Next Steps - #MNINB Day 30

Posted by at in

I did it! I finally made it to the end! The focus of the April Platform Challenge is to create Social Sphere in order to promote … what? I believe the big drawback of this challenge is the creation of a network without a stated purpose. Make no mistake, this is a fantastic way to create a social platform, I highly recommend it. But, I also think that you need to have a purpose for the building, whether it’s a blog, a book, a podcast, or what have you; otherwise, it’s just an academic exercise.

Scheduling - #MNINB #29

Posted by at in ,

The penultimate task of the April Platform Challenge is to create a task list for the month of May. Since I’m already well beyond that now, I’ve created the list for the month of June.

Comments, Questions, Queries - #MNINB Day 28

Posted by at in ,

Today’s April Platform Challenge is to reach  out and comment on someone else’s blog. Since my goal is to get the April Challenge done by the end of May, hop over to Mel’s Madness and check out Boldly Going …

It's Middle School Gym, All Over Again - #MNINB Day 27

Posted by at in ,

redroom-logo Pick me! Pick me! I don’t want to be last … again. Pick Me! Sheesh! Today’s April Platform Challenge is to join a Social Media site. Ah, come on, Robert! Another, Social Media site … really?

Well, I not going to join just any site. No sir. I’m going to join someplace exclusive. So, I did. I applied for membership at My membership is now being vetted. Which leads me to one question.

What if I don’t qualify for membership?

Auto-Social Networking, Part Deux - #MNINB Day 26

Posted by at in ,

Rounding the home stretch with today’s April Platform Challenge is all about spreading the word. I’m a programmer by trade (my wife will say by disposition, as well), so I’m looking for a way to post to my blog and have it automatically propagate out to my social networks, or as I like to call it, my social sphere. So far, I’ve met with mixed results. There doesn’t seem to be a reliable way to accomplish this. Here’s what I’ve found out so far.

The Interview (Request) - #MNINB Day 25

Posted by at in , ,

Today’s April Platform Challenge is to request (important – Robert didn’t say get) an email interview from an expert. I have chosen two experts, Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris. If they agree, we’ll talk about their upcoming novel, The Janus Affair; writing with a partner, creating a sequel, and stuff like that.

Their new book hits stores May 29th. Mine is on pre-order. This blog is still too all-over-the-place to warrant an advanced copy. Perhaps by the third installment.

This is going to be a bit of a homecoming and a bit of stretch for me. I used to be a pretty good interviewer way back when I worked in radio. That’s the homecoming part, the stretch is I haven’t conducted an interview in almost 25 years. I’d almost like to do this as a podcast except, my studio is in pieces, I have a raging head cold (and sound it), and there is a little trepidation being unscripted after that long. Of course, it’s all moot if their schedule is too full. We’ll have to wait and see.

Polite Conversation, Part Deux - Day 24 #MNINB

Posted by at in ,

As before, so again; today’s April Platform Challenge is to take part in another Twitter conversation. Okay, twist my arm.

Managing Time – Day 23 of #MNINB

Posted by at in

Today's April Platform Challenge is just as difficult, if not more so, than creating the editorial calendar was on Day 20, and for many of the same reasons. I appear to have an instinctive animosity towards planning my time. I rehashed the same arguments from 3 days ago; planning stifles the creative muse, you can’t dictate inspiration, why would anyone want me to put my imagination in a box? The list of excuses goes on. It’s a good thing Robert put these two challenges near the end. If these had been up front, how many of us would have overcome the paralysis of analysis long enough to start writing, let alone do anything else?

I have to admit, I have drug this challenge out (well, most of the latter half of the challenges, actually). I didn’t want to draft a plan, because that makes it real. I’m committed to that time, in order to work, to produce. And with that reality; that work and production; comes the very real chance of rejection; of failure. It’s so much nicer (safer) to *think* about writing than to risk doing any writing. After all, in my head, I’m a superstar! In reality, not so much.

*Sigh* Back to Google Docs I went and formulated a rough, time management plan. It’s real now and that makes it scary. It’s also exciting!

Here's the Wind Up ... and the Pitch - Day 22 #MNINB

Posted by at in ,

Today’s exercise in the April Platform Challenge (which is becoming increasing misnamed, as I take longer and longer to finish it) is to be a Guest Blogger! Fortunately for me, I have an in.

Mel Jones, over at Mel’s Madness, asked for guest bloggers and I jumped at the chance before she had an opportunity to  think better of it <laugh type=”evil”/>. Bad news, that’s not the intended exercise. It’s seems I have to “pitch” an idea to a blog host, not just invite myself in.

“Daddy, Stop Twitting!” – Day 21 #MNINB

Posted by at in ,

Amateur author & podcaster. Actual husband, father & martial artist. Today's April Platform Challenge is all about being a twit. Seriously. Well, according to my youngest, SamIAm, anyway. I’m a recovering Twitter addict, the ebb and flow of information calls to me on some primitive level. My wife says it’s because I’m simple. Go figure.

Robert wants us to take a look at three different pieces of Twitter software and pick the one we like the best. As with a lot of these challenges, I think I’m a little ahead of the curve.

I’ve tried Hootsuite and Seesmic. Seesmic didn’t do a lot for me. I know a lot of people swear by it, so chalk this one up to individual taste. Hootsuite runs a close second in my book. Matter-of-fact, I’ve got the Hootsuite extension loaded in my Chrome installation. But the one I like the best for my laptop is, hands down, Tweetdeck. However, Tweetdeck isn’t my favorite Twitter application. No sir. That prize goes to another.

The Value of Planning: Good, Bad or Indifferent

Posted by at in ,

I have to admit, I’m having a hard time with today’s April Platform Challenge; creating an editorial calendar for this blog. Ack! Planning? Doesn't that defeat the whole purpose of having a blog in the first place? You have a thought up here and … bleeeah! … it pops up on the internet; all formatted and shiny! All of which explains the frequency and consistency of my efforts to date. That’s a nice way of saying scattered and infrequent. Oh sure, I get on the occasional tear and crank out 10 or 20 posts in a row and then … <crickets/> … <tumbleweeds/>. Today’s exercise seeks to address that. Fortunately for me, Robert didn’t specify a complete calendar (yay!), just that I make strides at creating one. To the Google Docs! Let’s go!

Trying to put it all together, Auto-SEO and Auto-Social Networking – Day 19 of the April Platform Challenge - #MNINB

Posted by at in

I’ve fallen off the radar a bit, but today’s April Platform Challenge is to put the things we’ve learned in the past couple of challenges together and create an effective blog post. For me, this meant I had some thinking to do. In the past, this has always been a vanity blog. Sort of a “look how clever I am” or, more to the point, “look how clever my children are!” To turn this into a social platform for, in my case, writing, I needed to make some changes and start taking things a bit more seriously.

Flash Fiction - “Cookies”

Posted by at in , , ,

Friday last, Chuck Wendig over at Terribleminds issued a Flash Fiction challenge; 1,000 words about death. The winner gets a pony. Well, not a pony. How about a copy of  Blackbirds, in e-format? It’s almost nothing like a pony. According to MS Word (don’t judge) what follows is my thousand words, about “Cookies.”

Search Engine Optimization - Day 18 of the April Platform Challenge

Posted by at in

Today’s April Platform Challenge is chock-full of technical goodies for the serious blogger. Robert has full details here. I’d like to add a prerequisite; determine if you’re a serious blogger.

Polite Conversation - Day 17 of the April Platform Challenge

Posted by at in ,

Today's April Platform Challenge is to take part on a Twitter conversation. So, I did and it was still about me! Check out the shenanigans here!

Tales From The Grim Reader, Vol. 1 – Dry Spell

Posted by at in , , , ,

I'm excited for Scott, and a little envious. He’s an author and podcaster (sound familiar?) who today released Dry Spell, a short story from his horror anthology, Tales From The Grim Reader, Volume 1, as part of his Omniverse podcast. I was fortunate enough to read for Scott, which is why I’m bringing it up now; shameless self-promotion.

I’ve done readings previously and found out that I enjoy the work … a lot. It’s times like these when I begin to wonder why I left radio in the first place. Then I remember the paychecks and my recollection kicks right back in – I had to eat.

Don’t get me wrong, voice work is a lot of fun. Full blown audio productions even more so! They also take significantly more work. So, unless you are Peter Cullen, Kevin Conroy, James Earl Jones, or Michael Dorn, you aren’t going to make a great deal of money doing this; you do it because you love it. (Yes, I know I left out scads of great voice talent. Chalk it up to the limitations of my incredibly bald head.)

Adding E-Mail - Day 16 of the April Platform Challenge

Posted by at in ,

Today's April Platform Challenge – integrate Feedburner’s subscribe by email functionality into the blog. Done. Next!

Reaching out - Day 15 of the April Platform Challenge

Posted by at in , , ,

Today's April Platform Challenge exercise is to attempt to connect with at least three new people on one of our social networks. Seems easy enough. I choose Twitter, mainly because that's the network I'm most comfortable with.

Putting the Plus in Google+ - Day 14 of the April Platform Challenge

Posted by at in ,

For Robert’s April Platform Challenge today we create a Google+ profile. Or do we?

On overachieving, and debating what #FF means - Day 13 of the April Platform Challenge

Posted by at in , ,

Today’s assignment for the April Platform Challenge is to link my blog post from yesterday to my social networks. Wait, what? Um … I do that as a matter of course. Whatever I write here, I inflict on make available in my social spheres. This isn’t a challenge. It isn’t even daunting. <whine/> Oh,wait! Robert is offering extra credit; share a #ff Tweet on Twitter of 3 – 5 Tweeps ( not Twits, Thing2 & SamIAm!) I find especially engaging. Okay … that took about five minutes. What? Oh, #ff? That’s a hashtag for “Friday Follow.” The “Follow” part is a shorthand for you to provide a list of remarkable people you believe others may want to consider following on Twitter. And visa versa. The “Friday” part is pure alliteration. After all, “Monday Follow” sounds like another name for a hangover.

Doing the “Friday Follow” thing didn’t take long, so I began thinking what else #ff could stand for … and there’s where the trouble ensued; the whole thinking part.

A Call to Action – Day 12 of the April Platform Challenge

Posted by at in , , ,

Hey, I get to write a new blog post for today’s April Platform Challenge! It’s a sound excuse to get all us wannabe writers to, well, actually write something. As always, Robert has a creative twist; include a call to action at the end of the post. Why? Well, to interact with our readership, or course! In my case, all 20 or so of you. Buckle up, we’re headed to the future.

A friend of mine from the dawn of time commented in a previous post that I hadn’t changed all that much in 30 years (aside from massive hair loss). I like to think that I’m better looking, or at least smarter, but I fear he is correct. It started with some news that I got today.

What? My advice isn't good enough? - Day 11 of the April Platform Challenge

Posted by at in , , , , , ,

For today's April Platform Challenge, I’m to find a helpful article (or blog post) and share it with my social network(s). Robert did go on to say that the post should be relevant to my writing goals and shared as widely as I trod. I made the last part up. He actually said share in on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, at a minimum. Kinda makes you wonder if he had that in mind when he had the newbs set up their accounts earlier.  I’m cheating on this assignment. I’m linking back to my blogpost, that links to the “helpful” article. See, increasing my online presence already!

Finding Myself - Day 10 of the April Platform Challenge

Posted by at in

Today’s April Platform Challenge; do a search on my name. Nine search engines later and boy, was I humbled, or as close to humble as I normally get.

All a-Twitter - Day 9 of the April Platform Challenge

Posted by at in , ,

In today’s episode of the April Platform Challenge, we respond to three tweets. This will not end well for me. My wife and daughters claim they have well documented my Twitter addiction. I needed the break today. I was up all night suffering from seasonal sinusitis. Blergh! Naturally, the first tweet I replied to today also concerned an individual suffering from a similar malady. Birds of a feather flock together on Twitter. Hey, that’s pretty cool! Remember, you heard it here (hear – pun intended) first.

Getting LinkedIn - Day 8 of the April Platform Challenge

Posted by at in ,

Today’s April Platform Challenge is setting up a LinkedIn profile. Fortunately for me, I’ve already got one. (I told him we already got one!)

Sharing ... Not so much - Day 7 of the April Platform Challenge

Posted by at in , , ,

The assignment for today’s April Platform Challenge is to add a “Sharing” button to my blog. As it turns out, it’s going to be harder than than I thought. I had “Share on Twitter”, “Facebook”, and “Google+” buttons on my blog. All of a sudden, they started pointing towards”nullblog.” I don’t even write on a site called “nullblog”.

IMHO, or perhaps, not so humble - Day 6 of the April Platform Challenge

Posted by at in , , , , , ,

Today’s April Platform Challenge is near and dear to my heart: giving my opinion. The exercise said to “direct your attention elsewhere.” I didn’t like the sound of that, so I changed it. Seriously, we were to read a blog post and *thoughtfully* comment on it (more on that, later). Oh, and link back to our blog; in my case, back to here! So, if you’re new here … Hiya! Strap in, things tend to get pretty weird, pretty fast.

If writers write, do they not also blog? - Day 5 of the April Platform Challenge

Posted by at in , ,

I almost laughed out loud when I saw today's April Platform Challenge: create a blog. Since you're already here, we might as well get started.

I've been working on this blog off and on now for several years. The difficult part has been to peruse this with some regularity. I would say that I have been irregular about the updates, but I really don’t want to invite laxative humor. Well, it is funny!

The idea behind these exercises appears to be to make us more accessible to our followers. Huh. I’ve of the mindset that says people either are genuine or they are not. Whether meeting them virtually or IRL, people can’t get away from who they are. Oh sure, they can fake it for a little while, but eventually their inner nature will come out. So, if you’re looking for genuine, here’s an opinion of mine.

A Marked Twit - Day 4 of the April Platform Challenge

Posted by at in ,

Well, today’s April Platform Challenge is to create a Twitter account. I’m already there, @paulkellis. Come on and follow me!

A Proper Profile - Day 3 of the April Platform Challenge

Posted by at in , ,

The next step in constructing on online presence is a complete Facebook profile, according to the April Platform Challenge. Said site makes the claim that Facebook is the second most visited site, behind Google. Bearing that in mind, it makes sense that a writer would want a presence on arguably the world’s largest social networking site.

Where am I going?

Posted by at in , , ,

This month, Robert Lee Brewer has issued the April Platform Challenge for writers. The current thinking is; one of the most important tools for a writer in today’s media environment is a strong platform. Think of it as branding for social media. Now, I would’ve thought that actually finishing the novel would be important too, but whatdaIknow?

Anywho, today’s exercise is to set goals. Okay, I can see that. Goals are good things, they help to consistently point you in the desired direction. That presupposes the goals are consistent and coherent. That be asking a bit much from me, but lets give it a go. Short term goals are those that I believe I can accomplish before the end of the year; long term goals are more bucket list-quese.

Who am I?

Posted by at in , , ,

Robert Lee Brewer's April Platform Challenge for writers has kicked off. I’m a little late to the fray and I’m actually having a hard time with the first challenge:  define yourself. I’m not sure why it’s so difficult. Perhaps I don’t want to feel constricted or confined by definition.  It’s more likely that I’m not a here-and-now kinda guy; I’d rather talk about what I’d like to do.

No dice, the instructions for this challenge are clear. I’m not to worry about where I’d like to be or anything in the future. I’m to take a look at who I am, what I’ve done and what I’m currently doing. Surprisingly enough, once I got started, I realized that I’m not nearly as lame as my children make me out to be.