Cheating at NaNoWriMo by the Numbers on an Anniversary

Sunday, November 4, 2012

You – fair reader(s?) – may have noticed a very significant change on this blog. No, not the content. Look up. Awwww-yeah! That’s right; this blog finally has its own domain name. I announced it via the social mediasphere, but in case you’re new to this tea musing circus, that’s a big deal to me! And a lot of the thanks goes to the Tea Trade Powers That Be. (I wouldn’t have been able to figure out how to do it by myself, honestly.)

The reasons for finally domain-ing it up are twofold: (1) It’s a helluva lot easier to say, “My blog is ‘Steep Stories’”, than it is to list off a URL. (2) I’m about to start a book, and this is its online mouthpiece.

Some of you might know that November is the time of NaNoWriMo  – where a bunch of would-be writers try to kill themselves by producing 50,000 words in 28-or-so days. I tried it last year…but never started. This year, I was about to opt out, but I had a better idea. I was going to cheat. And it was all thanks to my mother.

Before the advent of NaNoWriMo, my mother had suggested I should compile my blogs as a book. Originally, I thought this was a stupid idea. Then I got to thinking, Wait, I have almost written a novel in blogs alone. And the idea was born.

No, I’m not going to simply compile all the blogs as is into a bundle and shove it on the market. The way they’re formatted currently is not conducive to that. What I am going to do is repurpose them – add nuances and anecdotes, flesh out the details, so-to-speak. That and I have the fictional Steep Stories to finish. The saga was left incomplete.

The idea is this: To transform the blogs, reviews and musings I’ve done on unique teas (and my stories with them) into a cohesive narrative. Then, when those have ended, they will segue into the fictional stories. In total, there “should” be about 60% new content to the endeavor. Be on the lookout for news on Steep Stories: Fact & Fantasy. Let CheatoWriMo commence!

Now, I know what you’re thinking, fair reader(s?), “Don’t you need to have a popular blog for this to work out?”

My answer: “I write about f**king tea.”

It’s an issue I’ve struggled with since the summer, trying to find an audience for this tea blog; fashioning it to receive some attention. I’ll be truthful, the sheer lack of numbers was disconcerting. Especially when I compared the analytics of my own site to this. Measures were taken to ensure some success. Plus, I also learned that my website analytics weren’t as good as I initially thought. Even after four years, I was not properly trying to build an audience. Then it hit me.

“F**k it, I’ll do what I want.”

I put measures in place to start building traffic, but I was not going to make that the end-all goal. Tea is a drink. Most people don’t want to read about a drink unless it gets them drunk – save for we shining few. And for the moment, I like it that way. Tea is what I know; tea is what I’ll show. I also vowed that I would no longer duplicate “Steep Stories” on my main website anymore. The tea tales needed their own permanent home, and that – I will happily say – is Tea Trade. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

Oh yeah…since this is a tea blog, I should probably talk about tea on it. Um…ah! Got it!

On Saturday, my brother and I made it a point to jaunt over to The Jasmine Pearl Tea Merchants for a tea pick-up. My mission: Earl Grey. I had absolutely no Earl in the house anywhere. This was disconcerting to me. I remembered that The Jasmine Pearl carried one that I liked; on several occasions, I’d stopped off to have it iced. My brother – on the other hand – needed to replenish his stores of Golden Needles. (That fact alone brings a tear to my old eye.)

Prior to making the tea trip, I learned that Saturday was also their eighth anniversary. Well, now we had to go. When we arrived, the place was packed with people. The owners – Chuck and Heather – were weaving through tastings and anecdotes like acrobats. For the occasion, they also had some goodies on hand – matcha cheesecake, chai cake, Lapsang Souchong popcorn.

Hold the phone!

Lapsang. Souchong. Popcorn!

It was the most beautiful thing my eyes had ever seen. The taste was equally mangasmic – smoky, buttery, slightly sweet, and – well – manly! I cried tears of machismic joy. On the inside. Never on the outside.

Oh yes, there was also plenty of tea that was had. Two new blends were put on display – Haiku (White Peony-base) and French Breakfast (Assam-base). I actually preferred the latter; maybe it was my French ancestry – I dunno. We bid fond farewells with tea wares in hand with promises of future visits.

As I write this, I’m currently nursing a 32oz. pot o’ Earl like a Picardian boss. Have I started CheatoWriMo yet? Er…no. This has been the one day of relaxation I’ve had in over a week. New jobs (plural!) were delivered to me on a platter. And mandatory celebrations sprang up from those. Okay, the latter bit wasn’t exactly work – just distracting. All said, changes are afoot…and I’m all hands on deck.

17 Comments

  1. I fully support the idea of a tea novel.

    1. Thanks! I may require sage advice on how to properly e-book it from someone who’s done it before.

  2. Avatar of peter peter says:

    This will be fun!

    To help you along I added a couple of things to your blog. One is a simple word tracker to show how much progress you’ve made in your CheatoWriMo effort. Look at the sidebar to see it. You can edit the display in your dashboard widgets.

    As for publishing your posts as an ebook. I’ve got you covered for that too now. I installed the powerful Anthologize plugin for you to play with. I’m giving to you as our Writers-In-Residence to test and see how well it works as you go along. It’s designed to help you turn your blog posts into ebook of various formats. If you find it works out well, I may roll it out as part of Tea Trade’s premium upgrade.

    Have anymore problems that need solutions, cheater?

    1. I’s got more larnin’ to do. Now where did I put my thinking cap. *heh* No seriously, thank you as always, @Peter. Thine efforts are invaluable.

  3. cj says:

    I will follow your blog-a-book adventure with much gusto. I have wanted to do it myself, but lack the organizational powers. I’m sorta looking for a coach…
    Heartiest well-wishes!

    1. You need a coach?! Your site is great. You need to coach me!

  4. Avatar of thetearooms thetearooms says:

    ‘I tried it last year . . . but never started.’ I approve of that.

    * * *

    By ‘Picardian’ I honestly thought you meant from Picardy. (‘Maybe it was my French ancestry,’ etc.) But I do understand now, reluctantly.

    1. I don’t know Picardy from Bacardi. Which explains a lot.

  5. Avatar of xavier xavier says:

    Picardie? Where? :P

    I like the idea of a book coming out of your adventures/dreams/writing.
    If you need help turning it into a real ebook with chapters and all, I can help you (I have done a couple of books with pictures and all).

    And jobs? Congratulations.

    1. I may consult you in the near future. If/when I accomplish this little feat, I’ll want to do it right.

  6. Avatar of bram bram says:

    More of your stories. Can’t wait.

    I understand the reasons for ebooks :( but you might want to consider a print-on-demand option.

    Jobs are mixed blessings. Enjoy the many good parts.

    1. Yeah. If I ever get the bloody thing done, I decided on e-books first just for efficacy reasons. I don’t expect out to do all that well. So, why put more money into it than I have to. Unfortunately (for me), the story just got much more complicated (and awesome!) than I intended.

      1. Avatar of xavier xavier says:

        Complicated and awesome? A good combo.

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