My drug of choice is writing--writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Friday, July 19, 2019

Types of Editing (Basics)

[Note: everything in brackets will disappear in a day or two. It's been a long week and I didn't start out with any articles mapped or outlined, so I've been flinging the whole week in under the wire and then running off to the second job. And while I love my schedule, those are LONG days. I was at 60 hours by the end of Thursday. Since I'm going to be starting a new series soon about the peer review part of writing, I thought it would be a good idea to have a "basics" post about the kinds of editing it in The Very Basics.]  

Not all editing is created equal. And while many newer writers with the ink still drying on their first drafts think the only thing they really need is a quick revision and a careful proofreading, there are actually several levels of editing to go through. Proofing (usually called copyediting) is the last step. Sadly, this is the opposite of what most new writers seem to believe. I actually get an email every week or so that seems certain that if the grammar were perfect, the story would blow the New York Times bestseller list away so hard, they would have to come up with a platinum circle for them, JK Rowling, and God.

*Developmental (or Content) editing 1–5 ms pgs/hr $40–60/hr
*Substantive or line editing 1–6 ms pgs/hr $40–60/hr
Sensitivity reading 1-10 ms pgs/hr $30-60/hr
Basic copyediting (proofreading) 5–10 ms pgs/hr $30–40/hr
Heavy copyediting (proofreading) 2–5 ms pgs/hr $40–50/hr

*This is the kind of editing that your cute and cuddly Writing About Writing blogger Chris sometimes does freelance. Please don't ask about copyediting. It's not pretty. 

I will periodically update these prices.

Of course, even the range of these prices is not comprehensive. Unless you're getting a deal, I'd worry about the skill level of your editor if you're finding something at a substantially lower price than these (say more than $10 less). You might have found one of those amazing deals or someone who hasn't realized what they're worth yet, but it's just as likely the quality of their editing might not be professional. Of course you can find lots of stuff that's more expensive, even WAY more expensive. Everything from services that combine line and copy editing, charge $150/hr (but you get your stuff back by the next day), to writers whose names you might even recognize who will read your stuff (usually for $100-$200/hr or even more) and give you some feedback. (It's not necessarily worth that much more, but you get to say "Author McRecognizablename edited the first part of my book.") Just be careful. If you're paying much more than these prices, there should be a damned good reason, or you might be getting fleeced.

Developmental/Content editing: This is the big stuff. The character arcs that aren't working. The scenes that are redundant or dead air. The problems with pacing. The writing that seems stiff. The confusing setting. The tone that shifts. The dialogue that has no heat. The ham-handed exposition. This is the level of editing where you don't get told to make small changes (these people won't even circle a typo), but rather huge, massive ones. ("I would cut out this whole part. That entire character isn't working. Your story really begins at chapter 3.") It can be TOUGH to hear this about something you poured so much into.

This means this is also the level of editing most writers tend to avoid when they are first starting out and a little convinced that they are sitting on a masterpiece....or at LEAST will never have to do this kind of editing. (Spoiler: We all do.) It is paradoxically the hardest and slowest and most important level of editing to crafting a good piece of fiction.

Fortunately for your pocketbook, a handful of trusted peer review can save you from round after round of developmental/content editing. If you're writing the great American novel, you might want to have a professional take the last pass, but the more you trust your peer reviewer cohort, the more you can exchange your own feedback on their shit for the heavy lifting.

Substantive/Line editing: This is editing that is somewhere between the nuts and bolts of grammar and the lofty craft of fiction. It deals with the skillfulness of the writing itself. It concerns itself with "Is there a better way to word this?" The paragraph structure that is too monotonous. The sentence rhythm that relies on too many multiple clauses and not enough simple sentences for emphasis. The use of too many adverbs. A better word than that one for what you're trying to describe. Making it clearer what the action is, who is talking, or what they are trying to say.

When you change the font to read something with fresh eyes or try to read it out loud to yourself, this is the level at which you are hoping to catch mistakes.

Sensitivity Reading: This level of editing can weave throughout the other levels, even conceivably going into grammar if someone's speech patterns are reflected in their language. This is basically an editing pass for people who want to get their portrayals of typically-marginalized groups right without falling into cliché tropes or harmful stereotypes (even unintentionally). It may possibly point out how badly a work seems to be MISSING any kind of diversity. It is also useful to avoid a this-alien-race-is-a-stand-in-for-this-Earth-culture or the everyone-just-has-white-people-values-in-the-future trope. In an awful lot of "bold" science fiction written by men, for example, the women are still housewives and secretaries. Basically the more axes of privilege someone is on (white, male, cis, het), the more they should consider getting a sensitivity reader if they don't want to have an unintended impact that––post-publication––turns into the kind of criticism they never wanted.

Note: It would be extraordinarily INsensitive to try to get this sort of editing for free. You are literally asking someone to do something called "emotional labor" for you on a grand scale (you can look that up if you want to understand it a little better) People doing uncompensated emotional labor for hours and hours so that privileged folks (like straight white dudes) can understand "What's racist/sexist/homophobic about THAT?" is EXPLICITLY one of the problems of unequal power dynamics in our society. So pay them or barter something WELL worth it, but compensate them for this shit.

Copyediting/Proofreading: This editing gets into the grammar. Word form. Word meaning. Punctuation. Word order in some cases. Verb tenses. All that good gracious shit that you learned the names of in high school and then forgot but probably know better than you think you do if you're reading anywhere near enough to be a writer in the first place. We all make mistakes and a second set of eyes is vital for anything you want to submit. (And as the guy who has gotten more than a few shitty emails about my own grammar mistakes including not a few unkind words as regard to my ability to pass 11th grade, I would recommend it on anything you put out into the world at ALL if you can swing it.)

Copyediting tends to go faster the better copy is when it's received, so someone who has done their due diligence cleaning up their own copy can get several more pages per hour out of a copyeditor than someone who hands them a train wreck. Given that on a novel, this could be over a thousand dollars in editing fees, it's worth learning to clean up your own glaring grammar errors and hope that an editor just catches the few that get past you.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

I Can't Afford A Developmental Editor (Mailbox)

What do you do if you can't afford a content editor but you know you need one?

[Remember, keep sending in your questions to chris.brecheen@gmail.com with the subject line "W.A.W. Mailbox" and I will answer questions about once a week.  I will use your first name ONLY, unless you tell me explicitly that you'd like me to use your full name or you would prefer to remain anonymous.  My comment policy also may mean one of your comments ends up in the mailbox. We are back and now it is time to dig into.....dramatic music....The Backlog.]   
Emma asks:

Hey Mr. Chris,

I've only ever weathered peer reviews during a single Creative Writing course way back in high school, and have recently met up against a wall when it comes to polishing drafts on my lonesome.  Editors deserve payment for the professional service they could lend a 100k-200k+ manuscript (which I can't afford just now), and any willing audience can't quite pinpoint when or why a particular chapter can't keep their attention, though technical mistakes are easily resolved with their help.

So far I've applied font swapping to help catch wrong-footed phrasing, and reading out loud to better manage prose and wordflow.  I take breaks when I'm stuck to read some new authors for a refresher, but it feels like we're all suffering from the same 'character-driven' plot anemia, like maybe the introspective nature of writing has left modern storytelling open to a self-centered sort of rambling that can dull thematic impact.

I have a bad habit of skipping over chapters in published works that feel like filler or pointless exposition, like the author could have done with an editor's help - but when my readers express the same, it's always a different chapter per dissent, so.

I have "if you're bored, then you're boring" tattooed on the inside of my eyelids; but any tips for helping the hermits of the craft apply fresh perspective to swerve their own blind spots?  The Google results are too frenetic.

Thanks For Your Time!

My reply:
Have you tried the head itch test? I swear by it. I'm only sort of kidding, but let's get to that in a moment.

[We interrupt your regularly scheduled Mailbox to bring you a quick announcement that Mailbox posts will be returning as a weekly segment (on Thursdays) thanks to our new schedule and the Patrons who made quitting pet sitting possible. As I work my way back through what is truly the most epic of backlogs, with some questions literally going back as far as 2013, and the very realization that statistically speaking, someone out there has DIED waiting for my answer, I will be mixing in both new and old questions. However, if you want to jump from the back to the front of the queue with a question from before that I seem to have forgotten about across the sands of time, just reply to the email or ping me again or whatever it takes to show me that yours is not a new question but an old question that I lost track of, and I will bump it up the list.]

Ah editing. We all need it and it's such a tangled thicket. That mysterious and hard last part of the writing process. This reminds me, I really need to get on with my next series of articles about finding, getting, and giving feedback.

Yeah, Emma, there's a reason the content/development editors move slower and are MORE expensive than proofreaders. It's $50-$80 an hour and you're going to get about 2-5 pages an hour on average.

[By the way, that's the level of freelance editing I do––that and line editing (sometimes called "substantive" editing), which is more what you're getting when you try to change the font or read out loud to catch mistakes. (I'm crap at copyediting; I don't even bother pretending I can do that.)]

There's a lot of sticker shock when you say "My rate is $50 and just your first chapter clocks in at 20 pages so I'm guessing it'll take me around four hours." (And that is at the far low end of both averages--it wouldn't be uncommon to hear more like $80/10 hours, and if you don't think THAT adds up quick.....) People don't even really get developmental editing. They don't understand why it could possibly be that high.

Of course then they keep proofing and proofing their work over and over again and not understanding why it doesn't get published.

Proofreading is vital, of course, but it requires less direct engagement with the text, and understanding a grammar rule is a lot easier than understanding why a character arc isn't gelling with the setting. The first thing you need to do with a text, though, is the big fixes.

I've repaved the stone walkway!
Image description: house that has burnt down
Content (or development) editing is substantially harder than most people realize. They see the big stuff as exactly the shit they're good at, or should be, think their story is genius, and worry most about where the commas go. In reality it should work the other way and the job of a content editor reflects that. As a development/content editor, I read the piece two or three times. I get a real sense of what the writer is trying to say. And then I have to go back to someone whose soul is vested and poured out onto that page to tell them where it didn't work. And while there are some writers who are like "Tie my writing up, and smack it with this flogger, sir," most are like "This is my first time; please be gentle."

I have not yet NOT undercut myself on a freelance content editing gig. Usually it's because I read the thing four times and I'm almost out of allotted time, but I know how much they paid, so I want to offer some substantive written feedback, and I spend extra time on that, ending up running an hour or so over.

I get the "can't afford it thing," and that's where shit gets tricky. I firmly believe people should invest in every level of editing for the art they want to be remarkable. (And that almost certainly includes a sensitivity read as well.) If they just want to write some popcorn books and have a cult following that pays a few bills, maybe they don't have to worry so much about that super professional polish and just get some good peer review and crank the books out one a year. But if they want it to be something special, they've got to get the best editing they can. Although that doesn't necessarily HAVE to be low five figures in cash.

You're onto something in your last paragraph, Emma. You skip over boring parts. So does almost every other reader. But let me ask you this. Have you ever kept reading once things got interesting again? Have you ever thought a book with a boring part was overall good? I can't even remember the middle of Snow Crash where the guy was talking to the computer for huge chunks of text, but the beginning and ending play like an HD movie in my head even 20 years later. Have you ever bought the next book in the series or another by that author? Tad Williams slow bits make me pull my hair out, but I have to know what happens next in Otherland. Having a boring part isn't the end of the world. Lots of books that people love have bricks of exposition, even in the first chapter. *turns and glares right at Dune*

So how do you, a writer who can't afford to hire a professional development editor, find and expunge the most anemic, rambling parts of your own manuscript?

Get it as good as you can before you worry about editing. People who spend ungodly amounts of money on editing start tossing cash at their manuscripts by like the second or third draft. That's too soon. You are basically paying someone for the process of revision (and peer review) when you don't have to be. There's only so much an editor can do. Walk through as much of the process as you can. The further along you hand them something, the better they can make it (and work WITH your vision instead of just teaching you the basics). 

Then I would consider other means of getting that professional editor. Especially if you're talking about a novel. ESPECIALLY if you don't have peer review that is like a cadre of published authors who all have published a novel. You're going to want this to be the best you can. Don't cancel your health insurance or anything, but if there's any other way to save up the few thousand you'd need, I'd consider it an investment into your own writing. I know it's a tough economy and we're all working 37 side gigs to keep the lights on, but if there's any wiggle room in your budget, I'd try to save a little for that. Also do a sample chapter first and DON'T be afraid to fire an editor if you don't like what they're saying or it's not a good fit.

But if pulling down the cash could really never EVER happen, I'd try to work around straight capitalism. Editors are people. Maybe one of them will do an exchange. I've done content editing for home cooked meals, art exchanges, a massage, and even for copyediting help since that's what I'M crap at. I may even have once traded my skills to someone who happened to have some extra ecstasy-inducing party favors sitting around after their trip to Burning Man. Possibly. My point is, they know what they're worth, but you can probably do a deal.

Peer review should be used exhaustively (this is also a trade like above, but you're just always trading the same thing: their feedback for yours). However, even if you hooked up a professional editor, you are right, Emma, that you're going to get different feedback from different people. Their quality varies. Their experience varies. Their interest in what you're trying to do varies. And if you give your work to ten people, you're going to get ten different opinions on what to change.

If all ten of them agree on something, obvi that's a problem spot, but chances are they'll all have different ideas. Billy hates description. Marge hates internal monologue. Cecil hates dialog that isn't snappy. Those are what THEY want, so you have to pick the one who matches what YOU want.

Pick the peer (or peers) you trust. Pick the ones that give you feedback you find helpful. Not nice. Not doting. Not complimentary. Also not ruthless. Not vicious. Not merciless. HELPFUL––and that's not something I can define for you. Pick them and kind of stick to them.

Some people like online writing peer review sites like Scriblophile. Some like their writing groups. Some like their MFA cohort. I keep up with a couple of my old classmates and have a few people I know like my writing but won't be kind if they don't who I look to after I have cleaned something up as much as I can on my own. The main thing is that you, first, pick people whose feedback you trust as not trying to rewrite something they way THEY would, but rather help you be the best you writer you can be, and, secondly, who are on roughly YOUR writing level. An important part of peer review is that they be....well.....peers.

Read something that is the kind of writing you want to be doing right before you edit. I know it sounds weird, but it works. If you want a tight, pounding narrative that doesn't let go, read something for a half an hour by an author you think has done exactly that. Then go look at your own writing. That boring shit will jump out at you. It will leap off the page and grab you by the upper lip. Never did I ever find so much to cut from my character navel gazing as after I had chewed through some Steven Brust before sitting down to edit.

And also you can also use the head itch test (but be careful because it takes a needle-thread of self-confidence and self-criticism). When feedback is bullshit, we kind of know it. We dismiss it. We think "They don't get what I'm doing." or "Whatever they're just a first year." But when they start hitting a little close to home, it makes our head itch. We KNOW that's a part we had trouble writing or that felt a little stiff when we were gutting it out. We know we worried about whether people were going to get that thing. That's when we know they're probably on to something and it's time to try to rework it.

On the other hand you can't be like "You plebs don't know what I'm doing. You are all the riff raff. I am a genius and apparently no one knows it. MY HEAD NEVER ITCHES BECAUSE I'M PERFECT!" That just leads to self-indulgent bullshit and you self publish and can't figure out why your mom owns the only fifteen copies you ever sold. But my instinct given how hard you're looking for feedback is that this is not YOUR problem, Emma.

Think of it like insults. If someone told me I didn't know how to write a decent paragraph, I would roll my eyes (and have when some Rando incel or Nazi tried). If they called me a commie, I'd shrug. (I'm not, but people on the right can't tell the difference between a 3% tax cut on the wealthy and communism, so I'm also not too worried about what they think.) If they told me I lacked confidence in my own fiction or that I don't double check my sources for outright lies when I'm pissed off about bigotry...THAT would actually start to get under my skin. I know I can write, so that doesn't bother me. I'm a democratic socialist so *shrugs* to the "communist" label coming from a fascist. The other stuff....makes my head itch a little. That's when I know someone is kind of getting close.

Your FACE lacks confidence in its own fiction.

The combination of as much professional editing as you can scrimp, save, beg or barter for, peer review you trust, and confidence (but not OVERconfidence) in your vision should steer you pretty well.

And I'll let you in on a little trade secret, Emma, just so you feel like you're getting your money's worth from my blog. The harder you work, the more professional quality help you get under the auspices of "PEER" review. I can't make any promises, of course, and you'll basically never be able to find the one person who will do a pro-bono edit from your second draft to "publishable" no matter how grim and determined you look ––because we all need to survive capitalism. But this much I've seen merit out time and again.

The harder you work the more you're going to find the staircase kind of forms as you go up. A lot of people spend a LOT on editing because they sort of want to skip a step, either in their development as a writer or the writing process of their Work in Progress or something. But if you work as hard as you can, take what feedback you can get, and work as hard as you can to apply that, improve your prose, put yourself out there, then go looking for the next "tier" of help, chances are that you'll you're going to find serious people notice you and want to help. You give better feedback, and then you GET better feedback so your peer review quality goes up. Also as you really put in the time, editing becomes more and more like polishing silver instead of working the kinks out of dented brass. It takes less time. More than one is the author I've seen people volunteering to alpha and beta read for because they were solemn at each step about making their work as good as it could be.

I'd still recommend you find a professional if you're trying to publish the great american novel, but you've got some options to keep it reasonable.

We all need editing (all of us), and I sincerely believe that its value to a writer who wants to put good art in the world is worth even dropping some money, but if you are resourceful, like most things in life, a wily scrapper can find some workarounds.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Best Post Apocalyptic Book (Or Series) [Final Round]

What is the best best post apocalyptic book (or series)?


I do want to stress one thing. This poll is about books. It is not about Gary Sinise and Molly Ringwald. This is about written literature. And if you thought that the books were a little slow, vote for something else.

This poll will be up for the rest of July, but THAT'S IT. So grab your friends, whip up those fan clubs, vote early and vote often.

Everyone get three (3) votes, but that there is no ranking, so using as few votes as possible is better.

The poll itself is in the lower left at the bottom of the side menus.

I'm told if you're on mobile you have to click "webpage view" then scroll alllllllllll the way to the bottom, you can find the poll.

Best Post Apocalyptic Book (or Series) [Semifinal 2 Results]

The results of our second semifinal poll are here! Top four will go on to the final round. Bottom four will get some lovely parting gifts. It wasn't a particularly nail biting week, although I was a little surprised to see a fantasy take on post apocalyptic do much better than the science fiction ones.

Text results below.
[And yes, the free website where I do these polls changed the format to put more space between the pie chart and the text results so the text is smaller than it used to be and hard to read. Thankfully, as I said, text results are below.

One of the things I want to try to do as part of our new schedule here is not take two days to flip a poll like this. So stay tuned for the final round to go up TODAY instead of tomorrow. Yes, that does mean that from time to time we will be posting two posts. (I tried doing both things in a single post and the results were always ).

The Stand - S. King 39 46.99%
Station Eleven - E. St. John Mandel. 16 19.28%
Parable of the Sower - O. Butler 12 14.46%
The Uglies Series - S. Westerfeld 8 9.64%
The Postman Novel - D. Brin 3 3.61%
Book of the New Sun Series - G.Wolfe 3 3.61%
Swan Song - R. R. McCammon 2 2.41%
Road to Nowhere Series - M. Elison 0 0%

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Farewell to a Friend, New Schedules, And Random Assorted Things (Personal Update)

For those of you who remember my accountability posts on my book's progress, you're going to start seeing those again at least every other Monday. Unfortunately (though probably fortunately for the quality of the final product) I had something of an epiphany and started over. Though over-romanticized in movies and TV, true epiphanies are pretty rare. Most of art is just the daily work of transmuting the little creative flashes into something someone else can digest. I'd still call it my rough draft, but it's like 1st draft 2.0.

It won't always be attached to a personal update like this one. As two of the reward tiers for my patrons and the closest thing I have to exclusive content, many of my behind-the-scenes revelations and personal updates don't make it to the blog. But I'll couple it with some meta order of business or the occasional personal update, or a critique on cheese or something and you can see how messy the process gets and divest yourself of the belief that books are shat out by the inspiration fairy when lightning hits a writer and rainbow prose comes glittering out their ass.

So anyone who has been watching me on Facebook these last few weeks knows that I am over the moon about my new nannying schedule. If I had to come up with a perfect schedule for a side gig, I would sit down and write out the schedule that I have now. (Okay, maybe I would give myself a threesome day every other Thursday and a three-day weekend, but it would be mostly the same.)

I was working too much before––even after trying to cut back. The week was more hours than I needed and almost more than I could stand.  I also tended to sputter and glut because my schedule would be ten hours one day and then only three the next. I'm no good for a few hours after getting roasted either; I get home and just stare at the wall for two hours, thinking about how hungry I am, before I can even think about dinner.

On the other hand, I ALSO have a bad time (probably because of ADHD) when I have the entire day empty. I tend to waste it until the last possible second of a deadline. It's not even FUN procrastination either where I'm like "Fuck it. I'll do it later," as I go to the beach or play Fallout 4 for hours. It's the kind where I'm sitting in my chair and saying "Okay, I really, really, REALLY need to focus now" for the entire day.

The best schedules for me? About 20 hours a week. (Enough to supplement my writing income, but not so much it eats my writing time.) A little every day so that have a sense of urgency and pacing. No front- or back-loading of the week so that I'm constantly jacked on managing my time. The same TIME every day so that I can write at the same time every day––which turbocharges my ability to sit down and write without staring at the screen for an hour or two first. Not too early because I'm a bit of a night owl and good sleep is connected to creativity. A weekend on the actual weekend (not two days off in the middle of the week when I'm doing a lot of writing) so that I can do half writing days and it actually is rejuvenating.

My new schedule? M: 1-6 T-F: 2-6. 21 hours. Same amount every day (with a tiny variation on Mon). Same time every day. A little each day. Not too early. Actual weekend.

It's so perfect, I could cry. To be honest, I did a little, but when someone asked I told them I was cutting onions for a lasagna. Now all I need is that every other Thursday thing.

Well a new schedule for me means a new update schedule.

There's a link if you want to check out all the nooks and crannies. I'll put the big information at the end of this post. (Some people really like knowing the minutiae of how working writers set up their schedules and what they expect of themselves, but it's not everyone's cup of tea.)

I didn't expect to have any other news, but I woke up to some.

James Bond––not 007 but rather the scampliest scamp of a jellicle cat who was raised on the streets, wore a tuxedo, and rejected the gender binary (that's her in my profile picture)––died last night. She kept eating things that she couldn't keep down (because on the streets, that's what you gotta do), and I guess that caught up with her.

We met James about 9 years ago. She was a local "feral*" that showed up suddenly after a four-unit apartment next door was emptied for a major renovation by the owners who wanted to charge a lot more. Someone couldn't keep her and had just abandoned her to her the fate of the local neighborhood. And we would see her day after day chasing mice or just scrapping with toms twice her size.

*But not really. Read on!

At first it was just a bowl of food each day. But then she started showing up at food time and it wasn't long before she let me pet her, and even hopped into my lap after dinner was over to get some serious snuggles complete with chainsaw purring. Clearly she had had humans before and wasn't really feral.

Then came the rainy night where she showed up waterlogged on the front porch with a tiny "Mew!"

We never stood a chance.

And many vet appointments later for the worms and the abscesses in her teeth (that probably would have killed her within a month or two), her breath cleared up, her coat got glossy, and she became the sweetest lap cat most who met her had ever seen. She would always find a willing set of fingers, claim she had never been loved ever, and purr so hard you could hear her across the room.

At first we would wonder who on earth would simply abandon such an incredibly sweet cat, but very quickly we were just too glad they did.

She never did learn to keep her claws in when she jumped off a lap, she ate anything that hit the floor (and a few things that didn't), she hunted her toy mouse each night in the wee hours of the morning to stay sharp, and she always kind of acted like at any minute the good times would end and she'd be back to being a scrapper on the streets. We'd come down and find her guiltily wolfing down kale or cantaloupe seeds like she was getting away with murder. But after the initial layer of grime and fleas were cleaned off, and once she learned there were bipeds looking out for her, she turned into the sweetest purrbucket I've ever known.

Our new schedule (for those who give a shit about such things):


Fridays, for the most part, will be The Big Post™ of the week. If you're here for the hard-hitting writing advice (with the occasional examination of how language and narrative play into broader social issues), Friday is the day to tune in.

Tuesday and Wednesday

Wednesdays and Thursdays will be our smaller posts: calls to vote or nominate in whatever poll is going on, the best of the prior month, quickies, fortune cookie wisdom. Things I like to call "jazz hands."


Mailbox!  Far and away our most popular type of article here. It's time the mailbox had its own day again and we got to it weekly.


Harder to qualify than simply "big" or "jazz hands," Mondays are probably between Wednesdays and Fridays in their content and girth. They will be personal updates, smaller mailboxes, prompts, guest blogs, etc.

The Five-Post Goal

Some weeks aren't going to go down like clockwork and they might be front or back loaded with side gigs or other commitments. My writing career is also starting to open up occasional opportunities of interest like conventions, speaking engagements, interviews, or podcasts. I'm trying to be better about the (literally) health-shattering 80+ hour weeks I was working. That's a needle to thread when you are your own boss and you know that people will lower your income if they aren't getting enough of the content they want. So in the cases of major schedule upheaval, I will try really hard to get five posts up. They might just be posted off schedule––Thur, Fri, Sat for example, but I will try hard to at least hit five.

Priority to Fiction

The hardest thing I've tried doing as a blogger is keeping my fiction at a high level of priority. There may be weeks where I just straight up take a post off to work on my story. As you can see from the link through, that's what the majority of my Patreons said was okay with them. Now, I saw a slightly different reality reflected in the numbers of folks who reduced or cancelled their support amounts, so I'm going to try to keep more plates spinning thanks to this new schedule.

Facebook Writing and Social Justice Bard

Most of my major writing ends up on this blog, but some of my throw away thoughts don't. If you particularly enjoyed our Social Justice Bard posts, don't worry. I do as much yelling at clouds as I ever have.

I invite you to follow my Public Facebook Page (you can friend it if you send me a message, but it might be better if you follow it for a while first––unfiltered me is not everyone's cup of tea).  I post somewhat more "political and partisan thoughts" there (rather than just social ISSUES) and also often post "proto-versions" of what later become full blog posts (if you're interested in seeing how those things develop). [There's also personal updates and nerdery there.]

I also have another blog called NOT Writing About Writing that I update usually once a week or more where I put shorter media reviews, personal updates, and political thoughts that don't really tie into writing and aren't really short enough for Facebook. Also, fret not; there may be fewer SJB posts here on Writing About Writing since we'll be dealing with fewer available "posting slots" overall, but there will still be some.

Everything I ever write (and reruns of my best stuff) gets cross posted to that Public Facebook Page, so join me there if you want to stalk me properly.

A Sixth Post?

There MIGHT occasionally be a sixth post in a week. Usually this will happen when I need to cover some ground on "blog business." (Like posting the results of a poll or getting up the prior month's "Best of" posts or something.) In this case you might see an extra post pop up from time to time on the weekend or two in one day. Fiction will also usually go up independent of our regular schedule.


  • I still nanny for a five-year-old and a newborn––sometimes at the same time. Plus my host body occasionally succumbs to your Earth illnesses, so those five posts might not always happen like clockwork or may involve going off the rails of my usual updates. Until my Patreon pays all the bills, my reality is that I sometimes have to prioritize paid gigs.
  • This flexible update schedule should also cut down on the thing where I'm apologizing to absolutely fucking nobody that it's Thursday and I've yet to put so much as a taco video up. I know that some people are annoyed by that and the rest don't really care. But this also settles my own inner overachiever. As long as I get in all the entries that week, my readers (who have literally never said anything in six years about my update schedule) and myself can give me a break.
  • I invoke the Anything Can Happen™ real world excuse. I usually have a couple of "emergency blogs" tucked away, but I chew through them pretty quickly when the fit hits the shan. Health complications might crop up suddenly and have me needing to do a sudden unexpected several-hour shift or even an overnight...or maybe even more. Trust me, I'm going to feel ten times worse about missing a post than all of my readers combined.
  • Admin Long-weekends at least once a month will still be a thing. Usually just the Monday (but occasionally the Friday if I'm really behind) will be cannibalized. I need the extra time to answer emails, clean up menus, catch up on editing and such.

Also......folks, if you like what I do, stuff a few dollars into that "tip jar" at the top left, or even better yet, sign up to be a monthly patron through Patreon and get in on the back channel discussions about posting schedules, big changes, and upcoming projects. I have bills to pay like any other starving artist, and I'm working three side gigs to make ends meet, so even a dollar a month (just $12 a year) will go a long way.