5 Basic Things You Learn After Starting To Write Full-Time

5 Basic Things You Learn After Starting to Write Full-Time - www.alliepottswrites.comI haven’t been in my new position as a full-time writer long, but I am already learning a number of things about the process, especially as to how it pertains to online media – like how bad I am at it on this site (in terms of monetization, rapid audience building, or anything else you can think of when you try to come up with ways to actually making a living off writing outside of selling books, which is a whole story for another day), even when the writing itself was good.

For one, I don’t use nearly enough H2 tags in my blog posts, or headers for those not as versed in HTML lingo. Apparently, readers like to see big bold text so they know which words I spent hours upon hours tirelessly crafting are okay for their eyes to totally skip over.

That being said:

Be bold

Readers bypassing lengthy intros will jump directly to the text immediately under the header, so feel free to repeat yourself. Chances are they didn’t read it the first time you alluded to something in the opening.

Explain the benefit in clear and simple terms

You might think you are offering your readers a great value in sharing your story. After all, you are giving the very generous gift of your writing time when you probably should be spending that time on the last book in your science fiction trilogy or … I don’t know … relaxing (I hear that’s a good thing) and asking only that they give you minutes of their time or a comment or two in return. As a result, you might think the benefit to the reader is clear but is it? Is it really?

Don’t forget about SEO

Google and all its AI helpers scurrying about in the background like long, long web pages (as in hundreds if not thousands of words), filled with short, short paragraphs (5 lines and under will do) prominently featuring your primary keyword. They can be difficult to please like that. There are all sorts of other rules to follow for true SEO, but I’m still learning those.

End with a call to action …

Want to connect? Leave your contact information. Want them to sign up for your newsletter mailing list which had never been sold to third parties, and never will be, but also now is forcing you to create this whole privacy policy thingy in order to be GDPR compliant instead of writing a longer post? Tell them. People like instructions. Except for anarchists. But then again, you should never expect to please everyone.

Seriously – comment – sign up – or connect. I love to hear from you.

… but also leave them a reason to come back for more

Until next time.


The Supportive Spouse and other writer problems

The Supportive Spouse and other #writing problems - www.alliepottswrites.com
background images courtesy of Unsplash and Pixabay.com

I’m starting to suspect my hubby’s support of my writing career may not be quite as altruistic as he lets on.

Oh sure, he says he wants me to succeed. He wants us to be in a position to offer our closest friends a spur-of-the-moment place at our beach house or mountain chalet as much as I do. In fact, he probably wants that even more than I do (mountain chalet and beach homes can be dirt magnets after all).

But . . .

Well, take, for example, this past summer. He decided, quite out of the blue, that I deserved a proper writing desk rather than the shared surface I was using. But space in my house is at a premium and the children’s toys seem to multiply even faster than the dust bunnies. So on this day, he decided he would build me one that could be folded up on the wall when not in use. A Murphy desk.

Out he went into our garage with his trusty sidekick, Kiddo, in tow. I heard the saw blades spin and the power tools whirl. Kiddo came back in. Kiddo went back out. Kiddo left the door open. Repeatedly. Whirl. Mommy went a little insane.

Not to be outdone, LT joined the fun, as did Her Royal Highness (the dog) too. LT fell down. Mommy kissed boo-boos. HRH decided to trot down the street and visit the neighbors. Mommy got a call. Mommy wasn’t so sure she wanted this desk any longer.

Then, after several hours of holding what smidgen of rationality remained in my brain together, Lamont returned ready to show me the fruits of his labors. There was my new desk in unfinished wooden splendor.

“Uh, that’s not level.” I pointed at the top joint which could better pass as abstract art than as a right angle.

Lamont frowned. “I can fix that,” he said. “But it will need to wait until tomorrow.”

Murphy Desk - #DIY - www.alliepottswrites.com
It’s wall art! It’s a desk!

The next day came, but the cobbler’s elves either failed to arrive, or they neglected to fix his handiwork overnight. Taking another look at it with fresh eyes, Lamont admitted he was going to need to start from scratch.

Considering it was going to be my desk, meaning I would have to look at it every day, I had no choice but to agree with his assessment even though I knew it meant I would lose my co-parent and general weekend-chore-sharer to the garage once again.

The second try was much more successful and soon the desk was ready for finishing. This time Lamont invited LT to help as it was a painting project. What’s the worst that could happen? White, child-sized footprints adorned my steps. Even better, paint covered my boy’s body from head to cheek as he’d chosen to work on his masterpiece in only a pair of briefs.

I was forced to drop everything except the wiggling paint monster in order to scrub him down in an impromptu bath. As LT splashed about, I realized my husband had stumbled on the most genius plan imaginable for getting out of his standard weekly honey-do list. He’d gotten to play all day in the garage for the last two weeks, and I couldn’t complain as it was all being done for me.

Or at least I thought it was his most genius plan.

It turns out he had one better.

Flash forward. I completed the early drafts of my manuscript, a sequel to The Fair & Foul at the end of October. I knew I needed to let it sit and simmer before I attempted any further re-writes, but I also knew how strong the temptation would be to dive in and start on the edits anyway. Determined not to succumb and edit too early, I enlisted Lamont’s help as an alpha reader. Every day was a challenge not to ask him what he thought until he was done. “I’m at 10%,” he’d advise. “20%. 35.” To him, it was breakneck progress. To me, it was grueling.

The weekend came around again. Lamont held up his Kindle. “85%,” he announced. The children started to bounce off the walls. “I’ve got to finish it.” He disappeared. Sigh. Speaking of percents, it is probably the only time I wasn’t 100% thrilled to hear I’d written something someone didn’t want to put down, but even so, it was still better to hear than the alternative.

I’m happy to report I now have my weekend helper back, which means that I will soon be able to move forward with edits once again. With any luck (and maybe a little more help from my supportive spouse), I might just be able to publish this book next year. And that’s certainly a problem worth having.