Saturday, March 8, 2014

As I mentioned earlier this week, we’re going to make some changes to KSW. This writing blog is now just about two years old, which totally blows my mind. Two years, and it’s evolved a ton since the very beginning.

  • Why the changes?

KSW will continue being a writing help blog, but in a different way. The writing help community on Tumblr has expanded so much since we first began, and now there’s a plethora of super knowledgeable writing help blog maintainers that we respect and love, and they’re in better places to answer all those writing questions with extraordinary detail – and quicker.

We’re, unfortunately, not in those places anymore. As some of our long-time followers know, I run about 99% of this blog on my own because Victoria has a full-time job, but now that I have two jobs, working on a third, on top of self-publishing, I can’t dedicate as much time to the blog as I used to.

  • So, what’s going to happen?

We’re changing our focus. Answering questions and writing up articles takes hours upon hours, and while I enjoy doing it, I can’t afford to like I used to. Instead, we’re going to fill a niche in the writing help blog community – a niche we’ve been playing with since the very beginning.

A lot of you are already familiar with our intro critiques, the First 250 Words Smash, and also our KSW Writing Exercises. What I’ve been doing in the recent history of KSW is critique these intros and then set up exercises based off of common writerly issues (which, most recently, also included a guide on how to tackle the upcoming batch of exercises).

This is what I want KSW to focus on: actively helping writers like all y’all.

  • Does that mean no more articles or asks?

Nah, that means the articles I write up will be directly related to the batch of exercises I put together based off of recent intro critiques.

As far as asks go, we’re going to encourage you to send your questions to our writing help blog friends who answer quickly and awesomely. Seriously, they’re incredibly wise and knowledgeable, and a lot faster than I can be.

  • Is that all?


Actually, there’s another half to this change. For the first time, we’re going to take on a team of beta readers to do exactly what we’ve been doing: critique intros.

Yes, we have a lot of trouble keeping up with Word Smash submissions, especially lately. But with KSW’s huge (and continuously growing, thanks to our writing help community friends) follower base, it’s seriously high time that we took on some additional peeps.

So, we’ve put up an application for any of our followers to join the KSW Team solely to critique intros.

Tickle your fancy? Then click the “read more” so I can entice you further.

  • What will a beta reader do, exactly?

Depending on how many applications we get and how many peeps we take on, a KSW beta reader will critique an intro every week or so, which is about 1-2+ hours. If you can dedicate this time, we encourage you to apply for a spot.

The cool part is that I will be a coach, working collaboratively with you. I’ll read through your critiques and make an assessment of what to tackle in the KSW Exercises. We’ll be communicating here and there, but we like to take things easy and make sure everything stays fun. As soon as it stops being fun, that’s bad.

  • What are the benefits?

As a coach, I can help you hone your critiquing, revising, and editing skills, which in turn hones your writing. I learned a lot of what I know now simply from listening to other writers give their own personal critique on a piece we had collectively read. It really helps to see others' perspectives.

A secondary thing is that Victoria and I are also in need of our own critique partners for our self-published series. So, if you decided you were interested, and you could set aside the time, you’d get both Victoria and I as your mutual critique partners for your completed manuscript(s).

I mean, that’s pretty cool, because the only time we ever critique is for the Word Smash and our own critique partners.

As a team member, you can choose to be represented on the blog anonymously, or with your credentials and your own writing blog or what have you, in a little bio. It’s up to you. You’ll also get your own signature like we have for the end of your critique. Totally legit style.

  • How can I apply?

Copy the application here, then paste it in an email to keyboardsmashwriters at gmail dot com with your answers. If your answers tickle our fancy in return, we’ll send you a sample passage for you to critique and send back to us.

What we’ll be looking for with the form: simply if you’re a good match for the KSW Team. Experience isn’t necessary (some could say we lack experience, ourselves), but we’ll definitely be looking at good spirits and enthusiasm.

What we’ll be looking for with the sample critique: all the usual staples of well-written critique, such as personal perspective and comprehension, and how thoughts are communicated. You don’t have to be perfect – of course not. We’ll be looking at potential and natural skill – stuff you might not even realize you have. Anything else, we can help you work on.

  • When’s the deadline?

The deadline is when I decide we have a strong enough team. Different applicants might be able to make different commitments, so I won’t know how many we need until we have the KSW Team together.

That being said, I don’t want to leave the applications open indefinitely. I just don’t know how many applications we’ll actually be getting. I’m always surprised.

So, to that extent, the applications might close suddenly. I’ll give a last warning, of course, and I’ll take on extra team members if they totally wow me, but make sure to keep a lookout for that notice if you’re planning to apply.

Okay, are you ready? We’re totally excited for your application, so get it started. I'll reopen the ask box just in case anyone has any questions, but the ask box is only open for questions pertaining to the application process!

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