Tag Archives: facebook

Quick Social Media Test

#socialmediatest, #blogblitz, #funexperiment

My blog is remotely linked to Facebook and Twitter, which I use to share news to my wide array of narrow masses. I also have other options I could link to, like LinkedIn, that I’m not yet connected to, but should probably look into and link to at some point, so that my blogs cry out rather than whisper to an audience of many, like you and other friends I could link to, to share links and other matters of shared interest, to keep the social media family growing even if we’re all technically isolated from real human connection.

So, I want to see if I can tweet #hashtags from my blog’s log line to create and connect to a wider web of wisdom and wishes, which can in turn be linked to through LinkedIn and  other go-tos, Facebook and Twitter being my current coexisting content curators, and potentially procure plentiful portions of ravenous readers, and maintain a social media pathway that includes apps like Path and Google Plus, plus whatever other crazy things that they may link to, not including Instagram or Pinterest, both of which have interest in instant images, not to be confused with instant messages, which are another form of social media not supported by this blog, along with Pinterest and Instagram, which are also, sadly, not supported by this blog.

If this test works, please tweet me on #Facebook, or message me on Twitter to let me know if you like this link and consider subscribing to support content like this, even if you don’t know why you’re still reading it.

Cover Image: Pixabay

Why It’s Okay to Write for Fun (Part 4): The Importance of Managing Fun

Missed Part 3? Read it here.

“The Importance of Managing Fun”

Stephen King had to start somewhere. His book, On Writing, gives us a history lesson on how he started, how he grew, and how he became a success. His main message to aspiring writers is to remain consistent. But, he also encourages writers to bring with them a sense of discovery. There’s a turf war in writing right now between the “plotters” and the “pantsers,” the latter of which King is the king, but both camps agree that discovering the story is as important to writing as knowing its structure and its ending. Discovery is important to the writer because the writer is the story’s first reader, and emotionally, it makes sense for the writer to plot the story along as if he is discovering things for the first time with the reader.

This is where writing for fun comes into play.

One of the big questions when we write anything (for this argument, we’ll focus on fiction, even though nonfiction writers have the same question to ask) is whether or not we should write for an audience or write for ourselves. If we’re writing an adventure story when our personal preference is thrillers, for example, are we being true to ourselves as authors? If we love screwball comedies, but are forcing ourselves to write a serious vampire drama because it’s what’s hot in the market at the moment, are we doing our job well? If we discover things about our protagonists, even if we don’t actually care about his journey because he doesn’t live within our preferred genre, are we still expected to “ooh” and “ahh” at the discoveries the way a potential reader might?

To that, I say, the author is also the audience.

Now, this isn’t to suggest exclusivity, of course. As we take writing more seriously, we need to start asking ourselves whom we want to read our stuff. But the real first question is whether or not we want anyone else reading our stuff. As I said in “The Importance of Experimentation and Ignoring Fear,” I began my writing life as a private citizen, unwilling to share my stories with anyone who didn’t also wear my underwear. As I wrote more and had more fun doing it, however, I had a greater willingness to share what I was writing. (If I had fun writing it, then maybe others would have fun reading it.) I started by sharing my work with my dad; then I started reading my stories over the phone to a select group of friends. Nothing I wrote was “good” per se, but I enjoyed writing it. And they enjoyed reading it (so they said). But I was not about to release any of it to the public.

Why?

Simply put, I wasn’t ready to put myself out there.

I’m an introvert by nature; though, life has taught me that even introverts have to show their faces to the world from time to time. The invention of the Internet has helped me to combat my fears. It’s given me a comfortable way to get out there, spread my wings, and grow as not just a writer but an author, too, as sharing work can be autonomous, based on discovery, and not require me to slap potential readers in the face with copies of my manuscript as I shout, “Read this!” In other words, I can put my name on a work, keep my face off of it if I want, and avoid the awkward conversations that could’ve formed had I given someone my work directly.

The flipside to using the Internet, however, is that now anyone can read anything I’ve posted anywhere, including the good works and the crap I should’ve kept to myself, and now I can’t hide my imperfections, my poor thoughts on a subject I know little about, my lame turns of phrase, my general ignorance about how the world works, and perhaps worst of all, my inexperience with business and my lack of professionalism as an author. Once it’s out there, it’s out there for all to see. And even though my memory sucks, plenty of people have solid memories that endure years upon years, and they’re the ones who will inevitably read the stuff that made me want to remain a private citizen in the first place. Question then becomes, should I put my name on this thing at all?

Well, there’s a flipside to that, too. Putting my name on crap means everyone who finds it will now think I’m a bad writer. But leaving good work anonymous will mean anyone who finds it won’t know I’m a good writer.

Everything is a risk. Putting our names on the line like that is a risk, just as leaving our names off of things is also a risk. Crazy thought, huh?

That’s when we need to decide whether we want to write for business or for fun. We usually begin our writing life for fun, just as I did, and it’s okay to write for fun. But when we post our work for the public, we have to acknowledge whether or not writing for fun is still our goal. Otherwise, why would we bother sharing anything with strangers? We’re the ones supposed to be having fun, right? Are the people who read our work having fun? Does that even matter?

I’m sure Stephen King began writing for fun. But here’s the kicker: I think he still writes for fun. I think it was, is, and will always be in his blood. The difference now is that he gets paid to do it. He had to start somewhere, and even he will tell you that he’s written crap once upon a time. It’s been a while since I’ve read it, but I’m pretty sure he admits that in his book, On Writing.

The reality is, we should write for fun. It’s okay to write for fun. But we should also forward-think a little. Just like posting about our bad day on Facebook, we should think about what sending this piece of writing up the line will do in the future. Will we be okay tomorrow if this gets out today, or will posting this cause something consequential and irreversible? And is that a bad thing? Perhaps that’s why we need coaches and mentors in our lives. We need gatekeepers to let us know if what we’re about to do is helpful or harmful, and if the job we’re doing as a writer will still be fun tomorrow if this gets out today.

It’s okay to write for fun, but we should have some sense about why we’re doing it first.

Next Week: “The Importance of Balancing Priorities and Knowing Audience”

Shallow Water: A Journal that Reads Like a Survey

This one is kind of ridiculous, but I’m reposting anyway because it does share a few facts about me you may or may not find interesting. Originally posted to Facebook during the notes and surveys craze of 2008-2009:

April 22, 2009:

Not long ago I decided I was gonna stop leaving notes on Facebook. It seemed no one ever read what I wrote anyway. And this was the same reason why I stopped writing journals on MySpace. Yet, for some reason I’m not able to stick to that. Call it dissatisfaction if you want. There’s no other reason for it. Maybe I just need to write and not care what ends up being said.

It seems that surveys are more effective ways to communicate these days than actual letters or conversations. Short sentences seem to go a lot further than essays or heart-to-heart talks. It’s harder to misinterpret them. It’s harder to skim them or tune them out. The best a reader can do to a survey is to skip them, which is a blatant ignorance to the person who’s trying to communicate.

So I’m gonna leave some questions here. If you want to answer them, fine. If you don’t care, fine. But this is designed to elicit discussion. It’s designed to prevent shallowness. If you like being shallow, fine. But pretend I’d like to know what’s going on with you.

I’ll admit that I’m bad about asking questions face-to-face (probably because I always feel like everyone’s in a rush and they don’t have time to answer anyway), so I’ll ask them here.

You can be as brief as you want, but I find that depth is better.

I hope you’re not too busy to answer these.

I’ll go first.

1. What’s most important? Internet, cellphone, or dinner table?

Dinner table is the obvious answer, but I have maybe three family dinners a year (including holidays). I’m often (not always) turned down invitations to eat with friends so I tend to eat meals in front of my computer, either while I’m working or reading. So Internet (while least important) seems to be the most important social outlet right now, which sucks. I loathe busyness, by the way. There’s no excuse for it. If I’m overtaxing myself, it’s because I’ve got nothing else to do.

2. Would you rather swim in the ocean, a lake, or a swimming pool? What do you take with you when you swim?

I like sitting by the ocean the most, but fish creep me out, so I’d rather swim in a pool. I don’t generally take anything into the pool, but as a kid I loved a good raft and those games where you had to push your friends off the raft. One friend had a metal wash bucket by the pool and we’d sometimes put the cat in the wash bucket and turn the bucket into a boat. That was funny. I used to enjoy bringing action figures into the pool and make them play survivor. I don’t know—childhood was fun. Adulthood is kinda lame for that kind of thing. And I feel too old whenever I go to water parks now, or I did the last time I went…ten years ago.

3. How fast do you drive and why?

Depends where I’m driving, obviously. On average, I push the needle about five miles over the limit and rarely slow down on turns (unless there’s someone in front of me or coming at me in the intersection). I’m not a sports guy or abusive, so I have to get my adrenaline somewhere. Speedy cars and rock music tend to satisfy that for me.

4. Television, movie, book, or magazine?

I can enjoy a little of each. For television, it has to be Thursday night and it has to be tuned into NBC. If I’m not laughing or sitting on the edge of my seat, it’s wasting my time. It’s kinda the same for movies, but I tend to be more lenient with those since I can watch them on my own time, not on some network’s. Books I’m obligated to like because I’m a writer. But I’m not a fan of “literature.” Again, if it’s boring, it’s wasting my time. I usually keep that in mind when I write, so I do what I can to avoid writing boring stories. Magazines I really don’t care for, but every once in awhile I’ll open one up for the research. I find that none of it’s that great if I can’t talk about it at some point.

5. Any regrets?

I try to tell myself “no” most of the time. But the truth is that I regret almost every decision I made during my twenties. I don’t know if life would’ve taken a better turn if I’d chosen to work more and socialize less, if I would’ve gone to a town other than Orlando for college, if I’d been more serious about learning the basics of writing and less about the creativity behind it, but I haven’t been happy with the end result of the decisions I did make. And that sucks because I thought I made the right ones at the time. I suppose decisions catch up no matter where or how they were made. But I think I can put the original blame on my decision to fix an automobile that should’ve been junked. That’s about where the avalanche started.

(Note: I’m probably gonna stop here. No one’s gonna answer these.)

Facebook Notes Introduction

Originally posted to Facebook on:

March 17, 2009:

We’ve finally reached the original posting, which means if you’re reading these backwards, then you’re reading these in chronological order, which means you’re not at the end of a long road but at its beginning—at the place when I could never guess how many blogs would follow, or what lessons I’d learn (or forget) along the way, or how many tears I’d cry in the journey. And this is exciting because it’s like watching three years of history unfold. And if you’re reading them in import order, then each blog will have felt like a building block toward the one before it and you can see where each influenced the other.

And if you feel confused over that, I apologize.

I’ve since decided not to write on MySpace anymore. I thought readership was too low, comments were even lower, and I never really felt like my intention for joining MySpace was fulfilled. I originally signed up to promote some tie-in articles to a novel that I wrote in 2005, but the readership was so tiny that I found it discouraging and wasteful to keep up with them and eventually ceased writing them (the series was called “The News from the Panhandler Underground” and yielded 17 articles out of an intended 62). The legacy continued into my blogs, including those that I wrote with the hope of generating discussion, either to help me find answers, or at least to find out what others thought. When I only received discussion from the same two people over and over, I concluded that the broader audience I desired wasn’t out there, so I said enough was enough.

Honestly, I don’t feel that Facebook is gonna change anything in regard to audience. If anything, my blogs are now closed to strangers, which will keep readership almost non-existent. But at least now I can share things on my own terms and keep everything restricted to a more intimate level, which is my original intention for posting these anyway.

This doesn’t mean I’ve imported everything. There are still short stories lingering on the old site that I have no plans on bringing over here. There’s also a three-part essay on apostasy that I felt was too long for Facebook and a whiny post about waiting tables that I didn’t think was interesting enough to share with new readers.

But for all that I did import, I hope you guys will read them. Yes, there are eighteen articles. Yes, most of them aren’t short (though, some are, so don’t be afraid to go hunting for tiny treasure). Some are introspective, some are funny, and some reveal my occasionally frustrated (and intense) side. But I think there’s something to be found in each of them, something that might awaken a question you yourself may have, and something that may even challenge the way you look at each day.

I am far from perfect. I will never claim to be perfect. But I do think I’ve got something to share, and I never would’ve posted these (here or on MySpace) if I didn’t think someone else might benefit somehow, somewhere.

And there will be more journals (as “The Cat and the Hat” has proven), but I’ll be posting them exclusively here until something better comes along.

With that, here’s the introductory blog, which doesn’t really reflect the ones to follow, but will at least give you an idea what kind of style you’re in for.

Note (from 3/17/2014–exactly five years later): This was written after I had abandoned MySpace in favor of continuing my blogs on Facebook. But, thanks to equally bad readership, I abandoned blogging on Facebook almost immediately in favor of returning to Blogspot. The “introductory blog,” as mentioned here, is called “The Decline of Deep Thought.”