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Archive for the ‘Site Goals’ Category

It Takes a Village…

Monday, September 7th, 2009

There’s an old saying that it takes a village to raise a child. In a lot of ways, this is true of writers as well. More on that in a moment.

It’s that time of year again…colleges and schools everywhere are starting back up. It’s time to get back to studying, or getting your kids ready for school, or simply enjoying the fact that you are no longer bound to being in classes anymore. The village–the folks here at WritAnon, the parents, the bus drivers, the teachers, the coaches, and, of course, the other students–is ready to help students (and writers!) grow through another school year.

After a summer of rest (or working jobs, depending on your stage of life), hundreds of thousands of students are back at class. While some may see this as a time of dread, this is really an opportunity for a new beginning. You can build your own community to help improve your writing…and you can also join ours if you’re not already a member.

Back To School by busymommy

Back To School by busymommy

College campuses and high schools are full of people who enjoy writing, so if you are in either of these places, please feel free to pass along a link to WritAnon to people you think might be interested. If your school has bulletin boards up to spread information among students (most colleges do), please consider posting up a flyer.

Back to the title of this blog entry, why do I say that it takes a village to raise a writer? Most feel that writing is a solitary endeavor…and in many ways, it is. However, many writers will find value in having several trusted people to:

  • help critique a work
  • point out what is done well
  • notice when a writer’s style has improved
  • give suggestions for improvement when opportunities arise.

This is exactly the type of community that we have built here at WritAnon.

All of us here at WritAnon share at least one goal–to continuously become better writers. This isn’t a single destination point, but is instead a journey. As many writers will agree, the destination isn’t what’s important…it’s the journey on how to get there.

This time of year brings plenty of opportunities for observant writers to advance their skill–going back to school is the perfect time to share some of your favorite stories with friends, and to write down some of the humorous things that happened to you or your friends.

Writers may also find this a good time to write about the feelings experienced during a life change (and going to school counts, especially if you’ve been out of the school environment for a while).  Some of these emotions may be:  stress, nervousness, excitement, and joy (to see old friends again).

Writing opportunities:

All of these emotions are ripe opportunities for exploring through your writing.  Take a few moments to try to capture some of the emotions you feel about going back to school. Are you returning after living in the “real world” for a long while? Are you looking forward to seeing friends that you haven’t seen all summer? What excites you about returning to school?

Not going back to school?  That’s fine, we have some activities for you too.  What’s your favorite story about going back to school?  Do you have kids?  What about the emotions you go through as a parent?

Feel free to write up a response and post it in the forums. You may be surprised at what feedback you get!

I Always Wanted to Run a Book Store

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Since I was a child, I was amazed by bookstores–hundreds of shelves, stacked (seemingly) from floor to ceiling, the soft, comfortable chairs where I spent hours pouring over which book to buy, the crackling sound of a binding for a book that had never been opened.

I loved the fact that you could open a book’s cover, and be instantly transported to another world and/or time–one where dragons, goblins, and faeries interacted with humans, or aliens helped humans learn how to overcome their shortcomings.

Even the stories that were closer to home (though still half a world away) were fascinating to me–such as those describing life in a tribe in Africa, or chasing kangaroos through the outback of Australia.

Bookstores were magical places, where I could be transported wherever I wanted–and I’ve always felt that owning/running a bookstore was in my future.  Besides being a writer, and loving to create worlds, I’ve also wanted to help others find the worlds they want to experience.

While I still don’t own a physical store, we now have a virtual store here at WritAnon.  Inside, you will find a section where we feature various books, movies, and other items that are outstanding in their class.  Since the WritAnon Store is powered by Amazon, we also have access to vast libraries of books, music, movies, video games, electronics, and other items, so you’re sure to find what you’re looking for.

Times have changed from when I was a child.  Less time is spent in books, and much more is spent on the Internet.  We have access to the equivalent of thousands of libraries, typically from the safety of our own homes–all that needs to be done is a quick search via Google or some other search engine.  We have more information, but the real magic is still in books–something you can curl up with on a couch in a sunny (or dark and stormy) window.

When you decide to make your next book, music, or movie purchase, consider using the WritAnon Store.  Then, feel free to check the forums to see what other discussion (or magic!) is going on there.

Site Goals Update:

One month after setting some end of year goals for WritAnon, I’ve decided to give you an update on how close we are to accomplishing those goals.

Goal 1a:  WritAnon will be self-sustaining from member postings in the forums

We’re doing fairly well on this front.  I feel very lucky to have several members who are very active in the forums, who are willing and able to answer each other’s questions and give advice/comments on various posted stories.  The flurry of activity in the forum has sometimes been difficult to keep up with, which is an excellent problem to have–I’ve been very grateful to have such talented writers debating topics in the forum.  I’ve also enjoyed the imagination shown by those who have submitted various stories.

We’ve also had a few inspirational stories submitted by forum members.  This is a big benefit for the site–visitors will be able to get several points of view for finding inspiration.

Goal 1b:  WritAnon will be self-sustaining from a financial standpoint

There is still a lot of room to improve on this goal (which is not completely unexpected, since we are only about 6 weeks old).

To this end, we have added Google advertisements to let our users know about related sites/services.  So far, this has been our primary source of income.  However, we have several new features that are now available, such as our Private Forums, Editing Services, and our new WritAnon Store.

The WritAnon Store is a new addition this week.  If you are planning on purchasing books, movies, music, video games/consoles, computer, or other electronic devices, please consider using the WritAnon StoreThe WritAnon Store is powered by Amazon, so you will pay the same price for items at our store as you would at Amazon.  WritAnon gets a small percentage of the purchase price of each item, so this is a great way to support our site.

Goal 2:  The WritAnon forum will have 200 members by January 1, 2010

We’re making progress towards this goal.  We have already increased from 8 to 12 members in the past month (a 50% increase!).

When I set this goal, I knew it was aggressive.  However, if five existing members tell five of their friends, and each friend tells five of their friends, we will already be at 125 potential members.

I’m amazed at how global WritAnon has already become.  So far, we’ve had visitors from 10 countries on 5 continents–if you know someone in Africa or Antarctica, then we can round out all 7 of the traditional continents.  However, I’m thinking that Antarctica may be somewhat unlikely.

Here in the United States, we’ve had visitors from 20 states, which is pretty good coverage for a month.

While we’ve made some good progress, we need your help to get to 200 members by the end of this year.  Please Refer a Friend, post flyers, and mention WritAnon to any friends or family members who like to write.

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

So far, I’ve been hitting this goal every week (with a bonus July 4 posting).  For the most part, I’ve been focused on implementing new features for the site rather than writing blog postings.  As I finish wrapping up a few additional features, I hope to be able to update with additional bonus posts as time goes on.

Site updates this week:

  • New featured inspirational story by Linda Hillman:  Precepts of Writing
  • The WritAnon Store is now open for business
  • Minor changes to page layouts for Google Advertisements

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