Monday, July 30, 2012

Winning a Free Year

In the early days of the internet my sister once clicked on one of those flashing banner ads that said “You’re a Winner!” She called the number, immediately, to claim her prize. The person who answered the phone couldn’t believe Kristen had received the message she described.

“Wow!” the operator said, perfectly rehearsed, “let me ask my manager about that one.”

It was one of the rare ads that would send Kristen on an all-expenses-paid trip around the world. They only had a few of them. How had she found it?

“You’re so lucky!” the operator gushed.
What's under the bridge?
Leigh Johnson Reed Photography, June 2012
After surrendering her personal information, enough to allow them to hack her identify and get to anything electronic they considered of value, they told her she would receive her voucher in the mail.

“Congratulations again,” the manager said before hanging up the phone.

It was the blinking banner that drew Kristen in. She couldn’t believe she’d actually won something. The fact that she hadn’t made a lot more sense. It was a scam. No vouchers ever arrived and she’s never been around the world on an all-expenses-paid anything.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Three Tools to Get Where You're Going

Get busy building your dream, right? Isn’t that what I said a couple of weeks ago?

The real question is how?

I’m a process person as I’ve explained before here and here. I’m also into pirates and so from my pirate vocabulary I’d like to offer these essential tools for building one’s personal process for success.

The Map

The map is a tool that shows the way, it provides direction but it also provides the “big picture.”

In business a map is referred to as a plan. That is probably because a plan can be fallible but a map implies finite dimensions like latitude and longitude. Plans are preparation and maps are drawn after achievement, a proven path.

I call my plan a map because, despite the likelihood it will need revisions, I am not inventing this path. I’m following the advice of others who’ve done this before me.

Friday, July 13, 2012

How to Stalk an Editor

Every now and then we writers get bold, adventurous, and desperate. Today's guest post from Lauri Meyers of Your Imagination is the Limit suggests desperation has a process.

Puma courtesy fPat on Flickr
Having a literary agent would be sweet.   They boil my manuscript down to its two sentence essence, target the right editor at the right publisher, and sell my book.  Voila!  Way better than my process:  spend a million hours (approximately) researching publishers, try to write something cute about the editor in the query letter, remember I don't actually know anything about the editor, cry. 

My $10 writing budget didn’t allow for a conference to meet editors in person so I could at least say "we met once."   Nor did it allow for driving into the city, hanging out in swanky wine bars, and buying anyone a drink who said the word "editor."  Learning 1: I needed to find information without turning into the creep at the bar.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Living the Dream

When DTC called us, we said yes. YES! We will go. WE WILL GO! This was the opportunity we had been waiting for. The one Charlie has been working for.

Grand Opening Picture of Discount Tire store in Columbia, S.C.
New Discount Tire Store in Columbia, S.C
Discount Tire talks about “the dream.” It is at the heart of what all of the guys that work for DTC know to be true: work hard enough and you can accomplish anything. On Saturday the store on Clemson Road opened. My lovable tire guy, Charlie, is working on his dream.

When DTC offered the dream to Charlie, our family moved to Columbia, S.C. Leaving friends and family behind was hard but leaving my old “job” was not a tough choice. Despite the friends and experience I had gained there, it was never my dream.

Meeting Your Characters IRL

This post originally appeared on the Columbia II Writers Workshop blog. It's revived here because I think this audience would appreciate...