Hello World

Hi all!

 

My name is Paul and I work in Lulu's Customer Voice Support department. When you're order doesn't arrive, or our converter eats your book, or the cover wizard is giving you fits, I'm one of the people here to help you get back on track!

 

But I'm also an avid writer and voracious reader. I've got a couple of short story publication credits (here's a sample: http://forgejournal.com/forge/2015/01/04/the-painter/), have written numerous others, along with a book of long-form essay/journalism and two books of fiction (none of which have been published - yet).

 

I'm here in the Lulu Author Workshop Forum space because I love writing workshops! I spent almost two years as a very active member of a large and successful workshop that featured five or more meetings a week, hosted retreats, forums, round-table discussions, author panels, and published both a monthly journal and an annual anthology. The community aspect of writing is a crucial, and oft under appreciated aspect of the process.

 

I’d love to connect with some of the writers who use this forum, and to partake in a new and exciting writing community! Criticism and encouragement are the only things that keep me writing (well, that and the burning urge in the pit of my stomach that wakes me up in the middle of the night), and I know from experience that the best work comes not from an individual, but from a community. 

 

I’d also love to hear from some of the writers who use this forum about what you think might help foster a strong environment for writers here. I’m not just referring to bringing people to Lulu.com to publish and print books, but I want to help develop an environment, in these forums, for writers to come and connect with other writers, to talk about their work, the hindrances and the successes, to get and give feedback, and to grow as writers, so that, when the time comes to publish, your work is the best it can be.

 

I'm going to kick off with a fun writing exercise I got from a Professor some years ago. It goes like this:

 

Tell the entire history of everything in exactly 50 words. 

 

I dredged up my response from this.

 

"First: Some stuff, spinning and bouncing.

Then; coherence, rules and coincidence.

Trial and error, unexpected results, failures, dictating new directions.

Life!

Single cells, complex organisms, fish and birds, dinosaurs and monkeys.

People! (Mostly Harmless. Ha!)

Growing, trial and error. Strive and love.

Modern technology. Microchips and Internet.

Digital future; unknown."

 

I'm pretty sure we were given a time limit of 5 minutes, so the results are raw, but I always loved exercises like this, because it makes you focus on two important pieces of the writing puzzle: the subject and the structure. I'd really be excited to see some other responses to this exercise, and to hear about fun and useful prompts/exercises other writers are using!

 

It’s a pleasure to be joining everyone here, and I look forward to many good conversations about the craft of writing to come!

Comments

  • Hello Paul! Smiley Happy

     

    Something came from Nothing.

    That was some Nothing.

    Then creatures, some of which became extinct.

    Then Man, the loveliest of all.

    His mind insatiable.

    Knowledge evolved.

    Man built great things.

    But they are not enough

    He seeks  to understand why we are here.

    Man's mind, inner and outer world expand.

  • Nothing.

    Into the void, a breath

    Moving, spinning, flowing; a song

    Notes, a tinkling, light, a melody

    Condensing vibrations, matter

    Life

    Glorious, glorious life

    Life life life life, and death

    Life and death

    ever the dark fighting the light,

    ever the fall, fighting the Glory

    ever the night, reclaiming its own

    in the end, darkness, all-consuming

    into the void, a breath.

     

    Edit: Darn. Over by ten... okay... some cruel edits...

  • I hope this isn't too depressing for you LOL. 10 minutes & 50 words.

     

    Time begins in a chaotic rage.

     

    Burning gas skins to matter, hardening, bringing order. Water falls, life arises; cell becomes fish becomes man. Man begets machine, self-ordering consumer of nature. Machine destroys order, consumes its master and melts away matter.

     

    Time of man ends in a chaotic rage. Time continues.

     

  • Picnic, Smiley Happy, for youHeart. There's some free love; now attempt a happier one. Smiley Happy

  • In the beginning an unknown power "God."

    With a breath chaos, Heavens and Earth created.

    Light, space, time, and matter. All of creation stood ready.

    From dust and breath man created. "Be fruitful and multiply."

    In the image of God man created, to love each other and the Father.

  • Hello there. Are you new?

     

    This point >>

     

    I’d also love to hear from some of the writers who use this forum about what you think might help foster a strong environment for writers here. I’m not just referring to bringing people to Lulu.com to publish and print books, but I want to help develop an environment, in these forums, for writers to come and connect with other writers, to talk about their work, the hindrances and the successes, to get and give feedback, and to grow as writers, so that, when the time comes to publish, your work is the best it can be.

     

    Slap me Lulu if you wish to  Smiley Tongue  Fewer and fewer people use the forums and I wonder if it's now harder to find since a new (at the time) Marketing Manager revamped the site to point towards Lulu's own paid for Services? This is also at least the 3rd reincarnation of the Forum and each change as removed more and more Forum sections. There used to be 100s of them used by 1000s.

     

    What always puzzles me though, is the number of reads each posting gets, but now only around four names are noticeably active here. Have those non-posters found what they wanted or did they arrive from some non-Lulu search engine, and even the site is not what they were looking for? So they just leave.

     

    Here's an idea. It's possible to read the postings without logging in. People not logged in also cannot click Solved or Kudos. How about making it so they cannot read the Forums unless they are logged in? Let's see what happens.

  • Well, Kevin, since the name of the game is publicity, we really want people to see our posts. Those links at the bottom aren't for the benefit of posters here (though any of you are welcome to browse through my books, of course) just as it's not the forum users that you're targeting with your "Out Of My Mind" banner (very clever, btw).

     

    We would all like to see folks stumble onto our posts, and through them, our books. So an openly read forum is important, imho.

  • True, but the main aim of Lulu's site is for people to self-publish on and the main aim of the forums is for people to request help towards that end. Our banners are secondary to that. My banner is attached because it can be, if that option was not possible it would not bother me because I don't reply just so that people can see it and click it. It would not have to!

    According to my tracker few hits come via Lulu anyway.

  • Hey all,

     

    Awesome responses, I really love that exercise because it is about content and restraint, trying to say a lot with very few words. Thanks for posting responses, and I'm glad to see that there are a few regulars who immediately came to post on this (I've been lurking here for a couple weeks to get a sense of how the forums are used).

     

    Kevin - I am new, and I am vaguely aware that the forums haven't gotten a ton of attention. I agree with your thoughts on allowing registered users vs. guests to have varying levels of access, and it's something I can bring up here.

     

    Being active with these forums isn't part of my job, but I have a sense that Lulu.com and our authors (and myself) will all benefit from having a better sense of community. It is sad that our forums have fallen to the wayside, but I'd like to do whatever little bit I can to help make this space a destination for authors (those who publish with us or not) to stew on ideas, get advice, practice their art, and exercise their creativity. 

     

    But aside from technical and logisitical improvements, I really want to focus on writing. That's why we're all here, right? We have something to say and a will to put it into words. The trick is making those words work together well enough that others will read them and understand. I want to work on making these forums, and Lulu in general, a healthier place for authors. 

     

    I'm looking forward to interacting with everyone on here, and I hope together we can all become stronger writers, better storytellers, and happier human beings.

     

    - Paul

     

  • Awesome responses, I really love that exercise because it is about content and restraint, trying to say a lot with very few words.

     

    That is far from easy, and being an English speaker from the land that created it, I am convinced that words do not mean the same to all peoples.  Smiley Happy

     

    Thanks for posting responses, and I'm glad to see that there are a few regulars who immediately came to post on this

     

    I am here most days. Tell your friends.

     

    (I've been lurking here for a couple weeks to get a sense of how the forums are used).

     

    Gosh, almost like the CIA.

     

    Kevin - I am new,

     

    Welcome then.

     

    and I am vaguely aware that the forums haven't gotten a ton of attention.

     

    When I first came to Lulu years ago there was at least two staff who replied a great deal, then they vanished. It was through one or two regular uses moaning at Lulu that a staff member started to reply again. When all said and done, we are answering many questions about the use of Lulu so should it not be right the staff also reply just as much?

     

    I agree with your thoughts on allowing registered users vs. guests to have varying levels of access, and it's something I can bring up here.

     

    Another thought is not to allow those who only use Lulu to buy books to have access to the creation area. Some of what is posted in the forums does not show self-publishers in a good light.

     

    Being active with these forums isn't part of my job, but I have a sense that Lulu.com and our authors (and myself) will all benefit from having a better sense of community.

     

    Just as it used to be. Although what I have noticed from places like Facebook is that writers are not interested in what others have written, they only want you to Like their output.

     

    It is sad that our forums have fallen to the wayside,

     

    I notice patterns and it did start when the site was slowly revamped to aim people at Lulu's paid-for services. Granted Help was also made easier to follow around the same time, but few bothered to read it anyway! But one would expect that if the same number of people are using Lulu now then the same percentage as of old would have the same questions they used to come to the forums to have answered.

     

    but I'd like to do whatever little bit I can to help make this space a destination for authors (those who publish with us or not) to stew on ideas, get advice, practice their art, and exercise their creativity.

     

    But do not forget that it should be towards the creation of a book, not just in general, as some tried. There did once used to be sections for cover design and writing, and even sections for people to offer their services.

     

    But aside from technical and logisitical improvements, I really want to focus on writing. That's why we're all here, right? We have something to say and a will to put it into words.

     

    It depends what it is.

     

    The trick is making those words work together well enough that others will read them and understand.

     

    Well each post does apparently get read by many many people, who never post asking for clarification or if what they found had helped them. Personally I just think they are webspider hits Smiley Very Happy

     

    I want to work on making these forums, and Lulu in general, a healthier place for authors.

     

    I agree that at times it gets far too personal, and this is not the place.

     

    I'm looking forward to interacting with everyone on here, and I hope together we can all become stronger writers, better storytellers, and happier human beings.

     

    That would be the four of us then?  Smiley LOL

  • Kevin,

     

    I agree with a lot of what you've said there, and, in my limited capacity, I want to be a positive influence in the forums. So any thoughts/advice/desires, feel free to keep them coming. I can't make anything happen, but I can pass the word on.

     

    One point I do have to contend with:

     

    Although what I have noticed from places like Facebook is that writers are not interested in what others have written, they only want you to Like their output.

     

     

    While I'm sure this is true of some writers, it's not the only truth. I've met countless writers over the last ten or so years of actively writing who are voracious and avid readers, who are incredibly interested in learning from other authors, and who rejoice in any author's success. While there is a sad group of self-absorbed "Facebook" writers out there, I'm still glad they are writing and they are welcome to occupy their corner of the writing world.

     

    But my feeling is that the majority of people who write seek community, seek other writing to inspire and delight them, and who don't want you to simply like their output, but to scrutinize it and help it evolve into stronger, better writing.

     

    Or maybe I'm just a hopeless fool, living in a fantasy world. 

     

     

  • Kevin,

     

    I agree with a lot of what you've said there, and, in my limited capacity, I want to be a positive influence in the forums. So any thoughts/advice/desires, feel free to keep them coming. I can't make anything happen, but I can pass the word on.

     

    When the forum was a much busier place and that Lulu made changes without asking users, we asked that they did ask in the forums, and they did, once, and gained many sensible useful ideas we where thanked for, but were never used, or ones from the last changes that were not liked were not removed. Now when they make further changes they claim it's after they have asked users, but which users? When asked there's no reply.

     

    One point I do have to contend with:

     

    Although what I have noticed from places like Facebook is that writers are not interested in what others have written, they only want you to Like their output.

     

     

    While I'm sure this is true of some writers, it's not the only truth.

     

    Granted, but not all writers are self-publishers trying to personally promote their output on social media.

     

    I've met countless writers over the last ten or so years of actively writing who are voracious and avid readers, who are incredibly interested in learning from other authors, and who rejoice in any author's success.

     

    Cool, and do they use Lulu? Do they search Facebook for new writers? Or like myself do they but the books of famous people they already know they enjoy?   Smiley Happy

     

    While there is a sad group of self-absorbed "Facebook" writers out there, I'm still glad they are writing and they are welcome to occupy their corner of the writing world.

     

    Indeed, I just wish they would stop sending out Like me mails. I don't do it to them. It's cheeky.  Smiley Very Happy

     

    But my feeling is that the majority of people who write seek community, seek other writing to inspire and delight them, and who don't want you to simply like their output, but to scrutinize it and help it evolve into stronger, better writing.

     

    Where are they then? Why are Lulu forums not busier with as many people wishing to self-publish here as in the past and wishing to know how?

     

    Or maybe I'm just a hopeless fool, living in a fantasy world. 

     

    It's not a fruitful subject to write.  Smiley Surprised

     

    Have you noticed it's mainly just us conversing?

  •  

    Have you noticed it's mainly just us conversing?

     

    Hey, we gotta start somewhere? I can't speak for the mistakes of the past, just try to move forward.

     

    I'm not saying myself (or any small group of individuals) on these forums CAN revitalize this space as a destination for writers, but I want to try. Worst case, a few of us will share some writing and conversation, which isn't a bad thing, right?

     

  • Often it's not a bad thing.  Smiley Very Happy


  • kevinlomas wrote:

    Often it's not a bad thing.  Smiley Very Happy


    I often talk to myself because it's the only way to find an intelligent audience.

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    Hello Paul,

     

    I've been busy for a long while so I haven't hit up the fora, or simply lurked picking snippets of wisdom where I might.

     

    Not being a FacePain writer, or on most social media for that matter, I don't market. I love to read, but taking care of a D.W.P. (Demon Warrior Princess, the size of an average three-year-old by age eighteen months), working on erosion control before the winter rains, trying to finish some long-overdue editing, while also trying to make time to write, I don't get many chances to crack a book open.

     

    Regarding lack of site traffic, part of it may be finding answers, part of it may be snarky interactions with others, as well as the steerage toward paid-for services.

     

    Good luck revitalizing the fora, it would be a good change.

Sign In or Register to comment.