2017: Join the Collaboration at Two Drops of Ink

By Marilyn L. Davis

“Literature does not occur in a vacuum. It cannot be a monologue. It has to be a conversation, and new people, new readers, need to be brought into the conversation too.” ― Neil Gaiman, The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction

 

Conversations Take Two Unless You Like Talking to Yourself

Two Drops of Ink is for, about, and written by writers. Without a clear definition of purpose, all of  our contributors would just post random musings and call it a day. We would still get views as each of us has a following. However, that’s not our purpose or mission.

 I want to extend an invitation for 2017. I’d like you to also consider submitting a guest post.

Write for Us and We’ll Talk Back

How do I know you’d be a fit for Two Drops of Ink?  Because you’re reading this post, and that means that you have an interest in, or create literary pieces. Some of you are:

  1. A grammar guru
  2. An author who would like another site for a book review
  3. Looking for a site to share the opportunities and responsibilities of a blog
  4. Poets
  5. Storytellers that create an exceptional memoir
  6. Tired of going it alone
  7. Well-versed and can produce a post about a specific category of literature
  8. Write well, but have never tried submitting your work to a site, magazine, blog, etc.

I understand that being solely responsible for a blog can get discouraging. When you write online, it can feel as isolating as the actual writing. You post and wonder:

  • Who will read this?
  • Where do I share this to get exposure?
  • Has this been written and I just missed it?
  • Does anybody care what I think or feel about this subject?
  • Am I the only one who is interested?

It’s lonely doing it all.

Collaborating Begins the Conversations

So we’re back to why collaborative writing makes sense. Four years ago, Scott and I would meet for coffee and talk about my retirement from the recovery home and what I might do with all the writing I’d done for it. Months later, my recovery curriculum was formatted and used in a few houses, and I discovered that I wanted to try my hand at writing about writing.

I finally got up the nerve to ask Scott if I could write a post for Two Drops of Ink. He was involved in school, worked most weekends, and wasn’t producing much for the site, so he agreed.

I discovered that I genuinely liked writing about writing. Scott encouraged me, and we started getting views and gaining followers on Blogspot. But followers and people who comment also meant that we had to produce quality posts to keep them interested and engaged. By then, I’d taken a full-time position as a counselor, and we weren’t certain how to juggle jobs and writing.

Then we’d labor over numbers. We’d see a spike on days that we published a new post. But neither of us, at that time, could produce three posts a week. We created a call-to-action and invited other writers to participate.

When the Conversation Lulls

Sometimes it was chirping crickets – no comments or submissions. We both felt frustrated and wondered if maybe we weren’t finding the right readers with our respective writing, or didn’t have the clout to attract other writers, or were simply not posting the invitation to the right groups or social media.

But we persevered. Sometimes, it was just Scott and I believing that we could write posts that had merit, and coach each other on how to improve. Other days, it was those loyal followers who read and commented that kept us going. While not expecting accolades, when we would get compliments, we appreciated them and thanked people for commenting. We still do.

We’re Engaging Again

When we moved to WordPress, we knew we wanted a community of writers. Since it still felt lonely on some days, we made a commitment to be welcoming to the readers by engaging in conversations via the comments. I knew that some of those who commented were writers who hadn’t published. It was apparent in their choice of words in the comment, or I’d look them up by their Gravatar and see that they had a blog themselves. I invited them to submit, and the offer was sincere so they could gain exposure, but there was also the self-serving motive; an excellent guest submission took writing pressure off Scott and me.

However, it wasn’t just the writer, Scott, or me that benefited from guest contributors; it was the reader who gained as well.

With more writers, our readers were given a better variety of styles, tones, and voices to choose from to satisfy their literary palate, and that also met my belief that how something is said is just as important as what is said; I knew that with more voices, we would reach more readers.

When we were selected as one of the 100 best writing sites for writers in 2016 by The Write Life, we took notice. Now we knew we had to continue to offer quality posts and find ways to encourage other writers to submit. I’ve talked about my poet envy – unfortunately all of mine sound like roses are red without the contrasting violets are blue, so I was excited when we started getting poetry submissions. As a published poet, Scott knew the subtle differences in poetry, I just knew that I liked those that we eventually published. What surprised me was the quality. We were attracting nationally known poets to our little site. I don’t care who you are, when you get published by others, that’s an accomplishment. And I was proud that we were able to fulfill our commitment to publishing a variety of genres.

In the fall of 2016, we had enough poetry to create a separate page, The Wall of Poets.

Through Conversations, We’ve Learned about You

While I understood the cathartic value of reflective writing from my recovery work, I thought I needed more information and education about memoir while I wrote mine. I wanted to learn the subtle nuances of that genre to improve my writing. I could find posts written from the broad perspective but decided that I’d tackle some particular aspects in depth and created multiple posts about specific aspects of memoir. These were received well, and we realized from comments that quite a few people had stories to tell. We encouraged them to submit short memoir pieces.

One way that we found to attract guest contributors was to issue a challenge. Working off the idea of memoir, we started having contests for memoir prompts. We were pleased that so many writers gave us entertaining, poignant, and heartwarming memoir pieces.

Now we were getting that community of writers. And we valued each published contribution.

The images for posts became my domain. My mother was a fabric artist, and my sister had a design firm, so I’ve always been frustrated that I didn’t have their talents. However, I’ve been told that I can create pictures with words, so I’ll settle for that. Scott and I knew that images prompted writers, so we set up challenges that incorporated memoir and images. Another round of excellent submissions finished out the year.

In 2016, we’ve grown as writers and editors, and we could not have done this without the encouragement and positive responses from our readers, as well as inviting them to submit. Many of those readers are now contributing writers at Two Drops of Ink. But ours is not an exclusive club, nor are we selling anything.

For 2017, we want to continue growing, improving, and sharing literary pieces to a wider audience.

So, if you’re looking for a site that appreciates your efforts, values your expertise, and is willing to give you a chance, consider submitting.

if-not-now-when

 

Two Drops of Ink: The Literary Home for Collaborative Writing

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15 comments

  1. I agree with every comment on the impact of Two Drops of Ink. It has been a true blessing to me. I hope this will inspire others to submit their work. I especially like the picture caption…if not now, when? So very true…2017 is a new year to try new things!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello all,
    Marilyn has been a dear friend of mine for years and years. I think it’s going on about 20 years if I’m correct. She knew me back in my “Dark Decade” as I call it. I had a dream as a young boy to be a writer. I allowed dark forces, poor decisions, and wasteful excursions to steal a couple of decades of my life. But, it’s never too late to dream and to pull the boot straps up and go for it. As I read the comments here, and on other posts, about how Two Drops has helped our reader/writer family, I can honestly say that that is the most gratifying feeling I can ask for as a fellow reader, writer, and editor. Behind the scenes, I get to have many wonderful experiences and conversations with a number of writers. We have a truly diverse and talented group of followers, readers, writers, and contributors. We are blessed. I thank each of you for your kind words about the staff and the site. Happy New Year.
    Scott

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Marilyn,
    Even though John stole my thunder and I agree with him on what this site has meant, I will attempt to offer my two-cents. (Didn’t you write something previous about using clichés)? Oops. Okay, I’ll try to be serious.
    I believe it was back in September of this year, I found your post on Google plus. I was attempting to use social media to market my book. What caught my attention was your advise on memoir writing. When I asked you questions, you quickly responded. In addition, you invited me to your site for more education. You also invited me to visit Two Drops. I did, and as they stay, the rest is history. Oops—I did it again.
    Scott was advertising the “Memoir Challenge” the first time I visited the Two Drops page. I sent him an email along with an abbreviated version of my “Welcome to Vietnam” piece. I was scared of being rejected, yet Scott’s reply was a challenge to dig deeper and expand my piece. I took him up on his invitation and was thrilled when he accepted it. I was even more thrilled when it was published.
    Yes, 2016 was a great year for Two Drops, but it was even better for me. I now have my own site. So many individuals from here are following and supporting me with my writing. Just as you are extended the challenge for new writers, I use my experience as an example of how supportive this group is here. I too say, join us here and become a contributor. You won’t be disappointed.
    Thank you Marilyn and God Bless.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Chuck. Responding to comments, plus 1’s and shares is also part of the commitment Scott and I made. When people take the time to offer their opinions, or give a post a thumbs up, or share to their circles, we believe that should be acknowledged.

      Much like John, I knew there were stories with you, too. I’m so glad you shared them with us, and hope to have more in 2017. I laughingly say, write an excellent post as a guest blogger but save the absolute best for your site. Holds true for you. Hope the site is doing well. Is that information in your bio? If not, let us know so we can update. Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Marilyn, I have been working on a poem for several months now and while working on it during the last few weeks think I would like to submit it to Two Drops when I get it finished (hopefully during the next 3 months).

    Your invitation for writers to contribute should always be applauded. When we write on our own sites it is possible to become isolated and stale. By making a guest contributions to other sites makes writers shake the dust out of their work, make it sparkle. Through that they can showcase their own site at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Peter. I didn’t realize you wrote poetry, too. I’m excited at the prospect of getting one from you. I’ll hold you to that – 3 months you say? I’ll find you in March…course I’ll see you on FB sooner, just wanted you to know i will hold you to that.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi, Marilyn, I read this post of yours. By the time I got to the end. I had my hand up on the screen, HIGH FIVING YOU! Ever since you invited me to contribute a submission on this very site. I have felt not only welcome but also a part of something larger than anything I could do alone. When I finally submitted my first piece. I was nervous beyond measure, but I pushed through it. Now I love how I feel when I finish a piece. Not only am I excited when I hit the send button, but eager to get on to the next one. I can only explain it as an addiction I love without any detrimental effects on myself other than feeling I’ve accomplished something and a story to share. I watch you tirelessly, day after day reaching out to people to bring them in as a guest. Because of your actions, I follow and absorb your energy to push myself. You and Scott both have not only given me guidance, but a chance to share my work collaboratively and also welcomed me as a team member. I draw on the energy from all the contributors here. These people are an impressive bunch of individuals!

    So I would like to end 2016 with a personalized, heartfelt thank you to My Writing Guidance Counselor Marilyn Davis. My Cheif Editor Scott Biddulph for polishing my words and thoughts and allowing me to begin my writing career on Two Drops of Ink. Let me not forget my fellow team members, Lydia and Michelle, for their positive influence and kind words. To all of the Two drops of Ink community of readers and followers. Thank you all for encouraging words, comments, likes, shares, and support. Lets CRUSH 2017 with high Energy and vigor!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, John. By the time I got to the end of your comment, John, I was high fiving you! You said once that enthusiasm was contagious, and I caught some of yours today. We are a community at Two Drops of Ink and we genuinely encourage and support one another. It’s been such a pleasure to see your progress this year. I remember thinking early on that I might be overbearing each time I’d slip in, “Where’s your submission” in comments in Intentional.

      But I knew you had stories, and over the years, I’ve listened to that intuition, and I’m so glad I did and you submitted!

      2017 is looking up.

      Liked by 2 people

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