Thursday, July 28, 2011

Writing For One's Living and Reputation

So it's been inevitable, I've stretched myself too thin. Nothing wrong with this of course, but now I've finally been moved to copy-writing full time at my day job. So yeah, those HUGE chunks of free time I had during the day? Gone now in favor of writing website copy for plumbers and donut shops.

Is this a bad thing, you might ask? Not really. I welcome it actually. Granted while it can get a little tedious writing advertising cheese over and over again, it's making me write faster. Example? You see what I've typed up so far? Written in less than two minutes. Normally it would've taken me about five to ten.

I also have been writing more and more for the Steampunk Chronicle. A close friend who works in publishing told me that one of the best ways to approach an agent after writing a book is to have an online presence established already. It's starting to pay off already by exposing more people to my work and to my existence in general, I suppose. Don't even get me started on all the free books I get to read for review, either! Though I will admit it seems sort of funny that because of this, the Borders' liquidation sales are making me balk a little. So many cheap books, so little time! I need more bookshelves...

/drool

On that note here's some advice as far as establishing your online presence: find something love and write about it. Blog about it! Find a publication involved with it and submit articles for it. If that something you love happens to be involved with the genre you are writing, all the better! The people you meet will open so many opportunities for you. But also keep in mind these few notes:

1.Be competent. Write something worth reading and write it well. If that means you need to do research or write in a certain style, by all means do so.

2. Be reliable. Have a deadline coming up and you're running late? Let your editor know. Other than than if you say you are going to do or not do something, consistently hold to your word. No one likes a flake, and a flaky reputation spreads faster than any other in most circles.

3. Be helpful. Sometimes someone asks you to take on an assignment that is not the most entertaining in the world. Take it on and make it just as good as anything else you've written. The talent to spin crap into gold speaks volumes of your ability as a writer. More importantly, the fact that you've taken on a task and performed above expectations speaks volumes of your character. People will respect you for it.

4. Be gracious. The people you know are offering you these opportunities because they either trust you with them, or because think you have the potential to take them on. Don't put on airs. Thank them for what they offer you.

5. Be mature. The internet is a wretched hive of scum and villainy. You want to know how I've how I've gotten a few page views on this blog, according to my stats? The keyword phrase: sneaking into the women's lockerroom. The internet can be your best, and also your worst friend. While it has made it much easier to get exposure, at the same time, you need to quickly learn how to put the best face forward to your potential readers. How many horror stories have we heard about authors getting butt-hurt over unfavorable reviews and arguing against them over the public forum? Too many. Not everyone is going to like your work. Acting super-sensitive about it to complete strangers is going to burn your bridges faster than a wine jug full of thermite.

6. Be passionate. This, this, and more of this! Keep in mind the reason why you're doing this above any other: because you love it. Writing can be a lot of work, but it also can be so incredibly fun. You're not doing this for the fame, and I certainly know that you're not doing this for the fortune--and if you are, you should probably reexamine your goals and then find an easier and more profitable profession.

Like an evil mastermind, muahahaha!
You are doing this because you love it. You cannot help but think up stories and want to write them down. You want to do something you enjoy. So enjoy it, dammit! Have a boring writing assignment? Make it fun. It's possible! I think I spent a good paragraph coming up with tree puns for a tree services site the other day. Did I want to write about tree services? No. Did I have to stifle my giggling while coming up with it so my coworkers wouldn't give me funny looks over my cubicle wall? You betcha, I did! Making a habit out of this practice will transcend to your other work and will keep your creativity from drying up.

A good friend of mine posted this on Twitter a few weeks ago: "Creativity is not a zero sum game. It's a renewable resource. The more you use it, the freer it flows. Thank heavens for that." This really does hold true. Don't let the fact that you are not given the most creative of tasks bar you from using that creativity and having fun with it. Every moment can be an opportunity.

Now that I've rambled on a bit, it's update and shameless plugging time!
I'd like to let you know my friend and co-worker Jeff Glaze has released his first paranormal thriller novel, The Spirit Box, on Kindle. He also has a sci-fi short story out: "Forced Intelligence" if either one sounds like something you'd be into. I've read the novel, it's pretty entertaining.

So I'm impressed with myself. This post didn't take an entire week to write! Guess all the extra writing I've been doing really has been paying off. Now if only I had time to work on the novel...

Anyhoo thanks once again, faithful readers, for reading. Until next time, happy writing!