Where the inane meets the mundane

Category: Writing (page 1 of 123)

Thoughts on writing, both general thoughts and relevant to anything I might be hacking away at, or thinking of thinking of hacking away at…

My new business venture – writing to sell

I find myself having some big thoughts lately about my writing. Focus changing thoughts. Life directing thoughts. The kind of thoughts my tenth grade English teacher would call epiphanies, and bless her heart she’d pronounce every vowel in that word like it was a gospel being sung. There were, incidentally, a lot of epiphanies in the books we read that year.

No, the question at hand is, “Is writing a hobby, or is it a job?” Is it something I do for fun, or is it something I want to make a business out of? Where do I want it go?

To date, I have made less than $100 with my writing, ever. A pittance, to be sure, and hardly something to justify as a successful business. But that is as much my fault – I’ve done nothing to make it more serious. I write when the mood strikes, wedging writing in between day job, family, and other activities. I don’t treat it seriously enough.

It is the daydream of many of us to be able to live off our writing. To spend our days weaving world’s that then put food on the table and roofs over our heads. I’m not talking rich or even well off, just comfortable. I recognize this is fantasy, a daydream without form, but how else do we realize our dreams but by trying? I know I’m not alone in this fantasy, either – look at any of the other folks out there struggling to get words out. But I’ve done nothing to turn that fantasy into reality, and I think that’s because I haven’t embraced my writing as an actual side career.

The time has come for a change. If you had asked me a few years ago, I would have told you I’d never self publish. At the time, that was sound thinking. But things have changed since then, and the market for self published fiction has transformed a lot.

For a test run, last weekend I cleaned up a trunked novel, “A Scent of Roses,” put a cover together, and set it out on Amazon. I used to worry what friends and family would think when they read one of my novels. Based on my sales so far, I don’t have that worry any more.

What I do have is a game plan. I’ve turned a corner in my writing, and it was hard. I can no longer write like it was a hobby, something I did when the mood struck me or the moment was right.
Mood's a thing for cattle and loveplayI enjoy writing, and that’s something I will never compromise on. When it stops being something I enjoy, I’ll stop doing it. But if I’m serious about making a go at it, then I have to treat it more seriously. I have to treat it like a business venture, something I’m doing on the side from my “real” job, but something I’m willing to put the time and energy into, every day.

What’s next? Well, they say you have to spend money to make money. If I want writing to be a business, I have to be willing to put something into it. Time and energy are certainly large factors, but recently I contracted someone to help me clean up another of my novels: I hired a copyeditor.

I don’t expect this editor to make my story beautiful. I’m paying, but not enough for them to turn dreck into gold. But I do have a novel that I feel halfway good about, and I’m going to have them help me clean that up this summer. From there, we’ll see. Maybe I’ll try and get a publisher for it. Maybe I’ll self publish it too and see how it fares.

Either way, I’ve made up my mind to treat my writing not as a lark, something I do to tell stories on the side, but as a startup business I’m trying to get off the ground. I’ve spent longer than I probably should have getting ducks in a row, feeling things out, finding my voice. Now it’s time for me to put up or shut up. It’s time for me to start selling.

A parting of the content

The time has come for a parting of the content.

I mentioned this in the Facebook group the other day, so this may be a repeat for some of you. When I had my first publication back in March, I decided the time had come to make a presence for myself as a writer (vs the lurker I’ve always been). In a fit of excitement, I bought a new domain,, and then did…nothing.

I have decided it’s time for a change, and this wasn’t an easy decision. has been my sole blog for a long, long time. The last few years, though, it has begun to become mostly a place where I post about writing, to the exclusion of regular posts. I have decided to fix that disparity.

I am in the process of setting up to point to a new site I’ve setup over at I expect it will be at least a few more days before that url resolves to Medium (for now, it will just bring you back to datanode). Moving forward, Medium/cummingswrites is where you will find all of my posts on writing, writing news, etc.. Datanode will become more of a personal blog again, with shout outs to things posted on Medium (because sometimes, news will transcend being relevant to only one site). The verdict is still out on whether it is worth the effort to import my old posts for new readers, or just treat it as a clean slate.

So with that in mind – my first (ever) post on Medium just went up, “There’s a flaw in my characters, I just need to find it





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A Writing Update, or, other adventures in blocking oneself

Figured it being so long since I posted updates, I felt compelled to post a writing update.

The short of it is, writing continues. I’m currently working on query letters for agents for Chrysalis, as well as working on a new novel. I’d share more details on the new novel (it isn’t the second book of Niki’s story like I had meant to work on), but the story behind that is actually a little long and the subject of a much longer blog post in the future.

One of the things slowing me down, besides the day job, is my continued flailing around to find the right tool for the job. Ideally, anything I settle on needs to work on the Chromebook (at least for the near future), which means it has to be online in some way. I’ve tried a couple of different solutions, and kept falling back on Google Docs. Not because I like Docs particularly, but because of all its evils (chief being it begins to choke on large size documents, but also because I occasionally need to try moving scenes around, and Docs is just a monolithic editor in that scenario) I keep trying other things.

So this week I stumbled on Novelize. So far, I like it. It’s missing some of the aesthetic refinements that I can get with Google Docs, which IMHO is really a contender as an office document writer online, but then it makes up for it with some nice bonus features. Scenes and chapters are discrete units – and you can move them around. I haven’t tried exporting from it yet (will soon as a test), but all in all it has a nice set of management tools that let you track and work on your novel without getting trapped in a single document structure.

Now back to writing.

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