Pull up a log by the campfire and enjoy some original creations by Stuart J. Whitmore, including photos, fiction, software, technical solutions, video, and more.

Markdown for NaNoWriMo and beyond

Doing NaNoWriMo? Want to focus more and produce more words? Think you might want to publish your book someday? If you’re a writer who answered “yes” to at least two of those questions, this blog post is for you! I’ve encouraged writers to use Markdown before, but Markdown can be especially helpful to a “WriMo” (NaNoWriMo participant) with visions of publishing. It lets you focus on your writing instead of quirky software, and it ensures that your manuscript is clean when it comes time to preparing it for publication.

Short Is As Short Does (or something)


Photo credit: gracey from morguefile.com

This is going to be a short blog post. And you know what else is short? "Tramp Avatar," a short story in the Journey to Yandol, and other stories short collection of short stories. Know what else (else) is short? Me. And you know what else (else (else)) is short? My funds for donating. And you... wait, I ran out of short things to mention. But this all has a point, believe it or not, which I will get to... shortly. But for that point to make any sense, I should introduce you to Sigil. Read on and you'll see how all of this ties together into something less crazy than it sounds. Oh, and since NaNoWriMo is starting around the globe as I write this, be sure to complete this little task if you're not a writer participating this year (and then come back to read this short blog post).

It Started With a Wire


Photo credit: jppi from morguefile.com

This past week was far more chaotic than I could have anticipated, and it all started with a wire. When I first set up my home office, over five years ago, I arranged the desks in the one arrangement that seemed to make sense. Over the years I tried to find alternatives but never could find something that worked. Then, this week, I needed to plug something in and realized I couldn't. I was aware that I needed to distribute my electricity-gobblers better, but didn't run out of electrical access until this week. (Better to be pushed into it this way than by an electrical fire, of course!)

Not being able to put it off any longer, I measured my office space and all of the furniture in it, created a 2D paper model, and started pushing things around the easy way before doing it the hard way. I finally came up with an "OK" layout – not great, but still functional. Yet... despite being motivated to rearrange things based on electrical supply, what was the one thing I didn't put on my diagram? Yeah... that's when the "fun" started.

A Change(Tip) for the Better


Photo credit: kconnors from morguefile.com

Last week I talked about patronage as a viable alternative to the per-unit model of paying writers and other artists for their works. While writing that post I was mostly focused on recurring payments through a mechanism like Patreon, but that's not the only way to approach patronage. It's not uncommon in life to pay a one-time arbitrary amount in gratitude for something, i.e., to tip someone.

Just like restaurant wait staff and other service providers, creative people can be tipped for their creative efforts too. If you've ever dropped a coin in the hat (or violin case?) of a talented street musician, you've tipped an artist. In the past it has not been very convenient to tip small amounts online, but one of my readers pointed me toward ChangeTip, which makes one-time online tips very easy. Read on for more details about how you can use ChangeTip, whichever side of the tip transaction you're on, and why their approach is more workable (and fun) than other methods.

Too Many Books? I Think Not!


Photo credit: mconnors from morguefile.com

I've written about Patreon elsewhere, but I don't think I've mentioned it in this blog and it came to mind as I was reading and pondering several things online. I started at a post from Chuck Wendig, then I read No, I don’t want to read your self-published book on the Style blog of The Washington Post, and finally I read the "open letter" from Roger Sutton that was at the root of it all. While none of those had anything to do with Patreon, that was sort of the point.

As is still very common, they all focused on a pay-per-unit model of paying for creative work and the publishing business built around that model. I've commented before (elsewhere) about the possibility of that model becoming obsolete, or at least no longer dominant, and those three pieces seemed to underscore how we are heading down that road. Patreon is just one example of an alternative model, and in this blog post I will delve into what I see happening in the not-so-distant future.

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