Zero to Hero: Day 1, behind the scenes

Long time readers will know that I love to let everyone sit over my shoulder while I work. I share sketches, outlines, organizational techniques and basically every stray thought that comes my way. As I sat down to do my first post for Zero to Hero, I found myself narrating more than writing, but I sort of loved it. It reminded me of when I was first doing The Experiment posts, so I ran with it. For every assignment that I can, I plan to do a rough draft/final draft kinda thing, like you’ll see here. Hopefully, someone will get something really helpful out of it, but if not? Well, we all know just how much I love to hear myself talk . 😛

Enjoy!

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Pre-gaming:

The very first thing I did was read today’s assignment (My gods! Really! -quiet you, we’re working). Then, I copy pasted the whole darn thing into a new post. I like working that way, it helps me stay on task and makes sure I don’t forget anything I might want to touch on. Lots of it got deleted first thing – mostly I just worked off of the lists- but it gave me somewhere to start. This helps keep me from staring at the cursor on a blank page. It tricks my words into coming out, since clearly the water is just fine! Look at all those other words, swimming around, having fun…

The ramble:

I am a big fan of rambling until I find a point. Sometimes the ramble stays, other times it goes. Without today’s ramble, I wouldn’t have realized I wanted to do ZtH behind the scenes, so hooray for that.

I may be a little off in my days sometimes. There are some days where I just flat work too much to do anything but work and go to bed. Yesterday was one of those days. But…

Welcome to Zero to Hero!

I’m very excited to be working on this- I’ve been puttering around since December, and while I’ve picked up a lot of steam, I feel like I’ve lost direction a little bit. I think a lot of that comes from the Experiment being more of less over. I picked WordPress and didn’t look back. 🙂

Anyways.

Today I’m supposed to introduce myself. I thought I did a pretty alright job on the About page, but I remember all too well from undergrad the slippery slope of not doing your homework, so here we go.

I decided to let this stay. I wanted my “finished homework” to be something more polished, but the ramble did have some info I wanted to convey, and I always like keeping a really conversational voice here.

A note from taecher:

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?

  • Because it will help you focus you own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

Mmk, I can be down with that. I was just complaining about not being sure what to do with this blog anymore, so let’s gather some focus, shall we?

This is where I started to put on my teacher voice, and the idea for behind the scenes first blossomed.

What is “Raevenly Writes” about? Well, about Raeven’s writing, for one, but what else? Why read about my writing in particular?

  1. I’m still pretty new to this, so let’s make this an asset instead of a weakness. Newbies should read my blog because we’re in the same boat. Old hands at this might find something to freshen their stuff up a bit, a new take or idea on something that might tickle their fancy.
  2. No one else can write the stories in me, and I think those stories are pretty darned good. If I share what I can of works in progress, I’m sure other people will come to agree. Asylum will suck people in as surely as it has me.
  3. I post A LOT. This isn’t for everyone, but I’m borderline tweet feed here, and some people really like that. I’m one of those readers that checks my favorite websites every day, even when I know they post on a MWF schedule. And my blogging style reflects that.
  4. I “write” with every creative outlet I have, so my stories will be “told” in a variety of ways – lots of sketches and behind the scenes stuff, and lots of commentary on how I got to the finished product. So there’s different angles to get at the same thing, and lots of different ideas to take back to your own work.

And here is a good place to stop. I had to stretch to get that last point – it’s a good one, but I’m starting to feel like I’m losing the forest for the trees. If any more ideas strike me as I’m writing, I’ll surely include them, but for now this is focused enough. No need for laser precision here.

Of course, this bit isn’t done. I could just post the above in all its list style, rambly glory, but I won’t. And only because that’s not how I want to do it. Nothing wrong with the above, but I’m shooting for something more polished by the time I’m done.

This is where I stopped writing and regrouped, fully committed to the behind the scenes idea. From here, I went back, added the concept into, and started the block quotes nesting doll of crazy. On the one hand, I wished I’d kept writing, because I feel all disjointed now, but on the other hand, now that ZtH BtS idea isn’t whispering in my ear distracting me, so there’s that.

Back to the outline (see why I copy/pasted it?) and we’ve got a few more helpful questions to get me back in focus.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?

Because ultimately, I want to make Asylum a web serial, for that to work, it has to be online, and public. I’m enjoying getting in the practice, building the ever important audience, and just seeing my work out there in the world. It’s highly motivating, for me at least. It keeps me on task, since I don’t want to lose the momentum I’ve got, so I post every day(ish) and work on something everyday, so I can closer and closer to being able to put Asylum on the web.

So the short answer is: for motivation, practice and exposure.

  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?

Writing, writing about writing, other people’s writing, all things even vaguely related to Asylum, NaNoWriMo stuff, and a handful of “how to blog” thoughts. This one was easy, since I’ve already been blogging for a few months and have set up said categories.

  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?

Anyone who will love Asylum as much as I do. Anyone already self-publishing, so I can gather more information/ideas. Anyone with a cheeky sense of humor like mine, so we can have ridiculous conversations. Anyone looking to start their own blogs (or doing NaNo projects) that might benefit from my trail blazing. Note: this question is really good to get you thinking about tags – you won’t connect with these people if you don’t put yourself under tags they’ll search, so start thinking about what you’re trying to “catch” and lay your tags like bait.

  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

Oh, this one scares me. I’m still not that confident yet (so I guess confidence is a good one to put on here). I hope to have gathered a small readership, people interested in reading Asylum, which I would love to have ready to launch within the year. I want to have built a habit of writing for myself, so that this becomes more and more like my real job, and that other place I go is just for paying the bills. I hope to prove to myself that I can really do this, and that people really want to read my stories, and that I don’t just love my idiot characters because I’m their mother.

All of that mess up there is why I need to polish this before unleashing it on the world. This is pretty typical of how I write. I have conversations with an imaginary someone, sometimes even myself, and I just let it go. A lot of my undergrad rough-drafts looked like this. While it amused my teachers, most of it got marked out, for obvious reasons. But it works for me. There’s a lot to be said for letting yourself have that “shitty first draft” freedom.

Before I tackled the questions, I deleted all the pep talk stuff (and then promptly put back in pep talk of my own). I am more than ok with just rambling, as we’ve seen a plenty. It did, however, keep the bit about the tags, to remind me of what I was doing after I’d lost myself in the questions above.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.

I kind of over thought that part, tagging both “zero to hero” and “zerotohero” just to make sure I was doing it right. The smart thing to do would have been to search both tags, since I’m a day behind, but I tend to get lost in what I’m doing, only recovering my smarts hours later.

I had an eye opening moment reading over the suggested tags when I hit “fiction”. How had I NEVER thought to tag my work as fiction? That one’s actually pretty easy – I’m bad about falling into the fallacy that all writing is just like mine and what I’m interested in. Non-fiction, westerns, guides – all fall prey to my self-important erasure. Oops. But hey, this whole ZtH thing is about learning and improving, right? Awesome, double lesson for the day then. Winning. 🙂

The wrap up:

From here, this post gets wrapped up, looked over again and queued up, then a new post is created with the “Copy a post” function. Just like I copied the “homework” to stay on task, I copied this post to keep me focused throughout the polishing stage. Then I sat and stared for a moment at just how LONG this post was. Surely, future BtS will not be as long, since it would get pretty redundant pretty quick. Bravo to anyone who’s stuck with it this long. Tune in next time, and as always,

Happy Writing. 🙂

-R

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