As a self-taught schnauzer, it’s been a hellish few years in the dog-eat-dog world of Web site design. Between dog naps and chasing deer, I’ve learned a thing or two about Web 2.0 that I’d like to share with you; this so you don’t have to describe your experience as “hellish;” this so you can get back to taking your dog naps . . . or whatever else you like to do.
First, to give you some background: I’ve been the unofficial mascot for Stirling Editing since its inception—and yes, that’s Sir Stirling with two I’s; NOT an “E.” Founder, Cheri Lasota, has refused to admit openly that I was her inspiration (in fact, I taught her everything she knows about the Chicago Manual of Style—don’t let her tell you any different!).
Well, since this blog has been lingering bereft for weeks without an update, I have taken it upon myself to hijack her blog and will continue to hold it ransom until she submits to the following demands:
1. Tivo the entire season of Cesar Millan’s “Dog Whisperer.”
2. Supersize me to five biscuits for lunch—NOT the usual four.
3. Let me out to chose the wild turkeys whenever I deem them a threat to family security.
Will keep you posted when I hear back on this . . .
Now, onto business (you didn’t think it be all threats and self-agrandizement, did you?).
Since I’m a dog, I like to mix things up, live off-the-cuff so to speak, so here is my . . .
TOP 5 RANDOM LIST OF FAVORITE WEB SITES for Writers
This site is the No. 1 reason why Cheri Lasota has been woefully neglecting her blog. What would tear her away, you might ask? The promise of giving and receiving critiques on her novel, of course. This passionate and international forum for writers was developed by HarperCollins UK. The goal? To gain enough backing by your peers to make it on the “Editor’s Desk.” Make it there, and you’ll get a solid critique from the editors at HarperCollins and *possibly* be picked up for publication. What’s not to love. Watch out, though . . . it’s a terrible time-suck. I should know.
Reading a lot of blogs these days? If not, you should be! Agents are now blogging; editors are now blogging; publishers are now blogging . . . Seeing a trend here? How better to learn the biz then to wheedle solid advice straight from the horse’s mouth. My personal favorites? Nathan Bransford’s blog, Bookends Agency’s blog, Ray Rhamey’s Flogging the Quill, and Janet Reid’s Query Shark. Back to my point, if you are having trouble keeping up with the gazillions of blog postings shooting out over the Web on a daily basis, consider squishing your favorites into a blog reader program. I use Google Reader, but there are many others (just search for “blog readers”). If you’re new to blogs or readers, go here for a jumpstart.
Too lazy to blog every day? We won’t mention a certain editor who currently has this problem . . . ahem. Try a 140-word tweet on for size. Have no idea what the hell Twitter is? Check out these helpful links here and here. I tweet on my schnauzer-size crackberry . . . er . . . Blackberry phone whenever and wherever. It’s a quick way to keep in touch with your fans, your clients, your family, or even your friends (assuming you have any). Twitter can also ease you into the blogging game, if you aren’t quite ready to take the plunge yet to the big time.
This is a local writers forum that recently debuted. Created by Publisher Ken Arnold of Ken Arnold Books, it’s a place to plug your own work, review the work of others, communicate with industry folk, learn from veterans, and generally have a good time. Buzzaroonie is a widget-richYou’ll get your own page to customize. Want to see what it looks like? Check out Stirling Editing’s page here.
Are you an editor or an overachieving writer? Or both?? Check out Jack Lyon’s Editorium for Microsoft Word tools that will knock your proverbial socks off. Ugh, cliche, I know. Jack’s got a number of Word macros, which aid writers and editors in cleaning up their text with the click of a button. Jack also has a free newsletter and books on the subject of Word and how to make it work for you.
Write or Die
Dr. Wicked’s Write or Die is quite simply a kick in the butt for writers. Instead of using a reward system for getting those words on the page. This handy writing tool, uses negative reinforcement. You set the time and word goals, then choose the mode. Choose “gentle” and you’ll receive reminders to keep going. With “normal,” you’ll hear an annoying noise until you get a move on. “Kamikaze” mode quite literally unwrites itself if you don’t get back to your writing. Yowza! How’s that for motivation? This little tool works great for National Novel Writing Month enthusiasts, or for anyone who lacks the self-determination to insert the butt into the chair with a pen in hand.
There you have it, Schnauzer Stirling’s Top 5 Random List of Favorite Web sites. Stay tuned for further hijacking news . . . OBEY THE SCHNAUZER!