Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Wasn't Sure About This One, but I'm Posting It Anyhow

So I tried maintaining two blogs for a while. To be polite to, well, myself, that was an ill-advised endeavor. (If you aren't polite with yourself, who can you possibly be polite to?)

Maintaining one blog is a lot of work as is... but I didn't know that. I figured I'd just write brilliant pieces for both blogs and readers would flock from everywhere. (Uh, not exactly. I'm not actually delusional... but hopefully you see the point.)

Then I started to learn how things actually work in the real world.

Quick digression: Talli Roland has a blog I rather enjoy following.* Today she talks about things you really should consider doing if you want to have people follow/read your blog. I think all bloggers who are honest with themselves should openly admit to this being quite important. I mean, we write so people will read, correct? (If your answer is "no," I don't know what to possibly say in response. So let's just assume you said "yes" for the sake of moving along...)

* Since I'm not opposed in the least to pimping a blog I support, please find a link to her page here (for after you are done reading this much-belabored post). And be sure to follow, since you're already there. (It is, after all, the polite thing to do.) You have a Ducks-guarantee that you will not be disappointed!

Anyhow, I've basically turned off my J.M. Neeb blog. Sure, it's technically still up, but that is because I had left a note -- much like a shipwrecked, nautical disaster survivor might stuff into a bottle (Where does the bottle come from, though?) -- for anyone who did follow me there to come on over to the Ducks... if they want to do so. (Far be it from me to tell anyone else what to do.)

I decided to focus my efforts on the Ducks.

"So what was the difference between the two blogs," the ever-inquisitive (and always impeccably-dressed) Ducks readers ask in unison. (Yes, in my mind you are all reading at the same time. I also figure you coordinate this mass-reading via telegram, pigeon messengers and smoke signals.)

Excellent question, my favorite peeps. Well, J.M. was supposed to be more of a look at my journey (not the band Journey) into becoming a full-time writer (whether by freelance corporate writing, short stories, humor, whatever.) See, I am a writer. It is in my blood and I can't conquer it. I can try fighting it, but my nature will win every time. (My nature is kind of like the New York Yankees, except not evil.)

What I found was that it didn't seem to be rather exciting for anyone who isn't me, which happens to be most of the world. (Who would have guessed?)

Ducks Out Of A Row was supposed to be more like my "column," and it really has been. This presents more of an opportunity to be humorous and provide my thoughts on random things (Taliban monkey soldiers, for example). I figured, hopefully "rightfully so," that there would be more interest in this blog and it won out over J.M.

(By the way, those are my first two initials. No one actually calls me that, but I'm terribly private. Of course, I have my name listed somewhere in the About Me section, so I'm not sure how much it matters.)

"Okay, all this rambling has to come to some kind of conclusion or point, right?"

Right. My point today is that I'm a writer. I don't talk about it much here, well, because I'm busy writing the actual posts. But I write quite a bit beyond this blog. I have short stories and future novels in various stages of development. And I think about writerly stuff -- like, just because "writerly" isn't a word, is there any reason why I couldn’t use it if the readers will know what I mean? (See what I did there? Pure genius.)

And I want to see the craft thrive, which is something I worry about in this day and age of the Internet and text messaging and “The Dumbest Generation.”

"Alright, now he's picking up speed."

So I just wanted to put something out there for my fellow writers. I don’t have any affiliation whatsoever to this publication, but I’d like to encourage you to take a look at at Glimmer Train and consider subscribing.

The sisters (Susan and Linda) who run this particular literary magazine are, in my opinion, doing a tremendous service for writers. Anyone who publishes literary fiction, and hosts contests, to help writers deserves recognition by the community they support.

To be honest, I intend on submitting either for publication or a contest with Glimmer Train at a later date, but do not think for a moment that this will either help or hurt my chances. (I never do the whole “brown-nose” thing. Ever.) (Well, I’m a man of principles when you get down to it.)

According to their About Us page, Susan and Linda launched Glimmer Train in 1990 and haven’t broken even. Which means they are clearly doing it for the love of writing and that inspires me. That kind of passion for the written word is simply awesome.

Anyhow, this was important for me to mention, so that’s what I’m doing. My budget doesn’t allow for a subscription at the moment, but that will change in about a month, and so will my non-subscribing status at that time.

Just something for you to think about, I guess.

That’s all I got for now.

Editor’s note: Yep.


  1. Thanks for noticing how impeccably dressed I am!

    I've run across Glimmer Train in the past and have been quite impressed. Hopefully one day I'll be in the black and can also subscribe...

    And just for the record, I thought about Monkeys vs. Aliens all weekend. I'm not kidding. I even told my out-of-town guests about it.

  2. Since I am a cool kid who always succumbs to blog pressure, I''m leaving a comment. I'm glad you decided to stick with "Ducks" because I'm all for blog entertainment. Those blogs that talk only about writing honestly become tedious after a while. My blog was also born to be a column about my observations about life, love, and whatever the heck suits my fancy. So here's to a great column by you:-)

  3. Good idea to consolidate here. Can't imagine keeping up with two blogs. I forget my Twitter half the time.
    And even with a book coming out soon, I rarely talk about writing outside of a book I'm reviewing or something.
    Continue with the snark, though!

  4. I've learned people like funny which is why I try write funny posts at least once or twice a week. Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes. Not at the writing, but at the funny.

  5. :)

    I just find myself smiling. I don't think I've read such a refreshingly polite blog in a long time... Like... Ever.

    I understand only writing one blog. I'm probably going to have to succumb and sink my one blog.

    Anyhow, thanks for the thoughts! :D

  6. Anywhere to read some of your short stories? While I enjoy the funny and meandering stroll this blog takes me on, I'm curious what you do with a tale.

  7. I sometimes flirt with the idea of another blog and then remember that I often struggle with the one that I have... the one that already has ANOTHER writer to back me up.

  8. I couldn't even begin to handle two blogs. I can hardly handle one! Good for you for streamlining your life (and still keeping up with the #1 goal--writing!)

  9. Summer - I will be sure to let Michael Bay now that you are creating some serious buzz for "Monkeys vs. Aliens." Well, I mean that I will as soon as his people call my people. Hasn't happened yet, but I'm really sure it will happen soon...

    Wendy - The pressure gets everyone in the end. You might as well not even try to fight it!

    Alex - Glad to know that I'm not the only one who neglects his Twitter half the time. Actually, it is more than "half the time" in my case. (Yet, somehow, I still I have new followers all the time.)

    Elspeth - All we can do is try, right? Sometimes "the funny" is working for us, sometimes not so much. We just have to hope it works for us more often than not! :)

  10. 2 blogs. Oy. I can barely keep up with one.
    Hadn't heard of Glimmer Train, so thanks for sharing.

  11. Ducks FTW! I do enjoy coming over here and I think it's obvious you're a writer, even if you don't talk about it much. I'm kinda sorta the same way, though I'm working on consistency in posting.

    And of COURSE writerly is a word! I don't care that it gets that squiggly underlining. :D

  12. Aching Hope - Well, thank you kindly for the compliment! The main goals here are 1) world domination, 2) humor and 3) extreme politeness. :)

    Dorn - I do not currently have anything published, but will be submitting for contests/publications in the very near future. Once any of my works are out there, I'll be sure to let everyone know.

    SG - A second writer... Hmmmmm. I might have to look into that. Perhaps I should get an intern? (Well, it worked out well for President Clinton, right?)

    Lydia - Sometimes a simple road is the best one to travel. I love how you cover so much ground with your blog. Hopefully, I have a similar thing going on here. :)

  13. Thank you so much for mentioning my blog! I really appreciate it. And I hear you on how much effort it is to maintain two blogs. I have two, but one usually languishes away while I focus on the other. I can't put equal amounts of energy into them.

  14. I LOVE LOVE Glimmer Train and subscribe to the magazine. I've submitted my work twice, but neither story was accepted. The competition is fierce; anyone who's read an issue knows. The stories are literary and emotional, tightly written and strong of voice. One day, I hope to be published there. And I hope you are, too!!

  15. Karen - That's exactly why I shared! If I ever catch onto something from our little "writer world" -- and we truly do have our own world -- I like being able to spread the news. :)

    Rebecca - I say that we start a task force to A) put "writerly" in the official dictionaries and B) banish the red squiggly line that appears underneath it forever!

    Talli - I wouldn't have said it if I didn't mean it, so you are perfectly welcome! :)

    Nicole - I've read stories that have appeared in Glimmer Train via various short story collections, but it's nice to have an actual endorsement. I can't wait until I subscribe next month.

    (Also, I wish you the best of luck when you go for publishment in GT! I follow your blog and know about your simply fabulous writing abilities, so I have absolutely no doubt that you can do it.)

  16. Honestly, I have enough trouble keeping up with the one blog I have. Thing is, people (like us) to write in the more conversational, entertaining, Pulitzer-winning way are going to have trouble finding anyone to compensate us for this endeavor. When I do my paid writing, it's not nearly as fun, or carefree. It's WORK...and there's not much room for humor or...well, ME. It's also not social...and writing an article will not include feedback, so you never really know how it's received by readers.
    Yes, I think it's polite to reciprocate a follow w/a follow...but even more important is a COMMENT. You can have 2,000 flwgrs and 5 comments a day and what does THAT say? And when 3 of the comments say "That was an informative and creative post!" you are screwed.

  17. Kathryn - I hear what you're saying. And I can actually relate completely, even though I'm currently in the corporate world and you freelance. Everything I have to write for my career (technical documents, consisting of a lot of numbers and facts, for the pharmaceutical world) has ZERO humor and even less ME.

    Comments totally trump follows, because of the effort and thought entailed. (Save for the type you had mentioned.) I love that those who comment here put up actual comments! (Like you do.) :)


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