Saturday, January 8, 2011

This Year Will be Different, part XLII. And Also, Please Help Me Out With This

2011 is already giving me every indication of being a banner year, writing career-wise. The first week of the year is just over I've already had a couple of pieces of good news regarding some future publications that I'll be blogging about in the near future.

I did my usual year-end review of the past, and decided that it was a pretty good year overall, goal-wise. A few of the goals I knocked off last year: selling our house, buying a new house, and moving (about 98% of the credit for these accomplishments goes to my beautiful wife, who was able to handle contractors, realtors, inspectors and an insane husband with grace and aplomb). I was also able to scratch "Foreign language publication" off my list, in a year that saw Generacion Dead and Beso de Vida released in Spain. I was thrilled to have a short story published in the Kiss Me Deadly anthology, fulfilling yet another long-held goal. I didn't hit my whole list--in fact, I failed miserably at a number of the things I wanted to achieve--but, onward and upward. Bury your dead (unless they are differently biotic dead) and move on.

The second part of my New Years' ritual is the annual gaze into the future Looks bright, very bright. Note to self: buy sunglasses, wear sunscreen. I try to project what I want my year to look like and what I want to accomplish. I delivered my goals for the next year to myself (I'm a stern taskmaster) a few hours before the ball dropped. Or the Snooki dropped. Whatever it was we dropped this year. I reviewed what I had submitted, and we decided that the fifteen goals that I'd submitted were good ones. A nice mix of creative, business, family and personal goals, a few of them were holdovers from last year that I didn't accomplish--I'm determined to do a film project and a comic book/graphic novel project, and although I've done a lot of blah blah blah about both, nothing has happened yet.

I enjoy this process, I really do. And it always seems something like magic to me when one of the goals clicks into place--last week, just a few days after writing them, the mechanism to complete goal #4 clicked into place, clear out of the blue.

Anyhow, here's where the "please help me out" comes in. A bit of patience, if you please.

One of my goals, #14 is

"Renew focus on my Internet/Blog/Social Media Presence"

What does that mean, exactly? And why is that a goal for me?

Well, here's what it means now:

A.Continue to answer all reader emails and Facebook posts (I do pretty good with this one. I might miss a few, but I try my best)

B.Blog on at 52 times this year (I did horribly last year; 23 blogs in 2010, down from 77 the year before)

C.Have Tommy and the gang blog on 26 times this year (again, horrible--12, down 28 from last years' 40)

D. Update my status on Facebook three or four times a week (I probably do something like that now)

E. Continue to do the occasional online interview/guest blog when invited and schedule permits. I think I did a dozen or so of these last year, the most recent of which is Here at The Book Smugglers and is about my favorite YA book of the year.

I guess that is actually a bunch of little goals within the bigger/vague-er goal. So, why? Why do I want to commit myself to doing all that work this year?

Mainly because of something I realized when I went weeks and sometimes even months without blogging:

I miss it.

I miss it. I like blogging, and I love the interactivity of blogging; I said a lot of what I wanted to say about the topic in this School Library Journal Article Here and I'm kind of shocked, embarrassed and disappointed with myself for being such a slacker. Yeah, Inner Voice #8 is saying, you moved, you took a job, you have pre-teen kids, etc. etc. And then Inner Voices #3 and #7 say, "Shut up, inner voice #8. We don't make excuses here. And will you please put the cap back on the soda bottle tightly?"

So, a plea for help. Help keep me honest and on track with my goal. And if you are so inclined, let me know what you like me to blog about, and what bores the heck out of you. Let me know wheat it is that you like in your "Internet Relationships" with other authors, and what you don't (I should mention that I'm a little scared of Twitter; let me know if I need to get over that fear. Should I do a newsletter? Write about what I'm reading? Write about writing? Offer a free story here and there? Write about writing about writing? Create humorous videos? More dog photos (we have a second beagle now). Music? As I type this, "The Living Dead" by the London Suede is on, appropriately enough. That song nearly always moves me to tears. I'm thinking I should pretty up this site a bit, too. What else should I be doing? What do you think?

What do you think?

I'd like to end with a shout out to Brendan Halpin, who's blog Here directly inspired my fourteenth goal.


sandi said...

Don't be scared of Twitter! It's like Facebook statuses on crack in 140 characters! (i'm on- @childofthe80s)

I appreciate that you interact with your fans as much as you do. But I understand that you can't always- you have a family to attend to and writing to do ;)

I love that in this day & age we can interact with authors and see that you guys are "real people" I remember when I first discovered Lois Lowry had a blog- and talked about her dog! and her yard! Honestly, I love reading about Maureen Johnson's new cat (she's on twitter and is a hoot and a half) or Laurie Halse Anderson's writing cottage. I love John & Hank Green's vlogbrothers videos. It's a little glimpse into their lives that makes me appreciate their writing more. (This is one thing I like about Facebook also- people living in far flung areas of the world sharing bits of their lives with others who are not right there.)

So, yes, I'd love to hear about your dog and your music suggestions and what books you've loved. Make some videos. And I wouldn't say no to reading an occasional story or two.

Good luck with your goals this year. (I'm hoping that one of the good news items has something to do with Gen Dead.)

Jade said...

I'm a big fan of your goal to blog more both on here and on But I think you should go easy on yourself with all the goals. Enjoy writing. Sure, sometimes you're in need of a goal to remind you how much you like to write but don't burn yourself out. Personally, I've kept up with your blog for a long while now and I don't mind what the topic; all your blogs are interesting. Good luck and don't be so hard on yourself, you've done great.

Kelly said...

I would love for you to blog more. I agree so much with sandi. Everything she said I feel too so there isn't much use in me repeating it. Please, get a twitter, there is nothing scary about it. I just started using mine again after not for about a year. And if you could write about writing such as giving tips to aspiring writers, that would be amazing. I would love if I were to one day become as great a writer as you.

Kelly said...

P.S. If you really want to be more present online to your fans, I know one place where it would be greatly appreciated: the Haunted House Forum. I noticed you have an account but are never on. All of us at the HH would be very excited if you became a frequent visitor that we could talk to just like any other member.

Lydia said...

As I was reading your post I accidentally poured yoghurt over my keyboard. Sigh.

I would really like to hear more about what you're reading. I love book recommendations.

I think writing advice would be good as well. Like, I am absolutely terrified of letting anyone see my creative writing... any advice on how to get over that?

Happy new year. I hope you do blog more, I really like reading your posts. x

Anonymous said...

Yeah man you should blog more. Be it talking about your dogs, what music you're reading or something that interested you. Same for My So-Called Undeath. I miss Tommy, Phoebe and the rest of GenDead. And just wondering, is there going to be 4th GenDead book? Please say yes and its going to be soon!!!
(Team Tak aka Smiley!!!) hahahha


Daniel Waters said...

Hi Sandi!

Still not sure if I'm ready for the Twitter commitment. Maybe after I master the others. Thank you kindly for posting.

And good luck with your goals as well!

Take care,

Hi Jade!

Thanks for the well-wishes! I can honestly say that I enjoy writing more than just about anything else; the only time I feel burned out is when other things keep me from doing it.
And thanks for sticking around!

Take care,

Hi shy yet talkative girl!

I will write about writing more, promise. And you know, I've offered to do "Live Chats" at the Haunted House a couple times, but it never happens for some reason. But I'll try to stop by more.

Take care,

Hi Lydia!

Sorry about the yoghurt mishap, owtch. I killed a keyboard with iced coffee once so I can sympathize.

As far as getting over the fear of showing your work to others, I still have it! But I think the key is finding some like-minded friends who like to write as well. Or just one friend.

But always, write for yourself.

Write and read everyday. Everyday. This may sound callous, but if you do that you will reach this sort of internal tipping point where you don't really care what other people think about your work. Which is okay.

If you are bored, check out my reviews on Amazon or Goodreads, and you'll see a wide range, a bunch of ones, a bunch of fives, and a whole bunch in between. The fives are nice, the ones are occassionally infuriating (although the worst for me are the threes that just didn't get it), but at the end of the day I need to be my own judge of my successes and failures.

Take your time. Keep writing and reading and the confidence will come. It will come from inside you more than from someone else.

Take care,

Hi Cassie!

No 4th book as planned at this time, but the future is unwritten! I think I'll probably be writing Generation Dead stories for a long, long time.

Take care,

Lisa Mandina said...

I agree with Sandi about the Twitter thing. There is an author I probably would never have read if it wasn't for her quirky Twitter posts. I think you could gain a new following there as well. And it's only 140 characters at a time! :-) I think it is great how you connect with your readers, so keep that up, and good luck with your goals!

Nicole T said...

Im glad you are going to have the gen dead gang post more blogs because i really look forward to reading them. And its also nice to have them to tide us over untill a new gen dead book comes out, if one does.

Daniel Waters said...

Hi Lisa!

That is good to know--maybe I'll end up on Twitter someday. Thanks!

Take care,

Hi Nicole!

Thank you for confirming that--I was hoping at least some people felt that way.

Take care,

Anonymous said...


Daniel Waters said...

Hi Anonymous!

Will do! I promise.

Take care,

Mel said...

OMZ! ;)

I just finished re-reading the whole Generation Dead series. These books are some of my favourite books ever...But I had to skip over all of the Pete chapters in Kiss of Life because I was still so mad at him lol.

I cannot wait for your next book! :)


PS have you read the book Soulless? I forget the author but it's another great zombie book, but with another different take on the whole zombie plague story. If not, it's a great read! :)

Daniel Waters said...

Hi Mel!

Thank you! I have no read Soulless, but I believe that is by Chris Golden and I've hung out with Chris a couple times and he is an excellent human being.

Take care,

Jeff Reid said...

Generation Dead and Kiss of Life are now on, ready to "fantasy cast" - who do YOU see in the movie?

Jeff Reid said...

Generation Dead and Kiss of Life are now on, ready to "fantasy cast" - who do YOU see in the movie?