Sunday, November 20, 2011

Creativity, helpful friends and happiness: For these, I'm thankful

I've been wanting to write a Thanksgiving post for a few days now, and I've had some trouble starting. Not because I have so little, but because I have so much. Now, if you had told me a few years ago I might have this problem, I likely wouldn't have believed you.

Because I was angry. And sad. I had lost my sister, my journalism career had ended, and all my pets died. It wasn't a good year, to say the least.

My creativity, my saving grace, disappeared. Just vanished. I could barely lift my head, much less craft a tantalizing sentence. Oh, I tried. But let's face it, as writers, we know when we suck.

I had a manuscript in my desk, a murder mystery that I had fully intended on sending out to literary agents. But after awhile, I forgot about it. The only thing that got me out of bed was my family. One day, my husband found my novel. "You should do something with this," he said. "After all, you wrote it."

I did, I thought. And I realized I didn't want to spend my time writing queries. So I published it myself. And people actually bought it and liked it. I was incredibly excited and gratified. I started writing some more. I read blogs about writing. I started my own. I met helpful authors, authors I really admired who wrote incredibly helpful blogs like and

I'm not a bestselling author, not by a long shot. But I write every day. And I learn something every week. I'm creating.  I'm happy. For that, I'm very thankful.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Do ads add up to a better blog? I wonder ...

When I was a reporter,  I had a certain feeling about advertisements: Yuck. Advertorials? Even worse. Fill those pages with good, solid news content. Let "other people" worry about bringing in the bucks.

But I'm not a reporter anymore. My personal writing now is for blogs and books - I have two blogs and a book that sells for 99 cents. My book sales are pretty steady - and I'm grateful for every sale - but at that price, I certainly won't get rich. The blogs are all content-based, and I like it that way. I've seen blogs with giveaways, lots of ads, etc., and I think that's fine  - just not for me.

Or so I've always thought. But now I wonder ... am I just being old-fashioned?

After all, a content-based blog doesn't bring in any money. Ads do. And it's hard to pay the bills on your high principles. So now I'm keeping a closer eye on the ads I see on blogs. Are they worth it? I know it's a lot of work, getting sponsors and such, but I've talked to some bloggers who say it's a nice way to make money doing something you like. Am I just being snooty, not working toward that?

I waffle, both ways. And I wonder. What makes a better blog?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Discouraged? Change your publishing perspective

I was skimming through writing blogs the other night when I came upon a post titled, "Keep your expectations low."

It stopped me cold - I had to read more. The post was about self-publishing, and the author, a young writer, was advocating realism. He was disappointed in the sales of his self-published book and in the feedback he had received. He was thinking that perhaps he expected too much from self-publishing.

I understood his point of view. But I just couldn't embrace it. I think I would have gone with, "Alter your strategy," or "Expand your network," or maybe even "Change your point of view."

After all, most of us don't write to sell, even though sales are wonderful. We write because we're writers. We love it. It's what we do. That comes first.

And c'mon - you finished a book! And people are reading it!! Maybe not as many as you like, but still. That's a pretty amazing starting point right there.

So let's not lower our expectations - at least not yet. Let's tweak that perspective first.