Seven years of blogging. Let’s level up together

It’s been seven long years since I started writing this little blog. And I started preparing to write this post by reading all of my other anniversary posts. 

Every year in the past I’ve been surprised that I’ve kept writing. But after seven years, I think I’ll go ahead and keep writing. I’ve proven to myself that I can do hard things.

What continues to surprise me, and what I’m still deeply grateful for, is that you’re still reading. That there are still people who want to follow along this journey with me. Who want to learn, or at least be entertained by me.

I am humbled by this every single day. 

Seven years ago, the realization that people were reading things I wrote inspired me to keep writing. Now, you’ve inspired me to level up.

I want to be a better writer. I want to write better. Those might sound like the same thing, but they’re not. Let me break it down a little. 

To be a better writer means to be more disciplined. To practice more. To treat my art like art and my business like business. To spend less time on Instagram and more on writing practices. 

To write better is to produce better stories. To learn my craft inside and out. To understand language, word choice, grammar, and world-building in ways that I don’t now.

How exactly I’m going to do this is still in the planning stage. But I’m doing what anyone does to get better at anything. Learning and practicing.

I’m taking all of the writing classes on Masterclass. I’m re-reading books about writing that inspire me, like Wild Mind and On Writing. I’m reading Writer’s Digest from cover to cover. I’m listening to writing podcasts like Writing Excuses and Ditch Diggers. That’s the learning part.

I’m freewriting and doing daily exercises. I’m creating a dedicated Writer’s Notebook. I’m thinking more about word choice. I’m thinking about why stories work and why they don’t. I’m making lists. That’s the practice part. 

This is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. I love focusing on the words. It’s the hardest goal I’ve ever made. There’s no damned ruler to measure my progress. 

I can enter contests, and I do. I can track how many people follow me here. I can track how much of my content sells. But those are all measurements that are dependent on the opinions of others. And that’s arbitrary. I can never control other people’s opinions. I can only write good stories. Which is, again, arbitrary. 

What constitutes a good story? I don’t know, but I know when I read one. So I’m on a mission to know. To understand. 

I don’t think I’ll have a set of rules that will tell me if my stories are getting better. But I do think that if I keep at it, I’ll have a better understanding. And I think I’ll enjoy my work more.

So let’s make a deal. Let’s, each of us, commit to leveling up our art over the next 365 days. It doesn’t have to be writing.

I’ll post blog posts that will hopefully teach you something. I’ll also post more short stories, so you can decide for yourself how I’m doing. And you commit to doing one thing every week to improve your art, whatever that means to you. 

Let’s meet back here in a year and see how we’re doing. 

If you want to support Paper Beats World, you can do so on Ko-fi.

Check This Out, Mail Chimp

When you start selling your books and other products, you’re going to need a mailing list.  I started one last month, called the Road to Full Time.  I’m really glad I started one.

  • It allows me to talk at length about my actual step by step process to becoming a full time writer.
  • People who sign up for newsletters are actively saying, “I like what you have to say, and I would like to see more than you post on your site.”  That feels good.
  • When my books start coming out, I’ll be able to let the people who like me most hear about them, and offer specials.
  • It’s one of the most cost efficient ways to advertise.  Remember, you have to do all of your advertising when you’re a self published author.

The trouble is, I have very little time, and not a lot of money to spend. So, I started using MailChimp for my newsletter.

If you want to sign up for my newsletter, click here.

If you don’t want to sign up for my newsletter, click there anyway to see how easy MailChimp works.  Seriously, I just copied some code and attached it to that text.  It takes no time.

As for creating the newsletters, it is also easy.  That was really important to me.  I have worked for a lot of newspapers and newsletters for different organizations I’ve belonged to over the years.  You know what the worse thing about those were?  Page layout.  It sucks a lot.  MailChimp is by far the easiest program I’ve used for it.  Which is nice because I don’t want to be worrying about page layout.  I want to be worried about the content.

This is one of those things that you set up, and forget about it until you’re ready to make a new newsletter.  Images are easy to upload, and you can write articles right on the template, same as on WordPress.

So this week, check out MailChimp.  And let me know if you make your own newsletter.  I’m excited to see them.

Market- Write Naked

I am a huge fan of writers supporting writers. Write Naked is a great example of this. It’s a writing blog that pays for great guest posts. And I mean well. Also, it’s another WordPress site, so you’ve got to love that. If you want to write for other writers, you’ve got to try this site.

Genre- Non fiction, about writing.

Word count- 450 to 650 words.

Payout- $50, but she will occasionally pay $200 for work she considers truly great.

Wait time- Generally a few weeks. She’s a busy girl.

No deadline to speak of.

As always, don’t forget to check the full submission guidelines here.

Any luck with this market, or any others that you want to share? Did you finish a draft, or anything else you want to brag about? Let me know, and I’ll put it up on the monthly brag board, on the last day of each month.

A Website.

Up ↑