You Need My Guy: Bringing Word-of-Mouth to the Web

A few weeks ago, I met Joe Cassara, founder and CEO of a new website YouNeedMyGuy.com.

For my first assignment for Messenger Post Papers, I sat down to talk to Joe about his idea of a website for finding service providers that is more informative than searching directories, or reading unreliable online reviews. You Need My Guy allows users to see who their friends are hiring by linking their social networks. Users simply create an account that links to at least one of their social networks. Then they list the people they love doing business with, using a phone number or email address of their “guy” and write a review. Other users searching the site can see which people within their networks already do business with these vendors and vendors can show prospective clients how they’re connected socially.

You Need My Guy isn’t just for finding contractors. User can search for service providers ranging from plumbers to photographers, from accountants to graphic designers.

Joe told me about quitting his corporate job, taking up consulting work and starting up this website all while raising three kids under the age of four.

Read the full article as printed by Messenger Post Media  here .

Webster native's new website helps find right guy for the jobMessenger Post Media

Webster native’s new website helps find right guy for the job
Messenger Post Media

NaNoWriMo : Not a Win, but not a Failure

I had hoped to start a winning streak. After experiencing the joy, the relief, and the satisfaction of winning NaNoWriMo last year, I was hopeful I could do it two years in a row. But I didn’t even come close.

I started out strong the first week. I was committed to making time for multiple writing sessions to write 1,667 (and often more) words each day. I started to struggle around the 18,000 word mark. I got through the excitement of the first few chapter and found myself unable to determine what happened next. I had a rough idea, I had an overall outline but it wasn’t enough. I had hoped the plot would come to me as I wrote, that I’d be able to write my way through the mushy middle of the story. But I was stuck.

I felt my trouble was that I didn’t know my characters well enough yet. How could I know where the story was going without truly knowing who my characters were at their core? So I started on a blank page and started writing journal-style from the points of view of my different characters. I got a few thousand more words out of that and got to know them a bit better in the process. But I still didn’t know how my characters were getting to where  I saw the story ending. And that’s when I knew I wasn’t going to reach 50,000 words this year. Instead, I made it about halfway to the goal.

Looking back at last year’s Nano, where I broke the rules by writing a work-in-progress rather than starting a new story from scratch, it was much easier to get to those 50,000 words because I was so familiar with my characters and their stories. Those characters have been with me for years, from their humble beginnings in a short story I wrote in a writing workshop years ago. My characters for this year’s Nano are still new to me. They are like new friends I am still getting to know. I haven’t given up on them, or their story. I just need to spend some time with them, and get to know them a little better before I can tell the story.

Participant-180x180-2Though I didn’t “win” NanoWriMo this year, I don’t consider it a failure. NaNo provided the push I needed to experiment with this story that’s been floating around in my imagination for a while.

And it has given me the motivation to treat every month as if it is National Novel Writing Month. While I often find 1,667 words a difficult daily goal to maintain, I will set a more achievable daily word goal for myself. Let the spirit of NaNoWriMo live on!

Congratulations to those who crossed the 50,000 word finish line, and good luck to you in your editing endeavors in December for National Novel Editing Month!

NaNoWriMo Day 18

I’d love to share my successes and how great NaNoWriMo is going but the truth is, I’ve fallen way behind. I’m at the point where I’ve written the first several chapters and now I’m not certain where to go next. I’m running out of steam and seem to only be able to write a few hundred words at a time. I’ve started writing the story out of chronological order for the sake of moving forward.  I’m not even to the halfway point and feeling a bit discouraged at my slow progress.

I’m also struggling with tendonitis and some pretty serious pain in my wrist. I’m trying to rest it and take frequent breaks, but that isn’t helping my word count!

Even though I’m now several thousand words behind the goal and not sure I will catch up by November 30th, I’m going to keep writing. I’m going to keep pushing though and hope for a second wind.

I’m going to sit down and write every day because after all, that’s what NaNo is really all about. While the goal of NaNo is to reach 50,000 words, the real reward comes in the habit of daily writing and making the time to write when there seems to be none. And why stop after November 30th? It’s my goal to continue writing every day – no excuses.

Words Written Today: 1,748
Total Words Written: 22,520
Words to Go: 27,480
Percent Complete: 45%

NaNoWriMo Week 1 Wrap up

We’re one week in to NaNoWriMo, and it has already had its ups and downs.

I got off to a good start with solid word counts the first few days. When the weekend rolled around, I was determined to use those days to get ahead, and I did, writing nearly 5,000 words over the weekend, bringing me ahead of schedule.

But then, my muse took a day or two off. Blame it on gloomy weather or the lack of daylight after daylight saving time, but I found myself apathetic and unmotivated. I had some pretty dismal word counts for a few days and I went from being ahead to being behind.

After a few lousy days, I think I’m back into the writing groove and got back on track today.

Word count aside, it’s important to keep in mind what we’ve all accomplished so far this month. I have sat down to write every single day for the past week, multiple times a day in fact, even though some of those days I wrote less than 1,100 words which isn’t much by NaNo standards. I’ve been waking up early each morning to write before work, plugging in earphones and tuning out the word to write on my lunchbreak, setting aside time each day to write. And because of that, I have a quarter of a novel written in just one week’s time.

Words Written Today: 2,004
Total Words Written: 13,554
Words to Go: 36,446
Percent Complete: 27%

NaNoWriMo Kickoff!

Today marked the kick off of National Novel Writing Month. For the next month, I will be working toward writing 50,000 words of a shiny, new novel.

I have spent the past few weeks fleshing out my characters, creating an outline and drafting scenes. Today the writing officially started. Here is a glimpse at the story I’ll be working on for (at least) the next 30 days:

After a failed marriage, Eden Stone is determined never to rely on men again.  She and her daughters, Sam and Nora, learn to support themselves.

When Eden’s estranged sister, Annette, has an accident and ends up in a coma, Eden suspect Annette’s husband had something to do with it.

Everyone must adjust when Annette’s daughter, Veronica, comes to live with Eden, Sam and Nora – her estranged aunt and cousins. As Eden faces the possibility of losing her only sister, she begins to discover how little she truly knew about the life her sister was leading, and has to confront her own demons.

I hope to post updates regularly with my progress, here’s where I stand after day one:

Words Written Today: 1,966
Words to Go: 48,034
Percent Complete: 4%