Wednesday, February 01, 2023

Random bullets of February 1

  •  First of all, happy February! January's over, and you got through it, so yay!
  • I'm still hoping that the cloud cover clears so that I can see the green comet
  • If you haven't read about New College of Florida--about how the Florida governor is undercutting academic freedom and removed the well-respected scholar Patricia Okker in favor of one of his sycophant/cronies, here's your chance. What I'm seeing from other academics is that New College was basically the honors college of Florida. Here's more from the New York Times about how DeSantis is laying waste to the education system, one step at a time, to "build his brand" for 2024. 
  • Speaking of "building a brand," I am sick to death of those videos of big talking heads of influencers flapping their gums at me from a camera 2" away whenever I go to a news site or Twitter. If I wanted to see big talking heads saying nothing, I would go to TikTok or Instagram. I realize that this is a niche view and that apparently all Americans have lots of time and money to waste in paying attention to influencers, but please, make it stop on sites where news might actually be present. Yes, I sound like my grandmother. Consider this my entry in #crankyrantsmanship for February.
  • About two years ago, we started hearing about substacks instead of blogs, which are apparently pass√©. A substack is a blog or newsletter that you pay for instead of reading it for free. Since binge-reading blogs is a treat for me when I have time and email is a "one more thing I have to deal with," I'm not usually tempted to subscribe, except for George Saunders's story club (which I still haven't joined), and I'm definitely not inclined to write one, since it requires a real rather than sporadic commitment. Questions: 
    • Do any of you have a substack (maybe under your real names)? 
    • Do you like the format and interaction?
  •  I'm hesitant to say anything about writing for fear of jinxing the progress made thus far this year, but it's going all right. What's different?
    • I've gone back to the pomodoro system and
    • I'm tracking in the notebook as well as in the Excel spreadsheet.
    • Notes and brainstorming count as much as real writing. Hey, they're words, too, right?
    • For the current project, I'm using Scrivener for the draft so that I can see all the notes I've made, which is easier than having 15 Word documents open. 
  • How's your February going? 


gwinne said...

My thoughts exactly on blogs vs. substacks. It also seems to me that blogs invite conversation whereas substacks are newsletters into the void? But perhaps not. In any case, neither my pseudonymous nor my real self has one of her own....nor do I read them as a general rule.

Hooray for writing! I am...not, at least not in a systematic way. But I'll get back into it this month, I think.

undine said...

gwinne--what a great distinction! Yes, blogs invite conversation, whereas substacks newsletters into the void, and newsletters are more like . . . a lecture that you sign up and pay for. I'm chalking it up to one more thing that I just don't get the point of but don't have to worry about.

xykademiqz said...

Re blogs vs substack, I'm not paying for $hit. Most people whose writing I appreciate have free-to-read blogs or free newsletters (I do subscribe to those and am thinking of adding a free newsletter to my blog). I hate the idea that everything has to extract money from people.

I definitely like the interaction on blogs, as dwindling as it has become. Ah, the good old days of blogging in the early 2010s LOL.

Re writing, book is done and with beta-readers. I have a paper I have to write next week and when that's done, I will be doing the final edits and start querying, which is downright terrifying but I am as prepared as I will ever be. I think I have a good feeling for what a query letter and synopsis are supposed to look like. I still need to polish my first 10 pages or so to high sheen, as most agents read only those, but I think the novel is close to what it was meant to be. I'm pretty happy with the narrative arc and characterization, and betas say it's engrossing and well paced, so really that's all I can hope for as a debut author. Wish me luck!

undine said...

xykademiqz--Glad to hear that your novel is all but set--good luck!

I'm with you on the blog vs substack debate and will be interested to see how your newsletter idea works. Honestly, there's little that I write about here that's compelling enough to charge people for, and if I did, I'd have to be a whole lot more entertaining. As it stands, if I amuse myself & a few readers with this blog, that's all I really want. But like you I miss the interactions circa 2010, when there was more of a blog conversation.