Blogging, feedback, and the perils of both


As the frequency of my posts reveal, you can probably tell I’m not what you’d call committed to this blogging thing. It comes down to choices, where I can best allocate my time. And when I’ve got a project underway, especially a big one, like now, I look to minimize the distractions, which puts this blog on the back burner behind the back burner. Still, today was a good day of writing (quota met) and I figure I’d better squeeze this in before the stretch between my posts stretches any further.

Feedback proves that launching a new website is fraught with risks

Mariam Kirby, a visitor from Texas, felt the photos of me were too dark and moody, conflicting “with the wry humor of your blog. In general, they do not reflect your personality.”

Well, sure, that’s easy for you to say, Mariam; you don’t live with me. Ask my wife, Pat, about dark, moody, wry humor and me. What’s more, had you looked closely at the photos, you would see that I am, indeed, chuckling heartily. I have always been deceptively photogenic in this way. (N.B.: Since this was first posted, the moodiest of the moody photos has been replaced with that thing of me poking myself in the side of the head, whatever that’s about.)

No threats against birds and other helpful observations

Another visitor, a Canadian residing in Japan, wrote: “The website looks good . . . it’s not blaring music at me or threatening to murder my bird if I don’t subscribe. It’s not addressing me as ‘My Lovies’ or ‘Dear Ones.’ There isn’t any chain mail terrorism or empty weekly bullshit writing memes . . .”

My response is clear: Wait. Wait. Give me time, especially with the empty “bullshit writing memes.” I got a million of ’em. My favorite is to keep your mouth shut about the stories you’re working on. While I know a lot of writers like to workshop their fiction or chat it up with friends, describing this character or that character, outlining every plot and subplot, the approach has never worked for me.

The more I used to talk about my works-in-progress, the more bored I was when it came to sitting down and putting words on the page. I’d not only talked the ideas out, I’d talked them to death. These days, not even my wife knows what I’m writing until it’s done. This applies to short stories and novels. Not only does the method keep the ideas fresh, it serves to motivate, pushing me to get the story finished so I can have people read it and, with any luck, gush about how freaking wonderful both me and my story are. God, I love that! And if there’s a pay check involved at the end of it, well, all the better.

Speaking of writing . . . go watch TV

California’s Amy Stirling Casil has written a nifty little essay on her website. While I’ve never met Amy in person, we share SFictional roots. We both appeared in the July 1996 “new writers” issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. My story was SITTERS, while hers was the impressive JONNY PUNKINHEAD. Check out her essay, The Path To Publication May Take Many Forms, at Book View Café, by clicking here, and read how her first published genre story came to be. As you’ll see, rejection isn’t always rejection. Her essay neatly complements my own, GENREALITIES button above, which, I guess, in certain ways, relates how my first story came to be.

Okay. Enough blogging, if that’s what this is. And if you haven’t watched seasons 1 and 2 of the FX series FARGO, please do so soon. Best thing on TV. Of course, I watched it long before I got wrapped up in the big thing I’m currently wrapped up in. Honest. I swear. Which brings me to a Stephen King writing meme: “Stop watching TV. Read instead.”