The McManual

Blogging my little heart out in poetry and prose.

Tag: writing

6/30 – NaBloPoMo09


Everything is an advertisement lately. I was reading some advice about blogging, and the article mentioned advertising on blogs. I have never even thought about trying to advertise anything. Sometimes I talk about my novel, *still seeking representation* but I don’t consider that to be advertisement.

The author was saying that if you had enough viewers every day, say 1000, that you could get a company to place a banner on your page and they would pay you $200 a month. Weird. Perhaps I can be accused of not knowing what I’m talking about, since I have a daily average of about 5 readers – and that is a vast improvement over a couple of months ago… (thanks, you 5) but even if I had a large readership, or perhaps especially if I did, I would think that letting some corporation try to influence you to buy some crap you don’t need – or even crap that you do need – would be a let down. I would be disappointed in myself.

I hope that if you are another blogger, you will agree with me that advertising on your blog is not the way to go. I actively seek out pages that are by people who are writing for the joy of writing or because they are committed to the topic – not because they are mildly clever at embedding a bunch of key words that advertisers want you to click on.

Not everything needs to be a goddamned advertisement. That said, someday Jay will get his t-shirt printing endeavor together, and maybe I will offer his atheist themed shirts. But then it would be a cottage industry, not a corporate interest. And I would be sure to only offer shirts which would be entertaining to read in an ad… then it’s an even trade, right?

Wondering where to go with my novel.


I just got some good feedback from a good friend of mine about Someotherville, and I now feel fairly confused. I was really surprised by her feedback – she loved the parts about Joan, didn’t like the story within a story at all.
At first I was slightly defensive because I was hoping that the two stories would meld together in the end, and it would be obvious or feel inevitable that it had to happen the way it happened. But this was not how my friend felt about it.
As we were talking it through, I remembered that the part where she really didn’t like it was the same part where I didn’t know what to do next, and so I pulled something extreme out of the hat. I think that at the time of writing it, I had it in the back of my mind that I could always change things and that it would be best if I just forged ahead.
But now I am second guessing whether I could go back in and change the story within a story to either have more details about the secondary characters *which I should do because I do go on about how secondary characters are pivotal, and we often end up caring about them more than the main characters* or whether it was a poor choice for the story within a story, since it’s so weak – I mean, who really cares about a spy story? Cold war stuff is completely played out – when it was the 39 steps or whatever, it was fresh because people didn’t know what was happening or why. Now it really is a stereotype, a stock story. Alias…dollhouse… and those are just recent examples.
There’s only a certain kind of friend that can tell you that something you wrote is gimmicky. But now that it’s said, I guess it is a little. It was a quick fix for a long term problem, and it shows.
So not to be too mean to myself – that’s not what I’m trying to do – but I’m trying to convince myself that i do need to dive back into this pool – it can be better. Arwin, Cece and Katrina need to have more substance before they will ever seem real to people. I am heartened by the fact that someone thought Arwin seemed real. That makes me happy.
Now I need to tend to the rest of them. Maybe it’s a matter of pride, I really had thought I finished a book in a month, with only needing minor rewrites. Now if I go back in and make major changes, that is no longer the case. Yeah. Pride is foolish. Do I want this to be something that is read and cast aside as being mostly really good, or do I want it to be better than that?
Obvious answer. So now I know the task ahead of me – I don’t know how I’m going to do it – or whether I should do it – funny…I just had a moment of feeling exactly how Joan felt – she didn’t know if she should write her project either, but she felt compelled. And I feel compelled. So there you have it. The adventure begins again.
Ha.

Vegan Cookies


Howdy, Friends.

I did make some cookies today, totally vegan, totally delicious.  They are chocolate cookies – one of the major flavors is strawberry jam.  It called for raspberry, which would most likely have been yummier, but the strawberry was what I had, and it was quite tasty, too.

We also had potstickers, asparagus, and rice for dinner.  Damn, I can cook.  I didn’t use any oil on the potstickers and they turned out just fine.  You would maybe miss the crispiness; but the flavor is almost the same.

I was going to mention that if you haven’t read Flannery O’Connor lately, you should.  I recommend A Good Man is Hard to Find and The Life You Save May Be Your Own. Just remember when you read her that she was quite the cathoholic, and as my friend mike says, she thoroughly believed you would be going straight to hell when you die.  My students are working on writing short stories as though they are O’Connor, and as though they are a character in the the story.  How would O’Connor describe you?  I shudder to think of how she would describe me.  And I laugh, as well.   Maybe I’ll post the assignment once I write an example story.

Ok, my eyeballs are swimming.  See ya, Sheila

What to do when you’re bummed out.


I am going to attempt something that sometimes works for me:  I am going to write myself into a better mood.  Right now it would be very easy for me to sit and complain about all of the things that I think are wrong in my life right now.  I could complain that I am generally disappointed with other human beings.  But would that help me to be in a better mood?  Would that even be true? 

I am sitting in my classroom where I teach high school.  I have aobut 12 students right now, and they are either reading or writing.  Some of them are coloring, even though I told them not to.  I do not feel that it is my job or responsibility to make them stop doing that.  I feel that it might even be good for them in this moment to let off some steam, to not be stressing out… it’s just really hard to tell when you should be strict with people and when you should cut them a break.  And I certainly am not perfect at deciding when to do which.

I mean, coloring rather than reading really isn’t that big of a deal.  And that’s not what I’m grumpy about, anyway.  I am more grumpy because I have chosen a profession where I am pushing people to always be learning, always be progressing, and it takes a lot of energy to push all of these people in the right direction.   Especially if they push back! 

Overall, I’m sure that it’s a worthwhile pursuit, it just becomes so much harder to do when you aren’t feeling well.  It’s funny that my mood is somewhat improved now that I’ve written a bit.  I feel that I haven’t even actually clued you into my true feelings, it just feels good to write.  So thanks for indulging me, made it through to the end of this. It’s clear that what you, or at least I, should do when bummed out: write.  K bye Sheila

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