Archive | January, 2018

Making Necessary Choices

30 Jan

The rain continues to fall.

Like a cow pissing on a flat rock.

Lovely image that, don’t you think?

You can thank my grandfather for that one.

I love similes.  They are like a secret lover on a lonely night.

I just did another one.  Isn’t this fun?

That was all very random.  Now on to the regularly scheduled program.

I dropped two customers last week from my freelance writing business.  One was consistently slow in paying. The other wanted me to set up a newsletter app for her, learn how to work that app, and then write the newsletter for her.  I explained I’m a writer, not a downloader, and I thanked her for her business.

It’s all about making choices when you are in business for yourself.  I don’t want the hassle of chasing down money owed to me, and I don’t want the headaches associated with learning new applications.  So I eliminated them both from my life.

Pretty simple, really!

I was talking to another gentleman last week about my rates.  He thought my rates were too high. I told him to have a good life.  My time is worth more than he believes it is, so our business relationship lasted all of five minutes.

Pretty simple, really!

Someone else wanted me to read ten of his articles and give him feedback/advice.  I told him no. I’m too busy to do that for free.  He was offended.  Too bad!  Good friends I will probably do that for; people who only know me as a name on the internet no, not a chance.

Pretty simple,really!

I don’t know where I’m going with this, but I thought I would share.

Have a great week!

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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Writing and Carpentry

23 Jan

I knew nothing about carpentry when I attempted to build my first shed.

It looked like it.

I’ve improved dramatically over the years.

One thing I’ve learned is to make it easy on myself.  Lumber comes in standard lengths.  2x4s come in 8, 10, 12, 14 lengths….and longer….the point being, almost all 2x4s used in building a house or a shed are either eight feet or ten feet in length.  Carpenters plan on this fact . . . the 2x4s are cheaper and they are standard length, meaning no cutting is necessary, and since time is money they are cheaper in that respect as well.

So I now only build structures which utilize those standard lengths. It’s just easier to do so.

The same is true in the construction business.  Ninety-nine out of every one-hundred homes are built using those two standard lengths of 2x4s.  It’s cheaper to do it that way and it is easier.

The one out of one-hundred which does not use standard lengths is considered to be a custom house, and the final sales price on that house is higher and so, too, is the craftsmanship.

There is a lesson about writing in this discussion about carpentry, believe it or not!

If you write novels or articles, do you want your product to be part of that 99 out of 100, or do you want it to be the remaining one which has gone the extra mile of craftsmanship?  Just about anyone with any “game” at all can write a novel.  String 70,000 words together, with some semblance of cohesion, and you have a novel.

But do you have a quality novel?

It’s just something to think about as you go about your writing day.

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Hibernation

16 Jan

Hibernation:  to become inactive or dormant.

That’s not terribly accurate in describing my writing journey so far this winter.  I am quite active with customers. I probably have more work than I want to have, truth be told.  But my creative pursuits regarding novels are in hibernation and it is a fascinating process for me.

I thought I’d share it with you.

I started my newest “Shadow” novel, “The Magician’s Shadow,” about two months ago.  I breezed through the first 22,000 words and then called a halt to the proceedings.  I did not call a halt because of a brain freeze, or the so-called writer’s block, but simply because I was at the point where my muse had to decide on the direction of the story.  It’s always like that when I write a novel.  When I start out I have a general outline of the story in my brain, but the specifics and quite often the ending are unknown.

So I call a halt to the proceedings and allow my muse the freedom to do her thing . . . which she is, thank you very much.  I haven’t written a word in that novel for three weeks now, but as I go about my daily activities, little snippets of the story will come to me.  Yesterday a major future scene came to me while I was out walking the dog.  I wasn’t thinking about the book at all, but there it was, delivered to me on a silver platter, with love from my muse.

And so it shall be. When my muse is finished she’ll let me know, and at that point I’ll continue writing the novel.

I always feel my explanation of the writing process should come with a warning label . . .  don’t try this at home . . . because it really is a random process which is impossible to teach to others.

My best words of advice . . . trust in the process!

In the meantime, I’ve finished another coloring book, which will be published soon, and I continue to pick up new customers for my freelance business.  More money is always appreciated!

So there you go! Don’t sweat it.  Let the story come to you.  In the meantime, be productive.

Thus sayeth the old man!

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Reciprocation

9 Jan

Reciprocation . . . five syllables . . . a word which has importance for anyone in this writing business . . . hell, for anyone in life.

Let me tell you a story.

We moved into our new home on 18th Street in Tacoma, Washington when I was five years old. My parents were seven years removed from Charles City, Iowa, a small farming town where seemingly everyone knew everyone else.  There wasn’t much privacy in Charles City, but there also wasn’t much isolation either.  If you needed help, help arrived in that town.  Building a shed was a neighborhood occurrence back then . . . it’s just the way things were.

So when my parents moved us into this new neighborhood, my dad did what he was accustomed to doing: he helped neighbors with their chores.  He would shovel walks for Mr. and Mrs. Conrad next door when it snowed.  He would help load trash onto trailers when a neighbor was cleaning out a garage.  It’s just the way my dad was wired.  He didn’t mind doing it.  Mom was the same.  Someone sick?  She was there at their door with a freshly-cooked meal, offering to run to the store if they needed anything.

So after about a year, dad decided to build a cement retaining wall separating our back yard with the empty lot next door.  It was a big undertaking, one which would easily take him a couple months of hard labor after he got home each day from work.

The Saturday arrived when he was going to start this project.  He got his tools together, ran to the hardware store to pick up things he would need, and came home to a group of ten neighbors who were waiting for him. They had come to help. They all had their tools, they were all dressed in work clothes, and a one-man job became an eleven-man job that morning and every evening until the job was completed eight days later.

That’s just the way things were back then.

And that’s what I’ve noticed, for the most part, in the writing community.  Reciprocation . .. friends helping friend . . . friends sharing the work of others . . . friends commenting on articles and blogs . . . reciprocation, only five syllables but a ton of importance.

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

 

The Totality of Marketing for Writers

2 Jan

I have a news flash for you:  everything you do is a part of marketing your product.

Including your product!

I don’t care if you write novels, blog for a living, or submit articles to magazines . . . everything you do is a part of your marketing program.

My wife Bev and I play this little game while watching television.  We rate commercials.  It’s nothing too complicated . . . the rating system spectrum is something like “that sucked” to “totally tubular, man!”

There was one commercial that really stood out. I think it was for Volkswagen, and it happened a couple months ago.  Some family took a cross-country road trip with grandpa’s ashes, and it was a series of memories of love ending with them on a cliff side tossing the ashes into the sea . . . and it was powerful, so powerful, in fact, that I have remembered it for quite awhile.

It was powerful and effective because it played to our emotions.  We have all experienced the loss of a loved one.  It was something we could all relate to, and I think that is the point many writers completely ignore . . . their work, their notifications, their blogs, and their marketing materials, all should be something we, the buying public, can relate to and want to experience more of.

Give me a reason to read your blog.  What is there about your blog that is unique?  What does your blog give me that I didn’t have before?

Give me a reason to read your novel. What is there about your novel that hasn’t been done, ad nauseum, a million times before?

Give me a reason to get excited about your product.  I am bombarded by between 4000 and 10,000 ads per day, so why should I pay any attention to your product?

Be brutally honest in answering those questions. The answers you get just might make a difference in your sales one day.

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”