Sunday, December 25, 2016

5th Blogiversary

I started this little blog in December of 2011, and it has now been five full years of putting down random thoughts on a page.  I've been gratified by those who've chosen to read it, and I've learned a few things along the way:

1.  Blogging takes time and work.  As noted by recent changes to this blog, blogging can take a great deal of time.  Posts take, on average, 30-ish minutes to write, and when added to a full time job, writing more novels, and a family, it can be exhausting.  Figuring out a schedule takes thought.  I can't just be willy-nilly with my blogging schedule, for it will either consume me or I'll put out crappy stuff.  As an addendum, it's work.  Sure, it can be fun, and Lord knows I use it to stay sane sometimes, but it isn't just something that's "meh."  Don't go into blogging if you have an aversion to work.

2.  Ideas are hard.  When I first started blogging, I had all kinds of topics to talk about.  After all, I had a lot to say!  I also had lots of time to do so.  However, ideas began becoming more and more scarce over time.  How does a person stay on top of a blog without becoming repetitive?  Aside from time constraints, this was the biggest reason for the blog's shrinkage recently - I simply didn't have enough to fill a blog three days a week without becoming that Charlie Brown teacher that no one understands because her words become nothing but noise.

3.  Always be safe with permissions.  This is a big one when it comes to the financial health of bloggers.  Some bloggers use the work of others to enhance their sites.  I used to be one of them...until I discovered the risks involved.  Remember, when you use someone else's work - pictures, song lyrics, etc. - you usually owe them something monetarily, and they will be able to enforce that in court.  I decided not to risk it.  At the same time, it makes pictures on the site challenging since it takes effort to take pictures, and rarely do we find something super-hilarious.

4.  Always engage with commenters.  Always.  People like to feel they are friends with people they read.  It's a basic human need.  It can also be annoying when a blogger seems to think that he or she is above the audience.  None of us are.  We're all people, and we need others to both be interested and buy our work.  Besides, you can have some really great conversations, so don't snub your audience.

5.  Don't get political.  We just came off of a very divisive election.  People have ended relationships over folks being on the wrong side of political conversations.  Don't alienate half of your audience by being snide about what you believe.  In fact, don't bring it up unless it's absolutely necessary.  Let people believe you think exactly what they think.  Practiced apathy can be bonding, but opposition can piss people off.  Unless you're writing a political book intended for a specific group, don't risk it.

The first five years have been fun.  I've met some awesome readers and writers, and I've learned a lot.  I hope I'll continue to learn.  As for what I'll do next, that'll come in next week's post.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Website Update

I finally did something I've been meaning to do for almost a year - I updated this site.  A great deal of the information was wildly out of date, so it needed doing even though I'm a lazy bastard who cringes sometimes at the minutiae of things like that.  However, being a professional means doing the little things, and the site was beginning to get stale.

First, I updated the "About Me" least a little.  I haven't lived in Hawaii for over a year now, so claiming such made me look like a douche.  Kansas may not be anywhere near as exotic as the South Pacific, but it's truthful.  I loved living on Oahu, though, and my wife misses it dearly.  At the same time, the picture accompanying my profile is three years old now(the "baby" in the picture is rapidly approaching the age of four), so updating that still remains.  I'll get to it sometime during the holidays.

Additionally, I updated the "RD Meyer's Novels" page.  It said I've completed six novels, although I've completed nine.  I also updated the status on several, including the publication date of Akeldama(May 18, 2017).  I know both fans of the site want to know accurate information on how to get my work.

Finally, I updated a woefully out of date blogroll, and I may still prune it some.  Several blogs haven't been active in more than a year, while others moved to different URLs.  There were even a couple that have long since shut down.  Anything over a year without an update, with the exception of my wife's CF blog, have been removed.  After all, if those bloggers don't care enough to update their sites, why should you?

Yes, all of this seems mundane, but I've gotten a couple of notes about the currency of my site, and I finally got the proper motivation to do something about it.  I've gotta keep working, and hopefully the next update won't be yet another year in the making.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Death Of Blogs

Last week, I got overwhelmed to the point of not doing a post.  This week, it almost happened again.  As I remembered that I have people who read this blog(both of you), I wondered what the hell was happening to me.  When the answer crept into my head - life - it got me thinking about other websites that are on my blogroll, and how many have disappeared.

First, yes, I need to clean up my blogroll.  There are a few on the right side of the screen that haven't been active for months(or longer).  But I'm a lazy bastard, so I'll clean them up as soon as I get a chance during my vacation coming up soon.  Still, as I looked at cleaning, it got me thinking about those that are no longer around.

Kevin Hanrahan is a good friend of mine from school, and he had a promising start with his book, Paws On The Ground.  Unfortunately, he's been consumed with parts of his career, and I haven't heard anything about his novel in...well...forever.  His website is now dark.  Go ahead - click on the link.  You'll get nothing.

Christine Rice is a writer I've interacted with on a few occasions, but her site hasn't appeared active in over a year.  On the rare occasion I've had the chance to browse around and look at other blogs, I've found myself wondering what has happened to hers.  I suspect that, much like many others, there are life events that have gotten in the way.

Those life events seem to be at the crux of the websites I've seen that haven't been active.  DeAnna Knippling hasn't put up anything new for a while, and many others have changed platforms so often that I find myself jumping from one to the next to keep track.  It's exhausting.

So as I came up to tonight, life events once again threatening to overwhelm me, I wondered if this was the beginning of the end for my own site.  After all, I'd already limited the number of posts I was doing each week, and perhaps this was the natural course of how it was going to end.  You know - life wins, and all that bullshit.  But then I remembered that I have a novel coming out in a few months, and I need a platform.  I also need to keep writing in some vein since I'll go insane otherwise(to say nothing of dulling my ability to craft coherent sentences), so I buckled down and wrote.  I also came up with several topics for the next posts, and I've dedicated myself to finding the time to write them.  I hope I stick to it.

It's easy for life to take over, but you have to stay engaged if you want to be successful(which I aim to be).  Not that that necessarily translates, but if you lose dedication in one area, it will fall in others, and that would truly be the end.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

No Post This Morning

Sorry.  Life got overwhelming this week.  Rather than a shitty post, I'm not going to put one up at this point.  I'll be back on track next week.