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

Friday, February 25, 2022

Introducing Rhapsody

Here I am with Rhapsody when we were announcing 
the arrival of my tumor.
It's overdue, but it's time to introduce you to the latest standing member of the Hall of Rectitude. There's a bigger post coming (maybe another Monday post since this week is rapidly coming to a close), but I need to introduce one of the main characters in it first.

I moved in with Rhapsody (and her two kids, Treble and Clef) in August of 2021.  Rhapsody doesn't take that much of an active hand in the front line superhero work, but tends to let her music enhance everyone around her. She can inspire, delight, titillate, and her personal favorite…seducing all the superhero women in the tri-state area. (She calls these abilities her "power chords.") Once she's got her ukulele going, it's hard for anyone not to find her enthralling, and if she can't sing/seduce sapphic villains out of their nefarious plans, she's probably going to sing/seduce a few of the sapphic heroes that help stop them after the fight is over.  

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Mission Statement (Updated for 2022)

Did you know that Writing About Writing has a mission statement? Well we do, and it's been updated for 2022.

This was my original mission statement:

The Mission of this Blog is to provide a place that will facilitate my ability to:

1-Be able to say, “I was just writing about that in my blog” in that really pretentious way that only bloggers can do. Preferably while holding a snifter of brandy and looking at someone through a monocle.

2-Satisfy my writerly exhibitionist need for feedback without the constant irritation of things like letters of rejection.

3-Be able to say, “I’m published” at cocktail parties as long as they don’t press too hard on how exactly I’m using the word “published.”

4-Be passive aggressive towards people who have slighted me in an internationally accessible medium. Also, preferably, while holding a brandy.

5- Have fans hanging off of me no matter where I go. Bloggers are the new rockstars.  That's what the dude at the Moleskine Journal Store assured me.

But I found this to be just a little bit too honest for most folks, so I’ll go with my second round of better-sounding reasons.

Thus: our new and improved mission statement.

The mission of this Blog is to provide a place where I can:

1-Control What People See When They Search for You on Google

2-Share My Experiences in Real Time

3- Impart what little wisdom I have gathered over the years

(Each of those is their own link to their own article.)

Technically, you're looking at one small part of our Business Stuff (that tab along the top if you're in desktop mode) and you can see more stuff there like how to support Writing About Writing or a few disclaimers about how I run the show here.

Monday, February 21, 2022

A Note to those Following (Meta)

Hi everyone,  

The kids were off Friday for President's Day. That means I was ON to watch them for the few extra hours (on top of my few normal Friday hours). And this week is a bank holiday. Which means I would normally be taking Friday off (for several reasons, but mostly that most of my audience is still Stateside). But things have been so topsy turvy lately, with cancer recovery and Covid exposures that I think I'm going to forego the usual Tuesday report and next week's update schedule, and instead really try my best to get some solid(ish) posts up for the last half of February. 

It's time to get back to work. I know most of my patrons want me to recover, but I'm starting to see "Never updates" in the exit interviews of some who are leaving, and my income (with the cost of living here) means I'm still supplementing with childcare—I need to be making more, not less.

Still, for everyone who follows our updates closely enough to know that we're about to go off the rails of our update schedule, we ARE.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Tuesday (but really Wednesday) Report [2/15/22]

Quick Personal Update/Cancer Update- 

My therapist pointed out that I'm only two months from major and super invasive surgery, and that I'm probably expecting recovery to go a little faster than it should. After last week's setback, I haven't really stopped stumbling. Like when you trip running down a hill and you try to run, but instead of righting yourself, you feel MORE like you're going to fall. There was some relief finding out that I wouldn't have to have chemotherapy, but the chronic condition of Lynch syndrome is setting in, then my mother ended up in the hospital herself with a heart attack, the household I live in had another call to quarantine the small children, and I completely dropped the ball on a number of social and medical obligations. I'm under a lot of interpersonal stress these days, and struggling find my way through a dozen minor issues. 

I know I'm not supposed to be hard on myself, but I'm a crowdfunded content creator. I'm caught between feeling really frustrated that I still don't seem to be able to concentrate the way I used to, that patrons have already been more than patient for two months, that I'm not writing the volumes I "should" be given that I physically feel better, and the fact that I know that is a little too ambitious, recovery isn't linear, my mental and emotional health were also shattered, and I need to chill the fuck out treat myself the same way I would literally anyone else in my position.

Weekly Schedule Adjustments-

I'm still trying to get back up to the regular schedule. Actually, I'm kind of glad that so many of my standing articles need a 2022 freshening. It's giving me the chance to kind of focus on Patrons behind the scenes, and tackle something both a little lower key but also that I would normally take months to finish because I would worry it was taking away from "real" posts. 

Novel Progress-

The time is there. I can see it. I just need to come back online enough to start writing the amount I want to be.

Behind the Scenes-

Okay seriously the newsletter this week.

Monday, February 14, 2022

FAQ (Updated for 2022)

I don't usually post on Mondays, but today's post represents several days of last week's writing. ALL questions in our FAQ have been revised and updated for 2022.  

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q- Question: Do You Really Have to Write Every Day to Be A Writer?

Q- Did [X-event] really happen to you?

Q-Why do you/How can you hate NaNoWriMo?

Q-Why won't you answer my question for the Mailbox?

Q- Will you do freelance writing/editing for me?

Q-How can I get your kind of numbers on MY blog?

Q-Is talent important to a writer?

Q-How do you ACTUALLY start writing?

Q-I want to write a book and not be told that I needed to have been writing every day for the last ten years. Is there advice that ISN'T "Write every day."

Q- How can I support Writing About Writing and its struggling, yet devilishly cute and cuddly author? If I add up all the time spent being marvelously entertained, all the laughter, all the tears, and all the inspiration–as well as having my life and understanding of writing enriched–it would be longer than a directors cut of the Lord of The Rings trilogy....for which I paid $39.99 (even during a sale) at Costco. How can I give back for all this joy?

Q-Will you post more of your fiction?

Also check out our F.A.Q. specifically for Facebook questions like "Will I promote YOUR work on FB?" "Will I read your story (sent to me through FB)?" or "Can I follow you on social media?" or "Why am I always so political?"

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Tuesday (but really Wednesday) Report [Feb 9, 2022]

Quick Personal Update/Cancer Update-

I had a pretty big mental health setback this week. I'm doing poorly and having a deeply hard time doing anything useful. I've been on the edge of my seat since surgery about the possibility of needing chemotherapy, and the stage pathology found the cancer in meant that it came down to whether or not I have something called Lynch syndrome (a genetic condition that predisposes someone to certain types of cancers). Today I got the results of the genetic testing. 

I  do have it. 

Which means in the short term, I am spared chemotherapy, but in the long term, I have a lifetime of care and screenings to watch out for the other cancers this thing can raise my chances of having.  I got the news this morning, and I thought a Lynch diagnosis would be nothing but a relief (it means no chemo). And I was relieved in some ways, but it suddenly dropped all this unprocessed "waiting to exhale" into my mental inbox, and I ended up just feeling worse. Plus the 48 hours or so before I found out the results were just a special kind of hell. I spent most of today after the phone call on the edge of bursting into tears, and finally just fell asleep for like three hours. I'm hurting for support mechanisms because of Covid and some personal stuff, so I've just kind of been trying to process it down, but it feels a lot like after the surgery when I could only BEGIN to process some of the trauma.

Weekly Schedule Adjustments-

I'm still off the regular schedule. I will update the F.A.Q. and a couple of the other business posts updated for 2022. It's kind of good that I need to do them because that kind of revision is about what I can handle right now. Writing articles from scratch (really writing anything but journal splats and stream of consciousness) is turning out to be really hard with the stress levels where they are.

Novel Progress-

I felt like I was getting pretty close to being able to fold in some novel writing, but my setback…well, it set me back. I don't know exactly how long I'm going to be thousand-yard staring my computer every time I open the word document, but clearly I am not where I want to be right now. 

Behind the Scenes-

I'll be focusing on Patrons first since they keep the bills paid. If I have any spark that goes beyond kind of revising and updating my business info for 2022, it's going to go towards the Newsletter and some of the reward tiers.

Monday, February 7, 2022

Quickie For Those Not on Social Media

I am usually able to re-cut and paste the newer version of some of my in-need-of-updating posts, but my Facebook FAQ is really a monster, so for all of you who get your updates directly through Blogger or through email, I'm just going to link to the updated version. 

Revised for 2022:  Facebook's FAQ

Thursday, February 3, 2022

How Can I Support Writing About Writing (FAQ—Updated for 2022)

[Note: This is the 2022 update and there is some REALLY funky stuff going on in the formatting. But it's either copy/paste the updated version with all the formatting or redo the entire post (including pictures), and since I can just share the original on all the social media, this post will only be seen by the handful of people who are updated directly by Blogger or email. So please forgive some funky formatting in this case.]

Short answer: Pay the artist!

Long answer:

Well, there's the obvious. Flowers. Chocolates. Promises you don't intend to keep.... 

I often get this question with caveat of "in ways that don't involve spending any money" so let me assure you that I do have an answer to this below. However, I can't stress enough how helpful money is. (2022 edit—and with medical bills for surgery all the cancer stuff approaching five figures even WITH insurance, I could absolutely use a hand.) So let me put this list in roughly the order of how useful/helpful/supportive each method is.

1- Sign up for an ongoing, monthly financial contribution (even just ONE dollar) through Patreon.
Simply put, nothing will contribute more to the ongoing survival of Writing About Writing, support the site more, or ensure future offerings of fiction and timely articles than will a few dollars that I can reliably count on month after month and use to budget. Also, nothing fuels an artists' or entertainers' sense of duty more than feeling like they have a patron's generosity to live up to. (There are days my patrons were the only reason I wrote a word.) Whether it is scaling back hours at my other job or being able to give this blog full-time energy, none of it will happen if I need to make ends meet from other revenue streams. I know not everyone has a budget for flinging money at online content creators, especially in today's economy, and I don't want this to come across like I'm besmirching the very methods of assistance that I mention below, but "Support your local artist," isn't just a slogan about pats on the back and encouraging emails. If you want any artist or entertainer to be able to go on creating and giving you the content you like, the very best way to do that is to make sure their rent stays paid and their electricity stays on, so that they aren't out selling Bluetooth smart bidets on commission when they could be making more of what you enjoy.

The easiest way to get me a regular financial contribution is through my Patreon. As little as a dollar a month helps me and will get you in on backchannel chats and polls. There are more rewards for higher commitments, but some really good rewards even at the lower tiers. I love my large donors, of course, but if one of them experiences a life hiccup, I could be down 5% of my income; so a hearty "ecosystem" of one, three, five, and maaaaaybe ten dollar donors is also beloved and incredibly valuable in the long run.

2- Make a one-time donation through Paypal.
Not everyone can give a set amount month after month, but yeeting money at the artist will still absolutely be the most supportive thing a supporting supporter can do to support. I hate to sound like a materialist, but writing is so much easier to do when the power isn't turned off.

A one time donation is easy through Paypal. Just look over to the left side for the conspicuously placed tip jar. I also have Venmo. 

Rarer, but not unheard of, are folks who want to set up an ongoing donation, but have no interest in Patreon or the reward tier system (for whatever reason); you can just click a box that says "Make this an ongoing donation."

I'm about to start a fundraiser for my medical expenses. (If you're catching up, I was diagnosed with cancer in November, had surgery in December, and am currently in ongoing treatment.) Right now bills are pushing into the "mid-four-figures" range, but I haven't paid for the hospital stay or the surgery yet, to say nothing of the ongoing therapeutics and tests that have gone into this year (so my out of pocket max is reset), and I'm starting to realize that on top of lost income, housing caregivers, and driving expenses, it's going to cap out pretty close to ten thousand. I'd like to do this independently of starting a separate Gofundme, but we'll see how it does. So far I've made about 20% of that in donations.

3- Exchanges/Creative Gifts
Of course money is the Swiss Army Knife of surviving capitalism. And with a normal, adult amount of bills (2022 Edit- And an abnormal amount of medical bills), it is the most useful support. However, people have "paid" me in all kinds of weird ways. They've given me gift cards. They've sent me complimentary tickets to events. They've sent me some of THEIR art (which I wouldn't have been able to afford otherwise). I even got someone's boudoir photoshoot once because they wanted to contribute, but couldn't afford to make a cash donation—I have to admit, THAT was pretty cool.  

Success begets success. Big numbers attract attention and draw even more audience. More audience will widen the net for folks who might be able to afford to give a dollar or two. You can help me even if you don't have money to give yourself. If folks think their carefully written guest blog is going to reach 18 people, their attitude about contributing will be a little different than if they think it's going to reach 10,000.

Find all the ways to stalk me, and pick a few of your faves.

5- Share the articles you like on social media.
The hardest part about blogging is getting the word out. If I share a post on social media, it's all my same friends seeing it again and again. They all secretly (and some not so secretly) want me to shut up. Not everyone likes my style. Not everyone cares about writing. Not everyone can maintain their composure when it's time to use their scroll wheel. Finding my niche and those folks who really appreciate the work I am doing is tougher than running down a cephalopoid on foot (#23yearoldpopculturereferenceFTW), so helping push that process along is incredibly helpful. You have friends I've never met. Some of them might love what I do. It is an absolutely free and easy way to really help W.A.W. –– simply share the articles you really like on various social media in order to help me to find the narrow niche of people who like both what I'm saying and how I'm saying it.

They're out there...but I could use your help to find them.

7- Click the little buttons. A lot.
In today's world of web content designers and search engine competition, there is a "Red Queen Race" between content providers trying to figure out how to trick a search engine into listing them higher and search engines trying to make sure that what is high on a search isn't filler crap. Google is constantly coming up with new tricks to make sure someone who's just dropping keywords into a fluff piece doesn't end up as the first result of a search. One of the most effective ways to help an article get more traffic (by being a higher result on a search engine) is to do things like give it "Likes," "+1s" and "Thumbs Up." I'm not saying you have to click something you don't like, but if you want to help W.A.W., you might be just a little more generous with those endorsement buttons than for a normal site.

8- GIF party in the comments.

For reasons I don't fully understand, GIFs tickle the algorithm of most social media more than a like or even just a text comment. (Especially on Facebook, which is far and away my most traffic-generating social medium.) So if you want to see a post get proliferated (especially an appeals post that might net me a new patron or three), put a GIF on that post. 

9- Comment or drop me a line.
I am SO a real writer!
Am so. Am so. AM SO!!
It's a thankless job. I make barely enough to get by (if I give up my car, cell phone, and eating anything that isn't a PB&J or ramen) for fifty hours or so of work a week. There have been a deplorable lack of hawt groupie threesomes since ever. Most of the time, no one makes a comment unless they've got a problem with something I've written. And half the time, I get these anonymous nast-o-grams that are absolutely intended to make my cry like the Dawson's Creek meme. It's really nice to hear some of the good stuff from time to time whether it's just an article you particularly liked, or a general appreciation of my work.

It really does make a difference when I'm trying to get out of bed to write the next day.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Tuesday Report (Feb 1, 2022)

Note: I'm slowly easing back into writing as I recover from surgery (and a cancer diagnosis), still have a lot of doctor's appointments coming up (including possibly chemotherapy). My body is mostly recovered (I've even taken back up jogging and hope to do a marathon in a few months), but my mental and emotional recovery is taking a little longer, especially since there are a number of ongoing therapeutics.

Quick Personal Update-

I have a round of post-surgery follow ups, an iron infusion and a consultation with a hepatologist this week. The four year old is also out of preschool, which has about doubles my usual childcare hours. There's some personal stuff going on that I would probably be better able to deal with if I weren't on such a razors edge of stress in so many other places in my life. And I was going to take this week off (or last week—I'm not really sure which I would have picked) because I had company in town five days over the weekend. But I forgot to kind of announce that that was happening and as a crowdfunded writer, I don't like to just go silent running, so instead, I'm going to make a slight adjustment to the usual posts (see below).

Weekly Schedule Adjustments-

I'm moving completely off the regular schedule this week. Instead I'm going to focus on the admin stuff that gathers in need of periodic updates. A bunch of those tabs that go along the top of this blog page (in desktop mode) need to be updated every year or they go stale like Ritz without a twisty tie on the sleeve.

I was going to kind of spread those posts out (doing one each week), and I still will a lot of the ones that are left, but there are a few that just require a touch up here and there and maybe some updated info and then they're good to go. They will give me the perfect chance to get the low-key week I was thinking of when I imagined taking this week off, but will be SOMEthing that'll go up each day as well. Plus a lot of my readers are new, and don't go digging through every last tab and archive, so it's good to repost this stuff on the regular.

Novel Progress-

I'm getting pretty close to being able to fold in some novel writing, but it'll probably happen for the first time when the little one goes back to preschool. My time management is a bit of a house of cards at the moment. Technically everything fits, but a stiff breeze will knock it over. And there was a covid exposure in the pod on Sunday…

Behind the Scenes-

I'm hoping to restart the Newsletter this week. February's newsletter with January's news.