Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Short and Sweet

Been doing a lot of writing lately, which is a good thing. Over at Joe Konrath's blog they're talking about what keeps a writer on track, but of course that is a Level III writing blog and they are talking about published authors who do this for a living. Us poor schleps have to try to inspire ourselves with no real hope of gain. Or, at best, the faint hope of some small remuneration down the line.

Still, I managed to find some markets for my humorous essays and sent three out this morning. In addition to that, I sent out six queries for 'Postcards...' (two 'No thank you' replies and counting). In preparation for someone eventually asking to see the manuscript, I revamped the entire book and put the chapters in a more logical order. I think it's better for it; now I just need someone to have a look at it.

Preparing the essays for submission was interesting. These were lean pieces that, to meet the submission guidelines, had to be cut by 150 words. It wasn't easy, but the final products were more polished and, if anything, funnier than before. I have to wonder when the law of diminishing returns kicks in. Take my essay about battling a spider. How many words can that be cut down to? "Saw spider. Scary!" Or just, "Spider!"

Maybe that's taking things too far?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Hell-o . . . hell-o . . .?

Now that I can be absolutely certain no one ever bothers checking on this blog any longer, I can start updating again.

That was not my intention, honest.

Actually, I've been writing post all along, but never getting around to posting them. I suppose I could post them all in this edition, but to what end? I don't even remember what I wrote. Or why.

So the last week, I upgraded my blog to the new, improved Google Beta version which required creating a Google account (with yet another login and password to remember) and transforming the site into the new, improved version for—as near as I can tell—absolutely no advantage, except that I lost all my fancy fonts.


I thought, having a snazzy new blog might encourage me to update occasionally but I still managed to ignore it long enough to forget the passwords and new login names. Fortunately, I keep all my passwords and logins and account names in a database. These days, you need to. At last count I have 108 accounts to various sites and a corresponding number of passwords.

Which brings me to my topic: I think the web is beginning to become just a little bit too complicated. Every time I need to access a site—to book train tickets, buy a bottle of whiskey, check on listing for a specific BBC program—I am required to create an account. And then you're expected to remember them all.

It's a lot like store cards. Every store, it seems, has a loyalty card and if you want to avoid the extortion charge or earn valuable points, you need to bring it with you when you shop. I have enough trouble remembering to put a credit card in my wallet, let alone 50 random store cards for businesses I am not likely to ever visit again.

Lately, I've been checking out writing sites and forums. And every one requires an account, user name and password. The good (and bad) thing about most of them is they have the option to 'remember' you. This allows me to simply browse to the site and be automatically logged in. On the other hand, occasionally the sites 'forget' and then I have to hope I remembered to record the user name and password in my database.

But if you want to be a writer, you need to keep up with what's happening, and that means more logins and passwords. Lots of them.

So, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll pop over to Media Bistro to see if anything interesting is happening. If, that is, I can remember my login.