Wednesday, October 15, 2008

State of the Blog

I didn't write an anniversary post back in September when the blog turned four years old, which I meant to but got sidetracked and promptly forgot. Yesterday I noticed my post was the 1,800th I've written for PBW, so I thought today would be a good time to do the semi-annual "Here's the deal" post.

PBW is my personal project, and I'm the sole owner and author of the content. Two years ago my friend Tom started helping me cope with some of the technical challenges involved and comment moderation, which had become more than a little overwhelming for me. He has also posted a few update notices in my absence. Other than that (and the pretty amazing comments left by my visitors) PBW's content is mine alone. The responsibility for it is mine. The blog buck stops here.

I've been around for awhile. Once I write 98 more posts (which, if I don't quit blogging, I should accomplish by some time in late January/early February 2009) this weblog's posts will officially surpass the number I wrote on my previous online journal. Add to those numbers all the posts from my other private online journals which shall remain private, and altogether I've written about six thousand posts since I signed onto Prodigy (remember Prodigy?) and posted my first sonnet on the poetry forum in 1994.

I am pretty strict about content. I don't accept any form of advertising on PBW. I don't permit my agent or my publishers to have any say whatsoever in what I post here. I don't accept promo disguised as content from any publisher. I don't belong to any writer's organization. I am not affiliated with any industry group nor do I get involved in their promotional efforts. I don't support reciprocal promotions or any sort of cronyism. If I recommend something here, it's because I genuinely liked it, tested it out or thought it was an interesting product, or I am lending my support to a charity or fund-raiser that I believe is worthwhile.

Or it's free. I like free stuff. I like finding free stuff for readers and writers. We pay enough for everything else.

PBW is a public blog supported free-of-charge by Blogger or Google or whoever owns the service now, which means I don't pay a dime for it. Of course I can afford to buy one of the pricier blog hosting services, but I'm keeping PBW as it is to show that you don't have to pay through the nose to have a decent weblog. It's all that lead by example thing we authors should be doing.

I have instigated a number of trends over the years, made some industry predictions that came true, and helped launch a couple of shining stars. All of that was purely accidental. I've also touched off some major snitfests, firestorms, flamewars etc. Also not deliberately. Either way, PBW got a lot more popular (or notorious, if you prefer) than I ever really wanted it to be. The obvious benefits are often dimmed by the outside envy, ugliness and pettiness that popularity always seems to generate. I don't know how to feel about it, to be honest. I try not to think about it too much so I won't be tempted to click on the Delete Your Blog button.

I don't recommend young writers, or writers of any age for that matter, emulate me. I'm not a role model. There are many, many more talented, educated, likable, diplomatic authors out there who would serve as much better examples, and will help you a lot more along the path of your writing life and career. But if the writing advice and links I post are of any help to any of you, or you just enjoy reading the blog, then I've accomplished what I wanted to do with PBW, and that's what matters to me.

Finally, thank you all for visiting, supporting and encouraging me. Thank you for buying my books, joining in our discussions, listening to my ideas, giving me advice and sticking with me during the tough times. Thank you for offering your words, ideas, thoughts, hopes and dreams. I say you guys are the best a lot, I know, but you truly are. Thank you, and I hope we can hang together here and talk about books, writing and all things publishing for many more years to come.


  1. I will say your blog is one of the best blogs out there for aspiring writers. I come to your blog almost every day and there's always something new here for me to look at. :)

    And your LB&LI is one of the best things out there. I've learned a lot, not just on your blog, but from others that you've linked to.

    So, from the bottom of my writerly heart, I say thank you.

    And if my comment makes no sense, I apologize. Took a sleeping pill awhile ago and it's starting to kick in. Ack! :)

  2. As Johnny Storm would say: Flame On Lynn!

  3. I believe it is because your honest intent, and clear integrity shines through in what you say on here that so many people are drawn to your blog.

    Thank you for all the wonderful posts, and Cheers to many more.

  4. Anonymous5:09 AM

    Yo DO know you and your blog matters, right?

    I wouldn't be where I am today without you. You showed me and us that genre-hopping is okay. Even for "inspirational" writers.

    (My first published book was popular theology about Humor and Christian Faith, my second was a collection of horror stories with vegetarian vampires, ghost chickens, religious good-hearted Godzilla-like monsters who cared for their kids and the like).

    You taught me and us how to (not) market ourselves. How to focus on writing and let the writing to the talking. How to keep out of (well...) trouble with other writers and publishing professionals.

    You showed us alternative ways to successfully market ourselves, simply by being generous and give away stuff for free. Not stupid and expensive little pins and keyrings, but giving away, thus showing the quality of, our writing.

    And you've breathed courage into us.

    At least into me.

    So thank you.

    Just that. Thank you. You matter. A lot.

  5. I love having you here, just the way you are. Can't imagine not having my (almost) daily dose of PBW. :)



  6. Anonymous6:48 AM

    I look forward to this blog ever morning. I like to imagine that it's a time machine - what life would be like if I got published. One of many possibilities, ya know.

    I appreciate the glimpse into that world, I really, truly do. And you've given me many cool ideas, especially using pictures to prompt description.

    Take care and good luck for many more years.


  7. Thank you for a terrific blog. Thanks for your honesty, your insight and for sharing a piece of yourself. I hope you stick around for a long time. Here's where I start my day and I'd be one crabby writer if I had to give this up

  8. My day is not complete without a stop by PBW, whether you're posting the ten free list, quilt pictures, walking in Savannah (which I loved), or talking shop.

  9. Hi, I am new reader, just to say: keep going. :)

  10. I think I've been visiting here for almost 4 years, and look forward to many more! Coffee and PBW in the morning is a nice way to start the day.

  11. I also love your blog. It's usually my first stop in the morning before I get to work. Happy Anniversary!

  12. You have one of the best writer's blogs on the internet. Your honest and helpful and funny nature is what draws so many people to this blog. People like you, genuinley. They know you're real.

    You've also taught us all a lot about giving back and paying forward. You give away books not just of yours, but other author's books to help promote them. Your generosity is refreshing.

    Also, you've given tons of advice that have helped us amateurs to improve and you've encouraged us and given us hope when we doubt ourselves. This blog has been extremely valuable to so many of us. So I say with all honesty and gratitude, thank you for doing what you do and being who you are.

  13. I stop by and read your blog everyday. I don't always comment, but enjoy reading it each day.

  14. My only regret is that I came late to the party and that I've only been reading your blog for about a year. Your posts--all of them--make me think and inspire me in countless ways. Blog on!

  15. *hugs* Honesty is refreshing. LOL. You know I love your blog and your advice on the side has consistently kept me on a (mostly) focused path to my own career.

    Free stuff *is* nice, I will admit, but laughter is why I first came to the blog. You made me laugh in a non-mean-spirited way. Your sense of humor struck a chord with me and that's an awesome thing. Too few laughs in this world. I hope we've given you back as many chuckles as you've given us. It's only fair.

    You've been there for so many of us when we were ready to throw in the towel. Eh, I won't say much more b/c you get uncomfortable, but I just wanted to say thanks for sticking it out with us another year. :)

  16. I've been following your blog(s) ever since I discovered Star Lines a couple years ago and read the archives in a few days. You make me laugh, you make me think and yes, sometimes even a bit angry (:D). Yours is one of the few writer's blogs I follow.

  17. Anonymous11:36 AM

    I am on board with those before me who have thanked you for your daily dose of stuff and the degree to which you matter to the blogosphere.

    Regarding the issue of your being a role model, I think you’ve short changed yourself. I can’t think of a better place for a young person, a new writer, or an individual who wants to learn to think on her own to frequent. Lots of people will pass out false hope, empty praise, and inflated expectations, but few dare tread the line of honesty.

    Honesty is courageous, and there’s simply not enough of that around right now: this is the reason people like you and places like this matter. PBW may be disguised as a blog about writing, but really, it’s a blog about being true to oneself—and for you (and many of the rest of us), that translates to writing.

  18. I know I don't comment as often as I should, but I still read nearly everything you post, and I really appreciate what you do. Your posts tend to make me excited to get back to writing. Thank you. :)

  19. Anonymous11:44 AM

    I love your blog. I stop by every time I turn on my computer. Congratulations on your anniversary and Thank You for sharing yourself with us!

  20. Anonymous11:57 AM

    I like your state address... *G*

    Please, PBW, keep away from the DELETE YOUR BLOG button. Blogging world wouldn't be the same without you.

  21. It is we who should thank you. So - thanks.

    And I think that young writers need multiple role models, and that you are a great role model for the "stick up for the author" part of it. Yes, we should also look up to the diplomatic authors, but we need the reminder that just because we are being diplomatic we don't need to become carpets to be walked upon.

    So again - thank you.

  22. Anonymous1:15 PM

    I may not comment every day, but I DO stop in and read your blog every day.

    Thank you for the laughter, the insight, and the thoughtful pauses.

    Looking forward to many more years!

  23. Anonymous4:21 PM

    It's weird how every person that ever said they are not role model material ended up being mine. Um, sorry about that?

    I stop by PBW everyday and have done so for about a year. I'm always amazed at the things you have to offer with every post. Not just the free goodies either, but the insight and, most of the time, humorous posts on the craft that have helped so many of us. Your blog has cheered me up on many a bad day.

    So Thank you, PBW. :)

  24. I know I don't post much, but your blog is one of the first ones I read every day. Here's to many more years.

  25. I click the link to your blog in my Favourites folder every day. I re-read your older entries and enjoy all the other writers/readers comments as well. It's a thinking place, it's a resource even if I'm not a writer myself but am instead someone who is fascinated by the process of writing.

    Thank you for everthing, but an extra big thank you for introducing me to Patricia Briggs and JR Ward !

  26. Go on wit your bad self!

    Congratulations on 4 kick ass years. Thanks for sharing your knowledge, enthusiasm, humour, heck just thanks for sharing, period.

  27. Anonymous7:06 PM

    I've been reading your blog regularly for about a year now and since the day I discovered it (via tamara siler jones' blog) I always make it a point to check in everyday and see what's going on at PBW. I really enjoy your blog, so just keep doing what you're doing. It's all good.

  28. Anonymous7:33 PM

    Your blog is a wonderful collection of inspiration, information and integrity in a world sorely in need of all three. Thank you for writing it and throwing in a spoonful or two of laughter into the mix. PBW emulates all that is good and true about creative writing. My day is not complete without it. Bountiful blessing to you!!!

  29. Happy blog anniversary, Lynn and thank you for all you do and say. Your blog is a terrific resource and you inspire me to keep working and to keep writing.

    All the best,

  30. Now I want to go hide under the bed for a couple of days. :) I think I will instead endeavor to deserve all these kind words. Thanks, everyone.

  31. I don't think a strong work ethic and generosity are bad things to emulate and that is what you exemplify for me.

    Your blog is the first thing I go to when I go online, and I'm working my way through the archives.

    Speaking of which, is there a way to access the archives of your Star Lines blog? I've been able to get to individual pages from links in the archives of your current blog, but when I click on Archives in the Star Lines blog itself, blogger returns the message "The blog you were looking for was not found."

  32. lxz wrote: Speaking of which, is there a way to access the archives of your Star Lines blog? I've been able to get to individual pages from links in the archives of your current blog, but when I click on Archives in the Star Lines blog itself, blogger returns the message "The blog you were looking for was not found."

    Thanks for the heads-up on this. I wasn't able to pull up the old posts from the blog either, so I tried switching the archives to a new template, and that seems to have worked.

  33. ...outside envy, ugliness and pettiness that popularity always seems to generate...

    Yeah, offering free ebooks, free advice, free giveaways all over the globe are such evil things to do. ;)

    But we love you for it.

    Here's to the next 1800 posts.

  34. Lynn Viehl said: Thanks for the heads-up on this. I wasn't able to pull up the old posts from the blog either, so I tried switching the archives to a new template, and that seems to have worked.

    Thank you for fixing it. :-)

  35. Thanks for putting fingers to keyboard so often for us! I am constantly recommending other aspiring writers read your blog (and constantly mis-remembering the URL, alas! But I know my tendencies and I always end up saying "just Google Paperback Writer") Looking forward to visiting here daily once November & my first time to participate in NaNoWriMo comes along!

  36. But if the writing advice and links I post are of any help to any of you, or you just enjoy reading the blog, then I've accomplished what I wanted to do with PBW, and that's what matters to me.

    Then I'd say you are successful, PBW. I love this blog. Your links are always helpful or amusing or just plain nifty, and I always enjoy reading.

    Plus, you're just an amazingly nice person. I like that. You'll always be on my to-read list, in whatever form you choose to link up the words.


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