Posts Tagged ‘writing process’
Writers see the world differently. We analyze every word that you say, every move that you make, and every thought that you barely breathe. We piece stories together when there aren’t any to be told. And we create a world out of the pieces that we see in our own.
And yet, with as much as I love this part of myself, being a writer is hard. It takes practice. The great Haruki Murakami wrote an entire book about how being a writer (especially of epic novels) is like long distance running, it takes practice, endurance, and a lot of training.
I’ve been writing stories my entire life. In elementary school I would sit along the wall while the other kids played foursquare (the game, not the app) and scribble stories in my notebook with a felt-tipped marker.
One day, a girl in my class saw me writing and came over.
“What are you writing?” she asked.
“Oh, just a story,” I said, and curled the spiral bound notebook up in a way so that she wouldn’t be able to read it. But of course she did. And she noticed exactly what I didn’t want her to, the name of one of the characters.
“Ohhhh, do you like Tyler?”
There were three boys named Tyler in our class, and it was perfect for one of my characters. We were nine years old. Even if I tried to explain it, there was no way she was going to understand how writers work.
As my husband, the illustrator said one day, he creates art out of nothing, and I create art out of what I see. That is the difference between the illustrator and the writer.
My first fiction teacher told me that his wife used to read his stories and would always find the character that resembles her. Shortly after I wrote the best short story of my life and the protagonist was modeled loosely after my best friend.
That’s the magic and the danger behind being a writer, we don’t know how to separate the two worlds apart and we don’t want to. That’s why process of writing is scary and personal, we write about what we see in the world in order to understand it, we write for us and at the same time for you. We write because we have to, because we need to, because the world needs us to.
And sometimes that’s enough.
This morning as I was doing metrics for my own social media handles, I noticed something very, very odd when I went to bitly to check how many people clicked on the links I shared on Twitter last week:
My tweets get an average of 300 clicks per week, so 300 in one single day is outrageous!
It took me a little digging to realize that it came down to this one tweet…that Harley Davidson retweeted.
How to get People on Twitter to Retweet and Click on your Tweets
When it comes to being successful on Twitter, most people talk about how many followers a person has and how many more you can get, fast.
This is because you can easily see how many followers a person has on Twitter (very transparent), so the challenge has been how to get more followers on Twitter fast. Building a large following on Twitter is easy (just Google it). But there’s no point of having thousands of followers if they don’t respond or click on what you tweet.
I spend an enormous amount of time curating what I share on Twitter and Facebook each week. I love content, read a lot, and I want to provide value, not noise to this mess called social media. But it’s not just what you tweet, it’s how you tweet it.
Based on the basics of content curation and how I wrote the Harley Davidson tweet, here are three things that I found that help get my tweets read, clicked on, and shared. (more…)
Two years ago I was a wannabe blogger. The kind who want a blog so desperately that it paralyzed me from picking out a theme and sitting down to do the hard work – writing. So with the help of my husband, I slapped a landing page on my domain with a gorgeous (and accurate) ticker. I set an arbitrary date for launch, and I watched the months, weeks, days, and hours disappear.
Then, hours before I was supposed to launch, I did what most people do when they’re faced with a deadline – I freaked out. Lucky for me, John was still there to hold my hand. He helped me decide on a theme that would work, add a little branding, and got it live. Then he went to bed, while I stayed up to write my first post.
The date was a Sunday, February 14th, 2010, and I didn’t crawl into bed until 6am the following morning.
But I wrote, edited, and published my first post. My blog went live, and I tweeted, and then caught up on my sleep.
When I woke up, my life changed.
There were tweets, comments, and mentions galore. I remember going over to a friend’s house for dinner on that evening and checking the most comments for the first time – there were fifteen.
Oh. My. God. People were actually reading my brand new blog.
And they liked what I had to say.
My legs went weak. I felt like I was going to throw up.
But I didn’t.
Instead I calmed down and replied to those tweets and those comments. I thanked my new readers – people who heard my excitement about launching a blog in the past and were thrilled that lamiki.com was finally live.
I became a blogger.
Over the course of the past two years, I have thought, I have written, and I have published. Through this blog I have met people, landed some amazing jobs, and built some deep relationships. Blogging, and this identity that is “lamiki” has helped me open doors that I never knew existed before.
Today is the last day of November which means that all of the men who grew ‘staches for Movember can finally shave, we all flip our calendars and freak out about the goals we have left to meet in 2011, and it is the end of National Blog Posting Month. This is my second year at posting one blog post every day for the month of November and – woah – what a month it’s been!
Goals and Milestones
On November 1st I made six goals for myself to keep this month. Here’s how I did:
1. Post at least one blog every single day
By the time I publish my recap, I’ll have published 27 blog posts in a month with 30 days. I skipped three days; one was because I was out with friends and forgot and two were because it was the first week of my new job and I was tired.
This weekend I read Om Malik’s list of lessons he learned from ten years of blogging and he shared something Doc Searls said: “Blog if you have something to say and respect your reader’s time. If you respect their time, they are going to give you some time of their day.” And while there are a few blog posts I wrote this month that I categorize as “throw away” posts (meaning that I could have gone without writing them because I was too exhausted from life, uninspired, was unwilling to write, or had plain and simple writer’s block), every single post that I wrote and published went live before midnight and that’s an awesome accomplishment.
2. Stick to the content calendar
Who was I kidding when I wrote this? My blog is the place where I can write about “life according to Laura,” and this life says that content calendars are great, but mostly irrelevant for whatever I’m feeling right here and right now.
Okay, okay, so I probably stuck with the content calendar 30% of the time, like today and this recap. I’ve had this recap blog post planned for an entire month
3. Be fearless
Yep, did that, but not without hesitation.
4. Increase traffic
I totally nailed this goal and my traffic for the month of November 2011 was up 56% from November 2010. I’m proud of achieving this goal.
5. No epic blog posts
I made sure not to write or publish any “epic” blog posts this year. Epic blog posts are essays or articles that could honestly be a senior-level college thesis. They include a very strong point of view and research to back that up. And they take a lot of thought to write and a lot of time to edit. Epic blog posts should not be cranked out in 2-4 hours, but days or weeks.
While I technically didn’t write any epic blog posts this year, there were three blog posts that were about timely subjects and I wrote them a day or two in advance. The problem, you see, is that NaBloPoMo isn’t about writing everyday, it’s about posting every day. So there were a few nights where I cranked out that day’s post, published it, and went straight to writing the next one. That was a little hard, but it sure was fun to relax and not write the next night.
Small victories 🙂
Oh, and the best part about not writing epic blog posts is I’ve been listening – to what you’re responding to in my posts, to what other bloggers are writing and asking about – and I’ve put all of those ideas in a queue and I’m very excited to dive deeply into those topics. So get ready.
6. Read one new blog every single day
I’ve been reading a lot this month, but I haven’t been commenting as much as I wanted to. Why? I quit my job and started another one. Oh, and I’ve been blogging. A lot. So suck it. It happens.
Milestones and big announcements
- I came out as a writer, a real writer (and my first writing professor responded to it)
- I quit my job
- I started a new job
- I started a new weekly-roundup series
- My husband became an artist
- My friend launched his daily art project
- I started a Facebook page for my blog (Toss a girl a like?)
- Yesterday, I published my 100th blog post on lamiki.com
- 500 Words or Less – I wrote a blog post about something that a writer said at an event and he wrote a response back. That was pretty awesome.
- Hipster Generation of Entrepreneurs – I I wrote a response to the New York Times article about the Entrepreneurial Generation and I was quoted in an article on GeekWire in response to the same NYT article – big win in my world.
Blogs I had the most fun writing
- Happy Thanksgiving Eve – I had the most fun writing this post and telling you not to listen to every other blogger and Tweet during Thanksgiving (Okay, ‘fess up, who stayed online all weekend?)
- Picturing My True Identity – Because who doesn’t love sharing photos of themselves from high school?
- That Blog Post About my Cats – Even though cats may rule the Internet, being a cat lady is still does not. This was one of the most creative posts I wrote and, let’s be honest here, I have cats, two of them, and they’re pretty awesome.
So long, NaBloPoMo, we’ll meet again!
I had fun this month. And while I really think that the 2010 NaBloPoMo experiment was my breakout year, I kicked ass this year and I’m emerging from the 2011 NaBloPoMo season as a better writer who is pretty damn good at blogging. And as a result, I know you and myself a lot better. Thank you for being with me on this journey.
What’s next? Not a new blog post on Thursday, December 1st, but you will see a new post this weekend.
Stay tuned boys and girls. And thank you for being here with me.
Photo Credit: Lorena Cupcake
There’s a cat on my desk and she’s growling at the cat on my floor that is sniffing around and has been worried about her all day. He, the cat on the floor, is about to be attacked by the cat on my desk.
I am in the middle of the battlefield trying to write my third-to-last blog post for National Blog Posting Month and I am dangerously close to turning this blog into a diary.
It’s funny. Again, I’m staring at my content calendar that has been telling me to write a post about the etymology of certain words and I really don’t want to write it. I don’t want to write it because I don’t have my point of view on that post fully thought out. I don’t want to write it because I have another blog post to write that has a more time sensitive publication date that I am (apparently) way more interested in than the deadline of this post that is midnight o’clock.
Isn’t it funny how the thing we want to do is never the thing that we want to be doing?
And Minnie, the cat on my desk, just chased Vito, the cat who is not on my desk. She has chased him because he is in her space – the space formerly known of as my office.
I guess I should be thrilled by this attack. Not because she attacked the Vito but because she’s sick. In case you were wondering, the worst way to start off a post-holiday week is in the veterinary’s office; the same office that put down the first cat that you and your husband and you owned together in your adult life nine months prior. And you’re there, alone, with your new kitty who just this last weekend you convinced your husband that you would like to keep.
No wonder I felt really wonky day today.
Minnie’s an Alpha. She came to us after being abandoned by her previous owners who moved out and literally left her in the house, telling no one. Her human grandma found her. And John found Minnie through a friend-of-a-friend’s Facebook. He saw per big blue eyes and her Siamese mix face and he fell in love.
We didn’t even ask if she got along with other cats before we made the appointment to meet her. That’s when I knew that as soon as we saw her, she’d be ours.
Old Man, may he rest in peace, passed away in April. We still haven’t opened his box of ashes that are sitting on my shelf, three feet from this computer.
Losing a pet opens a wound that never closes.
Old Man left behind a brother, Vito, named after the Godfather but has the personality closer to a teddy bear, likes to cuddle. He’s not an Alpha, though after bringing Minnie into the house, I keep hoping that he will be. As I said, he’s a teddy bear. Non-territorial, likes to show you his belly, and has the largest big green eyes of innocence that I’ve ever seen.
And then there’s Minnie, who was five-and-a-half pounds of fury when we adopted her in June and I’m so Goddamned proud that she’s up to eight-and-a-half pounds today. Cats come to our house to get fattened up.
And Minnie is eating again while Vito watches her from a chair. Which means she has her appetite back. Which means we’ve made progress if she doesn’t get sick overnight.
Tomorrow the vet will call me with results from her blood work. If anything comes back positive, that means that something is really wrong. If it comes back negative than that means that we don’t know why she is sick, but just was.
As soon as Minnie decides she’s finished with her bland, wet food, Vito jumps in to lick her bowl clean, like every good brother should.