Friday, August 2, 2013

No School, On Writing, Extra Cash, Next Indie Review, On Blogging

            So, I passed up an opportunity to go back to school.  I think it was for good reasons, and I hope I’m right.  By the time I got my packet of information there were only 18 days left until classes started.  I still didn't have my financial aid figured out, and the school’s website still wasn't working on my computer.  I felt I had to make many very big decisions in a very small amount of time.  This biggest decision was the $20,000+ loan I would have taken out in order to attend the school. No grants, no scholarships, just a huge loan that would accrue interest.  I passed on the loan, and worked things out with the administrators so that all my progress (background check, Praxis I test results, transcripts, application with essay, fees, etc) would be saved in my file for whenever I’m able to attend.  Hopefully, now that I have some more time, I’ll be able to get some grants so I don’t have to take on the entire financial burden when/if I decide to go back to school.

I would have loved to go back to school, and I would love to say that I’ll definitely be going next year, but I can’t.  I’m glad that I tried, and I’m happy about the progress I made.  I still hope that the progress wasn’t just a waste of time, and that I’ll actually pick up where I left off sometime within the next few years.  However, things change, jobs happen, family happens, STUFF happens.  I’m keeping school open as an option, because I’d love to become a teacher, but the situation has to be right.  The situation wasn’t right this time.

On Writing:  First of all, the biggest of the changes concerning writing is that I plan to start writing on a more serious level again.  I’m no longer concerned about passing tests, getting letters of recommendation, or any of the other activities that I was putting at the top of my priorities.  I could be upset about that, but I’m not; it was my choice, after all.  Instead, I’m excited about trying to get SOMETHING published.  I’m not going to say how soon, because I tried that with The Dream Machine, my unpublished science fiction novel that is sitting on the back-burners, waiting for me to finish it.  For the same reason that I haven’t tried to finish The Dream Machine (unreliable computer, that might possibly die at any time), I’m going to have to be careful when writing.

Some readers of this blog might wonder what the difference is… I write blogs, so why not continue writing my novel?  You might be right, but it’s a personal preference.  The novel is longer, more complex than a blog, and would be worse to lose than a blog.  I suppose I could use Google Drive, but I’m also a technophobe (“Great thing to be when you’re a writer,” he said, with a hint of sarcasm).

The point is, I would feel safer writing short stories now.  Personally, I can manage short stories easier.  I get more words out per day when I’m writing a short story, compared to when I’m working on a longer story.  I’m able to wrap my head around the stories easier, and I don’t run into the dreaded Writer’s Block as often.  Short stories might actually be more FUN for me to write.  It’s possible that I’m just not ready for the challenge of a full-length novel yet, although I was so close to being done.  All I needed was a good ending and some heavy editing.  I’ll go back to focusing on short stories for now, and see how that works for me.

Slice The Pie:  I want to share a link with you.  It’s an interesting site that I ran across a couple weeks ago, and thought some of you might enjoy it.  Apparently, I can earn a few cents for referrals, and well as reviewing.  I don’t want to spam, because nobody likes a spammer, but I genuinely thing that most of you would enjoy this site, too.  You won’t earn a lot of money (about 10 cents per song review, depending on quality), but it IS possible to earn some spare cash just for writing short reviews for songs.

You will have to create an account, but after that, just listen to (at least) 90 seconds of the song, and fill the text box with your thoughts.  You can find other helpful sites that discuss popular keywords that the Slice the Pie system looks for (vocalist, instrumental accompaniment, intro, solo, commercial potential, creative, original, etc), but it’s basically intuitive, especially for writers and fans of music.

I’ve earned close to $8, and I’ll get to cash out when I reach $10.  I've searched online to see how legitimate this site is, and apparently a lot of people are big fans.  They say they get their money whenever they ask for it after reaching the payout amount, and one of my friends recently received his first payment.  I’ll keep everyone posted about my own experiences with this website, but until then, use this link to help me earn some extra referral cash.  You won’t lose any money, but I’ll earn 10% of whatever you make, just for getting you to participate.  Here’s the link.  Let me know what you think.

THE NEXT INDIE BOOK REVIEW:  It’s going to be a book by Cathy MacKenzie, called Between the Pages.  It’s an anthology of very interesting stories, and it’s probably one of the best independent books I’ve read in a long time.  Independent doesn’t mean I put it on a lower scale than commercially popular books, but I’ve been reading a lot of Stephen King lately, and he’s one of my favorites.  Regardless, Between the Pages is going to get a two-part review, because I think it deserves it.  I see great quality, and I see a quantity as well.  Cathy MacKenzie put in a lot of work with this one.  I’m going to try to review the first half of the book two weeks from now (two weeks, not one).

On Blogging:  I’m going to stop posting new blogs every week.  Now, I’m only going to write a blog every OTHER week.  I enjoy writing them, but it’s not what I set out to do.  I set out to write fiction.  This blog is my way of discussing the events in my life, my journey as a writer, and a medium for me to discuss other writers and my own thoughts.  Writing a blog once every two weeks should still give me the opportunity to stay connected, as well as allow me time in between blogs to work on other projects, as well as accumulate content for the blog posts.

As I was saying a little earlier, I’m going to try to review the first half of Between the Pages two weeks from now.  That will give me enough time to finish the anthology (that contains over 60,000 words), and write the review.  I’ll make sure to tweet and post updates on Facebook when I publish new posts.  Until then, go check out Cathy’s book.  Enjoy.

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