Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Time Out For a Little Humor

From our friend and writing mentor, Tracy Farr....

It's so frustrating to see people wasting time doing insignificant things when what they should be doing is focusing on ways to make their "product" so good that they can't be ignored. ("Product" can refer to art, music, pole vaulting, etc.)

These people do a lot of silly things that have nothing to do with their main goal, but they talk themselves into believing they ARE important, thus preventing them from doing what they really know they should be doing.

I, of course, have no such problem.

My goal is to produce a Website that is like a three-ringed circus of humor (you never know what to expect, something's always climbing out of the clown car) with an ever-changing Side Show that keeps you coming back for more. But to accomplish that, I have to remain focused on my goals. I can't waste time on trivial things. I must always think about the means to the end. And that's why, when I sit down to write a new story, I always follow the same routine:

1. Check stats (must know who is visiting, from where, at what time. "Dang, only two so far? Will check back later.")

2. Scan through RSS reader to find articles I might want to comment on, or just read in order to become better at this Internet thing. Follow links to other sites which might provide me with more ideas to write about.

3. Hmmmm. I really should think of a new story for my Website. Will get it done, but must check stats again.

4. Check stats again. "Drats! No change."

5. Check email for fan mail, posted comments, or sundry other items. Respond, or don't, depending on how much I need to get done writing-wise.

6. Hmmmm. I haven't thought of a story yet, but it will come.

7. Check Facebook. Add friends, update status, comment on others' status in the hopes they'll follow the link to my Website, which will help stats.

8. Speaking of...Check stats. Hey, I got one more!

9. Back to Facebook. Look around and see who I "might" want to add as a friend. Hide people who are annoying. Hey, someone commented on something I said. Oh, wait a minute...someone commented about something somebody ELSE said, but since I also made a comment, I get everybody's comment on what that other person said, and it has nothing to do with me.

10. Check Twitter account. Update status. Comment on statuses I think are worthy of commenting on, retweet those that are funny, check and see if anybody has commented or retweeted MY comments, then do a search to see what is being said about banjos or vuvuzelas.

11. Check stats. You never know what can happen over the length of a few minutes. I may have gotten a hundred hits because of something I said. I may have....Hmmmmm. Nope. Still the same.

12. Feeling a bit hungry. Need some chips and salsa.

13. Stats again? No, I think I'll play a hand of Hearts on the computer while I'm munching down.

14. Damn. Lost at Hearts. Must try again, and this time I'll focus more.

15. That's right. I'm the Hearts master! But since the machine won once, and I won once, we MUST break the tie. Win or lose, I'll get to my story after I'm done.

16. Yeah, baby! Hearts Champion of the Universe!

17. Time to get to writing my next, best story -- right after I check my stats.

No sir! Not one wasted moment!


Posted by Maryann Miller with Tracy's permission. He likes to share his humor here with a few more people than read his blog, which by the way is pretty darn funny. Trust me. He isn't paying me a penny to say that. And I am going to follow his advice today, right after I check my stats.

Maryann's Web site - where you can find information about her soon-to-be-released mystery, Open Season,  and her editing services

Tracy's Blog

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  1. This is a GREAT NaNoWriMo post, hahaha!!

    I am writing under pressure of a different sort to finish a book-length project. I need to write efficiently. On Monday I feared that this first part of the book is dragging on too long but I still had important scenes to write but why bother writing them if they'll need to be cut anyway and how can I make that determination in advance? I hemmed and hawed for two hours then finally wrote the darn scene.

    It took me 40 minutes.

    Sometimes the quickest way out of the forest is to write straight through it, weeds and all.

  2. Very cute. I rarely check stats, but I waste time just like everyone else. Which explains how the day can go by so fast that I don't seem to get much done!

  3. "The quickest way out of the forest is to write straight through it, weeds and all." Great advice, Kathryn.

  4. I think I know how to check stats, but perhaps it's as well I'm not too sure.

    Fun post. Thank you.

  5. I do all those things, and I check the statcounter world map at least once a day to see if I've picked up any more hits from other countries.

  6. Hilarious! Loved it! All the more funny because it hit so close to home! (Must go to my blog and check my stats! And I haven't tweeted in awhile. And my Facebook update is days old - from back to Halloween night. Eeek!) LOL

  7. I'm with you, Sheila. Sometimes it is a blessing not to be up on the latest technology. On the rare occasions I want to check stats on my Web site, I have to take the tutorial all over again. LOL

  8. LOL. This is great--the age-old writer's lament!

  9. Except in the old days we did crossword puzzles to... you know... improve our vocabularies so we'd be better writers. Yeah, that's it. Snort!

  10. Dani, of course crossword puzzles are related to work. So is solitaire on the computer. I can't even tell you how much I have learned about using a computer by playing games. LOL

  11. hahaah, good one!
    I have deleted the stats counter and worldmap and followers etc. from my BLOG!

    It saves a lot of time.

    Greetings from autumn in Japan

    World Kigo Database
    Daruma Museum


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.