Well, I Didn’t Anticipate That

ThSnowy Treeree weeks ago I had a plan, details lined up in perfect formation, creating a straight path. Except for that one niggling little element that kept barging into my orderliness.

Persistent nudging, a suggestion growing more intrusive by the day. I gave in. I took the steps to explore that little detail and get it out of my mind, once and for all.

Two weeks ago, my plan started growing a few little fissures, cracks in my path. Certainty sliding towards unease.

Last week, that niggling little item defied me and took on a life of its own, scattered my nice linear arrangement.  A bomb that cratered my perfect little plan, leaving me to explore an unanticipated road.

And here I sit today, precarious; teetering and scrambling, praying and reaching out. Looking for answers that will balance logic and practical against the visceral emotion of call.

Itching for the comfort and confidence of the control I actually thought I held. Knowing that those C’s are unattainable and that I must trust.

Prayers answered in weather that keeps me housebound, plenty of time for reflection, exploration, maybe even some action.

It’s gonna be a hell of a week.



Just Plain Old Marketing, Folks

several people collaborating on laptopPlain Old Marketing

Used to be, we’d offer “digital marketing” or “online marketing”, which meant a website, some social media linking, a bit of SEO to get clients noticed on their customer’s screens.

And it was often a hard sell.

Website?  Why would I need a website?  My customers come to my store, after all. And isn’t  facebook and that other stuff for cute kitten pictures and political arguments?  And how could you possibly think I’d pay extra money so I’ll have better search engine something-or-other?

After all, we had magazines, the local newspaper, an occasional radio or tv ad.  And, of course, word of mouth.  Not online reviews, but actual words coming out of someone’s mouth in a personal recommendation.

And Then, Digital Marketing

The world began searching online, shopping online, reading reviews online. Maybe now that digital marketing stuff you were talking about makes some sense.  But my social media is still for vacation bragging and photos of my latest meal.

Or not.

So we’d take that great copy and find a way to get it online.  And then get it noticed.  That commercial could be embedded in a website.  That interview might become blog material. Of course they’ll see your decades-old logo!

Clicks and conversions and affiliate agreements enter the vocabulary.  We make websites and integrate social media for marketing.  We apply SEO, onsite and off. We improve local listing results and help nurture good ratings.

Traditional Marketing

And of course, we still offer the old-fashioined options.  Some clients request print ads, radio, even local network television. And of course we can assist.  But now we offer these as a secondary choice, perhaps even as an afterthought.  And we call it traditional marketing. Almost as an afterthought.

Just Plain Marketing

Now when we hear marketing, there’s not a second thought to media – of course it’ll appear online.  We create for screens of all sizes. We strategize at the mercy of Google algorithms and review engines and the latest security issues.

Nobody wants digital marketing. They just want plain old marketing.

And what we’ve been calling traditional marketing?  Still out there and still has a purpose.  But, for many, at the bottom of the marketing budget. Or maybe just overlooked. We occasionally taking our digital creations and modifying them to work on paper

Same Old, Not Same Old

The media and the method change. But the purpose is the same.  How about we go sell some stuff to somebody?

They Just Want Marketing

The end of digital marketing is here. Learn why we’re now in an era where digital marketing is just marketing.

Source: Welcome to the end of digital marketing

Happy Birthday Author Nayantara Sahgal

Nayantara Sahgal, on Passion

Novelist and photojournalist Nayantara Sahgal celebrates her birthday today, May 10th. She was born in 1927 into one of India’s prominent political families. Her novel Rich Like Us won the Sinclair prize for fiction. She is known as a writer with feminist concerns, delving into conventional Indian society’s gender roles. These days she serves as a political journalist for Indian, British, and American newspapers.

Nayantara Sahgal quote

Quirky Writing Habits

Today’s birthday quote brought to mind some writers’ behaviors that some others may find bewildering.

Have you ever encountered sidelong looks when explaining your yawns were caused by that wouldn’t-wait 3:00am idea? Or found yourself trying to explain why your antagonist has their own playlist? Or what exactly a series bible is?  Have you ever tried to clarify why your character has a twenty-page biography that readers will never see? Or why you drink coffee when writing dialog but scotch when outlining?

Writers Life – Yes, Maybe We’re Odd

Face it, some of the things we writers do seem weird to the rest of the world.

Some of those folks may even consider you to be a bit odd.  Acknowledge them politely. After all, they’re just baffled. So go ahead and try to explain the whys of your writing process.  Smile at their blank looks.

And then get back to following your passion and write those words!

Happy Birthday Nayantara Sahgal, born today in 1927.

Happy Birthday Emperor, and Thanks for the Good Advice

Marcus Aurelius Was Multi-Talented

2019 0426 Marcus Aurelius Lit Quote

Today marks what would have been Roman Emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius’ 1898th birthday. That’s after some minor adjustment for a little Julian calendar anomaly hundreds of years ago. Adjusted or not, he lived a really long time ago. Apparently Marcus had a bit of influence back then.

Did you know he wrote a book?  Not surprising, given his philosophical bent. He entitled his work “To Himself”, it is now known as Meditations. I suspect how-to-be-a-good-writer books weren’t so common back then. I’ll even suggest that self-help books were relatively unknown in the Roman Empire.

Timeless Advice from the Emperor

Despite that, Aurelius offers sound advice for would-be authors.

If you’re like me, you’ve got little notebooks and random scraps of paper, and maybe index cards with flashes of brilliance on them.  If you’re like me, they may be populating your glovebox, crinkling in your handbag, nestled in between bills and magazines. Great little gems, scenes, starting points, mental pictures, scattered amidst regular life and that paying job.

What good are they doing you?  Well, other than helping kick in that declutter urge.  You’ve jotted down that great bit of inspiration, but it won’t gain much traction scribbled on the back of a Walgreens receipt.

Just Do It

More recently, some Nike marketers paraphrased the great philosopher and (snicker) ran with it. Apologies, sometimes I just can’t help myself. But you cannot deny that this advice works. It worked for selling ridiculous quantities of casual footwear. And it’ll work for you, too.

That novel or poem, short story, memoir or even flash piece will never see the light of day if you just think about it.  Get pen in hand or fingers on keyboard and start saving those words rattling around in you head. Sit down and do so regularly, and if you do, as Marcus reminds us, “thou wilt have finished”.

Well done!







Reality vs. Fiction, According to Tom Clancy

tom Clancy Fiction Reality Quote

Today, April 12th, is the birth anniversary of Tom Clancy.

Tom Clancy was once a Maryland insurance broker with a passion for naval history.

Then he wrote The Hunt for Red October, which catapulted onto the New York Times bestseller list after President Reagan pronounced it “the perfect yarn”. Clancy was known for  weaving realism and intricate plotting into can’t-put-it-down suspense novels.

I can readily recall more than a few real-life situations that I’ve transferred to the page, only to find that they were unbelievable.  How can that be? It makes no sense that actual events or conversations don’t translate to fiction. Sense or not, the reality is that reality sometimes bends or tests or even shatters the suspended disbelief of our readers.  Why is that?

Have you ever written real life situations that were just too unbelievable to be included in your work?

Perhaps the entertaining conversation you overheard on the train doesn’t fit into your story. Or maybe your character wouldn’t be caught dead doing that crazy thing you saw the tourist do at the national park. It could be that what you observed was so jarring that it yanks your readers right out of the story.  Speaking of story, did that real-life tidbit actually further your plot or develop a character?  Did it serve a purpose?

The possibility exists that, sometimes, truth actually is stranger than fiction, and should be left alone. 

For now.

Keep it in your idea arsenal for another time.  You never know when your fiction could use that dose of actual real-life.

Photo taken by Gary Wayne Gilbert, 20 Nov 1989 at Burns Library, Boston College and is used under Creative Commons License.