Where Did All My Bloggers Go?

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The marketing leader for Endever Publishing Studios, Jaime Dill, wrote an exceptionally great article about generating, fostering, and retaining blog growth. This is the first in a series of posts she plans on writing, so if you want some blogging tips, I’d highly recommend jumping over to Endever’s blog to check it out. Her tips are valuable and timely, especially if you’re serious about becoming a successful blogger. Enjoy!

Podcasts: What Do You Get Out of Them?

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Podcasts. Something that’s relatively new on the social media market, yet they’ve been hidden underneath some digital rocks for a while.

Do you listen to them? If so, share below which ones you like the most and what you get out of them.

As a visionary I like to keep on top of what’s trending and if all of my blog followers are listening to podcasts, I’d like to tune in. So share your favorites down below, even if it’s your own!

Don’t have a favorite podcast? Then what sort of podcast would you like? Suppose you found a podcast on writing, what would keep you listening to it? What sorts of nuggets of wisdom would you hope to find?

 

Poll: What Tunes You In?

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I’m always getting my news from Facebook, not even clicking the articles, just basing most of the political stuff I know off of headlines that fill up my feed, as well as all of the hilarious comments that follow.

My world’s too busy to trick myself into thinking I can affect the political climate by pretending to know what’s really going on out there. My thoughts are: All we know is what’s publicized. But we’ll never really know what’s going on. Might as well try to find the secret code to get into Narnia.

But it got me thinking about my readers – you guys.

I’m not naive enough to think that all of you still read every word of my (often) lengthy blog posts. I know and respect that you’re all busy. But I still want to be apart of your lives and be somewhat of a positive influence.

But the best way to do that is to find out more about you.

So my question is, how do you get most of your information? That’s the poll you’ll find below. I’m sure there are some mixed answers and options I left out, but please, let me know so that I can best tailor my structure to best meet your media needs.

Specifically, what would entice you to pay more attention to Adopting James or even tune in to upcoming information about my publishing company? Or perhaps the content is lacking? Just let me know! What sort of stuff would you like to see me write/talk about? And as always, don’t hesitate to leave your comments below.

Why Stories Matter

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As we grow older we lose interest in stories and prefer cold, hard facts. To a degree facts are necessary.

But it’s when we lose sight of the importance of Story that it becomes an issue.

To lose interest in stories is to lose touch with humanity. Let me explain.

Stories, whether they’re true or not, are used as one of the most powerful tools to extract emotion. And emotion is what drives not only ideas, but movement.

Fishermen are driven to catch larger fish because they’ve heard of others who have caught large fish. They heard a story.

Humanitarians are moved to go across seas to feed and care for orphans because they saw a video of starving kids. They saw a story.

My kids go to sleep because we read them stories.

Stories, since the beginning of time (think papyrus and cave drawings) have aided in informing us, teaching us, moving us, and challenging us. Stories are the gears that churn ideas into movement.

Now, to be clear, not every story is a necessity. If we’re honest, we could have done without Dumb and Dumber, as hilarious as that movie is, but it doesn’t really do much to enhance our lives.

But think about how stories can be helpful. Think of the stories that have helped you in your own life. A few come to mind for me both in movie and book form:

The Bottom of the 33rd by Dan Barry is a literary example of how the right person can take possibly the world’s dullest subject and make it invigorating, exciting, and entertaining. This is one of my all time favorite books.

Cinderella Man is a movie that demonstrates that even in the face of something as harrowing as the Great Depression, we can overcome many things by using our natural-born talents and a butt-load of tenacity.

Toy Story proves that being the first doesn’t mean it has to be experimental. This movie broke new ground and still lives on today as one of the greatest movies ever made (if you’re not counting the sequels).

Did these stories change my life? I wouldn’t say that exactly, but they did help shape the way I think and view myself and the world. Therefore, I persevere, I fight, I explore, and I strive for greatness. Every time.

What are some stories that have shaped you and your life? Share below how you think Story can be an effective tool to better the world we live in.

If You’re a Writer, You’re Probably Making This Mistake

Rewriting. As writers we tend to get hung up on getting it right the first time, simply put. In fact, if you’re rewriting your opening chapter for the tenth time in the last three months, you need to do something: Go to the nearest ice cream store and treat yourself.

Seriously, get the biggest chocolate Sundae you can and gorge.

When you’re done with it, ask yourself, “Do I want another?”

As much as you loved it, you probably don’t want to subject yourself to an even bigger stomachache.

It’s the same thing with rewriting the first part of your book. Why go back and write it over and over? You’re going to get so sick of it that you’ll lose focus and before you know it, a year’s gone by and you’re lucky to be halfway done with your novel.

Write it all out from point A to point Z first (or point A to L to B to Y to 3 to Q, however you write). Because you’re going to do something to the book halfway through that’s going to require some changes be made to the beginning anyway.

And at that point you’ll really be pissed because you would have spent all that time polishing your opening up to perfection.

Don’t worry about getting it right until it’s done. 

Then and only then can you stand back and look at your project as a whole and determine where the changes need to be made.

Also, by rewriting the same thing repetitively, you’re not learning and growing. And without learning and growing, there’s no room or chance for improvement. Instead, you’re the Griswolds in European Vacation circling around the roundabout. You’re essentially just moving words around.

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My wife stopped reading one of my manuscripts years ago because she said, “I can’t remember which version is which.”

It’s imperative that you write something to completion so that you can experience and learn about the writing process as a whole. What good is mastering the opening if the rest of your book sucks? You’ve got to train yourself and put yourself through the dreary middle and perfect the ending.

You’ve got to learn to pace the action, keep the pages turning, and learn how to find the answers when you’ve written yourself into a corner. Circling the roundabout, you’ll never discover new streets or actually get anywhere.

Write that book to completion. Take it all the way through, even if your opening is weak. The trick is, having confidence that it’s not so weak that it’s a hopeless cause.

And by God, that is a trick! So good luck with that one! Just kidding, I’ll address that later.

How Your Personal Hygiene Can Help You Finish Writing Your Book

So you’re a writer. Or you try to be, anyway. With kids and doctor appointments and work and school and your spouse’s psychological mommy-issues, you’re lucky if you can manage to write one paragraph in any given day.

But suppose one day the heavens opened up, the school’s not calling you to pick your kids up, it’s slow at work, and it’s just you and your pen and your paper.

NOW you can write!

But the clock is ticking. Tick-tock, tick-tock.

Your pen touches the paper and… You’re stuck! You’re so ecstatic by the calm in the storm that you don’t know what to write.

The last time you visited your book-to-be, you had your protagonist dangling off the edge of a cliff by his teeth. His wife was in one hand, his X-Box console in the other. Whom does he sacrifice? Whom will he save! What’s going to happen!!!

Ding! “Time’s up,” says Alex Trebek in the form of your boss checking in on you or a customer demanding your attention (or your spouse texting you with another problem about how his parents didn’t support him enough when he wanted to be an American All-Star).

Those glorious minutes you had all to yourself vanish like a mist as though they were never there, and your paper is still an empty canvas.

Take my advice. Think ahead. Prepare for those brief moments. One of my favorite times of the day is when I get to shower. That’s when I disappear mentally into my book. I analyze what I’ve already written, I dissect my characters, but most of all, I plan ahead.

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He’s hanging there by his teeth, I think. He’s got his wife and his X-Box. His wife nags him, but his X-Box brings him unlimited, albeit meaningless joy. But his wife gives him kids. Does he even like his kids? But his X-Box makes him late to work, which he hates. … Hmmm… nagging wife, meaningless video games, kids that annoy him (and quite frankly isn’t even sure are his), a terrible job… THAT’S IT! He opens his mouth and screams!! Now they’re all dead! 

Then I refine and refine that scene and by the time I get those glorious undisturbed moments back five new-moons later, I don’t have to worry about that time being wasted because I already know what the next scene is going to be about and how to resolve it.

It’s kind of like, I hate that I can’t take my phone into the shower with me and watch Netflix, but at least I can play my own movie in my mind while I wash up.

So there it is. Take advantage of yourself in the shower, and you’ll be surprised what goodies you’ll pop out!

Writers: Sing, Don’t Tap

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Do you ever sit at your desk at work and click your tongue to a song that’s stuck in your head? Or tap your pen or finger to a little ditty that won’t dance away?

Like this:

tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap-tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap. Tap tap-tap tap tap tap tap-tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap. TAP-TAP-TAP-TAP, TAP-TAP-TAP-TAP. Tap tap tap tap-tap-tap-tap tap-tap-tap. 

You know what that song is, right?

Just look at it. Follow the same notes I’m singing in my head.

Well, guess what. You can’t. Because there are no words. There are no notes. But just because I know the song doesn’t mean your stupid. It just means I’m stupid for not providing the words and the notes.

As writers, we are charged with the responsibility to paint a much broader picture for our readers than just dialogue or just narrative. In order for our readers to grasp our full meaning of what we’re trying to convey, we must present the time, the setting, the people, and the mood.

To leave one of these out is like expecting someone to guess what song your’re clicking your tongue to.

So think about that as you write. Is what you’ve written only discernible to you, or could an outsider  see and get exactly what your conveying?

In other words, sing, don’t tap.

(By the way, the song tapped out above is “500 Miles” by the Proclaimers. I blame How I Met Your Mother for getting it stuck in my head.)