Tag Archives: wordpress

Sage Advice for Young Writers and Bloggers

Renee of Life in the Boomer Lane is a former hula hoop champion and a writer that keeps a hilarious blog, one of those blogs vampire blogs wish they could suck dry. Recently I asked her to write something for Snotting Black on the advice she would give to a 23-year-old wanting to be a writer or a blogger. She graciously agreed and sent me a really beautiful piece that I found touching, informative, and jealousy-inducing because of its depth and wittiness. May it invoke similarly complicated responses in all of you.

I’m not worthy.

Sage Advice for Young Writers and Bloggers

The first thing I did when Emily asked me to guest write a post for her blog was to be amazed that anyone would want to take such a risk.  The second was to look at the topic: what I would tell a 23-year-old who wanted to be a writer or a blogger.  I did a quick calculation and discovered that in the intervening decades between age 23 and where I am now, I have lost approximately  239 lbs and gained approximately 259. My hair has changed color and style 41 times, and my bra size has gone from 34B to 34D. My shoe size and hat size have remained constant, but my height has decreased by 1.5 inches.  Two husbands appeared, but not at the same time. Small beings in my immediate vicinity have appeared, gotten larger, and eventually disappeared. One has now produced two small beings of her own, thereby assuring me that in the distant future, after I am gone, someone will look at photos of me and wonder why people looked so funny back then.

Writingwise, the decades have contained fiction and non-fiction, some self-published, some published by others.  A couple contests were won. A short story was read on NPR.  Many rejections were collected. A blog was started a little over two years ago.  None of my writing has made me famous, and very little of it has made me any money at all.  All of it seemed of value when originally written, but not all of it withstood the test of time.

So, back to the topic: What would I tell a 23-year-old now, about wanting to be a writer and/or a blogger?

The good news is that you are coming of age at a time in which anyone has easy access to self-publishing.  The bad news is that you are coming of age at a time in which anyone has easy access to self-publishing.  Chances are overwhelming that the only way you will see your work in print will be because you put it there, not because you are discovered.  Chances are also overwhelming that you won’t get paid for what you write.  There are way too many writers out there, really good writers, happily giving their words away.

Most people who are currently successful in publishing are online.  Print magazine subscriptions are plummeting, while Huff/Post is thriving.  The Kindle has passed the vibrator as the #1 sex toy for women.  So throw out your dildos, and whatever you do, do it online.

Just because you have a passion to write doesn’t mean that the world is waiting for your words. They are too busy stockpiling water for the Armageddon or watching Bachelor Pad 2 or standing in line for the next iPhone.  Whether you have a publisher or not, the only person who will market your book is you. If you don’t create a demand for your book, there will be none.

The easiest way for a literary agent to assess the quality of your work is to ignore it.  Literary agencies throw unread manuscripts into large boxes and anyone who has time on their hands can take free reading home.  Few people do. If you want someone to actually read what you submit, you are going to have to be very creative and very diligent. In other words, you are going to have to do more than send out query letters.

Like book writing, people aren’t waiting for your blog posts, either. Building up a blog readership can be ridiculously time consuming, and, just when you are patting yourself on the back over having 1000 followers, you discover someone who has 10,000 or 100,000 followers and they aren’t famous, either.

Freshly Pressed is like a one night stand.  A hot one night stand, yes.  A one night stand that will make you shriek and rock you to your toes and back again. But it won’t last longer than that.  You won’t be able to take it home to introduce it to your parents.  It might ask you out again for more one night stands, but on subsequent romps, no matter how spectacular, some part of you will know the deal.  You will know that in the morning, you’ll be alone again, and Freshly Pressed will be gone, off to fondle another blogger.

The bottom line is that you won’t listen to any of this because you really, really believe in the depths of your soul that you have what it takes to be a writer.  You believe that what you write will be the next Big Thing.  You believe that the world will take a texting break in order to read what you have written.  And thank goodness for that.  Because after the marriage and the mortgage and the mayhem of child rearing, you might set the writing aside, in favor of more pedestrian pursuits.  And that would be a shame.  Because you might have been the one to beat the system.

P.S. from Snotting Black: Isn’t she great? Visit her blog! Give her a high-five!

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7 Rumors About Snotting Black Debunked

Yippee. Happy Anniversary, bloggy-dearest.

This post is in honor of my blog’s one year anniversary, which I forgot to mention 2 weeks ago.

1. I started this blog 378 days ago after losing a bet to my cousin Darayla about whether or not Grandma would drop her false eyelashes in the potato salad again on Memorial Day.

FALSE. Darayla is a name I made up, and as per my inclusion in a “cult,” I do not celebrate the national holidays of this country, instead using that time to plan its overthrow and enjoy powered soup mixes. I started this blog on May 26th, 2011 after being begged by family members not to plague their inboxes with novellas about my time in Cairo like I had done the previous year when I was in Morocco. However, I soon stopped writing about factual experiences so they still had to communicate with me.

2.  This blog used to provide hard hitting political and social commentary about life in Egypt, and at one point the government even considered it a threat and tried to keep me quiet by to bribing me with a hot tub full of Nutella.

FALSE. I blogged about things like mosquitoes and a sandwich I ate once that didn’t give me food poisoning and one that did. Soon my mind left for flights of fancy and I was writing about unicorn carcasses and self-aware blogs. But it’s true that I did eat enough off and on brand Nutella to fill a hot tub.

3. I majored in International Relations and used to want to become Secretary of State and wear a pantsuit to work.

TRUE. Now I want to “be a writer” and am moving out to San Francisco to “make it big.” I’m still trying to figure out which career path was more realistic.

4. My entire family is incredibly supportive, reading my blog daily and sending me cookies when appropriate.

FALSE. My blog is not for everyone, especially the older and more conservative members of my family who could never understand why (everything I find funny) is funny. I learned from my sister roughly two months ago that, “Grandma doesn’t read your blog anymore.” To be honest, I was surprised that she made it that far.

5. Number five was missing in this blog post until the blogger’s mother asked her, “Did you mean to leave out number five?” after which the oversight was hastily and obviously corrected.

FALSE. There has never been a typo on Snotting Black, especially in one of the Freshly Pressed pieces.

6. 378 days is equivalent to 9,072 hours, 544,320 minutes, 32, 659, 200 seconds, and 58 jello salads.

FALSE. 378 days is equal to 9,072 hours, 544,320 minutes, 32, 659, 200 seconds, and 67 jello salads.

7. Soon, Snotting Black is going to change completely and become a paid community where I carefully curate everyone’s personal details and share them on an organized basis with the other members until all forms of privacy are completely obliterated.

TRUE. See above answer about “cult” membership. We like to call it Stew Wednesday.

Highlights of a year of blogging: Being Freshly Pressed twice (here and here), meeting awesome members of the blogosphere, re-discovering my love of writing, and using the term “blog fodder.”

Low points of a year of blogging: The post “Will it stick: Thanksgiving Edition” and the blog title “Noodle Haste Makes Taste Waste.”

Real search terms that people have used to find my blog: “I used somebody else’s toothbrush and now I have a sore tongue,” “I hate my puppy,” “Abba demonic music,” “my dirt family,” “snot in my ear,” “stump arm,” 44444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444,” and finally “chacos as deal breaker.”

Happy Anniversary and thanks for reading.

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It’s a New Freaking Theme

How raw? Uneaten food raw.

Is this a rant? You tell me.

And if you think I’m going to apologize for writing this ridiculously long sentence with poor syntax you better get your mind right and in fact I might make this entire post a single sentence, even though many people would advise against this and say that it’s sloppy writing and that I need to edit it but what do you know. I may have edited that sentence a hundred times, or thousands of times, my life blood spilling out into the words as I painstakingly edit them with the q-tip of my cursor until I form a smiley face of blood on a paper plate that’s stained by pulled pork grease. Too graphic? You better believe it. I’ve got a new WordPress theme and it’s a freaking new day.

You may have noticed I decided not to write this entire post as one sentence. It did sound sloppy, so I stopped, but not because I’m scared, because I don’t get scared anymore. I left the above paragraph because I wanted part of the process to remain visible, like the paint on a weathered dresser or a slightly undercooked egg that you really want to enjoy but you just can’t.

Because I’m being real.

There are a lot of changes going on around here, and with this bright new WordPress theme, things are about to get unpleasant. They’re about to get dirty and disgusting, and the teal accents on the left side of this very post have no idea what they’re about to complement.

I’ve never felt so ready to delve into the very depths of humanity itself, to sift through the garbage dumps of the human heart and spray the refuse out onto the hot city sidewalk of the blogosphere for the entire world to see. It’s going to stink, and with this new layout, you’ll be able to smell it from a mile away.

Sure this theme is fresh, friendly, accessible, and simple.  But it’s about to get nasty raw. This is not your rare prime rib kind of raw or crunchy potato raw. It’s going to be the pink, flabby raw of uncooked chicken or the grotesque red of a ground beef sliding down a glass door. It’s going to be uncomfortable.

I don’t care who has used this theme before and how amiable it seemed. This blog experience is about get intense. And I’m not sorry to those who use this same theme. I didn’t copy you. Well, you know what? Maybe I did copy you. I thought your blog looked nice, and I said to myself, “This layout seems easy to read and user-friendly. I’m going to take it and make it really offensive.”  Are you really surprised that I’m using it when it’s one of the most popular themes on WordPress? Just look at how airy and crisp it is. It’s an f-ing treasure, and I’m going to take it and twist it into something it was never intended to be.

Blogosphere, get ready for the raw, the rude, and the objectionable* to be presented to you in the most delightful of ways. You’ll never know what hit you.

*Disclaimer: actual change is unlikely. Author saw fit to use theme change as a post topic.

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