INKWELL NEWSWATCH 
Monthly Online eZine  
News And Views For Working Writers

INdex 
 
 INside Scoop
 
 ON THE COVER
 
 INside AUTHORS
 
 COLUMNS
 IN Her Own Write
 INscribe
 Pen IN Hand
 Write On!
 INstruction
 
 WRITER'S LIFE
 Fiction
 Nonfiction
 Screen & Stage
 Poetry
 
 TOOL KIT
 Top 10 Resources
 Advice/Q&A
 Features
 Book Reviews
 Items Of INterest
 Global Offerings
 INside Services
 
 INside CHUCKLES
 Bill The Bard
 The Writer At Work
 Games & Puzzles
 
 FREEdom STUFF
 Classifieds
 Syndication
 Classic eTexts
 Free Software
 IN Banners
 
 ABOUT IN
 Who's IN
 What's IN
 Submissions
 Editorial Calendar
 Advertising
 Join IN's Team
 Contacting IN

IN Front Cover




Search

Learn To Be A Better Journalist

Buy Classic Literature Collections

Acclaimed Screenplay Writing Software

Books On How To Write Fiction

Become A Well Paid Travel Writer



Vote daily and raise our ranking!


TOOL KIT
Items Of INterest
January, 2008


The Shy Writer

Psychotropic Site Management
Maintaining a balance of sanity
By  Rowdy Rhodes

What it takes to manage a website is like a balance act between heaven and earth.
In a psychotropic drug induced haze I write this piece, enjoying myself immensely, knowing that it'll either turn out to be a piece of completely boring, self-indulgent drivel or an article actually providing a little entertainment and education.

Recently, an innumerable amount of questions teemed into our site's main email account. Many of the questions so generic or ambiguous that it would take books to answer.

A few in particular caught my attention that I'd like to share in the hopes that they offer some form of insight into what is done around here and what makes me crazy.

"What needs to be done to run a successful website?"

I might as well join the gurus/experts and write a book to answer this. Then again who reads the manual when firing off an email might provide the answer? Once answered though, additional questions of the same ilk from the same person will follow. So, in part, to run a successful website you need to discern what cans of worms to open and what to shelve.

"Who are you?"

This is amusing, often asked. Does it matter in the large scope of providing writing resources? Not really. Although, I do understand why I'm asked. They want to try and put a name together with a background. I'm me. To know me is another voluminous tome. Just hang around IN and read for a while.

"Do you know of anyone who specializes in books in the French language?"

A legitimate writing question, especially since I live in "bilingual" Canada. However, the unfortunate fact of the matter is that I don't speak or read French and further more have no idea what French the question refers. Parisian? Quebecois? Acadian? Lousianna Bayou? Lack of clarity in emails kills me.

One that I enjoyed answering (the questioner smart enough to give me all details): I was asked if a writer should, after verbal agreement with a publisher to provide a book outline and sample chapter, continue to provide additional chapters so the publisher could decide whether the topic was financially viable.

The answer is not all that simple. Any professional writer's gut would immediately drop, and they'd step back to review the situation. Hint: No paperwork, more writing requested, no advance. This was an aspiring writer wanting to see the book published. Often is the case where desire outweighs logic. Answer: Stop sending in anything. Check out the company and lawyer involved. Search writing communities asking other writers about this publisher. Start getting everything in writing. Use your own lawyer to represent your interests. Stop using the publisher's lawyer to negotiate the deal on your behalf.

There were also multiple questions from multiple users regarding HTML programming and website design. Again, very large answers needed. The variations of site design and what is considered ascetically acceptable on behalf of the creator and the audience may widely vary. This has to be well thought out, taking a lot into consideration. HTML is also a language, just like French, Spanish, or German, and has to be learned if you want to do it yourself. The basics of HTML are not that difficult to understand and many sites offer free advice on the topic, but it can be overwhelming for a layman to see something like:

<img src="images/writing_hand85x64.jpg" width="85" height="64" alt="writing_hand85x64.jpg" border="1" align="middle"> <a href="FWOSignup.html" title="Free Writing Resources Sign Up Page" onMouseOver="window.status='Free Writing Resources Sign Up Page'; return true" onMouseOut="window.status=' '">

I believe that all of the HTML questions are coming in because the questioners trust me to be honest with them, and I'm actually quite honoured. But why all the questions now?

It's winter and many writers are snowbound. Looking at sites they'd like to see change. Writers are such procrastinators. Shouldn't they be writing? There's really two ways to go about HTML: Learn it yourself and/or hire someone (or pray someone who knows what they're doing is nice enough to help.)

"How do I get my a classified ad or event listed on your site?"

These questions tell me that I've just been spammed or the person is too lazy to read. Most often I ignore them, which is probably one reason why the FREE Classified Section of IN is a little bare and why we build our own events listings each month in Global Offerings.

Another lazy email received far too often: A well-established author, assuming their name carries enough weight they can ignore guidelines, fires an article into the site bypassing the simplest of requests like: "Send all submissions to our submissions@fwointl.com email account. No attachments other than graphics." Of course their submission arrives in Word, attached, no graphics, their email reading something like: "Here's an article for you. Hope you like it. Get back to me for further information." Yeah right. King, Rowlings, et al., I'll definitely get back to you, otherwise read our guidelines - please.

Email address change requests are another example of inattention. Every mailing we send contains instructions on how to make these changes. It's also explained on our Sign-up Page.

Publicists: I have to admit I don't know whether it's me, fate, luck, God with an amusing sense of humour, or miscommunication; however, of all the publicists I have ever worked with, only three actually followed our requirements, which are pretty standard and easy to understand. I seem to have no luck here. I'm guessing it must be the name Rowdy.

Advetorials: No faster way to make me crazy. Send in an 800 word "article" filled with self-promotion. Albeit some pieces are interesting, but when a company writes a "how-to article" and presents themselves as the end-all solution, I admit my mind responds with "Buy a bloody ad." Of course I can't respond that way, it wouldn't be politically correct. Then again anyone who knows me knows that PC is something I never really quite adopted. Is it wrong for me to say that a publication sucks, or your food isn't fit for man or beast?

Then there are the "drive-bys" who tell me they're not subscribers, haven't contributed bupkiss to our system, and want something. Sometimes I think it's a joke, but they're not joking. They want to know where to find whatever. After almost eight years of collecting writing stuff, odds are we already have it - sign up and look for it - and if we don't, do me a favour: Let me know, I'll find it and add it.

So what does it take to successfully run a website? I don't know about the successful part. You be the judge whether our system is successful in educating, entertaining, and easy to work with.

What do I know is that to run a site currently with 900+ pages, more than 10,000 subscribers, and over 4,000 resources, the above are just some of the daily gems that accompany website management. And everyone wants everything, now.

Add to this, perseverance, patience, compassion, balance, understanding, insight, knowledge, organization, determination, a desire to learn and experiment, hardware and software knowledge, the right combination of people (like our INsters), even political correctness if you're so inclined. There's more but I'm out of space and our editor is going to shoot me, if she even decides to run this.

I have to close with this thought though: Every moment, every email, every writer's successful project that we are, or have been, a part of (small or large) makes it all worthwhile. For me to be doing anything else would be insane, which may be why my doctor prescribed these psychotropic drugs, I've been a little side tracked lately. It's starting to feel good to be back.
IN Icon


Rowdy Rhodes is the Site Manager of The Freelance Writing Organization International and General Manager of Inkwell Newswatch (IN). He is also known to freelance an article or two when the fancy strikes him. If you are looking for written content for your web site, ezine, or print publication, drop him a line at rowdyrhodes@fwointl.com and he'll get back to you as soon as possible.

Sign Up and Use Our New Forums! Voice Your Opinion! Discuss Our Content! Ask for Writing Assistance. Post Your Successes, Queries or Information Requests. Collaborate with Other Writers.

© Freelance Writing Organization - International 1999-2049

Items Of INterest
IN This Issue
Constant Improvement
We're Getting Older! Thank you!
Standing On The Digital Platform
NaNoWriMo Wrap
Official Words From Pop Culture
NaNoWriMo Killed Her
Career Fair For Women
Unotchit LongPen™
Norman Mailer: American Literary Giant
Writer, Inventor, I Am

Support IN
Receive Free Gifts
$20.00 Voluntary Contribution
$35.00 Voluntary Contribution
$50.00 Voluntary Contribution

New Novelist Software


Effectively Manage Your List


Writers Digest 101 Site Award






Your Ad Here

Traffic Swarm For Writers


Hottest Books This Month!

Whose Books Are Turning Into Movies?
Bald Ego
Mouse Over To Pause

Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

Poetry
The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

Pegasus
It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

Re-Verse
The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at FatherGoose.com


Our Own Banner Rotator System
Any banner seen below is either our own or one of our members.
Support the cause - click a banner.


Want Your 468x60 Banner Above? It's FREE For Newly Published Books

© Freelance Writing Organization - International 1999-2049
All Rights Reserved. Copying in any way strictly forbidden.
Our Disclaimer Is Based Upon McIntyre's First Law: "Under the right circumstances, anything I tell you may be wrong."