Most writers suffer from invisibility. The big publishers have pushed us into the shadows, where we sit with our peers in a heap of literature that ranges in quality from trash to treasure. Publicity is a constant need. Discoverability is a constant desire.
My two biggest things that keep my name on the surface of the internet, interacting with others, are my SciFi Question of the Day and the weekly interviews I do. They both take time and energy, but it is well spent.
Sometimes coming up with a SFQotD is easy. Sometimes, I just sit there, my mind blank. I’ve been doing this for several years. That’s good and bad… it means it’s hard to think up something new and original, however I also know that I don’t necessarily have to be original. I do repeat questions now and then, especially if they got a great response the first time around.
I love facebook’s Memories ap that puts into my newsfeed something from that date in a previous year. Sometimes it’s the SFQotD. I’ve started a file where I copy the re-useable questions and note what dates I used them. If I keep this up every day, I should end up with a lovely resource for myself. When I can’t think up a new question, I’ll just copy one from the file. Putting in the work of collecting these questions will pay off in the long run.
I cut my interviews down from twenty questions to thirteen. Even with the most interesting and prolific subjects, sometimes it’s hard to come up with twenty questions. Thirteen is easier, and if I want to combine two questions into one, I can.
When I started doing the interviews back in 2011 it was easy to keep track of them in my head. I knew who I was interviewing in the current week, and who was coming up. However I now have a much larger network, and I plan the interviews out months in advance. I need to keep track of who has agreed to do one, and whether or not I’ve sent the initial message and then the it’s-almost-time message. Sometimes, people volunteer and then they never answer any further messages. Many interviewees have something specific like a new release to promote. It’s a lot to keep track of.
I have a Word doc that has the current schedule, and I’m considering switching it to a spreadsheet. I’m not sure which will work best for me yet. (I used to teach MS Office… I know what the programs can do, and each has its advantages.) I have generic versions of the messages I send to my interviewees, and I copy/paste these into email. I have the schedule, and notes, and a fair amount of nit-picky stuff that seems unnecessary but it keeps popping up again and again. Putting in the work of creating this file, whether I keep it as a doc or make it a spreadsheet, saves me headaches and work with this task that repeats itself week after week.
This last week I have not met my goal of writing at least three days a week. I’ve done a lot of writing-related work, very good and necessary work, but it bothers me that the core, the essence of my career keeps getting pushed to the back burner.
Anyone else doing Camp NaNoWriMo this year?
Anyone else doing prep-work?