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Writers Anonymous

Blog of the Bartender

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Archive for June, 2009

WritAnon Site Goals

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Now that you understand a bit about where the seed for WritAnon came from, the next logical question is what direction WritAnon will go in the near future.

The site goals by the end of this year are fairly straightforward:

  1. The site will be self-sustaining.
  2. The forum will have 200 members by January 1st, 2010.
  3. The blog will be updated at least once every week.

We’ve already made some progress towards reaching these goals, and plan additional changes to help us achieve each goal.

2009 Goal 1.  The site will be self-sustaining.

There are two aspects of this goal–the first is that the site is self-sustaining because users are answering each other’s posts.  Because of this, one near-term focus for WritAnon will be to enhance member’s creativity through inspirational posts (a new feature added this week),  topics on this blog, and posting interesting topics in the forums. We have also added three new forums for users to participate in:  Songwriters & Poets, Children’s Stories, and Scientific & Technical Writers.

The second aspect of this goal is that WritAnon become financially self-sustaining. This aspect is subservient to user’s experiences–in other words, while advertisements are necessary, we will not use advertisments that interfere with your experience such as pop-ups or annoying overlays.

Towards this goal, this week, we added Google advertisements to our site in an attempt to pull in some advertising dollars.  We will also be pursuing other advertising methods, which will be unveiled as the features supporting them are completed.

2009 Goal 2.  The forum will have 200 members by January 1st, 2010.

In a similar vein to the first aspect of Goal 1, in order to be self-sustaining, we need to have enough participating members to have a reasonable number of posts each day.

To this end, we’re in the process of creating an advertising campaign.  In the meantime, we have also created a Refer A Friend page where you can send an invitation to friends so they can take a look at WritAnon.  We have also uploaded a free flyer for users to post at their colleges, libraries, or coffee shops (or anywhere else that you happen to know writers frequent).  Please also invite your friends to join — all writers are welcome.

2009 Goal 3.  The blog will be updated at least once every week.

This goal is a more personal goal.  In order to force myself to write more often, I want to update the blog each week with current WritAnon events as well as making site improvements.   This will help me to become more creative, and hopefully give other writers some interesting topics to think about.

Updates to the site this week:

Continue to watch for additional features as they appear, as well as a special holiday blog post on July 4 (Independence Day in the United States).  See you in the forums!

Writers Anonymous — resurrected

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Back in 1999, the Internet was still fairly new, and the Bartender was still too young to have his first drink.   However, he had a passion for writing, a beginning knowledge of designing websites (one class in high school), and an opportunity to start a community on MSN for free.  This combination of passion, knowledge, and opportunity allowed him to create a place where writers could:

  • Commune
  • Show off successes
  • Learn from failures
  • Write collaborative stories to
    • Dust off their writing skills
    • Adapt to other patron’s writing styles

The community was called Writers Anonymous, and those of  us who were most active on the group fondly called it “WA”.  Over the next few years, WA grew quickly (as did the number of Internet users).  There were many who came and posted their stories (usually a story about the alter ego created for the community), and even more who came seeking help defeating a writer’s mortal enemy: Writer’s Block.

Although most of us kept in character the majority of the time, it became obvious where the roles we play in our real life started to show through–many of us were students, some were mothers or fathers, and others weren’t quite sure where to go next.  However, one thing was certain:  we were a family with a common bond–a shared passion for writing.

Unfortunately, due to the pressures of an intense college schedule (plus working part time), the bartender bowed out of WA, and transformed from a writer posting anonymously to an anonymous person who sometimes wrote.  The reasons for not coming back changed over the years (from college, to working full time, to getting too heavily involved in volunteer activities, getting married, going back to college again, etc.).

However, the transformation always nagged at the changed man…the bartender, his alter ego, kept quietly asking, “What if ye’d stuck with it?  What could ye have done?  Why would ye leave me behind?

In the past few months, the bartender redoubled his efforts, starting to talk to me about WA more and more.  I found him sneaking into my thoughts — “Ye know ye can’t go on without writing something.  Ye can’t let me die.

The catalyst for resurrecting WA in the form of writanon came from an unexpected (or maybe not so unexpected) source…one of the former members of the original WA (C_Hillman on the forums here at writanon) contacted me via a personal email, asking what became of the group since MSN closed their communities site.

Simply knowing that there was at least one other who shared my passion for the site was enough for me to decide to personally invest in resurrecting WA.  This helps to ensure that I will commit to working on redeveloping my writing skills.  An additional benefit is that we truly have control over what happens to our data — we are not at the mercy of another corporation who decides they’ll no longer host our group.

Building the site will take most of my efforts in the next few weeks, but once everything is up, I plan to spend more time blogging and creating/answering posts.  For now, I am committed to posting to the blog at least once weekly, and will increase the frequency as time permits and the site stabilizes.

This blog will be used to discuss various topics, and I expect it will evolve as time goes on.  In the near term, expect to see:

  • Pieces of WA history
  • General philosophy of WA
  • New features as they are implemented

Perhaps obviously, the blog is the latest addition to the writanon site.

In the long term, I’ll cover techniques to defeat our mortal enemy (Writer’s Block, for those who weren’t paying attention earlier), how to distinguish your writing style and keep your readers interested enough to finish.  If you’ve gotten this far, I’ve been fairly successful in my first post.

Now, I must go serve the next patron.  See you in the forums.

The bartender turns, his voice fading away, “What’d’yawant?”

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