Breaking All The Rules
Being that my bloggy is now fully functional and borderline self-aware, I want to use today’s space to lay down some ground rules. And then break them.
I’m not sure when exactly I decided to self-publish my novel. It was sometime after I wrote the final sentence. I know that. In the slog of the first draft, I honestly didn’t give much thought at all to whether I would be querying literary agents or self-publishing or tossing the manuscript in a drawer and forgetting about it. In my private thoughts, I’ve always referred to this book as my “For Fun Novel." As it turns out, taking the pressure off of yourself might just be the best way to tell a story.
I wrote a book that I wanted to read. I didn’t take into account a genre or an audience or even an ideal reader. I was writing for me, mainly. Time will tell whether anyone else will take to Marcus’ tale, but for my money, he was the best character I’ve created to date, given the circumstances and personality traits I gave him.
Why am I talking about my novel when I’m supposed to be discussing the rules of this bloggy? Simple answer: because they are both rooted in the same recently-unearthed philosophy. The words I will put forth here, for now and as long as this bloggy exists, will be written because I want to write them. That is not to say that I intend to sacrifice any potential readership for my own self-aggrandizing amusement. Of course I would rather entertain Reader X than shout into the void. But it is of my contention that the best sort of writing is the kind that comes from the heart. And my heart speaks weird volumes. Sometimes, that is going to come out. I have to be watchful; to not apologize for my approach.
The Bloggy Identity
I’ve been studying up on the masters and amateurs of self-publishing these past months. One of the topics other bloggers love to broach is: Does a Writer Need to Have a Blog? The resounding answer seems to be, “No, but probably.”
Keeping a blog updated twice a week is the general advice for sustainability. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you start to wrap your head around 104 topics/year, it can send you into a dizzy tailspin. (Although, if I was a tad more organized, I might realize that I’ve covered at least three topics already in this entry alone! That’s not very economical.)
Equally important as frequency is quality of content. You want to blog about things that readers will want to read about. That’s Blogging 101. If you’re going to throw that rule in the trash then you can forget about any repeat visitors.
The question remains: What is this blog to be about? Can’t it be multiple things? I’m a writer and a soon-to-be-self-published author. So you better believe I will be discussing the trials, tribulations, and (hopefully) exhilarations that come with that territory. I’m also a self-employed Stay-At-Home Dad so I’ll be diving into that world quite a bit. These are my two main functions at this current stage in my life. It would be self-destructive to pretend I could shed any light on much else. Though it’s likely I will occasionally go down some weird, non-sequitur rabbit holes. For example:
I am scared to death of being shocked to death by electricity. There are currently not one but two non-functioning fluorescent lightbulb fixtures down in the basement. This is not a metaphor. If I wanted to say I was unstable in the sanity department, I’d make a big fuss about there being a light out in my attic. But this is real life I’m talking here. Thank you very much, Mr. Silverstein.
These basment fluorescent lights have been out for months. It’s not that big of a deal as I don’t go down there that often. But it’s significant enough of an issue for me to think about at least once a day. So it’s buggy.
I’ve replaced all the bulbs with each other. There are 8 in total. And neither fixture works with any combination. This has led me to deduce that the bulbs are fine. Plus, I see no gray tinges on any of their ends. I’ve read that this is supposedly obvious to the naked eye when a bulb goes dead. Fair enough. My bulbs are good!
Next step – replace the ballast. What in the Sam Heck is a ballast? The ballast is the black box that powers the electricity through the wires that light up the lights. Or something. OK. I’ve watched no less than three YouTube videos and they all are in agreement. I need new ballasts.
Fast forward $36 and two days (thank you Amazon Prime!) and I’ve got these new ballasts in hand. With my Man Card in my back pocket, I take the replacement ballasts to the basement with every intention of shedding some light down there. <— Ahh! There’s the connection to this train-wreck of thought!
I rise on the step ladder. I shine my flashlight upward. Yep. That old ballast has gots ta go. Look at all those wires though. How do they come out?
I watch another Youtube video. They tell me I have to cut the wires and strip them. I should probably first turn off the electricity.
Dum dee dum dum dum. I saunter over to the box. Cut the power to the entire house because why not? Back to the ballast. Snip and trim the wires. Bing bang boom. Tie ‘em together with the new ballast wires and voila! Let there be light!
If only it were that easy. I haven’t actually done any of that. But I plan to today. Pray or cross your fingers for me. Should I die, I’ll die lit.
Update: I got as far as staring at the wires for a good 10 minutes, chickening out and then giving up and hiring a guy. Hey, at least I didn’t kill myself trying to mess with forces of nature that are beyond my comprehension.
Am I a man or what? Don’t answer that.
Yeah, maybe I should stick to talking about writing and Dadding.