Some Renovations at Liegois Media

Hi, everyone.

I decided to let you know about a couple of changes and additions to the Liegois Media site. Most of these involve the menu options at the top of the blog.

First, I revised the About Me page on this blog to reflect how the blog has changed over the past few years and to not make it so link-happy (although there are a few links on there).

For links, there’s my Link In Bio page, where I’ve collected all of my important links. That includes my companion blog, The Writing Life With Jason Liegois, the place to go for you to sign up for that newsletter and my mailing list, my Facebook, Goodreads, and Amazon pages, and a whole bunch of other items.

I still have the My Work page, which includes all the links where you can go to purchase my paid fiction. I’m hoping to add to that page very soon in the near future.

There’s also a contact page, which has the email you should contact me if you have questions or any professional inquiries (writing services, appearances, queries, etc. etc.). Actually, that email address is all over the place here on the blog, but I like it that you can find that and other information in more than one place.

You will also see that I’ve removed any references to my Twitter presence on this blog. Here’s the explanation for why that’s now the case.

That’s it for now; I’ll let you know if there’s any other

While I do appreciate you following this blog, I really would like you to subscribe to my Substack page. By subscribing to that page, you’ll not only be receiving my Substack newsletter, The Writing Life With Jason Liegois (the companion blog to this one), but you’ll also be signing up for my email list. I will eventually be opening some special contests, offers, and first looks at original fiction, poems, and other items. Just click the button below.

Saying Goodbye to Twitter

I didn’t want to use a Twitter logo for this post. So, here’s a cool photo of downtown Des Moines I took instead.

You might have noticed that I don’t write too much about politics here. I’m not sure when or where I mentioned it before on here, but I’ve made a conscientious decision to focus this blog (and my Substack page) on, as I put it, writing and the writing life.

Occasionally I might mention items about politics on my own personal Facebook page, or perhaps other places. I don’t mention them here. It’s my belief that keeping a clear focus for this blog and not letting it be about whatever pops into my head. I had one blog where I wrote it anonymously and that was just about anything that came into my head. That blog wound up just lasting a couple months before I got bored with it. I kept this blog on the specific topic of writing, the writing life, and my writing life in particular. It’s now well into its fifth year of operation and going steady, although it’s not like I’ve been able to use it to make any money. Yet.

As part of this effort to express myself online, I also wound up getting on social media. My time on Facebook, and the page I dedicated to my writing, actually predates this blog. For a while, I also was on Twitter, first with a personal account, and also an account associated with this blog. I just thought it would be a good way to get the word out about what I was doing here.

Until now.

You might have heard that the son of a South African emerald mine owner has purchased Twitter for such an insanely inflated price that he spent the better part of this year trying to get out of the deal until a Delaware court all but forced him to go through with it. This is not the place for me to recount the whole story of what has happened to the service (many others are doing a better job of that online), but it is sufficient to say that to buy the company he wound up cashing in a lot of the stock he had in his existing company and securing far too much financing from the government of Saudi Arabia for comfort. Since then, he has apparently been busy slashing payroll and expenditures to the detriment of the platform’s services, driving away advertisers and users by ignoring proper content moderation, and allowing the site to become a haven for right-wing terrorists and bigots.

This is now the portion of this post where I will briefly become political. Don’t worry – it will only last for a couple of paragraphs.

I refuse to believe that anyone in this world can earn a billion dollars without either inheriting a large portion of that sum or exploiting other people. I fail to see how anyone with any hint of sanity would not see that having $999 million dollars would not be a sufficient fortune and feel compelled to grub for even more money.

Although there are many things that are worthy of debate, human rights and equality is not among them. Bigots of all kinds have no valid contribution to make to society and their “opinions” on what type of people are worthier than others have no value. The proper way to deal with such people is not to coddle or understand them, and certainly not to debate them. They must be shunned and opposed under any and all circumstances.

As a result of this, I don’t feel like I can support being on such a platform anymore. After carefully downloading a data record of both my accounts, I posted a final Twitter thread to them last night. This is the pinned Tweet on my Liegois Media Twitter page as of this moment:

Barring technical difficulties, I’ll be deleting this account in 48 hours (5 p.m. CDT 27 November 2022). Anyone after that trying to claim on Twitter that they’re Jason Allan Liegois who grew up in Muscatine, Iowa, for any reason, personal or otherwise, is fake and/or a bot.

As much of this is a supposedly principled stand that I am making, I also have to admit that there is a slightly mercenary aspect to this as well. I had long hoped that my presence on Twitter would result in some additional engagement with people who might want to read this blog. In all honesty, that hasn’t happened. For example, I decided to leave my Twitter threads up for about two days to give any followers of mine sufficient time to bookmark the links I left posted there. I will be highly surprised if anyone uses those links, much less that even a single Twitter user will respond to those posts. On Twitter it often seemed like I was yelping into the void, in all honesty.

I had toyed with simply deleting all of my tweets and leaving my account open as a zombie account, but it’s much easier to delete the whole thing, and I already have the data if I ever get morbidly curious about all of the items I posted over the years.

It was very therapeutic to unfollow everyone on my Twitter accounts and slowly see my Twitter feeds dwindle to a blank screen. It was even cooler to see how many of the writers I follow on Twitter have Substack pages, so I was taking the time to subscribe to those pages so I could continue to read their work. I would really like you, or anybody really reading this, to subscribe to my Substack page. I am using that to develop an email list of subscribers and an online community that I hope will be much more sustainable and personal than “social media” networks. Most everything on this site (with the exception of perhaps my writing journals) will be posted on the Substack site.

Go ahead and join me there. We’ll talk writing.

Writing Journal 24 November 2022: Plodding toward the finish (and Thanksgiving break)

Hi, everyone. Hope all is going well with as we ease into the Thanksgiving week. I have a full five straight days of vacation and I definitely need them, I think.

There’s been a bit of a refreshing and a redesign that I’m doing a “soft launch” on this week. I think I’ll get into it in more detail on the next blog post I write, which I’ll post Saturday, I think. Essentially, it’s a bit of an update to get some of my new links up and some old items I don’t use down.

It’s still been a slow writing period for me. I did slightly better than last week. There was a part of me that considered that I might have actually reached my 200,000-word goal for this year by Thanksgiving, but it might be tight. As of last Saturday, I have about 4,200 words left to get to that mark. That’s an average week for me, so maybe by next week I will be able to pop the proverbial champagne cork in celebration. We’ll see.

Here’s the stats for last week.

Writing statistics for the week ending 20 November 2022:
+3,771 words written
Days writing: 5 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 1 of 7 for 30 total minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 5 of 7 days.

And this is the point in every one of my posts where I’ll ask you to subscribe to my mailing list for my Substack blog, The Writing Life With Jason Liegois. I’m trying to build up a strong email list so that I can keep in contact with people to let them know what’s going on with me, to talk about opportunities to talk with me about writing or writing advice, and, oh yeah, maybe sell a book or two. It’s free to do and trust me, I’m not even thinking about a paid subscription just yet. Just click on the button below to get yourself sorted.

Anyway, that’s it for now. Writers keep writing and the rest of you stay safe.

I Would Love It If You’d Subscribe To My Substack

My Substack page is now operating under a new name – The Writing Life With Jason Liegois. It is now a companion piece to this blog, and I have moved my archive of older posts from Liegois Media to that site.

This does not in any way mean that I am abandoning this site. On the contrary, this site will continue to be one of the main home bases, so to speak, for my writing and online activity.

However, I am using Substack to help build something that is far overdue for me… an email list.

One of the pieces of advice that I have been receiving from fellow writers both online and in real life (IRL) is that building an email list of readers has been a good way of getting people interested in what you are doing and what you are writing. I’m interested in building a community of readers, of people who get something out of what I write.

And I promise that I just won’t bother you every time I’m interested in selling something (like new books that might be on their way), but usually just to let you know what I’ve been writing, what I’ve been thinking of, and even just how things have been. You can get on Substack chats with me if you’ve got questions about writing or want to chat about whatever questions I’m chatting about.

So, definitely feel free to subscribe to my WordPress, but if you have already subscribed to that, I would absolutely appreciate it if you subscribed to my Substack so I could build that email list and you can get access to the newsletter. Send along your email and I absolutely promise I won’t send you any pyramid schemes, crypto scams, or phishing attempts. But you will get access to some good writing when it comes out.

Just click on the link below to subscribe to my Substack newsletter, The Writing Life With Jason Liegois:

Now, you aren’t absolutely positively required to send your emails to me so I can send you new posts, new releases, and maybe even offer you a contest or two. But really…

Writing Journal 16 November 2022: This week was maybe par at best

[PHOTO NOTE: I rearranged my bookshelves and also got a couple of new items. The Son by Philip Meyer is turning into a nice little read.]

Meeting my word count goal of 200,000 for the year 2022 is getting closer by the day. I’m just about to reach it. I’m just under 10,000 words to the goal. If I wrote out of my mind for the next 10 days I just might be able to actually reach it by Thanksgiving.

But given my writing rates recently, that might be a bridge too far. The numbers for last week are not horrific but not inspiring either.

Writing statistics for the week ending 12 November 2022:
+3,364 words written.
Days writing: 5 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 1 of 7 for 60 total minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 5 of 7 days.

Again, if this was a younger me who seemed to struggle for any sort of consistency writing, those wouldn’t be bad numbers. But then again, I’m not settling for okay numbers, I want good numbers and consistent numbers.

Even if I’m working full-time at another job like I am now, I still should be over 4,000 words per week. If I just meet my daily writing quote of 500 words a day, that would add up to 3,500 words. Just good isn’t enough, though.

Oh, I’m also trying to experiment with Mailchimp to see if I can build an email community that might be interested in what I have to write, but I’m trying to keep up with the writing at the same time. Maybe I start looking at it in December once I met my goal, hehe.

Anyway, all you other writers keep writing and everyone keep safe.

Refreshing/Cleaning My Writing/Pondering Space Because You Need To Do That Every Once In A While

Again, I got tunnel vision on one project and found myself without something in particular to write about.

This is the part of the post where I talk about what’s going on behind the scenes and don’t actually give writing advice. Thanks.

As it turns out, I’m now trying to write material for two blogs – this one and my one on Substack. Usually, what I try to do is cross-post my material on both sites. However, I can’t always do that. For example, while I am posting my writing journals on this site, I’m not sure that I’m going to do that on Substack. The audience for just me talking about writing numbers might be slightly limited (lol).

I’m also trying to continue to write the A Writer’s Biography posts on both sites as well. I’ve really enjoyed writing these (and it might be turning into a memoir), but this project is at different points on the different sites. On WordPress, I have been writing these stories for a while, and am trying to put together some new outings describing my past as a writer and my writing life. On Substack, I’ve just begun to post entries from this series, but I decided to start from the beginning. Since I am interested in expanding the series to book form, I’ve decided to post these expanded and revised entries as a sneak peek on Substack. So, that means I’m trying to write one thing for one site, revise another thing for another site, all the while researching the latest thing I’m hoping lets people know about me (Mailchimp), and trying to write my next novel project. All of this during a limited amount of time in the evenings and weekends of my life.

Basically, I’ve got a lot on my plate. But I am trying to write more. And there is a new book being published soon in early 2023 – The Yank Striker. Watch this space for upcoming details.

[Somewhat random explaining and complaining over.]

I’ve talked before about how having a dedicated writing space and taking care of it is something essential. As you can see from the featured photo at the beginning of this post, my writing space is relatively modest. In the first house I owned in Clinton, Iowa, I commandeered a former back porch converted into a four-season room as my first real dedicated writing room. Despite the fact it also happened to be the main entrance into the house for me and my family, it worked out well for what it was. Then there was the spare bedroom in our home in Muscatine, Iowa, where my wife Laura and I raised our two kids through their school-age years.

The spare bedroom/office in my home in Muscatine.

It wound up being essentially my clubhouse for the next 12 years, and my wife would say that since I didn’t clean it up enough, it started to take on the… essence of a guy’s locker room by the end of that run. It wasn’t a bad little writing space.

When I moved to Chariton, Iowa, I first took charge of a spare room in the front of our new house. Family circumstances, however, required me to vacate that room and for us to convert it into a spare bedroom so both our late-teen kids could share our house. Instead, I found a little landing that sat at the top of the staircase from the main floor to our main bedroom, which was converted from existing attic space. When I get to the top of the stairs, I have the bedroom to my left and the landing on my right.

This is absolutely the smallest writing space I have ever had. I only have half the bookshelf space I had in my first two homes, and at least one of the bookshelves I have is now in the bedroom rather than within reach. The total floor space on the landing is roughly 40 square feet but my effective space is probably more like 30 square feet. Much of that is taken up by two bookcases, a three-stack plastic storage case, and a desk that is only half the size of my desk in Muscatine. (I use the vintage desk that my wife previously used when she had her own consultant firm and worked out of our Muscatine home). I can’t quite stand up straight underneath the sloping ceiling above the desk, and I don’t have a door to close to keep the noise in the house out.

It might be the best writing space I have had yet.

For me, it seems to be just enough space. I’ve got enough light, people down on the main floor can’t see me up here type type typing away (but they probably hear me). Everything I absolutely need (light, notebooks, audio-visual equipment, a laptop, the Internet) is within a stretching arm reach. Despite not having a door to close, I can feel pretty set apart up here, which is a good situation to have for a writing space.

You also need to clean up the place every once in a while. My wife suggested today might be a good day to do it, and I took her up on it. After a while, a home office can accumulate quite a few things, like dust over everything, books, pop cans, and notebooks scattered around, and paper. There is often lots of small slips of paper scattered around the flat surfaces of a home office, and if it’s been too long since a sorting out and cleaning, you often have no idea of why they are there.

Anyway, I have two bits of related writing advice tonight.

  1. Make sure you clean and reorganize your writing space on a regular basis, at least once a month to prove that you’re not some degenerate derelict taking up space in your residence. If you have a clean and organized space, your thought processes tend to be cleaner and more straightforward as well. You’ll also feel like you accomplished something if you do it even without writing any words down that day.
  2. Despite the temptation to have a massive home office, consider the possibility of using a smaller space for your writing. It forces you to keep things simple and uncomplicated, which helps make your thinking simpler and uncomplicated. It also has the side benefit of making it a faster process of cleaning and reorganizing your writing area. For example, it just took me about 40 minutes to fully dust and reorganize my space.

That’s about it for tonight. I’ll try and see if I can post something on the weekend earlier than after 10 p.m. Central time on Sunday (lol). Take care everyone.

Writing Journal 9 November 2022: I’m close to the finish line of my yearly writing goals

I’m not at the finish line for my yearly goals, but I’m definitely getting close to them.

When I started this year, for the first time ever I decided to set two yearly goals for myself. Given my writing performance over the past four years (I’ve tracked my word count for a few years before that, but 2018 was the first year that I used my current system), I believed 200,000 words was an attainable goal. Also, given that past performance, I believed that setting an overall goal of meeting my daily writing quotas at least 70 percent of the time was also attainable.

As we continue through November and some other writers are blitzing their way through National Novel Writers Month, I’m going at a bit slower pace than them (again, a minimum of 500 words per day as opposed to 1,667 per day that you would need to successfully complete NaNoWriMo), but I’m putting up some solid numbers last week and recently.

As of right now, I estimate that including last week’s total, I’m less than 14,000 words away from reaching my goal. I could very easily reach that by the end of the month, never mind the year. After that, my current official personal word count record is 208,919, set back in 2020. With about eight weeks left in the year, that record is absolutely within reach.

My current record of daily writing quota met (either 500 words a day or 30 minutes of revisions/planning) stands at 78 percent set in 2019. It would take a near miracle for me to match that mathematically this year, but as of right now I am averaging 75 percent success. I haven’t gotten over 70 percent for a year since 2019, so that’s good news for me.

Anyway, here’s the numbers for last week – a pretty solid one for me. Hope all of you writers out there are having good weeks too. Take care.

Writing statistics for the week ending 5 November 2022:
+4,666 words written.
Days writing: 6 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 0 of 7 for 0 total minutes.
Daily writing goals met (500 words a day and/or 30 minutes of revisions/planning: 5 of 7 days.

What I’m Writing About Recently, or I’m Writing This Just To Write Something

[PHOTO NOTE: My current Facebook profile pic. Just because.]

Sometimes I get into a situation where I know I should be writing but I can’t manage to do the right type of writing.

By most metrics, I think I’ve had a pretty productive writing year so far, and I think it will get better by the end of the year. However, I’m also going through a bit of a transition. For the past couple of years, I was writing fan fiction and spending most of my mental and creative energy in that sphere. It has been a wonderful experience and I have a strong feeling that it helped me recapture my passion for writing once again, but I feel like I should be talking some of the other writing that I have planned seriously. I wanted to get back to writing books again and doing more with this site. I even talked about it for a few weeks recently.

However, it turns out that sometimes people can wind up trying to do a whole bunch at once and find themselves frozen, so to speak. Well, perhaps I might only be speaking for myself, but it is true for me, at least. I think this is partially because I get used to working in certain ways and when I get out of what I’m used to doing, that can mess with me. In years past, that would have just convince me not to write anything. However, since I’ve actually decided to get serious about my writing during the past several years, that’s not really an option that I feel comfortable exercising. Even though everyone has off days and I certainly have days where I don’t write a single word, the fact that I do that too many days in a row makes me uncomfortable in a way it never did before.

I want to be creative and I definitely feel better mentally when I accomplish any sort of writing, whether it’s serious writing, fun writing, or even just a good round of revisions. So, in lieu of writing anything else, I thought I’d discuss some of the observations I’ve had about some of my current work habits and why it might be sometimes challenging to write in some circumstances. For me, it beats not writing, so I hope any writers out there get some benefit from it.

  1. Conventional book-writing and fan fiction writing have two particular differences that I have noticed. The first of these is how you go about putting together the work. In fan fiction, most writers post their fiction as they write it, in individual chapters. As a consequence, you are writing your work in chronological order as you work on it, or else readers would have no idea what was going on.
    This can be a sticky situation when you get to a point in your writing where it’s a slow part of the story and you don’t have as much enthusiasm for that particular scene. However, it can be a valuable way for you to realize that you either need to cut the scene altogether or drastically shorten it, so in that sense it can be valuable.
    In the case of book fiction, however, you don’t publish as you go. You only put out the book when you finish the entire work. Because of this fact, you have the ability to write sections of the book in whatever sequence you like, just like how movie and television directors often shoot scenes out of sequence. I began this practice in recent years for three particular reasons. It encourages me to write the most interesting scenes first, and thus encourages writing productivity. I also find that it indirectly encourages me to eventually leave out those scenes, which I think speeds up the action and pace of the narrative. So, that is an advantage of novel writing.

    The second difference, on the other hand, concerns overall word count. In the world of online fan fiction, there is no real limit to the amount of words you can write. I ended up writing more than a half million words for one series that I’m doing and nobody would blink and eye at it.
    When it comes to conventional publishing, however, keeping a narrative under a certain word count is more expected. Novels are typically between 60,000 to just under 100,000. Fantasy and science fiction authors can go a bit over that mark, but otherwise, publishers want you to keep those books at a certain length.
    I just took a look at the new manuscript I’m working on – essentially a sequel for the new book that’s coming out (watch this space for further announcements on that). I’m informally settling on a word count of about 80,000 to 95,000 for the book. I just started writing it in earnest two weeks ago. I took a look at my word count and I’m already up to 8,000 words. I feel like I just started telling the story. It’s a limitation for sure. However, maybe it’s a good limitation – not all of those unabridged novels and director’s cut films are genius-level works of art.
  2. Sticking to writing deadlines is a bit tough for me. I have usually been sticking to putting out my writing journals on WordPress every Wednesday recapping my word count and work for the previous week. Then again, those are pretty standard to put together because I’m usually just posting numbers and making the odd comments about them
    Making creative content, stuff like writing advice and those A Writer’s Biography posts, is a bit more work. I’ve been trying to write a content-rich post every weekend, but as you might notice from the timestamp on this one, that gets a bit difficult. (I was thinking that I was going to get something posted by Saturday, ha ha.)
    This is a skill that I think will be a work in progress for me. And, I realize that I’m not the only one with this type of problem. I’ve been gratified in recent years to learn that two of my creative idols growing up – the late great novelist Douglas Adams, and the cartoonist Berke Breathed, were notorious for missing deadlines. That helps me keep it in perspective.
  3. It’s tough to try and get a good word count going and be a poet.
    I’ve started to write poetry (and have shown some of them on this site), but they don’t really add to the word count, do they? I mean, I managed to get this post well over a thousand words without too much effort, but verse is a totally different animal than prose. Poets often go through just as much work to put together a group of words that a prose writer would put in to write ten times as many words. My writing group has been pondering this question for a while and wondering what a rightfully equivalent amount of writing would be for poets.
    Since I’ve been working at trying to write 200,000 words this year, obviously this has discouraged me from spending too much time on poetry. Something I might keep in mind when I am considering next year’s writing goals.

Anyway, that’s all for now. Take care of yourselves, everyone.

Writing Journal 2 November 2022: A dry patch kind of week, but the words are still adding up

I haven’t had such a slow writing period for a while, not exactly like this for a while.

I have to say I’m not really sure about why that is. There is plenty of stuff that I can be writing, and I did produce some good stuff this week, including a decent review of the Anchor podcasting platform that came out here. However, there were some long stretches of last week where I didn’t write anything.

Writing statistics for the week ending 30 October 2022:
+2,045 words written.
Days writing: 2 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 1 of 7 for 30 total minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 3 of 7 days.

By no means was this the worst writing week that I ever had – there was that infamous last week of May where my word count didn’t break four figures – but it was down there. Even with that week, however, the month of October overall was not bad.

Writing statistics for October 2022:
Words: 18,321
Revising/Planning: 210 minutes
Daily Writing Goals Met: 82%

This was definitely a decent month that would have been better if I had a good last week, but oh, well.

I think part of it is because I have started to consider putting together my own email list. Mailchimp appears to be the easiest and most straightforward platform I’ve seen and there is some good integration with it on WordPress. But that is likely a post for another day.

However, in looking at my overall numbers, I’m still feeling quite good about my progress and reaching my overall writing goals of 200,000 total words written this year and meeting my daily goals (500 words per day or 30 minutes of revisions and/or planning) at least 70 percent of the time.

As of right now, I am just slightly under 16,000 words to reaching my goal. That is about the amount of a mediocre month for me this year, so I have a chance of reaching that goal before November is out. As of right now, I’m meeting my daily goals 75 percent of the time, and I have to think that in a few weeks, there will be almost no mathematical chance that I will miss that goal. So, I have that to look forward to, at least.

That’s about it for now, I think. This isn’t going to make my daily quota, but sometimes it’s best to go for below your quota rather than trying to do more and ending up writing nothing. That’s what I’ve realized with myself, anyway. Besides, if I manage six subpar weeks in a row (where I just write maybe 3,000 words), I’ll make my quota with room to spare. That’s a good position to be in.

Take care, everyone.