Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

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New Writing Gig

September 1, 2011

I’m now writing for Lost In The Sound, an absolutely fine music blog. The first couple of posts are up, and I’m hoping there will be many, many more in the future. I’ve also added the link to the Side Projects.

This would be in addition to my Techdirt gig (73 posts and counting…), which will explain the upcoming dearth of posts here, if anyone asks. Or it may not. We’ll see how it goes.

-CLT

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Advice on Writing Advice for Writers

July 5, 2011
[This post was kicked into gear thanks to a FB note by JPM, whose Facebook feed is often full of moments like this. This piece has been laying around in my “unfinished” work folder, under the presumption that at some point I would finish the mofo off and send it out to be rejected by various humor sites.
Thus properly motivated by JPM’s note, I took a look at it and decided that it looked pretty finished to me. I also have other “unfinished” posts that tie into this one, so I’ll probably be looking harder at those as well. If nothing else, you’ll get to see (and experience) the immense amount of self-loathing that goes into calling yourself a “writer,” which makes all of us a bit masochistic and probably even more than slightly deranged. (This isn’t some sort of power tripping derangement either. This isn’t a “I suffer for my art” thing. This is a “I hate writing but am internally compelled to do it” sort of thing.){Also, it’s not a real “hate.” Obviously. It’s a special kind of love that manifests itself most frequently as hate and is usually self-directed and has nothing to do with writing as much as it has to do with “not writing”.}]

This is what a blogger looks like. Except, replace the "pipe" with a nicotine patch and the pen with "completely useless box o' electronics/internet."

So, you want to be a writer? Waving aside the fact that this makes you about as unique as a band influenced by the Velvet Underground, and the fact that there’s an entire internet full of writers already, you have to ask yourself, what do I have to offer the written world? What do I bring to the table that hasn’t been brought to the table so often it’s being sent back?

Still drawing a blank? Put down that sketch pad and listen up. (Just a little metaphoric humor there. Feel free to use that when breaking the ice at your next book club meeting or whatever the hell it is you writers do with your spare time.)

What most writers are looking for, despite the fact that they’ll never ask directly, is advice. All writers, especially writers who have never been published, crave writing advice. If nothing else, it allows them to put off writing for at least another 10-15 minutes. Never underestimate a writer’s desire to be doing anything but writing. This element is key to the “writing about writing” business.

Another crucial element is a side-effect of the advice itself. Whether the reading writer agrees or disagrees with the advice is immaterial. The end result is always the same; a refreshing confirmation of the reader’s superiority to other readers/writers/advice authors.

If the writer agrees with the advice, it justifies his or her peculiar habits, no matter how unpleasant or anti-social.

What if the writer disagrees entirely with your slapped together and mostly borrowed (without attribution) advice? Not to worry. Your new adversary will be enjoying a nearly identical sense of superiority, with each point of disagreement becoming a shiny new feather in his or her cap of Writing Knowledge.

My other typewriter morphs into a large beetle. I get more work done on that one.

An added bonus for the reader is the chance to compose an overly long comment expressing (point-by-point) how completely wrong you are about everything from the amount of time you should spend writing each day (2-12 hours) to how much margin is acceptable for submissions in .doc format (2-12 inches). Once again, the aspiring writer is allowed to escape the hellish prison of their current novel/essay/fanfic submission and right (or should I say, “write”?) any and all perceived wrongs with a pure passion borne of vindictiveness and procrastination. (You’re correct. I shouldn’t say “write.” We’ll leave that for the struggling writers to use.)

At this point you’re probably wondering why YOU have to do all this writing while other writers are allowed to duck their chosen profession. Well, I’ve got good news and great news.

The good news is that practically anything you come up with off the top of your head can be considered “advice,” whether it’s a suggestion they read every day (something they already do) or more drastic recommendations like cutting themselves out of important family events (immediate and extended) to ensure they have more time to sullenly glare at their blank pages.

The great news is that other writers have written plenty of advice for writers already. It’s everywhere. A quick internet search should find you a few thousand articles to cherrypick from. If you don’t mind doing a little transcribing (don’t worry, it’s much easier than writing “from scratch”), you should easily have at least 10-15 items on your list. With this pre-paved list in hand, you may now allow the children to return from their basement exile, provided they still communicate using ASL only.

Still need another nudge? Here’s a brief list of sure-fire advice:

Problem solved: My homunculus will be writing all future posts. In second person.

1. Read more.
Reading is a great procrastination technique. Writers reading are “doing research” or “developing technique” or simply doing it because “it’s a dying art. Well, both reading and writing, actually. Turn off that TV. It’s killing your brain.”

2. Write more.
As much as writers hate being reminded that, as writers, it would logically follow that they spend a great deal of time writing, it’s an even bigger faux pas to leave this off the list. Try to give your readers some leeway. Make it sound like a suggestion and utilize the word “try,” which will allow them to excuse their failed attempts and often, their failure to attempt. Avoid specifics as to what kind of writing should be done. This allows your reading writers to justify angry comments, angry Facebook status updates and angry comments on the statuses of others as being part of their “writing 2-12 hours a day.”

3. Be honest.
Basically, this is “write what you know” phrased in a way that allows writers to more highly regard their own confessional pieces involving more unseemly moments in their lives. These moments are often something they’ve often secretly wanted to brag about without having it sound like a rejected Penthouse Letter. Just as every writer believes themselves to be a “unique voice,” they also tend to regard themselves as the “last honest writer.”

4. Write in your own voice.
Yet another form of “write what you know.” Nothing makes writing easier than writing the way you speak. In theory, just typing up whatever rolls through the writer’s head (unless it’s sporting a foreign accent) should get their great American novel or Kim Possible fanfic epic kicked out in no time. Everything should click for a few minutes until they realize how limited their vocabulary actually is. A loss of momentum is to be expected as they spend the next hour or two looking up synonyms for “nice,” “awesome” and “asstacular.”

This should give you the headstart you need to start cranking out post after post of “Advice for Writers.” In fact, you could just copy and paste what’s included here for a quick eHow post. Just make sure to remove all disparaging comments leveled at your potential readers before submitting.

-CLT

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A Quickstart Guide to Blogging with WordPress

November 23, 2010

Eyeball embedding - $29/year. Check under "Upgrades" on your Dashboard. (Use your good eye.)

Welcome to WordPress!

Starting with your first post, the future is today! There has never been a better time to be alive and have opinions, as our easy-to-use features will have you up and running in no time!

It’s time for you to set free those unedited (and unspellchecked) thoughts and start “bringing the noise,” WordPress-style! Are you ready to become part of our exclusive team of over 200 million bloggers?

[If the answer is “Yes!” please proceed.]

Excellent! We’ll just need a valid email address.

[Don’t have one? Well, no worries, Luddite. You’re still free to peruse our selection of 500+ million blogs (only one-third of which are abandoned) and view our inserted ads. Unfortunately, you will not be allowed to actually “blog” and will be mocked incessantly by those who joined the 20th century back when it was still the 20th century.]

Naming Your Blog

Now that the confirmation is out of the way, you’re ready to begin! We’ve chosen your username as the default URL (laydeekillah64) but you can call your blog anything you want. Before you choose, you may want to consider your blog’s subject matter. Here are some ideas:

  • I like shopping!
  • I like CPM!
  • I have advice!
  • I know stuff!
  • I share music!*
  • I’m Wiccan!
  • I’m easily entertained!
  • I have ADD!
  • I’m not sure if I agree with your politics!
  • I don’t do research!
  • My mom thinks I’m funny!
  • ICP4EVAH!!1!
*Your blog has been deleted for Terms of Service violations! Thanks for playing!

Now that you’ve figured out what you want to write about (ICP4EVAH!!1!), it’s time to set your title (ICP4EVAH!!1!). Don’t worry. For maximum confusion, you can change this at any time via your header options.

Ah... "Default." Excellent choice.

Choosing a Theme

It’s time to choose a theme! We currently have hundreds to choose from, so feel free to spend the next several hours perusing them before settling on one of the five that are actually useful/attractive. Or just leave it set to the default (see above), which will give your blog that timeless “almost abandoned” look.

Getting Readers to Your Blog

Now that you’re (presumably) writing, it’s time to get some readers. After all, if no one’s reading your posts, then your blog (and, by extension, you) has no reason to exist. You have plenty of options available to get that Pageview ball rolling!

Oh, look! Over 350,000 "Observational Humour" blogs, 349,000 of which include zero instances of either "observations" or "humour."

Blog Catalog, Blogger, etc.

With a simple but complex signup routine, your new blog will now have the opportunity to be ignored by thousands of new readers, all of whom are loudly promoting their own blogs. By harnessing the collective power of hundreds of self-interested parties, you should be exchanging links with India-based new scrapers and shady Vietnamese porn sites in no time at all!

This cute little "Digger" symbolizes the thousands of users furiously burying your submission.

Digg

It may take some time to get your blog seen by this unfocused and rigged popularity contest, but if you manage to make the elusive front page, look out! Your page will soon be overrun with thousands of one-time visitors! Those few who choose to leave a comment will most likely point out that they’ve seen all of this before, usually several decades ago or caustically correct your grammatical errors. You may also find yourself completely out of bandwidth and on the receiving end of sternly worded messages from your hosting network. Fun, fun, fun!

The WordPress Dartboard O' Instant Noteriety

Freshly Pressed

Outside of Digg, nothing will give you a larger temporary stat boost than being “Freshly Pressed.” Our crack team of blogologists scan new posts daily, looking for new, exciting posts that meet our randomly enforced criteria.

If you should find yourself “Freshly Pressed,” brace yourself for an onslaught of new readers and commenters who will congratulate you on your “Freshly Pressed” status before wandering off to the “next ‘big thing’/link on the list,” leaving you feeling like a former child star whose Disney-propelled ship has suddenly sailed, thanks to the onset of adolescent ugliness.

Commenting

There is perhaps no easier way to get new “eyes” on your blog than through commenting. Visit other like-minded blogs and leave insightful/hilarious comments (see examples below). If other commenters are intrigued by your brilliant insight/humor, they need only to click on your name to visit your site.

  • “Insightful!”
  • “Great job!”
  • “Check out the blog!”
  • www.laydeekillah64.wordpress.com
  • “Hilarious!”
  • “You guys are soooooooo funny!!!!”
  • “LOLOLOL!!!!!!!!”
  • “Acai Berry Flavored Viagra Cheap!”
  • “I just wrote something dealing with this exact subject at my blog, only approaching it from the angle of writing about something completely different! Please click on my link!”

 

Conclusion

Now that you are armed with all the information you’ll ever need ever, get blogging! Remember these two adages:

– You’re only as good as your last post!
– The Internet abhors a vacuum!

Good luck!

-CLT

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Elsewhere on the Web…

July 21, 2010

 

Look. It’s that guy. Only with his real name.

http://www.thebigjewel.com/a-guide-to-homicide-investigation/

(Hit the home page for a nice little intro.)

I can now say that I’m a “published” writer when accosting random strangers or forcing my way into conversational huddles. I’ll leave it vaguely worded in order to indicate a large body of published work, rather than just the first (in what is hoped to be many) appearance outside the confines of self-publishing.

-CLT