Attitude and Success

Have you ever met a perpetually grouchy person who is quite successful? It seems that some people find a great payoff in being crabby to other people.

It’s been immensely intriguing to me how different people respond to the same issues.  I’ve closed down one of my businesses this summer.  It wasn’t profitable enough and I spent way too much time handholding.  Handholding on topics that I shouldn’t have to.

It may be Seattle, but people missed appointments all the time.  Even the ones that they specifically scheduled at 8 in the morning on a Saturday. *yawn*  Thank you for sending me that cancellation email prior to the meeting.  Of course I was going to be in the office.  Of course I wanted to be there early in the morning until 8 pm at night, just so I can be there.  Did I send any pointed comments to those people?  Should I have?

Some people send a cheery email, wishing me the best.  Other people send massive screeds of disappointment and a few barbed comments.  Which do you think it likely to get you farther in life?  Which do think is going to create a more favorable impression?

If the only way that you can any results is to be a meany, then you are doing it wrong.


Release the Kraken!

What happens when you receive a writing critique and you feel like mountain lions have you backed into a corner?

I think we have all been there.  When I asked for help with my first book; the editor unleashed the kraken on me.  Thirty or so bullet points.  How did I deal with that?

One, I think she was giving her best advice.  However, she was going to charge me a boatload of money to ‘fix’ all the problems or ‘work’ with me.  Determine what the critic’s self interest is.  This can range anywhere from monetary, personal, or would like to help you.  The last means, that they really, really think they are doing you a favor.  Once you consider the potential viewpoint of the flamethrower devouring your ego, it becomes less painful.  Also consider if they like your genre.  I had a creative writing instructor that hated science fiction and fantasy.  Hated it.  Then she waxed on and off about shakespeare’s Midsummer’s night dream.  Which is about magic.  Elf Kings.  Consider their POV.

Two, summarize the complaints in a neutral list.  This makes it so you don’t have to read the demon’s spoutings time and time again.  It also helps you process the sensible from the hysterical.  My favorite was when I was writing instructions, it was clearly labeled as such, and then they complained there were too many instructions.

Three, Now that you have a neutral list; prioritize the list.  What is the most important?  What is simply not happening?

Four, Only fix the most important problem.  That should either be a grammar or formatting issue.

Five, Does that solve the other problems?

Six, Repeat until you have reviewed all the sensible problems.

I’ve found that only three problems are worth fixing from any flaming dragon.  Taking the time to rewrite has always improved my writing.

Ethical Beta Reading

I was saddened to learn that beta readers are trashing books via goodreads reviews.

How would like to give your half grown child to someone, and then have them post negativity about their braces, hair cut, or other thing that will fix itself with a little gentle feedback.

Trolls will be troll’n.  They just found a better hook to get books smeared.


Why didn’t you pull up to the Loading Dock?

The view was blocked, I was donating a wheeled office chair, and gosh darn it, I didn’t want to be blocked into a tight parking spot.

I was making his life more difficult.  I could read it.

He walked about 10 feet to my car and started pushing the office chair toward the loading dock.

I had bought that office chair when my office was shiny and new.  I had scheduled a meetup and about 15 people had RSVP’ed.  It was unfortunate, because, I was short one chair.  One lousy chair.  I had high hopes for everyone showing up, hiring me, and the I would be fabulously wealthy.

They did come that day.  Wanting to know how to do everything themselves.  Wanting to do their own work.  Learning from me.

Not one person even emailed a thank you for a free bookkeeping class.  Not One.  So a few weeks later while shuffling around the chairs, and especially, the shiny new one, I put it in a corner where it was seldom used.

Transitory employees or contractors would use it.  Complain about it.  That it didn’t have enough padding.  I had bought the chair at a local grocery store – department store.  It wasn’t the best chair, but it was okay for a meeting.  Or perhaps it had convince people not to use my bookkeeping services.

When I had first started my business, all the experts said, give a free class.  Once they meet you, it’s sure to generate clients.  I found rather, it attracted people who didn’t want to pay for anything.  I had given classes at the local (redacted), been interogated for four hours, and then insulted by the class organizer.  One woman even walked out stating that I knew nothing.  She had been forced to come with her boyfriend to the beginning class.  She didn’t like my explanation of financial statements or of basic sales forms.  Anything basic to her was worthless.  It was a beginning class.  Other people wanted to know how to turn on the program.  One of the rudest people that I’ve had the pleasure only being contact with for an hour of my life.

I closed my business.  One thing after another left.  A plastic potted plant, a maple desk, filing cabinets, signs, desks, and computers.  Just about everything whirled into craigslist, freecycle, or former clients purchased.

Everything gone.  Except that chair.

And now it’s gone.  :)




More Spam

What saddens me most about the relentless spam, is that probably someone has paid some at fiver to send it out.  Do NOT waste your money on companies ‘setting’ up backlinks.  Backlinks are supposed to set up SEO and promote websites to the top of search engines.

Sending out gibberish comments with links is not the way to do this.  Its almost as if my cat were walking across the keyboard.  Except for random keys, it’s random sentences.  It’s almost as bad as those twitter accounts that only send out advertising pitches.  Best deleted without reading.

If you think that’s going to help you, I’ve got a bridge I’d like to sell you.

And it isn’t just my website that has a tsunami of spam.  It’s everyone’s website.  Haven’t you ever wondered about the websites that have no comments?  Blame the spam bots.  Even if I select, delete all.  It’s still time out my day to read the comments and then delete them.

And no, I’m not going to buy some designer handbags from a spam email.

Pulheezzee that is so AOL circa 1995.


Review of “How to Safely Live in a Science Fictional Universe”

I enjoyed reading this book.  It’s about a time travel mechanic trying to rescue his father.  Its more about his interior journey than action.  So hard scifi fans might like the theoretical process.  It is a bit lacking in the action department.

The ending was a bit abrupt after all that information.  If you like to discuss theory more than have a car chase, this is a great book.

By Charles Yu.


Finding a Beta Reader

Where do you find a beta reader?

Well, you can email me of course. :)

But failing that, ask people to write a critique of one of their least favorite books.  It would give you an idea of what they are like when they are negative.  Can they hold back?  Or are they going to be vicious?

Merely disagreeing you is one of the time treasured aspects of having your writing critiqued.  I’ve have my work savaged during writing critique groups myself.  When it came to certain people, I felt like it was an unleashing of a multiheaded hydra that unleashed a solid stream of vomit at my draft.

I like to treat people better than that.

Goodreads also has a substantial beta reading community.  However, it’s been documented that trolls also inhabit that lair and lay in wait to lob negative reviews at your book.  Tread Carefully.

Friends and Family.  Make sure they like your genre.  If they don’t like vampire romances; it’s unlikely they will like your cowboy vampire hero.

Any other suggestions?  Feel Free to post a comment.


The First Foggy Morning

This morning, while returning home, I saw the first wisps of fog caressing the street.  I had missed the fog.  Fog means that you can drink coffee or tea late until noon.  Warm fireplaces.  Cozy books.  And slightly damp cats.

I don’t have to worry about watering the plants.  I can pull out my favorite sweaters.  The sandals can go back into the closet.

Apples will soon be on the way.  Crispy.  Delectable.  Juicy.  I can already taste the cinimony goodness of the first apple crisp.  Apple crisp was the first thing that I was allowed to make myself when I was a kid.  I’d cut up the apples.  Follow the cookbook instructions to the letter.  Measuring the butter, cinomin, flour exactly.  I’d simmer the apples and sugar together.  Crush the butter and sugar together, then add the flour.  Wait by the oven.  Take in the smell.  mmm…

The fall fog is here.  And soon also will be apple crisp.

Writing Challenge!

I challenge you to write a character that believes in something you do not personally believe in.

Can you write?  Or are you just talking about your own beliefs?  Examining other points of view is a common way to build trust with those you are trying to persuade.


Fox News is a brilliant and thoughtful news source.

There actually were nuclear weapons in Iraq.

Girls should only wear bright pink clothes.

Boys should be scientists.

Opera is engaging.

Junk food is a healthy option.

Children’s sugary cereal is part of a healthy breakfast.

Smoking isn’t bad for you.  It increases lung functions.

Bike lanes promote accidents.

Apple is Evil.

Apple is Good.

Microsoft is a fun place to work.

Corporations don’t care about the bottom line.

All Interns are geniuses.

Dragons will return.

Sasquatch is real.  We are having dinner next week.

Aliens not only probed me, they gave me some great stock tips.

Einstein was an idiot.

Presidential elections are rigged.

Presidential elections are not rigged.

French Fries prevent heart attacks.

Gluten is an imaginary substance.

Ducks don’t swim, they walk on water.

Coffee was created by aliens to enslave us.

Plants can talk.

My vote makes a difference.

Insects are recording everything that we say.  Spiders are trying to save us.

Think a bit outside of your boundaries.   It will enhance and improve your writing.