Writing

3 Perks of Being a Writer (aka stuff I discovered my last semester of undergrad)

Hello all!

As some of you know, I have graduated with my BA in English *cue roaring applause.* Thank you, thank you. Anyway, being a recent-undergrad grad, I find myself lost in a sea of post-grad depression. I’m discovering it’s very hard to be determined and focused without the familiar structure of school plus work-life. Without one half of that combo, all I do is work and come home, which leaves me a lot more time to just… think, and I have done a lot of that recently.

I call it thinking, but really I’m just drowning in a sea of nostalgia. I think it may be that it just recently happened, but I have been ruminating on my final creative writing class. It was so different, and the professor was just as different. This professor just boggled my brain. Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot throughout my entire undergraduate career, but something about that final class during that final semester just really resonated with me. I talk a lot about writing, the crafting of it, the mechanics of it, etc. However, I didn’t realize there were also a set of perks that came along with the title of writer. That is what my final creative writing class taught me, and I wanted to share some of those today.

Well, enough of that. Let’s get going.

  1. Calling yourself what you are — a writer — can open some doors.
    Of course it’s always nice to have the proof to back it up, but just by claiming you are from the get-go, it can provide a huge amount of opportunities. For example, I’ve been working on a piece centered around the history of a bronze sculpture. It probably goes without saying that I know jack squat about bronze and how it reacts to certain elements and time in general. So, I did some googling and found a person that works with bronze metals and restores older pieces from various stages of wear tear. I sent him an email, making sure I mentioned that I was just a writer hoping to expand my knowledge on the subject. He was beyond helpful. He sent pictures, asked me questions about my fictional bronze sculpture, and even helped shaped my story. Just by letting him know I was writer and wanted to learn, I gained so much knowledge and ended up having a great experience I might not have otherwise.
  2. You are always building a portfolio.
    If you are a writer, you are also a creator. You are constantly creating something, and as such you are always building a portfolio. My professor always told us to attack everything we wrote as if someoneanyone might read it. That is something I never really thought of when writing, but it has become truer and truer the farther I travel from my undergraduate career into my professional one. You don’t really realize how many of the pieces you work on you can eventually use in a professional setting. I recently (and by recently I mean 3 weeks ago) I was hired by my dream company *cue second roaring applause.* Thank you, thank you, but surprisingly (or perhaps, unsurprisingly) my job doesn’t directly deal with writing in any way. Even so, I had so much to put on my resume and into my portfolio that proved I was capable of working in a professional setting. They proved to my now-employer that I could meet deadlines, that I could communicate effectively, and that I was able to complete projects effectively. I provided them with multiple versions of one piece to prove I had an eye-for-detail, that I am dedicated, and that I am not discouraged by failure. By constantly creating, you are constantly creating proof of your skills and character. We spend so much time learning to show and not tell, and by doing so, we are creating ways to show our skills, rather than just tell people we have them.
  3. You can always be a writer.
    No matter what path my life takes, I will always be a writer. If I stay on my current career path, if I decide to do something else, if 40 years pass, if pen and paper become obsolete, if we all have to move to another planet, if the world implodes… doesn’t matter. I can and will always be a writer. As long as you writer, you are a writer. A writer is someone who writes journals, who writes for a newspaper, who writes just for their mom, who blogs, who writes grocery lists, who writes poems, who writes stories, who tells stories, who records stories on a laptop, phone, tape recorder… if you believe you are a writer, all you need to do to prove it is to write. Simple as that. To prove you are a doctor, you need a license. To prove you are a NASA employee, you need references, or name badges, or check stubs… but a doctor doesn’t need a license to prove he is a writer, too. He is a writer because he writes.

Are these perks super cool? Probably not to everyone, and maybe not even that cool to many of my fellow writers. Regardless, I hope you got something out of this. Be proud, writers. Read, write, repeat.

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

Personal Posts

The Girl Who Doesn’t Care, Cares A Lot

I’ve always thought I was comfortable in my own skin. I don’t embarrass easily. As I demonstrate in the picture below:

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I’m willing to make a fool of myself for the sake of a laugh. Here I was, at my job, wearing two tree skirts – one as a poncho, one as a skirt – and a matching camo hat just because I thought it would be hilarious. I make jokes about myself in public, a lot of the times in the most vicious way possible. I have no shame.

Most of the time.

While I like to say I don’t care what people think, there are moments in my life where I realize that it’s impossible not to care. One moment being, the last time I went to the gym.

Every semester, my boyfriend and I make the valiant effort to go to the gym regularly. We’re already on campus, it’s free for students, so why not? Usually, it’s just the two of us. Then, the day came where he invited his friends. I didn’t care about the strangers seeing my obese body boldly bouncing around the basketball court, but, boy, did I care about my boyfriend’s friends seeing me.

When he said they were coming, I cried. I couldn’t hold them back, even if I tried. In that moment, I realized that the girl who supposedly doesn’t care, cares way too much about what other people think.

I was right back to that middle school version of myself who would hide in the gym bathroom, sobbing because I knew those girls and their boyfriends would start calling me a dike or a man the moment I walked out in my gym uniform. That’s when I developed my defense mechanism – making fun of myself before other people could. If I call myself a fat dike before others can, then they can’t hurt me. I’ve let the world know about my insecurities as if I’m confident about them. In reality, I’m just trying to protect myself from someone who might try to use them against me.

I have no shame because I’m ashamed.

That’s right, I’m ashamed of myself. “Why?” my boyfriend asked when, after fifteen minutes of hiding in the rec center bathroom, crying, I emerged to let him know why I was self-conscious. I knew those guys in middle school. They weren’t the ones who made fun of me, thankfully, but it took me right back to that place when I didn’t have any way of defending myself. I was a jolly green giant target of a pre-teen, lumbering about just waiting to be picked on. I lived everyday waiting for a snide remark, which was always followed by the vicious laughter of those who were just happy they weren’t the ones being picked on.

I’m still that twelve-year-old girl who finds solace in gym bathrooms and weeps at the fear of people finding out she’s not as confident as she may seem, or that she is actually insecure about being overweight, masculine, tall, or all of the above.

And I don’t write this because I want people to feel bad for me. That’s the exact opposite of what I’m doing. I realized that just because I act confident on the surface, doesn’t mean I actually am. I have insecurities, just like everyone else. That person you may be jealous of because they are confident, funny, and everything you may think you’re not is actually just as insecure as you are.

Some of us are just better at hiding it than others.

Watch your words, and always do your best to be kind, especially to yourself.

-Lissy

Personal Posts

“You should put this on your blog!” Sigh…

I love my friends. I really and truly do, but for goodness sake, why do they always assume everything that is said or done is blog worthy? All of my friends and all of my family know I have a blog, but it’s moments like this that I wish I had kept it a secret. I don’t mean to sound “above everyone,” as that is not my intention, but I do spend a lot more time on the internet than most of the people I know. Why? Because as an indie writer, I am basically running a business 24/7. A lot of people would like to think writing and publishing is all just that, writing and publishing, but when you take on the role of the self-publisher it becomes something completely different. Not only are you the writer, but you’re the publisher, the marketer, the designer, etc.

I’m probably preaching to the choir, so I’ll get back on point. What I’m trying to say is that most of the people I know don’t blog or anything like that. Some key people, who I won’t name, see that I have a blog and automatically assume it’s a place where I just post every single thing that happens in my life. While I do post a good bit about my life on here, that doesn’t mean everything that happens to me is blog-worthy. Blog-worthy, to me, is when I have something to say. I am a writer by trade and I plan on telling stories for a living, but not everyone wants to hear about how I made a face at you from the window of my house. No one cares about the hole in my sock that makes a squeak noise when I walk on the hardwood floor. No one cares if I burnt toast and had bread for breakfast, instead.

I will, however, talk about how you tell me to blog about those things every. Single. Time. I see you. Why? How are those things any different than this post? Because it makes me angry. I feel strongly about this.

Passive aggressive? Yes.

Will anything come out of it? Probably not.

But do I feel better? Yes.

Then I accomplished what I set out to do, and that is what I want to blog about. Now, I want to ask you all some stuff. Do you have friends/family who insist you blog about them? How do you handle it? Do you blog about them to appease them? Or do you legitimately feel those stories are blog worthy? Let me know, and comment below!

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

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Writing

Why you shouldn’t be scared of starting a blog, despite your writing level

Yes, people like quality writing. High quality writing skills are wonderful, but they come with time and practice. We’re not all born with the skills of Stephen King, and a blog is a wonderful jump off point. If you were to go back into my archives and read the oldest of the posts, I would hope you found my newest posts much more insightful and well-written. If not, then I apologize. Regardless, there are people who are scared of starting a blog because they fear ridicule from the blogging community. Fear not! I have yet to find anyone cruel enough to bash someone in the comments, but I understand your fear. I hope this post will inspire you to start your own blog (or book! This can apply to both cases),  and that you can better your writing one post at a time. Now, onward to the list!

  • EVERYONE HAS TO START SOMEWHERE
    Like I’ve said before, we’re not all born with the skills of _instertyourfavoriteauthorhere_, but even they had to start somewhere (or at least, I like to think they started with the skills of a five-year-old). And let’s all go ahead and admit it: THERE WILL ALWAYS BE SOMEONE BETTER THAN YOU. That is just a fact of life, and that person probably feels the same way about someone else. You’re never the best, but you’re probably never the worst either. Just try to get comfortable with the idea that you’re starting where you are supposed to start, and that is okay.
  • A BLOG IS PRACTICE
    Writing takes practice. It’s just like drawing. You can only get better the more you do it, and you may want to go through and check out your favorite blogger’s post. Reading helps to subconsciously better your writing. Ya gotta love your brain, for that. But anyway, there is a reason there are so many well-written blogs out there. They post, and they post often. The more posts you write, the more you will progress with bettering your writing. I’m not gonna promise A+ writing will come to you overnight, but it won’t get any better if you don’t try.
  • IT’S YOUR BLOG. IT’S UP TO YOU WHAT GOES UP AND WHAT COMES DOWN
    I’ve deleted posts that I’ve later decided were below my own standards. I’m not ashamed of that. I’m always learning something new, and if I decide a post isn’t up to par, then I can delete it without any problem. Plus, you can always edit a post any time you feel like it. Need to fix a glaring typo? No problem! Want to repost something that you’ve edited or changed? Go for it! Want to make some things private/public? Go for it! It’s under your control and your jurisdiction (and you’re under the jurisdiction of the platform, FYI).
  • A BLOG IS FUN
    Blogging can be a fun place to relieve stress and to post your thoughts. What is there not to like? If you want to start a blog, then start one! Don’t let fear stand in your way of expressing yourself. That’s what a blog is for, to express yourself.

The internet is a scary place with the mass amount of “trolls” and “grammar Nazis,” out there. I myself have fallen victim to them in many other public forums. There’s no harm in trying to learn and better yourself, but first, you must admit that you want to better yourself. People like to read quality content, and if you get comments from people who try to help you, then take those into consideration. Don’t be offended or hurt because someone pointed out a flaw in a post. It’s ok. Like I said before, you can always go back and edit. In the meantime, get your blog going and start bettering yourself. Now, time for the questions.

What do you think of this post? Do you agree? Do you disagree? Do you think anyone should start a blog, even if they are poor writers? Do you think a blog can be solely for the betterment of the writer? Anything you’d like to add? Let me know, and comment below!

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

Have a request for a blog post topic? Just wanna ask a question? Go to my Home page, fill out the contact sheet, and shoot me an email! I look forward to hearing from you.

Want to help me out? Check out my Poll page when you get a chance. All of the answers help me out.

Personal Posts, Writing

What adding fanfic has done for my website/blog

Like I’ve said many times before, you want to have an over-arching theme to your blog. Having a single theme will gain you a constant following in the beginning, then you can add more diverse content, which will bring in even more viewers from that separate readership. Categories work wonders at this point, and since adding my fanfic category, I’ve noticed a major difference in the way the two contents pull people in. I’d like to share my results with you today. Now, onward to the list!

  • FANFIC RECEIVES A MUCH SMALLER READERSHIP
    I expected this. There was no surprise in this case, especially since I don’t have that much fanfic up to begin with. I’ve gained 3-4 followers per fanfic post, which, compared to my writing tip follower gain, is around .004% of my total followers. Nearly non-existent. No need to fear though, as my next point kinda balances it all out.
  • SMALLER READERSHIP, BUT A MORE CONSTANT READERSHIP
    Though I didn’t gain many followers when I started posting fanfic, I didn’t lose followers either, and my followers view my fanfiction more often than they do my actual writer tips. A writing tip post will receive about 100+ views upon posting, then lose all clicks after about a week. Fanfic will receive approximately 25+ views and will dwindle to about 10 views daily. Those 10 views will continue on past a week, and sometimes even into a full month. And even after that month, they will still receive daily views. It blows my mind, especially since most of my followers started out with me posting nothing, but writing tips. The transition has been interesting.
  • THE MOST POPULAR PART OF MY BLOG IS A TIE BETWEEN THE “FANFIC CATEGORY,” AND THE “PERSONAL POSTS CATEGORY”
    This absolutely blew my mind. Like I said before, I started out solely as a writing tip blog, and that is how I met a bulk of my friends and followers. I also have less of both of these posts than I do writing tips. I have wondered why this is the case, but I still haven’t figured it out.
  • THOSE WHO COME SOLELY FOR WRITING TIPS TEND TO BE DRIFTERS
    This is another point I wasn’t surprised at finding out. How-To channels on YouTube have been known for their outrageous amount of views, yet poor following. People google what they need, find their answer, then move on. I think my personal posts and my fanfic are what keep people coming back or at least sticking around long enough to up my visitor count.
  • ORIGINAL AND PERSONAL CONTENT IS THE BEST CONTENT
    I haven’t been blogging for very long, but one thing I’ve come to learn is that original and personal content is the best content. I love everyone who takes part in my discussions and reads my posts. Those are the people I talk to the most and who have gone beyond the realm of lurker and reader. I am proud to call them my friends. It was because of writing tips that they came to my blog, but the personal content is what brought them out.

I PREFER FRIENDS OVER READERS.

Readers are wonderful, and all the nice little analytics above are easy to see and base everything around, but it’s not human interaction. It’s not personal, and it doesn’t get me excited to post anything new. Discussion, personable interaction, and friendship is fun. So, as always, you can find my questions for you all below:

Why do you blog? What do you blog about? Have you found that personal posts aren’t what I say they’re all cracked up to be? Do you prefer readers or friends? Will you be responding to any of these questions today? Let me know, and comment below! I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

Have a request for a blog post topic? Just wanna ask a question? Go to my Home page, fill out the contact sheet, and shoot me an email! I look forward to hearing from you.

Want to help me out? Check out my Poll page when you get a chance. All of the answers help me out.

Writing

How to Consistently Generate New Blog Content and Posts

I’ve made plenty of posts regarding blogging, but I beat around the bush a good bit. I focused mainly on why you should set up a blog, rather than on what should go on your blog. Now, I wanna focus on the main reason anyone should have a blog. The cherry on the sundae, the icing on the cake, the ink on the page: Your. Content. Now, coincidentally, the content of this post, is about making content for your posts. So, have a drink, and take a gander. See whatcha like.

  • STILL IN NEW BLOG HEAVEN? USE IT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE. WRITE.
    There’s nothing more alluring than a blank slate. Once you’ve made your first, new, shiny blog, euphoria hits. This is the best time to write some posts. Take advantage of the creative flow and write as much as you can. This will be the freshest your blog-mind will ever be, and you might as well use it to push out as many blog posts as possible. Write until your brain is sponge. Don’t post them all though. Save them and add them whenever you have your schedule set up. That way, you have more time to come up with even more content.
  • HAVE A LENGTHY POST? SEPARATE IT INTO PARTS
    This is a simple trick to keeping your blog posts coming out regularly and keeping with a theme. If you write on a topic, and it gets fairly lengthy, chop it up. You can get two posts from one, and be able to have even more content. For example, my two posts about blogs, which I mentioned above, started off as one post. I noticed I had a lot of why, and a lot of what. I had two topics inside a single topic. I halved them, and made a point to expand on all of my points, which led to two nice-lengthed posts.
  • CHECK OUT DISCUSSION BOARDS ON YOUR THEME
    Mine is mainly on writing, so I check out writing boards. If I notice a discussion where there are more questions than answers, there is some gold to be had. You already know there are possible readers because people are looking for answers. See if you can answer some of their questions in your blog. This is a great way to inspire content.
  • CHECK WHAT TERMS PEOPLE ARE USING TO GET TO YOUR BLOG
    Someone searched, “how to use hashtags,” and somehow stumbled on my posts. So, I took that and created an entire post dedicated to the use and utilization of hashtags. I’m not sure if all blogs have the ability for you to see what people search to find your blog, but if you have a WordPress blog, this is definitely the tip to utilize.
  • DEVELOPED A READERSHIP? START ADDING MORE THEMES!
    Once you’ve developed a decent following, you can start adding extra content. I’ve added fanfics and book reviews, which I think ties in nicely to my overarching theme of writing in general. Blog about makeup products? Maybe add some tutorials! Blog about travelling? Add posts about foreign recipes! Expand and conquer.
  • RECYCLE EARLIER POSTS
    After you’ve been blogging for a while, some of your content may become outdated, and your writing might have changed, as well. Take some of your earliest blog posts, give them a bath, a makeover, and repost with new and fresh eyes. Your new readers will like it, and readers who might have seen it before will appreciate a new view or added content. It’s a great way to maintain your blog and keep it fresh.

I have used all of these tips, and I’ve found them to work the best when it comes to generating new content. Now, time for my regularly scheduled questions. Do you use any of these? Have you used them before? Which ones will you be using or using more often? Did I miss a tip? Have something to add? Let me know, and comment below!

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

Have a request for a blog post topic? Just wanna ask a question? Go to my About and Contact page, fill out the contact sheet, and shoot me an email! I look forward to hearing from you.

Want to help me out? Check out my Poll page when you get a chance. All of the answers help me out.

Writing

The reason every writer should have a blog

Everyone says you should have a blog. If you’re a writer you need a blog. EVERY. WRITER. NEEDS. A. BLOG. But why? I haven’t seen many lists detailing the reasons why, just stating that writers should. So, here I have for you all, as always, a list. Go onward, if you dare.

  • HOME BASE
    A blog is an independent page. It doesn’t rely on Twitter, FaceBook, or Google+. Using something like Twitter, FB, or G+ as a home base is hard to spread out. You isolate people who may dislike Twitter, or who don’t use G+, or people who hate FB. Your home base should be independent, but also a place that you can link and advertise to your other networks.
  • THE ABILITY TO CUSTOMIZE
    Depending on what blog platform you end up using, you can have complete creative control. Make it your own and let everyone know who you are both as a person and a writer. Pick themes, make themes, edit themes, make pages, edit your blog, and build a platform.
  • SELF-PROMO IS OKAY
    It’s your page. You can self-advertise all day long, but be warned. It should be done in moderation, just like with any other site. Otherwise, you’ll just be considered a bot, and no one will feel your worth following. At the same time, self-promo can be done subtle-y and optionally. Create content that you want to share, content that will help others. Then, you can create pages dedicated to your books and products. If people like your content, then they’ll check out your products. That’s how it should be. Let people DECIDE if they want to check out your products. Don’t shove it down their throat. I can’t stress that enough.
  • SHARING ORIGINAL CONTENT
    That should always be the main point of any blog. There is no better way to share and create original content than to start a blog. Make content, share it, and enjoy the ability to do so.
  • PRACTICE
    You have to write to have a blog, and to keep up with a blog, you have to write lots of content and keep it going up consistently. It’s a perfect opportunity to test out your writing ability.
  • IT’S REPRESENTATIVE OF YOUR WRITING
    With consistent posts, people are able to get glimpses at how you write. It may not be fiction, it may not be what you usually write, but it still says a lot about your voice. Your voice as a writer is ever-present on the blog and within the posts.

Now then, time for questions. Do you have a blog? What do you blog about? What kind of content do you share? What’s your favorite part of having a blog? Let me know, and comment below.

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

Have a request for a blog post topic? Just wanna ask a question? Go to my About and Contact page, fill out the contact sheet, and shoot me an email! I look forward to hearing from you.