1 Minute Tips Literature Philosophy

Advice for Aspiring Writers

I came across this today via Twitter, and I thought it was so good, that I needed to keep it on my blog, so that I would always have a copy.

Here’s the advice:

First — keep reading. Writers are readers. Writers are also people who can’t not write.

Second, follow Heinlein’s rules for getting published:

1. Write it.
2. Finish it.
3. Send it out.
4. Keep sending it out until someone sends you a check.

There are variations on that, but that’s basically what works.


It’s from novelist Anne McCaffery who died today at 85. I wasn’t aware of here, but when I read the blog post about her death and it noted this piece of advice, it made such an impression on me that I posted it on all my Social networks, but also felt the need to keep it on my blog.

You’re blog on you’re own domain, I think is important, because things like Twitter, Facebook, are great for “Real-Time” but they are ephemeral, and you tend to forget what you posted after a few days, much less can you find things that you need.

One of the things that resonates with me on her list is “Finish it.” I’ve noticed that with songs: Even if you don’t necessarily like your lyrics, it’s always so much better to finish the song, rather than leave it lingering, waiting for the “perfect” lyrics to “someday” come. Someday never will come, but if you finish the song as best you can, then it takes on a life of it’s own and has the opportunity to get better.

“Done is Better than Perfect.” is a sign that they have around Facebook’s Headquarters. Very à propos.


Increase Visitor Length Time on Your Blog

The end of the latest Copyblogger post. All five links to "related articles" are to other stories on their blog

So, I’ve been reading Copyblogger lately and I highly suggest that you do too if you are interested in blogging professionally, and one thing I noticed that they do: At the end of their posts they usually have 4 or 5 Related article links, and I know that’s nothing new, but the key is they link to related articles that are on their blog.

So underneath all of your posts try to increase the number of related post links that link back to posts within your own blog.

Now, depending on your topic, whether you are extremely focused like an exacto blade on one subject like Copyblogger is, or whether you have many topics like I do, this will be easier or harder to do. Of course anyone consulting someone on building a profitable blog would definitely encourage you to focus on one topic, but in my case, here I am. I have a number of interests, and I like to blog about them at different times. Maybe I’ll start to focus more in the future, but for now, here I am.

So for someone like me this will be a gradual project, but it will be beneficial for a number of reasons:

  1. I’ll be revisiting older posts in my blog, and it’ll encourage me to research and write more posts within that category
  2. It’ll encourage me to read the current related posts on other blogs and learn more about the topic which will increase my knowledge and interest.
  3. I can curate and iterate the older posts to make them better

Now, this is more of an art than science. If  there is a really good blog post from another site that is very relevant to your topic, you don’t want to delete that link in favor of one of your posts that may be less relevant or not as good. That would be depriving your readership and decreasing the value of your blog. But it will encourage you to read that other post and learn more from it and maybe even inspire you to write another post of your own based on your new knowledge and insight. Also this process can help your headline copywriting. For instance for this post, I can think of two other posts I’ve written related to blogging. The current headlines of the other two posts are “1 Minute Tips: Enable Easy Contact” which I’m going to change to “One Easy Step to Distinguish Your Blog’s Authenticity” and “JS-Kit: A New Opportunity for Blogging Success” which I’m going to change to “The Best Commenting Engine for Your Blog.” Can you see why I’m doing this? Since I’m putting them in related links it forces me to rethink the titles and make them more interesting and inviting. Also these headlines are more of general interest than the older specific ones, making them more searchable.

Note, this whole process, gradual and stress free, will get you interested again in curating your blog, adding value for your readership because the links that you do leave in there will gradually be of higher value and your knowledge on the topic will grow, increasing the number of post ideas you have, and making them more valuable as well.

Hope this little tip helps you and invigorates your interest in your blogs.

What do you think about this technique? Am I right, am I wrong? Do you have better ideas? Love to hear what you think.

Related Articles:

  1. An Easy Step to Increase Your Blog’s Authenticity
  2. The Best Commenting Engine for Your Blog
  3. The No. #1 Skill Needed To Become a Successful Blogger
  4. Customize Your WordPress Page Tab Links
  5. Contact Stephen

*Tip: Screen Capture on a Mac: Command+Shift+3 for whole screen or Command+Shift+4 for a portion like I did above to capture that small shot from Copyblogger.

1 Minute Tips Music Tech

Garageband Tip: Work Behind the Beat

So I’ve been in the Mac World for over a year now, but I’ve just now entered the Garageband World or recording and the whole idea of recording on a computer. I know what you’re saying, “Welcome to the ’90s!” I know. I know, but you see as much as I’m interested in technology, I also have this reverse energy working. I call them “mental blocks.” In the early ’90s I got a 4 track cassette recorder. I think it was $500. Couldn’t make it work. I don’t know why. I just couldn’t.  Then I bought some multi track software from the local music store. Looked fancy. Only $50. Couldn’t make it work either. I just couldn’t get decent sound into the damn thing. I don’t know what it was. A PC, the drivers, the technology? I don’t know. Just a lot of buzzing.

Finally in 2001 I got a stand alone “DAW” one of those little BOSS BR things, and FINALLY, something I could simply plug in and play, and though its woefully small GUI (I wouldn’t even call it a GUI) would make the normal musician drive to the local bridge and jump off, I could actually record multi track sound that sounded clear, and a drum machine to boot! I was hooked. My creativity jumped. Then in 2005 I bumped up to the BR-1600, spending $1200 and thought I was in heaven. Even better Pre Amps, better sound, and the ability to program real arrangements, bass lines and customized drumming. I thought I had my studio. So I’ve been working with it ever since, thinking I had it all. All I needed at least.

Finally though, especially with this gorgeous 20″ iMac screen, I just couldn’t live with the little 1×5″ GUI. I never wanted to do editing because it was just too painful. So I was stressed with every take because I felt I had to get it perfect. I did, because I wasn’t willing to cut and paste or even punch in and out very often. Pain moves folks to action.

So finally I entered the Garageband world a few weeks ago, cutting my first song on it, “The Darkest Hour Comes,” just recently. Loooooove it. The colors, seeing all the tracks. The loops. Dragging and dropping edits allows one so much freedom, that one can relax and get into the groove.

So, since I don’t have an interface yet, I’m recording guitars and vocals into the BR and importing the .WAV files into Garageband. (Of course that little pain will have me down to the Guitar Center getting a Presonus Firebox very soon!)

But in the meantime I’m working on a new tune. Now with the freedom of Garageband (And computer based recording in general) I discovered I can just record away over and over again, not worrying about mistakes, because I know that I can cut and paste the best parts on the desktop and arrange the song with relative ease.

So finally here comes my tip. I’ve been working on the guitar track today, cutting and pasting away, and I’ve noticed one thing: Even though I’m working with a click track, you’re almost never exactly on the beat, especially at that crucial juncture of the first beat. You’re either a millisecond ahead or behind it. That’s one of the things that makes it sound natural. But if you cut and paste a section that comes in ahead of the beat you’re going to cut out an important part and also hear a little clip. If you cut and paste those sections a little behind the beat, then everything sounds seamless.

When you’re recording, you can’t consciously decide to be in front or behind the beat, but knowing that you have the freedom to make mistakes does allow you to relax and get into the groove. So if you just keep the tape rolling and make multiple passes (I recorded 6 minutes of passes for a 4 minute song last night) you’re going to have enough material where you have as many backbeats as frontbeats, so you’ll be good.

Then, when you’re editing look for those sections that have a backbeat to cut and paste with. It’ll make your life a lot easier. And a lot more fun. And when you record enough passes, every once in a while you’ll even be right on the beat.  Those moments are rare (unless your a good musician) but they feel like Luke finally getting those laser torpedos into that right whole of the Death Star.

The “Death Star” of your anti creative complex explodes and you up your anti to a new level. Oh, shit. I feel Pro-Tools and Logic on the horizon coming forward.

Comments, Questions, or Suggestions? Love to hear your thoughts.