All within Reason (aka “The Ripoff-Artist”)

Imagine you are the chef and owner of a rather decent restaurant. One day, you read a post by somebody who is looking for a good meal, a special multi-course meal. This somebody, they have a rough idea about what they want to eat, they even have drafted a recipe but need a pro to work it over and make it work.

They are willing to pay for such a meal, and you tell them you could do it. So they start asking you questions about your experiences, they want to sample your cooking etc. They seem to like your stuff so far, so they send you the first lines of their recipe and tell you: “Take these few ingredients and rudimentary instructions and cook a meal for me. I won’t pay for it, but if I like it, I will do business with you.”

You are not exactly a fan of giving away your stuff and time for free – but you tell yourself it is okay if they want to test you before they decide to give you the real gig.

So you step into your kitchen and start working, and you put effort into it, and you create a nice little appetizer. You also, as requested, write up your version of this recipe snippet. They come into your restaurant, they sit down, they eat the appetizer, they receive their overhauled recipe… they leave without comment.

A couple of days later you contact them. They tell you they are still in the process of making up your mind and would let you know in a week.

You don’t hear from them for a while.

Then, all of a sudden, you receive an e-mail, and they send you – without any further comment or reference to your previous encounter – the next part of the recipe. They suggest you do some cooking with these ingredients and rudimentary instructions. “I won’t pay for it, but if I like it, I will do business with you.”

Well, I am NOT a chef. But this was more or less what happened, when I offered my services as a writer to somebody who wanted to have their so called “film script” turned into a novel. And they wanted the first ten pages of their 120-page-script worked over novel-style – and of course for free. That is 12 % of the entire work as a “sample”. I gave them approx. five pages. And then… well, as already described.

Is it a surprise that my reply was swift and not exactly favorable?

Successful Self-Marketing on the Internet is like naming a Whale… err… or something

If you are a writer/blogger you probably want to make your voice heard – or rather have your words read… which is basically a no-brainer. The internet can be a great way to work on that (well, at least for the bloggers among us that venue is rather self-explanatory). Chances are we all want to enhance our reputation, get more traffic on our websites and occasionally even become rich and/or famous (cue for songs somewhere in the range of “All I have to do is dream”, “If I was a rich man”, “Nice work if you can get it” or “You can get it if you really want” and “Work B*tch”).

In other words: Self-marketing and Public Relations are important tools if we want to get readers, sell our books, find new clients, get our names out there.

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So, how DOES one get ahead in the virtual world? Successful blogging is certainly at least a part of the answer… which is one of the reasons why I keep posting my findings regarding this particular topic. There is more to keep in mind, though, so I went to one of my favorite go-to places on the www. (GIVE ME A T… GIVE ME AN E… GIVE ME A D!!!!) and found a bit of inspiration. It has something to do with the concerted efforts of reddit users to name a certain humpback whale “Mister Splashy Pants”… well, sort of:

In this particular TED talk, Alexis Ohanian of Reddit explains his version of “how to make a splash in social media”.

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The One-Sentence-a-Day-Strategy

I have a confession to make: I can sometimes be verrrrrrrrrrrry slow about my writing.

Often… I mean, I find myself in total awe when reading about the supposedly typical working day of other writers, who can write for hours and hours and somehow manage to produce content that is thousands of words worth – a day!!

It is not that I have no passion for writing! Au contraire!

The thing is – I get distracted easily (or is it “easily distracted”? Ooooh, the joys of writing in a foreign language… btw. is my passport up to date?… I could use a little snack… oh, look at the cute puppy pictures… *ahem*). I just have… so many ideas in my head, so much to do and so little time to pursue them all and to take care of stuff. I often get interrupted by the demands of a regular day. Aaaaaaaaaand… the Internet can be such a great distraction, as well!

Not to mention the bane of many a writer’s existence, the monster lurking under my bed, the pain in my neck and the phantom of my nightmares… the… (*cue dramatic Psycho-like music*): WRRRRRRRITER’S BLOCK!!

So, yeah, I often get stuck with my writing.

One of my methods to “trick” myself: I try to get myself to write one sentence. One. Seriously. I mean, I should be able to somehow manage that, right? If/when I am lucky, it creates some kind of creative domino effect in my mind, and one single sentence turns into several. As indeed has just happened with this text here: I had just been intending to jot down “The One-Sentence-a-Day-Strategy” (basically as a little mental knot-in-the-hanky-thingy to be pursued at a later time), and suddenly I just kept writing.

Well, it does not ALWAYS work like this. Sometimes a sentence just remains a sentence – for the time being. But, hey – one sentence is better than nothing and can eventually grow and evolve and become (*cue drum roll*) a whole. finished. text.

(And now… back to those puppy pics…)