Light Blogging Ahead

Just wanted to let you all know to expect some light blogging in the next few weeks.  I mean… lighter than usual.  Lighter even than it’s been these past few weeks, with their sparse updates.

I’m anticipating a high probability that next week there is no weekly writing update.  The following week will probably see the return of my writing progress report, but right now I’m not expected much, if anything else.

It remains to be seen, but hopefully during this period of light blogging there will be some work done behind-the-scenes.  No word, for now, on what that might be (because I haven’t done it yet and don’t know if I’ll actually have time to do it).

I’ll catch you all when I’m more-or-less back.

The WordPress 2011 Year In Review Post

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog, so I thought I’d share it with you all.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 14,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Continue reading

From the Top, From the Heart

Blogging is hard sometimes.  You invest a lot of  yourself into the words you put up on the screen.  You release those words into the wild, hoping they’ll come back to you with the new friends they’ve made – comments from other readers.  Sometimes they do.  Sometimes they don’t.  Some words seem to make more friends than others.

It’s a lot like being a parent, I guess.

Except, you invest more of yourself into some of those words than into others.  As a parent, it’s kind of not cool to favor one child over another – at least that’s my philosophy; though I don’t have experience to back it up since B.T. is as-yet an only child.  But as an author, you can totally afford to play favorites among your wordlings.  Some of those wordlings come straight from the head.  Some come straight from the heart.  You want them all to be wonderfully successful.  But you want the ones from the heart, most especially, to be the most successful of all.

Of course, you try to stay realistic about which words are most likely to succeed.  But that doesn’t mean you still don’t have a lot of hope for the little blog post that could.

Man.  I’m really digging a hole with this extended metaphor thing.  Maybe beating around the bush a little, too.

The thing is, I don’t always know when what I blog is going to be a popular post.  I don’t know who’s going to comment on what.  I hope every blog post is great.  But at the end of the day, it’s like throwing darts at a board and hoping something sticks.  (I mean that literally.  Half the time when I throw darts at a board the darts bounce off.) Continue reading

Guest Post: Writing & Parenthood

Today I’m guest-posting it up over at Ollin Morales’ {Courage 2 Create} blog, where I’m talking about the challenges of being a parent and a writer (when you’ve already got so much else going on), strategies I try to use to succeed at both, and commisseration for the hard times – when being a parent means there’s just no time to write.

Ollin’s blog is a great place for writers to go when they need an inspirational pick-me-up.  If you’re a writer who also has one of those things called a life, you’ll find plenty to appreciate on {Courage 2 Create}.

If you’re a writer who’s also a parent, know a writer who’s a parent, or are a writer who might someday become a parent, hopefully you’ll find something of interest on my guest post there today.  So head on over and share your experiences!

Cross-posting: Amazon and the Big Squeeze

In one class I’m taking this semester, called “Strategic Decision Analysis”, we have a course blog where we, the students, are keeping track of things we notice in the news and in our lives that reflect the course topics, which largely revolves around Game Theory.  Earlier this year I posted an entry in this blog about the infamous “Amazonfail” event, otherwise known as the “Kerfuffle”, and what I was then learning about the future of publishing.  Well, recently, the Boston Review published an article that details the whole sordid history of how Amazon has put the squeeze on the publishing industry, and what that means for the future of the industry.  And I noticed that there were a lot of Game Theory aspects to this whole story.  So, I wrote about that for the course blog.  You can find my original entry hereContinue reading

Tag

I was tagged, and in a game of tag, when you’re tagged, you’re “it”.  So, I’m “it”.

In this version of the game, once you’re “it” you’re supposed to answer a few questions.  So, here goes:

1. If you could have any superpower, what would you have? Why?

Well, of course, the default answer to a question like this is “why, I would fly of course”.  (The second fallback always seems to be “invisibility”.)  But I’d answer this question in terms of what I’m expected to do with my superpower.  Will I be a crime-fighting superhero, or just a guy who uses his power to make his own life somewhat better?  If the latter, well, I wrote last week about my “magic button“, which would definitely act like a superpower: stopping time.  That’s one I’d primarily be using to make my life better.  Ostensibly, if you granted me more liberal use of the power, I could use it to fight crime as well. Continue reading

The Blog of the Future

I mentioned in a quick post on Monday that I would explain some of the changes I’m hoping to make over time around here (there’s a poll there, too, to gauge your thoughts on the appearance of the blog).  I’d added an RSS Feed to a secondary blog that I “started” a while ago in my own name as well as a feed of the Twitterfied version of this blog (along with a link to my Twitter account).  The problem I cited on Monday was that I suspect this tends to clutter up the appearance of my sidebar.

But let me explain what I’m trying to accomplish, here. In about a week, I will have packaged up that 12,000-ish word short story I’ve been working for the past six or seven months and submitted it to a publisher for consideration. From where I stand now, it’s very difficult to gauge what are my chances of making a positive impression on an editor. I’ve tried to make my cover letter very clean and professional. I polished this story until it was as good as I think I can make it in the absence of professional editing. I’ve done what I can with this story, and once it’s in the mail, it’s out of my hands, and I don’t know what will happen. But, keeping a long-term perspective, I’m very optimistic that over time my efforts at improving my writing will produce positive results. In time, then, I believe I will be a published author. But what then?

Well, then, if I do get published, the name and premise of this blog will be false. I won’t really be an “undiscovered” author. I’ll be a published one. (Although, relatively speaking, even then I may still be a tad “undiscovered”, but that’s mincing words.) When that day comes, and people actually start looking for me online, what do I want them to see? Do I want them to first see this blog, dedicated to the story of a guy who’s never been published? Or one with my name on it? One that tells about a guy who has been published?

But, if I only start to blog on a separate, eponymous blog after I’ve been published, it may be too late. (And after hearing so much positive feedback from you guys, I feel more comfortable about the idea of using my own name as my pen name, as well, so I feel that the title of my newer blog is, in fact, appropriate.) So, my long-term goal is to shift my blogging over to that secondary blog. But in the meantime, I don’t want to abandon the readership, such as it is, that I have over here on this “Undiscovered Author” blog. Nor, for that matter, do I want to phase this blog out altogether. Long after I’ve been published (assuming, for arguments’ sake, that this eventually does, in fact, come to pass) I can foresee potential uses for this blog. I think it will be a fun compliment to a more “Stephen Watkins”-focused platform. But that’s a problem for another day.

So, to get me started working toward that master-plan, I thought a good place to begin would be to link to that blog here. Right now, of course, there’s only the one post there. After a little wiggle-room in my schedule opens up (and I’m able to put an end to my hiatus days) I intend to start posting there at least once a week. In the closer term, I’m going to try to play house-keeping there and get it cleaned up and ready for presentation (you know: writing up my “About” page over there, setting up my “Categories”, adding a few additional pages, and possibly mirroring a few things that are currently here on “The Undiscovered Author”).

This is a process, and it won’t be done overnight. Admittedly, I picked a bad time to start work on this project: with life still being generally slammed for time, and feeling like I barely have breathing room to blog here, even with my self-imposed hiatus breaks at least twice a week. And that’s why you aren’t going to see changes and updates there overnight. Basically, the linking to that blog from here was just an opening salvo, but there won’t be an immediate follow-up salvo until I get a moment. In the short-term, I have a few other priorities to attend to. But I hope you all will bear with me as I map out these changes.

And, in the meantime, why don’t you drop me a line and let me know what you think about it all!