Monday, January 7, 2013

Exceeding the Challenge

Before I start, let me emphasize this is not a pitch for a favorite activity even though I'm a serious Swagbucks fan. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Swagbucks, it's a search engine that rewards you with points. In addition to searching, you can earn Swagbucks by watching videos and numerous other activities.

To keep people interested, they offer challenges. If you get a certain number of points per day, you earn a bonus. Meet their goal for a specified number of days, and they sweeten the deal. Since more points mean more rewards, I try to exceed their requirement.

As writers, doing the minimum will get exactly that - minimal results. When crafting a story, I strive for excellence.

The savvy reader expects a novel that will "Wow" them. If I want reader points (loyalty and good reviews), my writing must exceed the level of acceptable.

To achieve maximum results in Swagbucks and writing, it takes time and sharpening my skills.

Writers: How do you go beyond what's required?

Readers: What aspects of a book do you consider a "Wow" factor? Setting, plot twists, etc. Please give details.

Photo credit: bigevil600


Linda O'Connell said...

I expect so much of myself in January. I am infused with new energy in anticiaption of a brief few weeks until spring. I ususally send out twenty or more submissions. I wish I could keep up that pace, but in the fall, I coast and by December the submissions dwindle to two or three.

Jessica Nelson said...

Great questions, Susan! I try to edit my work very carefully and get lots of beta reads.
Swagbucks is very cool and I see you get a lot of use out of it. I have the acct there but couldn't figure it out very well. lol

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Love this question--going to be thinking about it all day.

Something I want to be more intentional about!
~ Wendy

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Linda - I always feel more energetic in January as well. :)

Hi Jess - If you have questions about Swagbucks, just email me. I'll be happy to help you.

Having my critique partners go over my work gives me a measure of confidence when I hit the send button.

Hi Wendy - I'm glad the post gave you food for thought.


Jeanette Levellie said...

As a writer, I go over guidelines very carefully to make sure I don't miss anything an editor wants. I am always looking for better, more tighter ways to say something. And I pray.

As a reader, I love unexpected twists in the plot that surprise me.

Chatty Crone said...

I will have to give that swagbucks a look at! sandie

Rhonda Schrock said...

I had a powerful businessman tell me that once: "You have to write a great column. Every week. It has to be a 10. Every week. It can't be a 7, then a 10, then an 8..."

My husband said to me under his breath, "No pressure, hon." :)

Nancy said...

What I love about any book is the characters. I'll reread a book that I know the ending to, just because I want to spend some more time with the people. That's what gets me every time. If the people are boring, I usually don't finish the book.

Melanie N. Brasher said...

Susan, this is a great question. I think for me it comes down being faithful in the small things. I need to put my best effort in every piece of writing regardless of audience or numbers.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jen - I'll often print out the guidelines and highlight those applicable to my project. Prayer is the most important element!

Hi Sandie - My referral link is on my sidebar if you're interested. :)

Hi Rhonda - That's the publishing industry for you! LOL!

Hi Nancy - I just read a book, and the characters are still occupying "thinking space."

Hi Melanie - So nice to see you! Yes, I agree. I just finished a devotional and gave it as much attention and prayer as my book.

Susan :)

Karen Lange said...

I am always pushing myself to achieve more. Often though, this only translates into mental pressure. Praying for direction and working on cultivating more self discipline. :)


DenaNetherton said...

I go beyond by continually reading fine books and noting their techniques. then, when I go back to my own writing, I always find areas for improvement.

Terri Tiffany said...

I have not seen your posts on Facebook for your blogs so decided to come over and see what you have been doing! Good to see you still active!

JD said...


I don't know what Swagbucks is but will look it up momentarily.

As for your question, I'll echo what I wrote on Karen's blog a moment ago: I try to concentrate on one thing at a time with both hands. My best writing comes when I'm immersed in what I'm doing--no distractions, music, ringing phones, etc. I try to create a "writing friendly" space, which usually materializes at night after everyone in my household is asleep. Like right now, for instance. :-)

Great question!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Everyone -

Sorry I've been AWOL the last few days. Big doings around here. Details to follow in the near future.

Susan :)