It Could Have Happened about 25 Years Ago, But It’ll be Tonight, Instead…

How’s it going? Sometimes life goes in interesting directions or things get put off, in a way. For me, tonight is about one of those things, but first I’ll have to explain.

Let’s get to it.

I think I was about 7 or 8 or so. My class and I had gone to an old folk’s home to visit, well, you know. Just to cheer up the older people and play cards with them, or what-have-ya.

If memory serves, we got to bring something that we liked to do (and I don’t remember bringing anything, which was weird, because I loved playing cards at the time–still do).

I do remember what Tim Botts (I’m pretty sure that’s the spelling) and his mom (who was along for this trip) brought with them, or parts of it. Anyway…

He’d brought a board game with him. I don’t remember if he said what it was–I thought he had to have told me, based on what I’ll tell you next.

He took the board out, and I thought…

It was the dumbest-looking thing I had ever seen.

It was a board with tan squares on it, and nothing else. I thought he had a couple strange-looking little people-shaped figures he put on the board too, in preparation to play…something, I wasn’t too sure at the time. We had to pack up before we’d gotten things officially laid out. He’d made it sound like the game was extremely fun, and extremely complicated, at the same time.

I didn’t really see the point of it. But if I’m not mistaken, this was my first sorta intro to…

Dungeons and Dragons.

And I didn’t have a clue.

Fast-forward those years to arrive at today, and my brother’s invited me to a live stream of a game that’s happening tonight. He tried to get me prepped with a character sheet, showed me what to study, and what-have-ya, and I’m still trying to get the hang of it. (I’m ashamed to say that prepping started days ago.)

Trying new things can be hard–like weaving a backstory to a character in somebody else’s game, or meeting people over the internet you may never meet in real life. It’s different this time, maybe because it’s connected to something I’ve never done before.

I think it’s necessary for personal growth to do this kind of untried stuff in writing–but for some reason in my personal life I find it a bit harder to try new things.

It’ll be interesting to see how things go. As long as I don’t get my own character or any other player characters lost or bumped off, I’ll consider it a success.

Until next time,

Ty

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Copywriting Codex: Don’t Negotiate Like This…Or Why I Left a Client Behind

How’s it going? I know that as far as relating my client experiences (which is part of the subscribe box on the right over there), I’ve been slacking off a tad. I’d like to do more of that today (relating, not slacking).

And to be fair, this wasn’t a Codex until right before I finished it. I just couldn’t see how this post could apply to fiction writers (unless you want to characterize me some way or other).

Let’s get to it.

I had to break up with a client.

This is interesting to me, because this is the first time I ever had to do that actively. What I mean by that is a lot of the time, I don’t get past the trial period and clients leave me behind, or they just quasi leave me behind because I don’t hear from them and get silence when I follow up (or don’t follow up in the first place–bad practice, I know–but there are times I have second thoughts about them).

Anyway, this client specialized in a type of copy that I wanted to learn. So as a result of that, thinking I needed the money, or what-have-ya, I made a bunch of mistakes. If I get to thinking some more, I could probably come up with more, but here are the bigger ones:

Ditching upfront payment and agreeing to be paid at the end of every month

Not capping free revisions/edits at 2 or 3 per project, and charging extra for others–this led to disaster, needless anger, and to me ultimately burning out, I think

Not realizing I could still be in control of the process even though I was working with (not for) someone else (I could have brought up these points, for example)

Agreeing to treat a trial project as the trial, instead of one to three months, and then re-evaluating after that

Saying I’d be available for six months, without putting restrictions on it

Working for too little per project because I was just starting this particular kind of project, and not negotiating for bumps in pay for performance bonuses or great results for this client’s clients

If that wasn’t enough, I also ignored several warning signs along the way that told me I should have gotten out sooner:

Client allowed their client to request more than 4 revisions on the same project–if the client was allowing their clients to do this, I should have know they’d do the same types of things to me…but I didn’t put my foot down

Client told me I scheduled “too long” of a block of time off for vacation (about a week and a half), even though I wasn’t taking days off every other week or something like that

Client proposed a retainer, learned about my fees for other services, discovered the proposed fee wouldn’t cover the amount of work suggested, then withdrew the idea, and  repeatedly refused bids for other add-on services, claiming they were too expensive (if I hadn’t had this step and seen what the client’s fees to their own clients were, I never would have been pushed to get out, ultimately)

Well, that’s about it. And the most painful part about all this is that 99% of the fault here can be parked in my own lap.

Maybe that’s the biggest takeaway of all.

Until next time,

Ty

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How a Crying Owl Can Make You a Better Writer

How was your weekend? Mine verged on what was previously normal–a shopping trip to pick up some things. Which was cool, even though it was more spontaneous.

Let’s get to it.

This title came to me minutes ago, truthfully. I was looking at my phone and I realized I had a notification. It was from a foreign-language learning app that I use. I’d forgotten to get back into learning after I got sick several weeks ago.

Anyway, the note had a picture of their mascot–an owl–crying a little bit, pleading with me not to give up, and to give the language I’d been learning another shot.

And was it effective? Yep. There’s probably a bunch of reasons why, but I’ll say for today that it clearly presented to me the stakes of giving up–leaving this language behind forever.

I realized I didn’t want to do that. So I got back in.

It’s the same way with readers and prospects. If they’re invested in a character’s story, conflict, or what-have-ya, they’ll be more likely to stick around (or if/when prospects see the good in investing in themselves with the tools for success).

That’s about as clear as I can make stakes and fear of missing out, even though a lot of times stakes are more real.

And I didn’t want to go too heavy for a Monday.

Until next time,

Ty

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Triple F: Nothing’s the Same…but Why Does That Matter?

How’s your week been so far? In all the hubbub, I forgot to write about the client interaction I mentioned. I’ll write a note, and try to get something together next week. But for today…

Let’s get to it.

This is Fabulous Fiction Friday, which means a prompt for you. I’ve discussed other motivations in previous Triple F’s, so I don’t have to hammer that here, I don’t think. I will say that this one is a combination of wondering about previous places I’ve lived and a cat who lives in a doghouse.

Your prompt for this week’s Triple F is:

Your character goes back to a place and nothing is the same. What’s changed, and why is that important?

Almost no specifics, check. Tiny plot point, check. Conflict, check.

Now it’s time to fiction because that sounds like a great mix for creativity.

I’ll try not to go the normal people/normal things route, but I won’t promise anything.

We could have:

Sylvia, who can control objects with her mind, goes back to her childhood asteroid, only to find out that her powers don’t work. What happened? Did some kind of special artifact get moved? Was some sort of burial ground disturbed? And is she the kind of being to figure things out on her own, get help, or try to adjust to life with no powers?

Or Brett could return to his hometown to find his old house replaced by a mini mall. And since he doesn’t live there anymore, it may not matter–until he discovers that a corporation finagled his aging parents while he was overseas, a government swooped in, or what-have-ya.

That would be up to you–including the research to make that credible, if this was a normal people and things story (which I gave no indication it actually wasn’t–darn it).

That’s enough to get the mental snowball rolling.

The first week of December 2017 is officially over.

Make it a great weekend, with good memories, all right?

Until next time (and week),

Ty

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I Woke Up to the “S” Word Today

How’s it going? It’s finally time for that first particular post of the year, even though this actually happened when I went to a concert a month or so ago.

Let’s get to it.

I saw some snow outside the window today–which is also a four-letter word that starts with S. Only this time, the stuff stuck around a bit–just enough to coat the roof outside, but not all the way. There’s a little bit on the field across the road, but that’s it.

Oh, and it’s cold.

There are so many different ways I could take this:

Establishing a routine (just like writing this blog has become for me over the years)

Firsts (which is something I’m strangely big on, as an opportunity for new things, or to do other things better, if the first recurs for some reason)

Rolling with the punches (writers can’t stop writing because of weather or feelings, especially if there are things that need to be dealt with–as I jab myself in the ribs with my own elbow on that one)

And more…

I will say snow marks an interesting turning point for me, as far as the year goes–I finally know what to wear consistently. I’ve been fooled up to this point–we’ve been in the 40s and 50s a couple times in the past couple weeks.

Tomorrow is Triple F–be sure to stop by.

Until next time,

Ty

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For Some Reason I Find It Difficult to Write When This Happens…

How’s it going? I want to talk a bit about something a little embarrassing for me personally (for some reason or other–we’ll call it “inspiration” for now until I think of something better).

Let’s get to it.

For some reason, I find that if I’m upset, mad, frustrated, or what-have-ya about some other area of my life, I find writing to be difficult until I calm down (unless I’m writing about the thing that’s upsetting me).

Maybe I’m being human or something–I don’t know if this is a widespread thing among writers. There are probably some who can use it for energy, or focus that strong emotion into creativity.

I find it better to let it pass or resolve the issue if I can before moving on.

I’m not sure why this is–it seems a little silly to me. I mean, it’s not like I’m five and somebody called me names or anything. Maybe I just have to better allocate my emotional energy (that’s probably the ticket).

Does that ever happen to you?

Drop me a line in the comments–I’d like to hear your thoughts.

I’m not upset for days or anything (or try not to be). It’s just that my emotions throw me off at times.

Maybe it would help if I were 100x busier.

Have a great rest of your day.

Until next time,

Ty

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How a Musician Talking Marketing Poked Me in the Eye…

How’s it going?

Anyway, let’s get to it.

I listened to an interesting interview yesterday. It was the December 3rd episode of James Newcomb’s MusicPreneur podcast (http://musicpreneur.com/podcast/toot-your-own-horn/).

A musician I know of was talking about the business side of music. She mentioned something that really struck me when she said, referring to her email marketing, “You’re sending the best of yourself out there, every day.”

It’s a double-edged sword, I have to admit. Sometimes it’s a struggle for me, even with all the techniques, tips, and what-have-ya I’m come across, to write a 300 word blog post five days a week.

There are times I force it out, and other times I realize that one post I’ve written can spawn 10 others if I let it.

It’s mostly about balance and being open to possibilities.

And then sitting down to organize the fountain so that the ideas that come out make enough sense so that I can pass them on to you–and not sound like I’m messy and/or disorganized. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think that was a challenge.

It takes practice, and every day I do a little more of it.

Until next time,

Ty

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A Quiz Claimed I’d Been Spiderman, and Here’s What I Think of It…

How was your weekend? Mine was pretty standard–resting, getting things done around the house, and goofing off.

Let’s get to it.

I was looking at my Facebook memories today (as I was having trouble figuring out what to talk to you about) and I found the one with the silly past lives quiz that I’d shared. Basically this thing said I’d been:

Spiderman

A Persian prince

King of the Maori people

All before being who I am now.

The point I’m actually trying to bring up is the fascination humans have with being something (or someone) they’re not. That strange yearning to let it all go for a while, and be someone or do something a little crazy, inspiring, or what-have-ya.

I don’t if it has to do with embracing chaos or uncertainty sometimes, or it’s people trying to figure out who they are and what their place is in this world–maybe both.

I’d have to say that that’s why I write fiction, for sure–to portray someone whose problems I don’t have, whose powers I don’t grasp, or whose situation I could never get myself into and know how to get myself out of.

When I write copy for clients, it’s the same thing–the people I’m writing to are dealing with issues in life or business that I’m not.

Because, you know, of the people who have actually portrayed Spiderman, I ain’t on the list (and not just because I have zero acting talent).

That’s not the only way to explain it, but you get the idea.

Until next time,

Ty

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Triple F: New What Now?

How’s your week been so far? Mine’s been interesting (and I’m not saying that because I’m at a loss about what to say about it–not entirely anyway).

Today is Friday, which means Triple F and a prompt for you. I jabbered on and on about the beginnings and ends of months, so I won’t hit that point again today.

Your prompt for this week’s Fabulous Fiction Friday is:

Something is new in your character’s life. What is it and how does it impact them?

All right–we have a teeny plot point. No character, gender, backstory, or what-have-ya. You’ll have to throw that in there, as well as this “new” thing.

We could have:

A girl named Sandra who gets a puppy or a kitty for a college going away present (because she’s going to be a vet student, and her parents called in some favors about it–or maybe the thing’s stuffed). Maybe it reminds her of happier times, which makes going 3,000 miles away to another coast for school a little more bearable.

Or maybe Miles has a new car, and doesn’t have to worry so much about repairs–especially since his brother got it for him and offered to fix it because he knows Miles is going through school while working full-time.

We could also have a dedicated full-time student named Miles who marries an aspiring vet named Sandra–so they can both be the “new” in each other’s lives as they start a new one together.

And then we can throw in visitors from elsewhere, or a cataclysmic invasion of talking goats (sorry, I couldn’t go the “normal people, normal things” route the whole way–I tried, but the SF/F writer in me wasn’t having it).

That’s enough to get the mental snowball rolling down the hill, I’m figuring.

December 2017 is just underway. Go far with it.

And make it a great weekend, with good memories, all right?

Until next time (and week),

Ty

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Problems Are Really What It’s all About…

How’s it going? Today’s the last day of November 2017. With all the special Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and what-have-ya that have been going on (or had been), I sorta forgot about that. After Thanksgiving, it’s kind of a rush into December, which in turn is a rush to wrap up everything, which leads to the slide into January 1st of next year.

Let’s get to it.

I get strangely reflective around the beginnings and ends of months (and no, I don’t mean I glow in the dark or anything). When I got sick a few weeks back, I realized some issues had built up in my life over the past few months that I’d decided to ignore.

So I decided to do something about them–but I didn’t necessarily know what to do after the things are resolved (I’ll probably be doing a post or a series of them on this soon, since I’ve been spending so much time thinking about it).

All of this led me to wonder what impact I’ve been making–both in making a difference, and making money for my clients and me.

As with most things in my life, I realized I could do better.

I just needed to lay out a plan and take the steps. Implementing what I’ve planned is where I’ve discovered I can trip up.

For characters, it’s the same with their problems, whether they know about things (like a pain in their side that just won’t go away) or not. (Whew–there’s the writing part of this post, in part.) What they deal with is what your story is mostly about–them dealing. Or if it’s a mystery, dealing with the case.

And all the bumps, wrong turns, and flops along the way. If it’s too easy, nobody will read it, because there’s no stakes, intrigue, or curiosity that’s been stirred up.

And since products and services are built on problems, with prospects it’s the same thing. I know I’m repeating myself, but problems are really what it’s all about.

Didn’t mean to make this like some psychiatrist couch or something, either. Just me jamming along, here in my micron of the internet.

Tomorrow is Triple F (and December 2017). Be sure to stop by.

Until next time (and month–ha!),

Ty

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