FAQ for Writing About Writing's Facebook Page but also Tumblr and any other social media sites.
What's with this blog you post to every day.
That's the whole reason this social media outreach is here at all: to get a few extra eyeballs (and maybe the occasional fan) on that blog....er....this blog. If it weren't for this blog, and the traffic that FB brings this blog, I would hang up all these puns and memes and go enjoy an extra ten or fifteen hours a week doing almost anything else. Fortunately if I can build an audience of a million, a few will click the links I post and maybe I can scrape out a few bucks a month.
"I'd like to become a patron/give you a donation? How can I do that?"
If you want to be a monthly contributor and get in on a number of reward tiers, please consider becoming a patron of Writing About Writing. Even a dollar a month is enormously helpful and will get you in on the "backchannels" of questions about my work, polls only patrons can respond to about upcoming projects, and solicitations for feedback.
One time donations are of course welcome as well. The conspicuously placed tip jar is over to the top left, or you can use Venmo. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
Technically I can also provide you a P.O. Box if you need one.
And honestly, thank you. I've got rent to pay just like anyone. Financial support helps me keep writing (and running this page) instead of patchworking together pet sitting side gigs to keep the lights on.
"Wait, you want money just for shitposting on some Facebook page?"
Nope, that's not all I do by a long shot. The memes and the puns are just the tip of the iceberg. This blog (the one you're on right now) takes me about thirty to forty hours a week to maintain. I also write fiction–both short and long term projects–and it all goes here for free. Just because you never click on the blog links doesn't mean FB is the only thing I'm doing.
And just so you know, I spend about six or seven hours a week most weeks running this page, so it's kind of a dillhole move to deliberately take time out of your busy schedule to sneer at the idea of someone who is entertaining you asking for maybe a dollar a month from a few generous folks.
Please don't post about politics./Why are you posting about politics?
Writing About Writing has never been apolitical. It never will be apolitical. If you can't cope with that, you might want to find another page to service your "You should be writing" meme and terribad pun needs.
For starters, let's make sure we understand that what you're calling "politics" might split down left and right, but it is really about social issues. I'm not plugging a tax plan or endorsing a candidate or even a party. (I do that on my own FB wall [see below] a BIT more, but I usually still consider that sort of binary thinking a rabbit hole.) But even when I get my polemics on, I'm usually pointing out that a writer has the power to tell stories, that narrative works to create villains out of nuance and desensitize entire cultures to genocide, that media affects culture, that representation matters, that language is used to obfuscate bigotry and oppression, that people get to tell their own stories, and that leaving out whole parts of the story is a pretty good way to control who is seen as angels and who is seen as demons without ever misstating a "fact." I find telling my own story more meaningful than making explicitly didactic demands.
Writing About Writing has always considered the link between social issues, narrative, and language to be valuable to explore for writers and storytellers alike, and won't be stopping this intellectual rigor any time soon–certainly not because some people want their stream of quotes and inspiration porn to never be tainted by an uncomfortable thought of the social consequence that comes with literally aspiring to master both narratives and language.
Further, it isn't really possible for a writer to be completely apolitical. The personal is political and those who find politics sequestered from anything that affects them personally usually have a lot of social advantages. Aggressively avoiding social issues in one's writing belies a strong endorsement of the status quo. There are many writing pages that will stick to making fun of people's grammar in racist and classist ways and post the same hundred quotes over and over. I'm more interested in considering how we can all be vicegerents of the awesome power that comes with being a writer.
And also if you demand that I stop posting about politics obnoxiously enough, I may show you the door. (Since clearly you don't want what I'm cooking.)
Why didn't you respond to my comment?
I am only able to read a fraction (a small fraction) of the comments from a page with over half a million followers. Chances are that I didn't even see it. I occasionally look at the top replies or make sure people are playing nice on a post I know is going to be a tire fire.
I can respond to even fewer. If I tried to stay active in the comments of such a large page, I would quickly find my writing time completely gone.
PM me if it's important or if something is happening for which I may need to wield the banhammer. A good question or thoughtful comment may even go into the blog.
"Will you promote [my thing]?"
If your "thing" is exactly (and I mean EXACTLY) the sort of content I'm usually posting (memes, macros, "you should be writing," quotes, and the occasional really good article about writing, maybe some book love, or a really funny miswritten sign), I might post it if–big if–I like it. I tend to avoid the posts some typical writing pages share a lot of, like ableist inspiration porn or classist (and often racist) prescriptivism. [I'm all for giggling about a misplaced comma, but only so long as we're giggling about what the sign says instead of AT the person who did it. But if you send me something you made that is our usual fare, especially if it's "doin' me a laff," I'll consider putting it up along with a link to a page if you want.]
If it's not the normal stuff, but is at least tangentially related to writing, and if you send me a PM asking nicely first I will let you post on our "Guest Posts." (For the record, Dave M, the following is not acceptable: "Hey bro, you're not going to get your panties in a twist that I posted this on your wall, are ya?") I'll probably say yes. Be advised: web content filler slapped up there usually gets about the three or four clicks it deserves, but I've noticed that the response to quality posts is decent.
Will I do a trade promotion with you? If our pages are comparable, sure. If our pages are wildly differing in terms of traffic, you're basically asking me for free advertising. While I'm down with sidestepping unbridled capitalism (you don't have to pay me money) let's find some other way to make it worth it on my end.
If it is wildly not about writing or it is your own creative writing, or (AND LISTEN CLOSE TO THIS ONE) if it is a publication opportunity that requires payment [whether in the form of a "contest" that requires an entry fee or whatever], the answer will be no.
I have a regular post where you can share your own writing. And if you think a page called Writing About Writing is a good spot for your car detailing business commercial, I don't know what to say.
BTW: If you don't ask and just slap up your self-promotional link into the guest posts, I just remove it, even if it's totally about writing. And if I recognize your name from having pulled the same thing before, I'll ban you.
I'll be really honest with you about my one of my many failings as a flawed human being. I've spent years now building this page up. Don't even get me started on the first year when I was posting to 95% my own friends and like four other people. Or the June in the middle of year two when I whooped inside a Kinkos because I'd passed 1000 followers. This page takes a lot of effort, and even though it's led a few more people to my blog and maybe been responsible for a few donations, it's mostly thankless, unpaid labor where most folks only ever chime in to complain.
I have birthed a tiny little petty in these last few years. I've fed it cottage cheese and bile, taught it the dark side of The Force, and watched it grow up big and strong and it knows force lightning. I cheered it when it force choked the better angels of my nature. I kind of hate how people are crawling out of the woodwork–NOW–and trying to ride my coattails without a thought about reciprocity or so much as a peep asking if it's okay. I really quite enjoy being able to point at something one of my friends did (or someone whose work I've been following with interest) and send lots of eyeballs their way. But I feel really used when people act entitled to it.
If your stuff is self-promotional, I'm going to be harder on it–especially if you don't ask. Darth Petty demands no less.
"Will you read/critique my creative writing?"
I can't. I'm sorry.
There are nearly half a million of you, and this page grows by a thousand followers on a slow day. I'm getting a couple of requests a day to read things--everything from a ten line poem to a short story to a full novel manuscript for content editing. I know you've poured your soul into it and it's dear to your heart. I also know that because you've poured your soul into it and it's dear to your heart, that even for that ten line poem which I could read in a few seconds, you probably want more feedback than just "Nice poem" or something. I know how serious that request is for you and how important it is to you and even how much you may have psyched yourself up before sending it to me.
("Fortune favors the brave, Milton. FORTUNE FAVORS THE BRAVE. LET'S DO THIS THING!!! LEEEEEEROOOOOOOOOY JEEEEEEENKIIIIIIIIINS!!!!!")
But still...as much as I admire your moxie, there's only one of me. A good week for me clocks in around 70 hours between all my jobs. I barely even have time to read and give feedback to my good friends and the folks with whom I have a relationship and rapport.
Of course, if you want to hire me, that's another story (see below).
And then of course you could also do the long con where you get to know me, we develop a relationship. Maybe go out a few times. Have a deep and meaningful relationship. Move in. Experiment with all manner of wildly fulfilling group sex. Get married. Have kids. Join the Columbia Record Club. Start planning for our multi-continent retirement. Then you look at me and say.... "Chris, actually, I really just wanted you to read my stuff."
Will I tutor/edit/do some writing for you?
Sure. My freelance rate is $50 USD/hour. ($75 if you want me to drop everything I'm doing and give you all my writing time right this second). I will need you to pay for your first hour up front, and we'll figure out over e-mail or chat what you need. I can give you a billable hours estimate and a rough timeline for completion, and then I will work whatever is left of our hour, and you can see if my time is worth your money. After that, I'll ask you to pay me for every couple of hours for the first 10 hours or so. As we work longer and longer and build up professional trust, I can give you bigger chunks of time between payments. I'm much better at developmental editing than copy editing
Oh...did you mean for free?
I am interested in buying your page/running ads on your page? Will you sell it/give me admin controls?
Sure! Deposit $50,000 into an account I designate (that's a little less than ten cents per follower--the price may go up if the page grows) and after the money has been verified I will relinquish admin controls. (That's after I walk into my bank, asked for a manager, and made sure that there is no possible way that I'm being scammed and the funds will not disappear.) That's about what it would be worth to me to go build an audience from scratch on another page and might just cover the costs for the time it takes to do so.
I know the bitter, cruel irony here is that no one who sends me these fucking messages will ever read this FAQ. But at least that felt good to write.
Will you sit my pet?
If you're in the SF/Bay Area feel free to check out my pricing structure and send me an email (email@example.com) to inquire about a date.
If you want me to come to some remote location in the woods to a cabin where you use axes in all of your decorating, I'm sorry. I'm busy that week. Theoretically, I am willing to travel if all of my travel expenses are paid for (including lost income from the other job), but only for people I know. And why anyone would pay so much to have their pets watched is beyond me.
Where can I get some advice about writing.
I need to be on The Office so I can look at the camera.
Here. Here would be a great place to start for advice about writing. Try here. This blog. The whole thing. HERE.
|Yes, this is actually the "question" I get sent.|
Very, very frequently.
I'm not sure how people could send a page admin a thumb up accidentally so I suspect what is going on here is people messing with the fact that if I don't reply to every message, FB takes away my "responds frequently" (or whatever the fuck) badge and I have to wander through the wasteland of my own social media feces screaming to the heavens "Why have you forsaken me?" because what even is the world coming to without page admins struggling to be judged by Facebook as "very responsive."
So people send me a thumb up (or "Hi" or "Hey" or "Sup") just because they think I'll reply instantly to keep my "responsive" cred. When FB sends me a $500 check each month that I earn "very responsive," I'll start replying to a message that is just a thumb. Until then, I'll just ignore them.
Hello./Hey there./Hi there./Ho there./What's up?/Can I ask you a question?
I appreciate your decorum if that's what you were going for, but whatever it is get to it in your opening message rather than waiting for a reply. There are way too many many of these interactions, and about 99% of them are actually hacked accounts fishing to see who will reply.
Just say whatever it is you want to say (hopefully after having read this FAQ), and I will respond appropriately.
Sending a question to my personal FB mailbox instead of the page's FB mailbox.
It's all just me. You're not going to get your answer any faster or get any better of a response by doing that. Your message will end up in "Filtered Message Requests" which means I won't see it right away. And using that route to be combative sort of feels like showing up to a coworker's house to have an argument about last Tuesday. So maybe keep that in mind if you were hoping to get an answer.
I'm particularly fond of the "Thanks for banning me asshole" versions. I might have to make them a blog post.
GIANT UNWIELDY WALL OF TEXT
I know we're all writers, but I'm I typically describe my free time in terms of negative numbers. I get 50+ messages a day and unless I want my job to be Message Responder, I am not able to sit and read the ones that demand 5-10 minutes of my time just to read. Particularly by those who conflate loquacious with eloquent. Please get to the point and/or open with one GREAT FUCKING hook because trust that when I see unfathomable huge blocks of mammothian paragraphs, I just assume that it's self important bloviation, with huge tangents about Bukowski or some shit, and delete it unread.
Where can I get that t-shirt/mug/thing I really liked?
Whenever I find something still attached to its original commercial source, I will put it in the OP. If someone knows the source and puts that in the comments, I will edit the OP. But if I don't know and no one out there knows, the only thing I would do is try a reverse image search on Google and start digging through the results, same as anyone else. I'd suggest giving that a try.
Messages sent to me in obvious altered states of consciousness.
Sober up first please.
Okay these aren't exactly questions but they are all too frequent.
Nudes, marriage proposals, raging screeds, strange claims of supernatural forces in my life that only converting to your religion can save me from. I'm not even going to dignify them with a response.
But for FUCK'S sake, when you sober up, the message you should be sending me is "I'm sorry," not "Hey, why didn't you reply to this?"
I was too impersonal.
So this is another one that isn't a question so much as a reaction that has happened a few times. And even though it's "a few times" out of hundreds (maybe thousands), and I should probably trust that the law of large numbers applies, and that it's more about them than me, I worry about this shit.
I know for some people starting a PM is like reaching out personally and it might feel brusque of me to simply reply politely but briefly to the business at hand. Please remember that I'm getting 50+ messages a day I'm trying to be a writer not an email answerer, so I get through my admin stuff as quickly as I can. That means, while I try to be friendly and polite, my responses might be quick and to the point.
If you were hoping to become virtual pen pals, exchange warm replies back and forth for days, maybe buy me a drink the next time you're in the SF Bay area, and perhaps even end up riding Medusa at Discovery Kingdom with our pinkies locked, you should open with that.
WILL I marry you?
I'm pretty sure this was probably meant to be this flattering joke, but just so you know, I've actually hit that point of internet "fame" (or whatever the hell) where I've had some online stalking and some creepy obsessive behavior, so I'm going to be glancing nervously at my block button. Maybe joke about buying me dinner and getting to know me as a person for the effect you were probably going for.
Oh great. I see that you've seen my message but you won't reply. Thanks a whole lot you jerkwad. What is wrong with you?
I hate that people can tell when I've "seen" their chats. I hate it with the white hot fury of a billion supernovas. Because not everything is urgent. And sometimes I triage that shit. And sometimes I triage it right into the ignore pile. And it is a universal constant that the people who send the most ignorable messages are also the ones who think they are absolutely the most important people in the universe and get bent out of shape if I don't reply.
Sorry random person. There was a time when I could give thoughtful responses to everybody who sent me a private message. That time was about 400,000 followers ago. Now I'm writing an FAQ instead of a regular post so that I can reply with this to generic questions I get a zillion of.
But go ahead and ask again. I can cut and paste the URL of this snazzy new FAQ to you.
Hey you posted my thing/my friend's thing/a thing I know the source of/a webcomic I want to see succeed. Can you make an attribution/repost with credit/give me a shout out?
Yes. Thank you. Crediting artists is important to me since I am one. There are half a million of you and one of me and the internet is a big place where reverse image searches don't always work (or are directly deceived), people steal images and add their own watermark, and where it's impossible to know who is happy to go viral with mere watermark credit, who wants a shout out, who wants a URL link, and who will be upset if their page isn't shared from directly.
I appreciate the help.
I will add one caveat to this. The world is full of people who are so desperate to promote themselves that they might try to take credit for something they didn't actually create. Or more likely they will post something (gotten from elsenet) and then assume that I (having also got it from elsenet) MUST have gotten it from their site. If you are the original creator of something, I absolutely want you to have credit, but send me a link to the original image. I tend to err on the side of trust, but if you send me a link to your tumblr (or whatever) and it's full of thousands of memes you've just reposted over the years, I'm probably going to be skeptical.
You should just make sure you know where something is from!
Like all the other pages and Tumblrs and Pinterests, right?
Look, I do my best. I always hit "share" if the source page matches the author. However, some of the stuff I'm posting has been image grabbed and reposted thousands of times. Some of it has been taken credit for by five or six different sources. Some of it would take some serious detective work to track down. Doing more would change the time I take to find an image from a minute or two to as many as 15-20. And that's PER post. That would add hours a day to my schedule, and that would add a level of difficulty I'm just not able to do. I would abandon the effort altogether.
Since there's one of me and 3/4 of a million of you, maybe if you see something you want credited, you could just let me know where it's from, and I'll edit the OP right away.
And I know people's hearts are in the right place but even so, super shitty sanctimonious comments drift into the territory of my commenting policy.
I answered your question/told you where something was from/mentioned a problem in one of your posts, but you didn't react.
Did you do that in the comments. Because like I said up above, I can't really read the comments. If it's important, send me a PM. I check back when I can, but that's really only a glance at the top comments of the most recent posts.
Can I get an autograph?
This is all very new to me and weird and I've got huge imposter syndrome and I still think people who want my autograph are trying to trick me somehow, but this question keeps coming up, so I better answer it.
If you let me know you'd like to send me physical correspondence, I will give you a P.O. Box address that I check regularly.
Send me something I can sign (I don't have a book I've authored or anything yet) with a self addressed stamped envelope, and I will sign it and send it back. Please cover all the postage both ways.
Or just give me your address and I'll send you a postcard.
I won't turn down a donation, but there is no "charge."
I can't believe you're okay with what's going on in the comments on that one post.
I CAN'T READ ALL THE COMMENTS.
Writing About Writing gets maxes out its 100 notifications badge in less that four or five minutes. I don't know how many comments I get every day, but it's way too many for me to have read them. Some posts get threads that are thousands long. I've seen posts that are six months old still having people basically chatting in the comments on them. It's not that I didn't care. It's most likely that I didn't even know.
If something has gone past your ability to handle, and you need me to step in as an admin, link me to the post and tell me what the problem is.
Here's a poem I wrote, and have sent you, unsolicited.
If you're so overwhelmed, why don't you get admins?
Well, aside from the occasional Social Justice Bard post or maybe a macro that suggests that bigotry isn't awesome just because people who don't suffer systematic forms of it have decided that a particular expression is no big deal or something horrifying to Status Quo Defenders like the idea that representation matters, I don't really get the kind of comments off of grammar jokes and "You should be writing" memes that require roving bands of admins. I can swing through posts like the ones above, clean up the worst offenders, and trust that most of my followers are adults who will message me if they need me to step in. [Please include the link as well as telling me what's going on. Sometimes the comments rage for DAYS and I won't be able to just figure out which post you're talking about.]
And even though admins can reply to messages, having them handle "Can you post my thing?" or "Will you read my story?" isn't really what I think anyone would want to do. The last one whose job it was to answer my inbox left me for a beluga whale named Percival.
Basically, it's the wrong kind of "overwhelmed" for farming out the work. Hopefully this FAQ helps–or at least helps me to feel better about ignoring some of the questions that are answered here.
Hello from my sock puppet account that I made specifically to message you. We meet again, Mr Brecheen! Why did you ban my main account? Is it because you hate the founding principles of democracy like free speech? And can I get reinstated because I've suddenly realized that shitting on that post means now I don't get all the rest of your awesome content?
(Okay, maybe this exact phrasing isn't, strictly speaking, FREQUENT)
Why did this happen? Probably because you violated the commenting policy. I didn't write that just to hear myself speak. Or um...read myself write. (That does not work nearly as well.) I don't have time for warnings and explanations and the inevitable back and forth arguments that come from them. Pretty much every place you ever go has rules and a code of conduct whether it's to keep your shoes and shirt on or to keep your voice down if you don't want the librarian to shush and glare. And if you blithely ignore them, they show you the door. It has nothing to do with fucking democracy.
And if you message my personal account and I don't see "I'm sorry" in the first couple of lines, I just delete the shit unread. Hope you spent HOURS on it boyo.
I might be willing to unban someone if they apologize, but I'm not going to do so on a timetable that would allow them to jump right back into whatever argument got them banned in the first place. So you will have to hang in the penalty box for a while either way.
For a page about writing....
I'm going to stop you right there, boss.
Is what you're about to say kind of elitist, snotty, shitty, jerkwaddy, fucknozzly? Are you about to complain about the proper use of subjunctive in a FB post. Is this going to be a comment where you sneer down your nose because my text to speech picked a homophone and I was too Driving on the Freeway to fix it right away? Are you about to laugh at my non-academic use of punctuation. Do you have something to say about "climbing down" ladders, "making" money, splitting infinitives, ending sentences in prepositions, or beginning them with coordinating conjunctions.
A) Fuck off.
B) Go teach high school if you want to be that person. The adults are trying to have a conversation.
C) I get paid....professionally....with like actual money to basically make fun of assholes. Are you sure you want this to be your play?
D) If insist on saying it anyway, you the ONLY thing keeping you from getting banned might be how long it's been since I've gotten well and truly laid. Be warned.
Did you delete my comment?
Maybe. More likely just set it so that only you and your friends could see it. There are reasons I do that ranging from it being just a little too acerbic to my personal pet peeve of people who answer mailbox questions without reading the article. Same reason as above. Comments are moderated on this page and you should read the commenting policy if you don't know exactly how and why.
I don't erase comments that disagree with me. You can see that easily from a casual glance at any post that is even moderately controversial. I erase comments that are buckets of anal sphincters.
But that means you're biased in favor of liberals and progressive values! You let liberals get away with more. What about conservatives? What about libertarians? You are where FREEZE PEACH goes to die!!! What about folks on 'the other side.'
What about them? I'm not running the goddamned debate club here, and no one is entitled to feed my posts through their ideological filters and then comment without consequence. I do a thing. If you don't like that thing AND can't scroll past that thing AND have to comment AND can't comport yourself in any way other than an edge-lord shithead, my page is not for you anyway. If you want to take umbrage or a shot, fucking play nice. I'm not going to excuse bigotry because some people believe it exists on a political spectrum they're entitled to discuss anywhere and everywhere they want to and that white nationalists and nazis and racists and misogynists deserve to be able to drop whatever dehumanizing festering shit turd of a comment they can pinch out in the name of free speech whether they agree with it or just haven't grown out of their basic edgelord immaturity long enough to realize people's lives are at stake. I'm not here to host the bullshit idea that reacting to oppression with angry internet words is "just as bad" as the oppression itself.
If you can't just keep that scroll wheel turning and you simply HAVE to disagree with my politics, there are a million ways to do so that won't get you banned. (I've got that artists' weakness for nuance and humanization, so seriously all you have to actually do is not be a fucknoodle.) And while there is a complicated point to be made about power differentials and privilege, if it helps you feel better to just imagine that I am unfairly meaner to anyone who isn't a liberal, knock yourself out.
Can we be Facebook friends?
[Okay, people don't really ask me this, per se; they just send me friends requests.]
Yes, you may, but let me make a few disclaimers:
- This is my public account: Chris Brecheen (Public) If you've stumbled upon my private account, the answer will be no. That account is for friends, family, and people I've known online either for a very long time or have developed a rapport with. It's not the VIP room or anything, but it's an essential aspect of a private life as my online persona becomes very public. I need to trust those people aren't just with me for the show.
- You might want to follow for a while and decide IF you want to send me a friend request. I'm definitely not everyone's cup of tea with the geekery and the social justice stuff. 99.9% of my posts are public, so you really wouldn't be missing anything except the ability to comment.
- If you don't care for my (very) occasional social issues post on the Writing About Writing Facebook Page, you will like my profile even less. I write about that stuff almost daily.
- I can be a bit much for people. I post a lot.
- I have 1 "Note" that is a Commenting Policy for this profile. You should read it before charging in. ESPECIALLY before charging into a contentious post.
- Send me a PM with your request. (Don't worry, I check my "Message Requests" at least once a day.) That account gets around 200-500 friend requests a week. I reject most of them because I don't know if they're there to sell me sunglasses, phish my info from a pr0n site, or just pick a fight in the comments. So send me a message along with the request.