A Labor Party contest: Rename this blog!
I’ll admit that ever since I started this blog — or at least, ever since I started taking it seriously — I’ve felt a little quesy about the fact that it doesn’t have a clear focus. When I’m ready to file a post, I don’t go to my Idea Folder or scan the internet. I just pound out whatever happens to be on my mind at the time.
That isn’t to say there’s anything wrong with maintaining a diary-style blog. But the fact of the matter is that I launched the Labor Party specifically to further and to market my own writing career.
But the more I think of it, the more I realize I never had much of a goal to begin with. After all, a goal needs to be specific enough so that anyone can tell without any doubt whatsoever whether or not the goal has been successfully met. But how can I possibly know if a blog I’m maintaining on non-specific subjects has done anything to raise the profile of my career? The answer is: I can’t.
And so I’ve decided to make some changes. Seeing as I’m attempting to improve the quality of my writing life, I figured it might make good sense to blog about exactly that — the writing life, that is. (Which, incidentally, is one of my favorite subjects.) I’ve been immersed in the fields of journalism and publishing for many years now, and I’ve had some impressive successes along the way. I’d like to use this blog as a way of sharing some of those secrets. And believe me, I’ve got quite a few.
I’m a Lonely Planet author, for instance, and nearly everyone who hears that tells me I have their dream job. After I smile and nod my head, they want to know how I got the job in the first place. It’s actually a rather long and complicated story, but at some point I’d like to share it right here.
I’m also rife with information about how a generalist writer can become a travel writer, because I did exactly that. What else? I’ve written a guidebook that was recently published. I worked as a music editor at an alt-weekly. I wrote and edited for an English-language traveller’s magazine in Istanbul. I’ve had a huge number of magazine and newspaper articles published as a freelancer. I published my own magazine, and in the process learned about desktop publishing, public relations, and working with printers. And perhaps best of all, I’ve managed to make writing my full-time job for the past four years.
I know there are thousands of aspiring writers out there who want very badly to transform their lives and their careers like I did. And by taking advantage of this incredible instant-publishing creation, I’d love to help them out. But first, I need your help, and here’s my question:
What exactly should I call this thing?
Yes, I know: I’m a professional writer and I should certainly be able to come up with a name for my own blog. I realize it’s not that tall of an order. But for some reason I’m just not good at this sort of thing. Whenever I submit magazine articles, for instance, I try my damndest to invent a witty title and an even wittier subhed. But in almost every case, my editor is able to whip out something both smarter and funnier in a matter of seconds. When I worked as a staff editor, my cubicle mate would do this time and time again. It was humbling.
But I no longer sit in a cubicle, and so I’m appealing to you, my modest readers: What would you call a blog about writing secrets and the writing life if you were writing it? Or even if you weren’t writing it — even if you were just reading it — what would you like it to be called?
Oh, and don’t forget: I also need a subhed. That’s the explanatory sentence (it’s usually a fragment, actually) that comes right after the title. It’s there to explain what the item you’re reading is actually all about.
And since I am calling this a contest, I suppose I’ll have to provide a prize of some sort. I’ll be honest: I haven’t quite decided what the prize will be. But it will be good. And it will be appropriate. And if you happen to be such a smarty pants that you not only pick the perfect name for my blog, but also the subhed to go along with it, I will reward you with an extra-special fantastic incredible bonus prize. And that’s a promise.
One more thing: If there’s anything in particular you’d like to read about — if you have any specific questions, or if you’d like to see me cover any specific subjects — go ahead and let me know. If I’m planning on helping, I might as well be open to requests, right?