C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

Write and publish with love and fury.

Writers: Action Items and Mega-links!

Laptops were made for stickers

Image by ifindkarma via Flickr

Most to-do lists are torture devices that never stop. You make your list too long. You never get to the end of the list and, to assuage your guilt, you start adding things to said list that you were going to do anyway — and possibly couldn’t even have avoided—just so you can cross it off. Put on hat. Took off hat. Sit down. Cogitate. Sit on toilet. Cogitate more.

But, after my recent Writer’s Union of Canada symposium on the state of publishing (the movie poster tag line would read: Brace Yourselves! It’s the End of the Beginning!) it’s time to commit to a plan.

Out of the blue, I have been approached by an agent. Agents are useful for lots of things (more on that in another post) but since that’s all theoretical so far and may come to naught or be complementary…

I’m going ahead with these action items:

1. Switch my browser to Opera. (Already had Chrome and that’s recommended, too. Migrate away from Internet Explorer. IE is inferior. I also like the way Opera remembers my tabs for quicker zipping around.

2. Get Dropbox. Dropbox is a free tool that keeps your data safe across multiple servers (AKA The Cloud.) It uses the same security tech your bank and the military use and the system’s more stable than say, one server in California. I’m replacing my fee-for-service backup software with Dropbox and I’ll be able to access my files across multiple computers. I don’t plan to use it for file sharing with others, though that may prove useful in the future.

3. Learn more about HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets, a formatting language.) Boo, scary.

4. Find a web developer capable of putting up an interactive, standards compliant website for me that looks good, works and can sell stuff. Also get said website hosted through one of these top three services: Rackspace, Dreamhost or Slicehost.

5. Most important: finish the polish on my WIP. By April 15th goddammit. I’ve been dawdling through perfectionistic tendencies. I have other books already written and more ideas for more books. As writers, we have all sorts of ideas but time is trouble. This is a time management, make short-term money working on other people’s long-term plans. I’m grateful for the work, but Ive got to find the balance and get it all done!

6. On completion of #5, simultaneously get new work (short stories, fiction, non-fiction) on website to sell using Smashwords. (I’ve heard one bad review of Smashwords and several good ones. Guest blogger, the fab Rebecca Senese, will be telling us about her Smashwords experience soon.)

7. Research blogging a book, using Create Space and podcasting a book. Blogging a book through a service like Blurb is a cool idea. I’ve heard about it but haven’t explored in detail. Basically, it’s a cheap and fast way to make a book out of the blog content you already have. I joined the Create Space community to hang out and see how it’s working for them. I will do the same with Kindle’s Writer’s Cafe (a good tip I picked up from Mike Plested’s podcast over at Irreverent Muse. Plus, Mike has asked me to join him on a podcast. Can’t wait to do that after I get the majority of this list done.) For podcasting — radio across the Internet for those of you who aren’t on board yet — I have a book and people I can consult about that.

8. Start using Posterous for blog posting. It’s described to me by writer and self-publishing guru Ross Laird as a “pre-built content management application” that posts everywhere you want in a single, elegant click.

9. Explore alternatives to word processors (like VIM). I posted about this a few days ago. What? You missed the bit about dumping your word processor?! (Don’t get annoyed. The link is just below this post.)

10. Live free and love hard, keep rockin’  the mic and the black fedora, keep connected and reach out to give to get, fight The Man, love what’s to love and transcend what’s to hate, make fun of the hopelessly powerful, pity the stupid as long as they aren’t in power, do: do not wish, bring comfort to the afflicted, chocolate every day (non-negotiable), help the poor by not being one of them, embrace the human zoo experience and stop to smell the coffee!

Well, I’ve got most of it covered…

And, yes, I have fancy plans and pants to match—

nod to Mr. James James, the man so nice they named him twice.

And if you get that reference, I love you, you big freaky nerd you!

Ahem. This is a good start.

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Filed under: ebooks, getting it done, publishing, Rant, self-publishing, This Week's Missions, Writers, Writing Conferences, writing tips, , , , , , , , , ,

What got done this week

Hey folks! For a change, a little about me, me, me.

In addition to editing my novel (Romeo, Juliet & Jerome) I completed an editing/ghostwriting job for a client. The fellow wanted his content punched up for a magazine article which will publicize his business and connect him to new customers. His allotted word count limit was 3,000 words. He submitted 1,000 words to me. This could have been a problem, but I came up with another 500 words after the edit/ghost job. We solved the rest of the shortfall with photos so everybody’s happy.

I also finished a preliminary edit on a memoir this week. Great life stories are so humbling.

I joined Goodlife Fitness and now I’m exercising every day. If you’re a writer, please do the same. Nobody talks about this much, but as a writer, you’re sedentary. You spend hours sitting still. This wasn’t healthy when it was TV and it’s not any more healthy now. Writers need to get out the door, hit a gym, go for a run or at least a brisk walk. Counteract the damage to your body that writing demands. We are human. We aren’t supposed to stay still as long as we do. In the near future, I expect to be in great shape. (Okay, really good shape.)

Happy Friday! More links are coming later today as I scan the publishing blogs for you, you , you.

Filed under: Editors, getting it done, This Week's Missions, What about Chazz?, , , ,

Milestone

Today at 11:50 a.m., I wrote the words “The End.” The first draft of my novel Romeo, Juliet & Jerome, is complete. Lots of uphill editing and revision ahead, yes. However, for today, it is a small victory on the journey. I began writing Romeo  in May 2009. Squeezed between other projects and the projects of others, sacrifices were made, time was devoted. Progress is made. in many ways, the free and fun part is behind me. But I love editing, too. I’ll hone the draft and make it sharp and send it off to market this fall. In a word…hurray.

Filed under: This Week's Missions, , ,

This Week’s Missions Accomplished

Four stories = four submissions to two writing contests:

1. In Migraine Train, a boy with an alcoholic mother and four loser dads goes into therapy to deal with his migraine headaches only to be hit on by his Psycho Therapist.

2. In The Sum of Me, the father of two young boys faces his failures and a massive credit card debt. When his own father offers to pay the bill for him, he finds out the heavy the payback may be unbearable.

3. In The Fortuneteller, a young man takes a first date to a carnival and finds himself in the fortuneteller’s tent. When the old crone tells the truth, she may succeed in saving the woman from a dangerous man but doom herself in the process.

4. Cuthian’s Wake is a dark and comic story about a 30ish Irish fellow in Toronto who weaves gorgeous lies to seduce young women. When his lie’s punchline turns real, he loses his beloved mother, his magic sex story and finally figures out he’s just a boy who looks like a man.

The Sum of Me has already earned an honorable mention with the Writer’s Digest Annual Short Story Contest. I edited it again (REDUCE!) and changed a bit to make it a stronger contender with a different contest. (REUSE!) Migraine Train is actually the first chapter of my novel adapted for a short story contest submission. (RECYCLE!)

Are you submitting your stories? You have to play to get paid. Keep your stuff circulating. Eventually, someone may love it.

Filed under: This Week's Missions, writing contests, ,

Winner of Writer's Digest's 2014 Honorable Mention in Self-published Ebook Awards in Genre

The first 81 lessons to get your Buffy on

More lessons to help you survive Armageddon

"You will laugh your ass off!" ~ Maxwell Cynn, author of Cybergrrl

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Fast-paced terror, new threats, more twists.

An autistic boy versus our world in free fall

Suspense to melt your face and play with your brain.

Action like a Guy Ritchie film. Funny like Woody Allen when he was funny.

Jesus: Sexier and even more addicted to love.

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