Thursday, July 10, 2014

Lend Me Your Eyeballs

Yes, it’s true.

I only wrote and published a novel because I wanted an excuse to start a new blog.

Seriously, it hadn’t even occurred to me that, once the book—which by the way is called Maximilian and Carlotta Are Dead—was finished, I should start blogging about it. But once the writing and editing parts were done and I realized that I had to get serious about the publishing bit, every source of information and advice was telling me that I needed to blog about the book and about writing.

So here I am blogging.

But here’s the rub. Isn’t every minute that I spend writing words for a blog one less minute that’s available for writing the next book? Isn’t that kind of counter-productive?

Technically, the answer is yes, since there are only so many minutes in the day. But, less technically, the answer is no, because it is a given that every author needs to spend a certain amount of time publicizing and marketing his or her work anyway and, if you have to spend time on that stuff, you might as well spend it doing something a writer is presumably good at, which is after all writing. Besides, the writing you do on a blog is different than the writing you do in a novel. It’s sort of like clearing the palate in between tasting different wines.

My problem when it comes to creative writing is that I easily get distracted by technical matters. This comes from many years spent in jobs that have involved formatting, production, pre-press prep, and various forms of computer support. So when I am working on a book, it’s always tempting to spend lots of time fiddling with the formatting, the layout, the structure, and just general generation of the best quality HTML and/or Epub files I can manage.

The same thing applies to the blog. There are so many layout/design decisions to get out of the way before you can even starting writing anything. And, as an inveterate technical problem solver, I had the additional challenge with this blog of using the custom domain name I had acquired ( and making it point successfully to the blog on Blogger or Blogspot or whatever is the right name for this hosting site real estate I am borrowing from Google. It turned out that the web host I used to acquire the domain address—and which hosts my film blog—does not play nice with Google’s method of working with third-party domain names. Next thing you know, I have A Project on my hands trying to make something work that common sense says should be a piece of cake because lots of people have obviously been doing this for years already.

If you are reading this, then it is probably a good indication that I successfully solved the problem and that trying to connect to this blog is not putting your browser in an endless loop between one hosting site and the other. (That’s not just a theoretical worst case scenario. It was actually happening at more than one point during this ordeal.) Or you might just be reading this on Goodreads, where it is mirrored.

And furthermore, if you are indeed succeeding at reading this, then thank you very, very much. It is always an honor and a privilege to have the attention of somebody else’s eyeballs, even if just for a few minutes.

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