“Artists are people who are not at all interested in the facts—only in the truth. You get the facts from outside. The truth you get from inside.” --Ursula K. LeGuin

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Bloggers, Come Hither

Bloggers: The advantage of not having a huge platform is that you can fail with grace.

You can work on becoming a better writer.  Your blog gives you an opportunity to to do that. To become better, you practice, you write about something close to your heart. 

You can research subjects you want to know more about. You can go where YOU have never gone before.

You can have a LIFE BLOG.  

A Life Blog might be interesting only to a select few, like people you know or family, but that reminds me of a story Jeff Goin’s told of a man with ten good friends. He loved them and would die for them, but he wanted more. He built up a following of thousands; he became a rock star, but soon found it had its downside. People wanted something from him, more that he could give. He felt trapped. So he sought out a few good friends, and found them to be his original ten.

One blogger, when asked how it felt to address thousands, said, “I only talk to my tribe.” Those were her few good friends. (For me you are the good guys.)

Bloggers, (and all writers) you ought to be proud of yourselves. You are not stuck to the television or the couch. You are pounding away daily at the keyboard, trying to influence, to make a difference, trying to hone your skills.

If you decide to blog about a “How-to” subject you will reach more people. It is your choice. But here you will need to establish yourself as some sort of expert. (I learned the definition of an expert in college. “X” equals an unknown, and “Spirt” is a drip under pressure.--Must have come from a disgruntled professor.)

Using his definition though, (a drip under pressure), I’m an expert.

We do, however, especially when we are starting out, want to know How- to do something. I know little about blogging. I just began one day, and kept on, what make me do it? I don’t know. Now, however,  I am wondering about how some people go wild with blog numbers, and others perk along in low gear. I want to know about their technique, their key to success.  And so on this blog I am seeking that unknown territory into writing and blogging. And seeking unknown territory, learning, is in my estimation, what life is about.

I have a friend who is interested in Quantum Physics and she researches it almost daily. It is her fascination, her interest, and she is becoming excellent at it.
Her enthusiasm is contagious.

So, let’s go wild. We need others in our camp who are upbeat, enthusiastic, and supportive.

P.S. Chapters from my book ONE YEAR ON THE ISLAND, are posted on oneyearontheisland.com
I will post a chapter a week, One through Five are there now.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Dustin Hoffman of the Typewriter

Before success comes in any man's life, he's sure to meet with much temporary defeat and, perhaps some failures. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and the most logical thing to do is to quit. That's exactly what the majority of men do.

--Napoleon Hill

When I clicked on "Edit Like a Pro," a small free e-book from Xlibris Publishing, and saw the number of suggestions they listed for proof reading, I didn't feel so bad about the many times I go through a manuscript and find something to change. Seven! They had seven. 

If you want a link to "Edit Like a Pro," click here.

Quite a few years ago I attended a workshop where the writer Gary Provost spoke. To this day I remember his hands. Seeing his pristine hands, I thought, This man must spend a lot of time at the typewriter. I’d say keyboard, but since he is called “The Dustin Hoffman of the typewriter,” I guess my supposition was correct.  

Born in 1944, died in 1995 (darn) I’m mentioning Provost because today I ran smack dab into his words.

“I write often about writing,” wrote Provost, “and that can be terrifying. Sometimes I feel as if I'm standing in front of a firing squad and The Captain will give the order to shoot as soon as I have violated my own advice. Have I used too many words to tell you not to use too any words? Is my voice too passive when I tell you to use the active voice? Is my grammar faulty when I tell you to bone up on your grammar?”

One day, Gary stood on the steps of the Boston Public Library with a suitcase full of mimeographed copies of his little self-published book of offbeat humor, and he began to sell them--cheap. 

For whatever reason, this publication, The Dorchester Gas Tank, won Gary a small cult-level following in Cincinnati, Ohio and that local popularity garnered for Gary the attention of editors over at Writer’s Digest magazine, the world's leading magazine for writers. One thing led to another and: BAM! WD bought and published a story by Gary about Gary and his self-publishing venture. 

If you want a link to “Edit Like a Pro,” click here.