I told you I was going to try and post one blog per week and by golly, so far I’m doing it. Coincidentally, I’m busier than I’ve ever been, but I’m determined to get this blog out once a week and, well, here I am again, invading your privacy and demanding attention, like that obnoxious little kid at school who wouldn’t leave you alone, him in 2nd grade, you in 5th, and all you want to do is play soccer with your friends, but the little kid keeps tugging on your pants, demanding you play with him….sheez…leave me alone, kid, you scream, but it does no good and here he is again….
I think we better move on to a quote so I can catch my breath….and after the quote, we have a new interview with one of my favorite online friends and a dandy poet, Christy Birmingham.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“In skating there’s always another jump or another spin variation or another thing to learn, and that’s what I liked about it.” Gracie Gold
THOUGHT OF THE DAY
Never be afraid to try new things as a writer, not only in your writing, but also in your marketing. Who knows, right?
POETRY CORNER TIP OF THE DAY
I know, I know, I’m no poet, but that doesn’t mean I can’t toss around a few things I hear about.
How many of you poets have heard of Dodoitsu? Well I hadn’t heard of it at all, but now I know what it is, and I’m passing it along.
Dodoitsu is a Japanese poetic form where the focus is on syllables instead of rhyme or meter. Dodoitsu is a four-line poem which has seven syllables in each of the first three lines, and five syllables in the final line. Traditionally, the Dodoitsu focuses on work or love, and it usually has a humorous twist to it.
Try it! You just might like it. Just don’t expect me to do so.
SITE OF THE DAY
For those of you uninspired by the current choices of writing sites, stop on by HitRecord and see what’s happening there. I have a couple projects there, tossing out the chum, so to speak, and so far I love their set-up.
The site is promoted and was started by actor and director Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and I love the structure of it. It is a collaborative site where you can download some work of yours and then others jump onto the project and can add to it…..and if that project attracts backers or editors or publishers, then you share in the rewards.
Take a look at it. I think you’ll find it interesting and unlike any other writing site you’ve belonged to.
Are there monthly payouts there? No, but the possibility of a big payout, if a project is purchased, is enough to make me want to stay there….plus, and I can’t emphasize this enough…it is added exposure for your talents, and that is always a good thing.
I really like this new site and I give them FIVE STARS!!!!!
And now I’m pleased to share an interview with you, this one with a very talented poet, Christy Birmingham.
Christy and I are HP veterans, but I like to think we are so much more. Christy hails from one of the prettiest cities in North America, Victoria, British Columbia. What I can tell you about Christy can be summed up very quickly: she not only has gobs of talent, but she is also one of the nicest human beings you will ever meet online. I strongly encourage you to “friend” Christy and get to know her. She will, in the end, make you feel better about life.
And now, here I give you, Christy Birmingham!
Thank you for patiently waiting while I wrote the answers 🙂
It is wonderful to think I will be part of your interview series!
1) What is your main motivation for writing? Put another way, what do you hope to accomplish with your writing?
My motivation to write comes from my love of words. It’s as simple as that. Words fascinate me; I love the look and sound of them, and, even more than that, I adore how they convey emotions in readers.
Whether I am writing an article for a company or a poem for myself, I enjoy how the writing process evolves from my thoughts to the written result and how the finished work can influence a reader. I take immense pride in what I craft and use these creations to motivate me in the next project.
Ah, marketing. I have read countless articles on strategies for authors to use to sell their books. For my two books, I have stuck to a fairly straightforward strategy.
I share what the books are about and put that message in front of eyes that I think will appreciate it. I mean, not everyone will want to read my poetry, so I’m not going to market my books to everyone on Earth. Instead, I’m going to reach out to people who have told me they like my writing or who seem open to poetry.
Let me put it another way: why market a steak to a vegetarian? It would be a waste of energy and other resources, honestly. The same is true of marketing poetry to a person who has no interest in even looking at my promotional post about the book online.
Note from Bill: I love that line, “why market a steak to a vegetarian.” Great line, Christy!
3) What words of advice would you give to someone just starting out in this business?
I would tell this newcomer to treat writing as a business. It has many fun points but ultimately if you want to succeed at being a full-time writer, you have to treat it like a job. Work set hours, if you can, and be prepared for deadlines. If you want to take an afternoon off, so be it, but then you have to make up the time at some other point in the week, just like with an office job.
Also, set breaks for yourself just like you would for a 9-5 job. Yes, I call them my “breaks”; I take them in periods of 15 minutes (coffee breaks) and one hour (lunch break) each workday. I used to try to work nonstop at the start of this career and got burned out. Now I make myself take breaks and return to the computer mentally refreshed. In the end, surprisingly, I am more effective when I take breaks than when I do not do so. I assume most people are this way too.
4) How do you juggle your personal life with your life as a writer?
This question has long plagued me, and there are still weeks when I struggle with maintaining balance. I recognize that social time is necessary, which I never used to understand. I often worked long days and then watched an hour of TV before going to bed. Now I understand it is important to have friends and maintain connections with my parents. By taking social time, I find I am happier overall than when I work endlessly (even with those 15-minute and 1-hour breaks I mentioned earlier).
I also make sure I exercise regularly as a way to lower my stress and feel better about my body. For one of my 15-minute breaks today, for example, I went for a brisk walk around the neighborhood. I’m not talking about a hardcore fitness regime. Instead, I urge writers to stay healthy and be active, especially given that much of our work is done while sitting down at a computer.
Thank you, Bill, for having me over for a visit today! It was great to take stock of my journey as well as to remind myself about keeping balance in my days. I welcome further opportunities to connect with writers and readers via my blog Poetic Parfait, as well as on Twitter. My latest book is Versions of the Self, a collection of poems that reveal the world as a series of selves, including the singular “I” and romantic connections. Let’s keep cheering on one another!
I have never shied away from the truth. Several times in the past I have mentioned that there is good news and bad news in the revolution of ebooks. The good news is now anyone can write and publish a book. The bad news is now anyone can write and publish a book. LOL I am being brutally honest when I tell you there are a lot of really bad indie books out there….bordering on junky….and because of that proliferation, many readers are gun shy about buying a book from an indie writer.
Having said all that, take me at my word, Christy is a good one. Her new book is excellent…her poetry is beautiful…and I would never hesitate to recommend it for purchase if you are at all inclined towards reading poetry.
Thank you so much, Christy, for doing this for me…for all of us….you are a quality human being and that, my friend, is my highest praise.
UNTIL NEXT WEEK
Keep in mind Christy’s advice. Treat writing like a job, and remember those breaks during the day…..the world needs great writers, so set your sights higher than you once did, and soar!!!!!!! And if you’ve got nothing better to do, stop by the Mailbag for questions and answers about writing.
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”