Breaking The Stats Habit


It’s interesting how a number can influence so much.  For some, the number of birthdays they’ve had can lead to depression and for others the number on the inside of a waistband literally deflates all hope of retaining a drop of self-esteem.  The same is true for bloggers.  For the last few days my stats have been a little wonky and its driving my crazy.  This little bout of insanity has made me realize my confidence as a writer hinges entirely too much on one number.

The bar graph that threatens to define my worth.

I fully admit that I am a total stats addict.  The bar graph, sparkline, and full stats page are an intergral part of my life as I check them periodically throughout the day.  I make sure I have access to my stats via laptop, smartphone, and tablet, so no matter where I am I can check my numbers. Part of my obsession comes from pure habit, but the rest runs much deeper.  My inner critic likes to play with my confidence and she loves to cackle when the numbers are low.  The only relief I get from her is when the numbers are normal or keep climbing.

It’s ridiculous and I know it.

So, why do I allow one number to determine my worth?  Easy.  In this realm, higher numbers are equated with success. Interesting topics and high quality writing attract more readers, right?  More readers means I am a success.  This is the driving force behind checking those stats.  Like any writer, I crave the gratification that comes from knowing I’ve written something worthwhile.

As I said before, it’s ridiculous.

In order to put my focus back where it belongs – on writing and creating – I’m challenging myself to ignore my stats for a full week.  No numbers, charts, or averages are going to determine my level of success.  I am going to minimize the bar graph on my dashboard and abstain from visiting the full statistics page.  The sparkline is impossible to avoid, but luckily it doesn’t provide specific information.  In addition, I’ll be removing the WordPress app from my  Kindle Fire carousel. This week it’s all about writing and creating as well as I can without thinking about “the number.”

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If you’d like to join me on this challenge, sound off in the comments section!

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c.b.w.  2012


Lucky Seven Strikes Again!


The Lucky Seven Meme has landed on my doorstep once again, thanks to Nick Wilford of  Scattergun Scribblings.  Nick is a fantastic writer and his blog is worth a visit.  He writes with so much honesty and humor about the craft of writing and sometimes even treats his readers to wonderful bits of fiction.

Here’s how the Lucky Seven works:

  1. Go to page 77 of your current MS
  2. Go to line 7
  3. Copy down the next 7 lines as they’re written– no cheating!
  4. Tag 7 other writers
  5. Let them know!

For this round of the Lucky Seven, I’m delving into my manuscript for my first novel.  I’ve never posted an excerpt of any kind, so I hope you enjoy the sneak peek!

He expected the day to be full of tedious in-office tasks broken up by a field trip to various stores to hunt down DVDs.  It was Tuesday – new release day – and Tessa was sure to have a list filled with titles that would take an entire afternoon to find.  Quinn wasn’t on the agenda, but Noah found himself wishing otherwise.  Sure those green eyes stabbed deep and the old man’s words packed a wallop, but Noah was ready for another round.  Quinn had secrets he wanted to know, even if it meant taking another blow to the bullseye.    

 Justine was working three different lines on the phone, while two people stood waiting at her desk.  She snapped her fingers and held up a sticky note when she saw him.  

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The last time I played Lucky Seven, I played by the rules and tagged seven people.  However, we all know I sometimes like to break the rules on awards and tag games.  Yup, I’m still a rebel.  Instead of tagging, I’ll leave it open to anyone who wants to participate.  I highly recommend giving it a shot, as it’s a great way to get over that initial fear of making your work public.  Every writer has that manuscript or piece they guard carefully because they worry about how it will be perceived.  Let the Lucky Seven remind you to be be bold and be brave.

If you choose to take on the Lucky Seven Meme, please leave a link in the comments, so we can all check out your contribution!

Stay inspired!

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c.b. 2012

Feeling the Love


My good friend at  Random Acts of Writing [+ art] was kind enough to nominate me for the Reader Appreciation Award.  Her blog is a delight and I highly recommend stopping by to see her lovely photos, artwork, and writing.

Thank you for such a beautiful award!

In order to accept this award I need to do the following:

  1. List something you’ve been up to lately.
  2. Nominate 6 other blogs

That seems simple enough!

My plate is always pretty full, so listing something I’ve been up to lately is a little tricky!  I’ll narrow it down to three items:

  • Every day is about finding a way to work on my 2012 Goals.  I haven’t taken a day off since January 1st and I don’t intend on doing so until each goal is met.
  • The school year is almost over with only a week remaining.  I’m busy preparing my students for final exams and cleaning my classroom.
  • I’m reading like a lunatic lately. My poor Kindle is probably wondering when its going to get a break, while my bookshelves are wondering why three or four books at a time are missing.

Six blog who deserve this award:

Settle and Chase – A beautiful blog of photography and art.  I am always moved by the images captured and created by this amazing artist.

75 Kaleidoscopes – I am in awe of the poetry posted on this blog.  Beautiful lines are posted every day and the inspiration never seems to stop!

Yellow House Cafe – Every post is an incredible piece of writing that digs deep into the subconscious.  Highly inventive, original, and innovative, this blog challenges traditional perceptions of literature.

The View Outside – Easily one of my favorite blogs to read.  Full of humor, inspiration, and witty writing, each day on this site is an adventure for the muse.

Three Daily Delights – Every day, three items of joy are posted as a way to celebrate the simple things that make us smile.  A quick read never felt so good!

J. Keller Ford – I met this author during the Fourth Writers’ Platform Building Campaign and she continues to be an amazing source of inspiration.  She recently had a short story selected for publication and I am so excited for her to see her name in print.  Follow her journey!

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c.b. 2012

Poll: Reader’s Choice


For about a month, I’ve kept a short story on my draft queue.  I’m hesitant to post it because it is a departure from my usual style.  Solitary Confinement has a darker abstract edge to it, which is decidedly different from my usual imagery.  This is a story of how lack of control over pain (both physical and emotional) creates an innate sense of helplessness.

Due to my indecisiveness, I’ll leave up to my wonderful readers.  The results of the poll below will determine tomorrow’s post.



Special Note: Due to some changes made by WordPress, be sure to uncheck the box that says, “Notify me of follow-up comments via email,” if you do not wish to receive e-mails for every new comment on this post.  At the moment, the box is checked as a default, (and I can’t fix it).


c.b. 2012

April Status Report: 2012 Goals


I can’t believe its time again to reflect on my 2012 goals already!  April slipped by so fast, I’m surprised I got anything accomplished.  This month was full of revisions and editing, which is productive and worthwhile, but very quiet.

Sadly, I have to admit a failure, but I don’t see it as a bad thing.  An unexpected development has forced me to push back a deadline, but I believe it will be for the best in the long run.  Sometimes, it’s all about keeping my eye on the big picture.

1) Submit five pieces of writing to contests, journals, literary magazines, or the newspaper.

I just finished a short story for a small contest and I’m really happy with how it turned out.  I’m letting it sit for a little while before I go in and do some final revisions, but I’ll have it submitted before the deadline, (June 10th).  Yay!

2) Finish minor changes in my first novel.

April turned out to be great month for my first novel.  I was able to go in adjust dialogue in three sections, which will help alleviate a problem all four of my beta readers spotted.  In addition, I’m in the process of figuring out where to add a scene I took out during the last revision.  I’ve debated where it should go for a long time and I now have it narrowed down to two places.  I’m hoping to have some time today to make a final decision.

The first 30 pages of my manuscript have also been submitted for a full assessment thanks to the prize I won in the Fourth Writer’s Platform Building Campaign, (See Celebrating a Win).  I’m looking forward to some honest feedback that will help me make further improvements.

3) Work on my second novel.

I didn’t get to work on this project in the traditional sense, but I’ve done a lot of scribbling in my novel notebook. I got stuck trying to create a transition between two sections and I finally figured out what was missing thanks to some late night brainstorming.  However, I still managed to get a bit of a word count.

Starting word count: 50, 831
End word count: 51, 381
Total word count: 550

The story is always on my mind and in the last week, my characters have started to get chatty.  I’m getting snippets of conversations between them and I love what I’m hearing.

4) Send out five query letters and be ready with a synopsis.

This is going to sting a little to write.  In March, I set a deadline to have a query letter sent out by the end of April.  Unfortunately, some unforeseen circumstances have prevented that from happening. The critique I won in the Writer’s Platform Building Campaign allowed me to send my query for an assessment as well.  I haven’t received all the feedback yet, so I’m hesitant to do anything until I receive a full critique.  Based on what I’ve received so far, I believe it will be incredibly helpful and will give me a much stronger chance of landing an agent.

On the bright side, I have plenty of time to participate in Pitchapalooza via the World Literary Café.  The Book Doctors are accepting queries in a little contest all the way until May 15.  The winner’s query will be put in the hands of an agent.   Hence, my new deadline is May 15.  I won’t miss this one!

On the synopsis front, I sent it to a beta reader who gave me some great advice.  I’ve made a few changes and its already looking better!

5) Keep up with my blog.

Again, this hasn’t been a problem!  I’ve slowed down a bit this month in order to maintain my sanity and create more time for other projects, but ultimately, posts have been steady.  In April, I posted a total of 25 times and I appreciate everyone who stopped by to read and comment.  Thank you so much for continuing to follow my journey!

6) Network more with other writers.

April has been another great month in terms of networking.  The more I explore the World Literary Café, the more I love it.  They offer so much in terms of classes, forums, and links.  I’m still exploring and I’m sure I’ll find loads more!  Thanks to WLC, I’ve been able to boost my network considerably.

My Facebook Page has grown from 41 to 110 Likes

On Twitter, my followers have grown from 156 to 211.

Thank you so much to everyone who has clicked those “Like” and “Follow” buttons!  I appreciate all of you so much!

To follow me on either network, please visit my sidebar.

7) Inspire other writers to keep writing.

As always, I hope my presence is positive and inspiring.

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c.b. 2012