Monday, September 19, 2016

Why I Left Facebook (which may or may not actually END UP on Facebook!)

Two Months Away from Facebook….

What are the results?

It was two months ago, to the day, that I decided I’d had enough of Facebook. I’d had enough of the political sensationalizing, the absolute absence of manners--or even common sense, politeness, and decency--shown by the VAST majority of people who interacted with me and others, and I’d had enough of the time-drain that Facebook becomes when you check in to it more than once a day or so. And, let’s face it…most of us check in on it WAY more than once a day.  (!) After realizing that I was arguing senselessly with strangers--or with people who may as well have been strangers, for all the attention and courtesy they paid me--I decided Facebook was a bad, bad joke on most of us, but especially on me.

And I left.

What did I miss?

I missed connecting with people with whom I have little in common EXCEPT Facebook friendship, but whom I still consider friends. These people, I’ve encouraged to contact me independently via e-mail. Out of the invitations I issued, I got a couple of responses, most of which urged me to come back because they appreciated my insights and status updates. But it was sharing my insights that got me abused, harassed, and yelled at in the first place…so frankly, I’m in no hurry to go back for more of that. The rest of the people I invited to contact me didn’t bother. I understand we’re all busy, so there’s no indictment there…but it WAS discouraging to realize that I could drop out of sight with so little impact on people who claimed to be friends.

I missed a ton of book promotional “opportunities,” most of which go to the same half-dozen or dozen people repeatedly--and most of which, it MUST be said (and said and said), do no good whatsoever. Have I seen any sales from Facebook? I doubt it. Have I seen a marked uptick of sales at all, on anything I’ve written, despite repeated and faithful updates on the books and on different promotional sites? Not a bit. So, unfortunately, for me and for TONS of other folks out there, Facebook promotion is, quite frankly, a waste of time.

In that vein, I also missed a ton of book promotional info from complete strangers whose books I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. No offense to anyone being creative out there; I understand MY books aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, either. But when I see 10 or 20 soft-core porn books being promoted to every 1 book I might actually read and enjoy, it gets a little tiresome spending time “ignoring” a bunch of this stuff just to get to something that might actually provide me honest entertainment. Have I discovered a few new authors through FB? Yes. Would I have discovered them through other sources? Without a DOUBT, yes. I regularly scan Amazon listings for all sorts of categories, and that’s much more of how I’ve discovered some delightful things.

So is the advice we’re all given, and given, and given, about being “present” on social media all the time, valid? In my case? Nope.  

More importantly, it may not actually be a good idea AT ALL for some of us. Ditto for Twitter, or any other media form out there. Unless we’re a thoroughly participating member of all that is cool, hip, politically correct, and culturally approved today--and those parameters are getting narrower and narrower, belying ANY claims to the contrary--Facebook and other social media aren’t worth the potential damage they can do to our tempers, our peace of mind, and very real tangible assets.

I’m not culturally correct. I’m not politically correct. I was born without the tact gene, I’m a natural contrarian, and my B.S. detector has been working so hard of late that it’s in need of A Week at the Home. I am constitutionally unable to resist jumping into some arguments; hard as I try, when I see my faith being bashed, my principles being trod underfoot, or sheer stupidity passed off as scholarship and proceeding to lead TONS of people off into Neverland, I find it almost impossible to resist engaging.

And therein lies a double-edged sword.

If I do, I’m not only wasting time that could be better spent doing something else; I’m also laying myself bare for potential damage, either emotionally or in terms of very real things like book sales and potential writing gigs. That’s why they all tell us, “Watch out what you put on social media; it’s out there forever, and people will judge you on it.”

To which I say a profound and deliberate raspberry.

If you’re going to take my beliefs and trample them underfoot, and then get mad when I defend them…that says something about YOU, not about ME.
If you’re going to harass me for my political stances, my world views, or my moral compass…again, that says far more about YOU than it does about ME.
And if you’re going to refuse to read my fiction because you don’t like my opinion on something? See above.
Unfortunately, in the Wild West atmosphere of social platforms, no one--and I mean NO ONE--takes such responsibility to heart.

It’s a basic rule of human nature, especially online, that we’re way more ready to believe the bad about someone than the good; we’re all prone to operate under the old adage, “If you haven’t got anything good to say about someone…SIT NEXT TO ME.”  And all it takes is one person deliberately misinterpreting something I say (and yes, they’ve done it) to go viral, and the damage can have ripple effects that I have no way to refute or counteract.

No cloud-based medium should ever have that much power. But it does. And thus, it comprises a potential hazard that anyone with an opinion uses at his/her peril.

Because yes, you’re not going to please all of the people all of the time. But this goes way beyond that.
On Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media, all it takes is one loudmouth to make sure you never get the chance to even INTERACT with thousands or millions of others. There is no “verification of sources” check or balance here; its vast majority of participants’ idea of engaging in conversation seems to consist of, “What I say is true because I FEEL it. If you don’t agree, you’re a hater and a hateful person, and I will smear you every chance I get.”

THAT downside goes way beyond getting my dander up. That downside isn’t a healthy place to be…I suspect for many, if not most, of us.

Can social media be a valuable thing? Yes, if it’s truly social--and not just a graffiti board for people with foul mouths and even fouler minds. Unfortunately, it’s way more the latter than the former.  For me, that’s neither a place I want to spend time in nor a place that’s good for me. I’m a firm believer in “garbage in, garbage out,” and I didn’t like the person I was becoming from the many tangles I’ve gotten into on so-called “social” media, either.

Some of us just aren’t born to BE social, I guess.  At least not in this artificial, electronic way.

Which is why, after two months, I will probably stay gone.

With one notable exception:

I DID miss connecting with the Facebook Write-a-Thon group. Because it was supportive--and more than a little instrumental in getting at least one book done and another one generously written on already. Of course, I wrote regularly for a ton of years before Facebook came along, so I could more than likely do it again. But the competitive spirit of the sprints, and the cheerleading that goes on for each other? If I do stop in at Facebook AT ALL, it will be for this. And nothing else.  

For those of you who actually did miss me but don’t know where to find me--let me know that through a PM on Facebook. I haven’t permanently deleted the account yet, so I will get the message, and I can give you an e-mail address we can use to share all the wonderful stuff we need to share. OR, better yet, just comment here with contact info, and I'll get in touch with you!

As for the rest of it…leaving something behind has rarely ever felt so good.
Going further into Luddite-ville also appears more and more appealing by the day.

Have fun, all! But keep the bandages handy, nonetheless. Hang around the electronic street corners long enough and you’re bound to need them sooner or later.

Love,
Janny



Thursday, August 11, 2016

You'll Forgive Me...

...if I'm somewhat skeptical about your publishing credentials when you use words like "anyways" when you mean "anyway," or "setup" (which is a noun, by the way) when you mean "set up" (the verb)...or when you say, "Every author should have their book professionally edited."

Trust me. When a professional editor reads your blog, with each instance like this she becomes less convinced that you know what you're doing. And when she counts all these (and misplaced modifying phrases and lack of needed hyphens, among other things) IN THE SAME BLOG POST...

That, boys and girls, is what we call "Publishing FAIL."

It's a shame 99.9999999999 percent of the sites out there do these errors, and more, yet want me to believe they're giving me competent publishing advice.

Do yourselves a favor, people.
Edit your own damn WEBSITES correctly first.
Then, I might start believing you. 

Want the down-and-dirty on who the guilty party is THIS time? Check the post labels. (heh heh)

Thoughts?
Janny

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Does Anybody Actually Work Anymore?


OK, you may think I'm being a little facetious here...
But as a freelancer, I notice things like big influxes of job listings, or big SLOWDOWNS in activity. And patterns in same.

Awhile back, I posted on social media about how things seemed to "shut down" about noon on Thursdays. From a fairly brisk pace beforehand, it seemed like clients were getting ready to power down for the weekend...shall we say...rather early. I'd see regular traffic, and then it would get sparser and sparser, bit by bit, as Thursday afternoon edged toward Thursday evening.

NOW, however, the ebb is starting on WEDNESDAYS.

And this week...I'm starting to wonder if anyone's working at all in any offices, anywhere, during the month of August. Because things have gone from fairly respectable streaming to a trickle to, now, a DRIP.

(This is not a comment on the quality...merely the quantity. :-) )

So there must be a secret I don't know about as to how people are paying their bills when they increasingly DON'T DO A LICK OF WORK PAST LUNCHTIME ON TUESDAY.

Um...
Could someone fill me in, please?

I need a job that pays like that!

Thoughts...?
Janny

Thursday, June 23, 2016

I Know It's Breaking All The Rules...and Going Against (What Could Sound Like) Good Advice...

...but I can't be anything other than what I am. Which is, FIRST, a Catholic.
All the other terminology, including "writer," comes second to that.
And I'm very public and very unapologetic about it.

When you're searching for clients, hoping to put work together, and trying to do things that "don't offend" people, you don't take stands like I take.
Some folks will come right out and tell me this is career suicide.

And they could be right.

On the other hand, ETERNAL suicide is not something I'm interested in courting. So if it comes down to a choice, guess which way I'm going to choose?

If there are any employers or potential clients out there who are put off by a public stand...
...who don't agree with what I say, believe, and profess...
...and who won't hire me because of it...
...yes, that may cost me a few bucks.

But what it'll cost YOU could be far more.
So I "yam what I yam," and that's not going away.
Ever.

Just so's we're clear. :-)

Onward and upward,
Janny

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

How to Shoot Your Credibility to Hell in 3...2...

Yet another wonderful (!) encounter with Clueless Movie Script Writers.

Was watching a Lifetime movie the other day called YOU MAY NOW KILL THE BRIDE. Now, before you crucify me for watching Lifetime movies at all, it must be said--some of them aren't bad. True, some of them tend to be a bit predictable, a bit too angsty, or a bit too soap-oper-y to be realistic--but, on the other hand, there's nothing like a tall glass of wine and a good escapist movie to relax with after spending a day at the keyboard, wrestling with a cat, and lifting 160 pounds in the gym. 

Right?

So...I'm watching this. It's creepy. Psychotic chick, has a crush on her stepbrother to the point where she literally destroys all his relationships. Even killed a former fiance on the wedding day. And she plans to kill the latest one, too. Worms her way into the wedding, sabotages pretty much everything, then threatens bride and groom to be with a knife, gets hauled away because she's Off Her Meds, etc.

Fast forward to happy wedding day, except, of course, it isn't...because somehow, Ms. Psycho is OUT of the hospital now and has managed to hide herself in the bridal chamber, where she's going to kill the bride. Puts the bride underwater, dresses in a wedding gown, shows up in front of the preacher, etc. Of course, the bride manages to live through it all, as does her groom, even though Ms. Psycho actually stabs HIM in the course of the struggle. And somehow manages not to drown in a bathtub, even though the bride holds her underwater for something like 2 minutes while said bride is fighting to get the psycho's hands off her throat.

This is AFTER Ms. Psycho has also attempted to murder the maid of honor, by the way. 
Yeah. Chickie has issues.

OK, so...eventually newlywed Bride and Groom go to visit Psycho Sister in the Psych ward. It's not clear whether this is regular hospital that she's just in a psych wing of, or if it's an actual locked treatment center, but the net result is portrayed about the same. She's there in her little hospital pajamas with the elastic waist and no strings, ties, hard objects, sharp objects, or other contraband. She apologizes, they tell her they've heard she's made "great progress," and they give her a wedding picture that she asks for so she can "face what's real."

Only the wedding picture is in a wooden frame.
With a GLASS FRONT.
She takes it, tells them how lovely it is, and they let her hold it.
The attendant then comes and tells them it's time to go.
And Psycho Sister KEEPS THE PICTURE.

Of course, the minute they're out of sight, Psycho Sister drops the picture on the floor, shattering the glass. Which she then proceeds to pick up and shred the picture with...all with no one intercepting, observing, or intervening. And at the end, of course, she has that evil little crazy smile on her face, and she's ripped everyone out of the picture but the bridegroom, chanting, "he loves me, he loves me not, he loves me..."

Now, it makes a great final scene. EXCEPT IT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN THAT WAY.
In what alternate universe, first of all, is a mental patient in the hospital allowed a picture frame with GLASS in it and WOOD with sharp corners?
In what alternate universe, second of all, does the attendant see her clutching the picture and not take it away?
In what alternate universe, as well, are people walking around proceeding as normal a little distance away, while she drops this in the hallway, breaking it, then sits down next to it and starts picking up glass IN THE CORRIDOR OF A MENTAL UNIT?

Apparently, this happens in the Lifetime universe.
I promise you, it won't happen in any mental ward I've ever encountered.
Or if it does, someone's head will roll, swiftly and with no second chances.

There are so many things wrong with that scene that it destroys the credibility of the entire rest of the movie. Which, as these kinds of thrillers go, wasn't bad. True, there was a bit of suspension of disbelief involved, and more than a little muttering at the TV saying, "Oh, come ON. No. You don't owe her an apology. She's a psycho. Listen to your maid of honor."

...and such things.

But, hey, clearly Lifetime decided it needed High Chilling Drama at the end...and what's creepier than realizing Psycho Sister's been faking everybody out and she's going to get out eventually...and probably make good on her intentions? Yeah, leave everybody horrified. Great touch! Wow! Wonderful!

Um. No. Not when it depends on absolute STUPIDITY in order to be created.
Sorry, Lifetime. Not in THIS Lifetime.

This, folks, is why you do your research.
And if you can't write that scene that way, you think of an even better one that is actually realistic.
That is, if you're not too lazy.
Or if you don't underestimate the intelligence of your viewers so much that you figure they'll never know the difference.

Which could also be construed as an interesting bit of sexism, considering that Lifetime's always sold itself as "television for women."
Your target audience is that stupid, is it?

REALLY.

Thoughts?
Janny

Saturday, May 28, 2016

THIS Is Why You Need (GOOD) Editors, People

Is it just me, or does NO ONE know how to use the language anymore?
Facebook is rife with memes talking about all the misuses of things like THEY'RE, THEIR, and THERE. Not to mention all the funny poems about how English spelling versus pronunciation is inconsistent, to say the least. :-)

But there's one usage I haven't seen much said about: POUR versus PORE.

Probably for good reason...because NO ONE seems to know how to use the words right.

Quick reference guide:

Unless you've got a pitcher tipped, a container ready to be emptied, or a bucket of sand that needs to be added to a castle, you're not POURING over a document. You're PORING over it. 
Yes, there's a difference. And yes, it does matter.

Next time I see a published book with the heroine "pouring" over a book, a document, a letter, or other thing she's obviously reading and examining, I'm going to quote the dang thing on Facebook, identify the ignorant author, and ask which liquid or solid her character dumped on her reading material.


This is why you need editors who actually understand the English language, people. 

Unfortunately, most of you who DO need this won't ever read this post.

(sigh.)

Thoughts?
Janny

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Removing My Ladder from the Wrong Building

Came to an interesting conclusion last night, with a finality to it I haven't had before.

Much as I would love to write sweet romances, I'm going to quit trying to do it. 

Not because I "can't write" them--after all, I won a Golden Heart for one. <3 But it's as if the "window" for those books was only open for me during a limited time period, and that window has now shut.

This is not a bad thing. It's just as valuable to discover what you're  not as "good" at as it is to discover what your strength is.

I came to this conclusion after working on some stuff last night during sprint--a sprint that was very profitable in that I was able to crank out a whole bunch of words picking up where I left off, to see if there was "anything there." Reading through the remaining old material, however, I found myself thinking, "This is nice, but do I really want to go anywhere with it?"

I discovered that while I probably could go somewhere with it...I no longer really wanted to. And I could even see in that material how, to some extent, my heart wasn't in it...even though at the time I thought myself totally invested and enthused.

Just shows to go ya, you can fool even yourself sometimes. 

However, give me a neato psychopath, an innocent in his/her way, a reason for someone to get killed (or very nearly), and some romantic sparks flying all around it...I'm there. 

That's where I'll be from now on.

Yours for staying up past our bedtimes reading "just one more page"...


Janny