This Blog & 2011 In Review

The good people at WordPress.com prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.  I won’t post the one for my second blog, forfathers.wordpress.com, since it hasn’t seen a full year, but I would like to share this one.  Perhaps you have feedback for me as well.  I’m always open to reading suggestions–perhaps I can read and interview your favorite author–for example.

Whether or not you have feedback or suggestions, I appreciate that you follow, visit, and participate in the conversations and posts here.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,900 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

13 Blogging Ideas for Novelists

As I keep learning about publishing and writing, I continue to deepen my debt to a few people in the writing world.  Today I’m nodding again to Michael Hyatt.  He posted a great list of blog ideas for novelists.

Send your novel-writing friends to this if they’re interested in developing or continuing a blog.  I’ve listed the first 5 ideas, and you can click below to keep reading.

  1. Excerpts from Your Novel. This is probably the easiest. It has the added advantage of allowing us, your potential readers, to “sample the brew.” Just write a paragraph to set up the excerpt. Oh, and be sure to link to your book, so we can buy it (duh).
  2. Backstory of Your Novel. Tell us why you wrote your novel. How did you settle onthis story? How did you come up with the main characters? Why did you chose the setting you did? What research did you have to do before you could start writing?
  3. A Behind-the-Scenes Look. Give us a sense of what it is like to be a novelist. How did you feel when you finally landed an agent? What does a typical writing day look like for you? What’s it like to see your book in print and hold a copy in your hand for the first time?
  4. “Directors” Notes. This is the kind of thing you occasionally see with extended versions of movies. Explain why you chose to start with a particular scene. Talk about the scenes you had to delete—or those you had to add to improve the story. Don’t underestimate the curiosity of your readers.
  5. Interview with Yourself. Authors often complain that professional reviewers haven’t read their book or don’t “get it.” Fine. Who knows your novel better than you? No one. So interview yourself. Have fun with it. What questions do you wish you would be asked?

To read the rest of Michael’s list, click here.

For Fathers & People Who Love Them

Tomorrow I’m launching a second blog.  I will continue to ramble about faith, writing, and relationships on this blog.  But the second blog will be for fathers and the people who love them.  I’ll share stories about parenting and focus on the skills that fathers and parents need, the interior life as a father, and the moments of grace I’m experiencing as a father.  That last part will also still get some coverage on this blog, though the posts for Intersections will be explicitly about my faith and how fatherhood is relating to, renovating, or enriching me spiritually.

Of course, I’m a man of faith whatever blog I’m writing on, so you should expect to see glimpses or full-scale shows of faith and grace on both blogs.  If you’re interested in these father-related topics, or you know someone who is, the address is forfathers.wordpress.com.  I’d love to have you or that person you know visit the blog.

The second thing about tomorrow I’d like to mention is that you should read about modern slavery in America over at the Root.  It summarizes Juneteenth, what it is, and how we should look at and respond to issues of slavery today.

Misspellings And Other Mistakes

I hate reading misspelled words.  I really hate writing them.  Like most people I’m subject to doing what I hate.

Over the weekend, I looked at my blog.  I had scheduled Nina’s post.  The day it went up, I read it.  I read it like I had several times before scheduling it.  But, after it went up on the blog, I saw an error.  I saw a misspelled word, a mis-chosen wrong.  If you read the last post, you saw it too.

I was reading the post on my phone.  I reread it to make sure that I wasn’t seeing things.  This happens when I wake up too early, when I don’t get sleep.  I blinked, rubbed my eyes, looked away at an object on the other side of the glass.  The mistake was still there.  So I logged into my account.

I was going to write the wrong, fix the error.  Except the mountains had other plans.  It turns out that the interstate highway between Tennessee and Alabama isn’t too friendly to smartphones.  I had the hardest time logging in to wordpress, and even after getting into my dashboard, I couldn’t successfully edit the post.  I silently complained to peaks and cliffs to our side while we drove up and down the winding road.  By the time I got to where I was headed, I lost energy.  I forgot to edit the post.  Then, after remembering–which was after a long day of driving and negotiating tiny truces with the boy and meeting relatives and cleaning a room that looked like an ad for a new bed bug product–I was too exhausted to visit the closet-labeled-business center in the hotel.

The error haunted me.  It hasn’t stopped.  But I wouldn’t correct myself.  I wouldn’t change the word when I finally got the chance.  The mistake meant something by then.

When I came home, I got back to a book, The Active Life, I’m reading for an upcoming class.  It’s by Parker Palmer.  I’ve read three of his other books and will read this one and a fifth one for my class.  In the chapter I read through today, he talks about failure.  I thought of my failure to proof the blog post.  I thought of my day and the one before that, the mistakes jumping out at me, joining the other misspellings of my weekend.  It was a moment of orientation for me, a moment where I came back to grace in a humble way.  Here’s a quote from Palmer, speaking about the “downward movement” and the healing power of failure:

If downward movement is key to our quest for reality, then failure is key to our growth.  Success, or the illusion of success, is an upward movement, an inflation of the ego that makes us lighter than air.  But failure is life’s ballast.  It restrains our tendency to float away on a bloated ego and pulls us back toward common ground…The paradox is that failure may turn to growth, while success can turn to self-satisfaction and closure.

Your Feedback On My Survey

In a few days, I’ll mark my first blogging year, and I think one of the best ways for me to continue blogging is to ask you good readers a few questions.  Please list your answers in the “comments” or email me at michael DOT intersections AT gmail DOT com.  I got this idea from Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson publishers, who blogs here.  I’d love to have your answers to any or all of the following:

  1. How did you hear about my blog?
  2. How long have you been reading it?
  3. Which of the three (faith, writing, or relationships) appeal to you and why?
  4. Have you recommended Intersections to someone else?
  5. How can the blog be better?
  6. Do you consider yourself the “commenting” type? 
  7. What do you think of the blog’s appearance? 
  8. Do you have any comments or recommendations for me?

This is the part where you answer, folks.  Press that comment button or send me an email.  I appreciate it, and I hope to implement some of your good feedback soon.