them up-to account for the time you’re writing like you’re only doing it to get paid by the word not by the joy you got writing it.

    If you want to become a ‘successful’ author like you describe, you don’t write. You take one good thing you’ve written and try to market the shit out of it, or in your case market the shit out of yourself to get noticed.

    If you want to write books, you write books. That’s just how it is.

    Sorry for the rant 🙂

    • you don’t need to be sorry for anything. you said all valid things. however, i’m not criticizing blogging, and i made it a point to say that i couldn’t be where i am (not that i really “am” anywhere) without blogging. it is necessary but it is also a time drain from writing novels.

      also, i didn’t say that self pub is bad. i’m just stressing to try all you can for traditional first. too many people are writing things and tossing on amazon and crossing their fingers when there is a lot more work to be done – work that i have not been doing – until now because it took me that long to learn it.

      you should never worry about being too forward because i know you speak with a background of information and experience, more than me, that’s for sure.

  9. Very interesting post, Rich. You’ve said quite a bit, and I would like to answer a few points. I’ve read one of your books completely… and two of your books, a few chapters each. Most of your fiction does not appeal to me that much, mostly because I don’t care for the sort of genres that you’re offering, but I do think that you have quite a bit of talent, and I do think you express yourself well. I read almost all of your posts, though sometimes I give up about half way through. I really didn’t like your series about what peeves you about grammar mistakes of other bloggers and amateur writers. I thought that you were small minded about these mistakes, and much of it is not relevant anyway. Writing goes far beyond rules, and often can’t be tested by logic ( a lot of your complaints were about a lack of logic in the way people expressed themselves). I think there’s nothing wrong with being self-published, I you’ve managed to sell 10,000 books, or if you’re giving them away for free. I think it is entirely respectable to offer books for free on your blog, as long as you don’t expect to make a living at it. But on the whole, I think that everyone realizes that you have to sell books or articles to make a living at it, and for a person to call himself a published writer having sold less than 500 books is kind of ridiculous. On the other hand, if you’re really good, it’s worth a person’s while to give away work for free, whether through a blog, or writing for next to nothing in magazines, so that people will get to know them. When they start selling their published work, more people will recognize them, and want to read them. And I will close with a comment about your chapters of autobiography. I think they are the best of your writing I have seen, and I think they could eventually be a very successful book. And I don’t think you’ve lost anything by publishing them on your blog. They need some editing, and they need a very strong ending, but I think they are part of a book that would sell.

    • thanks very much for such a comprehensive comment. i was not aware that you read two of the books completely, so that’s a pleasant surprise, regardless of how much you did or didn’t enjoy them.

      as for those language/grammar posts, it was an experiment with writing in a different “voice,” writing in a style that is different from what my natural writing voice might be. i wanted to see if i could do that, and i did, and i stopped because it was no longer interesting.

      as for the autobiographical stuff, the reason i stopped was because i’m seriously torn about what would come next because the people who would have to be included are friends. and i what would be entertaining about them would also be something they would not want written publicly about them. so, being unsure what to do, i felt it better to do nothing.

      as you know, the word “successful” is everything and nothing. just to write 50,000 words is successful for someone who just wanted to write that much. selling 50,000 books is successful to someone who wanted to sell that much, but just writing it would not suffice him or her.

      as for me, i have to now re-evaluate “success.” it is no longer blogging – and i’m not criticizing blogging. but it now seems like to step that has brought me to another step, and i need to see where those steps go. however, i cannot both see where those steps go while remaining on that same step.

      thanks again for your kind thoughts and support.

      • I still recommend using the autobiographical material for serious writing. I think it would make a really fine book. All writers encounter that problem of telling tales that could embarrass or anger their friends… and that is a very good reason why some writers use the third person, or disguise the exact events by representing them a bit differently in fiction. That is the writer’s privilege, and his work too. Sometimes, it requires quite a bit of work, but it can be very worth while.

      • i have no choice but to take that under the strongest consideration. thanks very much for feeling strongly enough about it to give me one more nudge about it. and happy pesach to you and yours.

  10. Rich, I admire your honesty in conveying a message many of us feel and sometimes do not want to say, or say it in a way that might offend another, or give that one a reason to never want to visit our blog or read our writing works again if we choose not to spend many hours on Facebook, Friday Fictioneers, or other people’s blogs. We can hang on to our dreams of ‘traditional’ publication with no cost, or hard work, but the personal loss comes when we give up on those dreams and goals before working towards that end, and never seeing them realized. I believe that writing is a craft, (as my writing instructors called it too) of which I may never get perfect at, but believe no writer ever does perfect, published or not. It requires hard work, endless time and effort and without that we are reaching for unreachable stars, or seeing our dreams come true.

    • yes, miss, i hear everything you’re saying. and when it comes to me, i have been delaying my fullest effort because i’ve been having too much fun doing other forms of reading and writing. but i have to stop most of that and get more serious. it was too easy to get distracted, and i’m working on fixing that, just as some others do too. i wanted to let them know that it’s okay to admit that and make changes.

  11. I really appreciated reading your thoughts about this…I’ve been pondering lately whether or not blogging is worthwhile *for me* or not. I usually end up getting distracted with writing random nerdy posts rather than working on my fiction, which is what I really want to focus on, but don’t really have time to in the first place. I’ve been posting my current novel-in-progress chapter-by-chapter, but there may be no utility in this, either, because it’s not like it’s carefully edited and ready for eyes other than my own. Anyway, good luck with your new, more focused path!

      • True, that would probably be the most helpful. Are you volunteering? 😉 Something else that has come to my mind though is that I think that whatever kind of post a person writes, whether it’s a bit of fiction, biography, about style or grammar, about a TV show you like, etc. is an exercise in creativity, and I like to think that in itself is worth something. So it wasn’t all in vain, although I understand you’re reasons for wanting to reorient yourself to your original goal.

  12. I wish you the best. I am going to miss your writing here, but it makes complete sense. Thank you for taking the time to explain to your readers your reasoning, instead of just disappearing, that is very thoughtful of you.
    I’m sorry you won’t be continuing to write about your life but after reading the comments I understand why. I do want you to know they were my favorite posts, and I looked forward to them!
    I hope you reach your dreams, for what it is worth I think you are a great writer.

    • also, i’ll be here, writing, but just different writing, things more like those short stories. not so much humor or that, not that i’m not longer “funny,” but, oh well.

      • Good, I like your fiction stories too, but your life was such a hot mess! It was fun to read and I always looked forward to those posts. Though I admit I wondered what some of the people you wrote about thought about it, it isn’t like you try and hide or disguise who you are.

  13. I can identify with almost every thing you say. Writing on the blog is not “real” writing, And we only have so much energy/time. All the best to you, Rich. All the best of luck in your writing. As for the opinions of all of us other bloggers, and the opinions of some the writing groups you socialize, F ’em.

  14. You have to follow your own path, the one that works for you and the most important thing is that you write. If your goal is the novel, then keep writing that novel. When the story takes on a life of it’s own and the characters become closer than members of your family, and you are compelled to write it out, you will know it. The experience surprised and changed me. I had heard it from others, but until it happened to me, I didn’t understand it. The story came fast and furious, seemingly from something other than myself. I have the words. They’re down on paper. The hard part is re-writing, and re-writing, and re-writing. I’m still on the first edit and it’s hard, hard work. I find myself looking for excuses to write other things and I do write other things, but your post here has pushed me to go back to what is important, to gather those pages again and go line by line, making it better, paring it down, creating the best story I know how. Yep, writing 2.0, Thank you Rich.

    ps: I can’t find two of your stories, the one about the old guy and one other I can’t remember the title to. Can you post the links for me? I’d love to read both. –tw

    • your comments and thoughts help confirm what i already believed was right, and i’m glad it all works for you too. you have certainly paid more attention than most people to what i was writing, and i was sure you would understand. thanks very much.

      as for those titles, i had to remove them because it would make it very difficult, if not impossible, to attempt to sell them to a publisher if they were available. here. however, i could always e-mail you a copy and you could read it that way. if you were so interested.

      however, yes, please, gather those pages while ye may…

    • that “fearing” was part of the “stop” column. it seems you’re not the only one who missed that, so i should make an adjustment. oops.

  15. Great post Rich – I don’t read all your work but have enjoyed a couple of them immensely. If time permits i will send you some thoughts in the future! Best wishes and keep going – practice practice practice!

  16. Spoken like a true gentleman, Rich. I feel the same way. Sucked into this blogging caper and feeling guilty for not actually doing what I really want to do. And I feel it’s holding me back.
    I must print and frame those lists of yours. Cheers!

  17. So much has already been said by others that I will try not to repeat. I will just say I thought this was a great blog post and there is a lot I can relate to right now. Blogging is cathartic especially when others “like” us but yeah, I know what you mean by “more serious writing”. Best of luck to you!

    • no need to worry about repeating yourself. thanks for reading and feeling that it is something to “relate” to. best of luck to both of us.

      • I buy the hard copy every other year just so the contact details are more up to date. There’s nothing worse than sending query letters to people that changed companies. Or died.

      • i subscribed to the website. monday i sent about 10 queries to places that said they want short story collections. after about 10 i realized where i could improve my query. sent 10 more. then realized how the query still sucked. i hate that i wasted those 20 tries. got one rejection back so far. but like i said, rejections are better than not trying.

      • realized i don’t have your e-mail address, so i pasted one letter into the contact page on your site. that might be annoying to read it that way.

  18. What you said here is 100% correct. I have a novel almost complete. All I have to do is finish it. But I have to read other people’s blogs, write poetry and short stories. I use to play the games on FB. Then one day I stopped and started working on my novel. I had a blog on Blogger. I stopped to work on my novel. I started this blog and have so many readers that I want those strokes to my ego and talent. *sigh.

  19. Rich,

    This is one post where I, pretty much, read all the comments and replies. I was very curious what type(s) of remark(s) you might get from such a large crowd of diverse people. I was right; that was entertaining in itself.

    I don’t consider short stories and novels the same. Having said that, I am published in the traditional sense, finally, though I got my break through online email. I am in an actual book that is for sale and it has made my day, if not my wallet. I am in a fairly unique situation and it has colored my efforts. I have been told now that I do have talent and that particular editor compared me to a young Robert Bloch. That was exciting and so complimentary to a horror writer.

    I have other genres I wish to write in, specifically, Sci-fi and fantasy. I do have a general outline in my head for a series of novels down the road. My unique position is that I, due to my disability, have enough income that I don’t have to write to survive, and, as I said, short story writing will not support a person. At least, I don’t think it can.

    I had to agree with you on most points. What I am saying here is that I am choosing, at present, to continue my blogging efforts and interact with the friends I have made and the new ones I will meet. As I have said before, I consider you one of those friends. Know that I don’t feel slighted that you can’t read, like, and/or comment on my blog. Your time is for what you spend it on. For you, that is writing for publication and money, and that’s fine and wonderful. You are very talented and I know you will do fine once you are fully committed and going at it like you intend. Feel free to ask me to read / proof anything you write. I enjoy that. I have done beta reading before and, I believe, I did a creditable job. If you don’t, that’s fine, too. You are the person who will shape your future and I wish you well on it all.
    Drop me a note once in a while, if you get a chance – if you stop blogging.

    Sincerely,
    Scott

    • scott,

      i was waiting for your replay more than most others because i knew that you had already had a strong guess what i was going to write anyway. we certainly have a common wavelength, so your impressions are looked for differently than others.

      as for blogging, i don’t plan to quit, but i do plan to post pretty much just fiction, such as the short stories and going back to one chapter at a time.

      as for your blogging time, that’s different because you have already achieved what i’m hoping to achieve, and once you’ve done that, then things are different. you have earned the right to step back from writing and allow yourself to take time in other directions, but i have not earned that yet. you’re on a highway that i haven’t reached, so you can drive at a different speed than i can allow myself. i was not aware that you were published, so my admiration for you has grown even more.

      as for reading your work, i’d be very glad to beta read for you (not suggesting you need that but assuming we all do) just as you have for me. and as for reading your blog or posts, i’d be glad to read anything that you might alert me to read. i have a problem with the social media aspect, and i don’t know how to limit myself to reading only a few blogs, therefore i stay away from all of them unless someone asks me to read what they’ve written. i guess it’s like an addict knowing they need to stay away. kind of. in a way. a little.

      as for beta reading, i couldn’t possibly ask people without asking you. no doubt about that.

      thanks very much for your time, attention, and interest in my work. and please don’t hesitate to ask me to read anything. i’d be very happy because, at this point, there’s no way i could read as much for you as you have already read for me.

  20. I will always come read you because I enjoy what you write. I will give you feedback, because you are good about accepting it. You don’t get you azz on your shoulder.

    I fully and completely understand your need to focus, this is as it should be if you are going to pursue goals.

    I blog for a different reason. When I am ready to begin to pursue a different goal, I will turn to you and ask you to read. If in the meantime you are reading and show up, wonderful.

    When you publish, I want an autographed copy!

    • autographed copy, hand delivered, with coffee. thanks very much for your supportive thoughts and continued willingness to help. when there is something you’d like me to read, please ask asap and i’ll be happy to read.

    • Before I can answer that well, give me a link to a post that you think shows the best example of what you expect from yourself.

      And that’s a really interesting question that I’ve never thought about but should start thinking about for myself. I’m glad you brought it up.

      • honestly here’s the thing – i read mostly boring shit, like biographies, historical things, except for stephen king, who i like but hate. but your writing isn’t really like anything that i read. it’s kind of like coming close to slapping me in the face but stopping just short, which is cool because it’s edgy but not stupid edgy.

        i saw in the comments that someone mentioned hunter thompson. which would be a very admirable comparison except that haven’t read anything of his. once i tried to read “fear and loathing in las vegas,” but it wasn’t a good time for me and i didn’t get it. which means i should read it again and maybe i’ll get it.

        i know that doesn’t make sense, but it’s all i got right now. so – at the same time – sorry i don’t have a good answer but thank you for asking.

      • I think what you’re trying to tell me is that its a big pile of flaming garbage. Haha, thanks man. No big deal. Back to the drawing board!

      • No, not at all. That is not what I am trying to tell you. I am saying that this type of writing is not in the same direction as what I usually read. So that means I don’t know what else I could compare it to because there is not really anything like this that I read. There are a lot of great things out there that I don’t read – not because it is not good but because I tried to read things that are more like what I write.

        In order for me to improve my writing, I need to read more things in my direction so I know what I might be doing right or wrong. To compare it to music, there is a ton of very successful and popular rap music out there, but rap is not my thing so I would not know how to compare 1 rap song to others when I haven’t really heard them. I would have no frame of reference to evaluate a rap song.

      • I totally get what you’re saying, Rich. I was just playin around. I really appreciate you taking the time to read it and offer me up some feedback!

      • sorry i misunderstood the playing around part. if you want to give me links to more examples of what is your strongest stuff, i’d be glad to read them.

  21. I enjoy reading what you write, regardless of what it is (although I confess I did ignore a few film reviews simply because I’d not seen the film or knew in advance I’m highly likely to never see the film).

    I’ll read and offer any observations I may have. As we have discussed, my grammar and spelling geek can be highly picky which is something that all writers need. I hate proof-reading my own stuff because I wrote it, which makes it more difficult to spot any errors.

    I wish you luck in this challenge, Rich!

    Faith xx

    • thanks very much. i don’t mind if you’re “picky” in fact, that would be very helpful. i look forward to your comments – as i already have, and as you’ve already offered many times.

      • You’re usually incredibly accurate, but I know it’s reassuring to have someone else looking out for these things too. I’m still catching up on post notifications from the past week, so it may take a little while to get to your more recent posts (I’ve finally got the emails down to under 50 but of course as I read, I comment, and so the number then increases again).

      • i turned off the emails for every comment because it was too much. i’ll see the comments anyway, so i don’t need the extra e-mails. but thanks for wanting to catch up. that’s nice to know.

      • It’s not so much the emails to the comments, it’s the posts I wasn’t able to read due to being in retreat and so on. Sometimes I wish some of the people I follow weren’t so prolific!

  22. Pingback: Writing 2.2 | brainsnorts inc >.<

  23. Perfect timing for me to read this. Thanks so much for giving me the link. So much is common sense, and yet we get caught up in these other online activities anyway. I’m going to keep this bookmarked to refer back to whenever I need the reminder.

    One thing though, as an introvert, I will never get “kicked out of a social group for being too social.” 😉

    • well, about that… the group had a website with a “discussion” page. one of the other members and i kind of took a liking to each other and began a conversation on that discussion page. we didn’t realize it had turned into full-blown flirting in front of an audience. thus, we were kicked out.

      i’m currently in the process of sending queries to agents. that is also time consuming, adjust each letter a little bit for each agent, reading their websites to find what they like or don’t like, how many pages to include, if any pages, or a synopsis, and on and on. in two days, i’ve sent out six. to get it right takes more than i realized – until i started really focusing, like you are going to do now. riiiiight??

      • I remember the query process well for my first novel. You’re right–takes a lot of effort. But when I finally got that acceptance letter? Lovely. Of course, it wasn’t from a huge publisher, but it was a start. I hope to be in the querying stage for my current novel-in-progress by next winter.

      • feel free to enlist me to read some chapters. i had some great help from a few bloggers on the novel i just finished. so i do have to pay it forward.

      • Thank you. I appreciate that. But I’ll hire out for a manuscript critique like I did last time. I don’t want to burden other busy writers, since I don’t tend to beta read myself.

  24. Pingback: Writing 2.4 – Who Uses Outlines? | brainsnorts inc >.<

  25. It is so easy to get caught up in the instant gratification of writing via blogging-tweeting-facebooking-instagraming… SO easy. Look at me right now! Prime example as I sit with my phone to keep tabs on the “likes” my post received yesterday (50 and counting).

    I know, I know I need to shut the computer and block out the numerous distractions. But… but… but I need to know if I’m going in the right direction and peer approval is my only means. Or is it?

    My main problem is targeting the writer I want to read most because that is the style I love. I haven’t found him or her and sadly there is no match.com for writer-reader relationship building. I’ve tried the “I write like” website, entered 8 different pieces and got 8 totally different writers ranging from sarcastic, to loveydovey, to psycho, to incomprehensible types.

    Enjoy the journey because the destination is unknown.

    • “i write like” website? have not heard of it. can you point me in the write direction?

      i found most of my peers right here, but it sure took a while. i also found some on a website called meetup.com, where they have many writers groups and other things.

      as for distractions, oh boy, there is a fine line between necessary discussions/reading and “fun.” but i suppose we’re all working on that balance. thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

      • The I write like website link is http://iwl.me/

        Every sample I tried compared me to a male author. What does that say about my femininity? Probably nothing.

        I’ll look into the meetups. I’ve tried different groups on LinkedIn but find it’s a series of “Me! Me! Me!” type conversations.

      • lots of me me me, which is why i began posting chapters here, asked for help, specifically explained what i was doing and why, and was lucky enough to get about 8 people who generously donated some time and attention.

      • By the looks of it, reading your chapters is a perfect example of how giving can also be to receive (i.e.the obvious joy of reading your chapters) sorry I’m being so hallmarkish all of a sudden, and no you don’t need a restraining order from me… Ha!

      • thanks for reading some chapters. very nice of you. as for restraining orders- i’m sure it’s not necessary, but i appreciate the “hallmarkish” thoughts. thanks.

      • Yeah… I had to google every single one of my guys. Not sure who I wanted but, those I was compared to turned out to be pretty decent.

  26. So, I followed the Freshly Pressed trail from Writing 2.3 to this. I agree with what you’ve expressed above. I first thought I came to the blogosphere to blog a book, after a year and change I know that is not the case. My blog is a way to reach out and connect, to have some feedback but it’s not really about the novels I’m writing, but how I ended up on the writing path and all that jazz. I recently took a writing class, after years out of the college classroom, and found that it was helpful in a sense but nothing beats the sitting down day-in and day-out, writing. I have a writer friend who says “Do you want to write? Or just fantasize about it?” Yeah, he doesn’t mince words, however, he’s spot on. I would love to share pieces of writing for feedback, but I’ll warn you that one is a Young Adult Urban Fantasy novel {Glow} and the other {Anachel} is a to-be-determined. Thanks for the writing tips, I’m also going to check the “I write like” website that was mentioned above : )

    • i did the “i write like” and landed on h.p. lovecraft (whom i’ve never read) and also chuck palanuik (sp?) who wrote “fight club.” feel free to post a link here for something that you would like others and me to read. always a good idea.

  27. Pingback: On Being Freshly Pressed | brainsnorts inc >.<

  28. This post really spoke to me, for someone who wants to be a published fiction writer one day, I find a lot of reasons not to just knuckle down and write.

  29. Excellent advice. I just found your blog via Freshly Pressed. I am now following it. I’ll be back to check out more of your writing, between my own writing sessions of course. 🙂

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