All Things Writing

What To Do When You Are Not Writing to Propel Your Career?

March 22, 2022 Bryan the Writer Season 3 Episode 8
All Things Writing
What To Do When You Are Not Writing to Propel Your Career?
Show Notes Transcript

So, you may ask yourself, how much am I writing? Well, Right now I am not writing a lot.

I suppose that is only partially true. I am writing a podcast script for all of you lovely people. However, book wise I am not writing a ton at the moment. A few things sort of conspired against me and that is the topic of today’s show. What can you do when you suddenly find yourself in between writing projects.

You will rightly ask yourself, “But Bryan, why not just start writing another project. I could but lately I have not been feeling great and that really saps my energy, but that is really only part of the reason. I have one book at the editor, another book at the publisher, and another first draft in the drawer, cooling its heels before I launch back into editing. I almost am afraid to start anything new right now. Although I am still going to be hitting the keyboard on other things (not serious efforts, more exploratory work), I am focusing on a few other elements of my writing world that need a little help.

Basically, today I want to talk about what those annoying little things that need to get done to enable you to write in the first place.

What are those things? Well, simply put, we need to work on

  • Website maintenance
  • Responding to emails 
  • research into open submission calls
  • File maintenance
  • Advertising

These things are a lot of work, I know. Plus, they really are not fun. But you have to do them if you want to make it in this crazy business we call writing. And more importantly, you have to do those things if you want to get noticed. Because, remember, that if you want attention you have to scream louder than everyone else who is shouting around you.

To be fair, I don't know everything. However, I am trying my best to change my little world for the better. So, sit back, take a listen, and hear me talk about these little things I concentrate on when I am not concentrating on my words!

Want to reach out to me? Hit me up!


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Good Day everyone! Welcome to the show. Those of you lovely people who have been with me a while will notice that something has changed on All Things Writing. The introduction music is still the same, but that little piece I do at the beginning is different. I also redid the ending and the normal buzzsprout plug I put in the show. It was just time to do it and I figured it might be about the right time to re-record those.

But what has not changed at all is my deep appreciation for having you join me today on the show. Out of all the things in my life, I can honestly say that this show hits the top marks of things I consider important. And I consider it important because every week you all tune in. And, if you are listening to the show and you have not already done so, please hit that like button! It is a great way to make sure you are alerted when the next episode comes out.

If you are saying to yourself, “But Bryan, how can we do more to help All Things Writing?” Well, I will tell you. You can most certainly hit me up on paypal by going to https://paypal.me/BryanNowak . However, consider heading over to my patreon site and signing up to support me and my efforts. Donations go to support my podcasting and my writing. And I most certainly appreciate it. Not enough of an incentive? Well, if you are here in the US and you donate $30 to the show, I am going to send you a copy of my book, Riapoke. I will sign it to you with a special note of appreciation.

You can also have me mention the name of your business, book, poetry collection, or really anything you want me to talk about on the show as a show sponsor. $30 gets you the whole month.

Who is actually listening to the show you might ask. Well, we have to look at the statistics because they are fascinating. I will say that there has not been a ton of movement in the standings. Vancouver, British Columbia is still kicking it in the number one spot as they pretty much have held for a long time. As a matter of fact, they hold the #5 spot for all time.

Next in the rankings we have perineal favorites Hampton, Virginia, Houston, Texas, Auckland, New Zealand, and tied for fifth is Ashburn, Virginia and Frankfurt, Germany. I love it. 

Wherever you are listening to the show from, I most certainly appreciate it. You listeners are the wind beneath my wings and no, I am not going to start singing like Bette Midler. But, know that I appreciate it.

Right now I am not writing a lot. Well, I suppose that is only partially true. I am writing a podcast script for all of you lovely people. However, book wise I am not writing a ton at the moment. A few things sort of conspired against me and that is the topic of today’s show. What can you do when you suddenly find yourself in between writing projects.

You will rightly ask yourself, “But Bryan, why not just start writing another project. I could but lately I have not been feeling great and that really saps my energy, but that is really only part of the reason. I have one book at the editor, another book at the publisher, and another first draft in the drawer, cooling its heels before I launch back into editing. I almost am afraid to start anything new right now. Although I am still going to be hitting the keyboard on other things (not serious efforts, more exploratory work), I am focusing on a few other elements of my writing world that need a little help.

Basically, today I want to talk about what those annoying little things that need to get done to enable you to write in the first place.

For example, did you know I have a website? I do. Until recently, something was wrong with the registry and I could not get it to load. It took time to sit down and figure out what I needed to do to make it work. Thankfully I was able to do that and get www.bryannowak.com (that is Bryan with a Y), up and loading again.

The thing I want you to focus on here is that the solution was simple. So simple in fact, that I kept putting it off. So, it never got done. You can’t do that if you want to be a serious writing. And I know I have said it before, but the administrative side of things is really important and you can’t just ignore it.

What else have I been ignoring. Good question. And, By the way, I want to note that I am airing my dirty laundry here for you, the budding writer and maybe the more experienced writer will be inspired to get off the dime and do some of these things. So, what things am I talking about? One of them I talked about already, Website maintenance.

But we also have things like responding to emails, research into open submission calls, file maintenance, and of course advertising.

 

Website maintenance is one of those things we ignore. I cannot tell you how many author sites I have gone to and found there is no updated information.

I think there are a ton of different reasons why people ignore this aspect of their writing life. It is hard, expensive, technically challenging, there are issues that you have no idea how to resolve.

All of these things are true. Believe it or not, I have made these excuses myself. However, the good news is that during some down time you can learn how to mitigate these issues. Remember that your website is your forward facing page to the world. When people search for you online, they will see that site first. What do you want them to know?

Let’s say you figured that part out? Great. Now your site is out there in the world and everyone can see it. Amazing! You are done, right? Well, no. Not really. See, here is the dirty little secrets about websites. If you don’t update them on occasion, it turns out that you can fall in the rankings. So, here is my best advice. Once in a while, go in and make a change to the site. Nothing minor, maybe just simply editing your bio, taking out photos, or something like that. Then hit publish. That will tell the great world wide web you are refreshed and they should pay attention to you. Like a guy going out and getting a beard trim!

Which reminds me, I need to make an appointment at the barber, but no matter.

Another thing I chronically put off is responding to e-mails. That is not to say I don’t look at them. I do, but I will put things off to another day if they are not critically important at that exact moment. Part of the reason I do that is because I hate the idea that I am not really giving the kind of attention to the e-mail that it deserves. Look, if you wonderful people send me an email at bryanthewriter@bryannowak.com (that is Bryan with a y), I need to give it my full attention. But that does leave me a few e-mails I need to get to. And really, there are times when I do need to sit down and concentrate just that for an hour or so. Clear the deck as it were.

Now why would I bring this up? I mean, this is 2022 after all. We are all really good at replying to e-mails. 

No, no we are not. I routinely receive e-mails form people which takes the mind of Poirot, the detective skills of Jessica Fletcher, and the deductive skills of Sherlock Holmes to figure out what on earth they want. 

Trust me, you and I are not as good at replying to e-mails as we think we are. The reality is that we know what we meant and we think others should as well. Yeah, they don’t. Take your time, proof your e-mails, and if you need to, share a particularly tricky e-mail with a friend or spouse and have them make sure they understand what you are trying to say. You will give the rest of the world a nice break from the normal routine.

When I catch a break between working on copy, I also work on desperately needed research into open submission calls. Of course we know the biggies like Fallstaff and Cemetery Dance, but did you know that there are tons of magazines out there looking for content on a monthly basis? Yep. I just recently saw a call for subs from a magazine on their second issue and they pay. Crazy. Again, tons of opportunities out there, but they require research to stay on top of it.

I know it seems intuitive. But file maintenance is a thing. You have to do it if you are going to avoid the inevitable of losing files in a catastrophic accident. Trust me, I have been a victim of that situation and I know plenty of others who have been victimized by this situation as well.

So, take a little time and look deep into the world of your file structure. Make sure version control is something you are religious about. I, for example, will put my files in order of date by listing the year, month, and then the day. So If I did something on the 12th of March of this year, it would look like 20220312 and then the name of the work in progress. That way I can make sure that when I open up a new file I am opening the most recent version of it and not an older version.

Nothing is worse than working on a version of your work in progress that is the wrong one. But I digress. 

Lastly, and prepare to let out a collective groan, let’s talk about advertising. I hate it. I hate all of it. Why can’t people just buy my books and let me write?

Well, because they can’t find you. That’s why. 

When you sit down to do ads, there are a couple of things I am going to ask you to do. The first is really do your homework on what ads are going to work for your audience. Horror draws a completely different set of customers than romance or a cozy mystery will.

There are tons of ads out there on youtube about writing effective ads. It is something that is a goal of mine, but it does occasionally take a back seat to other things, and it shouldn’t. Just like eating your peas when you were a kid, I put it off because I hate it. So, where there is little else to do, it is hard to ignore that big ole pile of ads which need attention sitting on my plate.

I recently discovered Alex Cattoni who has a whole youtube channel dedicated to the art of writing good ads. The think I like about her videos is that they are not obnoxiously long and over complicated. She breaks things down in to easily digested bites. Well worth a listen if you have time.

Speaking of the nasty word time, we are just about out of it. Tune in next week where I am going to have the wonderful J.D. Blackrose on the show. She is the writer of the Summoner's Mark urban fantasy trilogy, she also has a ton of other writing credentials to her name as well as a blog where she shares her thoughts and feelings about writing. 

Sort of sounds like a podcast I know. Hmmm.

 

Anyway, as a reminder, if you like what you heard today hit that like button. If you listen I will keep making them. That is the deal. Also, please consider a donation to the show. It goes toward replacing equipment that occasionally wears out and needs replacement. 

Oh, I should tell you guys a story, speaking of replacing gear.

I work out of my home office in Sterling, Virginia. I am surrounded by the things I love like photos, memories, a painting my wife and I bought when we were on a short vacation. Stuff like that. Well, the door is normally shut when I am not in here.

One day I walked into the office to find my good recording headphones were broken. No idea how or why. The door was closed so the dog could not get in here. I have no idea what happened. They were just broke. So, I decided to replace them with a pair of Shure SRH440s. Kind of a step down from what I had, but I really didn’t see a point to spending a ton when right now all I need is just a pair of headphones.

But, isn’t that weird though. A shut-up room and my good headphones were broken. Spooky friends, just spooky. 

Okay, thank you for joining me this week. Like I said, make sure to pop over and check out the show next week where J.D. and I will wax poetic about her career and I may throw a few things in there on how to make our writing lives better. Not sure yet, but it will be tons of fun.

Until then, this is Bryan the Writer on All Things Writing, signing off.