By Chris Hutton
My blog and its subject matter is still a work in progress. It probably always will be. I have now spent nearly a month stumbling through social media, my brand, and my writing platform (this blog and other writing communities such as Scriggler). I do feel that I have come closer to an understanding of my method and of my path forward, but there is still much to be tested. So this week, rather than exploring a general writing topic, like the value of partnerships, the need of support networks, and the importance of social media in gaining an audience, I’m keeping its simple. Consider this the first in an ongoing series where I update on the state of my brand and my writing – a quick review of where I was and where I am now, what has been done and where I’m headed.
A month ago, I was doing my usual – working on a gazillion projects. The list is ridiculously large considering my minimal free time having both a full-time job and being a parent.
- Finalizing a partnership contract with a writing colleague to move forward pitching some television pilot ideas as a writing team
- Adjusting the Arcas script, for my upcoming comic, to meet certain rating criteria
- Working on a horror novel
- Collaborating on a science-fiction novel
- Reviewing my latest pilot for rewrite notes
- Watching every episode of iZombie and taking scrupulous notes, while preparing to write a spec episode for contest season
- Doing absolutely nothing with social media, branding, or the internet in general
Thinking to where I am now, my first thought instinctively, and with a pessimism common to many writers that I know, travels to what I have not done. I haven’t finalized my contract, I haven’t finished my horror novel, my collaboration on the science-fiction novel has reached a necessary hiatus, my pilot rewrite has been placed on hold, and I haven’t finished rewatching and taking notes on season 2 of iZombie. It would seem at first glance, that other than my progress with Arcas, I am no further now than a month ago.
That line of thinking is a load of bull. In the past month I have:
This may not be where I want to be, but I tackled social media head on and began branding myself and that’s a big and necessary step. Additionally, even with all of the time that went into creating those channels and getting them up and running, I found time to complete a new short story and those three blogs. I think I’ll cut myself some slack on those things that I have not finished.
So I’ve completed a few things over the past month, but as my audience you’re likely already aware of that. With that being the case, what’s the difference between where I’m at now and my progress? Well, basically what’s done versus how far along I am in other tasks. We’ve talked about what is done, let’s look at what is moving.
First off, I created a brand, but where does it stand?
- Established an audience of 127 persons around my official page
- Established an audience of 17 persons around my comic’s official page
- Gained an audience of 487 followers
- Built from scratch to an audience of 106 followers
- 3 followers
- Posted one story
- The story has been admitted to one club
- The story has been seen on this platform by 505 persons
- The story has climbed to #12 on the Story charts for September posts
- Has been visited by 133 unique users
- Has had 492 pageviews
Admittedly these numbers are low, but they did all hit my initial targets for month one, save for the Arcas official page, and I hadn’t even heard of Scriggler until near the end of September, so I’m ignoring those follower numbers for now. Additionally, my story post to that community has done well to climb up so fast, so on that front, I’m considering it a win for my branding.
Next up, my writing. I have a few works in active progress such as:
- Drafted the first ten pages of my next comic book idea
- Finished two of three parts in an original science-fiction short story, Inflow
- Am moving forward with my partnership contract
- Have around 35 pages of the Arcas graphic novel illustrated by my collaborator and colleague, JC Thomas
So what’s next?
Over the past month I have been gaining an understanding of my social media strategy. I’ve been testing it, building on it, tweaking it, and I expect that I will continue to do so, but I have gained some understanding on a path forward for this blog. I will vary it with regular Monday and Friday posts, along with occasional Wednesday posts.
Mondays – new stories
Wednesdays – samples from upcoming works for publication (when available)
Fridays – blogs
The blogs themselves will vary. Once every month to two months I will draft a blog encouraging support of peers and colleagues currently working on projects / or having finished projects to which I would like to draw attention. I will also draft a status update each month, like this one, to keep my readers up-to-date on my current work. Finally, I will fill in the remaining Fridays with topical posts on writing, comics, tv, film, and other creative mediums, and with guest blogs from collaborators when appropriate.
In regards to my social media channels, I will continue to test marketing strategies and work on growing on my audiences. I would like to double each channel’s audience by my next status update, but will be focusing primarily on twitter growth during this initial phase of brand-building.
Additionally, I aim to post two more stories to the Scriggler community, each after they have received a minimum of one week exclusivity on my blog.
Moving on to my writing – the whole point of all of this. I aim to:
- Finalize my partnership contract
- Finish the Inflow short story
- Draft a new horror story
- Draft two more stories or begin another serialized short story
- Resume work on my iZombie Spec
I don’t know why, but for some reason, I’m feeling uncharacteristically optimistic that this is all doable.
Anyway, that’s that. Where I was, where I am, my progress with my current work, and my plan for the month ahead. Maybe you find this useful. Maybe you’ll want to skip these updates in the future. Your call, but they keep me grounded. As one of my favorite television writing professors used to always say, “Onwards and Upwards!”
Happy Writing, All!