Category Archives: Writing

Lessons learned about writing and moments along to the journey to hopefully one day being published!

The Kindle Fire: A Year Later & What I’d Do Differently

Last year about this time I was struggling with what tablet/ereader device to buy. I eventually settled on a Kindle Fire.

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The core question came down to spending the money on a device that would only read books, or spending a little more to get a device that would also play movies, music and games?

On the whole, it’s been wonderful to have a device that does all that. When I took a business trip, all I needed in my carry on bag was my Fire. I could watch TV1, read a book, or play a game. On the return trip, I was dog tired and not up for much reading. I turned on my Google Play Music app, leaned back (as much as possible in those seats) and enjoyed the flight home.

Fire as an eReader

I have loved being able to download a variety of ebooks during the year. Ebooks tends to be much more economical than print, and there were a few books that I could only get as an eBook, or books that had a free Kindle version.

One of the reasons I wanted a Kindle was that we were simply running out of space in our house. My wife and I both enjoy reading and as you might expect we have a bookshelf full of books in nearly every room in the house. Even our kids’ rooms have bookshelves (albeit smaller ones).

I’ve download a couple of books for my wife. She loves cozy mysteries, and is always looking for new authors. She loves Agatha Christy, Mary Roberts Rienhardt, Richard Castle and has recently gotten into a series by Joanne Fluke (that has GOT to be a pen name).

She’s not big on technology and wasn’t interested in the Fire, but I was hoping she would warm up to the idea once she had the Fire in the house. She has been reluctant to try the Fire as an ereader and she still prefers to get real paper books from the library or bookstore.

Glare

The biggest problem I’ve had with the Fire as an ereader has been glare. I thought since I read so much on my computer screen and on my phone that glare wouldn’t be a big problem. I could not have been more wrong. I tried to do some reading on our trip down to Florida this summer and it was nearly unusable. My wife tried to play one of her games and had to put a blanket over her head to see. Inside the house, its fine, but anywhere with natural light turns into a problem.

There’s an App for That, Maybe

One of the concerns with the Fire was Amazon’s App Store. It has a more limited selection than Google Play.

On the whole, I haven’t had much trouble with the Amazon app store. Most of the time, I’ve been able to find the app I want. There have been a half dozen instances where an app that was available on Google Play wasn’t available on Amazon. This is somewhat mitigated, in my mind, by the fact that Amazon offers one paid app for free per day. This is how I got Cutie Mini Monsters Counting Game, which quickly became my 3-year-olds favorite game on the Fire.

Sharing is Caring

Not long after I purchased the Fire, I accompanied my wife and kids to one of their doctors’ appointments. I brought along the Fire to read. My three-year-old got bored fast and started getting into all kinds of trouble. He saw me reading the Kindle and tried to climb in my lap. At first, I was reluctant. I wanted to read my book! But eventually it was clear that unless he was happy, nobody else woudl be. I downloaded an ABC game he had played on my Droid RAZR, and let him play. The game kept him relatively happy the rest of the visit. He now has several games on the Fire.

My wife and daughter both have their favorite games and my daughter loves using the Watch Disney Channel app and Tiny Death Star. My wife’s favorite it Word Wrench. I’m hoping that playing games is a first step to her using it as an eReader.

I do LOVE Kindle FreeTime. I setup a profile for each kid and control the apps, music and books they can see.

The downside of this sharing is the Fire has become more of a family device. When I go to read a book on it, I first have to find it, and then most likely plug it in to charge. I’m reluctant to take it to work to read a book on my lunch break because I know my kids or my wife might want to use it as well.

Conclusion

I don’t regret the getting the Fire. As a tablet, it does the job very well. The limited app store didn’t end up being much of an issue. I haven’t used Amazon Prime, nor have we watched any movies on it. I’d need someway to hook it up to the main TV or Laptop. 7″ screen seems a little small.

Regardless if I had bought the Fire or another 7″ tablet, it doesn’t function as well as an eReader as I had hoped. I still would like to have a dedicated eReader device (like the Paperwhite), and I will probably buy one soon.

 

image: Amazon.com

1Direct TV supplies Wi-Fi satellite TV on most Southwest flights

Why I’m Not Making New Year’s Resolutions This Year

This is the time of year when people start thinking about and making New Year’s Resolutions. Three months later, most of them are broken, and the hope and excitement of New Year’s is traded in for discouragement and a sense of failure.

I’m not making New Year’s resolutions this year. Instead, I’m using this opportunity to set some goals for 2014.

Goal #1

Journal – 5 days a week

My journal will be a private place to write down thoughts, feelings, and struggles. It will be a place to record what I’m learning, and reading. It will not be published anywhere online and it won’t be intended for viewing by other than myself.

Goal #2

Read my Bible – 5 days a week

In a compromise to reality and to make this obtainable, I’m setting it at 5 times a week. I know it should be daily, but I also know I’m going to miss a day sometimes. I’ve come to dislike the whole ‘read the Bible in a year’ resolution you see this time of year. My friend, Paul, really helped me with that a couple of years ago. I would get so discouraged once I got behind that I would end up stopping all together.

As Paul so often does, he made an allusion to a popular movie, in this case, the 1990s classic “The Hunt for Red October”.  In the scene, the Russians are hunting for the Red October.MMDHUFO EC001

Captain Davenport: They’re pinging away with their active sonar like they’re looking for something, but nobody’s listening.

Jack Ryan: What do you mean?

Captain Davenport: Well, they’re moving at almost forty knots. At that speed, they could run right over my daughter’s stereo and not hear it.

Paul said I was doing the same thing trying to get through the Bible in a year.  I was moving so fast that I could fly right by what God was trying to tell me and completely miss it. He suggested I start with just a chapter, but that I stop as soon as I found something that spoke to me. If I didn’t find something in one chapter, go for two. Some nights I will read multiple chapters. Some nights, it will take just a verse or two.

It was completely freeing.

He also suggested that I start with the Gospel of John and go through the rest of the New Testament, and then circle around to the Old Testament.

This goes hand in hand with journaling. Part of what I will journal will be what I read that night and what I learned or how I was impacted by it.

Goal #3

Beta Readers for WIP

I want to have my current work-in-progress novel read by at least two beta readers. Part of this goal has already been accomplished as I have two people who have graciously agreed to be Beta Readers. The harder part is getting them a mostly finished product to read.

I don’t want to hand over my WIP until I know I’ve fixed the obvious problems I can see. I’ll need the beta readers to see the problems I didn’t catch.

Goal # 4

Write 5 days a week

I’m not going to count journaling as writing. This has got to be either some fiction work, or blogging. Accomplishing this goal will go a long way to accomplishing Goal #3.

Goal #5

Blog at least once per week

I know this doesn’t seem like an incredibly ambitious goal, however; I’ve gone long stretches over the past year without a post. Consistent posting is the #1 thing I can do to improve grow my audience for the blog.

Goal #6

Write at least two short stories for competitions

I’m saddened that Water Worlds will be the final Saucy Chronicles. Those stories were fun to work on and I learned so many lessons from the indebt critiques that Saucy Ink did. I do well when I have someone else holding me accountable. A competition deadline makes sense. Also, I’ll get some feedback on how I’m doing.

Goal #7

One-der-land

This will mark the fourth year in a row I have set my sights on One-der-land. One-der-land is an expression I picked up from my Mom to mean that your weight starts with the number 1. Basically, it means I’m trying to get under 200 pounds. I’ve promised myself a steak dinner if I get there (although that may not be the best reward).

Goal #8

Read 10 Books

Last year I read 6 books. Choose Omnibus (three books, but counting as one), Kingdom Come, Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay, Deceived, and Eli. It would be 8 books if I counted each Choose volume as one book. Only two of those (Kingdom Come, Eli) were really in the genre that I write most often. The others were outside of my genre. I need to read more, both in my genre and out of it.

 

Those are 8 goals I have for 2014. What about you? What goals have you set?

Possible Cover Art for Bill's book. I like it!

Sci-Fi Book Giveaway

Back when I was a kid I collected baseball cards. The most valuable cards were always a player’s rookie card. For writers, our ‘rookie card’ is our debut novel.

You have a chance to win the ‘rookie card’ of my friend, and fellow member of Saucy Ink, Bill Denise. He is giving away copies of his debut title, “Shedding the Demon”.

You may remember that I interviewed Bill about his book as part of the Next Big Thing blog meme.

What’s this book all about? I’ll let you hear from the author himself!

Raised by gang members on the violent streets of a ruined city, Damon finds himself coerced into a secret government program that molds him into a prototype super-assassin. Turned into a walking arsenal and an unstoppable killing machine, he soon discovers reasons to doubt his government-sponsored objectives and begins to see some ugly truths behind the benevolent facade. Damon finds himself haunted by doubts – is he somehow being used as a weapon in a covert bid to bring chaos the current regime?

Gathering together his friends and some unlikely allies, he must find a way to stop the usurper before the entire human race falls victim to brutal tyranny.

What are you waiting for? Enter the contest! Post haste! While you are there, mark “Shedding the Demon” as a To Read.

Update: Be a Winner! Bill has announced that starting today (11/21/2013) and running through Saturday (11/23/2013), the Kindle edition will be free on Amazon! This is an easy, no risk way of checking out an exciting new sci-fi author. 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Shedding the Demon by Bill Denise

Shedding the Demon

by Bill Denise

Giveaway ends December 16, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 

Circle of Friends

Organize Your Life into Four Spaces

Circle of Friends

Today, I’d like to relate something that my friend Paul Rienzo (@PaulRienzo) taught me. It has been a great metaphor for understanding my world and the relationships I have with the people around me. It helps me understand not only how to act, but also explains why I feel certain ways in certain situations, and it also helps me understand how others may be feeling.

There are many times when I have wanted to use this metaphor to explain what I think about a particular topic, but before I do that, I have to be sure that my audience will understand it. Today, I’m going to explain the metaphor. My hope is that you will find it as useful as I have.

I’ve been able to apply this in both my personal life as a friend, husband and father, as well as a guide to how the characters in my story should act.

Socially Aware

Human beings are by nature social creatures. We form relationships of varying degrees with the people around us. This is normal and natural. You relate differently with a close friend of 8 years than the French model you just met, on the Internet.

Over the past 50 years, various studies by social scientists and cultural anthropologists have shown that we tend to move in four different kinds of spaces as we relate to one another. These spaces are the Public Space, Social Space, Personal Space, and Intimate Space.

Public Space “Red Space”

This is the space of the big crowd having a common experience. We tend to speak only in pleasantries. We reveal very little, if anything, of our true selves. Trust with people in our Red Space is nearly zero. Our shields are up and our masks are on.

  • Real World: Movie theatre
  • Church: Sunday morning Church
  • Online: A webinar
  • Bible: The Sermon on the Mount
  • Writing: Keynote at a conference

Social Space “Yellow Space”

(Look at me. We are going to pretend that heading is yellow. It’s not really yellow. Your eyes are thanking me, trust me.)

The Social Space is a little smaller than the Public space, but not as small as the Personal Space. Here, we being to present a small part of our true selves. Trust with people in our Yellow Space is small. Our shields remain up, but our mask is not quite as tight.

  • Real World: Sports Bar
  • Church: Community Gathering / Pot luck / Dinner on the Grounds
  • Online: Forums
  • Bible: Wedding at Cana
  • Writing: Large breakout session

Nearly all relationships start in either a Public “Red” Space, or a Social “Yellow” space. Over time as the relationship deepens, we allow people to come closer to us, and reveal more of our true self.

Personal Space “Blue Space”

The Personal Space is smaller than the Social space. This is the first space where we exert control on who enters. The people allowed into the “Blue space” are close to us both physically and emotionally. We feel safe enough to reveal who we really are and share private struggles. Trust is high. Our shields are weak and the mask is partially removed.

  • Real World: Group of Friends
  • Church: Small Groups / Sunday School Class
  • Online: Chat Room / Twitter Chat / Guild Chat
  • Bible: Disciples
  • Writing: Critique Group

Intimate Space “Green Space”

You can usually count the number of people allowed into your Intimate “Green space” on one hand. This is a place of total disclosure. You open yourself up completely, and you are totally venerable. The shields are down, and the mask is completely off. You are most vulnerable and can be hurt the most. It is a simultaneously euphoric and terrifying experience.

  • Real World: Husband and wife, your best friend, your wingman
  • Church: Accountability partner
  • Online: Private chat, private message
  • Bible: Jesus and Nicodemus
  • Writing: Critique Partner

All of us need people at every level, but we have an acute need for someone in the Green Space. We were made to do life together. It’s hard, almost impossible, to jump levels. You can’t go from a Red Space relationship to a Green Space relationship overnight. It takes spending time and earning trust.

If you’d like to hear Paul’s original teaching on this, you can download his podcast: http://www.crosstownonline.us/2011Audio/CrosstowneTheChurchPart9(2011-11-13).mp3

 

Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

WHW cropped race

FREE Writing Feedback During the WHW Amazing Race!

Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi at Writers Helping Writers (formerly The Bookshelf Muse) have added two more books to their Descriptive Thesaurus Collection: The Positive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Attributes and The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Flaws. To celebrate, they are hosting a race, and not just any old race, either. It’s the…

 

Writing is hard, isn’t it? Create the perfect hook. Make your first page compelling. Craft an amazing 25 word pitch. Knock out a query that will blow an agent’s mind. On and on it goes. And sometimes, well, you just wish someone would help.

WISH NO MORE!

From October 21st until October 27th, Writers Helping Writers is posting an OPEN CALL for writers. You can fill out a form, requesting help with critiques, book visibility, social media sharing, blog diagnostics, advice and more.

An army of Amazing Racers are standing by (ME INCLUDED!) waiting to help with your submissions. How many people can we help in a week? Let’s find out! Did I mention there are Celebrity Racers too–amazing authors and editors who know their way around a first page. Maybe one of them will pick your submission to help with!

Each day this week, there’s an AMAZING giveaway, too. So stop in at Angela & Becca’s new Writers Helping Writers website and find out how to take advantage of this unique, pay-it-forward event for writers. I’ll see you there!

 

AdventureCreationSmall

Announcing: The Adventure of Creation Anthology

Today is going to be a little bit of promotion. I stand to benefit, but there are 34 other outstanding writers who have joined in this collection. This promotion is as much for them as it is for me.

In January, the moderators of Holly Lisle‘s Forum approached her with the idea of a short story anthology. With the 5th anniversary of her outstanding writing course, “How to Think Sideways”, drawing nearer, it seemed a good idea to match the release date with the anniversary. Holly agreed to the idea. After a very, very difficult selection process, the moderator’s settled on thirty-five stories.

One of those stories was mine. I talked about the journey to writing that story here: Never, Ever Give Up, and Finish the Stuff You Started

With the stories selected, we are now presenting to you: The Adventure of Creation: The Think Sideways Anthology #1 presented by Holly Lisle

AdventureCreationSmall

35 marvelous short stories by gifted new writers.

Follow a girl to the Below-World to slay the Sharkshadow, or help a timid girl to overcome the destructive criticism of her art teacher. Witness a solitary drone on Mars or a naive homunculus struggle to become human. Sew with a mother who lost her daughter in a quilt, defeat super-villains in a bank robbery with an unlikely superhero (a story by my incredible critique partner Tami Moore!), or join a great mage in the fire.

In my own story, an abused farm boy faces three trials to join the ranks of the mystical Magideem.

In thirty-five imaginative stories, emerging authors present the diversity of their creativity. Each author found a different angle for the unifying theme: The Adventure of Creation. Witness the talent nurtured by writing teacher, Holly Lisle. For the 5th anniversary of her first big writing course, How to Think Sideways, this anthology features the best of her talented students in a great variety of genres.

The eBook and print book will be released on the 24th of July.

Kevin_Durant_dunk

Why Can’t I Just Be a Prodigy?

Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. – Kevin Durant

Our kids have a way of being much more honest than adults, and by their honesty, sometimes they can show us our true feelings.

My daughter and I were riding in the car talking about her ‘new’ harmonica that she inherited from her Great Grandmother. We started talking about where she could get lessons and the importance of practicing. That’s when she looked at me and said,

“Why can’t I just be a prodigy?”

A prodigy is defined as a person, especially a child or young person, having extraordinary talent or ability.”

What she meant was why couldn’t she just open the box and sound like she had been playing the harmonica all her life. I had to smile and chuckle in that way that parents do when our kids prove that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

I’ve had the same thought many times myself, just not with a harmonica, but with writing. Why can’t I just skip the whole learning, and growing stages and start right out at mastery.

One of the first things I did when I decided to get serious about writing was to enter a short story contest. My thinking at the time was that if I was ‘truly talented’ I would win the contest on my natural ability alone. Who needed to worry about learning story structure, characters arcs or all that stuff? If I was gifted enough to make it as a professional writer, and if I had the special pixie dust that all profession writers must have, then that talent and magic would show through, and I would win.

I wanted instant success. I wanted weight loss without diet and exercise. I wanted to be able to run a marathon without getting off my couch.

I might as well have been trying to fly.

Reality has a way of slapping you in the face when you are running completely contrary to it. Of course, I didn’t even make it out of the initial round of the contest. I could have given up right there, but I decided to keep learning, to keep writing, and to press forward on the journey.

Prodigies are rare, and what we don’t see is even the prodigies have to work and practice. Tiger Woods, a golf prodigy, was the first man on the practice tee when he ruled the golf world.

Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. – Kevin Durant

Kevin_Durant_dunkKevin Durant is an preternaturally talented basketball player. He’s won numerous awards, and has taken his team to the brink of championships. He’s a man who knows he has tremendous, world class, God given talent, yet he points to hard work.

That’s the real lesson I was reminded of when my daughter made her declaration. Talent is  something outside of my control. Hard work isn’t.

Hard work isn’t flashy. It isn’t going to go viral. It’s old fashion. It’s what your grandmother would say.

I hope the message got across to my daughter. I also hope the message was remembered by her father.

 

Image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kevin_Durant_dunk.jpg

Yes No

No Is a Perfectly Acceptable Answer

Yes NoLife has a way of presenting you moments that encourage you to seek out the assistance of other people. In the writer’s life, it might be asking for a critique, or a blurb on an upcoming book you are releasing. As a dad, it might be needing someone to watch your kids or help you move. In my faith walk, it might someone covering for me on Sunday morning in the sound booth, or just helping me talk out a problem I’m having.

I don’t know about you, but I always feel a little nervous about asking for help. I hate to be an imposition. I know I’m asking for the most precious thing the other person has – their time.

It is also a bit uncomfortable when I’m the one that someone else is asking for help. I’m a people pleaser by nature, and I don’t want to let the other person down, but at the same time, I have to be honest. I’m one man. I can’t do it all. As much as it pains me, sometimes I have to say no.

Then my friend, Brady (@BradySiegal) started adding a little catch phrase to end of his requests that has changed the game for both of us. I’ve started using it myself.

We simply say ‘and no is a perfectly acceptable answer’.

It was a stroke of genius. You give them permission to turn you down.

That little phrase takes the pressure off. It lets the other person know that you understand what you are asking. It tells them there will be no negative side effects if they say no. The relationship will be unaffected.

Maybe you might be worried that making it easier for the other person to say no, you’ll get more negative responses. You might, but to me, the tradeoff is worth it. Personally, it actually has just the opposite effect on me. It makes me want to say yes all the more.

 

Give it a try. I’d love to hear how the dynamic changes for you and what kind of responses you get.

 

Image courtesy of artur84 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Hearts

The English Language Does Love Wrong

HeartsEnglish is such a limited language sometimes, and that’s never more clear than when we talk about love. I love my wife. I love my kids. I love my dad, my mom and my sister. I love the Panthers. I loved my cat before he passed away. I love to write. I love eating at Moe’s.

Talented writer, artist, and blogger Tami Moore got me thinking about this when she wrote a great post on writing entertaining, believable romance between characters. She wanted to make a distinction between lust and romantic love.

She stated it this way:

 “love is when someone holds the happiness of another person above their own” – Tami Moore

That’s a great definition, but I would submit that it covers feelings that are far beyond romantic love. In fact, it’s pretty much a paraphrase of the way Christians are commanded to love each other in Philippians 2:3:

“Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3

This is the way I am to treat all people in my life, not just the ones I’m romantically interested in. This is where the English language really does love wrong. We just have that one word, love, to describe all these different emotions and levels of feelings.

Now if you want to talk about love, you need Greek. Those were people who understood how to handle love. The Greek language had no less than five separate words to describe the various kinds of love.

Chris Legg, licensed profession counselor, gave an excellent explanation of the five Greek words on his blog.

Mania

Chris: The word ‘lust’ is probably not strong enough – ‘obsession’ is closer to the word. This is the love of possession. I ‘mania’ that which I obsessively desire to own. It is generally seen as taking over the ‘lover’ like insanity – thus the connection to modern concepts of madness (kleptomania, pyromania). 

This is that early relationship love where you feel like you are just going to burst if you don’t possess your beloved.

I would also contend that this is probably the word we would use for fandom like my love of the Carolina Panthers. Fan, of course, being a shortened version of the word Fanatic and it shares the manic connotations.

Eros

Chris says: obviously the root word for “erotic,” but it does not describe sexual love only, it actually describes all emotional love; the feeling of love. Eros love is that insatiable desire to be near the target of this love.

This is what we most commonly associate with romantic love. It’s that powerful emotion of love we feel. But like all emotions it can’t stay red hot all the time or we would just burn out. But when it goes sometimes we are convinced we’ve fallen out of love.

Eros is not used a single time in the portions of the Bible that were originally written in Greek.

Philos

Chris says: brotherly/friendship love. Philos describes the love between two people who have common interests and experiences, or a fondness for. it says “I love who we are together,” or in case of a non-person: “I am fond of this food.” Philos love generally grows over time.

Here we have the friendship love. This would also be the word I would use for loving Moe’s Triple Lindy Burrito. De-lici-ous!

There’s got to be a component of Philos in any long standing romantic relationship. It’s what you can fall back on when Eros is in an ebb.

Storgy

Chris says: the love one has for a dependent. It is commonly called “motherly love.”

Hey, Chris, its also fatherly love. Dads love their kids, too! This would probably also be the word I would use to describe the love I had for Lucky, my sweet American Short-hair mix that we had for 16 years before he passed away in 2012.

Agapeo

Chris says: Agape love is entirely about the lover, and has nothing whatsoever to do with the one loved. Agape love, in its purest form, requires no payment or favor in response. It says “I love you because I choose/commit to.”

The most common translation I’ve heard for agapeo love is unconditional love. I would say it’s the highest, and most difficult form of love.

It’s also the word that God chose to describe his love for us (John 3:16, all of 1st John). It’s the love God wants Christians to have for one another and their neighbors. It’s the word love used in 1st Corinthians 13, which some have called the greatest treatise on love ever written.

Don’t you wish English had handled love more like the Greeks?

Image courtesy of supakitmod / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

blog diagram

Why Do You Still Blog?

blog diagramWhy do we blog? Why after months, or years do we still blog? For the writer, blogging is little bit like going to the gym.

Friend of the blog Patrick Phillips recently posted Seven Reasons he keeps blogging from a list of 21 Reasons to Keep Blogging by Craig McBreen.

I’d encourage you to take a look at my reasons, and Patrick’s’ reasons as well as the original post. Think about why you blog or don’t blog.

It fine-tunes your communication skills

Writers get better by writing. That’s true for a blog post or a novel.

For the writer, blogging is little bit like going to the gym. It’s our opportunity to work out, and to find others who are passionate about the same things we are. Sometimes we try a new exercise, or new machine. As we get better, we find we can go longer, and not need to take as many breaks. What once felt punishing becomes fun. It’s a way everyday to get a little better at what we do.

You become a better salesperson

I have often quipped to my friends that if I had to live off of what I could sell, I’d starve. I don’t have either the personality or temperament for sales, and my colossal failures at professional sales jobs proved it.

Outside of the odd affliate link, I’m not really selling any products through the blog. My whole goal is just to get eyeballs on my site. Even in that endeavor, I have to sell. I have to sell people on the idea that they will get great content on my site. I have sell my ability to produce posts that educate, or entertain.

You hone your observational skills

I’m much more aware of everything happening around me. Every bit of news, personal interaction, or life experience becomes potential fuel for the blog. This is even more true when I’m challenging myself to write 30 posts in 30 days!

It improves your debating skills

Sometimes I’ll make a post in response to something I’ve observed because I want to debate either my own initial conclusion or the conclusion of the author. I’ve had to learn about ad hominem attacks, straw-man, and other common debating terms.

I’ve also learned just from the debate itself. I have a follower on Twitter who often disagrees with me, but we have some respectful, and informative debates. We rarely, if ever, change the other persons position, but I’ve learned so much in the exchanges, and I’ve learned to value our conversations greatly.

You develop thick skin

Putting your thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes out in public makes you a target for people. Some people simply aren’t going to like what you post, and some will feel compelled to let you know about it.

This is an ongoing challenge for me. I’m a people pleaser by nature. I want to be liked, by everybody, even though I know that’s impossible.

Another word for thick skin is callus. Calluses are developed by repeated friction, pressure, or other irritation (thank you Wikipedia). Blogging puts me in a situation to experience that pressure, and that friction. It forces me, in a sink or swim kind of ultimatum, to develop that thick skin.

You learn to be your own boss

Nobody is going to make me write a blog post. No one may even ask me why I haven’t written a blog post after a day, a week, or a month goes by without one. When it comes to the blog, I have to be my own boss, or nothing is going to get accomplished. I have to be “chief cook and bottle washer”, doing both the sexy, glamorous work and the unseen, ugly jobs nobody wants to do. (Really? I have to do another editing pass?)

It’s weird being your own boss. You have to find an inner motivation, and inner dream or goal. Then the dream or the goal becomes the boss. You answer to it. My goal is to have 100 unique visitors a day by the end of year. That becomes the boss.

You have an accountability platform

While you have to be your own boss, eventually readers find you, and before you know it you’ve got a group of people who are just waiting for the next bit of wisdom to fly off your fingertips. This can be where my people pleaser weakness can turn into strength. I don’t want to let those people down. They are counting on me. That will get me off the couch.

My readers become the witnesses that I said what I was going to do. Now I have to do it.

 

I’m curious. Do you blog? Why? If you don’t blog, I’d be interested in hearing why you don’t.

 

photo: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic by Robin Hamman