What I learned writing.

nikkxb:

I said I would do an official post of my experience and the various things I learned in the month of April. (Daily recaps can be found here.) I planned on looking back at those posts and using them as a guide to sum up my experience, so are the Three Main Lessons I Learned Participating in Camp NaNoWriMo.

1. Writing Sucks.

It does. It sucks a giant bag of flaming dicks because it’s not easy. It’s not consistent. It’s not anything you can really count on unless you do it every day. And writing every day doesn’t allow you the distance you need to properly evaluate your work. 

I can’t tell you how many scenes I wrote that I know will end up deleted from the final draft. So many scenes. That’s part of writing. You’re going to write things that will never see the light of day. It’s going to suck, it’s going to tear down your confidence, and it’s going to leave you feeling hopeless with no where to go.

And that’s okay. It’s okay because Writing Sucks and as soon as I accepted that I wasn’t going to vomit out a masterpiece on my first go, I allowed it to suck. I let my writing be crappy and redundant and not make any sense with the plot. And it was because I slugged through the suckage that I learned more about my characters, that I grew to identify things they’d been hiding from me, and that I was able to identify an actual plot and actual issues and actual pieces of gold after sifting through all that dirt.

Part of how I did it brings me to my next lesson.

2. Writing isn’t a solitary hobby.

My main male character is ridiculously easy for me to write. I get him. I’m pretty certain he’s been in my head for years, just biding his time until I was able to give him the attention he needed. Scenes following him flowed, his voice was so clear to me, and I wrote a good majority of those 50k words standing over his shoulder.

My main female character? I can’t get a damn sentence out of her mouth that actually fits without massively reworking it. I don’t get her. I understand her character and I recognize when what I write is wrong, but there’s so much about her I don’t see immediately and I could not have been able to write her without the guidance of a very close friend.

(If you followed my posts, you know I met up with my Writer Friend every Thursday. The angel that saved my female character is Writer Friend’s Wife.)

WFW loved asking me about my story, mostly because I was writing paranormal fantasy and she’s drawn to historical fiction. She said it was interesting to watch the development of this kind of story when it’s something she’d never write. I, gasping for air as soon as the month started, took all the help I could get.

And it worked. WFW saw my female character clearly. She identified with her. When I had an issue with FC, I would simply talk to WFW and see where I went wrong. It was ridiculous how much those two ended up having in common when my character was never supposed to resemble someone I knew in real life. (Funny how writing doesn’t ever do what you plan for it to do.) Without that help, though, I wouldn’t have the story I have and I damned certain I wouldn’t have the potential my characters gave me.

I said earlier that writing every day doesn’t offer the distance you need to evaluate your work, but having an outside friend to bounce ideas off of does. You don’t need to take a week off to gain a clear view when you have people around you that already have that distance. I found a very valuable resource with her.

3. Research ONLY when you absolutely need to.

I’m going against pretty much everything I’ve ever believed with this one, but sometimes you shouldn’t research when writing your first draft. Sometimes, you should just write. Write whatever you need to and if you can fake it, fake it until the draft is complete.

Know what I had to learn pretty quickly? Researching = procrastinating. Big time. I procrastinated hard when I sat down to research. Countless hours later and I’m no closer to continuing my plot than I was before. I lost days convincing myself I needed to research before I continued writing. Did my research help? A bit! Some of it changed the direction I was going in and I’m really grateful I looked it up. Was it necessary? No. Most of it wasn’t. Not at all.

There are going to be some things you need to research. Cultures, history, languages, weapons, so many different things. But how much of that research is absolutely mandatory when writing the first draft? Not as near as much as you think. You can get pretty far half-assing it while you’re focusing on the plot, then go back in and fix the details. I learned that the hard way and the further I got in my draft, the more notes I made. 

I have countless notes telling me what I need to research when I’ve started working on editing this thing. That research might change a hell of a lot, but I’m already going to be editing. I’ll already be changing a lot of things, why not do that all together? I was losing valuable time “researching” when I should have just been writing. It made absolutely no sense to drag out the writing process over a few changes that would be easier made after the first draft was finished.

If you absolutely cannot continue writing without looking something up, look it up. And then get back to writing. The rest of it can wait.

I’ve realized I’ve been lacking in a crucial part with this blog – me.

As much as I would love for my work to stand on its own, that’s not the purpose of this blog. It’s not the point. That’s a stretch goal, a goal for the future when the work is established. Right now, building and writing and laying out the foundation, there is no work to stand. Something else has to and that has to be me.

I follow other blogs because of two things: the content or the person behind the blog. When it comes to writing blogs? I follow for the person. It doesn’t matter how good the content is if I don’t connect with the person. It doesn’t matter if there’s any content if I connect with the person. So why am I keeping that one criteria off my blog?

It’s so easy to get caught up in the pretentiousness of this blog. It’s clean. It’s fancy. It’s where I can be serious. But that’s not going to garner support and it’s not going to build the followers I want to build. I intended for this to be an easy way to separate my fanfiction from my original work, but…I think that was a mistake. I don’t think they need to be separated because I’m not separated. 

I’m going to think it over. And then I might be rearranging. I have two options: (1) continue keeping the two blogs separate, but inject my personality into this one as equally as I do the other or (2) leave this blog behind and focus everything onto one blog again. Cultivate one audience.

I know what I’m leaning toward. My pride doesn’t want to let this go because this blog is just so damned pretty, but I need to stop listening to pride and listen to reason.

Appalachian Folklore, Wives Tales, and Superstitions

ohthewitchery:

Brought to you mostly by my grandparents, but also by my family at large. These are all things I heard growing up in the northern region of Appalachia and wanted to share with y’all. The lore and sayings may vary based on location, family tradition, and other factors, but this is just what I’m sharing from my experiences!

• Give the first pinch of a freshly baked loaf of bread to the Good Men to keep them happy.
• Deaths and births always come in threes.
• Spin around in a circle three times before you walk in the front door to confuse any spirits that are following you.
• Don’t throw your hair out! If a bird builds a nest with it, you’ll have migraines.
• “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky at morning, sailor’s warning.”
• If the leaves on trees are flipped over with their backsides showing, rain’s coming.
• If you hear a dog howl at night, death is coming.
• If you’re giving someone a wallet or purse as a present, put money in it to ensure they’ll never financially struggle.
• Spirits can’t cross running water.
• Cats and dogs won’t enter a room where spirits are present.
• Carry an acorn in your pocket for good luck, a penny for prosperity, and a nail for protection.
• If you’re having nightmares, put a Bible under your pillow. They’ll go away.
• Take a spoonful of honey to keep your words sweet.
• Keeping a pot of coffee on ensures a happy home.
• It’s bad luck to walk over a grave.
• A horseshoe hung above a door ensures good luck.
• A horseshoe in the bedroom staves away nightmares.
• If your right hand itches, you’ll soon be receiving money. If the left itches, you’ll be paying it.
• Wishing on a star works. “Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight.”
• When you have a random shiver, someone just walked over your grave.
• If smoke from a fire rises, expect clear skies. If it rolls along the ground, expect storms.
• Rosemary near the door provides protection. Lavender provides peace.
• “A ring around the sun or moon, rain or snow is coming soon.”
• Wind chimes and bells keep spirits away.
• Seeing a cardinal means unexpected company.
• For that matter, so does dropping silverware.
• Rubbing a bit of potato on a wart helps it to go away.
• If the soles of your feet itch, you will soon walk on strange grounds.
• Black eyed peas, greens, and/or pork and sauerkraut should be eaten on New Year’s Day to welcome good luck and good fortune.
• Driving a nail into a bedframe or crib will drive away curses.
• If your ears are burning, someone’s talking about you.
• If you dream of fish, you are or will soon be pregnant.
• Listen to the wisdom of children, they see and know more than we think.
• To dream of death means birth, to dream of birth means death.
• To cure a headache, crush some mint leaves in your hands, cup them over your mouth and nose, and breathe in a few times. It should help.
• Placing a fern or ivy on the front porch protects against curses.
• In a vegetable garden, never plant the same plants in the same spot two years in a row. Rotate where they are, and you’ll save your soil. (Note: this is a real thing called crop rotation, and is actually kind of important)
• A black bird (Raven or crow, doesn’t matter) on the roof or a windowsill is an omen for death. To avoid it, you have to scare it away without using your voice before it caws.
• Say a prayer when you pass a coal mine for the lost souls still in the mine.
• Thank the land and the Lord with every successful hunt or harvest you have, for nothing is guaranteed.

These are a few of the folklores, wives’ tales, superstitions, and sayings that I’ve heard growing up (and still living in) in Appalachia! I encourage other Appalachian witches, cunning folk, and general inhabitants of the Appalachian region (and just the mountain range at large) to share whatever bits you’ve heard over the years!

I just wanted to share a bit with y’all to give you an insight into some Appalachian lore, my own practice, and maybe give you some things to research and incorporate into your own practice! 🌿✨

The Editing Agenda: Those Darn Dashes

fmtpextended:

image

When it comes to formatting and punctuation issues, hyphens and
dashes take the cake. Their use in books is incredibly inconsistent,
which leads to a lot of confusion for anyone trying to learn them. This
article will give a thorough breakdown of each kind and their uses as
they pertain to fiction. Keep in mind that the rules I’m covering are
the ones that are the most beneficial for fiction writing—there are some
that won’t be addressed in this post. And all rules mentioned are based
on The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition.

Hyphens

Phrasal Adjectives

Phrasal
adjectives are a short group of words (usually two but sometimes three
or more) that link together to modify another noun. They typically
precede the noun and are very common in fiction writing.

Example 1: rose-colored glasses

Example 2: four-chambered heart

A fantastic resource for this can be found on The Chicago Manual of Style website: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/16/images/ch07_tab01.pdf

This
chart shows you the breakdown of various combinations of adjectives and
how they should be punctuated, including permanently hyphenated words
and exceptions. The CMOS advises following Merriam-Webster’s dictionary
for determining which words and phrases should always be hyphenated.
Some of examples of this are the words life-form, run-down (not to be
confused with rundown, which holds a different meaning), and
short-lived.

Compound Name

Hyphens are also used for compound names, including surnames, first names, and other names.

Example 1: Merriam-Webster

Example 2: Mary-Kay

Example 3: Theta-Gamma

Word Division

The
most common word division breaks where you’d find hyphens would be line
breaks, syllable breaks (often used for pronunciation purposes), and
prefixes and suffixes. Which isn’t all that common in fiction writing.
However, you will often see it in dialogue, particularly with
stuttering.

Example: “W-w-where’d you l-l-leave it?” Tom asked.

Separators

Hyphens
can also be used to separate letters and numbers. That’s that type of
thing you see with phone numbers, ID numbers, and the like. However, a
great use for separation hyphens in fiction writing if when have a word
that you need to spell out completely or partially.

Example: The sign read: “C-A-U-T.” The rest had long worn off.

En Dashes

Dates, Times, and Page Numbers

The
en dash’s main purpose is to replace the word to. The most typical
occurrence of this would be with dates, times, and page numbers.

Example 1: He held office from 1929–1932.

Example 2: The event is Saturday, 2:30p.m.–4:30p.m.

Example 3: Tonight’s assignment is to read pages 32–45.

You also might see this with scoring/votes and with an unfinished number range.

Example 4: We won our last game 13–2.

Example 5: The magazine (2003–) has produced six volumes so far.

However, you should always use the word “to” instead of an en dash if “from” precedes the range.

Example 6: He joined us from 11a.m. to 12p.m. but had to leave for lunch after that.

Directions and Compound Adjectives

En dashes are also sometimes used with words, as can be the case with directions.

Example 1: I took the London–Paris train last week.

And
sometimes—very rarely—an en dash is used with compound adjectives. This
is where it gets tricky because the intended meaning can often get
muddled by using this method, so it’s usually best to reword and find a
more elegant solution when possible.

Example 2a: I’d like to find more Taylor Swift–style music.

Example 2b: I’d like to find more artists like Taylor Swift.

Version 2b of the above example flows much better and is less confusing than the first, so it’s definitely the better choice.

And
with two sets of compound adjectives where the sets are acting as
coordinate adjectives to each other, a comma is the best option.

Example 3: This run-down, high-maintenance property will end up costing a lot of money.

Universities

The
last use of en dashes is one that you probably won’t find in most
fiction writing, but it’s useful to know nonetheless. You will sometimes
find universities with multiple campus locations using an en dash to
include the location name.

Example: I put my application in for Fordham University–Westchester.

Em Dashes

Em
dashes are used to set off phrases and clauses in a manuscript that
require an abrupt break, either to draw attention to it or because there
is a large shift in the train of thought. This is one of the most
useful tools an author has in fiction writing when it’s used correctly
and sparingly. Note that em dashes should NOT be substituted with ellipses; the two serve different purposes.

Em Dashes vs. Ellipses

Em
dashes are used for interruption or to set off an explanatory element.
An ellipsis is used to indicate hesitation or trailing off.

Example 1: “Lucy, where did you put—”

“It’s none of your business!” Lucy shouted from the other room.

Example 2: I stumbled down the stairs—the power had gone out earlier that evening—before I found my way to the bathroom.

Example 3: “I don’t know…” I admitted. “I hadn’t really thought much about it.”

Interrupted Thoughts

Sometimes the interruptions can come in the form of narrative thoughts.

Example:
Justin’s feet pounded against the ground as he blazed down the trail.
Awesome. If he kept up the pace, he’d beat—a tree root caught his foot,
and he was sent sprawling into the dirt.

And if you have a
character that is having trouble forming a sentence due to the
circumstances at hand and/or heighted emotions, em dashes can be used to
indicate stammering between words (not syllables).

Example: “What I meant was—why can’t we—oh, just forget it,” Julie spat out.

Words and Phrases

An em dash can also be used to set off noun or pronoun at the beginning of the sentence.

Example: Cowards—they were the ones who sought power.

Another common use for the em dash is before the phrases “namely,” “that is,” “for example,” and others similar to those.

Example: We spent most of the afternoon in the garden—that is, until the heat got to be unbearable.

Note:
You should never use em dashes within or immediately following an
element that already has a set of em dashes. Not only would this look
terrible aesthetically, but it could also cause potential
misinterpretation.

Interrupted Dialogue

The last use of em
dashes for fiction is probably one of the trickiest, but it can also be
the most useful. If you have a line of dialogue that is split up by an
action in the middle, you can use em dashes to set off that action.

Example 1: “Well, the thing is”—Tommy quickly turned his attention to his feet—“it’s just not working out between us.”

Note that the em dashes go outside of
the quotation marks in such a case, and the quotation is a continuous
line of dialogue that is being split. The first word of the dialogue
after the split should be lowercase. You can’t use this method if you
have two separate sentences that have an action in between. In that
situation, you’d use periods.

Example 2: “You really mean it.” I could hear my voice catch in my throat. “I just don’t understand what happened.

Two-Em Dash

One
type of em dashes that is not commonly used in fiction writing that is
probably my favorite is the 2-em dash. The 2-em dash is used to omit
words or parts of words that are missing or illegible, or to conceal a
name. Two em dashes are most useful for the genres of fantasy, thriller,
and mystery, where characters might come across documents that have
damage to them. The example below is from a snippet of a work in
progress of mine: book one of the Ansakerr series.

My dearest I——,                                                                        

If
you are reading this, I have long since p—— away. I can only pray that
my —— box and this letter have fallen into your hands and your hands
alone. There is much you have yet learn to about me. There is still a
D——k O—— out there, one more dangerous than you can imagine. For now,
you are protected, but be on your toes, my girl. One day soon, I fear
the p—— will fade, and you’ll need to be ready. He is coming.

The key will lead you to A——. It will hold the answers you’re looking for.

Deepest love and affection,

Grandma Bea

Notice
that most of the missing parts are for key elements, including names,
places, and very specific items that are clearly key for the plot. If
you craft these parts well, you can purposely mislead a reader in the
narrative, giving a bit of a twist to your
story.                                                                                  

Formatting and Stylistic Use

No spaces
should be used around hyphens or dashes except in the case of the 2-em
dash when it is being used to completely omit a word. This is probably
the most common error regarding formatting of hyphens and dashes that I
come across. Though there is some debate about spacing among various
sources, the CMOS is pretty clear about it. But again, as with anything
else in writing, consistency is the most important.

As for
formatting the different dashes, mainstream word processors include
symbols for each that you can insert into your document. In fact, some
of them even automatically convert two hyphens used together into an em
dash. While most publishers will accept em dashes in the form of two
hyphens (in fact, some even request that you submit manuscripts that
way), when it comes to actual printing and online publishing of the
material, you’ll want to make sure they’re replaced. Your document will
look more professional when you use the correct symbol, and your readers
will likely notice as well.

Tip: To quickly find and replace any
stray instances of two hyphens with an em dash symbol, use your word
processors Replace function.

Lastly, when it comes to use with
other punctuation, a question mark or an exclamation mark can precede an
em dash, but never a comma, colon, or semicolon. In other words, if you
use an em dash where one of the latter punctuation marks would
typically be used, the dash takes the place of the punctuation.

Example: He bent down to tie his shoe—but he stopped when he saw Alyssa approaching.

goddamnitlady:

she-writes-love:

A concept: my book is written, it’s loved by millions and gets optioned for a movie. The actors look like my characters, the representation flawless and the storyline isn’t butchered and the acting isn’t awful. I become best friends with the actors and my books/movies become classics and are remembered throughout the ages without becoming a Joke™ to viewers/readers

I’d be content with everything before the first comma. The rest is bonus.

Constructive Criticism Tips!

dontwaitforinspiration:

Hi! I see a lot of posts going around Tumblr about how important reviews/feedback are and how some writers/readers are unsure of how to do this and that’s what I’m making this post for! So I’m currently finishing my first year as an student and you might ask why this matters for this post? Well, because at school, we do critiques on projects all the time and as such I have some tips for you to consider using when you review a fic, work as a beta, or just want to give some feedback!

Only Give Criticism to People Who Want Criticism

(Keep in mind this does not include nice reviews on fics or other writing)

First off, keep in mind that online writing is not always written with the intention of one day being published. There are a lot of hobbyists on Tumblr doing this for fun, or as an escape, and who don’t want your criticism. As well, even some writers who intend to publish may be in a stage where they are not accepting criticism and it is good to respect that. If you’re not sure if a writer welcomes feedback- just ask! It might vary from project to project. 

Also, those blogs that straight up make fun of other peoples’ writing are in no way valid criticism. You’re blatantly making fun of a person’s hard work and I hope none of my followers run this kind of blog because it can be incredibly damaging to a writer’s self esteem, especially if they’re just starting out.

Constructive Criticism

That being said, on to actual constructive criticism! One thing that’s mentioned all the time at my school (especially because at school you have almost no time to change things) is that if, to follow your critique, a person has to start their project over, you haven’t given them constructive criticism. You’ve shot down their idea, and are forcing them to begin again. That’s not how you improve or develop an idea. The best thing you can do is honestly say what you liked about it and what you think could be improved (and how they can go about improving it). And if you can’t find anything good to say? Maybe this isn’t something you should be critiquing. Or maybe you’ve already made up your mind about it before digging deeper. Either way, your criticism might not be as helpful as you might think.

When criticizing always try to think along these lines- this is great, but what can we add/subtract to make it better!


Some things to think about and ask about when giving constructive criticism:

  • Pacing? Too slow? Too fast?
  • Dialogue. Is it believable? Is there a certain line you loved?
  • Characters. Do they have good chemistry? Bad chemistry? Do relationships make sense? Which ones do you love? Is there a character you love to hate? Are motivations believable? 
  • Is the tense consistent (past, present, future)?
  • Did something happen in the scene that didn’t fit? Did something really cool happen that you really liked?
  • Did the story surprise you or was it predictable?
  • What do you think of the tone of the chapter or scene? Does it match the plot that is unfolding in said chapter/scene?
  • Was there a line or section you particularly loved? Why?
  • Could you picture the setting?
  • Any inconsistencies?

Grammar is often the least important thing if it’s an early draft btw because a lot of the writing might not make it to final draft. Doesn’t mean you can’t point it out, but sometimes it’s a tad tedious. 

Remember, keep a balance between positive comments and criticism!

Note to Writers Being Critiqued

You do not have to take all advice thrown at you. In fact, some advice can be really shitty. Look at the feedback critically. If a lot of people are saying the same things, maybe that’s worth looking into. People have various opinions, and sometimes they will conflict with your own, as well as your vision for your writing. Ultimately, it’s up to you what you keep, what you change, what you add, and what you get rid of within your story. It’s your story. 

7 Tips to Build an Audience for Your Writing

theliteraryarchitect:

I got a great Ask about this a little bit ago about how to establish an audience for your writing. Here’s my answer!

(I’m not an expert on building an audience, but I’ll
do my best to share advice based on my personal experience, and perhaps
a few other writers will chime in, too.)

My situation: I myself
have a very small audience for my creative writing, as I tend to focus
more on writing than on promoting myself (for the most part). The
biggest success I’ve had in this department is with my latest zine Pigtail Girls.
I was able to raise $2,000 on Kickstarter to create it, held a local
release party that drew a crowd of 70 or so folks and have sold about
150 zines so far (with almost no post-release promotion).

I
don’t make my full-time living as a fiction writer, but I have a solid
enough audience of readers that it feels satisfying when I come out with
something new, and I’ve been traditionally published a few times as
well. I have also placed in a few contests and gotten some awards and
stuff. But still my audience is very small. That being said, here’s my
advice. I hope it helps 🙂

#1 Start small… with people you already know

When
you’re just starting out, many of your fans or supporters will be the
people who already know you. Your friends, family, co-workers, peers,
acquaintances, etc. Share and talk about your writing with these people,
and pluck up the courage to ask for their support! At least a few of
them will genuinely like your writing, and you never know who might have
a connection that can help get you more exposure.

#2 Don’t feel try to “sell” or “promote” yourself to these folks. Instead, make authentic, person-to-person connections

Sometimes
writers fail to create an audience because they have a perception of
what it means to “self promote” which leads them to plaster their social
media with desperate pleas to buy their book, or feel pressured to
“sell themselves” to new friends and contacts. It seems
counter-intuitive, but the best thing you can do is to make genuine, authentic connections with people and be open about your writing with them.

That
way, when your friend who works at a bookstore needs someone to open
for a touring reader… they think of you. Or when you have a release
party to celebrate your release, your co-worker will come (and maybe
bring their friend who happens to be a newspaper writer… see where I’m
going with this?). When you have authentic relationships with people,
they will help you grow your base without having to beg or sell to them.

#3 Make friends with readers, other writers, editors, bookstore clerks… basically anyone in the literary world

Truth:
There’s a lot of networking, nepotism, and hobnobbing going on in the
literary world. Of course, we all know this stuff happens at the
super-famous level. People network their way into recognition all the
time. Celebrities get book deals. Keanu Reeves is allowed to be an
actor. You might not be lucky enough to be bumping elbows with the elite, but your connections can help you no matter how small they are.

Example:
As of March 2018, my writing has been traditionally published four
times. The first three were open submissions. The other one was because
my friend was the editor of a magazine, liked my work, and asked to
publish it. At the time I made this friend, she was a writer but not an editor. We connected for other reasons, but by happy coincidence she was able to help promote my work a few years down the line.

#4 Write your social media posts like you’re talking to your friends, not the anonymous masses

This ties into #2. When you use social media to share about your writing, make it personal. A
lot of writers feel like they have to sell themselves on social media,
so they end up making promotional posts that are basically like “buy my
book!” or “read my writing!”

But if you share something real, much like you would if you were talking to a friend, people are much more likely to respond. I know this from personal experience. My highest-performing posts about my writing are always the ones that make a connection and share something personal with my followers.

Additionally,
if you’re using certain platforms (Facebook and Instagram for sure do
this), your post will get buried by the algorithm if it’s overtly
“promotional.” So in certain instances this becomes not just wise but
absolutely necessary so that your posts get seen.

#4 Consider trying to get a story traditionally published

This
can help in a few ways. First, you’ll have made a connection with the
editor of that magazine. (Connections!) Second, your work will be seen
by a new audience of readers. Third, it can give you credibility that
makes people (editors, readers, etc.) more likely to give your work a
second look further down the line.

#5 Get off the internet

My biggest base of supporters are the folks in my town. That’s because they see me and interact with me regularly. It’s way easier to keep the attention of people IRL than it is online, in my experience. Here are some ideas of how to make friends in the real world who can be supporters of your writing:

  • Attend or give a public reading
  • Start or join a writing group
  • Hang out at the bookstore
  • Go to any and all literary events in your town
  • Make friends with other creative people: musicians, artists, photographers.
  • Seek out collaborative projects with other writers and creatives

#6 Accept that, yes, it takes time

Building an audience doesn’t happen overnight.
But there can be a cumulative, exponential effect over the long run.
Take Tumblr for example. Most people who have a blog can probably
remember how it took forever to get those first 10 followers. But
once you have the first 10, it’s a little easier to get the second 10,
and so on. It’s the same with an audience.

There may be huge
surges in your popularity that leave you feeling awesome, then after
that you may find your growth starts to lag a bit. That’s totally normal. Which leads me to my last tip:

#7 Remember that it’s quality, not quantity, that counts

Especially in the age of social media, we can get totally hooked on numbers. How many followers, how many email subscribers, how many patrons, etc. But in my experience it’s the quality of your audience, not the quantity, that counts. Focus on building real relationships and delivering something great to just a few
loyal readers rather than trying to please everyone. Those people will
be the ones to help promote you and have your back when it’s really
important.

For example, when I ran my Kickstarter project for
my latest zine, about half of the $2,000 I raised came from big
donations. That means that just a few of my really loyal readers
kicked down most of my goal. As I mentioned earlier, one of my
publications came from an editor friend who is a really big fan
of my work. Most of my successes have been because of the dedication of a
handful of people, not because I have some enormous following. (This
phenomenon has actually been studied and officially named. It’s called the Pareto principle or the 80/20 rule. I totally recommend looking it up and reading more about it.)

Ok, that’s all I’ve got for now. I hope this helped!