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Today in the AntiResistance Forum

Having a conversation with a forum member about why they can’t get their book written. Here’s what I thought about their challenge:

A theme I see in your comments is trying to swallow the elephant whole.

Step back and slow down. Chunk. Baby steps.

Don’t think about “blogging every day.” Think about “write a blog post in the morning.” It works out the same way, but you’re only carrying one day on your shoulders instead of the infinite future.

Regular blogging was a part of my recovery from being thrown from the writing horse. It’s helpful.


A Myth and a Puzzlement

I’ve often heard creative folks claim that producing art quickly or in bulk leads to lower quality.

It’s not true.

Creativity is like a muscle. Use it more, make it stronger.

Yes, muscles get tired. When’s the last time you spent so much time in creative pursuits that you were in any danger of creative burnout?

I just spent February writing 25 songs besides working on my novel and writing here and at my personal blog. Being more creative leads to being more creative. I’ll be physically exhausted long before I’m creatively exhausted.

Quality? Sure, some of the songs I wrote aren’t keepers. That’s the nature of the beast: not every song is. But when I write 14 songs in a month, 3 or 4 are excellent. When I write 25 songs in a month, 7 or 8 are excellent. Not only more excellence, but a slightly higher percentage.

I believe that if I wrote 100 songs next February, I’d create 20 or more that were as good as anything I’ve ever written.

Are You Not a Writer?

The first thing writers tell me when I say “blog weekly, two or three times if you can” is “I don’t know what to write about.”

You’re a writer, aren’t you? If the goal is to get people to part with their money for your writing, how about showing them, often, what you’re capable of?

Wrote a nonfiction book? Blog about all the stuff that didn’t make it into the book, about everything you’ve learned since it was finished.

Fiction author? Easy: make up new fiction. No, I didn’t say write a batch of deathless prose every day. Just write.

Blogging regularly is not that hard—you’re a writer.


The Surefire Method to Repel Connections and Make People Mad at You

i-cant-see-you-la-la-la-la-laIgnore them.

When they leave a comment on the blog, read it, maybe, but don’t respond.

If they ask a question on social media or by email, ignore it.

Don’t offer new information, say, by posting to your blog or updating your website.

Instead, disappear for weeks at a time.

If you want to compete in the business of being an author in 2016 you had better be approachable and responsive.

Or someone who is will take your readers.

And their money.


400

400Post #400.

That’s 400 articles.

144,849 words about writing, indie publishing, and commonsense zero-cost DIY marketing for authors.

Thanks for showing up every week and reading them.

By a wide margin, the most popular post yet has been a list of a bunch of other posts. Seems y’all like things packaged neatly, and I respect that.

What else do you like? What’s been missing? What would make this place so valuable you’d stand in line to pay for my help?


The Ongoing Experiment: Chasing Change

step by stepIf you scroll down and look left, you’ll see the 16 most popular posts here at Someday Box.

7 are from the “story in 9 sentences” series.

7 are my core marketing posts.

The other two are a guest post from Rosanne Bane and a meander about Nero Wolfe. I know why the former is on the list. The latter, no idea.

Seems to indicate where interest lies: getting stuff written, and getting stuff sold.

More specifically, tools to make the writing and marketing processes less “random willpower-driven flailing” and more follow-the-steps.

In the spirit of endless experimentation to find the sweet spot between what I have to say and what you want to hear, it’s time for a course correction. Continue reading “The Ongoing Experiment: Chasing Change”


Where’s the Order, Where the Habit?

My unconscious is apparently toying with me. Write a post Monday about being orderly and habitual to reserve mental and emotional energy for art, and then don’t write posts the next two days.

This comes, perhaps, from not having specific goals, either targets to aim for or purposes for the actions. “I should write a post every day” isn’t meaningful. “Engaging with readers regularly builds loyalty” is a bit better.

running the maze

This year, my goal has been to write more mysteries. Our 3 businesses, Spinhead Web Design, Someday Box, and Chief Virtual Officer, are all doing what they do without much input or marketing effort from me.

After writing a 60,000-word mystery, one chapter a day, over at my personal blog, I may not post much there until there’s a specific reason. Continue reading “Where’s the Order, Where the Habit?”


Truth or Consequences: It’s Not Just a Town in New Mexico Any More

New Mexico windowTraffic is down here at Someday Box. We aren’t surprised, Best Beloved and I. The reposts from Finding Why and Business Heretics. Excerpts. Links to hither and yon.

Being the needy angsty type, my first impulse is to ask how I can make you love me more. The Dylan poster on my wall says it doesn’t matter who loves you as long as you love you.

Most of you show up on Friday, after the newsletter goes out. The in-between posts get less love, maybe because they’re not fresh. Maybe because the titles aren’t compelling. Maybe because they’re about someone else instead of me, and you’re all slavering and lusting for more me, less them.

Maybe I should have my head examined.

Truth is, there are consequences to change.

Continue reading “Truth or Consequences: It’s Not Just a Town in New Mexico Any More”


Back on the Rails

image http://www.sxc.hu/photo/796527 by Dominic Morel http://www.sxc.hu/profile/cx_edThe double-fudge-loaded cheesecake derails your healthy eating habits.

Disturbed sleep derails your writing habit.

Surprises in your schedule derail family time.

Unexpected behavior from others derails your best intentions to be the best possible version of yourself.

Time goes into stealth mode and derails your blogging routine.

Some of those seem trivial. Others are major events. Each of us would rate each of them a little differently.

Continue reading “Back on the Rails”


Marketing Strategy: No Budget? No Time? The One Thing I Would Do Is . . .

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1379787 by Jan Willem Geertsma http://www.sxc.hu/profile/jan-willem. . . blog.

If I had to choose one marketing strategy to fit into an incredibly busy life and didn’t cost a penny, it would be my blog.

This blog automatically feeds every post to Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In. As soon as I sort the technical details, it will automatically post to Google+ and Pinterest.

(Update #1: Continue reading “Marketing Strategy: No Budget? No Time? The One Thing I Would Do Is . . .”


Why Headlines Don’t Matter (Except When They Do)

I have a penchant for witty yet meaningless titles, whether they’re blog posts, song titles or book titles. I prefer wit to meaning.

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/895100 by Hans Beyhs http://www.sxc.hu/profile/hbeyhsWith song titles I don’t think it matters. Let’s forget song titles.

With book titles it matters some; but subtitles cover a multitude of sins.

But blog posts, ah, blog posts. Every copywriting expert out there will tell you that getting the headline exactly right is more than half the battle; that the wrong headline essentially invalidates your blog.

Here’s when that doesn’t matter and why I ignore it.

Continue reading “Why Headlines Don’t Matter (Except When They Do)”


6 Tools to Help You Find and Develop Your Blogging Voice

Replying to my newsletter signup welcome email, Rory asked about finding his blogging voice. My writing voice came so naturally to me that I had been writing for years before I met an aspiring writer who needed help finding their own.

To be sure we’re all talking about the same thing: “voice” is the unique way each of us makes word choices, uses syntax and punctuation and pacing, and blends and balances dialog and exposition.

While few of us will ever have the instantly identifiable voice of Raymond Chandler or Dr. Seuss, our fans should find something unique to recognize in our writing just as our loved ones recognize our voice, even through the heavily compressed medium of telephone voice services.

A few points about finding your voice:

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/19949 by John Lee http://www.sxc.hu/profile/digi

Continue reading “6 Tools to Help You Find and Develop Your Blogging Voice”


5 Ways to Provide the Fresh Blog Content Your Fans Crave

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/15900 by Andras Deak http://www.sxc.hu/profile/deanWe’ve all seen a teenager open the refrigerator for the thirteenth time hoping miraculously that a pizza has appeared where only broccoli lay before.

There’s a marvelous scene in one of the Crocodile Dundee movies where someone points out that his hotel room has a television. He turns it on saying, “I’ve seen television before.” As the I Love Lucy theme fades in he says, “Yup, that’s what was on”.

Can you imagine if the food in the fridge really never changed or if the show on television was actually always the same?

There are some activities in life which hinge on variety, newness, change, to keep our attention. Eating the same foods over and over again gets boring fast – even pizza.

The single greatest reason for potential fans (which means potential purchasers of your book) to visit your website is to find something new.

Continue reading “5 Ways to Provide the Fresh Blog Content Your Fans Crave”


Chasing Attention is a Bad Thing (but It’s So Hard Not to Do)

series of photos by René te Witt http://www.sxc.hu/profile/renetewittTwo weeks ago I wrote a post at my Someday Box blog which I’m inordinately proud of. My fans responded by making it the busiest day I’ve ever had at any blog in 11 years. By a factor of 3 — yes, one post tripled my best day ever.

And now, the following days of normal traffic look puny and sad.

When kids say something surprising and get a laugh, they do it again.

Continue reading “Chasing Attention is a Bad Thing (but It’s So Hard Not to Do)”


Blogging 101, the Short Version for Authors

Cheryl Campbell

Cheryl Campbell

Continuing our conversation with author Cheryl Campbell

On Tue, Jul 30, 2013 at 6:42 PM, Cheryl Campbell <ccampbell.me@gmail.com> wrote:Hi Joel,

I know you’ve been writing and blogging way longer than me, but when you work on topics to blog about, do you just write what you want? write based on others’ questions? have a theme/series in mind for topics? Or all of the above? Or maybe this goes back to your evil plot and you have a different tactic altogether? :)

What I’ve been trying to do is do short blogs about indie publishing and posting tidbits, links, books, etc, I found especially useful/helpful…including helpful people like you.

Your coaching is on getting the story out of “someday” mode and into real mode. And I have writer friends who were just like me and they play with writing on the side here and there. I had only finally cracked down a couple of years ago and decided I would go for it all. Turns out, I kinda have a passion for writing that I didn’t really know was there until I stopped dabbling with it and got serious.

So that’s a bit of babble to say that with my blogs, given I have friends in the same boat and knowing they’d be just as lost as I was starting out on this, I have been trying to post helpful info in case they do ever get their own stories out of the someday box too. Seems like a good place to start for me as a completely green blogger….I’m certainly learning a lot on the fly.

Thoughts? Any suggestions on how to make blogs more effective? Or is it more about who you’re trying to reach as a target audience and writing with them in mind?

Cheryl

Continue reading “Blogging 101, the Short Version for Authors”


But I Don’t WANT to Blog!

Most writers dislike marketing. They dislike anything that takes them away from their writing, but marketing is toward the bottom of the list.

I don't want to blog!

I don’t want to turn into a plaid polyester-wearing used car salesman! I just want to write! Besides, I have a blog, and it just lays there, doing nothing. How will anyone find it? What difference will it make, anyway?”

I’m a writer who came at this from the world of marketing (the subject of most of my books) so I have a different perspective.

Continue reading “But I Don’t WANT to Blog!”