Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Heading into the Final Stretch

At ninteen days Camp NaNoWriMo is more than half over. My project is currently sitting at slightly over half (45/80 pages) completed. I thought I would easily have 80 pages to cobble together, but it's harder than it seems. I felt like I've written thousands of poems over my lifetime, but really I haven't. Sure, I spent more than a year writing haiku which makes it seem like a large volume, but I'm excluding those from this project because of the length and the fact that haiku just seems to go together as a collection on its own.

Hopefully I'll find some more poems laying around, otherwise I'll have to get writing again. I'm not too worried, because 80 is sort of the center point of a poetry book. Most manuscripts are typically 60-100 pages. I wanted a little wiggle room in case I throw any out of the project. And length is really a smaller concern. The bigger concern is the order of the poems. It's going to take a lot of testing to see what order they should be in so that it flows and it seems like a cohesive entity instead of just random poetry slapped together. We'll see what happens!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Why ModCloth Fans are Angry -- And Why That Matters

Those of  us in the world who embrace all things vintage know the name ModCloth. It is a company that has been the center of my vintage-inspired lifestyle for years now. As you may have heard, ModCloth's owner announced the sale of the company to Walmart last Friday. This move has angered casual shoppers and diehard fans alike.

You can say, "Well that's just business." And there's the problem for fans of the brand. ModCloth wasn't just a store. It had a life and personality of its own--it was the type of dream branding most companies never achieve. It provided a space for all shapes and sizes to not only get awesome clothes and accessories, but for many of us to embrace our love for 20th century style, weird obsessions and general geekiness. It was the modern shopper's ideal of what a great store that cared about its customer base should look like.

I must admit that I didn't make purchases from ModCloth very often, but when I was able to make a purchase I was taking on as much as a 25% markup on the products I bought. I knew there were places I could get it cheaper (often directly from the brand of a particular item). I happily paid up because I knew I was supporting a business I believed in. And when I wasn't able to shop, I stayed engaged with the brand and its message.

What loyal customers can't reconcile with is who they did business with. ModCloth could have sold the business to almost anyone and you wouldn't have gotten this kind of reaction. Target? Sure! Department stores like JCPenney or Macys? Absolutely. A high-end company that would have jacked up the prices to an astronomical level? As a last resort, maybe. But not the scourge-of-the-earth Walmart.

You can't search for news about Walmart without running into the terrible practices it perpetuates. People stuck working for them (particularly women) have to deal with a lot of misery for little benefit. It is in direct opposition to the brand mission of ModCloth. That's why fans are angry, and that's why no one knows what to do with this move aside from saying sayonara.

Before anyone calls me a hypocrite for talking about Walmart, please let me be the first one to call myself out. Yes, I shop at Walmart. I can't help it--it's literally in my backyard. I live in one of those areas of the Midwest almost completely devoid of independent businesses because of Walmart's presence. There are a couple of restaurants in this town that aren't owned by conglomerates--that's it. I have little option but to shop there, as much as I don't like it.

This sale has proven that you can do anything you want because this is America--including doing something that's not in the best interest of the people that made you a success (see also: politicians). I'm sure that ModCloth weighed the pros and cons of the sale and knew that there would be an exodus of customers. But to think that they will get the same level of loyalty and engagement with a new set of customers is ridiculous. The dream is over, ModCloth. It was nice while it lasted.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

April Bringing Showers... of Projects

If you haven't figured it out by now, I like to celebrate National Poetry Month every April. This year, I've decided to work on a poetry project--a manuscript for submission to a publisher (one of the few that still consider unsolicited work).

I thought this would mean skipping out on April's Camp NaNoWriMo, but they've implemented some pretty awesome changes, including letting you set your writing goal to word count, line count, page count or hours spent writing (I hope these options carry over into November's contest as well). So now I can use Camp NaNo to complete my manuscript within a month. To be honest, a lot of the work is written; it just needs edited and compiled to a full-length project.

Now that there are plans in place, I can't wait until April!

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Old Projects Have New Plans

Things have been going in a slow pace around here. I realized that it was because I had so many projects that didn't have a solid ending--not just the story itself, but what I wanted to do with them once they were done. Now, things have been reorganized and I have a clear path for many of these projects.

To sum it up:
  • In Another Life is no longer going to be a trilogy. Instead, books 1 and 2 will be combined into a single story, and the third book will be the sequel.
  • Another series (one that I haven't said much about) is being planned and the first story is going to be posted on Wattpad sometime before the end of the year. 
  • I'm still working on a project for Channillo, and hopefully it will be accepted. 
  • The third (and last) installment of the Melody of Love Kindle Worlds series will be completed by the end of the year. 
  • Something (I still don't know what) will be on Kindle Scout--I just have to pick which of my projects will have the best chance at success.
When it comes to new projects and challenges, I'm looking into doing a massive reading project. Since I still have a number of reading obligations for March, it's not going to start just yet. When I get closer to launching myself on this new journey, I'll have more information. That, and I have to be very good at staying away from NetGalley and Penguin First to Read so that I don't continue to bog myself down with even more reading obligations.

What are your reading/writing plans for March?

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Hello, LinkedIn. Let's Be Friends.

Remember when I talked about this being the year where I said 'yes' a lot more? Well, I've noticed that without the right tools, I haven't had the chance to say yes to anything yet, because no one's asking the question.

I've had a LinkedIn profile for a couple of years, but I've never really found a way to utilize it as a freelance writer. I find it much easier to use other social media platforms to discover clients and publications that I am interested in working with. But I've made this a year of radical change, so I went back to my LinkedIn profile and realized that I've been doing it all wrong.

The one piece of advice from career experts talking about LinkedIn is that your profile shouldn't look like your resume. Mine totally does, so I'm making the point to fix it. I started with the headline, which once I changed it to better describe my wide range of freelancing skills (without being too jack-of-all-trades, of course), I noticed that it just looked better. It fit my personality. It was right.

Now I just have to put the work in on each of the sections. I still feel like the whole thing is one giant humble brag. I have to get over that attitude and be confident when I tell people I have accomplishments. And like in the world of independent publishing, if something isn't doing the job--change it. That's what I intend to do.