Recently I called on Facebook followers to give me ideas for this blog.
It was suggested that I should blog about needing ideas for my blog, making the process part of the final product. So that's what I'm doing.
Believe it or not, it's a lot easier to come up with ideas for short stories, poems, and novels than it is to think of interesting topics for a blog. A blog needs to have the right balance of content.
One purpose of this blog and my website is to share news with readers, including news about upcoming publications, speaking engagements, and purchasing information. Herein lies the balanced content problem. I could make every blog post a sales pitch: Buy my books! Attend my reading! Click on this link! That wears thin. After all, who wants to be subjected to a constant stream of sales pitches?
Because I don't want to bore or alienate my readers and followers with self-serving content, I try to include other interesting topics. For example, I have a series of posts about authors I love. Other posts include articles about Appalachia or advice on writing. Sometimes I share excerpts from my work or links to complete pieces.
I don't know if I've achieved the right balance, but that's my aim. I guess what I'm saying is that I want this blog to be a site you enjoy visiting.
I encourage all you young writers out there to keep plugging away at it. Don't get disheartened.
For every success I post here, I have multiple rejections.
If you are a writer, you WILL be rejected. Develop a thick skin. Learn from constructive criticism and ignore the rest. Especially ignore the little devil on your shoulder who tells you to give up because you're no good.
Finally, do your research before submitting your work. Make sure you're sending it to the magazines, agents, and publishers most appropriate for your style and subject matter. Be methodical in your submission process and keep track of everything.
Like many writers, I hoard words and phrases.
I keep mine in idea notebooks. I have about twenty of them tucked away in drawers and on shelves, in my purse and in my car, and in my laptop bag.
You never know when inspiration will strike and you'll need to record it. Sometimes I use the memo app or voice recorder on my phone, but I prefer to put pen to paper when I receive a message from my muse.
This notebook is unusual. It contains typed ideas. Sometimes I write bits of verse or prose on scraps of paper, old envelopes, sticky notes, or faded receipts. Those are hard to keep up with (they flutter away like confetti at a parade), so I transcribe them into a Word document and print them for future use.
I added a little flourish to this photo to show how magical it feels when I open one of my notebooks for an unused idea.
How do you keep track of your ideas?
Seven things I wish someone had told me about writing. This article by Hala Alyan offers great advice.
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